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18 June 2006

wendover, buckinghamshire

current listening: the girl most likely to – sleeping with a gun under my pillow


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so in the end we did make it to boulder. phew. just in time. we missed the instore appearance at albums on the hill, but i met jonathan who works there and he seemed happy enough. and then i went in the next day and they still sold me a go betweens album cheap so hopefully they don’t hate me too much.

the show in boulder was okay. we were very high up and found it quite hard to breath and we were still a bit confused by not being on a bus after we’d spent thirty hours straight on one or another. but we got a lovely post it note afterwards stuck to the tour bus. i think a post it note is a lovely way to say hello to the boy least likely to. it saves us being all mumbling and awkward and goofy when you meet us as human beings.

then after boulder, we drove for eighteen hours to minneapolis. to dinky town to be exact. a small town in minneapolis. i thought the idea of a supposedly ‘twee’ indie pop group like us being booked to play in a place called dinky town was pretty hilarious. but it turns out that the people who live in dinky town don’t think this is funny at all. in the end i gave up trying to explain why i thought it was funny. maybe dinky doesn’t mean the same thing in america. or maybe it just isn’t very funny.

and then after minneapolis we drove overnight to chicago. getting there early enough to watch the first match of the world cup. the venue in chicago was schubas. it was a bit smaller than the other venues we’d been playing on this tour, but it made a nice change. we got there just in time to watch the reply of the first match of the world cup. i found out that most of the john hughes films are filmed in chicago because apparently he lived there. breakfast club, sixteen candles, ferris buellers day off. although not pretty in pink. unfortunately i found this out too late to do anything about it. so i’ll have to save the john hughes tour for the next trip to america. i did however learn two important things in chicago. firstly, that schubas is a lovely venue with a photo booth in it and lots of lovely people working there. and secondly, that sparks plus is a mixture of beer and red bull and tastes disgusting. we left chicago at three o clock in the morning, which meant we still had time to watch the first match of the world cup. again.

amanda applewood joined us and we played ‘the battle of the boy least likely to’ for what would turn out to be the only time on the tour. a video of most of the chicago show can be found at www.youtube.com if you type “boy least likely to” into the search box. there are about four different videos on there of the schubas show.

we woke up at nine o clock the next morning to watch the england paruguay game. we had to fit it in before we crossed the border into canada, in case we got held up and then missed the match. in the end, simon and i missed ten minutes of the second half because we foolishly went to get something to eat at half time and the bun toaster in the fast food place we went to broke and started burning all the buns, so we had to wait until they’d fixed it.

we crossed the border successfully enough. and then went to the venue in toronto. the revival club. it was very very cold in the club, even though it was really really hot outside. i don’t mind a bit of air conditioning, but it seems to be taking it a bit too far if i have to put a hat and coat on inside in the middle of june when it’s nice and sunny outside. and then we were on really early and i forgot to eat anything because i was too cold and i got confused. and one of the bubble machines didn’t work. apart from that, it was a really good show. and then afterwards we went back to the bicycles’ house for a bit, because they come from toronto. we found a few quite exciting things there. all the instrument props that they used for the back cover photo of the album, the sewing machine that they make bicycles t shirts on, the mattress sound proofed basement where they rehearse, a funny whistle and most amazingly of all, we saw a raccoon. no one from toronto seemed particularly excited about it. apparently they are as common as foxes are in london. but adam and i were very excited. it was much bigger than i imagined. i think it might have been adam’s favourite moment of the whole tour.

after toronto we went to montreal. the show was one of my favourites. i’m not sure why. i just really enjoyed it that night. and then we left for boston. we played at tt the bears. the bicycles were brilliant. and pants yell! played as well that night, and i thought they were great too. i had a lovely chat with andrew from the band afterwards about eighties indie pop groups. it was nice to just ramble on with someone about june brides and vic godard and stuff like that and to not have them just look back at me bored.

i really enjoyed the show in boston too. we gave out another award, this time for ‘best dancing”. i think the acceptance speeches that were made by the audience members for the awards in boston and new york were two of my favourite moments of the whole tour. and i was sent some mp3s of some songs of ours sung by a girl called katie ann from san francisco. they’re all really delightful versions. especially ‘sleeping with a gun under my pillow’. i think you might be able to hear them at www.myspace.com/thegirlmostlikelyto.

and then it was new york. at the knitting factory. we recorded a few songs for a tv show in brooklyn in the morning in a basement. i think we did four songs. just adam, amanda, pete and me. then we drove back across the bridge, doing an interview for the show on the way with a camera man in the front seat. it was a really nice way to do an interview. when we got back to the knitting factory we soundchecked and had some lunch in a french restaurant where ralph fiennes was eating at the same time. ever so fancy us. then after that, we went back to the venue to do some interviews. we did three interviews in three separate locations. all three of them quite weird. the first interview we did in a broom cupboard downstairs in the venue because the bicycles were soundchecking and it was being recorded for radio. then the next one we did in a corridor that ran between the stage and the dressing room with everyone pushing past every five seconds. and then the last one we did in the bathroom backstage at the venue. standing in the shower fully clothed.

the knitting factory show was wonderful. a lovely way to end the tour. a boy called jack won the award for ‘outstanding contribution to the audience’. we went out after the show for a couple of drinks with the bicycles to a bar just around the corner from our hotel. nothing silly. just a couple of sensible ciders. and then we left. we walked around the block once, just because we were in new york and it seemed like the sort of thing you should do when you’re in new york. and then i said goodbye to the bicycles. it was really great to have a band that i like so much on tour with us, and they were such lovely people too. brilliant.

the next morning we went over to mtv for an interview and then we rushed off to jfk airport to catch our plane. germany beat poland with a last minute goal, which cost me four points in the rough trade world cup competition. i’d predicted nil nil and played my joker on that game. gutted. and i forgot to buy any sweets for the plane.

we landed in england safely but a bit late. the girl working on passport control wished peter a happy birthday.


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when i got back home i fell asleep for the whole day, only waking up briefly to watch the last fifteen minutes of the england match before i fell asleep again til friday. and then on friday morning i went out in wendover and had the most amazing banana split ever for breakfast. and i went to the bookshop. it’s lovely to be home.

and that’s about it. goodbye america. maybe we’ll see you in october. for the best halloween party ever.

x

07 June 2006

on the way to boulder, co

current listening: camera obscura – let’s get out of this country


it’s ten o clock at night. our tour bus broken down again. in the middle of utah this time. about five hours from las vegas, where we came from. and about five hours from green river, where we were driving to. we’re just sitting at the side of the road. the nearest town is about an hour away. i can see a couple of houses in the distance and a lot of dusty rocks. we’ve been here for about four hours. waiting for a pick up truck to come and tow us back to the nearest town. if we ever get back there we will hopefully get the bus fixed and then leave for boulder colorado at about four in the morning so we can get there in time to play the show. i don’t think we’ll make it in time for the instore at albums on the hill. sorry to everyone who was planning to come to see us there.

we went out in las vegas last night for a couple of hours. it wasn’t for me i’m afraid. the bicycles loved it though apparently. so much so that some of them passed out on the street. i was expecting it to be amazing. and i guess it was, but it was weird. it was amazing but that’s all it was. i was amazed by it but i felt nothing else at all. i was just amazed. i went on a slot machine and gambled a dollar and won one cent. i collected the credit slip, but decided not to cash it in. i thought the one cent slip was a more exciting souvenir. a lasting reminder of my relentless bad luck.

the tow truck has turned up. but there seems to be a bit of a problem with attaching the tour bus to the tow truck.

alistair just found a dead rattlesnake in the grass outside the bus. i’m not happy about it. i’m staying on the bus.

and now a traffic cop has just turned up. he’s talking to nigel about weetabix and rhyming slang and churches in the north of england. i’m not sure if we’ll be moving anywhere anytime soon, another tour bus is hopefully on its way to us from los angeles. it should get to us by about half past four in the morning, if we haven’t moved anywhere by then.

we had lunch today in the cracker barrell in cetah in utah. an old country store with about forty rocking chairs lined up on the porch outside. i found some fantastic plastic plates and some john deere oven gloves in the restaurant shop. yep. i find that sort of thing exciting.

and now it’s half past five in the morning. our new bus has just turned up, which is nice. i’m in my new bed. it’s on the top this time. usually i take one of the floor beds. bit worried about rolling out of bed in the morning and forgetting i’m five feet off the ground. i might switch with adam while he’s not looking. he probably wouldn’t notice anyway. there are only eight beds and there are nine of us, so one of us will have to sleep on the sofa.

hopefully we’ll make it to boulder one day. i think it might be nice.

x

05 June 2006

las vegas

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today is our first day off. we thought we were staying in las vegas. until pete and me had this conversation with dave, our bus driver, as we drove into las vegas.

dave: so, have you guys ever been to las vegas before?

pete: no, no we haven’t. what’s it like?

dave: oh, it’s amazing.

pete: yeah, it looks amazing

dave: yep. pity we’re not staying here.

pete: huh? i thought we were.

dave: no, we’re staying in north las vegas.

pete: oh, what’s there?

dave: nothing at all.

and then we drove merrily through the entertainment mecca of the world to north las vegas. half an hour down the road, to a holiday inn in the middle of nowhere. i think we’ll try and get some cabs into las vegas central later though. i’m looking to buy lots of crap.

it’s been a couple of days since i’ve written any sort of blog. i had a bit of trouble getting online. last time i wrote anything i was in portland. we left there at about half past midnight i think. it seems a long way off now. and then we drove all night to appear in san francisco for midday. we went down to the venue to load out all our instruments and stuff. the great american music hall is a really beautiful building. they told us we weren’t allowed to use bubble machines though. something about a code nine slippage factor or something. and then we went over to amoeba records to do an instore. which was brilliant. a big thank you to everyone who came down to see us, and waited around afterwards to say hello. amoeba gave us a t shirt and free cds to say thank you. which was a lovely surprise. i had to do a last minute trolley dash round the store. i bought five albums. a lee hazelwood and ann margret album called ‘the cowboy and the lady’, um, ‘nancy in london’, the new camera obscura album. very exciting. the album that goes with the new daniel johnston film. and the go betweens spring hill fair double disc thing. brilliant. instores in america are brilliant.

then we rushed back over to the great american music hall to soundcheck. the show was really really good. even if there weren’t any bubbles. i couldn’t believe so many people turned up to see us. phew.

we left san francisco in the morning at some point. i must have been asleep still. and then when i woke up we were in los angeles. i had orange sherbet sorbet and melon slices for breakfast. i imagine this to be the sort of breakfast people have in los angeles. we drove straight over to fingerprints records in long beach to play another instore. they do the most amazing posters for all the bands that play instores there. the walls are covered in them. hopefully they’ll collect them all together in a book one day.


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and, as with amoeba, they gave us free cds and some prints of the poster. this time i went for a couple of cat power cds and ‘bug’ by dinosaur jr. i was just in that sort of mood. then we rushed over to the roxy on sunset boulevard to soundcheck. last time we were in los angeles it was right at the end of our five week tour, and none of us thought we were particularly great that night. so this time we really wanted to make up for that. and i can honestly say i’ve never sweated so much onstage before. i even used one of the james brown towels that nigel puts onstage every night. for the first time ever. after the show we met some lovely fans at a meet n greet thing, and then we went back to the bus. there was a man sitting outside our bus with a long grey beard and a mouse. he was playing jazz on a keyboard on his lap. it reminded me a bit of wesley willis. but not as good. apparently he’d been telling everyone it was his tour bus all night. funny.

anyway, that’s about it. i’m going to go and buy some tacky souvenirs now.

x

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