Tour Diary: Episode 3

by Bloodnut”

This diary is a record of two bands and their fortnight spent touring the pubs and clubs of coastal Australia with twelve band members, one sound man, a small entourage of friends, five vehicles and one piss-off-huge trailer.

Episode 3:” The New England Highway

I open my eyes.” I am on a lounge room floor.” I am not in my usual warm bed with the usual warm body beside me, there is a half empty stubbie in the spot where she should be. There are bodies of band members littered amongst couch cushions and sleeping bags.” Newcastle feels a long way from home.” Tonight we play in Armidale. It is even further away from home.” It will be a while before everyone wakes up.” I decide to grab a coffee.

I wander into the centre of town. I pay $3.50 for caffeine. My coffee is rough as shit- not dissimilar to the bloke who made (and probably spat) in it.” There is a girl busking on the violin out the front of the cafe.” Fittingly, she cannot hold a tune.” A filthy teenage boy walking past tells her to fuck off.” He is accompanied by an older man holding a half full schooner glass and having trouble walking.” I realise that all city centres from Canberra to Cairns must be interchangeable.” I almost feel at home.

Several mobile phone conversations later, everybody meets at another cafe in the city.” This one is nicer – full of communists and people wearing hemp trousers.” It is a good place to have coffee ” so in preparation for a long drive, the little man inside me says “have three of them”.” By the time we get back on the road it is midday.” My hands are trembling from the buzz.” It is six hours to Armidale.” I have a strange sense of d”j”-vu.

After the frikken F3 I am totally paranoid that we are going to run out of petrol. This is not helped by the car”s broken fuel gauge and four cups of coffees.” Mayhem is in the front with me ” I keep making him count how many kilometres we have travelled.” The New England Highway is not as flat and straight as I would like.” It is rough, winding and hot.”” I start to wish for the F3.” I am sure the car will explode in the ever increasing heat.” I am certain we are almost out of fuel and my stomach aches from four coffees and no real breakfast.” Solution – stop in Muswellbrook for petrol and food.

Muswellbrook is coal mines and coal miners.” Oversized, yellow earthmoving trucks.” Blue singlets and dust blackened faces.” Country music – truckers, dogs and hard spirits.” Muswellbrook has (in order of importance)

1. a service station,
2. a set of lights and
3. a bar and bistro.

That is all.” As we exit the car, I am sure the locals assume we are either hippies or homosexuals.” Or maybe hippie homosexuals.” Perhaps communists ” although no one is wearing hemp pants.” I feel like Burt Reynolds in my little canoe on the Cahulawassee River.” We go to the Bistro.” The sign out the front announces it has the best menu in town.” This is never so true as when you are also the only place in town.” We try to order food at the bistro.” The lady asks us what time its is.” 2:15.” She says it is very unfortunate but they stop serving at 2:00.” Her eyes speak of an underlying sentiment” “Piss off you hippie homo hemp pant wearing” commie lovers ” we don”t serve your type here”.

I get the impression that if it had been 12:30 the kitchen would have conveniently closed at 12:00. I comfort the guys and suggest it is all for the best.” I tell them the story about the time I found a pube in my pizza.” I am sure pubes are a staple for any and all out-of-towners that chance the Muswellbrook bistro.” Instead I say, we will eat like Kings in Tamworth.

Two more hours of the New England Highway, we arrive in Tamworth.” There is a BP service station next to the “Lucky Australian” Tavern and Bistro.” Even though our stomachs are beginning to turn on themselves, The Docter and Mayhem prioritise ” they must go to worship at the foot of the Golden Guitar.” I have never seen the Golden Guitar before.” I note that is quite phallic.” The Docter has been inspired – she decides she wants to stop and pay respect to all the big things we see on this tour.” I know there is a penis joke here for the taking but I am too hungry to think straight.

We go into the “Lucky Australian” Bistro.” I like the fact that these folk wear cowboy hats.” Serious cowboy hats.” I look around the bar -” I count fifteen Lee Kernaghan”s.” We ask the Lee Kernaghan at the bar where we can order food.” He asks us the time.” 4:30.” He says that it is unfortunate, but the kitchen does not open for another half an hour.” I can hear him thinking “Piss off you hippie homos in your commie hemp pants”.

We settle for Macdonalds instead.

I look at the map.” On paper, we are only little bit away from Armidale.” Only a little away from our gig.” Our bellies are full.” Our spirits strengthened by the mighty golden guitar penis thingy.” All is right in the world.

Next ” Armidale (with a foreword by the New England Highway)

2 Responses to “Tour Diary: Episode 3”

  1. Heres to episode four making it out the other end without being beaten to a pulp.

  2. dear bloodnut: your diary rocks – in a pinko, commo, bleeding-heart, hemp-pants wearing kind of way.