Rhodri Marsden: The spirit of rock – as seen through a shared Travelodge suite

Life on Marsden
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The Independent Online

As I type this I'm lying on a wonky bed with a missing caster in a hotel room in Nottingham. Earlier this evening, I played a gig with a band to a room full of people who cheered, clapped and bought T-shirts, but that was then and this is now. I'm experiencing a hellish slope of approximately five degrees, and if that terrible suffering weren't enough, there's a bloke sleeping about 4ft away from me who's emitting a low-pitched rumble from his mouth and occasionally firing a flatulent rasp deep into the mattress. I'm sharing a room.

I'd never opt to share a room with someone if I were holidaying with friends in Bruges or attending a team-building weekend in Swindon. But for bands, it's almost mandatory, because it's a great way of saving money while you obediently move drums, guitars and preposterously heavy black boxes from town to town. If you twin up, your accommodation bill is miraculously slashed in half, your budget emerges from its unsightly pupated state and morphs into a fluttering Red Admiral. I like to imagine that this financial prudence extends all the way to the top table of rock's Hall of Fame; as the crowds in Hyde Park punched the air to the sound of Springsteen the other week, little did they know that in about three hours' time Bruce would be in a twin room with Steve Van Zandt, telling him to turn the bloody light off and to stop fiddling with the sodding air conditioning.

I'm reluctant to criticise my room-mate. After all, I'm just as bad – it's 1am and I'm clacking away on a keyboard and occasionally blowing my nose with ferocious might. But it's all such a contrast to the traditional image of being in a band. You're supposed to come off stage glistening with sweat, fall into an innuendo-laden conversation with some smooth-skinned lovely (or rough-skinned lovely, depending on your preference) and after half an hour of sweet nothings escort them back to your hotel room for passionate acrobatics. But that doesn't happen. You pack up, sit around for a bit, and then say, "Oh, balls" as you remember that you're going to be spending the night in close proximity to a bloke whose trainers exude such alarming levels of toxicity that you should really have packed a hazmat suit instead of pyjamas. Rock and roll.