At The Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Suspense

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Money. We need money. And it’s not just the impending financial catastrophe. Do you think studio time is cheap or non addictive? We’ve become hooked on it. We’ve come up with lots of crazy ideas and schemes to raise cash. One such idea was a television show called Bombskare Celebrity Force-feed, where we get hold of various ‘Slebs’, hold them down and force bridies into them. Or my own personal favourite, Bombskare Guitar Hero, where numpties would pay to come round to my house and play air guitar to Bombskare tunes whilst I threw things at them. Or we could get people to pay us to play really loud and fast ska music and jump around like the mentalists we are. Lets call that Plan A.

To that end, ninety per cent of us ventured north to Lochinver once again in what has become our new annual expedition, spreading our gospel of Ska to the more remote parts of Europe, just like St Andrew and all those early Christian saints and their wacky three in one god. We are the bishops of bounce after all! As you may or may not know Lochinver is way up in the north west of Scotland, way past Inverness and past Ullapool, up into Sutherland. It’s beautiful up there in the mountains; beautiful and terrifying, just like us. Jay elected to miss the trip this time as he had a winning hand at on-line poker. And you can’t blame him for choosing on-line poker over Ska. It combines the convenience of losing all your money with the glamour of typing. Therefore as we were a man down and it was going to be a long trip, we indulged in the luxury of hiring a nine-seater splitter van, complete with home cinema set-up and a lovely deep red interior. It was luxury beyond belief especially when compared to our old police riot van.

It’s a six and a half hour drive but as soon as we arrived we were treated like kings. Food, beer, cable television, what more do you need. It was a good gig. Two hour set and very hot. New tune ‘Freedom Thirty Five’ went well, and we played an extended version of Lloyd Knibb too. Yes, that tune can be a real clock gobbler. Someone was pouring whisky into me during the set. Broke two strings.

After the gig we went up to a beach near the town for a party before the sun came up. Through the forest a bit and then down a gully, past a large scary woodcarving, it can be a hair-raising trip at night, especially if you’re plastered. I seem to remember that someone was feeding us drink through some contraption with a funnel, with the expected consequences. In the end, most of the band passed out on the beach for hours. I was one of the few that braved the trip back through the forest, back to the scary gothic hotel. Great night. Thanks again to Niall and his dad Russell, and of course everyone in Lochinver.

The following day we thought, ‘since we’re already north of everywhere, lets stop off and play Drummonds in Aberdeen’. The only problem was we had twelve hours to kill and only a four-hour drive or so. So after literally lying around in the streets of Lochinver for hours we set off late afternoon and rolled into Aberdeen around nine o’clock set up at Drummonds and went on around midnight as usual. Even though we were hung over and exhausted we played for two hours in a tropical heat. We arrived back in Edinburgh around dawn and around a stone lighter.

It’s not all about the money though. Of course not. We also played at Linkylea again this year. Raising money for sick, orphaned pandas. One of the more unusual fund raising gigs we played recently was over in Glasgow at the Xscape indoor ski slope, with our friends, the Funkylicious Junkstar. Very strange. We played our set in the bar overlooking the ski slope. No one was there but we got paid. And the result is that now we can say almost definitively that our album is finished. Almost. Every time we go into the studio now, it’s the last time, so we are nearly done. Except for mastering. Circle December in your calendars for a hopeful release. If we get the money.

Next gig will be in Edinburgh at Studio 24 with The Toasters again, only this time we’ll be headlining. Nice.

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