Soap The Stamps, Jump The Tube

By Gail Thibert

Nineteen years old with freshly dyed blue hair, punk rocker Gail places an advert in a music paper for ‘likeminded friends and weirdos’. Soap the Stamps, Jump the Tube follows her autobiographical journey through the 80s underground music and squatting scene in London

Thursday, 30 November 2017

A snippet to keep you going

Hi there! 

It's been a while since I posted an update or a snippet, so here we go! Looks like the book won'tv be published until 2018. I'll keep you updated as soon as I know, but the good news is that all the final edits have been done and extra diary extracts have been added from 1988 and some black and white photos are going in too. (colour is too expensive)

So please enjoy the snipet from when i travelled to Greece the first time on the Magic Bus (never again on the magic bus!)

When I wasn’t completely missing perfectly good opportunities to start my own viable wine business I would lie on the roof of the house sunbathing. Between the roofs, some of the handy tenants had constructed a roof garden from old scaffolding. To reach the roof garden, one had to climb a ladder, James Bond-style, and once there you could idle away a sunny afternoon amidst an old bath that had been inexplicably placed there and amongst a fairly serious marijuana forest (if that’s the right word for it). I didn’t smoke weed but the others were all ‘connoisseurs’. It was a great place to bask in the sun, chilling out and we’d often hear the faint patter of helicopter blades high above us. The helicopter could be seen and heard hovering in the same spot almost directly above us every day. Looking back, perhaps they were keeping an eye on our ‘special’ forest.

I had got to know Rupert and Yasmin really well, so when the latter asked me to accompany her to Greece for the summer, I naturally nodded in affirmation and started thinking about punk bikinis. Rupert’s mum lived in Greece and he was already there. Yasmin wanted to join him but preferred not to travel alone, so I selflessly stepped up to the mark.

Yasmin managed to persuade me to travel with her on the ‘Magic Bus’. A journey so long and soul-destroying that the magical part was that anyone ever arrived with their sanity intact. The Magic Bus departed from Kings Cross in London and crossed several countries including what was then Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Italy and France over a period of what seemed like weeks (it was actually 3 days but I’m exaggerating here for dramatic effect). Passengers slept on the bus although it did stop every few hours to allow its near-demented travellers to stretch what was left of their atrophying leg muscles, to visit the toilets (which was at least a change of scenery), to buy repugnant bus-station food, seriously regret travel decisions and change drivers. They were like old school buses with bad (or what felt like no suspension), uncomfortable seats that didn’t recline even a millimeter and no air conditioning.  If you were hot, you had to open a window. People took turns lying down in the aisle in sleeping bags on the hard floor just to get something that resembled kip.

Having endured this interminable journey once in my lifetime (and back), I can safely say, I will never do it again.  Other than the fact that most of the passengers just about managed to retain their sanity, there was nothing fucking magic about the Magic Bus.

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Kathy Freeman
 Kathy Freeman says:

Never trust hippies!

posted 5th December 2017

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