Saturday, March 25, 2006

Better off in bed

Sometimes you just know it's all going to go wrong.

Thusday morning Sharon sat up in bed clutching her belly in a rather ominous way. The afternoon was due to be spent driving across country to South Humberside for an evening of musical appreciation and this did not bode well.

Sharon clutching her belly is the nearest we get to a harbinger of doom and woe in this house. Since she was eviscerated three years ago, she is wont to go into sudden and oftentimes violent spasms of pain as the remainder of her large intestine (she doesn't have a small one) attempts to deal with something as benign as a glass of squash or a banana. She's learned to live with it but occasionally she gets "days" and yesterday was one of them. I still find it quite distressing to watch and as a result I now hate bastard cigarettes with a vengeance because they were the cause of all this ruination.

She was determined not to let the side down so we set off. The nearer we got to the Humber Bridge the more apprehensive she became and I was being warned that I would probably be going on my own. Not to worry.

We arrived in Barton-upon-Humber which is a nice little town. A quick ask and we were pointed towards the hotel I'd booked a few days before, The White Swan. Looked OK from the outside. Parked up and I left Sharon in the car while I went to book in because we were then going to have a drive around to find the venue. Booked in. They've got the dates wrong, thought I was staying yesterday. Strange nobody noticed I wasn't there. I was shown up to the room. The place was a building site and only one bar was open, a typical spit and sawdust one where it goes quiet, like in American Werewolf, if you're not a local. Boding increasingly less well.

Arrived at the room on the top floor. Oh dear. Sharon doesn't do stairs. That's not in a Mariah Carey way; her body won't let her tackle too many at any one time and this was about 5 flights of steep ones. Starting to edge off the boding scale now. Next surprise: "There's your shower and toilet, you share it with room 6." "I was told it was an ensuite." "Ah...I've not been here very long." Again, when you've only got a very short bowel, things don't tend to stay inside you very long and have a habit of wanting to exit without much notice from either end. This isn't a regular occurrence, mind. it's just nice to have the facility nearby when required. Boding is now off the scale completely.

Left to my own devices now to dump the case. The room is monumentally small. There's one window - out onto the hall outside, so no natural light. Am I complaining too much? Double bed with two feet of space around three sides. OK, it's only for one night, I'll live with that. But, the bed hasn't been made. In fact, someone's been using it to watch telly from because the pillows are propped up under the only working overhead light. The duvet covers and pillow cases have seen better days and there's a disgustingly manky yellow stain on the sheet. I can't lock the door from the outside because there's a key still in the lock on the inside. Seems like we might have surprised someone.

So, I go downstairs and tell them we'll be back in half an hour and I expect etc and so on. "It's been polished" Has it my arse. The telly's covered in dust and the cups lift the saucers up with them. We get back a bit later from sussing out where the gig is and at least the bed's been changed because the stain has gone. Sharon is shattered and hits the sheets; there's no way she'll be going with me, bless her. I get ready to go out.

Surprisingly, despite all the foreboding, the gig is great. The pub is one of those awful 70s boxes put up on the edge of housing estates so there's somewhere for the local in-breds to have cheap wedding dos but is now primarily for watching football in. But the staff are diamonds and make me feel very welcome. Even the man-mountain in the hi-vis dungarees holding sweary court by the bar bids me a cheery good-bye as he leaves. I go up to the function room, which is about one third full and I settle down for a chat with Barry the guitarist who I haven't seen for a couple of months. For a venue that's off the beaten track a bit they get some good names in. Bert Jansch, Ainsley Lister, the Battlefield Band and Amy Wadge are on the roll so there could be a knowledgeable crowd. There is. The gig is very good indeed and the crowd are rapt and attentive. Despite the music lending itself very well to that kind of 70s air guitary type rug-cutting, we're all of an age where the most we do is sway and tap feet but it doesn't seem to matter.

The late Rory Gallagher is/was one of those great unsung heroes of Britrock. Never commercial through choice, he is nevertheless still lauded and loved by millions. Sinnerboy do the man great credit and for many they are the definitive reminder of a performer who almost uniquely combined great talent with a gentle humility. The landlord, in his 30s, asked me before whether he was dead as he didn't know much about him. I briefed him quickly. During the gig I had to snap him out of a trance during "Million Miles Away" so I could get served."You were right," he calls to me, "I'm converted, they're brilliant!" He later succesfully blagged a free copy of the band's CD. Mark, the promoter, knew all the words and remembered seeing Taste back in the 60s. He was totally blown away, a repeat booking guaranteed. This isn't a tribute in the Abba Gold sense; no wigs and twat dances, this is three guys with a deep love of one man's music who love to play it the way they heard it and the way the fans still hanker after. It's difficult to explain unless you actually saw Rory play live and it's nothing to do with being a creepy uber-fan, either because I'm not. We just happen to think he had all the tunes. Great night guaranteed, every time.

I got a lift back to an open kebab shop and took some grub back to the hotel. Sharon wakes up and says she feels a little better. We eat and I go out to the lav. The swearing, as I encounter a pile of vomit over the khazi and on the floor, is unpleasantly heavy but surprisingly muted, as it is after all 1.15 am.. Not muted enough, I hope, for the permanent occupant of room 6 to hear. As it contained carrots, I guessed it wasn't Sharon's as she hadn't eaten any (I know this traditionally doesn't matter as they always appear anyway) and I'd know my beloved's discharge anywhere. I can only be thankful that the pub only served keg beer as the 6 pints of Old Speckled Hen I would have swallowed on a similar occasion at the Limelight in Crewe would have destroyed my constitution completely rendering me incapable of even staring at the mess. The end of a wonderful day.

The journey home was appalling. We did go to Scunthorpe as I'd wanted to but the weather was vile and Sharon was also nowhere near capable of doing anything other than sit and convulse occasionally, so York was out of the question. What do they call people from Scunthorpe? Please tell me they're Scunts; scant consolation I know for all the crap we had to endure to get there but consolation all the same. The whole length of the westbound M62 between Leeds and Huddersfield was reduced to a crawl because of brain-dead idiots rubbernecking an accident on the eastbound and it took us 5 hours to get home, including my now traditional wrong turn at the Eccles interchange. Just as an encore, we got to within 200 yards of home and the dog poop bag I permanently carry around in my back pocket was called into action as Sharon finally succumbed to her body's protestations. Better out than in, girl.

2 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Sharon J said...

I'm sure nobody in the entire world has a more understanding partner than me. Or should that be you? Whoever. The shit you have to put up with is unbelievable (think B&B) and yet you're always there for me. Cheers, hun. ~Sharon xxx

1:23 am  
Blogger Diane said...

Bless you Richard.....Sharon is a very lucky lady indeed.....and i too hope that the people of Scunthorpe are called Scunts, cos reading that gave me the best laugh i've had in ages!

2:09 pm  

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