posted 17th August 07 ___

ON THE BUS, SHIT HAPPENS...So much has happened in the last couple of weeks on the crazy Alabama 3 Rock n Rollercoaster that you'd think I’d hardly know what to write about. I've snorted cocaine with French electric harpists in Galway, had my life threatened by ex - IRA militants in Dublin, had a rather pleasant conversation with the guitarist from Echo and the Bunnymen. But you'd be wrong. These seemingly life-changing experiences are rendered meaningless in the face of one burning issue:
Who Shat in the Toilet on the Tour Bus?

I suppose you might think this is a trivial, even disgusting question. And you'd be right. Welcome to our World.Romantics, desperate liggers and Telegraph readers all believe that the Law on the Tour Bus must be 'Nothing is true, All is Permitted.' And in general, you can inject crack into your perineum, double-fist your grandmother, or listen to John Denver CD's at your leisure if that's your thing (indeed, Larry love has attempted all three simultaneously). But there is one thing you just don't do. And that's do a poo. Doing a poo is the worst thing you can possibly do on a tour bus, It's a sacred law, the Ultimate Taboo (I feel a song coming on).

Here's Why: Right now, Somewhere in the world, a Tour Bus Driver, we'll call him Gavin, is driving into a venue car-park, where he has to extract and then empty out a large, white plastic tank full to the brim of the combined urinary waste products of the Corrs. (Let's just think about that for a second...)

I won't have to go into too much detail for you to imagine how much fun this activity might be.* Now imagine how much less fun it would be if the slightly less attractive than her older sister but still very doable blonde one from the Corrs, who does the harmonies, had laid a steaming great turd in the bog, which had then sank to the bottom of the white plastic tank, where it Bobbed around amongst the Corr's bulimic puke and piss cocktail of Canapes, Evian, Chardonnay, and Banana and Blueberry smoothies making said turd unamenable to straightforward extraction except by the means of custom-built instruments. Now, Imagine how Gavin might feel about the marginally less desirable Irish chanteuse.  Now, imagine how he would feel if the band on his bus was the Alabama 3. Would you take that kind of shit?

No, you wouldn't. So it's not surprising that our driver for these few dates, Chopper, who has been down this road with us so many times before, is in a bit of a bad mood.  It might not have helped matters when I chirped as I got on the bus 'Alright Chop? didn't think you'd be driving us today! Business slow is it ha ha?!!. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a completely accurate analysis of the situation. In fact he'd taken a vow never to drive us again in his entire life, until the Inland Revenue caught up with the bus Company. And now this.

It's no  joke. Careers have been ruined by recalcitrant bus drivers. You might have a number one record, you might have Juice, you might be Nelly Fucking Futardo, but if that bloke with the dreadlocked Mohawk doesn’t get behind the wheel of the Big Pram, you ain't going nowhere. Most people believe that  Michael Jackson destroyed himself through an addiction to inadvisable plastic surgery, profligacy, and a predilection for interfering with young boy's pajama bottoms. Not true. It's a little known fact that in 2002, half way through the HIStory tour, Michael did a big shit on the tour bus, being caught short half way between Ipswich and Southwold. After that, no bus company would touch him. His career was over.

Hopefully I’m succeeding in helping you to understand that Tour Bus drivers, though generally devoid of morality or sentience, have a lot of power. Right now we are completely at the mercy of a Welshman with a mullet so long he can wipe his bum with it, and a ring in his cock like doorknocker, who hates us.

And this is why, in a Portakabin in a field near Huntingdon ten grown men are standing around arguing about poo. Outside, the lovely, magical gathering that is the Secret Garden Party is in full swing; The Legendary Echo and The Bunnymen have just finished their set, multicoloured lights hang from every bow, reflecting their luminescence in the limpid waters of an enchanted lake. strange, nymph-like creatures with diaphanous fairy wings skip about challenging art installations in the twilight. But in the stark, striplighted interrogation unit that is our dressing room, there is only one question: Who Poo'd?

'Who Poo'd?'' 'Did you do a Poo?' 'Who would do a Poo?' 'Would Stu do a Poo?, or was it  Hugh? or was it Boo?' The outrage spreads, from our immediate circle, to the entourage, and then beyond. Complete strangers are wailing, tears streaming down their face "Oh my GOD! somebody POO'D on the Bus! WHO POO'D?!!! OOH!! WAS IT YOU? BOO HOO!' It's pathetic.

The ride home is, shall we say, uncomfortable. Chop has locked the toilet in protest at our lack of potty training. And because Rob's partner refused to get off the bus when we left the Latitude festival (which resulted in Rob refusing to get on) there's even a moratorium on girlfriends. No Fags, No Girls and no Toilet. This isn’t what I signed up for. Even in prison you get to have a wee when you need one.

Oh well, at least we can still snort Ching. In fact that’s all we can do. It’s like some horrible mobile purgatory for cokeheads. In a froth of tooth-grinding self - righteousness I go off on one, banging on about how the bus is a microcosm of British society.  All our pleasures, our rights, and even our bodily functions are being policed and administrated. The situation is insufferable. There must be someone else who can drive us! Nick Diesel, who does the monitors and travels with a lot of bands, assures me that actually no, there isn’t. No other company will touch us.

After chop finally drops the rest of the band off at Jamm, I ride with him in the front cabin to Stanstead, where I have to catch a flight for a gig with another, less incontinent band. I try to reason with him on the way to the airport: 'Chop, you've must've driven a thousand different bands, surely we can't be the worst'. Well yes, apparently we are. Chop's driven Norwegian Death Metal groups, guys who actually drink the blood of virgins and set fire to 12th-century Churches, who were better behaved on the bus than we are. Cradle of Filth were more hygienic than us.

Chop drops me off at Stanstead, where I've got six hours to wait before my flight. I still can't smoke, but at least I can have a piss, and drink myself into a stupor while watching female all-in wrestling in O'Neal's Authentic Irish Bar. It's amazing how they've managed to build an entire airport around an original 18th century Tavern... As I sink deeper down into the comfort of my own Narcolepsy, the Filth and Fury of the last 48 hours fades away like a silly dream...Nevertheless, the question still remains: 'Who Shat in The Toilet on the Tour Bus?'Well, Chop, there's a lot of arseholes on that bus, and, y'know, Shit Happens.
© Orlando Harrison 2007

*For those of you who decide, on reflection that such an activity might actually be quite a lot of fun, may I direct you to CorrsWhores.com. It’s pay-per-view, but the member’s section is excellent.