A thirty-five minute drive last night – Namibian leading with the “spaznav” turned off – brings us to Oberhausen, a place low on the list of tourist destinations. In fact, I’d be surprised if it features at all.
Thirty – yes thirty, not twenty – rock n roll trucks are parked at the Konig-Pilsener Arena. We are a day early at the venue, and I wander over to see my pal, Turner, one of the drivers on the Pink Tour. With his bottom lip out, he looks like a smacked bottom this morning.
In a fit of rage overnight, he’s made a spectacular hash of a relationship, by text message. Poor old thing.
Like me, he doesn’t really jump at the prospect of living in a lorry. We reminisce and I coo a bit in the right places when sympathy is required.
You don’t get a photo, I’m afraid – it’s still early, and he hasn’t yet applied Clarins moisturiser. Off he goes back to bed, while fans queue outside under blue plastic rain sheets, nine hours before Pink goes on stage. Nutters.
A tram ride into town, aside from harmon-muted trumpet jazz at the station, confirms my suspicion – there is nothing of interest in Oberhausen. From an elevated viewpoint, a sea of drabness is laid out: an industry museum (in German) and grotty architecture. Turner texts me, interrupting the euphoria. The relationship is back on.
Astonishingly, there is a tourist office in Oberhausen…but it’s closed. So, if for any absurd reason you get stuck here then I thoroughly recommend the leisure centre on Stockmannstrasse.
For a modest fee, one can pad around naked from Turkish bath to plunge pool, from the outside terrace to one of those Wild West buckets with a pull-rope that drown you in cold water.
There’s an area to relax by the fire – by this point, perhaps put a towel on – where you can order coffee (not tea, this is Germany) or sit next door by the pool. It’s unisex, which literally raises a problem. When a voluptuous girl in her twenties sits next to me in the sauna, utterly bare, I have to furiously imagine Margaret Thatcher…