Day 5/6: Philadelphia and NYC

Monday 10th September: An Evening in Philly

Our surprise for the evening turned out not to be much of a secret in the end, with more than half the group having wheedled it of those in the know. For those that didn’t know it turned out to be an evening of entertainment by winners of the Sing Off, the Pentatonix. The warm-up act was an incorrigible self-publicist and occasional acoustic guitar player/singer. This being America he got a warm reception but we were all really waiting for the vocal styling’s of Scott, Mitch, Kirsty, Avi and Kevin. They opened with a medley of favourites from their time from the Sing Off and quickly had everyone up on their feet and punching the air. The buzz continued for the next hour and a half with some lucky audience members being serenaded to happy birthday and Let’s Get it On. Still on a high, several of our number ran like screaming girls to get photos with their heroes, with Mike being chuffed to bits at a mugshot of him and Avi. Having palmed a copy of our album to PTX with a small hope that they might listen, love and tweet we went back to our hosts from Temple for a night of drunken debauchery on a roof with a view of downtown Philly.

Tuesday 11th September: Philadelphia to NYC

A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by on tour. Your bed may be a floor or a too-short couch; there are snorers and possibly a man spooning you. Tiredness and long journeys in cars, which you may or may not be driving, can lead to homicidal thoughts. A fun game can be how best to dispatch of the others in the car: a flesh-eating gerbil perhaps or maybe just a quick and clean swipe to the head with a battle-axe. Now you really don’t want to be decapitating your fellow singers, it tends to leave a dark mark on the tour, so you have to grab opportunities for a good night sleep with both hands and just go for it. I could tell you stories about what nameless people did for a good night’s sleep but I am bound by a dark and evil voodoo spell which stops me from divulging. What goes on tour stays on tour my friends.

Our morning in Philadelphia was a bright and sunny one. With a clear sky and uh, clear heads, we headed out to get a taste of the city before we moved on. This involved a trip with our hosts to South Street and the famous Jim’s Steaks for an even more famous Philly cheesesteak. As with many American foodstuffs this was not a meal for the health conscious: a delicious heart attack would describe it well. Your basic PCS consists of a foot-long roll stuffed with pulped steak meat and your choice of American, Provalone or Whizz cheese. Despite it’s resemblance to bile, you have to go for the Whizz. It is seriously good stuff.

Loaded up with calories it was time for a bit of exercise; so across town to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, not for culture but to recreate some cinema history and do the Rocky run. Sans shoes and “Gonna Fly Now” we raced up the steps. Unfortunately I had confused my sport-themed movies and ended up running to Chariots of Fire.

Thus ended our time in Philadelphia and it was time to head back to New York. Coming in to the city I spent a lovely half hour in a moving car park. I thought that tunnel would never end but it did and we pulled up to Columbia University managing to find a cheap parking space, which in New York is a big deal. Our host for the evening was the delightful Eliana, business manager to the Clefhangers, who had arranged for an outdoor concert on Columbia’s beautiful campus. Our idiosyncratically British style of singing went down a treat and it was time to experience a real New York night out. This consisted of going to a bar, ordering a couple drinks and then realizing you were suddenly $20 the poorer and that because you are such a poor and miserly student if you really want to get drunk in New York you should really get some beers and throw yourself a house party. But hey, it’s New York, what did you expect!

Ryan

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