Hey, remember that time six months ago where I started this Storytime blog series where I promised to blog once a month — NAY — once a WEEK?! Yeah, me neither. But it did happen. And now, six months into this horrible future where I have failed you, I’ve decided to pick up whatever sad pieces remain of this thing.
Unlike getting hilariously stuck on a train, we’ve also been doing things on purpose here in the UK. Like playing the New Slang in Kingston.
Or visiting the Imperial War Museum.
Or playing Field Day.
The London riots have been weird for us, because we’ve been completely disconnected from them. Somehow, we’ve been wandering the streets during the riots and managed to avoid any rioting-in-progress or even riot aftermath. But then we’ll turn on the news when we get home and see buildings burning to the ground and a war in the streets. Very strange feeling.
Anyway, how about that story? Come along with me!
Last Thursday we played in Kingston and didn’t get home to London until two in the morning. Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem. However, we had to be up at five in order to catch an early train to Lille the next day for the festival Les Nuites Secretes, and an angry cab driver was scheduled to chuck our gear in the van with reckless abandon at 5:30. After three hours of lying down with our eyes closed pretending to sleep, we got up and the angry cab driver showed up early to chuck our gear in the van with reckless abandon. He pulled away with Andy hanging out the door.
The next part of the story all went well. We were in time for our train, a woman confirmed that the train station serves coffee and roast beef, we all got matching fruit smoothies – it’s like the happy, fluffy, beginning part of a movie that you know will end in graphic, unfluffy tragedy. Here’s where that part comes to an end:
Luke and I are sitting behind Steve and Andy on the train, which takes about an hour and a half to reach Lille. When the train comes to a stop, to me, it doesn’t appear that we’re at the station. It looks like we have to pull up more, and nobody is getting off. Suddenly, Andy and Steve shoot up from their seat and new people start boarding the train. I am confused (because no one got off) but start grabbing our stuff anyway. I have to go back a few seats to grab the two guitars I’m carrying while Luke has to swim against the current of boarding passengers to get to his stuff.
Andy and Steve are a few steps in front of us and hop off the train. Just as I get to the door, I see it close with Luke standing in front of it, holding his gear. He presses the “Open Door” button.
He presses it again.
LUKE IS FRANTICALLY PRESSING THE OPEN DOOR BUTTON.
I lean down in a panic and catch Steve’s eye through the window and end up giving a face like this. There is no train staff in sight in the train or on the platform. We’re stuck holding our gear, mashing the “Open Door” button like a couple of brainless dopes on display for the people on board. This door is not opening.
And the train pulls away.
I’m met with an all-star team of emotions (FURY + DISBELIEF + SHAME + REGRET + WTF) as we start speeding in the complete opposite direction of where we want to be. Luke and I settle down and just accept that we’ll be in Brussels in a half hour (thankfully this train wasn’t headed to somewhere even further away), and we’ll just train back – maybe even on this very train, as we noticed a lot of London-to-Brussels trains were scheduled. I wish it was that easy.
Instead, just minutes from Brussels, our train broke down. Yep.
We sat for over an hour without moving air, A/C, power, etc. waiting for another train to arrive and pull us to the station. After that, we discover that the next train back to Lille won’t get us there until 3 something, and it’s only 12:30. The woman at the ticket counter helping us then says she’s found a way to get us there sooner, but it’s by way of Gent. We take it because we just want to get back as soon as possible.
Turns out that this route is not quicker at all because Gent it still not in the direction of Lille. Then, we accidentally get on the first class car to Gent, which isn’t a big deal if you’re not carrying three guitars, a suitcase, a laptop bag, a gear bag and a backpack, because you have to manoeuvre your stupid self through a MOVING train, all the while bashing people with your stupid gear that you’re stupid carrying. I can feel the rage returning as I write this.
Long story short, we end up back in Lille, but at the wrong station. So, naturally, no Steve or Andy to be found. No festival people either. We end up getting wifi and getting in touch with the guys, and have to wait another hour and a half until we can get picked up, drive another hour and a bit to the festival, still unshowered and carrying our infinity amount of guitars and bags and shame.
While waiting to get picked up, I felt that I should just shit myself and that would be a fitting end to the day.
Luke broke the toilet seat in the train station just by sitting on it and I decided that that was good enough.
In the end, we made it to the festival on time, showered in some strange French hostel that a guy had to drive us to, and played a fun show.
I hope this story has entertained you as much as it has enraged me.