Release The Bats

28th October 2006
Pins & Needles Hallowe’en Party at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes

I am on stage dressed as a nun. What this actually means is that I am
wearing tights and one of Deborah’s dresses, and she has made me a
nun’s habit-style headpiece and a wooden crucifix to wear around my
neck. It’s a fancy dress Hallowe’en party and we are all dressed as
nuns apart from Grant. Grant is dressed as a vicar. For some reason he
was feeling a bit grumpy about dragging up. It being Hallowe’en we

thought rather than dressing up as monsters we’d dress up in the other
team’s uniform. Some of us are drunk. I am not. I am pissed, but
pissed meaning ‘off’. We were late onstage due to Grant and Simon
getting stuck in a bar queue so enormous that I gave up on ever
getting served and stropped to the stage instead. Woe is me; I didn’t
even have a glass of water!

I don’t think the gig is going particularly well. Half the crowd is in
the bar queue, and there are people bowling. Why are they not paying
us any attention? Damn them. Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes – the venue we
are playing at – has had numerous articles written about it recently.
Apparently this sort of thing is cool nowadays. It’s not just about
going to see a gig anymore, it’s about the whole circus. See some
bands! Have some drinks! Bowl! Do karaoke! From onstage it feels a bit
PUPPET SHOW! (and Spinal Tap). My ego is not happy.

We play a couple of songs. They seem to go down OK with the brave
souls paying attention. As one song draws to a close, I look down at
my guitar to get my bearings before we crash into the next song when I
notice a stain on my dress.

A white stain.

An encrusted white stain.

It can’t be? Can it?

Oh God. It is.

I am onstage in front of a huge, Saturday night crowd, dressed as a
nun in a cum-stained dress.

I explode. In my head. I keep it all in onstage, but I am fucking
furious. Deborah can tell something is up but I am not going to let
on. I am a professional. Honest. The show goes on. We bash through the
rest of the set and I strop my arse off, taking my aggression out on
my guitar. Our penultimate song, The House That Guilt Built, is always
pretty dramatic, but this time round there is FIRE as I kick seven
shades of the brown stuff out of my guitar. We close with I Am Not A
Monkey and I chuck my guitar to the floor and storm off the stage and
to the gents.

Deborah can tell something is up. I tear the dress off and throw it at
her in horror.

“THERE IS A FUCKING CUM STAIN ON THIS DRESS!” I scream at her.

When I get back, Deborah repeatedly assures me that it’s candle wax.
She even invites me to sniff it to check. I decline and maturely
refuse to back down. Someone gets me a drink and eventually calm is
restored, a karaoke booth procured and we’re all friends again.

To this day, I am unsure as to whether it genuinely was candle wax or not…

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