Category Archives: Small tales…

Small tale of Sun, Booze and Rock: Part 2

We make our way slowly through the village looking for a camp to pitch up our tent and we open up a can of beer to celebrate our arrival and we notice our favourite food stall, Ostrich Burgers, just a simple name lit up in neon lights and we both look over at it and I say “I know what I’m having later”.
We look around at the camp sites and everyone is full so we ask a young man in a yellow shirt and ask him if there’s any spaces anywhere and he points us towards the pink camp so we make our way over a what can only be described as a mini Everest that even seasoned mountain climber would struggle with so when you see men with long hair and heavy metal shirts make their way of the rocky hill while carrying tents and crates of beer it can be an experience to witness it unfold.
We try find a spot within the camp and I take a look around and I realise it’s the same camp we were in last year.
We pick a place to put up the tent as the site around us starts to fill up, a lady in a green vest yells at any campers trying to pitch a tent within the middle of the site, she tells them it needs to be clear for any possible emergency.
We get the tent up, lay down are sleeping bags and we take a look around the site, it’s filling up nicely, all colours of tiny little dome homes for three days, flags with band names on, jolly rogers and football teams, the smell of barbaque and burning burgers fills the air and heavy rock and roll that is providing the soundtrack for the weekend. “Fuck it” says Sam “lets open up a beer, walk to the village, grab some food and head to the arena” so we take a slow walk and make our way over mini Everest and into the village and slowly look around for a place to eat as we slowly drink our booze.

We look around the crowed village for a place to eat and I turn to Sam “Mate we’ll have to pick up another crate tomorrow, might be a little pricy but lets make the most of it”
“Yeah alright, lets go for cider, the weather looking good so lets get something fizzy”
“Any things better than lager” I say.
We spot a hot dog stall and we walk towards it and both get a jumbo dog with cheese sauce, i’m not much of a fan of the sauce and with a growing beard and no tissues to wipe with this is going to be tricky. The sauce covers my beard like a paint brush being dipped into yellow paint, this is not going to go well, in the weather we are having now a full cheese beard will turn a well fed dog away.
I manage to find some napkins sitting on a random table and I wipe my mouth, take a swig of beer and we make our way towards the arena and we both hope that the weather really does stay like this and not turn into the wash out for the third year in a row.
Walking towards the entrance to the arena a mass of people surround us, much larger and much louder than the year before and the dust of the road is blowing into every ones faces which is something far newer than last year, the only that the wind was blowing last year was rain.
So we stand in line and looking at large signs saying “YOU WILL BE SEARCHED, PEOPLE WITH BAGS TO THE RIGHT” so we slowly move forward. People all around us chatter and talk about the bands they want to see and some of them continue to put sun cream on with the hope that it won’t be washed off by 6’oclock.
We make it to the front and everyone is shouted at by a bald man in a black coat (the guy must be melting right now) “SHOW US YOUR WRISTBANDS” he says as he waves everyone through and me and Sam hold our arms in the air as we walk by him and he never even takes a look at us. And now the search begins, a small man who’s even smaller than I am starts to pat me down and he reassures me that he will not and he promises he will not slip me the finger. He finishes the pat down and lets me through and we can the sound of Motionless in White playing on the main stage as walk through the crowd to find the dog bar and that same feeling that I got last year when I made it to the arena and when I walked into the village, i’m finally back where I belong.

We spend the next five hours walking around the arena drinking beer and getting closer and closer to the front of the main stage and then Prophets In Rage hits the stage and we hold our fists into the air and Sam leans over to me and says “I’m watching Tom Morello on stage”.
The crowd is going mental and the band are smashing it up and near to the end of the set they even do a cover of Jump by House Of Pain which is a odd song to here at a rock and roll festival but right now I don’t think anybody gives a shit everyone is just jumping up and down.
They close the set with the popular Rage song Killing in the Name and the crowd of drunken Rage fans lose their shit and jump and mosh pit all around us, it’s the perfect ending to a perfect set and they leave the stage and I think to myself they have only been together for a year, not a lot of super groups usually pull of a show like that, what ever happened to that Mick Jagger protect?
We grab ourselves a beer and make our way close to the stage ready for System “what’s that smell” says Sam
“I don’t know mate, I’ve been smelling it all day, it might be the new drainage system, don’t worry about it Sam wise we’ll be smelling like this come Monday morning anyway”.
The crowd has pilled up nicely and everyone is ready for System to hit the stage, you can feel the tension and the excitement in the air, everyone is bracing themselves and so am I.
They walk on to the stage and the crowd goes wild, they start off slow and the tension builds and a small serge moves forward and back and me and Sam know what’s about to happen and then they kick into the first song a large mosh pit forms around me and Sam and we caught in the middle, I cant even recognise the song that’s playing because the awesome chaos that’s happening around me. Sam has disappeared from sight all I can hear along with the loud music is a loud screeching noise moving around me saying “Ste! Ste!”. Then Sam appeared in front of me ready to drag us out of there but a large man three times the size of him pushes him of the way and on to the floor and the same man picks him back up as I manage to get to him and we manage to pull ourselves our there. But everything around us is mayhem, the crowd is moving back and forward, mosh pits keep forming around us and me and Sam are jumping up and down and neither of us can still name the songs that a playing.
Half way through the set I notice that Serj is struggling to sing and he’s passed off the main vocals to Daron but with the excitement going on I don’t think anybody really gives a shit.
They finish the set with Sugar and the leave the stage with no encore but I don’t think anybody has really notice, everyone is exhausted and ready to make their way back to their camps and carry on drinking.

We make our way to the village after taking the long walk back and this time for the first time we are dry.
“Food time mate” I say to Sam and walk towards to the famous Ostrich Burgers stall, the neon lights are the only thing that are standing out to me. I get myself a meal, burger and chips and it costs me £10 which at any other time would be a live robbery but I don’t care right now after that gig I need to refuel and get some energy back before I make it back to the camp, I’ve got a mountain to make it over after all.
I wolf down my burger and continue walking towards are camp, people rush by us looking for more booze and a tent to party in.
We barely make it over the mountain as we make it back to out camp, half way over our legs could have gave way and it’s only the first day.
Standing outside the tent drinking a beer outside the tent I look around at the camp and I listen to music being played around the camp, I even hear a tent near to us playing Barbie Girl.
The first day is done, we’ve made it through System, the weather has been better it than it has been the previous two years and the food is as good as it ever has been. The only downside to this year is and I noticed it on the walk back from the arena and now in the camp nobody has shouted Alan or Steve or Dan or Hodor or Backscratcher yet but there is another two days to get out of the way yet and if we don’t hear it by Sunday I’m sure me and Sam can get the chant going.

Small Tale of Sun, Booze and Rock: Part 1.

Its early on a Friday morning as me and Sam make our way to the train station for Download 2017 and both of us are still feeling the effects of the night before.
It was only meant to be a quick meet up and home before 9 but our annual pre Download drinks turned into something else as we met up with an old friend and three of us ended up making our way through 7 pints of cider, 6 porn star martinis, 5 sex on the beaches, 4 shots of prosecco and a large burger and chips before spilling our guts out in a shop doorway and dragging ourselves home at around 1.
This is not something the average body can take before a rock and roll festival, your body needs rest and a good strong meal because you’re going to be spending the weekend sleeping in a bag in a field surrounded by drunk/stoned rockers and you have no idea how the weather’s going to turn out so getting home at 1 in the morning drinking cocktails and throwing up could make it a very long weekend.
We manage to drag ourselves out of bed at 6, eyes glazed over and a head that feels like a metal bar is wrapped around it, we grab ourselves a quick drink and run for the bus at 7 and start making our way for the train station.
Standing on the platform we look around for other Downloaders and we can’t see any, last year the platform was full of long haired tired rockers and this year it’s just business men in suits carry briefcases looking at us and wondering whether or not we are homeless. We both wait for the moment one of these people throws change at our feet.

After a 30 minute journey we arrive at East Midlands Parkway at around 8:10am, the sun is shining down on us and we both hope that it stays this way for the full weekend.
We look around the station and we both notice that there’s not a Downloader insight, not even a hint of a rocker or a metal head, just taxi drivers and employees.
After 10 minutes of waiting for our bus Sam checks the time “We’re early” he says “It don’t get here till about half 9”
“So we gotta wait for over an hour?” I said
“Yeah, we will be fine, we can just chill”.
After 30 minutes of waiting a van pulls up at the bus stop, the side doors open and a group of rockers fall out, about 8 of them, all holding cans of beer.
They run into the station for what looks like a toilet break and they spend 10 minutes In there.
After coming back to their van one of them who’s wearing all denim and a Motorhead t-shirt turns around to us and says “are you lads going to Download?”
“Yeah” we said
“Well do you lads want to catch a ride with us? We got some space in the back for ya, you ain’t bought much stuff either so you won’t take up any space. It will save you money on the bus and having to wait for the fucking thing”.
Me and Sam just turn to each other and both of us say “Fuck it, why the fuck not”.
We jump in the back and the man who offered us the ride introduces himself as Chris and he offers us a can of beer.
We crack it open, toast all the lads in the van and we start making our journey to the festival.
“Any bands you looking forward to lads” Says Chris
“No one in particular” we say “maybe System and Aerosmith”
“Five finger I’m looking forward to, they deserve a better slot” Says Chris
“Yeah they do, I thought Skindred should have been on the main stage last year” Sam says
“Well we all saw them last year and everyone was saying the same thing”.
Half way into the journey we drive by a group of what look like stoned teenagers on the road holding a tent, booze and sleeping bags and they’re holding a sign saying “Drownload”. Chris turns to the driver and “says can we pick them up”
“No we can’t, there’s no more fucking room lad” he says”
“I’m sure we can squeeze them in somewhere”
“Well if you want to put them on the roof it’s up to you”
“Leave it then, we’ll just leave it”. And we just leave them standing at the side of the road as we get closer to the festival.
As we turn to pull into the festival the driver turns up the stereo and everyone In the van starts singing “burn mother fucker” by Five Finger and Chris puts the window down and everyone in the van starts singing the song, Chris puts his head out the window and yells the song at festival goers as they make there long walk to the entrance.
We pull into a parking space and depart the van and say goodbye to everyone “maybe we will bumped into each other during the weekend and we can grab a drink” says Chris, and we shake his hand and walk off and start making our way towards the entrance.
Maybe we will manage to find them during the weekend or maybe we wont, but if we don’t, we can go on and think about what just happened, it’s rare that moments like that happen and when they do they can change your whole life experience so you have to take it in and except that it may never happen again.

Our walk towards the entrance is a lot different this year, extra security, extra bag checks, extra cameras because of the events that have occurred over the past couple of months and it makes the walk a lot slower this year because of it.
We join the end of the line and begin waiting to be searched, all I have is a back pack and a sleeping bag so my search shouldn’t take long.
We slowly move forward, security continue to remind us about the check over the loud speakers that surround us.
We make it to the front of the line where Sam is searched first, they pat him down and take a quick look through his bag and move him along and then it’s my turn, they pat me down and ask me if I have any sharp objects “I have a hammer for the tent”
“No hammers” says the security man
“Well you can take it from me”. The man opens up my bag and removes the hammer putting it behind him with a collection of other hammers larger than mine and he offers me the chance to come pick it back up after the event is over but I refuse, so he closes my bag and we make our way forward.
They scan our tickets and walk towards a man with this years wrist bands, the man who looks like he’s just got out of school double checks my ticket and puts my wrist band on and says you can go through and I walk and wait for Sam to receive his band.
Sam shows the lad his ticket and puts out his arm to get his band and the lad smiles at first and then starts to laugh “Butlins 90’s reloaded, what the fuck mate” he says, Sam still has his wristband on from a lads holiday the year before. Sam says to the lad “Oh yeah mate, went last year and dressed up as power rangers and saw B’witched” and the lad just laughs and smiles at him. “And you’ve come to Download, you must be the only person to walk through these gates and say that, I hope you enjoy your weekend mate” that lad says and he tells him to walk on through and Sam walks over to me with a large smile on his face. “You just hear what he said” Sam says
“Every word”
“You should have kept you wristband on and then he wouldn’t have just said it to me”
“It’s all good fun mate, don’t worry about”

We’ve finally made it, the sun is blazing and it looks like there’s not going to be a drop of rain inside all weekend, the hangover from the night before has slowly gone away and now our weekend can begin.
We both look around and we both say “We’re home” and that’s what it feels like for a lot of people who come to this festival, it’s a home for them and for us, they play the music you want to hear, the sights and the smells are just as familiar as the year before and it feels like you’ve never left, it never feels like it’s been a year since the last one.
Not a lot of people can understand what you mean by “Home” unless you’ve have the chance to experience the festival for yourself, this is your chance to be who you think you are and who you feel like you are and for 3 days its the chance to forget about getting up for work at 5 in the morning and drag it out and feel like life is going nowhere, you can forget about the shitty news and all the fucked up things that are going on in the world right now and if you want to you can walk around dressed as a fish finger or a power ranger or a Pokémon if you want. Even though it’s just for the weekend, it’s your home and you feel like you’ve never left.

Small Tales: It’s personal.

I’m sitting here with my girlfriend at five on a monday morning watching the end of Wrestlemania 33 and after getting through a five hour show plus a two hour pre show it finally comes to this, the icon known as the Undertaker is finally hanging up the gloves after losing to the most hated man in the WWE right now, Roman Reigns and bring the Undertaker Wrestlemania streak to 23 and 2.
He pulls off his gloves, takes of his jacket, folds it up and leaves it on the mat and then takes of his iconic hat and places it on the jacket before he exits the ring and kissed his wife Michelle before walking up the ramp and taking one last undertaker pose before descending bellow the stage.
The all to familiar gongs echo through a dark citrus bowl as Wrestlemania 33 comes to a close.
It’ seems official for now, the Undertaker has finally retired after 27 years within the WWE and going out at the show he made famous, Wrestlemania.
I don’t know what to think, both me and my girlfriend are in tears and it’s not just because of the lack of sleep and 7 cans of beer but because of the thought of how iconic the Undertaker is and how important he is.
We both go to bed and before we go to sleep my girlfriend starts asking me question about him, when did you first watch him? Why’s he your favourite? And that got me thinking about why The Dead Man is the performer I connected to.

I remember I was given a VHS tape when I was 9 years old and it was a pro wrestling tape, Monday night raw 1999.
The only real memory I have of that tape was a giant 7 foot figure called the Big show walking to the ring but it wasn’t him that stood it, it wasn’t his giant “Larger than life” persona that caught my attention it was the man walking beside him and his name was The Undertaker.
It was the mystery of this person, his weird clothes and his weird tattoos and the fact that the commentator kept referring to him as The Dead Man and in my head I kept questioning whether he was really dead. How can someone be dead and be walking into a wrestling ring for a fight? Is this man a zombie?
A month later I get another VHS tape and it was Unforgiven and the main event,  a six pack challenge featuring The Rock, Triple H, Mankind, Big Show, Kane and replacing the Undertaker is the British Bulldog, “replacing?” I thought “why they replacing that guy for?” I just kept asking myself where’s that guy gone.
The commentators kept referencing to the fact that “The dead man” had walked out on Monday night raw the previous  week.
For the next couple of months I keep receiving these VHS tapes of new wwf shows and on each one there is no Undertaker, he just doesn’t seem to be popping up anywhere and I want to no why, where the hell has this man disappeared to?

It was around June the following year and i’m sitting around a friends house watching Judgement day 2000 with The Rock and Triple H headlining the show for the wwf championship in a 60 minute iron man match.
Towards the end of the match Triple H, The New age Outlaws and the McMahons start attacking The Rock and then this weird music starts playing and then a gong and “The Dead Mans” and everything different now the Undertaker comes speeding to the ring on a bike to rock and roll music and for the next three years he was the American Badass and I became obsessed, I didn’t watch any WWF show unless the American Badass was on the show.
And over those three years he changed, he become a bad guy and then a good guy again, he teamed with his brother kane and feuded and he became “Big Evil” but he was still the “American Badass” he was still “The Dead Man”.
I spend months and months running home from school from gangs of kids just so I can get home and feel safe and watch an Undertaker match.

And then it all changed, again.
2003 at the Survivor series, 13 years in the making and he’s facing Vince McMahon in a buried alive match and it all look all but over for the boss, taker has at the grave site and is ready to put the owner to rest until his brother, Kane comes out and knocking Taker into the grave so the boss can pour a ton of dirt on to the dead man.
And then Wrestlemania 20 at Madison Square Garden and he’s facing his brother Kane.
I ran home from school with a copy of the show, I put it on and skip forward just looking for this match and I find it and sit back and watch.
Kane comes out first and he stands in the ring and it all goes black and this voice then echos through out the arena and it’s Paul Bearer, Urn and all and he’s walking to the ring followed but hooded figures carrying flamed torches and then the gong hits and out he comes wearing the long coat and the black hat and he makes his way to the ring with his music blearing out through out the arena and he gets in the ring takes of the coat and the hat and rolls his eyes into the back of his head, this is the Undertaker I was waiting to see after all these years, the Dead man, the Phenom.

For the next 13 years he remains sporting the Black coat and the black hat and notching up Wrestlemania win and win, facing Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25 in one of the best matches I’ve ever sat through and then facing HBK again the following year ending Michaels career.
And then wrestlemania 30, Brock Lesnar is the man he’s set to face.
The match wasn’t the best, the Undertaker looked disgruntled and unprepared, it wasn’t the Undertaker from before and I was sad watching it and then it happened, Brock hits him with an F5 and then gets the pin handing Taker his first lost at Wrestlemania after notching up 21 straight wins.
I was shocked after the match, I don’t think anybody ever expected it to happen and the faces inside the stadium shows you what him losing at mania means to everyone and to Wrestlemania.
Hearing the news after his loss that he collapsed after getting backstage brings shock to everyone and that’s when the question start to come up, how long can this man go on for and when will it end, and I can’t help ask the questions myself.

But our questions were answered and he was back the following year to face up and comer Bray Wyatt and Taker looks great, better than the year before and picking up another mania win.
Over the course of 2015 he came and went, getting into a feud with Brock and even facing him inside Hell In A Cell and even facing and beating Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania 26 inside the Cell.
and then it all came down to Wrestlemania 33 and we all heard the rumors going in, is this the match that will finally end the Undertaker career and it was, Roman delivers a spear and it’s over and the Undertaker is done.
There’s so much I could over with his Career from before his WWF/E career, his entire Wrestlemania streak, his feuds with Kane, Mankind, Triple H and Shawn Michaels even his entrance alone which would send shivers down my spine during the right moment but there is 27 years of career to cover so it’s best saving it for another blog on another day.

I hate over used terms in the wrestling business like the best ever, the greatest ever, greatest ever superstar and future hall of famer but the Undertaker truly was the best, atleast to me anyway and it’s personal, it truly is, if you were a young kid whos never watched wrestling before and you see this unique performer appearing on your t.v screen wearing black and claiming to be a dead guy how can you not find yourself becoming a fan.
Taker was the reason I became a wrestling fan and he’s the reason why I remain a fan today.
My opinions of the business change everyday and my feelings towards the performers change every hour but my opinion towards the dead man doesn’t change and yeah I know the man had some shit performances and had to wrestle against of the worst performances the business had to off and some storylines the man had to go through that we could speak less off, but we all we know that it doesn’t matter because it’s the Undertaker.
I don’t know who the greatest of all time is and I don’t really care because the Undertaker will always be the greatest.

A small tale of Lesta and Kasabian

Saturday June 21st 2014 and I’m waking up with a massive hangover, I spent the night at the Mosh nightclub in the town centre and didn’t walk through the door until 5 am with a box of half eaten Maryland chicken strips and a can of Pepsi.
Todays the day I go and see Leicester’s very own rock and roll band Kasabian play to a sell out crowd at Victoria Park. Many bands from the city have gone on to make It big, Showaddywaddy and many others that have slipped my mine but none of them have every played on such a grand scale that Kasabian are about to.
50,000 thousand people expecting to fill the park this evening and you sense a buzz in the air and social media has lit up with facebook posts, tweets and even youtube vlogs.
The suns blearing through the window, it’s a perfect summers day and the can of Pepsi will just go down well.
I crack it open, grab some pain killers and wash them down, sometimes a warm drink and two pain killers is the only hangover cure that can really work. A really cold drink will just upset the stomach and on a day like this it’s not worth the risk, all energy has be stored and the sugar needs to stay in the stomach at all costs. You don’t want to be walking around a crowd of thousands and faint out of nowhere because your sugar that drank earlier on in the day were all brought up because of a cold drink. You have to live by certain rules and this is a rule I will stand by for a very long time. Drink it warm and slow and eat something dry, dry toast or crackers but no cheese, that’s not going to soak well if you have a stomach full of beer and spirits.
I eat some toast and jump into the shower, a quick shower just wash off last nights booze that’s sticking to my skin.
The club was full last night with students from all over, teenagers with fake id’s and people in their 40’s and they are all going to the gig tonight, it was the talk of the club with none of the conversation leading towards how great the club might be, it was just about the gig they were preparing to see and it was all they care about because it might be the gig that changes their lives and makes everything complete, dreams of being interviewed in 30 years time about how “they were there” and how it was their spike island and their Woodstock.
I get out of the shower, get dressed and to pass the listen to the Bee Gees while I wait for a text from the boys about the days events.
Sometimes days like this need a bit of order and regulation, it’s too long of a day to get lost in the shuffle of things, you could find yourself being lead off into a pack of wild beasts on a stella binge and miss the entire gig all together, so you have to have a sense of order just to get things going and everything will turn out perfectly fine, it can’t be forced it has to follow a special routine and a certain set of rules can help with that.
I finally get the text from Sam “meet at KFC in an hour”
“Ok mate, we grabbing food and what’s happening with the booze” I reply.
“We getting picked up from KFC, we ain’t getting food and don’t worry about the booze we can pick that up nearer to the park, we all going for a pint or two first”
“Ok ill see you soon” It’s happening, it’s all coming together now and the day is starting to shape up nicely.

I get to KFC five minutes before I meet the lads and I look around the car park and see groups of men and women and kids walking around in t-shits with “LESTA” and “KASABIAN” on, is this gig turning into something bigger than the band? Why is this gig getting everyone in a buzz?
I hear a conversation behind me between two men and they sound very angry “I hate Kasabian, shower shite the lot of them, I have no idea why anyone would care and why they got so big, who gives a shit, why is this fucking gig turning into something so big? They’re not even that big of a fucking band anyway”
“I know mate” the other man says “I don’t get it anything, why the fuck would you go to a Kasabian gig, load of shit if you ask me, they couldn’t give a shit about Leicester anyway”.
I don’t know what think while listening to the conversation, I don’t know why they would care that much about people seeing a band they don’t like? Why do they care that people care about something they don’t care about? What do they care about? Are they fans of the Arctic Monkeys? Why don’t they get a couple of tickets and see a band they actually? They might actually forgot about the gig that’s happening tonight
I stop listening to the conversation because I’ve entered a state of deep confusion partly due to the blaring sun that’s hitting the back of my neck so to regain a little bit of focus on the day I give Sam a call just to find out where he is but he doesn’t pick and that’s when I hear a loud screeching voice and a car horn near the entrance of the car park and it’s Sam shouting me over “Over hear you little drunken fuck” he shouts and he’s leaning out of his girlfriends car window waving his middle finger at me.
I walk over to the car and Sam gets out to let me in the back, he’s got his Kasabian t-shirt on and the first thing he does is look at mine and says “where the fuck’s your t-shirt” and points up and down at it like he’s never seen one before, I’m wearing a white t-shirt with a picture of Times Square on it, it has a slight hole in shoulder but I thought it would be a perfect fit for a rock and roll gig in the sun. “I left it at home” i say to him, not letting him know that i don’t even have a Kasabian t-shirt.
We start making our move for the pub and looking out the window I can see people on every corner and coming out every drinking establishment wearing the same t-shirts as I seen in the car park. Am I the only one without a t-shirt?

We arrive at the pub and it’s so packed that a crowd of people with pints of beer have gathered outside the bar, the laws of no drinking on the street have been wisely ignored today because how can the law control 50,000 drunken music fans on a day like today.
We get out the car and say goodbye to Sams girlfriend and we make our way through the crowd to the front bar and that’s where we spot Jamie standing at the corner with three pints, one for me and one for Sam and we are both wondering where everyone is.
“We’re just going to have one here and make our way over to the park, everyones backed out today but it’s alright” says Jay “it’s too packed in here to have a drink and we might as well grab a crate of booze and drink at the park and sit on the grass”.
We stand in silence as we down the pints of booze, we tried to talk but with the crowd of loud voices you can’t hear a thing, everyone’s shouting over everybody and it’s drowning out anything audible.
So we leave the bar and stop off at a local co-op for a crate of cider but immediately after walking into the store we notice that the shelves have been emptied apart from one crate of fosters and thankfully it’s a crate of 20 so we put our money together and grab the last crate available and then we start taking a slow walk to the park taking it in turns to carry the crate.
Getting through the gates after going through the typical gig ritual of being searched and I even had to explain that I have a pack of mints in my pocket and not a pack of hash, so we around the park looking for a place to sit and it’s already half filled.
Sitting on the grass near the ice cream van, cracking open a can I scan the area looking at everyone from mums and dads and kids and even old people walking around, there seems to be a different feeling now we have entered the park, something I didn’t sense while I was waiting for Sam to come pick me up, it’s exciting, it’s a feeling like somethings happening that people have never felt before and they are going to make the most of it today and it’s in the sun and the ice cream sales and beer profits are going to go through the roof around the city centre today.
I’ve never seen people walking around looking this excited before, have they ever been to a big gig before and if so was it like this? Why is has this gig made them so excited? Will they ever feel like this again? These question just keep running through my head as I watch them move around.
Jay gets up and says he’s getting some food and he’ll be back in a minute, we’ve been here for an hour and I’ve had two drinks, the time is passing by so fast I’ve not even noticed I’ve just been watching everyone walk by and trying to work out what they are thinking and feeling and time is flying by.
Jay comes back with a giant pulled pork baguette but he’s got a face of anger “£7.00 this was, what the fuck is that all about” he says “too fucking much”.
Me and Sam just laugh and take in what he’s just said, both me and Sam are lucky, we both ate before we left home.

The day goes on, we finish the crate of 20 and go for 30 piss breaks between us and then we make our way to the stage trying to get as close as we can but the crowd has picked up fast and we can’t get so close so we lean up at against a metal railing which is blocking off a stage where the bands family and friends are sitting and our view is restricted because of a hire loo, but we are fine with it, we are in the middle of it and it’s exciting.
The crowd surrounded this area have noticed a small group of famous people standing around and start to shout their names but nothing is happening, the celebrities are in a world of their own and just want to watch the gig, the have special passes that the rest of us don’t have and they ignore their surroundings and the voices screaming their names.
A countdown appears on the stage and on the screens, a 60 minute countdown and the crowd goes crazy and now they are ready for it and they start to fill the stage space, all 50,000 of them.
The 60 minute countdown comes to an end and the crowd gets ready for them to hit the stage and you can feel the buzz.
And it happens, the crowd erupts they are now on stage and they go straight in to their new song bumble bee.
Everyone us are jumping up and down as they make their way through the first song.
Half way through the gig a fight breaks out next to us, the excitement and adrenaline got to much for a small group of people and it all kicked off, two men with no t-shirts on and holding cans of Carlsberg come to blows and wrestle each other to the ground before their friends break them apart.
If this was a club they would have been removed from the venue but they just move apart and find a new spot to stand in the crowd as the band continue to play with the crowd singing along.
At one moment during the gig a small drunk man stands at the railing and starts to piss and everyone around him takes one step back to get away from him and then a shower of cups of beer come pouring over us directed towards the pissing man but he takes no notice and he finish his piss and walks away without looking at anyone around him. and he makes his way through the crowd and back to find his spot.
The band finish up their set and I have no idea where the gig has gone, the excitement around me and everything has made the gig a blur, it’s over already and I don’t know what to think other than how did that happen?
We make our way towards the exit along with a huge group of people and we all find the first sign of a chance to get the park and we rush towards a hole surrounded by security and mass panic begins and security push and push trying to hold us back but none of us really care we just wanted to get out and carry on our night.
The security have lost all control right now, the crowd of people are still singing and chanting and pushing to get out.
A crowd of drunken loons loaded with adrenaline and chemicals can never be stopped by untrained security officials like this, it’s like trying to hold of a pack stamping bulls all they can do is hope that the crowd will break off and calm down and walk away and they can then go on and carry on with their jobs directing the herd of people towards the true exit.
A group of smart sober people surrounding us near the front manage to settle everyone down and point the crowd towards the opposite side of the park towards the right exit and the crowd turns and make’s it’s way to the other side, still singing and chanting.

Finally we leave the park and start to make our way home, heads pounding, hungry and buzzing with energy.
Walking down London Road with everyone around singing Kasabian songs and me, Sam and Jay all join in and I can’t help but think this is the type of atmosphere you would only get a football match but it’s a rock gig and i’m never going to see this type of thing again.
We go for a quick pint in an empty Irish pub just to find a place to calm down and re group.
I settle down and just think about the day and everything that’s happened, I don’t think any of these people experience what they have today, is it the band? is the event? or is it something else? It doesn’t matter what it is, it just happened.

Small tales: No sleep till Linkin Park

I get a text one Friday afternoon in the middle of November from a mate of mine “I’ve got us two tickets to see Linkin Park in Manchester over the weekend, so sort out your shit and we can go, we’ll make a day of it, we’ll leave at 9 Saturday morning, grab some breakfast from somewhere and take a slow drive up to Manchester ” he says, so I pull some money together, grab a note pad and pen, this is a good chance to get some reporting done.
I look at the clock and it’s 7 in the morning and i’ve been awake for 24 hours, I spent most of yesterday and all night listening to the back catalogue of the band and drinking cheap cider from a brown bottle and writing crappy poetry from my bed, it’s not worth going to sleep now I’ve only got two hours until we leave for he gig so I better get up and get ready and shake off the tiredness, maybe i’ll have a quick snooze in the car on the way there.
I get round my mates house for about 8:30, walking through the cold and wet November weather and he’s standing outside cleaning out his car for the journey “what you doing” I say
“just getting rid of some shit before we leave, more room for goodies in the back if we pick anything up later”
“o’rite, don’t know what we’ll pick up”
“Well, you never know”.
He goes inside his house and tells me to get in the car and wait, he won’t be long, I see that he’s already loaded the cd player with a Linkin Park cd, I should be ok picking off songs considering that I spent most of the night listening to them.
He leaves the house and comes to the car with an ASDA bag, he puts it in the bag and it’s full with beer and crisps, he gets in and turns to me and says “we can have a couple before we go in”
“you won’t be able to, you’ll be driving”
“well I can have one and you can have the rest of them, everything will be fine I’ve done it before”.
I get hold of the bag and look inside and he’s got Carling and cider’s, a bad combination of drinks and the crisps don’t have enough power to soak them up and with the lack of sleep nothing will help but I decide that I’m going to have one, the cider that I drank through the night will have gone by now so a small can of lager won’t do any harm.
I open up the can of beer and take a sip and it tastes like bile, like all good larger does it tastes like the bottomless shit from the bottom of the barrel “what a load of crap this is” I say to my mate “where did you get this shit from?”
“It’s from round the corner” he said “it was at the back of the fridge”
“you should have put it back”.
After the complaints of the stale crap larger he puts on the cd and we finally hit the road. “I’ve not slept at all mate, so this larger is going to be fun” I say
“Neither have I and I feel like my stomachs gonna explode at any point, it feels like wires wrapping around my guts” my mate says “we’ll still stop at maccies on the way though, we need food”
“When do you want to stop”
“We can stop at the next service station on the M1, so you better hurry with the beer, it won’t take me long to get there”.
So I finish off the crap larger and pull out a pen and a notepad and start jotting down ideas of things that I might want to report on, the band, the venue, the people, the seats, the beer and the food. I’ll keep the pad next to me at all times through out the day so I have it grabbing distance so if something interesting comes up I can wip the thing out my pocket and jot something down.

We’ve been on the road for 40 minutes when we pull up to the service station for a crafty McDonalds and a quick slash, a journey like this you need to grab as many rest stops and piss break as you possibly can just to build up your energy for the day, a gig like this could suck out all your energy and make the journey back near impossible, with the lack of sleep we’ve both had the drive back could put us on tomorrows evening news.
We walk through the service station doors and It’s like a classic airport waiting room with the white chrome and the large windows surrounding us, the slippery marble tiled floor and the blue leather seats lined up side by side next by the windows. Shops and stalls line up on one side of the room, it’s practically one big shopping mall for drivers in the middle of nowhere and a place and 30% of the people will ever visit again.
We head towards the MacDonald’s stall and its like walking through a circus of people, old people, young people and people with strange coloured hair, everyone bumping and shoulder barging each other out of the way, most need of them need a piss and quick bite and nobody wants to be in the building longer than ten minutes, it’s get in and get out, first come and first serve situation with no fucks given and everyone is complaining about the price of a bottle of water and a bag of Skittles.
I turn to my friend and say that I’m going for a piss and that all I want is two double cheese burgers and nothing else, I need grease at this point of the journey.
I start walking through the service station towards the toilets walking by the cattle of people and I walk into the toilet and it’s empty, with the piles of people outside of the door it’s a strange scene walking into an empty toilet especially when you consider that this is the meant to be the centre of the service station and the real and only reason you stop here, this should be full to the rim with people but it’s empty, a dead space maybe everyone is outside that door and walking in at out of the shopping stalls instead of emptying their bowels.
The service station used to be a quick in and out job now people just seem to hang around the building shopping for senseless and bullshit stuff.
I leave the toilets and my friend is standing outside with a double cheeseburger in his hand, he hands it to me and we both depart the building.
We decide to sit in the car for a short while and stuff our food down our faces that’s when I giant coach pulls into the car park and about 20 people jump of it of, men and woman and kids all wearing Linkin Park t-shirts “you think they’re are going to the gig tonight?” I say to my mate
“It looks like it, I wish we could have got a coach”
“there’s only two of us”
“well, that’s if we if we had more going”
We finish off our burgers and we hit the road again and I open up another can of beer and put on different CD this time, Green day a band from both our childhoods.

It’s finally dark as we pull into the city of Manchester, the street lights bounce of the car window as we make our way around the streets and that when hit a monster size traffic jam and get stuck behind a car with a Linkin Park flag on it’s back window, obviously the traffic is building up because of the gig and it’s only 6:00pm.
As we move slowly closer to the arena we both notice that the traffic jam has nothing to do with the gig, we can see flashing blue lights from police cars and ambulances.
I stick my head of the window for a quick peak as we get a little closer to the scene “I can see something dude, by five riot vans and a tent has been set up on the green”  I said to my mate “it don’t look good”.
We pull up to the side of the scene as police slowly wave people through, a gang of about 11 teenagers stand up against a Lidl wall in handcuffs and while another group of teenagers and in football shirts get put inside a riot van.
About 4 policemen carrying clipboard stand around a tent while men dressed in white and face masks take pictures from inside the tent and carry clear bags away from it, it’s impossible with my eye sight to make out what’s inside the bags, but with the scene that’s unfolding here it doesn’t look good.
I can only imagine what’s happening here tonight, gang warfare? Drug deal gong wrong? A Pokémon found? Killer clown craze? football hooliganism? only the news papers in the morning will give us some light on tonight’s crazy scene.
The police wave us through and push the empty cans of beer underneath the driving seat not realising that I still have some beer left in the bottom of the can it spills underneath the seat, but I remain silent as we make it through the police and we start to speed up and that’s when we see the venue and get in the line for the car park, I can only imagine what tonight will bring after witnessing the scene that we just drove by, it’s an imagine and a situation that can change everything on a night like this, It change the whole view of everything that’s going to unfold, the gig hasn’t even started yet and crazy things are beginning to happen.
We pull into the car park and find a spot, we made it, it was a long trip to the gig but we got there and with no sleep and a little booze inside of me.
We depart the car and my friend offers me a little chocolate to build up my energy, obviously some premonition work is at play with my friend, is he sensing something is going to happen on the drive home after the gig?
We go outside as line up with the rest of the crowd and it starts to snow, the conversation turns from the gig to the weather, nothing new from a crowd of English rock and roll fans it’s always the weather that will be the topic of conversation it doesn’t matter what’s happening at the that moment, the great thing in the world could be happening in front of their eyes yet it’s the whether they will be talking about.
“Fucking snow, I know we don’t get a lot of it but we don’t need this shit now, I just wanna see the gig” a big guy in a Grateful Dead t-shirt says (what’s a Grateful Dead fan doing at a Linkin Park gig? Music truly has many faces).
We get to the front and hand over our tickets to the man on the door “Hiya y’alright” the ticket man says in a squeaky high pitched voice “can I just search you quick” and he pats us down and then waves us through.
We finally made it, we’re in from the cold and crazy scenes that’s happening outside and are ready for the gig, so we both make our way through a see of people, dads with daughters, mums with sons and fat blokes in metal shirts wondering why the hell they bothered to turn up tonight.
Picking up a quick hotdog and a beer on the way we head towards our seats, I manage to grab three beers and balance them in my arms as I make my way towards my seat, my friend only has one but is far into his hotdog to give me a helping hand. It takes some skill to hold three beers and a hotdog and climb stairs surrounded by people and not drop one.
I eat my hot dog and polish off my three beers as the opening band finishes off their set but I didn’t pay much attention to them and the bands name has slipped my mind, I was just admiring the surroundings and watching the hordes of people of all ages flood the arena floor and fill the seats that surround me. I’ve often wondered what an alien race might make of this scene, a thousand humans piling into a large building to listen to a group of men play loud noises which makes the humans bop up and down. It must be a fascinating scene for any visiting species.
I go for a quick piss and grab another two beers before the main event starts, I can feel a interesting anticipation in the air, a different feeling than I’ve felt before at any other gig, it’s new and different and i’m not to sure I like it but i’ll go along with it anyway.
I make it back to my seat and start drinking my beers and then a strange man starts making his way on to our row looking for a seat, an old guy about 60 with a woolly hat, a brown jacket and a blue back. He walks past us smelling of stale larger and cigarettes and dampness and he pulls out a can of extra strong larger from his blue bag and I can’t imagine where he hid it to sneak it through security. My friend turns to me and starts to ponder over the men “I wonder if he’s involved somewhat in the crime scene we saw on the way in” he says “I wonder if he did it”.
And I start to get paranoid, maybe my friend it right and maybe the strange man is involved somehow and the lads who were being arrested where just in the wrong place at the wrong time, did he do it? Did he know the man in the tent? Why the fuck did he kill the man with a rusty knife?
I down one of my beers and try to forget about the situation and think about the gig and that’s when the lights go down, the band are about to take to the stage. A huge cheer from the crowd rises up from below us and join in, we have no energy at all, we are running on zero sleep but the excited in the air wakes us up.
The band come running onto the stage after the intro song and the cheers from below and around us grow louder and we join in, the weird man next to us just sits and stares at the stage like nothing is on it, lost in his own world and imaginations.
Half way through the gig and they are on fire, pulling on classics and new songs and rare songs from a large back catalogue and that’s when the man next to us gets up and screams “I’M ON MY OWN AND I’M TRIPPING FUCKING DONKEY BALLS” and then begins to make his way by us and leaves and is never to be seen again.
I turn to look at everyone around me and the faces of shock and wonderment at the weird man is written all over their faces, their attention has gone from rocking out to the attention of the ail way where the man with the blue bag once stood and everyone is asking the same question I am “who is that strange dude?”

The gig is over and we leave the arena in search for the car. We are exhausted and drained from the head down, our necks are sore, our eyes are dry and our legs are aching and the walk to the car park is turning into a expedition.
Slogging along for the car I can hear the chatter around “OMG they were great, they were amazing, holy fucking shit this is the best band ever” I hear someone scream. It’s life changing to some people and a lot of these people have never been to gig before and now that they have it will become apart of their lives until they cant walk anymore.
We finally find the car and we start to make our way out of the car park which has now turned into a circus of concert goers. Music by Linkin Park is being played loud out of car windows, people singing along while they walk to find their cars and car horns being pressed over and over again. I turn to my friend and I ask him to join in and get pressing the car horn but he shakes his head his eyes already shutting and that’s when a deep fear sets in and it starts running around in my head that we are on zero sleep, both of us been awake for nearly 38 hours now, both of us have had a little drink here and there too. Are we going to make it home with my mate falling asleep at the wheel?
We make it through the circus and hit the road, the traffic is now clear and the murder scene from earlier on has now been cleared. The tent is down and there is no sign of a crime anywhere now, how quick these things can get cleaned up and resolved and how fast they can get an awful scene like that swept under the rug. Now the public around this town can rest and that sense of dread and fear of a crazed axe murderer lurking behind the bush or in a dark ally ready to pounce at any moment will disappear.

We hit the motorway and we pick up speed, the feeling of all energy is shooting out of our body and drowsiness  is hitting us like a two tone wall straight in the face. It’s heavy and deadening. I just hope we make it back home alive.
The roads are dark and long, the odd light from a car going by us opens ours eyes for that slight moment stopping us both from falling sleep. I feel a sense of fear and worry, will my mate fall asleep at the wheel? Will he become another statistic? Will I be on the news as one those passengers who didn’t make it?
I turn to my mate and I see his eye’s fading, he’s falling sleep and I’m scared now he’s breaking the speed limit, going at 95 miles per hour”Hey you fuck head, wake up” I scream at him and he breaks slightly bringing my hands up to stop my face from smashing into the glove compartment “You’re gonna have to pull over dude, take a slight break, just rest for a little”.
We take a sharp left at the first service station we see, I’m relived that for now we have at least stopped and my fear of crashing is settled even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Walking around the service station in the early hours of the morning can be a strange experience for even the most normal and wide awake person but things aren’t normal right now we are not in here to check out the best side road deals we are here because we need to stop our selves from appearing on the evening news, we need to walk around and wake up before we hit the road again.
It’s a strange sight at night, it reminds me of old zombie movies, it’s silent but for some reason the feeling that some from the dead will walk out from the empty canteen area and try to rip your face off, so you tread lightly trying to not to make too much noise.
We take a piss and wash our faces before leaving and letting the night staff deal with their own fate, we leave without contemplating on buying anything, it was just to stand up and walk around. Get in and get out.
It’s now 2 in the morning and we get in the car the car and hit the road again and the fear returns. I take a look at the road sign and we are only two miles from home. How the fuck? How did we get home so fast? Did I fall asleep and not realise? Or maybe I’m dreaming a little, but no it’s true we are only two miles away and now I feel ok, I’m about to make it home safe.
We drive by the ASDA, in two minutes I’ll be home, I can walk through the door and know that I’m home safe and my mate didn’t fall asleep at the wheel.
And there it is my street, we pull up outside my house and I just exit without saying goodbye, I’m too tired to even speak right now and to happy to back safe with my head still on and my arms not crushed from a terrible wreckage.
I walk through the front door and into the living room and I collapse on the sofa…

A small tale of power rangers and B’ Witched

It’s a Saturday night and it’s the second day of the annual 90’s reloaded weekend at the Butlin’s holiday resort in Skegness and 4 of us have just finished getting into our power rangers costume’s, red, blue, green and me in black and 2 of us ready to go as banana’s in pajamas and now we are all ready to head out into the main arena to watch the 90’s girl group B ‘Witched take the stage. All that’s missing from this weekend is a set from Steps and an autograph singing from S Club 7.
We have already consumed an unholy concoction of alcohol 40 cans of larger, 30 cans of Strongbow, 20 cans of Stout, 6 bottles of Sourz, 1 bottle of Russian standard vodka, 1 bottle 1 of Jack Daniels, a bottle of rum, a bottle of cheap prosecco, one can woodpecker cider and a packet of cheap Tesco Paracetamol. And it’s only day two.
The holiday has taken a turn for the worst tonight, two of us have already vomited, the toilet seat has been broken and the shot glasses have been shot up by a BB gun after it turned violent during a game of tipsy tower. Butlin’s has not seen mayhem like this since the summer of 76’.
After calming down, dropping the guns and getting a grip of ourselves we pull up our costume’s, pull up over our power ranger masks and put on the banana hats and head out towards the main dome to watch B ‘Witched tear the house down.
We walk amongst the caravans and see that they are full of 20 something booze hounds partying into the early hours with many of them not even venturing back to their own caravan after the bars are close inside heading back to some unknown strangers caravan after they picked them up in one the bars dressed in a costume that they can only get away with in a place like this.
It’s the only time a thing like this can happen, university is starting back up again, the families have now gone and the nights are drawing darker and darker and heading into the autumn months. So everyone comes to a place like Butlin’s to relive their childhood and get away with strange and bizarre things.
We get half way to the dome and the blue power ranger decides to go for a run under the tunnel that leads to the entrance and I take off in pursuit and then it hits me, i’d been avoided it for the time I’ve been hear. The jelly legs kick in and my run towards the entrance after blue brought me down to the ground like a sack of potatoes. I skidded across the floor on my side and came to a halt on my back and feel the dreaded sting of cuts from underneath my costume as I pick myself up. I brush myself down and I notice the strange views around me. The bananas in pajamas ask me if i’m ok, power rangers ahead of me hold their guts with laughter and Mario and luigi’s watch on in horror as a black power ranger holds his arm in pain.

We finally make our way through the entrance of the dome and the sound of heavy techno music hits my ear drums and the strange and bizarre people of all shapes and sizes walk by me. Teenage mutant ninja turtles, Doctor Who’s 4 through 10, people in onesies and where’s Wally’s (or Waldo’s for the people of the American persuasion).
We fight our way through a crowd of freaks and wannabe spice girls, pushing and shoving our way by them so we can get to the bar to have a drink.
We wait in line behind a sea of people all barging their way to the front. Everyone has turned into savages, frothing at the mouth in excitement and determination to get to the front so they can get served by a lad younger than they are. Characters from my youth like batman and robin turn into the bad guys just to get a drink, it’s first come first serve and everyone wants to be first. A barbaric carnage just to get a pint or a shot and nobody gives two shits about any body around them. And we just stand at the back and watch the mayhem unfold before our eyes.
Banana 1 turns to us all and says “We might aswell go and watch B’Witched they’re on in ten minutes and there might be a line to get in”.
We all agree and we leave the line of madness and make our way to Reds just outside the dome. A separate club on the Butlin’s  resort.
We walk through the doorway and to the outside and we all walk through a cloud of smoke from the 100’s of people lighting up a cigarette and we see in the near distance, only a mere ten foot away is the line for B’ Witched and it’s like the pope has arrived at the Butlin’s resort and we can’t see where the line ends it’s just mass of drunken weirdo’s lining up to see a somewhat successful girl group from the 90’s.
We join the back of the line and it’s going nowhere, drunks walk by us and groan at the thought of having to wait in line to a see a girl group that they can only really name two songs that they’ve done, but the drunkards join anyway, they’ve seen them on TV and heard the two songs and they are playing tonight, so why wouldn’t they join the never ending line of vicious pissed up freaks.
We stand behind a group of extremely loud people dressed up as Mario characters, it’s just Mario that’s missing from the ensemble. The group are singing songs by Girls Aloud, I hope they know that this isn’t the line for that particular group.
A girl dressed as a mushroom turns to us mid song and says “I’m a fun guy, get it, fun guy, fungi” and the 6 of us just look at her with a glassy stare and then she goes on to say “Hey, red ranger, your dicks too small for that costume” and red just looks at her with a closed fist and mumbles something from underneath his mask as the line slowly starts to move forward for a couple of steps.
For the next 30 minutes we wait in line with the crazies, the Mario characters go through a karaoke of pop classics from the 90’s, being joined by a red crayon and a native American,  even our very own banana 1 joined in at one point to sing along, with banana 2 looking on with distress and boredom and looking for more alcohol.
We finally make it to the front of the line after waiting for over 30 minutes and we can see that B’ Witched are on stage from the TV that’s hanging in the corner “well, we’ve missed most of it because of having to wait for half hour and we had to put up with those idiots in front of us” says green ranger “weirdo’s”.
The bouncer at the door says “don’t worry lads you’ll still get to see the last 10 minutes of them” and then he lets us in and we let out a huge cheer and run up the stairs, celebrating like we just won the world cup as we to burst through the doors to watch the last ten minutes of the gig.
We run straight for the dancefloor as the group starts to play the second to last song and past a whole collection of characters, I even brush arms with a guy dressed as 80’s pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, in full red and yellow, a wig with a bald top and long blonde hair and a stick on blonde beard, he went full Hulkamania.
We find a comfortable spot on the dance floor and you can feel like floor move, it’s moving so much that it feels like it’s going to fall through, banana 2 turns to me and says “don’t worry it’s a floating floor, it won’t fall through so don’t worry”.
People jump and jig around around us and so we join in and I look at the back of the room and I can see people jumping on chairs and tables singing to “Blame it on the weatherman”.
The group say “thank you for being here with us Butlin’s, we don’t normally do unless we have a great audience, so does anyone want to hear C’est la Vie again?” and the crowd roars with excitement, jumping in the air before they even start the song and then they start to play the floor shakes like an earthquake and we jump around like madmen, Irish dancing and waving our hands in the air.
They finish the song and a huge cheer comes from us and the crowd around us and the band take a bow and leave the stage, everyone around us shouts more but the curtains close and the crowd depart the dance floor and everyone heads towards the bar.
Banana 2 says to us all “Shall we get a drink?” and we all turn around and the see the line for the bar and we all shake our heads and decide to leave the club in search of an empty bar.

After the gig we leave the Reds club and start to head towards a bar of some kind. The two songs we managed to catch has destroyed our bones, I’ve been through mosh pits, kicked in the side of the head by crowd surfers and after all that managed to walk back in the rain for an hour after seeing Slipknot and yet leaving B’ Witched after Irish dancing and clapping hands through only two songs has almost ended this power rangers ability to walk straight.
Everyone leaving the club is covered in sweat, the ones that got through the whole gig that only went on for 40 minutes look like they have just been dragged through hell, it’s nearly 1 in the morning and people look like they are about to collapse and give up, 40 somethings and 30 somethings walk around like lost children looking for the toilet, a cup of tea and a warm bed, their party days are now over and they have grown up to realise that they can’t do it anymore, now they have to except that’s it’s done.
No more dancing. No more partying. No more heavy drinking. Time to grow old gracefully and throw in the towel on the younger years, it’s over folks.
And when I look at their faces I can see the utter disappointment with themselves that age has caught up with them a lot sooner than they thought it would, that their legs and arms, their bodies just can’t keep up with people 10/20 years younger than they are. I can see it in their eyes that they know it’s over for them, it’s just a jammer dodger and cuppa tea on a Friday night with a movie that they won’t like and then talk about at work on Monday morning.
The 90’s are officially over here tonight, it’s the end of a generation of people, the end of a time and a place and an age that will go down into a small part of history and it’s ending at a B ‘Witched gig while drunk and dressed as superhero’s.

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This is fake blog and the character Ste Harris is entirely fictional and the writings in this blog are fictional. Some writes may be based around real places and real people but the stories are pieces of fiction and should not be taken literally.
As well,  the views and opinions expressed in this blog by the people in them do not come from a personal or private place and should again be viewed as apart of a story.

 

 

Small tale of The Shed.

I first heard about the Shed when I was at school. I was sixteen and an old friend who left the year before and went to college to study music was playing at the venue, it was the first time I’d heard ever heard about it. I just remember hearing about how cool and amazing this place was. This smelly little venue on the edge of town, a toilet, a dump of a place and a friend of mine was playing it.
Seeing the picture of his gig were something to behold. The small stage dimly lit and the large backdrop sign saying “The Shed” in the background. And there was my old mate rocking away with his guitar. I think he played the Saturday afternoon under eighteen slot, but I don’t know, I never went at that time.
I just thought to myself I have to go this shit hole one day and see his band play. But his band didn’t last long it was just a simple college band that played about 5 gigs and recorded some really bizarre but heavy songs.
So for the next couple of years after I left school I planned with friends to go to the Shed, I got a shitty provisional ID and I asked everyone “lets go to the shed, it don’t matter who’s on lets just go and fucking see a band”. But it never happened.
The first band I joined just became a bedroom band but we planned on getting tight and eventually playing The Shed, because that’s where everyone played. Get the songs down and then get that first gig on that venue and see what happens. But It never happened.

After four years of waiting to go to The Shed I finally got the chance to go. Four years of hearing about this toilet in town where Kasabian played their first gigs and i’m finally getting to go. It was 2010 sometime around July or August and the music world at the time didn’t really have much of a buzz going for it.
I get a phone call from a band friend telling me that we can go see his cousins band, The Boobytraps play the final of the OBS competition. I’d got to see them a month before at the Musician, a fancy music pub near to the Shed. It was my first live gig. The smell and look of the place when I walked through the door just felt right. A bar was the front and small stage was at the back. A poster of Richie Havens hung on the walls “Richie Havens Live at The Musician”. I should have gone to that. But I was finally getting to go to the Shed.
We turn up around 8:30, half drunk and excited for tonight, the final of a band competition. We walk through the doors and up the small flight of stairs that leads to the foyer. It’s everything I expected, it felt like the centre of the Leicester music scene. The place was packed with people, all kinds of people. Posters from past gigs sat on the wall, sound of music comes through the doors to the left of me and Kev sits at small counter at the top of stairs (Kev, the owner, later would go on to book our first gig). Above where he sits there is a picture of Kasabian in black and white the words “who’s next” underneath it.
We pay the £5 entry and we go in to the main stage, walking through the crowd of people. Older people, young people, indie rockers and metal heads and a guy who looks like Paul Weller (Jesus was that Paul Weller?).
We walk around looking for the Boobytraps, we grab a beer that costs £3.40 and we find a corner to stand in. The lead singer of the Boobys, my band mates cousin comes walking up to us and says to us “We are on next so get ready”. So we finish our cans of beer and run straight to the front of the stage.
As we stand at the front of the stage while the Booby’s set up and with a broken air conditioning unit dripping warm water on to our heads and a small fight breaks out in front of us.
A lady in a stripy shirt and white jeans had touched a girl with ginger hair on the arse and her savage of a boyfriend squared up to him “Fucking touch my bird, ill fuckin’ kel ya'” the boyfriend with a huge forehead and black eyebrows said “i’ll murder your arse”. The boy with white jeans backs off “sorry dude” he says “is that your missus”. The boyfriend with the big eyebrows shrugs his shoulders and walks away and leaves the front of the stage. The lad with the jeans sits on the stage and starts signing a Kasabian song before men in black coats grab him under the arms and walk him out (I didn’t see them at the door).
The boobys finish setting up and their intro music starts to play and red lights fill the stage. They walk on stage pissed as rats and go into a cover The Beatles Day tripper. The crowd of about 35 drunken loons go mad for them and they dance around like chimps. The are unknowns but their small group of drunken fans treat them like royalty.
After about 35 minutes of playing they finish to a huge round of applause from their fans and they stumble off the stage while a group of young blonde students take down their gear and the band head towards the bar.
We stand around and wait for the runner up and the winning band to be announced. As last years winners (The Heroes) play I can sense  tense atmosphere is in the room, you can fell it like a storm is about to come over. I can’t make out the chatter amongst fans of the bands that have played, I just notice their excitement and anticipation for who is going to win the prestigious award.
A huge 6ft something  woman in a black coat and red hair gets up on stage to announce the runner up. All the bands from the night line up at the front of the stage waiting for their name to be annouced “And your runner up is….. The Stiggz”. The Stiggz, a legendary Leicester based band which I only got to see on this night but I would continue to hear about them when I started to gig. They had a bad night. The bas guitar practically blew up and the strings fell off, if I remember rightly the bass amp also exploded into the face of the bas player almost sending him crashing across the room. The bassist had to a borrow a bass from last years winners.
They congratulated the crowd and the fans they brought and they bands that played that night and the eventual winner that’s to be announced. You can sense the disappointment from a majority of the people in the crowd, I think a lot of the crowd wanted them to win. They seem to have worked shit hard for it and just had abit of explosive bad luck on a night they didn’t need any bad luck at all.
They walk off of the stage and mix amongst the crowd, patting the heads of their fans as they walk by and brings back a memory of the film Cool Running’s.
The woman in the black coat and the ginger hair says “Thank you to The Stiggz.. and now your winner”. And that lump of excitement fill the air. They’ve fucking done, they boobs have done” says my friend. And the huge woman announces the winner and a small sigh fills the room. I can’t remember the band that won but it was an acoustic band who’s lead singer’s uncle was on the voting board. And everyone felt it, everyone knew. The bands fans where happy, all 12 of them that turned up. “What a load of shit” says my friend “They weren’t bad but they didn’t deserve to win, The Stiggz where the band of the night, the boobs should have come second at least”.
We decide to leave The Shed in disappointment and remorse and start to walk home. A taxi was going to be booked but we didn’t want to pay out more money. We were already lacking in funds. “I’ve got a text from Jamie” my friend says as we walk by a Subway “He aint happy, he says he’s abit pissed off but they seem ok.. The singers uncle was probably a judge”. We shake our heads and carry on walking home, mostly silent for the journey.

That was the first time I went to The Shed and it would become a staple for the future. 22 gigs will be played at the venue and I will be surrounded by people living a minimum wage lifestyle trying to become rock and roll stars. It’s the centre of everything rock and pop in Leicester. It makes sense to go there when you’re 18 and watch an drunk out of tune rock pop punk band playing songs you will most likely never hear on the radio.
It happened to one band and it might happen again, Kasabian played it and they got signed and eventually played to 50,000 people on Victoria Park. Arctic monkeys and Ellie Goulding they even had the chance to play a headline slot at The Shed.
It’s ok, these toilets exist and I will keep going to them.
Just another lock in and smoking and drinking around an acoustic guitar in the middle of the room while Dawn mops around us will do.

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Ste Harris is entirely fictional and the writings in this blog are fictional. Some writes may be based around real places and real people but the stories are pieces of fiction and should not be taken literally.
As well,  the views and opinions expressed in this blog by the people in them do not come from a personal or private place and should again be viewed as apart of a story.