IF you are in a band, chances are you are pretty skint. So like most other fiscally-impaired gadabouts, you have three ways of getting to Exeter: Old road, link road, train.
The old road so often seems like a good idea; the variety of the scenic route. Hmm. Really? Those relentless twists and turns and sweeping arcs of the road are enough to bring on a full-blown panic attack in any hungover passenger, while anyone fully sober had better have a cast iron stomach if they are to avoid redecorating your vehicle's upholstery.
Then there's the link road. The A361 as it's known on the street. It comes with the titillating promise of speed. Unless you get stuck behind a tractor. Or a caravan. Or a caravan. Or a caravan.
And lest we forget the curiously disproportionate amount of reckless, feckless imbeciles you are forced to share the road with, whose insouciance for such trivial concerns as road safety thrusts you into a videogame-style environment where survival is based on dodging the lunatic.
As for the train? Well, the beauty of the trip from Barnstaple to Exeter is well-documented.
You could sit back and drink in the bucolic vistas if only your attention had not been fully recruited by the imbecilic chatter of the couple three rows in front of you, who apparently think their idle natter is of such gravity that the entire carriage need to hear it.
And that curious smell twisting up through your nostrils. Is it wee? Or is someone eating chicken-flavoured crisps? Let's just hope for the latter.
The cold truth is that travelling to Exeter from North Devon presents some tough decisions. And if you are a local band or artist keen to avoid them, you should probably stop reading right now. You see, Mama Stones is offering you the chance to perform in the courtyard of Exeter Castle at the After Dark Party – part of the 2014 Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink, a title that, rather fittingly, is something of a mouthful.
It says here that the winning acts will have the opportunity to support the Mama Stones House Band at the After Dark Party on the night of Saturday, April 27. To enter you need to make a video of you performing and post it to bianca@ma mastones.com. All videos will be uploaded to YouTube and the five with the most likes will be invited to perform at Mama Stones on Monday, April 22. Judges will then pick the winner to perform at the festival.
The deadline for entries is Saturday, April 19. That should be enough time to figure out how to negotiate the trip to Exeter should you be successful. Hell, there's even time to develop an app, wait for it to go viral and then sell it for millions. Then you could fly by chopper. Like I'm going to do.
CONTACT: Making music in North Devon? I live in perpetual hope of your contact. Email jharper@northdevonjournal. co.uk or tweet @testforpulse.