Tuesday, June 14, 2016

London - Day Two

Sleeping on a hard floor is fine as long as you lie on your back. It’s actually quite nice for someone like myself who has a back that constantly aches. It’s only when you roll onto your shoulder that the floor becomes less comfortable. Which I’m constantly compulsed to do. Other things that make sleeping on a floor less fun is a nipping head. At eight am and after five hours sleep I’d woken and had been lying there trying to get myself back off but to no avail. I look over at Jon who is bent almost double on the small sofa, completely out, and wonder how he does it. Realising it’s no good, I have to find a cure for this headache. As usual, I forgot paracetamol.. But thankfully Kev is up and pottering about and the coffee is on the go. He doesn’t seem to be displaying any signs of last night’s over indulgence. Another one of life’s great fucking mysteries staring me in the face.

Ellie has gone off to work now so me and Kev laze around on his bed, sipping coffee and listening through the rough mixes of the DB album on his laptop. There’s still a bit to do with the record but I’m chuffed with how it’s sounding. Kev has done a great job on the vocals and lyrics. He seems to be really happy with it too. Really looking forward to getting it out and playing some shows again. Once everyone is up and showered and Gordon has came in from his bed in the van outside we head down the High Street to to Bianca’s Cafe for a fry up. Jon has been looking forward to this since we booked the trip. The veggie sausage and mushroom sarnie on crusty white bread with a side of greasy tea hits the spot. Kev now seems to be feeling the wear from last nights booze. Afterwards we head back down to the Waiting Room for some more coffee and catch up with the Deptford crew who have this and the tattoo studio as their hub. When I meet Alex I remember I’d been banging on about getting a tattoo done, but my fuzzy head is now saying fuck no! It would have been nice, I’ve got a few things I want doing, but I’m in no condition. Alex has plenty of other work on anyway. I sheepishly tell him that I’ll see how I feel later, knowing fine well it’s a no go.

We head over to the Nest around midday to load in the gear for the gig tonight, after which the day is ours to do with what we will. We’re all feeling sluggish after the fry up breakfast and feel that a walk will do us well. I ask Gordon if he’s coming along but his priority is finding a belt. He’s been walking around in his shorts all morning after his belt gave way last night. Said he can’t walk around looking like a tit all day so heads off up to Deptford market in search of something. The rest of us walk along the river up to Greenwich. Kev stays behind to chill out. I get a pang of longing for Polly as we walk along the river. Last time I was here it was just me and her, we’d stayed at Kev’s and she’d been sick in the night. We’d had the day together the day after chilling out and I was taking pictures of her by the statue of Peter The Great. I’m finding it harder to leave Polly the older she gets. And I’m feeling pretty guilty about being away from Jen when it’s our ten year wedding anniversary. All this amplified all the more by the hangover of course.

We get to Greenwich and walk about the place for a while, it’s buzzing as always. It’s certainly a nice day for it. We walk about the market and I pick up a couple of presents for the girls, easing my conscience a tad. Afterwards we head Observatory Hill in Greenwich Park and sit around on the grass with some coffee, taking in the views of the misty skyline on the other side of the Thames. Starting to feel better now, the headache subsiding. We sit there for a good while, idly chatting away, watching the folks go about their Saturday in the park.

We head back over to Kev’s in Deptford around four pm and chill out for a while at his watching crap tv before going to the Nest at five. I have no idea how tonight’s show is going to be. I know that if we played here and announced it in plenty of time then it would be absolutely insane but it’s hard to tell given tonight’s circumstances. It’s still by the far the best option we could have chosen for tonight anyway. There’s a Fest on over at T Chances called Play Fast Or Slow Fest, which offered us a spot but no money. A lot of friends are going there and others are working. Goy is away on his stag-do in Portugal, Kev miffed about that. Says that Goy is having a couple of do’s, one for his rich mates and another for his punk mates. Fucking wanker, Kev snorts with a sly grin on his coupon.

We grab some grub at the Nest with Karl and Jules and a friend of theirs called Tom. They have a pretty decent burger menu here and all options are available as vegan or vegetarian, the seitan burgers themselves have been made by Jules. We tuck in enthusiastically as the robust burgers are placed on the table. Gordon arrives shortly after, wearing jeans and looking chuffed. He says he’s been taking it easy on the beer recently but he’s off to the bar and when he comes back he has a smile on his face that says he’s going to relax tonight. There is some middle aged guy spinning records over by the stage on the other side of the bar, total brain numbing dance fair, and the pub is filling up with people who look like a Victims gig would scare the piss out of them. Could be interesting.

Nasty Bastard, Niki Nailbomb and Mad John’s new Oi! Band, or post-Oi! as Kev called it, POi!, are nowhere to be seen. They’re supposed to be playing at seven fifteen but it’s now almost seven and they haven’t showed up. And there still aren’t that many punks in the place. I’m starting to wonder if this “secret gig” isn’t going to be a disaster. We’re sat outside drinking a pint with Bram from Restarts, talking about the Temples fiasco and a similar situation both are bands were in with Cruststock in California last year where both our bands were booked. That fell apart for all the travelling bands since the guy booking it, having offered everyone flights, simply never bought them. At least we didn’t lose any money on that one. Bram tells me that there was some band from Texas booked at Cruststock that actually got their tickets mailed to them but when they turned up at the airport and tried to check-in were told that the tickets had never been paid for so they couldn’t travel anyway. What a fucking joker! Bram hands Kev a fiver and tells him to put in the donation jar for tonight’s gig.

Niki turns up alone just after seven, same old grin on his face. Guess the others are still lost somewhere between Southend and here. Given that there is another gig on after we play tonight, and that the pub was kind enough to squeeze our gig in as a bonus, Kev can’t let the curfew go over, so if the rest of Nasty Bastard turn up too late they won’t be able to play. Which is a scenario that gives Kev a little chuckle. Mad John turns up bang on seven fifteen and they’re up and running about five minutes later. There are about twenty people gathered in the tiny space between the bar and the stage, John introduces them, “This is a secret gig, so keep your voices down” he smirks making a shushing motion. When they start playing I can’t help but smile, and I realise that no matter how this turns out it’s going to be a laugh anyway. The play for about half hour, chirping out songs like Everyone’s a Cunt and Do One. John infrequently asking the others in the band what song’s next. It’s great to see Niki banging the beat with that smile on his face the whole gig.

By the time we’re ready to go there are a few more in, Misa amongst them with a huge smile on as usual. Of course, it turns out to be a really fun show. I feel a great surge of joy as I stand on the floor in the small crowd, it really is like a drug, playing this music. There are a couple of faces from yesterday mixed in with the crowd of the familiar Deptford crew, everyone smiling. It feels like it’s going great, but then I notice Andy looking distressed between songs. The lanky bugger is so cramped in on the tiny stage that his elbow keep banging off the back wall when he’s playing. When he clocks the smirk on my face he cracks a smile himself. What are you gonna do?

The small crowd gets livelier the longer the set goes on before the end there are a couple rolling around above heads and others falling into Johan as he sings. Kev gets up and sings We’re Fucked with us, he’d been saying earlier that he wanted to but it seems he’d really been practicing, sounded absolutely great. Karl, not to be left out, spontaneously sings along to the choruses on This Is The End. This gig turns out to be exactly what was needed after the downer of Temples Fest, a small party show amongst great friends. Karl grabs me afterwards, all emotional like he tends to get, “This really meant a lot to me, seeing you boys here. Fucking history mate! I’m welling up here”. I love this man, truly love him.

Afterwards Kev walks about the pub with a beer glass asking for donations to help us out and he comes up to where we’re stood selling merch afterwards with it full of notes. Some other guy grabs me, totally chuffed, “You guys were amazing both last night and tonight. I bought a shirt yesterday, but here, take this,” and gives me a twenty pound note. I ask him if he wants to buy merch but he insists that he doesn’t, he just wants to help out. I’m truly touched by the sense of community in our beautiful little scene. A few others come up to us afterwards and offer support, it’s a great feeling. Niki Nailbomb is chuffed as fuck, says he can’t believe he saw Victims in this tiny place. We chat for a while before he tells me has to head back to Southend. Of course. Nailbomb is only away from his beloved town as long as is absolutely necessary. Gordon is stood there with a big smile on his face, saying how he really wants to play here with Speedhorn, telling me how it’s these kind of gigs he really wants to do. I know exactly how he feels. As much as Hellfest, or Download, or fucking Temples are an experience, there’s nothing like playing these shows. Nothing.

Once packed down and all the gear is back in the basement we dust off and decide to head over to the Waiting Room which is serving drinks until ten pm. There is some bizarre band now playing the next gig, two old guys dressed who looks like Old Father Time and a Wizard, playing weird droning folk music. Mad John is encapsulated by them. The rest of us head to the Waiting Room for cocktails. I walk ahead with Misa and Jules. I don’t notice him at first, but some guy is silently tagging along, just kind of starring into nothingness as we walk along the road. I come to understand that he’s an old fling of Misa’s. Jules, who is pretty streamboats, makes no secret of her dislike for him to Misa, who is also pretty steamboats. The pair of them shouting and laughing hysterically as the guy just trapses along beside us. “I don’t trust him Misa, get rid of him!” It’s a pretty painful ten minute walk as this continues the whole way, me just kind of nervously laughing. The guy doesn’t seem affected in the slightest though, gives me the creeps. He looks like the kind of fucker that would slit your throat in the middle of the night.

We pile into to the Waiting Room, it’s a balmy night and the tiny cafe is like a sauna. Colm, the young skinhead who works at the tattoo shop is behind the bar with Viv, making drinks. He really puts his back into shaking the cocktails, I’ve never seen such a boisterous cocktail shake. We all order drinks, the rest of the gang now having caught up. Andy and Gordon go for an Espresso Martini, which looks and tastes superb. I go for a Plantation Punch which is the strongest cocktail I have ever tasted, the volume of rum in the fucker hits you like a poke in the eye. Johan and Jon have similarly strong beverages.

We hang out on the street, must be around fifteen of us. Good times. Serial Killer is still stood there on the periphery, spectating. Andy has also noticed that he’s a bit odd, really clingy. Andy is probably also a little bit tipsy, he’s starring at him and repeating the fact he doesn’t trust him. Misa and Jules, still insanely loud, are back over, drinks in their hands. Jules asks Misa why she’s hanging out with him again, says he’s weird. “But I like weird people… Like Kev!” she says, bursting into a fit of Japanese laughter. Doubt Kev would be too chuffed with being compared to this guy. Normally I’d feel a bit of sympathy for this guy but he’s making it hard. When I happen to cross his path he says to me in a horridly childish tone, “Hey maaaan, you’re that guy in the band!” He has hate in his eyes.

We end up back at the Nest, I’m hoping the pub is going to be quiet, it’s one of those second nights where no matter how much you drink it doesn’t affect you. I really fancy just sitting down with a quiet pint. No luck though, there is some eye gougingly boring ska band playing. They’re on their last song as we arrive but it goes on for about twenty fucking minutes. We take a table at the back. Gordon has disappeared, back to his van I assume. Kev is looking shoddy again. I take advantage and coerce him into buying a round of shots for me, him and Johan. I’m quite taken aback by the price, six fucking quid! You wouldn’t get one for that in Stockholm. The cost of booze at him really is fucking scandalous. We sit down and go to neck them, but Andy notices what we’re up to and insists we wait whilst he purchases one himself. Love it when Andy is in this mood.

We sit around and natter for a while, Colm and I, a little drunk himself, talking about bar jobs. We’ve both been in the game for a good few years. There is some guy walking around dressed as an axe wielding executioner. Random. Someone subtly mentions in my ear that they think Mad John might be getting a bit freaked out by Jon. They’ve been talking all night apparently. I hadn’t noticed. When I go for a piss I find the two of them in there, immersed in conversation. To be fair, it’s Mad John doing most of the talking. They barely notice my presence. I leave them to it.

There will be no Meistros tonight. I’m far too tired and don’t need the hangover tomorrow. We leave when the Nest closes and head back to Kev’s. Ellie is not home tonight so I have my mind set on the right half of Kev’s bed. We hang out in the kitchen talking with Karl for a bit, munching away on Marmite on toast. Kev has fallen asleep, sat perfectly upright, making bizarre sounds that Karl feels the need to film.. We head to bed around half one, the guys making their beds in the living room and myself striding towards the bedroom. Kev shuffles groggily to his room, “Oops, condom,” he mutters as he scuffs the rubber away with his foot. I try my best not to think about that as I settle into bed beside him.

Dagens Fel:

According to Kev, Goy was not away on his stag do, other than it was Graham's 50th. birthday party.  Although Kev definitely said it was Goy's stag do, no matter what he says now.  He was obviously very drunk.  I'm not usually wrong about these things...

That being said, Karl claims to have not been anywhere near Kev's place after the Nest.  So fuck knows who I was talking to in his kitchen.  I have a clear memory of talking to Karl in Kev's kitchen.  I guess I was more drunk than I realised.  Either that or Karl was there and obviously very drunk.  Fuck it, as my dad says, don't let the details get in the way of the story...

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