OK, so in July I drove Ironclad from Wales and Cornered from Holland on tour. Niels asked on Facebook if anyone from the UK could do some of the driving, and seeing as I’m out of work at the mo, I thought it’d be a good idea. Originally thought he meant around the UK, but actually was Holland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Germany again. Took my camera with me (obviously), got photos (most) days, so I’m going to upload these as a tour diary.
This first entry covers up to the end of the night in Arnhem.
It’s about half twelve in the morning on a Friday, and I’ve pretty much just finished getting everything sorted. Packed things, replaced things which I’d managed to dunk in a ford along with my mechanic’s car, and frantically double checked for things like my passport and driving license. You know, the sort of things you put in ‘safe places’ which are so fucking safe you never remember where they are. I’m sitting up and waiting for Ironclad to get to my Gran’s, Tom Neath’s been up all day driving the van from Stoke to South Wales to Surrey. I’ve met the Ironclad lot once or maybe twice before at gigs, but know they’re meant to be solid types from the traditional gossip that follows punk rock and hardcore. Pretty much enough to spend a couple of weeks with them on that basis.
Van rolls up about one o’clock, throw the stuff in the back of the van and take over driving from Tom. Decision’s made to stop off to pick supplies (read, booze) up from the 24 hour Tescos as the ferry’s not till 5am. The stereo’s asking for a code because the van’s just been serviced, and it’s already a bit warm without any air conditioning. Out of the van, Pag is in a shopping trolley and being sped towards a curb at speed within about 2 minutes. His cheek gets gashed on a bush, and his trousers are around his ankles. This is kind of a scene setting for the tour. I think it’s also the last time I saw anybody sober and without a hangover. The drive from Byfleet to Dover, and the ferry to Boulogne-Sur-Mer is pretty uneventful. Kip a bit on the ferry. The interesting bit comes when we stopped to kill some time, stock up on more supplies from the supermarket, and for some of Ironclad to have a skate. Rofe decided this would be a good point to start smoking. The interesting bit is that supermarkets in France apparently sell bangers, bottle rockets and other minor fireworks.
I spent £40.
Following this, bit more of a drive down to Arnhem. I ended up falling asleep in the back room during the gig. Two days up do that to me. The back room which had a fridge full of a beer for the bands in.
Woke up during Cornered, and then went and got the van. At this point, we’d lost Jonne. Jonne, who was putting the gig on and sorting out the sleeping places (turned out later he’d told someone he was off, and they didn’t pass it on). So we’ve got seven drunk people who are in the mood to party, and not sure where or when we’re going. People vanish and re-appear. Pag holds a banger till it goes off, and writes “IRNCLD” on the front of the van in blood. Tom and Nick come staggering back from a coffee shop, and Nick collapses in the back of the van on the floor after holding onto the van to shuffle around it. Eventually we all head off to various places, some to party, and some to sleep. Nick, Pabs, Franke, Niels and me are the sleeping batch. At least in theory.
When we get to the flat we’re staying at, it turns out Nick’s already well beyond the sleeping stage. He’s headed into the stage that’s characterised by being collapsed on the floor in the back of a van, with limbs in slightly strange positions, dribbling sick from his mouth, and not really moving. The sort of stage where people don’t react to slaps, kicks, water in the face, being dragged out of the back of a van by their feet, bouncing onto the pavement like a corpse, and then getting propped up against a pillar with the slapping and stuff tried again. The stage where someone’s head leans to one side with sick coming out, and no movement. The stage where you start thinking “ambulance”.
Ambulance turns up, Pabs isn’t sure if Nick needs to go the hospital, but is kind of convinced when the ambulance man does the incredibly painful nerve pinch on Nick’s shoulder and he doesn’t move. That, and the discussions about whether he should go to the police station instead. Pabs goes to the hospital with Nick.