Oct. 2nd, Milton Keynes
I'd always assumed that what I'd been told of Milton Keynes was based on a gross exaggeration of fact. Now that I've actually been there, I can say hand on heart: not so. The place is seriously weird, a seemingly endless succession of roundabouts and vast empty parking lots. Huge parts of it show no people about at all.
I went to pick up our tickets from the organisers' booth, and found out that all the people, and the convention, were right there in the shopping centre! Weird. Anyway, I got my tickets, turned around, and came face to face with Avon! Okay, Paul Darrow actually: a buck-toothed man in an aubergine double-breasted suit, but still...Avon! How have the mighty fallen...I think I just about managed to stiffle a little squee.
When we (i.e. calove, hils, roissy0 and me) got to the MK Dons Stadium Function Room that night, all the best places in front of the narrow stage had already been taken by a contingent of German CoRo fans in identical T-shirts, but we found a good spot to Jordan's side and settled in for a long wait, made so much longer by the DJ's choice of party music and a Best Princess Amidala Costume Competition to be gotten out of the way first -- but once it was, there they were, blasting off with Indie Rockin'. They were as good as when I saw them the first time at MR04, but this time, for me, the experience was made that much better by the fact that, having listened to their CDs on an almost daily basis in the intervening 4 months, I could actually sing along to many of the songs. They played for over an hour (an hour and a half according to someone who'd had their eye on the clock), and afterwards repaired to the entrance hall to do a signing at the merchandise table.
And, as is getting to be habit with him, Eric took me by surprise again. At Moonlight Rising, it had been his ability to remember my name that threw me; here, the knowing of what CDs I already had in my collection. So forgive me if I don't recall much of our actual meeting this time. I know we had a cuddle, and I know we had a chat, but fuck knows what was actually discussed. I do recall though, that it all came to an abrupt end when, graceful as ever, I knocked his drink all over the Common Rotation T-shirts. While he busied himself with trying to contain the damage, I beat a hasty and embarrassed retreat.
Oct. 4th, London
I was late checking into my hotel, and hardly had any time to get ready before I had to go meet bogwitch in Leicester Square. Together, we headed back to Earls Court and straight on to The Troubadour, where we settled in for a bite to eat while waiting for the evening's entertainment to begin. When it did, it was brilliant. I found myself, not completely by accident of course, smack bang in front of Eric -- about a foot away from him, in fact. This meant that unless I wanted to literally shove a camera in his face, I couldn't take any pictures; but thankfully, bogwitch offered to take them for me instead, so I'm not short of a souvenir or two. Actually, I wouldn't have been anyway, since after the show ended, Matt handed me one of the set lists to take home. It lists 21 songs, but the band were on a roll and enjoying themselves so much, they inserted an extra 10, but unfortunately dropped Cowboy from it (but made good on that the next night).
Oct. 5th, Manchester
This was the gig that for me, ended in a trip to hospital, and it was a bit weird in that something seemed to be off from the start, with the band unsmiling throughout. They stuck to the set list, and afterwards, were gone in the blink of an eye. Waiting in the doorway for my ambulance to arrive, I did get a hug off Adam before they disappeared into a ruddy big tourbus and the night.
(The pictures I -and for the London show, bogwitch took, will be posted as soon as I finally have a computer installed at home...hopefully later this week).