On Saturday 13th February, we dropped J-cub off with friends C and N in Cardiff. They have a daughter, A, who is almost a year older than J-cub. We've been friends with C since University, she's a fantastic mum and we were so happy that they agreed to cope with J-cub overnight. We were a bit worried about going, as he's had the most horrendous cold and cough for a couple of weeks, and seemed to be getting worse and worse as the weekend approached. Having a non-refundable hotel booked, and gig tickets bought, made it really difficult to know what to do. C said she was more than happy to look after a snotty, coughing baby, she was used to it and it was just one night. So we packed up his things, and our things, and drove to Cardiff in the afternoon.
We stayed and played for a bit, to settle him in. He got stuck straight in, playing with A's toys, while A stood on a chair and pointed everyone out to me.
"That's Mummy!""That's Daddy!"Me: "And who's playing on the floor?"(A peers over the back of the chair and lets out a delighted giggle) "It's Jacob!". A loves J-cub.
We eventually tore ourselves away, and I was sobbing before I'd even got into the car. I managed to drive to Bristol despite the tears streaming down my face and the feeling that my heart had been ripped out. When we were checked in and had started getting ready to go out, we had text reports that J-cub was fine, and happy, and getting ready for bed. I realised I was being a bit silly and if he could cope without me, then I should do the same.
After getting dressed and knocking back a few drinks (first time drinking in 20 months!), we headed out to the Thekla, which is a boat doubling as a live music venue. It was SO COOL. I had had maybe one too many drinks by that point, as I was already swaying around proclaiming "It's just like a boat!". We met some friends and moved down into the hold (that's right isn't it? Like the belly of the boat) where the stage is, to see the first band: The Lovely Eggs. They were brilliant, and funny, eliciting as much laughter as applause from the audience (I say audience, sadly there was hardly anyone there). The singer Holly used to be in the band Angelica, who we put on in 2000 when we ran an Indie club here in Swansea. I was crazy about Angelica, and was very excited at the time to meet them and go out for dinner with them. I have a photograph somewhere of me standing with them, wearing a tiny black miniskirt and a homemade bright yellow Angelica t-shirt. I was so cool ;)
More people appeared out of thin air to see Everybody Was In The French Resistance ... Now! Eddie Argos (Art Brut) and Dyan Valdes (the Blood Arm) recorded an album correcting the mistakes of pop songs from the past. We've been so excited about this for months. Years. Since I was pregnant, and we went to see Eddie in his glamrock side project Glam Chops, and he gave us our first baby-present, and a secret copy of the EWITFR...N! album. It's a great album, and I've listened to it pretty much non-stop since then. When I was stuck in hospital after J-cub was born, and they wouldn't let me go home, and I couldn't stop crying ... I listened to the album on my MP3, and laughed, and felt a bit better.
Anyway, I'm crap at writing gig reviews, so I'll just say that it was brilliant and just a shame that there weren't more people there. Afterwards our friends drove us to The Lanes, which is a bizarre venue comprising bar, dance floor, stage, private karaoke rooms, and a ten-pin bowling alley. There were some bands playing, including Tender Trap who I liked at the time but can't remember anything about now.
We spent lots of time talking to Dyan about her amazing Cuban heritage, discussing baby-rearing with a 19-year-old dad, dancing to Kenickie and bumping into people who we didn't expect to see (bearing in mind we live more than a hundred miles away, we see far more people we know when we go out in Bristol than when we do in Swansea). We ran out of steam about 3am (yes, really), and walked back to the hotel via a chip van.
It was blissful collapsing into bed at 3.30am and knowing that we didn't have to get up in the morning. Lovely Jamie did get up in the morning, walked around to find breakfast, and returned with apple & cinnamon and Nutella crepes for us to eat in bed. Mmmmm.