Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Postcard From Brighton

Here I am back by the sea. Weather sunny but windy. Filled with memories of childhood holidays, and gigs by the coast. Day off today and then a gig in town tomorrow. Then we fly to Copenhagen from Stanstead.

Having fun with Garage Band at the moment. Wish you were all here.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Hamburg... again.

The last time I was in Hamburg was in '88... this time I stayed in room 666 (no joke).

The silly picture is the whole crew in Hamburg before the show... who's idea was the moustaches? Actually it was Colin's (laying down at the front).

Now I'm in Stuttgart for a couple of days off. I'm finally getting my camera back too, so more pictures to view soon.

That's all for now.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wolfsburg, Germany

They make VWs here. The VW factory looks like Battersea power station with all it's legs in a row. If it was a table it would fall over. By contrast Battersea power station looks reassuringly stable.

Of course most of the towns we are visiting were destroyed during the war and have been subsequently rebuilt in the 50s. They are a weird mix of modern and fake old, well laid out and spacious, but perhaps lacking in soul.

A Big Mac tastes the same everywhere in the world, Diet Coke definitely tastes different.

Why do you always crave fast food when you are hungover?

Why do beggars always seem to have dogs these days?

When the Berlin wall came down the Berliners gained lots of open space. They made some nice parks.

Q: What do you do when you need to take your computer to the lobby before doors open in fifteen minutes and an internationally famous popstar is using it?

I left my phone at home, more than anything I miss being able to take pictures. How very 21st century.

Industrial towns look bleak in the rain.

I miss my guitars.

There is something strangely attractive about a shop that sells everything for 1 Euro.

Why does my browser insist in translating sites into the local language of wherever I am?! Just because I am in Germany doesn't mean I can suddenly speak German. Als Entwurf Speichern anyone?

A: Wait patiently whilst growing increasingly anxious.

There are no wolves in Wolfsburg.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

In The Back Of The Van

This is where I work. It's a nice enough environment, usually with lots of fresh air and natural light, although occasionally it's a bit cold and dark or very hot and I have to turn the lights on or wrap up warm or strip off. My desk is a flight case and intray is a cardboard box. Like many people I have a phone (mobile) and a computer (Mac... no power though, battery only).

It's safe enough, the only worries are getting dirty or spiking myself whilst counting badges. Oh it's a bit grubby too, and occasionally people push heavy boxes at you or you have to pick your way around speakers and ironwork that's not being used, but on the whole I like it. People visit from time to time, but usually only for a fag and a quick chat. Somedays no one comes by.

It's a kinda weird experience to visit many glamorous and interesting cities around the US and Europe and get to only see the inside of one truck and a few concert halls, but I wouldn't swap it for the world.

(Currently in Dusseldorf, Germany)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

That's You In The Spotlight

I had a go at another job on the tour, follow-spot operator. Simply this involved controlling a spotlight from one of the galleries, you listen to instructions, wiggle one knob and push some others, whilst trying all the time to keep a famous person or singer trapped in the glare of your headlight (as it were).

It's a surreal experience sending down this shaft of light and picking out a figure on the stage. They appear unreal, two-dimensional (you see no shadow) and trapped in a perfect circle of light. Wherever they go the light follows them and picks them out. Sometime the light goes ahead, sometimes it lags a little, but it always finds them in the end. There is no escape.

Of course I longed to be on the other side, the one in the spotlight.

It reminded me of another, earlier leg of the tour where the local production provided the spotlights. They arrived beaten-up in olive drab, with a distinct military air about them. We joked that perhaps they had been used previously on a border check-point or prison camp. There the idea is to search for people not being where they are supposed to be, and once caught perhaps shoot or at the very least raise the alarm. A whole different scenario that springs into my mind now whenever I'm using the light. Again, there would be no escape.

In that scenario, I know which end of the light beam I would want to be on.

On a lighter note...

I stayed in a hotel in Vilnius, Lithuania and had to get up obscenely early this morning. I asked the receptionist to get me a cab and after 5 calls he managed to do it. Taxis are hard to get in Vilnius, he explained. The cab duly arrived and we turned right out of the hotel and then immediately left into the airport. I had to laugh, I could easily have walked there in 10 minutes!!

(currently in Copenhagen, Denmark)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Oslo... ...Tallin

So, Oslo, city of err... Norwegians? And art, beer, 7-11s and nowhere to buy wine! Then the bus and we're in Stockholm, even stranger place, some parts very pretty, some parts very industrial. Then the love boat, err I mean the ferry to Helsinki. So beer, breeze, fjords, forts, more beer, wine, more wine, even more wine, dinner, venison, chicken. Red wine, red fortified wine (getting a bit hazy now). Disco, wine, cocktails, funny ties... wake up in my cabin in my clothes... off the ferry, in the bus, wait. Another ferry, this time to Tallin... Diet Coke, sandwich, talking, swaying... Tallin, off the ferry... where's the bus? Err, wrong paper-work, can't enter the country!! Get our bags, on the band bus to the hotel. Nice room. Bath, sleep, free porn! Medieval restaurant (don't stand in groups of 5 on the street or the police will break you up)... local soup (salty, rustic, very nice), beef... very good. White wine, red wine. Molly Malone's Irish pub, pear cider. Football... Liverpool win on penalties... result!! Back to the room, blog, sleep... tomorrow I sell t-shirts to Estonians.