Tour Diaries

The Stranglers in France 2004

weds 3rd nov...... (Niort)
it is one thirty in the morning and i am sat in a service
station waiting for a late tourbus!!!!!....it is cold and i am tired....we are
about to tour in our third continent in three weeks -not bad..however the
portents are not good.....the bus is late we have missed one ferry....a major road
traffic accident has caused us a three hour de-tour and we have a twelve hour
drive ahead of us followed at ten thirty tonight by a show.....all this on a
bus that has someone elses toilet overflow sloshing about beneath us upon the
chassis of said bus-yuk-it really stinks.......we arrive at 6.30 local time
......apart from these things the venue is really nice everyone is in good
spirits and the food is -as always in France-lovely......the audience are up for it
too-not a sell-out but a healthy size and the night goes very well
indeed.....not too vociferous at the beginning but they soon loosen up and by the end of
the show they are ecstatic.....we all feel somewhat more positive than a few
hours previous..no technical problems and our new tech....charlie -see
pic-slips in un-noticed lets keep this feelin'.......goodnight......


thur 4th........ (Rennes)
7 hours sleep-good and it is back on the bus for the 4 hour
drive to Rennes.....fab place and a student town-this is where some ten or more
years ago we played two night at the famous Ubu club and got the audience to
resist smoking for the second show due to Jets ill health......tonight is an
amazing gig as the entire audience are screaming from the top of the
show....what is going on!?.....even ten minutes after the encores they were still
screaming and clapping-a brilliant night and even time to meet up with old friends
and have a serious soiree apres le gig!!!-Louie doing a stonking job on the
sound tonight too-hotel was very noisey though and it was an early start for
those on the bus (Dave JJ and Baz are travelling in a seperate vehicle with our
second tour manager Big Al-see pic 'Guilty'-it is faster and sleeker!!!).


Fri 5th... (Brest)
Today we play in Brest and on arrival I decide to look for a web
cafe.....so after walking right down to one end of town I discover it is at the
other end !!!great and now I am bloody hungry too so after making my restaurant
choice and finding the web cafe I walk in and -scary - there is a power
cut...now this rings a bell - see Melbourne Australia - so that knocked that on the
head...ok what now...I know a bit of retail therapy....so after looking for
new stage-pants for a few weeks I finally settle on a pair and go to
pay.....erm sorry sir your card is no good...ok I will go to the ATM.....bloody thing
refused me.....erm I guess that I will go to my hotel and lay down...half
expecting to fall into a coma of course knowing my luck!!!Alas my luck appears
better than Baz's who now-after banging his head on the bus-has a bad
back!........anyway we get to the gig and guess what ----boring---the punters are freaking
out.....the poorest stage diving I have ever seen greets the first song and
gradually dies out....as if it wasn't die-re enough already......the stage has
to be the most slippery in my memory -even DM's could skate on it so in my
shiny leather soled shoes my work was cut out.....ooh those inner
thighs.....plenty of young people here too....stay over tonight.....


sat 6th.... (Lillebonne)
Up and out at 11.30 for the 4 hour drive to BFN as we call it or
Lillebonne as it is generally known....this is a little town of 8000 people in
Normandie around 40 miles from LeHavre....we are staying in an amazing
chateaux....erm no we are staying next door to an amazing chateaux!!!!!Hey but check
the view from my room-see pic-basically we overlook the Seine valley...it is
stunning and really beautiful air.....tonight is a sell-out and we are going
to meet up with our excellent promoter....all in all it should be a party night
.....erm if we make it !!!????On our way to sound check we manage to blow our
'sleek' vehicle up and -see pic-are stranded for half an hour at the side of
a very fast road....not ideal - but - very quickly everything is sorted out
and we are back on our way...phew!..........however the venue although very
nice-an arts centre-is all seated....lets see what we can do.....erm no need as
soon as we hit the stage they are all up and at us....but ....the sound is very
weird for us for sometime but not for the punters...they are totally
committed..
yes another great night...are we having fun !?............


7th.... (Ris Orangis)
erm of november no idea what day it is but we are going to Ris
Orangis-south of Paris to play La Plan a venue we had to re-visit on a tour many years ago after Jet had fallen ill......however tonight we play at 7.30.....so we have the rest of the night off...we are welcomed by a sell out audience who treat us like old friends-we made a promise to return at our own expense and they showed us their appreciation tonight-from the first note of Waltzinblack this was a warm and totally relaxed vibe...it was a pity we had to stop really but thats life haha also we stayed behind to eat with our promoter and drink of course ...and we still had time to prepare for our big day out tomorrow in Lille........


...tues 9th nov..... (Lille)
ahhh a grand day out was had by all.....except Baz who has now developed an abcess on his front tooth-OUCH-so it was up at 9 for him and down to the dentist.....meanwhile some of us were piling down oysters by the bucket load....nice u think but i don't actually like them!! but we had ordered a seafood platter and it arrived with fruits of the sea all cold and i ended up with 15 down my neck which made me sleep rather easily that afternoon.......so easily that i nearly missed soundcheck....weird old theatre this one.....Baz looking in pain.....showtime 9.30 two thirds sold and very cold here....like 6 degrees......also we have been informed that our Mulhouse show has been cancelled due to bad sales and therefore we drive straight past it and on to Tulle.......bit of a slow audience tonight but again they get well warmed up -with the help of a few Anglaise to sing along with......back to l'hotel and up bright and not very breezy for the drive to the sea-side at Boulogne....


....weds 10th nov...... (Boulogne)
wow this is a really old theatre-see pic - not unlike the Grand in Blackpool where we have played a few times.....Baz starting to feel better but now we have bass problems and the rig is not working and there is no spare -however the company director is in town so we let him know what is happening and so a new rig is on its way......all seems a bit fraught today but thats the way it goes - some days are shitty......but most are excellent!!!!!sell-out too but all seats......also weird sound onstage but the punters are well up for it and only have to be invited once to leave their seats and enjoy the show.....the best audience so far -although there is not a lot in it between most of the gigs.......they actually clapped in time!!!!!all this a big suprise as we have never been here but will be back one feels....anyway all aboard the bus for an overnighter to Nancy and a day off....so it is obviously party time......erm see pics....however we are all in bed by 06.30am......haha


...11th nov.....
armistice day and everything is shut....so it is a long day off and me and the crew find a lovely Morroccan restaurant and sit down to a very civilised meal ......bed....for 13 hours in this chaps case.....!!


....nov 12th.... (Pagney)
tonight the show is an hours drive away to a very famous venue called Chez Paulette..-still trying to find out why-.....it's a tiny tiny
place with a tiny stage and tiny people ...no backstage and more smoke than a very smokey thing.....on at 11...no oxygen to speak of but what a fantastic night this was....600 people crammed in to a 350 space.......Baz breaks strap on first jump and a very pretty woman insists on dancing on stage with me to Peaches-oh dear oh dear........best night for me now......2 weeks to go.............



...sat 13th nov.....  (Strasbourg)
four hours sleep...nice.....up at 9.30 ....4 hours drive to Strasbourg-not our best place for fans but those who showed were shall we say....erm into it....the trouble here is that they need to be told how to enjoy themselves - so it was my pleasure to illustrate the point....took a while but got there in the end.....strange art centre kind of vibe ...we played here many moons ago......not the greatest gig i have ever done but u can't have it all your own way .....or can you??.......tonight is a mega-drive and therefore a bit of a party was had hhmmm.....see pics....we are going to a place called Tulle....kind of mid France -very pretty town indeed....looks a bit Balkan in the surrounding country-side....cold too - and i feel like a little cold is coming on...two nights off here ..see pics.....oh dear......me and crew drink all first day.....yes see pics..... and so we need to eat today hahaha........


.......tues 16th nov (Tulle)
......at least i know what day it is now........it is show day in Tulle !!!!
feeling worse for wear..miserable weather...me and Jj do quick TV for evening news.....bored of this town...bored of days off.....9.45 show.........erm well we have had better nights....nuff said




17th..... (Clermont Ferrand)
8.30 call for the drive to Cleont Ferrand and the hometown of our support band Asyl.....half full house .bit slow to start but got quite noisy after a while....this was always gonna be hardest part of the tour.deepest darkest France .fatigue setting in and we have been on tour for two months almost....this happens and sleep and re-charge are all that is needed........off to Bordeaux tonight....





18th...... (Bordeaux)
ah 10am and off to our hotel........and pretty it is too.....will tonight be fun-who knows.......sadly our tour manager has a bereavment and has to leave the tour for two days .our thoughts go out to him.....10pm show......wow full house and they are rocking this is a fantastic night.makes up for two shitty days easily...except i pull the power on Dave and Baz with a left foot special during Heroes..........drum and bass strangs?????erm no i dont think so hahaha...belter of a gig..up at 8.30 again tho..............to BFN....



nov 19th..... (Montauban)
no sleep since wednesday night...........and today could be disappointing.stagetime 9 then 9.30 then 10 then 10.30 then back to 10..........no confusion there then..well this is the suprise gig.....the club is full..of men women AND children..........weird but what a great night from the first note to the last and beyond.........lovely people and a big relief too......i think we will be back but please can we round up the La Folie brigade and leave them outside....there is always some drongo screaming it out at the very front of stage every night.............we only do like 21 songs................boring or what.....10 am run to Tarbes..............


nov 20th......... (Tarbes)
in the shadow of the Pyrenees stands a lonely venue which -by 10.15 is two thirds full of people who just love music........they are a wee bit quiet for three songs but eventually even the Slipknot fans are lovin' it............result i think...lovely food here too... another suprise night and off we go to Lyon over night.. very messy... 6.30 to our bunks but up for the first of two big nights out here except on the second the crew and i go to Mont Blanc for an awesome day out up the cable cars and then the search for cheese begins....fondue that is............wonderful day and lots of sleep for the next show..........



23 rd...... (Lyon)
well i played here on my first French tour and once more since........as far as audience numbers we do not expect a full house but it should be a fun night.............................



..........after 2 days off in Aix en Provence (cause we never liked the look of Istres-nothing to do)we are in Istres with 2 shows to go.....this was a 'we love you but we are gonna be a bit cool' kind of audience....however for those who need to know there was a bit of a 'we're bored lets do something to ourselves ' vibe between me and the crew which is why Louie shaved his head and I got a full BLEACH....others of course never bothered so my mate and I held the flag proudly aloft!!!..........anyway 2 days off is no good for mind or body and the last shows never quite took off as planned - but - never mind there was nothing wrong with them and it was lovely to see so many brits in Nice so thank-you and hope you all got home safely..oh and for the interested among you yes in 'All day' i did in fact tear the arse right out of my trousers for the last time(pics to follow)so thats that..more strides perlease!!! also it was really good talking to some of you at the airport...well all in all it was a great tour and now onwards and upwards (north)to Iceland and the U.K. and some interesting stories too...BUT you will have to wait until my christmas holidays are over but in the meantime have fun and again so many thanks for your loyal support ......xxx........

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