Perth. Show 2.
In a bid to avoid checked baggage on my flight back to Sydney tomorrow, I came to Perth with just a small carry-on. It'll be a commercial flight, with the usual "security" restrictions, which means no liquids, gels, aerosols, etc. At risk of over-sharing, in the deodorant department I have long been a Gillette Right Guard man, in its familiar bronze coloured (CFC free) aerosol can. This passes for illegal contraband in scheduled flight hand-luggage so I left it in Sydney. Being unable to pick any up here in Perth I've resorted to some roll-on or other and have spent the past 48 hours with the strange low-grade sensation that suddenly I don't smell like myself. It's been quite peculiar - I keep getting odd whiffs of this sweet smell and thinking "Whatever's that? Oh, it's me." Most unsettling.
It's the last day of term, though a less dramatic one than on other occasions as the tour breaks down into bite-sized chunks for the next while. This is largely due to the movement of the steel systems (which travel by sea) and the large distances involved. Logistics freaks might enjoy looking at the tour dates and figuring out how the three steel systems would move. All the same, there was an amount of sorting and packing to do and a round of farewells and Happy Christmases (it's Christmas, apparently).
The sports-minded English crew were less than chipper about the progress of their cricket team, though apparently there's still everything to play for. There was some talk of which players had come to the show last night and which would be coming to night, during which I overheard the name Michael Vaughan. Despite my total dearth of sport knowledge, this is one name that I know and for quite a circuitous reason. He was the captain of the England cricket team until retiring a year or so ago but I also happen to know that he went to the same high school that I did, an unremarkable Comprehensive school in the north of England. Said learning institution has a Wikipedia page extoling its virtues and naming notable alumni, which number precisely three; me, Michael Vaughan and the actor who played the little boy in The Full Monty. Having two out of three in the same building had to be worth a look.
I'd got the word that he'd be on the mix position viewing platform prior to the show so went to find him, having Googled him first so I'd know what he looked like. There he was and I introduced myself as the designer of the show and, er..., and ex-Silverdale pupil. He looked slightly taken aback and then very amused, before introducing me to his wife, Nicola, who also went to Silverdale - hat trick! We had a great chat and it was wonderfully surreal to be standing in the middle of the 360 crowd in Perth, Australia, talking about Mr. Hutchinson the sports teacher. (He died last year, which I was very sad to learn. We weren't close but I did run into him a couple of years back. I recognised him but after 30 years I didn't expect him to have any memory of me at all. Not only did he recognise me, but he remembered my name, which rather blew my doors off. I laughed and told him how genuinely astounded I was. "Ah," he says, "you only remember the ones who were really good and the ones who were..." "Was I really that bad?", I asked. "Er..., yes. Now you come to mention it...")
Rock historians the world over will no doubt be aware that Perth was the debut city for several U2 songs, being the first port of call on the LoveTown tour. These included Desire and All I Want is You (and almost Love Rescue Me), so these got an airing in the set tonight. Funny to think of Desire as having once been a brand new song.
The touring party now disintegrates for a while, as people fly home for Christmas. Being at the other end of the earth, crew flight-times varied enormously some as early as 12.30am, others late into the following day. Europe is under blizzard conditions, so travel chaos reigns for anyone heading in that direction. Much airport-camping and rebooking lies ahead for many and for a lot of people there was little point in going to bed. Never wishing to miss a chance for a social opportunity, a midnight barbecue had been arranged at Cottesloe beach, to help fill the time. There was beer, & wine and a surprisingly good grill up, in a beach pavilion as the waves of the Indian Ocean lapped onto the beach in the darkness. Then it rained... you have to love an Irish barbecue.