Monday 26 June 2017
The time has finally come. I’m here, in London, for what will possibly be one of the biggest musical highlights of my life, if not the biggest musical highlight. Adele, The Finale, Live At Wembley Stadium. Yep, I’ve been on about it since November last year, and now it’s time.
This is my first real full day in London. I arrived in the early afternoon yesterday, but arrival days are always a sort of write off day for me when I travel. There seems little point in getting out and about when you arrive at around 2pm. I mean, I could have gone out and looked around a bit, but after showering and eating, and relaxing a bit, I fell asleep in front of the telly at about 5:30pm and woke up – the first time – at 9:30pm. I didn’t think I’d been asleep for long, because it was still bloody daylight outside! Well, it seemed like daylight because, y’know, it was so light for 9:30 at night. What the hell is with that, London? Obviously, that was a rhetorical question.
Anyway, I was excited to get my final email regarding entry to Adele at Wembley last night. So, this morning, I decided to check out where I’m required to pick up my ticket, and where I’ll be expected to enter the stadium. And in my head, I decided I should probably be there more than an hour earlier than I need. Because lots of people. Because Adele. And yes, I realise that as a teacher of English, my two previous sentences aren’t actually sentences, they’re phrases, and it was completely wrong of me to begin or even write sentences in that manner. Apologies. I’m excited. What can I say?
I had a bit of a wander around Wembley Stadium to orientate myself. Although, I didn’t actually go all the way around. Hey, I only need to know where to get my ticket from, where to get in, and where to go when I’m in the stadium. The rest isn’t really important. I must say that I was just amazed at how big the venue is. I know that sounds like a knobby thing to say, but it’s really, really huge. Really. And the arch over the stadium is gi-f*cking-normous.
I’m pretty sure since I’ve arrived that I’ve seen Adele, her vehicles, her staff, and anything or anyone associated with her more times than I ever thought I would. Of course, I’m also leaning towards believing that I’ve been entirely making those things up, and that I’m simply assuming the vehicles and people have anything to do with her. You know how it is when you’re so excited to see someone, and you’re so close to where they’ll be that you kinda think everything in the vicinity belongs to and with them. You do, don’t you? Okay, maybe that’s just me.
Continuing on . . .
As I mentioned, it was wander around Wembley Stadium morning for me. I encountered some workers – they could have been part of Adele’s crew, but I can’t say for sure – who started belting out some song – that I think was possibly their rendition of ‘When We Were Young’ because I was wearing my When We Were Young Adele shirt. Again, this is only an assumption I’m making because I was doing my best to a) ignore them, b) look like I should have been in the area and not stalking Adele, c) not look like a tourist, and d) not look like a bloody tourist. I’m pretty sure I still looked like a tourist, although with my usual out-doing-the-tourist-thing-trying-not-to-look-like-a-tourist facial expression, I may have escaped looking too obvious. But, bloody hell, you can’t half spot a tourist at twenty paces!
After the Wembley wander (I like the sound of that. Maybe I should trademark it?) I headed off to find somewhere for breakfast. When travelling, I do my utmost to eat away from the hotels I stay at during the day. I must admit that I do like room service, so I tend to stick with evening meals from the in-room dining menus. I know they’re all overpriced, but there’s something about getting room service that makes a hotel stay really feel like a fabulous vacation for me. Got myself fuelled up for a morning of shopping – croissant and coffee (not that you really needed to know that. I’m sure my breakfast habits when I travel are of little importance or interest to you.). And my God, was it the biggest cup of coffee I’ve ever seen in my life?! It was huge. Humungous. Monstrous. More like a bowl of coffee. So, definitely prepped for a bit of shopping.
I hit up the one place that I said I was going to specifically find and shop at. The Adidas Outlet at London Designer Outlet. I’m sure this was an Adidas store designed especially for me. More shoes than you could poke a stick at, and the only reason I only came away with four new pairs of Adidas trainers was because the other four pairs weren’t available in my size. Yeah, I made sure to travel here with room in my suitcase for Adidas goods. And then I saw the flight bag. And the shirts. And the socks. Yep. It was a good morning of shopping.
As a laugh, I tweeted to Adidas UK and asked if they wanted to sponsor me after my recent purchases. To my surprise and delight, they tweeted back and asked for further Adidas credentials. And we all know how much I love my Adidas. I’m yet to hear from them again. I may have scared them off by mentioning how I used to wear Campus and Rome back in the 80s. Never-the-less, it was great PR for the company to reply to my tweet. Seriously though, I don’t actually expect them to sponsor me . . . not really . . . maybe just a cool shirt . . . or another pair of awesome shoes . . . just as a trade off for me always buying Adidas sports wear and trainers. Maybe. 😉
There’s heightened security at my hotel. They’ve employed a few extra security personnel to ensure guest safety. They don’t stand out as security guards. Not really. Well, maybe if you expect security guards to look like secret service guys, then yes, they probably do. But otherwise, just regular looking hotel employees, or businessmen loitering in the lobby. It does feel safe here. There’s no doubt that recent events have touched London, even out here in the ‘burbs. Sadly, there was yet another apartment block fire in London over night, and that resulted in the hotel staging a fire drill this morning, about an hour after I’d returned from shopping. Of course, we didn’t know that it was a drill and from seven floors up, I headed all the way down via the stairs. When I got out to safety, a lovely security gentleman asked if I was a guest of the hotel, and when I replied yes, he promptly sent me all the way back up the seven floors via the stairs because it was just a drill. My exercise for the next week has been completed with the down and up seven floor fire drill bolt!
There’ll be heightened security at the concert too. We’ve been emailed the security measures that will be in place on every night of Adele’s performances. And to be honest, if you’re legitimately out for a good time, those increased security measures shouldn’t or won’t bother you, I suspect. Frankly, I’m grateful for any increased security that any venue, regardless of where in the world it is. I certainly don’t mind arriving at the venue extra early to compensate for the extra security measures. It’s all good in my book.
I’m spending Monday afternoon at the hotel, relaxing and writing this post simply because the next week will involve lots of walking between tourist attractions, tours, and exhibitions that I pre-booked before departing for London, the concert (the main event as I’m referring to it), and then post-concert days will be further filled with more tourist attractions, tours, and exhibitions than I’ll know what to do with. As brief taster of what I’ve got in store, I’m heading to Westminster Abbey (and everything around it like the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben), a bit of a wander to Downing Street for a gander, Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Park, Shakespeare’s Globe (a must for a Drama teacher!), possibly a wander to the Tower of London, Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, maybe a look at the Shard, the Gherkin, and all those funky modern buildings, and a visit to Kew Gardens later in the week. Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the Globe, and Kew Gardens. Excitement plus.
Undoubtedly, tomorrow, when I’m off being all touristy, Adele will be sound checking at Wembley, and I’ll bloody well miss it. And that, my friends, will be the day that she decides to take a bit of a wander out and around where I’ve been tramping along. And I’ll bloody well miss her. It’s always the way. I’ve no doubt though, that the show I’ll see will be an incredible two hours in my musical history. Adele, at home, comfortable and not having had to travel all the way across the other side of the world to play for the Australasians. I’m sure there’ll be a familiarity that she has with her possibly predominantly English audience. There’ll be pyrotechnics – I’ve already seen members of the pyrotechnics team, as we had breakfast together . . . in the same establishment – 90 000+ Adele fans singing their hearts out. And I’ll be there. I’ll be one of them.
It is, without a doubt, the most flippant, impromptu decision I’ve ever made, to come all the way across the world for two hours of music and entertainment. It is also, without a doubt, the most incredible thing I’ve done. Not everyone gets the chance to travel like this. Not everyone has the opportunity, the financial means, the time, or the ability to chase after one of their favourite singers the way I have done. It is an experience that I intend to make the most of. And let me tell you, I’m already loving every second of it.