5th October 2007 – Swansea Sin City
Or “I fuck hard and I cry hard”
Grant and I woke in the back of the van. We fucking stank. Thankfully, while sleeping in the flat for Grant and I had been a no-no, we could all use the Coughlin shower. We cleaned up, grabbed some breakfast and a cup of tea, said our goodbyes and made our way to Swansea. I had woken on the wrong side of the van: I was in a right mood. It didn’t improve as we wandered round Swansea, and continued to deteriorate as the day wore on.
We parked up in an anonymous car park and wandered around an anonymous shopping centre. So far, so boring. And repetitive. I gave us an hour tops before we’d be sat in a *spit* Wetherspoon’s. Then, some excitement: Deborah’s phone rang. It was Simon. He and Paul had gone home with some girls after the club last night but woken up this morning to discover that SohoDolls had left them behind in Cardiff. Amazing. It got better: Simon had no money for train fare. Neither did Paul. We quickly agreed that we weren’t going back for them. Too much hassle. “Just jump the train!” we cheerfully told them, and hung up, leaving them to it. Simon called us again a couple of times, growing increasingly agitated, but we were having none of it.
We took a walk across Swansea beach. Despite some signs of industrialisation it was peaceful and I slowly detached from the rest of the group, dawdling along behind and sinking into my own thoughts. I didn’t really know why, but I was feeling quite isolated. I was bored, in a weird place and frustrated about not feeling like there was anywhere I could go to do my own thing and relax or sleep – we didn’t have a hotel room. We didn’t know where we were going to sleep tonight yet. We hadn’t decided if we wanted to go go home after the show, or sleep in the van and go home tomorrow. Well, I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to bloody go home! But I didn’t want to pressure the drivers in the band, as that would make them even less likely to want to stay sober and drive home. I took some photographs of some shadows, and while everyone else filed into a pub (thankfully NOT a Weatherspoon’s), my phone started ringing. It was one of the team working on the Rags & Tags promo campaign. They were not happy.
Way back in the first entry of this blog I described Malcolm, our manager, as a bit of a brute. And he is, he’s a big old gruff bastard. Personally I liked this – and he was always good to me – but some others didn’t. An anonymous member of the promo team had copped the brunt of a bollocking from Malcolm and this had upset her. She had told another member of team 586, who was now on the phone telling me all about it, and suggesting that maybe I call the individual to make sure they were ok. So I did. I hated being the responsible one, but it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t a lot of fun to listen to, though there wasn’t much I could do about it. The victim – as it were – asked me not to say anything to Malcolm as it would look bad that she had contacted me direct. Apparently doing so would give her a bad rep if anyone else in the industry found out. She just wanted me/us to know. I listened uselessly, then rejoined the rest of the band, ordered some food and told them all about it. None of us particularly knew what to do so we filed it away as something to worry about another day.
As we tucked in, Simon and Paul finally arrived in Swansea to a hero’s welcome. Paul had managed to find some funds and had lent Simon the train fare. Result! We downed our pints and made our way to the venue for soundcheck. Sin City was MASSIVE. I immediately started to worry. Big venue, big stage, big backstage dressing room…been here before enough times to know where this is headed. We were totally going to play to no-one. Soundcheck was fun though. For one thing, we actually got one, for another, Simon, Grant and I jammed a version of Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive and the soundman was utterly brilliant. The sound onstage was amazing.
The super-accommodating promoters gave us a beer, crisps and WINE(!) rider and one of them said we could stay at their house. Amazing! I really started to perk up, helped by the fine treatment at the hands of our hosts and the wine. Stage time came and the venue was actually properly busy. Oh, this was more like it. The gig was great. We went down a total storm. Everywhere I went after someone would stop me to talk to me or ask me to sign something, and I danced the night away with a load of randoms. It was brilliant and very quickly dissolved into a blur of dancing, drinking, introductions and compliments. I was such a sucker for this sort of thing. Once the club was done, it was all back to the promoter’s house for 586, Paul SohoDolls and a bunch of hangers-on. As well as putting us up, he bought some booze and threw a party so we all got trolleyed. I remember walking down the Swansea backstreets talking nonsense to a chap who looked just like Bernard Butler while his girlfriend was banging on with some guff about a ‘sausage party’. Again, everything from here on in is vague. Really vague. Fragments stick in the mind: hammered in the living room talking to the Bernard Butler-alike about the Longpigs. A James Brown doll that danced and sang and freaked me out. Drinking beer with Grant. Passing out on the living room floor pissed off that the Butler-alike thought I was trying to chat up his girlfriend, occasionally being woken by a burst of I Feel Good while the James Brown doll shook its hips above me…