December 8, 20176th Dec.
We land in Amsterdam late afternoon, Vinny and I.
G had already returned home the morning after Copenhagen.
Our hotel is conveniently situated for any amenities we might find ourselves requiring.
We are commuting from here for a couple of days.
Immediately, but immediately upon arriving at our hotel, a guy sipping from a can of Heineken, slips out from the shadows and asks, do we want any Cocaine?
No thanks, Vinny offers, courteously.
Being a cheek chewing, smegma mouthed, repetitive, in yer face, boring Knob-end is not a pressing ‘must be’ on my ambition wish list at this point in time.
Spiv fellow is not bothered.
Others will come.
Landed and with my large smalls soaking in the bath, my phone and chargers juicing up, I take a walk outside looking for take-out, having assured Vinny that I need nothing more today.
The chill air is thick with the scent of skunk and waffle.
It’s all smoke and sugar at first glance, and once that would have seemed a veritable Disney Land.
Now, both feel a bit end of the pier.
Amsterdam is an undoubted beauty and a holiday mood is endemic.
Fairy lights, naming the full length of Dammestrasse, draw you along past shop windows cartooned with pastel-iced patisserie that feasts the eye more reliably than the tongue.
Child me would be pressed against the glass like a Dickensian waif. The adult now has learnt better.
I like being out here to wander alone and in the night.
Young adults cavorting everywhere.
I still feel safer amongst the sedated and stoned, than beset by blathered, belligerent boozers.
I think Amsterdam is not unlike Brighton, in that both are places of history and art and culture, but are viewed outside as destinations for hedonism and chemical escape.
We at home have our hen and stag night tourists-swarms, puking in the streets and engaging in ribald
wrestling, whilst here the bait is grass and sugar, and tits.
Tits are out everywhere to be fair.
None of this a revelation to any one.
Blow up cocks at home.
Blow up spliffs here.
We should be twinned.
I find a wok place, and they toss me up a stir fry that I take back to my room.
I have wine and my take-out picnic and still manage to stay awake until 2am.
I wake at 7.
I wake at 10.
Killing time is a talent.
It is 12 before I think I should eat.
I order Salmon from room service.
My clothes wrung out are now hung up to dry.
The news does not make comfortable listening.
Trump made his Jerusalem capital city announcement, and the world agitates.
Brexit is more of the same. A bit of an ‘everything must go’ in a closing down sale. Pants are in with the kitchen implements and no one knows which tag belongs where.
Everyone has the titles for their dissertations, but no content,
Yesterday the Mail did one of those pieces that they do.
I am the ‘entertainment’ ingrate-bait.
This about my First Class Train Businessman phone wanker quip Tweet when leaving Denmark.
I had deleted it a couple of days later, only because it was still getting relentless traffic.
I bore of repeating the same point time and again to those who will not read beyond a byline.
That’s why Twitter perfectly suits AADD me.
World order followed quickly by a juggling goat in equal measures.
I’m not after commitment.
The body of the Mail text, while being pointless, is benign enough.
Merely retelling the thread.
The headlines, though, are designed to induce hate clicks.
They have someone just to do that, y’know?
Write the headlines that hook our base selves.
These are folk who had dreams of writing.
Award winning dreams.
Come the little monkeys.
They have been cheated and disappointed too.
They’re just not ready to fuck it all off and choose again.
My heart breaks a little for them at the same time I can name them Wankwads.
Obviously the piece includes my age. It’s a vital component that always gives me a double take.
I forget I’m only 56.
I usually say I’m older.
I tend to round up numbers.
I won’t look at the comment section, this time, though.
That way leads to madness.
Well. It makes me swear more than is usual…
There will be all kinds of frottage happening down there over my privilege and presumption of fame, outrageously thrusting myself into their pages as I must have done.
I could do a Bingo card.
That’s a strange one.
It’s like mocking someone for winning an all inclusive extended holiday to the Maldives, and then coming home again afterwards.
Some overseas individuals frequent the site and get furious when an English person unknown to them is featured.
How lame is that barb?
Like they should claim an encyclopaedic knowledge of every soul of who ever lived abroad or in another age.
I’ve not heard of
I’d imagine they don’t give a fuck.
Someone else will certainly say I don’t know how it is in the real world.
To be fair, growing up on a Basildon council estate was always going to leave me spoilt.
I dread what they will say when they find out that these last 3 months I’ve had a hotel room every single night, and not the type that smell of jism either.
A racing driver comes on to take a noble swipe at me,
having first sprayed himself in ‘Virtue’
‘Some can’t AFFORD (he did a capital letter word) to travel 1st class.
‘Some people have to work not all are rolling over the hill with money!’
Some people can’t afford to drive a car, you cunt, let alone buy a racing car or have someone to fix it up and change the tires.
Neither have they money to waste for splashing champagne on to a Dolly Bird’s jubblies.
Some people don’t have legs!
Rub it in their faces why don’t you?
Next he’ll be insisting that’s work…
There you go, Mail.
I’ve aired me spleen a bit more.
Trumps a thunderous cunt.
Yup. That did it.
Consider this spleen currently daisy fresh.
I have tidied up,
and in doing so, possibly cheated someone out of a job,
had a bath, packed my gig case, and Wilson also, and then met Vinny down stairs in the lobby.
We have a hire car that we picked up at the airport, and make a three hour forty slog, out of what should have been an hour forty-five
drive, in forlorn weather, to Antwerp, where tonight’s gig is to be.
The traffic makes for torrid progress.
We sit in tunnels thick with fumes for large tranches of time.
Roads are closed.
Vinny is effing and jeffing.
The rain conceals exits and sign.
I am itchy.
I feel a bit snarky when I get there but this ennui is soon to be dissipated.
I go straight to sound check, where I find myself distracted and uncommitted.
My voice is clunky and I am weary.
Back stage, though, is delightful.
It is a short run of corridor with spacious dressing cubicles on both sides, each offering privacy by the drawing of heavy burgundy curtains, and have a compliment of shelf tables, seats, and well lit mirrors.
The toilets and sinks at one end are communal, and at the other, a small lounging area leads into the dining room, featuring a handsomely dressed table and a gallery kitchen behind.
Warm and cosseting.
It is not a lush space but it has been thoughtfully tended.
We are hosted by a man, who is chef, and two women, all who are attentive and very welcoming indeed.
The buffet hot dinner they have provided us with is exceptional
and we are all cheered by it.
Tour fatigue is setting in.
The guys are exhausted and have been long away from the softnesses of home.
Many have children still young enough to be changed by our return.
I imagine, for a detail-bank such is Sean, it is hard too.
He remembers rooms and events and reactions and weather and food and audiences microscopically.
For him all this information will make for a very large virtual memory book, and this long time it is taking to compile will be vivid.
For me, who forgets the day as it closes, I imagine it is easiest of all.
I do not register the weeks as months.
I do not remember we have been a long time itinerants, just that yesterday I was not home.
I am tight for time.
I curl my hair.
Sign the CD covers for the merchandise stand.
(Ending a book is a micro death I will mourn tomorrow)
John and Sean come to my space and we warm up.
Sean reminds us what a great time we had in Antwerp on ‘the minutes’ tour.
His recall is very useful.
I am freshly buoyed.
We go on.
The air has held the haze that Eric pumped onto the stage and the lights are made spectres dancing.
The venue is ram packed and the standing audience undulate together.
The sound on stage, without our own desks, again proves to be something I need navigate carefully, and at times I have to trust the notes I am singing are the ones I am aiming for.
Sometimes I feel them more than hear them and then try to remember if the resonance in my chest feels
the same as the one I know matches the true pitch.
I repeat myself now because, again, our audience is what I hope for every night.
All the responses the ones I seek.
The set ran smoothly and was well received.
These people are ebullient.
After the first encore, I ask the band to pause and the audience to be lit so I could see them.
Could you hear that acoustic guitar? I asked?
Yes, they nodded emphatically.
That’s why I was asking.
I’d have done it again otherwise.
Immediately I rue my own interruption.
The build had been orgasmic and then I broke it mid flow to discuss the boiler or some-such.
How I wish sometimes that my mouth would refer to my experience sometimes.
I say stuff.
It’s what I do.
This was not a crowd to be deterred by my oddnesses.
Despite me, they raised the end to a dizzying height.
It was lovely.
Sorry I did that, I said to the boys side stage afterwards, sorry I stopped the set.
They weren’t fussed.
Probably the first time they experienced that, said Dougie of the audience, being asked in a concert if they could hear the guitar after a song was finished.
What can I tell you?
I like to know which particular detail I need to spend a night crucifying myself over.
As I happens, I left light as a midge.
I relished my night in Antwerp very much.
Sean can remind me later.
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