The latest is a series of blogs about life on the road as The Pukes’ merch man continues with a return to AU, Germany’s longest-runnning squatted house and venue.
It’s Thursday I’ve got a hangover. All is set for The Pukes return to Frankfurt. We are waiting for Saul to arrive, he’s staying over in Homerton so we can catch our flight from Heathrow. Debs and I run through our fantastic dance routine for Friday night…….
But I’m getting ahead of myself, flying, dance routines for the band, are we becoming ‘Puke Direction’? No, the band have been invited to the 34th anniversary party at the Au squat in Frankfurt on Friday 2nd June and to play there on the Saturday. The thing is its fancy dress, band fancy dress and the chance to lip sync, dance etc to a song. What have we chosen? YMCA by the village people. After a run through the week before in the hotel at Morecambe we are super confident and excited. Alright we were knackered, a bit confused but still excited. The character’s chosen or forced upon us were Debs – Sailor, Clara – Police person, Esme – Cowboy, Chris – Construction Worker (with health and safety duties), Saul – Native American, and me Leathery Biker. What could possibly go wrong?
……… back to Friday, I’m rubbish at the dance. My hangover body refuses to cooperate and I’m all over the place. Deb whizzes through without a problem. I retreat in disgrace. Saul arrives in the evening and we repeat the routine with him, much to mine and Saul’s delight! Then we go to the pub. Ahhh that’s better.
And then there were four
Friday arrives and all is packed. I decide leather trousers are off the list as its supposed to be humid and 30 degrees in Frankfurt and I don’t want to become a massive fungul, yeasty mass. Jeans it is then. We are sadly down to four Pukes and a merch man as Esme is sick. Chris and Clara arrive at 11 and after a short comfort break (ok a piss and tea), we set off for Heathrow on the train.
No problems on the train arrived with plenty of time to spare. We decided to visit the Weatherspoons. We had to wait to be allotted a table there was waiter/ress service and it was really expensive. Shocker. Poor Saul had forgotten to get his fix of nicotine before going through customs and became fixated on cigarettes, with everything starting to look like cigarettes!
We get through customs and board the plane with no problems. I get to sit near the window, yippie. The flight is delayed, un-yippie; by a bloody hour and a bit. I forget to not sit next to Deb, she cannot sit still for longer than a few seconds. I try to sleep. Debs gets up and down, fiddles about, knocks my arm, rustles newspapers gets up and down again. No sleep for me.
There are bad storms on our flight path so we have to wait to be rerouted. But eventually we are off. The plane makes funny noises like someone is sawing off the wing, then it sounds like a starter motor trying to start something that has no fuel. Either one is quite worrying.
I get excellent views from my window of massive storm clouds beneath us. Deb carries on fidgeting. As we land the funny noise starts again, neither wing falls off so we arrive safely. Get through to get our bags and mine is already on the conveyer belt, result. Everything goes smoothly and we end up outside looking for a taxi. We get a six seater and make our way to the hotel.
When we arrive are shocked to find it is a posh hotel (well done Debs). The rooms are nice and everywhere is clean and tidy. It’s very hot and feels stormy. We retire to our rooms for a quick freshen up and to change into our “Villager” gear. A quick meeting in Clara and Chris’ room for a run through the dance routine and we are ready to disco.
We fit right in with all the other guests at the hotel as believe it or not there is a large Village People event going on in Frankfurt that weekend and loads of people are dressed up as construction workers, policemen, S and M leather boys etc……….. Oh all right there wasn’t and we stand out like a mass of Village greatness amongst all the soberly dressed people. I think it was around this point that Saul and Chris developed a need to go to the toilet every five minutes, so we had to sit in the lobby for a bit longer than was entirely necessary or comfortable.
The taxi arrived for us and we set off. The taxi driver asked us if we always dressed like this or was it something special! We needn’t have worried as when we got to the party everyone was dressed up. There was a great Devo party and also a rival bunch of Villages grrr. They asked if we wanted to join them on stage. We politely refused, no one was going to outshine us tonight we were in the Village groove.
It’s incredibly hot, I’m glad I didn’t wear leather trousers! I decide to unleash my Bee Gees chest on Au, what a treat for them. We manage to get a slot on the inside stage after Verena’s excellent Bowie slot. The stage is very small and we just about have enough room for our routine; Debs and Clara have to stand in front of the rest of us to make room. The crowd is up for it and cries of YMCA abound. Then we kick off and surprisingly pull it off (the dance routine you dirty minded…..). We are all chuffed to bits, the crowd seemed to enjoy it and joined in with the moves, great fun. It’s all over too quickly and we receive an Au gold disc for our efforts. Happy and just starting to melt a bit we go off for a drink. I can’t remember a lot more of the evening, but I know I was there as there were photographs and I do remember some lovely food. from my blurry memory I think we all drank too much and got home in a taxi about 3.00.
C#!t of the tour
Up at 8 for a shower the next morning, I felt fine which was weird. Finally managed to rouse Debs and we managed to get down for breakfast before it finished at 10.30. Found Saul negotiating with the breakfast manager as he couldn’t remember his room number or what his name was, or rather which name his room was booked in. Kindly we helped him out and he was allowed through; secretly we started tallying up the marks for “C#!t of the tour, Saul was definitely in the lead. No Chris or Clara until Debs rang them and woke them up! They got down just before breakfast finished. Deb asks Clara why she has Tweeted ‘Cheers Dusseldorf’ when we are in Frankfurt! More tallying.
We had the rest of the day to explore before the evening gig and after wandering about for a bit we decided to go by tram into Frankfurt. The Pukes navigators successfully got us there and it only cost about a tenner for a group ticket which would last us for the rest of our time in Frankfurt. We get off at an impressive train station, and wander off straight into the red light district. There were some impressive looking games console joysticks in display in the window of one shop, no buttons on them though. Clara needs some uke strings not a joystick so we find a music shop. Chris’ bowels need sorting and luckily the shop lets him go there, we beat a hasty retreat before the “Thing from the Black Latrine ” starts assaulting staff noses. Next stop a beer. This time Saul devastates the loo. Chris and Saul are renamed Mr and Mrs Ploppy.
We get back to the station just as it starts pissing down, there is a good storm to watch crashing about above the station. We make it back to the hotel a bit soggy but unstruck by lightning. Time for more beer or a rest depending on our needs. Saul tells us that Slash from Guns n’ Roses is also named Saul. Our Saul gets renamed Slosh which is quite appropriate really.
We head off back to Au later on. We are going by bus! We miss the first bus as Slosh is in the toilet again. This scores heavily against him in our voting. When we arrive we have some excellent food and then I set the merch up with Debs. It’s chucking it down with rain but its still incredibly hot and humid. The Au garden is turning into a swamp. I re-acquaint myself with some apple wine several times. I must say it was very nice and we got on very well and we met up several more times than was entirely necessary. There was still the merch to do however. Unfortunately due to the rain a lot of people are sheltering next to the merch stalls, it gets even hotter, condensation begins to drip down from the ceiling, looks like goodies aren’t going to be popular! I catch a tiny bit of The Pukes set as the stall is guarded for me by the lovely merch lady for The Kids. They sound great and there is a lot of dancing going on and several flares were lit. After the show I sell a fair bit of merch, which means less to carry home!
Au has been fantastic again, we all had a great time. A massive thank you to Verena and the other organisers for inviting us back. I don’t remember going back to the hotel, but I did wake up there in the morning.
Debs’ uke case tested for drugs
The trip home was uneventful, apart from:-
Nearly going the wrong way on the bus.
The huge march from one terminal to the other in the blazing sun.
Debs’ uke case being tested for drugs
Me being stopped again for being too metal and setting off the alarms. I also knocked over the Border Control’s waste bin putting my boots back on, but they were very nice to me and gave me a seat to sit on to tie my laces.
Me passing a very small amount of gas on the escalator that apparently nearly suffocated everyone else. I didn’t own up to it until later they all thought it was dodgy drains. Still it was pay back for Clara’s disgusting Chunnel fart on our first trip to Germany. (It wasn’t that bad – Ed)
We all arrived back safely. Germany is a great placand the people are lovely. Hope we can go back again
What about the ‘C#!t of the Tour I hear you ask. It should have been a close run thing but due to the Dusseldorf/Frankfurt fiasco Clara won it by a bleedin’ mile
The word of the tour was ‘sharting’ from the verb ‘to shart’. Look it up in the Profannosaurus. Luckily, though a few people almost did, it did just remain a word and The Pukes underwear was saved (unless anyone knows better!).