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A Bit Of History, And Some Brain Damage (By Alex McNamara)

Here we are again... Alex's turn to come up with something (hopefully) relatively interesting to say. I can't simply go on about how much I'm enjoying the show, as that much will always be true, and it probably wouldn't make for the most exciting read either.

So today we are in Bordeaux: a region of France that is of particular interest to me as both an Englishman and a keen follower of history. During the Middle Ages, the region of Aquitaine was fiercely contested by the Kingdoms of England and France, and following the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry Plantagenet (Henry II) in 1152 AD, the English crown actually controlled more of France than the French! In fact, the whole of western France became part of what was known as the Angevin Empire, and it was one of the key contributing factors to the famous "Hundred Years War" between the two nations which dominated European politics for a long time. In fact, England and France were at war with each other continuously for longer than any other two countries in the entirety of world history! Technically the "Hundred Years War" actually went on far longer than a century, as the conflict was not considered at an end until 1453 when Charles VII of France finally drove the English from the continent, and united the whole of France as a single Kingdom for the very first time. Groovy stuff! (Unless of course you happened to be a soldier at the time, in which case "groovy" probably wouldn't have been your choice of word... had it even existed.)

So now we're done with Alex's little insight into the history of the region, I thought it might be mildly entertaining to talk about some of the more mundane aspects of touring life. We've been encouraged to talk about our own personal experiences and put a bit of our own "character" into these blogs, so I thought I might own up to the fact that I tend to be quite accident prone on tour. No, really. Ask anyone in the band: if any one of us is likely to injure themselves in the most bizarre fashion possible, get lost on the way to the stage and end up locked in a cupboard, have all his possessions stolen, or lose the very shirt off his back, it would probably be me. And as much as I genuinely love France, I specifically tend not to have much luck in Paris. Last year I managed to have my passport stolen while I was asleep on the Eurostar, and this year, within ten minutes of getting into my hotel room, I knelt down to plug in a extension lead, and on the way back up I managed to ram my head into the corner of an open window. Fair to say it hurt... a lot. Next minute I'm flat on my ass "seeing stars" (like a cartoon character), and wiping blood from my head with nice clean white hotel towels. God knows what the cleaning staff must have thought when they cleared the room the next day... it was slightly reminiscent of a scene from the US TV show "Dexter".

So did I go out and savour the joys of Paris, see the sights at all? Nope. In actuality, I spent most of the day staring into space trying to remember things like how many letters there are in the alphabet, and my own name.

Here's a picture of me later on....


It was a touch less dramatic than that.

Now ok... I admit it's not the biggest battle scar in the world. My Aussie colleagues especially would no doubt laugh themselves silly at this picture, because as we all know, in Australia unless you've been mauled by a croc, had your leg torn off by a shark, or severed your own arm in a DIY accident, it's not considered a "proper" injury. Of course, to a slightly over-dramatic Brit, this was a potential mortal wound.

Fortunately Wendy (Colin's wife, and our tour "Florence Nightingale") was nearby to play nurse, and very kindly persuaded me that I wasn't going to die. Well, not yet anyway. She also assured me that I was unlikely to have sustained any Brain Damage. (See what I did there?)

Until next time folks. That is of course unless I manage to lose an eye, consequently get hit by a truck, and stumble into a ravine....


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