I am, to paraphrase myself, ‘a freethinking middle aged rock ‘n’ roller, still on the toilet circuit hoping it’s a good walk-up.’ Actually, unless I live to be 99 the bit about being middle aged is rather optimistic. Tomorrow it is my half century birthday, but today I hit the road with my Scottish tour manager Jim bound for Ramsgate – Brexit central control. Kent seaside towns are where it all happens: Ted Heath, satanism, Charlie Hawtrey cottaging in maritime pubs. Time stands still in Kent. It’s a very 21st-century kind of place.
I am booked on a short tour of the UK to celebrate the release of a new four-CD anthology Luke Haines Is Alive And Well And Living In Buenos Aires. My only weapons; an acoustic guitar and a copy of my book Bad Vibes – Britpop and My Part in Its Downfall to do a reading from. Having been forced to get up at 1.15 p.m. I am naturally bleary and only realise I’ve forgotten my book at Blackwell Tunnel.
It is almost impossible to go on tour in the 21st-century without thinking about Dave Grohl. Grohl is the most enthusiastic man in the world and always on tour and when on tour, he raids local guitar stores, local studios, shops that sell vinyls; no opportunity to jam with Lemmy is missed. Thank God Lemmy is dead. I, on the other hand, am the least enthusiastic man in the world.
I fiddle with the car radio and land upon a repeat of Front Row on Radio 4. I am never happier than when an arts show on TV or radio is cancelled. The Late Review, Newsnight Review, The Culture Show: all deservedly binned. The BBC has recently launched a new prime-time telly version of Front Row. It has caused uproar among the ‘arts community’ mainly because it is presented by Alan Coren’s halfwit son who has no idea about ‘the arts’. Even more hilarious than upsetting the ‘arts community’, however, the new Front Row has also upset the ‘curator community’, as Giles Coren’s appointment proves that anyone can get away with being a cultural-goalie, which means they might just have been rumbled.
I pop out of a hatch on to the stage of the Ramsgate Music Hall at 9 p.m. I am armed with a guitar, a song about Enoch Powell joining Gong (‘Enoch Powell – Space Poet’), a kazoo and a squeaky nun-dog toy for ‘psychedelic effects’. But no book. I take the mic, feeling blessed to be able to tour like this, and thank Odin that I am not Dave Grohl.
Luke Haines is on tour until 15 October
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