Roadie #42 - Blog #140
Australia, as regular readers might remember, is one of my very favourite places on the face of the Earth. Imagine then, my level of dis-chuff to find that we’d be spending a grand total of 36 hours there - much of which was spent asleep.
Good thing then, that the gig went a long way to making up for it.
Firstly we arrive, as we have at several festivals this year, to the sound of Elbow wafting through the air. We then discover that Pulp are playing - total result. I stand and watch them at stage left and find that whilst I’m happy to see them, band assistant Vicki Taylor is positively thrilled. They appear to have lost absolutely nothing of what made them so superbly wonderful in the first place and they’re a totally unexpected highlight of the trip so far. I really hope their reunion lasts longer than just the festies…
It’s also a special day for Mr. Champion, as he turns 33 in front of the assembled crowd of Aussies this evening.
In a rather cruel twist of fate, he’s received rather unwelcome gift of food poisoning this year. He gives it a full on performance though and the drums see no mercy whatsoever. Maybe sweating it out really is the best way…
Later, Fix You brought us from the celebration of birth to the acknowledgement of a tragic death. There’s little that can be said about Amy Winehouse’s passing that hasn’t already been said. It’s just such a sad waste. We’ll leave aside the awful irony and just let the Aussie choir sing.
The ride back from Splendour In The Grass is long enough that we’ve got around 5 hours before we leave for the flight down to Sydney to hook up with our LA flight. I figure that the most sensible way forward is staying awake to guarantee a long sleep on the long haul. This leaves me somewhat dazed and confused as we arrive at the airport. Myself and trainer Dan are on a different flight from the rest of the party and we seemed to have drawn the short straw - somehow arriving with six suitcases between us to check onto the short domestic flight - only three of which belong to us.
Not only are we asking to check in way over our allowance of baggage, but we’re asking to check it straight onwards through the connecting flight to LA. The fella behind the desk frowns and then recoils from the screen looking somewhat as though he’s simultaneously been punched in the privates and subjected to a particularly noxious odour. Evidently this is not going to be straightforward. He tries again, he wanders off and gets help, someone comes to “reprogram the computer”, still no joy. Finally we give up and agree to pick up the bags in Sydney and re-check them. Just as he slaps the tags on the first bag, another man comes running from an office in the back looking exceptionally pleased with himself. He has, it would appear, switched it off and switched it on again and all is well with the world.
We come into Sydney over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Like many landmarks, they are smaller than you might imagine them to be, but their significance huge. For a Brit, Sydney Opera House represents “being a very long way from home”. In fact, it’s pretty much as far as you can go without starting to get closer again.
And getting closer to home is exactly what’s next on the agenda, via another major (though completely invisible) landmark. We’re crossing the international dateline. Given the “timezone-pinball” nature of this trip, it’s the ultimate extra ball.
We’re leaving Sydney for LA - where they are 17 hours behind us. The flight lasts 13 hours. So that means - yes - we arrive 4 hours before we set off.
I’m so gloriously overtired, that I can’t begin to comprehend it. I’m half expecting to look out the window somewhere over the Pacific and see a parallel flight with a parallel me going in the other direction. This may well have happened, but unfortunately, both of us were deeply deeply asleep…