Saturday, May 13, 2017


So much for plans. Our ten thirty flight became a three thirty flight. First world problems I know but still, a bit of a fucking pisser. We’d planned to spend the afternoon in Deptford with our friends, hanging out in the sun, eating dinner at Alec and Mucky’s new pub the Full Nelson, bit of record shopping at DIY Space maybe? Nah, flight is fucking delayed five hours. Still, we got a couple of hundred kronor food coupons to get some scran whilst we sat waiting by the gate. Vik spent his on beer, Luc on croissants and me on a selection of snacks, one item of which a packet of dried almonds that had no salt or oil and literally likened eating wood chips.

The atmosphere by the gate was tetchy, tempers were frayed. People get so wound up over delayed flights and the poor bastards manning the gate were taking it from all sides. When the two thirty pm London flight ended up leaving before ours it drove a pair of ladies mad, they couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t just let us take that flight instead. As if that’s how it works. Like Vik said, typical behaviour from people who don’t travel that often. It was a relief to finally get going though. The flight over was pretty nice anyway, we were on a brand new plane, actually the first ever passengers on it. Never experienced that before. We get talking on the plane, debating the likelihood of Kev retiring from the whole punk thing within the next few years. He seems to have been on a bit of a disconnect with new stuff recently, moaning saying that the only bands he likes are DB and Herätys. Plus he seems to have really gotten into the whole black magic, witchcraft thing pretty heavily and he joked the other day about retiring after DB tour Japan in a couple of years, something Vik has been speaking about trying to sort out with the Kriegshög guys. There is some humming and hawing whilst the debate goes on and we all agree that if he does then he’s certainly given a heroic service to the scene this last thirty years. I mean, he is almost fifty for fuck sakes, it wouldn’t be that surprising if the end was in sight…

We landed around four thirty and were getting off the train in New Cross around an hour and half later. Kev texted telling us to come straight to the rehearsal place. We were pretty fucking tempted to stop off at the Albert pub on the way though. That wouldn’t have impressed Kev too much, he’d already been making trips back and forth to the Bird’s Nest, lugging gear for the show tonight. Would have been a right piss take to stop for a pint.

We met up with Kev at John Conflict’s studio, him and John sat outside drinking a beer. Always great to see John. We had a quick chat with him and then pushed a guitar amp and cab up the road to the Nest. Luc and I went back to Kev’s to pick up guitars. I haven’t seen my red SG in a couple of years and I wasn’t sure how it was feeling. The strings were fucking minging, totally rusty, and the strap smelt like disease, but hopefully a bit of touching up and it would be okay. Last time I played it it sounded shit though, I hope it works out. It’s nice to sit at Kev’s for a bit, but before getting too comfortable we pull ourselves out off the sofa and walk down the road to the Nest. Vik and Kev are sat with Jonah from Fucked Up/Career Suicide having a beer. He lives in London with his wife who is from here, they live on a canal boat and have to move every two weeks. Pretty cool. He’s known Vik for years and biked over here to see us play tonight. We order some dinner from the bar and a beer and head outside to make the most of the fading sun. It’s still pretty warm and for the first time today I feel completely relaxed.

Whilst we’re stood drinking Bird’s Nest IPA and waiting for our food to arrive Jen calls saying Polly wants to say goodnight. They’ve just done with her bedtime story and they’re about to turn the lights out. It’s really wonderful that Polly is now at the age that you can talk to her on the phone. I talk with her for about twenty seconds before she cuts me off, “I want to say goodnight to Lucas and Viktor. Put Lucas on first and then Viktor”. I have to interrupt Lucas and Jonah’s conversation and give him the phone, Luc asks me who it is but I just give him the phone without saying anything. Luc looks a little confused, “Hello?.... Heeeeeey Polly!” a big smile breaking out on his face. And then it’s Vik’s turn. Jonah understands what’s going on and says, “Oh my God, that’s so beautiful!”

We end up getting a table, it’s pretty busy so we squeeze in amongst some other guys. It feels like everyone who is sat out here have been here all afternoon. This young Irish guy in a bright orange building site jacket is eyeing us up, obviously a bit boats. It’s the usual, “Are you guys a band?” and “Where are you guys from?” stuff but it turns out he’s actually a really nice guy. This builder associate of his, some Italian guy starts spouting some racist shite at this beggar guy who comes around and the Irish guy, Joe, gives him a slap and asks him why the fuck he’s saying that shit. Italian is steaming and just mumbles, “I’m bored”.. He starts trying to talk to me and I tell bluntly I’m not interested in talking to him. We shunt him out and engage fully in conversation with Joe for a half hour or so, me, Luc, Vik and Jonah. I feel kinda sorry for Joe, he has a real melancholy vibe about him. He’s pretty pissed though, so it’s probably got a lot to do with that.

After the food I head back into the pub and downstairs to the cellar to change the strings on my guitar, doing my best to scrape the rust off of the pickups whilst I’m at it. I miss a couple of the bands that are playing upstairs during the time it takes, they sound pretty good too. Jamie comes down after a while and I sit catching up with him for about twenty minutes. It’s been ages and it’s really nice to see him. When I’m done with the guitar I head up to the pub with Jamie and watch his band Split Veins play their set. There aren’t exactly loads of people in whilst they play. There are a few hanging outside still and all of our crew haven’t arrived from the Nelson yet, they’re all either working or hanging out there. Kev is looking a little stressed, reasoning to himself, “It is Thursday after all. Fuck knows.” I enjoy Split Veins set anyway, they sound great. Carlos has a great voice. The few that are there watching in the tiny little space in front of the stage start moshing and before I know some punk has spilt his pint all over my arm. Wonderful. He apologises for about the next five minutes, seemingly unwilling to accept my assurances that’s ok. I eventually move off to the side and watch the rest of the gig, gutted that my nice grey sweatshirt is covered in stinking beer.

We get set up pretty much straight after Split Veins finish since the music has to be done by eleven and it’s getting on. I guess the short set is always an advantage in these situations. The family start arriving as we’re setting up anyway, Karl and Jules, Alex, Viv has been here a while and Misa is walking around with two pints laughing at everything. The sound guy is some old boy who used to play in Ozric Tentacles and he’s being a bit pissy because a mic seems to be missing. Luc doesn’t have one and he’s moaning saying that one has been nabbed or something. It seems to resolve itself soon enough though. After the most basic of line checks we’re good to go. I give Vik a quick look, tell him to watch the tempo, and we blast into Viles. From the very first moment you can feel it’s going to be one of those really fun shows. The space is pretty packed now and people are flying about. During the second song Kev gets thrown into me as I’m facing Vik’s drum kit and I in turn fall into Vik’s crash cymbal knocking it over into the wall. Vik doesn’t notice until he goes to hit it and only finds air where the cymbal should be. Love it.

Normally we play really fast, like too fast, because we get carried away, which means that a lot of our shows I struggle to enjoy because I only end up playing half of the notes, and it’s not that fun feeling like you’re playing really sloppy. Tonight it’s perfect. And my guitar sound is good too. Pretty clean in contrast to Luc’s bass which is simply screaming out of the amp he’s lent. People seem to be having a really good time too and I spot Jonah stood right in front of Luc with a huge smile in his face, filming certain songs. We play sixteen songs in about twenty two minutes, which must be a record for us.

Afterwards we pack up, sell some records and then head down to the basement to gather our stuff, once we’re dried off. Jonah is there and is telling us it sounded like good old Cleveland hardcore, which will do for me. We get talking about other things and then somewhere in the mix someone mentions that we’re having a party for me and Kev next year, fortieth and fiftieth respectively. Jonah looks shocked as fuck, “Wait a minute! There’s no way Kev is fifty! He’s not a day over twenty nine!” Kev looks at him, puts his arm around Jonah and then looks at us, “I like your mate now Vik. I thought he was a cunt at first!” We all burst out laughing, none more so than Jonah.

We get paid and get sorted. The Bird’s Nest staff are getting a bit annoyed with the time it’s taking to clear the place and keep shouting at us to move. The thing is the kick drum pedal from Kev’s kit has gone, someone must have taken it by mistake and left the Nest’s inhouse pedal. Trying to work out what to do Kev asks Vik, “Is the Nest’s one better than ours?” Vik looks at the sorry thing stood on the floor, puts his foot on and tests it out. It literally falls apart. “That’s no good”, affirms Johna. We decide that Luc and I will push the cab and amp back to John’s studio whilst they sort this shit out and then we’ll all meet at the Full Nelson where they’re having a lock-in in our honour. It’s fucking raining when we wheel the amp out though so we have to lend a plastic bag to drape over the amp to keep it dry. We push it down the high street cracking up at the situation.

We get back to the studio and hang out with John and Sarah for a little while. John tells us he’s making one of the practice room into a gig space soon and we should come over and play. Would be great. Sarah is offering an assortment of olives and humus around but we’re in a rush to get to the Nelson and hang out. We say bye and head back up to New Cross High Street. The bar the guys have is fucking magic. First time I’ve been since they opened. It’s really small and intimate and looks like a bar you’d find in New York’s Lower East side or something. All of our friends are here and the atmosphere is brilliant. Vik and Jonah are both looking pretty sauced, Vik smiling broadly telling me to get a pint of the Gamma Ray IPA. I’ve only had the one pint all day and I feel fresh as a daisy. Was really nice playing a show completely sober, Now I’m ready for a nice beer. And fuck me, it tastes like heaven.

It’s really nice being sober amongst everyone when everyone is drunk. I love these people and I enjoy drinking a couple of pints of superb beer whilst making sure I get around to have a good fifteen/twenty minute chat with most of them. Tobs, Karl, Jules, Viv, Alec, Sean, Misa, as well as chatting with Luc, Vik and Jonah at the table we’re sat at. This is the perfect end to the night. I barely see Kev though, he’s at the other end of the short narrow room, eyes all wonky chatting to some girls. Ordering my second pint I have a really good chat with Alec who despite working behind the bar is pretty sauced. It’s his pub, I guess he can do what he wants. As we’re talking a couple of guys who were at the gig are stood just down the bar, really pissed and lively. They nudge one of the metal drip trays off the bartop and it makes a crash on the floor behind the bar. Alec gives them the evil eye for a brief moment and they look over at him like a pair of kids who know they’ve just made dad angry. Alec walks over silently, picks the tray up and then slams it down on the bartop right in front of them with an almighty crash, stares at them with a look that could freeze water, and then walks back over to me and continues telling me about life with his new baby boy.

After a couple of beers it’s time to head down the road to Kev’s. There have been some shots going around that I’ve happily avoided and now Vik is looking fucked. His eyes are barely half open and he’s sat beside me, nudging me as I talk to someone moaning, “Gaz, are we going down the road?” I tell him yes, in a minute. But seconds later he’s repeating the question, slightly more annoyed. I tell him yes and go look for Kev to get his keys. Kev is properly pissed, hanging out with some girl, slurring all over the place he says to me, “Pappa”. I laugh at him, asking what he’s going on about. “You are the pappa int you. You are always the pappa in the band. Is it ok if stay out for a bit?  I’m onto something here”, a pissed smirk peeling out of his mouth. I tell him it’s no problem of course and ask him if they’re going to be getting it on back at his place later, thinking to myself that I probably shouldn’t sneak myself a spot in his bed later in that case. “Dunno, my place, the bog, doesn’t matter” he says like a sleazy old bastard. I just take his keys, laugh at him and walk back over to Vik to put him out of his misery and tell him we’re going home.

Jonah is leaving too, repeating a few times that he’s smashed. Cycle helmet on, he bids us farewell and waddles off on his bike. Luc and Vik are wanting food and Luc starts walking to the LFC chicken joint in the search of chips. Both me and Vik tell him that the chips there are bogging and there’s a lot better chip shop at the end of Deptford High Street closer to Kev’s flat. Luc not totally convinced steams off down the road. Of course when we get there the place is long closed. Luc looks at us with utter contempt in his eyes, “I hate you two right now”. Vik is perplexed by the whole situation and gives knocking on the steel shutters a go, as if that’s going to reap any rewards.  Fucking desperate attempt.  There is some ridiculous talk of dropping the gear at Kev’s and walking back to LFC but that is quickly dismissed.

We get back to the flat and as I open the main door to the apartment building Vik charges through ahead of me moaning about the need to eat. Now. I hold the door behind me for Luc and finding him stood with his cock pointing forward out of his jeans pissing in the bushes, silly smile on his face. The smile remains as he then walks up the stairs to Kev’s flat with his cock still pointing out. When we get into the flat we sort the spare mattress out on the floor and Vik says he’ll take the couch, that he doesn't give a fuck about bed right now, he only gives a fuck about food. Pickings are slim in the kitchen though. There are a few slices of bread but no butter. I find a bit of peanut butter and have that on toast whilst Vik decides he’ll go for Sriracha Hot Sauce as a butter substitute. He fucking plasters is on as if it was Bregott and walks around the small kitchen eating it wincing every time he takes a bite, “Argh. it’s fucking hot!” He doesn’t stand still the whole time he battles through the slice. Fucking pillock.

We retire to the living room and I get ready for bed and join Luc on the double mattress and climb into my sleeping bag. Vik grumbles as he lies down on the couch, shoes still on, fully clothed and pulls Luc’s jacket over him as a quilt. Lights out Bergman. Goodnight London Town.

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