Day Seven – Norwich
I kept waking up last night and having to adjust my sleeping position to keep from flying out of my bunk - the bus seemed to be throwing itself about all over the place! Somehow we all survive and wake to a cold, bright day. The bus is parked outside the venue and is also, rather conveniently, a matter of metres from a breakfasty café. Their eggs are the best so far this tour but their vegetarian breakfast combination comes with the curious addition of a deep fried veggieburger. I ignore it as best I can.
There are showers in the venue again today, a welcome treat. We line up laptops in the dressing room and all try to access the wi-fi at once to varying success. My Dell seems to have given up all aspirations to internet connectivity so I upload last week’s Notes From The Road on someone else’s machine.
My parents and sister come to the gig tonight bearing cake, wine and Chocolate Orange and seem to have a good time. I've been working most weekends for the past four months so haven't been able to visit so it's especially nice to catch up with them.
Day Eight - Manchester
Day off. I get caught in a proper torrential downpour on the way from the bus to the hotel day room and am soaked through. The hairdryer in the room warms my socks and shoes but doesn't make them any less wet. Christmas shopping in the Arndale Centre slowly dries me out. Squelchy. I meet up with the others in the evening for a really lovely Italian meal, where we decide to sing our order to a bemused waiter to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". He joins in and sings the order back to check it. Warm and full we return to the bus and I settle down to watch Scrubs in the upstairs lounge while the others pop to a bar down the road. We're parked outside a Babyshambles gig but it's surprisingly civilised.
Day Nine - Manchester
Everyone has developed "bus cough" and a remarkable ability to sleep very, very late. I head out at 1pm to get "breakfast" and by the time I'm back it's time to load in. We discover that Flipper (currently starring a certain Krist Novoselic on bass) and the Melvins are playing upstairs from us tonight, if only they'd played the night before we might have been able to go and watch.
The gig turns out to be one of the best of the entire tour for audience craziness and afterwards I get invited on to the Melvins' tourbus to say hi to the band but graciously decline as it's late and I don't want them to think I'm one of those groupie types who love hanging around on tourbuses for the sake of it. I have my own tourbus for that.
Day Ten - London
"Bus cough" has, for me, developed in to a full blown cold complete with sniffles and a hacking cough. I get up groggily and buy a giant breakfast muffin from the only service station we've visited the entire tour. As always I leave astounded at how much money can be legally charged for a humble sandwich. I switch on my phone to discover a message from my landlord: I've apparently been burgled. Spend the next hour on the phone to them and the police arranging to be there in the afternoon to meet the forensics officers before soundcheck. It puts a bit of a dampener on my day, to say the least, but the last gig does down brilliantly and we all celebrate in a hotel bar round the corner until the early hours.
This Week's Five
1. Entertain Me - Blur
2. Hard-on For War - Mudhoney
3. The Bloated Pope - Melvins
4. Ever - Flipper
5. Legs - PJ Harvey