Bob Dylan is seventy.
My notes from last night are funny. They read,
“escaijg the light, fleeing th dy atv3 am, we culd see the true light, and we fled.\
so mich fin left behinf\
wheres the pillows?
Ust stole that shit out the aundry cubboards
We got the porno room
I felt like crap. Happy crap, but crap. Jack felt worse than crap.
On the way to Liverpool we listened to rap records and stopped off on the hard shoulder so Jack could puke his guts up.
“Uuurgh,” said Jack.
I slept for a good 50 miles. Then I woke up and wrote some blogs on my laptop, and battled for internet with my Dongle. We listened to the complete works of Ghostface Killah, then Nas, before taking a detour through peak-period Eminem, when he was going off on one at Everlast and suchlike. I was pleasantly surprised to discover I still know all the words to that one about how Eminem wished Everlast’s heart attack had been fatal.
My favourite Ghostface album is Bulletproof Wallets. My favourite Nas album that isn’t Illmatic is God’s Son. Many years ago I wrote a song called Last Real Wigga Alive based on a track from that. Shit was legendary. It was around the time I did Comic Shop. Ask Wade about that. He still talks about it. I might have to dig that stuff out one day. It is gloriously naïve.
Jack looked like he was made of Volcanic Ash Cloud by the time we got to the Liverpool Travelodge. We made him some orange vitamin C drink and left him to rest in the double bed with a towel on his head while we went off to set up the merch table and soundcheck at the appropriately named Mojo venue.
What looked like a lickle pub from the outside turned out to be some kind of Tardis on entry. A Tardis full of ill posters of Debbie Harry and The Stooges with a whole wall covered in Elvis prints. In the dressing room there were loads of little vegan cupcakes these safe clarts Richard and George who’d come to three previous shows on the tour had made for us all. They had little MC Lars and Weerd Science and MC Chris and Akira The Don flags in them. They’d even made a special one for Jack Nimble with the Weed Song art on it because he said that was his favourite song.
We were blessed with another safe soundman who was in fact so safe that he drove round his mate’s house to borrow a mixer for us to use, as we’d never fully recovered from the one that went to Manchester and the one that blew up in Leicester. It was a very nice mixer as well.
We set up an excellent merch table next to MC Kal’s, with a good view of the stage, and I soundchecked alone. It sounded good. I hoped Jack would turn up. I had this back up plan that involved getting Ryu or Lars to DJ without asking them first by putting them on the spot at the start of the gig from the stage. I did something similar once in Camden with a 13 year old boy. He’d never DJed before and it was pretty ace. I figured we’d get away with it, and it would be fun. But I hoped Jack felt up to it. I wanted to do a really great show, not just fluke a fun one.
“Uuuuurgh,” came a voice from behind me.
Jack had showed up!
He was not well. He looked like The Goon. But he was HERE. And that was awesome.
Backstage Science was having a poo in the toilet that bore the immortal sign: “If you’re having a poo, please use the air freshener.” Science was rapping to himself. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a man rap while he pooed before.
My legs and shoulders were starting to ache. My throat was sore. I feared I was getting Jack’s disease. I drink three bottles of water and ate three oranges in half an hour.
Then we played our mighty rap show.
Jack looked like he was about to collapse for most of it, but he did not. I was on my climbing thing. My standing on speakers thing. It was a joyful thing. Some hench young cat called Will had bravely shown up in a Thanks For All The AIDS shirt so we got him on stage for the ANTHEM and he was awesome. He admitted later his legs were shaking, but you’d never have noticed. He was a G.
It was a great show. I wanted it to be great, because there were lots of hardcore ATD cats in the house, who I knew from the internet, and was meeting in so-called real life for the first time. Like Cog, and Linden. Some of you might know her daughter’s poetry from the Doncast. She gave me a Charles Bukowski book I don’t have. So awesome.
They don’t sell falafel in Liverpool, so I ate more oranges. Tim offered me an alcoholic beverage, then thought better of it, and retuned ten minuets later with boiling hot honey and lemon water for Jack and I. Tim is a superhero. He then ran off to incite another moshpit, which he’s taken to doing every night. He runs to the front, jumps on people’s heads, then flees, leaving a Mighty Mosh Pit in his merry wake. It is a good skill.
“Give it up for history, yo,” said MC Lars, happily. Or maybe he said it the previous night. I can’t remember, but it struck me and Jack as an ill thing to say during a show. Lars is a funny dude. He says, “I’m having a WHALE of a time,” before he plays Ahab. JTL does the “badoom-CHA” on the drums. Lars beams. The worse his jokes are, the happier he looks.
Merch don MC Kal joined Lars and Science onstage for an insanely animated run through Download This Song. When he started doing it earlier in the tour he was shy, reserved, and nervous. Now he runs around that piece like flipping Bono or some shit. He climbs speaker stacks and jumps off and does a mental chicken dance. He stagedived headfirst at the end and nearly knocked a stack of glasses off the bar. “MC Kal!” roared Science, “the Jumping Bean!”
For that is his name.
I joined them for White Kids Aren’t Hyphy/Falling Apart, like we do every night, and it went off, like it does every night. “JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!” I shouted, whilst setting an excellent example as to how to achieve the commanded action.
MC Chris lead the audience in a singalong of Hey Jude for his girl. It was beautiful. MC Chris had one of those nights where most of the crowd knew his stuff, and a great deal of them were queuing up to buy his ceedees and have their photos taken. Some of them were very needy, and demanded kisses. Chris does not give kisses. He signed one woman’s ceedess, had a photo taken with her, but her final demand for kisses was met with stern “No” and an abut heel spin and exist stage left. The woman took her disappointment out on MC Kal, who dealt with it bravely, if wearily, then stuck her tongue down some dude by the soundbooth’s face and fell over. Ah, the fun we have at the merch booth. I was asked to sign one young lady’s face. I wrote AKIRA THE DON APPROVES THIS FACE on it. She had a great face! And so did her boyfriend.
Jack was vibing to Science at the bar, empty honeywater glass in front of him. He didn’t look the colour of Glasgow skies or old socks anymore. “I feel OK you know fam!” he remarked, cheerily. “Maybe it’s the adrenalin.”
Lars was faded, I realized pretty early. Lars is great faded. He gets super-joyful. He spent the whole of our set dancing around at the front with a great big beatific grin on his cheeky chops, which he was still wearing when we packed up at the end. “Who’s the best looking on this tour?” He demanded in the dressing room. “Who has the best beard? Who has the best clothes? Akira does. That cheeky bloke.”
He wandered off cackling into the night, Cheshire cat smiles till spread across his cheeks, pearly whites flashing in the moonlight, a lick of chest hair curling below his adam’s apple. I love Lars. I think he is part werewolf.
Rah though. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THE LAUNCH PARTY!