Thursday, 19 February 2015

It's a long one.


Push on through and start this.

So we pull up in Paris at about 1 a.m., suddenly all too aware that we have nowhere to stay. I'd been up since five – never wanting my 'room-mate' to be up and getting ready for work while I lay about in bed, using my 'career' as an excuse – and the two drivers had about seven hours of driving in their pockets. Jeb is Jeb, so he was tired, and Seryn was exhausted from the comparative over-stimulation of having left the house.

Do we kip in the van, blanketed-up against the cold streets of Paris, or do we check-in to the first hostel we see? Perhaps we should have planned ahead. We back and forth on this, eating from a pallet that we'd filled with food before leaving the house. Muffins and slices and pasties and out-of-date crisps and the things that we lived on over the course of the trip.

Never more pastry than in these few days.

What do we do?

Jeb can be proactive when seeking slumber, so he was the first to volunteer to run over the square in which we'd parked and speak to our first French person outside of a service station.

It was costly. Twice the price than if we'd booked online. This was the extent of our research.

But we were much as I am now: a passenger in a poltergeist. We had all reached that point where your brain convinces you that fuel is to be found in frowning.

No more of this. No more. None.

Worry about it tomorrow.

Credit card, and lifts that act like a puzzle from The Crystal Maze.

Take the stairs.

We were split across rooms on the fifth floor.

It all looked so fine from outside. All glass and lights and 'modern traveller'.

Into the sweaty, humid black. Bunks were assigned but already filled by others, so find your own. It was a wild west of foam mattresses as thick as DVD cases and what felt like alien fingers crawling across you as you slept. I thought the room was full, but torchlight in my bunk at 4 a.m. told me otherwise. Another intrepid traveller, attempting to take what had been allocated. Sorry, Sir, but when the authorities' backs are turned, we have our own game going on. You'll have to figure out these rules on your own, just as I did.

I eventually got an hour or two of rest after laying awake in the dark for hours, sniggering at my imaginings of how the others were getting along in their respective rooms.

It was a joy, then, after being awoken by the 7 a.m. refitting of the next-door bathroom, to arrive at a riverside breakfast greeted by four other frog-eyed men whose arms were as limp and lame as the stale cereal they were each lumping into their mouths. Jeb chewed on the milk and took a sip of sawdust coffee, before giving me a look.

'This is shit, isn't it.'

Nobody slept as soundly as the spiders that spin around the van.

So we moved in confusion and caffeine, driving around to get the kind of view of these cities we so often get; mainly from the window of a rumbling van. Tin can safari.

We did hop out to get a few selfies out by the Eiffel tower, though. Despite our state, our smell, and our brains slowly calcifying, we were still classified as humans; still strangers to one of the most iconic cities in the world.

It's all a blur, from then until our checking in to the hotel we'd been afforded for this night by the promoter. This was a first. Our first hotel. Riverside. In we go, our chests puffed up with pride.

Name?...breakfast...Check out...rooms...keys...yes, yes, yes. Mmmhmmm.

'...and it's all been paid for.'

This put a particular kind of smile on our faces.

Showers, naps. Games.

Knock on Grandad Jeb's door and run away. He will always open it, and always grumble.

Meanwhile, I'm peering out from behind the vending machines down the way, and giggling, and wondering why no-one else will play with me.

But we're clean and hydrated and heading to the gig, in a cool little place called the Trabendo, just off the beaten track, as part of the Fireworks festival.

Thanks to the crew and staff and promoter, you were all fantastic.

And hello to the awesome Sylvan Esso and Fickle Friends, with whom we had the honour of sharing the stage.

And thanks to all the people who turned up. The room was absolutely fantastic. There was a feeling in the air that I haven't felt in a long time. Out front, and backstage, the party was a constant force to be reckoned with, and everyone was a part of it. Smiles and energy and good feeling and smooth running. No hiccups, just good people and good times and grins and sweat and beer and bourbon.

Those are a few of my favourite things.

And then we pack up and ditch the van and head out, surfing on the buzz that only a great gig in a strange city and no sleep can provide.

We were ably guided by a local friend of a friend – the International Phoria Network runs deep – and after watching the barriers of the metro fall like crumbling mountains beneath our flying feet, we travelled through the wormhole to go...where? We did not know.

'Do you have any idea where we are?' Jeb asked.

'Nope!' I said, with a grin on my face.

Suddenly a bar, and I'm hanging off the end of it like a villain at the end of some action movie, the city trying to pry my fingers off and make me fall.

There are people inside, and there are people outside. We're talking and proudly letting our Englishness fall out of us like farmyard buckets spilling over with freshly produced, certified organic effluence. We're outside, bragging and joking. We're inside, leading the loud party and the music gets bigger and little pockets that once sat around in stone start ordering more and breaking out in dance, and we claw into the wood, making more beer and getting thicker and letting Paris channel us wherever it wishes.

And then we get a taste of it.

And I'm looking at my phone, trying to GPS it back to the hotel with everyone in tow, and I look up and the world has gone dark. The lights have gone out. I'm only reading shadows. I'm in the street and there is no colour anywhere.

I call the others and there is no answer. But I have the route to the hotel.

I find Jeb, like a lamppost in the wind, swaying on some corner with a little gaggle that had joined us out of the bar.

And I'm getting a call from one of the gang I've lost, my phone beaming at me through the darkness.
They've been locked inside a shop. Their eyes were bigger than their bellies could afford and now we are stuck and they are locked in behind blind black steel shutters and we are broke. We are stony broke, and the manager wants one Euro.

One Euro.

Oh, and before this bit, just as I have found myself in the darkness, I am caught in the centre of the underground workings of the city, for a brief moment, and it is only after the tires scream away behind me that I realise, alone and newly unlit as I was, that it was perhaps only a little joke in French about my personal 'intake' habits that may have gotten me out of more trouble than any steel shutter will give you. Everyone here is spring heeled.

Listen, in GCSE French, children.

But this man was sniffing, as it were, around the shop where my friends are shuttered. What's linked, here?

And a man appears out of the darkness, his bright white eyes gleaming. Also our Parisian guide has come to help, appearing from nowhere. She and the man are now arguing.

I must leave her and find one Euro.

So Jeb is still with his friends on a distant corner and they have something strange going on, and while he leans against the wind he chats to one or two of them who have craning necks and meerkat insincts, and who I know I have seen before; who ignored me on the other side of the road, and now they are surrounding us and circling us like jackals.

And one man speaks to one girl who wants to take us clubbing on the Champs Ellysees, and from what I hear he wants something from her more than the cigarettes that she offers, and in between the laughter and the heads of lager and fizz and pop there is a cats cradle being weaved and my mind takes an ugly turn.

On the other side of the street, they are still arguing. She is strong and that is good, but his eyes are fierce and there are more mopeds than only his, all with their engines running and heads turned uniformly, watching their friend.

And I break in to the conversation behind Jeb that I have been monitoring, because these party animals are smaller and the men who have caught them are not well, and I must have one Euro. My friends are locked in. But he doesn't care. And I have a Rizla raised in my hand that's out in front of me and I am ready because I have interrupted his cold-call sales pitch, so the thin roll of paper is held up like a fool's talisman and rests, powering the hand that protects me with mere drunken innocence and I keep my wits about me and I bag a coin from the girl once she has put the man to rest and he leaves and she returns to some of her friends who have appeared. And Jeb sways and I tell him to come with me, because we have raised more than our fair share of anything for one evening.

And the moped gang takes one measly Euro and slides off to whatever deliveries they may make, while the gang reunites and laughs and courts the last, strange thirty-minutes in confusion and relief and we walk a moment and the light returns to the city and turns everything gold and we smile, and Trewin says we need something to remember what happened and I say don't worry, I'll be writing about it.

So we say goodbye to our guide and our friend and we waltz through the roads, staring down taxis, and I'm wondering where we will go next, and what possible route we will be taken on to get to whatever resting place we might be heading to tonight, because we do not know if it will be wood or stone at our heads. A night rarely lets you go once you've been thrown to the dogs. You have to get out before they put the reigns on you, else you're not getting out at all.

And then I am sure he was an angel.

Patient and kind, to four strange and loud men, in our first night in Paris. He spoke no English, so I did my best, again – sat in the front seat with my phone held out in front of me, showing him the same route that I'd tried to get us on so much earlier in the evening. And he followed it and let me speak in broken French and smiled and nodded. He did know one phrase, actually. So I would speak badly and apologise and he would say 'It's OK. No problem.' It happened enough times that we were laughing about it.

And we got out at the hotel and he was a good man and we tipped him well and we stood outside the hotel and smoked in silliness and brushed into the lobby to say hello to the night staff, with smiles on our faces and brains that had been well thorned by the rose of Paris.

One man can work the bar, but he has no power. The hotel shuts the pumps down and locks the cabinets. I can buy him a drink. No? We still have something left in us, Trewin and I. We sit and drink water and we learn the man's politics and how he is a good man. We mean him well. It is short but he is courteous, and I hope he found us respectful.

How else would we be?

And suddenly we swallow night-time like a pill and it is morning and I don't know how I've slept, but I have. I am in bed. And the mirror shows that I am on television, being filmed on a handi-cam, and the mirror turns sideways and bumps itself on my head.

And we all pour down the lift-shafts and again just throw the breakfast at ourselves.

And we go, swimming through the air with light heads to wherever we parked the van. Ed is well rested. He will drive.

And Paris says goodbye to us and we wonder what the hell just happened.

These cities have their ways. We'll be doing more of them as we go. We'll be back in Germany in May, and we're looking forward to our first gig in Norway at some point later this year. Zurich, too, next month. And Brussels.

And until then we'll be getting the album done, as we have been doing so diligently. We're in a good spot. We're doing well.

Come and see us, if you're about. Check everything out for where we are. It ain't right here.

Because, for now, I am trying to piece this all together.

Thanks, Paris, and all who helped us along the way. We'll be back.

And we'll carry an extra Euro, now that we know.

Just in case.

Because these things can happen.

Over One Euro.

Hope you enjoyed it.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sunday confession.

How do we go about it?

Well first, you need to get stuck in an old car in the icy weather, one of you out front squirting de-icer at the windscreen (Ed) while the other (me) petrifies inside trying to get the heaters to work (they don't) and skating the windscreen wipers across the still frozen windscreen when you hear a muffled 'OK! Try it again!' over the sound of whirring fans and pop-pickers' radio.

Then you've got to skate on worn rubber to the train station and wait at a kind of pick-up/drop-off roundabout for the person who claims to represent your interests on a day-to-day basis. (This road is no good for someone like me – someone who wouldn't know where to put themselves if they'd been assigned their own seat at their own birthday party in their own house and they were the only person there, e.g. May 3rd 2013 – so there I was behind the wheel, shuffling and moving and making little trips backwards and forwards around one of those 'no-one-minds-we-don't-mind-you-don't-mind' blind-eye car-park-non-car-parks out the back of Brighton station until every other car just left a nine foot gap either end of me, placing bets on what I was going to do next.)

I was just trying to stay out of everybody's way, and strike the balance between my car neither blowing up nor breaking down. It's a see-saw, this life, I tell you.

Then you purchase Hussein quantities of alcohol. And carrots and crisps and dips and pizza.

Then head home to have a business meeting.

And share stories that go nowhere, and discuss mixing engineers and international corporate finance and strategy. And sit in light diffused by a couple of freshly laundered shirts because you don't have a good enough lampshade. Headaches are for tomorrow – not now. We're talking business and getting things done, you see.

And we're getting on one another's nerves and tickling each other's little bones, as it were, of contention and trying to pick the locks to each other's thinking places.

And we discuss the usual. How we're going and where to get there. And usually the trip is only as far as the kitchen to get another bottle or to check the food hasn't burned and whether any new gossip has come about in the house – which is spilling over like bad broth with the lives of 'other people' – in the last few hours before taking a deep breath and goodnighting to the others and diving back into the sea of six of us too skilled in the popular arts and living too much in the shadow of our shared cultural history to go to bed sober even once at this stage in our slowly degrading lives.

And us chosen ones hammer our lungs and livers and head out, as some of us fall by the wayside late, yet early, to the nitty-gritty of where we are, and who we are, because we're friends and not everything is easy and this great block of iron that is us needs forging, and that needs fire, and sometimes in a fire a hedgehog will catch alight. 

And the hedgehog will come running out from beneath the brush and swear his revenge against all of humanity, wherein the devil will find a willing soul, and engage us in the never-ending battle between good and evil; this world and the next; Ant and Dec.

So how do we go about it?

How do we go about our business?

Like righteous Gods. That's how. Breathing fire at the devils for your own protection.


We're still working. We have these pictures in our heads. It's a process; it is what it is. Just know that today is Sunday and Sunday is for bleeding the evil out and letting the spirits in.

So get your leech on and allow us to shower you, as ever, in our everlasting love, for you have been invited to attend our mass.


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

There's a joke in this title.

What is a typical day like, at the moment?

We're in the gritty midst of a million different things, being snatched at and strangled by so many clammy hands that none of them can yet get a tight enough grip on our necks to pull us down.

Much of our work is fueled by bananas, coffee, and fatty snacks.

First thing is communication. There are always little bits of housekeeping to be done at the beginning of the day, be that replying to an email or putting a little package together or replying to your nice messages or checking this or that with whomever is sorting what.

I put things together sometimes, like little splashes of promo. Maybe a blog post, here or there, where I make things up entirely to put to bed the pretence that a musician's life is one of excitement and glamour. I often complete these tasks under a sheet, listening to Brian Eno and wondering if 11 a.m. is too early to finish yesterday's crisps.

It's not too early.

I've usually got about ten other windows open too, with some other stuff that I've been working on for a bit, so it ain't all sleep and cake.

Usually on a day like today the band will get together around 2 p.m. It's a time that suits everyone. Jeb's usually been up late, hallucinating into a computer screen until his clicking finger looks like one of Schwarzennegger's legs. Sez usually joins us around five or six, depending on what he's done with his day. Meanwhile Jeb, Trewin, Ed and I have a little jam, or just a noodle on some instruments, or edit some stuff for the new album, or have a session of ideas or just a cup of tea and a chat to warm up for the evening. Chat and a laugh.

Then we practice and problem solve. I think there's a new track where I'm going to be playing keys, and drums, and probably a harp with one of my feet. It's a bit like planning a war and sending your medic out on his/her/its/bear's own to plant explosives deep behind enemy lines.

And that goes on into the night. Getting the new songs done and choosing synths and putting the new live set together alongside the album. That's where we are. And we have little chats where we brainstorm and go off into flights of fancy about the future and what we could do with it, little ball of decorative marzipan that it is. And we look at potential artwork and trash it while drinking brandy with our little fingers sticking out and debating whether the ancient Egyptians predicted the Libor rigging scandal.

And then we say goodnight to each other and disappear into our respective hidey holes and drink Horlicks and cuddle our teddy bears and play old vinyls of our mothers singing us lullabys. And we do our homework and stay in school in play in the local sports team and eat healthily, just like Jamie Oliver has rigorously instructed us to under penalty of televised death for the last ten years of relentless commercial dictatorship on a show called The Non-Running Man.

And we fall asleep and suffer nightmares. Nightmares of the invasion by giant babies that swim through space as if it's water. Their scalp appears first, over the horizon, glowing like a torch shone from close proximity against a peach, before suddenly the big blue eyes appear and the smiling, toothless mouth that promises peace, at last, from all human suffering.

And then I wake up in a cold sweat to the sound of ethereal noise, and I realise that I never left my bed at all, but in fact fell asleep while writing this very note.

Then how did these words appear? I must don my cloak and jump the first carriage that will take me to the seminary. Surely Lord Pheethenstaph will want to know about this.

That's a typical day in the life of the band Phoria of which I am a part.


P.S. Probably mention Cargo album preview 10th March as that's something we're doing.

Friday, 16 January 2015

I bet you thought I was full of surprises?

In a data driven world where it is possible to so comprehensively think and feel so many different things in an ever diminishing span of time, it's increasingly difficult to pick one idea for which it's worth getting out of bed in the morning. This might be caused by a childish loss of the ability to concentrate (which is easy enough to blame on 'the internet' just as it was on 'the television', 'the radio' and 'the paintings on the wall', rather than seeking the cause in our own personal failings and primitive need for quick slaps of quasi-cerebral occupation), or it might be that, in general, ideas are so diffuse and large swathes of the culture so homogenised that distinct ideas no longer possess the laser-like ability to energise in the way that they once did. So, one may wake up, have, achieve, do fun, and then sleep, perchance to dream, with little source of lobo-motive energy but pre-packaged plastic packeted slates of creatively perverted carbohydrate. There is as much negative to be said about this cycle as there as positive. There is as little left to preach of it as there is vitamin D currently being pressed through my veins. (So many people cared and feared for me and my paper white skin, eighteen months ago, when overloading yourself with as much vitamin D as you could possibly take became a strange source of Great British Pride until kale turned up at the bottom of an aeropress and ruined things for everybody who'd got it all so right, so far.)

And I guess that's kind of what I'm talking about. The world I see that runs rampant in screens and speakers is a flat plate of boring ideas, executed largely by pretenders, mainly for people whose primary interest is themselves and how selfless and nu-new-age they can appear to be to others while buying clothes made by slaves and paid for, with quivering and fearful hands, over a counter attended to by either a tax-dodger or a pseudo-socialist so pierced that they whistle when it's windy.

But perhaps that satirically emphasised point of view is just my own, if that makes it more easy to discard.

Hurrah, then, for a new energy in the Phoria camp, so we might at least attempt to avoid this fate of cookie-cutter drudge and despair and perhaps break through to something a bit different.

New shit. New shit. New people and things and ideas. New music. New directions. We're having discussions where we bash our heads against each other more hard than before to try and come up with something that'll work. We're all sensitive folk, and we're all finding our way, but we all see that we've been sucked into this particular breadth of the temporal vacuum where relevance is more relative than it ever has been before; where age and work can be more easily packaged and sold; where the ability to energise others with whatever you're doing can be achieved more succinctly, through a million different channels all at once, and in a million new ways.

Whether it will all amount to water and ash is something we will have to deal with as it comes, but for now the mere promise of doing something new, whatever it might be, is getting us going, and giving us a little glint in our eyes, and making us look forward to the future.

Let's see what will happen today.

I'll probably fall asleep in an hour. All this energy is tiring me out.


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Look at the horizon. That's me, there.


1 banana
2 knife fulls of peanut butter
2 slices of bread (white or wholemeal, but never seeded)
a tilted jar of honey

Lightly toast the bread put peanut butter on the bread slice the banana on the peanut butter on the bread tilt the honey drizzle the honey on the banana on the peanut butter on the bread grill for five minutes or until the banana starts to brown wash down with coffee and a coffee and whatever tobacco products you might have to hand and end up sprawled on the cold hard patio having chewed off your own arm.

We're kind of back, after the Christmas break, looking for winter berries and hot pockets to snuggle in. It's cold here. Everything online might be polished enough to successfully deliver eternal escape, but a computer screen can only keep you so warm.

I fear I may have to leave the comfort of my tiger-print slumbering table. It's dry in here, and outside it rains. But the tracklist is real. The album for the tracklist is real. Sorry – the tracklist for the album is real. We might be getting together today to further the infinite new of culture. Sounds exciting, eh?

All the stuff is ready at the band house. Just half-an-hour down up the alley.

But...the bed. This bed and the state it's in. It's got memory foam on it and I just picked up a new duvet. It has an aura. If temperature is a measure of the movement of atoms, I think the rate at which my body is expelling some musty odour is creating the heat I find myself in. If I leave it a couple more days I might even start to save on the lighting bill. I should not draw this experiment to a close, yet. Neither for the band, nor to reverse my twenty-odd year decline in social status...

I've also got things to do, don't get me wrong – I'm not looking for a day of zero sum.

I'm looking for a day of pulling puppet strings from behind a simmering pot of letters, like an evil Grandma cooking soup.

We've got a few meetings tomorrow, too, in that London, with some people or something who want to enjoy being a part of what we do.

If they like hot beds and bananas, they'll be just fine.

We'll let you know how it goes.

So speak free and loud, and listen out.


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas is coming.

[opens door]

Oh my days it's you! How are you?

[you hand me a gift wrapped basket of pornography]

Oh! Is that for us? That's so thoughtful!

[I rummage through and pull out 2001: Erased Modesty]

Oh, Jeb will love this one. Is this the director's cut with the monkeys still left in? Fantastic. Come in! Come in and have a coffee.

[I take you by the hand and guide you through beneath slabs of meat hanging on rusty hooks. We sit on short stools around a tiny table. Seryn and Jeb are in the corner, hanging stale donuts and cheap tat on the giant twig we use as a Christmas tree. You can hear Ed in the next room, singing in a falsetto voice whilst doing the washing up loudly in a passive aggressive attempt to make us feel guilty]

So, how have you been?

[you give me some boring answer about the family and illness and how much bad stuff has happened to you]

Yeah, that's great. Let me put some music on.

Now this is one of my favourites of the year. Should perk you up. It's got Christmas bells in it at the beginning.

[you finally ask how our year has been]

Well, it's been a funny one! We've had things that we thought were going to happen sink without trace, but then new and more exciting things have constantly popped up to replace them, which is cool. Display came out this year, and did nicely. We did a UK tour, a little European tour, and loads of shows, all around the place. We got some good airplay on Radio One, were a record of the week on BBC Radio Six, smashed the Hype Machine again, broke Soundcloud, went recording at Abbey Road, and just generally did loads of great stuff. Seryn got a job in Sainsbury's car park for last few weeks, which he loves and says he might take up instead of the band. I think he calls it 'extra-commercial lead generation', which excites him, at least.

[Seryn's face appears from behind a bauble: 'I am easily excited, let me tell you.']

It's easy, with the way things are going at the moment, to look at stuff negatively (like, you know, the loud rise of a socially conservative minority that have somehow taken all the popular power in a country where more than half of the voting population voted 'left', and only one third voted for a right wing party – a party that hid behind a lie of centrist rhetoric, smiles, and bicycles - at the last election...and alongside that the only apparent counterbalance in our popular discourse is a mediocre comedian with the political views of a fifteen year old rolling a spliff under a pier), but when we think that this year we've had some of our best gigs, and our best times, in the back of a ragged old van with cheap bottles of booze and a DIY set-up that we love more than life itself, it's difficult to be upset. We have been very, very, very lucky.

[you warn us about...]

Yes, yes, I know. Still, we're really grateful to Ben and Stevie at X Novo, Jörg, Colin, Vivien, and Robin at Humming Records, Jesse the plugger, James and Jules at The Agency, Carlo at ASS (or wherever he is now), Ciara and Bram and Nell and Archie, erm...we're grateful to everyone we've stopped working with this year for everything they've done, and we're really looking forward to new relationships in the new year. We're grateful to all the promoters who had us play, and all of the people who let us stay in their houses, without knowing us. Nottingham; Leicester; Copenhagen. We're just grateful for everyone who's been involved – everyone who came to see us, everyone who bought the EP, everyone who follows us on social media, everyone who's covered us and interviewed us in blogs and on 'tape'. Even the person alone in their room who was looking at pictures of me and then accidentally clicked 'like' on the Phoria page and was about to 'unlike' until this textual distraction popped up in their newsfeed. That's a list, isn't it?

['Stop it.']


It's true, though.

So, yeah. What are you doing for Christmas?

[you say how you're spending it alone, curled up beside a candle for warmth and drawing pictures with your finger in the ripped carpet of all the people who have abandoned you.]


Obviously not.

[' Are there no workhouses?']

Well, yeah. Call centres. But many would rather die than cold call vulnerable people and scare them into buying double glazing.

['Then they had better hurry up and die, and decrease the surplus population.']

Not sure.

['Yeah, they should.']

Don't know.

[Seryn's wide-eyed face pops out from the top of the Christmas twig and says: 'Christmas, let me tell you.' Jeb is eyeing up one of the donuts.]

[you ask if we got you anything, as you have very little to your name but still managed to steal us a big basket of now illegal pornography. I flick through the most recent ones, including In to Stella and Hard Ians of the Galaxy. allow me this fun]

Watch our social media on Christmas day, perhaps. Watch our social media on Christmas day, perhaps when you're stuffed full of Turkey [you say you haven't got a Turkey] and supermarket booze [you spent all your money on double glazing, you say] and perhaps we'll make something available to soothe your spirit. Maybe we'll have something available around then that you can put your Christmas money into.

Something distant from the racket, which everyone will need.

[Jeb puts the star on top of the tree, picks a donut from the box, and whispers in my ear that it's time for 'The Ritual']

Well, I'm going to have to let you go.
[You say your name is Trewin and you live here]

No you don't. Bye.

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.


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