I’ve mentioned Billy Bragg a couple of times before. He’s been one of my favourite musicians for something like twenty-five years, but as with so many others, I’d never got round to seeing him live. So when I got the March-April brochure from the Sage Gateshead, which told me that he would be appearing in Hall One on Tuesday, 29 April, with tickets at a very reasonable £16.50, I knew I had to make the effort. I got straight on to the website and tried to book. It offered me a seat which would have done nicely, but the actual purchasing bit got stuck in a loop between asking me if I wanted to collect my ticket or have it posted and confirming my address. I sent them an email reporting the problem. This morning I got a polite and helpful reply, indicating that my message would be passed on to their web people and telling me that if I gave them my phone number, someone would call me to book my ticket. But as it was a nice day, I decided to take a walk at lunchtime – down Dean Street, along the Quayside, over the Millennium Bridge and up the steps to the Sage. It was quiet, so I didn’t even have to wait. I was able to get a ticket in the front row. Woo hoo! Not only will I get a better view of the show, but I won’t have any leg room issues, which I have had before at the Sage when up in the top level.
After that, I walked down the slope and across the Swing Bridge and returned up Dean Street. A nice walk, on a lovely sunny day, and a successful mission. I’m really looking forward to the show – Billy’s doing a solo tour, which means he’ll be back to how he started – just a man with a guitar singing songs. I’ve enjoyed the work he’s done with his various bands over the years, but for me what he’s always been about is that crossover area between folk and punk, stripped down to the basics. Woo hoo!
 That’s the advantage of going on your own – odd seats tend to be available in the nicest places
 It did feel strange, walking along the Quayside without a camera..