Mushroom Tour Day 1
Here we go! Fred, Zac and Cesc leave South London in the evening. The van’s full already and we still have to pick a bass and a bassist. We go foraging in and picked up some dates, some cheddar and an accordion. Amongst the good resolutions are a pile of intellectual books. Bach scores, a chessboard, Plato, Tristan and Isolde a pile of cds…
As we depart, some declare their resolutions of good will: to refrain from heated arguments and debates, to refrain from suggesting anything that hasn’t been suggested (much in the manner of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus), and to refrain from bad puns. The gripper impersonation has been banned, but as soon as the ban comes into place, someone asks ‘what is a gripper?’, to which a long description is supplied. A gripper is that endearing character in jazz folklore who comes to the bandstand after the gig and, after an all too brief compliment, proceeds to give a long talk about reeds, drum sticks, piano strings, obscure boogie woogie artists and so on. He will tell you all about his heroes and how in 1973 a southern Welsh cornettist took the Cornwall scene by storm, all this gripping your arm for insurance. The gripper impersonation has fused with the white van driver impersonation into a rather disturbing voice which the band members will employ to utter those thoughts they are too ashamed to utter with their real voices.
The customs officer asks us if we carry any magic mushrooms. We didn’t offer him any cds. After crossing the channel tunnel, we consider ways of teasing Jiri. He awaits us in Prague, and we need to pick up his bass in Brussels: ‘Oh, Jiri, something funny’s happened; we ate a rough kebab in Bermondsey, and in an emergency toilet stop in the motorway we locked ourselves out of the car. We missed the crossing, but it’s ok, we met a guy with a boat. Anyway, we’ll be in den Haag asap.’ Thus would read our text, yet we dare not send it. In Brussels, we drive into a tunnel which goes down, down and still further down and never seems to come up. A sleepy czech lady welcomes us with belgian chocolate.