MY RIVERSIDE EXPERIENCE
Still coming to terms with just how good a day it was. Maybe trying to put it all down into words will do the whole shindig some justice, as well as jogging my memory! After all, it does get a little hazy around 6pm-ish. OK, VERY HAZY.
11:30pm, Saturday 6th. My flight from 'the booze up to end all booze ups' in Amsterdam arrives back at Liverpool airport after a three hour delay and I realise that I've no money left to fund my little sojourn down south on Monday. I was supposed to phone ladyart (debs) earlier in the week about the possibility of a lift, but, typical me, I put it to the back of my tiny little mind, thinking 'I can always phone her from Holland, I've got her moby number on my phone. What's the rush?'
Well, my laissez faire approach WOULD have worked fine were it not for the fact that I got mugged on the second night by some loveable crack dealer, mobile included.
So, no way I can ring debs up until I get home and check her pm - containing the digits in question - on BNet. By the time I get home however its 2am, and I can't get online because my parents are both fast asleep and giving it some zzzz's in the bedroom where my pc is, presumably having given up hope I was coming home alive. Ho hum...
I hadn't been in contact with anybody for almost a week so there was plan in place as to HOW I was going to get to the Riverside and worse, WHERE I was going to sleep! Things are looking a touch 'fooked' and I'm beginning to think very bad thoughts indeed.
Up for work on the Sunday morning at 7am, still stoned/pissed from all the evil vices I entertained in 'dam.
I'm wandering around the shop floor, feeling like a boiled turd and praying that I can get in touch with debs at some point in the afternoon. At 12 I get a much needed dinner hour, bomb it back home, log onto BNet and finally get debs number. We chat, but its bad news. She's not driving down anymore and has opted for the train instead. Bollocks.
Still, there's a plan B. Colliss and Chris Knowles had also offered to give me a lift down last week so I send an optimistic pm their way and sulk off back to work (late) feeling despondant.
I get back home at 8pm, feeling absolutely knackered. Alcohol, pot, a 12 hour shift and whopping 15 hours sleep in the last 4 days have this effect. Try it! Fun for all the family. You'll thank me. With hefty punches probably.
Now don't you just love parents? Mine are a sweet pair. To my surprise they've took pity on me, splashed out 55 quid on a train ticket and give me 70 quid to spend whilst I'm down there. I don't kiss my dad too often if I can help it, but he gets a big sloppy one on the lips for his welcome donation to the 'Si's Buggered And Can't Go To The Riverside' charity. No tongues mind.
Feeling a bit cheery now to say the least. OK, so I've nowhere to SLEEP but pah, who cares? My train back home is at 10 am. I can survive till then and besides, something will come up surely?
After a sleepless night I climb out of my pit at 8am. The night has been a mortal hell, absolutely DYING to go to sleep but far too excited to get some shut-eye.
My trains at 10:30, so I figure I've got time to kill. On my way to the station I call into town to see my girlfriend at her work, and she kindly sneaks me a six pack of lager from out back for the train journey down to Euston.
The trip down takes FOREVER. Its supposed to be a 3 hour trek but I reckon somebody extended the line a bit just to really mess with my head. Thankfully, I'm sat next to the SMELLIEST man on earth and facing me, Mr and Mrs Gob On Legs, who apparently see my futile attempts to get some kip as a cue to start screaming at eachother over trivial matter such as sandwiches/who packed the Marmite/their favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle... etc. Bastards.
Such misfortune drives a poor sod to drink so, remembering the six pack of Stella in my carrier bag, I crack open a few beers. Might even help me sleep I think, beginning to show symptoms of insanity through sleep depravation.
I dunno how, but I manage to spill a can all over the table, drowning Mr Pongo and the Talkalot Twins in lager. Great, 2 hours left to go and I've made three brand new enemies already. Good going Si.
After an uncomfortable and soggy journey I arrive at Euston at 2-ish, hop on the tube and get to The Trout for about 3. Here at last, and what a crowd!
Plenty of people have gathered in the beer garden out back and I nervously head in that direction, past an 80 something geezer who I initially presumed was the worlds oldest db fan, until I realised this was probably his local boozer and we're all aliens.
First people I meet are the wonderful Spidey and Don, just about the only people I recognise there! I've only been a BNetter for about 5 months, but the likes of those two and BlueBlue, Paul Kinder and Spud I've known for years via the magic of bowiewonderworld.com.
Thankfully, some folks are wearing name badges so that helps ease my confusion somewhat. No sign of Mark, Paul or Spud though, although they were probably behind me the whole time.
The beers flowing and I'm having a great time taking in the sheer diversity of the BNet masses. From people my age like Alboreto (quite a dish girls and boys by the way. Nice eyeliner!) to the veterans(!) like Keith, looking VERY dapper, mercifully without his Chelski shirt. He doesn't wear it all the time he informed me, and I'd be inclined to believe him 'cos he's much bigger than the 'unquestionably squishable' moi.
Being wise BNutters that they are, Spidey and Don head off down to the venue early, and I, in one swift movement, head the opposite direction to the bar. It's only 4-ish, I've only had about 3 pints and SHIT, I'm feeling drunk!!! Uh oh.
I chat a little with various people whose names I can't recall for the life of me, the wonderfully eccentric (and disturbing) Aleczandah, Govi, Jen (who seemed a lovely girl) and another 'BNet Meet' virgin whose name also completely evades me right now! You know who you are anyways! I believe we got up to a bit of dirty dancing in Soho later? lol
Coliss and Chris arrive and we have a good old chinwag about something or other (Northern bollocks probably. I warned you at the beginning it gets hazy!) and I also meet the amazingly wonderful Drella, with whom I spent many an enjoyable moment with. Thanks darling, you were wonderful company.
I'm guessing it was around 6-ish when we headed off towards the Riverside. A hundred or so strong army of BNetters marching along together was a very special sight to behold, as was Gwn's - ahem, charms. The socks of course!
After a bit of trouble getting into the venue - the same security guard plucked me out of the queue twice 'cos he said I looked, quote "Drunk as a skunk" - we pour into the studio and it hits everybody just how intimate a setting this really is. It's perfect.
The show is an absolute revelation of course. db's on top form, looking divine and the band sounds as tight as a submarine door. As it should be with db, the new material steals the show completely. 'Days' and 'Bring Me The Disco King' in particular send me into orbit, David channelling every last ounce of his soul through his most potent weapon of all, THAT voice. It suddenly dawns on me just how bloody lucky we all are to have him around.
Drella and I get down to some dirty (and drunken!) dancing during the stirring, stomping Ziggy classic 'Hang Onto Yourself' which threatens to bring the whole place crashing down on top of us. Still, even if the roof had caved in, I probably wouldn't have noticed. Yeah, that good.
After the dust has settled everyone leaves the gig, expressions of awe and glowing satisfaction painted on the faces of many, and I noted more than a few 'tear smudged mascara moments'. Bless.
Stunned, dumbstruck, absolutely exhausted and not sure what to do with myself at all, I sat on the pavement outside the Riverside, trying to gather my thoughts and mumbling "Bloody hell, worra gig" to anybody that attempted to break my own private Bowie spell by conversing with me.
After I'd had a breather I get a pint in the pub across the road then Colliss and Chris point me in the right direction to the Soho party. Being a complete idiot, in a moment of stupifying madness I overlook the tube and fork out 15 quid for a taxi to Gossips.
Was it worth it? Oh God yes. The atmosphere inside was incredible, packed out with some of the most amazing, interesting people you're ever going to meet, and BlueBlue. lol
'Haziness' is now THE sina quo to my story, but I distinctly remember dancing like a damned fool all night and flirting outrageously with anybody I came across. My fellow BNetters, you were in the presence of the Disco King himself and I'll wager it wasn't a pretty sight from where you were standing! lol
So where did I sleep you may ask yourself? I didn't. Instead I chose to ramble around London, completely out of my head, asking passers by the way to Euston Station. In one particularly dark, dodgy alleyway I came across a homeless, Irish girl whose name (like so many others) completely eludes me right now. She seemed pleasant enough and led me to ANOTHER dodgy alley, where, It seems I was rescued. Another tramp, also Irish (but why?!!) kicked up a right fuss upon spotting us and shooed her away from me, before sitting me down on a curb and asking me:
"So what brings you to London son?"
Erm - I've been to a Bowie gig.
"Why are you walking around on your own?"
"Long story mate."
"Thats a wrong un to spend a stroll with. She'll wait till your asleep and then rob you blind."
"It's ok. I'm skint anyway."
(Tommy the tramp lights a ciggie)
"Did he do that one?"
"Y'know... 'Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth.'"
...and we sang till dawn.
Ladies and gentleman, I've been Si and that was some of what happened to me. For the finer points, those far too frequent misty moments sharpened up, I'm afraid you'd really have to ask somebody else, because I was SOME PLACE else.
Thanks to all the special people here for making Monday what it was, one of the best days of my life.
Until next time...
10th September 2003.
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