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Guitar technician reporting from the tourbus....

Sunday, 25 July 2010


So Anathema finally make good on their promise and return to play a gig that should have happened well over a year ago, the venue this time being an old prison rather than an important and culturally sensitive national landmark. I guess they thought it would be handy to have cells close to hand in case a spot of impromptu cat sacrificing broke out mid-gig (government officials were present just in case, scrutinising events from an elevated row of patio chairs, and a couple of not very secret agents were reportedly seen shadowing band members as they enjoyed a drink in a local bar later that night). As he's currently lounging around in Majorca, John's drum stool was filled on this occasion by Portuguese stand-in Daniel Cardoso who did an incredible job considering he'd had just one and a half rehearsals. Great drummer though he is, he does have some work to do before he reaches the standard of the legendary John Douglas. For example, I imagine it would be quite some time before he's seen baring his arse at Danny from the side of the stage during a heartfelt and tender acoustic number. You've either got it or you haven't.

The Tunisians now hold the gold medal in the "hotel furthest from venue" sub-category of international pro-celebrity gig sorting, making the Russians look like rank amateurs and leaving them smarting in humiliation. I honestly don't know what the Tunisians were thinking (a common notion, I found). It's like playing a gig in Manchester and staying in Birmingham, it being a tortuous slog down the motorway (a game which involves driving very slowly while keeping the white line separating the lanes as close to the centre of your bonnet as possible) to and from our annoying beach resort hotel where they served tasteless beer that doesn't get you pissed and where I felt like a tit dressed as a roadie among all the vacationing families. Who's bright idea was it to dump a rock band and their crew in a place where all the entertainment and facilities are designed to please ten-year-olds anyway? The person whose uncle runs the bloody place, that's who. God knows what the rest of the guests thought of us, though I have a good idea what some of the staff were thinking. As Mark and I ate our dinner one evening the waiter insisted on putting a floral spray on our table (replacing it after I moved it), asking us in that particular way if we were enjoying our stay. And then there was the Tunisian Bruno who it seems would have been prepared to do anything to get one of us to have a game of ping pong with him. Jay finally obliged (and beat him), but the only thing Bruno bummed that day was a couple of cigarettes off Les.

Anyway, after the gig (more on that later) we got back to the hotel at three-am, and deciding not to visit a nearby bar with everyone else as I was bloody knackered, I went straight to my room where I found all my belongings were missing - clean clothes, shampoo, the lot. It turns out the maid had somehow misinterpreted my reply of "no thanks" when she'd asked earlier if I wanted my room cleaned as "yes, and not only that, can you remove all my possessions and put them in your office, apart from any toiletries which you should put in a carrier bag and hide it under the bed." Seriously, the mind boggles. Anyway, after remonstrating with the front desk I was eventually told my things were in safe hands and would be brought to me in the morning, though they would wait for me to call so I wouldn't be disturbed. Unsurprisingly, I was woken up at eight-thirty by the maid hammering on the door. I was not happy. I tried to get back to sleep but conceded defeat a couple of hours later and went for some food and a couple of beers in an effort to feel sleepy again. It did the trick and I went back to bed. An hour or so later the phone rang, and like an idiot I answered it. I was to immediately vacate the room - they needed it for new arrivals. So instead of slumbering in air-conditioned loveliness I found myself seething and drinking vodka in the insane heat while watching masochistic nutters doing aerobics to bad techno music. I really was not happy. I put my stuff in Les's room (he'd forgotten to put his "coldener" on so it was mafting in there), returning a little while later for a much needed nap, only to turfed out of there after half an hour as they needed that room as well. What the hell was going on? It felt as if there was some insane conspiracy to make my stay in Tunisia as miserable and frustrating as possible. Our flight back to the UK wasn't until two-thitrty in the morning (why??) but that didn't stop our hosts from then deciding we'd be picked up at seven to go to a bar in Tunis until it was time to go to the airport. What? Are you insane?


We refused to go along with their stupid plans anymore and I went and sat in a corner with my headphones on and listened to some Cardiacs to calm myself down. We were finally picked up at ten and I don't think I've ever been more relieved to get the hell out of anywhere in my life.

Anyway, the gig, allowed to go ahead despite more accusations of satanism, was good though the PA lacked oomph. The crowd had a great time, though sadly absent was the lovely Myriam who'd made such an effort to make our stay pleasant last time we visited, refused entry by some dick head among the promoter's entourage who'd been "wronged" in some way. Grow up idiot. Support act Carthogods were entertaining, having brought Fabio Lione over from Italy for a spot of stunt singing. Universal was played with an interesting twist and the mayor of Tunis was sufficiently impressed to allow more rock at the venue in the future. Good though this news is, I really don't know how long it'll be before I'll feel like making a return visit.

Best quote of the trip?

"I can say this now, my rival has a nuclear weapon on the darkness of his anus" - Ahmed Chebil on the shit-stirring, letter-writing, satanism-accusing rival promoter.

And the moral to this tale? Never suggest a Tunisian man's wife is a donkey.


Timangy said...

Awww, poor Darryl! No sleep and no rest makes you The Angry Hulk?
Are you touring with Anathema later on autumn tour too?

Anonymous said...

that's pretty fucked up :S ...
its just driving me kinda crazy cuz i was thinkin that this time everything was nothin BUT perfect... :(
no wonder why i hate my own country :S
whatever thanks for everything Darryl... and hope we will meet again soon BUT SOMEWHERE ELSE...


Darryl Anthony said...

The gig was great, don't get me wrong, but it seemed all the rest of it was organised for others' convenience rather than our own and I just snapped after a while. A man needs his sleep, especially if he's been working hard to set up a concert in 40 degree heat.

I will be doing the autumn tour(s). You know where you are on a bus.

Myriam Khalfallah said...

Thanks so much guys :) . I was really happy to see you on the airport even for a short time. I hope to see you in London.
xxxx :)

Anonymous said...

"I honestly don't know what the Tunisians were thinking (a common notion, I found)" so true!!

"I don't think I've ever been more relieved to get the hell out of anywhere in my life."

Tell me about it...consider yourself lucky, at least you don't live here.

Tunisians are fervent followers of what I call 'illogicism' which is an utter refusal to reason and act logically and a call to embrace madness and nonesense.

Still, I hope Anathema will come back soon. The gig was epic, and it brought some magical moments in our tasteless lives.

Darryl Anthony said...

"Tunisians are fervent followers of what I call 'illogicism' which is an utter refusal to reason and act logically and a call to embrace madness and nonesense."

That's very interesting. Nice to know I'm not just a moaning old bugger.

Anonymous said...

You said it, man!