I was not in the best of health, a nagging persistent ache in my shoulder was the primary concern, a legacy of a head on collision on an autostrada near the Italian province of Scandicci many years ago, so I pondered the scenario of making a solo trip to Gotenburg Sweden to play a Hoga Nord label night at the Pustervik venue.
Another concern was my music, it dawned on me the majority of the material is very old, having never been able to string together more than a few shows a year, my solo set had managed to stay pretty static, it was a dilemma but somehow I knew fate had already decreed that I was going, fucked or not.
There was some tricky logistics involved in getting one man, a guitar and a 10 kilogramme bag from Rugby to Sweden and back but thanks to my wife, our wonderful rail network and a cheapo airline it came together, sort of.
My mind began unravelling the closer the departure date came, I felt like Captain Willard and Coronel Kurtz rolled into one, was I too old to do this shit or should I accept the mission and venture towards the heart of darkness.
This heart of darkness was me, the Bassman alter ego, for all the fucked up middle aged men in the world I give you Pete Bassman, and that’s the way it was.
Sleep stopped being sleep and turned to a restless quest to shut down the internal dialogue goin on in my head, so many sources of anxiety, body, equipment, guitar, songs, train, plane, my brain was becoming a warehouse with no room to spare.
Should I take some kush or hope that the guys can provide a Bob Marley party bag, should I add another drum track to…
I knew it was going to be this way and the only way to snap out of it was just to hit the road, or rather the Midland line to Euston. 7.30 am start, this for me was pain from the get go.
Stansted customs gave my gear a good going over with the sponge on the blue stick and a second run through the x ray machine which I thought was very reasonable because if I was in charge I would insist everything would have to be unpacked, the only moment of panic was when the customs officer discovered the baby leg.
She unzipped a compartment in my bag and the baby leg fell into her hands, she recoiled in horror dropping the baby leg and clutching her face like a silent film star, ‘Oh my ..’
She was rooted to the spot, all the customs officers suddenly homed in and all eyes were on me, I grabbed the baby leg and held it up towards them, this instantly took things up a notch and every customs officers eyes seemed to get spontaneously bigger.
The baby leg is one of my favourite things, I love the tactile shape and feel, and the mutilation and blood seeping from the leg wounds is a nice touch.
‘It’s only a shaker.’ I said as I shook it, it was only when I pointed to the jack socket and said ‘You plug it in here,’ did the atmosphere instantly change from highly charged to fuckin idiot.
Mr guitar had his own seat arousing some concern from some of the other passengers who were all packed in like sardines whilst me and Mr Guitar had lots of room.
I landed at Landvetter and the vibe felt much more benign than back home.