10th October 2007 – Brighton Barfly
A vintage night for quotes:
“There’s nothing you can’t do with Bonjela, but don’t put Savlon in your mouth.”
“You’re going to fucking get it, big boy.”
“Sexual harassment panda.”
“All the heat and none of the glide.”
Today I was excited. I had a half-day of work to get through, but by mid-day I was done and getting on the train to Brighton to rejoin the tour proper. Finally. No more silly work/tour balancing. After a mere two days, I had definitely had enough of that. Just the van, my bandmates and a four-day stint taking in Brighton, Plymouth, Winchester and Southampton. We even had somewhere to stay in at least two of these places. Amazing.
I bloody love Brighton. Deborah, Grant and my ex Helen had grown up in nearby Worthing, so we had always spent a lot of time there. The gigs we had played there in the past had always been great too, mainly as we knew quite a few people down there. We normally stayed with Deborah’s friend (and Grant’s ex) Anna, so would play the gig then stay up all night partying at Anna’s with whichever new friends we had made that night. That wouldn’t happen today, though. Oh no. It was a weeknight and we had a long journey ahead of us tomorrow. We wouldn’t be that stupid.
I met the others at the venue, where we had fish‘n’chips and ACTUALLY GOT A SOUNDCHECK before raiding a rider which included beer and crisps, but also – excitingly – RED WINE! We felt spoilt. Almost. My Brighton native second cousin Wayne turned up early so I caught up with him while the first band were playing. From what I could make out, they sounded like the Futureheads, but to be honest, I wasn’t paying attention. I completely missed an apparently brilliant bit when they asked the audience:
“Who’s looking forward to seeing 586?”
“Who’s looking forward to seeing SohoDolls?”
Or at least, that’s how Sam Christie told it. To be fair though, they were on really early so SohoDolls’ audience probably hadn’t even arrived yet. And we had LOADS of friends in Brighton. But still. WE HAD WON. Not that it was a competition, obviously. We played a brilliant show. I wrote in my diary after that it was the best Deborah and I had ever performed, but whether that is true or I was just excited we shall never know, so let’s just take 27-year-old Steven Horry’s word for it. After the show, joined by SohoDolls drummer Paul and Wayne, we all went back to Anna’s for more drinking. Wayne bailed around 1am, but the rest of us carried on. Some of the party participants took pills and stayed up ’til 8am. Some of us didn’t, and I drank myself to sleep, crawling into my sleeping bag and passing out around 3.30am to the sound of a Fela Kuti album that had been on repeat since at least 12.30am…
11th October 2007 – Plymouth Hub
“The day no-one was conscious long enough to contribute any particularly funny quotes.”
I awoke sometime in the mid-morning curled in a ball in the corner of Anna’s living room. The room had degenerated into a shithole, with empty cans and fag butts strewn everywhere and members of 586 draped across various bits of furniture, their eyeliner and make-up streaked across their faces. I felt rough. Everyone felt rough. The Fela Kuti album I had fallen asleep to was STILL fucking playing on the stereo. I turned it off, which seemed to startle everyone into consciousness. No-one particularly appreciated being awake. Paul SohoDolls must have left at some point during the night as he was no longer present, but everyone else was here. I put Eno’s Music For Airports on instead and we started to pull ourselves together. Tea was made, showers were enjoyed and we finally dragged ourselves out into Hove and began the walk along the seafront back to the van. We clambered into the van and kicked off the journey to Plymouth. Simon was still drunk, so Sam and Deborah agreed to share the driving between them, allowing Deborah to sleep a little longer. I decided to stay awake and sat upfront with Sam, eating junk food, controlling the music and navigating. Sam was a nervous driver. I put Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain on, as I needed something to ease myself into the journey, but Sam wasn’t having any of that so swapped it for a ‘60s girl group pop compilation, and we sang along badly as we drove across the South Coast. On the map, Plymouth looked quite close, but the journey was taking fucking aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaages. Three hours in, we pulled into a service station so Deborah could take over the driving.
While Deborah came to and we bought coffee, Malcolm called. He didn’t know what was going on, but apparently Paul was pissed off with us. There had been some sort of altercation in the night and Paul had decided as a consequence not to lend us his kit any more.
We didn’t have a drum kit with us. We didn’t have a great deal of space in the back of the van, so – as SohoDolls had agreed to lend us theirs – we didn’t bring one with us. They’re big, are drum kits.
Three hours from Brighton with another three hours to go to Plymouth, we had no fucking idea what we were going to do. Half the band was asleep, the whole band was hungover, and we were miles from home on our way to play a gig where we were unlikely to have a drum kit. Fuck.
Deborah got behind the wheel and we carried on to Plymouth. We didn’t know what else to do. We were in a bit of a mood, so listened to slow, dramatic, melancholic indie as the sun came down over rolling hills and A roads; Shine A Light by Spiritualized, some Sigur Ros, Guillemots’ If The World Ends, Blur’s Black Book and No Distance Left To Run. The sound of hungover self-pity. We finally arrived in Plymouth at 8pm, exactly 2 hours after our allotted soundcheck time and just as the doors were opening. The promoters were pissed off and didn’t want us to play. Which was nice. Deborah went to sweet talk Paul while I assured the promoters that we could play just fine with a line check. Honestly. We’ve been doing so for weeeeeeeeeeks now. It’ll be fine! We’ve come all this way…please let us play? They bought it and we were back on. Huzzah. Now we just needed to sort this whole drum kit thing…
…and Deborah had succeeded. Thank FUCK. It was all just down to some form of embarrassment over some form of argument that nobody fully remembered. It was all very silly but it was in the past and the main thing was we were all friends again and we could use the drum kit. Hurrah. Deborah pointed out the Travelodge at the bottom of the road. “We should stay there tonight,” she declared. “Let’s see how much we make tonight first,” I said. I was really worrying about the tour accounts. “I’ll fucking pay for it if I have to,” snapped Deborah “I need a proper bed.” I felt awkward and a bit embarrassed and mumbled that we’d all find the money. We played an OK show to a reasonably busy (well, half-full) venue, picked up our payment and fucked off to the hotel the instant SohoDolls finished playing. The promoters gave us a DVD of our show, so we skipped through the highlights of that before going to sleep in real-life, proper beds.