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Published: March 31st 2010
14th June ‘09:
Speed cameras in Germany are lethal. I suppose they are called “safety cameras” nowadays, which, frankly, is a misnomer. Ostensibly to save lives, the orange flash frightens the living daylights out of me tonight; there is a violent swerve and spilt tea. Could I sue the German government? After all, emasculation from scalding tea is not a laughing matter. I mean it - stop laughing.
My argument may not be impregnable, however; there is quite possibly a legal school of thought that frowns upon sipping a steaming cuppa whilst at the wheel. Perhaps I’ll just grin and bear the discomfort. Hey, I bet you’re surprised that we’re travelling fast enough to trigger a camera in the first place? Ah, well there are roadworks on the Bremen - Hamburg motorway, and we've been diverted through a hamlet or two.
So there we are (Namibian and yours truly) pottering along, minding our own business - at 90km/h through a 70km/h village - and Bam! I'm lit up, startled and partially blinded. It may be a little while until I can focus on a crossword again, let alone recover from scarred thighs. Luckily, I’m in a Left-hand
drive; Cowboy, with an ordinary British RH-drive truck, is still squinting a day later, but that might just be because he’s in midday sun without any shades on.
Now you would think after quite such a flash that Namibian might back off a bit. No, I'm afraid not. He was just wondering what the sun was doing up at 2am when Bam! He's been flashed, too. In fact, speaking to the rest of the drivers later, every one of us has been subjected to the curious orange phenomena found on northern Germany’s minor roads.
The good news is that, more than nine months after the event, nothing has come through the post. Well, not nothing - I’ve had bills and fan mail, obviously - but nothing connected to razzing it through German villages. My fears have been allayed for the time being, but could the sinister authorities be lulling us into a false sense of security?
Perhaps the Germans are waiting at the border for those twenty-nine truck registrations to return - a callous, calculated ploy to precipitate a crisis in rock and roll trucking. We could be incarcerated; the trucks could be impounded. As it happens,
we’re all setting off again - on 7/4/2010 - heading for Oslo to start the Metallica tour. And guess which country we’ll be transiting? Cunningly, in case the above suspicions bear fruit, I’ll be in a new truck. Ha ha, that’ll fox them.
On this second travel day from Paris - Oslo, would you like to meet a couple of the AC/DC crew? Well, here are Adam and Steve. Adam loads my truck at night; Steve is lighting director for the support band, and probably does other stuff, too. He's Australian so there's a slight language barrier. Adam, on the other hand, is American and so almost ALL of what he says is unintelligible.
Unfortunately, someone has allowed him a radio on tour, and now he habitually says, 'copy that' in ordinary speech. At 1.30am, I ask him to send 2-ton motors into the rear of the trailer, followed by feeder caddies with "distros" - tipped wheels to the side - on top. 'Copy that,' he says, less than ten metres from me.
You didn't understand a word of that, did you? I suppose I should explain a bit of “load speak”, then. All boxes are on
wheels (we call them “road cases” or “flight cases”), but they ride more securely if they are “tipped” up off their wheels. It saves strapping them in. Ah, but how to tip them? Well, it's really like playing with building blocks - sometimes they fit better “wheels to the back” (a straight tip); sometimes to the side (tip and turn), and sometimes “wheels to the roof” (a complete flip).
Another American on the tour is Cool Hand Luke. We worked together a lot on the indoor AC/DC tour leg, but now we just club together to tease Adam. You see, Adam walks around with a pulsating wand at night, as though directing aircraft, in an attempt to catch forklift drivers' attention. This sort of behaviour can’t be allowed to go unchallenged.
Luke could only be from one country - he wears white socks and shorts that cover seven-eights of his leg - but we share a sense of humour. He also totes a radio, and says things like, 'what's your twenty?' Now how on earth is that quicker than saying 'where are you?'
Oh, by the way, do you like my tea coasters from Paris? Roger that, over. Copy that. Out..
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