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Kim Deal: my best mate (for a day)

Kim Deal and Kat Kitten in Hastings

April is my favourite month. My birthday, first signs of sun and Easter holidays are all reasons why. Obviously now I’m all grown up like I don’t get 2 weeks Easter Holiday so I was well pleased when Belle and Sebastian decided that we all deserved a big piss up in a holiday camp on the South Coast of England – in April. Since then Mogwai, Tortoise and this year Shellac have all kept up the trend. Can April get any better? I went to all these festivals previous years and had a really good time, but for some reason this year when the Friday arrived I didn’t want to go. It all started off badly when we left loads of stuff behind and had to go back and then I nearly murdered some of the lame assistants in Tesco on the way. Car chat was dominated by car crash paranoia and how we were all convinced we were going to die in car crashes at an early age. I had been feeling ill for weeks and wasn’t in the mood for fun. I just wanted to stay at home feeling sorry for myself.

I’m pretty glad I didn’t give in to my lack of fun though. Friday was loads of fun and I felt loads better as soon as we got there. We saw Oxes for a start who were fantastic as expected and I got some fairly good photos of them. We also saw The Breeders. I had a copy of ‘Last Splash’, their last album at home but I hadn’t listened to it much, I’m more of a Pixies girl. I recognised most of the songs from ‘Last Splash’ and really enjoyed the stuff I didn’t know. It was a pretty messy set though and everything seemed pretty disorganised. Kim’s voice still sounds divine if a little raspy at times, this appears to be due to the truck load of cigarettes she must get through every hour.

The next day I felt rough as hell. It felt like throat and ears were on fire and when I woke up my eyes were all gunky. I had to get some help. We eventually managed to crawl out of our chalet at about 2pm. The others sat on the grass near the pub and I went to seek medical assistance at reception. I managed to punch and kick my way through the Shellac queue to get to reception and got ignored for 10 minutes by the receptionist who was watching some people making a telephone call. Eventually I got bored of this and squished round the telephone people and asked where I might find a doctor. The receptionist told me there was a first aid thing around the corner but I could tell that the telephone people had finished with the phone and were now listening to us. One of them said something to the receptionist about going out to a Doctor this afternoon, so the receptionist said we should swap chalet details or mobile numbers. One of them, an American lady then spoke to me directly and asked me if I’d like to go with them to a Doctor in Hastings. I turned round while telling her that would be great and I recognised her straight away. She said “Hi, I’m Kim” and I just totally froze.

The guy she was with asked what was wrong with me and I told him about my ears, eyes and throat. I ran out to my chalet chums to tell them what was going on. I bounded across the grass, attempted a sentence including the words ‘Kim Deal’ and ‘Doctor’ and then bounded off again to cries of “get to her to sign……”. When I got back Kim was saying that a doctors appointment might cost 60 – 100 quid. I was totally not caring or thinking straight. I still wasn’t sure if she knew that I knew who she was. Just before we left reception to go to the car I said to Kim “It’s really lucky I bumped into you, thanks for this. You’re a star”. The guy she was with gave me a funny look and I realised what a stupid thing I had just said. I shut up for a while after that. As soon as we set off towards Hastings I got my car crash paranoia back, I was sharing the back seat with the biggest ever duvet. I tried to wrap it round me as much as possible so that I’d get a soft landing when I was thrown through the windscreen. Kim then declared that I had been hijacked but I didn’t make a fuss. They chatted about interviews, photoshoots and the NME. The sunroof was wide open, both their windows were open and my ears were very painful. The chances of me hearing much of what was being said was very slim. Maybe that was their plan. Kim then made some notes on stuff she wanted to say to the doctor. By the time we arrived at the surgery I had impressed both of them with my map reading skills (although we did need a little help from some 10 year old Korn and Slipknot fans), and the inten se breeze in the car had made me feel loads better. We went in to the surgery and “Kimberley Deal” announced herself to the receptionist. She only had to pay 15 quid and the NHS came to my rescue for free. We sat in the waiting room and Kim read a leaflet about having babies. Ed the driver guy asked her if she wanted one and Kim said she would get one even if she had to go to an organ donor!?! She then said she would ask the Doc if we could all have Vitamin B shots. Kim went in and relayed her notes to the Doc. She came out, I went in and Doc says to me, “You’re not a singer too, are you?” in a panicky voice.

When I came out they were lying on the grass outside in the sun. We both had prescriptions to pick up but the chemist was closed. I went into the newsagent next door and got some sketchy directions to a chemist. So we bundled into the car and drove in the general direction we believed the chemist was in. We finally found one and parked up. Ed stayed in the car looking rough as hell. We spent ages in the Chemist. I bought our prescriptions while Kim started looking for stuff she needed to replace the toiletry bag she had left in Madrid. I helped her choose her new toiletry bag, mascara and eyeliner. I pointed out the hole she had in her handbag as there were some in the chemist but instead she chose a little black purse with a Union Jack clasp she liked. She also bought some candles and some other bits and pieces. I also told her that as it was 2 of my chalet chums birthdays we were having a little party for them and I had got them a cake and party stuff, so she got them birthday card. She spent about 70 quid. I bought a couple of cheesy animals on springs ornaments to give to Kim and Ed later to say thanks. Kim found me some socks because I told her that I had forgot to bring any socks and undies with me.

We stopped off on the way back to Rye, Kim and Ed went into an off licence to get some wine and Kim had instructions to get me some chewing gum. I called the chalet chums to let them know what the Doc had said and that Kim was treating me nice. After some more of my impressive giving of directions we arrived in Rye and took a walk around the shops. We had a look in a really cool record shop – Grammar School Records, a bunch of guys outside nearly had heart failure upon spotting Kim, one of them said to his chum “What’s she doing round ‘ere then?” very loudly. Unfortunately I was feeling a bit sketchy again and couldn’t concentrate on anything in the shop. Kim asked for stuff by someone/something beginning with D, they didn’t have any except on a compilation CD and I think Kim only likes vinyl. We then went in another off licence and they purchased some more wine. As we left we bumped into some guys from 4ad – Rich and Tony. They went into Grammar School Records and we went for a walk to find a nice place for some dinner. On the way Kim and Ed spotted a pretty church, it was the kind of church my Nan would have liked a photo of so I decided to take a photo of it. Kim and Ed looked at me like I was totally mad for a second and then I realised that maybe I should actually take a photo of Kim Deal so I got them both to pose and took a snap and then Ed took a photo of Kim and me.

We couldn’t find a nice place for food nearby so we went in the pub opposite the record shop and waited for Rich and Tony. I bought a round for the three of us. Kim wanted a Bud, she watched in horror as the barman poured it in to a glass and then she made a total mess pouring it back into the bottle. We then walked through to the other room with Kim dropping loads of stuff out of her bag and me struggling behind picking up her stuff and trying not to drop my money and my drink. Kim said that she was feeling uncomfortable because she had her period and that she felt really guilty because she had bled on the chalet duvet last night. I think it was a bit too much information for Ed and me. Kim was also worried that the Tour Manager, Kevin was annoyed because there was a microphone issue at previous nights show and asked Ed what he thought about it.

Rich and Tony arrived and Tony showed off his Bargain buy – Chipmunk Punk. He said he was going to get the DJ in the pub to play it that night. We then talked about sport, mainly ball sports. Kim asked my opinion on netball and I began to have hideous flashbacks of netball at secondary school so I described it as a horrific game. Ed then said his sister was the Captain of the English netball team or something and said it was a really good game but then totally changed his mind and said it wasn’t very good at all. Kim also asked me if I had been to the show last night and asked if I thought her voice sounded OK. I said that I did go and her voice sounded fine but also said that she was ill and she should try and get better. We finished our drinks and headed off to the Indian place round the corner, Kim and Ed went off to park the car nearer. Rich and Tony were talking about Autechre curating next years ATP, they were a bit sceptical but they said they would still go for the beer.

We arrived at The Ghandi and were shown to our table. Kim and Ed came back and sat down. Tony announced that the bill was on the record company, then Kim began smoking all Tony’s 10 pack of cigs. At one point we started talking about the Gallaghers and Kim asked who the less mouthy one was, she then wanted to know if Noel was single or not and said that she really liked him. She did a really good impression of Staind as well. Just as we were finishing our meal we noticed the guys on the table just over from us were American and upon closer inspection realised they were a couple of members from Cheap Trick. They were headlining the next night at ATP. Kim was ecstatic. We chatted to them for a while, they complimented Kim on her Albini-style boiler suit and ‘Shellac Tech’ t-shirt, and then asked if her and Kelley would write their set list for the following nights show. Kim nearly exploded. Cheap Trick wanted to know what time the bands were on so I gave them my card with the stage times on it.

On the way back Kim said that they were going to gatecrash the birthday party we were planning after the bands finished that night. We arrived back at Pontins and Kim pointed out The Breeders tour bus, a blue and grey Merc van with blacked out windows. We parked up and got out. Kim game me a big hug and Ed gave me a kiss on the cheek. Kim double checked my chalet number and I gave them the animals on springs before walking back to my chalet in a total daze. When I arrived I could barely speak to anyone properly. I told them about Kim coming to the party and then realized I’d left my prescription in the car. We did a tidy up in case Kim did turn up. None of us knew whether to believe her or not.

We went and saw the bands and then went to the pub. Kim arrived in the pub but she was visibly faced and my attempt at telling her I’d left my prescription in the car was poor. We went back to the chalet briefly to do the birthday cake thing but we decided it was pretty stupid hanging around in the chalet waiting for her, especially after seeing how out of it she was. So went had a smoke, went back to the pub and got trashed. At about 4am Tony and Rich grabbed me as I was walking through the pub. A girl they were with took a photo of us while Tony explained to her that I was the one who they had met up with that day. Tony was clutching Chipmunk Punk but he hadn’t been able to convince the DJ to play it, which was a shame. Ed asked if we had got the birthday card so I assumed they had delivered it while we were out, I also told him that I had left my medication in his car. I was very hammered at the point so I dread to think how that photo came out and how little sense I must have been making. When we got back to the chalet there was no birthday card though.

During the week following the first ATP I managed to get hold of 2 tickets to the totally sold out Breeders show at The Water Rats, Kings Cross. As a wandered around trying to find the venue I walked past the Breeders drummer. I then spotted a very familiar blue Merc van parked up and saw a very familiar face walking towards me. It was Ed. He said hello, asked how I was and pointed me in the right direction for The Water Rats. As soon as I arrived Tony spotted me and called me over, the girl he was with asked me how I was which was a bit scary as I didn’t have a clue who she was. She turned out to be Ed’s girlfriend, so I told her that he was star for driving us around on Saturday. We went in and got a drink. David Lovering introduced The Breeders onstage and did a few of his crazy tricks. They played really well and it was great to see them in such a small venue, Kim’s voice sounded fine and they seemed really comfortable. I recognised nearly all the new stuff even after only hearing it a few times. At the end Kim and Kelley hung around as they always do to talk to the audience and sign stuff. I was prepared this time and approached Kim with my Last Splash inlay. As soon as she saw me she leapt at me with a massive bear hug and didn’t let go for about 5 minutes saying she was really sorry about not being able to return my medication and how she knew my address and phone number because they were on the label and asking me how I was. She signed my inlay, so I helped her up off the floor, stuck a cig in her gob and lit it for her.

That’s the end really. We sat around in the bar for a while afterwards chatting to the sound guy’s wife, Carleen. We watched Kelley larking about and Carleen told us that the White Stripes had been around earlier. We had a few more drinks, said goodbye to Carleen and wandered off in the direction of the train station. A week later Kitty Empire does a Breeders live review in NME. I read with interest the part near the end mentioning how Kim had made friends with a girl at ATP making sure she got the girl’s friend a signed birthday card. Oh well, it was so nearly right. Perhaps she did just get the chalet number wrong but I can’t really complain can I? I had a fantastic day with Kim, she was so intensely lovely to me all day and I really miss her now. I suppose that’s quite sad but I don’t care. I’ll never forget the day Kim Deal was my Best Mate.