Ian Pickering's Diary
Written During The Course Of The Band's Career...
'The Missing Pimp' - Monday 24th July, 2000
OK, - I'll start with the false start (that self-effacing target lives and breathes and works like a charm past, present and future). Having been absolutely sure that I was due out at Lamond on a Saturday, I arrive at London Waterloo at 9:20am on the 22nd, only to have my ticket repeatedly spat out of the machine at the Eurostar check-in. In true North-east fashion, I complain loudly and expletively before a very kind lady points out: "This ticket is for Monday, Sir!" The Sir doesn't help.
Anyway, at least today I know exactly how to start my journey, which everyone expects me to fuck up, and apart from a heavy metal clock in my bag being mistaken for a knife (a square knife which tells the time perhaps) by the man on the X-ray machine, I manage to arrive at Angouleme on the right train at the right time, free from harm and disaster. I immediately phone the Pimps at the house ("Lamond") and am stunned, shocked and truly overwhelmed to hear from Joe that Liam, Chris and Dave have set out to pick me up already. Sure enough they arrive as soon as I put the phone down, just after a teenage French boy has asked me if a denim jacket outside the phone booth is mine and, once I tell him it probably belongs to the pretty blonde girl who used the phone before me and is now standing at the bus stop, has promptly checked the pockets for cash and, disappointed at the lack of funds therein, has returned it with his best Good Samaritan face. CUNT!
Supermarket - Car journey - Bat Cave OK it's a villa, a house but it's nice. Pretty. The boys (Dave really) show off their swimming pool entry skills. Wine and beer flow. Joe, having apparently taken charge of cooking detail, makes a wonderful meal and the evening and night vanish.
Tuesday 25 July 2000
Two great things happen today - not great as in groundbreaking genius shit (surely that would be asking too much of your favourite friends) - But things that I like. I guess two things that I liked happened today.
The first is that I witnessed Joe sleeping, which was truly beautiful. I hope this doesn't sound rude but it was like the brother of a bull who's just been killed in a Bullfight at ease with that fact and awaiting the Bullrun on a small Spanish village, dreaming of it, the bull's revenge (the fact is that if you've seen a Bullrun the bulls - beautiful, graceful, poetic gods - do their best to step over people who have fallen in their path).
If you wanna know where all this Bull stuff is coming from, I've just spent a week in Andalucia and loved it, loved it so much I want to stop and get off and retreat from stupid Western world to a place where no-one can understand my speech and I understand no-one ( it wouldn't make much difference but I would miss Joe, Chris, Dave and Liam - eventually). I've never really seen the others sleep but Joe sleeping is stunningly gorgeous, whereas I probably sleep like Thom Yorke with his finger up his snoring arse. The second thing (I know you were hoping I'd never get round to it) is that I walked, pissed up as a bastard, into the main room as Liam, Joe and Dave were putting the mixes so far onto CD and said that Polaroids sounds gay - you know, a bit airy fairy - compared to the original demo version. GOOD COMMENT - BAD TIMING Ð best left for the morning.
Tomorrow's always a brand new day.
PS - I'd have mentioned the weather if it was anything to write home about but it was grey and rainy so fuck off Wincey Willis.
Wednesday 26 July 2000
The day of the eternal question; are you a "Withnail" or are you an "I"!
Full stop, period, end the discourse now.
So it begins - Polaroids was wank, everyone knows it - to be redone again on Thursday! I'm embarrassed by my observation - never an outburst - but by the time I hangover out of bed, everyone agrees (genius/common sense Ð who cares; it's not real world and no-one got hurt).
Apart from that, it's the first day with any sun and I sunbathe and swim and rewrite the last two lines of Kiro TV (Yes - I'm worth the money - WHAT FUCKINÕ MONEY?). The rest of the day kind of disappeared in booze - I drove for the first time in France, the first time I've ever driven a car abroad, on the wrong side of the road - but the rest of it was lost in booze. I haven't smoked a joint for six weeks now and I kind of think I don't wanna smoke another one ever. But we'll see.
I'm reading the Andy Kaufmann biography and it's sending me slightly nuts - a good thing/a bad thing - I'm laughing a lot whatever!
Thursday 27 July 2000
ALLRIGHT - now ya just getting scary!
Rewriting Polaroids to the point where it actually makes narrative sense and is harsh and beautiful - slacker boy, domineering mother (ring any bells Amy Girdlestone at your most hormone replacement therapy nastiness?)
I guess the highlight is going to the local boozer for food - interaction, infamy, fuck all strangers. Return to Lamond and watch stars on sunloungers for hours (I miss every shooting star going - Vic Reeves if I meet you I will hate and hit you - bet ya fucking life, Darlington no-mark bastard and would everyone please stop talking about food.) Stayed up with Little Chris until about Four AM - and, well, you know I had a great time doing that because I love him to little pieces, end of story.
Tomorrow's a brand new day!
Friday 28 July 2000
GOT UP - which was probably best left in bed and left better unsaid - and my main order of business was driving to Angouleme to collect visitors: Craig, his wife Hayley and Gaynor (Liam's fiancee and soon to be wife - October 21).
Arrival back at Lamond was followed by much drinking of sparkling wine (the Pimps are now officially out of contract with One Little Indian) and lovely food once more perfectly prepared by Joe - who has an excellent career in showbiz doing his "dog with worms" stroke in swimming pools around the world.
Much more drinking followed by a voyage onto the roof, enticed by Little Chris (who hurt the roof and should, I feel, really have had the decency to kiss it better). I was fearful but young uns (always the young uns) make you brave and I climbed to the top of the roof and we shouted loudly while Craig listened to the tunes and were joined by Dave and then jumped from the roof, which probably scared me more but it was easy (COWARDLY KITTEN).
Midnight swim followed by trip to Tony's, the local boozer (just the rooftop trio Ð other people with sex to have with ladies and Joe worn out by swim) and much loudlness and pissed-ness and Chris's eyes being the most mental thing you would have seen for decades and much noise on way home and falling over because it was so dark trying to walk through the village. And then the night ends to be followed by another day. Oh glorious day because I actually have something brand new to do.
Saturday 29 July 2000
UP Ð SWIM Ð PLEASANT THINGS.
I have lyrics to do for Bloodsport "Mother never told me that love wasn't logic" is the main Chris refrain and I have verses to write. So I set myself up with headphones and the tune on a constant loop on the top of the grass bank and get drunk and do well (because I always do well with a drink in my hand). Craig arrives on the bank and we talk about lots of things but mainly he wants Chris to take the train home and "would I mind driving the car back?- Of course I'd rather get the train but I never really mind doing favours for good reasons or no reason really I just like to please until I want to displease but I'm feeling pleasant as the atmosphere is light and the weather's absolutely sweltering. And then I play guitar a while and sing new songs and old songs and Gaynor says I have a nice voice which no one ever says but I'm proud because I know it's being getting better for about a year.
AND THEN PANIC - I know I had another packet of fags but (I will discover on Sunday they were in my shirt pocket all the time) cannot find them to save my life. Four left, close to midnight and maybe Tony's got some he can sell me. But, oh, everyone's taking so long to get round to setting off that I go alone and he has none and "could I have one of yours Ian?" So three left but I just like to please people and I'm feeling pleasant and at least in a bar I can drink lots more to compensate. And Dave and Craig come in not too long after I arrive and there's this odd couple from Skipton and the woman's giving me and Dave the fuel and the husband's an imbecile and it's fun and it's merry and Tony's going leave me some fags out with the bread in the morning.
Home, dark walk, falling over, fuel talk about blonde woman (can't believe some poor school teacher married to imbecile, although she may have been horny and was very sweet and very flirty and kind, could simultaneously cause the fuel in me and Dave) and bed for everyone bar me who wants to write more stuff on computer - getting better/worse but definitely new, fresh - APART FROM THIS JOURNAL!
Sunday 30 July 2000
AND IT'S ALL GONE QUIET OVER THERE - wake up, not much to say, don't wanna speak, do a lot of reading. Pool volleyball wakes me up and resurrects similar atmosphere to yesterday. It's unbelievably hot again. Chris, Joe and Dave are still working on bloodsport, Chris singing on the bank, which revitalises me some more but I basically just kill the day. Cynical today, more than ever, don't know why - hangover leftover maybe.
Evening we all go out to a restaurant and eat well and drink well. Back at Lamond I want to return to Tony's - all good things come in threes - but it gets late and no one's up for it and then I'm not up for it anymore because I want to write, after everyone's gone to bed - write more new gibberish, exciting gibberish that no one will ever have the decency to publish because I'm not a someone, I'm an anyone but one day! But not now - I go to bed at two o'clock, the earliest yet, after everyone thinks I've locked myself out of the house and all I've done is pull out the phone line and Liam and Gaynor are rowing, squabbling and I never like that - it's always just booze.
Monday 31 July 2000
AND AFTER A WHILE THE DAYS JUST FLY BY - get up and everyone's gone in terms of visitors. This is in fact the first day I've risen in the morning. Anyway, the boys are still working on Bloodsport so I have nothing to do until we move on to another tune. I finish the Andy Kaufman biography and it makes me cry like nothing else has ever made me cry. In fact the whole book has just been torn between laughing like mad, amazement, and crying from start to finish. The boy's take a break and we play pool-volleyball and that's it. Back to the cycle, I suppose - work, play, food, drink. The weather is now magnificent.
Tuesday 1 August 2000
JUST LIKE A STUCK RECORD - everything is still Bloodsport - which sounds magic, mint, top banana - but it means everyone is occupied and neither Liam or Chris can sit around with me and some new stuff. So I find a new book to read - Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Walking Zero, anyone?) and compared to the Kaufman biography it just makes you mad, makes your blood boil - a tale told by native American Indians about how they lost everything, how Anglo-Saxons stitched them up. I've made a vow - to kill politics in America, to round up every politician, every red-neck, every member of the KKK, and, to be honest, everyone motivated by greed (whatever form it takes) and massacre them at Wounded Knee. That would be retribution. Read it and weep has never been more true. I break off reading, late afternoon, and Liam and I go to take advantage of the football pitch nearby (goalposts, nets, everything). We end up playing on opposite teams with French kids and are both thoroughly worn out. But it was fun. We then drink beer to recover in a local boozer, shop and return. And Joe cooks. And we drink. And so it goes. And goes on.
Wednesday 2 August 2000
LET THE BLOODSPORT END - it's done - we're moving on. Miami Counting. It's gonna be a tough one, I guess it was the one that was musically or instrumentally the least worked. Anyway, I get to read my book and sunbathe again and Joe cooks more bounteous food (COOKS LIKE NO ONE'S COOKED BEFORE).
Thursday 3 August 2000
TRANSFORMERS - Sue arrives today. Miami goes on. I'm just reading - getting towards Custer's last stand, which is nothing, I'm surprised they made it into a movie with ???? but also unsurprised because obviously movies are one of America's main ways of lying to its people for whatever end. Anyway. Sue's got good news about Robots playing Reading festival and a festival in Leeds and we open the champagne and have a good night. But Miami goes on - and I've stopped counting.
Friday 4 August 2000
WE DON'T MUCH WELCOME STRANGERS ROUND HERE - but as it's Tony, who runs the local boozer, we make an exception. He wanted to see what we get up to, is amazed or intrigued by the mixing desk, samplers rack. Suspiciously, after Dave informs him that Craig took the keys for Lamond back to England by mistake (and Tony says "Oh, you'd be very unlucky to have anything stolen round here."), he invites us all down to his restaurant on Saturday night for a special menu, will cook anything we want. Fish fingers, chips and peas for Ian, as the traditional joke round here goes. Oh STOP TALKING ABOUT FOOD.
Anyway, Miami Counting is dragging its heels now. Liam even sleeps while he and Dave are working on it. Joe and Chris have gone to Angouleme to pick up Victoria, Joe's lady who I've never met. Victoria's pending arrival means that I'm now sharing a room with Liam, which I guess begs the question Ð when is it gonna be Dave's turn. Not by the hairs on this chinny, chin chin.
So let's forget Miami for now - Joe cooks up and extra special feast to celebrate his lady's arrival and everyone's in good spirits. And Victoria smokes fags, which means I'm not the only person slowly dying at the dinner table.
Saturday 5 August 2000
MIAMI CUNTING MORE LIKE. If I hear that loop again, I'm gonna cry. It's not even that much of a sunny day so Pool, sunbathing things not much of an option for the day. So I read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, while the lads put their brains onto Miami. There's a local wedding going on in the village so me and Sue take a peek into the village. Stop off at Tony's for a beer and Sue introduces me to the joys of backgammon, which isn't as bad as my cynicism about all things meant to be fun that you have to take part in has led me to believe.
Liam, Chris and Dave turn up, Tony lets me have some of his fags and we drink more beer. Chris and Sue say they'll get me some when they go shopping. They don't - bloody non-smokers, eh? If you want something doing right, do it yourself. So I go to St. Severin and return in time to get changed and hit Tony's for our "I'll cook for them, you rob all their music gear" feast. But we now have the keys back so it's nothing to worry about. Good feed, cheers Tony, But why are you locking us in the dining room because you have to go out for a minute. Are the drunken, English ex-pats all naked in the bar and swapping partners like a meat market again. The door is definitely locked - everyone's tried it. Wild stories about why he's done it start to abound. And then an outside door burst open and his dumbass alsatians come bounding in, followed by an apologetic Tony. Panic over - let's go home. It is in fact quite startling how quickly and suddenly everybody leaves en masse. So I guess it's me and my wine and the Playstation football again - which I'm not getting any better at. And never will.
Sunday 6 August 2000
THE SUN HAS GOT HIS HAT ON. The good weather staves off the Miami down and out for the count scenario. Sunbathing, swimming and waiting for dinner - they are, I've found, everyone's main anticipations over here. Liam reinforces the me talking in my sleep theory - apparently it was: "I am White Dog of the white race. Do you understand - please don't remove it". I put it down to the Red Indian book and keep reading. And then, as if by magic, Miami Countless loops and takes is sounding quite scarily red hot and Chris lays down his vocals. Sue does some backing vocals too and the whole things finally coming together. Thank Christ for that one. Late evening meal - a Chris curry spectacular (Well Joe's gotta have some time off!) - is followed by Tequila slammers and then Vodka slammers and for the first time since I've been here I'm not the last one to go to bed. A very drunken Sue and Chris decide to have a 3am dip in the pool. They invite me but I think, as Sue and Victoria go home tomorrow, there's not much swimming on their minds So I head for the bedroom, Liam is kind of awake. And he's kind of wide awake when I smash my glass out of the window trying to throw the wine away because drinking it would be a bad idea. Out like a light, as they say.
Monday 7 August 2000
AND THE WORKING WEEK BEGINS AGAIN FOR ANYONE WITH A REAL LIFE. Fortunately, we're in a band and we're onto the pretty tune - M'aidez, which goes like a breeze when the summer sky scorches the green green grass of home. (Indian speak Ð I like it, heap big nob face!). The main business of the day is taking Sue and Victoria back to Angouleme for their return to London. I don't wanna think about London or England or the real world. This is it, our last few days.
Joe and Chris set off for Angouleme at about 3pm. I persuade Liam, who doesn't take much convincing, that we should go and play backgammon at Tony's for a while and drink some beer. Dave joins us a little later and finally gets a photo of a lizard. I beat the master backgammon man at his own game but he's teaching me really. I expect no mercy when we play again. Tony kind of hints that he might give the lads a lift to Angouleme on Saturday, which would mean Liam and I could set off for Calais on Friday in the car and avoid a massive 14-hour trek by breaking up the journey a bit.
I return to Tony's at 11pm to pursue the idea but he's pretty wrecked (drowns himself in beer from the draught pump before calmly announcing that means the barrel is empty) and chatting with another bizarre ex-pat couple, Trevor and Anne. When she leaves, Anne invites me to see her farm tomorrow. But she adds the line: "And I'll show you what we do in Winter round here." OK, now I've got the fear not the fuel. I'll ask one of the lads to go with me so as not to look impolite.