Monday, 13 October 2014

We'd like to insist that you complete this voluntary questionnaire.

We thank you for your involvement thus far.

To complete your submission, please answer the following multiple choice questions. There are no correct answers. This does not mean that all/any answers are acceptable. Please hand your completed application to the blank page at the front of the test after you have left the room.

1) You are...?

  1. Tired.
  2. Out of ideas.
  3. Uncomfortable, but obliged to exist and act.
  4. Seryn.

2) After one week on the road supporting the excellent James Vincent Mcmorrow, you fear that your band (and crew) consisting of six ragged men has garnered a reputation for...?

  1. Sharp wit, style, and debonair elegance.
  2. Farting, juvenile humour, and the scent of used, hot leatherette chairs.
  3. Over-complication, obscurantism, and ironic maxilexicographicality.
  4. Seryn.
3) The gigs were...?

  1. Really nice. We appreciate everyone who came to watch us and who made a lot of noise. We also appreciate the whole JVM crew, and everybody who had us to stay or helped us out along the way with beer or advice or lifting things or all of it.
  2. Awful. The stages were made of wafer and the crack-cocaine was sub-par at both best and worst and at average times of which there were few, which makes little sense.
  3. What gigs?
  4. Huh Oh man, I...I can't even remember. I was, like... oh, man – the lights were. You know, like, when you look at the sky, and you look at the clouds and...and with the contrast you're just like, 'Oh, man. Those are real clouds.', and you can see like the contours and everything and it's like...that's water? That's, like, a real sky, man. It's fucking amazing. Hey, man, you hear about Earth? He's with Honeyblossom, now. Yeah, they met in Peru when she was over there protesting against her Dad's oil company. Yeah, she's flying back today. Did you say you were making tea, man? We need milk. And tea. Yeah, there's a pop-up grow-your-own tea-leaf place just outside Waitrose.

4) There is...?
  1. No way out of this, now.
5) In Copenhagen, we...?

  1. ...were accosted outside of the venue, straight after parking the van, by a group of very nice people looking for our autograph. They approached the bus holding pictures of us and looking especially for Jeb. I hope they are reading this so I can let them know that Jeb sends his warmest regards. They also waited outside the venue for JVM, but were, I think, unlucky (I might be wrong). Still, eleven hours, what's that? Six films? It's nothing, really. Copenhagen seems a very nice place to stand.
  2. ...met a nice man named Philip who, on being asked if he knew of any good hostels in the area, invited six random, sweaty/debonair foreign people to sleep at his house, and fed them with alcohol and mattresses and Danish psychedelia.
  3. ...came across one of the friendliest and most professional technical crews we've ever had the pleasure of working with, in the venue most evocative of a Stanley Kubrick film we've ever had the pleasure of playing in.
  4. ...went for a ride in a helicopter with a cow pilot.
  5. 100% of the above.
  6. 75% of e.

6) Every crowd was...?

  1. So nice that no alternative answer will be offered, as I'm even welling up a little just thinking about the openness and generosity of all the people who saw us. Some of the applause and smiling faces will live with us for a very long time. My heart's fluttering a little, and that very rarely happens, such was the joy of the crowds we were privileged to play to. I'm also going to kind of hide behind a hedge with embarrassment after that little show of authenticity, so I'm now going to leave you in the hands of Dr. Shit.

7) My name is...?

  1. Dr Shit.
  2. The number-letter-changer; cognitive re-arranger. Tssss.
  3. Arltang.
  4. W-W-W-dutiful.

8) The road...?

  1. long, with many a winding turn.
  2. You're still using numbers, rather than letters like you were before.
  3. ...leads only to Berlin, where we were held up in traffic for two hours due to an apparent convoy, transporting some American representative somewhere or other. I have no idea if Obama was in town (no doubt droning on about something, right, readers? Ah, illegal, criminally under-reported, poorly managed, robotic warfare, we hardly knew ye.), but if it was him, then we'd like to take this opportunity, which may not come around too often, to blame The President of The United States for making us late for sound-check and putting an inordinate amount of pressure on us and the rest of the crew. Then again, I'm sure he can wriggle out of responsibility by getting another shot of diplomatic immunisation or something. I think diplomatic immunity is like MMR, but much more likely to result in strange psychological effects, damaging the lives of those around you.
  4. ...sounds like Brian May with a cold.

9) We thank:

  1. We're back to letters? Who the hell is in charge, here?
  2. Jörg, Vivien and Mattias, Colin, Philip, Jamie Shaw, James Vincent McMorrow, Justin and the whole crew, all the technicians we worked with, everyone who made our food – especially 'Mr. Lamb Shank' in Copenhagen, who I've always said I wanted to me(at)et LAMB – Carlo, erm...the dinosaurs for dying and giving us fuel. Vauxhall. Hamburg, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Koln. Our parents for giving us the kind of faces that keep our tour medical bills down to only paracetamol and burn cream. It's weird. It was four dates, but it was one of the most epic weeks of our strange little lives, so it's still a big deal, going out there on a shoestring and being thrust into a world of curious oddities and foreign languages and the kindness of others, which we took all-too readily, and live in fear of disregarding all-too cheaply. I hope everyone who helped us out is in this list somewhere, and, if I discover one day that it is not, then I shall write it in the stars when I die.
  3. Jumping Piss Man.
  4. Oh! The people who interviewed us. They were very friendly.
  5. Satan.
  6. Vishnu.
  7. All gods who consist of the same substance and have all qualities attributed to them by all religions and also none of them due to their binary nature which is what gives binary possibilities in the first place, that is: all Gods whose existence is made possible only by their non-existence, which is a quality of them.
  8. Xenu.
  9. The ghost of Rik Mayall.
Thank you for your eternal submission.

Should you have any other queries, I refer you to Ed's staff.


Phoria Research And Tour Services

Friday, 3 October 2014

There are way too many sentences in the world.

What are we, if not present?

It's not like there's anywhere for us to go, anyway. We're always in here, somewhere. What are you doing? Streaming us? Clicking on a file front and having us blast through speakers that weren't made for us? Having a big black needle-scratched lozenge dance around in the corner of your place on a turntable that your parents would turn their noses at if they cared enough about this century to talk to one of its victims every now and then? They don't care, do they? They don't want anything to do with you. They never have. I've got a theory that every parent, when their child leaves home, joins a secret club and they all get together and bitch about their kids and how much they know that their kids will never know until their kid leaves home. I've always had this feeling that there's some secret to life that gets revealed to you at some point along the way – probably when you least suspect it and hopefully whenever my bloody phone stops ringing.

I suppose that's all good and fine. I'm sure you're loved, really.

New material's at the bottom of the just-boiling pan. To add to my legendary failure to poach an egg the other day (my close friends, at least, know that it turned into an 'underwater frying'), I also failed to boil an egg just twenty-four hours ago. I have no clue what I'm doing wrong. I was standing in my kitchen in my underwear next to the netless windows, stirring the water well with my fly swatter, keeping time by sniffing my herbaceous pits at measurable intervals (being a musician I, of course, have an impeccable internal metronome), and yet when the egg dropped onto the plate it collapsed faster than my dream of being the thing that pings the ball up at the beginning of a pinball session. I just never had the hips.

I mean, that's what brought the vision of the little bubbles that start at the bottom of the pan to mind when thinking about new material. It's born of heat and chemical and structural change, which makes it exciting and indicative of forward thinking, which is important. You have to get this right. There's no point in giving this kind of line to you, a line direct to us (or at least, one of us and perhaps the one most least qualified to conjure images in anybody's head likely to result in our success), if we don't get it right, you know? Everything has to be correct so that the whole music/image/personality of the brand can form a cohesive whole.

I mean, so long as the album cover is a .gif of me scratching my balls and the music consists mainly of my sampled farts and belly slaps, I think it's as cohesive as Nicky Minaj's strategy, and, when you really think about it, inclusive of almost identical content.

Unless the pictures match the music, there's just no point in any of it.

I guess we've all started to assume that the current government is mainly a post-modern performance art experiment, yes? Yes.

This is the last day of idleness and political obsession before hardcore rehearsals (I can't use the word 'practice' any more, as I literally cannot get to grip with each incarnation of it, so 'rehearsal' is now the word) in preparation for our supporting James Vincent McMorrow around Europe next week.

The sense of being and time in this band can be bizarre. Display came out in June and seems to have been really good for us, and enjoyed by lots of people. That's good. But on this side, you want more. You want to make more, do more, experience more, be more, in a kind of childish not only wanting to play with the toy but almost wanting to be the toy and eat the toy and play with the toy, all at the same time. So, whatever you're doing, or not doing, it's not enough, so you get kind of paralysed with movement – not only wanting but needing to go down every road at the same time. We've been here before, but the roads were smoother before and they and led to less. This one is different. It's like choosing which minefield to cross to get to the place where naked people smother themselves in whipped-cream champagne. Last time it was like choosing which country road to walk down to get to a hug from a warm, roadside-hedge-bearded vicar who smelled like lavender and fed you with sticky Murray mints.

Jeb's been in Italy, the git. That's one road you can go down, I suppose. Trewin's been working at the farmhouse. Ed's been trundling around in his new 198...3? I think it's a 1983 Citroen BX. I might have remembered his registration wrong. 'Two lady owners', is the standard description, I think. 'Only drove it to the carvery and back on Sundays.' Suits Ed, then.

Seryn's been indoors, I think, much like myself. It's pretty good. The main thing about spending a lot of time in isolation is that you don't consider how your hair looks, even for a second.

I'll let you think about what kind of paradise that might be when you look in the mirror tomorrow morning.

We'll see you on tour.

Dates and ticket here. We're with 'The McMorrow' from Hamburg to Cologne.

Don't let us put you off.

And don't forget to pick the news out of this ramble like one of those bogeys that makes you wonder how your funny bone got stuck up your nose.

News: a couple of new tunes, taking shape.

We're gonna kick each others' asses on this one. We want to get this stuff out.

Now, it's Friday, so care must be taken – but be sure, this weekend, to throw your personality at people like monkeys fling their shit at paying customers.

Otherwise, there's no point.

We're nothing, if not present.

Have fun, and don't forget that if you do what needs doing now, then it doesn't need doing, so don't do it.


Monday, 22 September 2014

Good time reliance status: Phorium.

So here we are, then. I'm listening to Syro. That's the most pertinent news of the day for anyone who's alive. Jeb doesn't like it, yet. Then again, I will tease him forever for what I consider to be his deficiencies in the 'listening to too much soft-rock and thinking that mere gentilesse passes for beauty' department.

Hey, I get heroin AIDS needles jabbed in my ears for some of the music I listen to. You have to put up with this when you're all as opinionated and self-righteous as we are.

Especially Jeb 'Ken Bruce' Hardwick.

This in-band acceptance of interpersonal hatred and hostility comes from another fifteen-hour (or as I like to call it 'infinite') van ride down to Hamburg for the 2014 Reeperbahn festival. Binky The Van is looking worse than Mickey Rourke at the moment, which means we had to do a Rob Lowe and rent a much younger, more attractive model. We did, however, [Yewtree inappropriate], so it was a bit of a squeeze with five of us and all our gear.

Talking of Rob Lowe, Reeperbahn, or the Reeperbahn, if you don't know (Dad), is the red-light district in the port city of Hamburg. That's where we went on the first night.


It's a bit weird.

I don't know why I expected anything better than it actually was. Maybe because it was particularly grim. Imagine Blackpool (or, Hello Hometown, Paignton/Torbay), where instead of signs saying 'BIG CASH PRIZES' there are signs saying 'SEX HERE NOW BANG BANG BANG RELENTLESSLY'...and there are people who look like the operators of stolen, layby-parked fairground rides standing outside, somehow appealing to some members of the, inevitably, British, Australian, and American crowds that gather with rather more than money in their hands

Paignton: My first love. Feeling sexy, yet?

It was noisy, bright, and certainly a spectacle. We would return the following evening, after the gig, also, as it was heavily advised that we visit the 'Men Only' street, which, in its touristiness and bizarrely clinical isolation, resembled a Harry Potter film directed by [inappropriate Yewtree]. I started many conversations with the people there, trying to (Lord, why this vocabulary?) get a flavour of the mood and attitudes.


'Hey, Baby.'

'How are you? Are you OK?'

'I'd be even better if you came inside.'

'No – I'm not going to. I'm actually wondering how you are.'

'Mmm, I'm good, baby – you wanna come in and I'll make you feel good, too?'

'No – I literally just said that I'm not coming in, and I don't believe the sincerity of how you say you're feeling. Are you actually alright? I'd assume it's a bit rubbish, in there.'

'You don't want me?'

'Again, I just said...'

window closes

The business of the gig was what it was. We were kind of tired, what with the logistics of transcontinental travel and infuriatingly obstinate prostitutes to deal with, but we think we were OK. We were filled with 'foreign country adrenaline', even if we left our sleep back in England. Running around all day... I mean, thanks to all who came. Everyone around the gig was really friendly, and, especially in 'the other countries', we couldn't do without that kind of support.

The trip was not all about prostitution and crippling insecurity in presentation, though, as we got to go to an industry party or two, which - for those of you wandering or dreaming about what these kinds of thing amount to i.e. what attitudes are involved, what the general atmosphere is like – is a million miles away from either of those things.

After such fulfilling adventures, then, it was left to a couple of Humming Records people and related artists to provide the perfect palliative to our spiritual fatigue, taking us around the city following those more insistent engagements and pulling the curtain back again on the superiority of German nightlife to the bulk of what our Great (and forever United, it would seem) Isle has to offer. Some of the German bars hold lights under 17,000,000,000 lumens, which is particularly novel. Beer is to be readily purchased for little outlay, and consumed in the street, where throngs of smiling revellers greet each other, relatively happily, their teeth not yet stained from midnight vomit nor the blood of their lips from too much sneering.

Still – I don't mean to complain. Consider it the standardly accepted weatherly whinge we accept when people return from Spain: 'Oh, it was much nicer over there...' etc., only consider that my gripe relates to core aspects of our self-determining culture, rather than weather patterns.

A bundle of idle noise, then.
The trip was whistlestop, bizarre, mind-bending, and distancey.

Straight to Southsea.

Actually a lovely change of pace, in Portsmouth. This was one hour, down the road. Weird. We like to keep it by the sea, when we can, it seems. Great crew, again – friendly and helpful and professional. I've said it before, but it's things like that that can make or break a gig and it makes a real difference when the people around you are supportive. So, like, thanks Southsea crew omg blushes

And yeah.

This is what hashing over memories with a cup of overly strong, cheap coffee and the new Aphex Twin will give you. A little bit of nothing and someone for everything.

Next time I'll fill you in over a cup of Chamomile and some Debussy, and we'll see if it comes out a little sweeter – a little less self-referentially hectic – and – perhaps – a little more standardly punctuated.

Unlike our lives, of course.

'Oh man, Tim, did that just come to you?'



'That's not entirely appropriate.'

So, it's Monday.

Our luck never changes, does it.

Be well, and don't try and be clever. It won't work.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

We are doughnuts, all of us.

Dear Berlin, this is for you:

Fifteen hours. Fifteen hours in the van.

[Don't start with this, Tim, for god's sake.]

Hard seats and road noise and debates about the link between influential statements and criminal actions. Where does the buck stop? Long, long roads and Europe's flat and open fields. A 5am start, blind eyes punctured by text messages from one person or another:

Be safe!

This screen is too bright.

Don't forget to bring x!

I already packed, in a fit of excitement, three days ago.

Make sure you drive on the right side of the road! Not the right side, I mean, but the right side. Drive on the right side.

Destroy me. Take me to the place they make the glue.

6am: cigarettes and no breakfast.

Music, language, geography, and little leak of diesel.

[Skip to the end]

That evening, on arrival, we literally dripped into our apartment, funneled out of the cool Berlin air in what was apparently the 'interesting' part of town. It looked perfectly friendly to we naïve little children, wandering about in the dark with suitcases, grins, and hopeful eyes, like Pinocchio in the circus, or a cute, blonde, country girl taking her first steps onto the streets of LA, going to her first audition glad that there's that tarpaulin on the casting couch, lest she spill her drink. Oh, hello. With those huge arms, you must be a writer? No?

I was asked to go out and get some beers and, in a linguistic tangle, ended up buying shandy and not nearly enough of it. I was a fool. A damn fool.

Not for long, however, as after a quick dinner we hit the hay. Or at least I, my short straw being eternally long, so to speak, hit the sofa. The scratchy sofa.

Still, the road, used responsibly, is a powerful sedative.

First stop: First thing: a meeting in Potsdamerplatz. We all hopped on the U-Bahn, still confused and muddled and not quite ready for twenty-letter-long words, alien proclamations, or complex navigation around a city that seems to have de-marked its rail lines along the labels mauve, purple, magenta, off-blue-red, and dark lilac.

Even in the meeting, I rejected coffee as five other heads around me bobbed at the offer of water. I did the thing where you walk into a bar with someone and they offer to buy you a drink, and as a warm-hearted offer of gratitude you say 'Whatever you're having!', like a little Christmas cracker expression of companionship. No sooner, however, had I said 'Yes, water would be lovely, thanks.' than two other people grunted '', and I immediately regretted my decision...but also in the spirit of what I'd already done felt uncomfortable contemplating my going 'Oh...actually...yeah, I'll have coffee.' Because I didn't want to be a pain in asking for a coffee that had already been offered to me.

We were all tired, is what I'm saying.

But we had a lovely time, up there on the somethingth floor, looking out of the big glass windows onto the city below. We began by talking about the weather. That made us feel at home.

That, then, and then after a little stroll and coordination we hit a café for a couple of interviews and a photo-shoot. There was an ashtray on the table. The British mind boggles. You can smoke inside. In a café. You know, in comfort. You can do something that you enjoy, in comfort. After being slightly underwhelmed by what I'd seen that morning (the city has something of a reputation for a slightly more Epicurean, rather than George Bestian hedonism - something I was looking forward to having thrust, Arthurially, in my puffy face, but something which had not yet occured), suddenly, with sensible Health and Safety legislation based on the practical apportionment of separate rooms and acknowledgement that perhaps life is not a mere exercise in sanitisation [pardon me, History, I really didn't mean to, though you may indeed wish to poke your head around a corner or two on this one], this place was starting to speak to me, albeit with yellowed teeth and sooty breath.

Another coffee offered to us, another one rejected. Two of them rejected on the grounds (grounds) that 'we've already had one.'


Two really nice interviews, and a painful but honestly awkward photo-shoot in and around the place. I ended up with the one bit of sofa that had turned into a sink-hole, so as everyone else tried to look their coolest I was left just hoping I didn't look like a man with legs only up to my knees, waddling around and hunched over.

Me, only more gremlinised.

Move towards gig-time. Our first gig in Berlin and our first city gig in Europe; the only other European date being in Croatia more than twelve months ago.

See the venue. It's nice, in a cool 'under the tracks' kind of way. We were literally under the tracks, though – I don't mean that just to describe the type. Sorry to rail on at you, but I haven't been a good sleeper lately and it's tricky to stay on track.


See the backstage area. There is coffee. There is coffee and you can smoke inside and there is beer in glass bottles and vodka and giant pretzels and chocolate. This is heaven.

Confusion. No sound-check? No pre-gig line-check?


It's a blur until before the gig. People came! People were there! You lovely people! Who could ask for more? They came and they applauded and they cheered and they even sympathised with a little synthesised mayhem as a tiny glitch on the computer thought that Atomic wasn't avant-garde enough, so rather than ending in that big prog-euro-trance way that it does, it ended with a fart on the bass and a distinct sense of disappointment, like those brioche rolls that come in opaque packages and aren't really brioche and contain chocolatey liquid instead of chocolate chunks but you bought it thinking it was real brioche and you won't make that mistake again, because you're no sweetbread fool.

But, apart from that, we did ourselves proud [pats self on back with flapping bum]

Oh, good lord. 

So, I mean, I'm still getting over it.

Because then the evening happened, and Berlin in all of its glory came out to shine.

What's that? The hotel bar is closing and we're not allowed in? But...our friends said they were here. Yes, we are English. The bar is definitely closing? Yes!? Oh...there's our friend. Oh he's made eye contact with you and given you a little nod. Oh, we're allowed in now, are weyeswefuckingarebecausewe'refuckingPhoria. 

The good people at Humming Records know how to show their bands the city. They could not have been more welcoming or friendly and we heartily appreciate them and the work they're doing for us over there.
We all sat around then, drank, almost accidentally ordered shandy again, and slipped gradually down the cushions in the comfortable hotel bar.

Where are we going next?



OK, but I don't dance. There won't be dancing, will there? I don't dance. I hate dancing. OK, I'll go and see how it is but if there's dancing then I might head back. Yeah, I know it's Berlin, but I hate dancing and just because I'm in Berlin it doesn't mean that if you're all dancing and I'm on my own in some club that I'm suddenly going to like dancing.

7am, then, and after dancing all night we're getting the train home from, like, omg the coolest club, like, ever. I had to text my England-stationed-bastion-of-hope-in-the-world to tell her that I was in a place that felt like:

...a mix between the house from Resident Evil and the club where Neo meets Trinity in The Matrix. Also don't be jealous and you're a total bitch who smells.

It was just one long roller-coaster of action that doesn't fit into much of a driving story. We hit another bar the next night and found it difficult to leave 'early' at 2am (we had to leave because we had to drive home the next day), because yet again the party was just getting started. That city just keeps going.

We, along with some of the German people we met, lamented a little the UK drinking culture and how, for us, its relative paucity of imagination was highlighted by this little trip. Not just little things that you get on the continent like, you know, being trusted as an adult to take a glass outside every now and then, but just the way in which the evening/morning is approached. I come from a small town in South Devon, and, on a Saturday night, the vomit stings your eyes and blue lights stink up the place. In Berlin, the capital city of Germany, this just...wasn't there. Not a hint of it.

Then again, we met a man outside the train station one night and he said, and I quote:

'...if Thom Yorke was in the same room as me, right now, I'd rape him so hard with a plastic dick that his arse would break into a hundred pieces.'

So I guess the civilised times are just where you find them.

That said, we want to go back, and hope that Germany can offer the same when we head to Hamburg in just another couple of days.

More road, more fun, more gigs, and we're going to try and bring Thom Yorke.

We hope you're well.

I'm going to spend the day tidying my little flat because I have an 'inspection' tomorrow.

It's good to be home.

I believe that's the Officially Sanctioned Motto of National Solidarity, anyway. That and 'Call Centre Positions Are Real Jobs', which we should repeat to ourselves over and over again, lest anybody begin to feel disenfranchised.

Heaven forfend.



Monday, 1 September 2014

'Something in the way she moves, affects me like no other mower.' - Something (it is a lawnmower) by The Beatle.

It's been about four weeks.
'My God...has it been that long? Martin! We've got to fly you into some of the past!'

That's how long it takes us to start living and lose all sense of 'band-time', only to regain the pace and begin again to watch the life drain out of us like dirty water in Norman Bates' bathtub.
There's a good excuse for our prolonged absence. The Northern hemisphere calls it 'Summer', and I hear that's exactly what it was. I wouldn't really know, as I've spent much of it inside, debating with my brain about whether it should debate with itself [we won!], and whistling along to The Bill theme tune. I've also eaten lots of vegetables because I hear they're food, now, and developed a cure for beard dandruff which involves covering your neck in anti-gravity hunting paint, submerging your head in a bucket of dead wasps, and blinking faster than a 1970s entertainer driving to buy a new computer. In my estimate the cure takes seven to ten years to take effect so here's hoping it works otherwise I'll have wasted the time I have spent on doing that to have the cure for it and stop it from being there when it is !have!
So, yes. You can see I've been busy and keeping on an even keel.
Trewin's been living on a farm, so it seems. He's had us over, once or twice, to ride the lawnmower [not rude] and paddle a little paddle boat around a great big god-damn lake. I tell you one thing, though: he never offered us a cup of tea. Not once. I'll never go there again; a situation in which I am doubtless the victor.
Jeb's been in his room, again, editing. Still.
I keep a little doll house of where everyone in the band is, so I can keep track and play with them and make them do things [not rude things!] when no-one else is around and when I'm just about to have a shower so I can properly picture what they're doing at all hours of the day without resorting to booting up the laptop and logging in to the 'safety-cam' network. The Jeb doll hasn't moved except for me to clean it up and wipe the tears of loneliness and fear from its face.
I threw the Trewin bit in the garden and I think a bird got it.
I take the Seryn bit in and out. Sometimes it's submerged in a glass of wine, surrounded by women's underwear and stuff, and sometimes it's in its room staring vacantly at the wall wondering why toenails, given sniff, do smell.
I sent the Ed bit around Europe and the UK in a sterilised envelope to simulate all of Ed's holidays that he's been on. I took the time to fumigate his part of the dolls house and plug in a Glade plug-in so that hopefully he'd forget about while he was out but ooh! a fresh surprise on his return.
There's some new music in the works, too, and we've had a couple of meetings and plans for going forward with a track or fifty and what we want to do and when we want to do it and, more importantly, why?
Well, for you, of course.

For you.
So that's our summer, post-tour.
We're off to Berlin on Thursday, which should know. Nice.
We're looking forward to it a little bit.
If you're around (which let's face it, you probably are I mean it's only Berlin) then you should come.
Fun fun fun and back to work.
The evenings are getting dark again, too, which means I'm getting happier.
Enjoy the fruits of your labours, and the delights of your friends and family.
Unless you hate your job and other people, in which case just get by as best you can.
Watch a film, or something.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Toury Party.

 So here we are, then. Another attempt to balance the honesty of five idiots in a van with the need to publicly defend ourselves from any accusations that might come our way, or inadvertently create some sense that we are nothing more than a bunch of slobby losers who aren't right for your company.

'Hello? Bob? Fire those Phoria boys. What's that? No, I've never heard of them either.
What? We never hired them? You're a good man, Bob.'

We've just come home to Brighton. In an echo of our trip home from Nottingham after the first leg of our tour, we played the gig and then immediately left Manchester. Another multi-hour slog through Britain's midnight oil. Again I sat in the front, cajoling the drivers and making them question their own existence, all the while celebrating the end of the tour proper by drinking lots of rum and clouding the issue of my bronchus.

I can't say I didn't have a good time.

This was the set-up for most of the tour. Windows open in the sunshine, expressing ourselves through t-shirt tan lines and supermarket lunches. Dusty petrol stations and driving songs and catchphrases and the relentless rumble of Binky's diesel engine and the stench of cheese and dripped, fishy brine. Take your shoes off, put a smile on your face, and watch the frames of every chain store change before your eyes. Sometimes tall, sometimes old, sometimes sterile and worthless to visit but sometimes unusual and archetypal. It's a funny old country.

We lived mainly on kindness. Parents and friends of friends and family and strangers at gigs who'd put us up and leave us with a key as they went to work in the morning, leaving a note on the counter saying 'Help yourselves.'

Kettles were very important.

The business was good, too. Promoters varying wildly from those who don't arrive to those who do and dote on you. Ain't no food nowhere, to big pub-grub burgers that gave us reason to lick our ever more bonying fingers in public.

Man cannot live on carrots alone.

Sometimes smiles, sometimes grunts and a lift of the head. Who's the sound engineer? He's the friendly one, the quiet genius or the too-talkative fallabout who knows as much about what he's doing here as you do.

People are people. Ain't nobody perfect and this ain't no attack, but this is how a life like this be, if you're not aware.

So, resisting the urge to list every town and describe every drink and force every night into one hundred words of unreadably shuffled little letters; that's your lot. Maybe you got a sense of it.

Thanks to all those who came to the shows and deep thanks to all those who helped us on our way around the country.

I didn't think I missed Brighton as much as I did.

We're still moving – down to Farm Festival on Saturday. For some reason I don't see it as part of the tour, but some people say it is. I don't care. This is here, now.

Then it might be a little time off.

We might lock ourselves away; studiobound and writing. Who knows.

Maybe we'll put our feet up on the rocks of Brighton beach, and look at the sea for a while, waiting desperately for someone to recognise us.

Who knows.

Have fun, wherever you go, whomever you go there with.