Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bloody Kev's Introduction to East Midlands Slang

When we started Diagnosis? Bastard! Kev and Lucas didn't know each other.  It didn't take long until they were in love though, a kind of father figure type thing going on I think.  Lucas comes from Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Bloody Kev comes from Retford, England, miles apart geographically but close to each other in many ways.  Retford is basically like Belo Horizonte minus the sun.  The more time Lucas has spent with myself and more importantly Kev, the more his tropical twang has been replaced by a subtle British tone, his accent has now landed somewhere between Liz Hurley and Danny Dyer.  His fascination with the way Kev spoke when we started the band compelled Kev to write him a list of slang words from his youth; a kind of guide for Lucas to help him navigate his way around the East Midlands in safety during future visits.

Any road - Up north instead of saying anyway, they say "any road"!

Bodge - We bodge things all the time here. I'm sure you do too! To do a bodge job means to do a quick and dirty. Make it look good for the next day or two and if it falls down after that - hey well we only bodged it! Applies to building, DIY, programming and most other things.

Bung - To bung something means to throw it. For example a street trader might bung something in for free if you pay cash right now! Or you could say "bung my car keys over, mate".

Daft - My Dad used to call me a daft 'apeth which is short for a daft half penny (in old money). It basically means stupid.

Dekko - To have a look at something.

Gormless - A gormless person is someone who has absolutely no clue. You would say clueless.

Jammy - If you are really lucky or flukey, you are also very jammy. It would be quite acceptable to call your friend a jammy b****rd if they won the lottery.

Leg it - This is a way of saying run or run for it. Usually said by kids having just been caught doing something naughty.

Nesh - My Dad used to call me a nesh wimp when I was a kid and I wanted him to take me places in his car because it was too cold to go on my bike. He meant I was being pathetic or a bit of a nancy boy

Nowt - This is Yorkshire for nothing.

Piss poor - If something is described as being "piss poor" it means it is an extremely poor attempt at something.

Skive - To skive is to evade something.

Snog - If you are out on the pull you will know you are succeeding if you end up snogging someone of the opposite sex (or same sex for that matter!). It would probably be referred to as making out in American, or serious kissing!

Sod all - If you are a waiter in America and you serve a family of Brits, the tip is likely to be sod all or as you would call it - nothing.

Strop - If someone is sulking or being particularly miserable you would say they are being stroppy or that they have a strop on. I heard an old man on the train tell his wife to stop being a stroppy cow.

Suss - If you heard someone saying they had you sussed they would mean that they had you figured out! If you were going to suss out something it would mean the same thing.

Twat - Another word used to insult someone who has upset you. Also means the same as fanny but is less acceptable in front of your grandmother, as this refers to parts of the female anatomy.

Yonks/Ages - means a long time

Friday, April 17, 2015


It’s dark in the room.  Did my alarm go off?  Or did I dream it?  Sticky comes into the room, his knitted jumper already adorned.  “Sorry guys, we have to start moving.”  Balls.  The shuttered windows had led me to believe it was the middle of the night.  I really could lie here all day.  Fucking knackered and I’m starting the drive this morning.  Still, Ronnie has taken every morning so far… Last show today.  It’s been a blast, but it’s time to go home.  I miss my family.

I’m glad I took the chance of a shower last night, and I’m glad that we packed the van too.  There’s no time to shower now and an eight hour drive back to Sweden feeling grubby would have been cack.  We head upstairs to the kitchen to find Loffi has put a spread on for breakfast.  It looks great, although unfortunately I’m not all that hungry.  Still, free food and all, force a little down.  Loffi hasn’t been to sleep yet.  He tells me the party went on until around six, he was playing Eighties cheese and dancing around all night, and then when the last dregs left he went straight to the store and bought food for breakfast.  He still looks fighting fit though I guess the not drinking thing helps with that.  Loffi has been doing this shit for years on end and like Kev, his love for it hasn’t diminished an iota.  So much respect for these guys.  Ten days into a tour, and about ten years younger and I feel done.

We sit around and chat for a while over breakfast and coffee, Loffi tells me about his new espresso machine he’s got at home, the guy loves coffee, some hi tech thing he has that he’s very enthused over.  The ball of fire in the sky is already warming the day and the back garden looks very inviting.  More inviting than the van I have to say.  We take some group pics of the bands together outside the house, it’s time to do that since we’re parting ways after tonight, and then we say bye to Loffi and jump in the van.  The streets of Potsdam are calm and we have a quiet little browse at the sights as we meander through the small city.  I’m still a bit tired and get a bit of a shock when I hear this bang at the back of the van.  I look in the wing mirror and see this angry looking old guy on a bike, serious as fuck in all the clothes and those ridiculous shorts, I’ve stopped at the lights and I’m halfway into the bike lane.  A few minutes later we see him racing along ahead shouting at some mum and her kid who is dordling along on his bike, blocking his way.  Seems like Shorts is having a bad morning.  What a fucking knob.

I drive for around three and half hours, the GPS leading us through some back roads out in the countryside which makes it slow going for a while, however picturesque it may be I’m longing for the autobahn, just put it in sixth gear and cruise.  I drive until we change to the road that leads us to Puttgarden.  The drive had been a little challenging since people drive like fucking maniacs on the speed limitless road.  Sticky and Stix, the two drummers are sat up front with me, Sticky nervously keeping his eye on the road, Stix fast asleep, mouth gaping open, head wobbling about all over the place.

Luc takes over after we fill up the tank and drives us the rest of the way.  As we drive into the coast, the estuary on either side of the road, Stix calls out for one last time, “Sprit, sprit, sprit!” Everyone joins in and suddenly the van has come to life.  The bar in the van door is almost depleted now though.  And poor Crappy is sat behind me looking white as a ghost, he’s pretty sick.  All I can hear is the sound of his chest wrenching up phlegm accompanied by stifled giggling from the rest and the sound of ring pulls opening cans of beer.  Luc shouts back from the driver’s seat, “Sightseeing guys, take photographs!”

“We’re drinking,” replies Dan Arne.

I’m going to miss these guys.  I haven’t experienced this feeling for a while now, the end of tour mixed emotions of missing your family, amplified nowadays by a longing to see my daughter, and being bummed about having to say adieu to your new friends whom you’ve just spent an intense ten days with.
We get to the ferry port where we meet a miserable looking old cunt sat in his cabin who charges us twice the amount we paid coming the other way.  He grumbles something about the length of the van and waves us forward.  There are long queues and we spend a little over an hour waiting to get on the boat.  I mention to Ronnie that I’ve never had to wait this long for a boat here and he reasons that it’s probably because we’ve never been through here on a Saturday afternoon, that one is normally taking a boat here in the middle of the night or early in the morning in the middle of some tour or other.  I look around and observe the various cars and vans stuffed full with crates of cheap beer from the Border Shop.  These sad wankers drive all the way down here and stock up on crap beer just to save a few kronors.  I guess it’s quite a few kronors but still, the frenzy it causes between these idiots makes me laugh.  They’re all Swedish of course.

The Pyramido guys buy a couple of crates on the boat’s duty free shop since the show tonight in Malmö is a bring your own booze affair.  We decide we’ll all pitch in and drink it and whatever is left will go to Pyramido’s rehearsal space.  We’ve been looking at the tour costs and it seems like we’re on target to break even, which I have to say is a huge relief.  I can’t really justify fucking off during the entire Easter break from school, leaving Jen with Polly and the dog all week, and then come back with a few hundred quid to cover.  Not when I’m studying and Jen works full time and supports me with this stuff.  The words break-even have been ringing in my mind this last week or so.  It actually turns out though that it’s been cheaper than being at home for a week since we’ve had food every day and all in all I’ve spent about thirty quid in personal money.  Pretty cheap week.

We get to the venue in Malmö around seven.  Kalle Hårda Tider is putting the show on and he’s there to meet us with his usual broad smile.  We’re a little late but that was to be expected, and Kalle isn’t stressed.  The Malmö Hardcore Crew is here, they run this place together, and there is plenty of help on hand to load in the gear.  The venue is some office building or something with a largish room a couple of floors up where they have a stage built into the back wall.  They normally have wresting here, totally underground of course.  They started putting shows on here a month or so ago and it’s been going well.  Kev is chuffed to be here, playing Malmö is a big deal for him he says.  Malmö Hardcore is the biggest scene in Sweden, there are a lot of bands from here, and it’s nice to be here and play.  You kind of feel like an outsider though when you arrive in a city that has a thriving insular scene, you can feel like you’re intruding a little maybe, but the guys here are all super friendly so there’s none of that.  Whether many of them will get our chaotic take on hardcore is another matter though.

I’m glad anyway that Pyramido are playing last.  Sticky was saying he didn’t want to play last in their home town, that it felt daft, but Dempe says it’s probably best that they do so that people will stick around.  I’m relieved to hear it, feels stupid going up and jumping around like a tit for fifteen minutes after Pyramido have just crushed the place into oblivion for thirty five.  The guys soundcheck quick and then we tuck into some dinner and a beer.  There is this young sound guy who seems to be buzzing about his job, wants to know if we’re going to soundcheck.  I don’t really understand the need though, there’s only a bass drum mic and vocals up there.  Have to admire his enthusiasm though.  He keeps calling us Diagnostic Bastard too, which is funny.  I don’t have the heart to correct him and leave it be.  Alex from Kids Love Ink and his mate are here, they’ve made the trip over with their skateboards and have been hanging out in Copenhagen for a few days, hitting all the hot spots over there.  It’s good to see them here.  Seem like they’re enjoying themselves.  Jona Infernöh is here too, always good to see him.  Stix and Kev are going to stay at his place tonight.  Åke from Desperat/Mob 47 has also turned up.  It’s great to see him, happy as always.  He tells me Mob are doing a South East Asia and Australia tour at the end of April.  Sounds fucking amazing!  Chuffed.      

Kalle says there are a lot of people coming tonight and that he’s going to have to warn people to turn up early.  He’s not wrong.  By the time the first band go on, Bastard Graves, a death metal band from Helsingborg, the place is pretty packed.  Kalle says to us, ten more people, and he’s calling it.  Bastard Graves have a girl on bass that Kev tells me he’s in love with.  He’s been in love about five times this tour though, he mentions that he’d fuck most of the guys in this room too.  Bastard Graves are pretty good anyway, although they play a little long.  The crowd seem well into them though.  I like the fact they have a bit of a punk edge to the classic Scandi death metal sound.

We go on just after ten, it feels like the crowd has thinned out a little.  I guess a lot of people were here to see Bastard Graves.  It’s still a good amount of people in though.  Sounds decent enough on stage so we just get on with it.  Unbelievably I break a string right at the start, in the middle of the first riff in Hypnotic Eye.  Have only broken one string all tour, which is amazing for me and my ridiculous guitar playing non-technique.  Of course it had to happen.  It gets to the break where it comes to my solo riff, which actually requires two strings, one of which I’m missing, and I just stand there twanging on the bottom E like Dick Dale.  Stix looks at me confused and then sees the hanging thread.  Don’t know if anyone else notices.  We cover it anyway.  It’s a bummer though because I now have to take it easy for the rest of the set with my extra guitar.  And I notice a couple of songs in with the spare guitar that it’s way weaker in volume.  Luc tells me to crank it before we go into Am I Stupid? Or Idiot! And from there it feels like the gig gets going.  The rest of the set goes well although I feel it’s a little constrained and there’s little space up on the high stage, I give Kev a few bangs in the back as we play.  I don’t see anything from the crowd but Luc seems chuffed with it afterwards, says people were moving about.  There was this young punk couple down the front at the end calling for more, “The whole set, one more time, the whole set, one more time!”  First time I’ve heard that.

I get talking to one of the guys from the collective in the kitchen after we’ve played, he tells me he’s been reading my blog for a few years.  Says he really enjoys reading it with his coffee in the morning, that’s it’s perfect when a new post turns up once a month since the texts are pretty long.  He says he hasn’t had the chance to read anything from the tour yet.  I guess he’s got something to read over his coffee for a little while.  Really nice guy anyway, always fun to meet people through that connection.  The other guys from the collective seem to have enjoyed the gig too, Kalle grabs me and says, “Well there was no messing there!”  It wasn’t the ultimate show, not by a long way, we’ve played far better to far less people at times on this tour, but I’m happy enough with it.  Hopefully we can come back some time in the future.

It’s time to see Pyramido do their thing for one last time on this tour.  Again the crowd is considerable thinner than it was for Bastard Graves but that doesn’t stop them playing a great show.  I’m amazed by Crappy’s performance considering how low he was looking during soundcheck.  The poor fucker hasn’t complained once.  I have to laugh at the end when they ring out the last riff and Crappy hold his Flying V aloft and then turns it upside down and turns his pedal off with his pointed headstock, killing the sound.  Good end mate, good end.

The place empties pretty quickly when they’re done, and the lights come on, the yellow tiled walls creating a strange light in here.  Seems like we’ve sold a few bits of merch too.  We bought another box of the first seven inch from Stachel a week ago and they’ve all but gone.  That first seven inch is almost gone now, feels nice to get rid of it.  We’re thinking about putting an LP out of the first releases and it’s nice to not have the first seven inch hanging around if we’re going to release the songs on a compilation record.  The tape sold out on this tour and the second seven inch is sold out/destroyed in Jocke’s flood.

We pack up the van and head back to Pyramido’s practice space.  It feels weird to be back here already, feels like only yesterday we were picking the guys up.  Time goes fast and slow simultaneously on tour.  Once off loaded Jona turns up to pick up Stix and Kev, we’ll see them in the morning.  Kev is flying back from Copenhagen and Stix is coming back with us.  We drive around town dropping the guys off at their homes, a series of hugs and goodbyes.  Luc is a bit drunk and is in the back shouting a lot as we drive about Malmö in the middle of the night.  By the time we’re dropped everyone bar Dan Arne off we’re starving so stop off for some famous Malmö falafel.  The queue is coming out of the door at Jalla Jalla though, so we head next door.  It’s a little cold by the time we get back to Ronnie’s place but it does the job.  It’s around two thirty by the time we me and Luc bed down on the sofa bed.  My aim is to get going for nine, I want to be home to see Polly before she goes to bed and it’s a long old drive.

Now the tour is over, I just want to get home.  It’s been a good time, and financially it’s gone better than I could have hoped for, we might even have enough money to pay for flights to Finland for some shows we have in October.  We’ll see.  That’s the future.  Now it’s sleep and then home.        

Sunday, April 12, 2015


We had the run of the place this morning, only us in the building.  We didn’t really have any plans to hang around in Wroclaw, deciding a couple of hours in Berlin would be a couple of hours far better spent.  We had a quick bit of breakfast, I skipped the Turkish coffee and went for tea, I had a quick shower that was through a garden hose attached to a tap, and then we loaded the van and got going.  It was another glorious day, would be perfect if it was like this in Berlin.

Whilst loading the gear some weird kid walks past the van and in through the gate and just kind of stands there hanging around smoking a fag as we load the rest of the van.  Anywhere else in the world and you’d tell him to fuck off but not here.  And then he gets on his phone and starts talking to someone and we decide he’s obviously calling a posse and we have to get out of here before we’re all slaughtered.  We’re in a tight spot with the van and it takes a bit of wriggling around on Ronnie’s behalf, and there is this guy who looks like He-Man changing the tires on his car right beside us.  I can’t even imagine what would happen if we pranged his car.

The weird kid comes back out and then starts walking about the car park and looking at himself in windows and fixing his hair.  I’m happy to get out of that grove and on the road again.  We drive through the city and I’m consciously looking for the area which Dr. Doom called breathtaking, but I don’t see it.  It’s pretty cool in its own but it’s not exactly Vienna.  The road out of Poland turns out to be pretty easy too, driving through Poland has turned out to be far less painful than anticipated.  Ronnie takes the whole shift to Berlin which takes around three and half hours.

It’s nice to be back in Berlin, it’s been a while since the last time.  We drive through the streets of Kreuzberg and the sun is shining, everyone sat outside drinking beer, lapping it all up.  There’s a buzz in the air, there always is in the city.  It’s funny, I’ve played here about eight times I think and I don’t think I’ve played the same venue twice.  There is such a good scene here, it’s a shame we didn’t work out a gig for this tour.  We pull up outside a record shop in Fredrikschain, the guy running it is a friend of Pyramido.  We hang out for a bit whilst we’re waiting for Clarrisa, a friend of Luc’s from Brazil, to turn up.  I’ve got no money for records so there’s really no point in looking, it’s just punishment.  I go and lie outside in the sun on a bench outside the shop, close my eyes and enjoy the heat.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  Kev is probably not into this weather too much.  The guys asked him the other day in the van what he thought the perfect temperature was and his was “cold.”

Luc’s friends turn up not long after, another friend of his from Brazil who now lives in Paris is here, and they’re all coming to the show tonight.  Seem like a nice bunch.  We walk a few blocks over to this vegan burger place called Yo Yo’s which is a big favourite of the Pyramidos, especially Crappy.  He tells us that they were here one time and they went for both lunch and dinner here in the same day.  He says he likes the comfort of familiarity.  “I know what I’ve got, not what I’m getting”, he explains.  “Classic Wendel” laughs Ronnie.  There are around fifteen of us including the Brazilians at the joint, I’m amazed by how fast the food actually comes out.  I’ve gotten my burger within a few minutes.  It’s good too.  I have to say I’m not too into the vegan cheese, the one thing keeping me from going vegan I reckon, but the burger tastes good.  And its joy just sitting there in the warm shade in just a t-shirt, eating good grub.

When we’re done we head off in search of a chair in the sun and a beer, leaving the Brazilians behind to finish their food, those guys are never in a rush with anything.  Kev, Stix and I find a bar on a quiet corner and order some beer, Kev going for the cheapest pilsner and me and Stix opting for a weissbeer.  When the beers comes out Kev laughs at our cloudy brews served in what he calls vases, and says we should have a flower in the top of them.  To be honest, it’s not as good as I imagined it would be.  I remember that I don’t actually like the German wheat beer, it’s the Belgian variant I like, it just seemed like a good idea on such a sunny day.  Kev’s tastes like piss too though so I don’t have too many regrets.

We drink up and head over the big railroad bridge to this hip bar by the Wall next to the river that has a man-made beach within its grounds.  I remember being here with Battle of Santiago a few years ago in the middle of the summer, we had a day off and spent the afternoon sunbathing and drinking cocktails that they served out of a hut which is closed today.  The beer garden they have here is packed today, being that this is the first hot day of the spring, so Stix and Kev head off to the bar whilst I grab a seat.  When they’re not back after ten minutes I walk over to the bar to find out what’s going on and find the two of them looking well pissed off.  Turns out they’ve stood there being totally ignored by all the staff, not even looked at.  Kev tells me to ask one of the staff running around, since I know this business.  I politely ask this one guy who is walking past with a tray and rude as fuck to me, a total cunt.  Won’t even look at me when he’s talking to me, says just sit down and they’ll come over, so I treat him with the same attitude and we all walk off.  I hear him chasing us, “Hello, hello!”  Kev turns around and gives him the finger as we leave.

We meet up with the rest of the guys on the way back over the bridge and we all head back to a little kiosk next to the record shop which has some tables outside and we sit there have a perfectly nice, cold bottle of pilsner.  We leave around five thirty and head out of the city, back through the streets of Kreuzberg and towards Potsdam.  As we’re creeping through traffic we spot this guy on a corner juggling, he keeps dropping them though.  Dan Arne sticks his head out of the window and tells him to stop it, tells him he has no talent.

We get to Potsdam around six thirty.  The venue is an apartment building on a very quiet, very pretty little street in the middle of a housing estate.  We’re wondering at first if we’ve gotten lost again but then we see a punk and realize we’re in the right place.  It’s good to see Loffi again.  It’s been a while.  Loffi is one of the main people in the German punk scene, he’s been heavily involved in both Leipzig and Potsdam, he booked Hard to Swallow a couple of times back in ´96, which was their first European tour.  Luc was seven at the time.

We load in the gear, through a gated door and into a large back yard where they have a brick outhouse where the gig will be tonight.  The place has a bar at the back of it and at the other end we set the gear up.  Twenty people in here would be pretty good going.  Loffi is expecting a few more though.  The house itself it really nice, clean and really well taken care of, not a hint of graffiti or brick anywhere.  We set the backline up and then let the guys in Debre Lebowski, who we met the other night in Leipzig soundcheck.  I don’t bother standing in and listening, there’s no need, you can hear it pretty well from the bedroom in the house where we’re sleeping.  Fuck knows how they manage with the neighbours, this would never work in Sweden.

Loffi gives us some beer tokens and tells us food will be on the way but it takes a while longer than expected.  I go and hang out with the Lebowski guys in the garden, the night is closing in now and the air has chilled considerably but they have a steel drum bonfire going and it’s cosy sitting there in the warmth of is its flames.  Wendel has been feeling rough all day, coming down with a bad cold, coughing all the time and feverish.  I saw him earlier wandering around the bottom of the garden and then later on he was sat on a chair having a bit of alone time.  It’s dark down the bottom of the garden so I can’t see him now.  Ronnie comes out asking for him, I say I haven’t seen him since he was at the bottom of the garden earlier, which is maybe twenty foot away.  Ronnie’s is wondering aloud where he can be and then he looks in the direction of the garden and calls his name, “Yes?” comes a soft reply, he can only be sat a few feet away, immersed in the darkness.  It’s food time, anyway.  We head upstairs to the nice, clean kitchen of one of the flats and tuck in to some great vegan food.  Absolutely wonderful.

We take the food to a lounge just off the kitchen and I sink into the sofa.  I’m feeling really low on energy today.  A little homesick, a slight headache, my eye is stinging again, don’t know what the fuck that is, and now I’m full again.  At least I got to speak to Jen and Polly early when we arrived, the first time for a few days.  Felt better for that.  But the energy is severely lacking tonight.  After dinner we head downstairs to the gig shed and watch a bit of Debre Lebowski.  There are a lot of people here already, maybe forty inside which makes it pretty much impossible to see the band playing, and then another twenty or so hanging out in the garden, drinking around the fire.  Lebowski sound good in any case, power violence with its share of stompy sections.  The sound is strangely dampened inside though.

Will from Born Dead, an old friend of Stix’s, has turned up, making the trip from Berlin.  It’s nice to see him, I met him for the first time a while back when Victims were in Hamburg where he used to live.  He was hoping to sort out a gig for us in Hamburg for tomorrow but he’s been in the States with Born Dead for a while and couldn’t arrange it.  Malmö works out better anyway really, driving home from Hamburg would have been a pain in the tits.  It’s nice to catch up with Will for a while anyway.  I get talking to another guy whilst waiting for the toilet, some guy called Barry from Scotland who lives here, he’s a friend Kev made a while ago who lives in Berlin.  Nice guy.  He was telling me about when he and his mate biked from Berlin to Copenhagen and back a couple of years ago, with no money and pretty wasted the whole time.
It’s our turn to play around eleven.  It takes a while to get sorted out with the gear, things a bit chaotic in the alcove behind the drums where everything is stored.  By the time we’re ready the place is packed and it’s hot as hell.  There is nowhere to stand or move and the air is filled with smoke.  We play tight enough, but it really does feel like a struggle tonight.  It’s hard to find the energy to play when there’s no space to play in.  And it sucks, because this is a great show from a crowd point of view, they seem really into it but I don’t enjoy it as much as I should.  I see Loffi over next to Luc, he keeps hitting him in the back all the time.  Loffi gets excited at these punk gig things.  Luc seems to get annoyed with it after a while and gives him and elbow to the gut.  I don’t know, weird gig.  Both really cool and hard at the same time.  A friend of mine, Kurzi was here watching, this really great girl who is friends with Stachel, it was cool to see her.

Afterwards when we’re hanging outside in the garden we notice that there are still loads of people paying in through the gate, although the people coming in now look a little different.  Instead of punks it’s now middle aged men that look like bankers out on the piss with the firm.  A gang of five walk in, this one slick haired cunt looking about and grinning at the punks in the garden.  He turns to Luc and goes to fist shake him, or whatever you call that move where two people clench their fists and put them together.  Whatever, he looks a right cunt anyway.  And there are plenty more with him.  Some other twat comes walking past with a couple of drinks in his hand, starts asking Luc something in German, when Luc asks him if he speaks English he grunts, “Toilets?” at him and then when Luc opens the door for him he just turns his nose up and walks through.  I don’t like where this night is going.

I can’t even be bothered trying to fight through the crowd to see Pyramido tonight.  I make it in for the last couple of songs, just hanging out by the back by the bar, listening.  Stix had been watching them for a while but had some drunk girl waving a fag in his face the whole time despite asking her several times to watch it, so in the end he fucked off.  I can sense that the guys are having a hard time with the show too, it’s all a little too cosy and a lot of people seem fucked up.  All I can think of now is that bed.  I’m doing the early drive in the morning and I’m really tired now, it’s already one am.  Thing is, there is an after party happening in the shed with a couple of DJ’s playing Eighties tunes.  Trouble is, there are way more people here than Loffi had banked on and they need us to move the gear out.  It’s all very confusing for a minute and it’s starting to get a little tense, we don’t know how the fuck we’re going to get the gear out of here through all the punks and wankers in the garden.  As it turns out, there is a back door and Loffi and the guys from the house help us load out and we decide to just load the van straight away.  I notice there aren’t that many punks left in the place by the time we’re done.

I’m contemplating having one beer before bed, I’ve only drank one all night, but first off some wasted party guy falls into Luc a couple of times and gets a bit agro when he tries to talk to him, and then some punk guy nearly lights up when a the bonfire spits out burning debris on his shoes.  He runs of screaming but it seems he’s alright.  Fuck this though, I’m off to bed.  I go upstairs to sort the money out with Loffi and take a quick shower whilst he’s sorting it.  There’s plenty of money to go around anyway.  And Loffi feels bad about the whole fucking around with the gear thing, although in all honesty it was just as well, saves us time in the morning.

I head to the bedroom, making sure I close the door soundly so that no party wankers stumble in here looking for the toilet.  Despite the party going on out back it’s surprisingly quiet in here.  Stix had been on about having a party with Will tonight but he heads back to Berlin with friends which Stix is grateful for, seems he’s pretty tired too.  I really hope I don’t need to get up for a piss in the night, this party is going to go on until the early hours of the morning and I’m in no mood to go queue up amongst pissed up bankers in my pajama bottoms.

Friday, April 10, 2015


It’s weird that the more sleep you get the more tired you feel.  I could have lain in that bed all day today, despite the cold in the room.  There is a shower in the toilets but I can’t be arsed with it, it looks like it only spouts cold water.  The taps in the sink produce the coldest water I’ve ever experienced, Kev says his joints stopped working after he washed his hands.

We have to get out of here early today.  The GPS says we have a five and a half hour drive but if we know Polish roads then that will be closer to eight hours.  We head down to the floor below where the smell of breakfast is wafting out the door, the scent of warm food is heavenly.  There are a couple of girls from the house fixing grub for everyone and the coffee is flowing.  We sit around the dining table and tuck in, the English and German guys joining us a little while later, seems like they slept down here.  Ronnie heads off to pick up the van and make our way down into the dark crypt to gather the gear.

We make our way through Vienna which provides the chance to do some sightseeing since we end up driving through the centre.  I can’t help feeling that we should have hopped on the tram yesterday and went for a walk around this spectacular city centre, filled with spectacular architecture and parks, castles and opera houses.  This isn’t the Vienna we were hanging out in yesterday that’s for sure.  As we drive through the city I have my eyes fixed on the scenery that passes by and think that I should come back here with the girls on holiday sometime.  I’ve been in this city maybe five or six times and this is the closest I’ve got to sightseeing, from the back of a van.  The life that is touring…

The drive to Wroclaw isn’t as bad as expected.  Ronnie takes the first three hours or so and I take the rest of the way.  We have no problems at the Austro/Czech border, there was barely a border, but then we’ve taken a lot smaller road.  We pass this mad little complex in the middle of the Czech countryside, which has a casino and loads of plastic sculptures of dinosaurs and the sort, totally in the middle of nowhere.  We pass the odd truck stop where there are old, downtrodden prostitutes hanging out looking for work, truly fucking tragic.  The road though is amazingly easy going.  They’ve obviously built a new motorway in Poland which takes hours of time and kilos of anxiety off the journey.  It’s private of course and you have to pay a toll but it’s cheap.  The Polish drivers, as to be expected, are still fucking mental and even when you’re doing 130 they’re right up your arse, bullying you out of the way and gesticulating at you in their mirrors once they’ve smoked past you on the inside.  Fucking crazy bastards.  This is not the country for losing your rag though, you’re likely to get knifed.

We get to Wroclaw around five thirty and at first it seems like we’re going to be playing in a housing estate way outside the city.  Wouldn’t surprise me at all if we were playing in a barn or something tonight.  As it turns out we’ve had the wrong address in the GPS.  We get in touch with the promoter, who goes by the name Dr. Doom, and he points us back in the right direction.  I’m glad to hear it is indeed in the city centre.
Unfortunately we’re in a pretty rough part of town.  And a pretty rough part of town in Poland is nowhere to be sightseeing.  We catch glimpses of the city on the way in, although the Pyramido guys are too scared to look at any of it, they’re just sat there praying we don’t prang anyone.  The city looks as you would expect a former communist country that was decimated by the Nazi’s before them, there is a lot of cool architecture in a run down, hard edged sort of way.  We drive to where the GPS leads us but we can’t find the place and end up at the end of a narrow street wondering which way to turn.  It looks pretty fucking rough around here.  A car beeps from behind and Dan Arne cries out from the back, “For fuck sakes we don’t want Polacks beeping at us, drive!”

We call Dr. Doom again and he tells us we’ve driven past the place and missed it.  We do a loop around the block and when we come back we see a friendly looking girl and a guy I guess is Doom, waving us in through a narrow tunnel in a house that leads into an enclosed grove of houses.  Even the glorious sunshine can’t put too much of a shine on this place.  The Culture Centre/house we’re playing is itself barricaded in with a gate.  The guys putting the show in, Dr. Doom and his girlfriend Sandra seem really nice, very helpful and seem very concerned that we will have a nice time at their show.  They help us load in through the gate and over the inner courtyard to the a building that has a gig room with a deep stage about three foot high at the end of a long narrow room painted half red/half white, reminds me of the hotel in The Shining for some reason.  We drop the gear off and then they lead us up two flights of stairs to a cosy little band apartment at the top of the building with a kitchen/dining area and a bedroom with bunks at the back.  Just like being on holiday.

Dinner is served about twenty minutes after we arrive which is sesame-coated lentil fillets with rice and onion sauce.  Spot on.  We’ve arranged with the guys to have a birthday cake for Lucas, and we bought a couple of two euro bottles of bubbly yesterday we thought we’d surprise Luc with later and celebrate his birthday. We head down to soundcheck and discuss the idea with the sound guy, this one armed bloke, about the possibility of putting the show on the floor, the idea of making what will most likely be a pretty sparse show a little more intimate.  The sound guy isn’t so sure about the idea though and after a lot of umming and ahhing we decide to go with his suggestion of putting the drums and the amps at the front of the stage and have the rest of the band on the floor.  They have a curtain to pull across the room to make it smaller too, which helps a lot.  Last time Pyramido played in Wroclaw they had four paying or something..

Soundcheck takes a while, I can’t be bothered with it though so I head back upstairs to write for a while.  I’d really been hoping there would be an internet connection here today, I’ve been missing my girls and it would have been nice to Skype home and see Polly’s face.  I was a bit gutted when I asked Sandra if there was any internet and she just kind of laughed and said that no, she didn’t think so.  This is the first time the guys have put a show on here though so they weren’t totally sure, but their instinct had been right.  I sit up in the flat writing for a bit when this big friendly Golden Labrador comes in a snuggles up to my leg looking for a fuss.  She cheers me up no end.

The guys come up a while later, not totally convinced with soundcheck.  Fuck it, we’ll see how it goes.  It’s time to surprise Luc with his cake anyway.  Sandra has been off to fetch it.  Really nice of them to help us out.  Luc is really chuffed, not sure he’d seen it coming.  The cake is ace too, a chocolate cake with a marzipan pentagram as topping.  Luc cracks open the bottle of rose bubbly from Lidl, Kev warning him to keep the noise down since anything resembling a gunshot around here could have us in trouble.  Luc pops the cork and gets a shock when the wine fountains all over him, soaking his jeans.  Happy birthday buddy. We pass the bottle round and tuck in to the cake.  Wendel is chuffed, tucks right in.  Sticky tells us about the time he had his graduation party and Wendel turned up, ate loads of cake, puked up and went home. Not a drop of alcohol involved.

We head downstairs to grab a beer from the bar on the other side of the courtyard before the first band start.  We have a couple of beer tickets but they only cost about a quid anyway so it’s no big deal.  I’m not in the mood for much beer anyway.  Dr. Doom asks us if we wanted to take a trip into the city earlier, explaining that around here wasn’t the best area but the city centre was really beautiful.  “Around here it isn’t the best place to hang out, or to live, or to be…” I quite like the thought of checking out the finer parts of the city in the company of our friend here but I don’t like the idea of heading back here on our own afterwards and not being able to get back into the barracks for some reason.

We grab a quick beer from the cool little bar they have, this place reminds me a lot of Lecky’s place in Leeds, and then Dr. Doom pops his head in and says the first band are starting.  We head over and check them out.  There are around thirty people in attendance, a few of which seem to be girlfriends and friends of the local band.  They’re okay though, a lot better than what we deal with last night.  Kind of driving alternative noise rock with a big guy on vocals who doesn’t add much to the whole picture.  It’s a good sound though in the room anyway, really solid.

I have no idea how our show is going to be tonight.  I really do feel pretty knackered, Kev is feeling the same he says.  Tired, slight headache, just generally feeling a bit run down.  And then it feels like we might be playing in front of thirty people who don’t really give a piss about us.  Although I’ve spotted a couple of punks in the room so who knows?  Turns out, as usual thankfully, that the gig is a lot of fun.  It sounds ace, and somehow the energy comes to us.  Stix doesn’t look too daft being sat up on the stage either.  We blast through the set, it’s really sounding tight now, seems a shame that there won’t be that many more gigs to use of it.  I’m really going for it though, it’s almost like the best way to fight off the tiredness is just to go for it even more.  At one point I go running into the wall and end up playing with my face up to it, kinda took a wrong turn.  Sticky finds this great he tells me afterwards.  When we finish the last song I immediately open my guitar case and go to pack away my guitar when one of those punks comes up to me, looks chuffed and a bit boats, and says “No no no!” whilst trying to close my case again.  His lady friend joins him, both laughing and saying “No no no”.  Old Doomey seemed to really like it too, buying a seven inch and asking us not to tell Sandra since they’re short on money.

Pyramido get going not long after we’re done, and as usual they’re great.  Great seeing them play with such a great sound.  I can tell I’m getting a little homesick though, every time I watch them I find myself rocking back and forth almost hypnotized and then thoughts of Polly come into my head, back to when I used to rock her to sleep to the Saga album.  The guys dedicate their second song to Lucas, the birthday boy, the song he’s been singing the riff to for the last week.  Ronnie, despite having a sore throat and sounding pretty husky during the daytime still manages to reach those tortured screams to stunning effect.  Fuck knows how he does it.  Once again, it’s an absolute pleasure watching them perform.

After the show we sell a couple of bits of merch but nothing too much, a seven and a shirt to one guy, another seven to another.  Sandra is buying a shirt from Pyramido and Kev is saying to us to give her a DB pin but she heads off, satisfied with her purchase for the night.  Kev looks down all sad and says, “She doesn’t like us”.  Me and Stix piss ourselves laughing at that.  Doom asks if we had wanted to go into the city, they’re really great hosts I have to say, but I tell him we’ll just stick around here.  We have a little bar, we have a cosy flat upstairs and we have cake and another bottle of bubbly.  Doom tells me it’s probably a good choice to stick around in the house since it is easy to lose your teeth in the estate.  Fuck that.

We get a couple of beers in from the bar and hang out for a bit.  I end up stood out in the courtyard with Sticky, again it’s warmer out here than it is inside, and we get into a nice conversation about life, playing, records and family and stuff.  Really enjoy chatting.  They close the bar pretty early though and we head upstairs to the flat, thanking Dr. Doom and Sandra for their great work and efforts and once again for the cake as we turn in for the night.  We chill out around the table, share another bottle of cheap bubbly, a bit more cake, a few stories, Stix telling us about the time he and Modde were jailed in the States when on tour with Nitad, and then we call it a night.  Another easy one.  My eye is fucking stinging though, must have some shite in it I’ve picked up from one of the sleeping places on tour. Fuck  knows.  Hope it’s better in the morning.  I hope I don’t wake up needing a piss in the night, it’s back down in the venue, two floors down. Can not be arsed with that.


I’m woken at around six thirty with the usual fire in my bladder.  As always, I try to sleep it off, the thought of having to put my shoes on to walk across the dirty floor pains me.  I can’t get back to sleep though, Sideshow Bob and the Rost guys are sat on the other side of the curtain gabbing away loudly, I guess they haven’t been to sleep yet.  I lie there irritated for a while by the sound of his voice until Ronnie lets out a loud, annoyed shushing sound.  Thing is, Sideshow’s whispered voice is more annoying than his squawking voice if anything.  First Luc gets up for a piss, on the way back I hear them asking him if he wants some beer or something, he just says no and goes back to his bunk.  I get up after him, just ignoring the cunts and on the way back pull the curtain closed again.  I think they get the message.

I manage to get another couple of hours of sleep which are most welcome.  When we arise the first thing I look for is Kev’s face.  It doesn’t disappoint, he’s sat there with his head in hands, hair everywhere.  I ask him how he got so pissed last night, just seemed to come out of nowhere.  “From beer.  I had to drink a load to get through these boring cunts set” he says, a thumb pointing in Sticky’s direction.  I wonder if the fucker is still pissed.

Sticky tells us that he had to help Kev to the bog in the middle of the night.  He’d heard Kev shuffling around out of bed and then he trips over a bag on the floor, after which he shouts out in anger “Luc!”  Luc doesn’t even stir though.  Sticky gets up and guides him to the toilet, Kev grumbling as he does so.  Sticky goes back to bed for a bit but can’t get back to sleep.  He’s heard Kev come back out of the toilet but he hasn’t come back to the sleeping area yet.  Sticky gets up to look for him and finds him lost in the stairway outside, “Where the fuck am I?” he asks, totally scoobied.  Sticky helps him back to bed, receiving a hug and a wet kiss on the lips as thanks.

Kev can’t remember any of it of course.  The Rost guys are now passed out, the girl and Sideshow cuddling on a mattress on the floor, the other two on the sofas.  The couple pull the quilt above their heads as we talk around them, I actually feel a bit sorry for them.  Smiley told me last night when he was steaming that he’d be here around twelve to make breakfast, but we’re looking to get going before then.  Dan has been out and bought some bread rolls and there is some cheese and other spreads in the fridge.  We all get stuck in. Ronnie puts some coffee on but it tastes pretty rank, still, better than fuck all.

Smiley turns up just after twelve and opens up downstairs, we load out the van with the help of the girl from Rost, who is actually really sweet, we have a chat for a while with everyone, and then we get going.  The drive to Vienna is a short one, the shortest of the tour I think, just a couple of hundred kilometers.  It’s not without incident though.  We’ve not long been on the motorway when we hear a loud bang ahead and Ronnie is forced to slam on the breaks, for a minute I think we’re going to plough into the car in front but we stop in time.  Ronnie insists there was still margin for more breaking.  We look ahead and see a cloud dust and rubber in the air, a lorry has had a tire blowout.  A few other cars have pulled over, their drivers looking a bit shocked but thankfully nobody seems to be hurt.

We arrive in Vienna around four pm, a couple of hours before load-in.  The Pyramido guys have played here a couple of times before, it’s this huge squat on the outskirts of the city centre.  There is nowhere to park the van and we can’t load in right now so we take it around the corner and park by Lidl and then take a walk down the road in search of food.  Dan says he thought he saw a café on the corner, that maybe we could go there and eat some fried cheese.  Sounds like a fantastic idea to me.  The place he’d spotted looks a bit rough though so we continue down to a larger pedestrian street where there seems to be a bit more going on. We end up in a noodle shop, all nine of us ordering the same fired tofu dish.  The portion is huge and it tastes great.  Afterwards we head to a café for some coffee and cake, totally stuffed by the end of proceedings. We sit there gabbing for a while, I notice this old woman sat at the table beside looking totally fascinated by us.

When we get back it’s time to load in. There are two other touring bands on the bill tonight, a couple of screamo bands, one from the UK, one German.  They seem friendly enough, they’re all there to help with the load in.  I get talking to one guy who’s the drummer in the UK band, Cassus, seems a nice guy although a little lost.  I ask him where they’ve been but he says he’s useless with names.  This is his first time in Europe.  I ask him where they played last night but even that has him stumped.  They’ve only been out a week.
We load in downstairs to the basement where there is a smallish concrete room with a small concrete stage.  Ronnie and Dan head off in search of parking, he won’t be back for a almost two hours.  Mental, the guy who booked us who is a friend of the band, ends up having to go meet up with them to try and help find something.  Nightmare.  Apparently they have these weird parking zones in the city center where all the rich twats pay for a year’s worth of parking, the EKG squat is just on the other side of the zone’s border and everyone who lives in the park zone that can’t afford to pay for parking parks here instead, making it impossible to find anything.  Last time the guys played here they had their van towed and had to pay two hundred and fifty Euros to get the cunt back.

Of course, being that we ate ourselves absolutely stuffed earlier, for once dinner is served early.  It’s pretty similar fare to that which we ate in Prague, a soy meat stew of sorts.  I’ve never seen so much soy meat though, they have a huge skillet filled to the brim, it’s just a huge stodge of soy meat with the odd bit of potato and carrot thrown in.  It’s not bad but I’m glad we ate out today.  It was cheap as fuck anyway.

After dinner Luc and I head up the dormitory where we’d put our bags earlier.  It’s up five flights of stairs, it’s pitch black about half way up and there’s another gate that needs to be opened.  Mental takes us up with the help of a torch and unlocks the gate.  This is a one secure squat.  There is a huge riot draw gate that sits in the ceiling of the stairway beyond the locked gate that would take a fucking bomb to breach.  A relic of an time gone by, the guys here actually pay rent on the place now.  We had been talking earlier though about this film that exists on the internet about one of the famous squats in Warsaw that was attacked by Nazi’s during a march, firebombed and all, the punks barricading themselves in and throwing missiles at them from the top floor, the police doing nothing to prevent the Nazi assholes from attacking, simply letting them past them.  Things are a bit different in Poland.  Hopefully we’ll be okay tomorrow though.

We hang out in the band room upstairs for a bit.  It’s cold up there, we’ll have to cuddle up in the night. Rappy and Crappy are with us.  They show us to this outer terrace they have on the floor below.  Really cool area, a wide patio that has bathtubs around the circumference, all filled with soil for growing food.  Really cool idea.  Dan says he slept out here last time under the stars since it was so warm.  It’s actually not too cold tonight, certainly warmer outside than it is inside, not quite sure that works.

We head downstairs to the bar and take a beer.  It’s going to be a very calm night tonight since we have a long drive tomorrow, and drinking the beer is almost going through the motions.  I don’t particularly want one, but there it is in my hand all the same.  We head downstairs to the gig room and have a peek about.  Adjacent to the small room we’re playing is another much larger room that used to be an old theatre which they mainly use for parties and raves these days.  There is this huge sculpture of a beetle hanging above the stage that we’re told when powered up starts flapping its wings about and spouts a one meter flame out of its mouth at the crowd below.  Looks mad.  We go back into the small room where they have a sofa in the shell of a burnt out VW Beetle which Kev and I sit in a have a chilled out chat for a while.

It feels quite obvious that there are not going to be a lot of people at the show tonight.  Mental had warned us earlier that there is another big gig on in town tonight, some neo-crust band from around here that has signed to Metal Blade Records and have a huge hype.  Bastard.  The only saving grace may be that the gig costs sixteen Euros which is seen as obscene by the punks around here.  It proves to be true though, by the time Cassus start their gig there are only the German band they’re touring with and our lot, plus a few stragglers.

Kev and I are big fans of the scream genre, especially the early San Diego scene in the early Nineties, at the same time Luc and Stix hate it, in general I would say they don’t have a fucking clue what they’re talking about but this band tonight are pretty hard to defend.  It’s painfully calculated and pretentious.  They have the lights turned off, the only light coming from these spherical paper lamps they’ve spread about the stage.  The bass player has his guitar up to his neck and spends the entire gig poncing about the stage and the floor looking like he’s in emotional agony.  Every song follows the dark/light structure and becomes incredibly boring very quickly.  During the second song, during a passage of clean guitar and tinkling cymbals the bass player screams a verse into the air, no microphone anywhere.  Luc wonders if he should take a mic up to him and point out his mistake.  They’re said they’d play for fifteen minutes but it’s actually closer to thirty, I point this out to Luc.  “Let’s not start listing the things they’re doing wrong…” he says, insinuating that we’ll be here all night.  I’m wondering what Kev is thinking, knowing fine well what Stix is thinking.. As it as Kev is at the little cocktail bar they have ordering a Mojito.  At the end of the next song all you can hear is Kev sucking the last of his cocktail and sloshing ice around his plastic cup.  Wasn’t expecting that.  “Fucking dogshit” is his simple review.  It’s a shame because they seem like nice guys.  I guess the fact their band sucks balls doesn’t make them bad people though.  They probably think we suck too.

The German band offer more of the same, although a lot less of it in time of length of set.  The guitarist/vocalist has his mic stand set at half way though, which means he has to bend down very low to sing, leading Luc to more piss taking of the obvious variety, very much appreciated by me nonetheless.
We’re up next and there are not a whole load of people in this dark little concrete basement.  The Pyramido guys are stood around giving their usual support but there are only a couple of others.  It’s one of those gigs where it feels like it might be hard to find the inspiration, one of those where it’s easy to wonder what you’re doing here instead of being home with your little girl.  But as it turns out I have a good crack during the gig anyway.  I spend pretty much the entire set on the floor with Kev, Luc remaining on the small stage with Stix. It sounds ridiculously loud and I can tell Luc and Stix are struggling with it.  It sounds a lot better on the floor than it does up by the amps.  A few more people come down to watch during the gig, maybe twenty or so. We play pretty tight, even if it all sounds a bit chaotic.  The last song goes a bit bananas though, Kev so far ahead of the rest of us during I’m Still Drowning that he’s as good as thanking the crowd for the gig whilst we’re still on the last chorus.  I think it’s going to completely break down at one point but we manage to real it in.  The Pyramido guys seemed to love the show at least, they seem well chuffed.

Pyramido start line checking and straight away I can tell it’s going to be a night for ear plugs.  They’re waiting for the all clear from the sound engineer that doesn’t seem to be coming at any point.  Dan Arne asks through the mic, “Mr. Sound Engineer, are you ready?  Is it too loud?”

“Totally” comes an answer from somewhere in the dark.  “Good answer” laughs Dan and with that they go into their set.  I stand to the side and enjoy a beer whilst they play.  There are probably thirty or so people all in all in the place although most of them are stood at the back.  “Please come forward, I promise we won’t hit you.  We might hug you” smiles Ronnie.  Hugcore.  They only play the four songs tonight, dropping the older song from the set.  I get the feeling there will be no Discharge tonight.  They play a good show though and I enjoy it as always but when Dan Arne says afterwards, “Weird show” I can only really agree.  Still, we all sell some merch, we manage to shift a few seven’s and Mental buys a t-shirt.  He seemed to be really impressed with the show.  “I thought you guys were pretty ok on the records I heard online but live it was like…fucking hell!  You guys were awesome.”

We pack down the gear and order a couple of cocktails, the price on them is simply “Donation” written on a box.  The guys order some Mojitos following Kev’s lead, I take Tequila Sunrise, an old favourite.  It takes a fucking age to make though.  Still, it’s worth it.  I head upstairs to the bar with it and we sit at a long table together with  Mental and chill out for a while.  It’s really nice just hanging out and taking it easy.  Me and Luc start telling ghost stories which adds to the overall adventurers out camping kind of feel to it.  We head to bed, having received instructions from Mental on the best route out of Austria which avoids the cops and fines for the weight of our van.

This is the first night that everyone, even Kev, go to bed stone cold sober.  We all confer that it’s quite a strange feeling.  It’s cold in the room so me and Luc snuggle up to share some body warmth.  It takes me ages to get to sleep, my head spinning with sober thoughts.


Well that was an absolutely pish night’s sleep.  Three of us one fucking mattress.  I managed to get around three or four hours but then woke up around seven for a piss and couldn’t back off after that.  It was humid as fuck in the room and I had no pillow, I tried out numerous positions but nothing was working, having Stix snoring in my ear not exactly helping the situation either.  I’d been having some really fucked up dreams too.  Despite this I felt surprisingly alive.  Kev said he was having a dream in the night of the erotic kind and when he woke up he had my toe in his mouth.

The other guys stir to life and Dan looks over, smile on his face, and starts to tell us about their night.  Apparently Mira’s flat mate, the guy with the dreads who was sleeping beside him in the kitchen, had asked them if they wanted to hear some Danish grindcore and then put the fucker on full blast without waiting for a response.  He then went and sat in the kitchen and started talking on his phone whilst looking at the guys lying there with this music blasting.  Every now and again he’d get back up and walk to the room, have a look at them and then go back to the chair in the kitchen and sit down again.  Ronnie comes to bed and turns the music off, Dreads then comes back to the room, looks at Dan and says in a barely decipherable growl, “You want E?”  Dan and the guys look back, a bit scoobied, not really understanding what he’s asking.  “You want weed?”  The guys look back in silence again.  “You want…eat?”  He then goes and sits down again, just starting at them through the door with this intense look.  A while later he’s back again.  “Do you like breakcore?”  Dan just shakes his head, says the whole situation was fucking surreal.

Luc says he woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of his phone.  When he looks up, Dreads is stood above him staring, having just stood on Luc’s phone.  He then hops about the room landing between the mattresses for about fifteen minutes.  Luc just turns over and tries to pretend it’s not happening.  Mental fucker.  He doesn’t seem to be around this morning anyway.  Kev looks at me, feeling knackered he says, “We should have slept at Symesy’s place.  Right now we’d be drinking coffee, we’d have showered and we’d be looking at his bird.”  I ask him if she’s hot, “Hotter than nowt” he says in his thick Nottingham accent.  I piss myself laughing.  Dirty old fecker.

Ronnie comes back from having a shower and says it was pretty good.  I’m fucking desperate, it’s been a couple of days now, feel rank.  Ronnie warns that it’s one of those small boilers that won’t hold very much water.  When I go to investigate I find Mira washing a huge fucking saucepan in the shower.  That’s that fucked then.  Mira offers some coffee anyway, which Kev and I happily accept.  I get a bit of a shock at first when the first then I get is a clump of coffee powder, forgetting that they do it that way around these parts.  I pick some lumps out of my teeth and fight through it.  It gets better.  We get talking to Mira about his country and the education system, turns out he’s studying history and sociology.  He’s a really nice guy and its fun to talk to him.  He says he’ll happily help us with other shows in the future.  Would be nice, if we could make it work financially.  Hard if the best you can get is money from the donation box though.  We’ll see.  I love this part of the world and I’d really like to play some other cities in the Czech Republic.

We head off around eleven for some breakfast.  We have to go back to the café we played yesterday since Luc left his silly little steel case that everyone has been taking the piss out since we left, the Pyramido guys have been having a field day with it.  They had some good food at the café anyway so we may as well get brecky there.  The staff they have employed there are young offenders that are in a back-to-work program.  Everyone from the bar staff to the sound guy.  Really cool idea.  As we’re stood there ordering Kev is looking at the girls talking in the kitchen, “It’s like Prisoner Cell Block H back there.”  He looks chuffed.
The journey to Liz takes around three hours.  The roads towards the Austrian border are pretty slow going.  I take over after a while, even if it’s slow going, it’s a nice drive with some nice views of the green hills.  We get talking about merch and Sticky’s cd distro that he hasn’t sold so much of  on this tour yet, he’s holding out for Poland though.  He tells us about this time he took a couple of bottles of booze with him to some hardcore festival and sold shots for ten kronors a pop by the merch table.  “I made a fucking fortune!” he chirps.  “The thing is, there were a couple of Germans from another band next us who had the same idea, and every time I sold a shot I bought a shot from them.  Ended up crawling home, destroyed.  Puking everywhere.  I managed to sell two bottles of booze and drink two bottles of booze.”  Fucking genius.

We get to the venue, which is a classic old squat in the grounds of a churchyard just at the back end of the city centre.  The squat is a big old building that I guess belonged to the church at one point in time.  The promoter is there when we arrive but we’re in no rush so we head off for a walk around the city.  The sun is shining and only Stix and Kev have ever been here before so we’re all up for some sightseeing.  There is a pretty impressive cathedral just around the corner we have a peek at for a bit and then carry on through the city and make our way to the Danube.  We sit around in a park for a while on the banks of the river, taking pictures and chilling out.  It’s a little nippy though so we head for a walk along the bank and then turn up into the old town which is full of bars that are still closed.  I guess this is the place to be on a Saturday night in Linz.  I’m getting a bit peckish, therefore I’m delighted when we find a little supermarket that is selling the classic apple strudel.  We meander back through the streets munching on pastries and looking at old buildings.  Dan Arne is starting to feel that everything that isn’t a bar is not worth looking at, “No, no, no. Fucking boring building.  Where is the bar?”

We get back to the venue around six and load the gear in.  The gig room has a professional looking set up, with a large corner stage and a meaty looking PA.  It’s a bigger room than most we have played so how it will look at the gig tonight I don’t know.  The sound engineer is this really friendly girl called Sabrina who seems to know her shit, Pyramido sound immense during soundcheck.  I have a look at my amp and see if I can fix it but it proves harder than expected to reach the input socket.  I’m back on Wendel’s 800 by the looks of it.

Dinner is served after soundcheck, we sit together at the dining table up in the band room.  This squat has a great setup, a really nice bed area on the other side of the curtain from the kitchen.  The dinner is great too, a big puff pastry pie filled with potatoes and other vegetables, fucking great.  This Englishman is chuffed with that.  It’s nice sitting down with the guys for dinner.  A little glimpse of civilization.  We sit about afterwards chatting, sipping on a beer or two.  This is the night Stix has had booked in to be his calm night but I’m very fucking skeptical about that I have to say.  The lack of sleep last night, plus the weighty dinner is beginning to take its toll, I feel I’ll be taking a shot of the old Fisk before show time tonight, bit of an energy injection.  I get talking to a couple of the guys from the squat, telling them about our walk around the city earlier on in the day, saying that it’s a nice looking place.  I happen to mention the Old Town and they tell me that you don’t want to go there at night time, those bars are filled with young girls and idiots.  They tell me that if you go there on a Saturday night you’re likely to experience some Linz Acupuncture, i.e. a knife in the back.
The guys from the first band, Rost, come up to the kitchen and get talking to us.  The singer is this funny looking guy with a cheeky voice, has a kind of Sideshow Bob thing going on with is barnet.  Someone has been down and fetched some booze from the van bar and we offer some to him, “Sprit, sprit, sprit!”  They teach us their word Schwarm, or something like that, and we all take up the baton, “Schwarm, schwarm, schwarm!”  Sideshow explains to us that it there word for “drink”, before another of his band adds, “extensively”.  Brilliant. Sideshow is confused, “The guys from err Diagnosis err Bastard have written their logo everywhere.”

“We can’t afford stickers” explains Luc.

We hang out for a little longer and then head downstairs in time to watch Rost.  It feels like it could be a low attendance tonight so we should go down and show our support.  Turns out that it’s okay anyway, maybe forty or so people, looks okay in the dark.  When Rost start playing I don’t know what to think, Sideshow is stood on the floor smoking a roll up between singing, kind of just stood there looking like an imposter.  Then the promoter guests on a song, wearing a nervous smile and carrying a little note with lyrics on.  He holds them tight as he screams indecipherably into the mic, smiling the whole time.  I begin to dig it.  Sideshow talks English between all the songs, a cheeky smile on his coupon the whole time, purely for our sakes.  Really fun.  We’re all stood there chuckling along to their set.  By the end Lucas jumps in and starts moshing, after Sideshow announces, “This is the last shit you hear from us tonight, then it’s time for some Swedish shit”.  They of course do an encore, a cover of Minor Threat’s I Don’t Want To Hear It.  They receive warm applause from the crowd, us amongst them.

I take a shot of Fisk and grab a beer and then get set up on stage.  A few people are starting to trickle back in by the time we’re done with the noise at the start, before Stix starts the drum intro to Hypnotic Eye.  I can tell it sounds good in the PA but I’m stood right in front of my cab with nowhere to go and all I can hear is myself.  I can see Stix but can’t hear a thing he’s playing.  I get down to the floor and play the rest of the gig from there, thinking or hoping that Kev will follow, but I’m left there on my own, dancing about the place for the entire set, feeling like a bit of a pillock.  It sounds ace when I’m stood in the middle of the stage in front of Kev, really good sound.  Feels tight again, tour mode fully locked in now.  Really enjoyable show, and it feels like the crowd appreciate it.  There are shouts for more afterwards but encores aren’t really our thing.
I head over to the merch tables after the show to pick up my guitar cases and the girl who played guitar in Rost comes up to me and says, “Hey, Party Guitar!  It was great!”  Seems like we’re selling some merch tonight again which is always nice to see.  It’s so fun to think that here we are in Linz playing to other punks for the first time and they’re buying our records and t-shirts.  That’s amazing to me really.  That we  write these silly little high speed punk songs in our practice space in Stockholm and now here we are in Austria, being fed and given beer and playing for other punks that haven’t heard of us before who are now buying our records.

Pyramido sound huge with this sound system.  I stand for the entire show, entranced by their dreamy sounding doom, thinking back to when I used to rock Polly to sleep in my arms to their last album Saga.  For some reason it used to do the trick.  The guys seem to really enjoy their set tonight, as do the other punks in the venue.  At the end of the set the punks are shouting for more, Dan Arne says in that voice of his that they’ll play if someone brings them some apfel strudel.  They play the Discharge song, Ain’t No Feeble Bastard, and we all jump in for a mosh.  Great crack.  Afterwards I get talking to Smiley the promoter.  He tells me they have a radio station out of the squat where he has a show every week and he’s been playing ours and Pyramido’s songs for the last couple of weeks to promote the gig.  He says they think it’s fun with English and talk it on the show.  He asks me what the band name means, I tell him the story.  He says he’s been presenting us as Diagnosis Ask Why Sign, Bastard Shout Out Loud Sign.  This is the best thing I’ve heard in ages.

I don’t know when the fuck it happened but Kev seems to be steamboats.  Another fucker who was saying he was taking it easier earlier.  Kill ‘Em All is on the PA and Kev is doing a little hop dance to the song Jump in the Fire. The booze is being passed around and before long we’re all having a dance.  This goes on until we’re told they’re closing the room so we take it upstairs.  We hang out on the sofas up by the kitchen, the booze now flowing freely.  A couple of bottles of bubbly have appeared from somewhere and as they’re brought out it’s met with chants of, “This is incredible, this is incredible, this is incredible!”  Ronnie is pissing himself laughing at us, calling us idiots.  Cue “We are idiots, we are idiots, we are idiots!”  Stix is filming it all, there has to be some samples in there somewhere.

Kev is now sat there looking miserable, picking on Luc, ripping shreds out of him, he always does this with Luc when he’s this pissed.  His way of showing him he loves him.  We sit there passing the booze around laughing at him whilst Kev sits there moaning, now truly living up to the name Sticky has given him, Grumpy Kev.  The guys in Rost are stood outside in the hallway because we put No Smoking signs around the sleeping area earlier.  They’re in and out picking up booze and beer and Kev is moaning about them too.  I love it when he’s in this mood.  Ronnie is in constant howls of laughter as we sit there passing around a bottle of Asti Martini talking absolute nonsense.  Luc is asking everyone to check out his tooth, apparently he got Ronnie’s mic in the mouth earlier and he’s chipped a gad, panicking that his beauty has been destroyed by punk rock.  Story has it that Nirvana played this venue back in ´89 as support to Tad, Luc comments how that’s pretty amazing.  “Saw ém on that tour in Nottingham.  Fucking shite!” grumbles Kev.

Eventually we start to drift off to the beds one by one.  Dan Arne, Stix and Kev are the last left of us.  We can hear Dan Arne and Stix gabbing on about something and Kev calling everyone cunts.  I hear Stix warning Kev that he’s spilling his beer on his jeans, “Fuck off” is the simple reply.  That gets him going again, mumbling away to himself.  Henrik, lying in a bed at the end, comes with one of his brilliant ponderings, “I wonder if Kev is like a parrot, if you drape a towel over him he’ll just fall asleep?”  Ronnie and I find that hilarious, I’m laughing so hard that I have a pain in my stomach.  They finally head to bed, Kev stumbling about the place calling us all wankers.  The Rost guys head back into the main room and then over to our beds, seemingly wanting to party.  Sideshow keeps appearing with his hurdy gurdy voice, asking us inane questions.  I’m starting to fade now, just the sound of Sideshow in the background.  The last thing he says before pulling the curtain back shut, “I like cabbage.”  Totally random.

“Cabbage!?” shouts Kev, a mixture of confusion and anger.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


It’s fucking freezing in this room, and the pillow I’m sharing with Kev is as hard as a rock.  If indeed it is a pillow... Fuck knows.  I get up and walk down the dusty wooden staircase to the middle floor for an acute piss.  I’ve been lying for at least an hour with my bladder at the point of exploding, too tired, too fucked to get up and do anything about it.

I feel better for the piss release though, sort of.  When I get back to the room the rest of the guys are stirring to life.  Rappy smiles at me, tells me that me and Kev were involved in some really sweet pillow talk last night.  Fucked if I remember what we were talking about.  The guy who lives in the squat, who brought us here last night, appears and tells us that he’s making us some coffee.  In all honesty I’d rather just get out of here, I’m in need of a shite and I don’t want to do it in the bog here, it’s one of those shelf jobs that leaves you sitting on your own turd.  Can’t deal with that right now.  Kev looks as knackered as I feel, “My mouth tastes like an old man’s arse.  It’s like my arse and mouth have swapped places, like there’s teeth in my arsehole and piles in my mouth.”

We take the bags down to the van and stand around in the sun for a while.  Luc asks what the plan is and someone says we’re heading back inside.  Luc wonders why.  “We mistakenly ordered some coffee”, explains Sticky.  The host is a really nice guy though, turns out he’s originally from Barcelona and used to be in the band Cop of Fire and knows a bunch of people we know.  We sip on some coffee and share a few slices of bread, my eye on the big bathtub in the corner of the kitchen, wishing I could just sit in the fucker and clean myself.  Kev gets sorted out with a load of throat pills from the guy, he’s got a whole box load of goodies that he’s happy to bestow on Kev.

We head off around lunch time, the sun shining, a new day on tour.  I feel a little bit sick.  We take the first stop on the motorway to grab some breakfast.  Coffee and grilled sandwiches.  The old lady serving us looks severely unimpressed with us, each ordering separately, one after the other, the exact same order and paying with different cards.

Sticky and Dan Arne are sat up front besides Ronnie at the wheel, which means they’re sat at the bar.  It’s not long until the bottles start clinking up there and Kev is being passed the bottle of Toilet Duck.  “I fucking hate these cunts” he groans as he puts the bottle to his lips.  Sticky and Dan Arne enthusiastically make their way through each of the bottles, I lost count of the times I hear them say, “A little sip of this and then we’ll take a pause” only to hear the sound of another bottle opening shortly afterwards.  Dan takes a big sip of Fernet.  How anyone can drink that horror is beyond me.  When lets out a satisfied “Aaah” after pulling the bottle away, “It tastes of herbs and freedom” he declares.  Another pause is announced shortly before they find a small pack of Underberg, Ronnie pissing himself laughing at the two of them.  “Small little bastards these bottles”, Dan contemplates, not too impressed with it.  By the time they close the bar Sticky’s face is an interesting shade of red.

When we cross the Czech border we drive into a blizzard, the sky having turned black.  The GPS seems to lose its way in it and we end up on a narrow road beside the motorway.  We’re now on the scenic route to Prague, about eighty kilometers to go.  We drive through this grim little industrial town that Dan proclaims has raped Mother Nature with its presence before following the river through the countryside which is noticeably more picturesque.  I wish I could enjoy it more but I’m sat in the back writing and feeling a little travel sick.  We stop at a garage and top up on chips and chocolate which makes me feel better, Rappy and Crappy exploring pondering over which will be tonight’s energy drink.  They opt for something called Smarty which costs about four Swedish kronors.

I take the front seat next to Ronnie for the remainder of the journey, feeling considerably better for the sugar and the fresh air, even though the air was filled with wet snow.  We arrive in Prague around four, and as is usually the case in the city, it takes a while to find the venue, even with the help of the GPS.  Turns out the venue is this little café in a park on the outskirts of the city center.  We have to drive down a path that leads to it and when we’re backing up beside it we feel a bump and a loud bang.  The two Dans get out to check what it was, turns out we backed over a large stone in the ground, “Some memorials stuff,” according to Dan Arne.  Seems like the van is ok, and the guys place the sign back on the stone.

Cool little place this.  I notice stickers of friend’s bands like Agent Attitude and Damaged Head and the likes, fun to know they’ve been here too.  We have a couple of hours to kill so we take some coffee and chill out in the café.  I’ve been saying to Stix all day that I’m taking it easy tonight, which he finds hilarious since I was banging on about Prague being the party night at the start of the tour.  He asks what happened to that, “I peaked in Leipzig it seems, overshot it.”

After a while Luc and I decide to stretch our legs and have a walk around the park.  Even though the sun is shining the wind is viciously cold so it’s not the most pleasant stroll, but we have a nice conversation about life and our families and a load of other stuff.  Nice to get away for a bit.  As we’re walking around we see this wasted guy staggering about with a plastic bag shouting to himself or anyone else that will listen, looks like 28 Days Later.  Off his fucking tits.  When we arrive back at the café I’m wondering what’s happened to him but then I hear more shouting and see he’s now found his way to the other side of the park.  We head back in.

I’m looking forward to tonight because we have a couple of mates coming down.  First off my friend Alec from Scotland, who now lives in Ostrava and then Paul Symes, who played guitar in Dead Inside with Kev and now lives here, is playing with his new band Crossfire Fuckin Hurricane, first on the bill.  I’ve been speaking to him a lot via the internet about this show and other stuff and it will be fun to finally meet him after all the correspondence.  He turns up around six thirty, Kev heads out, “Symsey!”  It’s fun to see them back together again.  It’s really nice to meet him and his band.  The singer is this big Irish guy who’s old band apparently played with Speedhorn back in the day, In don’t really recognize him though, which is strange because he’s a big bugger covered in tats, so you’d think I’d remember.  Seems like a nice guy anyway, he’s straight there helping out with carrying the gear in.

Turns out they forgot to bring Paul’s guitar though so they have a dash back to their space to pick it up.  In the meantime Alec turns up.  It’s really great to see him.  Alec played in Ninth Circle which was the first band Speedhorn ever toured with and we’ve been friends since.  Alec is such a friendly guy, that soft Scottish accent of his making him very approachable.  We sit down and catch up, mostly on what’s going on with our lives.  I’m really interested in how he’s doing in Ostrava.  He tells me that he’s been a bit sauced up over the weekend, that they celebrate Easter here in the Czech Republic in a very special way which involves everyone getting steamboats.  Apparently the tradition is that the men in the city make these whips out of willow branches and the crack is that they go around all the houses, don’t have to know the occupants, walk in and smack the women on the arse with the whips, upon which they’re given a shot of Czech booze.  And this starts around four am!  Fucking mental.  Alec says it freaked him out a bit and he was fucked by ten am. Bonkers.

Just as we’re contemplating ringing the promoter to find out where he is, worrying a little about the fact it’s seven fifteen and Symsey’s band is on at eight, we’re all Hank Marvin too, he turns up.  This big tall skinny guy with long black hair and glasses.  He sorts us out with some veggie goulash immediately.  It does the job if nothing else.  At least we’re not as stuffed as we were yesterday, I couldn’t handle another gig like that.  Symsey’s band go on at eight and the place is pretty full, it’s only small so it doesn’t take much, but it feels good.  I’m now on my second beer, Stix laughs, saying that he thought I was having an easy night, “Not at these prices” I tell him.  This country is still ridiculously cheap, at least for beer, funnily enough the bottled water costs more than the ale.  It tastes fucking wonderful though, Pilsner Urquell on tap for about nine kronors, you can’t complain  Dan Arne has gone for some wheat beer that is garnished with a slice of orange, looks chuffed.

Anyway, me and Kev stand at the front and watch the band.  It’s great seeing Symes play guitar, I’ve never had the pleasure before.  He’s a hell of a guitarist, puts shit loads into the gig as well.  The drummer and the bass player are solid as fuck too, its fun to watch them.  I’d like to hear the record so I can pick out the songs a bit better though, it’s pretty chaotic hardcore punk that is a bit lost in the sound of the room, I can pick out the odd little bit of guitar genius from Symsey here and there, would be fun to hear it on record.  Kev smiles, noticing that a few of the songs are remakes of stuff they had together in the band Shut The Fuck Up that was based in Barcelona, that never really went anywhere.

Even though the singer announces that Pyramido are up next, in fact it does state on the flyer that we’re top of the bill, I make sure we’re in the middle.  The Pyramido guys are more than happy to play next but I tell them I don’t want to look silly going on after them, our fifteen minute set would sound daft after their epic whirlwind, “We’d sound like a fucking Benny Hill band going after you guys” I explain.
Just as I’m setting up the gear I see notice that the input socket on my amp has fallen inside the casing.  Fucking typical.  Luckily Crappy is a very kind man and is happy to lend me his JCM 800, which sounds immense.  I don’t need to change anything, just plug in and go.  This turns out to be my favourite gig of the tour so far.  Despite feeling ropey all day the energy comes back for the show.  The room is full and we’re stood on the tiled floor, lights on, kinds weird but it works.  It feels tight tonight.  At one point I’m a little further out in the crowd, much to the bass player from Symsey’s band who is slapping me on the back, loving it.  I can tell the rest of the guys in the band are all feeling it tonight too, just as last night I could tell they were struggling a bit.  It’s a good feeling when it clicks.  It’s still chaos, but it’s controlled chaos.
The sweat is pissing out of me after show so I head outside into the cold.  Weirdly enough there are a couple of older punks stood out there with distros set up on the veranda.  They’ve been stood there all night, fucking freezing out.  Fuck that.  I head back in and find Mira, the promoter, walking around with a box for donations for the band.  Doesn’t exactly fill one with hope.  I grab a beer and when I head over to the merch Luc is counting the money with a slightly worried look on his face.  We had been expecting this tonight to be fair, Mira hadn’t promised us anything.  And the gig was great, as long as don’t too many like this we’ll be okay.  We don’t sell much merch though, we really need to sort some lp’s out.  We’re planning on putting out all the releases and four new songs on an lp ourselves later in the year..Still, we shift a couple of sevens and a shirt.  Better than a kick in the balls I suppose.

Pyramido seem to have a harder time on stage tonight, something weird going on with the tuning in one of the songs that seems to have them baffled.  Strangely enough, I had the exact same thing when we started Join The Queue, sounded a half note out but when I checked where I was playing I was on, and the rest of the song was in.  Really strange.  Maybe it’s something to do with sound bouncing around.  It seems to throw the guys a bit although I enjoy watching their set as always.

We’re in a bit of a conundrum after the show. It’s an early finish, by the time the P Beats are done it’s only ten.  I know Symsey is keen on us all staying at his place, he says he’s got a big flat near some cool bars, and Kev is keen to hang out obviously.  The thing is Mira has a flat where we can stay that as well as floor also has mattresses, something Symsey doesn’t.  There is an option of splitting up but nobody is really up for that.  We decide we’ll stay at Mira’s but me, Kev and Stix will head into the city for a couple of beers with Symes.  The rest of the guys feel like an easier night.  To be fair I feel pretty knackered myself but I’d feel bad for not socialising.  Alec has to head off to catch the last train back to Ostrava.  It’s been great seeing him.

We walk off in search of a cab with some friend of Symsey.  He’s struggling a bit with the English but from what I can make out seems like a nice guy.  He’s not coming out with us, just helping with the cab situation.  It takes a while, and its fucking cold.  When we do manage to flag a cab down the driver is this middle aged lady who doesn’t seem too keen on picking up four lads so fucks off without us.  We end up taking a bus for free into town.  Nobody seems concerned about paying.

We get into town and take a cab from there to this bar in Zizkov that Paul knows well.  The old guy driving flying about the cobbled streets at a ridiculous speed.  The bar is just what I required.  There are only a few people and they’re playing 82 punk at a low volume.  Perfect.  We sit around a table at the back of the room.  There is this girl sat across from us at the table beside us.  She looks pretty wasted.  She starts talking to me in Czech, and when I ask her if she speaks English she looks at me all intense and tells me that she knows me.  I tell her that I think she’s mistaken.  “Are you an actor?” she asks me.  She’s making me a little uneasy. She wants a cig for her joint anyway but nobody can help.  She shuffles off after hanging around in silence for a couple of minutes.  In her place arrives this pissed up old Rastafarian.  He asks us if we’ve heard of the Bad Brains.  We tell him that yes of course we have. He can’t believe it, says they had a bet on at the bar that we wouldn’t have heard of them.  He then starts going on about some Swedish band with electronic drums but we can’t work out what the fuck he’s going on about.

When he fucks off the girl comes back and sits at our table, still looking at me intensely but saying nothing.  Symes is in full flow and doesn’t even notice her whilst he bombards us with questions about the UK and punk rock.  It’s really nice chatting to him but the girl is freaking me out a little bit.  When Symes heads back to the bar she starts talking again.  She starts saying about how she’s had a rough night and that she was expecting to meet some friends and she needs some money blah blah blah.  Symes lends her the two hundred kronors she’s asking for, tells her she can leave it with the bar tender tomorrow.  She asks his name but Symes says the bartender doesn’t know his name, he’s just known as the English Guy.  He has a slate going on behind the bar and he insists on paying for our beers too.

The girl finally leaves and I go for a piss.  When I come back to my utter amazement there is now another girl sat at the table in silence.  What the fuck is going on here?  I head back to the table and we carry on chatting and the girl heads off.  I’m really starting to get tired by this point, I’m starting to ache for bed.  I can sense that we all are.  We decide to have one more beer for the road before heading off to find a cab.  I don’t know if it’s just the tiredness but the cold is now unbearable, the tension is actually causing me a lot of pain in the chest, like a fucking hot knife piercing my heart.  Thankfully it doesn’t take long to pick up a cab.  It was really nice to meet Symes.              

When we get back to the place we’re staying a moment of horror hits us when the phone number we’re given isn’t getting through, as either is Lucas’ phone.  Stix tries again though and Mira answers.  I couldn’t have dealt with being locked out in this part of town that is totally dead right now.  Mira comes down and lets us in, shows us into the room where the rest of the guys are sleeping.  It’s tight as fuck in the room.  There are mattresses spread across the floor but there is only one single size mattress available.  Mira is sleeping in the kitchen on a double bed but some other guy seems to be sleeping beside him.  The three of us have no choice but to snuggle up, Kev in the middle with his feet at our end.  We’re doing our best to be quiet as to not wake the other guys but the silliness of the situation makes it hard.  I turn to Stix, “Love touring” I say and the two of us burst into stifled laughter.  I’m laughing so hard that I have to stuff my face into the mattress to smother it, almost crying.  I wish I had a pillow to stuff my face in to but it’s dark and I can’t find where it might be.  I manage to find my sleeping bag but I’m too tired to look any further.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Actually felt pretty good when I woke up this morning.  Well, good is a stretch I guess, not good like you wake up at home feeling good, but good on the tour yardstick.  Tired, but functioning.  I slept up in the loft next to Luc and a turntable that was just lying around on the mattress.  Slept okay, although there was an episode in the middle of the night when I woke up freezing and I spent what felt like about half an hour, groggily wriggling around in my sleeping bag, trying to find the best possible position for maximum warmth. Eventually it dawned on me just to zip the fucking thing up.

The shower this morning was most welcome.  Amazing how a bit of warm water and soap can rehumanize you.  Somewhat miraculously Kev seems to be in pretty good shape too, fuck knows how.  We head into the kitchen to find Stachel busy baking bread and brewing coffee.  We sit around the big table and have breakfast together, this warm salty pretzel bread hitting the bullseye.  It’s literally some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted.  Nothing like a good dose of salt in the morning.  We start talking English slang, the Swedes fascinated by it.  Luc pulls out a text that Kev wrote to him when we first started the band, a list of slang words with explanations following them.  Provides some good entertainment to accompany the coffee.
We’re under no stress to get away today since we can’t get into the venue in Leipzig tonight until six and it’s only a drive of about three hours.  We decide to pack the van and then go for a walk over to Stachel’s place to pick up a box of our first seven inch that he put out.  We sold surprisingly well in Stockholm.  It takes a while to actually get out of the building though, the door from the small, dark gig room to the street is rusted shut.  Apparently there’s a knack to it but Stachel doesn’t know it.  Whilst standing around waiting to get out Henrik asks me to take a picture of him holding a can of energy drink called Magic Man.  Seems he’s an avid fan and is in the process of collecting data on the various types he finds on tour, making a points system that will help him decide at the end of the tour which is the winner.  Eventually the door is kicked open and sunlight pours into the room, we load out.

Once packed we take a walk over to Stachel’s, Ronnie and Dan Bass joining us, along the river.  I really like Bremen, it’s a cool little city.  We cross the river into the part of town where Stachel lives which is a really picturesque area with rows of streets decorated with trees and plants, a lot of the houses have vines growing on them, really nice area.  It’s deadly calm here today, I guess the fact it’s Easter Sunday has something to do with that.  The walk takes longer than expected so by the time we get to Stachel’s we pretty much have to turn around and head back.  It’s nice to catch up with his flat mate Micha, albeit it very briefly.  Really nice girl.

Records sorted we head back towards the venue, this time taking a different route via the old town.  The guys are waiting to get going by the time we get back, a bit later than expected.  Still, we’re in no rush.  We say our goodbyes to Stachel, making plans to hang out again soon, and then it’s time to get to Leipzig.  The trip today is somewhat quieter than yesterday, although the booze is floating around, I’d say it’s more trickling than flowing today.  We have a row of five bottles in the compartment in the passenger door, it’s literally like a little bar.  Ronnie drives the first section of the trip, a pattern emerging there  I think, but then Luc takes over, much to the scrutiny of Sticky.  Sticky explains to Luc he has two rules for the driver, “One: always indicate when changing lane.  Two: Brake before the exit on the motorway and not on it.”  Luc asks him if it’s okay to drink.  “Of course, you still gotta live” reasons Sticky.

Once we get going Luc slyly asks me, “What did Sticky say? I couldn’t understand his Skånsk accent.”  Henrik is sat up front with us and we enjoy a mix of Herätys and Dag Nasty on Ronnie’s iPod, the odd chant of “Sprit, sprit, sprit” coming from the back now and again.  Dan Bass isn’t too impressed with Henrik’s bartending, having to repeat his request for booze.  “Mr. Crappy Bartender” soon becomes simply Crappy, and with that Henrik has his new tour name.  After a while, Sticky, who has been sat reading his book at the back of the van, pipes up, “Crappy, can you send some sort of potent booze?  Nothing under forty percent please.”

We arrive at the venue, which is a small pub on the outskirts of the city centre.  We had a pretty nice bit of city sightseeing on the way, we drove past this huge stone building that looked like the Reichstag or something, as well as a couple of churches.  There isn’t too much around where the venue is though, but that doesn’t really matter, doors open in an hour anyway.  Everyone tells Luc he did a good job, that he passed the test.  Sticky arrives at the passenger door and offers a different view though, “I’m going to say you did okay, a couple of points that we can take later, but let’s not do that in front of everyone else.”  Piss taker, love him.

We’re all fucking starving by the time we’ve loaded in.  Foolishly, having had nothing to eat all day, I opt to accept Stix’s offer of a pint.  It tastes heavenly to be fair, but it goes straight to my head.  I literally feel pissed after half a pint.  Need food.  The venue is really cool though, this little wooden room with a bar which has a high ceiling with a think balcony around the perimeter.  Pyramido have a quick soundcheck and just as I’m wondering how this works with the neighbours across the road, metal shutters slowly roll down over the big windows, blocking out the world outside.  They blast out a bit of punk, which we  label P Beat.  The sound is really good too.  Sticky said last time they played here the place was packed.  Leipzig seems to be one of those places that always has well attended shows, one of the bastions of the German punk scene.  The stage is tiny so we’ll be on the floor again tonight, if there are as many people who come to the show as Sticky is sure of it should be a sweaty little show.

Once soundcheck is sorted it’s time for food, not a moment too soon.  The backside of the bar has a little extended wooden room, and outside that is a beer garden that has a vegetarian Mexican truck called Tacopolypse, with this woman who looks just like our friend Annie in Nottingham, of the Annie’s Burger Shack fame.  We’re welcome to order whatever we want from the menu, I’m absolutely delighted to see they have Jalapeno Poppers.  I order myself a batch as well as a burrito they call The Beaner.  Ronnie orders something called the Despair, which simply claims to have everything in it.

Whilst we’re waiting for the food a friend of Pyramido’s turns up, his band, Derbe Lebowski, are playing with us in Potsdam on Friday.  They’re on tour right now and playing another show in Leipzig tonight.  He says the tour has gone really well, apart from their show in Prague last night when absolutely zero people turned up.  We’ll see how it goes for our show there tomorrow.  The food arrives and take it inside, far too cold to eat in the garden.  The Poppers are pretty stingy, just the job.  The burrito is delicious too, fucking big though, I can only manage about two thirds of it, although it pales in comparison to Ronnie’s, who is sat there shaking his head, “This is going to be a mistake…”

Cue food coma.  You go from being absolutely Hank Marvin to so stuffed you can hardly move.  Still, the hit from that beer has waned, thank fuck.  We decide it’s a good idea to get a round of vodka in, we have a band bottle in the bar, digest the food a bit Stix reasons.  He comes back with a tray and a broad smile.  The shot takes me a bit by surprise, it’s bigger than I thought.  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  Luc and Kev look positively horrified about the situation.  Like it or not, I need a pint to wash down the vodka with and before I know it I’m a mixed feeling of tipsy and desperately stuffed.  Rookie mistake on many counts. We’re on in an hour.

Sure enough the place is pretty rammed by the time we start.  I take my place on the floor, backing up to the crowd that is right up to the small stage, the Pyramido guys right beside me.  Normally I’d be fucking buzzing about this show but that burrito is still punishing me, I can tell the other guys are feeling the burn too.  Still, once we get going the usual energy comes back.  I think I’m a little bit drunk, the energy is there but I’m playing a bit sloppier tonight.  When we play Nervous and I do the scratchy noise solo, the only one I can play, I go into this stupid hoppy dance, my arse rubbing the punk behind me.  I clock Stix who is laughing at me.  Afterwards I wonder what I’m playing at.  The show is definitely bordering more on the controlled chaos side of things, but the buzz is there, purely due to the fact that the room is so packed and you’re actually stood in the crowd playing.

Afterwards I ask Luc how the gig was for him, he says he feels weird from the vodka, says he blacked out during one of the songs and missed a couple of notes.  Stix is conferring that it was a bad idea to eat so close to the gig, I can only agree.  We head to the merch room to get some air where there are a lot of people milling around.  Seems like we’ve sold a couple shirts and the tapes are now sold out.  When Pyramido start up the show we grab a couple of pints and head up to the balcony to watch the guys.  They sound solid as fuck again, really cool seeing Ronnie swathing around in the crowd screaming in people’s faces.  We have a great time up there watching them.  Dan Guitar, who is now called Rappy for some reason, clocks us up on the balcony and gives us a big cheesy wink as he caresses a chord.  Between songs we’re up there shouting “Sprit, sprit, sprit!” and Luc shouts, “Vafan vad bra ni är!” in his Brazilian tinged Swedish that sounds ever so slightly camp.  Sticky looks up and gives us the thumb, “You guys are okay.”

The guys have a great show, totally owning this night.  When they wrap up their five song set people are shouting for more.  To our surprise Ronnie looks up at us and says, “This is a song by an English band, it’s for these cunts up there” and they blast out a Discharge cover, keeping a Pyramido edge to it.  Fucking magic end to the set.

Not long after the set another round of shots comes out and I’m feeling pretty boats.  Stix is stood behind the merch table with Ronnie’s XL Neurosis hoodie on, hood up, looking like he’s in Sleaford Mods, shouting a lot.  I get talking to some punk kid at our table who is looking at our patches, one that Ragnar designed which has a girl with a knife through our head, he asks us if we don’t like women, we tell him that we like everyone.  We then engage in conversation for a while, nice guy.  He tells me his name is Toast.
I don’t really remember much of load out, apart from the fact that we didn’t really help that much, just stood there tarting about, laughing and dancing.  And then when we’re outside we’re offering random people on the street drinks from the bar.  The drive over to the squat where we’re staying doesn’t take long but long enough for a party to get going.  Luc stage dives from the back amidst the nonsense, he’s proper sauced up.  He asks Sticky if they can have sex.  “No” replies Sticky.

“Why not?” Luc asks, a little hurt I reckon.

“I’m boring in bed” explains Sticky.

“I like boring sex” counters Luc.  And then we all break into chant again, “Boring sex, boring sex, boring sex” And then Dan continues, “Missionary position, missionary position”.  How Ronnie deals with this I’ll never understand, driving a bunch of pissed idiots around all the time.  The squat we’re staying at is huge and we’re up on the top floor where there is a dormitory with bunks.  I’m too pissed to sort a mattress out, the one I’ve been allocated on it has a stain that looks suspiciously like blood.  I end up crawling beside Kev on his mattress and cuddle up for some sleep.  It’s freezing and I’m fucked.  Fucked.