August 23, 2010
“Peter! Hey, Pete–look at this!”
“What’ve ya there? What’s that shit?”
“Dunno. Smell it though”
I hear the kid called Peter take a sniff, then there’s a moment of awed silence.
“Fuck all—it’s booze! That old geezer left half a drink sittin here!”
I am trying to get some merciful sleep, slouched on an express seat on the 14:00 First Western going toward Bristol Temple Meads. Haven’t slept in about 36 hours, and there is a show tonight.
Ipod out of charge, I try to block out the conversation going on behind me.
I cram my neck against the window as the English countryside glides past, but sleep doesn’t come. Behind me I hear Alf and Ant’s comforting snores, as they have somehow adapted the ability to fall asleep whenever they are allowed to be motionless for over 90 seconds.
Kimm taps away on his laptop, working again, but I cannot get any rest for my jet lagged soul as the conversation continues.
“Booze,” whispers Pete, and they go silent again. I squeeze eyelids tight and pray for sleep, ignore their chatter, but I know Goddamn well what’s coming next.
“Let’s try it,” the other one says.
I open an eye and take a peek. Peter and his chum are 12 year old schoolboys on holiday it looks, sitting just in back of me on the train and away from their daycamp group, who are in the carriage in front.
Apparently the rumpled business man who got off at Swindon left a half filled plastic tumbler on his tray.
“What you suppose it is?” Pete asks his chum.
“Mmmm, I’d say Whiskey and water?”
“What? Whiskey Water? You’re a fuckin moron! What makes you say Whisky and water?
“I dunno. That’s what my Dad has. God, he likes his fuckin Whiskey Water, doesn’t he? Says he needs it just to put it in Mum!”
It’s like listening to Harry Potter and Ron Weasley readin a Guy Ritchie script.
“That’s brown ya fuckin idiot. This stuff is clear, gotta be vodka…”
“Vodka.” Pause. “Try it, it’s vodka!”
“Not me, smells awful!”
“You cunt. Gimmee that, I’ll try it.”
“Nah man, I found it!”
The speaker overhead cakles to life. Bath Spa next stop. All passengers for Bath Spa please gather your belongings.
“Hurry up, man. They’ll be coming to get us soon!”
The next sound is Pete taking a sip. There is an explosive spit, and then I am babtized by Peter’s first taste of alcohol. I feel the mix of Brit school boy saliva and stale booze sprinkling down on my face.
“God, that’s awful,” gasps Pete, as his chum howls in laughter.
I take off my Wayfarers, wipe my face with the back of my hand and sit up, fully awake and my last chance for any sleep vanished.
Peter and his friend look at me, terrified as I put my sunglasses back on.
“It was gin, Pete,” I say to them. “Good stuff too.”
The boys turn and run into the other car cackling as we pull into Bath, ready to start this never ending day yet again.
And this is our life as you sleep in your beds a half world away.
Time to chill a bit before meeting up with the fellas from Valdez, so we hop a city tour bus and fight off the jet lag with touristy good fun.
Turns out Bath was named so because they have Baths there! Who knew? Makes you wonder why Long Beach isn’t named Bad Tattoo–Hey0!
We descend on the chow like ravenous hyenas, and then head upstairs to our apartment to change into our elaborate stage costumes.
Back downstairs to catch Lone Sharks kickin things off, and then Valdez hit the stage.
Next up Far Cue rock on…..
We could’ve been in any lovely parlor in this beautiful town, but we are steps away from the stage we just played on, and 5 tiny meters underneath the beds we will soon slip into, snoring in syncopated unison like a Three Stooges reel.
We drift off to the sweetest of all sleep, that after a long day across an ocean.
As we lay there we can still hear the pub awake downstairs.
There’s muffled laughter and chatter going on just below our beds.
We fall off to sleep smiling like children sent up after saying good night, while their parents continue the dinner party downstairs.