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.