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The Tour The Tour, Day Eighteen: Slam Dunk Leeds

You get used to waking up in strange places. To the point where the only weird thing you could possibly see when you woke up would be your own walls.

Tim was getting dressed. It was eight thirty, or something like that. He was going to the car rental place to pick up the rental car we’d been promised, so we could get the heck out of doge and back up north, specifically to the Slam Dunk Festival, where we had the tasty 6:15 slot on the Front magazine dance stage. I was so excited. So excited I happily dozed right back off as soon as Brave And Noble Tim had left the doorframe behind him.

I woke a little while later to the sound of ringing telephones. Jack threw me mine. He had his Here We Go Again face on.

“Sprrfsh vrrrpsh vrrrp.” said the phone. “Sprrrk sppsh vo faaaargh. There is no car.”

“Whaddya mean there is no car?” I demanded, half askeep. “They promised us car!”

“There is no car,” said Tim, grimly.

"Fuck," I said, eloquently.

There was no train either. Well, no train that cost less than £300.

“We’re going to have to take the L,” said Jack, who, as he tells us often, is a Realist. “Get back to London, sort out shit out, be at the festival site in Hatfield tomorrow, ready.”

“Never,” I said. “People are going there to see us! They’re sending me messages about how excited they are! We will not let them down! We will make it! I have faith! And blind faith has got us this far. Let’s ask Twitter.”

I then remembered that, just last night, before we went to bed, CharCharGabor82, who was a real person I’d put on the guest list for the Nottingham show because I’d seen her on Twitter saying how sad she was that she couldn’t afford to come to the show, had, via Twitter, offered to drive down to where we were from Nottingham and drive us all the way to Leeds.

I opened up my raptop, still as pleasing a sensation as when I bought it nine weeks ago. "Fwup," it said, languidly. In my DM comumn in Tweetdeck were the following two messages, from CharCharGabor82:

Still haven't figured out if you want me to get u haha. I'm road trip ready if u do.

My numero is 0********** if u need a chauffer. I might even don a hat.

“We’re saved!” I exclaimed, with vast joy. “Look! That’s why out of all the billions of tweets in my Home column I saw that one and put her on the list! So she could save the day and drive us to Slam Dunk! Sweet serendipity!”

I phoned CHarCharGabor82 on the number she’d DMed me.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello,” I said, remembering I’d read somewhere that the word hello was invented specifically as something for people to say when they greeted each other on the telephone. “This is Akira The Don. We would love to accept your generous offer of a lift to Leeds.”

“I shall be there in a jiffy,” said CharCharGabor82, or something like that. Perhaps she said “in three shakes of a lambs tail”. I can’t remember. Something to the effect of “soon.” I put the phone down and beamed triumphantly at Jack.

It was around ten am by this point. Soon Tim came back, and I told him the good news. He, like Jack, was cautious. “Is she in that little car that went ‘poor poot’ when we saw her leave  in it after the gig in Nottingham? Has she left already? It takes 4 hours minimum to get to Leeds. We need to be there to line check at 5:30. It’ll take up to half an hour to get on site. So we need to leave here at 1 at the latest. Is she driving from Nottingham? Has she left yet?”

“Yes,” I said, in the manner one would say, well duh, as if they were the stupidest questions I'd ever heard. “It will be fine.”

We watched a little Russia Today, and Jack made some coffee. About twenty minutes or so later I got a text from CharCharGaboer82 saying she was about to leave.

“How far is Nottingham from here?” asked Tim.

Here was 3 hours from Nottingham.

Here was Bridgwater.

“Bridgwater is the country’s suicide capital,” said Jack, incorrectly. “Don’t quote me on that.”

Charlotte had sent me a photo of my cactus. It was flowering.

We left the hotel at miday, as is right and polite, and wandered into town, beneath the doleful calm a thick, damp tramp's blanket of doughy cloud. We passed the shit cinimea we saw on the way in, that looked like a crack house, or something that had gotten bombed in the war and never rebuilt. We passed the café we’d played in last night, the café we’d gone through hell and high water and a seven hour journey in the wrong direction to get to. The café Tim’s car had died trying to reach.

“Ho ho ho,” I said.

“Ho ho ho,” said Tim.

Jack smiled, beatifically. He seemed very calm. We all did. Our lives were not in our hands. It was OK.

We’d been sat in the Costa Coffee on Bridgwater High Street for a few hours, before that stated to change. I’d observed a middle aged woman telling some friends how it was her decision if she wanted to have sex with other men, and that her husband would have to deal with it. Jack and Tim had discussed things of great manly import, or so it appeared from where I was sat, clattering away furiously at my raptop. I suppose they might have been talking about comics, They usually were, now I come to think of it.

I had written most of the Manchester and Bridgwater blogs. It was half one. Four hours till load in. The occasional hopeful and cheery text would come in from CharCharGabor82, who had been stuck in terrible traffic for many hours. I spoke to her, and she said something about a possible shortcut. I pictured her spinning the steering wheel and abandoning the motorway, driving through rolling Postman Pat fields at breakneck speed.

“This is very much like Clockwork,” said Jack, who was still very calm. I was lesscalm. I had a sort of tragic desperation about me. I refused to believe that all was lost. I concocted many ways we could get there in time, mostly involving speeding and Luck.

“All is not lost!” I said, finally.

Jack and Tim went for a walk. It was Two-ish. Hope was draining from my pores like ghostly sweatbeads in a backwards gravity spaceship. I sat in the Costa like a sad pink island, surrounded by a sea of bags of cables and decks and socks and things, and finally, head bowed, accepted my fate.

I would not entertain the men and women of Leeds.

It was OK.

“Wah,” I said, sadly to myself, and drew a message on my fingers to post on the internet by way of apology.

At around three or so, CharCHarGabor82 rang, excitedly. “I’m nearly here!” she said, “We’re going to make it!” I knew that wer were not, but I thought it best not to say just yet. I didn’t want to crush that hope, and for her to crash in the last stretch, out of sheer sadness or something. I might have, were it me.

Presently, Jack and Tim returned.

“I just saw one of the most heinous  and grimy things I saw in my life,” said Jack, excitedly. “I just saw a kid with one bottle of generic Tesco energy drink, pouring the bottle of energy drink into a bottle of Scrumpy jack. It’s 2 in the afternoon. That’s deep shit.”

I agreed. That was some heinous shit.

“Anyway, we got you something,” said Jack, and gave me a hug, and a large-headed Spider-man toy.

“We weren’t supposed to go, obviously,” reasoned Tim. “We could have got in a car and had an accident There’s no way of knowing we’d be in Leeds now. We might be dead.”

Jack nodded, sagely, and Tim burst into song: “There is no earthly way of knooooowing!”

Presently ChaChaGabor82 phoned. She was opposite the shit cinema by the hotel. “I’m opposite a really horrible looking cinema!” she said.

We found her, our knight in a tiny shiny car that went ‘poot poot’. I was sad that we had to tell her we weren’t going to make it to Leeds.

“Oh no!” she said.

“Will you drive us to London?” asked Tim, with his cheeky face.

“Yes,” said Char CharGabor82, which was an awfully nice thing for a person who’d just driven for four and a half hours to pick up a band to take them to a festival only to find out they weren’t going to a festival at all.

We didn’t go straight away, obviously. We walked back through town, showing CharCharGabor82 the sights, like the shit cinema, and the café we’d played in, and went back to Costa, our new home, with our sea of bags, and made a new island.

I clattered away on my raptop a bit more, and rang my girl to tell her I’d be home that evening. She didn't sound as excited at the prospect as I’d hoped.

“You’re not supposed to be back till tomorrow!” she said flusteredly. “I have to paint! My sister’s here! We’re planning the wedding!”

“Fine, I’ll find somewhere else to sleep!” I stropped, teenagishly. “See you tomorrow!”

I hung up and gazed mournfully at my sharpie stained hand. I supposed that she probably had an awful lot planned to do today, before I was supposed to go back. I figured I would stay at Tim's or something.

Charlotte rang back.

“I’m sorry, it was just unexpected,” she said. “Of course I'm excited to see you. I love you!”

I shed a sneaky little tear, and returned to the party. They were discussing pound shops.

A waitress dropped some cups. People went, "ooooh!" Eventually, we left Costa. I was glad to see the back of it.

We got into CharCharGabor82’s little car, which was no mean feat and reminded me of those jokes about Minis and elephants, and set off home. With the weight of expectation, and Not Knowing gone, everybody was suddenly in fine spirits.

We listened to CharChargabor82’s iPod, and bantered, merrily. Tim’s car, which was supposed to have been taken back to his old man’s house by the AA, had gone missing. This was potentially good news for Tim, who’d recently had a laptop stolen, out of the car and lost an iPod in the car, as if they had indeed lost the car he would get the insurance, and a new car, rather than having to deal with a dead car that needed scrapping, and maybe even a new laptop and iPod too.

We stopped at a services for food. I, foolishly, chose the KFC bucket, and suffered the consequences. Tim went for the lab shank.

“Ah, life” he beamed through his magnificent mutton chops.

“Ah, life,” I agreed. Jack smiled, nibbling on a sandwich. He looked as calm and comfy as he had all tour. A realist, I supposed, is rarely disappointed.

*************************

 

It was dark when we got back to Hackney Wick. Tim and Jack helped me carry my stuff up the metal stairs to my door. It felt like along time since I’d seen those stairs. The fairy lights twinkled up the metal hand rail all the way up to the top, where My tiger was sat at the top, waiting for me, surrounded by balloons.

Charlotte’s sister answered the door, grinning mischievously. Charlotte was getting changed, or in the shower, or something exciting and girlish like that. The house was all shiny and painted and new and full of pink balloons.  They were for my birthday. I’d forgotten I had a birthday.

I dropped a second sneaky tear, and got rid of it just in time to meet the rocket ship embrace of my beloved.  It was like the first time. My heart was full. I could have died there and then.

 

But I didn’t.

 

 

The Tour The Tour, Day Seventeen: Bridgwater Or Bust, A Strange And Terrible Saga

The first thing I did was wake up at 8am still high off of Lars’ damn apple, and get in Set Dressing Tim’s Rapmobile and head into Manny central where I was to be a guest on Envy’s Unity FM radio show. We left Jack trying to make another zombie mixer. I suspected he would go back to bed. I would have.

I still had my Tom Waits voice when I got to the Unity studios. My Tom Waits voice tends to afflict me for three (3) hours after waking and before sleeping if I happen to be drinking whisky or smoking weed, add another hour if both. It’s a very pleasing thing, sonically, but it really does wear off, in the manner of the bubble shields in Sonic, or something, which can confuse those who are unaware of it’s nature as a Temporary Special Power. Today it started to wear off during the on air interview, which seemed to confuse the hell out of Envy’s co presenter, who really ought to be aware of such things, given he’s been in The Game for thirty odd years. Perhaps they don’t have weed and whiskey in the bit of Manchester he’s from.

Anyway. I had a lovely time, and after the interview Envy and I played pool, wherein I was shocked and ashamed to discover that we are both as bad as each other, which is really flipping bad. If we’d paid, we’d have got our money’s worth fifteen times over. And we’d have gotten in a fight with other people who were waiting to play.

Afterwards I wandered into town and did some work in the Starbuxx. I wasn’t doing too badly on my whole working while on tour thing. I was supposed to be designing characters for an iPhone game, and I had had some terrible Wacom tragedy,  which was troubling me somewhat, and I wasn’t managing to Blob Blog a great deal, and I wasn’t managing to keep up with all my Twitter requests at all, but apart from that, I really wasn’t doing too bad. I patted myself on the back (literally), and clattered away at my raptop while I waited for the boys to pick me up. Which, at around midday, they did.

Still buzzing from the triumph and glory of last night’s incredible show, Set Dressing Tim, DJ Jack Nimble and I, Akira The Don, did get into the rapmobile and aim south, for Summerset, and Bridgwater. It seemed a strange thing to do. We were playing the mighty, goliath, and excitingly SOLD OUT Slam Dunk festival in Leeds tomorrow. Leeds is only a 30 minute drive from Manchester. Yet, for some unfathomable reason, we were to drive four hours south, then back up again the next day. I knew nothing of Bridgwater. It must be a special place indeed to make such a detour. I was excited.

We spent a pleasant journey listening to MC Lars’s first album, and Jack, who was on the phone to Bristol lost property. We were still trying to track down the mixer and stuff that ended up on that train.

“It’s a black M Audio bag, with a  DJ mixer in it, and a load of audio cables,” he explained, patiently, to the human on the other end of the line. “And a cowbell. Yeah, a cowbell. Really. Yeah, seriously a cowbell.  Nah, nothing else. Oh yeah, a Lars Attacks T shirt. Yeah, DJ mixer. Vestax. Yeah, hip-hop. Oh really? Safe. Yeah, I appreciate that fam, that’s fine. OK. Well, either myself or my friend will call. If it does turn up that would seriously make my day. OK, thank you bruv. Nice to talk to you.”

There was a pause.

Then:

“FUCK OFFFFFFF!”

“Fucking techno DJ,” he concluded, grimly.

I wrote the Liverpool blog, until my battery ran out. We passed some farms. “Fucking hell Worcestershire you fucking STINK!” barked jack. He’s so not ill anymore.

We were racing along the fast lane on the motorway half an hour out of Bridgwater, 45 minutes from soundcheck, and I was halfway through some monologue about the nature of RA The Ruggedman’s flow when Tim suddenly, but calmly, informed us that the engine had stopped. We drifted elegantly through three lanes of traffic to the hard shoulder, where we rolled to a halt, the bonnet steaming ominously. Tim turned the key in the ignition.

“Chugga chugga pffff,” said the car, lamely. “Chugga chug pfffffffft.”

We got out of the car, and after some vain fiddling with the smoking engine, Tim called the AA. They said they’d be 50 minutes. We hung around on the verge, because Tim had seen too many cars on hard shoulders getting wiped out by other cars on Youtube, and whiled away the time in various ways. Tim invented a rock throwing game, wherein one had to throw a rock up the verge, and it had to roll down into the gutter. I was crap at it. Tim was remarkably cheeery for a man whose car (which he loved dearly) had just blown up.

I climbed the verge and took a piss up the top, looking down on the rubbernecking traffic that slowed down to stare at our party, hoping for some blood perhaps, or just confirmation that someone was doing worse than they. Which I suppose we were.

 

I cut my arm and my knee on the way down. It is to be expected.

Eventually some AA subcontracter showed. The belt was gone, the pistons were gone, the car was dead. Scrap. He towed us to the nearest MacDonalds, where we waited half an hour for another AA subcontractor to show up and drag us to Bridgwater. We were by this point way past soundcheck, and minutes away from stagetime. We rang ahead and they said they’d do their best to hold it back for us. The driver was, like his predecessor, a very nice man. He pointed out various Bridgwater landmarks as we entered the town. “That pub’s very rough,” he said. “And that’s the police station.”

The venue we were playing in was called Cherries. I wondered why and what sort of a place it might be. To have come all this way, it must be something special.

After some jiggery pokery with The Fucking Tomtom, which knows where it is about as often as I do, which is not very fucking often, we found Cherries, parked the dead car, and raced to the venue, where Science and JTL were waiting outside for us. This Cherries place, that we’d gone though proverbial Hell and High Water to reach, appeared to be…

A café.

A sweet, dinky little café.

We were pointed up some stairs, and wound our way up a few flights with our bags and record decks, WTFing amazedly at each other, and fell into a long thin room that looked like the sort of place one might hold an amateur dramatics rehearsal, or celebrate one’s auntie Vivian’s 60th birthday.  The place appeared to be mainly populated with deeply hormonal children. About thirty of them. There were also a couple of fourty something longhairs hanging around, from whom some of the children appeared to be stealing sips of beer. MC Kal and a flustered looking Lars manned the merch table, which looked like something from a jumble sale. I recognised the friendly faces of Slinky and James from the Swindon and Exter gigs, which cheered me. They'd bought us a chocolate hedgehog.

We made our way through the tittering, hormonal throng to the Performance Area, which was basically the back of a room with some sort of aluminum barrier set up to differentiate between the Audience Area and the aforementioned  Performance Area. We were greeted by a thankfully non-hostile soundman who later told Jack he was usually a glazer.

We were by this point half an hour late for our set, so we got our equipment and our merch set up (with the help of our friends from those aforementioned gigs) in ten minutes, and got our asses on stage. Well, on the bit of floor divided up with an aluminium barrier. We were greeted by a front row of amused looking teenage girls and boys, who giggled and whispered with each other for much of our set. Shit was intense, bubba. We gave it all we could. We didn’t come all this way to flake out now. And we are motherfucking pro-fesh-un-ALLs, after all. Soon enough, they got into it. They sang “WE WON’T BE BROKE! WE WON’T BE BROKE!’ with amused abandon. And they sure did enjoy their sing-along of Thanks For All The AIDS. I mean, who wouldn’t?

http://youtu.be/sLBqWqqViHI

Lars joined us for a final run through LITF 2.5. The stool I was sat on at the start collapsed. It was joyful.

http://youtu.be/mpsIFYJXybA

Like I usually do after a show on this here tour, I headed to the merch table, wherein one of the girls who’d been digging our set the most ran straight over, and started poking at the CDs. “Ooh, that one’s cool,” she said, fingering at Thieving. “What free stuff have you got?” I gave her a postcard. “Oh, thanks a lot,” she snapped sarcastically.

A clatter of click-clacks, a cloud of perfume and I was suddenly besieged by a crèche of teenage girls who descended upon my stall like a great hormonal thundercloud and proceeded to attempt to steal things and have a food fight with my Doritos dipping sauce for about half an hour. One of them, more self assured and industrious than the others, attempted to convince me that she was a beatboxer and breakdancer, and that she should be allowed onstage, and I should give her some of my drink. I agreed with the former idea, and disagreed with the latter. “But I’m eighteen in three weeks!” she wailed, not entirely convincingly. She attempted to demonstrate her worldly wisdom by explaining to one of her friends who were confused by my posters what “hemisphere” meant, in a very loud voice. “See,” she beamed. “I know what I’m taking about.” I gave her a high five.

An inappropriate ejaculation/acne of teenage boys lounged spread-legged to the right of the jumble sale/merch stall, ignoring the music and occasionally calling for the girls to come join them. “We’ve got MDMA!” shouted one. “I don’t CARE,” replied one of the girls, through braces caked with Doritos dipping sauce. The boy threw a chair at her. “Calm down son,” warned the doorman. “Fuck off twat,” chirped the boy, dismissively, then threw another chair at one of his friends.

Half way through Chris’ set and I had signed about 6 MC Lars T shirts, a number of Akira The Don posters and a couple of arms, but had sold precisely nothing, except a couple of hoodies for MC Lars while MC Kal was busy chatting up the alleged beatboxer and breakdancer, who didn’t believe for a second that he was 21. “You look 16,” she said, to his visible disgust. It dawned on me that none of the point of sale items mentioned the price of the posters. I put a “£1!” sign on the pile of posters. As if by magic, a queue of small boys formed. They knocked a centimeter or so off the height of my poster stack, and wandered off to shout obscenities at MC Chris. The girls returned to try and steal sweets and Doritos dipping sauce. “Come dance with me,” demanded the alleged breakdancer, repeatedly. “I must man my stall,” I replied. “I am a professional.”

She turned her attention to Tim.

“No, said Tim. “You are trouble. MC Chris has a song about you. Jack will dance with you.” They skipped off happily to pester Jack, stopping along the way to cadge a drink off of one of 40 something metal dudes.

I was soon approached by a trio of children. “Did you enjoy the show?” I asked. “Meh,” they replied in unison. “can you buy us a drink?”

I sent them packing.

Considering it was the last night we were all together, it was somewhat anticlimatic. Chris made it through his set just about alive, and Lars and Science did an admirable job of cranking the assembled into something approaching if not a frenzy, certainly a merry state of near-joy. I took the opportunity to stay on stage following my final, emotional appearance on White Kids Aren’t Hyphy to kotch next to JTL’s drum stool and watch him smash the shit out of Science’s mighty Conspiracy Theories With Mel Gibson. He’d started doing this fucking amazing thing where he shadowed Science’s machine gun second verse crescendo on the toms. Shit was fucking fire, son. I'm gonna miss JTL.

It was a fun night though, all in all. We met laughed, we nearly cried, we hung out with some mental, some funny and some safe people. But the assembled children were never going to cover the cost of our motorway sandwiches, let alone our petrol, our Travelodge, and Tim’s poor dead car. We counted our pennies, packed our boxes, and stepped out into the night. It was cool, and still. MC Chris bade Jack a final, fond farewell, half-smiled and waved regally at me, and in a puff of exhaust smoke, The Lars troupe disappeared off into the night, where they were to be staying at Tour Managing Ryan’s Mum’s house, which was conveniently close. I dug into my Gmail account to discover the location of our next Travelodge.

It was in Bristol.

No trains, no car, and a hundred-plus-quid taxi journey away.

I might have said “fuck” at least a dozen times.

Phones were worked. There was no room in the (Premier) Inn. Or the Travelodge. Or the B & B. Tim disappeared off into the night, and returned a little while later with news of lodgings, in a pub, a snip at just 65 earth pounds. We trudged, wearily, through Bridgwater’s narrow streets, and soon we saw the inviting Manchester United Flags of the Blake Arms, flapping flaccidly in the cool night air.

 

Queen records blared through creaking, peaking PA speakers as we made our way through a Viagra of middle-aged revelers. We seemed to have happened upon some frenzied wife swapping party. There was not a soul under the age of fourty seven in the room, not a full male head of hair in the building, not an un-dyed female bonnet in the place, and not a dry eye in the house. They glared at us though hooded eyeslits, and we elected to avoid the nightcap proposed prior to entry, and hurried up the wooden hills to Bedfordshire, as my Granddad used to say. He used to call slippers beetlecrushers as well, and he had some pretty awesome sailor tattoos. I loved my Granddad.

On Twitter and Facebook, people were full of sympathy for our plight. One safe young lady called Cha Cha Gabor, who I’d put on the guest list for the Nottingham gig after she’d tweeted about how much she’d love to go if only she only had the money had even offered to drive down to Bridgwater in the middle of the night to pick us up and take us to our next destination!

But we had no need for such kindness. We laid down our weary heads safe in the knowledge that at nine am the following morning, we would be picking up a hire car pre-arranged by Tim earlier in the day, and making our merry way back up the motorway to play the legendary Slam Dunk Festival in Leeds. I couldn’t wait.

As my eyelids fluttered, faltered, and finally closed, I pondered the unfathomable insanity of our strange, unexplained, 207 mile detour. What a long, mad day it had been. Soon enough, I succumbed to sweet, sweet slumber.

 

Big up me, Tim, Jack, and Slinky for the photos. Thanks Slinky for the video footage. This blog is dedicated to the couple whose wedding Tour Managing Ryan attended not far from Bridgwater the next day. May you live long and prosper.

WATCH: Mr Lacey - Laced Freestyle # 1

As you might have read, my ole pal Mr Lacey is back from his four year adventure in LA, the most of which he spent living in Compton. Yeah, that Compton. In the first of a new series of completely improvised LACED FREESTYLES, we get a little glimpse into what the hell happened.

I am proud to present these special moments in time to you, my beloved readerlistener, and I hope that you enjoy them as I do!

Mr Lacey makes his return to wax on the first joint from ATD25, which will drop TODAY.

YES!

HOORAY!

Oh, and let us know if there's any questions you have for Lacey that you want answered in freestyle when he's next in Don Studios (which will be very soon). HE IS THAT ABLE!

Mixdesk Roasting Like An Open Fire

hanzo-hat People tell me they are still seasick. So that boat must have ROCKED!

Well, we were on it. SO OF COURSE IT DID!

WHOOOO!

Yeah, we were all super. Thanks to Joey and James, Twin Kings Of Awesome, without whom I would be naught but a shouty man and a backing tape, our wonderful DJs BJ, Velky, Trol23 and Xenmate who all played truly brilliant records with grace, style and Fervour, thank you Nonny and Victoria for greeting people so nicely helping us, and thank you dear Charlotte for going above and beyond that foghorning Call Of Duty and looking smoking hot in that red dress. The Best be Thou. And thank you all of you who came and helped us have a super fun time with your dancing and your singing and your wolf whistling at James - some of you from as far afield as Bloody Liverpool, for cripes' sakes!

Oh, and thanks Zen for this post's title. YIKES THAT WAS SOMETHING EH?

FWOOM!

Rah then.

Next stop January, wherein we shall play a party in London, and a strategic Few Other Places In Britain, if we can find them. If you know good places to play, hit that contact button. Oh, and I'm staying in London for Christmas, so holla if you want me to play records at your party.

I must now turn my attention to my Wacom Tablet, and draw a billion pictures that can be turned into a beautiful and stylish video accompaniment to that song we played about Not Being Broke Forever. Speaking of which, I must also pay the rent. Ho, and indeed, hum. How nice it must be to own ones own castle. Shed, even. We just realised we have given our useless landlord £24,000 towards his bloody mortgage, and the useless lump still hasn't sorted out our bloody electric meter, rusting stairwell, broken lights, life-threatening gas issues,or that broken bloody gutter that pours cacophonous water on our crappy plastic bedroom windowsill when it's raining and keeps the place decidedly Siberian all winter long. So I shall not be losing too much sleep about his rent being late, and I shall try not to waste too much time thinking about the lovely wooden beach hut in San Juan we could have bought with all that bread. Gah!

Taking a walk along the canal earlier we wandered past the old Matchbox Car factory, a wonderful, hulking old building that has been vacant for years. How I would love to have such a place to make my noises in! Tragically, it is being turned into artists' studios, as if there weren't enough of those in Hackney as it is. Still, I can't complain. I have a full head of nice soft brown hair, like that of a field mouse, a beautiful girlfriend, a supportive, inspiring and entertaining family, and wonderful friends. Today I spent a most pleasant afternoon sipping red wine, eating child-composed Banana Cake and playing with BJ and Mika's one year old son, who you can viddy above, wearing my hat. I suppose I should give it to him really, since it suits him so well. And this is the time for giving. Here, have an entirely awesome podcast, from our good friend John Firth, AKA Silentbob69! Really, it's ace. And most of it I'd never heard before. I feel gifted. HO HO HO!

Zzz

So, I got some (ha!) sleep, and I listened to the noises Birddogg was making up here while I was down in New York, doing whatever it was I was doing in New York. Like, there's some ill stuff. But one in particular is just tremendous. it is mighty. It fills my heart. And prefectly fits so many of the raps I was writing in New York, tempom flow, everything. So, what I've done, is draw various raps, and bits of raps, together, to create this New York song that's been brewing all the time I've been here. It is best I get it out now, before I FORGET. Annoyingly, the necassary component is missing. So piss.

Bad: All the stuff I bought last week - food, drink, socks, weed - is gone. Mostly. I got a lot of Ritz crackers, peanut butter and macaroni. Good: There's a Death's Head Moth on my window. (See right) Bad: There is animal shit by my window. Good: The air outside is fresh and envigorating. Bad: The air in the top level of the house, in which I am supposed to be dwelling, is thick with the stink of animal and of animal excrement.

I went to turn on the sauna earlier, and nearly trod in cat shit. Or dog shit. It could be both. Whatever. It's like, wow, sauna! Oh, catshit. Wow! Oh. Wow! Oh. Etc. So, I wanted to go into town and get a job today, to pay for my ticket back to New York, but waited about for people to come with me rather than just doing it, and the end result is it's super late now, too late to get a job anywhere, and everyone's going into town to go out, save me, who must stay at home cos he has no ID (this is a worry), and it's too far to chance not being allowed in anywhere.

A ha!

So I should write more now. I wrote a bunch earlier. Phil is worrying that Amy has forotten his ass, as she went in her tiny car to take Cecelia and James over an hour ago. But she hasn't forgotten him. It's just miles from ShanGayKen to Woodstoock! A HA!

I just asked Spiky if he has a message for the world. He said, "spitroast!" So there you go.

Appologies

So, there were a bunch of updates and pictures and things, and they got wiped! Oh, the tragedy. So, a recap. On my last day on Rivington Street I saw a white thug in an open-top Hummer drive by blasting out 'I Want The One I Can't Have' and nodding along with a serious expression about his face.

Then we went.

Wade and I ended up on the coach, as there was no room in the van, or car. We got there early, and checked out the scene. The scene is small.

We don't actually live in Woodstock. We live in Shandaken, outside. Well, just outside. Half way up a mountain, hidden away by forest, amongst bears and chipmunks and what have you. In a big old dusty house full of weird porn and broken stuff, with brown water and giant ants. Like, there's a jacuzzi, but it doesn't seem to work. There is the biggest TV you've ever seen, but it's got a big black tear across the front and doesn't tune properly. It's a two hour walk to the nearest shop, whihc is a petrol station, and does a good line in biscuits. The local girl's got a lot of guns.

It is very lovely to look at up in Shandaken. Mountains covered in trees, mainly. Streams. Clouds so low you can jump up and punch them.

I miss Wade, who is back in London sorting out affairs. All my stuff is in boxes.

Lush

So I fell alseep on the sofa after 5, and was awakened gently by Super Phil at 6:20, and it transpired Bird left my bag with my passport in it at the venue last night. But Bird's got me another ID card, so we're outside waiting for Jeff to pick us up at 6:30. And at midday we're in LA, and soon after that we're in Interscope's offices,and I'm filling a bag with Nirvana, Guns N Roses, Gilbert And Sullivan, Dre, Peter Gabriel, Police and other such back catalogue. Jimmy Iovine has a signed letter from Tupac and a video console that won't switch on. And loads of ideas. A balcony. A lush view. LA is lush to look at, from these places of advantage. Like, later we visit Jeff and Trent's, and there's this fucking alien cat that loves me, and an incredible, incredible view, of this desolate wilderness spattered with money.

It was a lovely day.

But in the nighttime it is hard not to see that LA is awash with cunts. It is a sad and massive amount of cunts, and I am not sure whether it is sad because this is what the world did to them, or because this is what they do to the world, or because they are cunts, and you can see their faces rotting right in front of your eyes.