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.