12 August 2001
Show Day: Manchester - Evening News Arena, Show Two
My brother has come to visit me in Manchester which is a bonus as he's my one and only full blood relative. I can't remember the last time we had any time to hang out together. (I suppose living on opposite sides of the planet hasn't helped.) We decided to go in search of breakfast at the new "Lowry Centre" in Salford, the city which is Manchester's Siamese twin. L.S.Lowry was a local artist of some reputation and they have built a large arts complex in his honour comprising two theatres, art galleries, cafes & restaurants and, bizarrely, an "Imperial War Museum".
Its about a 20 minute drive, so we got a cab out there, only to find we had to walk the last quarter mile due to streets being blocked off for a Triathlon event. No matter. It wasn't raining terribly hard. Not when we arrived, anyway. Coming back was another matter, as there were no vehicles anywhere near the centre, let alone taxis, so we asked the information booth how to get back to Manchester. "There's a tram service, sir, which stops right outside the front door" Excellent. "But I'm sorry, they don't run on Sundays". Gutted. We were directed to the replacement shuttle bus service which picked up at a random point a good ten minutes walk from the Lowry Centre. Ten minutes in a howling monsoon, that is. Having tramped out to find it, we located the bus stop which was on a bleak street corner with no protection whatsoever. We had no option but to just stand there getting soaked and after a few minutes were laughing at how absurdly horrible it all was. Twenty five minutes later we'd stopped laughing, and were looking like two extras from "Twister", when at last a bus finally showed up so we squelched our way up the steps on board. "Two to the centre of Manchester, please", says my brother, nose dripping. "Oh", replies the driver, "you can't buy tickets on the bus, you're supposed to get your tickets before you get on board". Pause. Another Pause. "Err...", I say, looking directly into the driver's eyes. "Tickets? Err, yep, we've got tickets. Yes that's it, we have got tickets". Another pause before the driver finally says, "er.. OK". Wise man.