THE PREVIOUS distance record for The Fraudsters was 186 miles to Ingram in Northumberland..... we absolutely SMASHED that with this wedding in Maidstone – 247 miles and one inch from the Fraudcave to The Turkey Mills wedding venue.
Because we'd been bummed by The Hippies and failed to get a luxorious tourbus, this would be the most uncomfortable as well as the longest journey ever – for three of our band at least. For X and for Obi-Wan they were invited to the wedding, being mates of the happy couple. Not so Bunky, Metz and Dave who had to suffer every one of those 15,649,921 inches in a rather uncomfortable Transit hire van. Before setting off, Driver Bunky asked Metz to check the tyres for him. The reply came back "Yep. There's four of 'em"
The journey took SEVEN HOURS, three of which were spent approaching and crossing the Dartford Bridge a.k.a. the Kent aerial car park. Bunky flatly refused to bail off the motorway at any time, so Professor Metz was soon busting for a leak. Now, when you're hundred feet up on a bridge for two hours, and you suddenly realise you gotta go, well, you gotta go! So Metz experimented by filling a bottle..... and then another. Both bottles were then emptied into the waters of the R.Thames below. I can imagine the people behind us receiving a "message from a bottle" (Oh how The Prof. hates that song)
The overlong journey time meant we didn't get to do what we'd planned in Maid(of)stone: Chillin' out at da hotel for a couple of hours and goin for a swim. We were that late we didn't even have time to check in. We had to go straight to the gig. We received a text from Mr. X at the Reception "Speeches finished; Get urselves down here now to set up" we replied "we would if we could get off this damn bridge!"
So we didn't get to check in and inspect the rooms to make sure they were acceptable..... until after the gig (1am in the end – but that's another story).
Eventually the boneshakin' Transit rolled into the service yard at the Turkey Sheds and we rolled the flight cases down an extremely steep ramp. The momentum carried them straight through the building and right up to the stage area, so we were set up in double quick time......
The guests were already dancing in the soundcheck, and sure enough they were well up for a party. The long journey was worth it – what a marvellous gig. The crowd were loving it and so were we. One of the Bridesmaids got up and sang "Valerie" with us, and a fine job she did too.
We'd been asked to do a couple of special requests for Matt & Charlotte – Fleetwood Mac's "If You Go Your Own Way" plus The Shamen "Ebeneezer Goode" !!! Our bass playing fake-Cockney Dave fancies himself as a bit of a Rapper, so he was well up for doing the 1992 Rave No.1. The rest of The Fraudsters were a bit dubious to say the least – Rapping? To a backing track? Hmmmmm..... so they all legged it from the stage to leave Dave naked on his own.
It has to be said however that the lad must've spent hours rehearsing this (more hours than he spends practising bass.....) because when it came to it, he stole the show with his chirpy Cockney motormouth impression! Word for word perfect, and he even seamlessly slotted in some of Chas & Dave's "Snooker Loopy" in the middle eight!
After the gig we packed the gear and left it to collect the following morning. We need to find our hotel now – we have got one haven't we? Luckily there were several guests staying at the same hotel, so we tagged along with them. In the minibus it was like we'd just been to a Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
When we arrived at the hotel at gone 1am, we were not popular with the grumpy night staff. I suppose The Professor was not the best person to act as Party Leader checking us in – swigging from a bottle of red wine as he signed the paperwork, stains all down the front of his white shirt.
Ebeneezer Dave was driving home in the morning so he retired to bed..... where he was horrified to discover there was only a double bed in the room so he would be sharing a fart sack with Metz! Before our bassist's head hit the pillow he built a wall down the centre of the bed with all the pillows he could find, plus towels and the ironing board. The rest of the Fraudsters meanwhile, plus some guests, headed off into the night in the general direction of a 24-hour garage that allegedly sold booze (the Resi bar being, ahem "conveniently" ....shut by the grumpy night staff).
In the garage there was a Squaddie from the nearby barracks, purchasing booze for a party that was going on in the Mess hall. He was a Scouser and had no hesitation in proving his soldierly qualifications by stripping off to display his Afghanistan IED scarred torso.
The Barrack Party invite sounded inviting, but we passed on it and headed back to our hotel for a nightcap before retiring to bed – together.......
Night night darlings xxx