Returned early from university to find Angela and Bunny in quite a state. Turns out Harrogate box office hasn't learned from previous blunders. In fact, it seems worse! Angela has three phone lines on constant re-dial.finally tries her mobile ,too and bunny and I join her soon. But nothing. Either engaged or it's free and your are directed to switchboard people informing you kindly that box office is busy ( oh really?) but no, sadly they can't direct your call back there.
11:30 beep beep beep beep beep
11:40 beep beep beep beep beep
11:50 beep beep beep beep beep
12:00 We consider sending a fax but too scared it will not be noticed in all this mayhem apparently going on there..
12:30 Angela gets word from switchboard person that they had 2000+ callers in the first two hours of sale. Bearing in mind they only have four operators and that an average call should take about five minutes..ooooooer!
12:35 beep beep beep beep beeep beep
12:40 beep beep beep beep beep beep
12:45 fax is sent.
13:02 EUREKA!!!!! Angela got through! We have tickets!! Block E , row G, seats 6 &7! YES! Decide to rename Milky Way to Angela Way! Also box office lady was begged to ignore fax and she will.all is well.only took us three hours and two years of our lives! Piece of cake. We have tickets now! J New journey dates also mean less days to count now! 66 days to go.and a monument to build for brave Angela who phoned from work! Only to help us as she cannot go herself. Selfless or what?!?
Also for Pat who will make this possible by daring to have us two at her house again.
Considering informing Prime Minister of his two most generous citizens!
Roll on June! We are all set!
D-Day or Prologue continued
Saturday, 21 st of June, 1:16 am, Berlin, my room
DOOM DOOM!! Plane departs tomorrow (today actually, technically speaking) and not a single pant packed! All scattered around my bed and my dog is grumpy she can't go to sleep and I will probably exceed the allowed 15 kilos of baggage weight and have no scales to check...did weigh every piece of clothes on baking scales...doom!!! Also Kerstin is all organized and packed...why why why?!! Oooh goody, Harry Potter 5 just went on sale and Pat is out to get us one. One we will buy straight away at airport when landed. Haha! Nice thought, cheers self up a bit. Also Prince William's 21st birthday on 21st of June...cute! Wonder whether lovely Prince would consider marrying a German student...? Would surely improve England-Germany relations? May drop note with proposal at Buckingham Palace.
Mmmh just had lovely flashback memory of morning when Angela got us our desperately wanted York tickets. Row D, centre! Perfect! Eye-level with Michael.or so says Pat (we rely on you there!). Was a bit of a debacle really. We were told Ticketmaster will sell additional York tix at 9 am. So got up early after loooooong night full of preparations. And nothing. No allocation. Angela called from work for us! (MUST write to pope and tell him of saint style person!) We were told only Barbican Box Office will sell.one hour later! Waiting and computer crashing (TWICE! And always in crucial moments! WHY?!) and more baited breath and when I came back online it was all done. She got through at 10:06 and got us exactly the seats we wanted. Will be PERFECT end to first tour week in Nov...ahh so happy us.party time really. Mmmmmh:-)
GAH GAH GAH nearly half past one and have to get up at nine and bed is STILL covered in clothes and camcorder stuff....and grumpy dog... calm calm calm...inner poise and detach.
All will be well. Will get some water to drink and to calm down tummy(slight sickness somehow starts coming and going all evening...probably due to empty bags....should get started really)...then will dig out bed and get some sleep.
Oh goody! Pat just emailed and said she got us a book:-D Good start to day! She will read now.envious me! Really should get sleep...but soo awake...b****y adrenalin!!
Thinking of all the people out there buying Harry Potter and reading.and all the parties.also about hair-dye. I have Dark Bordeaux and Wild Cherry. Look pretty similar. Not good I haven't managed to get it done yesterday afternoon.will have red bits on forehead now.or even purple ones! GAH! Best not to think about it. Hair needs cutting, too.. But am mature woman of substance. Needn't obsess about looks but be happy about inner beauty.
Not happy about inner beauty at all. Keep being V envious on all lucky souls knowing first chapter of HP already. Cannot be good for Karma! Must be ugly on the inside with all those negative thoughts..
Oh God, will never get sleep when continue staring at computer screen! Dog's fast asleep. At least no grumpy looks from her anymore! Really off now. Promise. Oh well, another quick look at some nice websites and then really off to Hushaby Mountain! Definitely. Good night.
Saturday 21 st of June ( still ), Berlin ( still ), 5:35 pm, on plane
Am packing genius! Managed to weigh all clothes with baking scales, then only quick calculation (or not too quick in my case) and I knew I'd meet the weight restrictions. Hurrah! Ok, so have no jumper..or come to think of it, ANYTHING for bad weather, as far too heavy, but so what? I mean, surely it won't rain. It's summer after all. Oh though, quite heavy rain here in Berlin.well, will pass.
V weird sight a gate: a just-married couple! He in posh suit and she in glitzy, but tasteless wedding dress.
Ryanair is weird. is weird. I really miss Buzz. No seat numbers at Ryanair! You just sit where is free, so felt like queuing for a Michael open air concert. Got nice window seat J Must be concert practice! Knew being a Michael Ball fan is educational and prepares you for real life more than school!
The guy at passport control took ages to check our identities. Keep getting a bad feeling when they type my name in their computer and look all serious. As if waiting for the word "terrorist" to flash up. Also have this paranoid fear they are checking mysterious file with all kinds of intimate info., listing things like : "never tidies up her room, unless when guests are coming - and even then waits till last second " or "never packs enough socks" . So always start to feel guilty when they stare intently at computer screen without a trace of a smile.he didn't even blink! Luckily got through once again, just when had pictured self being arrested by airport police in front of all other passengers for "criminal sock - forgetting".
Hope camcorder is fine in over-head locker. Think will smile at poor stewardess when she does safety demonstration. Really feel for them , doing silly pantomime only for our safety and no one bothers to look up. Oh, Captain is called Carl Walker. And stewardess is Louise, the other one is Elisabeta. Louise just told us all.
Ah, she is finished. Felt like model student when Elisabeta checked our seat-belts and mine was fastened correctly. Wonder why armrests have to be down, though? Maybe, because in case plane crashes you should have something to grab tightly. Hum..but they are allowed up when plane is in air..will remain unsolved mystery of airfare as better not ask Louise or Elisabeta. Fear everyone knows except me!
Oh goody, we are moving!! Now we are 20 minutes after scheduled departure time. Ooooh getting faster and faster!
We did a perfect Chitty (lift-off that is). Bye-bye huge fields and tiny houses. London here I come! Yawn. Better try to get some sleep before long drive up to Pat's. 17° at Stansted , Carl just said. Maybe should have brought long sleeved shirt after all..too sleepy to worry now.
GAH! Was just woken up by Captain Carl. He told us Amsterdam or Rotterdam (he mentioned both but not sure which one was the one of interest) were visible now on the right-hand side. I'm sitting on the left. Typical! Oooooh nice view nevertheless! Just leaving continental Europe. Can see tiny beaches. Carl also said we will actually arrive five minutes early, despite those 20 minutes we were late at take-off! Wow! Long live Captain Carl! Also said 21° in Stansted now! Miracle! Weather God probably heard I had unpacked jumper.or not.
Plane gets a bit shaky above water. Can see tiny ships looking like uncoordinated water ballet. Think will change time on watch now.
Time-travel made easy! Really like this about England. Always gives me (and all other passengers in plane) an additional hour of lifetime J Oooer, seems plane is sinking. Maybe shouldn't have said this lifetime thing!! Oh, right. We will be landing at Stansted in 10 minutes, so I guess losing height is a good plan, rather than a death omen. Hurrah! Cannot believe will see Kerstin bunny in 16 minutes! Also buy Harry Potter 5 !!! J Wow, now can actually see England (fields and houses.and golf courses)! Seat-belt sign is flashing again. Need to stop writing for landing. Really V V V excited!!
Tuesday, 24 th of June/ Wednesday, 25 th of June, London House Hotel, Room 105
WOW WOW WOW is all can say! What a weekend! What a concert! What a Chitty! What a man!!! Arrived 5 minutes to midnight at Pat's on Saturday. By that time we had managed to read 87 pages of new HP book out loud in manner of living audiobook. Excellent. Voice was rather hoarse though. Got lost only once! But badly. In Middlesbrough. Poor. Especially as should never have entered Middlesbrough in the first place. Didn't get lots of sleep that night , but welcome -pizza, which was V G indeed. Wonder why delicious frozen pizza is made in Germany, but can only be bought in England?! Completely unfair and smells strongly like frozen-food-conspiracy to me.
Next morning had V bad weather. Briefly contemplated not actually doing the stage door bit, but only to arrive in time for concert. Naturally didn't stick to sensible plan, as too many thoughts of Michael looking really gorgeous when stepping out of his car. We went for a compromise, as are women and really good at second thoughts and compromises. We decided on different glamorous outfits (i.e. trousers instead of skirts or dresses) but still doing stage door in spite of rain and thunder. After all this clever planning weather decided to be friendly and warm..which wasn't really nice when you think about it, as we all (that's Pat, Stella, Kerstin and me) had warm (well, ok, warm-ish) clothes on and went all sweaty when we should have been most glamorous. Good thing was that we had usual brilliant Harrogate-timing, meaning we arrived at the stage door only minutes before he did. No endless waiting around. Has been like that with the two previous Harrogate concerts he did two years ago. He really looked all yummy in white shirt and jeans. V chatty and sweet to fans. Mmmmh Well worth the journey, even when sweating in trousers ( in black clothes in fact, and bright sunshine). Ok, so was only 1:13 pm and we had SIX hours to spend in Harrogate on a Sunday (in every possible meaning of the word) when most shops close at 4 pm, but there you go. Had sandwiches on usual grass bit in front of Harrogate International Centre and greeted a few fellow fans. Have to admit time felt endless even though was in most charming company. Finally met up with Pam again in her hotel room in Moat House Hotel which is connected to HIC. Ideal to get changed in (as no long walks in glamorous, but painful shoes). All managed to look V glamorous and posh (we thought). Hurrah! Concert time!
Seats were ok (block E) , in fact, Cathy McGowan (most lucky woman in the world) sat only three rows in front of us, so must be good seats. Lucky Pat, Pam and Stella were in row D! And finally he came (mmmh, mind thinks really naughty thoughts now, but is ok, as only self's diary and way past midnight!). Did song list and Kerstin did photos. Ushers all over the place, as some people just don't get that flash is of no use whatsoever in concert and only distracts audience and - most importantly- performer. But bunny is old pro and had her flash switched off , of course. So no hassle with eager ushers. Person sitting next to us was quite suspicious re writing and picture taking. We might have looked like paparazzi a bit.Think will just copy song list and remarks. So here goes:
- Jellicle Ball
- This is the Moment (he came on stage dressed in black tuxedo and bow tie, V classy)
- Don't rain on my Parade
- Can you feel the love tonight (he told us he had "poshed up", Shena, Annie and Mick came on stage and we had little lights in background like stars, V nice)
- he talked about it being "so nice to be singing again!" , we were all giggling, as the man is in the lead of a West End show after all, but got the point, no real challenge for him there song-wise (apart from new Hushaby Mountain reprise, but we only found that out much later)
- he tried to open water bottle but it proved very difficult indeed, so he shouted "Gareth! Fired!" LOL
- Show me (he got the giggles mid-song, but composed himself quickly and just went on with the song)
- Boy from Nowhere (cheers from the audience for that one. Still remember vividly how we heard it there first time two years ago, sent shivers down my spine...and he got a standing ovation back then...V powerful song)
- Phantom of the Opera duet with Celia Graham (something was wrong with her microphone so Michael changed microphone stand while singing and stalking around her in menacing and at the same time seductive movements. Blended in very well actually. Real pro, this man! She had a fantastic voice. One of my fave Christines so far. He kissed her neck V tenderly.also did V nice things with her arms.was all sexy. Cathy was NOT amused. Clapped only three times when normally was enthusiastic at applauding, raising her hands so he can see it. Awww)
- Michael left stage
- Solo by Celia: Wishing you were somehow here again
- Michael back on stage, telling us how Celia's last song was about parent-child relationship and that his next two will be along the same lines. I barely dared to hope what the second song would be, really crossing fingers V tightly for my all time Michael favourite.
- Not while I'm around (opens bow tie)
- Gethsemane (YES YES YES!! Oh, the heavy breathing he did.all in character and so very desperate..brought me close to fears. Standing ovations from the whole audience.)
- Michael leaves stage to tumultuous applause
- Les Misérables Intro
- Solo by Emma Williams: On my own (Now that reads nicely! How very appropriate to have a solo on her own! No, but seriously, she was really good.)
- Solo by Michael McCarthy: Stars
- Solo by James Graeme: Bring him home
- Michael back on stage
- Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
- And on to the breathtaking Finale of the first half: One Day More (ALL guests came on to the stage one by one and they staged the whole scene for us. It was fantastic!)
In interval we searched for Pat, Pam and Stella, but couldn't find them anywhere. Screens showed how many minutes were left until part two of that amazing concert would begin. All excited we went back to our seats in time . The band walked on stage to loads of deserved applause and the second half began:
- Evita Intro (that was Don't cry for me Argentina blending smoothly into: )
- Oh what a Circus (he was back wearing dark grey suit, waistcoat and proper tie this time. Neatly showing us how trim and fit he was. Gorgeous suits he wore that night.oh and the Backies were back, too)
- Padam, Padam (Think certainly in top five all time Michael songs for me. He said that Donmar felt "ages ago" and asked us when he did it. pre-Chitty era seems quite far away to him apparently. Awwww)
- he said the next bit "scared me every night..So I'll do it again!" laughing desperately. He introduced Jason Carr and bowed to him when he came on stage. It was lessened a bit in its effect, though, by Michael's remark about Jason having written "the most evil, nasty showbiz medly in the world" . Another remark on poor Gareth whom Michael blamed for forgetting the sparkly jacket he intended to wear for this next bit, as he did at the ROC concert. Michael asked Jason ,now already at the piano, giggling, for permission to tell us the real name of the next piece, he nodded and here it came,
- the Showbiz Medley from Hell (as breathtaking as ever..for him too, I assume.When he finished he just said: "Good night and God bless!" and pretended to be leaving, he was so exhausted. "It's a killer!" In most deep voice I ever heard of him he continued "Next on the agenda." He was really having a fun time. See? I again managed to avoid to say 'having a Ball' Would be too obvious really.)
- Something's coming
- West Side Story Intro / Tonight ( again all of the guests and the man himself staged a whole scene for us, complete with choreography. It was awe-inspiring. Anne Skates had a solo part, too. V nice!)
- Michael on his own again, saying " For the last 47 years it seems.. " (laughs out loud) "No, 16 months. I have been in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.(.) And one of the best things about it was to discover the talent of Emma Williams. She was 18.How old was I?" More LOL Someone from the audience shouted his age and he replied "Thank you, we love you" and giggled. He then introduced Emma Williams back onto the stage and said this next song had been cut from the show to make room for the new bits. He blew her a kiss when he left the stage.
- Solo by Emma Williams: Lovely Lonely Man
- Michael was back
- Life on Mars (oh god, this last note always gets me.shivers! And he loosened his tie while singing so we had a pretty good idea what would be coming next)
- Millennium (dash to the front, V funny to watch from slightly above. He threw off his tie, not into the audience though.maybe better that way, could have caused fights. Also must have been expensive tie.)
- Next bit, he said, was something rather new. He talked about the best show in the West End at the moment and the very familiar melody of We Will rock You started. LOL
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Medley to We will rock You tune s
- Help Yourself (I'd love to!)
- Wonder of you (not only did he kiss one of the fans in first row like he used to, no, he also let them touch his hair.was intended to be his face, but they all went for the curls. Lucky them! He was soooo much on a high with the ecstatic audience response he got all through the evening. You could tell he had missed it.)
- Michael leaves stage and we are left screaming ourselves hoarse
- He returns and said "I loved to have enjoyed myself tonight!" He broke off and laughed dirtily, correcting himself "No, I mean, I enjoyed tonight." To a loud response of 'so did we!'
- Love Changes Everything (all guests joined him and made it really special. Audience went wild afterwards so he said "Oh we could do ONE more!" and had a quick chat with Callum. They all remained on stage for:)
- Do you hear the people sing (What a Finale!!! They were all brilliant and very touched, it seemed. What a night! Fantasmagorical concert! We all started to pack our things together when they all had left the stage. Cathy did too, so we thought that must have been it. Suddenly an all too familiar voice said: "Well, I could do ONE more!" He was back! And this definitely wasn't rehearsed. So we rushed back to our seats.)
- You made me love you (Perfect song for perfect evening. With naughty 'You woke me up to do it' line, too ! I was afraid the audience might tear the hall down. Sooo sweet how he couldn't leave the stage..awwwww. Must be truth in the line in No business, like show business about the happy feeling of 'stealing that extra bow')
- Way home was all between sleep and murmured conversation about how good this man is. What a concert indeed. And that's when originally wasn't too happy at prospect of having 'special guests', as means less Michael. But they found brilliant solution. It was V late when we were back in Hartlepool and went to bed soon, sparing a few thoughts for lovely Stella who had to get up V early next morning and go to work when we all had hols. Oooer etc etc.
On Monday, 23 rd we had nice weather , but all felt a bit weak, so only got a few rolls processed in desperate need for most healthy drug known to mankind (also womankind???). Were on serious withdrawal after brilliant concert yesterday. Somehow kept thinking there will be another one soon. Wonder whether are the only fans to constantly mix up Harrogate and autumn tour? And is it obsession or just impatience? Anyway, after a bit of 'on - steps - of - shopping - centre - as - cannot - wait - to - look - at - piccies' - drooling went to the beach (NOT Beachy Head!). Was V windy though, so back to Pat's house soon. Videos helped though Michael-less time. VG. Got late-night pizza again. G.