Tour 2018 – Departure Day / by Mark Messerly


I’ve been looking forward to this tour and getting back to writing the blog for months, but now it’s arrived and I’m just sitting at the Costa watching traffic whoosh by like a deadline* thinking I can wait another day before starting and I won’t be so far behind I can’t get caught up. But needs must so back to the beginning I guess.

Starting the day in Cincinnati going in to work of course, then getting a cup of coffee with a friend before the van comes to pick me up. Which sounds like a lovely euphemism for death if I’ve ever heard one. “Well, I sure would’ve liked to play tiddlywinks with the Queen once before the van comes to pick me up, but it’s been a good life.” Or something like that. As my friend and I were walking through the town square there was a local insane person laying (lying?) on a bench with her eyes closed and her top leg jerking back and forth. As we passed by she said, without opening her eyes, “Don’t ride on Air Force One today, I’m not fixing the engines.” I thought that was wonderful. The demented are truly the spice** of life. Then I realized I was flying quite a long way that day and maybe she was assuming Norwegian Air was Air Force One and maybe her insanity was brought on by her prophetic visions. Fuck. Omen #1. I go to the bank, receive the typical bad news because it’s been far too long since we’ve eaten the rich, glance at my watch, and it’s exactly 9:11 a.m. Fuck. Omen #2

Joe is already in England with family so it’s Lisa, John, and Chuck picking me up. We saw a truck carrying a recently dismembered tree and Chuck immediately launched into a story about a childhood friend who one night was also in a truck carrying logs. Something went amiss and the two log men ended up having an accident which left the truck half in a ditch. They had gotten out of the truck and begun the customary walk around the vehicle to check for damage, when the ropes gave way and the logs broke free crushing one of the men. Chuck’s friend watched the man die. Horrible. Good story though. Unexpectedly Chuck then went on. “You know, about 6 months before that (the he shall remain nameless man) was working in a grain silo when something went wrong there as well and the guy he was working with was suffocated by the falling grain. He was considered something of the town schleprock after that.” Indeed. The fact that this man is a fucking murderer seems to have been swept under the rug and I for one will not have it. Look for the in-depth investigation on the “Matlock presents the Wussy Murder Hour” program when we get back. Chuck then finished with, “I remember once the (aforementioned death merchant) and another guy were having a hock war on my back porch.*** The (then future killer) was leaning back to prepare the Big Bertha of loogies when the other guy spit one directly into his mouth.” Thoughtful pause. “I wonder if that’s when it all started to go wrong for him?”

We made it to Chicago and endured the typical air traveller indignities. When we got to the gate our plane was already parked or whatever it is planes do, and what to my wandering eye should appear but god-damned Ernest Shackleton’s face on the tail of the plane. Because I want to be reminded of a journey where the primary vessel ends up smashed to pieces and a year of deprivations is required to return home. Omen #3. Jesus, was Amelia Earhart too busy to model?

Our flight was delayed about 15 minutes due to the conveyor belt breaking down and forcing the porters to hand carry all the luggage to the plane.**** We arrived at Gatwick, entered England with our privates unmolested, and found Chuck’s guitar had been smashed enroute. It was split where the neck joins the body and the case looked like it had thrown itself on a grenade to save the platoon. It turns out on the Chicago end there had been an accident with the conveyor belt and somehow or other the inhabited spirit of Charles Cleaver had left the guitar and gummed up the entire mechanical system devoted to other people’s convenience. It was the only bright spot in an otherwise shitty situation. We met Shaun, our driver/tour manager/merch salesman for this tour, drove to London for gear, drove to RoyalLemonSqueasy or some such, to pick up Joe, drove to Manchester, went to the wrong hotel, and approximately 30 hours after leaving fell insensible into bed. Fuck.

*Douglas Adams – wait for it
**Logically then the insane control the universe
***Whereupon you hock (energetically spit) loogies (mucous laden saliva) at each other.
****wait for it