Dancing Dad Syndrome: The Swiss Story Part 2   Leave a comment

So where was I? Ah yes, there I was, on tour in Europe, reading a book.
After a while Sandro lays out some food in the dressing room area, and I haven’t eaten all day because I’ve been saving myself for this because Simon has told me that the food is really good. However, this isn’t the main meal, this is just the “get-in” food – a quick snack in case you’ve been in a transit van for 9 hours with no Swiss currency. Now I am properly starving, and this food looks far more than edible to me, almost like a table full of sex or something, because it’s just the sort of thing I like. There’s 3 different types of bread, and 3 different types of cheese, and four different types of cold meats, and pickles, fruit, pretzels, chocolate, sweet and savoury biscuits, orange juice etc etc. There’s even nuts. Then he brings in the beer, and its like two cases of special corn beer. But because I’m a nim-num, I get stuck into the beer (obviously) but I decide to save myself for the evening meal because we’re due to get that in about an hour or so at 7:30PM. As it happens we get caught in that Moebius (or should that be Morbius?) strip of the time continuum known in the rock and roll world as the soundcheck and Simon ends up driving round town to look for bass guitars and we don’t get to eat until about 11PM (doors open at 10PM and there ain’t no curfew). Dinner is a kind of amazing experience for me because we are all very politely asked to come downstairs to the restaurant bit of the venue and there is wine and you have to choose from a menu and not for the first time or last time in the weekend I get the distinct feeling that I have woke up in the wrong life or something. Despite all this luxury, and perhaps a little bit because of it, I am getting pretty edgy because I’ve been hanging around for hours and the 60 or so people who are hanging around outside the venue caning it look as though they might just have spent any money they had on beers and stuff rather than saving some to pay to see Brain of Morbius, Pete UM and The Man from Uranus. Oh yeah, that’s right, I’m billed as Pete Um and described as being “like a rough or snotty version of Billy Bragg”, while Phil is compared to Stockhausen. So, I’m a bit freaked out because I’ve had no food, I’m on first and there’s no one there. Then this belligerent and skanky old drunk with one eye comes in and pulls up a chair next to me and starts barking in German, or possibly dog. His voice has an amazing tone – incredibly loud and piercing and I keep trying to switch my DV camera on to capture it. Eventually he fucks off leaving his empty beer bottle on the table. I ask if this is the local mentalbrau and the soundman tells me that it’s actually quite a good beer. Everyone eats and leaves before I get the sense and the courage to ask where mine is, with the result that I end up eating alone at the end of a massive table, wolfing down my food because I think I’m due onstage about an hour ago. When I get back upstairs I see that there is indeed only about four paying customers in this massive room and I start to feel like a bit of an international let-down and the sort of Gareth Gates-style urge/shameless need to entertain just drains out of me, leaving a sort of resigned twat in his thirties who’s eaten a bit too quickly. Nevertheless Simon is DJ-ing that UNKLE remix of Can’s Vitamin C and that kind of jumpstarts me a bit and we have an amusing conversation about how Phil got asked to play theremin with Then Jericho at Glastonbury and Simon, who’s usually got some rock tour story for every occasion, relates how he heard that they would get off the bus unless the coke was there etc, and indeed Phil says that he ended up doing some coke in their van with them, and then they went on (without Phil) and got booed off after two songs. The idea of Phil doing coke in a van at Glastonbury with Then Jericho is just too perfect for me.
So anyway, I change into my suit and mooch about for a bit, mainly staring at the kids getting bombed outside and finding only seedy lumps in the sieve of my perception. There’s a balcony that you can stand on and look down onto the area in front of the building. This balcony has a kind of magnetic draw to it and I notice that Sandro keeps going over to stand there and look a bit depressed for a while. The PA is booming out at these disaffected Swiss youth but no one even glances in the direction of the building. The idea that this brilliant venue is being abused starts to swell out of all proportion in my mind, even though I’d probably be out there on the steps if I was a Swiss teen, and possibly even as an adult British male, and I get all saddened and deflated. For a little while we discuss the idea that I could sing from the balcony, which would have been fucking perfect in my little universe, but it proves too technically tricksome. Eventually I go on and perform to the other bands, the venue staff, a crazy punk who tries to get me to smoke some weed before I’ve even begun, and a few others. I sort of start OK and finish OK but there’s a fairly long section in the middle where I lose all heart and soul. I also leave out five or six songs so as not to prolong the agony. As usual these days, my dancing skills desert me apart from during Holy Fire. Simon and I share a theory that this is due to DANCING DAD SYNDROME, whereby the fact that we have done our silly business as humans by procreating has sapped us of our cosmick male mystery which makes us cool and responsive to rhythm and is needed to attract wimmin and their wombs etc. In the past I fancied myself as a mover, but somewhere along the line the moves just moved off somewhere else. Simon reckons that if he had gone out the night that Daniel was born he would have discovered that he had ceased to feel the groove within himself, and danced instead like someone’s Dad. After all, why are so many professional dancers homosexual? You can’t hide from science.
OK, more in a bit. I was only away for a day and a half so I’ll run out of this nonsense soon.

Posted September 23, 2003 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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