The spirit of Albion was once again spread across the nation this month, as Peter Doherty and his rag-tag carnival of misfits hit the road for his Eudaimonia tour. Joined by a host of special guests, poets and musicians, each night was as lively and eclectic as you'd come to expect.
Supported on every date by Trampolene, rising people's poet and gritty troubadour Jack Jones very kindly took some of his down time on the tour bus to report back, and provide us with a diary of his thoughts on life on the road with Pete and co...
DAY ONE. BRISTOL - ACADEMY
(Bed time tour diary)
So here I am. On the road supporting Peter Doherty. It’s pouring with rain. And I mean pouring. Splashing down like angry tears, streaming down the car window. All the trains tracks have been flooded. No one is getting anywhere on time today.
I arrive at Bristol Academy - the very place I saw Less Than Jake when I was a ska-mad teen. How time moves on in one incredible rush I'll never understand.
I think I can speak for all unsigned artists when I say it's extremely hard to get good support slots. It's usually very political between mangers, agents and record labels. But Peter is different. He does what he wants and lives in his own world. There's no blowjobs or backhanders or knob jockey bull shit. It's all for the love of great music & the search for true & pure talent - this is extraordinarily rare.
I see the crew, and Peter gives me a big hug. Then he sprays his beer like a fountain into the air - ‘a beer chandelier ‘ - this tour is going to be something, something special.
My slot comes around and I do my thing. Put some candles on my amp (which I forget to blow out) & say some funnyish poems & share some intimate songs...after the set I speak to everyone at the front & see what they felt...I decide to include ‘Alcohol kiss’ and ‘Tonight will be Fine’ in Glasgow...
Soon I'm watching Peter from the side of the stage. In the crowd grown men are crying and young girls are screaming. His songs and the way he delivers them is something unique & hypnotic. Magical even. It leaves me feeling there's a lot to learn and how lucky I am to be here.
The night carries on. Red swirling lights and smoke machines. Sweat, ripped jackets and broken voices. Roger Sargent is filming (he’s been holding a camera up for three hours!) and I give him a big hug. Then we head to the bus.
Now it’s the morning after and I walk into the lounge area. I can hear the clattering of typewriters. Peter's surrounded by guitars and words. Rafa his drummer wanders in and they jam for a short while before we all go on a morning stroll.
The sun is coming through the clouds & I'm already in love with the new day. We’ve walked quite far. Then I realise Peter hasn't got any shoes on.
Anyway. Onto Glasgow. They say its the best crowd there is. I can't fuckin’ wait .
Jack Jones, 12 May
(From my bunk..home for next two weeks)
DAY TWO & THREE - GLASGOW / ABERDEEN
(Bed time tour diary)
So we move on and up the country. Ratty the ever reliable bus driver man puts his foot down and we roll through the night.
We stop in Coventry for a game of football, where manger Jai’s team lose 3-1, probably not helped by the fact Jai only had a few hours kip...back on the bus…
I wake up, look out of my window, and the first thing I see is an 'Adult Shop' selling Magazines, Toys and Poppers…Welcome to Glasgow. The Barrowland Ballroom. Glasgow's legendary venue. It's old school……I can imagine my grandmother waltzing with my grandad here. But the venue wouldn't mean much without the people. And they are amazing. Never seen such a wild crowd. Cheering, screaming and joining in on everything. Never seen anything like this ever.
I go for a shower before the show, and it's either cold or scold…so cold you'll freeze, or so hot you'll burn alive. I opt for cold.
Backstage Peter puts Richard Burton reciting Hamlet on the stereo. His voice echoes around the dressing room. Chilling. Memories of Home.
I go out and do my bit. ‘Alcohol Kiss’ sounds haunting (thank you Marrit for suggestion!) and eople seem to enjoy it - apart from one mad heckler who I dedicate the set to as my biggest new fan.
Glasgow's own Hector Berserk come on and blow everyone away. Art being painted and a person waving a flag while they do their set. All happening while Louie spits Scottish fire over hip hop beats. God, it sounds huge.
Peter plays to an adoring crowd. ‘You're my Waterloo’...what an anthem that is becoming...and a wonderful lad called Craig plays Bagpipes on ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ and gets everyone’s minds spinning like a Catherine wheel.
Back on the bus the conversations are long and random and usually more interesting than my little diaries...this time about about celery and candles and why instead of calling sequels to movies 'Blah Blah Blah 2' or ‘Blah Blah Blah 3' don't they call them 'Blah Blah blah B' or 'Blah Blah Blah C'
Really important stuff.
I've never been to Aberdeen...it has a long straight high street and I walk down it with my open, but lacking in sleep, eyes. I notice a PoundWorld. I notice a Pound-Stretcher, but I noticed NO Poundland. What am I gonna do now?!
The gig tonight is finishing early because there is a big 'ClubNight' that starts at 10pm - the 'ClubNight' is called 'Come in my Pants' and the DJ is called Garygarygary (with no spaces) I'm devastated I'm going to miss it. The show is brilliant and I'm lucky enough to join Peter, Drew, KDV, Miki, Stefany and Rafa on stage for a riotous encore rendition of 'Fuck Forever.' The roof nearly comes off the place. Magical feelings for everyone.
As we get off fans are outside the bus calling for Peter...one shouts 'I'll let you watch me shove a broomstick up arse if you let me on the bus!' I think they’re joking, though maybe not.
I've never known what kind of life was for me. I've never be able to fit into a routine, or find that thing people talk about in films...but I do love this life. I love being on the road and at this moment I don't care if I never come home. Next is Newcastle.
Jack Jones, 15 May
(From my bunk...home for now)
DAY FOUR & FIVE - NEWCASTLE & MANCHESTER
(Bed time tour diary)
Wake up in Newcastle. Sunday. We have a day off. And as I walk into the hotel I see the Swans score against Man City to make it 1-1 on the big screen. Does life get any better? I wander around town and end up on the Tyne...sending snapchats to mates in Swansea with my face saying ‘the knob on the Tyne is all mine all mine.’ I think it's brilliant and funny. No one replies.
Love the Baltic Centre, with a massive picture of Denis O'Hare - the guy from ‘True Blood’ - on the side of the wall...It's suave and I take a lift to the top to look across the city. Beautiful.
That night we all for go a Chinese...they do this thing where the waiters throw an egg and catch it unbroken in their hats…let us have a go…Cai (Merch Master) and I (not quite master of anything) both fail miserably and eggs break all over the table. Tidy.
The gig is breathtaking in Newcastle...the crowd are really attentive and listening to the new songs as well as getting down to the old ones. Peter and his band round things off with a wild version of 'Killamangiro'. The ceiling levitates into outer space.
After the extravaganza fans are waiting outside the bus. I have nothing to offer them....but I notice Peter has a huge amount of celery and ginger left over from the rider. We were struggling to get rid of it to be honest...so I took it outside and everyone loved it...so look out for Pete's ginger and celery on Ebay. Then it's off with Ratty at the wheel.
We get to Manchester. I walk around town by myself...end up in a nice little posh tea book shop called 'Chapter One' it’s trendy and has type writers at the back. I write a little musical rhyme for Drew...
Knew knew knew
Drew Drew Drew
Clever & kind
Fair of mind
Open & wise
knew knew knew
Drew drew drew
Still waiting to hear back from him on that one...
I bought some new guitar strings (which I forgot to use!) and went to the soup kitchen and then onto the Albert Hall...And what a magnificent venue it is. It's like it's been there a hundred years…actually it has…it was build in 1910 as a Methodist Hall and was renovated five years ago. Bit of google knowledge for you there.
John Hassall’s new band The April Rainers are also playing tonight,we have a big hug, I haven’t seen John since the shoe incident in Vienna, what a wonderful man, and his new band are amazing too.
The crowd are just unbelievable. God, when the crowd sing words back to you it is just the best feeling ever - out of this world. Pure Symbiotic Love.
London Next. Holy shit.
Jack Jones, 18 May
(Back home in my bunk trying to keep my eyes open)
DAY SIX & SEVEN - LONDON & LONDON
(Bed time tour diary)
It started with a bang. One molecule said yes to another. And life was born. Or more correctly, in this case, it started with a bang. Andy, the ever irrepressible guitar tech and all round good guy said ‘Right, everyone off the bus, we've arrived in London' and we were awake. I get dressed in my coffin bunk thing before I poke my head out. Sixteen people have been on this bus for over ten days now & the smell of feet is beginning to poison the air. I'm afraid to say we may have all got used to it. Anyway, I look out of the window. It's grey and rainy. Welcome to London, obviously.
We get to Hackney Empire. It's unbelievable. Like Swansea Grand Theatre on acid. I have always had vivid delusions of playing a huge homecoming show there. Where the crowd go wild, start ripping out seats and scream for Trampolene. It's the best gig off my life. Back to rainy reality.
There's loads of lovely people outside the Hackney empire stage door already. I'm on first term names with some of them now. A family that keeps on growing. I'm so excited to get into the venue that I try a cartwheel the I haven’t done since my school days. Of course it goes badly wrong. A sympathetic fan (Lucy Bishop) says she'll bring me some Deep Heat tomorrow. Until then. I get into the dressing room and I am shocked...not only do I have my own room but it has two showers! I don't even have one shower in my flat that works. I already wanna move in.
To the show...Simon Mason has got things going, reading from his dazzling memoir. I stroll on… thank you…It’s all to do with that failed cartwheel. Everyone is respectful and listening. It's beautiful. Wayne comes to perform a song with me and everyone screams for him. I recite ‘Health & Wellbeing (at Wood Green Job Centre)’ and it brings the house down. Amy Jo and the Spangles have a great show. She knocks everyone out with her outfits and dance moves. Peter and his talented band play a brilliant show. ‘Hell To Pay At The Gates of Heaven’ sends the place into rapture. He takes it all in his stride.
By now the dressing rooms and backstage are full of random strangers. I have no idea whats happening or who I am anymore. Peter hangs violinist Miki out of the window and the crowd below go mad and the security go even madder....I go outside to play ‘Fuck Forever’ on the acoustic guitar for the faithful fans that are waiting. They sing.
It's truly amaze-ing.
Photo: Alexia Arrizabalaga
Next morning I arrive at the venue early. The wonderful fan Lucy is outside and gives me some Deep Heat for the tragic cartwheel fall and challenges me to work it into a song/poem…Do they sell Deep Heat in Poundland? They must do. My mind is already turning. I set up my guitar, amp and candelabra and soundcheck with the crew (Andy - guitar, Brucie - drums & Ian - bass). We play a wicked little song. The crowd cheers in our imaginations. Everyone in the crew has a secret musician just dying to escape from inside of them.
It’s an early start today, a bit of a mini festival. I only have time for two songs (1 with Wayne) and two poems. The audience listen intently and I have a great time. The April Rainers (John Hassall's band) are brilliant. The drummer has got great style and the harmonies are all pitch perfect and spine tingling. I see Peter side of stage holding John’s new baby, and he has shaved his hair, shorter than short back and sides - it looks pretty cool. Carl Barat arrives and its great to see him. Hugs all round. I think tonight is gonna be special. Maybe even the best.
I'm not wrong. The audience tonight are in jubilant mood and sing along to old and new songs alike. Peter opens with ‘Down for The Outing’ and ‘I Don’t Love Anyone’. The scene is set for a brilliant night.
Photo: Alexia Arrizabalaga
Carl joins Peter on Harmonica for a stirring rendition of ‘Albion' before it's onto the encore ‘Flags of the Old Regime’ and ‘Time For Heroes’ & just when they think it's all over...Carl, Gary & John from popular beat combo The Libertines appear and perform ‘Gunga Din,’ ‘The Good Old Days’ and ‘The Ha Ha Wall’…. The crowd chants Lib-er-tines high into the stalls.
The foundations of the building shake.Jumping &screaming in unison. Peter sings a new song with his band before asking the Libertines to rejoin him for the last song....Gary and John soon oblige, but there is no sign of Carl, the audience start chanting “where the fuck is Carl.” Carl appears (I find out later he was being sick upstairs after eating a dodgy meal) and they finish with ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun”…Need I say more?
I wish the tour could go on forever...& I hope to see you again… on the road somewhere or at a show someday...
Jack, signing off
(from my mattress...bed bound)