"Poke me and I'll hurl"
Previously on The Lightyears European Tour blog…
…Monday 10 April, 11.30am (Lightyears Chalet, Saint-Bon, French Alps):
Tony’s looking fragile this morning, having spent the entire night fighting a losing battle with a seriously hardcore stomach bug. Everyone’s nervous he may not make it out the door, let alone to the venue. And we have two gigs today. Outside, the weather is taking a turn for the worse…
Monday 10 April, 3.30pm (Somewhere in the French Alps):
………..Four hours later, we’re stuck in a snow-storm on the side of a mountain. Tony is just about holding up, although only really on account of the fact that he’s sat in the car under a blanket, not moving. At all. The look on his face says “Poke me and I’ll hurl”, so we’re leaving him well alone. Meanwhile, George, John and I are standing outside in the cold, hopelessly underdressed for the frankly Arctic surroundings, trying to figure out how to fit snow chains onto the car. First of all, I should point out that I personally made every effort to equip myself for such an eventuality. When we left the UK I packed a warm coat, a hat, a scarf, sturdy gloves and steel toe-capped, wool-lined industrial rigger boots. It’s just a shame I elected not to actually bring them with me today. As a result my feet are soggy, my jeans are heavy with snow and miniature icicles are beginning to form on the end of my nose. I knew I shouldn’t have given up Scouts.
Snow chains are, take it from The Lightyears, an absolute bugger to fit. Especially if the ones you’re using are entirely the wrong size for your tyres. Sympathetic holiday-makers occasionally stop by us to wind the window down and offer encouraging remarks along the lines of “Yes, they’re really hard to get on if you’ve never done it before, aren’t they?”. Snow falls. A lot.
Monday 10 April, 5.30pm (Still, somewhere in the French Alps):
In theory we should have been on stage half an hour ago. Instead we’re standing in the midst of a blizzard trying to figure out how to fit snow chains onto the car. Having managed to blag two different sets of chains, both, as it turns out, the wrong size for a Vauxhall Omega estate car, most of us are just about ready to curl up and die. Tony may already have done this, although none of us are prepared to stir him and find out. Unfortunately, the nearest shop selling chains in our size is in the opposite direction to the gig. We have no choice, therefore, but to set off down the mountain again. The car is, if I’m honest, skidding about a little more than you would usually hope for, especially considering we’re 1500 metres up and all that stands between the car and the cliff-edge is a pile of rocks and a couple of quivering shrubs. And so we struggle onwards, soaked through, teeth chattering, creeping along at a speed that would make an armadillo scoff. Today seems like it may never end.
Tuesday 11 April, 1.30am (Le Pub, Meribel, French Alps):
It’s been a long haul, but we’ve finally made it. We come offstage at Le Pub in Meribel in the early hours of Tuesday morning and collapse with happy exhaustion. George, John and I end up in a bizarre, shouty conversation with a guy who’s come along to the gig dressed as Buzz Lightyear – he seems particularly pleased with himself, and rightly so. All’s well that end’s well… or is it?
Suddenly, Tony appears, looking panicked. We’ve all been keeping a safe distance from him tonight, on account of the whole projectile vomiting debacle, but it now seems that something different is causing him anguish. His Lightyears jacket has been stolen. They come as a set, the LYs jackets, and with one lost, we are nothing. There begins a frantic, but ultimately fruitless, search for the missing item. By now it could be anywhere in the Alps. The future of the band hangs in the balance.
Will Tony ever set eyes on his jacket again? Will the band ever find the right-sized snow chains? Watch this space for the final episode of the Lightyears European Adventure 2006…