1991 Tour Diary

04 February, 2023

1991 Tour Diary

A short excerpt from Tom Hingley's 1991 tour diary featured in Carpet Burns.

20th May 1991: Milan, Italy
Packed up, had a club sandwich downstairs, jumped on a minibus and went to the airport, where the security were doing spot-checks on people. We flew on a horrible seventies plane with no overhead lockers, and it felt pretty unsafe. I slept a little and read the Observer newspaper. There was a ropey landing in Milan. Got to the baggage terminal and the sniffer dogs picked Mark Coyle out and he was searched. The guard said, in heavily Italian accented English, ‘My dog says you have drugs.’ Mark responded in thick Mancunian, ‘Your dog’s a liar then.’ They let him go eventually.

The driver isn’t at the airport when we arrive, so we get some expensive cars to take us into Milan; the cars race one another. I book into hotel room 16, horrible, so I change it, but even my new one has blinds that won’t close. I get two hours sleep, and then we go out with Franco and Anthony from the record company to the nearby Buga and Fabio restaurant, then we go by underground to a club to watch The Fall perform. The record company had given us some large inflatable sausage-shaped balloons which had ‘Inspiral Carpets’ written on the side. Noel went right up to the front of the audience and started pushing and hitting and sticking one in Mark E. Smith’s face; it was hilarious. There were about 150 punters there. We take the tube back to the hotel. I call Alison and she tells me that The Stone Roses have won their court case against Silvertone and are now free to pursue a new recording contract with a new company. Big news. Good for them!

21st May 1991: Milan, Italy. Rolling Stone
Woke up at 9:30am, thought that Mansi had forgotten to get my CDs off the bus before he got rid of it. I call Graham who tells me that Craig had them. We went to the offices of the Italian record company – they are very stylish and cool – and nearby is a very beautiful covered market. At the offices we watched the video for the new single, ‘Please Be Cruel’. It’s really good and doesn’t need the re-edit we thought it might need. I did four interviews while everyone else went shopping. Went to the venue; it’s really nice and has about a 1000 capacity. The soundcheck is a bit grim, but I don’t complain. Ate mental bacon, egg and tomato sauce sandwiches, went back to the hotel, washed my socks and pants in the sink, and talked to Tony English at Russells about our merchandising deal for ages. I reckon that he should conduct the negotiations. Couldn’t speak to Alison, Paul was at home (Holly’s dad). He told me that Alison had gone to view a house with her workmate, Bruce Atkinson. I told Paul about Holly getting hit at school by a child called Dmitry. Back to the venue in cabs, the gig was okay, about 400 in – polite, but nice. We end with ‘The Wind Is Calling Your Name’. Tim Booth came backstage; we were flirting with mad Italian girls, gave them autographs too, he came back to the hotel to pack bags and go to sleep. I argued on the phone with Alison about whether she should come and visit us in Barcelona.

22nd May 1991: Rimini, Italy
Come down, get in the minibus and drive to Rimini. It’s quite a nice drive through the Italian countryside. On the motorway we make a tinny and smoke some hashish. The police stop us for absolutely nothing. I argue with Graham about leaving the window open. We arrive in Rimini and there are loads of Africans in robes. The driver is grumpy and tries to take the bus under a low railway bridge that would have ripped the roof and our heads off, but we shout at him to prevent it. We arrive at the hotel – Carlton-by-the-Sea, really sunny and beautiful. Graham buys a volleyball and we go on the beach for a game of ‘60 Seconds’, which I really enjoy (a game where you have to keep the ball in the air for a minute). Clint throws the ball to a dog on the beach, it catches it with its canines and punctures it. We all laugh as the air farts out. We decide to revise our travel plans and instead of driving, we’ll fly to Switzerland the day after the gig, to give us an extra day in Rimini on the beach soaking up the sun. We go to the concert at 4pm, it’s an old pizza restaurant/brothel, which traded in the Fascist period, and has been continuously open since. It’s called Perestroika; nice vibe outside where we are playing on a stage in the garden. Soundchecked, the speakers are uneven, go back to the hotel where I listen to Ella Fitzgerald, then drive to the gig, no one there apart from a few female English students. Gig very quiet, encore with ‘Further Away’. Martyn is angry with the rest of the band, saying we didn’t put enough effort into the performance. Graham somehow loses his shoes.

23rd May 1991: Rimini, Italy. Day Off
Clint decides to go with the crew bus to Switzerland with Meagan, and in the process annoys the crew again by throwing one of them off their bunk and moving their possessions. The crew retaliate by throwing some of Clint and Meagan’s stuff off the bus. Mark carries Clint’s ghetto blaster around, and manages to lose the back of the battery cover, but doesn’t really care less about it. Not wise to make yourself unpopular with your crew, I reckon. Have breakfast with Graham downstairs. We realise that the hotel is nearly empty due to it being out of season. Go on the beach and find a replacement ball after getting some lira. Play ‘60 Seconds’ again with Martyn, Mansi and Graham. Craig is ill, going down with a cold. We have a pizza in a restaurant opposite the hotel then chill out in the evening, go to a taverna and have a drunken meal and pay in dollars from the Milan promoter. Sit in the bar looking at two football matches on the TV, simultaneously with MTV. There are posters of The Clash and The Stone Roses on the wall. Go back to the hotel and finish off the skunk with Craig. We watch a thunderstorm over the sea. The lightning is striking the sea in impossible snaking patterns, a multicycle goes past with people on it, very surreal-stoned.

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Carpet Burns is Tom Hingley’s account of his life as lead singer of Inspiral Carpets, one of the big three bands of the Manchester movement who, along with The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, changed music for a generation. Tom’s own words provide an account of what it felt like to be in the eye of a pop hurricane and what happens when the hits end and the ar..

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