Because it’s been, to say the least, a bit of a week, here are the good parts from it.
I think I like It’s Blitz.
Not that I’ve got it or anything.
It could be seen as a good or bad thing, depending where you stand (or more aptly, if where you stand is in possession of my mouth), but it turns out dentists aren’t just empty eyed machines built for pain and criticism of brushing standards. Mine came up with a rather beautiful simile for what was about to happen (kickoff: Monday 10am) inside my mouth.
‘When we take the old filling out, it’s often like removing the lid from a bottle of shaken soda pop’
Chorus: EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK
12:59 pm • 5 March 2009
With Wings, next time?
Am I supposed to not let on what I know and what you probably know?
Would that be encouraging it?
I don’t know.
It seems a bit weird.
It’s totally something I’d normally write about.
It’s like Talking To Children About Drugs, isn’t it.
Anyone got a link to the new Bill Callahan record? That’s sposed to be out round the same time as ours….
12:55 pm • 25 February 2009
London: 5am, Feb 21st. I’m sitting on Finn’s couch with my head in my hands. Over christmas, I went to the dentist in Australia. A nice man looked down at me. I squinted back at him, halogen light in my eyes.
‘Well,’ he said, gesturing at the Xray, ‘the decay is very close to the nerve….’
‘you see this diagram of a root canal?’
‘I would like to save you from that.’
‘But I’m not sure if I can. So what I’m going to do, is drill your tooth. I will pack some antibiotic into it, and fill it….it is the only way to try to save it.’
‘but….it might not work. So, when you get home, if you wake up in a month, in pain…you know….a lot of pain….then it hasn’t worked….and a root canal is the only option.’
I thought it had worked. For a month, for a month and a BIT, I ate, I brushed, I drank ice cold soda and piping hot coffee…..
It wasn’t the most auspicious beginning. An illtimed night out the evening before didn’t help. But we haven’t played on foreign soil in a long time…..our friend Ericka was along to sell merch and help out….it was her birthday…..it’s SPAIN. Surely it would all turn out ok….
8am, Heathrow airport.
‘When she gets back from paying for the excess baggage, I’ll give you your boarding passes.’
I looked at Dan. Dan looked at me. We both looked at Finn.
‘The check in lady thinks Henning’s a woman’ we whispered, giggling like five year olds at a joke that involves the word ‘bum’.
It’s not the first time it’s happened. It’s something about his hair. Perhaps it’s something about his hips. Perhaps it’s just his general mien. Dan couldn’t resist telling him though, and he handled it in true germanic style.
‘Here is the receipt…I am not a woman!’
I had to take a little walk. Turn around, face the autocheckin and compose myself. But Dan assures me that the look on her face was priceless.
‘I am not a woman!’
So things were looking up. Paramo
l and Nurofen combo, a nap on the plane and palm trees at Barcelona airport were all cheering influences. We were collected by two friendly, immaculately dressed men at the airport, who drove us to our hotel, told us about the theme park on the mountain
and the mobile phone trade show, and gave us some quite surprising information.
‘So are tickets selling okay for tonight?’
‘Oh yes. It will probably sell out….we have sold 700 tickets already.’
‘About 700 tickets?’
‘Um…..the other band playing….are they….quite big then?’
? Yes, they are doing quite well at the moment. But people in Spain are very happy that the Veils are back…. your single….it is on the radio….I am terrible with the names….sit on the…?’
‘Sit Down By The Fire?’
‘On the radio?’
I know it’d be the rock star thing to do, to pretend that everywhere we go, a thousand people show up, and our songs are on the radio. However, if you live in London, or, say, Kansas City, you already know this is not the case, so it seems pointless to pretend. It happens…..but we haven’t been to Spain since 2006…..and there weren’t a thousand people there then…..
It would also be the rock star thing to do to pretend that we all sat there going Right ON MAN. Glad to hear people are DIGGING OUR TUNES, MAAAAN.
Instead, we had a little chat about how perhaps it was all Russian Red’s doing, and perhaps all 700 of those tickets were Russian Red fans who would LEAVE promptly after their set, leaving us alone in a 19th century theatre playing songs to our handful of Spanish fans. Not that that would be SO bad…again, if you happen to live in Kansas City you know this sort of thing does happen….but……
But what’s this about the Radio???
It all just seemed very strange. But there was a hotel to check into and lunch to find, so as a group we settled for a vague ‘well, that’s nice’ crossed with ‘maybe they’re just lying’ and put all hopes that we might actually be about to play a really fun show to the back of our minds.
Because after all, we wouldn’t want to jinx it.
A wander around Barcelona made things even nicer. It’s warm enough not to wear a jacket. All the children were dressed as superheroes and jungle animals. I guess it was probably for a reason, but I prefer to pretend that in Barcelona that’s just what kids wear. I particularly liked the gang of nine year old boys wearing witch hats, but I didn’t get a photo.
We got a lunch where you choose your seafoods from a slithery pile under glass, wait ten minutes, and have them returned to you coated in fried chewy delectableness. I, at this point, couldn’t actually eat anything, so sipped demurely on a diet coke, but Henning got so excited he sat down on his chair a bit too hard and make a table of lunching señoras nearly wet their pants laughing.
The niceness of it all was almost surreal. But when we got to Sala Apolo it really flipped into dream territory.
An army of friendly spaniards whose job seemed to be to keep us happy. Our gear loaded, a red jewelbox of a dressing room…the best stage sound ever….a guitar tech….and then…
‘Um’ said Henning to our tech in the dressing room ‘do you think we could smoke up here?’
He looked at Henning a little oddly. Though I think he did know Henning was a man.
It turns out Spain is a lesson to the rest of the world that a smoking ban need not hinder ones indoor smoking. Here we were in an historic theatre, all red velvet and wood, and dapper Spaniards were ashing on the floor like there was no tomorrow.
© ERICKADUFFY 09
After dinner, during which I discovered that beef carpaccio, which I enjoy immensely, is something that can be sucked into a swallowable state, we meandered back to Sala Apolo. And came upon this.
Its a bit blurry in the photo. It was a long queue. A BIG long queue.
We watched Russian Red. They were good, and people liked them. I felt strangely calm. At ease, even. Would everyone leave? Would that be less, or more terrifying than if everyone STAYED?
You’re dying to know, aren’t you?
© ERICKADUFFY 09
They stayed. They stayed and I had one of my favourite shows of all time. Thanks Spain. I hope you liked it too.
Turns out it was far more effective than medicines for toothache as well. I felt almost normal. And people were recommending clubs to us….
No not that one. We were apparently on the door for something called ‘Fuck School’ that took place in Sala Apolo later that night.
‘Dan, do you think it’s fuck school, or fuck school’
‘I don’t know. But I’d like to.’
But Fuck School didn’t open til one, and at twenty past twelve we wanted Jaeger NOW. So we went to the downstairs bar, where a guy with English teeth and a mexican wrestling mask
was shouting punk lyrics over sawing guitars. It was an acceptable venue for the first Jaeger of the evening, served in awesome Jaeger test tubes, but when young men in pink prom dresses and blonde wigs started being carried over our heads we thought perhaps we should try out somewhere else.
And now that I’ve written that sentence I realise that decision made no sense. It did at the time though.
When we lived in Oklahoma, we frequented (frequently) a bar named Sidecar. It was the scene of mucho destruction. So when the promoter at Sala Apolo had told us there was a bar called Sidecar in Barcelona…pronounced Sidd-y-carr….plus it was right by where we had dinner. And we did some sightseeing on the way.
Crustless bread! What will they think of next! I actually can’t really work out how this is made. Unless it’s the long way, with a lot of unwanted crusts.
Spain is the home of Kalimotxo
. Kalimotxo is the nectar-like result of mixing coke and red wine. It was invented to deal with wine that was…below delicious on its own, but has since become infamous under it’s americanised name, ‘Jesus Juice’ as Micheal Jackson’s child-wooing drink of choice. But you shouldn’t let that put you off. I’ve just realised that’s the second mention of Micheal Jackson in this blog. There won’t be a third. There might be a third. But anyway…..this is what PRIME Kalimotxo wine looks like.
When we got to Sidecar, we realised we’d been there before, on our last trip to Barcelona. That time, we hadn’t enjoyed ourselves, and left early. This time…was different. Was it that everyyone was wearing dressups? Was it the Jaeger? Was it Henning embarrassingly but succssfully pulling some sort of trick that got us into the special downstairs room? Was it that once we got down there and found an empty dance floor, something in us (see, jaeger) made us run amok? Suddenly everyone there was dancing, and it went on like that for some time.
After a time, we decided our job was done, and adjourned to the square upstairs to finish the evening quietly with a gentle nightcap.
It was Finn’s fault. He was making a lovely tower. We then raised the ire of a bouncer who thought we were taking a photo of him canoodling with his girlfriend when in fact we were merely photographing the bar itself. Perhaps she wasn’t his girlfriend and he thought we were spies.
In the morning, I was asleep. The phone rang. Ericka answered it. But she told me what they said.
‘Hello! This is just to let you know you need to check out of your room by twelve o clock.’
‘Okay. What time is it?’
‘It’s one o clock.’
To the airport…..and home.
It’s funny, my tooth hasn’t hurt nearly as much since. Then again, I haven’t tried to eat anything particularly solid with it either. But I’m calling it. Barcelona is the cure for tooth decay.
The better photos on here are copyright Ericka Duffy:
7:20 am • 24 February 2009
One of THOSE days
Yesterday in the supermarket queue I was gazing mindlessly at the woman in front of me who was buying smarties ice creams
, toffee cheesecake, a large bottle of coke, two bottles of wine and two small cartons of childrens juice drink when my gaze sort of drifted…and caught on this.
I didn’t buy it at the time, but now I think about it that was a terrible mistake. I think it’s a necessary purchase. But I soon discovered there were equally disturbing things ‘closer’ to home. At the checkout counter, no less.
The only way to deal with it was to go and buy an amazing pair of red velvet boots. Which, now I think about it, will look absolutely kickass with my I HEART REHAB tshirt.
12:41 pm • 18 February 2009
‘ALL THESE DRUGS WE’RE TAKING’
God. I post a picture of Madonna in her thermals and the comments go batshit, a picture of a dog on a roof and the hilarious antics of people you don’t know and it all goes strangely silent. Anyone would think we were living in some sort of parallel universe where everyone was obsessed with celebrities, whether or not they knew it…..
Well, here’s something more exciting.
Yes. JUMBLING TOWER.
Post ginglik soundcheck Henning went home to see his baby. Finn, Dan and I, fed and watered but bereft of our usual source of entertainment, were left with nothing to do. Nothing, until we found JUMBLING TOWER. Finn had never played Jenga before, but Dan and I were only too happy to explain the finer points. He lost the first game. The second started smoothly, but around the fourth round I pulled this off, and after that, all bets, as they say in the movie ‘Snatch’ were OFF….
Here you see me acting with classic grace and skill, and Dan, miserable in the knowledge that it’s his turn next. Oh, I forgot to mention the other day, Dan got asked to join Roots Manuva on Thursday. Yes, really. Well, maybe really. Someone definitely said something to him about joining Roots Manuva. They may have been joking. But they were IN Roots Manuva. We’re as confused as you are. Wouldn’t it be awesome if he DID though.
Finn, still struggling to understand the concept of ‘with one hand’.
It was around this point that Dan emitted a strangled scream of
‘OH MY GOD THIS IS EXCITING’
Then realised we were in an empty bar, with nothing but a curtain between us and the staff, who could no doubt hear him, and did his best to keep up the charade that Musicians Are Exciting. So he raised his voice a little.
‘ALL THESE DRUGS WE’RE DOING, I MEAN.’
The tension kept building. There was a new desperation in our gentle pokings, our soft taps at this brick or that, our attempts to find that holy grail, that loose and non-load-bearing wedge.
You’d think this is Dan posing for a ‘look really intense about Jenga’ picture. But it isn’t. That’s just his game face.
Finn: ‘Do you guys reckon, if you play this enough, you develop a sort of magic sense, about which tiles are loose?’
Me: ‘What, a sort of, zen jenga master?’
Finn: ‘Yeah. A guy that looks at the tower, and nods and knows JUST which one to touch.’
Finn: ‘I wanna be that guy.’
Towards the end people started needing to go for little walks between turns. Eyes were covered. Breaths were held. Nobody dreamed of shouting, now.
But it had to finish, eventually. The ending came when I smoothly removed a brick from a place that ten seconds before I was certain no brick could be removed from, and placed it gently on top. I looked at Dan, my eyes the eyes of a conquerer, knowing his loss was imminent.
‘It’s over, Dan’ I said ‘It’s really over.’
But before he could even move a finger, the tower, seemingly for no reason at all, fell. It had stood for a full twenty seconds after my turn, and yet…and yet….it was still my turn, wasn’t it….it certainly wasn’t Dans.
He let out a yell. It’s worth noting that Dan likes to win. Perhaps more than anyone in the world, he likes to win. His yell was the yell of a winner. Finn collapsed against the sofa, just glad it was nothing to do with him. I stared mutely at the ruin, briefly tried to accuse Dan of kicking the table, but eventually conceded. Just as I did the promoter appeared through the curtain.
‘Um, are you guys okay in here? Just…that was….a really loud yell….you really scared us.’
That’s rock n roll, lady.
2:03 pm • 10 February 2009
Dog Days / ‘My favourite animals are Americans - so docile.’
As awful a confession as this is from someone who’s lived in London for four years I……had never been to Brixton before last week. I don’t know why. I’ve been to Clapham, once. I’ve even been to Leyton. But never Brixton.
I intended to get some food on my way to the Windmill, but I did that thing where I kept passing places (KFC, nameless and empty fried everything shop) thinking, something better will come along, until I found myself basically at the Windmill, buying a kitkat and an apple tango and wishing I’d just gone with the two piece quarterpack back at the station.
Finn arrived shortly after me, eating a mars bar.
‘Thought about KFC but assumed you’d find something better along the way?’
‘How’d you know?’
It wasn’t til later that we found that Brixton does indeed have fine eats on offer, and Ian, Sun Gangs’ engineer and Brixton local recently adopted by Ed Harcourt (‘he’s an energetic man….I think he likes me as his straight sidekick….and it seems to give his drummer a rest….he said Ed broke some of his ribs, once…’) was all too willing to show them to us.
I now know that I Like Jerk Chicken Very Much. I also like rice and peas, and I especially like the vanilla dumplings. It’s an interesting concept, serving stick shaped vanilla donuts with chicken and gravy. But a concept I can live with, I think.
We managed to get back without anyone falling over. I really thought I was going to though. Them streets was icy. Finn had thought wisely and worn gumboots. Or, in English parlance, ‘wellies’.
‘You going to wear those on stage?’
‘Well, I don’t have any other options.’
We played, it snowed, and we began packing up the van.
‘Did you see those posters inside that say ‘I believe in Roof Dog’?’
‘Did you realise what they meant?’
‘Some random band?’
Dan pointed upwards. I looked. And there was a dog on the roof. A large rottweiler that looked as though it would very much like to NOT be on the roof. Or, as Dan put it
‘to be down here, MURDERING ME.’
‘It must be for security, right?’
‘Yeah I guess so. There’s another one out the back. A huge alsation.’
‘Yeah, but I saw that one and it ran away, even though I was calling ‘puppy’ at it.’
‘Well clearly they keep the violent one on the roof.’
‘Yeah that one doesn’t look like it’d respond well to ‘puppy”
I should note I stole that picture off the internet, so it probably belongs to someone, but I don’t know who. I also found out that the dog’s name is apparently ‘Brandy.’
We left roof dog staring balefully at us and headed on our way. Henning managed not to crash the van in the ice and we lived to play Macbeth.
Gosh, Macbeth was full, wasn’t it.
So full that our dear friend, some time tour manager Iain (different Iain, note the spelling. This one is known to some Veils fans. Particularly lady shaped ones. In fact, I think he has fans of his own) who came to watch the show was trapped way down the the back when mid set Finn realised he’d broken half the strings on his guitar.
This wouldn’t have been SUCH a problem had we not discovered during soundcheck that the following items were also broken:
-half of Dan’s regular guitar (I attempted to explain this, later on to someone as ‘imagine limping. That’s what he’s doing. But with a guitar’)
-Dan’s spare guitar
-Finn’s spare guitar
While Finn nobly played Wild Son on the acoustic Dan and I scrabbled around the front rows looking for help. All we could find was our friend Antoine, who took the guitar with a grin, which faded fast when he realised the bridge was made of matchsticks.
It only took two songs for the guitar to be repaired, and I don’t know if anyone really realised that the entire show was saved by a drunk frenchman wearing a paperboy cap.
To thank him we gave him and his party our drinks vouchers, not knowing that one member of said party had already been plied with free sambuccas by a bartender with an eye for a pretty blonde.
If we had to stop the van so somebody could be sick it was at least outside 333, which is surely somewhere that’s seen a lot of sick. And they helped us load gear. An argument that started between Dan’s girlfriend Rhebecca and Antoine, about dogs and their mental capabilities as compared to human beings, lasted us the rest of the way home. It was all calming down until Antoine began talking about drowning puppies in sinks, but luckily that happened as Henning pulled us into the carpark.
There is nothing a frenchman loves so much as a windup and there is nothing a band loves so much as loading gear at 1am on a freezing friday morning. Which we did. And went to sleep.
Ginglik tonight. The guitars might even be fixed….
6:13 am • 9 February 2009
I still like that the whole of London is covered in snow, but now the show is cancelled I’m not sure what kind of omen it is.
An omen that I should make some cookies, most probably.
Quite disappointed, really. But yeah. It was going to be a hell of a mission for US to get to and from the show, let alone people who were coming to watch it.
Sorrrryyyyyy. See you tomorrow. And we are rescheduling it, at least.
8:33 am • 2 February 2009
I think it’s a fabulous omen that our first 2009 show is happening in the middle of a freak London blizzard. On the other hand, it may not be quite such a fabulous omen when nobody comes because London’s public transport system wasn’t designed to cope with ‘weather events’. Never mind, I’m gonna go take some photos.
5:16 am • 2 February 2009