It is morning in Cardiff and I wake up entirely entangled with Ollie on a friend’s sofa. On the floor next to me is our videographer and professional pal Sam. Normally I take a little while to wake up but on tour I get hit by a wave of anxiety and excitement (easy to mix up) that gets me up relatively quickly.
Ollie does not have this ability but luckily my feet are on their chest so I am able to gently nudge them while reclined.
“Little Ollie!” I say in my sweet mum voice. “It is time to be awake you sleepy bean!”
This is how sleepy Ollie is to be spoken to, otherwise they will stay asleep forever and that wouldn’t work cos Ollie is the only member of the band with the requisite gravitas to reply to emails properly.
Every member of this band has been to ArcTanGent Festival at some point or another, most of us consecutive years running. We met Sean there. None of us have played it before.
In the pub before we get on the train Sam performs his role of pumping me up excellently.
“You are strong!”
“Yes I am”
“You are powerful!”
“Yes, that’s right”
“You’re so so big!”
“You’re right I am huge”
It works. I am ready to play to a lot of people tomorrow. The gitters have left me and I am, 100%, back on my bullshit.
We arrive at the festival, set up, and smoke a joint. Some kids come up to me and say they are very excited for our set tomorrow. They are (I think) a couple and look around the same age I was when I first went to ArtTanGent. They are very sweet.
I’ve only ever really loved two people, and I am recently no longer in contact with either of them. While agonising, I think it’s really helping my emo credentials to regularly excuse myself to quell panic attacks in portaloos. Either than or everyone thinks I have IBS. I’m not sure which is better. I don’t have IBS. We go to sleep and I have a dry sleeping bag for what will be the only night all weekend. I have quite painful dreams.
We all set our alarms to go off within five minutes of each other but, again, I have no trouble getting up. I like playing gigs.
While I was writing this I rewatched Sam’s videos of us getting each other pumped up. We look really happy and keep shouting ‘I’m your dad!’ at each other. I remember getting on stage and seeing that there were many more people there than I had expected. I didn’t look at the others before we started playing because I was wary of the ‘fuck that’s a lot of people’ raised eyebrow look we would inevitably exchange. Except I did look at Luke, because I knew he wouldn’t give me that look. I saw lots of people (mostly just sheltering from the rain but some very excited to see us), then I looked at Luke and we just smiled so wide.
That smile didn’t leave me for the whole set.
I’m done writing now but thank you for reading.