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
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.