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souvaris tour diary

Thursday 8 April

The next day, it's almost 6 in the evening before I feel remotely able to record some thoughts. On reflection, Wednesday night was fucking greatness smothered by fatigue. We travelled over 300 miles and stayed up for almost 24 hours, played outside of England for the first time, got (¡be he that lives to telephonic only!) recorded for local television, were catered for handsomely in terms of food and drink, and were party to a slightly crazed soiree before turning in for the night. I guess this is the rock band on the road lifestyle that people starting bands must dream of. I have to confess that I never really had those daydreams myself, especially when it came to the lengthy noise improvisations of the early days of Souvaris, but now they were coming true.

Dan, previously a long-time friend and supporter (not to mention the guy who recorded our first EP), had agreed to join us a mere few weeks before this point, and is especially delirious at us actually being a proper touring band and everything. We all spend an inordinate amount of time with ridiculous grins on our faces at the prospect of all this happening to such an unlikely band.

So of course, we go and blow all the rock 'n' roll lifestyle by getting up four hours after we finally passed out, sporting cracking hangovers. My headache from last night seems to have somehow magnified in the scant hours I was unconscious, and I find myself unable to be anything other than mute or grumpy for the majority of the daylight hours. Luckily, we've no gig tonight, so we get to stagger around Reims as tourists and fail miserably with our hair of the dog strategies at lunch. Simmo suffers especially from ordering the cheapest beer on the (inordinately expensive) menu, and is on the receiving end of Kantebrau, which is quickly dubbed Cuntybrew, and remains distinctly unquaffed throughout our Croque Monsieur meals.

After lunch, a photo-op rears its head in the form of a carousel... at least it does for the others, as my head still feels like two tectonic plates being prised apart. Aaron also stands aside stoically, so we both get to laugh at the other three adopting suitably ridiculous poses. Then we venture unto Reims Cathedral, which is where all the French kings and queens were crowned before the Revolution. It's a stunning sight on such a clear day, even if it is strangely shorn of its spires. Once we get in and see the amazing pipe organ (and hear the cavernous acoustics), cue facile comments about "Let's do the gig right here!"

As the evening approached, Bertrand says something about 'scoring' some illegal champagne... a life of crime and indulgence beckons. After making our way to Bébo's parents house, he grinned and pulled out three green bottles without any labels - apparently bought directly from local brewers, who reserve their best stock for such matters as giving and selling them to friends and family. And this stuff was amazing: a few small sups later we were all happy and giggly as hell, and playing with the family dog. After an hour spent in such giddy heights, and despite Parts & Labor's Probably Feeling Better Already being dubbed Official Souvaris European Tour Song for being so fucking good, our moods were subsequently dampened somewhat by a trip to the depressingly mall-esque local hypermarket to buy stocks of bread and cheese, and then getting lost trying to find the hostel we were staying in that night. But no matter; once we had got our stuff (including the ubiquitous guitars) into our rooms, we promptly broke out the food and drink to illicitly prepare an impromptu meal that was clearly in breach with the hostel's stern signs declaring that eating in its rooms was strictly forbidden. Yet more illegal behaviour! Disgraceful.

After restocking, we set about making our way into the city centre to meet up with Marc and Bertrand in an overpriced 'Irish' pub that was full of wannabe football hooligans watching Marseilles despatch Inter on the television. We got seriously intimidated when we found our hosts to be chronically late, as we were confronted with the sight of a guy Nazi-saluting the screen. Thank fuck Marseilles won. Once Marc and Bertrand graced us with their presence, and we had admonished them enough for their bizarre choice of pub (that was justified by supposedly making us 'feel at home'), we all quickly departed for sunnier heights of drinking establishment. Unfort unately, we soon found ourselves devoid of decent places, and ended up wandering between a Welsh pub and another Irish place... an authentic continental experience, to be sure. It wasn't intentional, though - we genuinely thought the last place was a metal pub purely through dint of everyone sitting outside it having tatty leather jackets on, but when we sat down at the back, l'Europop confronted us on some dodgy sub-MTV on a giant screen. No wonder everyone was sat outside. The pussies. We sat it out, and finally bid a fond farewell to Marc and Bertrand when we finally returned to our bunks. Seeing as it was ridiculously late, I took the opportunity to use the communal showers whilst no one else was about, which was a beautiful experience - assuming that you didn't remove your hand from the 'on' button, otherwise the flow of water would immediately staunch.

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