Tuesday, 21 September 2010


I'm making my first pan of scouse out here in Germany right now, as we speak. I always thought it was impossible for some mad reason. I just thought that because I lived in another city that scouse couldn't happen. I don't know why I thought that - I know I'm a bit stupid so it's probably alot to do with that.

So yeah, I got some lamb, some onions, carrots, spuds, beef stock, thick white bread, butter, red cabbage etc and it's now simmering beautifully on the stove. Edda got sent home from work today because she couldn't stop throwing up. It's been a good week for vomming here. The best yet infact. I bought Anna Karenina on DVD for 4 quid the other day so I'm watching that now. I bought the book years ago but somehow Paul Green ended up with it after our Texas jaunt in 2007 and I keep forgetting to ask for it back. Not that I would have read it, mind. It would almost definitely be sat on my book shelf with all the others that are in the queue. I do read them really, it just takes me literally about a year to read stuff like that. Whilst I was reading The Idiot, I also read about 5 not so challenging books (Jackie Collins, Harry Potter, Hannah Montana etc). Anyway, the film seems alright so far, and it's got Alfred Molina in it and he's ace.

Last week I had a chance meeting with a lovely fella called Will who, it turned out, used to play the bass in Spiritualized and Spacemen 3 and is now currently playing with Brian Jonestown Massacre. He offered me some work doing up a flat for an Italian woman, which I pounced upon (the work, not the Italian woman) and I'm going to play a little gig with him in a couple of weeks on the 14th October. That's the day before my birthday, actually, and for the first time my mum and mike and my brother and sister are coming to Berlin to visit me! My mum's never been to Berlin before infact none of them have apart from Mike who used to work here in the 80's.

Hung out with Pete B and the dinner ladies, Rob, Steve from EYH fanzine and Anton yesterday along with Philipp and we spent the day walking around Berlin drinking beers and yet again I took them to same Pizza place I take EVERYONE to (du forni) when they visit. It is fucking good though. Really fucking good. I'll take you there too one day.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Big, dirty explosions.

Something dead horrible happened to me the other night. I met up with James to go and watch Pete's band play at Wild at Heart and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time! The gig was great and it was nice to see Pete and catch up a bit. As soon as the gig was over, we went to sit outside for a little bit and I started to feel ropey. I thought that maybe I've just been drinking too quickly or something (I'd only had 3 pints at this point by the way) and that it would soon sort itself out but it definitely didn't and it definitely started to get worse. My stomach cramped up badly and there was so much movement inside me that it felt like what I imagine it would feel like if everything inside your body suddenly became loose and fell down. It felt like my body was crumbling from the inside. I was talking to people, trying to forget this was happening but it was impossible to such was the severity of the movements. I was half way through a conversation with somebody when I had to excuse myself and basically leg it to the bog as fast as I could. The toilets where full of drunken rockabilly guys and they were all shouting mad stuff at each other and being really boozy and rowdy and banging on the door whilst I was in the only cubicle, sweating and having a really sad time upon the toilet. This, I realised, was a horrible situation because it was around 2am on Saturday and I was nowhere near home - it was going to take me at least an hour to get back. I left without saying goodbye to anyone as I was in so much pain by this point and I walked up to Gorlitzer Bahnof where I had to get my first train from. It was a 7 minute wait. That's not too bad I thought, it could be worse. Everybody around me was pushing me closer to the edge of explosion - they were eating kebabs and drinking wine and smoking and they were all making me feel so, so sick. I got on the train to Warschauer Strasse. From here I need to get a train one stop to Ostkreuz and then a train 6 stops to Prenzlauer Allee and then from there walk. I couldn't imagine myself completing this journey without either being violently sick or worse absolutely shitting myself. I made it onto the train to Ostkreuz and by this point I just could not look at anyone - the best I could do was hold my stomach in pain and stare at the ground. I felt like crying, I was dizzy and sweating and I really wanted to cry. When I got to Ostkreuz I saw a train on the next platform and everybody was running for it and in my desperation to get home I ran with the people for this train too, making it on just as the doors were closing. 'Thank the lords above us' I was thinking, I'm going to be home in about 20 minutes. I can do this. I can really do this. But then I realised that I'd gotten onto the wrong train going in the wrong direction. Words cannot get anywhere near the despair I felt at this point. If I felt like crying before, right now I just wanted to curl up at the bottom of this empty platform, this empty crappy station and just let it all out. Everything. From everywhere. I held it together and told myself to stop being such a maggot and waited for the next train back but there was nothing for about 20 minutes and by now I think I was basically crying. Maybe there were no tears but I was definitely moaning and sobbing.

I walked onto the street and hailed a taxi (I should have done this to start with but I only had €16 euros on me and a taxi would have meant spending all my money on getting home when the trains are free at that time). I got in and I think Edda thought I had been shot in the stomach. I lay in bed for about 15 minutes in total agony before it all started. I legged it to the toilet and I can honestly say that I've never been so violently and powerfully sick ever, ever in all of my life. It was frightening. I though my head was going to explode. Then, immediately after this ended, it kicked off down the other end and this too was equally as powerful and frightening. These big, dirty explosions continued every 20/25 minutes until about 8/9am until finally it came to an end and I could get some sleep.

I was destroyed all day yesterday - everything hurt, my pride and dignity included. I stayed in bed all day sipping water, terrified that the slightest bit of food or water would kick it all off again but it never did and thankfully it seems to be all good now. I missed the Liverpool v Man Utd game though which is a shame because I'd arranged to watch it with a load of people including Pete.

I don't know what the fuck it was that happened to me the other night, maybe Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies did it to me with rock and roll music? It also occurred to me that maybe it was the same thing John had when he was here...the symptons were exactly the same but how could I have caught it off John when he left nearly two weeks ago? I remember John saying 'This is the most ill I've ever been' and I can say the same man, it was horrible! Properly truly horrible and I'm glad it's over.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Bentham's in town!

Last weekend was boss! Tony and Toria and Mikey and Toria's friend Kristin were over and we spent the weekend ragging around Berlin on bicycles. That's definitely the bery best way to get around Berlin - I've pieced together so much of Berlin by getting lost loads of times and figuring it all out like a mad real life puzzle on a bike. We went to Hops and Barley which is my favourite pub here. They brew their own ales on site and they're most delicious. It's good fun to get well boozed up in there and then cycle home 5 miles or so. They also do amazing sausages dead cheap.

I worked at the o2 arena this week fixing up their ice hockey pitch for the game this weekend. I didn't enjoy it one little bit. They always say it's going to be about 8 hours but it's ALWAYS well more. My back is still killing me. Got up the next day dead early and went to play 5 a-side in the hassenheide park in Neukolln and the went to view a flat there which was really nice so I think we're going to apply for it.

Today has been pretty uneventful so far. I miss Soccer AM in the mornings on the couch with a massive cup of tea, then going to Cronton to play a match then coming home and going to DJ in Liquidation.

So far I've eaten 2 pieces of delicious bread. One with jam on it and one with cheese and tomato on it, some crisps and a bit of chocolate.

Tonight should be a laugh though because Pete Bentham, a good mate of mine from Liverpool, is over with his band Pete Bentham and the Dinner Ladies to play at Wild at Heart so i'm hopefully gonna catch up with James and go down there later to see some Bentham style punk 'n' roll and then spend the night drinking booze with Pete and then tomorrow hopefully watch Liverpool smash Man Utd in the gut with soccer power!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Last few days of tour. Buckle up bonzo...you're going for a ride!

The last week of the tour was both absolutely amazing and utterly, utterly shit.

The last few gigs were great. The venue in Offenbach was probably one of the best venues I've ever played in - from the outside, it looked like a huge warehouse in the middle of an industrial estate way out of town but upon closer inspection it became apparent that it was actually a sort of magical hub for magical things. There was an outdoor cinema with hundreds of seats in the field opposite, there was a small farm with some sheep in it, we were shown to a room with about 8 beds in it and a fridge which was full of beer and on the stove was a huge pan which contained a massive delicious Thai curry. We were ready for all of this, especially the beds as we'd spent the last week on couches and blow-up mattresses. After we sound checked, the heavens opened right up and all the rain the sky had to offer came pouring down. We were worried that this would mean we would be playing to an empty room but when it came to the actual gig there was enough people in the room to make it a really nice gig.

One thing I enjoyed lots about this tour was playing twice a night, once with 28 Costumes and then again with Voo. Tony let me use his set up which was dead nice. It was ace to use his massive Gibson 333 for the Voo sets.

We were almost at the end of the tour now, winding our way to Berlin via the penultimate gig in Cologne. I think the Cologne gig was probably the best Costume gig of the tour. It was a kind of mini-festival with the Go! Team headlining (who were amazing to watch, actually, and thoroughly lovely people). James Slater was also there to film them so that was a nice surprise and Philipp, Edda's brother came along too with his friend. In the middle of 'Walking at pace uphills' the sleeping bit in the middle ended up being more of a screamy bit in the middle - it was fucking dead fun!! I kind of encouraged everyone to roar as loud as they could. A bit like primal scream therapy...it really worked. I felt good about things after it. We were given a flat to stay in after the gig so I took what I could from the rider (Bread, Meats, Cheeses, Waters for the morning) and headed back. We stayed up til something daft like 6am, or some of us did( Paul Jones, Did Spoons and myself) and then left for Berlin.

It was a long, long drive - I think it took us like 8 hours or something. It was great when we got there because Claire, Gray's girlfriend, Leah, Paul's girlfriend and Edda were all there in Berlin waiting for us. It felt a little bit like we'd been away for years, possibly at war or something. It was nice to see everyone and we had a boss night out in Berlin.

The gig in Berlin was a bit of a let down if I'm honest as I dropped a bit of klanger with the venue. I couldn't get anywhere to play before we went and I was trying loads of different places including places we'd played before but nobody was getting back to me so I panic booked and it was a place I'd never seen before which turned out to be some tiny basement, TINY basement with a tiny P.A. which had no mics. Paul Jones had already flew home because he got his dates mixed up so DAVID SPOONS stepped up to play bass in Voo for a few songs and did really well!! We spent the morning learning the songs in mine and by the time it came to playing them he was there, already on the next page. We actually ended up having really good gigs, despite the less than perfect situation/venue and headed off to get the fook out of dodge. In the morning the guys would be leaving for Liverpool and the tour would be over and this made me feel sad because I enjoyed this tour lots...especially after living in Berlin for the last 5 months and not seeing that much of my best mates.

It was around this time that things got really shitty. Both metaphorically and literally. John spent the night in ours after gig and from around 4/5am he was strapped to the bog. He was being sick alot. It sounded chilling when it happened. It really did. When the rest of us woke up it became obvious that John wasn't going to be travelling anywhere in any van. He was totally ill. We let him sleep for a bit hoping that he would feel btter after some rest but after a couple of hours he got up and told us to take him to the hospital. It was the right thing to do...as soon as we got him there the doctors told him and us that they would have to keep him in over night. Possibly two nights. In isolation. John had caught a norovirus which was highly contagious. He as ok by now, he was put on a drip to rehydrate him and was being looked after. Meanwhile back at the flat we were using all the disinfectents we could buy to make sure the flat, our van and anything else that had been in contact with 'the infected' was clean and safe. The van smelt like a hospital by the time we'd finished with it. It was alike a god damn zombie movie.

Paul Green and David Spoons stepped up to the plate and decided to leave in the van that night, without John in it. I think they drove something like 32 hours to get home.

John came out the next day, weak as a kitten but looking a lot better (the day before he was definitely very grey in the face). He was greeted with happy faces from Tony and I. Happy faces and smiles....from afar. We were paranoid about contracting this awful, highly contagious disease. We had dinner that night and John left Berlin by plane the net day.

Then there were 2. Me and Tone were still both very paranoid that we were still going to become infected...things were intense. Tony went to stay in a hostel to make sure.

As it happened, thankfully we were fine and went on and had a truly brilliant weekend biking through Berlin and drinking amazing lager with Toria, Tony's girlfriend who had come to visit and some other friends but I reckon that's enough for one blog so I'll leave that for enother time.

I enjoyed playing music again. I hadn't done it in anger for ages and it felt good. I think 28 Costumes will aim to record an EP before the year is out and play some more live shows soon too. We enjoyed it all too much. When Graham got home he called me to tell me the test pressings for the new album were there in Liverpool and he said it sounded off the charts. I did an interview for 6music about Hallo...I Love You! yesterday too so I should be feeling really good about things and I mostly am, but now it's time to get stuck into sorting what the fuck I need to do in Berlin to stay there...here goes.