If It Wasn't For You …


Dover Castle

The most eagerly anticipated leg of the INXS Europe '90 tour were the two shows in Paris. At last, Paris. Imagine that. Even the sound of the phrase, "the two shows in Paris", sparkled and shimmered. I'd never been to Paris before and I was really, really excited about it. All those years of sketchy high school French lessons would finally make sense. I knew I would love the place.

Sure, I was all geared up for the view from Eiffel's Tower and a stroll by Arc's Triumph, but what I was really looking forward to was losing myself in the streets of Montmatre, The Left Bank and that sort of thing. The idea of actually being in the place where so much significant art was made, was intoxicating. And who knows, perhaps by some kind of cerebral and or spiritual osmosis, I too would be inspired to greatness. Yes, I was pretty worked up about it.

Although INXS and most of the touring party were flying, Absent Friends were traveling over by ferry from Dover. It was times like that when we really felt like the humble support band. In fact we'd felt as though we 'd been chasing the train for the last week of concerts in England and Scotland, but Paris would be our reward.

Space was at a premium in the Beaufort that night and I had to self-consciously share a room with Sean and Wendy. I kept waking up through the night thinking I'd slept in and missed the boat, and then ironically I did sleep in and woke up with a start to realize it was 7.30am! I had missed the ferry! I had missed the godamn ferry! I barrelled downstairs and raced around in blind panic until I spotted Sean and Wendy casually having breakfast. They said I should calm down and have some breakfast because the 7.00am ferry had been cancelled. Cancelled!
Malcolm, our tour manager, added that it would be the 1.00pm ferry we would be aiming for now, as the sea was angrier than ever.

I decided to take a walk up to Dover Castle and lost my self to the ghosts of the past for a few hours. It had been a great experience. Certainly got me thinking . It was 11.30 a.m. by the time I 'd made my way down from the White Cliffs ...in a leisurely fashion.

I could just make out our entourage way off in the distance. I thought it odd that the whole band should be standing around the van. One of them was standing apart from the rest madly waving his arms and gesticulating. Yes that would be John, John Mackay .Was he doing one of his old Monty Python routines? No. He was yelling something and his distant voice sounded …well…angry...really, really angry.

A few thin words were all I caught on the faint breeze but it was enough to make my stomach knot and my knees turn to jelly,

" …where the *#%#have you been..…a ferry left…..11am...could've been on it! .… if it wasn't for you!….Paris!…now its all off….no shows in Paris…your fault!…"