AC/DC have now reached Punchestown Racecourse, Naas. Set amidst 450 acres of rolling Irish countryside – in the heart of County Kildare, Ireland’s thoroughbred county – it has been the home of Irish National Hunt Racing since 1827.
I’m just enjoying the view when David – avid “petrolhead” that he is – frightens me with a megaphone. You wouldn’t think it by his mannerisms but I caught him looking at Sierra Cosworths on the internet the other day. ‘
I may be stupid,’ he said – I wouldn’t go that far, David – ‘but how do you plug this laptop in?’ The laptop in question is the one that he owns, and is in fact using. Well, to address his admission more succinctly: yesterday, aboard the Irish ferry, he was seen adding orange juice to his cup of tea. Hmmm.
Anyway, we’re having a nice sit down (with a cup of tea) and watching the initial stampede of AC/DC punters. Now, why do so many arrive with beer, umbrellas and chairs? It is all confiscated at the gates. I asked a passing fan if her ticket bore any small print banning drinks. Well, for a start, the small print is almost too minute to read.
But after close inspection, she says ‘no, there’s not a feckin’ stitch on it.’ I sympathise, and agree that prohibited items should be listed. Water, for example, is only OK if the top is removed. Eh?
Apparently, enthusiastic fans are wont to throw bottles, and they cause less damage if the liquid is released on impact with a random head. Bear this in mind if you are going to a stadium gig this summer.
Drunk, a fan then collapses through the turnstile. ‘Where’s the stage?’ he slurs. What, you mean that massive steel structure, needing fifteen trucks to transport, visible from all gates? Just before the show begins, another chap – pickled, blotchy, and reeking of booze – asks ‘where’s my bus?’ and heads back out through the gates.
A drowned rat
‘I knew it was going to rain,’ says Gentleman Steve, master of the non sequiteur. He glances at the sky as if to prove his point. ‘My knee started playing up this morning. Old disco injury.’
But despite the downpour, fans can only wear ponchos and hats; umbrella spikes, under health and safety restrictions, might have an eye out in the front-of-stage mayhem. ‘Yer feckin’ shittin’ me,’ yells one poor girl at a security steward, utterly indignant at her brolly being binned. Yes, they really do speak like that here.
I think it rather infuriates her that I am sitting underneath a colossal umbrella – smiling smugly – not ten yards away, dry as a bone on a confiscated deckchair..