My childhood fears realized
August 16, 2017 12:23 AM   Subscribe

On their way through North Dakota, indie rock band Belle and Sebastian made a late-night stop at a Walmart in Dickinson to get some water, and drummer Richard Colburn stepped out to use the bathroom. When he finished, the rest of the band was gone. Not having a phone with him, he spent several hours sitting around in his pajamas before his absence was noticed, but luckily they were able to recover.
posted by ckape (66 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
That happened to my mother at the drive-in when she was six. Luckily, the drive-in was in the same state as Grandma and Grandpa's house.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:35 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


That sounds like a well earned mimosa.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:40 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Soon to be featured in lyrical form on their next album, no doubt.

To the melody of A Century of Fakers:

"I was doing well, I played my part,
I was drinking mimosas at Walmart,
Then I found I had to piss and fart,
And when I got back you broke my heart."

Sat around in the empty parking lot,
Watched the sunrise I was lost in thought
Whether I had somehow been forgot
Or opportunistically left to rot.

I'm not sure that I've been a Prick to some
But to spend a century in Dickinson,
Stranded somewhere in North Dakota,
Left in pajamas now to drink mimosas."
posted by LeRoienJaune at 1:06 AM on August 16 [30 favorites]


So indie rockers put on a pyjama before they go to bed, eh?
posted by sour cream at 2:28 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


The closer you get to the twee end of the spectrum, the more likely pyjamas are involved. Get into the real hardcore twee bands and there may be teddy bears, slumber parties and even pastel cardigans.
posted by Leon at 2:51 AM on August 16 [25 favorites]


Belle and Sebastian following in the footsteps of fellow Glasgow band Del Amitri there, who used to go through drummers so fast there was a running joke on their album inserts about remembering to take the drummer WITH you when you leave the service station.
posted by Catseye at 3:14 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


The closer you get to the twee end of the spectrum, the more likely pyjamas are involved. Get into the real hardcore twee bands and there may be teddy bears, slumber parties and even pastel cardigans.

You have to go to the American twee bands for the full vintage-childhood effect, though. The original British bands' “twee” was just a rejection of punk-rock machismo/misogyny.
posted by acb at 3:28 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Surely there were drummers between gigs in the town they were driving to.
posted by thelonius at 3:42 AM on August 16 [9 favorites]


If this wasn't a minor plot point in This Is Spin̈al Tap, it should have been.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:06 AM on August 16 [16 favorites]


I do feel that this is PEAK Belle & Sebastian. "Accidentally Left Him In Pyjamas in Walmart" has to become a b-side at some stage.
posted by kariebookish at 4:39 AM on August 16 [16 favorites]


Actually, "Accidentally Left Him In Pyjamas in the Cornershop" might be even better but with less dramatic flair.
posted by kariebookish at 4:40 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


It's a funny story when it happens to someone else, but if this was me, I'd probably just buy a ticket for home and never speak to my former bandmates again.
posted by rodlymight at 4:44 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


Rock Steady, I can't help thinking that a Belle and Sebastian style recitation of the Spin̈al Tap drummer scene would be "and then Richard had that coughing fit. He choked on Vimto. The thing is, it was somebody else's Vimto."
posted by ambrosen at 4:47 AM on August 16 [5 favorites]


Something I've been wondering: are there actually people named "Belle" and "Sebastian" in the band, or is it like "Pink Floyd", where there's just simply no answer to "Which one's Pink?"?
posted by thelonius at 4:51 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


At least he wouldn't seem out of place, hanging around a Walmart in his pajamas in the middle of the night.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:53 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Named after Belle Anderson and Sebastian Council.
posted by parki at 4:53 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


The band is actually named after a French children's TV show. Sebastian is a boy. Belle is a dog.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:55 AM on August 16 [9 favorites]


I can definitely see the embarrassment factor, but on the other hand, this is a band for whom the centerpiece of song of each show for the last 20 years (minus a few) has faded out with Stuart sheepishly singing the lines "constantly updating the hit parade of your 10 biggest wanks". Not to mention that the song's named after a sex toy that he didn't even know was a sex toy until his mum told him.

So yeah, they're probably pretty embarrassment proof as a group.
posted by ambrosen at 4:56 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


At least they aren't named 'Bananas in Pyjamas'!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:57 AM on August 16


He carries a credit card in his pajamas? I guess that turned out to be good planning.
posted by JanetLand at 5:24 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Actually, "Accidentally Left Him In Pyjamas in the Cornershop" might be even better but with less dramatic flair. You could even work in an "Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow" reference.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:01 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


It didn't happen in This Is Spin̈al Tap, but it did happen in Almost Famous (they forgot Jason Lee at a gas station, as I recall).
posted by doctornecessiter at 6:06 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


A drummer? Can't robots do this work faster and cheaper?

I mean how hard is it to program a robot to not worry about a drummer? Don't they not worry about drummers by default?
posted by Naberius at 6:17 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


The Current interview, by the way, is delightful.
posted by Naberius at 6:20 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


From their twitter:

A Drummer Wasting
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Drummer
The State I Am In (North Dakota)
posted by betweenthebars at 6:29 AM on August 16 [18 favorites]


Named after Belle Anderson and Sebastian Council.

The Anderson Council is a more intriguing name.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:44 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I guess this is just where my head's at these days, but how the hell did they get him on a plane with no ID?
posted by Lyn Never at 6:49 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]




(@erinscafe previously)
posted by jrishel at 7:23 AM on August 16


Three friends and I did a weekend road trip from St. Louis to Delaware for the Punkin Chunk. On the way home, we left one guy at a gas station, but only for about half a mile.

It happens. Amazingly, he doesn't even hate us for it!
posted by notsnot at 7:31 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I have personally gotten on a plane with no ID. (I left my wallet at home and didn't have time to go back and get it.) I had a checkbook and a prescription bottle with my name on it, and they gave me a more thorough pat-down than usual. It turns out that the TSA agent is totally able to let you on the plane at their discretion.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:33 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


I guess this is just where my head's at these days, but how the hell did they get him on a plane with no ID?
It happens all the time. They have a process on the TSA web site

Back in the dark ages, before cell phones were a thing, my cousin was left behind at a gas station on a family road trip. They were driving back home in the dead of night and stopped for gas while my cousin was fast asleep in the back of the family station wagon. Mom, Dad and other kids exited to shop in the mini-mart while young cousin (a legendarily sound sleeper) snoozed away. Unfortunately for them, he awoke and decided to hit the bathroom. Family loads back in station wagon, assumes lump of covers is cousin and drives off. 45 minutes later, his brother utters the fateful words "Hey, where's Chris?"

They arrive back to the gas station in like 30 minutes because the speeding laws seem unimportant now to find Chris happily sitting in the front seat of a state police cruiser. Fortunately, the police were mostly amused and there were no consequences other than the fact that some 30 years later we always ask them if they know if Chris is in the car.
posted by Lame_username at 7:38 AM on August 16 [8 favorites]


This is hilarious. A+ for Spinal Tap reference.

(I was thinking about the dark ages recently, where there wasn't cell phones or text messaging or social media and WOW. How did we ever communicate things? We had to plan things way ahead of time. By mail or costly long distance phone calls. WOW, has life ever changed.)
posted by jillithd at 7:50 AM on August 16


How did we ever communicate things? We had to plan things way ahead of time. By mail or costly long distance phone calls. WOW, has life ever changed.)

Way back in the distant past of the year 2000, my uncle used to tell me to call him collect. Does anyone under the age of 25 even know what that means?
posted by Automocar at 7:59 AM on August 16 [4 favorites]


Ha, I love this. I got left in Birmingham AL. when on tour once, pre-cell-phone days.

I wasn't, like, mad... because there were 10 of us for gods sake! It happens! My bad for not taking a buddy (a system that we strictly instituted after, btw.)

I just hitched a ride with another band headed north and my crew swung around and grabbed me from a Burger King in Virginia somewhere.

Frankly, a lot of being on tour is "just waiting around" anyway, so it wasn't anything unusual. It's all pretty boring until it's not.
posted by functionequalsform at 8:03 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


Even playing out locally involves endless amounts of waiting around in shitty bars.
posted by thelonius at 8:06 AM on August 16 [3 favorites]


I was thinking about the dark ages recently, where there wasn't cell phones or text messaging or social media and WOW. How did we ever communicate things? We had to plan things way ahead of time. By mail or costly long distance phone calls.

The Victorian era only completely ended sometime in the 1990s.
posted by acb at 8:06 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


How did we ever communicate things?

We worked it out. It was fine. Everyone was in the same boat, they knew they couldn't just summon you at a moment's notice and that you'd have to leave messages sometimes. It was much nicer than having to carry a device at all times with at least three different channels of interruptions and unwanted communications, actually.
posted by thelonius at 8:08 AM on August 16 [12 favorites]


"my uncle used to tell me to call him collect. Does anyone under the age of 25 even know what that means?"

Even if they did, what are the chances that they'd have another person's cell phone number memorized?
posted by komara at 8:40 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


That happened to my mother at the drive-in when she was six. Luckily, the drive-in was in the same state as Grandma and Grandpa's house.

This happened to my brothers and me all the time. As an adult I realize it was no accident. Things were different in the seventies.
posted by srboisvert at 8:51 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


Back when cell phones were just a phone and an alphanumeric pager and maybe an alarm clock they were actually pretty nice. Tacking on an MP3 player was pretty spiffy, too. After that, further development seems to have had diminishing returns to some degree.

Don't get me wrong, I'd have a smartphone sized tablet regardless, but it was nice in some ways having the phone and computer as separate things, so you could unplug without unplugging entirely.
posted by wierdo at 8:52 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I've never been left behind, but I did get stuck in Chicago once when we had a day off. The band moved on to Decatur and I hung out with my sister. I asked her to drop me off at a Metro station which would take me pretty close to the venue. After being dropped off, I watched as the train zoomed past without stopping. Looking at the schedule I realized that the station I had been dropped off at was one of two that would not be getting any service that day, because it was a weekend. I ended up dragging my suitcase for about two miles up a slightly worrisome street until I got to a McDonald's where I was able to plug in my phone and start calling for help. Luckily a friend was tagging along on the tour with us and drove the hour from Decatur to scoop me up along with the drummer, who was also stuck. Touring is 90% relying on the kindness of others.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:06 AM on August 16


I remember after my first Phish show ('93?) we forgot a guy... and I mean we forgot who he was. We couldn't think of his name, couldn't think of what he looked like. All we knew is that in the car there was a note that had '6' written on it and there were only 5 of us in the car. We waited around for like 45 minutes before we were able to identify a straggler as someone we knew. He went to the bathroom and got lost in the stampede out of the show, and didn't remember where we parked.

Moral of the story:
Always know the number of occupants their should be in the car. That's how the bus driver did it for elementary school field trips. It is a useful skill as an adult!

Edit: also - pre-cell phones! (mass-use)
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:12 AM on August 16 [13 favorites]


I used to tour with Phish with like 30 of my closest friends back in pre-cell days and let me tell you, it was a pain in the goddamn ass. I'm the type of person who makes spreadsheets for my vacations, so the cat-herding involved in getting a couple dozen hippies in half as many cars from Point A in upstate New York to point B in Maine without the use of mobile technology made the substances imbibed once the destination was reached absolutely necessary for my mental health.

I mainly had stopped touring by the time cell phones became common, but the few shows and festivals I attended after everyone was fully connected were like.... jesus, how did we do this before? How did I not get left in Manhattan that one time? How did we stumble upon the campsite of friends out of like a squillion identical white people just randomly?
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:13 AM on August 16 [11 favorites]


This happened to my ex-boyfriend, Jay, before cell phones etc.

He called me, on my land line many states away, from a pay phone. I then called Faith, the ex-girlfriend of the band's other guitarist, Alan, because damn those stupid boys depended on their ex-girlfriends too much, and lo and behold, when Alan called Faith in a panic because they'd lost Jay and had no idea where, she had all the information ready for him about where Jay was.

Stupid boys.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:15 AM on August 16 [21 favorites]


Near Catastrophe Whiz Sesh
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:17 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


Everyone was in the same boat, they knew they couldn't just summon you at a moment's notice and that you'd have to leave messages sometimes.

Yeah, I have no desire to turn back the clock, but I do kind of miss the ability to be incommunicado for a little while without it being a cause for concern.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:22 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


Almost Famous....
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:32 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]


my uncle used to tell me to call him collect. Does anyone under the age of 25 even know what that means?

Some time back in the 90s me and a friend spent a very, very long time trying to convince the operator to place a reverse-charge call to our friend, in the name of Jon Bon Jovi.

"You don't sound very much like Jon Bon Jovi." (We were 14-year old English girls who sounded like... 14-year-old English girls.)
"Oh my voice sounds different when it's recorded. They fix it with special machines."
"And if you really were Jon Bon Jovi, you wouldn't be needing to make a reverse-charge call."
"I've lost my wallet."
"Why aren't you calling Richie Sambora?"
"He's not speaking to me. We argued. It's all very painful, I don't want to talk about it."

Eventually the operator agreed and called our friend, and got her older brother who was home from university, and told him "I've got a reverse-charge call here for [friend's name] from a Mr, allegedly, Jon Bon Jovi, do you want to accept it?" And God love him, he just said "yeah, fine" and bellowed up the stairs for her and went back to watching TV.
posted by Catseye at 9:35 AM on August 16 [7 favorites]


When David Bowie called Nile Rodgers to propose initial collaboration on "Let's Dance", Rodgers assumed it was a prank - his staff were telling him "Some guy claiming to be David Bowie called" and he thought, yeah, right.
posted by thelonius at 9:58 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I've never been left behind, but I did get stuck in Chicago once when we had a day off. The band moved on to Decatur and I hung out with my sister. I asked her to drop me off at a Metro station which would take me pretty close to the venue. After being dropped off, I watched as the train zoomed past without stopping. Looking at the schedule I realized that the station I had been dropped off at was one of two that would not be getting any service that day, because it was a weekend. I ended up dragging my suitcase for about two miles up a slightly worrisome street until I got to a McDonald's where I was able to plug in my phone and start calling for help. Luckily a friend was tagging along on the tour with us and drove the hour from Decatur to scoop me up along with the drummer, who was also stuck. Touring is 90% relying on the kindness of others.

Closer to 3 hours from Decatur to Chicago, or I would try to make it to the Chicago MeFi Meetups more.
posted by Samizdata at 11:00 AM on August 16


LeRoienJaune either has a hidden talent for songwriting or indy music is mostly overrated tripe, perhaps both?
posted by Beholder at 11:05 AM on August 16


We left him in pyjamas at the corner store
Da doo ron ron ron
Da doo ron ron
Now we've got him back and we won't leave him no more
Da doo ron ron ron
Da doo ron ron
Yeah, we left him, sure
But we won't no more
And when he plays the drums
Da doo ron ron ron
Da doo ron ron
posted by epj at 11:09 AM on August 16 [6 favorites]


I remember once, pre-portable cell phones (there were car phones) I was out running around one night with some friends. We stopped off to do something or other. Two of them took off to the mini-van with tinted rear windows we were all riding in. I managed to run up and jump on the back bumper of said mini-van, and, holding on to the luggage rack, rode along for a couple of miles at about 30 or so miles per hour. They stop, and get out for a second to cackle, and then then I come walking around the back of the mini-van. Remember the tinted windows? They hadn't seen me.

The look on their faces was priceless.

We all got back in the van, turned around, and headed back. That story was swapped around and retold at our Drunken Spelunker's Society meetings for a long time.
posted by Samizdata at 11:18 AM on August 16


My wife's friend told this basic story about her ex husband...but it took place in the middle of the night on the highway through Lake Superior Provincial park (in winter).
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:54 AM on August 16


My phone had no charge recently, so I went looking for a pay phone. ????
I guess they don't exist, even in gas stations anymore. I relied in the kindness of strangers, and it was free.

Hey kids, phone booths used to have a phone on a wire, and it cost a dime to make a call. They weren't just places to change into your cape and red underwear.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:32 PM on August 16


HAHAHA omg...
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:20 PM on August 16


I just got off of a 2 month US tour and we had a system where we would take our laminates with us whenever we left the "bus" (not actually a bus, this thing called a Bandwagon) and when we were ON the bus we were supposed to hang them on these little hooks near the door. We each had our own hook. It was kind of cute. This allowed the driver to just open the door and peek in, look at the hooks, count the laminates, and therefore make sure everyone was on the bus before leaving.

I was bad at this and would routinely fall asleep with my laminate on. And would routinely get woken up by our driver asking someone to check on me.

No one ended up getting left behind!! Thank goodness. I'm not sure what we would have done...all of this was complicated by the fact that the driver was in a completely separate area than the passengers - to communicate with her, we had to actually call her on her cell phone. I'm not sure if this would have been possible in the days before cell phones -- how would we even let the driver know if we noticed someone was missing!

(btw i saw soooo many walmarts over the course of this tour. not too many places let you park such a big vehicle. i miss tour. but not walmarts.)
posted by capnsue at 1:57 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


I also did personally witness, one night on this tour, a certain band's tour bus depart, two hours before the scheduled bus call, WITHOUT THEIR TOUR MANAGER! I saw her 1. running after the bus yelling 2. running after the bus while frantically trying to make a call on her phone 3. standing still with her phone to her ear 4. angrily stalking back to the parking lot and finally 5. the next day, delivering the most thunderous dressing-down imaginable to their extremely sheepish driver.

One guy I was in a band with used to talk about to "spotting" people all the time. Meaning, leave them behind while they were inside the gas station or whatever. You come out and instead of your van or bus, all you see is a grease spot on the pavement. It was unclear whether "spotting" included returning for the person or not.

As someone who has been touring (mostly DIY punk/hardcore, recently graduated to a slightly more "pro" level with stuff like tour managers and booking agents) in bands since 1997 or so, I TRULY HAVE NO IDEA HOW WE USED TO DO THIS STUFF BEFORE CELL PHONES. At least we had MapQuest and stuff most of the time! We'd keep EVERYTHING in a little notebook - the tour itinerary, directions, people's phone numbers, good vegan spots we had to stop at, that type of thing. If that notebook got lost, I truly have no idea what would have happened. I'd love to hear some stories of that nature if anyone has any! I'm sure stuff would work out, because, as BlueHorse said upthread, touring is 90% relying on the kindness of others. And that's where the best stories come from anyway.
posted by capnsue at 2:32 PM on August 16 [2 favorites]


This seems more like something that would happen to Arcade Fire, even after the layoffs.
posted by dayintoday at 6:35 PM on August 16


When David Bowie called Nile Rodgers to propose initial collaboration on "Let's Dance", Rodgers assumed it was a prank - his staff were telling him "Some guy claiming to be David Bowie called" and he thought, yeah, right.

Same thing happened with Bones Hillman, Midnight Oil's current bassist, when asked to join The Oils.

"One night when I got home from work, Neil told me that Rob Hirst from Midnight Oil had called, and that they were looking for a new bass player. Of course I thought he was pulling my leg. Luckily for me, a few nights later Rob rang back again wondering why I hadn’t returned his call. He was actually quite serious. He offered to send me the Oils new album 'Diesel and Dust', and asked if I could learn a few tracks and come up to Sydney for a bit of a play."
posted by spinifex23 at 11:26 PM on August 16 [1 favorite]


They're lucky Natalie Portman's not their drummer. Last time she was left at a Wal-Mart she just moved in.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:49 AM on August 17


We left a buddy at a strip joint in Georgetown, Montana one time on an ice fishing trip and he had two walk two miles back to the hotel in 10 degree weather without a coat. We had all drunkenly drove back to the hotel in two different cars and gone to bed in different rooms. Everyone figured he had come with the other car.

He brings this up everytime we go past a strip joint.
posted by ITravelMontana at 6:09 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]


Squak Attack's story reminded me of the time my then-boyfriend rang me at 2am from a payphone at a station because he had fallen asleep on the train and missed his stop and on waking had got off the train but was too drunk to work out how to get himself home. I rang directory enquiries to get him a taxi, kept him talking on the phone to ensure he was still awake when it arrived and got in it then rang him again to check he'd arrived home. Thankfully he did at least have cash for the taxi and had remembered my number.

I remembered the story recently because my now husband (not the same man and an infinite improvement on the ex-boyfriend) did a similar thing and it was soooo much easier to remotely navigate him home when he had a mobile phone. At the time of the incident with the ex most people our age did have mobile phones but he was holding out as he wanted to be able to contact people when he felt like it and not vice versa. I had to build up a directory of his friends' numbers and get good at guessing who he was likely to be with at any time to get hold of him. I loved him a lot but do NOT regret the end of that relationship.
posted by *becca* at 10:16 AM on August 18


Yeah, I have no desire to turn back the clock, but I do kind of miss the ability to be incommunicado for a little while without it being a cause for concern.

Train your friends/family better. Nobody worries about me not returning a call or text for like a week, assuming it isn't some urgent communication, except for my darling wife Georgia. Since we actually live together and see each other daily for the most part, I'm OK with that exception.

In reality, family/friends don't actually get concerned for at least a month. That's how bad I am at communicating with people on the regular. I figure if there's something I need to know or they want/need from me, they'll reach out. The reverse is certainly true. I'm one of those weird people who can go a year or more without talking to someone and pick up like it had been a couple of days, though.

As far as being left/stuck goes, let me tell you that even as recently as the late 90s, it was an enormous pain in the ass and required more than a bit of luck if you broke down on the weekend in the middle of nowhere on a long journey even if you did have a cell phone. It was also a lot more likely since many of us were still driving shitty-when-new mid-80s American cars. Even if you have the money, you probably don't have a credit card, and people could be quite reluctant to take out of town checks, which is why it was always wise to carry a fair stack of cash for an emergency, but major repairs that are bad enough a temporary fix isn't possible were easily enough to eat up an emergency cash hoard and then some.

In some ways I despise how the world has changed, but in others life has become so much less difficult, at least for those who have some access to banking.
posted by wierdo at 12:43 AM on August 21


Train your friends/family better.

You've obviously never met my family.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:51 AM on August 21


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