Travel Lodges, Texans and Toupees

One of the most absolutely mental and lucrative jobs I’ve had was backing
singing on a 2 month tour of the UK with my best friend’s mum. She was a quite
successful singer in the 60’s; there aren’t many people who can say they were
on tour with the Beatles and The Stones at the same time. She was singing on a
revival tour with a famous 60’s band (Sugar and Honey are involved in their big hit) and a very eccentric older country singer/crooner whose trousers split on
stage once (ask your mum she’ll know).

I was 18, had just had my heart broken for the first time and was surrounded
by musos, all of them men except my friend’s mum and all of them at least 40
years my senior; a strange environment for a teenage girl but they all looked out
for me and I did acquire an interesting array of nicknames, Little Midge being my
personal favourite.

It was great being in all the different cities, even Northampton and Rhyl were
slightly exciting when you there for one night only! This was my first experience
of the Travel Lodge lifestyle. Salesmen, truckers and giggers pass each other
in the corridors of these identikit buildings. You start to notice when the bin is
in a slightly different place from city to city. There’s always a view of some of
the finest industrial estates Britain has to offer. I loved getting driven from place
to place then turning up at the venue and settling into the changing rooms and
sound checking in all these lovely old theatres. It really was a great way to pass
the time. There were always lots of the same posters for the same 70’s cover
bands in all the venues we went to – it seems that the older middle aged lady’s
appetite for a retro night out is insatiable. Wow, some of these ladies went mental
for the aforementioned eccentric; he’d get mobbed as we left and I’m pretty sure,
had they been able to reach down that far, some knickers would have been
thrown!

The aforementioned eccentric was a moody old bugger at the best of times but
credit where credit is due could switch on the charm on stage! “Only two people
can sing like Elvis” he said to me once in his deep southern drawl “Elvis and me!”
(Cept he didn’t say that because he always referred to himself in the third person
in a way that only people completely deluded as to their own importance can!) I
have never seen anyone bar the cast of The Only Way Is Essex wear as much
orange foundation. He also wore two little headpieces that were conspicuously
tacked to the sides of his forehead everyday. My favourite memory being the
time our little tour sausage dog got hold of one and me and my mate’s mum had
to chase her around the entire venue trying to retrieve it, then return it to the
dressing room trying to dab off the dog spit through tears of laughter before he
found out!

And my how the stories got worse, oh so much worse. Who says old people
can’t have fun (and be utterly debauched!)? But in the spirit of the theatre
“What happens on tour stays on tour”. Over all, two of the most ridiculous months
of my life, but they did pay for me to go travelling before uni. Not your average
Gap Yah…

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