30 Nights of Bushweek - Aarau

Posted in by CIVIL CIVIC | Edit
Our day began with time to kill, so the three of us settled into a few hours of lazy tourism in what has to be one of the most absurdly pretty/obscenely wealthy towns on the planet, Lucern, Schwiez Reich.
Who knows what dark wealth paved the streets here. Nazi plunder, blood diamonds, Arab dictators, Belgian King Leoplold II's gore drenched rubber profits. They've all played their part, no doubt.

Kooky old Leo became fantastically wealthy by turning the entire Congo delta into an open air labour camp run by psychotic goons who chopped babies up for fun. So he remains admired as a no-nonsense businessman by many key patrons of the modern Swiss banking industry.
But I'll get into all that soon enough, when I tell you about my attempt to track down Richard Pearles' secret accounts in Zurich. For now, let's just look at some pretty pictures.

Waking up in the morning in a strange apartment with a throbbing skull is a whhooole different thing when this is what you see out the window.

 Lake Lucern. Dirty, ugly and depressing.

It was against this picturesque backdrop that we tooled away the luncheon hours, following Andy around on his quest to buy "a nice scarf". The brutally expensive but understated menswear stores that litter the streets of most Swiss towns are like catnip for Inglis. He will happily spend all day frowning at displays of argyle socks, if time allows.

It's funnier if you imagine him saying it with a Scottish accent.

Well, why not? At this time his meal-ticket (revered London venue The Luminaire) was being squeezed out of existence by dark forces beyond his control. So under the circumstances I was surprised that he could concentrate on anything at-all.

Meanwhile I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable being out in public. Every single person on the street was sickeningly healthy and rich, while I was dirty, tired and broke. My fragile self-esteem was cracking up fast and even The Baaron was getting tired of feeling, in context, like some sort of foreign hobo.

So we hitched our wagon and drove off into the postcard Swiss countryside, listening to Andy yarn about the foxy little sales-girl who gave him "the look" while he was modelling a nice pure-wool tartan number, and the wretched, degrading things he would have done to her if he'd gotten her alone.

We were on our way to a mega-venue on the outskirts of Aarau, called Kiff (which is Deutsche slang for smoking bannana peel). Perhaps I can cut down the blather quotient in this post by listing some of Kiffs' outstanding qualities in point form. To whit...

  • Generous, tasty catering on-site.
  • Big, meaty sound-system and alert, skilled tech-staff.
  • Seemingly unlimited free booze.
  • Big, comfy back-stage with adjacent bunk room for overnight stays.
  • Chunky home-stereo speakers bolted to the roof in the backstage toilet so you can hear what's cooking on the main stage. 
 Any venue makes it possible for the "I just want to take a long shit and read the paper" crowd to listen to the band in comfort goes straight to the top of my list.

 Any venue where this guy asks you if you'd like a bottle of Highland Park in addition to 6 crates of boutique beer is just, y'know, off the fucking chart.

But the thing that really made our night was the punters. We were forced to abort our first song half way through, due to off-stage technical issues. But instead of the awkward, shuffling silence that I expected from the crowd while the bugs got ironed out they hooted and jeered and wolf-whistled like whiskey-drunks at a cockroach-fight. That set the tone, and thenceforth they grooved spastically to our beats and sent up a barrage of appreciative noise after every song that almost made me weep.
 Von Cuddles was complaining that his guitar "feels, like, really heavy tonight" and spent most of the show folded in half, like a big pair of barbecue tongs.

...as you can see here I shot him up with an anti-inflammatory  mid-show and he managed to straighten up a bit.

 Ooooohhhh, you boxy, boxy, little box, you. Gimme a kiss.

Hello. My name is Ben and I'm 9 years old. I play electric bass guitar in a pop group! It's exciting and lots of fun but sometimes it's too loud and I get a headache.

It was a fine experience, blasting our klang at these noisy, goofy, fun-loving volk, and we left the stage as giddy as kittens. So naturally we then both proceeded to become slobbering, staggering drunk.
I have no clear memories of the rest of the night, but at some point Inglis went to sleep on a couch in the back-stage area while The Baaron and I eventually weaved into the bunk room and passed out.


I woke up around 11am the next morning, and while I was dragging my putrid jeans on I noticed that a there was a third person in the room whom I didn't recognise. In one of the spare beds, sleeping peacefully, was a crushingly pretty young woman.

She looked so pale, so innocent and vunerable, lying on her back with her breath whistling softly in the heavy silence and her fine, blonde hair splayed like a halo across the pillow. I was mesmerised. Who was she? Was she already there when we went to bed? Did one of us, y'know, "make out" with her? 

Before I knew what I was doing I was kneeling beside her bed and my face was about 3 inches away from hers. 

 Artists rendering of what was going on in my misty, mushy brain.

But I was startled out of my reverie by the The Baaron hissing urgently at me from his bed.

"Get the fuck away from her, Green. Are you still drunk?"

I straightened up and took a step back.

"Mind your own business, Cuddles." I hissed back. "I was just checking her eye-flutter patterns, to see if she was dreaming. Is this your doing?"

He shook his head and yawned, laying his head back down on the pillow.

"Just leave her alone." He muttered. "Don't make trouble".

But I was fascinated by this precious, waif-ish creature that had stolen into our room in the chilly dawn hours to rest with us, and despite myself I moved back in for another close inspection. She was so beautiful, so fine, and she smelled of shampoo and jasmine.

At that very instant the girls eyes snapped open and she jerked upright like a puppet being yanked on a string. She ripped out a blood-freezing shriek and her fist shot out like a tiny cannon-ball, hitting my cheek square-on. I stumbled backwards, tripping over The Baarons clothes-bag and landing hard on my tail-bone. 

Then suddenly, with sickening speed, The Baaron leaped out of bed like a giant ape and kicked me hard in the kidneys before I could stand up.

 "It was fucking terrifying, man. This really pale, skinny guitarist just fucking materialized and started tearing me apart!"

"Pervert! Child-toucher!!" He screamed and tried to kick me again, but I rolled up onto my feet and scuttled out of reach. Meanwhile the girl fled, out through the back-stage room and down the stairs towards the exit. She'd been fully clothed under the covers, but her sneakers and her hand-bag were still sitting on the floor next to the bed.

Von Cuddles picked up one of the sneakers and bounced it off my forehead.

"Great, Green!" He snarled. "Now we're fucked. She's going straight to the cops"

"Bullshit!" I snapped "I was just looking. There's no law against that."

"How the fuck do you know?" He yelled, flapping his hands and spraying spittle. "Look at what happened to Julian Assange! This isn't Collingwood! For christs' sake, chewing gum is illegal in Singapore, and you can be locked up forever in the Emirates, just for owning a dog!!"

He slumped back onto his cot and covered his face with his freakishly large hands.
"When they come for us I'll have to tell them the truth about you. Your history!" He moaned. "I can't sit back and watch my life get flushed down the toilet, just because you can't respect other peoples personal space."

I would have argued with him, but at that point Andy wandered into the room, looking sharp and refreshed and ready for breakfast.
"Hoo was tha' birrd?" He asked cheerily. "Shee loooked laike a goode piece!"

Well, we never found out who that girl was. We left her stuff where she'd abandoned it and piled into our Ford Galaxy with all the left-over snacks and beer we could find.
Sound-check in Milan was at 6pm, and we didn't want to hurry through the alps.


Seriously huge props to the Kiff staff and patrons. Additional live photography courtesy of Gar Photos.


  1. RamyArida says:

    This blog gets more and more out there every day. Good story about that girl. It was actually really suspenseful because every moment of it I thought you were going to say one of you fondled her, or had a wank on her face, or some other twisted Civil Civic thing. Sorry to have assumed the worst!I never know what to expect anymore. Glad it ended with an innocent punch in the face.

    January 14, 2011 at 3:41 PM

  2. Bec says:

    Fantastic, the flying monkey picture made me laugh like an orangutan.

    I'm looking forward to revealing more about this "history" of yours in future posts Ben. I hope it involves some more about Graoully as well. He would have been an affectionate childhood pet, think of the adventures you must have had together.

    January 15, 2011 at 12:52 AM

  3. Matthew

    What really killed me was the Inglis shot. The Scottish accent really makes it.

    Granted my mind has yet to solidify from the intense "brainstorming*" that was required for the name competition so maybe it wasn't that funny. (But it probably was because Scottish people are just plain ol' funny)

    *Brainstorming: New slang for hitting the bong too many times thus creating a storm like environment in your head.

    January 16, 2011 at 5:12 AM

  4. CIVIL CIVIC says:

    Ramy - Look, I love a good face-wank as much as the next guy, but I´m not about to advertise the fact on the interwebs. Shit, I just did.

    Rebecca - Yeah, the Graoully got a bum deal, kicked out onto the streets with all it´s kids by some touring Christian. Fuck those guys, they´re always poking their noses in!

    2TZ - Man, you should hear that guy fuck the english language. It´s a bad trip, no bongs necessary.

    Once again, grand to see you all throwing your hats into the comment bear-pit. Keep up the **** work.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:42 PM

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