Anyone could be excused for assuming that a tour diary should end in a snappy fashion after the last gig has been documented and a few pithy lines have been spat out in summary.
Well fuck that.
There was one more interesting human situation (and a neat little coda) on the last travel day and I'd be remiss to leave it undocumented.
Right. Let's talk about catching the ferry to Dover.
So we rolled up to the ferry terminal with plenty of time to spare before our 6pm passage, and took our place in the big, gridded cue of vehicles waiting to board. If you haven't taken a car on a ferry before, this part is basically like hanging out in a car-park for an hour and a half.
After 5 minutes or so we became aware that every second vehicle in the line was some sort of heavily souped up 4 cylinder nightmare, with 40,000 DC and Red Bull stickers all-over it.
If you are over sixteen and you are still plastering soft-porn centrefolds on your property, join the fucking Army and jerk your friends off in the shower. Neither pretty girls nor civilian society have any use for you.
Many bonnets were popped open, revealing heavily worked "donks" with generous helpings of chrome and every so often one of these things would fire up with that drowning-giant gurgle that says "My car is fucking fast and I have a very small penis/brain".
I have chosen to express my rugged individualism by pinning a Crazy Frog doll to the front of my modified BMW.....and you?
Was ist los?
Turns out we were sharing the ferry with the dregs of British society. There had been a massive street-car rally somewhere in France and around two hundred flat-brimmed-cap wearing knuckleheads where on the return trip to England with their souped-up sleds and their dead-eyed, oppressed girlfriends, innit.
I was in my usual travelling attire (a white linen suit, SPD sandals and felt fedora) so I was drawing spontaneous chants of "Fa-ggot, fa-ggot, fa-ggot" wherever I went. Having had my fedora thrown out a window in the terminal building while waiting to use the snack machine I started to get tense and ducked into the toilets for a breather in a vacant stall.
It was like being back at Charnwood High and I was beginning to hyper-ventilate.
After reciting the Litany Against Fear a few times my vision wandered to the toilet-paper dispenser, and after staring at it blankly for a moment or two I realized it's curved top panel was covered in cocaine, about ten times the amount of spillage you'd expect from even the most hasty toilet stall schnoz-session.
What happened next, children? Did Ben...
A) Organize this little snow-drift with a Paris parking card and do some swift schnozzeling work of his own?
B) Shake his head sadly at the folly of youth and brush it onto the urine soaked floor?
C) Go and circulate among the rev-heads to find the messy schnozzer and scold him for wasting valuable commodities.
D) Scoop it into a small piece of paper and sell it to another rev-head for 20 pounds.
I'm not saying, but I went back to the car with a more confident outlook. Fuck the fedora, it doesn't suit me anyway.
It was imperative to find a quiet corner to ship in once we boarded the ferry, because these coked up car-hoodlums accounted for about half the passenger manifest and they behaved with the swaggering, abrasive stupidity you'd expect from this kind of scum when they're loaded and have weight of numbers. I wish I had gotten a photo of the short, ugly pig-boy wearing the home-made "My Cock + Your Pussy = Fun!" t-shirt.
It's impossible to imagine the kind of degraded, hope-starved female who would consent to be fucked by this brain-damaged little homunculus, but the world is a big place and I have seen so little of it.
Live and let die.
Ugly scenes of one sort or another seemed inevitable once these assholes hit the bar, but thankfully the pig-people stayed more or less in a herd, and it was possible to get some distance from them
It was also possible to get a neck and shoulder massage in your seat from a sickeningly chipper young American woman, employed by the ferry company, and "pay whatever you think it's worth".
I got the massage, thought it was priceless and paid 5 euros.
She said that was okay.
Between the complimentary "charlie" and the 5 Euro massage my circulation was excellent and I watched the chalky cliffs of Dover approaching with great satisfaction.
Hammer of the Gods, will drive our ships to...urm...Dover, innit.
I depressed Aaron horribly by being chatty and friendly on the drive back to London and only started to flag once we pulled up, once more, at The Windmill, Brixton.
We were stopping off to pick up a pair of Technics 1200 copies I had found on top of a pile of garbage in an alley before our Windmill gig (I had left them sitting in a backroom).
But we got so much more...
We had arrived just after half-time in the Australia V Germany match and got to watch "our" boys being smacked around like ugly orphans by the Krauts while we were heckled viciously by Tim and a small knot of local beer-drunks who were obviously overjoyed by watching Australians get ground into hamburger on the field of sport. Final score - 4/0.
On a lighter note we were also pointed out the back, where the bulk of the pre-match barbecue remained uneaten, and we stuffed our faces gleefully under the steely glare of Ben (?), the big-fucking-dog who lives on the roof.
After a short parting jabber with Tim we then weaved through surprisingly sparse London traffic back to Aarons rat-hole, where we loaded the gear into the flat and hurled ourselves down on our pallets "in a swoon" as they say in the classics.
A darkness came over me, and I remember no more.
...and that, my friends, is the story of Civil Civics' first European tour.
My perverse enthusiasm about going on a short Euro-road-tour was richly rewarded. We beheld exotic landscapes, met "super-cool" people who spoke in strange tongues, "rocked out" and "got paid".
Let us honour the peeps...
Evil Andy Inglis (pronounced Ingles) and Frid, his not-so-evil right-hand. Go to the Luminaire immediately. The music WILL be good, and they have Sierra Nevada in bottles.
Hannah Gould, media assassin, Minister Of Information.
Tim and The Windmill dogs. Thanks for the burgers when we got back. Life-saving shit!
The Hafenklang folks. Awesome venue, awesome built-in hostel.
The un-dampable Louis, promoter of TrashPop, and Mary, bar manager at Charlies. Mwah!
Mighty Magnus and the Radio Nova folk. Thanks for the B'day wishes, Mr. Berg.
Jonk The Man from Alleycat Records and his novia, Julia. Promise we'll shell out for a hotel next time.
Fucking Werewolf Asso!! ....are AWESOME!!!!
Sara Shakarchi from Halleluja Artistboknig. Think over the marriage/kids/country-house thing.
Jonas and his posse, and the Debaser P.A (and the chef!!!). Sorry about the getting-your-name-wrong thing. Still friends? Your club is astounding.
The bass guy and the guitar guy from Ganglians. Youse nice dudes. Catch you on the flip-side.
Ollie, Manuela and Andy (Scene-Chick No.1). They be our homies in Cologne. Literally.
Benoit, Pierre, Clement and the Internationalle. We headline Neveu Casino next, yeah?
All well-wishers, merch-buyers and people who clapped at the end of songs.
Anyone who approached us to pump our egos or just bum a cigarette.
That guy at the Internationalle who yelled out "Fucking awesome!!" in a thick Aussie accent at the end of our set. You know who you are, you troublemaker.
...and finally you, the reader. Our whole ability to book a tour was heavily dependent on young, good-looking, discerning webernet users like your own self who blogged-up and boosted and generally gave wind to our debut cassette single. We smother your sweet faces with slobbery dog-kisses.
Stay tuned, because we have some London shows coming up, and with a little luck they'll have some postable happenings attached to them. Freeeooowww!