One of the great things about being home again, is that I can have a decent cup of tea. Somehow despite all efforts, hopes, and good intentions, it's just never the same in North America. The best cup of tea I've ever had was made for me by Brian O'Shaughnessy of Bark Studio. It's rare for Brian to condescend to make a cup of tea for a mere visiting musician, so to show my gratitude I asked him to share his techniques with the world, and they are as follows
1. rinse the dry cup with a little boiled water, then discard the water. This warms the cup, which is important although i don't know why.
2. add teabag (PG Tips, or equivalent British brand, NOT Lipton) and fill mug up with water, which has now slightly cooled
3. now add just a touch of milk. Apparently this prevents oils in the tea leaves separating and floating unappetisingly on the surface of the cup
4. leave for between 3.5 and 5 minutes
5. discard teabag, squeezing it into the cup
6. add milk and sugar (if you take sugar), and stir very well.
Of course many people would ask why he isn't using a teapot or loose leaves or anything posh like that, but he would probably reply simply by staring over the rim of his glasses at you, and believe me you would fall silent. And I do have to say it was the best cup of tea I ever had.
Other than the shock of quality tea, I have been getting over my jetlag. The week after the tour some friends and I were hanging out with Feist, as she taped Late Night With Conan O'Brien and then played at Town Hall in Manhattan. The two things that struck me were how very pleasant, friendly and down to earth everyone involved was, and how organised they were too. In contrast to the gin-soaked carnival of the Clientele backstage, all of Feist's guests were calm, orderly, sober and clean. There was an 'espresso girl' too, who's job it was to walk around asking if anyone needed any more espresso. There's a lesson there I guess, maybe someone can tell me what it is.