Remember Tina Turner has twenty trucks on this European tour? Right, well all tours have a driver that oversees truck movements – known as a “lead driver”. His job is to liaise with the production team and supervise truck unloading in the order that “production” require. He/she will hereon be referred to as “Number One”.
Our instructions from Number One were to drive the whopping whole kilometre from the truck parking area back to the Color Line Arena, yet not “load-in” any equipment until after 7am. We moaned and groaned: it is the prerogative of the lowly truck driver to whinge about conditions, even though this tour has so far been money for old rope. The thing about entertainment touring, though, is that the trucks simply must be ready when needed. Consequently, five hours early is not that unreasonable. After all, trucks can be whimsical beasts, choosing not to start at the most crucial of times.
If, however, the vehicle is more or less in position the night before, what can go wrong? No engine firing up? No problem. We can push the equipment the last hundred yards. And after such a hectic week’s sightseeing, 2am does seem a trifle early.
Breakfast in “catering”, which Namibian insists on calling ‘the canteen’, yields a wealth of blog material. ‘I had a pet whale once,’ says one driver. Hmm. I frown in disbelief. ‘Well OK, it was a guinea pig, but it looked like a whale,’ he clarifies.
We move onto the topic of the hopeless situation back in the UK, where a sprinkling of snow is plunging the country into chaos, grinding the entire transport network to a halt.
‘You could sprinkle immigrants on the road instead of grit,’ suggests our Captain Birds Eye look-a-like. As I prepare a withering stare, my friend “Mystic” enters, looking delicate about the gills. He is carrying a filthy, tea-stained mug that draws winces and cries of anguish from the catering girls (or ‘dinner ladies’ as Namibian calls them, oblivious to the derogatory slant). Mystic’s mug has already been banned once from Catering on this tour.
‘It’s no good sprinkling Poles on the road. They’d be too slippery,’ Captain Birds Eye continues. Oh, ha ha, very droll. Another driver, between mouthfuls of fried egg, says: ‘Romanians would be better, because they’d romain here.’ I’m unsure where this rapier wit is heading but I detect a whiff of xenophobia, and glance at Mystic. He adjusts his earplugs, and eyes the slowly warming tea urn in anticipation. We agree that listening to only half of the conversation in catering would be more than enough.
The Russian internet hottie, mentioned in the last blog, has now copied and pasted yet another pearl of epic literature to my hotmail in-box. Yet I smell a rat. Her writing is the sort of stilted English that makes no sense. And she ignores my replies, ploughing straight into undying love instead. Yes, she’ll have to go.
And so will I. The trucks have to rumble south to Hannover tonight – it’s a full two-hour drive, so I’m off for a nap..