“I honestly don’t think there’s a world of difference between a hostel and a hotel in the centre of Prague.”
I awake from a wondrous Travelodge slumber and grab a much needed shower before myself and Brit 4, who have shared a room, check out. Brit 4 is a bit of a quiet intense guy, and him not wanting to indulge in any small talk is just fine by me. We head for the van for 10, which was confirmed as the time for van call the night before. Nobody else emerges for at least half an hour.
The other Brits and Aussie 2 eventually show their faces around 10.30, by which time I’ve indulged in some breakfast delights at the neighbouring McDonald’s. They’re disappointed to have missed the breakfast cut off, and I am resoundingly unsympathetic as I munch quietly on a sausage and egg Mcmuffin.
Another problem with this tour is a complete lack of management. I enjoy and have a lot of experience with tour managing, and on any other tour i would have taken the reigns of this rickety wagon and steered it back on course. But it’s hard to want to go above and beyond for people who care so little about you or your well being, so I figure I’ll do what I’m told and nothing more. Whilst I feel anger on behalf of the promoters they’re letting down, I decide that if they’re late it’s their own fault.
We wait for at least another half hour for Aussie 1. He respects neither the rules of the travelodge or of van call. In my eyes, he is a heathen and we should leave him to die here, but unfortunately with him being the headliner we can’t really do much without him. He eventually saunters out at a leisurely pace, checking his hair in the wing mirror and sitting quietly in the back of the van with barely a word said.
We find out at this point that he’s feeling a bit under the weather today. Specifically, he has a sore throat. He lets us know that he’s not sure if he’s going to do the show tonight. This does not bode well.
Dessau to Prague isn’t too bad of a drive, and we arrive at our destination a fair bit earlier than necessary. So I suppose he DID have time for that second shower. The club had some… interesting graphic design choices.
After a period of hanging around the van, our promoter shows up. I’d say he was in the top five most punchable people I’ve ever met. His English is great but delivered in a faux American accent, and he spends the entirety of the time with us telling us about his band, and what labels are interested in them, and what famous bands he’s friends with… My dislike of him momentarily detracts from my dislike of the touring party, so I suppose every cloud has a silver lining.
Inbetween the extended moments of him being a gigantic dullard, he lets us know that he’s pretty sure no one is going to show up tonight, and he actively tried to talk the booker out of doing the show. I’m not sure if he or the booker comes off as the bigger moron in this one. It’s like they decided to have a twat-off and they ended up just deciding that rather than declaring a victor they’d team up and try and make as many people miserable as possible.
It’s around this time that Aussie 1 decides he isn’t playing tonight.
Aussie 2 and the Brits are naturally a bit perturbed by this as if he doesn’t play they can’t justify charging into the show, and attempt to talk him into it, but he’s adamant. There’s a bit of back and forth with the promoter, and apparently his response is:
‘The venue say you can cancel the show but you have to drink at the bar until 9pm.’
A peculiar compromise which would be nigh on impossible to enforce (what were they going to do if we left, not book them again?) but as we’re fairly out of the centre we agree. I have a coffee and they start drinking. After some more conversation, it’s agreed that Aussie 2 and the Brits will play acoustically, and they won’t charge in. Which means nobody gets paid, but as least there’s the chance to sell some merch.
A couple of hours later (it’s a late one) a few people have shown up, and it’s a nice friendly atmosphere. Again, it’s a smoking venue so I’m outside in the van. I think I bought and ate an entire tub of ice cream. Unfortunately due to his fragile condition, Aussie 1 is also joining me in the van so I have to feign interest as he awkwardly talks to me. I’m made aware that a couple have driven 2 hours just to see him tonight, but he still has no interest in playing.
There are obviously 2 trains of thought here:
1) having a sore throat on tour is shit, especially when you’re a vocalist, and a night off would probably do it a world of good, especially if it means staying out of a smoking venue.
2) stop being an absolute lettuce, suck it up and give this small cluster of people who are somehow fans of your music what they came well out of their way to see.
I want to tell him that “some of these people have come from Stoke” but I don’t think he’d get the reference, so why waste my good material on him.
I’ve been in the same position, I get it, but you just get up and do what you can. Which, thankfully, he ultimately does when he heads down to play a few songs.
It’s probably around 1am when we’re all done, and we’re told that we’re welcome to stay with the promoter at his place. Aussie 1 soundly rejects this when he hears there wouldn’t be a bed for him, because god forbid he sleep on a sofa, and insists I look online for somewhere to stay. Which is great, as whilst I had zero interest in spending more time with our obnoxious promoter, it would likely have meant somewhere for me to stay other than the van. I can’t justify the cost of booking a room, and nobody is forthcoming with wanting to cover the cost of one for me so I guess I’m in the van again tonight.
It’s always an interesting one with the subject of accommodation. In my mind, you want to look after your driver. They’re the one responsible for your safety, you want them well rested. Most British DIY bands will adopt a ‘driver gets the best bed’ policy, which is always great. Not so much with international bands, sadly. But, I digress.
After a few minutes of looking, I find the cheapest, closest hostel. I show my findings to Aussie 1 and he rejects it, stating that it should specifically be a hotel, not a hostel. I offer a slight glance of disbelief, wondering if he’s taking the piss, but he appears to be entirely genuine in his rockstar request. He takes my phone, and a short while later seems to find accommodation suitable for someone of his standing.
Luckily for me, it’s a 5 minute walk down the road. I breathe a sigh of relief as I throw their bags out onto the pavement, lock up the back and hop inside the van. I silently wish for a meteor to fall and crush the van with me in it as I drift off.