"AC/DC - arriving in Madrid"


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Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid
January 4th 2010
Published: January 4th 2010
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2nd April: (“I’ll give you roads”)

Namibian has an unparalleled knack for misquoting. Place names, statistics, you name it - he gets it wrong: ‘Milan is confusing,’ he opens. I point out that this is, in fact, Madrid. ‘Well, Milan, or Madrid, or whatever you want to call it,’ he replies irritably. Hang on a minute, they’re completely different cities in completely different countries! What does he mean, whatever I want to call it? Other Namibian favourites are ‘Siberia’ for Serbia, and calling Vienna ‘Venice’.

The ultimate, however, was last year when, at the Lithuania/Poland border, Namibian actually invented a country. Admittedly, various unpronounceable Soviet satellites were created in the nineties, but Lithiastan, I’m afraid, is not one of them. We’ll leave numbers for now - otherwise we’ll be here all day.

If you suffer from this condition, then Madrid is the one with a preposterous road network. As the metropolis is approached, there are multiple choices of motorways heading in the same direction, and umpteen ring roads. It’s as though the Spanish capital has been given a bottomless budget and thought, ‘another ring road?’ Really, I’m not exaggerating: unnecessary stretches of tarmac totally surround Madrid.

Ooh, by the way, we passed 0 degrees longitude yesterday…so I was sort of right with the time. No, OK, I was still an hour early. Anyway, arriving in Madrid (not Milan), the weather is fine, and we loaf a bit in the sunshine. Cookie entertains us with a penny whistle before all congregating for a bite to eat. Tipsy conversation ensues. Little Dick: ‘Another beer?’ Cookie: ‘who’s queer?’ Little Dick: ‘No, another beer?’ Cookie: ‘I’ll have a short.’ Little Dick: ‘If you’re short, I’ve got enough.’ It goes along like this while I wonder if I could put a bottle of rioja on expenses as an oil receipt.

AC/DC’s venue in Madrid is Palacio de los Deportes, and is a shabbily designed affair. Presumably, it was designed by an architect in the throes of an epileptic fit. I’ll stay away from ranting about computer pitfalls, but you will probably find that a pasty youth has designed the building on a laptop. Faced afterwards with mighty big trucks, the response was doubtless: ‘well, it works on the computer.’ The success rate of entering the venue without hitting it is low - it’s a 50/50 sort of equation. Exiting is even worse - brick walls and right angles: a trucker’s nightmare. While local crew gaze and lisp, two out of twenty ACDC trailers are scraping the Palacio’s wall.

As the gig is in central Madrid, there is no parking facility for this many trucks - we have to drive out to the fruit market on one of the ring roads to spend the day. Apparently, a mythical minibus will collect us for meals. My apprehension is purely on Namibian’s behalf, you understand. Crumbs, he’s looking thin lately.

It’s fifteen kilometres back to the gig, a task beyond even me with only a girl’s bicycle at my disposal, and there are at least two motorways to cross. But I’m restless. As a pedestrian, perhaps a morning constitutional up the dual carriageway? A security guard manning the compound warns it would be inadvisable, though not because of traffic. No, in this sector of Madrid, he thinks, I’ll be pounced upon by drug barons and weapons vendors. I assume he doesn’t mean aspirin and ratchet strap salesmen. So, if you’re in the racketeering market, M40 Junction 19 is the spot.

I’m stranded, then. Gentleman Steve looks imprisoned in his lorry while I make a pretence at sweeping out the trailer and checking the oil level. Fundamentally though, as Alice so ably demonstrates, it is a day of enforced idleness sitting in deckchairs..



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