If a picture says a thousand words, then let's not leave those thousand words to the imagination. I am cursed with first-hand knowledge of the circumstances under which this gag-inducing photograph was taken, and a thousand words are probably just about right for putting it in context.
Sweet Jesus, just look at that awful fucker, mooning at the camera like some sort of drugged grunge-puppy about to be molested by an extra from Flashdance.
How could this hideous fucking scene have come to pass? What is wrong with the world?
Well, the truth is it was really, really hot.
We were playing in a tiny basement club in Bordeaux and from the first moment we got there everything felt wrong. The owner thought we were tourists and tried to throw us out until the local promoter turned up and set him straight. The sound engineer was a sixty year-old soak who was deaf in both ears and kept a soldering iron in his fist at all times, in anticipation of the next part of the sound-system to blow up in a cloud of grey smoke.
Bewildered and pessimistic, I went for a quick walk to clear my head, but the neighborhood seemed rough and borderline chaotic. I became terrified by a group of Jamaican toughs who followed me down the street, mocking my walk and my clothes in thickly accented French.
I was sure I was going to be shived, or at least pushed around and kicked for a while. They could smell my fear and found it hilarious and in the end I think they took pity on me because of it. I made it back to the club in a near hysterical state and Andy Inglis was forced to play bass for our sound check while I sat shivering and mumbling in the car and listening to Unleashed to shore up my manhood.
For Andy this proved to be the last straw. He had been nursing a growing resentment towards me for days. I had been brutally ridiculing his fastidious personal habits, just to relieve the boredom and inject some high-school levity into the tour. I thought it was all a game, but Inglis is not a man to be trifled with, and underneath his impassive demeanour a black hatred was congealing like hot milk.
It would be much later in the tour that this hatred became physically manifest, with bloody results, but at the time I was none the wiser and had bigger fish to fry.
A gaggle of mismatched locals were shoving their way into this place to check the action. They were a motley collection of hipsters, nerds, burn-outs and drunks and taken as a whole they looked wise and hard to impress.
But despite this appearance they gave a warm welcome to Pere Dodudaboum, who kicked off the proceedings with a blizzard of finely crafted and exquisitely skewed dance-pop, delivered from behind a lap-top and wearing nothing but a floral apron and a gingery beard. He was awesome, into-it and on-top of it. I became a fan in ten minutes flat.
But that was the fun part.
It is impossible to describe the awful fucking heat in that room. Both The Baaron and I were amazed that any kind of electronic equipment, let alone humans, could function in temperatures of over 50C and 250% humidity. Recycled sweat was falling from the arched ceiling like a slow, salty rain and there was at least a centimeter of perspiration/beer sluicing around on the floor.
I can remember kissing and hugging people in the front row and being tackled around the knees by crazed drunken locals mid-song. Every number we played felt like running the Honolulu marathon twice. It was completely fucked up. Completely.
But The Baaron was of course carrying much less fat on his bones than I, so he suffered less from the brutal heat and humidity. That's why at gigs-end I staggered up onto the street and collapsed in a doorway like a bag of foul black laundry while he sat around schmoozing local chicks with dehydrated panache.
Is that a thousand words? Microsoft says it's barely 700, but I think we're all on the same page now. Bordeaux was a nightmare of menacing rastafarians, shitty sound sytems and terrible, terrible heat.
I loved it, and so did my travelling companions, Baaron Von Cuddles III, Andy Inglispronouncedingles and Almond The God.
We're going back as soon as possible.
Video footage courtesy of Andrew Inglis.