When I was 15 years old I was obsessed with a-ha. I had posters of them all over my bedroom and I played their first album, Hunting High And Low, a billion times, enough to make it part of my very soul (along with the Crowded House albums Woodface and Together Alone, which I still listen to at least once a fortnight – funny how you love things so much, ain’t it?).
I grew up – and so did they – but I’ve always held a soft spot for Morten, Mags and Pal and always will. A couple of years ago I saw them at the Royal Albert Hall and it was magical, although I’m not sure what will remain with me longest: the fabulous music or the eyeful of Morten’s crotch I got as I danced at the front of the stage (he truly is The World’s Tightest Trouser Wearer).
In case you’re wondering why I’m blithering on about Norway’s finest, it’s because yesterday morning, on the way to work, I discovered that a-ha were doing a signing at HMV in Oxford Street at 6pm. As I finish work at 5.30pm, it only seemed fitting that I should trot down to see them; it would have been rude not to! So I dutifully arrived at the store with 15 minutes to spare, discovering 700 fans crammed in front of the stage who had – according to the Sky News report I watched later that night – been queuing since 8am for the privilege.
Despite the crush I somehow managed to get a fantastic view from the side of the stage and proceeded to watch a (completely free) 40-minute concert containing songs new and old, and all of them wonderful. At one point Sky News did a report from right in front of me and I whooped all the way through it – you can clearly hear me on the broadcast. I’m such a shameless show-off!
I have to say, there are few finer ways of ending a Monday than swinging by an a-ha gig on the way home. Talk about surreal! And I’d thought it was going to be such a bad day, too. I spent the weekend in Bath having a lovely time with all my old SFX buddies and you know how it is when you have a great weekend – you never want to go back to work.
The same thing happened today, too – I slouched into the office feeling sleepy and morose, then discovered my friend Mike had got me a ticket to see my favourite songstress Bic Runga at the end of the month: fantastic! Apparently Crowded House’s Neil Finn will be playing in her band, too, so that’s a double bonus. I’ve seen him in concert too many times to count but I’ve only ever seen Bic support him (again at the Albert Hall – that place is my second home!) so it’ll be lovely to see her do a whole gig.
All of which means that I’ve had a rather cool few days. While I was in Bath at the weekend I revisited all my old haunts, which, after four years of living there, turned out to consist of the outside of my old flat, the pet store and mad little shop called Hansel & Gretel which sells the most delicious hot chocolates in the world. My friend Viv had a “Johann” and I had a “Berbl”, which was promptly rechristened a “Gerbl” and then demolished. Mmm, chocolate…
On Sunday I found myself at the station with 50 minutes to spare before my train back to London, so I decided to have a wander around Bath Abbey to kill some time. The first thing I heard when I entered was snoring. It got louder and louder as I approached the back of the Abbey… until I discovered a homeless man stretched out, fast asleep, on one of the pews.
Can’t say I blamed him; it was freezing outside and the Abbey was warm and quiet. I couldn’t help but be surprised he’d been allowed to stay, though – although my surprise turned to amusement when I passed the vicar on the way out of the building. He nodded to to me and then muttered to himself, “Must go and wake Frank up.” Off he went to the back and gave poor, sleepy Frank a shake on the shoulder. I guess he’s a regular guest. What a place for a catnap!
Must go. The new series of CSI has just started and I have the first episode to watch. Time to rediscover Las Vegas’s finest…