SCY, Lincoln, 15th January 2010.
Ric and I were tragically awoken from our slumber by the fact that we had to leave so early because our gracious host had to be at work for 8.30. However this was not before the mother of the house had given me tea and porridge and we had discussed in the most politely British way ever the recent inclement weather. We then set about the unenviable task of getting Jamie up. This is really hard. When this guy get’s to sleep he cannot by roused by man or beast. We managed to entice him up by the promise of being able to sleep in the van. This worked. He was also coming down off far too much concentrated Red Bull and it was probably best that we just locked him in the back of the van and let him ride it out cold turkey.
I got dropped back in Exeter and met up with the other dudes. Apparently Will had proceeded to cook himself a noodle based dish upon arrival back at Nic’s house that had taken far longer and made more mess than it should have but I couldn’t possible comment seeing as I was off constructing a fantasy life where I played the good wife.
Today was big drive day. Unfortunately we had to take two cars as Ed had work the next day so he took Will with him and Nic had an audition for drama school so he came with me.
There’s very little I can say about the trip up. You may have been reading this blog thinking ‘my my the author of this blog is so skilled he is making even the most mundane of activities read like Catcher In The Rye! So funny yet still betraying a sense of wide eyed expectation of the world which, while hopeful, is continually beaten down by the hands of time’ (I’ve never read Catcher In The Rye, can you tell?). However today defeats me. All we did was drive. We got into our respective vehicles, programmed our respective satnavs and listened to our respective music of choice for the 4 hour trip. Will and Ed plumped for 4 hours of John Mayer. Yea. John Mayer, the whole way. It’s a wonder they didn’t have tasteful tattoo sleeves, Jennifer Aniston’s number and their own blues trio by the time we arrived in Lincoln. For Nic and I it was me barking requests at Nic in an attempt to broaden his musical tastes beyond the neo-pop-punk and dodgy screamo that clogs his mp3 player (Nic doesn’t like Ipods because apparently the customer service isn’t great. Well stop dropping it in the toilet then). We had Hot Water Music, Minus The Bear, Tubelord all the greats. It was a real ear opener for him. Suffice to say we spent 3 and a half hours listening to neo-pop-punk and dodgy screamo.
Briefly returning to satnavs. If you ever want to make your vehicle appear as something far more sophisticated than it is, put something in it that talks to you. No I don’t mean a girlfriend (ha!) or a friend, I mean something cold and electronic that barks instructions and makes recommendations to you that you follow without question. That is true futuristic sophistication. If it’s hooked up to satellites even better. However to make yourself appear more sophisticated to go along with your new uber-sophisticated vehicle you need to act like your electronic talk-device listens to you. Allow me to demonstrate. When your satnav gives you directions it is imperative that you respond in the correct manner. When it says ‘turn left at the roundabout’ you must respond each time by saying ‘very good Mr Garmin’ or more simply ‘make it so’ before realising that you are in fact the one driving.. When it warns you of potential speed cameras or traffic you respond by saying ‘on screen’ then cursing under your breath so the rest of the crew don’t see your weakness. However when it beeps at you constantly because it thinks you’re going too fast in a zone where there are average speed checks you must show it who’s boss but shouting ‘dammit I know the risks/what I’m doing’ and lob it out the window.
We arrived in Lincoln following a disappointing and painfully over-priced service station lunch (how can you get bangers and mash wrong?) to meet Steve from the ace band Young Wolves who was putting the show on. It sounded like he’d had a right nightmare booking this evening’s show as he had had to change venue at the last minute to upstairs at a painfully filthy bar near Lincoln town centre. This meant a 10.30 curfew and a disco load out. We loaded in set up and went and parked in what has been lovingly dubbed the ‘Bat Cave’ because of its narrow and heroic entrance. Ric had some issues getting the van in some therefore spent a long time screaming and stressing himself out. If only I had had a shepherds pie and an apple crumble to hand to placate him. Then Ed, Ric and I went to get some food. We had chicken and Vimto on tap. It was great. Ed had wanted chicken all tour and his little face lit up at his first bite. Ric was not the conversationalist we had come to expect because the chicken place had a TV showing R’n’B hits on it that he could not draw his eyes away from. The choreography in Christian Aguilera’s ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’ is truly engrossing.
We arrived back at the venue to see Young Wolves wrap up their set. They were beset by difficulties. Broken amps and flimsy drum kits tragically cut their set short but what I saw I enjoyed. I also enjoyed looking at Steve behind a drum kit because is an exceptionally tall man and it looks like a normal sized person playing a toy drum kit. Dead Spex and Dollymops played next who were both great and glorioulsy heavy and spazzy. We were worried that our own brand of New Found Glory influenced alt-pop would be met with hostility but the crowd seemed to dig it. We only played 5 tunes as time was running short. Tall Ships then set up and proceeded to play their first song to pretty much no-one. However by the end of their second song everyone was inside and getting into it. They are really great.
If I may be serious for a moment; I know we toured with them and they’re our friends now (and I might like one of them a bit too much) but Tall Ships are great. They just make music that on the surface is fun and dancey but the more you keep listening to it the more rewarding it is as you hear each layer and feel each drop. They are also, to me, the perfect band in terms of attitude. For them it is all about the enjoyment and buzz of playing and about creating something enriching and rewarding to both them and the listener that is not simply instant throw-away garbage. They are a band of musicians creating music because it’s fun. This is an attitude that I think is becoming rarer and rarer. So thank god for Tall Ships.
After the show we loaded out bid bittersweet farewells to Tall Ships and to Steve. We hatched plans to meet again and play many rock and roll shows together. I pray this happens. Snorlax had to leave early to get back for work. He nearly died in Folkestone becasue his tyre burst while he was driving. We’re really lucky that Ed is alive. Will was a bit gutted though cos he owes him so much money.
4 days. Doesn’t seem like much. But it was great. Thanks to Matt, Ric and Jamie. To Frank and Ellie in Cornwall, To Tom, Jo and all our current and former friends in Exeter, To Ashley in Plymouth, Jess, the Cold Squid and everyone else in Tavistock, Steve, Rosa and Will for continuing to be gracious and patient hosts. Thanks to Steve, Dean and Young Wolves, Dead Spex and the Dollymops. Thanks to Speak Your Heart . Also, without attempting to be a self-involved tool thanks to Will, Ed and Nic. If you came to a show thanks for coming. If you came espcially to us thats even more humbling. If you went and downloaded the record after seeing us thanks for doing that too. And if you read all of these blogs start to finish thanks alot as well. I hope there is a next time.