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Published: September 24th 2009
There are those that do the bare minimum, becoming bored easily; there are others who live life to the full, looking on any situation as an opportunity. Namibian dozes off to a DVD; I make a Grand Tour of Sulfeld. This sleepy hamlet is not a village, Frank assures me, but a bustling metropolis. Well, I'll be the judge of that. Aha! There are two bakeries: a sure sign of a town worth visiting as far as I'm concerned. One can even have a haircut here. A walk round the communal pond seems a little safer than trekking alongside the golf course where stray balls have been known to maim the odd pedestrian.
On my return, Namibian is wheezing in his sleep. A pal through thick and thin, I take a photograph and wake him. He makes the daft suggestion that I start making my own tea. Yeah, I know, what a cheek. We gloss over this height of audacity, get the kettle boiling, and I get out my large instrument. A few trombone scales, admittedly a little shaky and tuneless, cement my banishment to the garage - which is cold.
Frankly, I’m always amazed that
people - and plump people, at that - can go the whole day without anything to eat. Frank, at 11am, and without so much as a croissant to commence the day, is quite content to wait until dinner when I ask what he would like from the bakery. Ooh, which bakery shall I choose? I query how he can be so much fatter than me; we put it down to booze and lack of exercise.
The rest of the day is spent deciding how to word an email to a Russian girl - a stunner from behind the Iron Curtain. She has latched onto my internet dating profile like a Cape Fur Seal eyeing up a plump young gannet. Presumably she would like a passport through marriage, but one shouldn't judge a book by its cover. There is a chance - OK, perhaps just a mere scintilla of a possibility - that this could be true lust, I mean love.
As I'm pontificating on how best to find out her intentions without appearing too callous, Namibian quite literally explodes at the dining table. 'Oh, I can sit and burp for hours,' he says, sipping a cappuccino and lighting
up yet another West cigarette. How nice it is to be paid every day, and have friends all over Europe.
Nineteen truckers wonder why we are awake at two o’clock in the morning. Remember Tina Turner has twenty trucks on this European tour? Right, well all tours have a driver that oversees truck movements - known as a “lead driver”. His job is to liaise with the production team and supervise truck unloading in the order that “production” require. He/she could be regarded as “Number One”.
Our instructions from Number One were to drive the whopping whole kilometre from the parking area back to the Color Line Arena, yet not “load-in” any equipment until after 7am. We moaned and groaned: it is the prerogative of the lowly truck driver to whinge about conditions, even though this tour has so far been money for old rope. The thing about entertainment touring, though, is that the trucks simply must be ready when needed. Consequently, five hours early is not that unreasonable. After all, trucks can be whimsical beasts, choosing not to start at the most crucial of times.
If, however the vehicle is more or
less in position the night before, what can go wrong? No engine firing up? No problem. We can push the equipment the last hundred yards. But after such a hectic week, 2am seems a trifle early...
Breakfast in “catering”, which Namibian insists on calling 'the canteen', yields a wealth of blog material. 'I had a pet whale once,' says one driver. Hmm. I frown in disbelief. 'Well OK, it was a guinea pig, but it looked like a whale,' he clarifies.
We move onto the hopeless situation back in the UK, where a sprinkling of snow is plunging the country into chaos, grinding the entire transport network to a halt. 'You could sprinkle immigrants on the road instead of grit,' suggests our Captain Birds Eye look-a-like. As I prepare a withering stare, my friend “Mystic” enters, looking delicate about the gills. He is carrying a filthy, tea-stained mug that draws winces and cries of anguish from the catering girls, or “dinner ladies” as Namibian calls them, oblivious to the derogatory slant. The mug has already been banned from catering once on this tour.
'It’s no good sprinkling Poles on the road. They’d be too slippery,' Captain Birds
Eye continues. Oh, ha ha, very droll. Another driver, between mouthfuls of fried egg, says: 'Romanians would be better, because they’d “romain” here.' I'm unsure where this rapier wit is heading but I detect a whiff of xenophobia, and glance at Mystic who adjusts his earplugs, and eyes the slowly-warming tea urn in anticipation. We agree that listening to only half of the conversation in catering would be more than enough.
The Russian internet hottie has now copied and pasted yet another pearl of epic literature to my hotmail in-box. Yet I smell a rat. Her writing is the sort of stilted English that makes no sense. And she ignores my replies, ploughing straight into exhortations of undying love. Yes, she'll have to go.
And so will I. The trucks rumble south to Hannover tonight - it's a full two-hour drive, so I’m off for a nap..
Tina was building up the blues last night…'he was blinded by the blackness of my long silk stockings...' Phwoar! Dancers pout suggestively, undressing me with their eyes. Of course they can't actually see a dashed thing, dazzled by bright spotlights, but it seems like they are seducing me, and
me alone. Great video feed follows them, from a filthy angle, up the stairs, in their school blouses and fishnets. Overdressed, I agree. We’re heading for a climax - no, not mine - when the lighting director cuts in over the headphones: 'how far’s the drive to Hannover tonight?' I try to ignore her, immersed in a wonderful world of my own, but then: 'and where do we go after Vienna?' Aagh, look in the tour itinerary, Kathy, like everybody else!
The mesmerising moment had passed but there was more to come - namely the massive build-up to “Goldeneye”, in which we’re treated to a display by a young lady in a deliciously tight leotard. It is The Girl with The Golden Bum, arching provocatively in her figure-hugging outfit. But the lighting director's voice cuts in once again, humming the famous Bond theme tunelessly. Oh well, there's always tomorrow night..
Now, more importantly, Namibian has made a faux pas. As you may have surmised, I am partial to the odd cup of tea but, for staying awake at night, tea is pretty hopeless. Coffee is the thing. Guess what Namibian has gone and done now, then. Yes, he's
Just one of the items to be loaded into twenty trucks
made a flask of tea, not coffee, for my overnight drive, and has the temerity to complain that I haven't washed out the thermos flask from two days ago. I think he’s slipping, you know. It hasn’t come to me buying my own kettle yet but…
Captain Birdseye is cryptic this morning - we've now arrived safely in Hannover - while eyeing a young lady with a face like a smacked bottom. She is a local girl, assisting with the unfurling of tablecloths, washing-up, peeling potatoes etc. in the catering room. The girl is quite simply fed up, probably with ageing, perverted truck drivers. But "Birdseye" is undeterred: 'What she needs is some giggling pin,' he says, his meaning as clear as mud. We look nonplussed. 'Cockney rhyming slang,' he explains, 'like septic tank - yank; apples and pears - stairs; giggling pin - cock.' Oh, honestly. How many more months of this tour must I endure?
You know how films announce that the views and comments within the motion picture are not necessarily those expressed or endorsed by the film-makers? Right, well you can apply that to this blog..
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