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Like Black Holes in the Sky

by Derek Melia

 

At the crack of dawn on the 5th August 1988 myself and my mate boarded the National Express out of Liverpool to London on our way to see Pink Floyd live at Wembley Stadium. It was the bands first live performance on our shores since the bitter split with Roger Waters and was part of the world tour to coincide with the just released A Momentary Lapse Of Reason.

We arrived in London just after midday and bumped into two lads we knew from the match who were going up to Wembley also. We decided to find a boozer to spend the afternoon at with seating outside as the temperature was well into the 80s now and rising, plus we also had a bit of weed. All four of us had no tickets for tonight and the other two had already made it clear they were going to jump the gates if possible. As for us we were going to get tickets outside, the reason being was that we would have just necked our trips by then and the last thing I wanted was to be sitting in a cell in London while the purple mics got to work. By six o'clock we were caned and we all agreed to make our way up to Wembley. For some reason we jumped a cab even though the tube station was over the road from the boozer. As we sat back in the cab we pulled the trips from our pockets and swallowed, no going back now.

We got up to Wembley in good time considering the traffic and made our way up Wembley Way keeping a look out for tickets. Then by good chance I spotted a tout from the match, who duly handed us two tickets at face value. A meeting point was sorted with the other two for afterwards and we then made our way in. By this time the purple fellas were starting to get to work so a quick piss in the bogs, a couple of pints purchased and it was time to get a speck sorted. As we made our way to the top of the steps which took you out into the stands, the first of many deep rushes you get from acid engulfed me. We wanted to get in the  middle say around fifty yards from the stage and the way we were feeling by now it was going to be a logistical nightmare. Making our way through the crowd uttering 'get through there' countless times while holding two pints I was aware of the sound of a bee in my ears and birds singing and then to my horror I heard a lawnmower. I looked behind me to see if my mate had got onto it but he was moving along with an expression on his face like he'd just been kicked in the balls, obviously getting to our place of standing was taking its toll on the poor lad.

As we reached base we sat down amongst a see of legs and bad smells to skin up and congratulate each other on mission accomplished. It was then that we worked out where the bee sound and the other shit was coming from. You see with no support someone in the Floyd camp had hit on the idea to record the sounds of a typical summers day in someone's back garden, fuckers I thought as the lawnmower grew louder and if I hear an ice cream van I'm off.

The band hit the stage just as the sun disappeared behind the roof and opened up with Shine On and as soon as it kicked in, I was off  to another land. They played a blinder and at the end of every song we greeted it with a massive grin and a big 'fuckin hell!' A giant bed, an aeroplane, an enormous pigs (with the balls due to legal reasons) and something else that I still to this day can't figure out hovered above us at various points. We didn't want it to end but as soon as the giant glitter ball that had accompanied the band through Comfortably Numb disappeared back behind Masons drum kit and they had took their bows, every light that the old ground had to offer came on at once.

We stood there like rabbits caught in the headlights trying to come to terms with our silver hair and size 20 feet and hands like crabs. I tried to check the time on my watch but it was no good, it had melted just like us two. To this day I don't know how we made the meeting point at the time agreed but we did, but by this time I was fucked and the other two were giving us encouragement to make it to the tube station, we had to make the coach home but the clock was ticking. The tube station was wall to wall with people and the police had decided to fuck checking tickets off and just get everyone one trains and out of there. We managed to jump on our train to Victoria but only just, I was squashed hard up to the door as we picked up speed and was trying to come to terms with my toes or talons more like which were protruding through my trainers. I kept my head down all the way until I heard psst coming from my left, I tried to ignore it but again I heard it. As I looked up the guy in front of me was wearing a vest and holding onto the overhead handrail and one of the lads we'd met had is tongue out as if to lick the hairs from the fellas armpit. Me and my mate who had also got onto it burst out laughing and there was no stopping us, we'd lost it.

All of a sudden as we pulled into the next station all hell broke loose as a few digs were thrown by armpit man and our mate, as it spilled onto the platform a guy jumped off and duly informed our mate the he was nicked. Fucksake just what I needed now as everything started to turn hellish. As they wrestled with each other on the floor armpit man legs it with his bird as a few transport plod turn up. Me and my mate sit down on a bench not wanting to get dragged in or nicked for that matter as the other lads and undercover bloke are pulled apart. After much finger pointing and shouting the police seem to have it under control unlike me, who by now was thinking all kinds of shit, I look to my mate for encouragement but he looks like a man who has lost everything including the will to live. We see undercover man walk off towards the exit as the other two lads shake hands with the plod and a few laughs are shared, what the fucks going on I think.

As the plod walk off our mates walk over to us and inform us of what went on. Turns out the undercover man was infact a security guard for Madam Tussauds and that's what he flashed when he said he was nicking our mate. The plod told him that if he wanted to take it further they'd nick him for impersonating a police officer and to be honest they couldn't be arsed with it all and told everyone to fuck off sharpish or everyone including us were getting nicked.

I felt better now and started laughing even though the tube station resembled a grotto and everyone was sporting rubber faces and mad hairstyles. Then all of a sudden it dawns on us that while all of this shit was going on we have blown our chances of making the coach home. Its tuning into a nightmare, still tripping, hardly any money, were fucked. We finally come to two options, first one as suggested by the other two is that they know someone down here who may put us up for the night and then we'll just jump the train home in the morning or our option, hitch a ride.
 
Standing at the beginning of the M1 I felt we'd made the right choice not to go with the other two I mean, what if there was nobody home, remembering that this was a time before mobile phones and what if they didn't want two complete strangers about to freak out staying with them. All in all a good call and an even better one as just after an hour we get a lift all the way to Manchester off a guy transporting animal feed. As we settle back with Dolly Parton ringing in our ears he informs us that we can't smoke and I can't put me feet up on the dash unlike me mate who has got the cab space behind us sprawled out like a dead man. I pretended to go to sleep and he seemed quite happy with that but I was thinking and seeing all sorts of mad shit as the lorry hurtled up north. Then it happened, a big bang and a shout of ' aye up lads we've had it' from our driver as he wrestled with the steering wheel. We'd lost a wheel off the trailer and were heading into the central reservation. I held on for my life as we came to a holt in the outside lane as the driver somehow avoided the barrier. We sat in shock as we watched the rogue wheel hurtle down the motorway and thanked the lord we'd survived.

It was early doors just before Birmingham and we'd left our driver on his advice before the plod turned up as he'd have got a roasting and probably lost his job for having picked us up. A couple of hours later when the motorway would have been busy and there would have been carnage. We walked to the next junction and walked off to sit at the roundabout for our next lift which we'd hoped would be soon.  We waited for nearly five hours as we took it turns to put the thumb out while one kipped in the long grass. A doctor on his way to Scotland and again as before he'd drop us by Manchester. We got out at Knutsford as his car smelt of shit and we'd been taking the piss out of his hair anyway, saying it was a wig. He'd had enough and told us to fuck off as we fell out the car in hysterics. We got some skins from the garage and drinks and sat off for a bit and reflected on what had gone on and how we survived and most importantly how good the Floyd had been and looking forward to seeing them again on Monday night at Maine Road.

We finished our smoke and went to the exit of the services and within five minutes we had a lift and he was off to Liverpool also. I crashed in the back wiped out while me mate sat upfront and informed the driver of our past 24 hours. We were dropped off at the skateboard park just off Edge Lane and jumped on the 60 bus for the final leg of the journey. Soon as I got in I went to bed and stayed there till Sunday and when I got up I decided I'd take the car on Monday just in case like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
   
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