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« BACK | HOME » ABOUT » THE SPIRIT SPEAKS » THE TOUR WITH NO NAME - DAY 2

THE TOUR WITH NO NAME - DAY 2

Cardiff  

Very good show last night, the new stuff is sounding convincing, and Aurora, our funky diva for this tour looks and sounds like she was born to sing with us (which may or not be a compliment). Her two afro' ed bandmates joined her for the encore. They looked amazing, a gothic Three Degrees. We rocked it, despite the rather timid southern punters. Timid is not a word in the vocabulary of tonight’s crowd, however. In fact in the Welsh dialect the word for audience means 'Mental Bastards'. Rob's Missus, Samantha is here, being a valleys girl. She immediately starts pumping me for information about my love life. Sam is the undefeated queen bee round these parts and she polices our sex lives like one of Orwell's thought police. It's the Ministry of Love.  

After the show I jump in a cab with a Liverpudlian Robert Plant and head for the Funky Buddha. Here I fall into conversation with a vivacious and boisterous young woman called um... Judith... Julie.... um, June...um... She has two enormous revolvers tattooed on her back, and looks like Avril Lavigne’s harder older sister.  She tells me I’m a bit like a gay best friend. I wouldn’t like to be her gay worst enemy. I wouldn’t like to be her gay worst enemy. She's with a volatile looking bloke with bleached hair.  

' That's my dad! He hates you!'  She says, cheerfully. Oh Good.  

She instructs me to buy her a Vodka Lime and Soda and two tequilas. I comply. When I return with the drinks, she ignores me. I put them on the table and go out for a fag. She suddenly appears, demands to know what's happened to the vodka lime and soda she asked for. She tells me she knew I couldn’t be trusted. I meekly show her the drinks, still on the table. At this point I think it's fair to say a proposal of marriage is unlikely.  I accidentally sit down next to her 'Dad'. He turns to me and sneers:   

'It's all going to come out one day you know'  

Oh shit. Who has he been talking to? What does he know?   

'Er...what's going to come out?'  

'Charging support bands to go on tour with you. It's a disgrace.'

 Phew! I thought he'd found out about the Hoover.   

It turns out he's from a band who have played several times at our club in Brixton. They're friends of ours. Until today, apparently. I don't think she's really her biological father, but this is Wales; you can never be sure.  He's referring to the dubious practice of 'paying on' to a tour. Like womanizing and paedophilia, 'paying on' is standard practice in parts of the  'Industry.'  I attempt to excuse myself by saying I have no influence over those kind of decisions, I just play the piano, etc. I fail to convince him, or myself. I feel like a junior Nazi officer at Nuremburg.  

To be fair, the bands that buy-in have a deal already; it comes out of their label's pockets, not theirs. We ourselves have had to buy onto several tours. Like styling and plugging, it's the kind of sharp practice that bigger labels tend to be so good at. That's why you sign. And that's why you get bitten in the arse ten years down the line.  

It's much more noble to give young, broke bands a break. That's why our current support are self-financed, and we’ve booked The Screaming Skulls, Aurora's excellent band onto the tour for several dates. But we've had bands pay on; sometimes it's useful to have a pay-on support band; they're usually nice and clean, and you can spend their label's money on champagne and prostitutes.  
                                                            
                                   *

Back on the bus, June/Jennifer/Judith is getting wasted with Eddie Real and me.  She asks Eddie, our percussionist for the last fifteen years, what it's like being the Bus Driver for Alabama 3. Eddie regales her with entirely fictitious anecdotes about famous heavy metal bands. June/ Jennifer/ Judith gets a phone call.   

'It's my Dad! 'She tells me cheerfully’ He’s really angry because you're trying to shag me!'  

' Ah. Um, am I?'  

'Yes!  She smiles 'He hates you!'  

She hands the phone to me. Words come out of my mouth independently of my volition 'Oh er hi, Um, would you like to come to the bus?'  

I'm getting myself caught in a situation I don't understand with people I don't know, which I'm not going to enjoy.  

I think I'm going to lie down in my bunk and not come out for a little while.             

© Orlando Harrison 2009  


'oh the exquistite glamour'