There was an aftershow party in at the bar in the venue in Wolverhampton. A lot of us stayed out late. Some later than others (wink wink Victoria – you go girl!) But we were all there at bus call at 10:30 am for the trek to Stonehenge. What rock n roll trip to the UK would be complete without a visit to stonehenge. Certainly not Tragedy’s. It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our hotel to Stonehenge. And when we finally pulled up over the hill and saw Stonehenge in the distance, there was a collective “huh?” Surely that couldnt be it. The road runs RIGHT NEXT TO IT. Surely you have to take a mule down a steep trail lined with druids who keep the path lit with torches, no? The answer was a resounding NO! We arrived and pulled into the carpark, which was on the opposite side of the road as Stonehenge. Know what that means? Yup, you got it, yuo’ve got to walk from the carpark, across the major road, to get to the Stonehenge site. Why they built the road RIGHT NEXT to this million year old monument is beyond me. There was nothing but shy sheep waiting to get fucked by Scotsmen for as far as the eye could see, yet some civil engineer decided that the road needed to abut the monument. It was probably the same guy who thought it might be a good idea to paint big bull-eyes on the tops of all the major English Landmarks and power stations in the late 1930s. And we’re surprised that they serve their beer warm. I think its one of the least of their worries, still to this day.
As soon as the bus pulled into the carpark, we executed operation “Change Em Up” Which consisted of 3 grown men getting into decidedly conspicuous costumes in full view of the throngs of tourists who were flocking to this prehistoric, mysterious site. Judging by the looks of the people at Stonehenge, I think those who had seen Spinal Tap were in the slim minority. As soon as we were all changed, we marched straight to the gate and purchased 10 tickets. Paul even got us a group rate!! We had to be quick cuz it was freezing cold. And not freezing as in, oh my god Im cold, but freezing as in, the water that had settled onto the ground had turned to ICE. Yeah, FREEZING. Below centigrade. Thats not good for a bunch of dudes in Shiny, Sequined, Polyester, Fucktard Outfits. We basically did a get-in-and-get-out mission. We got in there and clicked away. Stills, videos, us singing, us walking, us rocking, we got as much as we could in as short a time as possible, and hightailed it back to the car, like our feet was a freezing and our pee was turning to slush.
Another nice and nifty 4 hour ride into London made us wonder if the trip to stonehenge was really worth it. And of course the answer is fuck yes! What else were we gonna do with that day off? And once we see the footage in our wonderful video, we’ll know for sure that it was worth the time we spent.
When we finally arrived in London, we went ot the Euston Station Travelodge. As far as Travelodges go, this one was nice and new. Unfortunately, by the time I was sure my momma was coming, it was sold out, so momma and I got a taxi to our hotel in Bayswater. We were at the Shaftesbury Royal Hyde Park. Just 6 days old when we checked in, it had both that new hotel smell as well as the luxury of being staffed by “new hotel staff” who acted like they had just moved to London. Softball type questions such as “How far is it from here to Paddington Station (one of the main train stations in London)?” totally twisted their faces into rubber-band balls of perplexion. Well at least the rooms were clean, there was both food and amenities within a very short walk, and momma was happy.
After sitting around the hotel for an hour, I decided I wanted to go out. But where? How should I know? I hadnt been to London in 9 years, and even then it was only for a night. Hmmmm. I wandered outside and hopped into a cab and told him “I wanna go where the people go. Take me somewhere there will be girls walking around and some signs of life.” He told me Camden Town was where I wanted to go, and who was I to argue. I said sure, and he took me on a little tour of Camden and pointed out different pubs and restaurants and music venues. He finally let me out in front of the Barfly, convinced that what I wanted to do was go see live music, since I was in a band and all. I didnt tell him that the last place I wanted to be was a small club with 5 local bands playing. Thats like going to fucking work. But I thanked him and got out of the cab. I even gave him a tip since he gave me a guided tour of the neighborhood. As soon as he drove away I saw the Roundhouse across the street. Yeah the Roundhouse. Where Jimi Hendrix played in the 60s. And where my friends Mindless Self Indulgence played recently. There were a few people milling about in the lobby, so I walked across the street to see what was going on, figuring that unless is was a steaming pile of horseshit (no not Haggis, the meal favored by Scots) like Bon Iver, that I’d pay the cover and go inside just to see the venue.
I walked up to the dude at the ticket desk and said “What have you got going on tonight?”
“Lucha Libre,” he said. HOLYFUCKINCHEETMANGDIDHEJUSTELLEMTHEREWASMEXICANWRESTLINGGOINGONINLONDONONATUESDAYFUCKINGNIGHT????
“You gotta be kidding me!!! Are you serious????” I almost screamed.
“Okay, Ill take one ticket please,” I said as is atrted rifling through my pockets, not able to get my money out fast enough.
“You’re too late.”
“Whattaymean Im too late. Is it over??”
“No, but the box office is closed.”
“Well then it sounds like Im just in time, can I go inside.”
“Sorry Mate, you can’t go inside without a ticket.”
“Okay then, sell me a ticket”
“I cant do that. The box office is closed. The people who were selling tickets are gone.”
“Then Ill just slide you a ten pound note and you can let me walk in.”
“Cant do that either.”
“Um well, then can you just let me in??? I mean, I’m willing to buy a ticket, the event is going on, but you wont sell me one!” I started doing an actual scan of my body. Do I have anything mexican wrestling related on me? A mask in my pocket? On a keychain? Suddenly Zahn’s tattoo of a Luchador seemed like a really fucking good idea. I just started bouncing up and down like a kid who had to take a pee. ”Dude, you gotta be ale to do soooommmmmeeeething. Im only here for a few nights, I wandered over here aimlessly to find out theres Mexican wrestling and now you wont even let me pay to get in?? Thats like dangling dope infront a shaking junkie and telling him he cant have a spoon, a lighter, tin foil, a straw or a needle. Its nooooooot faaaaaaiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrr”
“Sorry mate, you’re too late,” He’s fuckin stonewalling me.
“Can I speak with your supervisor please?” Yup, Im pulling the fuckin Walmart trick.
He pointed me over to a group of 3 dudes wearing headsets who looked entirely too pleased with themselves. Fuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkk. I walked up and started telling them the story, and broke into the pee pee dance again. Bouncing up and down saying “Im just here for 3 days, my band is playing in town, I came here because a lot of my friends’ bands have played here I just wanted to see the venue and now I find out you have mexican wrestling which is the only thing I love more than girls and rock n roll and girls and this guy over here is telling me I cant even buuuuuuuuuy a ticket mister please wont you taker pity on me i just wanna see the lucahdores pllllleeeeeeeeaaaaaassssssssssssseeeeeeeeee!!!!”
That had to work. Right? Right?? Of course it did. I was barely done with my shameless pleas when head walkie talkie dude pulled a ticket out of his pocked and handed it to me. And it had my favorite price on it – 0.00 pounds. Passion, conviction, and persistence win again.
American 4 – Brits 2
I lept the staircase to the main level with one single bound and almost sprinted into the auditorium. As soon as I got inside it was as if I had stepped onto a movie set where they were about to film a Lucha Libre scene. There were sparkly drapes hanging all around, three giant video screens and a ring right in the center of the floor. And to top it off the Roundhouse was one of the most stunning first looks at a venue I’d ever seen. It was round, duh, and the rafters seemed to stretch on for a mile into the sky where there was a wild pattern of wooded beams criss crossing each other and rising to a point way up in the sky that I imagined had just poked into the moon like a discarded toothpick finds the stray cube of cheese at the end of hors d’ouvre hour.
And then it hit me. Shit. I forgot to eat. My stomach was rumbling something fierce. I had planned on eating in Camden but as soon as I heard it was Mexican Wrestling night all my focus went toward getting inside, and now that I was, my tummy returned me to reality and was letting me know in no uncertain terms that I need to eat. I took a little lap around the main floor and found a Taco stand. Selling some pretty authentic tacos. Three soft tacos for 5 pounds. Like a Jorge Thoroughgood song. One chicken, one pork n’ one beef. Mmmmmmmm. There was a party in my tummy, so yummy so yummy!
As I was in line for the Tacos, they called intermission, so after eating I wandered around the Roundhouse and admired the architecture from all angles, and then found a great photo display in the lobby detailing its painstaking restoration a few years back. Man, NYC is sorely lacking in cool, vibe-y spots for bands to play.
I headed up tho the balcony for the start of the 2nd round of matches. The first match was a one on one match for the WWA championship. Between Blue Demon Jr and Douchey McDoucherson. When the ring announcer was setting up the intros, he mentioned that the lineage of that particular belt can be traced back to Sting and Ric Flair. As soon as he said Ric Flair, the auditorium erupted in a chorus of “Whooooooooooooooooos” Wait a minute… Only real wrestling fans know that you have to let out a “whoo” at the slightest mention of the Nature Boy. And these people did not look like real wrestling fans. Most of the men had all their teeth for starters, which is rare enough in the UK, much less at a WRESTLING match in London. Secondly, there were women there. And not just women who had been dragged by their boyfriends, but packs of women. Im talking bachelorette sized packs of women, but none of them were wearing Tiaras or sucking on penis shaped lollipops. These were just women who decided to come see wrestling.
But maybe it was a fluke. Maybe these people are only here because its Mexican Wrestling, and its in town and it’s a novelty, like the fat chicks with tattoos who pretend to put on Roller Derby events. And maybe Ric Flair had some reality show in Britain that I didnt know about, but somehow these people all knew the Naitch, the Limosine Ridin, Jet Flyin, Kiss Stealing, Son Of a Gun. And as soon as the match started it became perfectly clear that these poeple knew their wrestling too. Everyone cheered at the right times, when the Luchadores pulled of a particularly difficult move, or a had a great exchange on the mat. And when Blue Demon dove out over the top rope onto Douchey and an “ECW” chant broke out, my face was bathed in tears of joy.
The highlight, like in most wrestling matches was the main event, featuring Lucha Legend El Santo Del Hijo. But not just because he was wrestling. Though it was a thrill to see him in a 6 man tag match, it was nothing compared to the two flamboyantly gay Luchadores. Yes, there were 2 flamobyanlty gay lucadores. One was a carribean queen all dolled up with a wild feather headdress looking like a cross between a rockettes and one of Liberace’s backing dancers. The other was dressed in a unitard that was made of half a union jack and half a Mexican fag.
After the matches were over it was straight back to the hotel. There was no way I was gonna top that! London Loves me.