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Published: November 18th 2009
9th March '09
PINK. Of course I don’t know who she is, but is that just so uncool that it’s almost cool? No, I didn’t think so. Namibian hasn't a clue either, but we both recognise songs from airtime on the radio. Well, we'll go and have a little look at her concert - to see what all the fuss is about.
Once upon a time, reciprocal laminates abounded; drivers from one tour would organise free passes for colleagues within the industry, and vice versa. However, in today's financially crippled economy - does Pink get the bus to her shows? - this seems to have ceased. Nowadays, most big tours are “no comp tours” - that is, no complimentary tickets. Oh well, neither of us are particularly concerned: Namibian has a film to watch, and I'm mid-way through a riveting account of Ibn Battuta's 14th century pilgrimage to Mecca.
There is, of course, always time for a pint first. And who should we run into? Little Dick, that's who, and he is cannily waving three passes to the Pink concert. Namibian accordingly changes out of his tracksuit bottoms; I deftly locate some earplugs. Ooh, it turns out that
PINK - or is it just Pink? - is rather good. She ought to be famous. Oh, she is already? Rightyho.
Opening with “Highway to Hell” on the video screen is unexpected - the Pink crew beam at us AC/DC drivers in the VIP enclosure. Our necks crane upwards. Golly, what an incredible gymnast Pink is: she spins rapidly while dangling on ropes, and performs a death-defying trapeze routine from the rafters. And she can sing, something of a rarity among pop stars these days. She belts out some Led Zeppelin and a great version of Queen’s Bohemian rhapsody, all in glittery, figure-hugging costumes. But she’s got no chance with me - her hair’s too short. What is it with these modern girls?!
Back at the trucks, the windows have to be wound right up to keep the hailstones out. And Namibian gleefully draws my attention to a giant shopping centre next door. And an Irish bar, and a Sealife Centre. Yet I still maintain...that Oberhausen has nothing of interest.
10th March: ("Trucks Full of Booze")
Extraordinary! Namibian and I have pulled out of a gig and gone straight to the next one - OVERNIGHT -
even though it’s a travel day. It’s unheard of. This is, like, rock n roll, man. Goodness, I do wish he’d stop releasing the radio button before speaking when we’re in convoy; all I get is a little crackle in response to a yes or no question. And it could be important: 'shall we stop for a cup of tea, love?' Crackle.. It's infuriating.
Little Dick does a double-take when noticing us both in Bremen at 5am, expecting us no earlier than midday. Mind you, anybody would do a double-take at such an incongruous sight: twenty gargantuan trucks are parked on a flagstone courtyard - just a hundred yards from Bremen Central Station. Passers-by take photographs as truck doors open to drivers in various states of dishevelment. It's a funny place to “camp”, emerging ill-kempt onto quite such a busy square.
Ah, now Bremen is worth a look. Namibian, after stocking up with Coffemate at Spar, joins me. 'I haven’t got nothing to watch,' he croaks, by way of explanation. Ooh, Spellcheck doesn’t like his turns of phrase. And is it actually any easier to save one syllable? - to say “anything” rather than “nothing”? It bruises
one’s ear. Anyway, along with Little Dick, the three musketeers head into the old town, braving rain and low temperature.
Not long into the journey, worsening drizzle prompts a swift entry into a Gothic townhouse. 'Fourteenth century? Will it take my weight?' asks Namibian. Foolishly, I risk tea. Two tea bags notwithstanding, it's still hopeless. The inn is cold, and we leave unwarmed and unsatisfied.
The Schnoor quarter, Bremen’s oldest district, is a maze of 15th/16th century buildings - delightful to dilly-dally if the climate suits. But it doesn’t. And it isn't. However, as if by magic, a warm shop selling booze appears. Intriguing liqueurs stretch from wall to wall, and ceiling to floor - all ready to decant into “transport bottles” of various sizes. Namibian, of course, has found the truck-shaped 200ml bottles, and gives a little yelp of delight. We all have one: two trucks full of rum and one of Weinbergspfirsich-likor. See what I mean about Germans inventing words? Fill ‘er up..
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