Seville. Day off.
There is a general strike in Spain today so a great many shops and services are closed. So much so that the U2 show, originally scheduled for today, has been moved to tomorrow. This creates the highly unusual situation of the crew doing a load-in yesterday, then having an entire day off today before heading back in to do the show and load-out tomorrow. On arrival at Mrs Miggin€™s B&B, where the crew are staying, it didn€™t appear to have a great deal to recommend it but in the light of this there is a surprisingly pleasant pool area out the back, with a very nice little poolside bar & cafÃ©.
Along with half the crew, I settled in on a sun lounger and continued with my book, William Gibson€™s Zero History. Early locations of the action include Seven Dials in London and Brunswick St. in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and both being places where I have lived it was not difficult to get absorbed into the story. I€™m enjoying it very much, particularly his observations and his use of language. (In 2005, he wrote an article for Wired magazine about the Vertigo tour during which he described my apparent demeanour as €˜saturnine€™, which of course I then had to go and look up.)
After some hours and a spot of lunch, I thought perhaps it was time to go and see some more of Seville up close. The hotel is quite a way out of town, next door to a stadium (though oddly, not the stadium that the gig is at) and would take about an hour each way to walk the distance. I enquired of the concierge what the state of play would be regarding calling a cab and he replied, €œin Sevilla there are two thousand nine hundred taxis and today ten of them are working.€
Sightseeing plans scuppered, I returned to the pool with William Gibson, holed up under a palm tree and carried on reading. In fact I ended up reading for pretty much the entire day, which is something I don€™t think I have done since wet weekends during childhood.
This also meant that our options for nocturnal comestibles were to either eat at the hotel (probably overkill having spent all day there) or to wander locally and hope for the best. It was a perfect evening, warm and dry with a completely clear, pink sky, so Alex, Raff & I took a meander out into this not terribly encouraging neighbourhood, past the empty stadium car park and kept going. To our surprise, only a couple of streets further it turned into quite an attractive little residential area, with the odd promising-looking bar and cafÃ© here and there. We opted for opening with a beer at a perfectly run-down, tiny zinc-counter corner bar and pulled up some plastic chairs outside. Before our glasses were even half empty another party of U2 crew wandered by, some stayed, some wandered on, with rumour of a square further afield where it was, apparently, €˜all going off€™.
Being more in the mood for food than for animal house activities, we found a corner restaurant with a small front yard surrounded by railings and settled into a table. We did tapas-y bits and pieces that were quite wonderful, the night was warm and there was a regular supply of company as groups of other crew members strolled by. Even ran into Bono€™s brother Norman, which was a surprise. I love these easy, serendipitous evenings and hearing about the monsoons back home it really feels like a last reprieve before the end of summer.