Blog: The Validators Tour Germany: Part Three
We struggled back round to Ostpol, where Wickes were already gathered. The resemblance of two of them to Simon & Garfunkel had already been noted, and so I was treated to the sight of Art Garfunkel riding Paul Simon round a car park whilst singing a word perfect version of 'Patio Song' by Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - INCLUDING the Welsh bits. I don't remember THAT being in Mr A Yentob's documentary.
Skint & Demoralised arrived straight after us, and our hearts went out to Matt The Singer, who said "I was really worried about us being late and holding everyone up." They were there TEN MINUTES after the stated time, and NOBODY was anywhere NEAR ready to set off yet - it's not very rock and roll to be so cautious about upsetting other people's travel plans, but it WAS in fact BLOODY LOVELY.
At this point we also noted Martin perched precariously on a STONE BANNISTER, trying to look inside the venue to see if his record box was still there. I felt unequal to the task of standing on the GROUND, so admired his bravery.
The rest of The Validators got in the car with Kati and Ulrikka, whilst I got into a VAN with Skint & Demoralised, leaving Martin to wait for the venue to open so he could check for his records, also for The Lovely Eggs. I got myself in the FRONT for the drive back, leaving S&D to get all SNUGGLED UP TOGETHER in the back (NB I have a LOVELY picture of this event) while I had a snooze. I got back just after The Vlads and we had a very sophisticated TEA and STOLLEN break.
I think it was around this time that the FUNNIEST THING ALL TOUR occurred: I cut the Stollen up to share, and me, Tom and Frankie all took a piece. "I think I'll have a crisp sandwich instead," said Tim.
"TIM!" said Frankie. "The BAND are eating STOLLEN!!" "You're RUINING OUR HOLIDAY!" I added, and Tim capitulated. Then we LARFED. REALLY A LOT. It may not seem THAT hilarious now, but goodness me it was at the time.
After various SHOWERS we headed off to the venue, stopping off on the way to look at a MACABRE SIGHT that Tim had spotted earlier - a gravestone with NAME and BIRTH DATE on it... but NO DEATH DATE. "They must be waiting to see if she'll live to the New Year", said Tim.
It took us AGES to find Gretchen, the venue - I hadn't got a street number, and though we found a handy POSTER in the street, that didn't help much as the HOUSES didn't have numbers, and there was no SIGN. Eventually we heard DRUMS SOUNDCHECKING round the back of some buildings and forced our way in through the fire escape. Other people managed to get in the FRONT!
It was a MASSIVE place - 700-1000 capacity, apparently - and the dressing room ALONE was far bigger than most places I've ever played. We did some Olympic Level LURKING AROUND for a bit, all still feeling a little delicate, before enjoying the HEMP BEER provided. I thought it was rather nice, but others found it a bit WEIRD. We also played a game of "What Publican Are You?" This was achieved by taking it in turns to stand behind the bar and... er... see what sort of publican your looked like. It was kicked off by Tim CLEARLY being BORN to run a country pub, then Tom turned out to be serving cocktails, Frankie was clearly a Regular who'd been left in charge for five minutes, and I... well, I looked (AND FELT) like a Divorcee who'd blown all his Redundancy Money on a pub which he didn't know how to run, and had regretted it ever since. Clearly I belong on the CUSTOMER side of the bar.
Standard Fare arrived, all the way from GLASGOW, and there were SOUNDCHECKS with a very STERN sound man. I found him a bit TOO stern, but it was probably just the language difference. He DID keep telling Tom to turn the violin down... which, of course, UPSET ME NO END.
TEA was provided in the form of PEA SOUP (with or without SAUSAGE) which was dead nice, and soon it was SHOWTIME once more. First on were H Hawkline aka 60% of Wickes, who were ACE, before The Lovely Eggs and then US! I think we did rather well in terms of AUDIENCE SIZE - there were roughly as many people in as there had been the night before in Dresden, but it FELT a bit less due to the size of the room. By the time we got on people had all ARRIVED and been brought forward by The Eggs, though afterwards they gently leaked out a bit - I think this was PROBABLY due to it being SUNDAY and Quite Late, rather than us forcing them away!
For LO! I think we were ACTUALLY ALL RIGHT! Here's what we did:
We did a shorter set because I THORT I'd heard somebody say we'd played longer than anyone else the night before - we may well have done, but I suddenly became PARANOID that it was too much. Doing THIS length worked pretty well, I think, as the Stern Soundman did a TOP job. Everything felt GRATE on stage and I had a WHALE of a time just playing the songs - playing with all these GOOD BANDS is a bit scary, as they all look like they know what they're doing, whereas I'm pretty sure that we DON'T most of the time. On this particular evening, however, I think we carried it off pretty well!
I kept the German Chat to a MINIMUM this time around, as it hadn't gone down awfully well in Dresden (one man said to me "The Lovely Eggs made an effort, but YOU... you should really ask people how things are pronounced before you speak these words") and used the ENGLISH BANTER to deal with English Heckling... which was actually just some people I met later who wanted to hear Fucking Hippy. I'm taking that as our REQUEST for next time!
Wickes were up next and, much to our horror, announced that this was their final gig! For heaven's sake - it takes us AGES to find Modern Young Bands we all like, it's simply RUDE for them to pack it in five minutes later!! The reason, it seems, is just because they're all in different, more ACTUAL bands (this was only their 2nd gig in 14 months, apparently) so we determined to follow THOSE instead.
Then it was Standard Fare, who were GRATE... and I'm pretty sure they knew we thought so, as the four of us spent the whole gig at the front of the audience SINGING ALONG. We really really like them, and they were AMAZING. I've got the new album on my MyPod so spent much of the time DELIGHTING other Validators by NUDGING them and saying "This one is MY FAVOURITE!"
We had a JIG AROUND to the marvellous Skint & Demoralised at the end, and then that was that, the gigs were OVER and it was back to some LURKING and HUGGING. Having sold almost NONE CDs we went around FOISTING them on all the other bands - the box they were contained in was soaked with BEER, so it would be hard to carry and, anyway, i had STOLLEN to fit in my bag. I think we MAY have embarrassed Standard Fare with our ENTHUSIASM for them, as they insisted we at least take a t-shirt in exchange for CDs. I was very happy to do so!
We HUGGED all and sundry, thanked Martin HUGELY for having us, introduced him to Mr E Argos, who had come along (and who I got EMBROILED in a lengthy Marvel VS DC debate with) then headed off for some GRUB. We saw the Argoses again outside a Kebab Stand, where I got MORE SALAD. It was like being on a HEALTH DRIVE!
Back at the flat there was time for a little more chat, some GRUB HOOVERING, and an almost PERFECT rendition of "Do They Know It's Christmastime" (Tom got The Bono Line and - APPALLING - didn't know how it went!) before bed. Next morning we nipped out on the tube (yes, we DID Validate this time) to a Christmas Market for some SOUVENIRS (it wasn't as good, oddly, as the one in Hyde Park I went to a couple of weeks ago) before coming back for one last bit of EATING UP and TIDYING and then heading off to the airport.
The journey home was a LOT less incident packed - Tom got stopped AGANE, but that was about it, and a few hours later we found ourselves saying our goodbyes at the bus stop at Luton Station. So much had happened but, for me, it hardly felt like any time at all since we were meeting there. It had been a bloody fantastic weekend with some actually RATHER LOVELY people, and we agreed that we'd all LOVE to do it again.
Maybe not for a little while yet though - I'm KNACKERED!!
posted 16/12/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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