As a band we have been fairly lucky with all things van hire, save from the occasional leg room issue (not for me though, I’m dead short). We hope that our current tour with Dog is Dead is breakdown-free, but if it is we’re well prepared, as I will explain after this poster -
^^^ (click it for a ticket) ^^^
On our UK tour just gone we experienced our first van breakdown en route to Glasgow, which was the result of a leaking water pipe. Ralph, the dad of the band, and Alice, our Tour Manager, stayed with the stricken Splitter and awaited the arrival of some superheroes dressed in high viz jackets.
To kill time, Ian, Jon, Ben and I scaled the steep ascent of the motorway embankment and hopped over a flimsy fence to bestride a great plateau, one filled with tree saplings being weaned inside plastic tubes, a dirt road, boulders, scree (aka stones) and not much else. Our inner boy scouts took hold, birthing the TKAK Highland Games and the first motorway breakdown I’ve enjoyed rather than endured. For any geographical sticklers out there, yes, I know we were in the Lowlands being but 20 miles from Glasgow, but ‘Lowland Games’ sounds terrible, so there. Here’s how they went…
Event No. 1 - Scree Lumping
Select your sapling tube from the vast array. Arm yourself with plenty of scree. Attempt to get your scree lumps into the tube from the other side of the dirt track. Overarm and underarm both permitted:
The sapling cowered with only its plastic shield to protect it from the imminent onslaught.
The competitors, competing competitively.
As Willoughby launches another jagged missle, Platman scrambles for scree.
A potential streaker is put off from fear of bruises.
Willoughby reigned supreme as the Sultan of Scree with a 0.000000000000000000015% success rate.
The aftermath, a metaphor for life as a series of near misses.
Event No. 2 - Unravelling a javelin and see how far it’s travelling
Select a long, think stick. Run with it. Throw it.
Platman gees up the swelling crowds…
before his assault on the runway.
Willoughby heads for his mark…
before unleashing a new world record throw of 34,567,890 metres.
Event No. 3 - Scree and stick race
This is a recession-friendly egg and spoon race. Find some scree and a stick. Place scree on stick. Run as far as possible with scree and stick still touching.
Dudfield’s equipment passed the stringent quality controls…
but following his disqualification for doping, only Platman and Willoughby were eligible to compete.
Platman realises that the curvature of ‘stick’ could seriously undermine his ambitions.
Event No. 4 - Screeball
Glaswegian baseball using scree and a stick. Brutal.
Platman steps out to unleash yet another home run.
Event No. 5 - Tree climbing
Find a tree, climb it. Highest man wins.
These boots are made for climbing and that’s just what they’ll do.
Event No. 6 - Boulder jumping
Find a boulder. Climb it. Leap off. Points are awarded for style of dismount.
Dudfield’s sturdy footwear cam into their own in his ascent of the boulder.
Dudfield whips up the crowd into a frenzy by modelling this season’s hottest trend, the crop top.
An unusually timid dismount sees Dudfield post a poor score.
Event No. 7 - Boulder Breaking
Find a stick. Run towards a bolder screaming in the style of Braveheart. Attempt to break the boulder with the stick. Run away screaming when the boulder wins.
The boulder stands firm in the wake of Willoughby’s intimidating frame.
The impact sent tremors throughout the Lowlands.
Fearing retaliation, Willoughby makes for the safety of the trees.
Our heptathlon of sorts left us drained but exhilirated. It was not for the feint-hearted and we’d advise amateurs like Jessica Ennis to stay well clear of these rugged pursuits.
Next time you break down why not try and concoct your own micro Olympics?
Bye for now!