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The Riptide Movement's Diary From Delhi
Drummer Gar Byrne's firsthand account of his band's unforgettable trip to India...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 31 Oct 2012
Jump into a tuk-tuk and head for a local market where we get currency changed in a shampoo shop. Seems legit. Then we head for eats in the ropiest place I’ve ever seen. Walking by the kitchen I look inside out of curiosity – sweet Jesus, I’ve seen cleaner portaloos! People’s voices echo around my head as our food arrives. “Salmonella, Delhi belly, Imodium, adult nappies”. Ah, fuck off!! So we go for it onion bhajis and all.
We go out looking for a boozer with the band, our tour guide and a driver – yep, six of us! – sardined into a Renault Clio. End up in the worst pub I’ve ever been to. It's a strip club with no women, just us and a group of eye-balling Indians. Have one beer, ask for the bill, get robbed. The bill should have read: 'Five beers, foreign tax, white person's VAT, lovely tourist money percentage – subtotal and final total'. No bars open, no decent food places open, only ones selling grilled labrador. We head back, defeated.
India 1, Riptide Movement 0.
Up at 7am to go to a farm and play polo. The one with the sticks and the horses? Yep. Gerry [McGarry, bassist] is in an absolute bundle in the back of the car and the bang of whiskey off him would put the Soviet Union to shame! On the drive there's utter madness around. Deformed people praying, dirty, battered cars and beat-up trucks and people hanging out of buses. Then in the middle of rush hour traffic, there's a chap riding an elephant down the motorway. Just a normal day in Delhi. So much poverty and so much wealth living side-by-side. Shanty towns beside mansions, people asleep in shopping trolleys. And they’re still so friendly. You look anyone in the eye, smile and wave, and they’ll salute you with "Namaste" and a warm smile.
Saw the poxy farm and polo pitch but who fucking cares? We’re a band not a fucking polo team! Head back into town, get food in McDonalds and the guy behind the counter serves us with Cokes with ice. The voices again. “Not ice, local water, dose of diarrhoea in a cup!”. We ask for no ice and he puts his hand into the cups and scoops them out. Lovely, that’s much better!