When I got back from my trip, the Souls announced a two week UK tour. So I immediately got in touch with Kate, worked out what gigs I could see for free, then sorted tickets for the rest, and booked hotels for London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The first three gigs (London, Brighton and Reading) were a great start to the tour. They changed the set completely every night, and played a lot of songs I hadn’t heard them play for ages. At London, Bryan and Pete hung out with us in the pub opposite the venue before the show. At Brighton, the fellas attended the Roller Derby after party that was happening after the gig (which was totally bonkers and resulted in a lot of horrible hangovers the next day, and a mates car being impounded). I braved more snow (IN MARCH!) to see the guys in Reading. This was there show where Bryan grabbed me after they’d played and asked “why haven’t you played onstage with us yet?”.
A few days later I headed to Birmingham and Manchester. Birmingham I managed to hang out with the guys before the show again where I got to see them write the set list and decide that I was going to play guitar in the encore on True Believers and Gone. I was a bit gobsmacked to be honest. The gig went well, I got my pass, got my instructions from DJ the roadie and played with my favourite band. Luckily a mate was in the audience and videoed the last song – which was promptly uploaded to YouTube and shared around facebook! After the show ended I got abducted by some random brummies, and got dragged to a pub in the middle of nowhere to hang out with Bryan, Pete and John (the sound guy). I can’t really remember much about that evening, and felt decidedly horrible the next morning.
|me and Pete, Kingston|
The final show of the tour was at The Peel in Kingston – we met the guys in the Strip Club before the show, and had a very bizarre hour chatting and drinking, while naked ladies danced round a pole behind us. Seeing the guys at The Peel was incredible – probably the smallest show I’ve seen them do, and was utterly brilliant to see them play somewhere I used to consider “local”. Best bit was being asked to play AGAIN and getting ontage with the Souls in front of around 20 people that I knew. It was surreal, and is one of the best things I’ve ever got to do. I’m so pleased the guys asked me to do this THREE TIMES with them.
Seethis video for proof!
A few months later, the news came through that Mike, the drummer, was leaving the band. I’ve got to know Mike over the past few years, and he’s such a fantastic dude. He’s always been brilliant to me (and my friend Jackie) whenever we’ve gone to see them, always taking time to hang out, chat rubbish, drink etc. He’s also one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen, and I love talking drums with him – once you start him off, he doesn’t stop. He’s a true musician and a total legend. I shall miss him playing with the band (and meeting up with him when they play in the UK) – I hope I get to see him some other time with whoever he plays with next.
Carmels birthday trip. Have wanted to go back to Berlin since my 40th 3 years ago, and I finally managed to convince everyone we should go back. Was another cheap trip (as was the last one) and we stayed in a great little Ibis hotel in the centre of Mitte by Rosenthaler Platz. The Friday we arrived, once I checked into the hotel I headed out to go to Conspiracy Ink to get tattooed by Uncle Allan. After meeting him at the London Convention in Sept, I managed to get a tattoo session booked with him, and was very excited to be getting tattooed by this guy. Was also excited about meeting his dog Lucifer too. Tattoo session was great (Allan did a skull/rose on my ankle), and once was completed, I went back into the centre to meet up with everyone and have beers and burgers at White Trash.
Rest of the trip was pretty much like the last one – hung out in Kreuzberg, checkout out the East Side Gallery, ate a lot of wurst, went to the Reichstag and Teirgarten, and as always, the Ramones museum. Saturday night we had an awesome German meal for Carmels birthday, went on a massive bar crawl afterwards, which resulted in poor Ian being a broken man on the Sunday and him missing the rest of the trip.
I think Berlin is awesome. I can’t wait to go back again. The weather was ok too – far better than when we went in November last time!
The Ex in Amsterdam May 2013
|my fave seat in Amsterdam|
Ended up going back to Amsterdam for a night in Sept, when I ended up not working for two weeks. Thought I’d go see My Bloody Valentine in Eindhoven. They were very loud and very awesome. Weather was incredibly hot for this time of year, and had a fab time sitting outside pubs on the canals having a beer and soaking up the sun. I wish I’d stayed longer!
I’m still playing music sporadically with Breakers, but now I’m in a second band called Harker, which is even more sporadic!
Breakers finally did their first gig in April supporting Iron Chic, and we’ve done three more since. We recorded a second demo, which you can hear on our Bandcamp page, and we are really happy with it. Unfortunately, our latest gig was also our last for drummer and original member Pete, who has decided he hates being in a band. It’s a shame to see him go, but we’ve found someone else, and we will be starting to rehearse sporadically with him soon. As for Harker – this is my friend Marks acoustic act that he does. He wants to turn it into a band, and I’m currently the guitarist. Its interesting because I’m just playing what he wants me to play – it really takes the stress away from working out stuff on guitar! We’ve done one gig, which went down really well, but looks like the next set of activity won’t be until next year. So yeah – even more sporadic than Breakers. You can hear his stuff here.
And its back to where we started. Was asked again to help out Mary and Doug at the convention, and was back up to London for 4 days at the end of Sept. This time we were staying in the less glamorous Ibis on Commercial Street in Aldgate. It was ok, except for their pitiful breakfasts and ridiculously hilarious “fake” French restaurant – all English food (fishnchips, chickennchips) with French names!
Thursday me and Mary went to the Tower Of London with her friend Kat, and then had a Bodeans before we headed off to Café Kick again for the pre-convention party. Managed to take Mary for a curry in Brick Lane on the Sunday night after the convention. Monday we got to hang out with Marys friend Heather Bailey (from Spider Murphys Tattoos), went back to the Tower Of London, and then checked out Highgate Cemetery. I also took the girls on a bus, which made them quite hysterical. The best thing about the day was ending it, on Heathers suggestion, with a Nandos – I don’t need asking twice!
Yet again, this weekend was a total blast, I had the best time. Its always great getting to be involved in the Convention, and even better to see Mary and Doug this side of the Atlantic. I hope we can do it again next year!
|Me and Mary|