Oct 11, 2015

Early-ish alarm next morning, and we got packed up, met up with Janice and took some pics.

We paid the ridiculous parking fee, and set off for Stockholm, a 5/6 hour drive. For the last 2 of those we were madly texting Andy, trying to find out where he was staying - we didn't actually book any hotels in Sweden, thinking we would be able to sort it out easily when we got there, right? ............... Wrong!
Andy finally told us the name of the hotel chain - and there's 5 of them in town............duh......
Stockholm looks a bit like London but with lots more water, loads of beautiful old buildings, ridiculous amounts of traffic, and a million traffic lights too. When we finally found one of the five hotels, I went in and they looked him up - 'Sorry madam, not here, he's at the Royal Viking'. Result! We found it fairly quickly, even though it was in the middle of town, so we parked illegally outside in order that Steve could rush in to snag a room. Unfortunately, there was a conference of Jehovahs Witnesses in town, and it was full up. Meh.
Soooooooo, I'm waiting in the car to fend off traffic wardens, and Steve comes out of the hotel with a panicked look on his face, and walks towards the car. And who should I see pass the car and head for the door at the same time? Yup, Alice and Sheryl. They were headed straight for Steve, so I leapt out of the car, to join him when he intercepted them - and he walked right past them!!! Right next to them!!! And Alice didn't even have his 'old person' hat on......!!! Shoulda gone to Specsavers Steve............
I stood there gaping like a goldfish, going, 'Look, look', whilst Steve is trying to tell me about the room thing, and he finally sees them, just as they enter the revolving door - and they're gone. Can't bring myself to run after them, a step too far, I feel. Ah, the lost opportunities, lol...
It was kinda funny really, but actually there was no time for laughing, because, not only was that hotel full up, so were the half dozen others around it. We were beginning to think that we would have to spend a night on the floor in Andy's room, or in the car, but eventually we went and availed ourselves of The Royal Viking's internet in their lovely bar, (watching Tommy and Chuck come in at one point) and found ourselves a small hotel about 5 miles out of town with one room left. 5 MILES OUT , ffs, how very annoying.........
Somehow, we found the Hotel Arsta - the car does have satnav, but every time we made a turn, the frightfully English voice said something like, 'Turn right on to furadnorskiblchvaagnhurdygurdyveldt,' or something similar, and it sounded so funny, we missed turnings whilst having hysterics.
AND, having eventually arrived at the hotel, we tried to check in - and it seems they don't have a room after all. 'It vas a mishtake, so sorry'................Great. So Steve, howd'you fancy a night in the car?
Luckily for us, a cancellation came in while we were deciding whether to clock somebody so's we could get a night in prison..............
So we booked in for three nights and they threw in breakfast, and free parking. Phew, panic over. Not a bad little room really, bit close to the train line, and no air con, but we managed to prop the windows open with various coat hangers. And I have earplugs! So I don't care!!!! We had planned on a night out with Andy and friends, but couldn't be arsed to go back into town that night, after all the agro. Brekkie was pretty good actually. We coulda made rolls for lunch had we been so inclined. Mebbe tomorrow.
We went off to Grona Lund theme park to check it out – but the bit where the show was didn't open til 11. And then they wouldn't let us in just to look at the place, the tic is one use only ffs. Pretty cheap though, about £8 which entitles you to a day in the park and the gig! Cheapest one I've ever done, lol. We dithered a bit, and then we noticed an open gateway next to the turnstiles. So we just walked purposefully in, and nobody batted an eyelid, hah!

There were people at the barrier already, but not many, so we decided to go back to the hotel for a bit, pack our essential Cooperkit, ( Costumes, accessories and a bunch of roses for stage interaction purposes) and return in a few hours. Which we did, and then ended up spending only about 5 hours sweltering at the barrier, along with Jean-Yves and his girlfriend, (great to see him again and meet Louise!), (although it did mean that we couldn't make any jokes about 60 Euro entertainments, hah, long story), Sarah Edlund (hiya!), and also Patrick who we met last year in Germany- he took a great pic of us then, in the dark (whilst we were trolling about after the gig, climbing over fences and trying to find the tour bus, lol), and I was ecstatic to get a copy of it at last!
We were sat all day right on the barrier next to the 'Nightmare House Of Horror' - I was SO tempted to go in, but never got around to it. There were some other horrible looking rides around us including a MAHOOSIVE chair plane thing, which I wouldn't have gone on for all the tea in China, but we did get to watch Kyler and Nita on it. Enjoying it, even. Weirdos.
It started filling up at around 5 ish, concert was due to start at 8. We met up with Andy at last, and Steve was hoping to go and get changed later in his lighting tent, behind all the banks of electronics.
About 7 ish, along comes a couple of morons who feel they are entitled to a barrier space, even though they couldn't be arsed to come early and wait for it. The girl insisted on putting a hand on the barrier, even though there was no room, as though that somehow meant she could muscle in later. In between me and Steve. Yeah right. In. Your. Dreams.
In the end, I had to prise her fingers off the barrier and inform her that she should've got here earlier. At which point her boyfriend lost his temper, swore at me in Nordispeak and then shouted at me in broken English 'you are a.. a.. a.. FUCK UP'. Well, I couldn't stop laughing, the look on his face was priceless!! But, hah, we didn't see them again.......
Steve went off to change, but couldn't find Andy anywhere, so he ended up going to the loo, which is kinda difficult - I mean, imagine it, heat, leather trousers, make up......................I wish I'd been there to see the faces of the other punters when he opened the door and came out in full Alice regalia!! Personally I think he deserves a medal for going the extra mile, it was extremely hot and sweaty and NOTHING would've induced me to put on leather trousers, boots, top, shirt, jacket and gloves. GLOVES FFS, dunno how you do it, mate! Needless to say, lots of people wanted pics with him, including quite a lot of the photographers and magazine-type people who were loitering in front of the barrier by now. We ended up in the local paper! And during House Of Fire, a woman kept taking videos of us singing our heads off - which I eventually found online.
Kyler and Nita came out to chat before the show - there's an after gig party at The Hard Rock cafe, Kyler thought Alice might come if it wasn't too busy. Too many peeps means he can't get in and out without getting mobbed, which does make life difficult.
It was weird watching Alice in the daylight, but bloody brilliant all the same - there ended up being somewhere between 10,000 - 14,000 people, never did find out for sure - was pretty packed anyway. And they were all behind me.....!
Another EXCELLENT show, I never tire of watching Alice, it's always SO SO SO much fun, love love LOVE it. I experienced moments of pure euphoria at several points during the show.....I consider myself very lucky to have such a passion for something at my age, I see so many 50 something people who seem to have given up on ever enjoying anything.......Lucky lucky me!!

Steve chucked my roses on stage during Poison, Alice ignored them for a while, and then picked them up and thwacked them across his thigh, love it when he does that! I even caught some petals :)
We were a bit late getting out, so we went straight to the Hard Rock, we didn't get there til about 9 ish - but the band were even later. They were being dj's for the night, Chuck and Ryan were particularly getting into it .
All the band were there but Alice didn't make it in the end, the place was absolutely HEAVING. We eventually found Andy and friends tho, and managed to chat with them even tho they were in a vip area.
Tommy came out of the VIP area to chat, bless him, and all in all we had a great night, although we did need to retire outside now and then into the balmy summer evening for a bit. Well for some fags actually, but please don't tell my kids, I gave up smoking yonks ago, but still have the odd one and they hate it...........
Eventually had to go, as everybody but Chuck had left -he was still loving his role as DJ -and he played Sanctuary for us! – but we were a bit knackered at this point. We walked back to the car which for some reason was bloody miles away, and made it back to Arsta before they locked us out. Having had no dinner, I was starving, but luckily we had crisps from an earlier supermarket scavenging expedition, so I was ok.
Loving life atm :)

Aug 12, 2015

Cooperadventurascandinavia Part 1

Soooooo,  I set my alarm for Stoopid o'clock and we set off in plenty of time - actually got to the airport early for once!  But of course , there is always some delay, it took us an hour and a half to get one case booked in and get thru security, duh. And the bloody airport was heaving with the great unwashed. Bloody millions of people. Why don't some of you go to New Zealand? I hear it's nice and there's plenty of room.......

Anyway, after breakfast we checked in at the new Do-it-yourself Check in thingy - (you get to put your own stickers on the case, |woohoo! I guess it's probly so you can't blame them if your case ends up in Eritrea or somewhere), but the machine kept saying 'NO',  so we had to keep taking stuff out the Coop Case, thinking it was overweight....

 But in  the end we realised it was because we had been using the wrong boarding card number. However, we'd crammed so much gear into in the hand luggage by then, that as soon as the Computer said Yes, we just grabbed stuff and raced on to get into the mahoosive queue for hand luggage x ray. (I bet Alice don't have to put up with this shit.)
 After taking off my shoes, belt, jacket, jewellery, unpacking the tablet, phone, keys, money and everything liquid, including my precious jar of marmite, I still bleeped and had to be scanned. I think it was one of those body scanners where they get to ogle you naked. Good luck with that guys, you might be needing some eye bleach.

Eventually we got on the plane............and after a lightening quick flight, we arrived at Oslo airport, which turned out to be teeny weeny, and practically  empty. Picking up the car took 2 mins, and having eventually managed to turn on the satnav, (15 mins) we set off for Oslo. It was a bit further that I had envisiged but,  after about 40 mins we found our hotel and parking immediately outside! Handy, but it was £8 for 2 hours eeek. Thankfully it's free after 8pm.

Think Janice is here too somewhere but we haven't seen her yet. After dumping stuff in the room,  we decided to walk round to the venue. it was about 10 mins round the corner. I always try to find hotels this close, but they usually end up being miles away. But not this time! And we found tour bus parked out back, conveniently outside a small cafe, so we sat there, watching and waiting.
 Eventually Diane appeared, and told us all about the venue - pretty small, with a  tiny stage hardly room to spit, and she was worried about the smoke from the pyro gassing everybody inside....the management told her it would be ok cos they have air con! But she remained unconvinced.........
All the kit had to go  in via a gaping hole in the pavement, (note the huge metal panel in the pavement) with trapdoors - and very dodgy stairs. But they'd got it all in eventually. Pat also came out (for a fag) and we chatted in the warm afternoon sunshine, taking a selfie to send to Sunila, who sadly couldn't make it.

 Later on the band (and Kyler) appeared for a soundcheck, was so great to see them all again! Lots of hugs n kisses and Chuck says to me 'Hello beautiful, ' bless him......* swoons a little*....hahah!!
After a catch up chat, they all disappeared. Ryan mentioned that he would be doing a Gibson guitar thing in a nearby shop, but we weren't too sure where it was, so we decided to get back to the hotel and change. Takes me about 10 mins but Steve of course needs more time to put on the makeup and get him to a show.......

I picked up my VIP pass at the recep window and they sent me round to the side door for early entry - bloody hell I thought, this is too good to be true!!' And it was, kinda,  but more of that later. Had to leave poor old Steve out at the front to fend for himself - I guess he is used to it by now, this is his 97th show after all.....but I didn't like leaving him all the same...all those people clamouring for pics!! We need to start charging, we could make a fortune for The Solid Rock charity....

So, I go round to the side door - and there's Janice! Great to see her again, bin a while. Also met up with a guy called Dave and his wife - have seen him before at Alice shows but never made contact - he was in front of me at 100 club.
Soooooo, we waited..........and waited.....................we could see the people at the front door clamouring to get in - Janice and I were having kittens, FFS, are they gonna let us early or not??? At the very last minute, they opened the door for us - and then they wanted to take my camera off me!! Since all the trouble I had with my Canon, I got a small fixed lens camera, with which I have never had a problem until now!!! I thrust all the batteries at them, in the vain hope they would just give up and let me thru ( I got spares after all), and it worked! Didn't even want the batteries in the end. So, Janice and I raced to the front middle of the barrier, spread out a bit so Steve could get in, and settled down happily to wait. Steve came in soon after, so we were all lined up in our favourite spot, ready to rock. I love the few minutes before a show starts, when all that stress of getting to the front is over - especially when there isn't even a support! Just Alice. Perfect.

The Ballad
I've see the RTD show 16/17 times, but I still love it. And it changes every time - Lost in America was one of the new tracks, so brilliant to hear it. And Wicked Young Man is back! AND Steve and I caught a cane!!!!Alice spotted the famous red top hat obviously, hah.  And lots of bills, beads and guitar pics........in fact, we got loads of booty for my scrapbook. :)

l-r Janice , me, Steve, Truls

We met up with a guy called Truls, he was doing VIP too, and we all had a FAB time! I love a good singalong, specially when nobody can hear me......and it all went swimmingly until the encore, Schools Out, when a drunk Norwegian guy decided he would like my barrier spot, so he jumped on top of me......
He was a huge guy, but between Steve Janice and myself, we managed to get him off me....but he kept putting him arms over my head, resting on my shouolders. to take pics on his phone, (most of which I managed to ruin by putting my hands in front of it, lol) all the while yelling in my ear in Nordispeak. Everybody kicked him, I repeatedly tried to hit him but it was feeble, hah, but he carried on being a COMPLETE ARSE, for the duration of the song, which kinda spoilt it for me. But there were compensations later.

Soooooo, after the band had gone off, and Sigurd had fallen over the barrier and been carted off by security, we went to our alloted stageside space, and were taken upstairs and around the houses to meet Alice. Janice, Truls and I sat as far away as we could, and went through each others stuff.  Janice and I took lots of pics of each other,  for later sharing, and a few of Alice as well.
Toby was very chatty, (guess he wasn't as desperate as usual to get to his hotel )and told us lots of gig stories, none of which I can remember, haha.  One of the guys in front of us wanted a pic with Kyler, so he got Alice to take it....and I thought ' Yeah, gotta do that'......

Soon it was my turn, and as I approached Alice he said, 'Are you alright? I saw that guy jumping on you, he was really going for you wasn't he? Bit of a scrum going on there....I think he liked you and was trying to get with you'......and he and Kyler were laughing especially when I told then how he fell over the barrier. Thank you Alice for caring! Well, noticing anyway :)
He did the usual, asked how to spell my name (cos he always forgets) and I said Penny Dreadful - he said do you watch that programme? But I don't......
He signed my new cane, about 8 LP covers, the free poster, also my denim jacket, and then I asked him to draw me a cartoon self portrait to put in my next scrapbook, which he also signed, and THEN I asked him about the Halloween gig - was there going to be one?........................and he said 'YES'!!
Kyler was like, 'Noooooooooooooooo, don't tell anyone',  but it seems that the band, sans Alice, will be doing a gig in Edinburgh, and he might be doing a small gig just for fans in London, watch this space!! I was so ecstatic, that I accidentally kissed him, oops (so sorry Sheryl) but Kyler didn't catch it on camera so I had to do it again.....
Kyler wouldn't let Alice take any more pics, so he did a couple of selfies with me, and then I let                                                                                       Janice have her turn.

At this point I realised that my laminate had fallen off its lanyard..OH THE FUCK NOOOO  ..........Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa........................
Luckily, Bujie appeared right about then, so I asked her if she could get me another one - and she did, bless her. THANKS BUJIE xx

Back out in the theatre I spotted Andy (lighting) dispappearing through a side door, so I unfortunately missed him this time, but at least Steve saw him, and hopefully we can meet up in Stockholm. He is hilariously funny and a really nice guy.
When I eventually got outside, it was still light (and warm) at 11.30pm! All the bars were still open, multitudes of people were out and about, and I thought, how fab to be daylight all summer - but I guess it must be shite in the winter. I found Steve in a bar with Dave and his wife, so we sat and had chips with them before eventually deciding that it might be time to get back to the hotel(evenm though it was day light - where we met up in the foyer with Janice, as we were all helping ourselves to the free tea and coffee. Eventually got to sleep, with my cane at my side lol.
Pic by Kyler

Jun 11, 2015

My 'local' Rock Pub

It isn't really local by UK standards, being 50 mins drive from my doorstep, but I suppose if you were American, it would be, ' I'm popping next door to the pub', seeing as they think nothing of driving 150 miles to go for a days shopping or sightseeing and that sort of thing.

I first discovered the Iron Road when Damon Johnson, late of the Alice Cooper band, and currently playing for Black Star Riders, AKA Thin Lizzy, announced he was coming to the Uk to play some acoustic gigs, in small venues around and about. Having seen him with Alice and with TL, I thought it was defo worth going, and I was not wrong, he is brilliant. I don't really do acoustic, really. But I loved it, such a treat for me I really enjoyed listening to him.

 I bought his album and it has become one of my favourite driving cds. Well, actually it's on my ipod, but I did listen to it exclusively for weeks after the gig.  Funny int it, how nobody really listens to whole albums any more, it's more a case of listening to playlists........................When I think of how it used to be, one LP on the turntable for 3 months, having to  pick off the needle to listen to the same track again and again, thereby rendering the vinyl scratchy, jumping and useless...............I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I'd be able to make a playlist of songs I wanted to hear, without having to listen to any of those tracks that were a waste of time, y'know what I mean.............


 brought along pal Ricky Warwick from Black Star Riders. It was flipping awesome to see these

Anyway, I am rambling. Since that first Iron Road visit, I have been back twice to see Gallus guys and it's a treat to see them in such a modest setting (it's a teeny weeny pub, with a stage the size of my dining table). And they are truly heroic in their efforts to pay homage to The Master, driving all the way down from Scotland with as many props as they can cram into their van - sadly the Iron Road is just too small for the gallows, but there are plenty of other things to make up for it, of course.  Alice's snake Veronica, straightjackets, whips, a manic nurse, canes, baby dolls, a noose hanging from the lightfitting and a multitude of awesome costumes for my friend Bill Crowe to wear (made by another friend Rachael!) - Cyclops, ('it smells in here' lol ) The Black Widow Spider),  Igor, and Frankenstein to mention but a few - and of course, they do all those songs you wish Alice would do. And I can't remember any of them atm, duh......

 Umm, wait, they did 'You Drive Me Nervous', which I love!! And it's a bloody good chance to yell your head off, singing along to all yer fave Alice songs. Seeing as the man himself has deserted us for the last 2 years.........................:(

So, back to Damon and tonight. It was clear from the beginning that Ricky was in charge.....and he is an awesomely powerful singer, they have an amazing chemistry, they know each other well and they play fantastically well together...............................And there were lots of TL hits, plus solo stuff, and some completely random and brilliant songs, like for instance. Ace of Spades! Bloody brilliant.

I saw Damon on his own last year, and I have to say, I preferred his slightly more laid back style, lots of rock tracks, sure, but also lots of his own ballads (oooh, did I say ballads??), so, I hope when he comes back, that he leaves Ricky behind.............. (oops, did I say that out loud??)

I did hear the bar owner asking Ricky if he would bring back some of his other band mates.....(eg Scott) but clearly that's not going to happen, it's a teeny pub.......even Ricky was saying, 'Well, he is Scott Gorham...',  and then, whilst waiting to speak to Damon, some chav pushed in front of me and shoved his girl inbetween DJ and Ricky, saying, 'Stand next to Scott and Ricky luv, for a pic'. I tried to tell him it was Damon, but he ignored me, and kept on calling him Scott. Damon was a gracious as ever, not correcting him, and letting him take silly amounts of photos.....grrrrrr.
But, what a fabulous night out, and not even an hour from my house, lol.

Ah well, bed is calling,  roll on the next gig......Foo Fighters at Wembley, omg, not excited, not at all,