Around nine the first signs of life begin to appear. Christie is up and out of bed, walking around in his kecks with his newly done tattoo, a huge black V (according to Viv it was in her honour) starting at the top of his scrote and ending under his nipples. What a sight. From Bloody Kev’s room there are murmured sounds. A bit of chat. Some giggling. Vik is playing something loudly on his phone, grumbling at me and Luc for talking loudly. We begin to speculate on Kev’s night, who it was he ended up going home with. Slowly a clearer picture of the situation begins to appear. There are two female voices coming from his room. Not long after Kev walks into his living room wearing nothing but his kecks and a guilty smile. “What the fuck Kev? Were there three of you last night?” one of us asks. Kev sits down with hand over his mouth, trying his best to hide his grin, “I’ve had an accident”. Dirty old fecker. And to think we were debating yesterday about whether he was contemplating retiring yesterday. He’s by far the oldest of us and yet he comes home hours after we go to bed and then with two girls. He makes some joke about how the Magick Gods are looking out for him. Love him, I really do. He heads back into his bedroom and the giggling continues. It seems like there is a lot of joy in the room. And what’s wrong with that at the end of the day? Consenting adults and all that.
A while later one of the girls walks out into the hallway and finds a newly showered Luc, “Where is the toilet? Whoever you are”, she bluntly asks him. Lucas cracks up. Like her style. Kev laughs and says that apparently in the midst of booze ridden haze she’d texted her boss at work telling her she wouldn’t be coming into work today, “You are the worst human being I’ve ever met since the dinosaurs,” and some further explanations of her contempt for him. I guess that’s the end of that job. Kev puts a pot of coffee on and after a quick shower the three of us head down to the Waiting Room for breakfast, leaving Kev to carry on with his morning.
The Waiting Room. It’s my favourite place in London. The food and coffee are fantastic and there’s always the chance of catching up with members of the Deptford family. We sit and eat with Alex from the tattoo shop, and later Christie appears from work. After breakfast we do a bit of shopping at Poundland, where literally everything costs a pound. Vik went in looking for a toothbrush and yet I find him in the queue with a multipack of Square Crisps. When I spot him I ask him if he got a toothbrush, “Ah fuck, forgot about that”.
Just down the street from Kev’s flat we meet some old crazy tramp shouting at nobody until he turns his sights on us. He approaches Luc first, “Alright John, give me a pound”. He then turns to me and I hand him a two pound coin. He face lights up, looks genuinely shocked. “I fucking love you!” he shouts at me and then grabs me and gives me a huge sloppy kiss on my cheek. The old boy has a surprisingly strong grip. When we get back to Kev’s he’s just getting his shit sorted, the girls are just getting ready to leave. We smile and say hi and then head into the living room to get our stuff sorted. I hear Kev’s voice from the hallway as he says goodbye to his friends, “Well thank you for a lovely evening”. Creamy sod.
Time to leave for the journey to Leeds, we walk along to Canary Wharf and take the train up to St. Pancras. As cheap as it is I’m glad we’re not taking the fucking Mega Bus. Saying that, our train carriage is inhabited by a gang of wankers, mouthy lads on their way to Leeds for some football game, making sure everyone knows they’re in the place. Fucking nightmare. Kev zones them out with his headspace app, I get to writing. Luc lies with his head on the table willing the lads to death. Vik tucks into the three tins of IPA he bought at Marks and Spencers.
When we get to Leeds we follow Kev’s phone map, trying to locate the Ibis Budget Hotel we’re staying in tonight. Twenty quid a room, can’t knock that. There is a lot of farting around with that fucking phone map, walking around lost in Leeds is a drain. This is a miserable place. I’ve never seen the sun here and there are lots of homeless people everywhere, just looking vacantly, no hope in their eyes. Reminds me of so many I work with at home. A lot of other people here just seem to have a harsh look on their faces too. Luc picks up on it, saying people just look so worn out and miserable. And there are so many fucking “lads” prowling the streets too, wearing nothing but tight muscle tops. We walk past this one shower and I hear one of them say, “Fucking hell look at the fat arse on that. I’d fuck the shit out of it”. The rest of his gang don’t even laugh at it, it just seems to be taken as a general statement. Fucking scum.
At a set of traffic lights we’re waiting for the green man and a trio of young yobs walking down the street towards the junction from the other side of the road. A bus is coming at a good pace from behind them and turning in and the three guys just carry on walking without even a glance, completely absorbed in their own shitty little world. We all realise what’s happening and everything starts going into slow motion. “Wuh…Woah.. WOAH!” the four of in alarmed unison call out. The bus misses the one guy by centimeters. As we pass them on the crossing they look at us laughing and I say to one of them, trying to make light of it, “You scared the shit of us”. One of them turns back acting the cunt, mocking us. This enrages Vik and he powers down the road saying he wished the twat had been mowed down. Me and Luc agree that we’re glad we didn’t witness someone being disintegrated by a bus but Vik is having none of it.
Of course the first thing we see when we get to the hotel is the gang of lads from the train, one of them shouting “Rooney, Rooney!” Fuck sakes… We hang back whilst Kev sorts the room keys, Luc finding it hard to hide the pain in his expression as he looks at the lads dominating the lobby area. After a quick shower and settling into the room I skype home to the girls for a chat, Polly mainly wants to talk to Lucas and the other guys, I have to show her around the hotel and she’s asking where the pool is. If only darling. Afterwards we head over to the venue which is just nearby, to drop the stuff. We played The Temple of Boom a few years ago with Kylma Sota and Perspex Flesh. That was a fun night. Lecky Voorhees owns the place and it’s a really nice space. Unfortunately tonight is not going to be anything like that night. This is one of those festivals with a hotchpotch line up, everything from ska to Oi! What the fuck we’re doing on the bill I don’t know. Everyone Kev knows is at this big party tonight for some scene legend called Kilvo. And there are some hardcore bands playing that too. This gig won’t have a chance. Kev had met a couple of old friends earlier as we were walking to the station and the first they said was that they couldn’t make the gig. I’m already feeling like I just want to play the gig, go to a quiet pub somewhere for a pint and then enjoy the hotel bed. The guy running the show is friendly enough, the first thing he does is pay us and then ask us if we want weed. We politely decline, understanding what kind of show this is going to be. A loosely run free for all most likely. When the guy leaves Kev sits down on an old sofa and slumps, propping his cheek up on his fist, looking miserable, “I’m not gonna be getting laid tonight am I? I’ll have to boof Gords tomorrow.” We all piss ourselves laughing.
We go off in search of some dinner, Vik is on to a tip he’d gotten about a pizza place. We find it after a while, it’s some big place that is heaving with people. Kev turns to me straight away, “It’s one of Vik’s fucking “beer” pubs init!” We check out the prices but it’s actually pretty reasonable and there happens to be a table by the window. It’s loud as fuck in here though. We decide to stay anyway and take turns at going to order. Vik and Kev go first and then Kev comes back having ordered and me and Luc head off through the crowd. I spot Vik at the bar talking to the bartender, trying samples of ale. Fucking typical Stix. He loves it. The pizza and the beer is good though, I have a nice pint of IPA from Scotland, low strength and full of taste. I’m deciding again to take it easy today, I enjoyed being completely hangover free last night not to mention sober during the gig.
After dinner we head back to the venue, there’s not really enough time to do anything else but head there and gear up for the show. As we walk into the gig room the first thing I see is some young kids soundchecking some kind of grindcore ska music and they’re all wearing Kiss makeup. This does not bode well for the show tonight. Does not bode well at all. We walk through to the backyard where they have the bar and I clock my old friend Jamie drinking a beer. I’d almost forgotten that he was driving down from Scotland to come see us tonight. My first thought is, “Why did he have to come to this show?” thinking about how great last night was and how tomorrow will be the same. Oh well. It’s great to see him anyway, as always. His mate Daz from his band is with him too. We take ourselves outside to the courtyard and sit around catching up. I help myself to a bottle of water whilst Kev and Vik are cheekily tucking into a bottle of Hooch. Fucking Hooch. Vik looks chuffed.
Kev catches up with Lecky for a bit who tells him he’s totally baffled by this “festival” this weekend. Three days and no red thread whatsoever. Lecky is obviously just hiring the place out and he has to be here the whole weekend. Doesn’t seem that chuffed. We go to check out the band before us, some two piece powerviolence/hardcore effort. It’s so insanely loud though that it just causes pain watching them. Well that and the music. The room has a bit of a vacuum effect though and the PA is about three times too powerful for the room. I head back in when they’re done and find the drummer talking to someone, looking chuffed with himself. Politely I say to him, “Fuck mate, it was insanely loud”. “Ah glad you liked it man. Glad you enjoyed it” he says. Well I didn’t say that, I think to myself.
We set up as soon as possible, I got to check out the amp on stage and the guitarist from the band before asks me, “So you wanna use my amp as well then?” A bit a mardy tone in his voice. Fair enough I suppose if nobody has asked his permission but that guy running the show told me I could use the amp on stage. It was a simple mix up though, and there is an in-house amp to use. As soon as Vik hits his snare you can tell what tonight is going to sound like. Chaotic. There is no need to put mics on anything and yet everything is miked up. The twenty or so people watching must simply be getting their faces melted by the PA. Although Jamie and Daz tell me afterwards that the thing kep dropping out all the time so all you could hear was the vocals coming out of the stage monitors. We play okay anyway but it’s a dead show compared to last night. This was always going to be the wild card though. Of course, I break a string about two thirds of the way through, but it feels like too much hassle to change it so I just struggle through to the to the end. That takes the enjoyment factor down another couple of notches though. Luc’s bass drops out completely at one point and is gone for about two songs. Rubbish. Luc says afterwards that it didn’t really matter since the amp sounded like a fart anyway.
Afterwards we head back out to the bar area and I’m already thinking about packing up and heading to the hotel. I feel bad though if Jamie and Daz want to hang around a bit more since they’ve made the drive down but Jamie says they’re heading back soon anyway, his boy has a cricket tournament the next morning. Magic of them to come down, but I feel bad about the show. Feels like Jamie didn’t know what to really make of it.
I’m pondering having a beer but there’s nothing I really fancy. I’m certainly not going to drink a can of Stella that I see Vik has in his hand. I’d rather wait, go to another pub somewhere and enjoy a pint of something decent. I mention this to Vik and he looks at me and says, “I’m gonna get wankered!” and then bursts out laughing. I hadn’t noticed until now but he’s pretty sauced. Kev is sat at the merch stall hanging out with some little girl on the sofa, she must be around seven, cute as anything, and her punk dad. Feel kinda sorry for the young child, she looks tired and bored, watching some horror film showing on the projector screen on the wall across. I ask Kev if we’ve sold any merch and he points at a pound coin lying on the table, “A patch.” Great. Jamie and Daz buy an album each though and want shirts but we only have three shirts left, one small and two youth large. We give them a couple of the shirts for free and say maybe their kids want them. Fuck, it was really nice of them to come down.
Jamie and Daz get going and we head off to the hotel to drop the gear off before going in search of a pub. We find a place across the road called The Palace which will do the job. It’s pretty dead, only a few punters left, two of which are terrifying looking skinhead football yobs, and a stroppy bartender. Luc is desperate for some food and is gutted to find the kitchen has just slammed shut. The smell of chips are still lingering in the air and as I walk away with my pint one of the skinheads turns to me sniffing the air and asks, “What’s that smell?”... I get the feeling he’s mocking us, my arse is getting the feeling it’s about to dump a load in my kecks. “I don’t know…” I offer is meek reply, barely audible. I hurry off to the table which Vik and Kev have located. It’s nice having a quiet pint, good way to end the day. The yobs have turned their attention inwards again and all, thank fuck.