Monday, 16 November 2009
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Oft times of late I have found myself dwelling a little too much on the negative effects this wondrous thing, the world wide web, can bring bursting onto little screens the planet over. The fact that someone in Peru can call you a cunt and within seconds another cove in Dar Es Salaam can throw in their tuppence worth and agree while never having met you is truly a wondrous yet frightening thing.
Imagine the old days when Gordon at Khartoum was writing battle reports for the monarch and ministers back in Blighty. It'd take months for Gordon's opinion that Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi was a bit of a tool to land on their desks by which time both Gordon and his entire force could have been put to the scimitar.
Nowadays it only takes a few seconds to spoil someone's day. It's all so casual, so instant. We live in the now. Consequences seem less because subconsciously perhaps we assume there'll be another shit-storm on it's way instantly which will make the previous one all forgotten about.
Is this right? Who am I to judge? I do have an opinion and I fall on the side that it is wrong. That's not to say I am claiming to be wholly innocent in these matters myself but I'm just pondering the moral question of how it's dealt with, how it is perceived in today's society.
However, the world wide web also has wondrous positive aspects to it. Up to millisecond news reporting, the ability to have a forum to air their beliefs if persecuted by a censorious government, the fact that you can pretty much (within seconds) find any clip from Sesame Street you want. Fantastic!
So today I intend to conduct an experiment. Explore the web for some of the wonderful things it holds and offers to ANYONE, ANYWHERE, AT NO COST! This is what makes the internet great. It can bestow gifts of great art, humour .... a cornucopia of delights is at our fingertips so maybe we should all take a little time out from staring at negativity on our screens don the cyber pith helmet and mount an expedition into (to bastardise Conrad) the metaphorical heart of (cyber) lightness.
Where will this trip take us today?
Just click on the links to find out.
I was reminded of a thing of beauty today. One of the most unappreciated genii of music. One of the immortals ehm ..... except he's dead now. Listen to this though. Brings tears to the eye.
I've been reading a lot about reformation era Europe at the moment and although not strictly anything to do with the reformation click on any one of these images and you'll be met with wondrous sites from at time I am truly glad I never lived in.
I've just had my dinner (or lunch I would say if I was posh). Which means I simply must post this link. I may be going over old ground here but it's damn tasty ground. Regional peasant food of Scotland as Heston Blumenthal may describe it. He can stick his toe jam foam up his hole! Sometimes a man needs proper sustenance.
Now, who here has never felt a little down, a little blue?
Everyone of course it's human nature. Soooo whenever you do, all you have to do is click here.
For the fans of quality athletic prowess and defeating the forces of evil I've included this little gem.
Well, that's me for a wee bit. Off for a swim now I think. Good for the health and good for the head! I might even have a wee go on the flumes but not the scary one.
Hope everyone else out there has a wonderful day too.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Monday, 31 August 2009
It's always the same and I should know it by now, I've been doing it long enough ....
This summer has been quite an extended bout of touring, traveling and shenanigising.
Since February it seems we've been on the road with short breaks in-between (or we'd be dead).
You go away, come back and simply get ready to go away again.
This time though there's a sizeable break and it for the first time in months not a show to be done at the weekend. While this is grand in a way as batteries can be re-charged, friendships re-kindled, work caught up on, etc etc it's also a weird feeling, not bad per se, just weird ....
Touring has such a regimented routine (we as much as possible given the entourage). You know where you should be and when (to a certain extent given the moods of the certain airlines who shall not be named). You know what time the shows going to start. You know pretty much to a tea what food's going to be in the dressing room because the rider was sent in months before. Your days are pretty much mapped out for you.
Take yourself out of this environment and it's a bit of a shock to the system. The blues start hanging around, boredom creeps in .... and there's one other major, unquantifiable factor .... come around eight p.m. (when the venue doors would be opening) there is no slow creep of adrenaline into the system which no matter how fucked you are after all the traveling and lack of sleep dispels all the fatigue and anxiety of the day and lets you know that once again you are going to see your favourite act hit the stage very shortly and (in my case) thrive on the vicarious pleasure of being part of making the whole thing happen.
So, you come off tour, you go to the pub, you then go for a marathon sleep and remain in bed the whole of the next day attempting to re-arrange certain parts of your brain into normal, mundane life but it just won't click back together all that easily, takes a few days at least. It's now three days since Moscow and only now I'm getting back to 'normal'. Without sounding like a 'sixth form rebel dick' you do have to adjust to the fact that, no, it's not a hotel room your in, no, bloody Mary's do not constitute one of your 'five a day', no, there's no room service, no, there's not a van waiting outside to take you wherever you want etc etc ..... but at least the plumbing's familiar and less dangerous.
So .... what to do?
1. Make a list.
2. Go through every e mail from the previous ten days to make sure none are un-replied to.
3. See friends and family neglected by absence or fatigue.
4. Catch up on films and video games ..... essential.
6. Eat well.
7. Get ready for some more great shows ahead.
Sunday, 30 August 2009
Our chum Keys.
A terrible holiday snap.
The first of what turned into many.
Goodness me what a week. I am very glad to have been away but very glad to be home.
What a hoot Moscow was!
Normally our flights this Summer have been one or two hour jaunts with the odd connection here and there but when you're on a flight with a movie you know your going a long way!
Good old BA beckoned at the respectful hour of 1 pm and formalities over we boarded for Moscow!
I think everyone was rather excited. It was the first time to Russia for myself and Comrades Boabienov and McMeldrewvitch. Peter had been there previously on a poetry exchange as a lad and was equally thrilled about the trip. So, off we set having gotten ourselves in the mood courtesy of a fantastic Bloody Mary in the Terminal 5.
You may not know this (nor really would you wish to know) but I love airline food. I once had an idea to open a restaurant serving airline grub in airline seats. The waitresses would be dressed as super saucy trolley dollies and I could parade around in a Captain's uniform. Three different kinds of food e.g. economy, business and first. Sadly I never quite got round to it but ..... never say never. Anyhoo, I was most pleased when Comrade Boabie's appetite failed him and I got to eat the other half of his quite disgusting pasta dish while watching Star Trek ..... aero-heaven!
4 hours later and we descended into Moscow and our feet touched foreign territory. It's weird but you can almost smell that you're a long, long way from home. Generally different countries have a different feeling about them but there are certainly similarities. In Moscow though you felt the differences outweigh the similarities palpably. From the cyrillic writing to the physiognomies of the people in the airport. Everything was different and quite exciting. One thing that wasn't different though is that if a suitcase will be missing it'll be mine .... and it was.
The bloke behind the desk may as well have had a ten foot square sign behind him saying "Fuck Off! I Have No Interest WHATSOEVER In Your Lost Luggage So You May As Well Piss Off Right Now!" I eventually found it in someone's office who I had only just been explaining my predicament to and had neglected to tell me ..... funny that .... hmmm.
Anyway, luggage recovered off we tootled through customs and were met by a rather sweet welcoming party of fans. Quite how they knew which flight we were on is anyone guess. I think they realised that we would probably fly in the day before and were just staking out any flight coming from the UK. Such devotion was rewarded by a few free tickets, autographs and photos which Peter handled patiently. It's funny sometimes, fans come up and politely ask for photos which is lovely but some other people resort to some very odd methods to take a photo when all they have to do is ask. Quite rude some of them. There was even one later in this trip who's put up a really creepy secretly filmed clip of Peter arriving back at the hotel from what looks like the vantage point of a plant pot. Very creepy, gave me the heebie jeebies when I saw it.
Anyway, did I mention that we were staying at The Ritz? I know to some of you that this may seem a little extravagant but to gentlemen of our calibre it's the least one should expect when jet-setting internationally. Quite plush is the old Moscow Ritz and bang on Red Square. Peter popped off for some rest and relaxation while The Boabie and I, accompanied by McMeldrew, were guided to a local hostelry. We were treated like kings and not for one second allowed to put our hands in our pockets by our most generous of hosts. I think they started getting a little worried after the 5th horseradish vodkas were sunk .... I believe The Boabie started to get frisky at this point so we thought it best to get back to the hotel.
I was then taken on a midnight tour of Red Square and the surrounding environs by one of our kind hosts, took some really bad photos and then retired to my suite for a luxurious sleep (once I'd figured out how the light switch worked).
Oh, nearly forgot to say hello to Keys (a man you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of). Keys was in town with Snoop and from the photograph I am sure you can work out what his job on the payroll is. However, he's a lovely man and didn't even kill The Boabie when he came at Keys with a lethal corkscrew / lockknife combination. What a gentleman.
Awoke surprisingly bright eyed on gig day to the telephone ringing. Mr Doherty suggested breakfast cocktails in the rooftop bar and who was I to refuse. Swiftly we were joined by The Boabie and McMeldrew who were simply thrilled to enjoy such a liquid breakfast. I suppose this was the beginning of what was yet to come. Wonderful fun!
I shall now attempt to upload some snaps and perhaps discuss the events of later in the day at a later juncture.
Friday, 21 August 2009
Been away for a bit some may have noticed or not noticed depending on whether you give a tinker's about this rambling stream of cobblers. However I suppose I'd better get the excuses out of the way first.
My lack of posts may have had something to do with being a feckless swine, this I cannot deny but on the other hand this summer has been so jam packed with fun and games that I simply haven't had the time to concentrate on posting. Shame really because the aforementioned fun and games have been some of the best times and I really should have documented them.
By way of an excuse I'll fill you in on the general make up of my week.
rise about 5 am and fly to Heathrow, Gatwick .... a London airport.
Mooch about bit constantly checking watch and mobile for incoming distress signals from The Boabie or McMeldrew. Grow increasingly agitated as check-in closure approaches with no sign of my compatriots (I'm exaggerating slightly for effect here). Breathe a hearty sigh of relief and greet my fellow travelers. Head, by way of passport control and security, board a flight to some far flung part of Europe and try to catch up on some shut eye. Note: for Babyshambles shows the procedure is virtually the same with simply a larger traveling party.
Arrive, touch down, clear customs and enter arrivals to be met by a smiling fellow (unless you're in Milan) who has obviously been doing the agitated, 'will they won't they' two-step while nervously waiting to see if we made the plane.
Drive for an hour or so to the hotel, check in, do what you do in hotel ..... look in cupboards, try and operate the plumbing, look under the bed, play trampoline on the bed, try and find an english speaking TV channel, look out the window, set the A/C level, reset the A/C level when you begin to develop frostbite, massage your toes back to life, empty every single bottle of toiletries into the bath, run a bath at full pelt, fight the foam monster, have a bath, parade around your room in bathrobe and slippers pretending you're posh, lie down, drift off and wake up with a START because you just realised that the ground transport is there to take you to the festival site.
Arrive on site to see some mighty relieved looks on the faces of the promoters, inspect the dressing room (portakabin) and rate it on a sliding scale of one to ten .....
One = commonly referred to as a 'Glastonbury' (until they upped their game last year) with two folding chairs, one case of beer (no fridge), two bananas and a multipack of Walkers ..... ten = the 'Lokerse' (Belgium) style veritable villa / compound of adjoined portacabins with numerous ante rooms, priest holes, showers and I believe I stumbled into our own personal wine cellar at one point.
After the initial rating of the facilities it's time to mess about eating meat sandwiches i.e. sandwiches with a meat filling and the bread replaced with a different kind of meat or perhaps a canape of several different kinds of meat wrapped round a pickled gherkin (one of the 'one a day'), crack open a beer and wait for show time.
Hint for young bands doing their first European shows ..... The Swiss and the Belgians are extremely proud of their chocolate and as such, as a rule, leave several bars of top quality confectionary in every dressing room. Resist the urge to gobble it all down, rather than gorge yourself, you should take it home for your mum and tell her it is the finest that the airport shop had to offer. This will soften the blow when you hand her the festering, steaming, polythene bag containing your laundry.
When in France they are as proud of their cheeses in a similar way. In an odd way this again softens the blow for your mother when presented with the laundry bag as she will assume it's the 'posh' cheese which is reeking rather than your underpants.
Show time: I won't bore you with my biased opinion of the shows because I am obviously going to say how wonderful they are (and indeed that's because they are) so I won't (but they are).
Normally after the show McMeldrew, Peter and myself get all self congratulatory about how great it was while The Boabie tidies our stuff off the stage. We then normally either have a little foray to test the water of the festival beyond the haven of backstage, rendezvous back at the Kabin then drive back to the hotel laughing and singing Chas & Dave songs and Flower Of Scotland very drunkenly and loudly and badly to a bemused and smiling (unless in Milan) driver who pours us out into the lobby at which point we become the burden of the hotel staff and no longer his happy problem.
This is inevitably when either The Boabie or McMeldrew suggests a nightcap. Strangely enough this is always in the Boabie's room .... ostensibly because we can smoke in there but I suspect other, darker reasons why it's never McMeldrew's although that's not a subject best discussed here. Feeling that it would be churlish to allow these fine men to drink alone I often avail the of my company (just for the one of course) and eventually find my bed around 5 am just in time for LOBBY CALL!
Cue frantic rushing around looking for the lost shoe, a titanic (yet noble) struggle prising certain people from their bed and jumping in a van which will shuttle us to the airport from whence we sally forth to our next destination.
The remainder of the Saturday follows much the same pattern as the Friday as does the Sunday. The flight on the Monday morning usually finds us deposited with a thump back in Blighty and bidding our respective farewell and adieu's and looking forward to the following Friday when we'll do exactly the same things yet in different places and with different smiling drivers (except in Milan).
I wind my weary way back to Scotland pleased and contented, head back to small town local, have a beer with some fellows who care not a jot for my 'jet setting', home for some dinner and asleep before my head hits the pillow. Wonderful.
That just about sums my summer up apart from the odd time we've been out for a week of this or more. It's more or less the same except the festering laundry bag is somewhat more pungent upon my return. But luckily we'll have been to both France AND Belgium on that trip.
Normally the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are where I try and squeeze in my normal management tasks in preparation for the next foray into the realm of the unknown. I won't bore you with a description of this.
Sooooo folks, as I type this I am en route to London to hook up with the boys for some fun times at the V festival. I shall be remaining in the South prior to our jaunt to Russia on Wednesday and I hope to be able to be more vigilant about this blogging lark. I'm promising nothing but hope to deliver something.
Oh bloody hell. I am bored. I thought I was going to be able to publish this by the power of the dongle but it seems my dongle isn't quite so powerful as I had first imagined. It's somewhat depressing seeing this constantly search in vain for a signal as the train whizzes through the countryside. Not quite what I signed up for but then again so very few things are.
I've read my papers, I'm even up to date with all my outgoing and incoming e mails, my books finished, my PSP has been purloined (but that's a whole other story, at least I know who the tiny terror currently beating up the aliens I should be beating up is and it's in a good home ..... for the moment my son, for the moment). There really is very little else to do when traveling if you don't bring your own fun or friends.
Solo traveling has it's benefits if you are good at sleeping in transit. However, I'm only good at that after an inordinate amount of alcohol and I'm not in one of THOSE kinds of moods today. Had this been the West Highland Railway I suppose I could marvel at the deer running over Rannoch Moor or the bleak, desolate beauty of the Highlands, passing a retail park on the outskirts of Crewe doesn't have the same effect I am sorry to report.
So, a list of the bestest, most beautiful sights I have seen while on tour.
1. As the road curves to the right on the way down to Montreux from Zurich. The foothills open out into a vista which is simply stunning ..... the blue of the lake giving way to the major, snow capped alpine peaks on the other side of the lake from the town itself.
2. Now many think I am lying here but one of the most exciting things I have seen was in a relatively mundane setting. On the road into Aviemore passing numerous sheepfields with slightly wilder country behind I saw, I swear, a large jet-black cat stalking sheep. It was definitely feline and about the size of a medium size dog, maybe a labrador. That freaked me out and everyone thought I was lying as I screamed them to come down from the lounge. Inevitably by the time they dragged their arses down it was way behind us and I was labelled a crackpot. It happened I tells ye!
3. Travelling through the Brenner pass as the sun rose. We had a driver who was a lovely man but quite advancing in years. We were convinced that he was going to die with his boots on and determined that we rather leave our mark in 'rock 'n' roll' folklore via the music rather than being the boys he took with him. So it was my watch to sit down the front with him and boy oh boy I am glad I did. For anyone who's never done it, go there, do that drive .... incredible.
4. The Swedish forests in their unrelenting and continuous, uniform dullness fascinate me. Driving mile after mile on well kept roads with nothing on either side but pines blurring green I find hypnotically relaxing. Some others may find them spectacularly boring but perhaps you're just less DEEP than me maaaaan. Ha!
5. I remember some of the most spectacular drives I've ever done not for the beauty of the scenery and the attendant flora and fauna but simply for the rash, reckless and downright dangerous way we did them. Non stop rolls to a. Copenhagen - Scotland (non-stop apart from petrol), Madrid to London (non-stop apart from petrol) and Glasgow - Munich (non-stop apart from a detour to a lunatic asylum would have been more appropriate). The Glasgow - Munich one is freshest in the mind. Sheer idiocy.
I remember asking the tour manager how the hell he expected us to manage it. He simply smiled (while he still could) and opened a cupboard to reveal one of the most spectacular stashes of booze I have ever had the pleasure to fire into like a dog eating beetroot in my entire life. We either spent three or four days on that bus (I still don't know). It was like Das Boot ..... dark, emergency lighting, blacked out windows, curtains permanently drawn. We did not leave it once until our final destination was reached, not even on the ferry (which I believe is not strictly adherent to maritime law). Time melted, people were passing each other like ghosts. If you asked the time you also had to ask if it was the daytime or night. A spectacular effort of sensory deprivation rendered timeless by SPECTACULAR alcohol consumption. When at last we de-pressurised the cabin the first touch on German soil was the enamel of the tour manager's two front teeth through his top lip as both feet remained on board and his face hit the concrete.
I should inform you that I have just realised with one hour left to go on my journey that free, Wi Fi (or Wee Fee if you're French) has been available my whole journey!
Bloody Fucking Bastard!
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Cafe by the river in the old town.
The Sandeman can ....
Finally got some quiet time .... a little 'me' time. So, I think I'll gibber on here a little. Could be fun, could be boring. Most folks might find this news a little late and a little overshadowed by the current hoo ha about 're-unions' but what the hey? Being out of date and irrelevent has never stopped me before.
I guess the main thing happening lately has been our little trip to Portugal. Gosh, we had a great time and I met loads of lovely people. First off a big hello to Luis who made us very welcome, showed us around and helped out .... thanks ever so much. Then also a big howdy must go to Emmerson who is probably the most laid back promoter I have come across but still takes care of business with the best of 'em.
I flew in early because of the usual connecting flight palavers that flying out of Glasgow brings. All this flying is taking me back to the beginning of 2008 when it seems like we were on a flight every day, in fact generally we were. Those were a pretty mental couple of months .... the tour eveyone thought we'd never manage but manage we did with no cancellations and no-one dying. Doesn't really get better than that.
I won't bore you with the usual old hotel bollocks. Nice room etc etc. It seems like getting spoilt a little now that a hotel has to be pretty spectacular now before you'd pass comment on it. I still remember the days of no hotels and night drives and transit vans so I guess I should be grateful for small luxuries.
Well, the show in Porto went purty damn well. The usual solo contingent of Peter, McBoabie and The Slater were augmented by The Candles (The Superinnas and Clandestine) lighting up our lives once again. The show was an absurdly late one by my standards but not for the Portugese it seems. We were off to bed well before the party peaked for those folks. Oh well, different horses for different courses.
Me and The Slater had decided to spend an extra day in Porto for a wee holiday and Peter stayed out too. We started our day in a relaxed fashion with Caipirinhas by the pool. Nice .... In typical Scottish fashion I gradually turned from light blue to pale to roasted pink. Typical. I was skelpin' within minutes and had to do most of my sunbathing under towels which kind of defeats the object of sunbathing. Mr Slater proved himself quite adept at aquatic clowning and we whiled away a lovely few hours splashing around like children in the cool water of the rooftop pool.
A quick snooze later and off we popped to the old town. I have been to Porto before and somehow got the impression that it was quite industrial and never really saw anything which caught my fancy and struck me as pretty or .... hmmm don't quite know how to describe what I mean here. However, how wrong I was. A short cab ride from the hotel takes you down to the old town by the river and my oh my it's lovely.
Old bars and restuarants line the river with the old port wine family businesses .... terrace bars and restaurants, simply lovely. Peter, myself and McMeldrew supped on cold Superbocks and old port, ate some tasty cheeses, pastel de bacalhau and olives. There was also the added interest of the Napoleonic re-enactment of the first battle of Porto where the British aided the Portugese in their defeat of Napoleons forces. Quite a significant battle it would seem as there were hundreds of people re-enacting the event and hanging out in the bars and cafes of riverside Porto. The attention to detail in the uniforms was quite something and by gum these folks take it seriously. All in all a lovely day and we finished off back at the hotel garden with a few beers and acoustic songs into the night.
Quite a busy day the following day. We hopped in Luis' car and off to the Gaia district for a wee studio session. Knocked about a few ideas and got a version of The Ballad Of Grimaldi down for our efforts before .... Off to the football!
Emmerson had kindly scored us some tickets to the Porto game. I hadn't been to a big game for a while and to be honest Emmerson really came up trumps for us. The game was a sell out and if Porto won then they took the championship. Now I have a few reservations about Porto after their style of play in the UEFA cup final against Celtic a few years back but I couldn't let that spoil the evening. It turned out quite an average game but on the sense of occaision was immense. It turned out Porto won 1 - 0 which was the trigger for the whole town to go buck wild! The stadium was packed, the streets were packed, everywhere was going mental. Scorchio! A bloody wild night and a perfect end to the trip.
Back at the hotel we said our goodbyes to Peter who was off on a solo mission to Lisbon and myself and Iain prepared for the trips back to Gourock and Hastings respectively.
All in all a lovely trip, a successful trip and a safe return for everyone .... and to quote myself it doesn't really get better than that!
Monday, 11 May 2009
Ok folks, just explaining the ease of a blog to Mr Slater's Parrot at the moment. We've had an extra super smashing time in Porto. We've met a LOT of great folks and had some wonderful adventures. However these will all have to wait until I get off the plane on Monday, sleep and find some time on Tuesday to have a mess about on this old blog palaver of mine ....
In the meantime McMeldrew would like me to point out that the name of the doggie in one of my last posts is Dylan. We're also bigging up Claire, Andy and the Gladstone Terrace clan! One love etc etc and as the young folks say .... Yo!
Friday, 1 May 2009
The Senor Boabie and Peter.
The real Bilobear.
Note broken lock on my suitcase .... Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Dropper modeling Gio Goi.
The Slater modeling Fred Perry and Scottish teeth.
Good day sunshine.
The Senor Boabie invades the stage.
Adam hard at work doing a 'set list' i.e. wish list in Murcia.
Drew, Drew's haircut and A.J.
THE SHOWER OF DEATH!!!!
Flew in Easyjet from Glasgow to Alicante yesterday for Murcia's SOS festival. The flight was a horrorshow but thanks to Easyjet's smashing system of speedy boarding i.e. pay eight quid to juke the queue I got a prime seat to run off as soon as we landed and escape the baying hoards of pink stetsoned hen parties blowing penis shaped whistles all the way and what seemed to be every thug in Glasgow going on holiday at the same time. The guy beside me was obviously a veteran of such flights. Such is the demand for booze that the trolley often doesn't reach the back seats before landing! He bought six vodkas and three cans of lager for himself as soon as we took of and got steadily more pissed and steadily more lairy as the flight progressed.
It was quite funny watching people stagger to the toilet and open everything with tissues (swine flu). I imagine if they came into contact with any virus it'd immediately be killed with the amount of alcohol swilling around their system.
I'd also like to give a special big 'FUCK YOU' mention to the old twats on their golf outing who thought it was hilarious to camp it up and mince around and generally insult the boy on check in because they had decided he was gay. He may have been, he may not, that's his business but it seems these dicks had a more finely tuned gaydar than most though .... closet and over-compensating mehinks!
Anyhoo, my driver wasn't there to meet me and had parked about half a mile away across a motorway when he eventually turned up but he was a nice bloke and we chatted (him: pidgin English / me: pidgin Spanish = pidgin Spanglish) about footballl, Barcelona (even though we were in Murcia, our mutual dislike of Chelsea FC (Ashley Cole, he ees wankers, how you say?) and the Godlike genius that is Henrik Larsson.
Got dropped off at the hotel to meet the Three Stooges (Brucie, Big Baby Slater and The Boabie). Had a few beers and tapas, Iain got all McMeldrew on us and sloped off in a huff (as he normally does when a bill arrives), Kenny then went back to the hotel and me and The Brucie went to have a wander in the town centre. Lovely warm night and a couple of glasses of chilled rose on the terrace of a bar suited us fine before a taxi home and bed. I was kind of hoping the golf boys would pass by because the sight of myself and The Brucie sipping rose in such a romantic setting would have been guaranteed to turn them out of the closet.
Woke up to a lovely day in a lovely room in a lovely hotel with a lovely pool .... perfect. The rest of the party seem to be ok with their travel and we all intend to have a smashing time. Just of out for some lunch in a small tapas bar along the street before having a dip.
I just had a bath which was lovely but the shower had been fascinating me since I cast my eyes on it. So I hopped in. It resembles what a shower in the year 2000 should look like if you were watching Blue Peter in 1973. All sort of nobs and pipes and nozzles .... I had to have a go.
Well at first nothing came out, then something came out the bottom about shin height then something came out the showerhead then a load of high pressure jets came searing out of pinholes all over and I nearly fouled the shower stall. This wasn't hi tech relaxation and hygiene this was a torture chamber in my hotel room toilet! Whoever designed this must have been head of torture at Franco's military college in a new career. Not only that but it looked like he forgot to include a plug hole in the contraption because I am now nursing my wounds on my bed and watching the overflow from the shower into the bathroom slowly ooze out into the bedroom! I shall not be trying that again!
Righto, back in the old suite after a nice walk. Bit short of eateries when we went out. Plenty of places but we chose to wander during siesta so most of them were closed. Found a very pleasant bar to dine in though, boquerones, blood sausage and patatas .... delicious washed down with a tasty (albeit tiny) glass of the local beer. Belly satisfied for a while, a short while. Breakfast was smashing too. Fresh fruit salad (non-fizzy thankfully), asparagus, jamon, tortilla, bacon, walnuts, chorizo, tomatoes and scrambled egg. It was self service and eat as much as you like .... so I did! Now I only have a few hours to wait until catering. I may try and get an extra ticket so I can have dinner and then a supper later.
Everyone's here now barring Mick who is coming in on a later flight. All are doing their own thing some eating, some resting .... Me, The Brucie and Senor Boabie (see what I did there) exposed ourselves poolside for a little while and frightened the locals with our paleness. I had my camera but I thought it best to refrain from taking any snaps though Senor Boabie would have been perfect for setting the white balance I'd say.
So, now it's just the waiting game for dinner and the show and I am drooling at the prospects both hold.
Righto, another few hours later and another bubbly bath with my book, mmmmmm. I avoided a second round with the Shower Of Death and had a quick hose down with the bathrooms second shower (yes, it's that posh) it's got two sinks! Two I tells ye! Oh the loneliness! I had no-one to share my sinks with. I could have asked Senor McBoabie but I dread to consider the repercussions of such a move. Definite pregnancy for one of us .... I'd like to think him!
So, almost time for lobby call. Mooch about the site, visit CATERING and do the show. I can hear the festival from my room and there're fireworks and everything! Woooooo!
Oh, I am quite looking forward to this!
Righto, a quick update from my hotel in Hasselt. Got a good night's kip. Everyone was totally fucked from yesterday's efforts .... a true tale of bravery and perseverance against all odds.
We got back from the festival in Murcia to the hotel about four in the morning and I was dearly looking forward to my scratcher. Oooops, shit I just realised it's lobby call, gotta go .... will write more later! Suffice to say The Boabie went beyond the call of duty with his spiderman skilles and quite literally took one for the team when 'diving on the grenade' in Frankfurt airport. The man needs a medal .... and locking up for his own safety and the safety of all those around him.
Now then, back online at €22 for 24hrs in the Luxembourg hotel where a burger is only €19 and a pint €6.50. Good Lord! However, the journey was sedate compared to yesterday and the mood in the camp is fine.
Yesterday however .... The shambles show in Murcia was fun for all. Met some nicey nice people, hello These Dancing Days (don't forget to say Hi to Helen for me). All in all a good time had by all. It was a late finish so got back to hotel in the early hours to discover that there was no electricity in the room. Farcical behaviour followed (which I won't go into) and I eventually got to bed by the light of my trusty zippo only to be greeted by the dawn chorus of The Brucie and The Slater bellowing out of the windows, so not much of a kip was had. Oh Well!
Lobby call beckoned and I made my way to the lift only to see out the side window quite a spectacular sight. Senor Boabie had decided to go walkabout on a 1ft wide ledge six floors up. The man either has a death wish or some gadgets attached to his wrists which squirt out spider's web.
However, airport was made and boarding smooth. Then we got to Frankfurt on a plane 25 min late but not worried as we had 35 minutes before the Brussels connection left. "Not good enough" said the rather unhelpful lady at check in and even though the plane wasn't leaving for another twenty minutes at this point we were refused boarding privileges. Drat!
The other flights offered couldn't get there on time for stage so the only alternative was a car. Problem was, our luggage was "still in the system". It's at times like these that apoplexy is a possibility but it's often better to adopt an aura of zen-like calm .... we tried, and mostly succeeded .... apart from Herr Boabie (at this point).
We had to resign ourselves to the loss of a lovely Gibson acoustic and an Epiphone heavyhorse but being the forward thinkers we are had decided to take an acoustic as hand luggage in the event that our luggage would go amiss. We simply had to hunker down and wait for the personal luggage to come through. It eventually did .... three quarters of an hour later and (and I can only assume here not accuse) €xxxx missing from a padlocked pouch within my trolley case. Lock broken, pouch rifled etc etc. Not happy obviously but the only thing on my mind was getting to Hasselt so as not to let the fans down. Pretty philosophical about it even now because in the light of the odyssey we endured yesterday to even have done the show was good enough for me.
We wouldn't even have gotten the luggage and made the show hadn't it been for the valour of The Herr Boabie who, while I was away, spotted a suspicious bag had been discarded by one of the carousels and was about to become a major incident (area cleared / taped off etc). Unfortunately it was the area our bags were due to come through .... a potential wait of hours and no appearance in Hasselt!
Showing bravery beyond the call of duty boosted by a little Dutch courage (I assume) The Herr Boabie penetrated the police cordon and heroically tackled the 'bomb' himself, nearly getting arrested and / or shot in the process. The bomb eventually turned out to be an half eaten sandwich ....
God bless you The Herr Boabie!
Righto kind having a conundrum at the moment. Do I start another post or just carry on regardless? Who knows?
Anyhow, where did I leave off? Luxembourg ....
Odd place, great gig. Fuck it. I am tired. I only came on to post some snaps so here they are.
Travelled for ten hours today and currently in a proper soulless hotel in Porto and the mob are arriving tomorrow. Solo show so only the Superinnas, The Boabie and The Slater coming in on the plane. Mowgli is already 'in country' and traveling by other means which means I'll see him later. Righto, knackered so I'll concentrate on photos and then snooze for a fresh start early tomorrow.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
I have just been told I am rude. I don't like that, but who would. I know I am often cheeky but not so much rude. There's a vast difference between being cheeky and being rude.
The person who told me I was rude was a Babyshambles fan who had come to see Peter play solo in Norwich. I remember this show but I don't remember being rude to anyone. I did tell some lads to fuck off later in the evening when they started getting a bit lairy and creepy but that wasn't rudeness it was more ehm .... shall we say stating a fact. i.e. For every action there is a reaction. For every act there are consequences. Start shouting abuse at me and the crew at two in the morning then there will certainly a reaction, a consequence and being told to "Fuck off ya trumpet!" is quite a minor consequence really when you consider the options.
When it is a gig day I do have a bit of a personality change. My business partner and even my parents have even been quite taken aback by it. My only concern is to get the act onstage, have a great show and get the band and crew safely on the bus stowed away for the next show.
I have developed what I would describe my 'show day head' which could appear as abrupt or short. It is often taken for abrupt, short and even rude by people when they encounter me. It's normally described as rude when they are not getting what they want.
You see that's what it really comes down to ....
If I am asked a question I will consider my answer and give it. This answer is generally a 'yes' or a 'no'. 'Yes' never requires an explanation but say no to someone and they're gonna want a detailed fuckin' essay on why not? Either that or they are going to want to change my mind. Neither of these things are going to happen so when they start down that road I politely say 'no' again. That'll be it all starting over again with the 'why not's?' and the 'go on's' .... sorry folks I ain't got the time and I have made my mind up for considered reasons and if you don't like that because you're not getting what / where you want then what can I say really .... it's you who are ruder and more selfish than me.
Other potential sources of my rudeness ....
1. The Bus.
The bus is our home. The bus is where we sleep. The bus is where we relax. The bus is where we argue. The bus is where we make up. The bus is where we store our private possessions and valuables. Am I rude because I won't let you on it? Am I rude because when I find you messing with the door in a dark car park I tell you to stop it? Am I rude when I stop you writing 'I Love U Pete' in marker pen on the trailer? Would you go up to the front door of someone you don't know have a fiddle with the door and if it's unlocked have a wander about inside? No, didn't think so. So that's me not being rude there either.
2. The Dressing Room.
Now quite why someone would want to hang out in a dressing room is beyond me. In general they are small, cramped, often smelly and have absolutely NOTHING to do in them. Believe me, I know, I have been bored senseless in enough of them in my time. The idea that this is some kind of mystical shangrila, a door to a magical land of rock 'n' roll fun and mystery is .... frankly a load of old cobblers. To be honest most of the band and crew avoid the dressing room until just before the gig and leave it shortly after the gig. Before the show the band want (and often need) to be alone to prepare themselves so if someone had managed to get in (unlikely) and I ask them to leave this is not rude although it is often taken as such. If someone tries to get in after th show and I won't let them in it's because either a.) they're not supposed to be there or b.) the band have just come off stage after having poured their hearts out for an hour and a bit and maybe would like breather and a bit of peace and quiet.
Another thing about the dressing room is that very often it's another private place to store valuables or instruments and for this reasons understandably off limits.
At The Troxy show I had the misfortune of meeting a minor celebrity and her coterie of lickspittles but every cloud has a silver lining .... I had the pleasure of booting their sorry arses out of the dressing room. Picture this .... the band are on stage of the last night of the tour, a tour which a lot of people had put a lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally) into, I walk past the dressing room and hear a racket going on in there.
Now this was a new venue and the securty staff perhaps not as experienced as I am sure they will become. My pass system may appear complex but it is actually pretty simple. Band, crew, management and assistants will have a laminate. No-one without a laminate gets in the dressing room without one unless accompanied by someone with an escort laminate (of which there are only three). So quite how ten people managed to get through this system and esconce themselves in the dressing room I am not sure but it happened.
Anyhow, the dressing room contained all our food, drinks, clothes, some bags and a smoke alarm. A smoke alarm which had been redundant because not even the band were smoking in there because of the punative fine associated with it and the fact that there was a smoking exit about five feet away. Did these nobs care? Nah, not their problem.
So, I'm walking down the corridor to get something mid-show, and that's the important bit .... mid-show, I hear the noise from the dressing room and go in to find little Miss Sunshine and her hangers on helping themselves to our hospitality. Now, they got their tickets for free (not from me I may add), they got into the show, they had passes which would have gotten them into an aftershow party if we decided to have one but .... not good enough. They didn't even have the courtesy to watch the performance. I am sure you can imagine what happened next but was that me being rude? I don't think so. I think the rudeness was coming from their side not mine. How disrespectful is that? They were further annoyed when they tried to get on the side of the stage (a working area). They certainly didn't want to watch from the front where you can actually hear the show properly. God forbid they mix with the 'civilians' (fuck I hate that term, only ever used by arseholes) and see / hear the show properly. They'd rather be seen stageside because it makes them 'special' .... fuck 'em!
2. Access To The Band (Peter In Particular).
Now, I have never worked with a band who are as genuinely close to their fans as Babyshambles. Whenever appropriate they will spend as much time as possible with them, keep in touch on the internet, hang out, get them involved, give them work experience, sneak them into sold out shows, make arrangements for them to be more comfortable at shows, fight with heavy handed security staff, monitor the crowd for arseholes or danger situations, pull a fan in distress out of the crowd, sink a beer with them etc etc etc.
I also fully understand the love the fans have for the band members and how special they are to their lives for a million different reasons. I know that it's the dream of many fans to meet their heroes, have a chat etc etc but sometimes this isn't possible. The reasons for this vary from the fact that they might be sleeping or need a bit of time on their own to the fact that there may be a crush or a scrum outside the bus which is potentially dangerous for the band member or the fan alike. If that is the case then I will pull them indoors and close it until the crowd disperses to a safe level. Sorry but that just the way it is and if that means you didn't get you ticket signed it may have been worth it because it may have meant that some kid didn't get their arm broken.
I'm trying to come up with other examples when I may be perceived as rude but I am at a loss now. Suggestions welcome ....
Oh! There's is one .... the fact that I am a curmudgeonly bastard with no manners!
Thursday, 9 April 2009
I just ate a bowl of pasta which while very tasty was absolutely enormous. I don't eat much on tour and my stomach and appetite seem to shrink. However, since my return it's been getting back to it's normal level. Today it surpassed itself. I looked at the mound in front of me thinking 'I'm never going to get through all that' but I did and now my stomach hurts .... but in a nice way.
Only two and a half hours until dinner though but I reckon I'll be raring to go again in no time. I have pork chops, which will be delicious, but no sides yet. I have an idea that I may just go to the Co-op and get some macarroni cheese and cauliflower cheese .... now that sounds like a feast to me!
Only two and a half hours until dinner though but I reckon I'll be raring to go again in no time. I have pork chops, which will be delicious, but no sides yet. I have an idea that I may just go to the Co-op and get some macarroni cheese and cauliflower cheese .... now that sounds like a feast to me!
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Finally got home after a slog of about six weeks all told. Had a lot of fun, some ups, some downs, some scrapes, some adventures, some misadventures, met a lot of lovely people, heard a LOT of great music, hung out with some old friends, hung out with some new friends ....
Post tour blues isn't uncommon. It's odd waking up without the imminent adrenaline buzz of the show to look forward.
That's why days off on tour are strange. You really need them, you really do. Mine however seem to be spent in an unrelaxed state of knowing there's always something to be done, in an unfamiliar (though generally pretty comfortable) hotel room, wondering whether to go out, stay in, read, sleep, watch telly .... an odd state of affairs.
We got back from France on Saturday too late to get he train back to Scotland so I spent most of the day hunting down a hotel. I don't know what was happening in London but my travel agent couldn't find me one for love nor money. I eventually fell upon the kindness of friends (Sarah from The Good Mixer) who made a prompt call and I found myself in a room above a pub in Belsize Park. Five star it was not .... in fact it wouldn't merit one star really as it had no lock on the door, in fact a big hole in the door where a lock used to be but my head was down by ten and out like a light. It was a nice pub but I couldn't even muster the energy for a pint.
Train back to Scotland the next day .... Sunday service sheesh! All off at Carlisle for a 'luxury' i.e. decrepit coach to Glasgow then onwards to Gourock and getting my head down back at the folks.
Home cooking on the table! My own bed in for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. I even struggled to stay awake so I could roll over a few times and luxuriate and get that Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh feeling a few times. Thirteen straight hours sleep. Heaven.
Back up and at it Monday though and looking forward to the next batch!
Couple of snaps arrived from a photographer chum which I'll stick up and a few more later maybe. I didn't take many photies on this run. I don't know why because I really should have for the scrapbook. It's all in the head though and it'll stay there as one big lump filed in the Happy Memories archive of the brain.
Aaah, the photies came out at the top and in the wrong order. One day I'll get used to this malarkey.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
I have been here are there and everywhere recently and it's been great.
I could try and do a synopsis of every show but I won't because every time there is a new one the past one's memories kind of fade .... I'm getting old.
Suffice to say that there has been a vibe on this tour the likes of which has astounded me.
Travelling around with the likes of Graham, Stephen and all the other wonderful musicians has been a dream come true.
Discos in the downstairs lounge, Smooth FM on the radio, chips 'n' curry sauce, The Boabie's been oot, Budgie Killer's been tweeting and Brucies been bouncing ...... Whaaaaa?
Newcastle tonight an the Nogmeister's getting ready to rumble!
Looking forward to this immensely.
May write more later.
May not but you'll here from me soon I promise.
Aaah. Lovely day room comfort in Edinburgh after the bus journey up last night. Venue looks lovely and the dressing rooms look very odd. I like odd though.
Always a good crowd in Scotland and The Barras proved that they're quite accepting of the current 'grown up' line up. We have however, I think, managed to bridge the gap of professionalism with the much loved inherent bedlam now. so best of both worlds really.
Oh it's been a funny old tour. Some dates with the full band and some with just Mowgli on his todd. Always been fun though. Lots of good memories. I particularly like the one of when myself and the Brucie were soaking up the sun outside the tour bus in Folkestone and a 'posse' of local 'yoot' came over for a chat. Thing is we couldn't understand a word they were saying. They kept saying things like 'blazing the chronic' and 'schnizzing their bizzles' ..... hilarious. Nice lads though.
London Troxy tomorrow. I assume it'll be the usual London guest list chaos. Funny how old 'friends' I haven't seen for months always decide it's a good time for a catch up call just before a London show. Spooky coincidence or just bare faced blaggers .... I'll let you decide.
Friday, 13 March 2009
It's 8 am folks. I'm awake and have been for two hours just been twiddling the proverbials .... It's all starting today in the UK after the gay abandon of Paris.
How good was that though?????? Apparently we doubled the viewing figures of 'Le Grande Journal', not bad.
When I say 'we' of course I mean Peter but it's nice to bask vicariously sometimes init? Issit? Init?
Hi Mum and Dad if you're reading this by the way. I'm fine and readying myself for Cardiff. Hope the federales are treating you well.
I just came across this so I thought I'd share it with you.
More later ....
Actually, fek it! Check this oot too!
Monday, 9 March 2009
No sexy parties to report as yet folks but all's good here in Paris.
Smooth flight in for me and the rest of the gang are assembling from all directions at our secret hideaway.
Soundcheck .... all done and dusted, sounding great and the Frenchies are in for a treat tonight!
More sexy party updates when I get them ....
Friday, 6 March 2009
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Good Lord, there really is no rest for the wicked .... and long may it remain so.
You must know those days, when you think (and I speak relatively here), "Hey, today might be a bit of an easy one here" then it turns into a doozey, a floozey, one that makes you want to get boozey!
I just pressed 'send' on what I hope to be the last work e-mail of the day although I doubt it may be the case. However, chin up Mr Bear, I reckon I got some smashing things sorted out and without getting all gushy and sentimental I feel real glad to be in a job that the harder I work the happier it can sometimes make people.
Not fishing for thanks or kudos here because I know what a lucky bleeder I am to do what I do but please let me indulge myself in the knowledge of a hard day's work today which will bring results.
Not saving the planet by any means but maybe today's efforts will put a few smiles on a few faces soon and when I see them .... that's what makes it worth it .... That, the Rolls Royce, trophy girlfriend and free hotel toiletries as well obviously.
Bugger, there goes the in-box!
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Ever felt like you miss your own bed more than life itself?
We are quite privileged in many ways that we are allowed certain comforts while traveling now. The hotels tend to be of the higher end variety and the meals of a certain quality. But, Jeez it sure is great to be in your own bed of an evening.
I feel a little that I've neglected this blog recently but I've been very, very busy and it's not as if anyone's reeeeeeealy gonna notice anyway but 'tis nice after a long day to toddle out a few memories and perhaps a bon mot or two.
Brain not fully functioning in it's illogical fashion so this is more likely to be a simple list of thoughts.
Shepherds Bush Empire.
A wonderful evening. Rather nervous for obvious reasons .... first night of the big band etc. Wasn't sure how the reception was going to be but it was simply wonderful. I was eventually last out the building (with Brucie and Iain) a happy man. Back at the hotel Iain threw Brucie out of a window which made the night even sweeter.
Almost a hometown show for me now and one I really wasn't sure about the reaction would be. The Barras crowds can be somewhat .... feisty. However they did us proud. A few of those first night nerves had gone, everyone looked much more comfortable and the show was a belter. We travelled up by tour bus and we all had our little Costcutter bags of two Becks and some Monster Munch. Those string section boys though .... they put us to shame. It's a funny thing, everyone assumes our buses will be the ultimate rock 'n' roll cliche. I'm not saying we don't have our moments but we're actually nice boys. I stayed behind in Glasgow as Mr Coxon wanted to bus it and flew down the following day for the NME awards to find Mr Boyd fast asleep in my hotel bed already .... When will I get treated with the respect I deserve? I soon booted him over to one side and we conked out like management's version of Bert and Ernie.
Well first of all sorry to the Dundonian fans who lost out to this. I had to wait for a confirmation of a new date before announcing the re-schedule so I hope you are not all to mad about it and can celebrate what was one of the proudest moments I've had. I am not one for showbiz parties and mutual backslapping events but it was great to see Peter get the eward surrounded by those who have most helped him along the way. Mick, Adam, Andy, Drew, Stephen .... fucking proud of everyone who earned their place at the table. Nothing more to add.
Myspace secret show .... I still have memories of the farce that was The Camden Crawl a few years back. This one was handled by our good friends at Grinding Halt in Italy and 'twas nice to see them again. The venue, Alcatraz, was very aptly named. The dressing room door looked like it should have had a hatch at the bottom for a tray of porridge to be slopped through. The show however was a belter. Quite a refreshing thing to see that Peter can hold his own so well in a different environment with no back up band whatsoever. Nice crowd, nice time, great show.
There were a few interesting incidents on the night but the main one that sticks in my mind is a very strange man (i.e. MAD) who managed to get into the dressing room and refused to leave. Wouldn't have minded but all he was doing was shouting at the top of his voice, over and over *assumes awful Italian accent*, "I AM SHIT MAN, ORWELL, I AM A SHITAMAN, ORWELL! ORWELL!". A little bundle ensued and he was 'persuaded' to leave luckily just before the 'death moves' were utilised. Then it was off to some bars for Pina Coladas and some discos for some dreadful disco dancing.
Bleary eyed back to Scotland the next day for my mates McD and June's joint birthday party and a whole day of sleeping next day.
Not much rest for the wicked though as myself and Mr Slater trudged off to meet up with Peter, Dropper, Nickie and The Boabie at our new favourite Parisian hideaway for mucho promo. All of which was terribly, terribly successful and should be on your TV's and radios soon you lucky Frenchies. Two days of that and I was fit to drop so imagine my delight to get to Beauvais (hell in no uncertain terms) to discover my destination airport was snowed in and the road back to Gourock dicey in the extreme ....
It's at times like these that the littlest of things can make or break you and this little one made my week. The taxi driver back from the airport, a really nice fellow called Tommy, turned round to me just outside Largs and said, "You look fucked son. Turn that fuckin' phone off and I'll take you for a pint." It just proves that there are still some gentlemen out there. And guess what .... when we walked into the bar .... the opening chords of Delivery started up, that is a true story.
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
I love it here obviously. Been a good friend to us over the years. How are you going to take tonight though. It's not going to be a full on 'Shambolic' set. It's going to be great obviously (well I would say that) but more controlled but in no way contrived .....
Optimistic apprehension I believe is the term I'd use here.
Righto folks .... I stress before posting this that this is NOT a no show because the show hasn't happened yet.
We have something important come up and it's my pleasure / displeasure as it were to inform you that we have to re-schedule Dundee to the 15th of April.
It may seem quite a way off to you guys (as it does to me) but we are working our bahookies off at the moment and that's the only window we have for it.
You never know .... Greenock might get lucky too!
Monday, 23 February 2009
Sunday, 22 February 2009
Well, here I am. First in .... last out I'd imagine.
Setting up the wee mobile office in the depths of the Empire, waiting game commences for crew, backline, sound-check, more waiting, Ex Lovers, Vaults then the main attraction.
Nice hotel last night, thought I'd treat myself to K-West as I suspect I'm not getting many home comforts over the coming weeks. Hop, skip and a jump to the venue bright and early to get things moving. More updates as the day progresses ....
Slowly but surely the massed ranks of the musicians are arriving. Vaults loading in for their support. Peter en route. The atmosphere notches up one more increment ....
Sound check has started and it sounds mighty sweet. The sweeping strings. The atmospheric guitar stylings of Mr Coxon are being warmed up. Everyone's on board and expectations are high.
Fuck me. Can't talk. Amazing, simply amazing!
It's now the no man's land post sound check, pre-show. Some have toddled off for pizza, some for chicken bits. No sign of nerves yet .... that's what a good bout of rehearsing does for you. So, I'm off to practice my death moves in the dressing room and await the inevitable ....
The clock is ticking down. Doors just opened. The music's on. The crowd are gathering down th front. It's on it's way ....
Fuck me that was great!