It was approximately 10 minutes after arriving in Birmingham International Airport’s departure lounge ahead of our long-awaited honeymoon to Mauritius, and I’d already spotted someone I know – namely an old Gems TV cameraman I’d not seen in 4 years. I make a habit of this when I’m in and around Brum, which has irritated people I’ve been with before, but Natalie isn’t the least bit bothered by my constant chance meetings with folk – her primary concern was getting a window seat for the 2 long flights ahead, first to Dubai, then onto Mauritius.
On our way to BHX we’d passed a giant billboard advertising a film entitled “The Last Airbender”, the latest offering from the bloke behind The Sixth Sense, namely M. Night Shalamalamarammalammadingdong. You know, him. Strange title for a movie, and I thought at that moment that Nighty (as he must be known in the dressing room) missed a trick with this blockbuster. Had he named it “The Last Airbiscuit” and centred the plot around my occasionally pungent colleague Danny James, guitarist of Dressed To Kill, who releases a fart so apocalyptically bad that it threatens the very ecosystem that surrounds us, then you’d have had a proper disaster movie on your hands rather than some sub-Harry Potter tripe.
We arrived in the middle of the night at Dubai Airport with 2 hours to kill before our connecting flight to Mauritius. I don’t quite know why I expected to see the rich and famous casually milling about the duty free areas at that time in the morning, but in terms of star names buying oversize Toblerones or overpriced hazelnut lattes, I drew a spectacular blank – thankfully our flight was called before we spent money we didn’t have – I had dreamt about receiving an upgrade and finally turning left on a plane, but such luxury was not forthcoming and instead I sat next to a gentleman with the worst body odour I have ever encountered, whilst Natalie’s knee was buffeted several times by the inexperienced stewardess who clearly wasn’t in full control of her drinks trolley.
7 hours later, tired and weary, we emerged into Mauritius mid-morning not knowing where we were mean to be going…to be greeted by my first ever placard with my name on it as we passed through Arrivals. A tonic and no mistake, we were ferried by taxi through the sugar cane fields and transferred to our hotel on the North West of the island – not that we saw much of the island on our journey, having fallen straight to sleep, something Natalie and I had singularly failed to do on 2 Emirates flights, largely down to the inflight entertainment system to be fair. And the inability to sleep next to a man who stank to high heaven.
The whole idea behind our honeymoon was to do the square root of bugger all for 10 days, sit on a sunlounger, read, drink and eat ourselves senseless on the all-inclusive buffet. This we achieved with unqualified success, although I shall try and put one evening out of my mind where something evidently disagreed with me. Enough said – make your own mental pictures.
We were ‘entertained’ by the constant musak pumped through the hotel speaker system - I say entertained…confused might say it better. How many hotel CD systems play ‘5705’ by City Boy, then a Steve Vai track and then follow that with some of the worst lounge lizard band cover versions of popular tunes that I’ll ever hear, like ‘Live & Let Die’ ‘Time After Time’ & ‘Shout’? Still, someone’s making a load of money out of such pap - It has merely hardened my resolve to now make the album I always should have made…Pan Pipe Metal.
Yes, travel to the mysterious Andes and hear ‘Ace Of Spades’ ‘Balls To The Wall’ ‘Paranoid’ ‘Angel Of Death’, Enter Sandman’ and many many more played by the haunting melodies of the Pategonian’s best friend. It’s a winner I reckon. Ok, maybe not then.
My upset stomach did recover upon hearing the news that Blues had come from behind to beat Blackburn…oh, ok then and the news that the Villa had got walloped by 6 at Newcastle. The Mauritians (sound like aliens don’t they?) are absolutely potty about the Premier League. Typically, they’ll tune in at 3pm their time on a Saturday to watch our lunchtime kick off, then one of our 3pm kick offs and the teatime game too. They can’t get enough of it. This is just one example of where the exorbitant wages come from in our game – international broadcast rights. I’ll wager Mr Scudamore charges the TV folk there a tad more than 2 boxes of matches & half an egg to get the pictures.
One thing you can do on your holidays is listen to your ipod more intently and rate the music you love without distractions that normally come in everyday life. I remember my shuffle mode suddenly bringing up ‘If You’re Thinking Of Me’ by Dodgy – what an amazing tune. Why on earth wasn’t that single as huge as ‘Wonderwall’ or ‘Turn’? Beats me. Infact that whole album “Free Peace Suite” hasn’t a bad song on it. Dodgy deserved better
Jeff Beck’s new album was a particular treat to listen to uninterrupted. His version of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ is just so beautiful & so haunting it brought a lump to my throat. Looking the song up on youtube, some plonker commented that when he heard it played on Radio 2, he thought it was Hank Marvin!!!! Good grief, man, wash out your ears! Hank bloody Marvin indeed…
And before you knew it, it was time to return to Blighty with another torturous long flight via Dubai. Batteries suitably recharged, though. Now to start work on Pan Pipe Metal…where’s that distortion pedal?