February 18th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1

Headed back to Auckland this morning for the last time.  Had breakfast, then Sandra took us into town, + dropped us off on the north end.  No trouble at all getting rides today, but the only one of note was with Neville + Neville.  No, not a firm of solicitors, but 2 middle-aged cowboys.  That’s not fair, they were in their 30s, + not so much cowboys as country-music lovers, but middle-aged cowboys still describes them well enough.  They were driving a battered old Simca, + Neville the non-driver kept up a constant + remorseless barrage of jokes, over the entire duration of the trip.  The jokes were utterly appalling – old, schoolboy, corny jokes, so that Val’s + my grins became more fixed + ghoulish as time progressed.  It was a long + tortuous ride, stopping off at various seedy Auckland suburbs for various reasons – to visit a friend, buy some ciggies, let the engine cool down, have a drink.  However, we did arrive in Auckland, finally, + they were good enough to drop us off right at the yard.

It’s very pleasant at Ganesh – there are no expectations of one, no hassles, it’s all so free + easy.  We simply sat around during the afternoon, reading, writing the diary, + playing Donkey Kong, the pocket video game on the boat.  At about 6, we had some beer, some dope + some salad, + then took off.  There was an abortive attempt to visit a friend, a local DJ, but he wasn’t there, so we moved on… just as well, as it happened.  The concert was taking place in a speedway track, and there were about 45,000 there.  We worked our way round to a fair position on the speedway track itself, but quite a way back.  It was unfortunate really, that we weren’t on our own – we would have pushed forward to a rather better position, but the others were content to tag onto the back.  Just how much a mistake this proved to be appeared when the concert began.  There was no support band (+ we’d planned to arrive late!), + altho’ people had been sitting down, as soon as S + G appeared, the majority leapt to their feet.  I was quite happy either way, sitting or standing, but after it became apparent, after the first few songs, that the people in front were not going to sit, I stood, so as to see something of what was going on.  But the people behind us spent all their time yelling “Sit down!” so it became almost impossible to hear as well.  Eventually we moved, to a place where everyone was standing, + from then on enjoyed the concert a good deal more.  Even so, over all, I was disappointed (we both were, we’ve discussed it.)  3 reasons.  1.  The sound system was appalling, far too quiet, badly mixed.  When they first came on, a guy next to me said, “I didn’t know Simon + Garfunkel had a song called Rumble-Burp!”  A good joke… tho’ I didn’t get it immediately.       2. The crowd.  Far too many of them were appalling shits, chatting + laughing all the way thro, treating the whole thing like expensive muzak.  You would think, at those prices, people would listen.  They didn’t.  3.  S + G themselves.  It seemed like a pretty tired reprise of their Central Park concert, rather than anything alive + vital.  Just a couple of tired anti-Australian jokes to appeal to dumb Kiwis.  Despite everything, tho’ , I think I’m glad I saw them… to demystify them, if anything. 

We had to push-start the van, otherwise an uneventful journey home.  Then an hour or two spent drinking, smoking, talking.  The DJ finally turned up – he was alright.  But then, I like anyone who’s prepared to be amused by me.

Probably the biggest name cultural event of our entire trip, so a shame it wasn’t a better experience. And it seriously blew our budget too. And I recall nothing of it now. Still, superstars are superstars, so I’m pleased we saw them.

  1. Kevan Baker

    We coughed up to see Art Garfunkel in Regensburg. Didn’t appear on time because, in the words of the Duchess who owns the venue, seriously she is a Duchess, the Artist felt his show was better seen when the sun had gone down. Why he hadn’t worked out that the sun doesn’t go down at 7 pm in the height of summer I don’t know. Then the Artist requested no photos during the performance. Good luck with that in the age of the cell phone. He then decided to sing most, though not all, songs with his back to the audience. Close to 100€ to be sung to by a singer way past his best and not even looking at us. Never again Art old chap.

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