Week Three

I wasn’t really off on holiday to visit a friend in Northern Ireland that I hadn‘t seen in a few years. I did have a friend in Northern Ireland, but I saw him last year, and I wasn‘t staying with him the whole time like I had told Frank I would be. I'm a big fat liar. If I was put back in a courtroom with that grotesque shaky women with the mismatched eyes I’d be found guilty. I had no choice, I was going on tour with my band and had I declared it they would have thought that I was earning money. We do get paid for shows, but that gets spent on ferries and diesel.

This is what I got up to on my week off.

It has nothing to do with job searching and was originally written for the band website and as a piece in Molten Magazine in Ireland [Just so you don't think I'm screwing the system - I'm not getting paid]. It's also 6000 words long....

The Maze - Nottingham, England

The first thing we had to do was drive to North London to pick up Stef [Guns or Knives]. We battled through the Central London traffic and managed to be only twenty minutes late. The start of tour is always exciting and being that we know Stef very well, we were looking forward to hanging out with him for a week. We made room for Stef’s gear and because we were running late, we drove straight to Nottingham without stopping. On the journey we had the first of many discussions on the subject of how great it was being in a band and doing it yourself, how fantastic The Who are, and how rad Axl Rose is.

The Maze had three stages and we were on the one upstairs. It was a nice little room but it wasn’t set up very well, and after a discussion with the soundman, we rearranged the PA so that people could fit in to watch. It turned out to be a pointless exercise because the amount of people interested would have fitted had we kept with the original layout. Stef had a sore throat and cut his set short because of it. He played the intro to his first song, sang one word, stopped, apologised and said that he wasn’t feeling it, then packed up. Not including Stef or the soundman, we played to roughly six people. We tried a song we had been writing but didn’t do a very good job of it. We made a pact that we wouldn’t do it again this tour.

We had been told when we arrived that the evening was an “eclectic mix of bands”. To us, it just looked like a load of bands shoved on a bill to make up numbers. These types of shows put into perspective how lucky we are to be part of such a great community of bands and promoters, and not have to endure these type of events very often. I might sound ungrateful, but I don’t want to be part of an evening of wannabe rock stars, and Indie bands that want to swap with you on the bill because they have an A&R man coming down to see them.

The music continued until 2am and that meant waiting around for four hours because we were staying at Hannah’s [the promoter]. Stef went and got some sleep in the van and Gareth watched on as me and Phil took to alcohol to ease the boredom. We checked the bands out every so often but spent most of the time outside in the rain, chatting to people. Most of the people were sound, but there was this one arsehole who was walking around asking women if he could see their minges. The arsehole walked past, and one of his victims pointed him out, and a group of us made him apologise to her and another girl! He looked a bit like Kurt Sutherland from the hit ITV soap Coronation Street.

We left the venue just after 2am and headed with Hannah back to her house. Hannah’s house is in the roof area of a chapel in refurbished ex-mental hospital. On entry to her flat we marvelled at the wooden beams and the bridge from the kitchen to the outside area. Hannah showed us where everything was and said we could smoke outside on the roof, the only thing she said we couldn’t do was swing on the pole in the middle of the room because it was unstable. Hannah went to bed so we took turns to see how fast we could go on the exercise bike. We watched a bit of television then headed to the rooftop for a smoke. The flat was beautiful and the rooftop area was a nice touch. After we finished smoking, we headed back inside, across the bridge into the kitchen, then down the steps into the main room. Phil swung on the pole, jumped on the sofa then instantly fell asleep. Gareth and I straightened the pole, took the beer out of Phil’s hand, and got ready for bed.

Audacious Art Experiment - Sheffield, England

In the morning, Hannah noticed that the pole had moved. It was an awkward few seconds, but Gareth took the initiative and grassed Phil up. Phil apologised and we collected our stuff and headed for the van. Sheffield was only a short drive from Nottingham so we had enough time to get some food. We found a Wetherspoons, bought breakfast, and recharged our electrical devices.

The Audacious Art Experiment is next to Bramall Lane [Sheffield United’s football ground] in a small warehouse unit. It is run by a collective of twenty people who use the space for art and music. This show had been put on to celebrate the birthday of Charlotte, one of the people who run it. They decorated the place with what looked like Halloween decorations and we set up our gear in the room at the back. There were five bands playing so it started early.

Lots of people had turned out and the room was full when Stef took to the stage [floor]. Earlier in the day, Stef had told me that he wasn’t going to be singing because his throat was still sore, instead, he would only play guitar. Of course, I told everyone that that was what was going to happen, and must have looked like a pratt when he started giving it some with his voice. Stef didn’t show any discomfort and treated the crowd to thirty minutes of soul-laden shit-hot blues. We played next and it was great, the crowd and whole set up was just perfect. Roseanne Barr played after us and were a mix of early Sonic Youth and the noisier parts of Bikini Kill. They were good, but they‘d do things every now and then that have been parodied a lot by comedians. Like the bit when the singer was banging her drums and staring into the crowd shouting “is that what you want is it? IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT IS IT?” Jennifer Saunders sprung to mind and I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing or nodding along. I liked them, I just wasn‘t keen on those bits. Maybe I need to lighten up. Satellites of Love and Woolf played after and were both also very good.

Once all the bands had finished, a projector was set up on top of my bass cabinet and a film called “Ladies and Gentleman - The Fabulous Stains” was beamed onto a wall. It has one of the most absurd plots ever and everyone in the film act like total cunts to each other, except the Rastafarian coach driver who was nice. The film centres around a young girl’s quest to “make it” with her punk band, and in the process, highlights the fickle nature of young women (young men are fickle too but this film wasn’t about that), and the exploitation of them by the industry and media. It’s not as serious as I’ve made it sound and is actually listed as a comedy. It’s got a young Ray Winstone in it as the singer of the band The Looters and also features Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols and Paul Simonon from The Clash. After the film had finished we drank a bit more then headed back to Sam’s house. Sam had got us this show and is in a brilliant band called Wooderson. He is also a good lad.

Back at Sam’s house, we watched the F1 highlights and talked about Grimsby Town FC. Phil impressed us again with his “fall asleep instantly” trick. He had just finished a sentence when he leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and fell asleep. I thought it was a fluke when it happened the night before, but this proved that it was a real talent. We checked that he really was asleep, took the beer out of his hand, and headed up the steep staircase to bed. Gareth and I shared the double bed and Stef slept on the floor with his massive duvet.

Wolstenholme Creative Space - Liverpool, England

I cleaned myself in the in the morning with the baby wipes I’d brought along [the power shower kept turning itself off], brushed my teeth, then headed downstairs to wake Phil. He was already up and shortly after we were joined by Stef and Gareth. On our way out of Sheffield we had a discussion about the geographical make up of towns and how supermarkets cleverly place themselves on the roads that lead in and out of them. We knew we wouldn’t have a problem getting food because this applied to all the big towns and city’s in the country. By the time we hit the peak district we still hadn’t seen a supermarket and had to enjoy the splendid scenery with empty stomachs, and it wasn’t until we came to the town of Glossop before we could grab some food.

We arrived at the Wolstenholme Creative Space and parked the van outside and waited for a bit because we were early. We were parked next to a funky light installation that looked like it had been built in the 80s. The lights looked like semi exposed bellends placed upon a thin curvy stem and were all different colours. When Phil went off to get us all a cup of tea, Stef and I went and knocked on the door of the venue to see if we could load our gear in. A sweet lass named Priya opened the door and showed us where to set the gear up. The Wolstenholme Creative Space is run by a small group of artists inside a building that was once home to the first Mayor of Liverpool. The building was neglected for many years and as a result, meant they get it on the cheap.

From the way the space was run and used and how ace the crowd was, this show was very similar to the one the day before in Sheffield. Jon [the promoter] played first with his new band Eyes. They were a cross between Enablers and Lungfish and I thought that they were mint. Stef was great again, he seemed to give it more this time. He had bought some Vocalzone lozenges for his voice and said after that they had helped ease the pain. Axl Rose used to take medicine for his voice too. The whole evening had been amazing and after we played, I manned the merch table while Gareth and Jon took the PA back to the rehearsal room it had been hired from. On their return, we cleared up the mess we had made and loaded our gear back into the van and headed for Jon’s house.

Jon had acquired some vouchers for free pizza and ordered a load in. While we waited for it to arrive we took turns in the shower. We had to catch a ferry from Holyhead in the morning so we had an early start. After I finished eating pizza and drinking Vimto I went and got some sleep. It was my turn in the van.

Auntie Annie’s - Belfast, Northern Ireland

Because of the combination of cheese before bed and sleeping with my head the wrong end of a slope I didn’t get much sleep. It was a nice crisp morning, and despite the lack of sleep, I felt great. I phoned the other three to wake them up and gain entry to the house so I could use the toilet and brush my teeth. Jon woke up at the same time as us and came to the van to say goodbye. We put our bags and Stef’s massive duvet into the back, said goodbye to Jon and headed straight for the ferry. I’d had a dream about Stef’s massive duvet just a few hours before and it wasn’t a pleasant one. I told the others about the dream and Stef analysed it and said that it meant that I was a massive gay.

We boarded the ferry and took a seat next to the canteen area. The food was hugely overpriced so we decided to wait until we got to Ireland. Gareth and Stef felt sick so they weren’t keen on the idea anyway. Gareth slept on the floor underneath the table for most of the journey and Stef told stories of the time Shield ‘em got a ferry with Nitkowski. The funniest story was about Henri [Shield Your Eyes] being sick over Ed [Nitkowski], just seconds after boasting about how he didn’t feel seasick!

We disembarked in Dublin and decided to extend our wait for food until we got to Northern Ireland as food would be more reasonably priced there. We stopped in a small town just over the border and found a petrol station. The road that the petrol station was on was lined either side with ten Union Flags. Coming from England It’s easy to forget that there is some hostility in Northern Ireland over its sovereignty. This town was making its views known and it was a stark reminder of a very unfortunate and sad situation.

We had played at Auntie Annie’s before and I recognised the soundman. He had done a great job the last time we were there and did an equally good job this time. Ross [promoter] put on a rad line up of bands [Maw and Comply or Die] and had also done a lot of promotion for the show. He had got us a lot of press and had taken the time to plaster posters around the city. Unfortunately, the attendance didn’t match his efforts and he seemed a bit gutted about it. The amount of people in the room wasn’t that bad and had the room been smaller it would have looked fine. The crowd seemed to enjoy the night and we shifted quite a few records and t-shirts.

We drank a few more beers back at Ross’ house and spoke about music and good times. I like Ross, he is very enthusiastic about music and dedicates a lot of his time to helping out bands like us. The best thing about Ross’ house is the 128k ZX Spectrum in his toilet. It’s not plugged in or anything like that, it just looks mint.

Fred Zepplins - Cork, Ireland

When I awoke, Stef was already awake and writing emails on his laptop. This somehow turned into a long discussion about David Icke and the reptilian master race, and eventually turned into a session of watching internet clips of his interview with Terry Wogan. We went for a walk to find a café, and passed a half pipe where some extreme kids were doing extreme sports whilst listening to extreme music. The streets were full of students and there was a strong feeling of youthful excitement in the air. We found a café called Maggie May’s and we ordered breakfast. Phil ordered a Curly Wurly milkshake to go with his food, and Gareth thought that Phil had ordered it just to hear the lady say Curly Wurly in a Northern Irish accent.

It was nice and sunny in Belfast, but by the time we got to Cork it was pissing down with rain. We had to do a speedy load in to the venue because we were parked on a busy road obstructing traffic. The venue was upstairs and was painted red and black, which matched the colour scheme of our merch. It was great to see the lads from Slugbait again as we had had a rad time with them the last time we were in Cork. I had forgotten how fast they spoke and it took a few moments to adjust. Before the show started, Pete [Slugbait] showed me the smoking room and we watched the Arsenal game on the television. The smoking room was amazing. They had put some sliding doors at one end of the pub and cut two holes into the ceiling. It used to be just the one hole but health and safety had been in and told them that it wasn’t legal.

The show was great, Fat Actress and Slugbait were both immense and Stef continued to be brilliant. The stage was wide and that suited us down to a tittle as everyone had space to move. It was tight for time but we managed to play our whole set and only over ran by a few minutes. We packed our gear up and put it on the stage as we were leaving it there for the night. I had a chat with Edel and Dany [Art For Blind - one of the labels that put out Dead Lake] who had moved from Leeds to Cork a couple months earlier. They couldn’t hang about for long as Edel had work in the morning. Gareth drove his van back to Louie’s [Slugbait - we were staying at his house] and later met Me, Phil and Stef at a bar in town.

The bar was packed with the type of people I’d usually avoid, but I was on holiday so I didn’t mind. The music wasn’t too bad and they even played the chain by Fleetwood Mac. Gareth managed to get drunk within ten minutes of being there and spent most of the evening on the dance floor with Pete. Seb [Slugbait and promoter] wasn’t able to hang out with us which was a shame as I’d not spoken to him much during the show.

They kicked everyone out at around 3am and a mass of people congregated on the pavement outside of the pub. A fight broke out between one of the guys we were with [I’ve forgotten his name] and some dickhead. I manoeuvred in between them to calm things down and it occurred to me that I probably shouldn’t have. If he’d turned on me I’d have got my arse kicked! The last proper fight involving me was with Oliver, a kid from Brunel Court when I was only fourteen years old. I won that one, but the experience wouldn’t have helped me in this situation. Fortunately the fight ended there and we were able to make our way back to Louie’s house, where we drank some more, watched you tube clips, and listened to a band called Ten Past Seven who were mint.

Sally Longs - Galway, Ireland

Louie cooked us breakfast in the morning and we headed into Cork city centre to have and a nose, and so Stef could get some guitar strings. Cork is a lovely place but we didn’t stick around for very long. We looked in the music shop and a charity shop and headed back to Louie’s for a shower, then to Fred Zepplins to pick up our gear.

The drive to Galway took just under three hours and we arrived at the venue on time. The bar manager wasn’t very friendly and nor were his customers. Luckily they didn’t hear Stef refer to someone back home as a pikey. Stef hadn’t meant it in its racist context, in the South of England the word pikey is used to describe someone with poor social skills, listens to rave music, and thinks that so and so should win X-factor. Basically, it’s another word for chav. When Stef realised what he had said, his face turned to one of fear, and he looked around to see if anyone had heard then suggested to me that he should probably stop talking!

The promoter gave us a bag of food and we opened it to see what was inside. There was a large bag of tortilla chips, a salsa dip, a packet of bourbon biscuits, apples and six energy drinks. It was a strange thing to have for dinner but I didn’t mind, I was hungry. Since Belfast, I’d only eaten a sandwich and a breakfast. Food in Ireland was expensive, and the little money I did have was being spent on beer.

We had put my 8x10 bass cabinet on to a pool table to make space on the stage. Because of its size we had to put it on lying down sideways and it looked grand. Stick Around were the other band on the bill and they had an American punk sound, something I never got into, but they were as good as any band that I’d heard of in that genre. It’s nice to watch bands every now and then that you wouldn‘t normally listen to. Ironically, after Stick Around finished some of the crowd left. It didn’t matter, there were still plenty of people there to watch us. It was a good show and we played slightly longer than normal.

After I packed my leads and my bass away I headed for the merch table to find Stef was manning it for us. He looked like he was coping fine so I stopped off for a beer at the bar. I bought a Smithwicks India Pale Ale and I thought it tasted the same as Young’s Pilsner, which isn’t an IPA. It was nice and I particularly enjoyed its undertone of subtle floral notes - basically, I could taste elderflower.

We packed our gear away and Mike [Stick Around] bought us all chips in pita bread from the kebab shop near the venue. The area was full of students and there was total chaos on the small streets of Galway. People were smashing glasses and men and women were pissing anywhere they could. It was like a Saturday night in Kingston or Bolton, just on a smaller scale and with a nicer backdrop. We stayed at Mike’s house that night and he was a thoroughly nice guy with lots and lots of energy. He had an acoustic bass in the living room and we took turns playing it and made up some comical names for the songs on my fictional record “BASSically Whitehorn”. I told Mike that he looked like the England footballer Stewart Downing but he had never heard of him. Mike went to bed as he had to go to work in the morning, we followed suit shortly after and Stef slept in the van with his massive duvet.

Ruta Live - Dublin, Ireland

Tonight’s show was in Dublin, with the promoter Murmur Presents. They had put on our show the last time we were in Dublin and I will always remember it as the craziest Halloween party I’d ever been to. We met up with one half of Murmur [Steve] outside his work and he told us that this was going to be the last Murmur show for the foreseeable future. Steve jumped in the van with us and we went to meet the other half of Murmur [Connor]. Steve and Connor bought us each a burrito at Boojum, a Mexican style chain restaurant. It was the best food I’d had all tour and just thinking about it makes me wet at the lips. I bought myself a root beer to wash the food down, and we took a walk to a record store that had just opened that very day. We had a little browse, wished we had more money on us, then headed back to the van and drove to Ruta Live, the venue for the show.

The stage still had equipment on it from the night before so we had to pack that down before we could set up our own gear. Stef mentioned to me that he had taken a dump in the ladies toilets because it was cleaner than the Gents and they had locks on the doors. I too needed a dump so I copied Stef and used the ladies. The bar wasn’t open to the public so we weren’t infringing upon anyone’s privacy. Stef was right, they were cleaner, and they did have locks on the doors. They even had soap in the soap dispenser, and bowls of potpourri next to the sink. I don’t mind not having potpourri in the Gents but it would be nice to have locks on the doors, soap, and a dry floor.

This show will go down as one of my favourite shows of all time. Once again, Stef was excellent, throughout the tour he had grown in confidence playing to crowds on his own and his shit hot blues was hotter than ever [that last sentence is precisely the reason I’ll never give gig reviewing a go]. Jogging went on second. We had played with them on the same bill at the Big Horse Party II in Leeds a few months before. They were one of the stand out bands for me, and I’d been looking forward to seeing them again ever since. They played a set of songs both new and old and I recognised the ones from their album “Minutes”, which is a fantastic record. Jogging were mint, everything I’d remembered them being. When we went on the venue was still packed with people and I felt a little nervous and very excited. We also did a set of new and old songs and after we had finished Across The River And Into The Trees, the crowd asked for an encore. After we had played the encore, they asked us to do another! We were all soaking wet from head to toe in sweat as it was so hot on stage, and Gareth and Phil looked like they had jumped into a swimming pool.

I headed over to the merch table and chatted to lots of ace people. I met Ian Maleney and Naomi Neu! [also known as Nay McCardle] for the first time, Ian had published an interview he had done with us on Thumped.com and Naomi had said some nice stuff about us on the internet after our last visit to Dublin. After a year of stalking them on Twitter, it was nice to finally meet them properly. The whole night was everything I hoped it would be and I’d had a banger. We loaded our gear through the heavy rain into the back of the van and made our way to Steve and Connor’s house.

Back at Steve and Connor’s we ordered in some pizza and I had a shower. There was still a load of beer left over from the show so we all tucked in. Connor phoned some of his friends and tried to convince them, and us, that we should meet half way between the houses on a roundabout. The plan was to take a ghetto blaster so that we could dance on the roundabout in the rain. It was 4.30am by this point so his friends on the other end of the phone weren’t up for it. Steve said that Connor didn’t own a ghetto blaster anyway. We had to be awake at 6am to catch the ferry, and at 5am, I laid down on the carpet and shut my eyes.

Music From Elsewhere Festival - Bishops Castle, England

I’d been asleep for an hour when Gareth woke me up. The party was still happening but they had left the room I was in, turned out the light, and someone had covered me with a blanket. There were new faces in the house and the friends Connor had been speaking to about meeting on a roundabout must have arrived when I was asleep. I went upstairs to wake Phil, and to my surprise, he got up at the first time of asking. Phil had had less sleep than the rest of us [nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more]. We said our goodbyes to Connor and Steve and made our way to the ferry port.

We boarded the ferry and headed for the sofas so we could sleep. Gareth, Stef and Phil fell asleep straight away but I watched on in horror as the whole place filled up with Manchester United fans. Two united fans had sat on a table in between Stef and Phil, and before I fell asleep, I noticed that one had put a beer on to the table front of him. When I woke up an hour and a half later, their table was filled with empty beer cans and their eyes weren‘t opening as wide as they were before. Pretty impressive considering it was 10.30am.

We disembarked in Wales and headed for Bishops Castle. I had been told many times about how beautiful some parts of Wales are and just thought that they were exaggerating. Wales is incredibly beautiful. We stopped off for a bit and took some photos and laughed at some sheep. David Icke had said that humans laugh at sheep because they are stupid, so every time we saw one we’d pretend to laugh and call it stupid. It was never particularly funny but it did pass the time on long journeys. We continued our journey through Wales, pointing at stuff, and promising ourselves that we’d holiday there next year. We made one more stop off just before England, this time a toilet, because Phil and I needed to poo. The walls of the cubicle were filled with the phone numbers of men promising to swallow my cum. At first I thought it was a joke, but judging by the sheer amount of it, I realised that it probably wasn’t. All the messages had been dated and were recent. Phil said that his cubicle was the same.

When we turned up to the Music From Elsewhere Festival the sun was out and it was hot. England had been having a heat wave while we were away. We said hello to Dave and Liz [Lancashire and Somerset Dance Society, great people and festival organisers] and they told us about the barrel of beer that we could help ourselves to. The pub had its own micro brewery and they had brewed a beer especially for the festival. The day was a charity fundraiser and the crowd was made up of locals and the friends of Dave and Liz from all over the country. The crowd varied in age from babies to the elderly and the bill was an “eclectic mix of bands”. This was a good example of what an eclectic mix of bands should look like. The music styles were different, but the quality of the bands was the same. The event looked like this

MUGSTAR - mind bending psychedelic rock music from the cosmic North (errr Liverpool)

MARY HAMPTON - genius folk journeys from Brighton

SILENT FRONT - amazing post hardcore from London - shellac meets sonic youth meet melvins!! yes!!

GUNS OR KNIVES - Stef from 'Shield Your Eyes' treats us to re-workings of Son House / Mississippi Fred McDowell

SWEET WILLIAMS - members of Charlottefield / Ox Scapula and Lamp create heavy rocking post angular blues

VAN COEUR - re- assembled Good Morning Captain shift down a gear into For Carnation blues workouts

BLACK OCTAGON - Journeys into English Folk and American Blues atmospheres

MIND MOUNTAIN - 3 men worshipping at the alter of Sabbath - long riffs around the cosmic nod!

MOTES - Bristol super group from member of Soeza / Line / Headfall create minimalist rock

THE HORSE LOOM - Unit Ama guitarist/vocalist Steve Malley creating amazing folk songs via the druid lay line

McWATT - Leeds duo of flute / accordion and double bass, how sea shanties should sound!

SPITTING COBRA - overworked / underplayed heavy/loud noise rock      

Two guys we’d met over the past week were at the show too. One was a chap called Sam [Spitting Cobra] who had played with us in his other band Eyes at the Liverpool show. The other chap was a guy called Chris who is in a couple of ace bands – Lords and Kogumaza, we had met him in Nottingham on the very first night of tour. In fact, the line up was full of people we had met over the years through music. It was a bit like the last episode of Quantum Leap.

Because there were children in attendance, Stef changed some of the lyrics to a few of his songs. It was disappointing; Axl Rose would have kept the rude words in there. It was a tremendous day and we had felt privileged to have been asked be a part of it. Mugstar brought the festival to a close with a set of cosmic rock and a psychedelic light show.

We walked back to Dave and Liz’s house and hung out with Sweet Williams, The Horse Loom and various members of the other bands. I was too tired to drink and Liz made me and Stef a cup of tea. In the garden, three tents had been erected, two normal ones and a tepee. We were given the tepee.

After a long fight with tiredness, I gave in and headed for the tepee. Phil and Stef followed shortly after and Gareth slept in the van.

Home - The Town I live In, England

I woke up to find a slug just inches from my face. Stef was already up and about but Phil was snoring happily next to me. I got out of the tepee and headed into the house where Liz was making everyone coffee and Dave was making toast. I found Stef and we made our way to the van to wake Gareth. It was a pleasant morning and the church bells were ringing and families were making their way to church. We woke Gareth and made our way back to the house to wake Phil and collect our bags. We said our goodbyes to Liz and everyone left in the house from the night before and headed with Dave to the venue to collect our gear. We thanked Dave for the great day, said goodbye, then headed home.

Twenty minutes into the drive home Gareth groaned, swore then told us that the van had lost power. The van had broken down only a few weeks before we went on tour and the symptoms were the same. We pulled into a pub car park and Stef asked to have a look at the engine before Gareth phoned for breakdown recovery. Stef had concluded that we might have had a water leak and that may of caused the engine to overheat and shut down. We filled the engine up with water and the water came straight out of a pipe that had become disconnected. Stef and Phil reconnected the pipe the best they could and Gareth and I went and filled up some bottles of water for the engine. For fixing the van, Gareth and I treated Stef to a Sunday Roast in the Nags Head [the pub we had parked in]. We were served our food by two young ladies and Phil explained to us what he would do to them, with their consent.

We were originally going to drop Stef in North London but he had told us not to as the van wasn’t entirely fixed and that it would be silly to risk it. When we got home we unloaded our gear, Stef had a shower, and I made myself a cup of tea and reflected upon the week gone by. It had been fun and I couldn’t wait to do it all again. When Stef finished in the shower we said our goodbyes, and did the usual end of tour hugs. Stef would be coming round ours a week later for the Triple Jump all-dayer so he only took some essentials, and left us with his guitars, his amp and cabinet, a bag of clothes, and his massive duvet.