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Posted on Saturday, August 4th, 2007

OK…OK….OK, I know, I only write about stuff when things go wrong and It must seem like when many weeks pass without me writing that things must have, apparently, been OK.
Well, I have to agree, this is probably the case.
But hear this one out. It’s a doozy.
Seville is, acknowledgedly, the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of Southern Spain. It is the capital of Andalusia and therefore somewhere which sounds worth driving 1700km to have a look around, make a nice concert and, more importantly, if given the chance, taste some interesting new dishes. So I was happy and grateful to be invited to play at an open air festival there, in an old monastery, a most historical building, claiming a tree planted by Christopher Columbus after returning from the new world. How cool. Why not?
So jump in the van with a somewhat less than rock’n’roll attitude, rather more of a, well, a let’s take the children, I can’t remember the last time we spent some time together, kind of an approach..
It was a nice drive down there and I felt glad to see the sun and blue sky which seemed to be evading most of Northern Europe this year. It was a fairly relaxed journey which I spent listening to audiobooks while driving, with a stop of in Bordeaux at my favorite restaurant, one in Vitoria to pick up a teenage child and another in Madrid to break the journey. On arriving in Seville I met my production host, Andy Jarman,who warned me about leaving my musical equipment in the van as Seville is a city with a lot of crime. I was able to have him take my equipment to his place rather than leave it in the hotel or street. However you have to park somewhere I parked on a busy, well lit street as he suggested and emptied the vehicle of valuables which we duly did.
However, with the experience of recent events it was really not too much of a surprise to arrive back at our vehicle the following morning to find the left hand window broken in and all of our possessions either scattered all over the place or, in the case of all of my clothes, missing. My six year old daughter Violette had her clothes and some of her toys missing too and seemed thrilled by the idea of being robbed however my other daughter, Lucy Belle was gently sobbing saying ‘motherfuckers…. motherfuckers…..motherfuckers have taken my vans and cyberdogs’.
I had no idea what she was talking about as she is, of course, a teenager but later found out she was referring to her shoes and really strange big trousers which young people of a certain ilk take delight in wearing.
The strange thing is the thief largely ignored the items that I would have stolen had I been a Spanish junkie, you know like Lucy Belle’s credit card and cash, which she had, rather stupidly, left in the vehicle.
No, it sort of got me thinking that this person needed middle aged mans clothing with teenage girl underwear and all of our dirty laundry. Well, you know, I’ve not much experience of Spanish people so maybe that’s normal.
Another curiosity of stealing my clothes is that it was over 35 degrees and while I could understand stealing, let’s say, a Speedo, it seemed a strange choice to run off with a navy blue woolen suit, even if the thief would look very dapper indeed while wearing it, if not a little sweaty as I would have, had I had the fucking chance to wear it..
Anyway, I digress; I’ll get back to my tale. I fashioned a quick repair to the broken window with cable ties, the things which, increasingly, seem to hold everything in my life together, locked up and headed off to the police station to make a report. This took about an hour and consisted of contemptuous policemen grunting at us, shrugging a lot and regarding us with a look that said ‘what did you expect, you tourist filth?’ I understand that there is not much to be done in a situation like we found ourselves in at that moment, no rounding up of the usual suspects and no team of detectives following up leads. The only lead I had anyway was that the thieves would probably be dressed, well, just like us. I didn’t want to end up in a Spanish prison so we quickly left.
On arriving back at the van I experienced a strange feeling of déjà vu. Well not quite déjà vu as this time it was the right hand window which had been broken in, while we were in the police station, and this time it was a more professional and thorough job. What had been missed by the first thief wasn’t missed by the second one. To be robbed on a busy city street in broad daylight is quite something, even for someone from Scotland.
Welcome to Seville.
Now, call me old fashioned but this situation was starting to become, as my firstborn would put it, a little irksome. There seemed really very little to be done except smile and get on with it. So, we went to the venue, the aforementioned old monastery, and soundchecked, which was rather pleasant, ate and then tried to return to the venue only to find ourselves locked out. I imagined Christopher Columbus beating on the same gates shouting, ‘Come on guys…. hey, guys……let me in……I have some seeds’.


I spent most of the show looking at the audience to see if any of them were wearing any of my clothes. I played as well as I could,which was not bad for someone who knew he would smell real bad the next day. No really, I kinda, sorta, um, er, well, how do you put it, mmm, enjoyed the performance. I could see the moon and the stars as I played and it sounded just lovely. Just for a moment I forgot that someone needed my dirty laundry more than I actually did and that felt just fine….
Trouble was, the next day I had to go to France.