We woke up at Paul’s house in Southampton. We were hung over and it was moving day. That, right there is usually enough of a combination to make anyone turn into a bit of an asshole, but Paul and his girlfriend were so incredibly accommodating that not only did they not instantly wake up and tell us to go fuck ourselves, they actually took us around to a pub for breakfast. Good folks.
On the way to breakfast, Sam stopped by a tobacconist that he is a fan of, due to the shop proprietor’s overwhelming Britishness. I decided to accompany Sam into this place to see for myself, and man, he wasn’t bullshitting. We found an old man in a three piece suit, a musty store and a musty demeanor. “How’s business?” Sam asked (side note: Sam is like 26. Who the fuck asks a question like that besides weird old dads?) and the shop proprietor responded “Steady, thank you sir” with an icy courtesy that could not come from any other island on the earth.
We went to the pub and ate on the roof. My order was the veggie burger. I also had a rum and coke and a Guinness, just to be safe. As I ordered my Guinness a grizzled old man in a white beard and black beanie, wearing all black and displaying text tattooed in small, neat lines across the tops of his hands walked in and stood beside me. He was easily the coolest looking old man I’ve ever seen. Dan and I gave each other big round eyed stares and opined “man…hand tattoos are really the way to go if you’re an ancient mariner, eh?”
We ate our food (Dan ordered something really odd…like shrimp scampi or maybe a sea salad of some kind. I don’t remember what it was but I’m almost positive it was weird/borderline gross as shit), and then headed out, only stopping to grab one last photo with Paul and his old lady. Presumably, they went home to move. Brave.
We, on the other hand, set off for Bristol. Bristol is a strange place. From what little I know of the local recent history, Banksy is allegedly a Bristol native and as such, they’ve got a pretty Amsterdamy attitude towards street art and graffiti. The results are that every single inch of everything is painted within an inch of its life, and therefore even the nice neighborhoods have a vague air of sketchiness to them. Bristol is also chock full of hippies, hobos, crusites, pirates and sidewalk drunks. We made our way to the venue, passing a few of the least reputable looking massage parlors I’ve ever seen and were lucky enough to find the promoter at the club even though we were hours early for load in. We deposited our guitars and huge suitcases in the club and stopped to notice that it smelled like the night before someone had drunk down a bunch of vodka/urine cocktails and then barfed them all over everything.
We immediately noticed that the small room (we were playing the big room, which was also pretty small) was hosting a band called Kunt and the Gang, and Dan and I agreed that was pretty piss poor. The guy, Kunt I guess, turned out to be a huge motherfucker in a Slipknot jumpsuit and an Emo Phillips wig, but that’s really here nor there.
Anyway, I sampled a local beer (called Gem, I believe. Really good) and then Dan and I hit the town to try and find a hotel and some food. We wandered down into this urban ravine and watched these three middle aged drunken scallywags and their dog on a rope torment the shit out of passers by and then we stopped at a tent called Sausage Heaven where a beautiful lass was cooking tubed meats on a suspended grill in the midst of heavy wind. I ordered the spicy African sausage and Dan got the spicy Italian. We watched the drunken scallywags a bit more and were extra pleased when a female (hot! Forty five! With a rope dog of her own!) joined them and seemed to just instantly start mercilessly nagging them for being shitheads.
We headed back to the club, soundchecked and got ready for the show. Dan briefly took off to find and procure a hotel in a different zone less encumbered by hippies and turds while I battened down the hatches for showtime. As the doors opened, Dan texted me and I slipped out to meet him for a quick pint at a pub down the road called the Pipe and Slippers. This led to the first of many conversations about what our hip hop duo should be called. “The Pipe and Slippers” is a great, GREAT name for a hip hop duo. You figure the Pipe is kind of the enforcer while Slippers raps about caviar, the softness of suede and thread counts and shit. That’s already ours, so get your own hip hop duo name. I figure that Dan would be the Pipe and I’d be Slippers. Only logical.
Anyway, we got back to the club and it was packed. Several people were wearing these hilarious shirts that had repurposed a fairly stoic picture of Dan as the Queen and I had a good chuckle at everyone’s expense. This night also marked a significant ‘kicking it up a notch’ in terms of awesome good times, lovely people and pretty girls buying lots of shots. The show was awesome. This was, if I’m not mistaken, the day we officially annexed Sam into the Falcon, so spirits were high. All three of us had our best shows of the tour up to that point and the night ended in such a revelry that I ended up buying like 60 pounds (100 bucks!) of drinks for Sam and myself in our hotel bar from a very displeased and judgmental bartender. Sam said something to the effect of “fuck this dumb dildo bartender anyway” which, I’m pretty sure, led directly to Sam finding a ticket on his car the next morning.
All in all, Bristol was pretty great. We fell asleep prepping for Manchester, blissfully unaware that the city would be hosting 21,000 more people than usual, and that in the next 24 hours, we’d have to use the word ‘pigfuck’ more times than humanity had previously ever deemed reasonable.