Nice. Day off.
A band meeting had been arranged for this afternoon and Dec had to be there an hour before us, so three of us crammed into Smasher's flying saucer and we went early so we could have lunch en route. This we did, at an excellent, extremely lo-fi roadside place, then dropped Dec off at the house leaving ourselves with an hour or so to kill. I'd never been to have a look at Cap Ferrat (the extremely exclusive peninsular on the Cote d'Azur, affectionately know to our Irish chums as 'Cape Ferret'), so we headed there.
It wasn't too long a drive and we were soon cruising round the streets of what has to be the ultimate gated community. In this community, however, everyone has their own gate and every house is a mansion fortress. We parked up by the lighthouse and went to go for a walk down to the water. It turns out that (unsurprisingly, perhaps) the place really isn't designed to encourage casual visitors, the coastal walk being little more than a narrow strip of concrete running over expanses of sharp rocks. There are no seats and nowhere to stop and hang out, but we did find a little stone ledge, the remains of a mooring perhaps, where we sat for a while in the blazing sun.
After ten minutes or so, I realised that a small stream had spontaneously sprung from sources unknown and I was effectively sitting in a puddle of warm water. I was wearing these three-quarter length cargo shorts that now had a sopping wet behind from waist to knees. My underpants were in similar condition and I was due to go and sit on Bono€™s sofa in half an hour. Bugger bugger bugger. As a moment's disbelief turned to borderline panic, I remembered that clothes I'd hung out on the balcony at the Hotel IKEA had dried extremely quickly under the intense heat of the sun, so I realised that I did have a potential rescue option, albeit a somewhat humiliating one. Smasher diplomatically wandered off to make a phone call as I took my shorts and pants off, wrung them out and hung them on a rock before returning discretely to the stone step. I was now wearing only a short-sleeved shirt (and a wry smile) but somehow managed to arrange myself in a way that (more or less) preserved my dignity as I nodded nonchalantly at the holiday makers and passers-by. Thank god it only took about 15 minutes in the baking sun for my shorts to dry out enough to be wearable. I slipped them back on, arranged my wet underpants jauntily on my head like a damp tam-o-shanter and we headed back to the flying saucer.
We spent a couple of hours with the band going over the show and brainstorming a few new ideas. As much as anything, this is to keep us all interested and engaged with the process as we still have the best part of a year to go. When a show settles down it starts to die, so it's great to be working with people who are aware of this and are keen to keep things moving. Not everything we try will work first time and sometimes it means taking chances, but in the bigger picture we have to trust that the audience will understand what we're up to, and not feel too hard done by if a particular favourite is missing on any given night.
By the time the meeting was done it was dinner-time and we accepted an invitation to dine with some of our touring party who are staying in a villa not too far away. They'd cooked, we brought wine and a very pleasant evening was had by all. Very pleasant indeed. So pleasant in fact, that when it got to 3am and no-one was remotely capable of driving it became abundantly clear that dinner was turning into a sleep over.