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Guitar technician reporting from the tourbus....

Sunday, 30 November 2008


The team are back together for a brief Hellenic jaunt - everyone apart from Lloyd and Demians that is. It was a big gig in Athens last night - about 1200 people plus more outside without tickets. After not much sleep we got up horribly early for a spectacular train journey to Thessaloniki, and I now have the luxury of 45 minutes free time before the crew head off to the venue to set up - the rest of the hung over or still hammered enjoying a few hours sleep before sound check. I do hope the band member who puked into the litter bin at Athens central station in front of many curious locals this morning is fit enough to play this evening. In other news, Matt seems to be obsessed with helicopters.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

That's it. Mission accomplished. Greece in two weeks. Just enough time for a quick nap.

Monday, 10 November 2008

The reason John has spent most of the tour in his bunk.
...last day, Portsmouth, pouring with rain, a few frayed tempers. Good venue though - easy for loading in and out due to lack of stairs. Soon it will all be over...

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Despite the Carling Academy in Sheffield smelling of curried rubber chutney, the Barfly in Birmingham utterly aces out any venue so far for all-round vileness (both inside and out). I now look back fondly to the European venues we visited - even the ones I previously had a moan about. All the British ones we've been to so far have been pretty horrible, the Islington Academy being the only exception. They're under-staffed and never cleaned, the in-house equipment is barely capable of doing the job, the dressing room facilities are third-world and the catering is usually non existent. Normally I wouldn't tolerate a Frenchman telling me my country sucks but I have to say Demians have a point as far as our concert venues are concerned. Very embarrassing.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Sitting at home having a brief rest from the road as we're in London today. Mustn't lie down though - I feel I would sleep until next week. The Sheffield gig was a bit of a drag, taking place in a sticky-floored venue that smelled (not in a nice way) of chutney, not to mention a dressing room which had the aroma of the inside of a beach ball and a production office that reeked of curry. All very strange. Both guitar amps failed during soundcheck, as did Les's keyboards, but somehow everything worked fine by show time. It's going to be a big show tonight - lots of press apparently. Best get back to work...

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Turns out the scar from nutting the window in Manchester meant I blended in quite nicely in Glasgow on an evening when Celtic drew with Man United, an event which ensured a steady stream of pissed-up inquisitive punters passing by the bus during load out. They all seemed happy enough, even the chap who admitted to Mick he was considering stealing one of our guitars. Merchandise supremo Sandor narrowly escaped a set-to while buying his dinner, but luckily his favourite Dutch team Feyenoord have historical connections with Celtic so the ruffians let him off.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

4th November 2008, after three days without internet connection...

We're back in the UK and parked up where we started, 11958 miles (or almost half the circumference of the earth) later, at Anathema's bungalow of rock next to the M62 near Leeds. We're here because there was no room for us at the venue in Manchester, but it meant that Les, John, Mick and Lloyd were close enough to visit their families for the night. After the show in a lovely old cinema in Lille (quite understandably referred to as the Manchester of France, though you have to be careful what you say as two-thirds of Demians live there) Vinnie headed to Paris and Jay to Utrecht for their respective days off and are flying over for today's show, in thick fog by the looks of things. Rather them than me. The channel crossing was pretty bizarre. After loading the trailer in Lille I wound down with a couple of beers on the bus as we travelled to Calais, then went to sleep for about an hour. We were then woken to show our passports in something of a daze, and I then proceeded to have three pints of Bass ale at four in the morning in a moderate swell. Having a drink on the ferry is a noble tradition which has to be adhered to no matter what the time of day or what cognitive state one is currently experiencing. As has been said many times on this tour, standards must be maintained. There can't have been more than thirty passengers (excluding truck drivers) on the ferry that night, but that didn't stop us enjoying the company of Anathema's old friends Napalm Death in the bar, or Lloyd dining with an old Icelandic bus driver friend who was on his way to pick up Star Sailor. It's a small world is the world of rock (or insipid indie toss in Star Sailor's case).

The photo is of the noble Gimli, son of Groin, preparing for the concert in Lille.

Breaking news: utterly failed in my attempt to buy a kebab by walking straight into the shop window, almost breaking it and my nose. A plaster and a tin of beer seem to have sorted things out for the time being, though we'll see what happens if I need to change a string. More information will follow...