Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bilbao - Deptford - via Heathrow

Coming back from northern Spain after only a week away, I was verging on depressed at the thought of returning. However, settling down in my seat, I noticed a famous person shuffling down the airplane aisle and whispered to my sister in the seat in front of me, "Hey, Paul Weller's new album sales can't be doing too well if he's flying economy"...A big bloke had just sat down next to my sister and heard me. He turned round and said "Paul's a Man of the People...and I'm the bass guitarist...and he's the drummer" (as he indicated the young bearded bloke who was sitting down next to me). Ooops.

Weller sat with his girlfriend a couple of rows behind, and most of the aisle seats in the middle of the plane were taken up with his band and crew. I told the drummer how I used to be a drummer too, but he wasn't in the mood for small talk. He was heading back to Liverpool, so this was the start of quite a long journey.

We knew they were in town because we'd seen the posters in the streets of Bilbao when we'd come to the city to go to the Guggenheim – there was a three day music festival that also featured Pearl Jam, Gomez, Manic Street Preachers, Faith No More, Alice in Chains and Skunk Anansie (and certain artists who are more popular in Europe than they are here), but it was Weller's pic on the posters.

Meanwhile the bass guitarist was quite chatty and told my sister that they'd just played one night in Bilbao, had stayed in a very nice hotel, thankyou (not a budget Travelodge / Mercure / Ibis), then he settled down to read Defence of the Realm: an authorised history of M15...

Here's Weller and "she changed my life" girlfriend (left wife and two kids for backing singer earlier this year) marching along the walking escalator...(click on the picture if you want an enlargement to see how fashionably short his trousers are)...

Here's the group queuing up at EU Passport Control...terrible picture, don't know where the drummer is, but the bass player's the bloke in the striped jumper, behind an almost white haired Weller. We were all through in five minutes and never saw the band again since they'd only stayed one night and didn't have bags to collect (except for a couple of grumbling crew members picking up precious sound gear).

And here's about a thousand people from all over the world who've just arrived at Heathrow who don't have EU passports, queuing for hours in the "All Other Passports" line to get in, surrounded by signs saying "The Fastest Way to Central London"...probably the worst entry to a country I've ever seen. Anyone frail or in poor health would chance dying in that queue. This picture shows just a third of the queue. I was told by a small security guy not to take pictures. Signs said to switch off mobiles. If there was any time you'd want to use your mobile, this would be it.

No comments:

Post a Comment