Franz Ferdinand performing live in 2009
Franz Ferdinand performing live in 2009. From left to right: McCarthy, Kapranos, Hardy (foreground), Thomson (background).

“then, right, I’m in this carnival being chased by a gun-wielding madman!.”

Oh dear. It’s not so much that Nick McCarthy goes looking for trouble, it’ just that it has a habit of finding the flamboyantly attired guitarist. To avoid the perils of sex, drugs and insane boredom, the band had formed a touring book club. “We buy four copies of a book,” explains bassist Bob Hardy, “and then discuss it.”

Hoping to get a head with his reading, Nick had gone to a nearby park with a novel tucked under his arm. “it was beginning to get dark so I stood up to make a move,” he quivers. “Suddenly this guy came running up holding a gun! He pointed it at my head going, ‘Bourrrrgggggh!” Nick recreates his assailant’s expression: eye bulging, head waving violently. “I just ran away in a zig-zag so he couldn’t get an aim! I had to climb over a wall – right into this parade of football supporters.” It transpires his life has been plagued by guns.

“The zig-zag trick was one I picked up when my brother used to shoot air rifles at me.”

For further proof of the band’s havoc-magnetism, let’s examine tonight’s events in Bristol. It’s the first night of their UK tour in support of Hot Hot Heat. A night in which their ability to turn unfamiliar, ‘Bandages‘-hungry crowds into art-sparring Franz Ferdinand devotees is established. It’s also the first night they’ve stayed on a tourbus, ever.

Celebrations are modest – a couple of drinks, then back to the bus with Queen’s Greatest Hits on video. It’s only when Freddie has serenaded his last fat-bottomed girl, that everyone realizes there’s a stowaway onboard.

Amy, a drama student, has had a bust-up with her friends and decided to elope on a rock’n’roll dream via the Franz Ferdinand tourbus. “Welcome aboard,” is the band’s genial response. “Find yourself a bunk.”

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