72. Glasgow, SECC Arena, 30 November 2003

Nov 30, Glasgow SECC

I bunk in with Yasuko and her boyfriend and share a very early taxi ride to the airport for my early flight back to Glasgow. It’s still early when I get home and I go to bed but foolishly don’t turn my phone off. I have a couple of hours before calls start coming in from people who are meeting me at the SECC. I am delirious from tiredness and flu symptoms but I can’t get back to sleep. I head out to the SECC to see who is already there.

Melody Nelson is coming over from Edinburgh to be my plus one for the evening. I have sold on all the tickets I bought to friends and boardies. Our seats are at the very back of the hall, at the top of tall bleachers. The band are so far away that if Thom wasn’t wearing those awful white trousers, I wouldn’t be able to see him. We’re even too far away to properly see the screens. Meanwhile various friends are down in the crush. I couldn’t have done it tonight, too tired, too ill, but I still envy them.

There is a weird three-part sound mix tonight, it sounds odd, like Jonny is too loud. The venue (the hangar-like Exhibition Centre) is atrocious and I usually avoid going to gigs here if I can possibly help it. The layout, with a wide standing area and seats at the back, doesn’t make for a good view at the best of times, but from here at the very back I have a full view of the lighting rig. No one in the seats stands up and I have no leg room, even dancing in the chair is tricky (Yama and I have a go at a hand jive to some of ADF’s set but we are just messing about). By the last encore the few people behind us have left, so we stand up for Karma Police and Everything In Its Right Place and at last break a sweat.

Inept security staff nearly get us lost, but we eventually find the catering – a fridge, some trestle tables and almost a beer each– the SECC is a draughty barn of a place and it feels like we’re in a loading bay at a service station. It’s Melody’s first time and she wants to touch the edge of Ed’s garment, he’s her favourite and she’s very enthusiastic and nervous (and I can’t really deal with it right now). I always feel like I should share this chance to get close to the band but then feel like I can’t help but leave people out. In a way it would be great if everyone could come, but the band probably wouldn’t show up for a big group of people. Sometimes it’s the greatest thing imaginable and sometimes it’s teeth-grindingly embarrassing.

Keiko moves in, determined as ever to get her minute with Thom. I give him a postcard from a T-shirt shop in Nottingham that has Saddam and Bush on it, which seems “of the moment”. I tell him I’m coming tomorrow and then that’s it because it’s killing me, my voice has almost gone. We haven’t really been able to talk this time around and now I can’t talk at all.