We board the tour bus in Manchester for what has become a typical early departure time. Whilst most of England sleeps we head southbound to France en-route to Malmo, Sweden.
The British winter has once again arrived fashionably late, bringing with it what is best described as ‘Dick Turpin’ weather. Camouflaged countryside submerged in a lazy mischievous mist that seems to browse amongst the trees and fields like a pickpocket on market day.
After several pick-ups and a short Euro tunnel crossing we arrive in Calais late evening with only another 700 miles before we reach our destination. The journey is eased by some well-needed sleep until we are all disturbed by Dutch or German (not sure which) motorway police who have stopped and surrounded our bus alongside another British bus. Ten minutes later a bemused individual is escorted from the other bus and we are free to continue our journey.
Several hours later we are once again disturbed this time by the sound of seagulls screeching in a distinct military fashion. We soon find ourselves on board a ferryboat, to the great surprise of everyone, not sure where we are or were we are heading! As we have no sense of two-dimensional orientation whatsoever.
After a short crossing we arrive in Denmark (I think) and we are immediately greeted by a generous grey sky and… tall people. Within a couple of hours we cross the border into Sweden and arrive at our final destination, Malmo. We all disembark outside the hotel and the freezing temperature wastes no time assaulting us and in the process rendering my genitalia into androgynous proportions. Every fibre of our beings is inflamed into action and we rush en-masse to the safety of the revolving door that stands between us and the womb-like lobby.
The first gig isn’t until the following day so we check in and arrange to meet later. I collect my key card and rush to my room and set about performing what has over the years become the ‘holy trinity’ of hotel room procedure.
- Strip naked to feel immediately comfortable in new surroundings.
- Defecate to lay ones scent, as this will be home for at least the next 24 hours.
- Check view from the window.
This has become of much importance to myself due to several past experiences. The first being back in 1990 in a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I had arrived at my hotel room following a 15-hour journey drenched in tiredness, sweat and naivety. The heat was stifling and repressive, which somewhat effected my judgement. I stripped and lay face down on top of the bed. The curtains were open but being 15 floors up I felt no urgency to perform the ‘Holy Trinity’. Big mistake. These were the days when I sported long dark curly hair and as I was lay face down, I must admit that I didn’t exactly look conventionally male, in fact I was probably displaying what appeared to be the near perfect female form.
motorway police have stopped and surrounded our bus alongside another British bus
I was soon awoken by grunts, groans and sniggering in an unfamiliar tongue. I jumped up gripped by horror only to discover two window cleaners stood on a trust right outside my window staring at me with dubious thoughts. My shock was only to be vanquished by the shear horror and surprise that rapidly invaded the faces of both men as my true gender became apparent. Both men proceeded to religiously cross themselves and mutter continues Hail Mary’s with impressive speed in hope of clemency from a higher force and,also myself.
The second incident happened in Sydney around 2001.
Every morning as I opened my hotel room curtains I was presented with an emperor Nero/Kenny Everett look-a-like performing complicated yoga completely NAKED on the adjacent balcony in a completely unabashed manner. In fact his eyes never left mine for a second and it happened every time I opened my curtains, day or night for the whole duration of our stay. Quite disturbing.
The Malmo gig was very pleasant. Good crowd, nice venue and an enjoyable experience by all on stage.
We walk straight off stage and on to the tour bus for an overnight journey to OSLO, one of our favourite cities.
The odd beverage is consumed onboard.
Mickey (bass) aka-Bass Chimp, Miguel, Spanish Fly, M’ ike Turner, Thunder Arse, gives us a fashion show displaying a collection of thongs he has brought on tour with him. Not the most pleasant experience but it did help pass the hours.
We arrive in Oslo mid morning and our hotel rooms are not ready so we separate into hunting packs and go in search of breakfast. Bez aka, Bumble, Beswick, B, Beavis, heads off to meet friends, Shaun aka X stays on the bus and sleeps. Myself, Dan (programmer, keys, guitar) aka, Dandy Dan, Dan Dan the Laydeez Man, Desperate Dan, Dark Horse Dan, The Bounder, The Cad and Julie (vocals) aka M’Julie, Rusty Lee, Julie Da Looney, settle on a Thai café and have a noodle breakfast.
The venue is fantastic and the gig electric. Bez grabs the mike for the encore and leads the audience in a vocal tribute to Ole gunner Solskjaer (Manchester united footballer of Norwegian origin). We are all invited to the aftershow party and a great night was had once again in Oslo.
The tour bus leaves around 4 a.m for a full days travel to Stravanger on the far west coast of Norway.