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Lochinver, August 9th 2002

Day One of a Tour of the North of Scotland. The Lush Rollers, Dj Dolphinboy and us are set to play Lochinver Hall as part of Northern Odyssey. ETA is set 2 hrs earlier than necessary to account for incompetence on the part of the musicians and the British Transport Network. Sure Enough. Davy [Spad, Barry] is woken by a call from Andy [DolphinBoy] in Edinburgh ' I'm at the train station, my train leaves in 10 minutes and I've got no money. What will I do ?'. Another day begins. Get money to Andy, make sure everyone's out of their scratcher, pick up the van from the garage (it broke down a week before), get in the van and head out. Lochinver is busy - for Lochinver anyway - the busiest night of the year. This tour is tough because we have to do everything - P.R., move and set-up 2 tonnes of P.A. equipment, drink or drive, play and party. One up-shot of taking a phat sound system round the Highlands of Scotland is places you play can't supply the power to make all the equipment. Lochinver is just one of those places. By the end of the Rollers set the power has gone down 3 times and 2 fuses have had to be replaced. Throw into this the odd brawl here and there and the chaos is well under way.
On a tour like this the routine is the same - travel > set-up > sound-check > pump out music as hard as you can for roughly 1 ½ hours > pack-up > travel - but no two nights are ever the same. Although there's a lot to be done every day, when you've got good people about to share the load, things get done quickly and there's plenty of craic with/to excess.

Heading back from Lochinver the van starts to konk out every now and then. Then its had enough. No electrics, we cruise to stop - 4 in the morning and 20 miles from beds in Ullapool. The other two vans on tour are both ahead without mobile reception. We phone and leave a message with a friend [Jonathon] in Ullapool and start pushing. By 5 we've had enough and the vans starting to feel a bit like a survival craft. At 6 Jamie [sound-engineer] arrives in another van to tow us to bed. 6:10 tow rope snaps > 6:15 tow ropes snaps again making it too short to tie the vans together. Moral is low. > We get another tow rope and whip out a pair of old pants to pad the rope round the towing hooks where its snapping - we're learning. At 7 am we're back in Ullapool - saved by a pair of shreddies and just in time for the bakery. Bed at 8.

Despite things going wrong to the point of wondering whether someone is trying to tell you something, you still know that these will stay as great memories of times travelling.

Misha Somerville
Croft No. Five

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