W.A.S.H tour #7 –Stockholm

Ten hours. Ten hours. I was in my bunk for ten hours and couldn’t sleep. That ten includes an hour of getting up and watching some Star Wars with Mark, but for the sake of a sad story: ten flippin hours and barely a wink.

We arrived outside the venue in Stockholm around 1am. Itinerary said there’d be a hotel tonight, but we’re sleeping on the bus. These days the planners are wise to call it a travel day. Otherwise you might complain it wasn’t a day off. We’re parked by a river. My bag is at my feet. There’s a Leatherman inside.

Isn’t it typical? You give yourself plenty of time to get a good night’s sleep – you even take the sleepy pills. And what do you get? Lying awake, voices on full blast. That Leatherman has a flippin sharp blade.

These voices – absolute crap: songs that don’t exist. Strings of random words jumbled together. You’d think they were memories, but it’s all coming from a word generator that keeps moving around. One minute my brain feels swollen above my right eye. Then the left. Then somewhere at the back. The din is multi layered. That blade could slice through skin like a tomato.

Layer upon layer. On top there’s my own self-generated voice, pleading with the randomness to stop. Below that, maybe two or three voices, indistinct – always male I suppose. There’s a taunting voice, laughing at my misery, rejecting my pleas for quiet. Then there’s the mad voice, some guy in a Victorian mental institution like Holywell, dribbling and babbling to himself. Sharp blade. Skin like a tomato. River nearby. I could just fall in and get swept away. That’ll shut them up.

So yeah, my night wasn’t much fun. Think I finally got some sleep after 9am. Up again at 12, hating life. The good news is I’m back on the Superdrug pills – St John’s wort. The pills kick in real nice, but relief isn’t instant. Those flippin voices lasted some hours.

The surprising thing: my mood skyrocketed. Sure I was tired, and free time was a rarity, but I wasn’t anywhere near as hatey as I was in Köln. I’ve been banging on about free time for years. In this job, when it’s go-go-go, you feel the stress. You need downtime. This shared headline tour looks great on paper, but for us crewfolk working longer and harder for a bit of extra money, it’s an almost non-stop affair. And more money doesn’t make you happier. When you’re tired, facing a pile of work, you can’t just throw money at it and bugger off to bed. There’s stuff to be done. And with very few days off, I need to stay chilled or go insane.

But today at least there’s a curfew. The bands have to be finished by 10pm. Cut-offs are good. Otherwise…it’s like dragging children away from a birthday party.

Mary inspects your pee skills

We finished loading the trailer at 11pm. Officially done for the day. I reckon there’s little point in going to bed before 4am. I’ve nearly forgotten what longer tours are like. You have to adjust your body clock and try looking at this like a regular job. In real life, you get home from work around 6, and go to bed at 11. That’s five hours to do non-work-things. But unlike your average 9-to-5 job, a club tour is all over the place. Sometimes you load in at 2pm and finish at 11. Other times you’re in at midday and out at 2am. If you’re looking for a solid routine, you won’t find it on a club tour.

Oslo tomorrow.

Amp geeks: that’s a Selmer Zodiac

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