POP MUSIC / On the Road: That sink feeling: This just in from our man in Birmingham with the shaving problem

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The Independent Online
Or should it be On The Road With 'the geezer from Squeeze', as this newspaper's listings section keeps calling me? Visions of me slurping on dodgy cocktails, snacking on whelks; the rock world's Del Boy out on a solo beano. Well, so be it.

As a warm-up to the tour, I play at the Archway Tavern in London, a gig that was not quite publicised and not quite well-attended either. The format for my tour is to drive around for a month, playing songs I know and love, mostly by other people. I'm not working from a set list. First time out, this arrangement finds me fumbling around a bit, and I resolve to be better prepared for the first show proper in Oxford.

I've been used to travelling around with Squeeze and a crew for all my adult life - a mollycoddled musician who has things taken care of for him - so setting off on my own in the car with my guitars and bags in the boot is rather like anticipating a bracing, cold, early-morning shower.

Perhaps a little hot water wouldn't be such a bad idea after all - maybe I should have a tour manager to smooth things over for me and drive the car while I read or have a snooze. And what if my six bottles of mineral water and six cans of beer aren't in the dressing room? Sad but true, Glenn, you're just going to have to sort it out yourself.

Soundcheck over, I retire, as any self-respecting geezer would, for a quick pre-show curry during which I also try to sort out what I might play. Back to the gig and my dressing room. I remember from Noel Coward's diaries his descriptions of opening nights, when his dressing- room was a riot of bouquets and telegrams from well- wishers. But I girded my loins against the fact that Interflora don't deliver on Sundays and telegrams are a thing of the past.

But there is also no sink and I need to shave. Being a wet razor man myself, a glass of water will do the trick - wet my face from that and rinse my razor in it, no problem. I ask the promoter for a mirror and he says he'll see what he can do. Then he comes back and asks me what I want the mirror for, because he has a card that might do the trick if I want to . . .

'No thanks, I just want to shave,' I said, pointing to my chin. We laughed, as you do, about the wacky world of rock 'n' roll and the many opportunities for misunderstandings that arise therein.

On stage at 9.15 and I play for an hour and a half and feel sure that, if only a reviewer from the Disc and Music Echo were there, he would have described it as a barnstormer. I feel loved and return that love in the only way I know; by sweating a lot and spraying the audience with my juices.

Get the dosh, pack up and drive back to London for a 6.00am wake-up to do The Big Breakfast with Chris Difford, where we play the latest Squeeze single, 'It's Over'. Is there room to say it's taken from our latest album, Some Fantastic Place? There isn't? Ah well.

Glenn Tilbrook's tour diary continues next week. See Gig Guide for tour dates.

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