Day Thirty-Three: February 1st
I drift into semi-consciousness as the alarm goes off at 4.45am and lie in bed exhausted until 10 minutes before we leave the house…it’s absolutely freezing so I struggle into my clothes under the covers, go downstairs, pull my boots on and help drag the gear out to the van…there’s a bottle of water in there that’s actually frozen. We drive to the bus station and remove our bags and instruments in the freezing night to wait for the bus…it arrives and we say our goodbyes to Hiro. I fuckin hate goodbyes, I’d rather than just sneak off like a weird pervert and wait till next time…hellos with old friends are so much better! The bus pulls off and we drive from the endless suburbs towards the gargantuan city.
The final Tokyo dawn is stunning…a haze of orange highlights the dark skyline as morning bleeds into a deep blue, the sun finally piercing the black horizon. Driving from Akitsu to Narita is mental; two and a half hours, most of which is relentless urban sprawl. There’s nothing like this in the world; the high-tech higgledy-piggledy lay-out, the bright neon, the never-sleeping megalopolis that makes London or New York seem like a sleepy countryside hamlet. Fuck, I love Tokyo…I can’t wait for my next visit. Even without the oncoming week, this has already been the best tour of my life...eternal gratitude to Hiro and Leader!
But it’s not over yet…we arrive at the airport and wait for the check-in to open at 8.30am, detuning our guitars and reorganising the last few bits of luggage. It’s not so bad waiting around –actually it’s pretty awesome, with all sorts of curious civilians checking us out and sneaking shy smiles behind their boyfriends’ backs…
Yes, we're the band.
The lady at the Malaysia Airlines desk is amazed and excitedly flustered by us, full of shy smiles and secret glances, and overly-eager to help us. She even waives the 14 kilo overweight baggage which would have cost us a good chunk of the money we got paid for the Japan tour. We go through and find our gate after Adam gets some duty-free smokes, and there’s still a while to wait so the boys get some veggie tempura and I have a manky raw-egg and indiscriminate meat-on-rice concoction. Bleaarrrgh…should have gone for the tempura. We get on the plane and it just gets better and better…the entire crew are in awe of us, it’s like they think we’re fuckin Metallica or something! It’s a mult-iracial, multi-generational gang of uber-cutey stewardesses, all of whom are constantly doing their utmost to make us as comfortable as possible. What’s that? Would I like a little whiskey to begin the journey? Why yes, I most certainly would! A gin & tonic? Splendid!! Oh, you just took my glass…to refill it!! Darling!! Would we like to move to more comfortable seats??? Well of course we would! Thank you! And what’s this…? Oh no you didn’t! You did not just bring me two bloody marys when I only asked for one! My goodness!
In this day and age of scabby budget airlines and cut-corners, it’s so nice to have such a comfortable, well-attended experience. A Virgin Airlines flight I took to the Caribbean the year before last ran out of beers after I’d had only four; on a Quantas flight they insisted I drink some water and warned me that I’d be in trouble if I drank too much. But these fine ladies couldn’t possible give us enough. Amazing. The plane food is pretty good, as is the wine that accompanies it. I take the opportunity to catch up with the tour diary until the battery runs out, and then watch a soppy rom-com called Life As We Know It. Maybe it’s just the gin, perhaps it’s the fact of missing Anji so much, but I enjoy it immensely…it’s a preposterous premise, though fairly well portrayed. Plot-holes big enough to fly this bloody plane through but who cares…it’s not David fucking Lynch. Don’t tell anyone, but I even get a little moist-eyed once or twice. Ah, gin!
Even though I’ve not slept more than three hours, I don’t feel that tired. But I know I will later, and who knows what time we’ll get to bed, so I take advantage of the fairly-empty flight and crash out for an hour over four seats. Lovely. I wake up and with the absence of coffee's availability I go for a little bloody mary or three and watch some My Name Is Earl and an excellent David Attenborough doco about global warming. No future no hope, let’s get pissed says Big Dave. More or less. Then it’s time to descend and land, and we have to wave goodbye to our wonderful cabin crew…we don’t wanna go! Let us stay forever!! Any chance I ever have again, I’ll fly with Malaysia Airlines over any other. (Any chance of a sponsorship there?!) We’ve got an hour and a half in Kuala Lumpur airport before our connecting flight to Singapore. I recharge my laptop and discover there’s free wi-fi, just as Timmy gets a text from Anj (my phone’s not workin) that she needs me to contact her urgently. I check in on skype and luckily she’s online, we’re able to chat and sort out the possibility of a gaff in Melbourne…sounds great, I fuckin hate house hunting, let’s go for it. So nice to see my girl…can’t wait to get back…it’s been too long and I’m going nuts!!
We board the plane and it’s uneventful, apart from one of the stewards asking if we’re a thrash metal band. Something like that, pal. There’s an announcement that anyone found with drugs in Singapore will be executed, more or less guaranteeing that I’m going to have to try and find some when we get there. We arrive and even though there’s tons of paramilitary police around we don’t have any trouble going through immigration. The officer asks if I’m in a thrash metal band. Nah, mate. Here for a wedding. The officer Timmy had asks him the same thing…is this some kind of thrash mecca or what!? We pick up our stuff and go through customs without being checked and our promoter Hafiz and his mate Kody are there to pick us up. Gear in a car and us in two taxis…it’s humid as fuck and I’m sweating like a dog in my leather jacket. No complaints after the freezing Japanese winter. We drive through the city and it’s weird as fuck…Modern CityTM. I’m getting a bit freaked out…I know it’s supposed to be a crimeless and ultra-safe place , but this is too much…it’s horrible. Faceless, lifeless unreality. One of our hosts tells us about a mate of his who got randomly piss-tested coming back from Indonesia; he had cannabis in his system and got two years in jail. Everything is illegal here –it’s FUBAR yo.
The cityscape is making me nervous and restless, and what's more, after the ultra-future madness of Tokyo it's just fucking boring…just around then thing start to get grubbier, they start to get noiser, there’s people loitering on the streets, people eating at mad looking little restaurants, the skyscrapers fall away to reveal crumbling colonial facades and a mix of Chinese, Indians, Malays, Indonesians, and a few too many honkys. Pheee-ew. We arrive in Little India at the place where we’re staying, The Post Museum, and dump our shit. Now this is more like it. Filthy scumbags, ladyboys and whores, greasy dudes and pungent smells…ah, home! I have a quick bucket-shower and feel way fuckin better after the long trip and close-quarters recycled air. We meet Jakob and Christina and a bunch of punks and go out for something to eat…and just as I’m about to relax with food I get told there’s a problem with the gig in Kuala Lumpur. Oh great…
To cut a long story short, there's some people here in Singapore telling us that the venue where the gig is on also has nazi gigs...we’re told that lots of the KL punks will boycott the gig because of this...apparently the owner of the venue is in favour of the nationalist gigs and also a sympathizer to them. The promoter was allegedly asked to change to another venue, since there's other venues that could be used which don't have any association with the nazis. Some girls were beaten up at a punk gig last August, after which some punks stole a Malaysian flag from a nazi punk gig and burnt it and took photos, and in response some nationalist Malay guys tried to burn down some punks’ house. So they want us to do something about it.
Jeryzon is the promoter for the Kuala Lumpur gig, an old friend of mine and the whole reason why we're coming to Singapore and Malaysia in the first place; I’ve known him longer than anyone else here, as he used to live in Dublin and we had a band together. He’s an active member of the KL punk scene since ‘95, involved in a lot of endeavours which keep it going in what I understand to be quite a hostile environment. And this random dude is telling us all this stuff…I’m sceptical. First off, I trust Jery: we put the Malaysian bookings in his hands, and this is what he decided to do. Second of all, this is not the first time people have tried to get us involved in local disputes (read about it here). Thirdly, you clean your own fucking house –you don’t get someone else to do it. Especially when they’re white Europeans coming to an ex-colonial country. It’d be one thing if we were told about this when it was booked in the venue months ago, at which point we could actually try and find out what’s going on. But a few days before the show?
We start discussing it and I need to take a lot of deep breaths. We say we’ll discuss it later when we don’t have a local audience present. Timmy texts a number of old friends who are strongly involved in the KL scene for up to 25 years, people with sound politics and long experience who book punk gigs at the same venue, and none of them are aware of controversy or a boycott. We eat and get a few beers and walk around the streets. It’s cool, and reminds me a lot of India, but I’m heavily preoccupied with this other issue. I’m right in the middle, being the one whose friend and contact is putting on the show. My opinion is straight up: if there’s a problem with nazis, fine, let them come on down and it’ll be twice as much fun. I’m not cancelling a gig because of rumours which we’ve just heard about. We go back to the place we’re staying and one of the people who told us about all this asks us what our decision is. Come on man, for fuck sake…we’ve just been told about this, what do you expect? I’m pretty annoyed about the whole thing and don’t appreciate being put in this position…some guys from one of the other bands are playing and we ask them what they think about it, and if they’ll be playing. They’re non-committal and won’t really say either way. Whatever, fuck this, I’m off to bed.
Day Thirty-Four: February 2nd
I get a decent sleep and get up around 10.30am and immediately start catching up with the days I’m behind on. I type for two hours and get up to last night. Timmy asks me to check something about the flights, and I open the PDF doc with the info. I go to close it, press the shortcut button, it closes, asks if I want to save it, and the second I click “no” I realize I’m on the word document I’ve been working on for the last two hours. It disappears. It’s gone. NNNNNGGGH FUUUUCK!!! I realize what I’ve done and I’m fucking raging.
The description of the last four days is pretty different to the original one I wrote; after you go through so many days at once you can’t remember what you wrote or how you described things. I download a data recovery program and it takes about three hours to run. The data recovery program eventually finds the data and tells me I need to pay to register it to get the data. Fuck. I don’t really speak to anyone for the next four hours or so; they all go out and take a walk around KL and I just sit, type, edit photos and update the blog. By the time I’ve done all this I’ve gotten in an okay mood after going through the photos and text and remembering all the Japan madness. Everyone comes back and I go out and get a coffee and although there seems to be no luck in regard to getting hold of any proper contraband – purely out of duty, you understand – I get an illegally imported cigarette and smoke it. Fuck the system!!
We get ready to leave and I retune my guitar and we walk down to the venue with a bunch of punks while someone brings the gear in a taxi. The streets are busy, since tonight’s New Years Eve for the Chinese New Year and with Singapore’s majority Chinese population, that means it’s gonna be a fuckin huge party. There’s tons of people already outside the venue, excited as hell and mad to say hi and shake hands and take photos and all the rest of it. It’s fun and after two days with no gig and a bit of rest I’m really looking forward to playing and getting excited. Singapore! Unlike most places we’ve been on this tour, I have no clue as to what it’ll be like. The Japan shows were really intense in terms of pressure…the standard is the highest in the world, the venues and gear are top-notch, the audience experience incredible bands on a weekly basis, and there’s no room for fuck-ups. The dynamic here is completely different; despite the high level of organization and dedication put into things, it’s an entirely different scenario. Bands don’t come here that much. There aren’t big scale shows on a weekly basis. No soundchecks. People get drunk as fuck and sniff glue and try to get in for free and act the bollocks. Yep –sounds like chaos, and, more importantly, fun!
We go and get a few beers from the shop and chat to people and hang out. The venue is decent, a big theatre hall with a reasonable sound system. There’s no stage so it’ll be a floor show. Good stuff. There’s food brought for us, excellent Indian fare again…dosas, chapatis, curry, dhal, etc. We finish up just as the first band is starting. Blood Division, with some ex-members of Impiety. They have a punk approach to black/thrash metal and do a number of covers along with their own stuff. Not bad, but definitely a first gig. Distrust follow are they’re excellent…raw as hell Scandi d-beat with a fuckin punk approach, memorable choruses and some serious guitar playing. Alco Cider Punx!! There’s tons of people here getting pretty rowdy and all up for it, a big mix of punks, metalheads, thrash maniacs and general randomers. People are taking pictures of us just standing around and shaking our hands and getting real shy. It’s pretty funny but annoying aswell. Just hang and drink a beer dude, don't treat us like we're something special. We discuss the sound and decide to leave the mics off the drums since Timmy’s drumming is way too loud already for the PA to handle; we’ll be lucky if the guitars come through sufficiently, even with mics on the speakers. Cyberphobia start and they’re excellent…nasty stenchcore with a grinding, snarling sound. It’s their first show, and perhaps that’s partly why so many people sit outside on the street and don’t bother coming in. Their loss. Last band before us is Opposition Party. I watch just a few minutes of their punk/metal fare before going in to warm up backstage…not really my thing but people are coming in again to check it out.
It’s time: we bring our gear out and commence trying to get a good sound mix. It’s gonna be fine for the vox, but we need to push the PA to its limit to get the guitars on par with the drums. People are right up on front of us and the hall is full…
By the end of the first song things are getting fairly hairy. As we start the second one it all just goes mental… I have to move my pedal behind the amp, and then on top of the amp cos there’s people still walking on it anyway. It doesn't make any difference...there's still people walking on it!
Everyone’s all over the place, there’s just a sea of kids all around me and I’m completely separated from the rest of the band. People are falling over everywhere and jumping off things, crowd-surfing and climbing all over their friends. It seems that half the crowd know all the lyrics. It’s fucking deadly! We have to go back twice before people will let us leave…amazing gig!
Afterwards there’s the usual merriment, hanging around drinking and talking bollocks. Since it’s Chinese New Year we’re all keen to head down to Chinatown and see what’s up. We take a walk with a bunch of Singaporeans and some Aussies we’ve met at the show and it’s pandemonium. Families celebrating, tons of restaurants, stalls selling crazy crap and loud music everywhere. We go to some restaurant and sit down and start drinking. I order a fuckin stingray from the menu. It’s surprisingly delicious. Take that Steve Irwin you noncepocket. We hang out and get proper bollixed, and leave to walk back to Little India at…I dunno when. After we’ve been gone ten minutes we realize that we’ve lost Jæppe. Some people go back to try and find him. No dice. We give him a call and he assures us that he’s well taken care. Well I never!! Ol’ Captain Wetdick strikes again! And this time with some oriental honey on New Years! It promises to be a most auspicious year indeed, for Jæppe's stinky little friend anyway. The rest of us walk back and get one more beer at the place across from where we’re staying. One of the punks makes a snidey sideways comment about people ordering expensive food like stingray. I ask him what he’s trying to say and Mumblor The Terrible comes out. Ah shut your fuckin pie hole. The boringness continues and someone brings up the nazi issue and our KL show again. I explain why I think it’s shit that people are asking us this and what do they expect us to do? Silence. I go to bed.
Day Thirty-Five: February 3rd
I wake up and start drinking water as Jæppe returns. It turns out that his night wasn’t quite as sexy as I’d imagined…he’d tried to go to sleep with some homeless men at a train station, and when that didn’t work out he went back to Chinatown and walked around demanding things for free, which worked fine until he walked into a brothel. The girls all started giggling excitedly and a big hairy man jumped up and pushed him and turned around angrily shouting at the girls, “no dreadlocks!”. Fair enough. Jæppe gets shoved out and blunders around for a while and eventually sleeps in a staircase. Eveyone wakes up and we all go for some food at a vegetarian Indian restaurant everyone’s keen on. It’s overpriced and average; I think the vegetarian sign on their exterior is the big draw for everyone. None of the locals eat due to the price. I get a Pani Puri and it’s disappointing, and a dosa which is decent, but doesn’t even have any frickin anything in it, and no curries. With a mango lassi it comes to nearly $20…the same would be about $3 in the place we’ve been eating across the road from The Post Museum, and far better quality too. We head back and I get a coffee and catch up on emails.
Adam is crazy keen to go to a casino and gets the info from everyone there about where to go. They all think it’s really weird. He doesn’t care, naturally. Adam’s a massive poker freak –fucking good at it, too –and really wants to enter a casino tournament. He goes upstairs and changes into his best clothes upstairs, which is basically a black shirt and an Iron Maiden belt buckle instead of a studded jacket and belt. Jæppe decides he’s going to and changes into his best clothes which are…ah, never mind. I say fuck it, I want in on this too and change into my best clothes. Which basically means swapping denim for leather. We leave and make our way across the city to Marina Bay Sands to with the aid of a map. It’s fuckin sweltering, absolutely disgusting weather, and I really need a beer...nowhere to get one: police state Singapore. We arrive at the place and it’s beside this huge fancy mall with some kind of mad Chinese acrobatic opera going on. It’s a massive rigmarole to get in involving passports and bag-checks and everything, and it turns out that Jæppe’s forgot his passport, so he says he’ll wander round the mall and we’ll meet him outside. If you’re a foreigner it’s free in, but if you’re from Singapore it’s $100. Crikey! In we trot and it’s absolutely bananas. Total mongo. Thousands of mad rich cunts flinging money around like confetti. We’re flabbergasted and slowly make our way around looking at the different games and tables whilst Adam frantically searches for the poker area. This place is humongous. There’s tons of staff, going around with trolleys full of free drinks, and various scary looking uberfuhrers straight out of a Vegas scam movie. This is the first time I’ve ever been in a casino and it’s hilarious.
Adam asks a cashier about the possibility of a Texas Hold ‘Em game. They’ve only got Two Card Stud. He’s really fuckin pissed off. He demands to speak to a manager, asking why they don’t have Texas Hold ‘Em. The dude’s uncomfortable, says that people here don’t like it. Adam wants to know why, what’s wrong with them? The dude affixes a grim smile to his strained face and slowly backs away, sliding into the crowd and disappearing. Adam’s in a real stinker now, and to be honest the place is too weird and I just wanna go. We think about it for a minute and decide fuck it, we’re both in a fuckin casino for the first time, in bloody Singapore. What would Jesus do? He’d blow a fuckwad of cash on the roulette!! We go to change money into chips and I only want to waste $20 (I’m never lucky at these kind of things) while Adam’s on for $50. The minimum is $100…Adam says fuck it, just go for it. I think about going for a bit more...but decide against it since I’m already pretty low...
We take a look around and settle on the roulette, mainly cos that’s the only one we can figure out! Plus it’s got the lowest minimum stake at $5! The way it works is that there’s 36 possible numbers on the wheel, which are also laid out beside each other in a grid on a table. There’s various ways you can go. Put your chip on a single number and if it comes up you win at 35-1. Put it on the line between two numbers and if either come up you win at 17-1. Put it on the corner of four, and you win at 8-1. There’s various other options, but we reckon the 8-1 gives us the best chance of some return. It takes us a while to find a table we like the look of, and of course we have to get some coffees and cigarettes and smoke and drink coffee while we play, just cos we can. This is so frickin' cool! Between each spin it’s mad, all these middle-aged stinkin’ rich Chinese folks flinging chips all over the board. They all have little jotters and some kind of strategy. Fuck knows what cos it’s all blind luck and random chance. Deep breath...Adam puts a chip down!! I take a photo! A stern casino lady grabs my arm and says “No photo!!” Then the roulette master spins the ball and after a minute or so dings the bell for final bets and then…! Nothing. Some other pricks win and Adam loses a chip. Next time we both go. He takes corner 24/25/27/28 and I go for 13/14/16/17. Adam fucking wins!! It’s awesome! He goes again…he’s thinking number 15 cos it’s his girlfriend Naja’s birthday. He changes his mind…corner of 14/15/17/18…it lands on fucking 15!! Aaargh –he would have made 35-1, that’s $175 on one $5 wager if he’d gone with his gut! Fuuuck! Never mind, he still makes $40 on it. I go again and nothing. Now I’m getting bitter and pissed off. I fuckin knew it. Adam’s going to win loads of money and I’m going to lose all mine and look like a tit. I tell him that I wish a bit of his luck would rub off on me and give his shoulder a minor fondling. We both go on the next round; he’s on 32/33/35/36 and I’m on 31/32/34/35.
IT LANDS ON FUCKING 32!!!
WOOOHOOO!!!! I’m rich, I’m rich!!! We’re jumping around and going mad and the cynical locals are looking annoyed. We do some quick calculations; we’ve each more than doubled our money. Should we leave…? Should we be smart?! Since we won, our chips stay on the table. We decide we’ll have one more go with them and then leg it before some big dudes in shades come out of a back room and tell us to come with them, cos they’re wise to our game. No wins, but we get our chips, go to the cashier and get our ca$h moneyz: fuckin $205!! WE RULE!! We dance out of there feeling absolutely awesome and humming 50 Cent songs. My hangover’s gone and I’m rich beyond my wildest dreams. We’re extremely impressed with ourselves and discuss how we totally fucked over the casino and probably should become professional gamblers instead of being in a sexy crust band. We meet Jæppe and it’s like we’re back up there again, reliving the heady moments in retrospect. We have to go back to the entrance to get Adam’s bag back and the security lady’s all curious. No surprises for guessing what she asks: no love, we’re not in a thrash band. Why is everyone involved in the security industry in Singapore into thrash fucking metal?! Is it a particularly authoritarian style of metal or what the fuck?!
We consider getting a limo but instead get into the taxi rank: no way we’re walking back after this change in fortunes. Ah yes, a most auspicious new year indeed. Prosperity beckons –it’s lucky we paid our dues last night. Everything’s still comin’ up nuclear, and when it’s our turn a big shiny Alfa-Romeo pulls up for us instead of a rickety old crap taxi. Fuckin’ right.
We arrive victorious back at the Post Museum, all ready to lord it over the others who laughed at us when we were leaving. Ha! Peasants! I’ll give you a dollar to kiss my boots. No-one’s there…shit. We go across to get some food at Indian place…and everyone’s there!! Yay!! We got $200, we got $200!! Check us out!! Everyone’s amazed at our brilliance, especially all the Singaporeans who didn’t quite know what to make at our privileged weirdness of going to a casino. “That’s not what a crust band does…”. We have food and beer and it’s cool. Then we go back to watch a movie, called The Devil, about people stuck in an elevator and one of them’s the devil but no-one knows who. It’s pretty awesome, though with a cringey ending. Then it’s fuckin doomsday…time to have the discussion which I’ve been completely avoiding for the past two days: what to do about the KL gig.
It’s fucking torturous. It literally goes on for about four hours. The only thing we can agree on is that we’ll write some sort of statement explaining our position. We’re all exhausted afterwards and pretty hungry; even though it’s 2.15am, this city never sleeps. We check out the huge 24 hour mall called Mustafa just down the road. Totally mental. We go back to the overpriced Indian place since the one next door has no fish head curry left, and no veggie stuff either. I get a veg shish kebab. It’s disappointing and over-priced, surprise surprise. It’s now after 4am and we’re all dead…back to the sleep space and heads down.
Day Thirty-Six: February 4th
The plan is to head to Johor Baharu this evening since we’ll be playing there tomorrow, so we have most of the day in KL. I get a fairly scanty kip but I can’t go back asleep so that’s it…everyone gets up and we head out to check out an army surplus store. It’s shite. I'd expected all sorts of weird awesome militaria, since there’s mandatory conscription here (one of the punks with us is in the middle of it). There is, however, Garu Garu and Sup Tulang! The army shops are in this filthy old shopping mall, most of which is closed down for Chinese New Year, but the basement is all mad little grubby cafes and mingy restaurants, which have no hygiene standards and consequently serve amazingly delicious cheap food. First of all I get this Indonesian stuff, Garu Garu, a mix of satay, tofu, green beans, rice cakes, tempeh and so on. It’s amazing, but pretty heavy going. There’s this couple of punks who’ve come over from Indonesia to see us play in JB, they were supposed to be at the Singapore show but they missed their flight, and they get this mad fuckin Sup Tualang thing. It’s a load of goat bones and gristle, in this really vivid, viscous dark silky red sauce…they ask if I want a go. Ah yeah. It’s a bit fuckin gnarly, but tasty enough. Apparently though, what you really have to do is suck the marrow out of the bones. Gulp… That’s the real point of Sup Tulang, which incidentally, is a rare delicacy unique to Singapore. I’m not sure if they’re taking the piss or not. They’re not. I wait for one of them to have a go to see how it’s done. Pick up the bone and suck hard. Cradle the balls and stroke the shaft. It takes an awful lot of sucking, and then finally the marrow comes out. I unfortunately get a look at it before taking one final big suck and the whole mess falls down my face. I nearly fuckin spew everywhere. It’s gross. Basically, the closest I can come to describing it is a dense, stodgy, creamy meat-flavoured cheesecake. Oouurgh crikey I’m nearly retching again thinking of it. I’ll try fuckin anything at least once, but that’s the limit for me. Seriously.
Little Thailand is across the street so we go over to a big shopping mall over there and buzz around for a bit. It’s pretty funny. Thai people always seem so different to other people from around this part of Asia…from all of Asia actually. Way more mad and cheeky and up for it. Curious and not afraid to act on it. Pretty girls winking and giggling, quick to make eye contact and slow to break it. Fuuun. Jæppe goes to the toilet and a fight starts, some mad cunt out of it on fuck knows what boxing another chap in the face and throttling him on the ground. Someone goes to break it up and everyone else drags them off going no, no, let them fight it out!! Awesome!! We cruise around a bit more and I almost succeed in framing Christina for shoplifting (remember where we are: capitol punishment! stronger government!),and then we leave as the crazy guy is screaming and shouting somewhere above us on a balcony.
We get back to the Post Museum and hang out, and I continue catching up with the writing. This mad bonkers girl turns up just as we arrive back, she’s chatting with Tim and seems like a good laugh, but I’m keen to get some of the writing done so I stick to that. Until, that is, she asks me if I…and passes me a…oh no you didn’t. OH YES YOU DID! Seems the subtle feelers I’d put out over the last few days have paid off…take that, totalitarianism. Another blow to the system, and wait for it...wait for it..! It’s on the brink of collapse, THERE IT GOES!! I leave the typing alone and hang out with this girl that we’ll call M. She’s absolutely hilarious, mad as a bag of spiders and silly as a bum full of smarties. She's got tons of crazy stories about living in Singapore and provides a fascinating insight as to how someone who’s neither scared of nor submissive to the government goes about living their life. Various friends of hers have been murdered by the government; it's insane. She’s by far the maddest fucker I’ve met in Asia, totally off her head and cool as fuck, I'm wishing she was able to come with us a bit further. She tells me how she’s really tired from work and so on, that she’s only running at about 20%, and it’s actually too mental to imagine her less tangential and randomly associational. I get a bit paranoid at some point and imagine paramilitary cops bursting in and making an example of us all, before copping myself on (hi-oh!!) and calming down. All in all, a deadly experience…but soon we have to write the KL statement thing. We make notes of the various points we want to make and then head out to get a final something to eat and have a few beers, and after I finish I come back quickly and type up a full version of our statement. Boooring. We finish it and give it to Arif to translate, and then go up to the sleeping space to have a listen to our new recording and compare the notes we’ve individually made as to what needs to change in the mix. We mainly agree, though time runs out on us before we get to the last song and we have to pack the last bits of our stuff up and leave to catch the bus to JB. It’s not a long walk to the bus station, and there’s a big squadron of us. I get the lowdown on the Malay Power dudes along the way. It’s all just too funny…while they do have certain vaguely cool and/or threatening pseudonyms (albeit in a Star Wars sort of a way: KL Troopers, for example), they also refer to themselves as Brown Power. Yes. Brown Power. And the name of the biggest Brown Power band…? Brown Attack. It’s too fucking good to be true. Sounds like something that occurs after a dodgy curry rather than a violent racial supremacy group. They use the swastika, bizarrely, and have also tried to make contact with groups like the BNP and WAR. “Tried” being the operative word. Dear oh dear. We get to the bus station and it’s only $2.60 to JB, we struggle on with all our gear, and off we go. Hafisse is kind enough to let me use his mobile phone since he has a lot of free international minutes he doesn’t use, so I’m able to call Anji and have a nice chat for half an hour as we drive out of Singapore…it’s such a fuckin weird city. As you leave there’s a warning that you’ll be fined $500 at the border if you leave with a less-than-full tank of gas. They don’t like people going over the border to Malaysia and spending their money on cheaper items. The amount of rules here is nuts…you can’t do anything. The place is fucked, and so authoritarian, so sterile, with so many of its people living in constant fear, that to be honest I fee little incentive to ever return, except perhaps for a gig…as, truth be told, it was probably the maddest gig of the tour. Then again, there’s always the casino…
We’re expecting to be fucked with at the border but it’s grand. Mainly just annoying. Off the bus with all the gear, through the Singapore border, on the bus with all the gear, off the bus with all the gear, over the Malay border…fucking hell but I hate touring without a van. There’s been this big black metal scare in Malaysia for the past few years, and since it's a Muslim country, BM is seen as the wrongest foreign influence. Some paranoid soul has told us to cover up our tattoos and not wear BM shirts. Bollocks to that; people are making a big deal out of it, so naturally I feel the need to not change my shirt, which happens to be adorned with a number of goats, inverted crosses and 666s...immature?! ME?!?! Nah...! Of course nobody at the border bats an eyelid. We’re met at the station in JB by the promoter and his mates, and they drive us in three cars to Embrace Hall, where the gig is on and the promoter also lives. We also meet Jeo from KL, who’s helping put on the gig there and will be bringing us from JB to KL. Embrace Hall seems like a cool place, and we head out and grab some beers. The town is way dirtier and shabbier than Singapore. Good stuff. But it doesn’t seem to have much else going for it. Myself and Timmy sit down for a beer and end up having a really long conversation with this Malaysian punk who’d also been in Singapore and come with us, and who I admittedly had a very poor opinion of previously. He’d been one the most vocal individuals in regard to the Brown Power issue, and I’d taken him to be one of these “brand new crusties” full to the brim with revolutionary anarchic intent and an urgent need to denounce all aspects of counter-productive modern late capitalist society etc etc. And I was right…he’s been into all that stuff for just a couple of years, and it’s easy to forget how when you first see behind the veil there is a mad sense of urgency to politics, and you don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t want to fight hard for change. And when this is loud-mouthed self-important middle-class white kids, well fuck it, they’re easy (and fun) to hate. But when we started finding out that this guy was Muslim, a full believer in Allah until three years ago, at which point it was all too much, I started to gain a lot of respect for him. He'd made a friend who was an atheist and couldn't reconcile the fact that atheists are supposed to be evil with the reality that this chap was a much nicer, kinder and responsible human being than the majority of card-carrying Muslims he knew. He also had a gay friend who was finding it hard to admit to himself that he was gay; “if God is so great, why did he make me gay, if that’s wrong also?”. The dude finally admitted it to his family, and was pushed away…his Dad now sends him texts saying he wishes he was dead and so on. As such, this guy we’re talking to hasn’t been able to tell his family about becoming an atheist. They suspect it, but he just has to make excuses about having to go out or whatever when they’re supposed to pray when he returns to visit his home. So many things that are taken for granted become a massive struggle…it’s fucked. Anyway, I do a massive 180 on my opinion of this guy, and now think he’s awesome.
We go down to the restaurant near the venue where the others are and it’s time for fish head curry. It’s absolutely delicious. And yes, the eyes are the best bit... Afterwards we have one more beer and decide to take a little walk around…there’s some sort of party going on down at a square…a marquee and a stage set up, people doing karaoke…we walk past in curiosity and people wave to us. We walk on, and then Christina’s shouting at us to come back. She’s talked to the folks and it turns out there’s a wedding on…and we’re invited for a drink! So we go back, and it turns out to be a Muslim wedding! But they’re open-minded types and don’t mind us drinking. There’s a lot of smiling and nodding, and then they want us to do karaoke...yesss! Christina, Adam and Jæppe do Hotel California and everyone’s loving it! They’re going mad, and all these young lads think it’s the coolest thing ever. Then I join in on Everything I Do (I Do It For You) and it’s excellent, they’re all going mad, and afterwards there’s a big photo session and it’s all too funny. Turns out it’s only the pre-ceremony, and the real wedding is tomorrow, for which we’re invited back at 1pm. We’re pretty stoked for it, especially at the possibility of getting band photos with the bloodied sheets we’ve been told are presented as proof of decimated virginity at such ceremonies. Slllurp. We head back and I sit up writing and go to bed sometime after 4am…
Day Thirty-Seven: February 5th
Wake up at 10.30am after a shitty sleep; I’ve no sleeping bag and was pretty cold all night from the air conditioning. Leave it off and sweat like a bastard; turn it on and get too cold. I get up and get on with my writing while the others sleep for another two hours. Around 12.15 Cody asks when the others are getting up, cos the gig will start in about an hour and a half. Wait, WHAT!? It’s an afternoon gig? Bollocks…I wanted to check out that Muslim wedding. I wake the others and we go for breakfast at the same restaurant from last night. It’s got wi-fi so I’m able to update the tour diary and respond to some urgent work emails. There’s no dosas available at this time of the morning so we’re treated to a big display of sulking from someone, who goes into a bad mood and drags the whole atmosphere down. Then there’s a big scene when it turns out that Arif has saved over the English version of our Brown Power Manifesto so that we’re left with only the Malay version. It’s not that big a deal but the way a certain someone responds you’d imagine it’s the end of the world. I don’t quite know why, since it’s still left to me to rewrite the whole thing in sensible English after putting it through google translator. With the mood now thoroughly grounded, I turn to my good old friend to get me through the day: hello, beer! Head back to the venue and it’s sort of weird. Bands turning up and soundchecking, it’s hot as hell in the place and we’re not all there, so no soundcheck. There’s a list of the venue rules on the wall and it’s amazing: No Racism…check…No Sexism…yep…No Homophobes…fair enough…No Free Sex…what?! No Free Sex!? Fuck that! If this was any previous tour I would’ve had to make an example, since anyone who knows me is aware that nothing is more important in my life than free sex, but since these days I’m a Good Boy all I can do is ask the venue owner about it. Apparently, with punk gigs, people come in off the street and see what’s going on and think you can get away with anything. So they make out with their girlfriends, or touch each other up or whatever, and that’s seen as free sex…secret police types or various do-gooding busy-bodies come and take photos, and the venue gets closed down by religious fundamentalists. Thus, No Free Sex.
The crap mood continues all day and not that many people show up. Someone doesn’t feel like doing the distro and so they mostly abandon it. By 4pm nothing's happening and it’s not that full. The entry fee is really steep, $30. Since you get a meal for $2-3, that’s pretty mad. So perhaps that’s why there’s not much of a turn-out. It eventually starts at around 4.30pm and there’s five bands to get through before us. I’m bored as fuck and stuck between wanting to get pissed just to make it bearable and trying not to get too pissed so that I can actually play a decent show. Whilst I don’t want to be a dick, I couldn’t be bothered pretending that any of the bands were good. Porno goregrind, melodic emocrust, grunty deathgrind, post-emo crust blah blah fuckin blah. Eventually it’s time to play and we’re so bored we decide to do the set-list in alphabetical order. It doesn’t work that well, since we play all the new ones cos it’s more fun but people want to hear the old ones. Whatever, Trevor. People nonetheless go fucking bananas, and even though there’s only about 60 of them there they still make a proper good mess. They’re into doing huge pile-ups, and there’s some hugely obese gore-grind type dudes there absolutely crushing the less well-endowed types. Bizarrely, they insist on having the pile-ons on the stage, making them a good prop for myself and Jæppe to stand on, but not working so well when they attempt to pull poor old Adam into them…the mic lead’s way too short. We get through the set and it’s hot as hell in there…people really want more songs so we do it and I’m nearly dead. People want loads of photographs so we do it.
We need to pack up and get out of there, as we’re going to take the night-train to Kuala Lumpur at 11.30pm, after we go to a restaurant near the train station to get some food. We say our goodbyes to all the legends who came with us from Singapore and had such a great time with us over the last few days. We’re bringing all the stuff out and I get paid by the promoter. It’s $163…I’m really pissed off and ask him for more. He can’t give it to me and I ask him for a breakdown of the gig costs. We’re getting 15% of the door, and each of the other five bands get 10% each. Over all it’s $1,350, with 45 people having paid in...a perfect end to a perfect day.
Ever get the feeling you’ve been ripped off?
I don’t want to be a massive cunt about this, and certainly my mood and humour has been affected by the general mood continuing since the morning, but this is ridiculous. Maybe that’s the just the way things are done here. Maybe the costs of being in a band and the crowd that they draw entitles people who’ve traveled perhaps 20km (which costs a dollar or two per person) to almost the same pay as those who’ve traveled thousands of kilometres at considerable cost. Maybe it seems normal that two bands with three of the same members get 20% of the door while we get 15%. If I'm putting on a gig, the band that traveled the furthest get the lion’s share, and the rest a percentage equal to their costs. Our costs are massive, and what we would potentially make from this show (I’d expect at least $500) is a piss in the ocean compared to what the plane tickets etc were. But that’s not the point –it’s the principle. If you want bands to come to your town, you need to be realistic. And people were really happy about us coming –nearly every band thanked from the stage. But in the end I just feel taken advantage of. We don’t work with guarantees –we trust that our name will draw a decent crowd and that promoters will pay us fairly, and for 99% of the time, that works. But this is the kind of thing that makes you want to start fucking around with guarantees. What a joke. I tell this to the promoter but he doesn’t really get it. All the way to the restaurant I moan to Adam and Jæppe, who try to get me to see another side to it, Adam especially, reasoning that the money is negligible in the end. Not the point –it’s the respect, it’s the principle. A massive entrance cost keeping people away and then we get fuckin pennies.
We arrive at the restaurant with the driver from our car immediately reporting all my bitching to the promoter. Whatever. I don’t feel like talking to anyone. Food is ordered. No alcoholic drinks available. Once again there’s all sorts of bad feeling from someone when some of the food isn’t vegan and it’s discovered that there might be fish flakes in one of the soups. Sulky tantrum time. This is like traveling with a fucking 2 year old. Scratch that –two year olds at least sleep a lot. This is like traveling with a moody teenager. We eat, and it’s decent, and there’s plenty of vegan food which everyone enjoys, except for one person. We go the station and a massive deal is made about getting snacks for the deprived individual who’s been so deeply mistreated. I’m so fucking over it all at this stage…this is the point in tours where bands break up. It turns out the train isn’t until 11.55pm. But at least we’ll have beds. We wait around and there’s a greater feeling than ever of the band being split into two camps; the train is delayed for some reason and it takes forever for us to get on to it. There’s this bad-ass dude waiting for the same train with the fucking coolest handlebar moustache ever…he appears to have three wives and looks evil as fuck. Like some fuckin dictator from Myanmar or something. We finally get on the train. There’s no beds. Just small, tight seats. But at least there’s two of them each, so we can stretch our legs across a bit. Some small measure of respite is provided by two spectacular ladyboys and their not-so-spectacular fat mate who share our carriage. But then it’s ruined when, after a couple of stops, this annoying dude in a little hat gets on and has booked the seat beside me. I’ve just dropped off to sleep…he wakes me up and asks me to move. Fuck sake. I can’t really get to sleep again. There’s people playing with mobile phones and iPads, beeps and bleeps every couple of minutes. I occasionally drowse for a minute or two in various strange and uncomfortable positions before waking up. Eventually I ask if Jæppe, who’s in the two seats on front, minds swapping for a while. He moves to beside Adam and I’m slightly more comfortable. Until the troublesome someone starts taking up not only two seats, but also the aisle and part of the seats I’m on, meaning that every time I drop off to sleep I’m woken by people saying “excuse me” or whatever to try and get past him. At this stage I’m really at the end of my fucking tether. I’ve no wish to play any more shows, I just want to sleep and have some fucking space around me.
Day Thirty-Eight: February 6th
We arrive in KL at something like 10am and I’m woken up as we pull into the station. Seems I’d finally gotten asleep. We drag the stuff off and all grog out on to the platform.
Someone crosses the line one time too many and there’s a massive fight. Jery arrives and we say our hellos in a rather “subdued” atmosphere. Someone apologises and the air is cleared…
KL looks amazing. I’ve been told it’s just like Singapore, but it’s not. It’s way dirtier, but still very metropolitan. It’s also way more overgrown, lush and green everywhere with the vegetation engaged in a constant assault on the concrete jungle. We get to Jery’s shop, Spyder 45, and there’s a lot of punks there. I’m desperate for sleep, but everyone’s milling around, listening to music, playing guitar, excited about tonight. The rest of the band go out to eat, and I try and get some sleep. It takes ages but eventually I drop off into an extremely disturbed slumber, full of strange dreams about living in a countryside cottage with lots of people I don’t know at all and there’s big dogs around and it’s sunny and beautiful and everything’s very odd...a premonition of my approaching Aussie life!? I hold a lot of stock in dreams... I wake up after about two hours, massively refreshed and now feeling as if I can at least half-deal with the prospect of playing our final show tonight. I have a bit of a chat with Jery and catch up with his life and then we pile into the van and drive downtown to One Café. The place is huge; the front half of it is a big canteen restaurant in which all the staff are wearing metal t-shirts, from teenage waiters to cooks in their late ‘50s. Then through big swinging doors there’s a long, high concert room with a bar along one side. Looks like a decent backline and PA too…nice. Bit spoilt after Japan. Expecting top notch gear every night. And good equipment too -hi-oh!!
We get some food and I have an excellent dry prawn tom yum, before getting a beer from the bar. It’s 7 ringgits (about £1.50) for one beer, and a special deal for a bucket of four beers…only 28 ringgits. Wha’?! Dude, that in't no deal...that’s just friggin' maths. We meet a bunch of the dudes from Singapore at the venue, since Life Lock are playing tonight and the members are some of the punkest fuckers in the SNG. Curious to see how they turn out, since two of the members played in quality bands at the Substation show. There’s quite a few people turning up, so a few locals take myself, Jæppe and Timmy down to the liquor store in search of Jaeger. It’s our last freakin show! We gotta go fancy crazy! No Jaeger…we settle for cheap-as-fuck tequila and more beer. Always more beer. Go back to the venue and there’s more and more people, but, unsurprisingly, no Brown Power. What a disappointment... Once again, the punk rumour mill and the tyrannical martyrdom of those who are all-too-happy to let a juicily redundant political argument get in the way of having a strong scene proves itself to be worth exactly fuck-all. Someone leaves the flyers of our statement around and I feel sort of embarrassed. I dunno if anyone cares about it, but people mostly seem to find it confusing and weird. The first band starts and they’re pretty good, Geen Naam, metalpunk assault. They’re followed by Kathgor, a female-fronted death metal assault which threatens to be awesome but keeps being overshadowed by an awful sound mix and a waaay-too-loud guitar…which is made worse by the fact that said guitar keeps accidentally cutting out to noise and static. We’re gonna have to watch that… Hang out and drink some more beers, meet and talk to a few people, and next up is (I think) Atomic Death, excellent thrash metal, though with perhaps a cover or two too many. Still really good fun. Brrrutal. I go out to get another beer and some food, the tom yum being all I’ve had all day…and with the tequila express comin down the tracks, there needs to be something in the ol’ belly. As soon as I’ve ordered I’m told we’re up next. The fuck!?!? The band setting up now (Kah-Roe-Shi) are gonna play, and then us, followed by Life Lock. Why in the name of fuck did no-one mention this before…? The booze/food/rock balance is precarious at best, and doesn’t need any of this kind of nonsense clogging up the gears. I hoof the food into me, some kind of seafood noodle soup, while we concurrently write a set list. We go backstage and start on the tequila in earnest. Fuck, last show of the tour! Last show of the year, probably! The band inside are playing neo-crust, replete with HHIG and FAR covers. It’s a bit much but gets us in the mood to crush-kill-destroy. Adam’s eyeing up the fire extinguisher and making threats…some people are encouraging, very encouraging, but one person reckons the show will be ruined if he does it: boo-urns! State control state control this is rock ’n’ roll…
We go on and set up, before being told that it’s too early and we have to wait…yesss! We leave all our gear ready and head backstage again and start fuckin smashing it with the tequila, heaving that bastard right down us and getting rowdy as fuck. We get up, check the levels, launch into the opener and people are freaking out on front of the stage. It’s fuckin awesome, hardly a pause in the songs from start to finish and everyone’s going nuts, though it’s a bit disconcerting since the hall would fit over 1,000 people and it’s less than half full. We keep destroying the tequila in fine form and by the end it's us who're fuckin destroyed. Encores etc and it takes a bit of recovery from the intense humidity and heat up there. Life Lock follow to finish off the show and they’re fuckin amazing…crasher crust d-beat insanity, a total barrage of holocaustic noise terror. Discharge and Disclose covers connect the dots but their own material stands up alone…interested to see how they develop in the future.
And then it’s party time!! Someone busts out the disco and things start getting sweaty. There’s some backstage action involving us posing holding up a married Muslim woman replete in hijab and everything, there’s a lot of sexy dancing, the tequila is finished and myself and Jæppe head down to the shop to get another bottle. Somehow somewhere Jæppe gets hold of a tall bike and we drunkenly ride that there with a number of near misses. The dudes at the shop are full of mirth and one of them wants a go, so we swap the tall bike for a motorbike, which Jæppe takes off on.
I’m way too drunk to be worried…it’s just reeeeeally funny! We go back to the venue and the boozing continues. There's a lot hooligan style behaviour and football songs... From there it’s down to some kind of Chinatown area for food and Jæppe & I are going at about 160km/h at this stage, leaning as far as possible out the window of the van as possible and screaming our bloody heads off. It’s tremendous fun! Apparently some cops stop us and demand that we remain within the vehicle, scared for our health. I don’t remember that part. Boats & hos! Brown power!! We make it to the restaurant and one member of the band really, really, really wants to have a band meeting about what we’re doing with the new recording. Groooooan. Everyone else wants to hang out and party and sort this out over email, but whatever. There’s a big discussion about the format, label, etc. We mostly agree that it should be the maddest thing possible…cut-to-shape 12” picture disk for sure. This goes on for about half an hour, until some band members have had enough and point out how rude it is that everyone’s having an after-party for us and we’re just stuck talking bollocks on the side. Amen to that. We go back to the party and eat some stuff and get completely rat-arsed and I don’t remember anything else.
Day Thirty-Nine: February 7th
I’m woken up to groggy goodbyes with C&J, as they’re leaving early to get the bus back to Singapore, from where their flight home is. Try as I might, I can’t get back to sleep. I’m completely destroyed and feel gross. There’s this Korean girl who flew here for the show and she somehow falls on top of me, squeezing past the sofa to get to her bag whilst I’m trying to go back asleep. I’m not impressed. I get up at some point and myself and the three lads go down to the local eating hole and get a can of coke and some magi goreng. It’s excellent and I feel way better. Fat cunt that I am, I go for another serving, as does everyone else. We all end up feeling twice as shit after a second helping…shoulda fuckin left it at one. Pick up some isotonic type shit at the corner shop and go back up to Spyder 45. Still destroyed so we watch Countdown To Liquor Day, the last TBP movie; it's pretty awesome, but basically just squeezes an entire season arc into one movie. Much better than the first movie but nowhere near as good as the series. I just want to go home to my Anji girl… I know I want to see some of KL but jaysus I’m so fucked that I just couldn’t be arsed. Na-Young (the Korean girl) starts to open up a bit and she’s funny as fuck…I make some vaguely suggestive joke and she gets really embarrassed before going “Aha! Cultural joke!” and smiling. Soon after I go to take a crap, grabbing some tissues along the way (over here it’s normal to wipe with your hand…eew!). She’s exiting the bog as I go in, and spies the tissues in my hand: “Aha! Taking shit!” Jesus!! Little cute Korean girls aren’t supposed to point out my embarrassing bodily functions! Cultural joke! Then again, respect is due for actually getting me back for the sex joke by making me feel genuinely humiliated…not many people can do that…
Adam has to leave in the evening, so at some stage we drag ourselves out and drive down to central station to say our goodbyes…again, I’m not much of a man for goodbyes, but I was real sad to see Ad-Rock go…a nicer dude you couldn’t possibly hope to share a band with, and on this tour especially he seems more together than ever. Total legend…it’ll be at least a year before we see each other again…brotherman, we will always have Sands Marina Bay!
Afterwards we go into the city towards a park with a great view of the KLCC Twin Towers, which look amazing. There’s awful traffic and I’m all cramped up in the back and it’s getting way too much…I need a beer. We get out and take a walk and I’ve had enough…disgustingly hot and my body is wracked with cramps…we’re all hungry so we find an Indian restaurant. It’s huge and it seems the waiters won’t notice so I run over to a convenience store and pick up a few beers. They help immensely and I get a chicken tikka and naan which is pretty disappointing to be honest. Na-Young answers a lot of curious questions about Korea and relations between North & South people. In the South, it’s illegal to talk to anyone from the North. But how can you tell who’s from the North…? “They’re really skinny and wear bad clothes” –ha! Apparently fashion is frozen in the ‘70s up north, and that’s how you can spot them. Amazing! Na turns out to be very interesting, well traveled and far more outgoing than she initially seemed. We try to pay and Jery’s gone and bloody paid already and won’t accept any money. ‘sakes! Afterwards we head back to the cars and I just can’t take the hangover anymore, so I ask the boys if there’s any chance of getting some Bob Marley…I desperately need something to take the edge off today, and there’s no way I could even dream of getting pissed again. They promise to see what they can do, but it doesn’t seem likely. Timmy, Jæppe and I go back with Jery and arrive before the others. It’s around 8.30pm and the night market is in full swing at the square beside Sypder 45, so since Jeo and the others have the key and haven’t arrived back yet, we head down to take a look. It’s mad, full of people running all over, tons of mad food, sketchy fake designer ware, cheap DVDs etc. I get a chicken satay skewer for about 10p and it’s gorgeous. Then two little pastry things which are similarly tasty. We pick up some fresh socks for the flight tomorrow and buy a DVD to watch right now…Piranha! It’s the remake from last summer, which I’ve been wanting to see…not so bad for £1.20, though fuck knows if it’ll actually work. One more chicken satay on the way back and we bump into Joe. Do we want pure ganja or a mix? Whatever dude! As long as it gets me hiiiiigh!! A bad sexy gore-splattered blockbuster and some doobage! Just what the doctor ordered: HEAR ME NOW –JAH RASTAFARI. We go up and check the DVD out –it’s fuckin HD quality, proper DVD, nice! While we’re waiting for the others I notice that Jery’s after getting that Motorhead magazine that Classic Rock just did, so I read through that for a good while. It’s awesome –some great interviews and features. Motorhead truely are the greatest rock 'n' roll band of all time, and if you disagree then you're a pig-ignorant know-nothing fool. Fair enough? Everyone gets back and a bunch of bad dudes from last night show up with the gear…and it’s some kind of crazy jungle juju! Two of them! Check this shit out! We smoke up and get gorgeously, humongously monged and it’s perfect…just what’s needed. Time for the movie!
We go in and sort it out and Na-Young wants to know what it is. “My friend say it’s very good! Very sexy movie!! I like!”. She asks if there’s much gore in it…nah, it’s just sort of like cartoon gore, I tell her. Teeheehee… We start the movie up and from the word go it’s AWESOME. The first scene is a massive homage to JAWS, my favourite movie of all time, and even features Richard Dreyfuss, which I heartily approve of. Basically it’s nothing like the original and is an excuse for tons of blood and boobs, set around Spring Break at a lake in the U.S. where some prehistoric piranhas get free after a seismic shift. It’s filthy, which is highly enjoyable, though rather torturous since the three of us are sex-mad pervos at the best of times, only gone nuclear since we haven’t had any since leaving Australia. Shiiiit. The gore is on 11. Poor ol’ Na has to cover her eyes a lot, occasionally squealing and running out of the room once or twice. So adorable. Overall it’s mindless and excellent, though I’d have to recommend feasting upon a gargantuan bifty prior to viewing..
People are pretty tired afterwards but I wanna smoke more, so we have another bift, and then I read a bit more about Lemmy. Jeo heads out and gets some more dosas and again won’t take any money for them. Come on dude!! Not sleepy, and then I notice a book on the shelves: Skinhead, by John King. I’ve not yet gotten to this book, been saving it for a special occasion, so I start on it. If you’re not familiar with him, John King is the best modern working class fiction writer from the U.K. I wrote my MA thesis on his football trilogy; as an author he’s under-read and under-appreciated, and he stylishly disposes with the John Major era myth of Britain as a “classless society”. What a load of bollocks. This book is similar in tone but much more adventurous in terms of style to his other stuff; not as out-there as The Prison House but far more poetic and descriptive than any of the trilogy or Human Punk. I get through jut over 100 pages and don’t want to stop before it’s sleepy time…
Day Forty: February 8th
I get the most heavenly sleep ever courtesy of Jah and wake up refreshed for our last day…I continue with Skinhead before we say goodbye to Na, who’s off to the airport. Afterwards we head down to a restaurant to find some chapatis and get some coffees and juices, and before we know it Jery’s frickin paid again. This is getting ridiculous. We pack our bags and decide to head downtown, before which we go back to Spyder 45 for a “safety meeting”. Blazed, we jump into Jery’s car and drive into the city. We check out this huge mall that’s got tons of heavy metal shops in it, but I’m unable to find a Brown Power patch anywhere. Would be such a great souvenir. We check out loads of shops and to be honest I’m not at all in the mood for shopping. The best part is when we see a Malay albino. We wanna go for a coffee but if we’re to beat the rush hour traffic we need to go now.
We go for a last supper at the local restaurant and I go all out and get a mad load of shit…pilaf rice with boiled eggs, two chicken curries and a naan. Aw yeeeah. And of course, a blended ice mango lassi. Gotta go out in style. Jeo tries to pay but we hop in and manage to get the bill before he does…gotta let us pay at least once bro! We get back to Sypder 45 and hang out for a while…I continue with the John King novel, but there’s still 100 pages to go…I consider trying to finish it on the way to their airport, but nah…fuck it. It’s excellent, giving a more balanced view of the pride and loyalty of the skinhead lifestyle without shying away from the nationalist and violent tendencies which are sometimes a part of it. We bring all our shit down to the cars and it’s time to leave for the airport…two cars. It’s a long and boring drive and we make it in plenty of time, say our final goodbyes, check in and do all the baggage shit. AirAsia and they wouldn’t even think of leaving us off with our overweight baggage, even though the flight’s not full. So we have to pay. Pricks. We go for a massively overpriced beer at some shitty sports bar before boarding; the plane is cramped and small. The stewardesses are stressed and perfunctory. There’s no entertainment, and the food (which we had to pay for) is average at best. I read another bit of The Acid House and fall asleep…
40 days and 40 nights in the desert of rock...but unlike Jesus, we took Satan’s hand and plunged into the abyss. We arrive back in Australia, Timmy & Jæppe head off with Loz who’s come to pick them up, and I won’t see Timmy again for months since he’s off to have a baby in Western Australia four days from now…though Big J will be there when I get to Melbourne next week. I wait around the airport for five hours for my flight to Sydney working on this, before I finally make the flight and get there at 4.20pm for a gorgeous reunion with my beautiful girl.
This has been the maddest tour ever. Eternal gratitude to all our promoters, hosts and helpers, everyone who put on a show, cooked for us, or just hung out and drank a beer or three. We’ve come home with a bit of money, our best recording so far, a view towards the future and a stronger existence than ever. This reminds you why DIY punk is so important –life changing. When I first picked up a guitar 15 years ago, it would have blown my mind to see into the future –beyond any dreams and fantasies I ever had.
On the other hand, it's the end of all the fun. After quitting my teaching job at the end of August, it's been six months straight of music and partying...first the Fag Enablerz tour in Europe, followed by a month in Sweden playing and recording with Raw'Arse. Then a month in Ireland saying goodbyes and playing/recording, followed by goodbyes in London and moving to Australia. Needless to say, all such activities involved a lot of drinking...too much. Now it’s time for a massive detox…no more alcohol for a while…that shitty warm over-priced beer in KL airport was the last one for, who knows, at least a week, maybe a month, maybe more…the next few weeks are gonna be salads, exercise and finding a new job in Melbourne: I'm broke as all hell. Of course, an ounce or two of the green stuff is doing the job in seeing me through the worst of the DTs…but that's to be expected. Next tour looks like it's gonna be next year in the good ol' U.S. of A. Farewell dickheads - and thanks for reading.
*thanks to Johnny Mc for this stroke of genius...