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Published: April 30th 2010
26th June ‘09:
Let me introduce my next door neighbours: Tom and Dot.
Dot is indispensable. She moves my post from the front door while I'm away, and she used to feed the cat before the Old Boiler stepped in. Dot is now down to light duties, and is rewarded accordingly. She still waters the outdoor plants but, vertically challenged, the hanging baskets are a bit much for her. 'I end up watering myself,' she laughs. After plying her with cheaply bought foreign booze, I apologise for any late-evening noise, caused by having a bird round last night. 'Pigeon, was it?' she cackles. 'Haaaa.'
Tom, conversely, gets under one's feet and talks tangentially of his work on the railway at every opportunity. 'Ain't like it used to be,' he says. 'Much better after you left,' retorts Dot. He is slightly deaf and spends a good deal of his time watching drivel on the television - at high volume. Last time I popped next door - I'd run out of tea - he was glued to one of those confessional programs with the subtitle 'Is my cousin really my sister?' blanketing the screen. I'm extremely lucky to have them
When I'm at home, I often glance through old photo albums - otherwise I can't remember where I've been. That sounds ridiculous I know, but if you regard these past five months as pretty standard life, it's difficult to recall, say, where the Beastie Boys played in '98. Anyway, I came across a picture of me at seventeen and thought you may like to see it. Good heavens, what a mess I looked as a teenager.
All good things come to an end, however. After lunch, it's back to the grindstone: Wembley Stadium, where I discover Namibian sulking, a disconsolate figure in his lorry. In a single stroke, he has managed to wipe all of the AC/DC outdoor-leg footage from his video camera. While transferring it to DVD he has pressed the wrong button...and deleted the lot. He is inconsolable this afternoon. German Holgar is also in low spirits - he has had his bicycle stolen from outside Tesco.
27th June: ("A travel day")
Rather than rant about my legs aching - from driving thankless miles on motorways - I thought I’d write a little filler for the travel day to Naas, Ireland.
And today’s theme, I've decided, is bicycles. Almost without exception, now, every driver has one; bicycles are pretty much essential on stadium tours - for whizzing over to Catering from our designated parking area, or for peddling to the nearest newsagent to purchase Namibian's cigarettes. That sort of thing..
More importantly, how do you think twenty-nine truck drivers know in which order the trucks are needed after the show? Without some sort of organisation, it would be chaos - a Wacky races, if you like. 'Load me.’ ‘No, load me first,' we would all cry, regardless of what is actually down from the stage and ready for packing in trucks. A gridlock would ensue, chauffeurs turning puce with rage. Enter, then, the radio and...the bicycle.
Instructions are given, from the stage via radio, to bring in, say the “Backline” and “Sound 1” trucks. The “lead” driver relays this to his deputy - "Number Two" - and the loading process begins in an incredibly slick fashion. Well, slickish - there is a driver or two that can't reverse a lorry for toffee. Anyway, one of the radio holders may have a few hundred yards to cover to relay a
message to the relevant driver. And it needs to be done quickly; another driver may be cocking up a reversing manoeuvre somewhere else and need supervising. Walking takes too long. So there you have it: the bicycle is a vital component of stadium touring.
In Munich, in early May, I sheepishly offered that dreadful Toscana hybrid bicycle as part exchange for...well, something decent. The bike shop man gave me a pitying look, muttering utterances about the Bike Doctor robbing me, but he nevertheless offered me a touch more than the going price for scrap metal. I am now the proud owner of a ten-gear Shogun. Infinitely trendier, I now receive fewer winks and good-natured wolf-whistles from other men. I still miss the old Raleigh racing cycle, though.
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