I do like a Travel Lodge and Ashford didn’t let us down with its winning blend of comfortable beds for the sick and injured and wonderful toilet facilities. The thought of a journey over the sea the next day didn’t fill me with glee but luckily once on the ferry I slept the whole way. It was good to see the sun appear low in the sky once we hit the European mainland a stark contract to Englands slate grey skies and seemingly perpetual darkness.
We arrived at the venue in Gent and amazingly for me the hotel was just around the corner from the venue. I had a sleep that could be described as ‘textbook’ before I was awoken with a start by a text suggesting we were on stage in 10 minutes and that I’d better hurry up. I thought the show went spectactularly well until I was collared immediately afterwards by the type of ‘fan’ whose initial enthusiasm immediately gives way to heavy criticism. Amongst other things I was informed that the show was “not one of the best” and that the band was “going nowhere”. I never quite understand this mode of conversing, whether things are lost in translation and so come out overly harsh or that people think that they may impress me with their honesty. The only thing it does is to make me feel even shitter about something I already feel extremely shit about.
The evening gave way to sleep which was interrupted by a sound no-one wanted to hear. Another band member getting into sickness difficulties. We’d hoped that somehow my illness was food poisoning or a one off but there it was, aural proof that the germ had spread. Our drummer Moz was next…..and it got worse. My breezy, premature announcement that “the worst was over” proved laughable as only hours later he was rushed to hospital. The ambulance staff seemed more intent on ensuring I paid up (even demanding the correct change) than ensuring he was being comforted.
We then had to trust him to the care of the doctors whilst we rushed off to attempt to fulfil our fixture in Antwerp. Luckily we had a good hour or so to attempt to cobble together an ‘unplugged’ set whilst the excellent Fieldhead (our tour partners) elongated their set to cover. It seemed to work though it was kind of like one of those dreams where you end up in a public place without your trousers on. The only other quirk of the night was the transient nature of the crowd. There seemed to be a continual shift in the amount of people in the room with another group mainly inhabited in the bar but occasionally drifting through. We were later informed that the venue had been double booked and that the local gay and lesbian group held their meetings in the same space!
The next day we headed back to Gent, got Moz out of hospital and trecked onto Brussels. This would prove to be the finest show of the tour and will be written about in the final instalment. How can you possibly wait?