19 June 2011
'Early Inspiration'Los Angeles – London. Travel day.
Woke up to another grey morning in L.A. (always a little confusing) and actually managed to leave the hotel for breakfast, which I looked upon as a minor victory. I met with Smasher to make sure we each have the right files for Glastonbury and to go over the plan that I am going to suggest for Baltimore in absentia. That show is the one show of the entire 360 tour that I won’t be attending, as I’ll already be standing in a field in the English West Country. Ethan, our lighting director is coming with me today and production manager Jake is already in the UK so we will leave the lunatics to take over the asylum for a day in Baltimore.
Car to LAX and driving round the perimeter road I got a great view of the Theme Building, an early inspiration for the 360 stage. You make have picked up on the fact that Los Angeles isn’t one of my top five favourite cities on Earth, but I have to concede that to some extent this is the spiritual home of The Claw. It looks like they’ve done something to it (the Theme Building), perhaps some new viewing gallery on the top?
Airport, bag drop, security, lounge, hike, gate, boarding, sit, buckle up. I’m in a whole new dimension of autopilot these days. I don’t even know if I’m jet-lagged as I haven’t any remaining natural sense of what time it’s supposed to be. The sun’s shining now, up above the clouds, but this could equally well be a day flight or a night flight. I’ve seen all of this month’s BA movie & TV selections that I’m ever going to want to see (and it’s only the 19th!), so drinking and sleeping looks like the best option for this one. Ethan’s peddling Ambien but that’s not really my tasse de thé, in fact (remarkably perhaps given the life that I have) I’ve never actually ingested a single sleeping pill (I think it’s a control issue). Gin, on the other hand.
They have the (UK) Independent on Sunday on board which I picked up because I notice a picture of Aung San Suu Kyi on the cover. She looked very familiar, of course, but on closer examination I realised that the shot is from the 360 video shoot, with her standing in front of a make-shift green screen, holding up her index finger (“One!”) Inside the newspaper there’s a feature by our very own Martin Wroe, telling the story of Team 360’s stealth film-making trip to Burma, including a full page portrait of Daw Suu by 360 tour videographer Eoin. (I’d say he’s bouncing off the walls).
I’ve been in somewhat reflective mood of late and seeing things like this recontextualised brings home how extraordinary a romp this whole 360 project has been. I’ve mentioned before that I’m watching every show now with new eyes, making sure I am absolutely present, to fully appreciate this incredible thing before it goes away forever. It’s also the end of a very long project, a moment that, under any circumstances, provides a point for reevaluation. Recently though, I’ve been trying to put my finger on what this feels like and I realised this morning that coming to the end of U2360 has almost the feeling of shedding a skin. So many people leave this tour greatly changed, with marriages, divorces, relocation, children born, survivors of back surgery, (even a person who was diagnosed with cancer, received successful treatment and returned to the tour). By comparison, my tour could be deemed comparatively uneventful for me but without a doubt I am greatly changed by it too. Glastonbury is the last major curve-ball but after that there’s still a full month to go - and everybody knows that the last month of a long tour is the time when things start to get really interesting.