A night in Utrecht.
Posted on September 01 2015
In another part of my life, the veil on which will remain, I play guitar for a low-level to middling band. Now there is very little money in that world, but I have been lucky enough to see most of the world whilst touring, so swings and roundabouts. It is a life spent on the road, touring what is affectionately known as the toilet venues. If you want to Romanticise it, you might call it the Underground. It is a world where music, drugs and sex all go hand in hand, in neon-lit districts of strange cities. I have notebooks upon notebooks full of stories of adventures from my time spent pleasing my wanderlust, and my boss here suggested I put some of them down. I decided to begin with a night spent in Utrecht.
Now Holland is pretty much the only country where we could ask for a few spliffs on our rider, and I remember one night we were pleasantly surprised to find the promoter had left us some in the dressing room (a dangerous move as they were there before we played). Sensibly, we decided to wait until after the show before smoking them. Here is my vague, hazy recollection of that evening.
It was winter and we played at a venue called Tivoli. Utrecht itself was sort of like Amsterdam, without the tourists; an incredibly scenic postcard of a place with canals and cobbled streets. The hotel was maybe a twenty minute walk away, and although I didn’t have the street name, I was pretty sure I could remember where it was by following certain landmarks back like breadcrumbs.
All of us had smoked in Amsterdam a few nights before, and as none of us had felt particularly high we were fairly confident going all in. As it turns out, the coffee shops in Amsterdam selling pre-rolled spliffs to tourists were a completely different proposition to the ones left on our rider. I remember sitting in our van outside the back of the venue where we decided we’d have a quick smoke then head back to the hotel. We locked all the doors and passed it on, holding it in until it had made its way all around. It was immediately clear this was a hell of a lot stronger than whatever it was we had a few nights before. After fifteen minutes or so all of us were completely fucked.
Now, this would have been fine. The only thing was, in the time we had spent hot-boxing the van, it had started to snow … heavily. What was a collection of cobbled streets and breadcrumbs guiding us back had been covered with a white blanket. We were literally standing in a vast expanse of white, with no coats, and no idea of where we meant to be. At this point I was still laughing, but an hour later, walking in the wrong direction, and freezing cold, I was close to tears.
In the end we managed to find a taxi and somehow explain to him where we going, but I still have a video of that night. Of us walking around in the snow, giggling like idiots. And Utrecht looked even more scenic and beautiful dressed in white. It was only our stupid laughs and red eyes that spoilt the postcard. It was still a great night.