We eventually depart Manchester around 9.30pm. Our designated pick up point is a car park close to the rehearsal room that is large enough to accommodate a big tour bus. Fortunately, (or unfortunately) the said car park also happened to belong to a famous Stockport Public House. This accompanied by the fact we are suddenly and surprisingly embracing an almost posthumous summer and also eagerly greeting the advent of an August bank holiday, we indulge in a “few” drinks. The wine and beer tasting continues for some individuals en-route until we eventually reached our hotel in the deserted highlands. Julie even manages to get drunk twice in one evening, once at the pub and then again on the tour bus…groundbreaking!
After a turbulent nights sleep, I awake out of my shallow slumber and open the curtains and I swear the first thing I see is Norway? I dress quicker than Mr Ben and then rush down to reception to enquire about any news of civilisation in the immediate parish. I am reassured that it is sitting just beyond the hotel perimeter. Now I fail to remember the name of the “rustic” highland village that I find myself in but it looked rather nice.
I almost immediately stumble across a second hand bookshop with the unfortunate nameBook Rogers, which makes me think that maybe it specialises in sci-fi or even adult themes? Anyway it looks extremely welcoming so I confidently open the door and enter. I am greeted by what appears to be a book club meeting in session, consisting solely of around 12 young female students sitting stern like at a rotund medieval oak table. It soon becomes apparent that the male of the species is not the most welcome so I politely order my coffee and proceeded to sit in the corner.
I dress quicker than Mr Ben and then rush down to reception to enquire about any news of civilisation in the immediate parish
After enduring ten minutes of deafening silence I decided to leave and as I open the door to leave another female student is trying to enter. I politely hold the door open and let her pass fully expecting a “thank you’ but what I received was a scoffing grunt accompanied by the following response, “male chauvinist, just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’m incapable of opening a door myself”. Shocked and surprised at such disdain for my act of chivalry and without any time to cogitate, I gently lower my eyes like a periscope towards the fantastic double portion of buttock being held captive in her industrial style denims, and then resort to lowering myself to the level of a limbo dancing midget with severe depression by responding with, “nice arse,” whilst grabbing my male reproductive appendage in a true hip-hop stylie. Silence fell on the proceedings like a damp towel on a frying-pan fire. I quickly perform a rather camp like pirouette (as if to prove I wasn’t a complete caveman) and quickly walked away whilst performing the most unflattering slalom through the pursuing abuse.
Later from the venue we all return to the hotel to await news on Bez and his court appearance back in Manchester. It turns out that his hearing is put back to the afternoon and the first flight to Edinburgh arrives at 9.30, show time is 9.15. Bez is proud of the fact that he always makes the gig whatever the circumstances. Just as Shaun and I are putting the finishing touches to our “I thought you always made the gig” speech, Bez arrives early and we hit the stage only 15 minutes late.
The crowd as per usual in Scotland are fantastic. We play for an enjoyable hour and fifteen minutes but unfortunately run out of time to do a proper encore. It’s no surprise that all bands love playing Scotland. We retire to the tour bus following the aftershow party and settle in for the 19 hour journey to Belgium.