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7:30 beep beep beep beep. This is where it all starts, our trip to "Gomez", the best modern band since the Beatles, and believe me I have extremely high standards when it comes to music, so this is a great compliment.

Any way I woke up at 7:30 after having a extremely uncomfortable night sleeping at a friends house on the floor, with many bangs throughout the night through turning and hitting the table beside me. All was ready, I was waiting, waiting for the shower. As I was going to the concert with two girls (Joanna, my girlfriend and Jessica our other friend) I knew that that morning was not going to be easy.

I was last in the shower at about 7:50 then I threw on my clothes and went down to have the most important meal of the day, praying that it would keep me going for the rest of the trip. Finished my breakfast and got into the car to head of to the coach station.

Dennis, Jessica's dad, had decided to drive as slow as possible when we only had 15 minutes to get there. Luckily Jessica (the most indecisive person in the world) realised that we were going rather slowly and decided to shout at Dennis in a panic "Dad could you go any slower". This immediately caused a very knife-edge atmosphere between everybody in the car with Dennis muttering under his breath about how we ought to be grateful.

Finally we got to the coach station and found the coach about a minute before it was about to leave. The coach was packed so we all had to find a seat next to some one we didn't know. Joanna sat next to a blonde woman, Jessica sat next to an elderly lady, and I sat next to a young girl. It turns out that Jessica got the best place out of all of us, as she didn't need to talk to her or have any contact in the slightest. Me being the mardy bugger I am in the morning, made no effort to talk to this girl. Joanna though is a very polite and will talk to any one. This is where her down fall was, the lady was in fact Scandinavian and was worried about the fact that she had to get another coach after this one, and if she missed it she would have to wait for a week.

She decided to tell Joanna this at least 15 times, along with complaining about the driver, the coach, the service, and the seating. Even when there was a break in conversation and Jessica tried to save Joanna by giving her her Walkman, after a minute of listening, the Scandinavian woman was on again tapping Joanna on the arm.

Joanna had to put up with this all the way to Milton Keynes, which is some way to listen to the same old tripe over and over again. I was falling nicely asleep however which Jessica, who was watching me, found very amusing, as she says that my head was jerked up and down around 40 times with me not having a clue what was happening. The one thing that I did notice was when the girl beside me was asleep on my back (as I had turned so my leg's were in the aisle).

We finally got to London, where we drove through a Jewish community and although it was a Sunday they all had the hats and what looked like fake side burns on. This part of the journey was one off the longest as the London marathon was on the same day.

After what seemed like for ever we arrived in Victoria coach station. We got off and checked the time, it was 12:30, time for lunch. There was a pub called the RAT and PARROT next to the station so we decided not to bother trying to look anywhere else for some where to eat and we stopped there.

We ordered some food and drinks (3 cokes, I couldn't stomach beer after that journey). We were served buy a very enthusiastic barman how was also more than probably gay (who I am told took a shine to me, but I don't believe it). Jessica was discussing about how you can tell we were in London, because of the graffiti in the toilet which went along the lines of "Racist people, are just people that lack the imagination to accept other cultures". Then we got involved in a conversation about the state of the world. To finish it off Jo and Jess had a good laugh after I came down form being in the toilet and the barman was following behind me.

We then went to the tube to travel across to Brixton. Got to Brixton, and it was raining, we were all now getting more and more excited and shivers of adrenalin were shooting up my spine. We went across the road to ask a waiter in a bar if he knew were the academy was. He gave vague directions and we wandered off (He was foreign and didn't speak much English). We then asked a security guard in a shop called Mark One, he thought that Jessica had asked for handbags (she mumbles), Then after some explaining he finally said that he didn't now where it was (He was also foreign). This epitomises Brixton. Nobody speaks English, nobody knows where anything is, and everybody is quite intimidating. The Academy was just around the corner, so we decided that seeing as though we were 6 hours early we aught to find a place to sit for a while.

We found a bar called SW9 (ran by an English speaking foreigner). It was rammed with people of all cultures chatting enthusiastically, there were people reading, people working, babies grinning, people drinking. This was perfect we ended up talking there for around three and a half hours (and drinking as we had now recovered from the travelling). Until we thought that we had better go and check on the queue at the Academy.

Before we got there we stopped at a news agents to get some red bull and chocolate. There were two men smoking in the shop with nobody saying any thing, this I had only seen happen with a drunk in West Bridgford (What a sheltered life I lead)

We then got to the queue. 13th place I couldn't believe it and just after we had sat down, the queues got bigger and bigger. We sat there drinking our cans and eating our food, freezing our arses off The time was 5:30 and the doors didn't open till 7:00.

Girls talking next to us, with cups of Coffee, oh the envy. Then they told a story of how their friend was in hospital on morphine ~'lucky bitch" (very funny, I thought to my self "ARSES").

The doors opened at 7.00 and we ran to the front and were so close Jessica could tie her camera to the barrier rail at the front. If we had wanted to lean over and touch them we could have done. We then took it in turns to go to the toilet, saving places for each other as we went.

I was the last to go to the toilet and on the way back I stopped at the bar. I asked how much a pint was a this big block of a man said £2.80, I nearly chocked and asked for 3 pints. He started to pour four and I apologised, but I only wanted three (he was not pleased). I gave him £20 and he gave me the change. I said thanks, he said nothing but looked at me like I was the scum of the earth.

We then waited, and waited, and waited for something to happen. 8:30 and the support band came on. They were a kind of dance act but they had a front man that was almost as arrogant as the man that served me earlier at the bar. They were called Cuba, not very exciting as it all sounded the same.

At this point the lady behind spilt beer all down Joanna's skirt and legs, Joanna was not best pleased to say the least. It collected in her shoe and made her feet squelch. The place all of a sudden went wild when Ollie from Gomez came on to sing a song with the support band, but even that didn't improve the standard of Cuba.

Cuba left the stage and we watched as the technicians set up the stage for Gomez. The excitement was building. 9:00 and it all started as they then came on to the stage.

The crowd went wild it was both terrif~ring and liberating as there was a great serge of 8000 people forward to try and get close to Gomez, but it seemed that we were the only ones that knew that there was a metal barriers almost breaking our ribs.

I was so worried that Joanna and Jessica were going to get crushed that I decided to do what I could to cushion them from the crowd. I placed an arm either side of there bodies, and locked my arm. I kept this position without fail thought the whole concert. I could hardly move my arms after the first hour. People were being pulled out of the crowd by the security guards as they fainted or were crushed. Then people started to crowd surf (when the lie on the crowd and get carried across) they were kicking people in the head. Sometimes by accident, some times on purpose. While this was all happening Gomez were playing a multitude of different songs off their first and second albums.

Then Tom from Gomez spoke and every ear listened. He said that we were getting it all wrong and that there wasn't enough movement in the crowd. My heart both sank and exploded as more people were hurled towards me. Then off Tom went and came back on wearing a Spanish dancers jacket. He did a little dance to which the crowd went wild then he threw it to the side. They played the songs and at one point three of the five stood and clapped on Ollie who was playing a very difficult piece on the guitar.

The music continued and so did the crowd pushing and shoving, people came and went. Gomez came on and off the stage three times for encores and they finished with them all playing together then one by one they took a bow and disappeared off the stage. Until there were only two left. FANTASTIC. It was over. There was both relief and disappointment. I wanted it to continue but I don't think that my body could have stood it. Also Joanna who had been almost suffocated by men ether side was not looking too great.

We got carried through the surge of people moving towards the exit ended up in the queue for memorabilia. I wanted a pack of cards which were £4.00 (not cheap) but as Joanna and Jessica were discussing which top they preferred out of the ones on display, the last one was nabbed by the girl who told the morphine story (That's life). Joanna brought a hat, Jessica brought a T shirt, and I got a stick of rock, though I refused to be down hearted as it was such a privilege to see such a good band.

We got outside and purchased three posters for a pound each (this made me a bit happier), and headed with the rest of the queue to MacDonald's. Tried looking for a late night bar in Brixton, found the Bug Bar, but it looked mightily scary and not very safe. All of the windows were boarded up, and there was just "the bug bar" painted on the side of one wall.

So decided to go to MacDonald's, again this was very scary. Joanna chatted up by two drunken Spanish men. I hadn't noticed this. They then got really close to her face and kept insulting her in Spanish, the atmosphere in MacDonald's and in Brixton as a whole was very tense as if everything was on edge and about to break. So we ate our food and decided to leave. Got outside and were pestered buy three tramps asking for money.

The tube station shut an hour early, panic started to set in fortunately there was a late bus that ran every 30 minuets. I spoke to Oscar (Jessica's brother) on the phone and told him all about the great time that we'd had. We then arrived at Victoria station, relieved to be out of the close environment of Brixton. There was a Internet cafe' that was 24 hours. £1.00 for 6 hours surfing. But the Coffee bar there was shut and we needed caffeine as it was one A.M. and we had seven and a half hours left to kill.

We then got a coffee from a coffee bar in Victoria station. We sat for 30 minutes and talked about how good they were. We then headed to the newsagents which was also was 24 hours. Asked if there was a coffee bar open and the foreigner gave use directions.

We walked for about 5 mlnutes and arrived at a lovely Italian cafe. This place was opened buy the ambassador of Italy to provide fresh and good quality food. Money was low so we had to limit the drinks that we brought.

Then came the different stages through the night most of which is a blur. First it was tiredness, then it was the wide eyes, then the manic laughing, then the silence, then the burst of energy. These stages lasted up to 5:30 and the sun was rising so we decided to go and watch the sunrise.

Joanna then noticed a sign that said Buckingham Palace. We walked down and came to it. It was the first time that any of us had seen this marvellous building. We admired it for a while then the size of it was beginning to make us feel sick, so we decided to go back to get some breakfast.

We were back at Victoria Station so we got a sandwich. Then we sat and watch the people go to work first in dribs and drabs then in a mass movement. We must have been tired as I watched the pidgeons for 30 minutes. Then we moved to Victoria coach station at 7:00.

This is where I lost it I couldn't hold a conversation. I couldn't keep eye contact and I couldn't even think. We were all struggling to stay awake never mind have any kind of communication. What struck me was that I had to get rid of my gum, but there wasn't one bin in the whole station. That was the last straw I couldn't handle it any more I just sat still drifting in and out of sleep not knowing which I was in. That last hour was the slowest that I have ever experienced.

Then the coach came, it seams that everybody felt the same. There was a mad rush to the bus, comparable to when we were at the concert. We fell asleep virtually instantly. Even though there was a permanent squeak of the window wiper, and the permanent gabble from the driver. Luckilly no Scandinavian woman though.

We got off at the town hall. Jessica's mum, Nicky, gave us a lifi to Joanna's. That was the end, it was 2:3O, so we fell into a deep and undisturieed sleep for six hours.

Just in case you were wondering. Yes it was worth it.

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Joan Mary Fulford
Fulord Consulting Ltd
West Bridgford
Nottingham NG2 5GF


Clifford W Fulford
162 Edward Road
West Bridgford
Nottingham, NG2 5GF

Send e-mailclifford@fulford.net
Telephone: 07923 572 8612