Good evening You,
I hope you’re snuggled up in front of the fire with glass of wine in hand, the better to enjoy my ramblings. You’d better get comfy as I’ve got loads to tell you.
I’m now back in the UK and have had time to reflect on the Netherlands tour - and what a tour it was! I’ll start by filling you in with the last half of the tour after we visited Hoge Veluwe National Park. To cut a very long story short:
We headed to Amsterdam, visited the Rijks Museum, the Van Gogh Museum (my favourite), and saw the new James Bond movie (enjoyable but my eyes physically hurt afterwards from taking in all the action). I had 2 gigs in the big city - Checkpoint Charlie (intimate but great sound and lovely people), and Cafe Soundgarden (friendly pub atmosphere).
Then it was onto a house concert in Rotterdam, shared with Dutch/Polish Duo Teddy Jr - another packed living room and amazing hospitality! Next was a quick stopover in Leiden where I played a cheeky instore at Velvet Music Records then drove south to Middelburg for house gig number 4. This was a corker of a gig in a beautiful part of the world - I hope I get to go back!
On the Monday I snuck in an extra gig in Amsterdam at The Waterhole before popping down the road to Haarlem, where I gigged at Café Briljant, met the most friendly lovebird called Fritz at the B&B, and also caught up on all the Downton Abbey I’d missed. Fritz wasn’t at all shy as you can see.
My last 3 gigs were back in Amsterdam (I know the place pretty well by now). First was a packed out house gig, then the best instore ever at Concerto Records Store, and then…
...we were robbed. Yes you did read correctly - robbed. We got back to our car on the last day of the tour, and the back right window was smashed in, glass everywhere and nothing in the car except my old walking boots. I was due to play a gig that evening, so I'd had all of my musical kit in the car - keyboard, guitar, ukulele, 2 amps - you get the idea, even our passports were gone from the glove compartment, and my beautiful new trainers. In hindsight I guess it was foolish to leave the stuff in the car, but we were parked on a main street in the middle of the day and most things in there were pretty heavy and awkward for a thief to carry off (or so we thought). So anyway, after talking to the cafe next door to find out what happened (they didn’t really know much except that the police had been there earlier in the day), and sitting in shocked silence for a few minutes, we realised that before heading to the police station we needed to go to the venue (500 yards down the road) and tell them that I couldn’t play the gig.
At that point there was a large hollow area where my heart had been and I was feeling like the whole tour had been ruined. It was a huge shock therefore when we arrived at the venue, Pompstation, and having seen us, the venue manager handed over our passports and pointed to the stage in the corner of the room. Everything that had been in the car was piled up on the stage, including my beautiful red trainers. Confused.com! How had all of our stuff miraculously appeared at the venue? Well, it turned out that while the car was being broken into, a heroic neighbour had called the police and gone out to the street to chase off the robbers. The police then arrived and didn’t want to leave all the expensive equipment in the car when the window was smashed, but they didn’t have our contact details to call us.
Luckily they had found some of my CDs in the car, looked me up online, and found out that I was playing a gig in Amsterdam that night. Therefore after emptying the car of all valuables (why my walking boots weren’t important to them I couldn’t say), they drove the whole lot to the venue and left it there for safe keeping! How unbelievable helpful and above the call of duty was that! You can imagine my relief - I actually broke down and sobbed for a couple of minutes (very unlike me), before pulling myself together, having a cup of tea (obviously), and setting up for the gig. It was an eventful final day for sure, and for the first time I was really looking forward to getting home.
We got home without a hitch and after one day of recovering I headed down to Cardiff to shoot the music video for my Christmas single “Turn On the Lights”. This will be the first time that I’m not actually in my own music video. Instead we have 2 fantastic actresses playing a mother and daughter separated by thousands of miles around Christmas time. Sharon Morgan is a Welsh BAFTA winner and Hollie Burrows is an up-and-coming star of the future. I’m so chuffed that they wanted to get involved and I can’t wait to show you the video, which will be out in the fist week of December - watch this space!
My last bits of news concern my final few gigs of the year and the 2nd album campaign. This weekend will be a busy one!
Friday 27th Nov - I’m supporting Stornoway at Gloucester Guildhall.
I’ll have Asha with me on cello and backing vocals and will also be joined by Stornaway’s bassist Oli Steadman for a couple of tunes. Can’t wait!
Tickets here - http://venues.gloucester.gov.uk/Freetime/Guildhall/listings/music/Stornoway2015.aspx
Sunday 29th Nov - Folk at the Froize, Chillesford, Suffolk.
I’ll be accompanied by Asha on cello and backing vocals.
Tickets include a whole load of delicious Tapas! 01394 450282 :-)
Monday 30th Nov - The Bicycle Shop Cafe, Norwich.
Duo with Asha for this one too.
Last few tickets - https://ueatickets.ticketabc.com/events/hattie-briggs/
Thursday 17th Dec - Maggie’s Christmas Carol Concert, Christ Church, Cheltenham.
I’ll be performing my Christmas single with the Maggie’s choir and trumpets from the Flower’s Band.
Don’t miss it - https://regonline.activeeurope.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1645878
Saturday 19th Dec - I’ll be supporting "Said The Maiden" at Bristol Folk House - 0117 926 2987.
Before I go, I’d like to say thank you again to those who have helped crowd-fund my 2nd album so far.
We’re up to 92 pre-orderers!
To find out what’s on offer head over to http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/2nd-album - every little helps!
I think that’s enough excitement for one sitting. You’ll hear from me again next week :-)
So where was I? Oh yes, I'd just done a gig in Alkmaar - it feels like so long ago! The next day we explored Schoorl (very difficult to pronounce) and Groet - both very pretty seaside villages, so more walking and beautiful scenery.
That night we drove to Bodegraven for my first Living Room concert of the tour. What a gorgeous house it was, and full to bursting with friendly people (37 people to be precise). Our hosts were incredibly welcoming and did an awesome job of organising their first house gig - may it lead to many more fantastic evenings!
Then it was back to Rotterdam for an instore followed by house gig number 2. The instore was at Velvet Music in the centre of town and there were lots of people wandering around so I set up just outside the record store on the street. It was all going very smoothly until a clonking great street organ began to approach and got steadily louder and louder until I couldn’t hear anything I was doing. When a friend went to tell the man that we had a scheduled gig he didn’t seem to care and just carried on. Therefore we moved all of my stuff inside the shop and I continued to play…for about ten seconds, as by that time the organ had moved to practically right outside the shop. By this time the record store owner was so annoyed that he stormed outside saying he was going to kill the man (who apparently turns up there all the time). Quite frankly I wouldn’t have minded, the racket coming from that machine was doing my head in. But he didn’t actually kill the guy. After a firm talking to, the dreaded organ minder moved off and I headed back outside to finish my set.
That evening’s house gig was a blast! Another packed room and so much warmth and enthusiasm. I feel very lucky to be doing this. Thanks to Marlike for the fantastic pic.
After a late start the next morning (pretty much like most mornings), we headed off to Breda where I had a pretty successful busk. Then we headed back to Rotterdam to cook our lovely host some dinner :-) followed by a lot of ice-cream, yum.
Our next stop was Arnhem and Hoge Veluwe National Park. I can honestly say that it was one of the most strange and beautiful places I have ever seen. What a crazy mix of landscapes. One moment we were cycling through a pine forest, then through fields of gold (wild grasses and heather) which stretched on as far as the eye could see, then we were surrounded by sand and I was reminded of the desert scenes from The Lion King, then finally we came to a lake with still water and Autumn leaves reflected on its surface. It was almost too much to take in, a fairy land/dream world - go there if you ever get the the chance!
Lastly, a huge thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered my album so far in one form or another. More than 80 people have contributed so far to funding the recording and it means a great deal. If you'd like to get involved head over to http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/2nd-album.
More news to come in the in the next few days!
Waaaaaaaa, so much news, where to start? With some general snippets of good news I think! First of all I had another play on Radio 2 this weekend - my single "Tilly’s Song" on Clare Balding’s “Good Morning Sunday show”. I also had a couple of tracks from “Red & Gold" featured on a Dutch Radio Show thanks to Peter Hodzelmans. Then I found out the 2 songs I entered into the UK Songwriting Contest both made the semi-finals - a good way to start a Sunday morning!
The next thing to say is thank you so much to everybody who has already got involved in my crowd-funding project for album number 2 - we’re almost at a hundred preorders so far which is fantastic. If you haven’t yet had a look at what’s on offer, head over to http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/2nd-album for the full list.
It’s suddenly November, what?! I swear it was Summer last time I looked. And it’s been really warm the whole time we’ve been in Holland, which has been fantastic for sight-seeing. I hope you have been sunning yourselves wherever you are. Since you last heard from me I’ve been all over the place gigging and seeing some new and amazing places. The first of the second batch of gigs was at Cafe Swaf in beautiful Hoorn in the North West of Holland. This gig was honestly hilarious. Despite being called a “Café” the venue was most certainly a bar. On arriving I was more than a little worried about how the gig was going to go I must admit. A noisy bar, an ancient sound system, a tiny stage right next to the loos… you can understand why I had doubts. Thank goodness Dan Cassidy was there to help me get the sound to a bearable mix, I would have been lost without him! There is much more to tell of this story. I should mention that it was the bar owner’s birthday that night, so most of the punters were his friends and family who pretty much filled the place. Add to that the fact that they were all mourning the death of the bar owner’s brother in law, and you get a pretty confusing mix of emotions for a party. And I was the entertainment, no pressure! And it gets weirder. You can imagine my surprise when the guy working behind the bar comes up to the stage before the start of the gig and removes the doors from the loos so that they won’t bang during the performance. After that I had to make sure I didn’t look to my right straight into the men's room, which people were still using during the gig (they had to walk past me on the stage to go in there)! As often happens, when you are prepared for the worst, things actually turn out better than you could have ever hoped. Despite all of the strange things I have described the gig turned out to be a success. The audience were respectful, enthusiastic, and joined in with covers and original songs alike! They even bought a whole load of CDs and vinyl from me at the end. The highlight of the evening had to be when a fairly drunk Nico, the bar owner, joined me on stage for a tearful (on his part) rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song”.
After the gig we headed off to our B&B just a few miles from Hoorn. The lovely couple who owned the place had three beautiful Leonburgers and as you know I love dogs so I was in heaven. We took them for a walk the next morning and then went for a long bicycle ride around the coast in the sunshine. It was so glorious that we stayed an extra night and headed back into the Hoorn the next day for more of an explore. A beautiful city with lots of old architecture, a lovely square and walks along the water. Working holidays are the best!
Then it was back to Zoetermeer for a last minute extra gig, but on our way south we stopped off in beautiful Utrecht for a night. We did a most enjoyable canal tour as recommended and wandered through the winding back streets with all the lovely shops.
My next gig was back up north in Alkmaar and as we had most of the day free we visited the beach at Bergen an Zee (basically the West Wittering of the Netherlands), which was stunning. Huge dunes and proper sand (not that pebbly rubbish) stretching for miles into the distance - wonderful! After having a picnic and stretching our legs we made the short car journey to Alkmaar and I found some awesome shoes before we set up at the venue.
The venue was called Koffehuis and was a very cosy café/restaurant as you’d expect. The food was delicious, the sound was great and the audience was warm and smiley. All good! Crikey there’s so much to say! I have loads more news from the past week, but this update is already so long that I think I’d better do Volume 2 in a couple of days time, by which time there’ll be even more news!
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