I appear to have a slight mental block for remembering just how far away certain places are. I have driven to Glastonbury before and it took ages. I mean, really ages. Think of a long time. Its longer than that. So oddly when I was rung up to do a gig there again run by and booked by nice people I said yes without hesitation. It was a month or so ago and so I didn’t even begin to work out to just how far away a journey it would be. It was like past me had some secret desire to screw up future me but not thinking things through. I’m like a really shitty Doctor Who. They would make terrible episodes if it just involved him leaving a banana skin on the floor so eight episodes later he could slip up on it whilst running away from the Cybermen. Saying that it would still be better than the shitty Easter special. Maybe I should be Doctor Who.
You have to weigh up how good a gig is compared to the distance travelled/time spent travelling for an overall enjoyment ratio. The journey there yesterday was horrible. Not because of the company, Andrew Bird and Dan Antopolski who used stellar chat and combined travel intellect to help us get there as quickly as possible, but because it took over 4 hours of solid driving. I don’t like driving for that long without a decent break. I remember complaining about it once to Craig Campbell who then proceeded to tell me about the time he drove for 24 hours straight across Canada then got out of the car and did a gig. I felt my right to complain that day had been made redundant. Due to broken tube lines (which was no one’s fault but we blamed Dan anyway), and lots of traffic we ended being behind schedule. We needed to be there for before 8.30 and the satnav said the ETA was 9.10. We saw this as a challenge. I have been moulded in this way by living with my friend Jamie throughout university. He spent everyday seeing most things as a challenge that had to be beaten. Everytime we eat food he would eat it quickly and then shout at the plate saying it had been defeated. We worked in the same restaurant and he did kitchen portering because they wouldn’t let him been seen by the customers. Jamie would clean up stacks off plates in one go by shouting at them and treating each lot at a race against plates and dirt. While clearly a sign of mental damage, it has rubbed off and helps in times of emergency. Jamie is now a secondary school teacher and I can only fear for his kids, racing to finish work in time to avoid getting shouted at. Oddly I’ll bet that works.
I drove faster than I ever have before, hitting the M4 at an exceedingly dangerous 110mph. Weaving in and out of cars like a comedy Vin Diesel with more hair, less muscles and the ability to act, we knocked the satnav eta down to 8.35pm. There was a quick pitstop for diabetic refuelling ( a Dairy Milk double choc – a creation of genius) and then we made it to the gig merely 5 minutes after the show was meant to start. We felt like champions, masters of the motorway. We had seen the rush hour and discarded it like I would discard the film of the same name back into the bargain retail bin it came from.
Then after such heroic efforts we arrived at the gig only to find it was the quietest one they’d had in ages and the first 4 rows remained unfilled. Full of groggy carhead (an official condition) I walked onstage and pleaded with the crowd to move forward on account of my lack of scariness. Only 6 people moved and in those six there contained a very miserable carpenter, his not too happy wife, a man called Zig, his minion Chris, an insurance salesman and a fruit machine repair man who decided to heckle me. Now none of those are people you really want to move forward, but it was a start. Heckles too meant at least I was getting some engagement from them, but when the whole rest of the crowd is deadly silent and the fruit machine repair man heckles you by putting his hand up first just as you are about to bring the first act on stage, it really doesn’t help.
The night was ok. All the acts were ace, with Andrew, Dan and Stephen Carlin all doing great sets. I hadn’t worked with any of them for ages so it was nice to hear all their new stuff. By the time I went on in the second half the few people at the front had swapped with other people just to confuse me and I was now confronted by a teacher who when I asked what she taught she told me she ‘didn’t teach food and nutrition’. Blood from a stone. I plodded through adequately. The organisers were nice and they provided us with free food and drink. Much of the crowd came up to us afterwards and said they had a great time. It wasn’t at all bad. It just wasn’t amazing. And for an overall 7 and half hours of driving it needed to be. Gigs that are far away should really step it up a bit. Next time I drive that far out of London I expect to be greeted with a fanfare, an audience full of people who are laughing even as we enter the room and a banquet of gold leaves and caviar. I wont eat the caviar because I’m a veggie but I would still demand its there. If I do gigs abroad this must be increased ten fold with a personal onstage introduction by the President of the country. I’d also just be happy if after a 4 hour drive the audience were awake and didn’t contain idiots.
On the way home we hit a lull where Andrew had fallen asleep and conversation between myself and Dan had become void due to the melting of brains through tiredness. We stopped at Membury services, the first time I had ever been there. The woman in the shop made a real effort to take her time walking to the till to serve us. She had an expression on her face that I can only describe as the sort of face you would pull if someone directly pissed into your eyes against your will. I did see a car rapidly leave as we arrived so perhaps that had happened. Either way I shan’t be gracing Membury with my presence again.
My begging for Edinburgh has begun. Its petty but I need a lot of dosh by August the 1st and I don’t really know how I will get it. So far using this shameless begging I have earned £27.10 which is enough for about 12 posters and 4 flyers. If it keeps escalating like this I may even be able to afford 20 posters, 15 flyers and a pasty. If you would like to help my cause please follow the speech bubble link or if you know anyone who may want to donate or sponsor me please forward it on. Thanks you T-Fans you’re my only hope: