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Blog: Sheffield

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After gradually convening over MORE tea and toast, we headed off to a CAFE for Proper Big Breakfast, and discussed the Oddness Of Hull. It's at the end of the train line and at the end of the road - if you're IN Hull, it's because you really MEAN to be there, nobody EVER passes through - so things seem to have EVOLVED slightly differently to everywhere else. CLASSIC example is the independent telephone lines, but in general it seemed to be sort of like the Midlands, sort of like the Distant North, and a whole lot of RELAXED. It was GOOD!

Soon it was time to get moving, so me and Adam strolled down to the station and caught ourselves a TRAIN. Excitingly, whilst we were waiting, a Businessman In A Suit And Tie said "You on tour boys?" "YES!" we said. "Off to London i suppose?" he SCOFFED. "No, that's tomorrow, it's Sheffield tonight" we said, and STALKED proudly off, having been ROCK.

We got to Sheffield and met Team Frankie in the PUB - HOORAH! All was well with everyone, so off we set for ASDA to buy BOOZE for tonight's show. BRILLIANTLY the Asda is SO BIG that it has TWO floors, connected not by escalators but by MOVING WALKWAYS. Sheffield: City Of The FUTURE! We got a bit excited about this, and all ran up then down them again - one KRAZY ROCK REBEL ran backwards down the up walkway, and made himself feel a bit SICK doing so... don't tell anyone else though, they were in AWE of me, in AWE i tell you!

BOOZE purchased we headed back to Joanne's house and settled down for more TEA, though this was TEA with a difference. The Pot SHOOK when it hit the table, water SPURTED out of the end, and the lid RATTLED! It was POSSESSED by a MALIGNANT SPIRIT! POSSIBLY! Tea was had and DISCUSSIONS were entered into, especially between Gary and I who had an EVEN MORE elevated discussion than the one we'd had at about 3am in Glasgow about which was more MANLY, BEER or STOUT. He PROPOSED that bands who talk about themselves in the first person PLURAL (e.g. "We think things are bad, we believe something should be done about them") should be BANNED, and he eventually reached the conclusion that a) talking about yrself in the THIRD person is even worse and b) the WORST of the WORST for this was NICK FALDO. "Nick Faldo isn't playing well today. Nick Faldo needs a rest."

We then decided to refer to ourselves as "The Me" all day. Hey! The Me was on tour! Crazy Things happen when guys like The Me do that!

So, off we set for the venue - originally this was going to be The Green Rooms, but they were in a state of REFURBISHMENT at the time (we drove past it, there were LADDERS propped against walls), so eventually it got moved to a rehearsal studio/Artists' SPACE somewhere in the student end of town. It was a bit worrying when we arrived as it appeared for all the world to be an abandoned factory, but WITHIN was a network of rooms, many of which had been set up as SITTING ROOMS, including, weirdly, one that was a BALCONY in front of the main stage area. We got set up, and went for NOODLES. The NOODLE house we went to was full of Chinese people - we're always told that this is a GOOD SIGN, but i wonder, does that work in ENGLISH Restaurants abroad? Whenever I'VE been in such places they've been packed with sunburnt looking types who turn out NOT to be sunburnt, they're just VERY ANGRY at the world, and they're eating RANCID OVEN CHIPS and a Steak & Kidney Pie that's been re-unmelted 19 times. The food was very nice though.

BACK to the venue, and i faced the Continuing Problem of The Tour: now that i am the BIGSHOT HEADLINING ACT i have to go on LAST, and this means i have to wait AGES until i can drink BEER. Normally i can, very bravely, cope with the situation, but at Asda I'd bought a fine selection of bottled REAL ALES, and they were CALLING to me... anyway, i soldiered on, heroically, and watched ORMONROYD, our Local Support for the night, who sounded LOVELY. Frankie Machine followed and sounded EVEN MORE LOVELY than they had the night before - once again, Mr Francis Albert Machine introduced each song, sometimes at length, and this really DREW people IN to the songs. Previously he's just PLAYED them and people have been free to talk over the QUIET BEAUTY, but by doing introductions and INVITING them in, Mr Machine made sure he was LISTENED to. It was lovely, and ESPECIALLY because Team Frankie was reunited with Joanne. SMASHING.

Adam was up next, and things went slightly AWRY - when he tried to start, the PA wasn't switched on, then when it WAS the guitar was far too loud. He fiddled with things, then JUST as he started the Sound Guy shouted "Tune Your Guitar!" and he had to come off stage to do it. THUS happened one of the moments that will STAY with me forever about this tour - when this sort of thing happens to you on stage it's really unpleasant, and can THROW you totally. Me, Gary and Rob are TOURING VETERANS of course, and we'd all taken to watching out for Adam, so when he went backstage we all followed him in. I only realised that this had happened the next day, but immediately Rob produced the tuner, and operated it for him, Gary told him what it said and talked him through the process, and I held his lead to make sure he didn't trip over it. I'm sure Adam would rather it HADN'T happened, but i found it sort of moving... anyway, he went on and did GOOD, but was still a bit thrown, and still wasn't heard by the audience as much as he should - a NUMBER of people said that they WISHED they could have heard him more clearly, as what WAS audible was GRATE. Yes, it was!

Then it was time for THE ME to take the stage, and MY first song (which has been "The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (group B)" all week) didn't seem to be working. The PA was a bit muffly, the guitar seemed clangy, and my GIG PARANOIA somehow convinced me that EVERYBODY HATED ME. Goodness knows where i get this from (possibly from all the gigs i've done when it's been TRUE...), but i CONVINCED myself that the group of Scally Lads up in the balcony wanted me to DIE. DECISIVE ACTION was called for, so once again I unplugged the guitar, removed the microphone, and STEPPED into the audience. "I'm becoming LOUDER by becoming NEARER", i said.

Well, modesty obviously forbids me to say how it went... because it went BLOODY GRATE! There was CHEERING, there was ENGAGING HECKLING, there was even a ROUND OF APPLAUSE for "Peace And Love is still a bloody good idea" in "Lesson Of The Smiths", a BIG CHEER for "the trams of Sheffield" in "Easily Impressed", and MY WORD but "Boom Shake The Room" went well. Also, after much moaning from ME about not getting to drink my beer Gary brought some out to me, and I then proceeded to do an ENCORE of "Rock & Roll Mayhem" - as possibly already mentioned, this is the song I've been writing as I've gone along, and the aforementioned Upstairs Liverpudlians DEMANDED i do the Sheffield Verse there and THEN. So i did! I followed it with "Clubbing In The Week", and left the stage... before doing a SECOND ENCORE of "Bands From London" , oh YES! A THIRD one seemed to be taking the piss a bit, as the promoter was a bit NERVY about time constraints, but my dears i think I could have had one. It was ACE! I then found myself COMPLETELY SELLING OUT of ALL my records, and had to turn people AWAY - it was MENTAL! Rather wonderfully too, a couple of people who'd been last time were there - one said she'd DEMAND that Johnny Gogo put me on at the next festival, the next, it turned out, had picked up the setlist as a souvenir. I was really MOVED, that especially was LOVELY.

Having ROCKED so HARD there was no way we were going home yet, so we dropped off our gear and headed into town. Unfortunately we'd missed Legendary Indie Night OFFBEAT by 24 hours, and all that seemed to be available was ELECTROCLASH night at the Casbah... "BAH!" I thought, "What i really wanted was some INDIE to sway along too" but i was SO VERY WRONG. Electroclash is GRATE - you know New Romantics and Berlin Bowie? It's THAT, but through a phase pedal and with extra bass, it was SMASHING. Me, Rob and Adam went down to the dance floor and started doing "hilarious" Robot Dancing, oh so cutting, to MOCK everyone else there. This lasted roughly THREE SECONDS, when we discovered it was BRILLIANT and spent the rest of the night REMAKING the GENRE through the MEDIUM OF DANCE! BRILLIANT! Halfway through the night we noticed that the bloke with the funny hair from "Coupling" was ALSO there, doing the similar, and the night ROCKED ON until we were chucked out, still dancing.

Back at Joanne's, things got a bit hazy. There was WINE, and the next day Adam said "I'm tired because of that PARTY we had last night for a couple of hours when we got home". All i remember was a glass of wine, then going to the loo. On the way back I noticed the spare bed (which Gary had BAGSIED), so i sat on it for BUT A MOMENT, just for a rest, before heading downstairs again... little did i know that I'd actually PASSED OUT for an hour or so. GARY had discovered me there and, ENRAGED by the thought of me nicking his bed, had AVENGED himself by stripping NAKED and getting Rob to take a picture of him THUS on the bed with me... as I say, ROCK AND ROLL MAYHEM!

Eventually we went to bed, but it wouldn't be long until we were all awake and back on the road again...

posted 25/9/2004 by MJ Hibbett

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