UK Tour Blog 14, Norwich

We’re in the final stretch of the tour and todays’ gig was in the medieval city of Norwich. We had the day off yesterday and we spend the day traveling and getting some much-needed laundry done; it was a typically glamorous day on the road. Since we had travelled already and were close to the gig, we had the luxury of a free day Norwich. We started with food, treating ourselves to a bit of a posh English Breakfast at a restaurant called Pandora. We’re all pretty into the traditional breakfast and this one was delicious, the meats (most of an English Breakfast is meat) were fantastic and the tea was the best I’ve had on this trip. The decor in the place made it feel like we were eating in a dolls’ house, but that didn’t interfere with anyones appetite. The food vanished in a flash.

Like most ancient cities, Norwich was once a walled city and in many places the original flint wall is intact. Flint can be slightly translucent and the cloudy stones in the wall and some of the old churches, which are also made of flint and have turned black with the years, give the town a  ghostly feel. The Norwich Cathedral, nearly 1000 years old, is a marvel and has the second tallest spire in the country. It’s still an active church but remains free and open to the public all day. The ceiling of the church is quite intricate, the kind of thing you want to stare at, and some thoughtful person placed two large mirrors on stands in the aisle of the nave so that visitors could look at the ceiling without having to crane their necks upward. There were two works of modern art on display within the church. One a collection of enormous cloaked figures keeping a concerned eye on two other figures, those of an old man being carried on the back of a young man. The second was a series of small paintings depicting scenes from the life of Edith Cavell, an english nurse who had treated soldiers from both sides in WWI Belgium and was eventually tried and executed by the Germans for her role in aiding the escape of prisoners out of occupied Belgium. The juxtaposition of ancient church and contemporary work made both seem more vibrant and added to the power of the art dramatically. I eventually made my way out of the cathedraI and spent the next few hours exploring Norwich on my own, making my way through narrow, twisting streets to the castle (now an art gallery) and the market square and eventually to a cafe before it was time to head to the Norwich Arts Centre for the gig.

The venue is in a converted 15th century church, the original building is small and made from the same flint stones that the city wall and most of the other churches are made of. As with most buildings of that age, modern additions have been made that attach to the original structure. While walking around the arts centre you find yourself moving back and forth between the modern and the extremely old. The front door to the auditorium was new; but the side door, which we used, was ancient and black with age. After soundcheck I couldn’t resist the temptation to play by myself in the church. I wound up playing some Bach and some Eccles, it was a rare treat to play Baroque music in a church that was built before that music was written. The sound has been good on this tour and the sound engineer tonight was particularly good. Plus, we had lights and smoke! We would have had a great show if we had been playing for just the techs, but Norwich showed up so we had a really terrific night. Thanks Norwich for being so awesome! On to Sussex!

Thanks for reading,

JD

 

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