This is a guest post from Friday, 29 June 2007 by Manky Pasty.
On the day Tony Blair left office I had the honour of accompanying Cardiff’s Sicknote on their trip to London to bid the PM a very special farewell. Here’s what happened…
The crack of dawn on Wednesday 27th June 2007 saw us on our way to wreak havoc on the Streets of London in celebration of Tony Blair’s departure from British Politics. Only minutes after arrival we must have been immortalised in several thousand Japanese holiday snaps and passers-by could not help but marvel at our impressive hooters that we had sprouted especially for the occasion. Children ran screaming into the arms of their mothers as multiple images of a nightmarish Blair/Pinocchio hybrid advanced towards them.
The BBC was quick to snap up the opportunity of featuring this extravaganza on the News at 6, though even these hardened professionals struggled to hide their utter bemusement at what was unfolding in front of their eyes. As the camera crew feverishly set up their equipment and we got ready for battle armed only with a ghetto blaster and a couple of banners, people were already gathering and jaws dropping. Onlookers struggled to catch a glimpse of the action, whipping out cameras and mobiles in a bid to capture a memento of the surreal performance. The situation was somewhat unexpected and feeble attempts were made to disperse the crowd as the band was ironically forced to make a dash for the nearest taxi, with the camera crew following close behind.
Having made our lucky escape, and with a taxi conveniently at our disposal, we decided that now was the time to call at 10 Downing Street to pick up the Guest of Honour himself. He had already caused a certain amount of offence by very rudely failing to reply to our invite; not what you would expect from such a diplomatic man. But that did not discourage us. However, it was at this precise moment that Flapsandwich received a call from one of his reliable sources to inform us that Tony had chickened out and had made a desperate escape by plane to the north of the country… What can I say? The man missed out on his own leaving party after ten years of hard labour: that is in no way Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Unfazed by this minor issue, our next stop was an audience with the legendary George Galloway of Big Brother fame, who had already interviewed Doghouse on his TV show. We made him an offering of an original Sicknote quality rubber nose, but he demanded we throw in one of our t-shirts as well before we did any further business. As soon as we had complied with his demands, he did a runner under the pretence that he had to attend another interview, cheekily winking at one of our female companions as he sprinted into the distance, t-shirt and nose billowing out behind him. A furious Dr Conker expressed his disapproval by urinating on College Green in full view of all the cameras whilst the rest of us gathered our belongings and started to make our way to the now already legendary Sicknote party boat “The Golden Flame”.
Easier said than done. The short walk from The Houses of Parliament to Temple Pier was complicated by further wanted and unwanted attention from members of the public and hysterical tourists who probably saw this as a typical display of British eccentricity and mobbed us with an array of cameras and camcorders. An elderly couple voiced disapproval when Doghouse lovingly decorated the Battle of Britain monument with one of our noses while Dr Conker performed a very special ritual dance to mark the occasion. There’s just no way of pleasing some people…
Having cast our eyes upon the stunning boat floating gracefully upon the Thames and fallen instantly in love with it, we decided to take a little break before the true madness and debauchery ensued. A small friendly tavern just across the road from the pier granted us food and shelter and we managed to gather our strengths for the night ahead.
Watching the people queuing to get on board the boat was highly entertaining, many of them having turned up in fancy dress. Particularly memorable where two girls with homemade fake furry muffs stitched to their knickers wearing life-sized pigs heads for tits… You get the idea. We also seem to have let a real life witch on board. Of course every lucky ticket holder got his or her very own rubber nose, and to see a massive crowd of people all wearing them at the same time was spectacular. Kilnaboy had us all on tenterhooks by not showing up until the very moment the captain decided enough was enough and the boat would have to embark on it’s treacherous journey. And so the celebrations commenced.
There was a brief moment of panic when the boat nearly capsized as the crowd immediately stormed the bar upon getting onto the upper deck, but that was quickly sorted and soon everyone was happily drinking and making merry. Only minutes into the cruise Grooveslave and Tommy Tank already had people up and dancing, and after a quick sound check the first band of the evening, the aforementioned Kilnaboy took the stage. As the sun set dramatically on the river Thames, they had us pogo-ing away manically to their ingenious folk-punk, a very apt choice for this occasion, and it was already clear that Big Toe was missing the party of a lifetime.
By the time Sicknote hit the stage the hedonism and debauchery was in full swing and we were having difficulty keeping our balance what with the wobbliness of the boat and copious amounts of alcohol and drugs consumed. The downstairs room was packed to bursting point, everyone eager not to miss one second of the night’s headline performance as sweat started dripping from the ceiling. As the band launched into “Gimme Dat Harp” the place erupted and the entire boat was literally bouncing down the river. There was a lot of falling over each other and apologising for sitting on strangers laps as we lost all sense of gravity and bopped crazily along to Sicknote’s pounding rhythms. By the end of the set the crowd was screaming for more, and Flapsandwich’s desperate attempt to escape unrecognised was overthrown as he was removed kicking and screaming from the toilets and hurled back onto the stage.
The band finally managed to drag themselves away from the manic crowd and escape to the upper deck for a beer and a fag and the pleasure of being entertained by Cosmo and Felix’s amazing acoustic guitar and double bass performance. Meanwhile Alabama 3 DJs were keeping things lively downstairs. Hardly anyone noticed when the “Golden Flame” arrived back at Temple Pier, and the crew had one hell of a job getting everyone to vacate the premises as the Sex Pistols “God Save The Queen” blasted from the speakers. There was one last manic flurry of pogo-ing, before people moved on to Brixton Jamm to continue partying – for the next 24 hours. Tony, do you realise what you have missed!!!