I’m very excited. I’ve just been friended by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on Facebook. At long last, now I’ll have a friend who truly understands me, who can really relate to me, to how I feel. Both of us surrounded by dangerous men in a claustrophobic environment; for him it’s Guantanamo Bay and the CIA, for me, it’s a moving car with the Ska Bastards of Despair, better known to you as, the rest of Bombskare.
Some of you may have noticed that there are one or two males in the band, several to be exact, but unlike boy bands for instance, man bands can be more trouble. The swearing, the inappropriate touching, the eternal possibility of blind, ugly violence, yes, we have it all. You can’t really imagine Boyzone getting plastered and having to be arrested by twenty cops in three meat wagons. The biggest problem they have to face is being rich and beloved by millions. Ha! No such problems for us! Our biggest problem, as a man band, is not making complete idiots of ourselves, especially in front of the other genders. And especially when we go to far flung places in the remotest parts of Britain with nothing much to do, except drink and fight.
We went to Knoydart to play at the 10-year celebration of the community buyout of the Knoydart Estate. Now I have to admit, community ownership sounds a little bit like communism; filthy godless communism. However we decided to look the other way. After all capitalism isn’t working out so well these days either.
Our main concern about the Knoydart expedition was that it involved us, and lots of Tennants lager, and boats were involved and we were travelling up the same road as our near fatal trip to Rum two years ago. It was all a bit worrying. However the trip was uneventful and the weather was beautiful. We arrived on time, no one was hurt, and it all seemed to be a little too good to be true. Andy and his family had been up there camping for a few days prior to our arrival, and were there to greet us and show us the place. It is certainly one of the most beautiful places in Britain. There’s not a lot in terms of urban areas but plenty of rural. One pub, one shop, a church and a hostel, and what a beautiful place. You can only reach it by boat or by walking over the mountains, no roads connecting to the UK road system.
We were fed, quartered away in the hostel and were soon hopelessly drunk. By the time we went onstage at god knows when, we were in full party mode. Luckily everyone in the place was of the same mindset and it took about two seconds to get the place bouncing. And bounce they did. We dedicated ‘Birthday’ to Mr Donald Guitar of Mystery Juice fame whose birthday it was. It was a good set and the sound was awesome. I broke two strings on two guitars. I had brought my beloved Hendrix Strat but immediately after I broke a string on it I remembered why I never use it for Bombskare. The tremolo system guarantees that after I break a string the tension changes and the whole thing is hopelessly out of tune, unlike the Schecter or the Teles that can take a beating before the tuning goes.
The following day all we had to do was burn in the sun, drink ourselves blind and wait for the music to kick off. The pub there is called The Old Forge and it is the remotest pub in Britain. And still it has a cheaper pint than most Edinburgh pubs, that’s communism for you. In the evening we got to see the Squashy Bag Dance Band again who are incredible. They were amazing at the Rum festival. These guys could play for hours and hours so it was always a bit disappointing, especially for them, when they are pulled off after only an hour. You could see Eilidh and Sarah visibly annoyed, having just warmed up. Next up was Mystery Juice who are legendary. They have been together for ages, certainly since before the Reformation, probably before Jesus, and have long been one of my favourite bands. They played a blinder. One song caused me to throw my new pork pie hat in the air and almost lose it. Great tunes though. After that were Shooglenifty who were brilliant, as far as I remember, but who knows.
What happened after all that was a blur, but we woke up on Sunday at midday in a blind panic because we had ten minutes to get down to the harbour and get our boat back to Mallaig. After a frantic scrabble and a lift in the back of a flat bed truck we caught the boat, only to realise half way across the water that we were missing Papa Joe. That wasn’t good. We spent the afternoon in Mallaig waiting for him to be found back in Knoydart. After some phone calls back and forth (“What does he look like?” “Fat, bald and furious!”), he was finally located and returned to us in pretty much the same condition we had accidentally left him; completely fucked from booze. It was a terrific weekend and we had an amazing time, although I had completely lost my voice from all the shouting and bawling that follows me everywhere.
Thanks to everyone up there, thanks to everyone who came, thanks to all the other bands especially Mystery Juice and the Squashy Bag Dance Band, thanks to our pal Kevin McCann for the pictures. See youse all in Newcastle and Manchester.