The lid of doom is clamped on the country and a porridge of grey prevails. Summer’s over, boys or maybe just commenced. The air has cooled a little and weaves about more turbulently. The heart sinks a notch – will we ever see sunshine again?
We track down to Engerland, the verges bursting with blossoms and rampant bushery. Everything looks sordid in the flattened light, the greens darkling like a murderer’s eyes before the act. We doze and read and eat Haribo, do the occasional line of coke off the dashboard. At a Moto I buy the-most-expensive-cup-of-tea-ever-served at an outdoor kiosk. I sling in some UHT “milk” and neck it in a single gulp, repulsed, angry and broke. I am that bitter old man you want to avoid. Small slights make me incensed, major injuries mildly riled.
We pick up our front-of-house operator at another motorway clip-joint, finding him loitering with his bags at a mini-roundabout like a hitchhiker. We are seven, a quorum.
Pretty soon we’re in dingle/dell country, parcelled up by drystone walls running over the slopes like rock zips. The sun slices through the murk behind us briefly illuminating our world and lifting the mood. Desultory chit-chat flares up accompanied by the hiss and cough of laughter. We pull upwards to the coarseness of the moors and plateau out surrounded by low cloud which appears to be below us. An enervating heat beats on the van’s roof as the sun burns through the grey with a blowtorch ferocity. The scenery changes at every turn – barren then wooded, bleak then bucolic and suddenly we descend into the little gorge that holds Holmfirth, cradled fast in little folds of hills.
After check three of us break for the chippy. We bump into some ticket-holders and chat and pose for photographs. Very nice. It’s turned out alright again, en’t it?
We horse our repast of cod, chips and peas on the little patio outside the dressing room. An intercontinental ballistic missile flies overhead bound for Trump Tower and we sigh. Piece of cake, this.
The gig is loud. The crowd are loud, we are loud, everything’s loud. Killer venue. We mill around backstage after with various friends. As we depart each of us in turn opens the fridge and leans our head in searching for van comfort. We strip it of its valuables. A small knot of folk have waited for autographs and snapshots. We meet & greet and then we leave. We invaded, made a scene, consumed and fucked off. We’re humankind in microcosm.