Scene From An Italian Restaurant

We’re cold, we’re hungry.

We’re in Swindon.

Playing a pub in Swindon tonight. Sitting in an Italian restaurant, the only place we could find that wasn’t a take-out.

Sparkling water for Eric. Red wine – a big glass – for me. It’s times like this I’m glad I drink.

Every other car that passes is a police car.

Every other person that walks by is wearing a track suit or dragging a laundry cart.

I think I first heard the word “Swindon” when XTC came out. It seemed exotic in its Englishness – it’s not.

We’ve parked our car, full of every piece of musical equipment we own, on a side street, illegally, because the pub won’t let us load in and we need something to eat.

As we wait for our food, there’s the feeling they’d almost be doing us a favor stealing everything.

I shouldn’t say that…

Now Eric’s gone to check the car. I worry for a second – what if he doesn’t come back? What if he leaves me here, alone, in Swindon? Then I remember I’m holding all the tour money.

The waiter just asked if we’d like some butter.

“Oh no,” I say. “We’re watching our cholesterol.”

Then “Oh hell, who cares? Yes, butter – lots of it!”

If we die – so what? We’re in Swindon on a Saturday night.

14 thoughts on “Scene From An Italian Restaurant

  1. Kris Tarplee

    Swindon is famous (or Infamous, if you prefer) for its ROUNDABOUTS (or TRAFFIC ISLANDS, if you prefer). There’s a lot of them, apparently. It’s a trap to keep you there. Forever. Going around and around and around until you actually loose the will to leave.
    Those who did leave include (as you said) XTC (superb band), Diana Dors (superb actress and professional blonde), Mark Lemarr (bit of a prick) and Gilberto Sullivan (half Italian/half Irish cloth cap wearing singer-songwriter, timeless and under appreciated).
    I remember playing a gig in Swindon in Pearl Necklace’s heyday. Nightmare. We had taken the wrong leads for the wrong amps and with no help being offered by anyone, had to use my keyboard amp as our P.A.
    As you can imagine, our “sound” was what you might call “compromised” somewhat.
    The bingo-players of Swindon either didn’t notice this imperfection or weren’t in the slightest bit interested. It was a “special” night. Our version “Welcome To The Monkey House” went down like we were “Black Lace” at an Amish Wedding.
    They are a strange community in Swindon, Amy. Separated from the rest of the UK by those blessed roundabouts. I hope you and Eric found your way out.

  2. Ian Doeser

    Amy, you should start writing tourist guides, you’ve summed up a Saturday night in Swindon perfectly, its all true. We have the highest population percentage of lunatics of any place i’ve been, with the exception of Watford Lunatic Asylum.

    I hope you didn’t venture into the town centre, its even scarier than the bit you saw, every vehicle is a Police Car or Ambulance & the non tracksuit wearers all wear exactly the same “fashion victim of the week” outfit from our wonderful selection of chain stores.

    1. amyrigby

      Made it out, the gig almost didn’t happen because no one had bothered mentioning the P.A. speakers weren’t working. It was hard work but some Swindonians did appreciate us playing.

  3. Ian Graham

    Hi Amy and Eric sorry we did’nt get to see you on this tour,hope you return home to sunshine.Love Ian and Ros x.

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