22. Northampton, Roadmender, 23 March 1995

Fatigue and traffic queues. Another one-way city. We have trouble parking when we reach the Roadmender. The others are conferring about directions when I spot Jonny walking across the road some way in front of us. He’s got shades on and big expensive-looking headphones. Eventually we park in a multi-storey then go for a wander into town and have some food.

Back at the venue we see Caffy and then see Thom with his girlfriend again. Izzy appears and we leave the others to go for a walk. Waiting outside venues all day for something to happen is cold, tiring and induces a particular flavour of depression in me. We walk to the market square so she can get some chips; I introduce her to malt vinegar, which she loves. They don’t have it in Japan. We sit and talk some more. Marion don’t really move her either. We spot several of them looking around Our Price. We go back to tell the others that waiting by the venue is a bit of a waste of time, the objects of their interest are out shopping, but they still want to stay where they are. Hanging about with nothing to do takes the edge off my happiness, so when Izzy suggests walking to her B&B, I go with her.

 

By the time we return to the Roadmender it is time to form a queue. Tim comes out to give us the passes today. Thom passes by but it’s like he’s got blinkers on. Despite the power of the stickers we’re penned in behind a fence by the venue staff. It’s getting cold and I’m starting to feel tired.

Today is our last gig. We just want… I’m not really sure what we want. Thom to ourselves again for five minutes? We keep knocking it down, 4 minutes, 3, 2, 1. Izzy has letters for Thom and Jonny, for now they’re stowed in her teddy bear-shaped camera bag. I feel like I must at least say goodbye. We’re in a weird position. We’ve been hanging out with them for the best part of a fortnight. But now their real friends are here we don’t really count. I know I’m being unreasonable but it doesn’t change how awkward and empty it makes me feel.

Once we get inside, I change my shirt, dump my bag with Pete on the merch stall and buy a pint while Izzy bags a spot at the front. We’re very far over on Jonny’s side and there’s a light and a speaker in front of me, but it leaves space for crumple zone. By now I find Marion’s formula posing and guitar slinging hilarious. The place is jam-packed, and I’m glad of being in this spot as there is nowhere else apart from the very front row where I would have been able to see anything. The Roadmender is an old school building with the hall as the auditorium, the toilets are still very school-like, and there are lots of little rooms off to the sides that must once have contained classes.

Thom’s not quite on it tonight. But there are moments that make me frustrated to be stuck standing behind this light. Bones is about “feeling it and meaning it or not and not seeing why he should have to ALL the time.”
He’s giving out chords. Anyone Can Play Guitar in A minor. E minor for High And Dry (I think). I want to off load all my feelings, but chances of escapism are tempered with the knowledge that this is my last show of the tour. Norwich was so good, it flicked the switch and this doesn’t quite do it in the same way.
After there is a lot of waiting about despite having proper passes. Julie from the management is around, moaning about never getting a holiday (as if her’s is an ordinary job!) She’s going to Japan in May with the band. Caffy is around but she’s tired and not making much sense. Izzy and I stick together. I tell Rebecca just to go with the Marion gang and not to worry about me. Colin, Jonny and Ed are talking to people; Phil and Mrs Phil are leaving. No sign of Thom.

I thank Tim for everything and he says, “As long as you enjoyed it.” At the moment I probably look like I’m not. I ask Caffy if she’s seen Thom. He’s had an interview and no one has seen him.

I need air and take Izzy outside. Thom is signing something for another Japanese girl, but his girlfriend is waiting for him and he’s anxious to get going. We catch up with him and Izzy gives him her letters and then nervously in broken English asks him a question about lyrics that she’s been itching to ask all day. He apologises before she can finish. He’s got “so much to do in the next 24 hours.” He turns to me and says, “Can you believe they had me being interviewed coming straight off stage and tomorrow I’ve got to do eight interviews before we go on?”

I make sympathetic noises and say, “It’s not fair.” This is old, stressed Thom. “Good luck with all that…” I trail off because he pulls a face at me. I pull one back, I mean it. He’s desperate to leave. Izzy and I stand there for a second feeling awful and let him go. I call “Goodbye,” pathetically. We go back inside feeling like it’s the end of the world. The others are deep in conversation with Jules from Marion. I don’t like the look of him. We mope about, there’s no booze left and nothing to stay for. When we go outside again, we pass Colin, he remembers us and shakes our hands.

Rebecca and the others want food now, so we find a late night chippy. But Izzy and I don’t feel like eating. How can something that makes you so happy hurt this much? I don’t even understand what I’m feeling. I hug Izzy when we drop her at her B&B. I will really miss her. Rebecca talks all the way home, but I just want to sulk in peace. I really don’t want it to end. I don’t want to go back to reality.