We woke up in our Bristol hotel and went to get the free breakfast that we’d been promised upon check in. The lobby was full of giant black dudes. I can’t overstate this fact. Everyone in the lobby that wasn’t me, Dan or Sam was either a hotel employee or an absolutely mountainous black guy. They were all together and bullshitting loudly with one another. Now, I’m not sure where “These dudes have to be a sports team of some kind” nets out on the racism-meter, but truly, those dudes had to be some kind of sports team. This is less because they were all black and way more because they were all giants. Anyway, throw your stones. These motherfuckers were huge.
I sat down to a nice breakfast of cardboard toast and plastic cheese. I washed it down with a little tea and then we were on our way to Manchester, which had been sold out since almost a month before we left.
On the train, Dan told me that the people behind us were talking about Stone Roses songs and the reason that they were doing this is because the Stone Roses were playing a show in Manchester that night. I said “oh, cool” because I thought that maybe Dan gave a shit about that dumb band, but it turns out that he doesn’t. We sat there and mused about how big the shows would be. Does the reunited Stone Roses draw 2000 people? 10,000? We asked a few questions and quickly discovered that not only are the Stone Roses WAY bigger than either of us thought, but that everyone on the train, everyone in the train station and pretty much everyone we’d encounter the entire night in Manchester were going to see the Stone Roses. In fact, the show spanned three nights and all three nights were sold out at 80,000 people. That’s a lot of bored people being forced to listen to the fucking Stone Roses.
We got out of the train station and went to a pub to get food. We were both hungry and craving a beer. The pub we approached was fucking jamming out the door and as we tried to jockey around to see if there was even a place to sit, some drunk bloke staggered out and started singing a song in my face. That was enough of that.
We walked to the club, which was closed, but it had a lovely alleyway behind it that was absolutely peppered with used rubbers. There was more old jizz in that alley than there is in Blue Iris. Anyway.
We were hungry, bored and standing outside a closed club, up to our ankles in latex and semen. We decided to head off and find some food. We walked for about twelve minutes and got to a place called the Retro Bar. We ordered a pair of Guinnesses but when we asked about food, we were told that they’d already stopped serving. It was 330 in the afternoon. The bartender had half her head shaved and could have very easily been in some kind of shitty movie about a post apocalyptic society.
Fortunately, the beer acted as a bit of a lunch substitute and we headed out feeling much better than we had going in. It began to rain. We walked through the rain, carrying our guitars, back to the alley full of rubbers and waited for the doors to open.
Well, I don’t want to build too much suspense. The woman doing the show was inside and very nice. She gave us some shit to make sandwiches with and was generally one of the more accommodating, nice people on the tour. This show was set to be weird because Sam was not on the bill. It was the only UK date we couldn’t add him to, and it seemed to have to do with the promoter or owner (some dude who wasn’t there) having a sore dick over Sam’s very existence. We cajoled the woman doing the show (who is friends with Sam) into talking the owner dude into letting Sam play. His argument was “Sam, these guys don’t want you to play. Please stop asking” while our argument was more along the lines of “uh, no dude. We’ve been trying to get you to stop being a dingus and put him on the show for a week now. Just fucking let him play already.” Overall, the whole thing was pretty comical, but it’s good that Sam got to play because he knew pretty much every person at the show.
A couple of my Belfast buddies from the band Good Friend (formerly Under Stars and Gutters) and their erstwhile leader/roadie/hair acrobat, Anarchy Jim were planning on coming to the show. They showed up early with a weird straight edge Italian and told me that Jim would be showing up later with his fiancé.
Now, Anarchy Jim is completely unmistakable. He has a gigantic Mohawk and a bunch of Subhumans patches sewn all over everything. His fiancé is a very lovely blonde girl who would not be completely out of place in an Abercrombie catalog. They’re quite a team. Anyway, they showed up after I’d already played. Reasons for Jim’s lateness were being tossed out and some of the highlights were 1) Anarchy 2) fuck schedules 3) he had to wait until the rain stopped so his Mohawk wouldn’t be ruined.
The show was hilarious and a complete success. I even was given a few cocktails with ice (!!!!!) When the show ended at 9 pm, Dan decided that he was gonna bail to Sheffield where our friend Simon lives. I on the other hand, decided to stay in Manchester to hang out with my Belfast folks and all the nice people I’d met at the show.
We first went to some kind of beer garden and watched about fifteen or so of the most sluttily dressed women I’ve EVER seen slip on the wet sidewalk and eat shit due to their massive platform heels. This wasn’t a single group or anything. This was just something that kept happening due to the style of that particular part of Manchester. Now, let me unequivocally say that if you want to dress like a slut, I’m into it. I’m a huge fan of both sluts and people who aren’t sluts but dress like sluts. I also love heels. It’s a great look. It DOES seem to make it hard to navigate wet streets though. And drunk sluts falling down makes people laugh. Just saying.
We took off from the beer garden and headed to a karaoke place. A big fat guy was singing a very sincere torch song when we walked in. There were also two thirty-something black women who were drinking water and who would go back and forth singing extremely athletic R and B numbers. I got up there and did Ice Ice Baby. Sam did the Ignition Remix (which has a special place in my heart due to it being my wedding song) and Jim and his old lady did Thriller.
Due to the fact that I really, really didn’t want to lose my voice and due to the fact that I was gonna have to navigate the trains without my trusted traveling companion the next morning, I decided to bail out at the semi reasonable hour of 130. Sam and I went back to the lovely Clare’s house where I slept on the living room floor. Interestingly, Clare was moving the next morning, which makes two nights that I spent in the homes of folks who were about to move. That shit’s wacky.
I don’t care who you are. Moving is enough of a pain in the dick without some stinky man sweating through the livingroom rug, ya know?
Anyway, yeah. Tomorrow is Sheffield, a haggis eating Sam Russo and the adventure of the mighty Simon, the bunny and the bear pit.