Hhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllo! (Mighty Boosh, Eels episode).
Stuck at Belgrade airport, 4 hour delay, which means I can't go and watch the titanic clash between the mighty Brentford FC and the seaside juggernaut that is Grimsby Town. We just did a private show last night in Niss, the second city of Serbia, in a club. Suffice to say there were lots and lots of pretty Serbian girls in very short dresses. There was a balcony/mezzanine affair around the whole place, and we were playing on the ground floor...
D'you know what? I'm in the BA executive lounge at Belgrade airport. Nothing interesting about that. I'm actually not bothered about travelling Executive class (I was going to write Business class, but I think that would be stretching a point), in fact I remember one person who now only owes me 10 drinks, having recently bought me a glass of red at a Woodedz gig, being in the Posh bit on a flight to Riga, and I think I detected a bit of a gloaty (new word there) kind of expression of the boat race as I walked through to Economy. I'll get backatcha...
But you pay loadsomoney extra for the lounge and stuff like that. Frankly they should have been paying ME for being in here. It's like an inferno, and they just charged me the equivalent of 8 quid for a sandwich which was so old they gave me a saw and hammer to cut it with. And don't you just love sparkling water which is so hot you can't drink it without blowing on it for 5 minutes? Wholesome value at £3.50 a bottle ladies and gentlemen.
Not much to report really. Since last we spoke I've only done really boring shows: a castle, a Rugby club, a Tall ships race, Cognac, a town square (my favourite kind of show), the Motor show, another castle , the Bulldog Bash, the aforementioned private, and last but not least Dagenham, the town the Bay City Rollers and Showaddywadyy graced? Oh yeah, and a promo video with Scooter.
I just spellchecked Showaddywaddy and guess what? They're not in it. I missed their gig, but I heard the singers' voice was a bit knackered. No change there then, I always thought it was. Meeow!!
So, as you can see, it's been boredom all the way. NOT.
Come with us now on a journey through time and space (the Mighty Boosh. What do you mean you haven't watched it yet? You palestines you!) to the far off land that is known as... Rochester. Yes folks, Rochester Kent, on a typical grey July (well it is England,isn't this summer (sic) completely SHIT weather wise) day. Rammed to the turrets or whatever you say about castles. Spotted some of the Letley clan, for egads they hail from this verily revered area, known to us mere mortals as the Mudway. The Killer's mum Rita is really great to watch at shows, she gets down the front and grins from ear to ear, proud mum doesn't come into it, as well she might be. My mum's just the same, local lad makes good an' all that. I think the cloud let us off for the show. Which was nice.
Few days at home, then overnight to Cognac, France where we're playing their jazz/blues festival. Or is that blues/jazz? See Spinal Tap for details. The best hotel ever, in a Chateau on the banks of the River Charente, bands playing all day all over town, fantastic vibe, the only problem with the French is their rubbish wine, Andrew and me had to search for at least a minute to find a great café for a glass of rouge, which was fab. Probably luck. Bumped into Bruno P. and Scots Helen, nice to see you folks.
I thought I'd come back to the hotel with Kathy later in the summer, but when I asked to book a room they politely told me non you can't. I thought, typical French, then they told me it was the private chateau of Hennessy Cognac and wasn't for rent but maybe, there might be a slim chance we could another time. I'm going to turn up and beg, anyway - beautiful natural amphitheatre in the park in the middle of town, 5000 billy, Steve Lukather, one of the best guitarists in the world opening for us, with a shit hot band, we tore it up, great night.
And those lovely Hennessy people, of course my favourite in the world gave us each a bottle of cognac. Rock and Roll baby! How is it that almost every French town is fab? I dunno.
Back to London for a day off, I had the rare experience of having a day off on my own in town, for that is what we Southern Jessies call London (actually I got lonely and went home in the evening) and went for a long walk along the Thames. If you've never done that, do it, London is one of the world's great cities whether you like it or not, and the view from the river is second to none. What a great place. I'm using the word great rather a lot at the moment. In fact it's starting to great on me.
Must crack on. Motor show, silly high stage, I was actually playing a game of now you see me now you don't to some of the front row, and I'm only 55 and a quarter, I read on the message board we were brill, I thought we were just alright, but as long as you like it that's cool with me.
Merthyr Tydfil next, fantastic weather, I adore the UK when the sun's out, so that's at least 8 days this year, beautiful (say that with a Welsh accent and you'll understand) views over the hills and valleys (same Welsh bit for valleys, and no I'm not stereotyping). Lots of (brackets) as well on this (edition). I'm going to give myself a punch up the ( ). Rocking gig, the 3000 or so that was there sound like twice that number, worralorra noise they made, really great warm vibe. It could have been spoiled by some twat who tried to crowd surf and only succeeded in kicking loads of people in the face, but luckily it didn't all go off, as they say, whoever they are. Great night.
Few days at the country seat (caravan) with amazing weather, ah here we go, summer's here. Well it was for 4 days.
Anyway, back to er work I believe it's called, and Whitehaven, arrived at our hotel in the quaintly named town of Cockermouth, or Nobingob as I'm told it's called by locals. Well, probably not the Mayor or vicar, but lots anyway. Hundreds of support bands ranging from good to shite, then us, cold night, but good, lots of front rowers, nice to see Brian, I think he's called Bigsmig on the MB and family there, few spots of trouble, but goodish security, so all's well that ends well.
Then off to Newcastle, plane to Alesund, Norway, then Helicopter to Måløy for a show at the Tall ships race.. Truly something, I'm sure I've said it before, but one of the great things of being in a band of our stature is that you don't just play in the enormodome in the capital city and maybe one or 2 other towns, you get to some brilliant places and occasions, and this was definitely one of them. And I saw Cindy and Julie, who kindly bought me a coffee as I'm saving up for a new country to buy, so what could be better? Gig in a car park, followed by the best firework display I've ever seen, across the harbour, really lighting up the sky.
Early to bed, as we had to get to Belgium for the next evening, all well until band in bar across street strike up at 1 am. They were also not one of the, shall I say, most proficient bands I ever heard. In fact they were one of the shitist, another new word there. I shall start a new political party and call us the Shitists. We'll probably win the election as well, with our pledge: NO shit! Vote for us and they'll be NO shit! Well, not until that victory celebrating curry... What am I writing here? Anyway, they were shit, I wouldn't have minded the 1.00 start if they were good, (cont'd p.94)
Up next morning, by the way the Hotel, whose name luckily for them escapes me, had by far the shitist (there it is again) buffet ever, with leather encrusted fish and tarred and feathered vegetables amongst the fare on offer, all washed down with a nice glass of Scottish wine, a country well known for its viniculture.
The most scenic views imaginable on the Helicopter ride back to Alesund, really spectacular. Have you noticed I've made no cheap jokes about the size of my chopper by the way? I couldn't think of any, that's the only reason why, I guess it's because it was quite a small one. Flew into Antwerp, where the Pilots let me sit in the jump seat for the landing, never did that before, pretty interesting actually. Gig at Lokerese, in the town centre with the Australian Pink Floyd show, didn't get to see them but I'm told they were wicked, which I'm sure they are. Power went on us twice, but third time lucky, and we took the roof off, except it didn't have a roof, but I'm sure you know what I mean.
The Bulldog Bash with Woodedz. Oops, sorry wrong forum, Shove all that up your arse by the way, it's OUR message board. Turned up in the big Rock show tour bus, did the day properly, special thanks to Lloyd and Mel for their help, plus Daisy, (who gave me a lovely bottle of wine, funnily enough called Daisy Rock, cheers!) Leslie, Vanessa and Theresa for coming, it was much appreciated. I know it's only by our standard, and we haven't been together as a band for that long, longer as a family I grant you, but we were really great, and we have the footage to prove it. We're going to do a proper hatchet, sorry edit job on it and bung it on Youtube for your listening and viewing pleasure.
The people at the Bash are great, every band gets treated the same re stage times, overrunning (you just don't), soundchecks etc. It really makes you want to play a special show - we'd love to have the chance to do it again next year. I actually think we'd probably have done as well as the Fun Lovin' Criminals, a band I really like, but I wouldn't call them a bikers' band. Did I just blow our chances of playing there next year? Oh well, you got to say what you think.
The Bulldog Bash T-shirt is already being proudly sported in Serbia. Max and Freddie, you rock hard. All you need is a good bass player and singer and you d be off and running. Talking of off, as Max is off to Harvard soon, a new drummer is to make her debut on September 12th, let's hear it for Mae Edwards!!!!! Flight's just been put back another hour, ah, the joys of flying.
Dagenham, that f888888 cloud!! Thought I'd use 8 instead of * for when I say fucking. Language John! That was my mum there. As I say, didn't see Showaddywadddy, but saw some of Bay City Rollers, sorry, charisma free zone there for me. David Essex, pretty good, but the F£"%^G, (what do you reckon there? A cornucopia of expletive deletions no less folks) cloud was the star of the day; literally put a damper on the whole affair, except when we were on of course. You were a great audience to stand there all day being metaphorically pissed on and still up for us when we came on. We thank you. By the way, could somebody give me the address of Tony Blackburn's tailor? I'm going to send Big Ron round to pay him a visit.
Then overnight to Hamburg to met those awfully nice Scooters for the video of their song which features large bits of Whatever You Want, looked an amazing set, hey, let's get with the kids I say. I think it's a great move, why not let a great song get some recognition with a new generation?
Anyway. That's it, I'm now on holiday for 10 days, so go away,
love you too,
PS. If you want to see a REAL tour log, check out Joe Satriani's one. Now THAT'S class!
Pictures from Dagenham by Simon Cooper.
To Rhino's Tourlog Index