Now where were we? Oh yes, your heroes (?) had just completed the first of the three legs of the Answer tour and had celebrated by colourfully redecorating their bathrooms with their own stomach lining. The day after the Sheffield gig was a day off, which we all took as an opportunity to get some rest, drink green teas, hook ourselves up to IV drips filled with Innocent smoothies and generally make sure that we were in tip top condition.
The thing is, we didn’t.
Atko and Bill proceeded to head out into the wilds of Sheffield and by all accounts got completely rozzled to an even worse state than they had been whilst out on the road. I struggled manfully to get myself back to normal but failed miserably to the extent that I lay awake all night sweating with ‘Mr Blue Sky’ by ELO stuck in my head. On repeat. For eight hours. By the time we got to Nottingham on Monday we all looked and felt like complete shit to be brutally honest, a situation that was not improved when we decided to wolf down about 3 plates of chips 5 minutes before going onstage. The gig was ok considering but I certainly had that awful sensation akin to when that chap from Quantum Leap turns up in someone else’s body with absolutely no fucking idea what he’s doing there. In that way I passed the 28 minutes of power that comprised our set.
The next day was another day off which we all took slightly easier than the last one (I ended up locating a leak in my supply pipe, if you pardon the expression) and thus we were all much more lively and well-oiled for the gig in Birmingham on the Wednesday. Home of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and UB40, Birmingham was clearly an important one for us to get right and I rather feel that we did just that, thank you very much. In a slightly off-putting manner the venue’s big screens were showing a mixture of promos for future concerts and what appeared to be cookery programmes, so much so that I found myself drifting wistfully off halfway through Widowmaker as my attention was caught by a rather nice looking Greek salad on the TV. But apart from that it was all good honest rollicking stuff, rounded off slightly unusually by meeting a chap who had come to see us play despite riding his bike headfirst into a moving car only days beforehand. To be fair to the lad he did look a little bit like he’d been put through the ringer, but total and unmitigated respect to him for making the effort. Apparently only the day beforehand he hadn’t been able to get out of bed so the fact that he’d made such an effort to come see us useless set of dipsomaniacs really meant even more than if Tony Iommi or Ali Campbell themselves had come to see us. I think I gave him a bag for free because I am nothing if not generous.
The next day was York – fair historic city of the North and home of Richard III, famous for his winter of discontent, his rather pressing need for a horse and the fact that his name is rhyming slang for having a dump. I had been at work that morning after getting back to Leeds at 3am from Birmingham. Needless to say I felt a little bit peculiar, but only in that rather lovely way where you feel like you’re passively viewing your life like it’s happening in Coronation Street. On that note, upon arrival at the venue we started drinking gently and were approached by somebody from the venue staff who asked us whether we had any space on the guestlist. But of course – ‘who would like to come and join us for some exuberant boogie-woogie?’ we asked. ‘Soil and Puddle ofMudd’ was the response. Well, how could we pass up an opportunity to meet such luminaries of the 5th wave of grunge? Anyway, we stuck them on the guest list, had a few more drinks and upon finishing discovered that that chap from Puddle ofMudd who looks like a wrestler had bought one of every item of merchandise we had and was struggling manfully with his phone in order to make a call to his manager to tell him all about us, which was very nice. A few of us went to get a Chinese at that point, leaving Dougie to have a lovely chit-chat from the man from Puddle ofMudd. Upon returning to the venue, I asked Dougie how he was. Dougie responded with the immortal words:
“What, him? He were fucked.”
I can’t imagine that we’ll be playing Lollapalooza any time soon. If it even exists.
Well that was that. We loaded up and headed back to mine for a lovely evening of light ales and documentaries about the making of British Steel and Bat Out of Hell. Rather worryingly I pressed play on my Sky Plus box only to find that the first image that appeared on my telly was from the previous programme to ‘Classic Albums: British Steel’, which happened to be of Bill playing guitar in Napalm Death in about 1989. Did RATHER make me look like some kind of stalker. That and the little shrine I’ve got.
Anyhoo, the day after saw us head even further North to Scotland for more japery. In the next exciting episode we meet girls, cause girls to leave abruptly, and nearly miss our own gig. Stay tuned!