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Blog: Day 7: Nottingham

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Thursday began with a long queue for our toilet, followed by a BIG BREAKFAST as cooked by ME. Suitably fattened we loaded up for the last time and headed off, only pausing to have lots of photographs taken of ourselves with the van... really we were choking back the TEARS, as we all knew it was the last day. When we stopped off at Cambridge Services for our LAST Service Station Stop Frankie had to buy a copy of The Daily Sport to charge up the ON TOUR BATTERIES a bit, that's how bad it was.

We arrived in Leicester on time and everybody drove off for a quick break at home, whilst Tom did a bit more ADMIN to keep STOCK LEVELS in check and I sat down and WROTE a new song, before heading off to pick up The Pattisons from their bucolic idyll in the countryside, now surrounded by BEES. The plan was to get to Frankie's and record our exciting new song "Other Band's Setlists" (the VERSES of which are made up of setlists we'd collected along the way) ready for use on the next single so, as I say, I'd been FEVERISHLY writing it earlier on and we all had a practice of it on the way to Derby. On the outskirts of town I TEXTED FORWARD to get the studio valves warmed up... at which point we got stuck in a traffic jam for 45 minutes, so that by the time we got to Machine Mansions we had to get straight in the van and go.

It was a real shame, as when I popped into his house for a WEE i discovered that he'd set up his posh microphone LOVELY in the living room, it would've been brilliant if we could have done a recording there and then. Still, I guess it's an excuse for a REUNION soon-ish.

Anyway, to heighten the mood Frankie had brought us some MORE BEER and so we set off, with Tim quickly ringing work to get himself the next day off too, that he might DRINK. We arrived in Nottingham to find it PACKED to the GUNNELS with Guns & Roses fans - the band we playing at the arena next door, so The Bunkers Hill Inn was RAMMED by raddled old ROck Fans in freshly laundered G&R t-shirts and elasticated jeans. The babysitters of Nottingham must have had a FIELD DAY! It was ever so slightly annoying though, as you could NOT get to the bar, and by the time they'd gone most of the lager beer was SOLD.

We got set up and got on with the soundcheck, during which i became MORE ON-TOUR than ever before, and VERY NEARLy had a COLOSSAL STROP just because I couldn't hear myself perfectly right from the off. Oh dear! We then went round the corner to The Most InEfficient Chip Shop In The World, where it took twenty SWELTERING minutes to get served, then headed back to the venue, which was BOILING. I ended up sitting on the merchandise stand for most of the evening, so didn't hear most of the other bands, although Mr Pete Green was as excellent as ever. All sorts of lovely people came, and there was a HEAVY CONTINGENT from BOWLIE, many of whom had been drinking ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY, several of whom were barred from service by the evening's close: ROCK!

DISASTER struck, however, when we went to get set up - Tim's CYMBALS had disappeared! Tempers flared as we tried to search for them, and ended up hunting down some of the other bands. Eventually it looked like another drummer had taken Tim's by mistake, although it was VERY frustrating trying to find out if this was the case as he'd already cleared off home and they couldn't get hold of him. It looks now as if it WAS an accident, but I was still a bit cheesed off about it. It's GOOD FORM to put the drumkit back how you found it, it's NOT good just to clear your own stuff away and go home without bothering to set things right when you've finished. I disapprove!

ALSO panic was in the air about the delay to proceedings, but i was PROUD of us when the whole of TEAM VALIDATOR came to Tim's aid to search and INQUIRE about the cymbals. It was nearly quarter to eleven when we finally got on stage, and did THIS:
  • Better Things To Do
  • Born With The Century
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • The Fight For History
  • Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
  • Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
  • The Gay Train
  • Leave My Brother Alone
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • As I said the other day, it turned out to probably be the BEST GIG OF THE TOUR! There was a LOT of dancing, MUCH shenanigans on stage, LOTS of chat and MY GOODNESS ME at times it felt like the whole ROOM was singing along. IT! ROCKED! I got told off by Frankie and Emma for LEAPING ABOUT, as apparently that contributes to Strap Breakage, and ended up introducing the whole band TWICE, once mid-set and then again at the start of the encore, just because it was all so LOVELY.

    People had been shouting for Billy Jones Is Dead throughout the set, so that seemed to be an obvious song to do, but when it was over it didn't feel like enough - all week we'd had heated debates about the VALIDITY of the two song encore, but this time it really felt necessary. People had shouted for Boom Shake The Room too, but I wasn't sure until Francis gave the nod: "Just play it", he said, so i did. I got two bars in before Tim launched into a JAZZ version of it, joined by Frankie, so I handed my guitar over to Tom and FREE STYLED it - i have RARELY had so much fun in a gig. Emma was singing the choruses, i was DANCING, the band were JAMMING, and the whole crowd were joining in, it was UTTERLY BLOODY BRILLIANT!

    Afterwards there was the traditional cavorting and chatting, not least with the young gentlemen who'd written our review in The Morning Star, who CHALLENGED my assertion that I was sweatier than he was. I simply WRUNG OUT a corner of my t-shirt, splashing his shoes, and his challenge was DEFEATED.

    It was too late to get more beer, but luckily there was just enough in the van for another each, and we loaded up and set off full of JOY. We all EAGERLY agreed that we'd DEFINITELY do it again, and when we did our first drop-off in Derby we had a MASSIVE GROUP HUG. Tim and Emma were dropped next, and Tom and I were left with a much lighter unload than normal when we got back to Leicester.

    Next day we returned the van and I had a VERY SWEATY journey home with a full bag of leftover merchandise and TWO guitars on my back - so sweaty indeed that on the way to the station a slack-jawed moron riding his bike on the pavement said "Uh! Tramp! You wanna wash!" as he BRAVELY cycled past, and if HE could spot it, so could everyone else!

    I got home RELIEVED we'd done it, but also SAD that it was all over. Excuse my vanity for a moment when I say it was a HELL of an achievement - most other bands would NEVER go seven straight nights without a break, most other bands would get someone else to drive them round, other people to load their gear, and would generally pay several MORE people to organise it for them, and then expect to be lead by the hand and treated like GENTLE ROYALTY for the week. We organised the WHOLE THING ourselves, drove ourselves around the country (1370 miles!), carted our own gear around, ran our own shop, and generally GOT ON beautifully together. It's only now sinking in what an achievement it was for all of us, and how much I'd LOVE it if we could do it again.

    Not for a little while yet though - I'm bloody knackered!

    posted 29/7/2006 by MJ Hibbett

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    The Nottingham gig was the best gig in the history of music - I don't think I've ever danced so much at a live concert before. Wonderful! You rock our little sparkly world!

    Marianthi x
    posted 30/7/2006 by Anonymous

    You're definitely sweatier than me...

    J x
    posted 4/8/2006 by James

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