#MindTheBand 2022: Diary

This time round I’ll be out & about quite a bit each day, whether I’m off to work or on day trips, so I thought it would be worth the effort of the diary post idea for 2022. As always, my daily endeavours will find their way onto my Instagram stories, so do keep an eye out for those updates as well – not to mention the playlist I’ll be adding to as the week goes along.

Saturday 26 March 2022
I knew I was being a bit optimistic with the whole daily post thing… Oh well, that wasn’t the aim of this day (or this week, even) – the whole point is to celebrate the continued return of live music, and the Stereophonics in particular. After a busy few weeks at work, it was nice to have a relaxed start to the day (following a fitful sleep); I had time to take a preliminary stroll, to get a few thousand steps in, before preparing myself for the endurance of a long evening. The theme of the latter part of the day was transport wobbles: I just made it to my planned train to Brighton, delayed by Thameslink’s insistence on providing a physical ticket…

A leisurely wander down to the seafront later (so much more comfortable than when I was last in Brighton for a gig), and it was time to go in! It was a bit sad to be up in the seated area, but I got anxious enough about it at the best of times pre-pandemic – I’d definitely need at least one person with me if I were to stand now, and even then it wouldn’t be every single time. I had a great spot, however, and all was forgotten when KT Tunstall came on 15 minutes earlier than advertised (I like someone who just gets on with things!). I’ve wanted to see her perform live for quite some time but never got round to it, so this was a great way to get things going – I shall have to catch a headline set in the not-too-distant future!

And then it was the turn of the Phonics. I’ve seen some truly excellent live acts over the years, but they still win top prize as far as I’m concerned. I just wish that they could keep extending & extending their set time, as it seems wrong to bump so many songs out of the list! It was good to hear so many tracks from the latest release – it must be tempting to just put the odd one in here & there, then stick with the classics, but this properly supported the record and celebrated the band’s history at the same time. Oh, and you won’t be surprised to learn that I cried twice, as both KT Tunstall and the Phonics did their own Foo Fighters covers as a tribute to Taylor Hawkins.

Thankfully an amazing night buoyed me enough to make the journey back; from rushing for the earlier train (due to Thameslink cancellations) and waiting fruitlessly for a night bus from London Bridge, to walking a mile for a different night bus and then a final 10-minute walk… I eventually made it home around 4am – the clocks going forward making it seem even more arduous. But I reckon it was all worth it.

  • Album of the day: You Gotta Go There To Come Back
  • Track of the day: Maybe Tomorrow

“Life’s got a way of making things play
No matter how hard we try to refrain
Fate or love or chance we deal
Or that beautiful word serendipity.”
Right Place Right Time


Sunday 27 March 2022
Not a huge amount to report, really. I’d definitely underestimated how knackered I’d be after my exertions – I think my logic was that going through the clock change while I was still awake would help, but that didn’t really come to pass. It’s going well, isn’t it?! My new priorities became getting the remainder of my 10k steps in (night bus adventures had got me halfway there), doing some social media admin, watching England lose the deciding Test match against the West Indies (I do seem to enjoy torturing myself), and catching up on some TV programmes. I suppose that’s what Sundays should be for – especially when the clocks go forward (a.k.a. The Worst Day Of The Year™) – but it doesn’t exactly make for an exciting read. Should be more going on tomorrow though!

  • Album of the day: Language. Sex. Violence. Other?
  • Track of the day: She’s Alright

“’Cause change is okay
What’s the point in staying the same?
Regrets, forget what’s dead and gone.”


Monday 28 March 2022
Another special day in this fun week (which is still lacking in actual blogs, I know): I was off to Cardiff! Not the birthplace of the Phonics, but it felt good to at least be in Wales for part of this week – and it obviously served as my soundtrack for some of my wanderings. I’ve not been down to the bay for quite some time (possibly the last time I walked down there was to go to the Doctor Who Experience, sadly no longer in existence), and thankfully the weather forecast improved; once I stepped off the train I decided to kill some time by walking down to the bay and back, before I was able to check in to my hotel. I may not necessarily know the wider area of Cardiff that well, but at least I knew exactly where I was going on this 4-mile walk!

My main reason for the trip was to go and see a new show at the Sherman Theatre, Dance To The Bone – partly because it was co-written by former Sunny Afternooner Oliver Hoare (& featured some of his bandmates), but partly because it was about the dancing plague of 1518. If that doesn’t mean anything to you then you’ve obviously never read or watched Horrible Histories! Anyway, it’s a piece of gig theatre that fuses medieval Strasbourg with modern-day Wales, using folksy, rocky music as the soundtrack; it’s funny & moving, with some toe-tapping tracks in the mix (St Vitus will be pleased). If you can get to the Sherman by this weekend then I highly recommend you spend 90 minutes of your time watching this, it’s truly excellent.

And though it’s nothing like the Stereophonics, it’s as much a celebration of live music as it is a theatre show, so I feel like that’s a good enough link (however tenuous).

“Won’t you let me go?
Think I paid my dues
I don’t know how to win
I only know how to lose.”
Make Friends With the Morning


Tuesday 29 March 2022
As it turns out, I could actually have got back to London overnight rather than paying extra to stay over, but it was rather nice to have a leisurely end to the day – especially after Saturday night/Sunday morning… Though that came back to bite me when I almost missed my coach! National Express didn’t see fit to warn its passengers that the coach stop was temporarily away from the normal spot because of resurfacing work going on in the car park, and there weren’t even any signs up to say where the coaches were running from – all of which led to me getting very angry and having to march to the coach stop after someone took pity on me and gave me directions. Boarding a coach in a sweaty, frustrated mess is far from ideal.

At least I ended up having both seats to myself (a luxury these days), and I made the most of the hours ahead of me by catching up on a few podcasts and listening to the album of the day – the time soon flew by! Not being one to make things easy for myself, I was only on a half-day so had to do a bit of work in the afternoon – and then I was back off out as I’d booked to see Cock again… It’s like I’ve forgotten all the lessons I learnt about not overloading myself! Obviously it was worth it though (there’s currently some understudy magic going on at the Ambassadors Theatre), and knowing that I didn’t have to be up early the next morning made it all the sweeter.

  • Album of the day: Graffiti on the Train
  • Track of the day: All I Have Is You

“Hell and Heaven they can wait for you
So go and do all the things that you want to do.”
C’est La Vie


Wednesday 30 March 2022
Thankfully a slightly later start was possible, as our morning session was cancelled – I definitely needed it, as I still feel a bit lagged from the weekend (plus the last couple of days haven’t really helped matters). I don’t think I could’ve done a full day at all this week! I have to say, I’m definitely done with the whole 10k steps a day now; I’ll make more of an effort to get more regular walks in after this, as it’s done me so much good, but making sure I go past the magic number has definitely become a bit of a chore. Not to mention the fact that I have to carry my phone around in a bag to incorporate all the steps I do at work, because women still don’t need pockets.

The walk of the day was from work to Victoria, as I didn’t fancy it the other way round in the morning; as it turns out, I managed to take the perfect route to enable me to listen to Pull the Pin in its entirety and make it to the earlier train. It’s a win-win! I’m very much aware that none of my blog posts have materialised at all this week, but I did at least manage to get some groundwork done, so there could well be a flurry of publication over the next couple of days… Especially now I’ve finished my epic Inside No. 9 rewatch!

  • Album of the day: Pull the Pin
  • Track of the day: When You See It

“Yes, you lie all the time and I don’t believe you
Dodging blame catching planes ride my tail to freedom.”
Pass the Buck


Thursday 31 March 2022
The day started off brilliantly, as I spent nearly my entire bus journey listening to the England women’s team ease their way into the ODI world cup final with a clinical win over South Africa – but that apparently wasn’t enough to keep my spirits up for too long. It was just one of those days where any minor irritation became so soul-crushingly annoying even the endorphins from two walks couldn’t counteract it straightaway! (Or the fact that, once again, I managed to time my first walk almost exactly to the album of the day.) I’ve had a reasonable run with work not really stressing me out too much, so of course that was the trigger. I’m currently trying to deal with an inept courier company who are trying to extort money out of us, and it just got to the point where I wanted desperately to chuck my computer out of the window; bad customer service staff & pretty much anyone from a finance department are my least favourite people to deal with, and I got a 2-for-1 in this case.

And you wonder why I’ve had trouble getting my head in the right space to get some writing done?!

It turns out all I needed was to watch Taskmaster (I’m taking great joy in doing the rewatches alongside the podcast), and then binge on Celebrity Mastermind – sounds weird, but the questions on that series are so easy in comparison to the regular version that it gives your self-esteem a massive boost when you get all or most of them right. So I could at least take that from the day – and the fact that it was the final day of my walking challenge, so I can go back to having the occasional lazy day if I want to…

  • Album of the day: Scream Above the Sounds
  • Track of the day: Fly Like An Eagle

“Do you believe in good will forever guide?
Does your devil take you to your other side?
Can karma kill you in your mind?
Do you cleanse your soul at least once a night?”


Friday 1 April 2022
Very glad I ended up buying a ticket to the Phonics’ O2 gig, as knowing I had that in the evening definitely helped me get through work! It feels like I’ve been in the office for hours on end this week, when in actual fact it hasn’t been that bad – the after-effect of gallivanting to Brighton & Cardiff around clock-change weekend, I guess. At least i finally had the wherewithal to get several blog posts finished and published (better late than never), even if I didn’t quite manage to get them all done. I really did overestimate my capabilities off the back of little sleep and several activities…

Helpful hint to anyone going to the O2 arena in the near future: if you need entrance H, be prepared for an extra plod out & around the building. This just so happens to be the section that got ripped to shreds by Eunice a few weeks ago, so there’s a diversion in place – it’s definitely that which helped to push me over the 10k step mark, unofficially extending my daily challenge into the 32nd day!

What I really don’t get is some people’s casual disregard for the support act. If you want to have a chat, GO OUT OF THE ARENA. I had some particularly irritating people sat behind me, who made it tough to hear most of KT Tunstall’s set – she was on cracking form, as well. That behaviour did at least make me feel much less guilty about standing for a lot of the Phonics’ set though… I hadn’t realised that you were allowed to stand in that level of seating, so at first got irritated when the people in the next block stood & got in my line of sight, but eventually felt brave enough to just stand and hope for the best! (I wasn’t going to spend my whole night looking at the screens, that completely defeats the object of being there and having a seat in such a prime position.)

An extra reason to be glad I decided to go was the fact that the mood was completely different to last Saturday; the crowd felt much more up for it, and when you consider there’s approximately 20,000 people in there with you, that feeling is amplified even further. The set list definitely had a better balance to it (more suited to a Friday night) with Vegas Two Times in there rather than the Foo Fighters cover of the week before – I’d expected & hoped for Superman, but my face turned into the Chris Pratt gif when I heard the opening bars, so I reckon I was pretty pleased with the way things turned out. No Local Boy in the Photograph either, but for singalong purposes I’m more than happy with A Thousand Trees, to be honest. All in all, it capped off the week perfectly – and I even managed to get home the same day this time.

  • Album of the day: Oochya!
  • Track of the day: Do Ya Feel My Love?

“So it started with the immigration information bore
You gotta know”
Vegas Two Times

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