To say that The Mysterious Beings’ Afghan drummer, Kit Bashir, is a shy man would be a huge understatement. Dedicated followers of the band will recall that he was smuggled into the UK in a secret compartment in the Ford Transit van we bought from a friend of keyboardist Gene Poole Skimmings in a pub in Kirkcaldy, unaware that he had been left there by the van’s previous owners, a Romanian people-smuggling ring. He seemed none too happy about being liberated and since then has spent most of the time between gigs holed up in this tiny space beneath the van. We put it down to a desire for peace and quiet.
A few days into a recent tour of Eastern Europe, we were booked to play in a beer hall in Bucharest. When the van broke down on a quiet road in one of the less salubrious districts of Ploiesti, a town with no salubrious districts, we were forced to ask for help from a particularly sinister looking local mechanic named Andrei. As I was asking Andrei if he would mind putting away his knife while we discussed the price for a new alternator, we became aware of a scrabbling noise from under the van. A few seconds later, Kit emerged, set off running and disappeared into some bushes at the side of the road.
We didn’t see him again until nightfall, just as we were getting ready to leave. As our roadie, Ford Van Drijver, started the engine, Kit jumped in the passenger door, landing on my lap, shouting, “We go! We go!.” So we went.
It took some time to get to the bottom of what had spooked him so badly. Kit speaks very little English, but as we threaded our way between potholes on the road to Bucharest, we were able to piece together the story. Hearing Andrei speaking to me in Romanian had led him to deduce that his new friends and colleagues were about to deliver him back into the hands of the people smugglers, perhaps as payment for the alternator. “I very nervous, Gavin, very nervous. When van break down, very nervous.” As he said this, the idea of a new song based on Kit and his “nervous breakdown” formed in my mind. I swapped seats with Gene Poole Skimmings, sat in the back of the van with my guitar, and wrote this song. We made this recording the next night, when we finally made it to the beer hall in Bucharest.