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Blog: The Validators Tour Germany: Part One

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Last week 80% of MJ Hibbett & The Validators (Emma stayed at home) set off to do some gigs in Germany. There were shenanigans, adventures, accidents and a little bit of beer.

It all started off well - I arrived slightly early at Luton Airport to find that Tim, The Tiger and Frankie had arrived even EARLIER. I'd been nagging them about getting their on time so there was much Delightful JOSHING about it... until we turned round to see Tim clutching his hand, clearly in AGONY. He'd reached into his bag to take out his drumsticks (which were going in one of the bags for the hold) and rammed a MASSIVE SPLINTER down his fingernail!!

AARGH! It looked - and WAS - intensely PAINFUL. When we got to the check-in we asked if there was a first aid point or something on the other side. We NEEDED a needle or something, but you don't get those in airports, so thought we pop in and see someone who MIGHT. The check-in guy rang for someone, and we stood by to wait.

We waited. And waited. AND WAITED. Tim said things like "My hand is going all tingly" and "You go through without me" but before he could say "Here - take my biscuits" we BADGERED the guy a few more times until, after waiting 45 minutes, four ladies arrived, three of whom appeared to be played by Matt Lucas in that airport programme they did. "WHO'S GOT A SPLINTER?" boomed one of then. "You called FIRST AID for a SPLINTER?!?" she SCOFFED.

Now, I'm no expert in customer relations, but I'm pretty sure that AGGRESSIVE MOCKERY is not the first choice of action when you've kept someone waiting for three quarters of an hour, even if it is just for a splinter. "What do expect US to do about it?!?" she demanded. "Er... first aid?" we said, noticing that none of them even had a first aid box that might have, you know, a needle in it, or a tweezer. She continued to angrily take the piss, and Tim pointed out that if someone had TOLD us that a splinter didn't count as first aid FORTY FIVE MINUTES AGO we would not have stood politely waiting for them. "You need a NEEDLE for that!" she said. "Where would we get one of those from?" "Not here - this is an airport!"

I'm actually making her sound more pleasant and caring than she was - she also said "WE SAVE LIVES! We've just dealt with a woman with KIDNEY STONES!" which a) i don't think it life threatening b) probably isn't first aid either. We stormed off through security with Tim's hand THROBBING and he bought a pair of tweezers and did the job himself. It was a MASSIVE splinter, he was very brave, and got a Medicinal Brandy as reward.

We were almost the last onto the plane due to all this (also due to having a much needed BEER) so didn't get to sit together, but the flight itself went fine, and we marched through the airport collecting bags with supreme efficiency, emerging through the gates 2 minutes before Mr Martin Petersdorf arrived to meet us. "I hope he's got a BIG SIGN" we said, and indeed he DID!

We'd been told we were on the guestlist for a TECHNO CLUB later on, featuring Mike Skinner from The Streets. MArtin introduced us to his pal who rang the club, and was waiting for Mike Skinner from The Streets to arrive. I looked around and saw, stood directly behind him, was Mike Skinner from The Streets, calmly waiting to be met. "Are you waiting for Mike Skinner from The Streets?" I asked. "He's just there."

It was a bit odd really. Anyway, Martin gave us a STOLLEN, some BEER, a TRAIN TICKET and 50 Euros in case we wanted to get a taxi into town instead. He bloody well looked after us, did Martin, he is GRATE! We hugged our goodbyes and stomped off to the railway station, where after some confusion we found a train going into town and hopped onto it.

Five minutes into the journey ticket inspectors arrived, and I handed them our ticket. "No" said the ticket inspector. "This is not good." His MATE arrived to back him up, and he insisted that we pay him 40 Euros as a fine. I took out my 50 Euro note to show him that that was all we had (NB it wasn't, but still) and he TOOK it! He then said "Each. 40 Euros EACH."

I rang Martin to talk to him, and it turned out that the problem was that our ticket had not been validated. Yes. That's right - the irony was not lost on us, nor would it be by EVERYONE WE MET FOR THE NEXT WEEK. We gradually, very reluctantly, handed over the cash. Tim EITHER said "I haven't GOT any money, SCREW YOU!" and tried to hop off the train OR cried and said "Mister, I haven't got any money" (depending on who was telling the story) but in the end we were 160 Euros the less. It was MASSIVELY ANNOYING - it was almost as if they had deliberately gone to the AIRPORT where people unfamiliar with the rules of German Trains would be boarding. No wonder they can afford to bail out Greece!

These and MANY OTHER REMARKS were made on the rest of the journey, which led us to a copy shop in Kreuzberg where we picked up our keys. The instructions on how to find the flat itself were a bit confusing but eventually we found it and got in to discover the first, but not the last, example of what appears to be every German citizens FAVOURITE THING EVER: The Mezzanine!

Man alive! You cannot MOVE for Mezzanines in Germany, they're EVERYWHERE! Here there were two small living rooms, with sofas below and BEDS on the Mezzanine. We agreed that Tom and I would share one room (I initially went upstairs, but then realised short-sighted toilet visits in the night would be DANGEROUS) and Rob and Tim the other. We found a bottle of PINK CHAMPAGNE in the Fridge which me and Tim drank (Rob and Tom had the rest of the BEER) and then headed out into the NIGHT.

Over pizza and BEER we discussed potential songs for our next project together, "The MJ Hibbett & The Validators Party Album" then wandered round the corner to what turned out to be a COCKTAIL BAR. "We're on holiday", we said, "SOD IT" so had COCKTAILS. This is how we roll!

Our final port of call was The Junction, where we saw a JAZZY band called Send More Cats - we were of course attracted mostly by the NAME - who had a very pregnant singer, and who sounded NICE. We then popped into a shop for some crisps and various supplies, where they appeared to be very anxious for us to get out quickly. Goodness knows what was going on, we were very WELL MANNERED, but they even foisted FREE BISCUITS on us to get us to go.

And so our first evening in Berlin came to an end with a light crisps, beer and tea SOIREE back at the flat. The next day would see us head towards Dresden... and ADVENTURE!

posted 15/12/2011 by MJ Hibbett

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Canīt wait for the next part of the Tour Blog. The Concert was great!!! And again Many Thanks for "Family Wedding" Sven
posted 15/12/2011 by Sven

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