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Abandon ship
I'm done with this blog, I'm moving to http://www.robinhawkins.blogspot.com

Bye bye!

The best run ever
Frost, old friend from school and I went out last night for a catch-up, did some quite solid drinking and had a great night. I woke up with a bit of a sore head this morning as a result though. I just went for a run now (I'm trying to train for a half-marathon) and every step, every bead of sweat felt amazing..it must've been an endorphin rush and flushing out last night's toxins and all that. Total result.

We managed to get another track recorded yesterday. It's just 90 seconds of brutality, I don't think it's going to make it as a single, but it was great fun to record. There was a nice, complicated bass line for me and I think we may have found the brown note when we were messing about with effects pedals, so I'm happy.


(no subject)
It has been in the region of YONKS since I've done anything blog-shaped. It has been quite quiet (that must be a bad pair of words if you're dyslexic) in Automaticland, so there's less to say. Also, I've never been particularly good at keeping up a blog, so there's probably no-one checking any more. Still, I feel like I should be contributing and being more of a web 2.0 kinda guy, so I'll try this again. Also, my dad's been telling me that there needs to be more blogging activity on our site. Point taken, Dad.

So, what news? I have a twitter account. THE AUTOMATIC also has a twitter account. I'm not awful at updating mine at the moment, it's still new and exciting to me. This is my personal one, and the band one (I just typed "bad one" by accident. Go nuts, Freudians) is here. We've been writing and demoing a lot as we've had a plenty of time at home, and it beats twiddling our thumbs. I have no idea when that stuff will be entering the public domain in any form, so no promises, but I'm pretty happy with it. We've been experimenting with a new way of writing lyrics, a totally unremarkable technique of making tea or coffee, sitting in our living room with acoustic guitars and writing by committee. I've still written most of the words, but it's so much quicker and easier to have everyone else suggesting lines, verses, themes, alternative words and phrasings and for us to end up with something we're all happy with straight away. In the past I've just hidden away and tortured myself for two weeks over a half-baked idea and ended up with one weak verse, which does slow things down..anyway, snapping back to the point, the new stuff sounds sweet. It varies a lot from song to song - I'm going to hold back from trying to describe it, I don't believe there's an effective way of describing how a song sounds in non-technical terms (the NME lies to you).

Although we've been busy musically, there has been fair opportunity for thumb-twiddling in the past weeks and months and I've been taking full advantage of that. I've played a lot of xbox, messed about trying to teach myself trumpet (I can play the Family Guy theme, in a farty kinda way) and had a go at oil painting. Painting is a bit trickier than I thought. Either that, or I'm naturally shit at it. I'll leave it there - I don't want to detail the minutiae of my life over the last however many months, those are just some of the more random bits. If life is a box of chocolates, then those bits were, I dunno, the strawberry creams.

Laters everybody,


Tour day 12: Day off, Leeds
A quiet day, mostly based around showering, eating, the basics. We were in Jury's Inn, which is the scene of a few rock 'n' roll hotel smashing nights. That wasn't happpening this time! Everyone was knackered.

Iwan, Frost and I went to a pub and watched the football while I got really, really hungry. I get food rage when I'm hungry, which is like some vampire blood-lust type thing. I can't think about anything, my IQ drops fifty points and get pissed off and grumpy. It's ok, I had a roast dinner and no-one had to die.

Viva Machine turned up later on and a group of us went to a bar I remembered called Oporto. Badly lit and well-stocked. Dai and I made lists of our top five bourbons, I drank a few of my top one (Gentlemen Jack). Then we went across the road to a place where you should get a prize if you can find the toilets. An enormous, steroidified bloke was sitting next to us with a lady, and quote of the night was "Oh, you see that massive bald bloke there? I dare you to slap him on the back of the head and call him a faggot". Viva Machine, trying to get us into trouble, crazy Swansea bastards!

Tour Day 11: Aberdeenington.
Cafe Drummond's load-in is up eight flights of stairs over four floors, the buggers. This is because Aberdeen is built on top of itself, sorta paradoxically..obviously, there aren't an unlimited number of Aberdeens stretching up and down into oblivion forevermore, that would be ridiculous. Infinite Scotland..

I bought some books here, including "Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintanence" by Robert Pirsig. About seven pages in, I've got the near-irresistible urge to annotate it, which means two things. One: it has a significant philosophical element, and two: I'm going to really enjoy it. Geek, moi? Yeah, actually.

Gig..the crowd were mental to a precise limit; there is zero trouble. It makes me think of those goats that faint when they get shocked, although I don't know why. This is nothing like that in any way. This is just an obtuse tangent thrown up by my over-enthusiastic imagination, sound knowledge base of animal trivia and tired and chemically stimulated brain. Anyway, I was saying - I worry sometimes if it looks like someone's going to get munched in our crowds, we're about having fun. We've already had someone bust their nose to a hit single in this tour. Here though, people just knew exactly how to have a wicked time and not wreck themselves/anyone else. The promoter says there's never any trouble here and I believe him. Outside, just before the gig, I round the corner by the venue to a cry of "stop kneeling on my neck!". Riot police have a satisfied look about them when they're pinning drunks to the ground.

To Leeds!

Tour day 10: Inverness, laddie!
I've written before about how much your first sight of life outside the bus influences your day, gives you a clue as to your fortunes or generally just sticks in your mind. Today, I saw a man hanging out his washing, right next to the bus. Hmmm..that's not usual..there's an Esso garage twenty yards away too..we must have parked up somewhere for drive to get some sleep, I thought to myself. I got up and had a look around, and found that we were exactly where we were meant to be. The Raigmore motel, in Inverness. It's an old-school travel lodge type affair, with an exact replica of the Phoenix Club bolted onto the side. I started laughing as I looked around, I wondered if we'd been booked for a wedding reception by mistake.

I made a sarcastic comment to Jis as he went in for a look, mostly because I knew he'd freak out and I wanted to encourage that, then I fucked off for a swim. It was painful, I suck at front crawl. I walked back into town by the river Ness (yeah, the one with the Loch with the Monster) and I swear I wouldn't have know it from the Taff back home. Rivers are just large bodies of flowing water though furrows in the ground, see one you've seen them all..it's the civilisations on their banks that makes them memorable, like the Vltava running through Prague and the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Oops, bit of a tangent there. Back to Inverness, where I bought genuine authentic Scottish kitsch memorabilia for my family. Snowglobe, anyone?

The gig was shaping up nicely when I got back, Jis and Stan swore a lot, I lost money to Noel Edmunds in a gambler and old men drank and talked about traditional Scottish music. Because we were playin in the Raigmore, The Raigmore Motel provided the dressing room. We weren't on until quite late (well, relatively..10.30 or something), so for slightly too long we were sat in a hotel room full of booze. The room reminded me of a scene from "No Country For Old Men".The gig reminded of "Braveheart"..damn, gonna have to justify that one, just for a Scottish theme..it was like a battle, but everyone was on the same side. There were also many casualties to the stink bomb that some bastard dropped. We lost half our crowd to sulphur..

I can't blame them. The stink was horrible.

Noteworthy occurences: Paul humps Peter Hill's face, live on stage. I introduce him as a sexual predator as a result. Many people end up in our dressing/hotel room after the gig, one of them acquires a souvenir - Frost's phone. She feels guilty and posts it to Norwich for us to collect.

Good gig!

Tour day 9: Dundee Doghouse
First thing I do every day on tour is get my Jungle Book on and look for the bare necessities of life (yep, I'm talking about finding a loo). I've been to Dundee before, we played the Reading Rooms. I remember there being about seven people there, although I doubt many more would fit! We all went swimming that day too, and I fucked up my sinuses on a water slide..anyway, that was then and this is a few days ago.

I actually found town this time, quite nice, although I'm bored of the generic shops. I found an indie record shop which I think is called Groucho's, where I think I bought a Jethro Tull "best of"..much uncertainty.

The high point of the day was going for a curry with Frost and Paul across the road from the venue. When we were almost at the door an ancient Scot in a ridiculous turban burst out and asked "table for three?". The situation was delicate, we all had to try really hard not to laugh at this man a lot! Not a bad curry either, we shared a green naan the size of an elephant's ear.

The View turned up to say hello, which was nice of them.

Good gig, small stage. Haven't had a bad gig yet, really!

Day 8: Auchterhouse of fun
Mike arranged a super-fun day off of joy for us all today. Auchterhaus is a outdoor persuits kinda place. We had no phone reception because of the hills that had been BUILT (they built hills!) to contain the noise from the shooting. Awesome.

If I can get it together to do this, I'll post some footage of us clay pigeon shooting. It was awesome. We had a go at quad biking too, and a crazy car mobile thing with two steering wheels and the rest of the controls shared between everyone in the vehicle. Teamwork prevailed, we were the shit. When quad biking, you wear a white, waterproof jumpsuit thing to keep your clothes clean. Pete put his coat on over this though, schoolboy error! One muddy coat.

I like that the first time I ever shot a gun I hit my target. It went downhill from there, but hey! I feel well prepared for a Shaun Of The Dead type scenario!

I ended the day with a steak. Brilliant.

Tour Day 7: A Half Of Two Games
There were two matches on tonight: Liverpool vs. Arsenal, and Football vs. Us. Liverpool was the first gig that hasn't sold out on this tour. It was still pretty well attended and the crowd were up for it. There was a mist in the air when we went on stage, which means it was going to be humid. It was a sweaty one, I enjoyed it. There was a guy a few rows back who listened the first chorus of every new song and sang along to the rest, word perfect (well, it seemed to be from my lip reading). What I guy. He gets the fastest learner award.
Liverpool won, so we got a lot of mileage from the footy. Paul's been doing a sports report on stage every so often, it took up pretty much all the time between songs today!

I didn't go very far in Liverpool. I've been there so many times before that I just couldn't be bothered! I'm a bit bored of the generic high street too - Zavvi, Schuh, HMV, Boots - it's the same thing every day. It's great knowing that I can get a DVD for three quid anywhere in the universe but it wears thin. That's why York was nice, lots of boutiques and independent or smaller shops.

Things that sound great in a Scouse accent:
Chicken Teriyaka
Bert Bacarach
Purple Curtains

Tour Day 6: York
I like York, it's an old and picturesque town but pretty lively and full of cool shops..which is why I spent £50 on cool T-shirts..then bought a Stanley Kubrick box set..

I also went for a swim because there was no shower in the venue and I was starting to feel the ming!

Paul, Iwan and Pete (I think it was them) bought remote control cars, which have seen a bit of action and got covered in mysterious sticky stuff on the bus. They now occasionally move by themselves, when switched off..

York Fibbers does good fajitas, they're famous amongst touring bands. I ate too much, I was stuffed.

Gig was good. A guy who interviewed us for..I can't remember the name of their blog..had his nose broken in the pit and re-set it himself in the loo. Hard man!