Wednesday, December 20, 2006

dodge(y) commer - sutherland arms | stoke on trent | 1988


one day the colgates decided to buy a van to go to gigs in.
we'd been travelling around the country in our morris minor but the poor thing was getting worn out.
we spotted a dodge commer van for sale - it was bright red and looked ace.
we didn't really think about it, just made sure it worked, handed over the money and drove away in it.

our first gig using the van was in stoke on trent - we played with honeycrash and blue light at the sutherland arms.

the dodge commer van is interesting to drive in that the engine is situated in the cab between the driver and passenger seat and you sit over the front wheels, meaning that turning has a very interesting feel - it swings like a bus does - you know, you're still looking forwards as you feel yourself drift to the left or right.

it took some getting used to i can tell you.

anyhow, we loaded the van up and also stuck a morris minor seat that we'd bought in the back as paul colgate and his girlfriend were coming along and there were only two seats up front.

we hadn't realised that the van had a top speed of approximately 40 miles an hour, and that was travelling in a straight line.
the journey to stoke on trent from telford is all winding country lanes.

during the journey we could hear bumps and bangs coming from the back of the van and i'd shout, "everything OK paul?", and get muted responses of, "yeah, fine."

when we finally arrived at the sutherland arms i tried to get into a parking space.
the van was too wide.
so i reversed back out and hit the side of one of the other bands' cars as they entered the car park.

after much apologising i opened the back of the van for paul and vicky to get out.
as the doors swung back i was greeted with the two of them pressed nose-first hard up against the doors, their legs tucked uncomfortably up against their chests.

i'd not bothered securing the seat to the floor in the back of the van and the minute we'd begun our journey the seat, paul and vicky had all begun to slide rather ungratefully around the van being chased by guitars and amplifiers.

they'd finally come to a halt when i hit the car, after sliding at speed from one end of the van to the other.

it was the the first time we used the van for a gig.
it was also the last.


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