News & Insights 30 March 2006

LYs hit the Alps

Here we all are, munching freshly warmed baguettes with a side serving of prime quality French ham, sipping a round of hazelnut coffees and soaking up the fresh Alpine air. Beyond the front door of our chalet stands a magnificent, snow-topped mountain range, speckled with clusters of expensive-looking ski lodges and, outside in the street, portly men in stripey blue and white smocks stroll whistling down the street, adjusting their onion necklaces and shouting at children.

Here’s a brief account of how we got here: 

Thursday 30 March, 7pm (Berkshire, UK):
We have literally never been this organised. We are now on our second practise pack of the car (bear in mind that, when you’re trying to fit two large speakers, two monitor speakers, stage piano, bass guitar, electric guitar, drum kit, hundreds of leads, a 4-foot long hard-case, mic stands, keyboard stands, guitar stand, guitar pedals, guitar amp, snare case, microphones, sound module, speaker stands, mixing desk, camera, tripod, clothes to last 2 weeks, and three people, into a Vauxhall Omega, you really do need that second practise pack). John, who is coming on tour with us to play bass, has challenged us to get all this stuff into the car in under 2 minutes. We accept the challenge, and therein lies our first mistake. It’s roughly at this point that George rams the keyboard through the car window.

Friday 31 March, 2.30pm (Slough, UK):
We should be well on the way to Europe by now. Instead, we’re at Autoglass in Slough. Which has proved to be one of life’s crueller turns. The tour has been pushed back 24 hours.  

Saturday 1 April, 4pm (somewhere on a French autoroute):
Today, everything has run smoothly. George, Tony and I are in the Omega and John is taking the plane. Whilst in the car we consider how funny it would have been to have stayed at home in London, and then to have called John up in the evening to say “We’re not really going on tour, we just thought it would be hilarious to fly you to Geneva and see if you could make it back. April Fool!”. Ah, the benefit of hindsight.

Sunday 2 April, 11am (Saint-Bon, French Alps):
Finally, and triumphantly, at 2am last night, we arrived at the chalet. As it turns out the one thing we forgot to bring was bedding, which, considering it snows here 9 months of the year, can reasonably be regarded as a little bit stupid. As a result we ended up sleeping under moth-eaten blankets we earlier deemed not fit to wrap our equipment in. Rock ‘n’ roll. This morning John and Tony made a trip to the local boulangerie and somehow managed to spend 40 quid on a joint of ham and a piece of cheese. Well done lads. The proprietor obviously saw you coming a mile off. 

Monday 3 April, 11.30pm (Le Pub, Meribel, French Alps):
We are in the process of playing our second gig of the day in the imaginatively-titled “Le Pub” in the frighteningly swish ski resort of Meribel. Everybody here is richer than God. It’s sort of like a big theme park for really posh people. One thing I can say is that they know how to have a good time, and by half-way through our first set the whole crowd is moshing, stage-diving and pretty much climbing the walls. This place has footprints on the ceiling – ‘nuff said. 

And I guess that brings us up-to-speed. Stay tuned for another blog over the next few days…

Chris Lightyear

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