Travels and travails on tour

Stewing in a van for nine days may not seem like everyone’s idea of a relaxing break from the suffocating grind of work, but I readily accepted the offer nevertheless. Fortunately this was no ordinary trip; rather a chance to visit six cities across Germany and Switzerland with three intelligent, talented and generally hygienic friends on the final spurt of their band’s lengthy European tour.

OK, there were some strings attached. I’d have to read maps, help lug equipment, sell merchandise, police the sound engineers, make apologetic calls and tap my watch at interviewers who overrun. My creaking recollections of A-level German and smartphone with roaming internet access might come in handy as well.

In return for my efforts as one part tour manager to two parts errand boy, I’d wangle a chance to revisit Hamburg, Berlin and Munich and see Zurich, St Gallen and Lausanne for the first time for free, with adequate-to-good hotels, a never-ending supply of premum lagers and two square meals a day all part of the deal.

So it was that I scooped some doorstep-thick novels into a holdall and jumped on the tour bus with LoneLady, or Julie as she’s known off-stage, her drummer Andrew and keyboardist Gareth straight after work on my birthday. First stop the gateway to continental Europe: Hull.

Hull to Rotterdam ferry

Hull to Rotterdam ferry

More to follow.

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