An excerpt from the forthcoming book ‘So Once Was I’ Vol. II…
I might work all night, but I don’t always sleep all day. Oh no for today 18th May 2019 we’re off to Munich, our flight from Scotland is at 11am even the horse racing doesn’t start that early…but that’s cause they have to get there an set up…just like us. For this occasion, we the touring party of seven didn’t all fly together. Simon was up an at it at 7am What’s appin’ (ere) me from London that he was already at the ‘port and about to board. We, Jane an me were also lurking about at this un Godly hour…goin to bed at 7am is acceptable in my eyes, but getting up at 7am isnt…so we are in the taxi on route to Edinburgh ‘port and Gaz, Matty, Howie and Corky were hovering around the Manchester duty free perfume counters…testing the free samples of Gin Vodka and Whiskies no doubt. Simon had defo taken advantage of the complimentary aperitifs on board his Lufthansa flight…more of that later, he is now fondly known as ‘’Snowball Si’’. Si, having nothing but a laptop and pair of drumsticks in his carry on was up up an away with no trouble, well he could hardly take a drum kit on board could he? whereas us lot had all sorts, guitars, merch, clobber, leads, tuners, pedals…I knew the lads were havin trouble checkin in the guitars and the agency had failed to put that through, I managed to get mine through but when it came to a 2nd bag I didn’t even enquire into excess baggage on Easy Jet has I’ve heard nightmare cases, so I just said I’d take it hand luggage…totally forgetting we had all sorts on shit in me bag including a cork screw knife…which got confiscated…and at one point one of my creepers was stuck inside the X ray machine…oh what fun….but eventually we made it to the pub for a couple of pre flights liver ‘ners’. I tell you we used to laugh at the speedy boarders Wallers but now we’re 1st in the queue and while everyone was coughing up fifty quid to put their hand luggage in the hold we waltzed on., had it not been for the two ends who got on the wrong plane we would have been away. How do you get on the wrong plane these days? I have never in all me time managed to get on the wrong plane…anyway…I tell ya Easy Jet have upped their food…I had a great falafel vegan roll… I’m not even a veggie anymore…and for once all the trolly dolly queens were friendly as fuck. A couple of games of snap later and we were in Munich wandering around the baggage collection waiting for my guitar to surface with the surf boards and bikes and other ‘oversized’ bags.
The band were all waiting outside in arrivals Simon being Simon had a sign up for me ‘Mr Wanker’ I docked him a tenna out of his wages for insubordination. Not. We all jumped in the van and set off for Paunchy Cats gig…2 an half hours drive. But we had a couple of beer an wine an wee stops and Simon being Simone mooned a few trucks who cut us up while we were doin well in excess of 100MPH…Autobahn innit..no speed limits…there are less crashes over there unbelievable….but when they do happen they must be bloody spectacular eh? Gladly we didn’t see any…not something anyone really wants to be part of or witness…I’ve seen few in my time the worse was a decapitated man in Paris and a man’s bottom half no sign of his torso in Moscow, bizarre eh? Eventually we arrive at the hotel and after a few attempts of walking up and down stairs we finally located our room…it was an interesting lay out. I had a shower and a five minute lie down flicking through the German channels on the TV and then I were summoned for soundcheck…oh the jet set non stop life we lead…ha ha…after soundcheck I usually like to take the band out for a light meal and then we come back to the gig an get on with it…but in this instance Seb’s (owner of Paunchy Cats) Mum had put on this amazing spread of food that would have done Henry the VIII and Julius Caesar proud…I thought I would need someone to tickle the back of my throat with a swans feather in between buffet courses…ha ha!! There were wines, beers, German beer is the best in the world, even though I never touch it I’m a Guinness and red wine man myself, with the occasional Vodka or Gin Martini…with an olive or three. Cocktails to boot…and so we sat in what I would describe as a miniature Bannerman’s (my fav Edinburgh Gig) dressing room…only problem being none of us six footers could stand up straight without banging our noggins.
Come ten thirty it was time to get to ‘work’ the gig went smashing even if I did spend a few numbers on my back and Simon by this time was three sheets to the wind…decided he’d try out a double bass pedal that was left there on 111…thus changing the whole groove of the song and speeding it up to about 139 MPH…we kept up with him…but he wouldn’t make eye contact with us…shirt off gig stamp, stamped in the middle of his forehead several times….he looked like a man possessed…as you do ha ha!! It was the 1st gig in the 25 years that we have played together that he’d had more to drink than me!! He’s now officially in the band…ha ha!! we played for quite a while and it was hot as hell up there…everyone was on the point of fainting with the heat…but we battled through….it’s a tough job but someone has to do it eh? Oh I failed to mention that pre gig we did venture upstairs to the beer garden where I signed many an album and one guy had not only everything I’d done on both vinyl and cd but also on every other band I’d been involved with such as Backyard Babies and also had a few versions of different ones, a true ‘mad’ fan Love ‘em!…and all this in a little village in Bavaria…300 odd in the end turned up…so it was ‘comfy’ Even Woodland child (Steve)made it over from his Forest hideaway, he’s looking more like a mad man of the woods then ever with his ZZ Top’ David Belamy beard. Yes people travelled far and wide…even Michael who sorted my art X in Pfaffenofen turned up…I think most travellers to this show were in our hotel, but its mysterious layout meant we never met…not even the band….and we were all in the next rooms to each other. At one point at about 5am we were talking in the corridor discussing escape plans in case of a fire…when a woman down from us asked us to ‘Plese vill you be quiet’ and I announced sorry we’ve just got married…that’s a good un you are all allowed to use…I send the complaining ones away with their tails between their legs. So, we got to sleep prob about 7am…funny that from 7 to 7…24 hours awake with a gig in the middle. 12.30 am…we weren’t so awake but made it down the road for omelette and fries a few more beers n wines before the 2 and half hour drive back to Munich airport. I decided it might be a good idea to buy a bottle of Jägermeister which Matty, Corky, Jane and me polished off, we did a photo session at the truck stop…we never remember to do this…but this time we did!…oh I even wrote a song which I sang into Si’s phone and he put drums on…it coming along good…see that’s when ideas come…I was having a piddle and the tune and words just came to me…mad eh?
We arrived safe an sound at Munch airport well in time to have some German sausages more beer and bread and wine with the usual travellers taking secret pictures of Howie the merch man…who everyone thinks he’s Ozzie…and he agrees and nods and waves…ha ha!! Get well soon the ‘real’ Ozzy btw. Until then Howie will keep your spirit alive…. he’s even been on stage with Lita Ford dont ya know! We all bid each other farewell to our different flights an so me n Jane made it to check in, this time I managed to get my bag on in the hold for a walking eight euros!!..yes 8! mind had it not squashed into that bag sizer with me stamping on it, it would have cost fifty euros…these cheap airlines aint as cheap as they make out, I always spend about 30 quid on board as well! So, while I was squashing my bag to fit Jane decided she was ‘Bursting’ for the loo and wandered off to find the Women’s. I checked in my guitar and then thought now, where is she? If you have ever been to Munch airport, you’ll know it’s is blooming massive. Eventually after about 5 minutes I found her, lost and worried, I had her phone an I had the boarding passes too…being lost aint nice at any age, we set of for the gate nearest the bar…or is that the other way round…ha ha!! then Jane decided just before we got on she was ‘Bursting’ again…and once again got lost…I found her…down the other end of the airport I don’t think we were delayed and we got on had one drink and both fell asleep for an hour or so…it’s nice to relax innit. Landed at Edinburgh ‘port with the baggage got a taxi and headed home, its about 1,30 am now…all in a days work…except it aint over yet, I get a text the lads bags an guitars aint landed at Manchester…in fact they never put them on the plane…the ground crews that is, not the lads…my art portfolio being amongst them…but fear not all were delivered to Matty the next day, free of charge! Good old Lufthansa!
We on the other hand weren’t so lucky for when we go to our front door I couldn’t locate the flat keys…an we live on the 11th floor…not so easy to shimmy up the drain pipe…to be honest I wouldn’t have been able to shimmy up one floor. I just decided, fuck it lets get in a hotel and we’ll sort it out in the light of day…but the 2 minute walk seemed to give us a second wind and the 2nd hotel we enquire in has a vacant room, but no room service or bar…alas fear not worthy readers…this is Scotland…no this is Edinburgh…capital of Scotland…the bars are open…even at shock horror probe…2 am. so we walked down to the Cowgate and went into the Banshee.. a gaff not unlike the hotel we had just stayed in in Germany,….a labyrinth…we stayed in the 1st Bar room on the left and as I was ordering the pints I over heard a conversation ‘ Do you want this beer, oh no thanks mate, I have a medical condition I can only drink Jack Daniels or wine! I had to butt in, and laugh, that’s a good n mate. He Big T came over and joined us, he knew me missus from years back…so we chatted about this an that mainly music…then come 3am I think they announced it was closing but fear not again…the Casino is open…Big T is a member and off we plonked…it was while looking for a taxi that another soul joined our merry growing gang…Stieve (Thats how he spells it)..looking not unlike Peter Cushing in his long coat…he joined us an off we went…with 007 music playing in the back ground if it was a film…which it was what it began to feel like…
Outside the casino were a bunch of young uns an one famous Scottish footy player, who I wont mention in case he gets in trouble with his club…and in his defence he wasn’t off his tits he was trying to keep low profile and I heard him say to his missus, I only want some food, I also noticed he was incredible small! We however wanted to bust the bank at Monte Carlo and crack into the top shelf..…and entry was a decent cost of a fiver so we became members…we were in! Black Jack…you all know how good I am at Black Jack…ha ha!! Well I’ll tell ya I’m either very lucky or very unlucky just like I am on the Gee Gee’s…but then as they always tell you at skool….its not the winning it’s the taking part…of course if you’re an athlete it’s all about the winning…end of. The bloke next to me Pascal who also later joined the party…won 400 quid..whereas I lost 60..including 50 quid in me euro to quid exchange considering they are almost neck an neck now I got 150 quid for 200 euros…but again in their defence I could have bought them back off them for the same exchange rate…which I would have done had I won…but I set me limit…unusual for me…and not how I bet on the horses…but I think the odds are better than blackjack in a casino at 4am eh? Those dealers are like lightning and maths isn’t my best subject. but Janes is and she was saying that was 22…but is was down the dealers bin before we had chance to question it. Of course not even the Casino can stay open for ever, we aint in Vegas here (24/7) and so with a last drink we now had to enquire as to where we might find a light refreshment…turned out to be a pub called Stratfords
That was open with a handful of customers in when we landed at 6am…bad news was the pool table covers didn’t come off until 9am…some kind of rule. And even though the clientele were in the late 70’s it was bloody Anthrax on the jukebox… we found out Sean had put on for a laugh..,mind it kept us awake. Yeah it was a good crack both the guys we’re met had medical problems but to tell you the truth if I didn’t have my music and my art and me missus and a future full of hope…even at my age they would probably say I was medically bonkers too, but then I’ve got a couple of 100, maybe 1,000 people who buy me stuff so I’ve got back up! Then again there was Pascal, who obviously had done well for himself, but I had to tell him you can’t go around with people like us showing off an blagging about your wealth, we aint impressed and had we been villains you would be duffed up and robbed. He agreed to reel his ‘showy offness’ in, in the future when meeting people for the 1st time. 9am arrived and the pool table was unveiled so I gave everyone a good thrashing, they don’t call me ‘Tornado T’ for nothin’ well until ‘Calamity Janey’ gets hold a cue…then I’m white washed…I’m used to that as we have one at home, pride of place that doubles as our workspace table …come dining table, put it this way its multi-functional. But I’ve gone off on a tandem, so my new plan was to now go back to the hotel book another night and sort the lost keys an locks out tomorrow.
A good plan except there was some bloody politician’s convention going on and so we couldn’t book an extra night, we managed to relax for not 2 hours and then we were up an at them. Premier Inn have a subtle way of getting you up and out…they set the fire alarm off! That used to be my trick, see how things come back to bite you on the bum. We walked to our gaff, called the locksmith had a cup of coffee which I made myself in the caretakers office and then Santa the locksmith landed, an boy was he a character. This could have been quick 5 minute job but he liked to chat, as well as drill my head for info, which is yer most expensive guitar, how much do you get paid, give me you latest CD then, I’ll let you know if your any good. He alone had so many good stories I said he should write a book, but as with most the people he didn’t have the time, well I mean had he been Bukowski he’d be onto a best seller, The Locksmith..I might write it myself, all sorts go on in that world I can tell ya, prostitutes handcuffed to beds, swingers, the lot! He also gave us some good security tips, especially with my guitars so I should fear not if they ever go walk about again like my Gibbo, then I can track them…oh technology, isn’t it wonderful? Sometimes.
So we’re all done an dusted, new lock and new keys. Great. I decided to un pack my bag the next day…and what did I find in a pocket I hadn’t checked…Yep..you guessed it..
THE FUCKIN KEYS!!!
What a tit.
Good night out though eh?