Good Friday everybody.
There’s a definite end of term air about the place now. Suddenly two nights in Auckland have flown by in the rather beautiful Civic Centre and it even seems to have stopped raining. I have spent quite a lot of time just recovering from the recent spate of shows and the travel and huge picture windows afford me a view of Auckland Harbour, which looks about as close as I am likely to get on this peg leg. Also as it is Good Friday, or maybe as it is New Zealand, everything is shut. Locked down as tight as a nun’s nasty, as the Aussies say. They’ve all buggered off on a four day weekend, since they get the Bank Holiday on Monday as well. I’d like to report it’s because they are extremely religious, but I fancy it is more to do with stretching long weekends into even longer, and I can hardly blame them since I so frequently rant about the Yanks not taking any time off. However, even Simon, our token Canadian, and tour master extraordinaire, has been quite surprised at how hard it is to get people to work at weekends in Australia. They don’t even answer the phone. “Oh look mate I was at the beach…”
Here in New Zealand the clamp came down when they stopped serving drinks at the hotel bar at 11.30, explaining that they all had to be out of there by midnight. Some thirsty revellers tipped us off to a joint round the corner called The Glass Goose or something like that, and it was all happening, girls dancing, disco, and a large open air bar busy splashing out drinks. So when it came time to order another I was amazed to find that it too closed on the first stroke of midnight. Were all the waitresses Cinderellas who had to run home to hovels before their glass goose turned into a mouse? What the hell? “But it’s New Zealand” they say in that oddly flattened vowel, “ and it’s Good Friday.” When we pointed out that Jesus himself was fond of a good drink, holding large suppers and turning water into wine we got that slight smile New Zealanders use to both apologise and explain. So there we are, nowhere for the Needy Bastard to quench his thirst after a long show. Worst of it was I’d slept all day, completely knackered from my travails. So there was nothing to do but say goodbye to my old friends Jeff Lyons and Robin, and go to bed. As it was I slept fitfully and woke at dawn to begin packing for the end of tour, when all I do is take my little budgie smugglers off to Tahiti. No, I don’t wear Speedos, not any more, but I am headed off to meet the wife in Tahiti. She’s up in Brisbane holding Koalas, having achieved her goal of finally finding bats. All the flying foxes have been cleaned out of Sydney, and she likes to watch them by day, hanging upside down in the trees. She’s nuts for animals. Hey if you live with me you need some relief.
Outside my huge hotel window is what appears to be the lower stages of an atlas rocket in cement, but if you crane your neck you can see it is just the tower of one of those revolving restaurant things, where people hurl themselves off the edge on bungee cords. I guess the food’s that bad. Though I must say I have eaten rather nicely. We had so much fun the other night at Gusto that we invited the waiters to the show, and they came too. Not sure if the Qantas crew that John invited showed up or not. Anyway to our relief we were full again last night, and the Civic has a star field ceiling. I could spot Orion as it’s in my hemisphere but my plaintive cries of where the fuck is the Southern Cross fell on deaf ears. Perhaps because it’s Good Friday. On the show we pointed out that not many people in the audience had been crucified, but we had. For three days. Slightly chilling to turn up for work to find a cross with your name on it, even though there were bicycle saddles to relieve some of the effects of hanging up there all day. The worst was that fifty or so of us were up there singing “Always Look on the Bright Side” at the end of the Life of Brian and they only had three ladders, so there were plaintive cries from people desperate to be taken down for a pee. Still it concentrates the mind wonderfully to have the experience of being executed in that fashion. One of the things the Romans ever have done for us I guess. Not that mankind has lacked for imaginative ways to torture and kill those whom it dislikes. It’s one of our great accomplishments.
I tried out a new song in Auckland and it went down very well. I was tired of doing too many filthy songs so I wrote one based on our Tour experience. Fuck Selfies, it’s called. And goes on to abuse the incessant selfie taker that takes up so much time. John and I are rather bad at stopping for autographs and shit. “Michael Palin would have come out” someone bleated on Twitter. Precisely.
Today came the good news that the Beeb are going to do the Show I have been working on for so long. They had been in that state of chaos when executives are changed and you get lost in the process, and I had begun to despair that it was all going pear shaped. But no. The ice is slowly melting and the glacier is drifting downhill again. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but here’s a clue: we stuck Professor Brian Cox in the show after the Galaxy Song, in a clip from O2 where he is run over by Stephen Hawking. It goes very well, as indeed it did at O2. But that’s all I’m going to tell you for now. It’s cheered me up no end on a day when we are trapped in a hotel with nowhere to go. Now at least I have some work to do.
So Happy Eater to you all.