In July 2015 Oh Peas! undertook a sporadic series of live dates (drawn on a map of the UK the route is in the shape of a rabbit, probably). Oh Peas! is of course the solo musical outpourings of Cardiff’s Rosie Smith (also of Totem Terrors, Trust Fund, the mighty Pheenus, and way more), in the form of sad and funny bedroom songs, and if you haven’t bought ‘Shades Of Intolerance’ or ‘Year Of The Horse’ yet you are seriously missing out. Before LP number two is released this year, Rosie was good enough to write us this excellent tour diary. Enjoy.
Leg 1/3 -THE NORTH
Day one – Thursday 9th July – Leeds house show with Trust Fund and Tourist Fashion.
A train to Cardiff to get the train to Manchester to get the train to Leeds. 1 day, 236 miles of public transport glory. No happy faces at Newport. Definitely no wifi. I had a banana and a croissant for breakfast. Start as you mean to go on.
Had my intense tour excitement (read: smugness) dampened by some wet-wiping festival chumps.
Had some mixed nuts.
I discovered that Manchester train station is lovely and has horizontally-escalating escalators to take you sort of pointlessly small distances no faster than you can walk. But I’m not complaining. After a mechanical loop around the station, I was elbowing locals out of the way to shimmy onto the TransPennine Express, which was exciting even if I wasn’t actually going as far as the Pennines and would pretty much be too hungry to really care about the scenery.
On track to Leeds with a free tour of the greenery and industrial towns outside led by the nice old lady and her son sat opposite me who were heading for Huddersfield. The train was very warm. Nothing much happened.
Finally arrived at Leeds, ate a falafel wrap and then got a nice train to Burley Park to meet Ellis, Lord of Trust Fund.
Some time later..
I lost track of keeping time but the evening was a very nice one. The show was in Ellis’ house, specifically the basement, and we had a lovely pre-gig meal cooked by Grace and Ellis. Tour food is easily in my top two favourite things about touring (the other being the nice/brilliant/inspiring people) – for instance, Ellis’ trademark crisp salad:
At the end of the night, we cracked out the mother load of persimmons (I’d never had a persimmon so that was a first) and had a right old time (read: asleep before 1am) into the night with some people I knew and some I didn’t.
Day two – Glasgow
Me and the bus:
Tebay (place of legends): I had an ice cream…
…Ellis had a lie down
The best thing (among several thousand others) about Glasgow is the Scottish money, it’s lovely to look at and each note has a different great person with historical importance on it, not just ol’ Lizzy Windsor. I also learned that Scottish number plates all start with ‘S’ but in Wales we don’t get ownership of ‘W’ number plates so I felt a bit cheated. Upon arrival I decided – and still stand by – that I’m pretty sure Glasgow is where I should’ve been born (prone to dramatising), but I wasn’t born there so I just get to go on tour and visit places like the School of Art for delicious food…
…and meet nice people like Chrissy Barnacle who let us chumps (sorry Ellis) play in her living room to some lovely people who were all loud and quiet at just the right times.
Ellis drank pink Lucozade, shared his totally-not-Skips with me and played new songs, it was a super nice time. I was also very happy that the evening’s vegan contingent took to my bus fare craft fair’s stock of felt aubergines and I made enough to cover my bus fare so that was extra good too.
Other things I learned in Glasgow include:
Melvyn Bragg was born in Windemere.
Glasgow’s Cineworld is massive.
Glasgow is very tall.
6.30am – the tube to Glasgow Queen St where we saw a bird stuck in the underground, this was very traumatic and the staff didn’t seem to care. Here is an early morning Ellis, the Miami Dolphins fan:
And so onto another jaunt on the TransPennine Express to Durham. On our way to Durham we got waylaid by technical difficulties and were re-routed a number of times through a number of places, including Edinburgh and Newcastle. During this time, I learned the following Trust Fund pearls of wisdom:
Dogs love Brazil nuts.
One brazil nut contains your entire RDA of selenium.
A train is a train.
The train people gave us free tiny cans of coke and shortbread to make up for the delays though so we won in the end:
Day three – Durham.
Durham was 100% brilliant. We arrived early – although not as early as planned – enough to catch some of the Miners Gala Parade which is a pretty big day for the city.
…then a triumphant return (see: Trust Fund February tour diary w.i.p) to ol’ faithful Treats of Durham for some lunch:
“Could I have a piece of that one there.. the cornflake one?”
“Yeah, cornflake pie.”
“Do you want custard with it?”
Full of questionable-quality dessert, we met up with the legend that is Andrew J Stephenson, of T-Shirt Weather, who escorted us to the night’s venue because we couldn’t remember the way. We were playing in the Martha house aka Chicken Cottage which is always full of lovely people and lovely pets. Everyone was very sleepy after the travelling (us) and the marching (everyone else) and Ellis had a brief nap on the living room floor while everyone wondered if he was okay (he was). Then we had some great homemade pie, another tour food highlight. There’d been rumours of a paddling pool being set up in Ellis’ honour which turned out to be very true:
The show was a lovely one, we played with Elly Kingdon of Okinawa Picture Show who is lovely, and Ferret Legs aka Joe Keys who was pretty much my tour highlight.
After some pie leftovers I had a comfortable sleep in what is usually the rabbits’ room and then an early enough start to watch an episode of Knightmare – the greatest show ever made, shame I can’t remember anything good that happened to tell you about – and then a farewell to Chicken Cottage to head for the station via the Cathedral.
Full of the post-tour blues and meal deals, we went for a walk to see Durham Cathedral which was impressive, but not as impressive as the Lego version inside.
And I saw a girl in a Hogwarts t-shirt which felt appropriate. After buying a nice postcard for Stefano it was back to the train for a sunny trip back to Leeds. We mostly slept or looked out the window. I tried to read but I don’t think I really like Thomas Pynchon. At Leeds bus station I got very sad and ate a meal deal.
Leg 1/3 Summary
Reading: T. Pynchon – ‘V’
Song of the leg: Sparks – Mickey Mouse
Leg 2/3 – THE SOUTH
Skip forward a week (of staring at my unfinished album files on the computer) and the tour continues, this time setting sail alone (Ellis had some famous things to do) for my grand old hometown in sunny Wales (where I live, so not far). It was a lovely Indietracks warm-up in Four Bars with some of Britain’s finest pop gems (Evans the Death, Heavy Petting Zoo and Cardiff’s own Caramel), with a special last minute addition of my guitar hero Nicol ‘Palomica’ Parkinson joining me on what we described to the ever lovely (and ever patient) Sam the soundman as ‘auxiliary instruments’ (read: guitar, melodica, walkman, egg shaker, squeaky clarinet and vocals, hurriedly practised pre-gig in the backroom when less dedicated bands would be shovelling beers and burgers down their necks in the grotty old Gatekeeper… kidding, the Gatekeeper is my safe place <3) By and large – a phrase people say – it was possibly my favourite ever show I’ve ever, ever played so, if you weren’t there, it’s YOUR LOSS.
These are the only photos from that night:
And so, an earlyish night for an 9am start to sell books to bored people and then a quick shuffle over to the train station for a the sunny jaunt to Brighton. I arrived slightly late and very sweaty but after a soundcheck/minor apoplexy, we were all (read: I) good to go. I was very excited to find that Anna of the Middle Ones was paying a surprise visit to Brighton (she said for work, but I reckon it was for me…) which completely distracted me from everything else for at least 40 minutes. The gig was a nice one – another warm-up for Indietracks with the Fireworks and the Luxembourg Signal – and I found out that I was invited to play because the Fireworks’ drummer’s 11 year old daughter is/was a huge fan of my song on the Indietracks compilation which was probably the best news of the tour. Melting Vinyl’s supply of fresh towels, beer, water, crisps, a wide range of tea and even shaving foam, just in case, made for a pretty sweet atmosphere backstage during the raucous after party too.
This is getting quite long so in summary, the best bits of Brighton included live-tweeting the run to Grubbs for a burger (Tropical) between my set and the next…
…and going for the best sea-swim ever with Anna (see above) on Sunday morning.
Leg 2/3 Summary:
Reading: Richard Owain Roberts – ‘All the Places We Lived’
Song of the leg: FFS – Johnny Delusional
3/3 Indietracks – The Grand Finale
Indietracks is always great even when it pisses it down like it did this year. I got to play on the train which, so I’m told, is the most prestigious stage saved for only the future greats. Although the entire experience made me feel pretty uncomfortable (small enclosed space, the feeling of people being forced to stay, yell-singing over loud train noise, rain..) Here are all the nice people on the train:
I also hugely enjoyed it (and would like to publicly thank everyone there <3). Indietracks itself was also brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed the Wave Pictures, the curry, Euros Childs (hero) and the Roogie Boogie band (also heroes), the quiz and Martha’s stomping set (and crowd surfing) on the Saturday. Here is a picture Rob Sell took of me watching Euros:
..and here is a picture of Rob Sell:
FULL SUMMARY: a pretty good, if rather tenuously named, debut solo tour. See you in October, world!
(Oh Peas! is Rosie Smith, a person and part-time tour diarist for hire.)