No, I realise you don’t care…but that’s not the point – this is all pertinent to a rounded rock ‘n’ roll education. Unlike Namibian’s ‘load of crap in the back’, I have ‘Rigging 2’ (the second rigging truck), and a laminated sign to that effect.
This sign also reads ‘Barnaby’ – so nobody need commit that unpardonable offence of calling me ‘Drive’. It’s my bete noire.
Throughout my working life, I’ve endured the occasional “proper day’s work”: pottering around the countryside collecting farm apples, or delivering trolleys of chilled goods to Tesco, for example.
Aside from the mind-numbing aspect of normal trucking, what really gets up my nose is when warehouse personnel greet me with, ‘All right, Drive?’ Other truckers seem unfazed. But imagine if I began entering offices saying, ‘All right, Clerk?’ or ‘OK, Compute?’ Wouldn’t that be deemed rude? Whoops, we’re on a tangent again.
‘Rigging’, should you be in any doubt, means motors – jolly heavy, making my truck struggle up hills – and bits of truss, which ought to be light but turn out to be jolly heavy too. I’d better explain: truss is nothing to do with turkeys or bondage; put very simply, truss is the metal above the stage that supports the weight of sound and lighting equipment.
Luke, an affable transatlantic cousin on the tour, knows which truss pieces are hardest on the biceps, and pulls a face when we reach them. The time is 6.15 am, and he dreads this four-man lifting process. ‘Time for a 10-200,’ he says. Noticing my look of bemusement, he clarifies.
‘10-100 is peeing, 10-200 is pooping,’ Don’t you just love Americans? ‘10-4,’ I reply, as he sneaks off to the toilet.
Rotterdam, according to the Philips 2007 roadmap, is the largest port in Europe. ‘What, second to Hamburg?’ chimes Namibian. No, largest means…oh, never mind.
The morning, in Rotterdam, is spent extolling the merits of Radio Four with Cookie, who would much prefer to be in Spain but tolerates Holland and Germany for the radio reception. Today, however, he’s had to park inside the building.
Without radio, he’s in a mood. ‘I’m staying in,’ he says sulkily, as though he’s living in a three-bedroom semi-detached, rather than a six-foot square box.
I, as you know, rarely ‘stay in’. We’re in the Netherlands and I have a bicycle – a serious mode of transport here. Unbroken paths, solely for two-wheelers, sport signposts for towns many kilometres away, and the bicycle parking areas can be two storeys high.
Entering the Maas tunnel, rosy-cheeked, dismounted cyclists effortlessly accompany their steeds on the escalator. My balance is not quite as flawless; going up a moving staircase, behind a bike, is even worse than going down.
Returning eventually to the Ahoy Arena via Erasmus Bridge, one girl’s bottom after another becomes mesmerising. All sense of direction is lost; I’m unable to pinpoint my truck…but it’s worth it. Women really are lovely.