19th October 2007 – Doncaster Priory
Or “the man is an idiot.”
although i no its not your fault and i like some of the bands on your roster i would not book 586 again, simply because of the behaviour of the lead singer of the band. other members of the band apologised for him along side the soho dolls themselves. my manager paid the guy, which we didnt have to do and was a gesture on our part as we were told the support band was free. only for the guy to say he hadnt been paid at the end of the night 3.30am. anyway my manager then pointed out to which pocket and a phone number what was with the money,only for the guy to refuse to look in the said pocket.anyway the arguments went on and on. the man is an idiot ! and a very bad drunk.my manager was still there at nearly six in the morning with the guy and had to call back one of our doormen to the club.
our feelings were forwarded on the band to helter skelter.
The “lead singer” is me, by the way.
The day started off sensibly enough, but as we arrived in Doncaster storm clouds gathered. SohoDolls tour manager Mikko was taking a day out from the tour to work elsewhere, and without his organisational presence it became clear very quickly that at least half of SohoDolls were off the leash. They were not alone.
I REALLY wanted to get shitfaced that night. I was having horrendous memories of living there/(her parents’) divorce/evil family members/etc and was scared I was going to see people I didn’t want to, etc. So it was all going on in my head…ick.
We had booked a hotel. Despite the parking ticket fuck-up in Manchester, we were coming to the end of the tour and felt a splurge was in order. We deserved it, damn it. Doncaster was cold and wet and miserable, so the idea of sleeping in the van tonight could quite frankly go fuck itself. The Travelodge was just by the motorway, so we checked in, dumped our clothes and made our way to the venue. For the second night on the trot we actually got a soundcheck, so blasted through a couple of songs before making way for the local support act – tonight’s opening band – to do their thing. The promoter showed us to the dressing room, which was one of the best so far. It was clean, large, had a couple of sofas and a fridge full of bottled beer. He cheerfully told us to let him or any of the venue staff know if we wanted anything else, be it more beer, cider, spirits, whatever: they would be more than happy to sort us out. Hurrah.
Deborah. Grant, Simon, Sam and I went off to get some food accompanied by most of SohoDolls. We ate pizza and drank a couple of bottles of wine, timing our arrival back at the venue to miss as much of the opening band’s set as possible. We caught the last couple of songs though and then, when they came off, we showered them with platitudes about how good they were and apologised for missing their set, lying through our teeth and telling them that we thought they were on later, but what we saw was really good.
We set our equipment up quickly and played a red-wine-fuelled blur of a set that sped by in an over-excited fuzz. Various members of the two bands had also started doing shots beforehand, so things very quickly started to degenerate into a mist of alcohol and falling over and dancing and more alcohol and totally shambolic playing from both bands. During SohoDolls’ set, Maya fell over a monitor and Matt faked a technical problem to cover up for the fact he was far, far too drunk to play the double bass tonight. He played their entire set on electric bass instead.
After SohoDolls’ set, the local support mobbed me. They really loved our stuff and had decided to make friends. I was already well on my way to feeling smashed and my drink-fuelled ego was happy to be fanned by a couple of lowly support artistes, so I accepted their offers of celebratory booze and friendship and retired to the bar to down Sambuccas and bash through a series of whiskey and cokes. A DJ started playing, so we took to the dancefloor. From here on in, all I remember is fragments that seem to fade surreally into each other. I am dancing with a ginger girl to Ocean fucking Colour Scene, I am dancing with the local support band to Blur and Oasis. I am running up some stairs, I am falling down some stairs. I am backstage, I am drinking, drinking, always drinking. Shots, mixers, alcopop, lagers, ciders. Whatever is put in front of me, I am drinking. And I feel good. I am making friends. It feels like everyone loved our band and they are all so nice and so friendly and everyone is buying me a drink. Then I am on the dancefloor again and I own it. I am at the bar telling strangers stories and they are all laughing and then I am back on the dancefloor, spinning and staggering and dancing, and then suddenly the night is over and all my new friends are gone. I am on my own. Even my bandmates have left.
So yeah, I ended up leaving you there with Paul, and Deb with Matt, I think, and driving back to the Travelodge with **SOME OF THE TOURING PARTY** and **SOMEONE** ate some of the mushrooms (unwashed) and there I was, 70 mph down a dual carriageway when I suddenly realised Grant’s hanging out of the window throwing up down the side of the van (and himself)!!!!!! Hilarious. Then when we got back to the room, I wanted to sleep so Si and Grant took up residency in the bathroom, boiled the kettle and huddled round Si’s phone listening to music and smoking. Quite a shock when I got up for the loo!
Back on the dancefloor, the venue is empty, bar the cleaners. Suddenly from nowhere comes Paul from SohoDolls. I stagger over to him. He mutters something about wanting to find some slags. I howl with laughter. “I need to get fuggin’ paid first. Come with me, ‘cos these cunts’er always fuggin’ trying to knock us for our fuggin’ fee.” I slur. “I need some fuggin’ back-up.” We stumble up the stairs to the promoter’s office. I crash through the door, slump into the seat in front of his desk and try and act sober.
“I am here to get paid.” I declare. The guy behind the desk looks at me strangely.
“We’ve already paid you.” He says.
Before I can even think about restraining myself, I launch into a drunken tirade about how I am sick of people trying to knock us for our fee (it has only happened twice on is tour, but still), that it’s only fifty fucking quid and we’re worth more than that (cringe). I go on and on, the guy behind the desk fighting to interject and trying to argue that he has already paid us. I am just swearing back at him, denying everything. “Check your pocket!” he says. “You put the money in your right jacket pocket!” I tell him to fuck off. I genuinely have no recollection of being paid, even to this day, but we argue and argue until I eventually I check my right-hand jacket pocket and…
…there is £50 in there. I look at the crumpled notes, clinging onto them with clumsy, intoxicated fingers. The paper squeezes through my fingers and I consider this new evidence for what feels like an age. Finally, I speak.
“This isn’t our fuggin’ fee,” I announce, furiously. “This is somethin’ fuggin’ else.” The guy looks at me, exasperated. I look back, indignant. We are at an impasse. He reaches for the phone. I decide to act. The venue staff had agreed that we could leave our equipment in the venue overnight so we didn’t have to drive it back to the hotel tonight and everyone could drink. Someone did stay sober enough to drive it, but I can’t even remember what I did, let alone anyone else. I am NOT leaving our equipment in the venue with these thieving, payment-dodging bastards, so I smash open a venue door and drag all our equipment into the alley beside the venue. I am going to hail a black cab – from a side alley in Doncaster at 5am in the morning – and take the equipment back to the hotel.
The security guard turns up. I have no idea what he said to me that morning, but the next thing I remember I am dragging all the instruments and amplifiers back into the venue and then staggering off to get a cab with Paul. Paul still wants to find some slags. It is 5.30am. Or thereabouts.
We go back to the hotel and I stagger into the room that Sam, Grant, Simon and I are sharing, bullish and snarling. They are still awake! Hurrah! Let’s party! Sam Christie says something to me. I have no idea what, but suddenly I am screaming at her, my second Great Tirade of the night. It ends with me calling her a fucking hypocrite for something or the other, at which point I strip to my pants, collapse into my bed and pass out, completely oblivious to Sam’s tears.
I could argue with the email above, and point out that we never agreed to play free-of-charge. I could mock the punctuation – or lack thereof – and missing capital letters. I could mock the spelling, or take issue with the fact that the email seems to imply that paying a band is a charitable gesture, but the fact is, as I would discover in more detail the following day, I behaved like an absolute arsehole. So, five years too late: um, sorry Gazza. I did send an email apology a month or so after via our booking agent, but I’m not sure whether it ever got sent on.
I was not the first member of 586 to get us banned from a venue. Back in 2006, we had played a gig at the Dirty South in Lewisham. I liked the Dirty South. It was near where I lived in Greenwich, and had been the location of a brush with Britpop royalty: specifically, Rick Witter, singer of Shed Seven. He was DJing. I called up David White, who was living in Blackheath. We HAD to go. When we arrived, the venue was mostly empty, so when Rick Witter rocked up there was no escaping us. Thankfully, Rick – can I call him Rick? – was an absolute legend. He hung out with our little crowd while waiting to DJ and even got involved in the round system, buying us all pints. We asked him to play some Shed. He wasn’t sure, what with being the singer and playing your own record when DJing being a bit weird and all that. When he finally started DJing, he played pretty much what you would expect of the singer from Shed Seven: The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Seahorses, Primal Scream. It was indie club classic heaven. Eventually, he beckoned Dave and me frantically over to the DJ booth. “What’s up?” we asked. He held up a CD: Going For Gold, The Best of Shed Seven. “I dunno what to play from it,” he explained.
David and I looked at each other.
“Rick,” I said. Could I call him Rick? “It’s your greatest hits. Surely if there is one CD you can play any track from, it’s that one?” He played Going For Gold and we all bellowed along with Rick Witter. It was a bloody great night.
When 586 finally got to play The Dirty South, it was for a pair of promoters who went under the name This Is Modern Love. I was keen to play for them as they put on a lot of gigs around Greenwich, New Cross and Lewisham and – with me living in Greenwich – I was quite up for something happening near me for once rather than endless Fashionable East London shitholes. The Modern Love guys were good chaps. They paid well and they gave us loads of free booze, as did the Dirty South’s very friendly owner. He and Deborah got on incredibly well, and when closing time arrived, Deborah and I, the promoters, the owner and a bunch of hangers-on all took a trip round the corner to one of the promoters’ house for an after party. It was great. Lots of “you’re amazing, I’m amazing, he’s amazing, she’s amazing, we’re all fucking amazing!” self-congratulatory bullshit, and that was before half the party hit the disco sherbet. When it was all over, the Dirty South’s owner took Deborah and me back to the venue so Deborah and I could pick up our instruments and call a cab. Deborah wanted more wine. She was very drunk. So Deborah kind of snuck a bottle of wine into her bag. As we walked toward the venue exit, the bottle slipped out of her bag and landed on the floor with a thunk. Deborah and I looked at each other, embarrassed.