Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Greetings from Asbury Park

Being obsessed with Bruce Springsteen is a bloody weird thing at times. I've written zines about him, I've made comics about him, I've given talks on him, I've followed him and the E Street Band round the country, I've got his name tattooed on me, I've contributed a chapter to an upcoming book on Springsteen, and I've even met him twice now. I've mentioned in my zines and in talks before that fandom and diy culture don't always fit together and it always feels super weird to place a straight white millionaire cis dude on a pedestal in the way that I do. But sometimes I like to stop caring about that for a second and just indulge my obsessive fan behaviours.

A few weeks ago I went on an adventure to New York. Me and my partner had the best time eating vegan pizza and donuts and going to record shops, comic shops, seeing so much art and so many ace bridges, and pretending we were in a film every day. During our holidays we took a day trip out to New Jersey for a special Bruce Springsteen rock and roll tour.

The rock and roll tour of the Jersey shore is run by Stan Goldstein and Jean Mikle. They have painstakingly researched Bruce's connection to New Jersey, the places he lived, grew up, and played and they drive you round in their car dropping stories and trivia all over the place and letting you get out and see those places for yourself. The places that had a profound impact on his lyrics, his albums, his friendships, his sound. And if you are a Springsteen fan with a day in New Jersey it's probably the best thing you could ever do.

We took the train from Penn Station and headed out to Long Branch, NJ for the day. I was ill as fuck, couldn't breathe or swallow thanks to infected tonsils of doom, but despite the holiday lurgy I was so excited. We were met at Long Branch by Jean, and we hopped in her car with my bag of tissues and cough sweets (sorry Jean) and spent the next 4 hours geeking out.

I liked Jean. She made no assumptions as to what kind of fans we were, she didn't mind if we were diehards or casuals, she didn't mind  what our favourite albums were which was nice. My partner isn't the diehard that I am and I was worried it could be a boring 4 hours for him, but Jean was bloody brilliant. During the 4 hours she also put feelers out to figure out what our political leanings were before tearing into the rise of right wing fascism in America. Jean was ace, go hang out with Jean!

We started in Long Branch by visiting the house where Bruce wrote Born to Run.

Someone take the flag down and buy me this house please, ta.

I've read so many books about Bruce, so many biographies, so many accounts and versions of the venues he played in Jersey, the streets, the houses, the bars, the boardwalk. And then there's the stuff that I wasn't sure whether it was myth or whether it was real. Which is why I nearly broke down in weird tears in the front of Jean's car as she casually dropped into conversation that we were now driving down Kingsley ("Well I'm riding down Kingsley, figuring I'll get a drink") from the song Something in the Night and that we were about to pass the strip where drag races used to take place, which Bruce used as the setting for Racing in the Street

We drove through Long Branch, down to Asbury Park and saw legendary venues like the Stone Pony, The Wonder Bar, the ground where the Palace amusements used to be ('Beyond the palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard'), the Upstage bar, and even Madam Maries from the song Sandy.

'Did you hear the cops finally busted Madam Marie for telling fortunes better than they do' - Sandy

We passed the factory where Bruce's dad used to work and was maybe the setting for the song Factory, we passed his old school, the bar where he first met Clarence the big man Clemons, his childhood homes in Freehold, the famous Springsteen tree in Freehold, and of course 10th avenue and E Street.

It was kinda weird having such a strong reaction to streets, buildings, and venues in New Jersey having romanticised so many of these places in my head. I'm sure my partner didn't have strong feelings as we passed the Upstage bar, the streets of freehold, or the places and street names made famous in Springsteen lyrics, but it was something that's only ever been fictional in my head and it suddenly became dead real. As we drove round Freehold we smelled the coffee from the nescafe factory and just a couple of days later when the official Bruce Springsteen autobiography was released, Bruce would go on to describe in those first few pages sulking round the streets of Freehold and smelling that same coffee smell from the factory everywhere he went, and it was just a bit bonkers to me that I'd been following his ghost around NJ doing just that a few days earlier. It still didn't feel real. It was like going to the Harry Potter Studio tour and being amazed by all the things you've seen in the films but also understanding it's all still just fiction. 

The only weird bit of the tour was driving out to Colts Neck where Bruce currently lives, which then felt a bit too real. The road down to his house is a private road and is secured by a fucktonne of private land that you can't get through but we drove round the parameter and I suddenly felt like a weird stalker. There was a private road, 100s of acres of land, and a fence separating our car from Bruce if he was home, but it felt a bit weird to be driving so close to where he actually lives. I spent the next 20 minutes gawping out the window looking for a black land rover in case Bruce was in the area.

Jean dropped us off in Asbury Park after the tour  where we hung out at the Silverball pinball arcade and museum and walked along the boardwalk for a bit, and I had Sandy playing in my head the whole time. I don't think I've ever felt as ill and as feverish as I did that hot summers night stuck on the platform of Asbury Park train station swigging medicine, chomping lozenges, and coughing my lungs up in Springsteen's old stopming ground. Shout out to my loving partner who endured a 4 hour tour of Asbury Park and then the whole evening of me whinging that I thought I was dying until we could get back to our bed in New York. 

'This boardwalk life for me is through'

Just a few days later in New York, Bruce did a public appearance for his new autobiography and we managed to meet him. I got a hug and a handshake and a compliment on my hair. 10 seconds later and I couldn't even remember if I even looked him in the eye when I spoke to him, I just know that I had shaken his hand and mumbled an overly earnest 'thank you for everything.' If you've read my zine Me and Bruce #1 you'll know this isn't the first time I've met him, but it is the first time I got a photograph to document the occasion.

Immediately after meeting him, My Hometown played over the loudspeaker at Barnes and Noble and I had a little cry. Having just been to New Jersey it was then so weird to have started reading his autobiography that morning where he described all the places we visited, and then to meet him just a couple of hours later while a song about his hometown played in the background just blew my mind a little bit. I want to say that having been to see where he grew up and having met him and hugged him, that Bruce feels even more real to me, that I feel more connected to his songs. And while it's true that I'm always going to be able to picture those places now when listening to his songs, none of it feels really real. He's still up on this untouchable pedestal and just because I've been to New Jersey I'll never really know him, and I'm still going to appropriate his songs to be about me and my experiences.

Speaking of appropriating Bruce, I'm dead excited that the book I've contributed to -  Bruce Springsteen and popular music: rhetoric, memorial, and contemporary culture has a publishing date of April 2017. My chapter is about interpreting Bruce lyrics as queer anthems and it's been a super fun experience contributing to a properly published book. Although I miss the immediacy of zines and not having to spell check my work or worry about copyright, zines forever! So today I started work on the next in my zine series Me and Bruce #4 which should be out dead soon. I love making Bruce zines and it's been a while since my last one. I might even ask for contributions this time round as when I started making them I didn't know anyone who loved Bruce like me and now I seem to know loads of queer Bruce fans. In the meantime you can get issues 1-3 of the Me and Bruce zine series in a special bundle here

Friday, 9 September 2016

Leeds zine fair

I'll be tabling at Leeds Zine Fair tomorrow!

I'll have my new zines like Cool Schmool comic, Bite Me, and My Mad Fat Zine with me as well as all my old ones. There's gonna be some proper ace people tabling and I'm looking forward to getting some hangtimes with my favourite Leeds people!

I'm severely burned out at the moment and I've got the massive tonsils of doom right now, but tomorrow will be ace. Plus there's the Pale Kids and Just Blankets matinee show with vegan cafe at Wharf the next day!

Life on the hash brown scene

Last month I went on tour with my band The Potentials and our mates FOMO and Whatevers and had the best time ever! So I made a little tour documentary about our week of adventures. 

It's no Life on the Murder Scene, but then again nothing is. But editing this helped with the post-tour comedown, and now it's finished it's just made me want to go back on tour even harder. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

We are the potentials

We made a pop video! Our new video for The Potentials theme from our new ep came out this week and I'm so excited.

I first saw a draft version of the video on my phone on the train back from tour a couple of weeks ago, and it prolonged the post-tour blues just for a bit. But now the final version is here for everyone to see!

We'd been wanted to make a pop video for ages and the little cut and paste job I did last year for Slayerfest doesn't really count. I wrote down some ideas and we sent them to the amazing Brit and Jojo who had come out to film us before including this interview in the toilets at our Spring Fling gig

We asked all our mates to be in it too and we had lots of fun running around in park and playing with fake blood. My main memory of filming this is being on crutches as my arthritis in my foot was so painful I could hardly stand and as soon as Jojo would yell cut I would hobble away with a throbbing foot. All I remember is the pain and the heat and the sunburn. But look at this video, you can't see any of that, you can just see some of the best people every being slayers in training and vampires with us!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Sick Sad World Tour Report

I’m back from tour and the comedown is real. Why aren’t there 8 other people also asleep on my bedroom floor, when are we loading into the van, and when are we having a hash browns party again? Getting to play gigs with my band The Potentials every night along with our mates Whatevers and Fomo all while being driven by top lass Kathleen (Scratch That Itch zine) was a proper dreamy holiday.
Organising a tour and asking people to put on 3 unknown bands from out of town will always be a big ask and we are dead grateful to all the amazing people who put us on, found us floor space to sleep on, fed us vegetables so we didn’t get scurvy, and promoted our daft Buffy songs and our shows, some of which were super last minute, we are super thankful.
In the weeks leading up to tour I was becoming a mega stress-head and trying to balance work stuff with all my non-work stuff was overwhelming and my health was super awful. Two weeks before going on tour we filmed our music video (coming out soon!) and I was hobbling around on crutches in a lot of pain on 3 days without any sleep wondering if I’d even be able to go on tour. Physical health was shit and my mental health was also not great. My OCD this year has been an absolute right dick and right on cue in the month leading up to tour all of my nervous patterns, tics, and weird rituals I do came together, and I was just in denial that tour was even happening!
Luckily the week before tour I came off crutches, and I’d taken a break from all the things making me anxious with a few days in Edinburgh eating vegan nachos, looking at nature, and watching Chris Gethard and I felt ready for tour!

On Sunday after not very much sleep and a hot as hell coach journey back from a pre-tour gig at Nottingham Queer Fest, it was time for first day of proper tour! The Potentials, Whatevers, and Fomo and Kathleen assembled at Veg Bar in Brixton to set up. Some of Fomo were ill, I was mega sleep deprived, and stressed although I really have no clue what I was actually stressed about. I think I thought I needed to be doing more as it was the first day of tour but I just ended up faffing around not really doing much. As the week went on you get in a proper routine of loading in, soundchecking, setting up merch, and playing, and it becomes automatic, but I hadn’t hit that point yet. It's great getting to play with people that you already know and like,but we were definitely on that first day of tour where we hadn’t gone through all the bonding yet, all the in-jokes were still to come, and there was still a level of shyness and nerves to break through.

Fomo played first. As soon as they finished their first song it was ridiculously obvious they should have been headlining the entire tour and an instant Fomo fanclub was formed. Facebook Cruiser was my best song of the night although I missed the end of their set (missing my soon to be favourite fomo song)  as ocd stuff was kicking off and my sleep deprivation was at its peak, so I went and did more faffing, rearranged the merch table, went for a walk, and had a word with myself, and all was good.

Whatevers were on next and after a week of watching them play every night it’s so strange to think there was a time where I didn’t have their songs firmly stuck in my head. Matching outfits were on point, and their songs are amazing and it feels like Seleena and Kandy are more confident at being popstars. Plus their merch, omg.

We play and it’s fun and we have our tour outfits on which stink after just one day. A week later and I want to burn our matching tour outfits and never see/smell them again.
And then Doe play and bust out their bloody amazing Spice Girls cover and I have a dance and don’t feel stressed anymore because tour has begun and there’s nowt left to do, and if the promoter in Bristol doesn’t want to return any of our calls or emails or facebook messages then there’s nothing I can do about that now.


The next day I wake up in my own bed and it doesn't feel like I’m on tour yet as there isn't anyone else sleeping on my living room floor. I pack my bag, say bye to Kyle, and make the 2 hour trek to south london (London is stupid) and meet up with the rest of the gang. I get there just in time for free breakfast and get my first hash browns of the week while people play Machi Koro and do some crafting. Kathleen introduces us to the Disturbed cover of Sound of Silence which becomes our weird tour anthem for the week.

A few of us head up to Aladdins cave to look round some junk and get ice pops. While walking down the street someone heckles us and calls us a ‘fucking excuse for the suicide squad’ which is now our new touring name.

We hop into the van and head to Bristol! Dj Jacky Knuckles is our resident dj as they have the longest legs and can reach the cd player and we get some right good singalongs to Sum 41, My Chemical Romance, Taylor Swift, and Spice Girls. There are some controversial moves as Flo’s favourite Avril Lavigne is pulled from the stereo only 2 songs in. The future of FOMO at this point is uncertain.

I don’t want to call anyone out or be a dick about it but 90% of the collective stress around this tour came from worrying about the Bristol gig due to some piss poor communication from the promoter. When we got there neither the amps that were promised to us or the venue manager are even there, but we shake it off and get set up and eat nice food and do the best we can.

My brother even comes along who I haven’t seen in about a year! Plus Michal and Amy, and Rosie who last time travelled all the way to bloody Brighton to see us, so I’m so glad we could actually play in Bristol for them this time!

Tonight I get to watch all of Whatevers and Fomo’s set all the way through and tonight is the first night that I tell all of Fomo that some of their songs remind me of Springsteen songs from The Rising and Magic era (and not just because there’s a harmonica) I then go on to tell this to Jack and Frankie every night for the remainder of tour.

Whatevers are ace and there are lot of Clueless fans in the audience getting excited. There’s also a girl in an old Potentials t-shirt that none of us know, and at this point I’m used to only my mates wearing t-shirts of bands I’m in, so it’s quite exciting!

We play and it’s maybe our worst gig of tour. I like to tell people that we are a hit and miss kind of band. Sometimes we are amazing, sometimes we are alright, and sometimes I fuck everything up and forget how to play for no reason, and tonight was one of those nights, sorry Zak and Shahnaz! I think I used all my musical ability in the My Chemical Romance singalong in the van. Oh well. At least the stress of Bristol is over.

We head back to a friend of Emily’s in Bristol, get offered a vast selection of herbal teas ( I choose womankind tea before bed and a peppermint and nettle tea in the morning), and we get given a blow up bed each so we’re all dead happy.


The next morning and we all meet up at Cafe Kino for my 3rd favourite breakfast on tour. Everyone is playing Alphabears and we get in the van (today’s dj choices include Blink 182 and bis) and head to Manchester where it’s surprisingly not the rainy city I usually love.

With the sun out, we head to Ice Shack in Withington for dairy and vegan ice cream and cake and we consider sacking off the gig and just staying there. I get a triple scoop of salted caramel, chocolate, and wild berry, with warmed up chocolate cake and I lose my fucking mind. It might be the sugar talking but Ice Shack is the greatest place on earth. There’s Mario Kart to play, a selection of Nancy Drew books, Settlers of Catan and other board games, and a total non-hipster selection of cheap vegan treats. Plus the guy working there is the nicest person ever and isn’t phased at all by having his cafe taken over by 9 weirdos aka 'the fucking excuse for the suicide squad'. He’s just dead lovely and we try to invite him to our gig but he has to work late and says he will look for us on youtube. What a bloody lovely un!

We get to the gig and Steve gives me a multipack of Irn Bru plus a Salford Zine Library tote for my birthday. I have to break it to him that I’m giving up pop for the week while my arthritic foot gets better as my doctor says my fizzy pop addiction could be making it worse. It’s a dark time.

Its the Whatevers homecoming gig and we all give a big round of applause as Alison arrives. Last year we toured with Yiiiikes featuring Seleena, Kandy, and Alison, and this year its just Whatevers as Alison has had a wee little baby, but its so good to see her again and we are all dead excited.

Fomo play and are just wonderful and its nice to get to that point where you can start to learn the words and sing along and have some feelings. A joke about 7-up goes wrong, but it's all part of the top quality bantz.
Whatevers play to an adoring audience, and tonight's Snob and a Half dedication gets a massive cheer. Plus everyone is going bonkers for their amazing merch! I love a home town show and all of their mates are there and everyone is so hyper and proud and excited, it’s brilliant to watch.
We play and we’re pretty good and it’s the first gig of tour where I’m genuinely having so much fun I don’t even care what we sound like. Poor Shahnaz starts to lose her voice but she can definitely pull off the Courtney Love voice so it doesn’t show.

After the show I get salt and pepper tofu with Frankie and Jack from the takeaway next door while poor Shahnaz gets a nasty injury with a cut on her leg. So glad to have a paramedic on tour with us though as Kathleen is straight in there with a plaster.


The next morning we assemble for my favourite breakfast on tour - toast, hash browns, beans, melon, strawberries, jus roll croissants and cinnamon rolls, plus plaintain. So good! Zak is taking a stance against all fruit and vegetables but decides he quite likes melon, and for a morning we all get into #wellness and #cleaninliving with a lush facemask and a bit of tour pilates.

I’m starting to get super nervous as we’re heading to Newcastle that night without Shahnaz. She’s staying in Manchester to watch Motion City Soundtrack play a super emotional reunion show and me and Zak are going to attempt it as a two piece instead. I’ve played lots of solo shows before so didn’t think playing in a two piece would make me nervous but for some reason I was shitting it.

Luckily Jack who happened to playing around on a bass while we did facemasks in the morning casually asked what the bass line for Friendzone was, and then went on to play it perfectly in a matter of seconds. Because Jack is one of those people that can just do that. And so they offered to play on a song with us that night in Sheffield making me a little less anxious than before.

We said goodbye to Shahnaz hoping to see her tear stained face the next day in York and set off to Newcastle. After going for proper nice lebanese food (the bread, THE BREAD!) and Frankie trying to make Zak eat vegetables we assembled for the gig. Its fair to say I’ve never felt gig nerves like I did that night and I felt like I was gonna vom or cry for some reason. Luckily we weren’t headlining this time at least. Newcastle was a late addition to our tour as our Glasgow date had fallen through last minute and Ally had very kindly offered to put us on in Newcastle instead. It was so nice to see some friendly faces and I danced out my nervousness to Fomo who were wonderful as always. I wish I could play drums like Flo. Whatevers were great and funny and everyone was chatting about Clueless after they had finished.

We played and Jack was amazing and joined us on bass for Friendzone and played and sang along having never played with us before ever, they even finished the set off with some completely uncalled for slap bass. To celebrate I then quizzed everyone on their favourite era of Gerard Way and I had some great chats with people about Buffy and concept bands in general and felt super happy after feeling sick with nerves all day long.

After the gig we went back to Jack’s mam’s house. The week before I’d been advised by the docs to give up fizzy pop for a bit while my arthritis was flaring up but I was feeling pretty good so cracked open the multipack of irn bru gifted to me in Manchester, and I went a bit wild and pretty much giggled myself to sleep.


In the morning we watched a bit of More than Meats the Pie docu-series about Greggs while Jack accidentally shot Flo in the face with a super dangerous fly swatter. First Avril and now this. Would Fomo even last the week?

We got in the van for a quick visit to the Angel of the North having missed it on the way up and then stopped for chilli curly fries at Ok Diner while Kandy tried coffee for the first time. We arrive in York and spend the afternoon in the York museum gardens. Jack and Shahnaz get to hold some bloody cute owls, and the rest of us put on our factor 50 sunscreen and do teddy bear rolls, crabs, and cartwheels and go look round some ruins. It’s dead lovely and Shahnaz spends most of her time with her legs sticking out of a bush while she has a snuggle with a sleeping stray cat.

At the venue Jack and I have a competition of the sexiest Bruce Springsteen video. Jack’s nomination is pretty sexy, but nowt is as sexy as this live version of Fire. High waisted jeans and some insane muscles and some dodgy dancing - it's a bit much.

I don’t know if it’s the sunshine, or being reunited with Shahnaz, or the leftover Irn bru still in my system but I’m in the best mood of my entire life! Not hyper and silly, just dead dead happy and content with life and so I end up just feeling pretty stoned and smiley at the gig. Fomo play and are wonderful and I'm fully singing along to all their songs now like they are proper chart bangers. Whatevers play and Seleena does a backbend while playing guitar and it’s amazing. And we play and its fun and I can’t stop smiling, even on our angry songs and we even end up playing Cibo Matto for the first time live in about a year! We dedicate Extra Flamey to Frankie and anyone else who met their first girlfriend in a Willow/Tara chatroom.

After the gig there is hot crush disco and I dance to Hole with Shahnaz and then end up dancing with everyone completely forgetting to pack up or do any of the loading out.

After the gig we head back to 1975 to Jamie Wilson’s fungalow and everyone is immediately soothed by the soft orange brown and mustard tones. There’s lots of cups of tea, Aunty Kathleen gets her wine out, and at midnight we sing happy birthday to Jack!


It’s Leeds day and we get excited about a wetherspoons breakfast but realised in our laziness we’ve missed it and so head out to Toby Carvery for a birthday roast instead. After a roast potato frenzy we head back to Kathleen’s for some robot wars and some first dates viewings followed by a birthday tea party for Jack including the most amazing party ring trifle ever!

We play girls just wanna have fun, give Jack the friendship bracelet we got in York, and eat trifle. Flo has made vegan m&ms and I spend my afternoon trying to make Stanley the dog fall in love with me. It’s a pretty amazing day.

In the evening we head to Wharf to set up and worry about people coming and trying to get a last minute amp in time but feel pretty excited for Fomo’s hometown gig. All the best people are there including Mel & Amy, Liev and Olly, and the super glamorous Shelly. Sadly Kathleen misses the Leeds show due to some real life crime happening in her street.

Whatevers play and there are so many Clueless fans there, including someone with a Clueless tattoo! During Whatevers I get a tap on the shoulder and see my Dad has turned up even though he’d told me before he wouldn’t be able to come to our gig! It isn’t a gig at Wharf chambers without my dad there.

Fomo are amazing for their homecoming show. I think I’m becoming their biggest fan on this tour, and my fave song gets dedicated to my dad who comes right over on cue after we’ve played to tell me how great Fomo are.

After we play the amazing Crumbs headline although I only really catch a bit of their set as I spend the rest of the evening having a big heart to heart and some massive life chats with my dad who’s having a proper shit time at the moment. It all gets a bit emotional and afterwards I’m a bit tearful and emo. Sorry to everyone in our van who might have wondered what was wrong with me, and thanks to Kandy and Shahnaz for being dead nice to me while I was being a bit weepy.  There’s usually one night on tour where things get a bit emo and it was Leeds this time. I shake it off for a quick gang dance along to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and then it’s back to Kathleens and at dead on midnight Kandy celebrates her birthday by trumping away her trapped wind caused by some deadly ginger beer. Happy birthday Kandy!


Last day of tour! And although it’s Kandy’s birthday, what’s really important to remember is that it’s also the hash brown challenge. All week long Zak and Jack have been trash talking each others ability to eat more hash browns than the other and this morning it’s finally being put to the test. There's a surprising amount of macho bullshit for a tour of such lovely awkward people, but it needs to resolved through an eating challenge. Keano cooks us up a right feast and the rest of us get to eat a massive breakfast of fake bacon and sausage and tomato and mushroom and hash browns and toast. And Jack and Zak eat their way through a pile of hash browns ending in a lady and the tramp style shared hash brown. There are no losers, only winners.

Everyone plays some Epic Spell Wars and then after some mooching round Jack’s flat looking at what we’d like to steal, we go take some photobooth pix thanks to Kathleen and I drink bubble tea for the first time before we head to Sheffield where amazing mexican food awaits us.

We all get a bit of the last night sillies exacerbated by Jack’s belief that they are good at impersonating regional accents. We sing happy birthday to Kandy re-using Jack’s birthday cake and feel amazing and eat the awesome food that Emma has made us, which is when Kathleen gets a phonecall letting us know that we have accidentally loaded in a guitar that doesn’t belong to us and is now needed in Leeds. We all feel like DICKS. Kathleen hops back in the van and gets the guitar to leeds in time while we all feel absolutely terrible. We are sorry and Kathleen is a fucking superhero.

Jack cracks on with a terrible yorkshire accent impression for most of the night and the occasional Kermit voice as requested by Flo until its time for Fomo to play.  It feels like Flo is hitting the drums extra hard tonight and it’s so good to sing along to. It feels so strange that only 7 days ago we hadn’t heard these songs when now they are firmly stuck in my head and they all feel like massive pop hits. Rise/Fall is my fave Fomo song and I do a bit of a cry during the last performance of it because a) it’s so good and  b) It’s the last time I’m gonna hear it on tour. If you need someone who can get super emosh on tour then I’m your person.

Whatevers are next and it’s Kandy’s hometown gig and all of her rollergirls are there dancing along. The Whatevers race through their set, and I realise that Virgin Who Cant Drive isn’t even on the Whatevers ep so I get sad that I wont get to hear that song every night.
It’s over before you even know it and I do another cry because that’s who I am now.

We play probably our worst set in Sheffield but I’m trying not to care. It’s a mixture of tiredness and not being able to hear each other at all and me forgetting how to play and sing at the same time. I sound shoddy as fuck but it’s the last night and I just feel happy regardless. We dedicate Friendzone to a couple of Buffy mega fans celebrating their 10th anniversary together in the audience who also named their child after Xander. I’m assuming they wont raise their kid to be a slut shaming emotionally abusive dick though. We meet them afterwards and they assure me that they wont and it’s nice to have a Buffy chat with people that love it and are open to discussing the show’s politics. I’m then greeted by someone outside who told me they had to walk out of our set as Friendzone tipped them over the fucking edge and that they were fine until we started critiquing Xander and the friendzone aka sexist emotional abuse. The guy tried to mansplain the character of Xander to me and told me that song was fucking terrible. Ordinarily I would have either got really upset or got in an argument with him, but I was tired and didn’t have time for his shitty speech on why we were wrong about Xander and so I left him to go hang out with everyone else and eat leftover birthday cake and finish my Irn Bru and have a laugh.

We drove back to Kandy’s house while I danced in my seat desperate for a rave ( it now transpires that I have absolutely no clue what a rave is), put on Girls Just Wanna Have Fun again at Kandy’s while she opened her presents and we all had a lovely time.

The next day is like the last ever episode of Bug Juice where everyone goes home. We all leave in dribs and drabs but have a post tour breakfast of jus roll treats plus hash browns before going our separate ways. Zak offers half a hash brown to Jack as a peace offering but I eat it instead ending macho bullshit hash browns forever. We have a big zine swap, getting rid of all the zines we don't want to take home with us which is ace. I love having a zine distro on tour, more tours should do it and I love Kathleen for running it and suggesting it in the first place! Everyone is knackered and on the verge of getting ill and it’s all a bit sad saying goodbye to everyone even though I’ll be seeing everyone again dead soon.

Here are some things I learned on tour:

  • People are incredibly generous with their time
  • Everyone needs a Kathleen in order to go on tour properly.
  • Make a bloody checklist for loading in and out
  • I'm a hit and miss kind of musician and I’ve made my peace with that.
  • Playing without Shahnaz is terrifying
  • Nobody does merch like Whatevers do merch.
  • Putting on a tour is a lot of work but there's nowt you can do once it starts.
  • Flo is proper amazing and I’m so glad I got to hang out with them properly for the first time on this tour rather than the hi and byes we always do at shows.
  • I used to be really intimidated by Jack before this week but after hearing their piss poor yorkshire accent feel like we are actually mates now.
  • I suck at Alphabears
  • Plantain for breakfast all the time
  • I feel dead embarassed for getting all weepy on the Thursday night
  • I have this thing where I’m not good at eating in front of people that I don’t know that well, but totally did it on tour. Tour was good for a lot of my weird behaviours actually.
  • If I put a fresh bath bomb from lush in the same bag as my stage outfit then it doesn’t smell sweaty and gross. Thanks Lush.
  • I love Buffy but I don’t always wanna chat about it, especially with lads.
  • I wish Kyle could have come to more shows
  • Fomo should have headlined.