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Yet more excellent music from Livingstone. Scotland would appear to have a new music capital!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpPG9lf2ibs

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Mama Bird might be my favourite purveyors of acoustic music around at the moment. This is lovely.
https://soundcloud.com/mamabirdrecordingco/solace

From Not So Deep as a Well, available March 4th.

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Just uploaded Toadcast #295 - The Passed-outcast to Mixcloud. Listen now!

Tags: mixcloud
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The first song from Farewell, Bastard Mountain. This song was written by Rob St. John and sung by Jill O’Sullivan from Sparrow and the Workshop, and Neil Pennycook from Meursault. Reuben Taylor and Rory Sutherland also play on the recording.

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Brown Brogues - Baby It’s Alright from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

From our Brown Brogues Toad Session, recorded in October 2013. All videos, free session mp3s, photos and full interview podcast can be found here:
toadsessions.com

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Er, what? Oh never mind.
captainsdead:

Sometimes I ask myself, why? But then I’m thankful for people w seemingly more time on their hands than myself. http://bit.ly/1m2c5S5

Er, what? Oh never mind.

captainsdead:

Sometimes I ask myself, why? But then I’m thankful for people w seemingly more time on their hands than myself. http://bit.ly/1m2c5S5

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So gloriously, gloriously terrible it’s absolutely fantastic!

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mrstoad:

Day 9

A sad day, we had to get up early to give the RV back after a frantic clean up session that left it coated in so much Clorox that it smelled like a swimming pool. Over the month, Matthew had clocked up some 7500 miles, no mean feat and I’ll be laying off having him drive me anywhere for a while.

The RV centre was a revelation. We had seen large RVs out on the road but there were some in the sales centre that were beyond belief. The one in the photo above has a fold out deck at the back and a log effect gas fire in a full sized kitchen. Insane!

I would definitely go RVing again. The freedom to just potter about on your own terms appeals to me. I like being able to do my own cooking, I eat out enough after all. Despite spending a lot of time in hotels, I do find some aspects of them irritating (turn down service for example. I’m an adult, I can get into bed my bloody self and I’m not going to chow down on a chocolate wafer when I’ve just brushed my teeth am I?) while the level of social interaction required by B&Bs is beyond me. I like to be left alone. A lot. The other thing about an RV is the ease with which one can take a satisfying nap en route. Try that in a car.

All in all, I’m an RV fan. However, as they are firmly in the ‘if it floats, f$$ks or flies, rent it’ category, the bedecked behemoth won’t be appearing on my driveway anytime soon. A more sedate pace would be good next time though and I fancy a tour of the Pacific Northwest or the coast of Norway would be rather enjoyable in an RV.

We had a pile of band merch left to get back to the UK and so we left the RV centre behind and made for a Fedex office nearby. This was right next to a restaurant, Fez bar, and with piles of luggage to tote around, wasting our time in there seemed as good an idea as any.

The restaurant was buzzing and it very slowly dawned on me as we looked around the patio that a) my solid record of wandering into predominantly gay establishments in strange cities remains very much intact, it’s like a homing instinct or something, probably honed by years of cavorting on the dance floor at CC Blooms and b) if Matthew was gay, he’d make out like a bandit judging by the eye he was getting, even with a scruffy beard from weeks of touring. Most galling, I actually have to put effort into attempting to look attractive, he just shows up.

The atmosphere was raucous and the patrons decked out in Pride beads. A good time had clearly been had by all the previous evening and our own slightly dull heads from an end of trip celebratory gin indulgence were obviously shared. We opted for Bloody Mary’s but Mimosas were the go to for most of the brunch punters. The brave souls next to us even hit up some straight tequila shots. That would be beyond me.

We passed the afternoon away, sipping Bloody Mary’s and making lists of things to do before moving and afterward. With the sun beginning to dip, we got in a taxi and headed for the airport, our American adventure over.

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mrstoad:

Day 8

The last full day in the RV saw us finally attempt some serious sightseeing.

The sat nav breezily announced that a straight burn from Albuquerque to Phoenix would have us there by four. We were to torment her with a significant deviation and a long pause in the desert.

Stopping off at the Petrified Forest National Park was supposed to be easy, an hour tootling around the 28 mile stretch of highway that is the park road. That was the theory, the practice was a landscape so majestic that I simply gave up on the iPhone photography and gawped at it while Matthew busied himself with the SLR. We left the park at four pm, some three hours after entering. I could spend another three hours there tomorrow. And the next day. I’d have to score a horse though, while tourists are kept to a designated route, if you rock up with Shergar in tow, you get free rein to trot through the park and camp. Better than taking pictures from a viewpoint with 5 other people.

We then took a scenic route to Phoenix. Once you have seen the Painted Desert, scenic really has to be worth getting out of bed for and our route through the Apache lands of the White Mountains certainly was. A vast and beautiful canyon opened up in front of us as we wended our way West. Hairpins reminiscent of the alps challenged the RV as it gamely thundered on towards its 7500th mile under our rental (the maximum miles package being a woosy 5000). Wind whistled caves scarred the shattered and eroded mountain tops we weaved through, while the sparkling river responsible for the landscape occasionally glimmered down below.

We got into Mesa about 830 having scored some gin to toast our last night in the RV along with a dinner of Walmart’s finest mesquite chicken. If I wasn’t in love with the West before, I’m quite head over heels now. If only it wasn’t so bloody hot.

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mrstoad:

Day 7

The day started early. With 650 miles to get under our belts, this was to be an interstate day, I-40 right across Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and on into New Mexico.

Such a feat requires a well lined stomach and so we made a trip to Waffle House. It was surprisingly good, with my ham and eggs fresh cooked to order along with an onion laced hash brown. Matthew went the whole hog and had a maple syrup soaked waffle with bacon. The coffee was bad but then coffee often is unless you are on the coasts. Replete, we thundered on our way.

We knew the scenery would be nothing to write home about but little can prepare you for the bleak scrubby expanse of the Panhandle, seemingly endless on all sides. Some light entertainment was called for and Radio Alan, an app that inserts clips from Alan Partridge radio shows between iTunes songs did the job nicely. A dust storm was brewing and we were constantly buffeted by a gritty wind, Matthew tensely grappling with the steering wheel and we saw a few trailers come a cropper.

The landscape was mainly empty of settlement apart from the occasional iron gate promising a far flung ranch down a dirt track. The few dwellings we did see were neat and well ordered, it clearly takes martial qualities to grapple with living in this landscape. The wind and grit probably make short work of sloppy shacks and mobile homes.

As you cross the Panhandle and slowly climb up into New Mexico, the scenery changes. Bluffs start to appear on the horizon and if the scenery is similar in its vast emptiness, the reddening soil and scrubby trees lend the sun soaked vista a certain beauty that the Panhandle lacks. The light changes as well, intense blue sky with a translucent quality. The air becomes colder and fresher than the mugginess of Texas, Albuquerque is a mile high and it was quite cold when we finally pulled in to the RV park at 8.30 pm, 650 miles to the good.

Today is a more sedate pace and some sight seeing as we make our final run to Phoenix and fly homewards after that. I think I’m about done with Alan bloody Partridge after yesterday but I will miss the RV.