Tour 2018 - Brighton (Day 9) / by Mark Messerly

Chuck at the Hope & Ruin - Photo by Lisa Walker

Chuck at the Hope & Ruin - Photo by Lisa Walker

Snack of the Day: Nacho Cheese Flavored Bugles

They may have these in the States but none of us have ever had them. We have the Dorito dust and we have Bugles. How have the endless product innovation meetings not come up with this like 50 years ago? Doritos? Corn chip. Bugles? Corn cornucopia. “Seriously Jerry, why are you so afraid to try this idea?”
“Well the way I see it, if it was such a good idea someone else would have done it a long time ago”

Britishism: Winder

The turny handle thing for raising and lowering car windows. I looked it up to make sure I had heard correctly and the term window winder came up. When I first looked at it I thought it said widow winder. Ah ha! Now that’s a term I can work with. Could it be a gigolo who seduces ancient rich widows? Or more along the lines of a tool so dangerous it makes widows of those who use it. And then of course you have to wonder what sort of tool that would be. In my mind I see a very large, unstable spring. Flat like those in a watch. It gets wound to an exciting degree, so that the series of razor blades attached to the whip-end tremble with potential energy. Its use? If you calibrate it just right, it can perfectly peel, core, and slice an apple in one go. Of course if the calibrations are off then noses and toeses are surgically cut right off. When three men were maimed making one apple pie the foreman was heard to say, "If there’s a better way to peel an apple I’d like to hear it.”

The hotel we were staying in was delightful if the word delightful meant, “Are you fucking kidding me?” Joe, John, and I walked into the room and Joe said, “It smells like someone puked in here.” And it really did. We looked around but didn’t find any pieces of corn or other damning evidence. I walked into the bathroom and there was a human pubic hair dangling off the soap dispenser. We asked nicely if we could move rooms but they were inevitably full. In lieu of that a very nice employee came into the room and sprayed so much orchid and passion flower scent I could barely see Joe though the fog. She then sprayed the carpet with a different bottle and said, “It’s safe to walk on.” I asked if she could leave the spray in case the smell came back. She gave me a look and then reluctantly agreed. John sat down on his bed, sniffed and said, “Now it smells like a woman’s armpit in here.” I looked at the can and sure enough, she had fumigated the room with deodorant spray. Chuck and Lisa, by sheer coincidence were being housed in a disabled room. This means the shower is in the main room and has no door, walls, or edge to the shower floor. The success of this is predicated entirely on the slope of the floor and the efficiency of the drain. Sadly, the mucous and hair eating drain troll had not yet returned from holiday and their room flooded. A lot. A hotel in a big city is not necessarily better than one in a small town.


We landed in Brighton with an hour to spare before load in. Brighton was one of our favorite places on the last tour and we were excited to get back there. It’s such a wonderful windy* beach town and appeared unchanged since our last visit. I came across a wonderful antique bookstore where you had to descend a spiral staircase to get to the idiosyncratic selection in the basement. Had a coffee, a chocolate, exchanged some money and wandered over to the club.

The Hope and Ruin is an amazing venue. Right up there with the Musician in Leicester. Run by sensationally nice people, vegetarian food on site, and one of the best sound people in the world. Leon makes every band sound like the way they wished they did on record. We soundchecked, bickered, and everyone went their separate ways.** And this next sentence will be henceforth known as the whole reason this blog exists. Go to Foodilic. It’s a small restaurant that serves buffet style some of the freshest, cleanest, yummiest food I’ve had. Perfect for someone whose body is tired of processed, too rich, road food diets. And for only seven pounds! We’re talking rocket salad, couscous, lentil salad, and citrusy green beans to die for. Joe made vaguely obscene noises while eating the meat, so I have to assume it was equally good. Oh and did you know that Brits go through buffet lines backwards? The correct way is left to right. Especially when the salads are on the left as they were here. Joe and I spawned our way against the current and were gently admonished by Shaun for this faux pas.***

Feeling physically better than I had in days I walked down to the beach to work on the mental side. The fog was so thick you could just see a fuzzy indication of where the end of the pier might be. I spent a happy hour looking for rocks that were trying just a little harder than the others, so that I might lift them from their obscurity and carry them around in my pocket for awhile. I watched the surf and tried to let the timelessness of the sea put all the petty and transient worries in their proper place.**** I was pleased to note that small clots of insular and surly teens squatted in the out of way corners of the beach. The spirit of Quadrophenia being kept alive.

I’m not going to complain about the difficulties that with clockwork precision disrupted our set. Instead I’m going to say that I am proud of us. We had technical issues, broken strings, and voice troubles. All serving to force us to shout out whatever song could be played at that moment with what was available. And we did it. And I think put on a fairly entertaining show. I always tell my students that the essence of live performing is dealing with the unexpected. The ability to roll with the nightly challenges is kind of a big deal for bands. The crowd was generous with their patience and enthusiasm. What a great, little, weird city. It feels like Austin in a way. I get the sense that it’s a very artist/freak friendly. We need more spaces like that.

Tomorrow we cross the Channel!

* windy not windy
** Air keyboard go!
*** We said, "Whatever man."
**** It didn't. Stupid shelfish sea.