Phase three began in earnest today. Suddenly I was acutely aware that there was less tour ahead of us than there was behind us. Set Dressing Tim Gibson of The Mighty Mutton Chops was in the house, chilling at a 27% angle behind the shiny wooden steering wheel. We were driving to Nottingham, taking the scenic route through the Peak District, blasting rap music, guzzling Costa Coffee (6/10) and scoffing down the scones Tim had made. For the record, I say Scone, like bone and Tim and Jack say scon, like gone, which makes them rabid poshos as far as I can tell, but I forgive them.
We stopped by a big ass lake where some kids were bouldering, which I learned is a bit like rock climbing but on a smaller scale. Tim bounced from rock to rock like Gollum, scooping brown pete water into his face and delighting at the tunnels, while City Jack ambled peacefully along like some giant Zen Buddhist, making ooh and ah noises with regards to the distinctly epic view. It was bloody windy up there, I thought my head was going to come off. Just like when I was little. Wind like that doesn’t care for cities.
Further along our journey we stopped off in a little riverfront town full of bikers and fish and chip shops, to cop some fish and chips and refrain from stealing the bikes as our Grand Theft Auto honed instincts ordered us to. We happened upon a shop full of golliwogs and mugs with golliwogs printed on them. We were amazed. Tim was the most amazed. His eyes bulged on stalks like Tex Avery cartoons as he studied the packaging, and found them to be brand new, 2011 dated golliwogs. “They’re not even antiques,” he gasped. “They’re new! Who makes these things? Who goes into a warehouse and says, yes, we need all those golliwogs for our riverside shop?”
What amused me was the placing of the golliwog mug next to the bald Nazi prince mugs. That shit was so perfect, so beautiful. I couldn’t have made that shit up in a hundred years.
In the Travelodge I did some work while Tim and Jack watched Willy Wonka and a bit of Back To The Future, both excellent films. That Willy Wonka shit seems to get better and better as the years go by. Jack remarked that he couldn’t believe how badly Tim Burton had fucked up the remake, to which I replied that Tim Burton hasn’t made a decent movie since Edward Scissor Hands, apart from maybe Big Fish, which was pretty good. Now I think of it, Big Fish is pretty much the only movie Tim Burton’s made in the past two decades that didn’t have Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in it. That guy has the laziest casting this side of Martin Scorsese.
Nottingham is another of Jack’s favourite cities. It’s a rap city, apparently. People in Nottingham love rap. Jack loves rap. Therefore Jack loves Nottingham. He looked positively beatific up there on that stage, with a nice shiny mixer he’d borrowed from the soundman, who was a deeply safe individual and very good at his job. A deeply safe and good soundman is like the flipping holy grail on tour. If we had a guy like this everywhere we went we’d have nothing to worry about. Not even Jack’s wiring.
The gig was another flipping smasher. A packed house, a party atmosphere, a table in the middle of the stage for me to climb on. Barrier at the front with kids pressed up against it, whose heads I rested on as I delivered a set more like sermon than anything else. It went went beautifully. My vastly improved diction plus the excellent soundman meant that people could actually hear what I was saying. I could tell as they laughed at all the funny bits. There were many beautiful squads of genuine ATD people in the crowd, who knew all the words and requested songs that we then played. I dedicated a song to one such pair and got the girl’s name wrong. I’d written Tinley on my arm, or at least I thought I had, but the T was really a K. I felt bad, but I DID remember that the dude was called Corey. You don’t meet that many Corey’s in real life. It is always special.
We introduced Werewolves to the set in Nottingham. It was a righteous last second decision. We’d just bought the house down with AIDS, and I said, yo, Jack, let’s do Werewolves, and he said, “well it’s a good job I just found that,” and off we wrnt. AOOOO! The good people of Nottingham, did a most excellent and harmonious ”Aooooo”. Music to mine ears.
We finished by getting Lars onstage to do Living In The Future with us. Always a special moment. Lars wore a shit eating grin and executed his rhymes with glorious precision. “Give it up for Akira The DON!” he said. They gave it up for Akira The Don. They gave it up for Jack Nimble. They gave it up for Richard Whitely. They gave it up. I was proud of them. “Tonight,” I mused, “we are all The Don.” They agreed, noisily. We exited the stage damp, and joyful.
MC Chris treated his set like a battle tonight. He was on that Chilly G entertainment Is War shit. Some night’s most everybody in the room will know MC Chris and all his songs. Some nights less. Tonight was in the latter, and when it’s the later, you get Evil Chris, and Evil Chris is on some formidable shit. Evil Chris VS The Audience is an amazing thing to see. A handful of unfortunates got the brunt of the Evil Chris Force, amongst them a woman who got C worded. This lead to her enraged boyfriend hunting Chris down to his merch table after the show to threaten him with death. Jack and Tim appeared at either side of him like guardian bouncers, but I don’t know if they’d have had to do anything. Chris was very apologetic. He was genuinely amazed that anyone had taken his evil routine seriously.
The Weerd Science saga took a new twist today. Science had emergency dental surgery that morning, and could thus barely talk, let alone rap. His swollen face bobbed up and down at the side of the stage for most of the gig, but it did not grace the stage, much to the disappointment of the many new fans of his I’d met that night who’d heard Sick Kids on the internet and couldn’t believe how flipping great it was. “Technically, I haven’t heard a new emcee come that correct since. Ortiz,” said one head. “But he’s better than Ortiz. And he’s not annoying.”
Regardless this left Lars without his right hand man. Not that any one need have worried, because it left Lars to do to do what he used to do . Lars is, after all, a flipping Pro, 8 years deep in this rap shit. Backed by the mighty JTL on drums, he delivered the first pure Lars set of the tour, and the kids loved it so much I thought they might explode. I joined him for White Kids Aren’t Hyphy, and clambered a speaker stack. I didn’t mean to, I just saw it, beckoning me as I walked onstage, so I climbed it. Do you ever get that? Is it a boy thing? I get it all the time. Walls, trees, whatever, if they look climbable , I tis my instinct to climb them.
After the gig we shared Chris’ smokey apple, and bantered merrily.
Back at the hotel Jack and I forced ourselves to stay awake and watch Ultimate Avengers. It was totally worth it.
Photos by Akira The Don, Tim Gibson, Drew Manoram & Chris_CSP