News & Insights 15 May 2007

“I’m sorry – we’re British…”

Tuesday 15 May, 4pm (Starbucks, 5th Avenue, New York):
The sun is shining, we are sitting in Starbucks on 5th Avenue sipping Mocha-Chocker-Latte-Macchiatos and the tour is going pretty swimmingly. We should be feeling fairly smug right now, but this isn’t the case. You see, if we were back in the UK right now, we would be dressed in tuxedos and necking free champagne at the INDY Awards Ceremony. Instead, our friends are doing the necking on our behalf whilst we sit nervously by our mobile phones on the other side of the Atlantic, waiting to hear whether or not we’ve won our category. We’re up for BEST POP/ROCK ACT 2007.

“I doubt we’ll win,” Tony’s saying, feigning indifference. He subscribes to the expect-nothing-and-you’ll-never-be-disappointed school of thought. “I mean, we’re not even in the country to pick up the award. They won’t like that.”

Tony’s phone rings. His indifference slips as he snatches at the phone and answers the call.

“Anna? Anna?! Are you there…? What..??! No, Anna, I  can’t hear a word you’re saying. Bad line. WHAT? Have we lost? Anna? HAVE. WE. LOST?” He puts the phone down. “Yep. We’ve lost.”

“What did she say?” I ask.

“Dunno. Couldn’t hear a bloody word.”

We all look at each other, deflated. Tony’s phone rings again.

“Anna? No, still can’t hear you. Are you drunk?! [long pause] Right. Hello. Have we lost? They’re just announcing it…? OK. Yep… no, you’ve gone again. Helloooo…? What? We’ve lost, did you say…?”. Tony turns back towards us, shrugging his shoulders. “Yep, we’ve definitely lo – what? Yep, hi Anna… OH MY GOD! YEEEEEEEEEES! WE’VE WON!!!!!!”

Tony is now galloping around the coffee house, fists raised in the air, frightening the natives. I hug George, triumphant. Danny is in the toilet (shows how much he cares, eh?).

“I’m sorry,” announces Tony to the room of bewildered New Yorkers, “we’re British. We’ve just won an award”. Cue slightly stunned, but warm applause. Oh, you’re British. Now we understand.

A few people stop by us on their way out and offer their congratulations. The staff do not, I’m sorry to say, offer us a round of cappuccinos on the house. Bloody multinationals.

Thursday 17 May, 9.30pm (Lion’s Den, The Village, New York):
We are onstage at The Lion’s Den – our second gig of the day. Our first show, which probably ranks among the more bizarre moments in our career, was an unplugged set at the Think Café. Well, I say “unplugged” – there was a microphone, but it was just that. One microphone. We all had to crowd round it in order to pull off our 3-part harmonies, which was particularly hard for me as I had to crane over my piano to reach it. This was just the kind of situation where having a slightly longer-than-average neck comes in strikingly handy (others include getting a premium view of the bands at Glastonbury, bird-watching and, er, grazing from the branches of tall trees).

The Lion’s Den is a prestigious venue in New York’s trendy Greenwich Village. This is our first fully-fledged electric show in NYC and we’re relishing the opportunity to rock out on a big stage. We haven’t played Never Coming Back in a while, for example, and it really seems to get people moving. There’s an interesting mix of hardcore LYs groupies, fans of the support acts and general Village types in the audience and, talking to them afterwards, it seems that British bands are really popular in New York at the moment. People dig our harmonies, apparently, ‘cos it reminds them of the Fab Four.

“You guys are like The Beatles, I’m telling you…”. No, love. Northern Monkeys, The Beatles. We’re Southern Fairies. Opposite ends of the scale.

Chris Lightyear

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