Tour Diary: Bristol (UK / Day 13)

Salty Snack of the Day: Pipers Wissington Tomato – It tastes like tomatoes. I love tomatoes. I hated these. Every time I tried to eat them it was like a crispy stone falling through the good parts of my soul and taking a little bit with it. I suddenly wanted to feed puppies chocolate and read Rod McKuen’s poetry to shut-ins. Did not finish.

Britishisms Heard Uttered: Birmingham Twat – Not a thing in and of itself I assume. However whenever one of us would say Birmingham Olie would affect a mocking nasal American accent and say “BermingHAM” making the ham sound like the salty meat. One is supposed to pronounce it as if the word is being swallowed as it’s being spoken. “Brmnhmm.” But if one said twat like hot he would say, “No. Twat like hat.” Honestly.

Birds: Swallow

This will be the shortest post of the tour as it took nine hours to get from Edingburgh to Bristol. We climbed back into the silver bullet of hate and set out.

In the U.S. if you want to stop and make, or get fuel and food, you just get off at an exit and avail yourself of whatever is there. In the U.K. they’re called Services and they were lifesavers. It’s set up closer to the way say the Pennsylvania Turnpike has their service plazas. Daily we lived off of good fresh sandwiches and readymade salads like Beets with Feta from M&S or Witherspoons. Olie, however had been telling us that there is one service stop that was the greatest in the whole country.


It’s somewhere in Cumbria and it’s magical. Plates of sweet, bakery treats great you. There’s a shop with good cheese and wine, and the café has vegetarian lasagna, sausages, fresh peas with mint. Is a big deal? No? Yes? * Ok, imagine you’re travelling for 9 hours on the highways of America and surviving off of gas station snacks or fast food. It’s horrible and you end up feeling like shit. Now imagine a Whole Foods with all the smugness sucked out like meat from Jack Klugman’s colon. That’s this place in a nutshell. But even the regular U.K services I mentioned before are packed with fresh food. No wonder the United States has eating problems. I’m writing this as we drive back to Cincinnati from NYC and the only kind of fresh food I can find is yogurt, boiled eggs in a bag, Cracker Barrel cheese rectangles and carrot sticks. It’s enraging. We’ve been trying to strategize how to eat healthy while touring this summer and all we can figure out is to bring a cooler, find grocery stores, and make our own breakfasts and lunches. Hell, even Starbucks, who I am no great fan of, has vastly more fresh options in the U.K.

Anyway, you can imagine how bedraggled** we looked as we pulled up to the Fleece in Bristol. Last show of the tour, hostel sleep the night before, fighting colds; we were a fright. We were ending the tour the way we began by opening up for Shonen Knife. It’s a fairly famous Bristol venue and bigger than we would play on our own. (for instance Icicle Works are playing there SOOON!***) Big box, older building, audibly sticky floors; classic club in other words. Leggy, the Cincinnati trio traveling the island the same time as us, opened the show and played such an energetic, awesomely rocking set I went out to the van and said we were in danger of getting blown off the stage. And thank God for it, because it was just the kick in the ass we needed to finish the tour strong. We had no soundcheck and limited time so we dispensed with our usual pleasantries and made as much noise as we could for 45 minutes. It was a bigger crowd than Gateshead and they were far more responsive. We did a run and gun; loading straight out and leaving right away, dead on our feet.


I went on a short walk and right near the club was an active archaeological dig of a site going back to mediaeval times. Of course it was happening so someone can build on top of it, but I’m guessing you can’t plant a tulip without coming across history in this country.


A block or two away from a picturesque bridge crossing what I think is the river Avon, I found the closed St. Nicholas Market, which was started in 1743, but that was all I really had time to see.

Tomorrow is back to London and taking care of business in the non-Elvis, more Colonel Tom Parker way.


*Written in an Italian accent. Go back and read it that way. It’s works better.

** Did you know draggled was a word? It means to soil by dragging over wet or dirty ground.

***When I wrote that in Word, I started the phrase at a font size of 8 and every word got bigger so it was just like a Whisper to a Scream. I can’t figure out how to do that in WordPress but I just wanted you to know that I was trying.