I woke up pumped, psyched, ready to go. Ready steady, on to Paree; on y va and start this thing. I was so pumped that after I kissed Elaine goodbye before she drove to work, and kissed the kids after I drove them to school, I pumped up my car’s tyres; I returned home, packed up the remainder of my stuff, set my suitcase by the front door in wait for my taxi and… my Paris flight was cancelled. It seems the dark, snaking fingers of the striking air traffic controllers in France would touch my journey after all.
Of the cancellation, I informed Tour Manager Mike and Production Manager Dave, and left it with them to make the magic happen. In the meantime, I decided to ‘do’ a water change for the fish — we keep tropical fish you see, and after a 30L exchange, they should be ok until next Saturday when Elaine and Lars will have to do it. That takes the pressure off Elaine, who until today, has retained the services of me, otherwise known as a house-husband; now she reverts to a single-mother life with her nine-to-five job and the kids.
While doing the water change, I received a new travel itinerary; instead of my Easyjet flight taking me directly to Paris, the new plan involved two legs: one to Heathrow, and the next to Paris. It’s a longer day than the original plan, but I’ll still get into Paris with plenty of time before setting up the equipment for rehearsals.
The journey to Heathrow was uneventful, save for the event itself, but once there, having transferred to Terminal 5, I was denied access to security a total of three times due to a mysterious boarding pass complication which remains unsolved to my mind. Hither and yon, thon and thither I traipsed, end-to-end and back again in T5’s departure hall, under a vast arch of empty space held up by huge steel works, until the computer finally allowed me into X-ray Village.
Although the BA326 flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle was delayed, it was thankfully not canceled; after another flight of events unworthy of song, and upon arrival at CDG, while waiting for bags, an announcement sounded on the PA system, in French and English. The English announcement went something like this:
“Attention — this is a security announcement. Due to an incident, it is requested that you murph morn mumph so that we may harm garf duntoph.”
It became apparent that whatever the message was, everyone present had technically entered into some sort of collective death pact; no one was going anywhere until they got their bags. Indeed, the carousel began to roll and luggage appeared while the announcement was repeated until it magically stopped.
The last UHTC crew member to arrive in Paris, I was met by Dave and Paul shortly after 11.30pm, and they whisked me away to a secret location where a room was made ready and I jumped into bed and dreamed of candy apples eating my brains, and a cruel fish wearing a bowler hat who dangled packets of guitar strings ahead of me while I treadmilled into the nothingness of empty space.