It’s two in the morning at our tour manager Ben’s parents’ house. In 15 hours, I will be playing the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury, but for now, I’m up, restless, unable to sleep. We had a long day of driving and I think I snoozed in the van for too much of it. Somewhere between the sleepless nights of the Balearic Islands and the rainy fields of Southside and Hurricane, a cold has circulated our touring party, from throat throat, nose to nose, two or three rotations. My nostrils are clogged as thick as thieves.
We played two more Uni balls this week. On Wednesday, a fancy one at Cambridge. It cost more than the others, and everything and everyone was a bit classier. Longer skirts, less girls teetering on stiletto heels. There were fireworks, a mesmerizing harpist, a videogame tent complete with a gladiator battling ring, a hall of desserts with an ever flowing chocolate fountain, a silent disco (where everyone dances with headphones on), forest clearings equipped with hot tubs, outdoor hammocks, fortune tellers, even an acrobat dangling from a ribbon in a giant sealed-off plastic dome. We opened up for an impersonator act known as “The Lady Gaga Experience.” When she was performing, the backing track was really low. Her voice was overpowering, like watching uncomfortable karaoke. Soon, it literally dawned on me how short the summer nights are in the United Kingdom. The sun doesn’t completely go down until 10 PM, and by 4 AM, the sky is turning brighter shades. There’s a certain kind of exhaustion to crawling home to bed in broad daylight.
York’s University ball couldn’t hold a candle to Cambridge’s classiness, but there were still some interesting happenings. We were assigned two cute impressionable young girls wearing short shorts, Ffion (a properly Welsh girl) and Tasha, as our personal liaisons. The ball took place at a racetrack. It was my first time ever at a horse track, and I was impressed to see its immense hoop that must stretch a mile or two around.
The ropes that are holding our tour together began to fray. We realized that we had lost a good chunk of our equipment, all my guitar pedals and cords, in the fray of the Cambridge set changeover. I had to perform without reverb and felt quite naked. No sooner had our tour manager began to coordinate the equipment recovery process, then his phone vanished. We tried to relieve some stress on the bumper cars, which are now called The Dodger Cars because you’re not supposed to bump anymore, given that it causes whiplash. We bumped anyways.