Sometimes when I’m bored, which is often, I imagine what element each of the band members would be if Bombskare were the periodic table? Colin would be Lithium of course, highly reactive and popular with mental people. Jay would be Argon of course, abundant and inert. Murray would be Copper, mildly valuable and highly conductive. And so on in this manner. What about me, you say? I would be Iron obviously. Iron is the most stable element in the universe. Essential and stable. All other elements are trying to combine with others to become as stable as iron. Well, that’s me to a tee.
We don’t often gig in England, and no, its not a racist thing. Some of my best friends are English. It’s simply the logistical difficulties of transporting a small army and all the gear so far south. Ask William Wallace. So it was with a great deal of planning, and a hire van for a change, that we set off the other Friday for Ashington near Newcastle for the first of two dates down south, Travelling on Friday is always shit, especially if your starting point is Edinburgh. Leaving The Burgh on Friday is like trying to escape from quicksand. The more you struggle, the slower you go. However because we had a sexy hire van, we could travel fast once we hit the A1. We arrived in Ashington around eight which wasn’t too bad and got into our set pretty soon after that. The Elephant is a nice wee place and the natives definitely appreciated our efforts. Wasn’t too busy but apparently there was a scooter rally up the road which explains a lot. Thanks to our host Tony, and all his family, who put us all up in his house. We got to play pool at night and swing ball in the morning. Civilised. We’ll definitely be back down soon.
York, York! So good they named it once. The York gig wasn’t as straightforward as Ashington. We were playing at a place called The Junction and the first thing to mention is that both Murray and Tom wouldn’t be featuring with us. They were busy doing other things with other bands. Sluts. Sam arrived at York first in his wee van ahead of us by about an hour. He phoned me and said “I’m here. What should I do?“ Now, it’s a popular belief, thanks to Mel Gibson, that William Wallace sacked York in the thirteenth century, but there is no evidence for this. It’s too far south, but still, while we were here we wanted to make a good impression, for Wallace‘s sake. “OK Sam here’s what I want you to do. Surround the place for three days, then set fire to it.“ It’s what he would he would have wanted, sniff! The rest of us also arrived in York early, even earlier than This R2 Tone who we would be supporting yet again. This meant that to kill time we all went into York for drinks. You would think we would learn from our mistakes but no. To cut a very long story short, everyone got pretty drunk before the gig and ended up fighting and falling out. I know lots of shenanigans happened in my ‘absence’. I excuse my own behaviour because I was pissed off with everyone plus I had been doing all the driving again and was decidedly unhappy. Anyway our Mike has thoughtfully filled in some of the blanks.
“The hostel in York proved a problem. Up front it was straight forward, £14 per person per night with breakfast thrown in; we had already paid in full. It transpired, upon arrival however, that there was an undisclosed £20 cash insurance per person for the night. This was returnable at checking out time the next day (10am), subject to good behaviour. The manager summed it up like this. “Look, you’re a group of British blokes, we know why you’re here. If you tell me you’re here for a prayer meeting, I’ll know you are lying”. I bit my tongue; I was tempted to say that we were but humble musicians in York to join in fellowship with the faithful of York Minster to hear the organ recital from Colin Andrews & Janette Fishell that evening after Evensong. I bit my tongue a second time. Paradoxically, the hostel bar would be open as long as the bar staff were tipped. We paid up. The next problem was some time after the gig. The Skebabs were leaving in their mini bus to head back up the road to Edinburgh, so Andy jumped in to get home early to be with his kids. Half an hour later we couldn’t find the keys to our van / dressing room. A phone call to Andy quickly established that he had the keys and that he was somewhere on the M1; along with a dozen or so merry Skebabs and their mates. He was unable to persuade his fellow travellers that the best course of action was to turn around and head back to York. (selfish bastards – Scott)
Now, it is a little known fact that we, Bombskare, are like Santa Claus in that we keep a Who’s Been Good, Who’s Been Bad list. Our Good list has a new top 10 entry. This R2 Tone had organized for the whole night to be filmed and had got a friend in to operate the cameras. Borrowed cameras, so he was being extra careful all night to the extent that he was on soft drinks. “I’ll drive up to catch them”, said Michael. “I haven’t been drinking and I am fully comprehensively insured”. Andy phoned back. In a compromise to all concerned, the van keys had been left at the desk of a service station somewhere on the M1. A quick conversation between Andy & Michael established which service station. It was at least 40 miles away. Our wellbeing was now dependant on the milk of human kindness lactated from the breast of a night shift worker on minimum wage somewhere in the Midlands of England. No matter, we had a plan. Michael would drive Sam’s van to the service station, pick up the keys & drive back. Sam was reluctant to the whole idea. In a 20 minute impassioned outburst of emotional rhetoric Sam refused to hand over the keys. As was his right. Could we persuade Sam that it was perfectly legal for Michael to drive his van and sort out this mess? 10 minutes later Sam was won round with a compromise. Michael would drive the van and Sam would be the co-pilot. Great success. Off they went.
At the back of 3 Michael phoned. They had picked up the keys. However, Sam’s thinking had become more lucid and he had started to ask some pressing questions. “Who are you? Why are you driving my van? Where are we? Where are we going? What’s happening”. Michael & Sam finally arrived back with the van keys. Now, what to do with an unlocked van full of amps, instruments & a ‘fatigued’ Scott asleep in the van? We lock the van, head back to the hostel, persuade the night porter to let us in, go straight to bed only to be awoken at 7 in the morning by a group of hill walkers heading off for the Yorkshire Dales. And the hostel had shut the bar at 1 o’clock because there was a school party staying that night. No matter, after multiple rounds of toast, coffee & cereal on Sunday morning we got our insurance deposit back and left.”
I woke up the next day in the van, which I didn’t immediately recognise, in a car park in York, which I didn’t immediately recognise and I had somehow vomited down my own back. I was quite disorientated at first. Even though I was crippled from alcohol abuse I had to drive back to Scotland. Not a problem because remember folks, I am Iron. Stable, except at high temperatures. I had definitely cooled off and was too poisoned to care about much except making it back home without killing myself, and others. Thanks again to This R2 Tone for having us down there, and thanks to everyone in York for putting up with us. In spite of all the nonsense we actually played a pretty good set considering we were two pipers down so to speak. Hopefully be back down there sometime next year. Next gig in England will be Hartlepool. Next gig in Scotland will be at the Exchange with the always lovely Big Hand, and the always handsome Taking Chase, which is only next week. Don’t worry people. We are all best friends again.
We will be in the studio next weekend getting more vocals down for our long, long overdue album. Stay tuned for a progress report.