I keep wanting to say "Happy New Year" every time I see people.
I can’t speak for others, but six weeks off tour in the warmth of home, loved ones and general all round "real life" has felt like the holiday season. It hasn’t helped that I saw my first "Christmas Shopping" adverts in mid-October this year.
Nobody else seems to be as chronologically confused as me, but everyone looks positively re-born. The thousand-yard-stares from a year and a half of touring have been replaced by grins, wisecracks and a crackling energy at being back together.
There’s TV to do today – never anyone’s favourite way of spending time – but it’s in the name of getting the Latin American shows next year off to a flying start, so they’re down to business. They’re also back in their uniforms again for the cameras, which is quite remarkable for how it transforms things. Instantly, it feels like we’re back at work and they’re a band again.
I actually slept last night underneath the uniforms. I’m in the middle of re-locating to London and ended up spending the night on an air-bed under the clothes rails in the corner. I’m happy to report that despite press reports suggesting the contrary, they don’t smell one bit like they’ve done a hundred and thirty odd shows. (Some odder than others, it must be said).
I’m hoping to move into my office at the new studio in the coming week. We had an email round some time ago from Moonie in management, to tell us that the new place had been christened. It is to be called "The Beehive". Will asks Phil Harvey whether he can take a look inside on his way home as he hasn’t seen inside yet. Phil asks if he knows where it is.
"I know which street it’s on, but not which one it is"
"It’s….." Phil pauses to find the right words. "It’s the skanky looking one".
I’d go along with that.
We venture up to there in the afternoon after the band have dispensed with their TV duties. Right now, it’s a building site. It’s covered in brick dust and it’s echoing with power tools and hard graft. Soon, it will be ringing with the chaos of new ideas evolving.
Even though it’s in a mess right now, the one thing that you can’t help noticing as you wander amongst the rubble is how much light there is everywhere. Studios can very often feel like underground bunkers. Soundproofing is somewhat all or nothing and windows can often get trampled in the rush to keep the neighbours happy.
Not so here at the Beehive, though. Everywhere you go there’s light streaming in. Even on a relatively gloomy British afternoon, it’s noticeably bright inside. I can only imagine that this will be reflected in the new material.
Talking of new material, the studio whiteboards are positively exploding with plans, schemes and fragments of fresh ideas. In some places, when Chris has run out of white-board to write on, he’s carried right on to the adjacent plaster. It’s like the tour was an 18 month session of shaking up the fizzy drink bottle of the band’s imagination – and now they’re back in the studio, the lid has been unscrewed.
It is, quite literally, all over the walls….