The fog rolled in at the speed of sound. Lol was driving. The show in Harrogate had been so-so. Robert was sulking in the back.
“We’re lost aren’t we Lol? We’re fucking lost again.”
“It’s hard to tell in the fog Rob.”
“Your drumming was shit. Total shit. We should just get a machine, like Macca.”
“A drum machine can’t drive a van.”
“At least we wouldn’t get lost every bloody night and it could keep fucking time.”
Suddenly the giant frame of Bolton Priory loomed up out of the gloom. The gloom. Oh Jesus how he loved the gloom.
“Pull over! I need to take a slash.”
Rob stumbled off amongst the gravestones to relieve himself. Afterwards he lit a fag and surveyed the Gothic ruins in front of him. There was three or four cats playing amongst the rubble, they were just grey shadows really, in the fog they were all grey, everything was grey.
“Simon, you got your camera? Get over here and get a photo of this place. It’s immense. Then let’s get back on the fucking road..”
Robert shuffles down to the kitchen, lights a fag and sticks the kettle on. The reviews of Faith are in. He makes a cup of tea and hunches down over the music papers. He mumbles certain phrases, like a kid learning to read…..
“a modern-day Dusseldorf”
“richness and deceptive power”
“a sophisticated exercise in atmosphere and production”
He was smiling now. Everybody loved Robert.
He opened the NME, flicked through to “it says absolutely nothing meaningful”, “this is just the modern face of Pink Floydism.”
The smile fades, he moves on, just Record Mirror left… “hollow, shallow, pretentious, meaningless, self-important and bereft of any real heart or soul”.
Robert painstakingly cuts out the pictures of the journalists from the offending publications, his tongue sticking out, he struggles with the right-handed scissors. He pastes the photos onto the faces of two of his action-men (one has eagle-eyes), puts them into an empty biscuit tin and carries it out to the back garden. He sets them alight and sits there smoking, watching them burn.
Later, he smudges his lipstick while kissing himself in the bathroom mirror. He looks great. Everybody loves Robert. Everybody.