BLOG: BEING JOHN MALKOVICH IN WAKEFIELD

With last Wednesday’s van adventure fresh in mind, I was cautious not make any jokes about travelling anymore, even about the short distances.
 
Wakefield is about an hour and a half driving from Liverpool, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Last Saturday, we decided to travel with one van (for the equipment and the crew) and two cars (for the band members). The show being this close to Liverpool meant we didn’t have to leave at 9 in the morning for a change.
 
Feeling confident everything would work out fine that day, Louis posted on Facebook he was looking forward to the show and that he hoped we’d have a show day without any unexpected events causing stress. About nine minutes later, Paul texted me we couldn’t get into the venue till 4 instead of 3, which meant we would have one hour less to set up. Then not much later, we received a call from our van hire company that someone had crashed our hire van and that they didn’t have a spare one. So much for the ‘no unexpected events’.
 
A couple of Facebook messages and phone calls later, we managed to find a company that had one left, but we had to pick it up within five minutes, because they were about to close. Minor detail: the company is on the other side of the river and it would take us about half an hour to get there from where we’re all based. We sent out Pete, who was our driver to London two weeks ago and luckily lives around the corner from them.
 
The logo on the van wasn’t very subtle; in huge letters it said “Birkenhead Van Hire”, which to people from ‘our’ side of the river means “this is clearly a van from the wrong side of the river”. Reluctantly, we loaded the van and drove off.
 
The fact that we don’t have our own equipment just yet, means we have a bigger chance of forgetting something. Especially the packs for my microphone and in ear monitor have proven to be a nightmare; we have to pick up the different parts from different places each time. I’m always checking my house and my bag about a hundred times before I leave, and I’m always worried we forgot to take something; I know I can be a scatterbrain. I’m not the only one though; we had hardly left Liverpool when Ben realized he brought my microphone and my radio pack, but not the receiver. We had a second hand set to test, but we weren’t 100% sure it would work. Luckily we were not far from where the receiver was, so the van with our equipment turned around to pick it up, adding another 45 minutes to their journey.

Paul, Bobby, Louis, Jerney, Claudia and myself had absolutely nothing to do while waiting for the gear to arrive. We decided to go upstairs to the dressing room and have coffee. Though very organized, the space upstairs felt like we had become part of Being John Malkovich: the ceiling were so low even I was worried I might bump my head on the beams! They even had caution signs and strips of protective foam to soften any bumps. Bobby, the tallest in the band, mentioned he was happy the foam would at least protect his chin...
 
When we were setting up at last, we noticed that for some unexplainable reason the antennas on the microphone receiver were missing. How that could ever happen still baffles me, but we were lucky in this case we had the spare set: the antennas fitted on the box we were using that night!
 
With the worst ticket sales that we’ve ever had (as soon as we arrived that day we had a hunch it might not be the best venue for us), we got on stage at 9:15 (after we had been told about four different show times from the venue). The crowd was small, but wonderful and they applauded as loud as a full theatre normally does! This time, I was clever enough to tell Louis I would perform ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’ not on stage, and from where I was sitting, I could see everyone in the audience. It is definitely true that a good audience makes up for a lot of stress we encounter on a show day, this audience proved it once again!
 
By now, it is Monday evening. Louis and I have left Liverpool at 2:30 this morning by car, exactly 24 hours after we came back from our show in Wakefield. I am home in Haarlem, with my cats who have obviously missed me. I have about a million things to do in the 10 days I will be here, but right now, I am going to relax and have a very, very long and deep sleep…

3 comments

  • Homer Simpson

    Homer Simpson Springfield

    "Louis posted on Facebook he was looking forward to the show and that he hoped we’d have a show day without any unexpected events causing stress .. not much later, we received a call from our van hire company that someone had crashed our hire van" Will they never learn?

    "Louis posted on Facebook he was looking forward to the show and that he hoped we’d have a show day without any unexpected events causing stress .. not much later, we received a call from our van hire company that someone had crashed our hire van"

    Will they never learn?

  • Steph Baker

    Steph Baker Merseyside

    Another much appreciated blog, giving us a peek into life on the road. Enjoy your rest and come back all guns blazing for the remainder of your brilliant gigs. It is great that you are getting recognition for your shows at last.

    Another much appreciated blog, giving us a peek into life on the road. Enjoy your rest and come back all guns blazing for the remainder of your brilliant gigs. It is great that you are getting recognition for your shows at last.

  • John Moran

    John Moran That There London

    I believe Bobby is still growing!

    I believe Bobby is still growing!

Add comment

Kate Bush Tribute - Dreaming of Kate