Roadie #42 – Blog #185

Apr 25, 2014

So I was wandering out of the Paris TV show tonight and a very kind young chap popped over to say hello to sound-man Dan Green and I. He said to me, "We really miss your blogs".

It was a lovely thing to say and it reminded me that I kinda miss it too. So for him – and whoever the "we" he referred to might be – here’s the first Ghost Stories blog.

It’s difficult to know where to start, to be honest. Time, though, is a very odd thing for me at the moment. It struck me part way through the day today that like many people on the crew, a lot of my day is spent time travelling.

The main culprit, of course, is email. In this early phase of a campaign when plans are – shall we say – "fluid", email throws you around the calendar like nothing else. One email is tapping you for details about a show three weeks away and whether you can pull a mildly impossible rabbit out of a spectacularly odd hat. The next is from the accountants asking for receipts for something bought on a panicked rehearsal day a couple months ago that you’d just about managed to forget – and so it goes on.

(One of my favourite emails ever came at round about this stage during the Mylo campaign – it simply said, "Can you please calculate from your show recordings the exact time the largest set of fireworks go off in Austria next month? We need to co-ordinate with air traffic control as we’re on the flightpath." The bizarre nature of the request only struck me after I’d dutifully attended to the question and sent off my reply.)

In the midst of all this problem-solving for events many miles and many days away, you’re lurched back into the present. Time to do a line-check of all the equipment. The band are live on TV to god knows how many people in just 15 minutes.

There’s a very special kind of urgency to live broadcast. The realisation of quite how rubbish it would be to screw this up hits you like your body’s own espresso machine.

The space side-stage is tiny and the band stand together between my world and Chris Wood’s mixing desk. They’re feeling it too – they tend to be on particularly fine comedy form when they’re nervy. Us crew have a comms system to crack each other up on when the tension and adrenaline are pumping. The fellas though, are doing it old school and they’re just pulling faces and singing daft re-interpretations of the backing vocals.

The group hug focuses the energy and they walk from under the paper stars into the lights. Chris continues the comedy voice and slaps Guy’s shoulder as he emerges into the applause. "Play some good bass notes, yeah?"

4 minutes and 10 seconds later I’m back to working out how to tackle a puzzle in New York in a week or two – then the car arrives and I’m heading out the door.

A young fella approaches me and says some kind words about the blog, where I talk about things that are already in the past.

The time-continuum continues folding over on itself and shows no sign of stopping

It’s good to be back though…