Monday, September 02, 2002

TEN: Godsends for small bands on the road:
1.24 Hour Petrol Stations - Bands are forced to keep odd hours, and drive around a lot. 24 Hour Petrol Stations have no cares about the sartorial standards of their customers. Perfect. Plus, they have...

2.Ginsters Pasties - For some reason, Ginsters have the monopoly of the Motorway Service Station fridge-microwave pasty market, and as such are probably the shambling indie band's post-gig meal of (no) choice. Probably because of this, their marketing company threw out the posters of a bloke in a leather jacket eating a pasty (they wouldn't have realised being described as 'Fonzie goes to School Disco' was a jibe) and produced an imaginative Pastie-themed online Music Festival for a while. Still taste rotten, though.

3.Phonecards - now that BT are phasing out the plastic card which allows you to make calls without the need for coins - supposedly a convenience, although how you were meant to get hold of a card from a shop that was likely to be closed, and presumably without cash, which you could have used in the box next door was never convincingly explained - what will bands on the road do for the all-important emergency plectrum?

4.Ato Z Street Maps - obviously, London bands tend to keep a copy of this close to their hearts. But nobody ever has a full set of A-Z maps, so as soon as you're on strange roads, you're reduced to relying on a poorly photocopied version of the page with, supposedly, the place you're looking for on them. They seldom are, thereby throwing you onto...

5.Asking Directions - nobody has ever heard of the place you're playing, or the street it's on. Or the town that it's in. You might be lost.

6.Sleeping bags -No matter what the plans for night-time are, you'll need a sleeping-bag. If your tour manager has booked you in a "hotel", it will be creepy and you won't want to touch their bedding. If you're staying "with fans" you will either need a sleeping bag because you are in a room with the cats and their cat litter, or else you will need something to zip you away from the slightly awestruck stalker light.

7.Train timetable - handy for the drummer when he's dismissed from the band while in Newquay

8.Pamela DesBarres book - because you're not going to have any real groupies, are you?

9.Marker Pens - Yeah, you can take your gel pens and biros, but in a live environment, you need a marker pen. For a start, you're going to have to lend it to the promoter who hasn't bothered to make any signs to hang in the front bit of the venue telling people that it's 'TONITE'. Second, you need to draw up the setlist in the biggest letters possible, so Jonny Dreadnaught from the local paper will be able to read your song titles upside down. Third, you'll have to deface the cruel, unloving town with your band's artfully chosen name as a punishment for only managing to get five people to turn out for you

10. Gaffer tape - a million uses, including reparing the inevitably-damaged inevitable post-soundcheck kickabout ball. Plus useful in case you do come across a groupie...

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