Don’t Panic :: Two Days with Daddy

“Drinking it down tasted like sucking off an angel and, finally, the world seemed right.”

It was the fourth day I hadn’t drank after an almost day to day two (or maybe three?) month binge, so insomnia was in full force. Yesterday the shakes had set in and I’d spent the past, at least 72 hours petering on the edge of a full scale panic catastrophe. But fuck all that, the brink of oblivion could wait because, tonight, I was off to Leeds to watch Dr. FeelGood famed, Wilko Johnson.

We drove down and, after much trouble, found the venue after parking in what looked like a U.S. Ghetto (the housing was poor, this is not a racial statement) and staggered around in the heavy rain until we (quite accidentally) rounded a corner and was slap bang outside the damn place. We entered, my father and I, giving our names to the burly security and being given AAA guestlist passes. Finally, I thought, some goddamn recognition. The name on the pass wasn’t right and it was my actions or position as a maniacal journalist that had got us these passes, but still…recognition. My father was an old friend of Wilko and the band and had booked a full week off work to drive about the various locations and watch some shows, it was a good week for old-time rock and roll.

We headed backstage and I still hadn’t had a drink. There was a bar, I had some money, but I was determined to stay sober. The fear of the reaper had crept back upon me and, though the drink was a short term solution for the dark demonic hand of depression and anxiety, I was going to try to fight this in the long term, not the short. The backstage area was a tiny room, more a corridor, filled with old cinema chairs. For a group of artists with as much musical history as these three (with both bass player Norman and drummer Dylan having played in the Blockheads, among others) I was surprised to see such squalid conditions.

We all hung around there, myself, my father, the band, along with manager Bob, and said very little to each other, which was fine. I didn’t feel much like talking anyway and it was just nice to be in the company of such talented people. Wilko spent the time reading on a kindle, Dylan warmed up banging sticks on a hit pad and Norman came in and out, occasionally heading back to the van to get high.

The opening act tore into their set and I considered being a professional, a real journalist, but instead decided sitting in this dank hole with some of the U.K’s greatest musical minds. The opening act sounded great even from back here, intrinsic melodies being churned out on guitar, bringing the old blues sound and giving it a fresh kick in the balls. It was like the best of the blues mixed with indie-rock (and I know most indie rock sucks, but believe me, this worked.) The band was called Virgil & the Accelerators and the only downfall of their set (apart from being unable to see them) was a 20minute long “slow blues” song that I thought would continue until the damn apocalypse started to commence. The vocalist thanked the audience but from my position in the backstage area this was muffled and sounded like a Elvis Presley impression coming through a supermarket P.A. “aaaaahh, thankyaverymuch.”

Wilko and band took to the stage and, beside (with the exception of the youthful looking Dylan) looking like a pensioners day trip, played with the energy of a trio of ecstasy fuelled disco teens. Wilko has the facial features of a crack-addled duck and this add tremendously to his haunting stage presence which he has perfected over the past thirty eight years of performing live (achieving this, mostly, by going bald and looking like the fucking grim-reaper.) The man who inspired bands like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin was now playing clubs that fit around 500 instead of 10,000. This may be a bad thing financially for the band but it’s a great pleasure for the audience who are able to stand in perspirations distance from arguably the most influential man associated with guitars since Leo Fender. But Wilko wasn’t the only one with a loyal following, it seemed a large portion of the audience were there entirely for Norman (it seemed this was proven as fact when I observed the merchandise table and noticed the two had their own custom shirts for sale. Dylan, unfortunately, didn’t.) The band played for almost an hour and a half and didn’t seem to break a damn sweat, crushing through an abundance of hits from both Dr. FeelGood’s, and Wilko’s own, back catalogue and the songs do not seem to have lost any of the intensity of when they were first played (I wasn’t alive when most were first played so I just have to go off live recordings, but still).

The band finished the set and after a brief cooling down period invited us back stage where we sat around and listened to stories from Wilko’s past. These were great and went from a story of Lew Lewis robbing the local post office to his hate for deceased bass-virtuoso, Phil Lynott. I personally love Thin Lizzy but decided to keep my mouth shut and sat there staring at a table full of beers and whiskies, fighting the urge to inhale as much as possible until someone in that cramped squat tackled me to the ground for being so damn rude.
The day after I was on my way to a suburb of Nottingham to watch another musical legend, T.V. Smith. The former adverts singing had a show booked in a what looked like the local public stink-hole and, after a picturesque drive near the Pennines, arrived in this tiny pub and was greeted by a snot-filled landlady who, with the greatest of respect, tried to converse with me but her phlegm filled sinuses made it impossible to comprehend a single damn word. I smiled, nodded politely, and felt bad that I couldn’t communicate with this snot filled woman like a normal human being.

We took out of the pub after asking about some food, “we have PORK SCRATCHINGS and PICKLED ONIONS,” and eventually found a place that served food after 4pm. I ordered some noodles and a pint of Stella, it had been five days down. Drinking it down tasted like sucking off an angel and, finally, the world seemed right. We ate our food and I finished by beer. Heading back to the venue in a mild drizzle, entering, and ordering another set of drinks at the bar, my father was driving so was on nothing but coke (-a-cola, not white powder.) We headed up the stairs into the room where the magic would be happening. The place was astonishing, what I’d expected to be nothing more than a set of floorboards with a speaker (if we were lucky,) turned out to be a capacity worthy of a king. Perhaps that was a little bit of an overstatement but the booze was back in my system and the place did look pretty swell.
We took a seat until the first act started. A group of middle aged men fronted by a dreadlocks sporting punk rocker. I’ll admit I didn’t think much of the band by looking at them but they played a good strong set. Though Pax seemed to be a typical politcal punk outfit, they put forth their opinions in an honest and convincing way. This was not just some rehashed Guardian articles with a back beat, this was genuine opinions from a group of musicians who were pissed off with the way the things were in society (and probably had been for a while by the looks of things).

Unfortunately, this couldn’t be set for the next two acts with The Reverends were nothing short of terrible. In their defence the start of their set was plagued by sound problems but even when these were amended there was very little difference. Their frontman was a brace-wearing, cliché-tattoo miserable little disgrace of a man. He sang with anger, though what exactly he was pissed off at was unsure, the vocals were barely audible and it was hard to pick up a single word, let alone an entire song topic. He looked like someone left their daughters doll of a baby too close to the fire.

The band that followed were Verbal Assault, they were better than the previous group but not by very much. Unlike Pax, the Assault’s opinions seemed half-hearted and the music wasn’t anything more than tedious. “Channel 4 said the last Big Brother had finished, the Channel 5 bought it and it’s back on our T.V’s. This song is about that!” If some goddamn shitty T.V. show was the worst of your problems, I thought, you really have nothing to be angry about, just turn the damn set off. The plethora of Mohawk donning punks sat up front nodded in approval at the subject of this tune, if these were the “non-comformists” then god helps us all. They all looked the goddamn same. The band themselves were dressed like some kind of bizarre Beatles tribute act and looked pretty ridiculous, a fitting look as their music sounded just as nonsensical. But perhaps I’m being too but am I not entitled to an opinion? They did have a healthy dose of charisma and, even though it only added to the camp atmosphere of this whole damn fiasco.
Thankfully the distaste in the air was soon cleared and, after more drinks, T.V. Smith took to the stage. Even though he was just one man with a guitar there was enough electricity in the air you soon drifted so far into the animation of T.V. that the usual sombre atmosphere of an acoustic show was transformed into a near-riot. In fact, the previously mentioned Mohawk’s pogo’d there way about in front of Smith. I couldn’t hate them, they were having a great time and so was I. One of the Mohawk’s grabbed me and pulled me into the fray, a pretty girl with a blue Mohawk.

“HEY! YOU CAN KEEP A BEAT! I’M GONNA TEACH YOU HOW TO DANCE!”

She showed me a few times, it went, heel, toe, heel, toe, but I couldn’t get the rhythm fast enough. I could dance quite well but this was nothing but a chaos of the lower limbs. So, instead, I waited for a slightly slower tempo song and grabbed the blue Mohawk, leading into a slow dance. I hadn’t realised by this point but the girl had been with a yellow Mohawk guy and this seemed to annoy him immensely and she soon backed away.

T.V. Smith played all of his hits, his own and those of the Adverts, finishing with Gary Gilmore’s Eyes. I thought the place was going to explode.

After the show the blue Mohawk came over and spoke to me for a while, asking me to come to the next Verbal Assault show. I told her I didn’t live anywhere near here and, after being given a quixotic stare when I said “Salford,” we decided on Manchester, she took my details, and decided to have a drink sometime during the Rebellion festival later in the year (if I was even able to enter after last year’s review)

We got back into my fathers car, spending the two hour drive back hour drive navigating around blocked motorway exits and listening to Nils Lofgren’s second album, Cry Tough.

Moon & Back Session :: Joe Tilston (Random Hand)

“Makeup!” – Joe Tilston

During his tour with Mike Scott way back in January (woah, this has been a long time coming. Sorry Joe!) Joe Tilston was kind enough to play us a song for a ‘Moon & Back Session’. The Random Hand bassist/vocalist delighted us with one of his solo tunes, showing that, not only can the man do ska, but is a dab hand at this folk stuff too. I wonder where he gets it from?

Next week’s session comes from, self-described “acoustic ninja,” Mark McShit McCabe. After that, who knows? If you have any ideas as to who you want to see in session for Moon & Back Music drop us a comment, message us on Facebook, twat us on Twitter or just email us.

Kings Of Industry


Moon & Back Music and Dicking Around Productions would like to thank The Star & Garter (Manchester) for letting us film in the bar. Video shot and edited by Dicking Around Productions.

Songs To Cure Depression :: Danny Small – ‘My Girl’

“Sweeter than warm Cherry Pie.”

Okay, so we’ve entered into a situation where nothing has been wrote on the site since the last “Songs to Cure Depression” and it makes me think one of three things.
1. This should be bi-weekly and I’m writing far too much for one writer to write on one site.
2. We need more goddamn writers on the site.
3. I really don’t give a fuck about points 1 or 2 because this is magic.
So lets run with the latter.

My day (today) started hungover with the low lows, depression had reared its ugly head and nothing I did was getting rid of it. So I hit the bottle, the cowards way out. But I was out , out in the big wide world of the trafford centre when I started drinking so it wasn’t all bad. I was with a good friend (Lewis) and we drank hard, made arse-holes of ourselves and rode the bumper cars.
I’d won a plush PacMan toy from a grab machine and an hilarious 4 year old with his French parents kept us amused in the indoor wetherspoons so I gave the damn thing to him.
“say thankyou.”
“yeah.”
Hell. that was good enough for me. Then we played laserquest and as a duo we took on the staff there and won. BUT WE ARE MISSING THE MAIN POINT.
I was introduced to this song this morning (before the low lows fully set in) by a young lady with a great soul and, shit, I was blown away. Maybe this is a testament to how the talented can fall through the slits in grids and become tramps, or maybe it isn’t. I couldn’t tell you. What I can say is that Danny Small has more talent than 12 Olly Murs, 17 Alexandra Burkes, and pisses on Justin Bieber like he was nothing but a bleach cake in a urinal (which has about the same amount of talent.) This is what every miserable shit in a suit riding the subway (or underground as they call in in London ((or BUS as we call it in Manchester))) needs to shoot a hot load of sweaty sunshine right into that glory hole in between the gluteus maximus muscles.
Plus, I love cherry pie.

Songs To Cure Depression :: Eels – ‘I Like the Way This is Going’

“…whatever seeds that you’re sowing, I like the way this is going.”

Okay, so last week was a real bummer and this week’s is a day late, but, we’re here and now I’m feeling a little better. I haven’t drank in two days (I even sat in a goddamn pub and didn’t touch a drop. Just sat sipping at a coffee) and I’ve been once again working my arse off with the various writings. Anyway, before I slip away on yet another tangent, let us break this down.

It’s a strange thing, this old life shite. How you can swing from one extreme to another (well not quite another, I’m not exactly shitting rainbows but there’s definitely a strong waft of what I thought was a stagnant air of…hope) with just the smallest of gestures, oh, and if this sounds a bit vague, it is meant to be. But, hell, it takes a man (or woman) to hit the bottom of the barrel to realise that he has nothing left to do but crawl on upwards, brushing off the crusted layers of shit until he hits the horrible blinding daylight of day to day life, of sweet, sweet, cum-sucking reality.
So I plan to sober up (don’t hold ya breath, though if you did you could probably hold it until I started breathing again,) keep a high level of work ethics, find whatever iota of zen I have left and work it until I can (perhaps/possibly/maybe/goddamn hopefully) be the kind of man that I can actually be proud of, because it’s damn hard to keep your head above the water if you don’t have a single shred of self-respect.
As far as the music goes it (once again) has very little to do with the situation, or does it? Anyway, it’s a great song by Mark Everette(a.k.a. E)’s music project, Eels. It’s a simple song, a pretty song, a love song, a song that (if not sung by a man who makes my life seem chirpy) would probably fit nicely in a Disney film. But fuck it. It’s a great song by a great musician. One that I’m sure must understand the completely fervent need, now and again, for a real pick me up and the conversation of a good friend with a beautiful soul.

Moon & Back Session :: Crywank

"Crywank In Session" - © 2012 Anthony Barlow

“…nothing more than complaints from a dumb spoilt kid”

Crywank is the alter-ego of James Clayton, a singer/songwriter from Barnsley. Having garnered a lot of attention with, his first album, James Is Going To Die Soon, Crywank has become a staple of the UK’s acoustic scene. Now with Narcassist On The Verge Of A Breakdown, his latest album, out and available for download – both records are available for free online – we thought it was about time we did a session.

Crywank played two songs from the new record, and they came out awesome. Please share with your friends, like on YouTube, subscribe and all that stuff. Drop us a line in the comments if you have any ideas who we should session with next.

Nostril Tampon

You Couldn’t Teach Me Integrity


Filmed under a bridge in Manchester by Dicking Around Productions and edited in a less glamourous location.

Feature :: Happy Record Store Day?

© 2012 Anthony Barlow

“All this day serves as now, is the music business deciding it feels bad for whoring itself out to iTunes and the like and releasing specials.”

On Saturday, I was wished a Happy Record store day.
I’m not convinced that its happy at all.

I have friends who genuinely buy records for all the right reasons, who love them and listen to them, and that’s great. The problem is I get the distinct impression that these people are in a horrific minority to the people who buy it for the sake of telling their friends that they own it. I was discussing this yesterday and the response was: “But the awesome few take advantage” which was proceeded by a list of the records acquired over this years day. In my opinion its like saying “The lucky few who win university scholarship will benefit take advantage of higher tuition fees, because they’ll be saving more money, and therefore higher tuition fees are a good idea”. Higher tuition fees are not a good idea, and neither is this.
You want to save record stores? Well what you need to do is incentivise people buying records the whole damn year. I’m not taking away from the fact that Record Store Day gets a lot of people in their record shop (once a fucking year) and I’m not taking away from the fact that record enthusiasts get a bunch new, rare stuff and festivities to boot, but I cant bring myself to get excited about it, knowing that its mostly fuelling some prick’s ability to tell someone else about his rare vinyl, even though the bastard doesn’t own a player for them. “Chino wearing wankers, buying up the Refused releases as they reformed.” pretty much sums up my point quite nicely. All that’s needed is a good reason to get all your music from your local record shop, a reason for a guy with a beard and Boilermaker t-shirt to tell you what you might like, and not some robotically generated recommendation from Spotify or Amazon.
All this day serves as now, is the music business deciding it feels bad for whoring itself out to iTunes and the like and releasing specials. It comes down to one big (and nowhere near satisfactory) apology, from the music business to the record shops, and perhaps equally, to the fans. One day does not change the fact that record stores are closing in every town, every day. It’s a token gesture.
You might say that a token gesture is better than nothing, but that’s bullshit, its like someone taking your legs, and giving them back to you one day a year. Are you supposed to ignore your general state of leglessness and get super excited and be grateful for that one day a year, even though the guys giving you your legs are the same cunts who took them off you in the first place? I’m thinking far too much about legs and not enough about records, so this analogy ends here.

In short what I’m saying is there should be more incentive to buy vinyl from your local record shop all year round, and not just turning up one day a year in your beret so you can tell all your friends about how you helped save the music industry.

– John Dykes

Article :: Ian Got Drunk and Had a Rant

“…there’s the Chuck Ragan’s, the Austin Lucas’, and an insane amount of just as good songwriters who just haven’t had any form of “big break” yet.”

Where the fuck are we, right now? I mean, really, right now? I’m at this desk, yes. We’re all at some fucking desk of some sort if this is being read, and if it isn’t, then at least I’m still here and, hopefully, I always will be. I want to churn words out until my goddamn last breath, regardless if it is in 60 seconds or 60 years.

We live in a world of a dead art, and (believe me I know) I said that it had merely changed format, the written word, but has it? Has it really? Because this goddamn world wide web seems to be filled with nothing but inane rubbish about absolutely fuck all (I do realize the hypocrisy, I’m talking nothing but balls too.)

But perhaps the written word has changed format. But to not the digital medium (though even my argument is changing to that and, arguably, already has) but to an more audio medium. I mean, shit, think about it. Hasn’t music just been a another form of story telling for goddamn aeons? Only now it seems more prominent, and, in some respects, more brilliant. But maybe I’m talking from the perspective of someone who has only been alive the past (just under) quarter of a century. Though I do consider myself a switched on person when it comes to music. Fuck, how many people know that classical music isn’t the same as as all orchestral pieces or, for that matter, Classical was against featuring emotion and it was only when Beethoven started to go deaf he started to really put his own heart and soul into it. Before that he just changed the same old shitty fables into compositions. But, fuck, once again, we seem to be straying from whatever point I was originally making, and I’m not gonna give myself the glory of looking back on what has already been wrote, so we might JUST jump away from the original point.

But that was it. The story tellers of our day, and I’d happily agree that in the past decade (or maybe two depending when you start counting from) it has declined into a moronic abundance of shite, okay, music in the charts today MOSTLY sucks. But, if you’re looking at the direct charts, you’re a fucking dope to start with.

We had a decade (or so) back, artists like R.E.M., Nirvana, etc. (you know the drill. Oh, and by the way, I do NOT include the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in any of this. Though, musically, they’re hot shit. Lyrically, that guy can take a turd in the mouth any day and it wouldn’t change a damn thing) and if ya wanted to go further back we have Dylan, The Beatles, the list and the timeline regresses more. But today, there is good. It’s just a little more underneath the surface of the “day to day” media. We have our Frank Turner’s (perhaps the biggest U.K. song writer who can actually write,) there’s the Chuck Ragan’s, the Austin Lucas’, and an insane amount of just as good songwriters who just haven’t had any form of “big break” yet.

So, and I think this was my main point, turn off your fucking radio (unless you’ve got on some old orchestral or Motown) and get involved in that goddamn twat of a medium which is the internet. That horrible nerdy, either fat or spotty or socially retarded (or all three,) kid who you used to try and throw tuna sandwiches at on your dinner hour, yeah? Well that kid knows more shit about REAL music than you EVER will. Oh, shit, don’t get me wrong. You’re uncle did take you to the pub when you were 17 and a half and he did tell you who “The Smiths” are and since then you think you know music and have binned the Wigan Pier tapes in exchange for Coldplay albums, and think that’s cool, but really, I have some news. Your uncle is a twat who is living in some bullshit time-warp where, with fingers crossed, he hopes (no, he believes) that the Hacienda days will re-ignite (regardless of the fact they’re a bunch of flats now,) and Coldplay have NEVER wrote a good song….ever.

Punk rock might be played, mostly, with acoustic guitars now. But the soul is still there. The real soul. Not some fucking Sex Pistols wannabe fashion icon horse-shit. The real punk. I’m talking the Black Flag, the Husker Du, and (the U.K. based) Lurkers, Vibrators, and the Damned. For as much as the latter dressed like twats, they kicked more arse than 99.9% of the fakers, these days, I can think of.

Going Underground :: Ren Spits At Magpies (w/Moon & Back Session)

"Ren Sits On Fridges" - © 2012 Anthony Barlow

“I am often mildly wasted so its certainly a fair representation…” – Ren Spits At Magpies

When she’s not providing beautifully haunting backing vocals for Mike Scott or performing alongside Perkie and Katie Raine in Feralus, Ren Aldridge is Ren Spits At Magpies. Her angst-riddled brand of acoustic punk has brought her many plaudits in the UK’s punk sene, and rightly so.

I first heard about Ren from, friend of the site, Emma Hallows – with whom she toured during November last year – but didn’t get to see her until earlier this year, when she played a set at a house show on top of a fridge. Later that month, I saw how she too can turn a kitchen into a venue when she put on a house show for International Women’s Day. My very hazy memory suggests that it was awesome, so it probably was.

Ren is a woman of many talents, so be sure to check her out. If you live somewhere in the London area and you’re into punk you probably know/know of her anyway, and have likely even spent time at Astbury Castle. If you have, then you know what I’m on about. If not, then check out her Moon & Back Session below.

Try and guess who this song is written about. Answers on a post card e.t.c.

Pin Song


Songs To Cure Depression :: Ween – ‘If You Could Save Yourself (You’d Save Us All)’

“…the cheques all bounced. I came in your mouth.”

Depression won out today. It was going to happen eventually. Shit, we got through over ten installments of this damn thing before it go so ugly that a good song couldn’t clear it. So what else could I do? I couldn’t miss the deadline after doing so well, so I thought I’d pick a song that (to an extent) reflected the way I feel.

I’d said it recently on that goddamn blog that I didn’t understand why i was sinking so deep again, and I still don’t. I didn’t have any money, perhaps it was that. I didn’t have any love, so it could be that too. Or maybe I’d become so damn terrified of the prospect of life that I was just bumming out in the biggest of ways anyone can be bummed out by the weight of life, by letting it drag you down and beat you into submission. I’m scared senseless of all the big ones, them irritable questions that crop up when the reaper comes a’knocking.

“Is it my time?”
“Oh no, Ian, I’m just checking up on you. I heard you’ve been feeling real down recently and I just wanted to make sure you hadn’t decided to advance our little meeting without letting me know.”
“I wouldn’t give you the satisfaction.”
“Oh. Well. Good. Chin up kiddo.”
“Who told you?”
“The big man.”
“God?”
“Christ no, that fuck doesn’t care about anyone but himself. No, Satan. He’s worried sick about you.”

So this song is by Ween, arguably my favourite band. They do a lot of crazy shit but once in a while they pull out a gem like this, and as much as it gives some solace knowing that there is other people’s pain (and theirs is probably much worse) it doesn’t pick me up, just makes me feel dumb and stupid and miserable.
Fuck it. I’m going for a drink.

Don’t Panic :: Jimmy’s Stag

Aqua-Jim

“There was a bottle of scotch (a wedding present for Jim) and if I was any less of a man I would have got into it…”

I was inches (or possibly seconds, depending on how you measure it) from a full blown anxiety attack. The kind that makes you feel like you’re going to go over the edge into a state of erratic insanity. Right now I’m on a train to Leeds for Jimmy Islip’s stag gig.

It had started to rain heavily, after a morning of sunshine, I was a cautious (paranoid) little bastard so I’d brought my waterproof coat anyway. Huge explosions of precipitation into the tarmacadam at the side of the tracks. This must be Cambodia for the ants, I thought.

I’d been drinking heavily the past two days this had not granted me the glory of a deep comatose sleep. Insomnia and inebriation were a deadly combination; one that made me sincerely doubt I’d make it through the night. My jaw was as tight as a clamp, my stomach twisted in knots, my heart had elevated to my throat, along with a plethora of other bad vibes that can only be described with the tritest of cliche’s. But I was on my way, so I guess that was something.

I closed my eyes for twenty minutes in an attempt to refuel, even just a little, and find some form of zen to relax this racing mind. When I came back around the sun was back, in full force, it was as if the rain had never existed and this did wonders for my mood.

The whole damn city had become a construction site. This became hard to navigate (especially in the heat of the panic) but, with some perseverance, I managed it. Now I’m sat here (again) with the chess players and emo kids, wondering what the hell I was going to do for the next three and a half hours. There was a bottle of scotch (a wedding present for Jim) and if I was any less of a man I would have got into it (and the thought crossed my mind a lot,) just to pass the mind-numbing tedium of Leeds. I didn’t have enough money to drink as much as I’d need to make it the whole day, so I had to bide my time, what else was there to do in this stink-hole?

I decided to get clear of the immediate center, this turned out to be as shit an idea as arriving four hours early. Five minutes out of Leeds’ main hub and the place becomes a wasteland. The apocalypse had reached Yorkshire before the rest of the U.K., it seemed. Perhaps here was where the fall of society would begin?

It was too much, I debated on entering one of the few derelict looking pubs but in the end vouched for four cans of warm lager, priced at £2.99 (a great deal.)
I sat on the large park near the Brudenell (tonight’s venue) and checked my inventory:

1 x UNDRINKABLE scotch

4 x Starberg (warm) lager

2 x Co-Op premium lager (for the train home)

1 x tin of beans

1 x tin opener

Along with some books, and an abundance of pills, vitamins and relaxants. I had a good enough stock to survive the night and if I could finagle my way into the show on some sort of press trip, I’d have enough for a couple of whiskeys in there.

So here we are, and this is what it has come to.

(I’d like to clarify that this is being written as it happens, without any form of retrospect or hindsight. Like right now, for example, I am taking a shit in a pub called the Eldon (I think) and scrawling in this notebook.) There’s about an hour to kill, sleep deprivation is getting to me. The temperature has dropped significantly but there is still beers to be drunk so I’ll have to keep mobile.

I found salvation on a skate park, it gave me a place to sit while I drank a beer, scrawl some notes, and watch these kids try to break their goddamn necks. Out of what would have been a total sausage fest, a real high school helmet party, one young blonde girl was pushing her mobile piece of wood. She wasn’t too great, and seemed to be using it more as a lazy way to travel the park than an actual hobby, but she was the best damn one to look at so I drank my beer and watched her roll in between the greasy-haired zit freaks.
Keeping at the beer until it was time for the show, I walked around with sun glasses on, I looked an arsehole but the light had become too harsh for me in this state of mind, even though it had begun to set.

MarlJim Brando

I met Jim in the gig and he gave me a pint and I gave him the scotch. There was still an hour until the first band, but at least I was inside now. The soundcheck for Milloy sounded great, the vocalist was no where to be seen but musically, they were spot on and the guy behind the desk was working magic.

Waiting for the gig got tedious, so I went out of the venue, bought a bottle of scotch and snuck back in. I sat there nipping at my drink and was sure that, as long as I didn’t leave again, they wouldn’t charge me.

The music started soon after and even though I was on deaths door I stood at the front and danced with the rest of them, behind the stage a projector had been set up and was beaming pictures of Jim whilst the bands played. This depressed me, I didn’t ever want to be in a situation where my life was being summed up by a selection of images, it began to feel more like a wake than a celebration.

The music was good though, and the negativity soon dissipated allowing me to really let loose and enjoy myself. The clock was counting down though, if I didn’t leave soon I’d miss the train home and be stuck in this godforsaken hell hole for another three hours with no money and no way of getting home when I arrived back in Manchester, and Milloy hadn’t even started their set yet.

I caught a few of their songs, and as hard as the other bands played, they were instantly put to shame after thirty seconds of the headliners opening song. I caught what I think was around five songs (the whiskey was almost gone by this point and so was my memory,) which wasn’t too bad, and the songs played were all favourites of mine. I held out to the last second then grabbed up all my supplies and apparel. Running out of the venue and keeping a steady pace all the way to the station.

I arrived at 23:37 the exact time the train was meant to be departing, but I still had the platforms to navigate so it looked like all hope was lost. I continued regardless and soon saw a large crowd at the final platform, perhaps all hope hadn’t been lost. The train had been delayed five minutes and arrived at the platform soon after I did. A feeling of relief engulfed me and for the first time in this entire day I felt some normality, the anxiety was retreating in the final moments. As I entered the carriage a woman pulled at me. “Your bag is dripping.” She was right, I had felt a moistness around my lower back and I quickly found the source of the leak, expelling the now drained can to the platform.

I was a beer down but it didn’t matter, I was on my way home and making good time. I opened the beer and the tin of beans, ate them straight from the can and relaxed for the remainder of the journey.