On Wednesday I ate a bagel with cream cheese and chugged down a large hot chocolate with whipped cream. The occasion called for serious carbo loading. We had a Radiohead show to attend!
You may recall the last time I saw my beloved boys, I embarrassingly fainted from excitement, and knocked over a few lasses before hitting the floor. This time I was determined to be prepared and get through the gig without medical attention.
There’s no way to describe how excited I was without sounding like a really sad bastard. It was so all-consuming, my limbs were tingling and my heart trilled like an idling engine. I just wanted to get there and get my elbows out to jostle for a good spot, to see the lights dip and hear the crowd roar. You know the feeling, it’s the same glorious anticipation when it’s been too long between shags or you’ve just undressed a family-size chocolate bar.
Last time I saw Radiohead I’d only been going out with Gareth for a couple of weeks, but now we’re old and married I don’t have to have to pretend that it’s entirely about the music.
He is most tolerant and understanding of my undying lust for his royal tallness, Mister Ed O’Brien.
“Where are you going to stand? Edside, I presume?”
“Oh fuck aye!”
“And I s’pose you’ll be wanting to get up close since he’s cut his hair short again, just the way you like it.”
This gig was all the more interesting because it was in Amsterdam. Radiohead announced their mini European tour a few months ago, playing smaller venues to showcase their new tunes. This sparked a ticketing frenzy, and after seven fruitless hours on their pre-sale website then a panicky encounter with the Ticketmaster general sale a few days later, we decided to go Dutch. Or rather, I decided and then later convinced Gareth to come along and bring the smelling salts and spare undies.
Besides, I’d never been to Amsterdam and it would be our first holiday together in which we didn’t have one of our weddings to go to!
So after a day of sightseeing we finally arrived at the Heineken Music Hall, all well nourished and hydrated. We were greeted with the Times New Roman of Doom.
Sadly, due to a sudden and unexpected family bereavement, the show was cancelled.
It’s a strange situation, because on one hand you can’t help feeling crushed that you came a long way to see your most favourite band and now you won’t see them and even though the show has been rescheduled for August you won’t be able to come because it was a fiscal stretch to make this sortie to Amsterdam, let alone do it all over again in a few months.
But on the other hand, you feel the PIRANHAS OF GUILT gnawing at your stomach for feeling so devastated, because somebody has lost someone, and you know how you’d feel if it happened to you. We later found out that it was Phil Selway’s mum who passed away. He posted a wee message on their blog which makes your heart go out to him.
“Just wanted to say sorry to the people who were due to come to our show in Amsterdam last night, particularly those who made wasted journeys. My mum died suddenly in the early hours of yesterday morning and so I just wanted to be at home with my family. Mum was a big Radiohead fan, and was very proud of all we’ve done as a band. I love and miss her very much.”
Oh you just read that and really hope he is doing okay. And you want to reassure on behalf of all dedicated-but-totally-not-stalkersome fans that it was not a wasted journey because we got to spend a couple of days in a great city. We saw touristy things like Anne Frank’s House and the Van Gogh Museum and ladies in glass boxes in the Red Light District. It averaged 23 degrees so I freaked out at the unfamiliar sensation of sunshine on bare arms.
But my favourite bit was last night, sitting by the canals near 10pm, eating takeaway sushi and watching all the people cruising past in their boats. Unfortunately every photo I took on this trip is beyond mediocre, so just close your eyes and imagine blue skies and squeaky bicycles.