Vault Festival launch partAY! I realised that I’m not very good at going to thumping great big parties without booze assistance. “She’s totally hitting on you,” says Tim when she goes to the loo. “Hmm?” I’ve been looking at the door feeling unbelievably sober. I’m not sure she was, really. She was tanked enough that she could’ve mistaken me for a cute puppy.
I get into lots of conversations. There were many different words in people’s sentences, but if you spoke no English you might think they were just saying one extremely long word. I think I got out of work too late. It was already that time of night where the conversations get circular by the time I started.
Our little van has been the chill out area, but also we don’t close until 11. You get nice smokey things and stuff that smells good and a cup of tea and maybe some whisky and so forth. I’d just spent a few hours there having lovely conversations with people, still wearing my kilt “It was Burns’s Night last night but I haven’t slept yet so for me it still is Burns’s Night. Whisky?” Coincidence has it that I have two identical flasks so I can fill one with whisky and then down water from the other one and not break dry January, plus drive the van home without causing death and wrecking the show. But it was hard not to drink in that party. “Oh go on, have a drink,” said many people. And it was tempting. The music volume was high. There wasn’t much else to do but stand in groups and shout at people or dance crowded. A little bit to take the volume down, file the edges off, make the body floppy.
I said my long goodbyes and drove home. Five more minutes and I’d have had to have that beer. The van was still parked in the tunnel, and by some remarkable coincidence it hadn’t been tagged. I’ve been working hard to be accommodating to the guys who come and spray in there. Pissing them off might prove expensive, although it’s tempting to show one of them the blank side of the van and say “This is the vibe we’re after.” It’s not my van though. It belongs to a company who is renting it to Phil Grainger and I’m using it while he’s touring all over the beautiful hot places in the world with his clarion voice and his Orpheus show.
I now know every bump in the road on the drive home. Every sewer grate, pothole and unpredictable traffic light. Every sharp ascent. There’s an upright slightly top-heavy wardrobe in the back of the van, an urn full of water, shelves, clocks and Mel’s extensive collection of alligator bits, skulls and mystical gewgaws most of which are left on a parcel shelf four feet up and housed in glass cases. I crawl along the streets at night at 20mph, weaving around in the road to avoid the bumpy bits. The lines of cars behind me must be convinced that I’m drunk. I’m convinced I’m drunk. We were hoping we could wrap the van in pallet wrap and leave it in the tunnel for the duration, but it’s not to be. Likely it’d get tagged so it’s for the best.