Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oslo to Birmingham

I am lying in a hotel bed on the outskirts of Eindhoven. We left Oslo last night at 1am and we arrived here about half an hour ago, twenty two hours since we left.

We've been in the van almost the whole time since we departed Oslo. Martin drove the van all the way back to his place in Göteborg. I'd decided would sit up front with him and co-drive, since I was feeling pretty frisk but within an hour of leaving, my eye lids were as heavy as lead. Trying to keep my head up, straight and focused on the road ahead, was pure torture. My head felt as heavy as a bowling ball. Andy sat beside me was out before I was.

Thankfully Martin was more than fit for the task of driving. Wide awake, sat at the wheel listening to a playlist of classic punk records. It was dark as hell and the snow was hammering down at times, the roads winding their way through the black Norwegian countryside. The sound of Martin's voice and the Adolescents playing behind it, drifting in and out of my conscience. After a while Martin assured me he was fine and gave me permission to nod off. I have a hard time sleeping in an upright position though, especially with the leg room being so sparse. I think five minutes here and there was all I could grasp before we got to Göteborg, just after 6am.

When we said goodbye to Martin and thanked him for his invaluable efforts, I swapped seats with Jon and hopped in the back of the van. Johan took over the driver's wheel and we carried on.

I woke up sometime around daybreak. We were parked somewhere off the side of the road, engine still running and Johan sleeping at the wheel. I'm glad he's sensible enough to pull over if and when he's fucked.

A while later I wake again as the van is pulling into a petrol station somewhere near Malmö. It's still only 9.30 and we still have a hell of a long way to go. I'm not sure if I have slept much at all, but I feel like shit. We're couped up in the back of the van, every time you nod off, you realise your leg or your arse cheek has gone numb and it kicks conscienceness back in like a lightning bolt.

We're in the garage shop, trying to work out our plan. We know we have about twenty four hours to get to Calais. From there we get the boat and then we have roughly a five hour journey from Dover to Birmingham. Just to top things off, load in is early. 2pm.

We had originally planned to head to Stachel's place in Bremen and crash out there for a few hours, before starting off again around 1am and driving the rest of the way to Calais. We had hoped to be in Bremen around 2pm today, but that is not going to happen. It's gonna be at least four hours later than that. We decide to see how far we can get and then find a hotel to sleep in, with the aim of getting as close to Calais as possible. The trouble is neither Johan or Ronnie have slept more than a couple of hours each and the weather is miserable. The snow is pounding the van again and the going is slow.

We take the ferry from Rödby to Puttgarden at 1pm. This gives our drivers the chance to lie down for at least fourty five minutes. We get to Germany and the weather is even worse than in Denmark. This is turning into one hell of a fucking battle.

The guys take turns at the wheel. One driving, the other behind trying to sleep when they get the chance. It's just impossible. The van is cramped. It's impossible to sleep for any real amount of time. The daylight starts to fade as we near the Dutch border. By now we've taken the decision to stop at hotel by Eindhoven. Johan has checked it out on his beloved Iphone and found a good price. Hopefully we can get to the hotel sometime around 10.30pm and sleep until 6.30 the next morning. It's only another few hours to Calais from Eindhoven and it will feel so much better tomorrow if we get some sleep in a real bed.

It's almost easy to forget that we actually have a show to play at the end of all this. God knows how that gig is gonna be. To be honest, I don't really care, as long as we make it there and we play it.

We get to the hotel at 11pm. Everyone dying just to fall into bed. It has been a torturous couple of days in the van and we're all getting cabin fever. Unbelievably, the lady at reception has to break it to us that we were quoted the wrong price over the phone earlier today. They gave us the price for one room and not the two we asked for. Even though it's an utter kick in the bollocks, I'm ready to pay whatever it takes to get me into a bed. Johan spends some time laying into the reception woman all the same.

So here I am. Newly showered with freshly brushed teeth for the first time since Oslo and a stomach churning over the shitload of crap food it's had to endure from the various service stations along the road. Jon is watching Dexter on the hotel tv, Andy is watching some dvd on his mini player. I'm going to sleep.

Looking forward to a proper meal tomorrow. And a pint.

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