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So yes, we strolled across London until we got to the 12 Bar, where we dropped off our GUITARS before Adam headed off into LONDON for a bit of a look round (as all he'd seen so far of ENGLAND really was a succession of PUBS, TRAINS and DUVETS) and I headed home. Aaah! HOME! Where the Ink In My Printer was waiting, and there was a BATH to be had! Truly, it was LOVELY to be home, and it took a FORCE OF WILL to get myself sorted and back on the ROAD that evening, but sooner than I'd hoped I was back on the tube and off to the 12 Bar, to find Team Frankie finally COMPLETE, now that Julian had entered the fray. Adam returned with a TEA TOWEL from the British Museum, Sound Checks were undertaken, and slowly people began to appear...
Spinmaster Plantpot went on first, and as usual when I've seen him CONFUSED and FRIGHTENED the assemblage somewhat, before Nathan Persad, The London King Of SHOWBIZ came on and somewhat reassured the throng with his BEAT MUSIC and SHARP SUIT, so much so that he scored the first ENCORE of the night. Then it was Adam's turn, and he sounded GRATE - he didn't seem to think it went so well, but i think that's because people were standing at the back of the room or LURKING upstairs, so he couldn't see the SMILING FACES whilst he was on. His TOUR BUDDIES all thoroughly enjoyed it, especially when he did his Andy Partridge Tribute and, for me, Your Nazi Boyfriend - BOTH tunes which had taken PERMANENT LODGING over the course of the week. INDEED, i think i FRIT him a bit by suddenly whistling various of his tunes over the course of the week, his stuff is ACE.
By now there was a LOT of people there, VERILY it was a HITS SELECTION of my LONDON PALS, including various brothers, lunch listers, and ROCK CHUMS. The Fruit In My Salad Bowl finally got to meet BOTH The Kooba Radio people and also Mr Eddy Bewsher, a bunch of people about whom she'd heard a LOT. Apart from these there were LOADS of other people, MANY of whom I had never seen before in my LIFE - what on earth were they doing here? Nobody ELSE seemed to know them, could they be honest to goodness GIG GOERS who'd come out of INTEREST?!? How our worlds have changed!
During this time I found myself on the VERGE OF REGULARHOOD, as the chap behind the bar remembered me from OTHER times I'd played there, it was SMASHING - the 12 Bar is a NICE PLACE. I also got WALLOPED by two days worth of HANGOVER around this point, and hit the COCA COLA with a VENGEANCE, in a bid to somehow reconstitute my constitution before SHOWTIME.
Frankie Machine took to the stage then, and they were BLOODY GRATE - they sounded CONFIDENT and ACE, and Rob's Inclusive Intros now included the explanation for "Re-Unmelt My Heart", which was something I'd been pleased to know when I found it out, and indeed made the whole thing make more sense. They were a bit TOUR CRAZY by this time, and as the very sensible and GRATE Wool In My Woolly Jumper pointed out, they do these BEAUTIFUL heartfelt songs, then intersperse them with Naughty Kids At The Back Of The Bus LARKING ABOUT. It seems to really WORK these days though, it was FAB.
And then - AT LAST (for me anyway) - it was MY TURN! No need for PA Removal here, it sounded WONDERFUL - the sound quality that is, I make no claims for MYSELF. Crikey though, this gig went as FANTASTICALLY as the whole rest of the tour did, it was A Little Bit Frightening really. FIVE amazing gigs in a row? What's going ON? I introduced "Hey Hey 16K" as "my hit", and somebody in the front said "Well... sort of..." and BLOW ME DOWN but the (BIG!) audience took that as an insult to THEM and sang nearly every word. This sort of thing happened a LOT, to the extent that in "Payday Is The Best Day" i got to do the ULTIMATE ROCK THING: I allowed THE AUDIENCE to sing the choruses!! It was AMAZING! "The Fight For History" roughly shouldered its way into the setlist again, and AGAIN went down really well, i am even MORE excited about the next album that i was previously beforehand, and i was very excited THEN! Also "Rock and Roll Mayhem", now approaching EPIC LENGTH, was my HIT OF THE TOUR - I'm going to record it tomorrow, if i can, with the final verse inserted just as soon as i work it out.
So yes, the whole thing was PRETTY BLOODY AMAZING to me I must say, I did "I Come From The Fens" and "Clubbing In The Week" for my encore, and then nearly accidentally got ANOTHER when i came back on to flog some CDs... I sold SEVERAL CDs! WAHEY!
After the gig there was much HUGGING and a WHOLE LOT OF LOVE in the room between us TOURING PALS. We took a photograph of the original four of us, so as to compare and contrast with Glasgow, and all agreed HEARTILY that we'd be doing this again VERY SOON. Gary invited Adam to Derby, Adam invited him and Rob to Glasgow, and i invited everyone to London again. There may well have been MORE HUGGING at this point...
Eventually it was time to get going, and it became clear that poor young Adam was KNACKERED, as he slept pretty much the whole LENGTH of the Central Line, but when he got home he got very animated about The Rosetta Stone, even showing us the tea towel he'd brought from the British Museum to ILLUSTRATE it for us. Adam is just a LOVELY chap - not only had he been INSANELY BRAVE to come all this way for SO LONG with a (pretty much) complete bunch of strangers (completely alone! having never really travelled alone before!), but he was also UP for STUFF, whilst still being a DECENT and SINCERE and CLEVER bloke. This will NOT be the last time we get together for gigs, believe you me...
Anyway, when we got home we realised that The Picture In My Frame had left a BAG full of Birthday Presents in the venue - PANIC! CHAOS! - but then I turned my phone back on to find a message from Joanne, saying they'd found it. PHEW. We retired to our various BOUDOIRS, only to awake after a HORRIFICALLY BRIEF TIME at SEVEN FIFTEEN AM in the MORNING, to get Adam on the BUS at VICTORIA. I went there with him, to make sure he got on OK - this had been suggested by the Flatness Of My Fen, and she was RIGHT to do so, as it was most confusing, but we got there in the end. A final hug, much agreement that We Would Do This Again, and then that was that - off he went to Glasgow, and off I went to meet Rob to get the presents. We stood and chatted for a bit outside his hotel, and it felt STRANGE to be saying goodbye for him for a couple of weeks... this was it! Tour! OVER!
So what have we learnt? Mainly I learnt that i REALLY REALLY REALLY like going on Tour, and i LOVE the CAMERADERIE of it, especially with such a NICE bunch of people. Also the JOKES as you go along, the mutual HECKLING, and the knowledge that, tomorrow night, you'd be doing it all over again - I woke up THIS morning and thought "Where am I? Where am i going tonight? Will I get a chance for a shower?" and took a good long while to adjust to Not Being On Tour Any More.
It was BRILLIANT from start to finish - thanks SO very much everyone who came along, and especially Eddy, Mark and Nick for putting us on, Eddy and Joanne's various housemates for putting us UP, and ESPECIALLY Adam and Team Frankie - let's HUG!!
posted 25/9/2004 by MJ Hibbett
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