9:35 am on Thursday, already black up to my elbows with metal flecked machine grease.
The Whitney’s sprung a leak in clamp 2 again, and I’m under the goddamn thing now, trying to get an allen to gain purchase on the rounded bolt, squinting against a fine mist of hydraulic fluid baptizing my face.
And the phone is ringing.
The ringing stops after seven, there is a beat of silence, then the ringing starts again.
The wrench flies out of hex, my knuckles slam against the mill sharpened edge of the ball screw.
And, naturally, the hose gives way, and an imperial pint of DTE40 flows onto my face.
Bleeding at hand, drenched in oil, I stomp over to the phone and yell what into the receiver.
But there is only a recorded voice on the line:
Would you like to update your listing on Google search network?
Press one to connect with a specialist that will be in your area…….
The cordless, it now takes thrilling flight.
It arcs high across the shop’s corrugated ceiling, hits one conduit and smashes down amid the scrap bins, a satisfying burst of polycarbonate and circuit board, then silence.
There is a square of #8 mirror finish stainless propped up at the shop sink.
I catch a glimpse of myself now, sleeved in grease, dripping light weight oil from hair and Type A Rh Negative from my paw.
For this I came back?
After our fanboy adventures of Saturday in the Wintergardens, it’s up and back to it for an early set Sunday…..1:40pm downbeat!
It’s a new one for us, this early slot, but we are in the lovely Empress Ballroom today on a stellar lineup of all our chums from So Ca.
We crack Red Stripe #1 at the first chime of noon, trying to settle our stomachs against last night’s cider fest and GravySausageChips gluttony.
We pretend it’s 10pm since we play in an hour, and watch the other bands straggle in, already a 4 hour drive under their belts on this day–suckers!
We’re backstage now and worried about this time slot–who the hell is gonna wake up this early for a set?
Ears still ringing from the chanting crowd at Cocksparrer last night, not to mention the pub crawling along the vomit soaked streets of Blackpool, and I’d rather still be in bed myself, brother.
Couldn’t blame ya for sleeping in!
But we hit the stage and the lights come up on the opening chords of I Wanna Know Why.
And there is an actual crowd of people there: watching, listening!
It comes back quickly, why we love this fest.
The RebellionFest brings it all together, the music and culture, the intellect and sleaze.
The people here love their punk without shame, and point to its’ accomplishment and dignity in the face of so much phoniness swirling about.
Sensory overload at its finest!
We have time to towel off and wade back into the crowd to catch up with old chums and catch The Stitches frenzied set!
And then the yucks continue until the Adolescents & TSOL hit stage!
It’s all too fine.
We meet all the chums once more before we all go off on our own ways.
The other bands are going on, and even now I read their Facebook posts with a wistful tinge of envy.
Ah, but it’s that time for us to wrap it up.
No more hostel (hostile?) wake up calls of us, no more midnight wanderings along cobblestoned alleys, perfectly happy to be lost.
Kimm is heading straight back to the States, back to the real world: a world without curry sausage breakfasts and daily soundchecks.
I’m hopping a train for Glasgow at dusk.
Alfie jets on to Barcelona and the South of France, the fucker.
Oh, he’s is still out there, chasing his luggage from airport to airport, his soiled t-shirt and socks giving him the funk and earthiness of a true European!
I wipe a few more drops of oil out of my hair with a bandaged hand.
There is a haiku bleat of airhorn, la cucaracha , the lunch wagon pulling up outside right on time.
The daily beats of the day, they are back now.
I go out to the Roach Coach, order up a green chile burrito from Rosa Maria.
She asks where I’ve been, what? last 2 weeks?
And as I pull out the cash to pay her, there in a handful of change I catch the glimpse of an odd coin, hole punched in its’ center:
I hold it up, up to the California Sun that’s hovered above me my whole life.
And the light piercing it’s center, that spot of bright in the belly of its dark shadow?
It’s the same old sun, seen in a different way.