On Tour with AK: Part 9

“Yo, it’s Ani fockin’ Klang here spittin’ flows, come around here imma break your nose, bitches love me when I play my shows, I’m fly as hell and everybody knows.”

“Very nice.”

“Okay your turn.”

“Sorry?”

“Your turn. Spit some bars.”

“No, I don’t think so. Not my style.”

“Oh come on.”

“Where would I even begin?”

“Just start talking. Then make it rhyme.”

“Right. Okay. So like iambic pentameter or?”

“Jesus boys, no. Don’t overthink it. Go.”

“Alright. Ahem. YO, YO, MY NAME IS DAN, AND I’M A MAN AND I HAVE A PLAN. I’M GONNA GO TO THE SHOP TODAY, AND IM GONNA BUY SOME BLOODY HAY. FOR MY HORSE! BECAUSE HE’S HUNGRY AND-”

“Okay.”

“What?”

“Maybe… maybe keep working on it.”

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On Tour with AK: Part 8

“Here, look at those two trees there.”

“What about them?”

“You can see from their leaves they’re different species but they’re growing all intertwined with one another.”

“Oh damn. They must have been growing that way for a hundred years. It’s kind of sweet.”

“Yeah. But imagine if they wanted a bit of distance or privacy.”

“Got someone else’s twigs all up in your business the whole day.”

‘Mate get your branch out of my face.’ ‘Sorry pal, just gimme five years to grow the other way.”

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On Tour with AK: Part 5

“How much longer?”

“Not much further now. Hang in there.”

“Mate, I don’t think I can.”

“Come on boys, it’s just up ahead.”

“But we’re not getting any closer. We’ve been walking for hours and it’s not getting any nearer. I can’t help but wonder: could we have died? Maybe on the train yesterday? What if it crashed, and this is purgatory – just us here, with Budgens on the horizon, forever and ever and ever.”

“No dingus, we haven’t died.”

“But it’s getting further away with each step we take. I’m freaking out. I’m freaking out.

“Look, it’s fine, we’ll be there in about ten sec-”

“HHHHAAAAAAUUUUUAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHH!”

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On Tour with AK: Part 4

“Okay, look at me? Let me see your face.”

“Dude, you don’t know my face by now?”

“Not off by heart, no. Let me see your side profile. I want to get the proportions of your nose right.”

“You know my nose. You called it a Disney nose.”

“Yeah but I need to be certain of whether it tips up at the end or levels out.”

“Tips up? Like a snout? Are you kidding?”

“More like a ski jump. In a nice way. I have a ski jump nose too. They’re the gold standard for noses.”

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On Tour with AK: Part 3

“There was this story I used to like when I was a kid in Cali. There’s a boy, and his best friend is a tree.”

“Weird.”

“Shut up. And every time the boy needs something, the tree gives him it. Like when the boy needs to eat, the tree gives him fruit. Then when he needs to build a house, the tree gives him branches for wood.”

“Charitable tree.”

“And then by the of the book, the boy is an old man, and the tree has been all used up by the boy, so all that’s left is a stump. And the boy asks the tree for somewhere to sit, and the tree says ‘you can sit on me’. And he does.”

“Huh. Unsure how I feel about that one.”

“Right? When I was a kid I loved that story. I thought ‘aw, what a beautiful kind tree’. I thought the story was all about giving everything you can to help others. Then I got older and I realised the kid’s an asshole.”

“I don’t really understand what the story is meant to represent. Like maybe the tree is a parent and the kid is their child. Or maybe the tree is a good friend and the kid is a bad friend. Or maybe they’re both bad friends, in their own way.”

“I think the core of it is that real friends should help each other grow.”

“Yeah. I think you’ve got it.”

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On Tour with AK: Part 2

“Okay okay okay. Let’s try again. You sing the high notes, and I’ll sing the low.”

“Wait I thought you were the high notes.”

“That’s what I just said dude. I sing the high ones, and you take Mark’s part.”

“Oh right. Yeah that makes sense.”

“Okay. Here we go.”

“Fate fell short this time, your smile fades in the summer.”

“Place your hand in mine, I’ll leave when I wanna.”

“No wait, you just sang the same notes I did. We’re meant to be harmonising.”

“Okay. Yes. Got it. So who does the high notes again?”

Dude.

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On Tour with AK: Part 1

“So… this is it then.”

“Fuck.”

“Yeah.”

“I love you so much dude.”

“I love you too. Ride safe.”

Annie kissed my cheek as our hug broke apart, and with a sad smile she climbed into the taxi. In a moment she would be carried on into the night, to Manchester Airport, then on to California and home. I didn’t watch the car as it reversed and straightened up; I didn’t trust myself. I turned my back, upset, and lit my last idiot cigarette. I heard the wheels roll and the engine hum, and at the last second I changed my mind, turning just in time to see the taxi round the corner and disappear. And then the street was empty – no cars, just traffic lights changing from green to amber to red in the silence – and now I won’t see my best friend again for a year, or maybe more.

And as the taxi vanished I felt something leave me, rising from my shoulders and neck and head like smoke into the sky. It was 3:30 in the morning and there was nobody around to sigh to, so I went inside, and I looked at the two empty wineglasses on the dresser, and I went to bed.

That was twelve hours ago.

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