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Guitar technician reporting from the tourbus....

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Berlin then home

Local support Dance on the Tightrope's ample guest list ensured there was a far healthier crowd at Berlin's graffiti-clad Comet Club, and those that stayed to watch the headliners were as taken aback as any lucky punter on this short tour by the sheer wall of glorious noise North Atlantic Oscillation produce live. If merchandise sales are any indication as to whether or not a tour has been successful one can't help but conclude they must have made a pretty strong impression on virtually everyone that turned up, who to a man will soon be boasting that they were there in October 2011 in a tiny club with a handful of others just before NAO hit the big time. And they'll have the tee-shirt to prove it. They really are that good and I wish them every success. Check them out here

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Hamburg 2

As far as the evening meal was concerned we chose (well, drummer Ben chose) a random Italian restaurant close to the Reeperbahn, waited well over an hour for some decidedly dodgy tucker and watched amazed as the head chef resigned right there and then in a fit of pique, marking his departure by smashing a large dish on the kitchen floor. Gordon Ramsay would have had a field day.


I never thought I'd write these words but I really wish there was a Formule 1 hotel nearby we could check into for a couple of nights - anything other than the unsettlingly weird Wira Guesthouse we've just dumped our bags in and fled to the nearest bar from. It seems an ageing gentleman found himself with a few redundant rooms in quite a large council flat, presumably after his children grew and fled the nest and his missus either left him or died - or perhaps both. One assumes at which point he thought, "Hang on, what if I put six beds in each room, name each after a continent (or a country for ante-rooms), and then charge people to stay there, all the while providing the absolute bare minimum in terms of facilities. Yes, that will work." And it does, kind of. We had to pay extra for "bedding" - our foam mattresses bend upwards at the corners because the elasticated sheets are too tight, the cases to cover our malformed, inadequate pillows are far too large and completely the wrong shape for their lumpy contents, and we find ourselves having to tip-toe past six sleeping strangers to get to our dingy quarters - quite arbitrarily named "Sweden". The room puts me in mind of Sweden in much the same way Idi Amin does, ie not in the slightest. It costs a euro to hire a towel should you wish to bathe - Chris circumventing this charge by drying himself off with a bath mat. There's that ingenuity again. Paul has decided he's keeping his, reasoning that one euro is a fair price to be paid for a second hand towel. The place is clean though, and right opposite a handy U-bahn station so I suppose things could be a lot worse. We're here for two nights so there's plenty of time to see if indeed they can be.

A report on our eventful evening meal will follow in due course.

Friday, 21 October 2011

And speaking of Chris

he related to us a charming anecdote which so far holds the title of "most heartwarming tale of the tour" and displays a level of ingenuity and resourcefulness seldom found in the bass-playing community. When he was a child he and his brother reportedly left a portable cassette recorder permanently armed so that whenever either of them felt the need to break wind all they had to do was disengage the pause button to commit the audio portion of their emittance to tape. When the end of the side was reached they were able to sit back and at their leisure enjoy the experience of listening to a seamless forty-five minute fart. Remarkable.


Top gig at the 013 last night by the band whose membership criteria appears to be that no-one must have a name longer than one syllable - hence Sam, Bill, Ben, Pete and Chris. Even sound-man Paul fails to break this curious rule. And that leaves me, currently toying with the notion that in the land of the monosyllabic the disyllabic man is king. How I can leverage (as twats who use words like "leverage" would say) this to my advantage is another matter entirely. I'm sure I'll think of something.

Great to see top Netherlander and fellow Cardiacs nut Maarten Adventurer at the show, and very kind it was of him to bring me a case of fine Belgian ale. Brilliant also to see my old chum and ex bus-mate Jamie Cavanagh. It'd be good to see both of them more often.

On our way to Arnhem now - pausing only at some football stadium or other to procure a special, magical pin badge, if bassist Chris gets his way.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

North Atlantic Oscillation Day 1

It's been a little over half a day since I set off on this particular trek and I already feel compelled to put finger to keyboard and wake this sleeping page. Somehow, and I don't know how, my hiatus from touring has numbed my faculties and allowed me to forget what a complete waking nightmare, prison-like hell an overnight ferry crossing can be - this time courtesy of DFDS and their boat (yes captain, boat) from North Shields to somewhere near Amsterdam. I don't know who it was who long ago came to the conclusion that "shit nightclub on the ocean" would be the best approach to keeping fare-paying inmates entertained during their crossing, but they really should take the time to point out to the lead singer of "NRG" that the well known and quite excellent Abba song "Dancing Queen" does not contain the line "feel the beat of the tambouroon." Even my spell checker knows that.