Shipping to
United States
  • Illustrations by Ms Emma Kelly

While not everything Mr Carl Barât, musician and ex-Libertines co-front man, learnt on the road would be applicable to your next business trip, he does provide some pertinent pointers for life on the road.

I have found myself on all manner of tours, ranging from lugging amps on the 134 bus to various pubs, to the toilet circuit around smaller venues, to a proper bus tour (which is the preferred place to be). There is no feeling like being on a tour bus - all your friends are there, the fridge is stocked, all the ashtrays are clean, the engine's running, and it's destination Slovakia or something. It's almost like going to sea. You can get jaded, but even a jaunt through Eastern Europe on a diet of potatoes and vodka can have some romance to it. I have 10 years' experience at this, and I've generally got away unscathed (although the The Libertines' first tour of Japan was eventful, to say the least). Here are a few tips to help you survive that I've picked up along the way...


Being too accommodating

It's an error to take guests from town to town on the tour bus – especially over borders. Many people have been smuggled on, only to find they have to get back from Berlin and don't have any money. Also, you never want last night's hangover to linger in physical form.

Bad bunking

Don't take the bunk bed by the back lounge – the place where people hang out on the bus. You'll be at the mercy of anyone wishing to play practical jokes on the closest sleeping body.

Having your collar felt

Getting caught by the police for being drunk and disorderly is a real pain. I've had various brushes and dealings, but always had the good fortune to have someone shepherd me in the right direction and convince the local forces that I'm of no threat or danger.

Injuries in exotic locations

About seven years ago I broke my collarbone in Taiwan. I found out later that all I needed was a support, but the doctors said I had to have an operation. I ended up lying on a bed for three days watching the ceiling fan go round, with the TV stuck on the Horror Channel.

Staying up

It's important to try to get some sleep; otherwise mistakes can start to slip in. It's a good idea to remember the name of the town you're in on the night of your show, and preferably a thing or two about it – for press purposes, or your own enjoyment. And if you have any contraband, make sure you consume it before arriving at a border.