Friday night I send Will a message. “I got funny feeling about the journey tomorrow”he responded with “Don’t worry there’s plenty of time to get there”. Saturday morning I wake up early and get ready for our first show in London for 12 months. I meet our photographer Pete at Leeds Bus Station at 8.30am. He’s just finished his night shift and plans to sleep all the way to London. We even bump into our guitarist Will who is taking the same route but via National Express. We get on the insanely full Megabus and get on our way. I even have cheeky look at Google Maps and it predicts our arrival at 1pm. Loads of time. Pete’s watching a TV show on his phone and falls asleep. I’m listening to some Spanish music by Cesaria Evoria. The sun even appears to be shining. Halfway down the motorway the driver makes an announcement that warning lights appear on his dashboard and that we’ll be pulling into Watford Gap services to let the bus cool down and see what happens. Wills National Express also pulls into the same services but their stop is scheduled. I tell him what’s going on with our bus and the driver isn’t filling me with confidence. I ask him if there is any spaces on his bus he said it’s also insanely full and also smells of rotting swede. His bus departs and we’re left waiting. Eventually we set off again. I’m counting the miles to London and keeping an eye on where we are on the map. 57 miles to go. The driver announces that the bus is failing again. I wake Pete up. You find taxi numbers I instruct. I found train times. We were at Newport Pagnell. 4 miles from Milton Keynes. I ask the driver if I can get my guitar from the luggage hold and he refuses. I tell him that we’re getting off now. We can’t afford to be late. He said a replacement bus has been despatched. I’m past caring. Taxi is ordered. Give me my guitar. Two other passengers get wind of our plans and opt to join us. The woman was pleasant. Her boyfriend was a prick. Overly stressed and impatient. We take a taxi to Milton Keynes station where his girlfriend starts flirting with me. He’s getting increasingly agitated. Me and Pete are openly laughing at them. There’s plenty of trains to London and we get on the first one. As it turns out we’re now ahead of schedule. Problem solved. Then a flurry of messages appear in my inbox. Dempsey has arrived in London. Joel’s just got off his bus and is greeted by paparazzi which confuses him. It turns out some shit rapper was also on his bus. Will texts me to say the National Express driver has just announced that the M1 is closed and that there are major delays and are being diverted. He congratulates me on my decision making in abandoning the Megabus because I would’ve never had made it.
I arrive at the venue on time and relieved. I’m also surprised to learn that only Joel had beat me to the venue. On the way there Pete is shocked at how fast paced London is. It’s his first visit and the poor bastard hadn’t slept much. His head must’ve been spinning. Dempsey arrives shortly after us and we’re shown the to our dressing room. We stock up on loads of happy hour beers from the bar and start planning for the show. We’d made it just in time for sound check. Will had yet to arrive. We manage to stall and delay our set up and buy a few vital minutes. In the mean time I get in the shower with my guitar and record a live version of our new song ‘Mi Corazon Part One’. Just as we finish Will walks in and is confused as to what we’re up to. Some guy fills up the fridge with beer. We assume it’s for us so we drink it all. Turns out it was for the other bands too **Sorry**.
We barely have time to get ready or collect our thoughts. We need to set up the stage and we’re straight on. The room is pretty full. In facts it’s the fullest gig room I’ve ever seen at 3.50pm and it’s no small room. We made a huge change to our setlist. For the first time possibly ever we dropped ‘Stand Up’ as well as regular songs like ‘SBHC’ and we even shortened ‘Retaliation’ so we could play two brand new songs. ‘Mi Corazon Part One’ and ‘Venus and the Horse’ I’m so glad we made that decision. I absolutely loved playing that stage. The sound was amazing. My only gripe about bigger venues is that there is less things to climb on. I do manage to reach the bar though. At one point it felt like I was crawling over broken glass. I’ll do it forever for the band. I was so proud of us. We brought our A game. Afterwards we mingled with the crowd and watched the other bands. Pete was exhausted and decided to get an early bus home. can’t blame him he must be delirious by now. To be honest I’m flagging too. I’ve drank heavily all day. I manage to watch Hard Skin then I decide to leave. After the earlier journey I can’t face another bus trip today so I go to stay with Barbara who I duetted with on my solo album. We stay up late getting more drunk and chatting with her cousin Francis. Eventually they make me up a bed with the promise of breakfast. It’s been a long but wonderful day. I want to cherish it forever.
I woke up this morning and as promised I’m served up a full English to help me on my way. Fantastic. As I type this I’m on the National Express to Leeds and I’m listening to Big Audio Dynamite and I’m catching up on all the photos, videos, and reviews of yesterday. I’m so full of joy