Jan 25, 2018

PEAS AND CARROTS

It's been a long agonising wait for this tour. Years. Was worried that I wouldn't make it. But I'm still here and so I embarked on the long and difficult process of buying tix. Was all seated -which sucks when you're trying to get near the front, but is heavenly when you arrive at gigs and don't have to queue for 10+ hours.
The ticket buying fiasco didn't help - in normal countries,  you buy a ticket and they hand it to you. But not here, oh no. Here, you buy 2 tickets for 2 shows in the same place on consecutive days, and one is downloadable instantly,  the other you have to wait 3 months before they send it in the post. And it gets worse. 5 UK arenas, 5 tickets,  one instant, one 3 months later,  and the others nail-bitingly at the last bloody minute, as you are about to set off. It's a stressful business, an Alice tour....

Of course, I wasn't on my own, my dear friend and gig buddy, Steve, was there with me all the way,  it would not be the same without him, we are like peas and carrots, lol.
We decided early on that, a) Arenas are horrible, so we probably wouldn't do all 5 shows, and b), the preceding 2 shows in Dublin were bound to be much more atmospheric, and anyway, it's so close,  it would be rude not to go. A number of other Sick Things clearly felt the same way  and so I was looking forward to a gathering of the faithful in the Emerald Isle.
Of course, as we all know the original AC band then announced that they would be coming on tour with Alice to the 5Uk gigs.....so it seemed like the only thing to do would be to book all the shows, I mean, how could you not??

When I was 14 and madly in love with Alice, and his band of sequined high kicking cohorts, my dear mother (bless you Mum, I forgive you totally ) absolutely hated Alice, and refused to even contemplate letting me go to see him..... That was 1972, so the solitary gig in Glasgow was a nono, and then he didn't even come here for ages.........The first time I ever saw him was in 75 at Wembley, Welcome To My Nightmare......and I was so bloody far away, I needed binoculars (pretty bloody awesome gig tho) ....and of course the band had split by then, so I never saw them play together. So it was incredible to think they were going to play together again, and that I might actually see them at last....hence I got online and made sure we had tix for the whole thing.

Flipping long wait it, was, but eventually November arrived. And with it, the very sad death of Janice Langan, longtime fan and friend, somebody I always met up with at gigs - we used to photo/video each other at VIP's, cannot believe she missed this tour, she would've been so happy to meet up with Dennis and Mike, and see them play together again......so we made a banner with a pic of her and Alice, and took it with us to get everyone to sign it. We'll give it to her daughter Raychell after the tour.


We spent a weekend sorting out the hotels/travelling, and then we were ready to go! Set off for Dublin with Denise and Mandy at stoopid oclock, stopping on the way for a magnificent English brekkie......finally getting off the ferry and arriving at our Air B'N'B apartment - which was 2 doors down from the theatre, late afternoon. Sarah was already there, having opted to fly. What a great apartment!! Comfy beds (one each) well equipped kitchen and bathroom, AND a giant plaster sheep which we christened Pat,( after having decorated his eyes a bit).
Ok, the appartment was a little bit tired with the decor, and a couple of broken bits in the bathrooms, really needed a bit of TLC, but it was so perfect for the venue - we only had to lean out of the window to see if there was q forming!! And then, while queueing, we could pop back for the loo/tea/change of clothes etc.








This was all a couple of months ago now, so I'm a bit blurry with the details, but I think we went off to Bad Bobs (which would become a regular haunt) and had some dinner.
The following morning we set up a prescence by the door, along a couple of Germans (no not those Germans sadly, miss them!) and a guy whos name escapes me...Neil?

After a while Steve and I went a wandering, bumping into Tommy and Kyler almost immediately, what a small world! How great it was to see them again after so long! Tommy was happy to give us band passes for the evening, so we were looking forward to meeting up with all the others too.
After breakfasting at the Hard Rock - this turned out to be the band's home from home, and a place which we kept returning to, missing them every time......!
Anyway, all day queueing, blah blah, Si, Sparky, Bill, Kai and Rachael turned up, and a guy called Dave, no idea of his other name! It started raining, and the management wouldn't let us shelter under the theatre canopy, and made us wait round the corner in the wet. Sunila had sold her ticket and Michael turned up in the nick of time to collect it! I sold my balcony tic for the following day which came with the M&G online long before we arrived, got £50 for it, but Steve only managed to get a pittance for his. Shame I wasn't around, I sold another tic for Sunila, and bargained my way up to, er....25 Euros I think it was. I'm sure I could got more for Steve, sorry mate.

Anyway, what a great theatre! Tiny place, even the circle was close to the stage, absolutely loved it. And brilliant to see Little Betty back on tour, this is her third year!! Thank you for looking after her MM! And it looks like she has a friend...
After the show Nita said how great it was that we were all there, leaping about and singing etc etc - they've been playing to seated audiences in States and everybody had been a bit quiet - well, we're certainly not quiet! Think we went out with Kyler somewhere after, probably Bad Bobs again! Or it might've been their hotel - which was very posh, and the barman asked if we were all staying there otherwise we'd have to leave. At this point Tommy announced that, yes, we were all staying there, so could we have some more drinks please? Bloke clearly didn't believe him, but, hey! It's Tommy!!

So Steve and I had VIP the next day, and Mandy had to go home to work, at Stoopid o'clock, boo.....Denise slept on the couch, with Pat the Sheep keeping an eagle eye on her...
We hung about at the theatre for a while in the morning, and then went off to Grafton St, and St Stephens Green, which Steve was named after! We sorta looked out for Alice, but decided that meeting up with him was such a long shot, that we wouldn't stress about it, so we had a nice morning wandering about, not buying anything. Got too much stuff already!
Having picked up our VIP tix at 5, we waited at the theatre door for Bujie, taking some pics, and then Amber showed up to photobombed us!

Bujie turned up soon after that and let us in and gave all of us (quite a lot of peeps or the VIP!) the chat about no selfies, only 3 things to sign etc etc. Tour was the usual, got some better piccies of Frank this time, thanks to Amber.
Another great show - they dropped Dept of Youth and did Lost In America instead, just for us Sick Things, cos we'd been there the night before. Which was great, except for Sparky, whos fave track is Dept of Youth...!! I started off throwing the roses during Poison on this night, and Alice has a great way of trashing them completely by thrashing them on his knee! I usually manage to get some of the petals for my scrapbook. And it soon became a Thing that I Do.

We waited til last at the VIP as we do, and as we approached Alice, he said, 'Hey, I saw you guys out shopping earlier, in Grafton St'.........................Words failed me, although I should've said, 'Why didn't you stop us and ask for our autographs??' After I'd picked my jaw up off the floor, he signed a load of things for me, and then looked through my latest scrapbook, stopping at one pic and saying to Kyler, 'This would make a great poster'! He seemed genuinely interested  - as he always does, bless him, and we got some really lovely pics. On the way out, we agreed to meet up with Kyler afterwards for a drink, but somehow we missed him. Went to the wrong bar I think, hah, but we spent a lovely evening in Bad Bobs!

A brilliant 2 days, SO glad we did it! I don't think Denise got home til the wee small hours, Steve and I arrived back at my place for the night quite late, but both very keen to get up and go up to Leeds for the next leg of the tour.































Oct 16, 2017


CUPBOARD LOVE


It’s Stockholm Grona Lund time again. Having been there for the last 2 years, it seems like it might become a regular yearly Alice outing. Was a bit different this time, because Steve couldn’t make it, so I managed to convince hubby John that our next long weekend away should be in Stockholm, and he was like, ‘yeah, why not’.
We decided on a four day tour, Stockholm is such a lovely city, with lots to see, and a great atmosphere. We set off on Tues am, with our minimal luggage, I like to think we are getting better at not packing much, but I still have a way to go. But I will need to get better, as we are planning our gap year, hah, so it’s gotta be minimal. Planning to get tips of daughter Amy, when she gets back from her 9 months of touring 😊
 I booked a bus from the airport to the Central Station, and the hotel was a short walk from there. I was a bit worried about the short walk, I have been struggling with short walks lately, well, any bloody walks at all tbh, and having no energy at all, tis a bit of a problem, BUT it wasn’t too bad, really……….. Note to self, need to get some proper walking shoes….
 Lovely hotel, plenty of free tea in the lobby, well some kind of raspberry stuff, lol, but they can always find you some English Breakfast if you ask. Usually, I bring t bags. In fact, I ALWAYS bring t bags, but I forgot this time, oops.
Our room on 4th floor is via beautiful old fashioned wrought iron lift. But the room!!! It’s actually a cupboard. Just enough space for a double bed, small table on one side, wall on the other, bit of a gap at the end of the bed, your suitcase has to go under it,  and teeny (but adequate) ensuite by the side. No WINDOW. Thought this would be ok when booking but is horrible! You have no idea when morning arrives!! Honestly, I think if I had a room like this at home, I would just sleep all the time………
Wed am. Well, at least breakfast is great, ridiculous amounts of food……. Bacon, beans, eggs, sausages (frankfurters anyway), pancakes, about 6 different kinds of bread for toast, butter, cheese spread, marge etc, lots of different teas, cereals, yoghurt, fruit, dried and fresh, cookies, gluten free stuff, lactose free milk/yogs etc, ham, cheeses, salad vegs, so much food!! Lots of stuff to make lunch with!! And you need to, believe me, everything is ridiculously expensive otherwise, especially for us UK types. What I really liked was the bowl of fresh tomatoes. I have a thing about cherry toms, especially the ‘chocolate tomato’ variety, you know, the dark one that’s always in the variety pack, but there’s always only one of them………so I could cherry pick (pun intended) all my faves from the bowl!!
We spent the morning exploring the old town, Gamla Stan,  which is a fabulous complex of shops, cafes and small streets ………..great fun, but my feet were killing me after a few hours of that. I carried on anyway – I am such a trouper, (sarcasm) ……and we ended up in a nice looking restaurant opposite the hotel. But after 40 mins wait, we got cheesed off with the lack of interest, so we left and went somewhere else. The London restaurant, I believe it was called, which was very nice and the staff were much more attentive.
 
Thursday. The BIG Alice day!!! I made myself a nice lunch from the breakfast buffet, and  set off for the venue early. I got there at 10.30  - having been before, I know you have to wait at the steps until they open up the second part of the theme park, usually at 11.00.
 But there were shedloads of people there!! And I only just made it to the barrier………!
Luckily there was still room for friends Sara and Tamara who came along a bit later, and I made lots of new friends -  Paul from NZ and Sofie G. I actually managed to get a bit of a suntan, 😊. Gotta say, I quite enjoyed the  10+ hour wait – it helped that I stole some cushions from the hotel to sit on!  At about 4.30, I had to borrow Pauls umbrella for shade, cos it was just sooo  flipping hot. I should know better by now, I MUST remember to bring an umbrella next time…………………….
I took one of my scrapbooks along, hoping to get some band sigs in it, so I showed it to a lot of peeps, who all seemed to appreciate it, thank you one and all.
At about 5 pm, the masses arrived, so we had to stand up from then on.  John came back at this point and took away all my excess luggage, luckily for me he had already gone along to the Hard Rock Café, and purchased a vinyl album and a CD, complete with 2 raffle tix for M&G , bless him! I was so worried they were gonna sell out, and I wanted to win that Meet and Greet, SO much…..
He retired a bit further back at this point to watch the show, and take some pics. And how good was the show!!!! Abso LOVED it, so good to see Alice again after a year off…….( it was SUCH a crappy year………)
  
I was sorry not to hear ‘Escape’, because Tommy and I talked about getting it into the set a couple years ago,  but we did get to hear the new single Paranoiac Personality, plus Man behind The Mask, (but no backpack Bujie, ), The World Needs Guts, Pain, and all the usual stuff, and it was bloody AWESOME, it’s been a long, long year and it was a real pleasure to be back in the zone again! Tommy kept throwing me pics and I kept missing them! But I got one in the end, and also one from Nita, who kept pointing at me, bless her.
 
 
I couldn’t believe how quick the time passed, seemed like half an hour, and then it was all over…. Great ,great  show. SO MUCH FUN!!!
   
 
 

I love Alice shows, always makes me feel alive!!I only wish I could go on to Finland for the next one. But honestly, this is always such a great one to do, and there is nearly always an aftershow do at the Hard Rock, on account of Ryan living in Stockholm.
Tamara had ordered a taxi and she let me share it (thanks SO much, Tamara xx) so we actually managed to get to the Hard Rock Cafe in time for the prize draw – a M&G with Alice. -  pah . no 49 was the winner.  And I had 19 and 20…..not a lot of use,………..but  hey ho, such is life.
There is a VIP area in the back of the restaurant which you can’t get into without a pass, but you can loiter near it, so that’s  what I did.  Conveniently, the wall here was decorated with ‘Paranormal’ posters, so I unobtrusively prised one off the wall……..
Lucky for me, Tommy saw me and came out to chat. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him, so we had a quick catch up and a couple of hugs  - it was so great to see him it’s been ages!  He was very happy to hear that I am now in remission 😊 , yeah me too! He said that Alice was definitely coming along that evening, in fact he was probably already here. Panic! Need to get to the stage!! But I could see the tiny floor space in front of it was already heaving, so I decided to make my way across to the other side of the bar, in hopes of seeing better. But before I could move,  I bumped into Chuck and he asked how I was doing too, bless him for remembering.  I began to wend my way thru the crowd, spotting Ryan’s wife Bianca on my way -  and a minute later Ryan came through, spotted me, and asked how I was too! And then, if I’d seen his wife 😊, so I pointed him in the right direction and carried on with my mission to find a place to see the stage from.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t anywhere. Except mebbe the top of the bar, but I’m afraid my ‘leaping up and fending off the objectors ‘ days are over (which is sad…but it’s only because I can’t move very well any more, I would SO have done it 20 years ago, the attitude is still there!), so I abandoned all hope, and convinced myself that I was just happy to be in the same building.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAnd breathe……………………
So Alice came on to do a Q and A, but, not only couldn’t I see what was going on, I couldn’t hear a bloody thing either lol, …….ah well………………………….by the time he’d finished and all the lightweights had gone, I at least I got to have a chat with Kyler, and also Glen and Nita , who were both able to sign my scrapbook.
I kinda folded at this point, being completely knackered and also starving hungry, so I went outside and got some fast food at a local 7 Eleven, a lovely hot dog, (yuck, but hey, needs must etc) -  But where have all the UK 7-11’s gone? We used to them all over the UK, but I haven’t seen one for ages…… I guess it’s  probably because all the food they sell is crap…..and we still have Macdonalds for that.  Guess they couldn’t compete….Gah, they’re all rubbish, hah!
My sense of direction is totally pants, so I had no idea whereabouts I was in relation to my hotel, so I collapsed into a taxi……..which then drove me round the corner and charged me about £10  to do it, ffs
I was so happy to get back to our little cupboard, John was there already, so we collapsed in a heap as soon possible and didn’t surface for a very long time. …………..It may have been daylight, but who knows??  So weird not knowing if it’s light or not when you wake up….

We decided to go to the Vasa Museum the following day – good idea really as it was chucking it down with rain.
And WOWEE, it’s amazing, a reconstructed 15th century war ship – badly built, as it sank about half a mile into its maiden voyage……..luckily, It was covered completely by the mud, and so was preserved  for centuries, until some mad Swedish bloke on a mission discovered where it was, and managed to get it hauled up. Even though it was still intact, it had to be taken apart and reconstructed, which took , well, bloody ages, and shedloads of money, but it does look awesomely spectacklier.
We went on to the Viking museum, hoping for refs to our fave Viking, Ragnar Lothbrok, and he was mentioned a couple of times, along with his brother, Rollo, who became the first duke of Normandy.  There was a mannequin made up to look like a ‘typical Viking’, but it wasn’t really anything like the Ragnor TV  image ……..not surprising really, as Travis Fimmell was a Calvin Klein model before he descended into balding tattooed grimyness.
We ended up in a nice restaurant by the water, eating a ridiculously price -inflated pizza, and feeding the ducks all the crispy burnt bits. I hope they appreciated it.
Saturday morning.  John wasn’t feeling to good , so we went on a river trip that involved sitting down most of the day. It went round most of the 14 islands of Stockholm, lovely houses, scenery, etc, and we had a nice rest and got a bit of a tan, and then we had to get ourselves to the airport for the flight home. What a ridiculous place. I bought a sandwich and a glass of wine, and it was £35 quid! And then, we weren’t sure where to go, so we went downstairs looking for the bus,  and couldn’t get back up to the departure gate! Locked doors, the lift kept going past the right floor, ffs, at one point we could see the lounge through the glass, and in the end we had to bang on it, to get somebody to let us in again.  Even then they made us traipse a mile around the airport so they could let us in the ‘right place’. FFS
But all the while, John was feeling worse and worse, and then in the end, it turned out he had tonsillitis, something he used to get all the time, but hasn’t had for years,. But by the time we got to Gatwick, he was feeling really shite.
AND, about 10 mins after we’d got off the plane, I realised that I’d left my Paranormal poster on the floor by my seat. But they wouldn’t let us back to get it, as we had passed thru customs…  Pooo….I never got it back, in spite of numerous emails to the airline…..
Poor John, he managed to drive home, and we collapsed in our lovely bed at some ungodly hour. He spent the next week in it, swallowing bucketfuls of antibiotics, while I bombarded Norwegian Airlines lost property for my poster……..to no avail. It never turned up, I guess some rotten plane cleaner thought it was rubbish and threw it away……….. Will have to go to London, and swipe one from a random tube station…………