POP / On the Road: Please be my rock and roll friend: Fan: fan An enthusiastic follower (from fanatic): Everything But the Girl meet the one from hell

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Halfway through our current tour of small clubs, we've finished our set at Manchester University's Hop and Grape and are about to leave the stage. From the front row a fan extends his hand and I cheerfully reach down to shake it. He grips hard and doesn't let go, instead he pulls me down towards him. This is not a handshake, I realise, but a confrontation. Looking at him closely now I can see that he sports a kind of ageing- Ted-meets-Morrissey look of quiff, sideburns and denim, and that he is perilously drunk. 'I've driven all the way from High Wycombe,' he hisses, managing to make this sound at once like an act of devotion and also a kind of vague threat. 'And I want you to play 'I Don't Want to Talk About It' '. I'm trying to free my hand and smile, and Ben is trying to leave the stage, and the audience is stamping and cheering. 'Thanks', I mutter at him, 'Yeah yeah sure okay'. He lets me go. We weren't intending to play 'I Don't Want to Talk About It', but now I feel somehow obliged, even intimidated.

We come back on and do our usual first encore of Robert Forster's 'Rock and Roll Friend' and then I whisper to Ben that we should play 'I Don't Want To Talk About It'. He's surprised, but begins the song. As we start singing I remember how much I love it, and I'm almost grateful to the guy for asking for it, and I look down to the front row hoping to be rewarded by his gratitude, and of course he's gone.

A day off after the Manchester gig, but we're filling every spare minute with local paper interviews and local radio sessions. Playing live every day on the radio is great - we're singing our new single 'Rollercoaster' and we feel as though we're actively taking part in its life, rather than just abandoning it to the radio stations hoping they will take care of it. Meeting DJs is interesting too as they now all live under the shadow of Smashey and Nicey and they are all changed by the experience. They make self-deprecating jokes about their station being like Fab FM, and they look almost sheepish as they gamely join in jokes about doing a lot for 'charidee'.

Our next gig is at The Lomax, a new club in Liverpool. We arrive early in the afternoon for a soundcheck, and lying on the stage is a set list left behind by some previous band. Their song titles include 'Suck Me Dry' and 'Bend Over Bitch'. This is hilarious in a daunting kind of way - what kind of psychotic crowd do you get in here on a Saturday night?

In the end, of course, what we get is an EBTG crowd, good humoured and attentive, and it's a great gig. There are two bars at the club, one up on the balcony and one downstairs, so inevitably there's a constant low murmur and some background noise of glasses shattering, but not enough to bother us on stage. Some of our fans though can be fiercely protective of us, and when we come back for our encore we are just about to start the song when someone yells, 'Shut the fuck up while they're playing'. The crowd falls silent, half laughs and looks at us for our response. Ben creeps towards his microphone. 'Sorry', he whispers, 'we'll be as quiet as we can'.

Next day we drive up to Glasgow for the last gig of the tour at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut. Our support band, PEZ, fly home to Olympia, Washington tomorrow so we say our goodbyes and exchange addresses, we have all become good friends in a short space of time. Steve from the band asks us to make sure that tonight we play that song about everyone being crushed to death by the bus. He means 'There is a Light that Never Goes Out' by the Smiths, so we do it especially for him. I'm starting to get a cold and have to sing through a sore throat, but it holds out till the end, and the crowd all sing along with the encores, and it's been a short but very sweet tour and I'm glad to know we can still do these kind of gigs and that this life is always there, in Bath as it is in London for ever and ever. . . oh man. . .

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