Brum n Sleazy tour diary

Posted by merchman Category: Merchman blog, News

Brand new blog! From grumpy soundmen to sicky smelling hotel rooms, our trusty Merchman gives you all the behind-the-scenes tour gossip…

Day one Saturday 23rd May 2015

Vantastic departs Homerton in good time with Paul driving; Kate, Deb and Sachi and me lounging around but in a punk way. Chiefy is on her way from Nozzer, Cil and Lindsay making their own way to the first gig in Brum.

One mile later we are in our first hold up of the day. No, not bandits even though we have got a cowboy on board, but an accident on A12 put us back by half an hour. From then on we get held up everywhere – burning cars and road works mean we arrive at the venue late and have no time to do a drop at the hotel first.

At first sight the Actress and the Bishop looks cool and Clara has just arrived by taxi. On closer inspection things begin to turn towards the dark side. There is a pile of rotting takeaway food on the merch table which is stinking up my merch corner (useful, mind you, for those of us with wind after sitting down for so long on the bus) and there is a large pool of water on the floor. Despite Clara’s efforts to persuade our host for the night Adam II that she had pissed herself, he was having none of it, and gleefully told us that the roof was leaking. Mmm ok sort of, apart from the fact that it was leaking on the mixing desk as well. Still the pUKEs are made of stern stuff, nothing stands in or way!

Anyone coming to Clara Fest?

Hang on, I thought there was 15 girls in The Pukes?

One hour later several bullets had been filed down into dum dums with Mr Grumpy Mixing Desk man’s name written on the said projectiles. The sound check was not going well.

Mr Grumpy: “One two, one two, click click click buzz.”
pUKEs: “I’ve got nothing in my drum monitor.”
Mr Grumpy: “The drum monitor is fucked from the punk gig four weeks ago.”
Mr Grumpy: “One two, one two, click buzz.”
Mr Grumpy: “I’ll change the lead.”
pUKEs: “I can’t hear anything up here.”
Mr Grumpy: “The drummer will have to play quieter.”
Mr Grumpy: “One two, one two, click click buzz.”
Mr Grumpy: “I’ll change the lead.”
pUKEs: “Something is feeding back.”
Mr Grumpy: “One two, one two, click click click buzz.”
pUKEs: “Can I have a bit more volume for my uke and vocals?”
Mr Grumpy: “No it’s as loud as it will go the system is fucked.”
Mr Grumpy: “I’ll change the lead.”
Mr Grumpy: “One two, one two, click click click buzz.”
Mr Grumpy: “One two, one two, click click click buzz.”
Mr Grumpy: “One two, one two, click click click buzz.”
Mr Grumpy: “I’ll change the lead.”

All pUKEs having now arrived, sound check is abandoned and it’s time to run off to the pub and hope things change while we are gone. The pub surprisingly turns out to be a ‘Spoons. The food is served in the usual way, bits missing, burnt and cold but it is cheap. I get to drink Warlord ale again which makes up for the crunchy carbon burger and no tomato ketchup.

Back to the venue the sound seems better, hurrah. I set up the merch under the watchful eye of Deb and then let her do it properly. We enjoy watching the first few bands that are using their own equipment and things are acoustically much better.

The pUKEs play and the crowd have a great time despite the disappointing raffle at the beginning. There is only one prize! I run up to save the day with a pUKEs badge as a second prize, which as every pUKEs fan knows is a bit like winning the Lottery. The crowd are so excited they can hardly breathe.

Sachi does a brilliant job filling in on furry bass for Chris.

I sing along at the back, when all of a sudden a beer glass is hurled across the room, missing my face by inches and shattering against the wall, making me appreciate why places usually have plastic drinking vessels. The potential fight is removed outside. The consensus of opinion is that a punter driven insane by the sound check finally cracked and attacked the Wattie lookalike whilst of unsound mind.

After an excellent gig we all relax upstairs, listening to the sound man running through what sounds like the entire back catalogue of Dr Who sound effects from the seventies, interspersed with “One two, one two, click click buzz” and “White noise, I’m running white noise through the system.”

We flee in terror!

Paul drives us back to the Travelodge, where we have another little drinkie before retiring to bed. One room smells of sick and has to be changed, but the smell appears in the new room! On closer analysis it’s probably the bed that had to be moved to the new room that smells and not a new perfume.

Sunday 24th May 2015

Up and off in the morning to…… guess what? That’s right a ‘Spoons. Except this time it’s a local ‘Spoons for local people. Paul becomes quite distressed when his foreign sounding breakfast of eggs Florentine or something, has to be flown in from London as no one has ever asked for “that sort of thing” in the Hornet before. It does turn up after over an hour during which time Paul has worn a hole in the carpet going backwards and forwards to the bar. He does get his money back though. The eggs look like breast implants in sauce, yummy.

sleazy 1

Spoons selfie

On to Morecambe through loads more road works but we make good time. “Mr and Mrs” partners, Paul and Cil resume their “which way are we going now” banter as though they had never been apart.

“Take the second exit at the roundabout.”
“What the second exit?”
“Yes the second exit………….you just missed it.”
“No I didn’t.”
“Yes you did that’s the third exit.”
“No it isn’t.”
“Drive round again……. there it is.”
“That’s the wrong one.”
“It’s the right one.”
“No it isn’t.”
“Yes it is.”
“Oh yes it is you’re right.”

And so on……..

We manage a quick freshen up at the hotel before we get to Nice N Sleazy.  Festival goers have been living in a field for three days, and some have got bits of the field growing on them. They are however a lovely bunch and make us very welcome.

Craving something healthy after days of crap food I opt for the best the festival has to offer, a giant hot dog, mmmmm lovely. The ketchup dispenser has a mind of its own however and was obviously a porn star in a previous life as it spurts away happily never bothering my hotdog but going up my hand instead. Deb has no luck either and it shoots up her arm all over her jacket.

We watch Goldblade and are enjoying the set when a man staggers in and shouts out “Fuck off you fat cunt” at John Robb (hardly fair or true) and then walks out. Weird!

The Vibrators let us set up the merch next to theirs. And we set up our little Emporium again. The pukes go on another great gig ensues, and I sell lots of merch again. The hall fills up after a couple of songs which is good going for Sunday at the end of the festival. Our new tambolele makes its debut and is played enthusiastically by audience member Louise. Lots and lots of happy fans by the end of the set. Even Ivan (organiser of the festival) got in on the act and played Paul’s teeny, tiny uke on stage!

sleazy 4

Photo by Billy Stevenson

I watch the Vibrators and get to hear “Baby Baby” – very happy! We clear up after the set, poor Lindsay wasn’t well and had to go back to the hotel and some of the younger pUKEs go to bed, which leaves the disgraceful older contingent to fly the flag.

I have a sporran off with a giant version of myself, which I lose……..and then win! Hurrah! I find out that his impressive horned and spiked sporran piece was in fact a ladies handbag so he was disqualified after a steward’s enquiry!

Sporrans at dawn

Sporrans at dawn

I then watch Big Fat Panda and dance to ska again even though I don’t like ska, what’s going on, they must be good that’s what. We fill up all the corners we have left in our bodies with alcohol and then return to the travelodge, taking a picture of Deb outside “Deborah Jane’s Bridal shop” on the way.

Monday 25th May 2015

Up bright and early, well early, some of us make breakfast. Paul, Deb and I go to Eric Morecambe’s Cafe for a fry up. Bollocks it was shut so we went to another establishment down the road. Can you guess where we went? …………..that’s right the fucking ‘Spoons again. Another vile breakfast later (cold beans, rubber eggs, one hot bit of toast one cold bit of toast, etc) we are ready to leave.

Eric n Paul

Eric n Paul

We go back to Brum to drop off Lindsay and the Chief and then home to London. End of another great weekend. It will be nice to be home and on my own toilet but really I’d still like to be in the van heading off somewhere new. Then …….

“Take the second exit at the roundabout”
“What the second exit?”
“Yes the second exit………….you just missed it………………….”
Maybe not! I stick on my IPod and listen to Tau Cross. Home in two hours.

Adam the Merchman