… is to edit this beast of a magazine. Pretty cool, eh?
Archive for the ‘Me’ category
Overheard at the very swish, very trendy, very sceney hotel Anna and I have been staying at for the past few days.
“Have you heard about this new game? It’s like a hip sudoku.”
“No. What’s it called?”
So Will Porter and I totally saw the ladygarden of a minor US celebrity two nights ago.
What a fun job we have.
Today, I spent seven hours making a 38 mile round trip to sit in a field, be rained on, and eventually be sent home disappointed by Steve Ryder.
It was rubbish.
We were going to see the Redbull Air Race – apparently, the forth dimension in flight. Those dimensions being horizontal, vertical, lateral, and heavily sponsored. First problems: the route into the event was blocked by a car accident – leaving a good 5000 cars circling Wiltshire looking for alternate routes. We followed a taxi driver thinking, correctly as it turned out, he’d know the area.
Then we got into the car park, and realised that we may be facing a problem. There’s a single entrance, and that entrance is also the exit. And there’s at least a trillion cars coming in and out. Surely, chaos will ensue?
But! Funtimes ahead. Let’s go and watch flashy planes leave smoke trails ten feet above the ground!
Oh. Oh dear. As we arrived, Steve was already deflating the expectations of the crowd. “Because of the gusts, we’re going to delay the start of the race by an hour. But we’re receiving constant updates from local military bases, and they’re expecting this to clear.”
As he said this, he was almost blown off his perch.
“But come down to the pit lane, because the atmosphere’s amazing!”
The camera turned to the glum looking crowd.
“Actually, don’t. There’s a blockage on the only path around the Longleat grounds, and the bridge that 70,000 people have to walk over is a bit jammed. Don’t move.”
So, for three hours, we sat and chatted, our brains gradually being hammered into submission by the dull thud of a not-very-good-DJ and understandbly irritated wailing children.
But a new mood swept through the crowd. It was approaching half-three pm, and our Steve had some news.
“We’re going to start the races at four! Brilliant!”
Soon, the pilots had been clustered around the steps of Longleat, and Lord Bath propped up long enough to make a speech. Steve turned the microphone to a sensible looking American chap.
“Are you looking forward to racing?”
It turns out the pilot probably hasn’t been told he’s going to be racing. “Christ. It looks bloody awful out there.”
Sensing a problem, Lord Bath steps in. He has eight words to say: “I declare this Red Bull Air Race open.”
But he forgets his words. And the crowd just start giggling. He has to make three attempts to splutter them out, so the DVD (on-sale shortly, £9.99) has the correct branding footage. The TV screens go quiet for another half-an-hour.
Steve is back. “Err. Hmm. We’re sorry to say that the optimism we previously has been misplaced. We’re not going to make a final decision yet, but we’d understand if you’d want to leave now. Please head toward your nearest exit.”
This is when the sheer incompetance of the organisers starts to become clear. Everyone is starting to leave along the same path – but it’s blocked by stages, facilities, burger vans, and, now, a line of twenty stewards with a long string of tape. As everyone leaves, they start to assemble an assault course of obstacles – gates are closed, fences are erected, and yellow tape is strung across most of the site. Everyone is very polite of course – “oh, excuse me, terribly sorry, JESUS-FUCKING CHRIST MICHAEL IF YOU DON’T STOP CRYING I’M GOING TO FUCKING SCREAM.”
Finally – we reach the car. Oh god. It’s like the Somme, but with more beeping. Dog-eat-dog, kill-your-mother-for-an-inch open automobile warfare, each and every vehicle driving in a straight line for the exit. There is a police presence, but, and I wish this was no exaggeration, but they’re sitting off, having cups of tea. Organising the orderly retreat from the site are four blokes. Just blokes – dads probably – who had seen the mess, and thought they could help.
To the right of us, a broken down Volvo who’s owner starts the engine every 30 seconds, praying for it to tick over. His wife is screaming in his ear, his kids in the back are kicking the back of his head. In half-an-hour of waiting, and revving, he doesn’t move an inch, just turns new shades of beetroot.
My favourite bit was when one directing a line of traffic out, spotted his wife driving, opened the door, lept in, closed the door, and belted off. With no-one to stop the traffic, his line just carried on moving – eventually letting us, (Craig, Graham, Anna and I) escape.
- Don’t trust Steve Ryder and his weather forcasts.
- Park a mile away from any venue, and walk the rest of the way.
- British weather can defeat anything. Maybe in restrospect, holding the Middle Eastern legs of the event in high summer, while leaving the UK leg to the start of autumn wasn’t the best of plans.
- In spite of everything, Dads will prevail.