What's it like to be in a band on the road? In fact, what's is it like being on tour and in The Futureheads on Monday 8th December 2008? Jaff walks us through his day...
9.30am Tommy our bus driver wakes me inadvertently by driving around the M25 at 100kph. I get up,
"Alright Tommy la...are you supposed to be going this fast with a trailer on the back?"
"Whey, I've gotta keep up with the traffic like", his response.
"Really? But there're 4 lanes and you're being undertaken by that Porsche 911?"
"Aye, it's hard like, goin' uphill now so gotta press on like"
I decide that a simple 'hmmm' will suffice and offer him a coffee. He hands me his used cup cheerily and says, "ta". So, I'm up now: and there're still 4 hours to Cardiff. Oh well, maybe I'll press on with 'A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich'- never thought that might cheer me up but if I'm up, I'm up.
10.20am Ross surfaces and we sit up front and chat to Tommy. Popmaster is on Radio 2 and Tommy seems very keen to compete with us. He keeps giving the answers 3-4 seconds after Ross but doesn't realise because the engine's so loud he can't hear. He's very good though, and I'm a little disappointed to lose so easily. We agree to stop at services for breakfast.
10.55am After seeing that the cafe in 'the servos' fries its eggs fresh, I decide to go for 2 fried eggs on toast with hash browns and beans. I impress the guy at the counter by opening my bottle of J20 with a bottle of smoothie. He probably thinks I'm a show off tit. A take away coffee completes my order and we get back on the bus to see no one else is awake yet. Lucky for them.
12.22pm I get a text from Marie (my fiancée) saying she's working from home today and our dog Toby's annoying her. First of all he's eaten two baubles from the tree and now he's just come into the room while she was in the middle of a conference call with cat poo in his mouth. The horrible little mite eats it all the time when we're not watching, and it drives me wild with rage - but today it cheers me up because Marie has to deal with it, not me. I think that makes me a bad person, but whatta ya gonna do?! Also, I love Toby dearly and only refer to him as horrible when he is naughty (at least once a day).
1.07pm We arrive in Cardiff. Ross and I hit the mean streets to see what's on offer this Monday afternoon. Not much, it would seem, so we find somewhere for another coffee. Baz rings us and comes in to meet us for lunch. My eggs are starting to curdle and I refrain from adding to my stomach's torment and just have a coke. Ross similarly laments eating his eggs on fried bread (dirty git) and dismisses the idea of more food till later.
4pm Soundcheck. Sound's good for such a weird venue. I'm optimistic for the show now and after rattling through 'Decent Days and Nights', 'He Knows' (oddly) and 'Cope' we're done. I think about having a beer but look at my watch and get a bit annoyed when I see it's only 4.36pm. Anyway, Love Bites and Bruises have promised us a night out tonight cos they're staying in town and not driving anywhere. I best pace myself as I'm such a lightweight that a 5pm start will see me floored by midnight. I've got to show these bloody Geordies we Mackems can drink, and that I like Bruce Springsteen as much as them. Probably more.
6.15pm Johnny Foreigner arrive and load in. I'm singing Starship's 'Nothing's gonna stop now' and I'm rather pleased when they all join in for the chorus. I make them all tea – I'm really very nice you know. Not nice enough to help them with load in though, it's raining.
7.40pm Love Bites and Bruises take the stage and I watch them from out front with Ross. They arrived late so didn't get a soundcheck, nevertheless they were brilliant. The bass player plays very hard. I like it - makes me look like a wimp though, which is never really cool – to be honest.
8.30pm Johnny Foreigner go on. Again, I watch from front of house. I'm particularly impressed when Alex plays the top gun theme at the end of one their songs. Very emotive. I've had 4 beers now, and am very excited about playing – those two things aren't necessarily related!
9.23pm I'm annoyed when the DJ plays 'Hounds of Love'. We get him to turn it off.
9.30pm We go on.
10.30pm We come off, gig was great. Crowd asked for encore so we did one. I played 'Meantime' wrong tonight...oops. Oh well. I'm drunk which is pretty good fun, 3 beers on stage has taken my total to 9 – too many for me. And now I'm going out.. this could end in tears.
11.12pm Ring home. Marie's busy so we agree to talk tomorrow, I'm going out now but I'm starting to tire and need to get somewhere fast.
11.27pm Procrastination prevents us from leaving the bus till now, and I'm in a mood. I'm no longer drunk and I'm wondering where's gonna be open on a Monday night in Cardiff.
11.48pm The second pub we go in is closing in 10 minutes (just like the first was). I decide I'm going home and flounce off like a tit. Oh well, I'll have to wait to have a drink with Love Bites and Bruises.
2.48am I'm awoken in my bed by Dave and Ross coming in...they evidently found a bar. They start playing Fifa in the back lounge and I can tell who wins every game for the next hour and half by the expletives coming through the door. Dave's a big fan of the 'seat punch' when he misses a one on one.
9.30am The bus stops moving, we must be at Cheltenham. I turn over and go back to sleep: we've got an instore and a gig today so I decide I need my beauty sleep.