Chapter Eight

18.1K 147 0

Dear Diary,

Why are our gigs always so eventful? Lord! It’s the day after now, Sunday morning. I was so exhausted after all the excitement I just couldn’t put pen to paper last night. There’s lots of time now though, we’ve got the whole day to spend in Brocksburn before we go back tonight.

Leo is in his bed absolutely knocked out. I doubt if he’ll wake for another few hours. I’d better get him up in time for that meeting though.

Anyway, yesterday we spent the morning practicing like mad. For a while we pranced around this room singing, Leo on his acoustic guitar. Eventually we went down to The Crystal Bowl for a sound check. I kept bubbling up with excitement.

Jimmy took the van round and we walked with just our guitars, in their covers, slung over our backs. I’ve only been to Brocksburn once before. It’s quite large, much bigger than Ellwood anyway. The town is raised up, sort of on a hill and it’s full of bendy streets lined with old-fashioned street lamps. Almost everywhere you go, you can see and smell the sea.

We walked uphill all the way from our hotel right the way to Victoria Street. That’s where The Crystal Bowl is, the only nightclub on the street – one of the only nightclubs in the town I think. There’s a darkened pub right next to it, painted black, with the words ‘Red Dragon’ emblazoned above the window.

Once we got outside the club we had to knock on the door that was very much shut. We knocked and knocked and ended up having to shout through the letterbox, much to the surprise of the passing townspeople. Eventually a plump guy with a scruffy pile of hair on top of his head answered the door.

‘Ah!’ he said. ‘It’s you! Amber! Oh my God.’

I laughed and realised this was the guy who called to say we got the gig. I remembered his name, thank the Lord and gave him a big smile.

‘Damart. Yes, it’s us.’

‘You’re so beautiful I just want to eat you! And could this be Leo Harwood?’ he said.

Leo gave a sheepish smile and nodded his head.

‘Ah! You guys are just the most bestest looking brother and sister I ever saw in my life. Wow, what a band The Dovetails, my favorite. Oh my God, I hope you win the contest tonight – you’ve got my vote before it’s even started. I still listen to your demo CD – I love it!’

He clasped his hands together and turned around to lead us into the dark entrance. Leo and I exchanged a bemused look and followed him all the way in, up the steep stairs until we got to the club area.

It was quite big, certainly bigger than anywhere we’ve ever played before. There was a long bar to the right and then, at the end of the room a small stage with a microphone, speakers, a drum kit, guitar stands and a jumble of cables. An oldish woman with a scarf on her head was attacking the floor with a mop. She looked up for a second to give us a wave.

‘Hello petals!’ she said.

‘Hi,’ we all replied.

‘You’ll have to excuse the smell, guys,’ said Damart. ‘We had quite a time in here last night. DJ Dazzle G was ripping it up. The crowd was loving it. We haven’t finished cleaning everything up yet, as you can see. DJ Dazzle G, oh my God, he is the most greatest DJ ever! Have you ever seen him live?’

We shook our heads.

‘We’ve never heard of him,’ I said.

‘Oooh, you never heard of him! Well, he is just fabulous. Anyway, here is where you’ll perform obviously,’ he said, leading us towards the stage.

‘I take it you’ll be bringing the rest of your stuff later?’ he said.

‘Yeah, I think Jimmy, our drummer, should be on the way,’ said Leo. ‘He’s got all the rest of it.’

‘Aaah, great guys, great,’ said Damart, glancing down at a huge florescent green watch on his wrist. ‘So the sound guy will be here in about half an hour then we can start the sound check. Woo hoo!’

With that, he spun on his heel and walked out of the club area, back through the door, presumably to an office somewhere. Leo and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows.

‘Well, we’re here,’ said Leo.

‘Yep,’ I replied. ‘We’re definitely here.’

‘Do you think anyone will show up?’ said Leo.

‘Of course they will. Not necessarily to see us, but to come for the competition. Loads of people come to stuff like that. And it’s Saturday night remember. A Saturday night out in Brocksburn is famous around these parts and this is one of the only clubs. So the odds are in our favor.’

‘Yeah, I guess,’ said Leo.

He wandered over to a wall next to the bar that was plastered in posters. He traced along the posters with his finger.

‘Ah, here it is,’ he said.

‘What?’ I said, walking over to join him.

Brocksburn Battle of the Bands. Local talent showcased at The Crystal Bowl. Three acclaimed judges – James Murray, lead singer of Mad Machine, Jenny Smith, local music producer and Kevin Cousins, solo artist extraordinaire,’ he said.

‘Who are those people? I never heard of any of them,’ I said.

‘Me neither,’ said Leo, shrugging his shoulders.

Suddenly Jimmy burst into the room, bags wedged under his shoulders, with Damart at his heels. He threw the bags onto the floor, gave us each a high five and went straight over to the drum kit.

‘Are there any more Dovetails?’ said Damart.

‘Sorry?’ said Leo.

‘Is there anyone else in your band?’ he replied.

‘Oh, er, no, no, just us. That’s all. Damart, I was wondering – do you know who these judges are?’ he said, pointing to the poster.

‘Of course I do! Don’t you?' he said. 'James Murray is the wildest rock man I ever met – he played at Manchester G-Mex once – you know, the big concert place. An absolute legend in his field. Mad Machine must have played here about 100 times over the years. And Jenny, ah yes, she is a real pro too, very well known in musical circles. And Kevin Cousins? You really never heard of Kevin Cousins?’

We both looked at him blankly.

‘Kevin Cousins has his own CD out, you can even buy it in the shops. This guy is huge. He’s never even been to Brocksburn before – he’s from Bradford!’

‘What sort of music does he do?’ said Leo.

‘Ballads, you know, that sort of thing,’ said Damart.

‘Oh,’ said Leo.

‘Guys, guys, guys. We’re talking about the music royalty of the North of England here. But don’t worry, you will do just fine – you’re both absolute babes. They’ll love you.’

He left the club area again, disappearing into the door near the bar. After that, the three of us went to the nearest cafe on Victoria Street and got a bite to eat before the sound guy showed up. Then we returned to the club and did a practice run. I got more and more excited as the day went on.

Oh, wait a minute. Leo is shuffling around, I think he’s waking up. I'll need to finish this later, I'm about to go out for a walk to the beach so I’ll take my diary and finish it then. It certainly was a night to remember.


DOVETAIL DIARIES ✔Where stories live. Discover now