News & Insights 20 September 2007

“No, officer, we’re not suicide bombers… we’re musicians.”

Thursday 20 September, 11.45pm (Police Station, Edgware Road):
Right now, George and I should be at a Lightyears photo-shoot up at Ally Pally. Instead, we are sitting in the car outside Paddington Green Police Station on the Edgware Road, not moving. We have been sitting here and not moving now for at least 2 hours. The reason for this is that, for the third time now in as many weeks, our car has broken down. This isn’t the reason the approaching policeman thinks we’re here though. Oh, no. He thinks we’re here because we’re terrorists. I know this because six separate patrol cars have stopped by us already tonight to question us for the same reason. And who can blame them? Turns out that Paddington Green is actually the place they keep all the terrorists! It’s probably one of the most high-risk car-bomb targets in the country. And we’ve been sitting right outside it all night in a battered Space Wagon, loaded with equipment, without any apparent intention of moving. Brilliant.

“No, officer, we’re not suicide bombers,” George is explaining, as politely as possible, “we’re just musicians. In a band. Trying to get to a photo-shoot.”

The policeman looks from me to George and back again, shrugs, wishes us luck and moves on. Soon, news reaches us that we’re going to have to wait another hour for the RAC chap to come and tow us away. Arse.

Ironically, I’m starting to think that blowing this thing up would actually save everybody a lot of bother…

Tuesday 25 September, 5.30pm (LYs rehearsal room, Oxfordshire):
“Boys, boys, boys,” Tony is saying, “you need a better car. You can’t drive around in something that is liable to break down at any minute”.

Tony is very kindly lending us his car whilst we get ours back on the road. He is currently extolling its virtues as part of a small lecture on why we need to purchase a more reliable touring vehicle.

“Take my 106, for example. Never had a single problem with it. Going in for its MOT in two days, and just you wait – it’ll sail through.”


Two days later, Tony’s car fails its MOT.

Friday 28 September, 5pm (Outside The Halfmoon, Putney, London):
We have a gig tonight at The Halfmoon, and getting the whole band there with hardly a vehicle between us has been no picnic. We are seriously starting to run out of cars. Danny wrote his off in a crash a month ago, the Space Wagon is still off-road and Tony’s 106 is behaving erratically. He managed to get it through its MOT by virtue of some new brakes, but the honeymoon period didn’t last long. Half an hour ago, the key got stuck in the ignition and now it won’t start. Oh, and we can’t lock it either. Time to get the RAC out. Again.


Cracking gig tonight though. Really excellent crowd in – everyone’s up for a good night and they’re singing along like troopers. I think tonight’s Miles Away may have been the best we’ve ever played it. I could hear the entire front row singing every word. Also dropped in a cover of Lovecats by The Cure, which seemed to go down pretty well. We encored with Banana Republic and were all set to play Beautiful Band to close the set when the lights went up and the bouncers started ushering everyone out of the venue! Seems we hit the curfew. Tony was not best pleased. We had to keep him in the dressing room for a couple of minutes whilst he calmed down – get a few pints in him, you see, and he becomes liable to pick fights with promoters. Good old Tony. It’s just his way of showing he cares.

After a few drinks with some friends in the pub out front, Tony re-appears, looking a bit irked. There’s a familiar look on his face. I know immediately that we’re on the brink of another transport crisis. Tonight, incidentally, as Tony’s car is now out-of-action again, his girlfriend has offered to drop us home in her car.

“Thought I’d better let you know… Anna’s car has just blown up. Radiator’s exploded. It’s not going anywhere.”

Looks like we’re catching the bus then.   

Chris Lightyear
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