91. Dublin, Malahide Castle, 7 June 2008

Night two in Dublin is Keiko’s 100th Radiohead gig. The band play Lurgee (her favourite) for her during the show. To celebrate this auspicious moment, we’re allowed access to the sprawling aftershow. It’s a warm night and everyone is mulling about outside. Tonight is for Keiko and there is champagne, she’s known to all and they make it as special as she needs it to be.  We’re all sitting at a table, making a bit of a party of it. I realise Clara has been talking rather intensely to woman about state versus private schooling, it takes a while for the penny to drop but this woman turns out to be Thom’s Rachel…

Thom comes and goes, opens a Guinness and spills it on his trousers, he disappears fetching more Guinness, and possibly more trousers.

The booze flows, at Keiko’s table we’re more relaxed than usual, things are going our way. Like she says, she’s “the most fan” and I’m “the longest fan”. Clara is my plus one and she is a good person to lig with, maybe because she’s a bit of rock star in her own way…

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I remember feeling very happy after these shows, something about the vibe was more positive than ever before. I had Europe waiting for me, a whole summer on the move, looking for adventures with friends waiting in every place. I’d been stuck in Scotland, hating my job for so long that to have a stretch of freedom, with gigs in some outstanding places to look forward to, was liberating in the extreme.

Writing about it as I went along gave me a sense of achievement. It didn’t matter that most of my blogs were about trains, that finding wi-fi was sometimes a complete pain the arse, that my laptop was heavy. Being able to write and having something to write about (after being stuck in a job where I could never quite become a “proper journalist”) was utterly freeing.

For a while that year I’d been hosting my own show on student radio, and I continued to harbour ambitions to break into BBC 6Music (the radio station I’d been waiting for all my life). I’d called in to the Steve Lamacq show about my Radiohead adventures and the producer had got back in touch to see if I could call in from one of these gigs… I tried not to be too excited about this, but the thought of being an honorary BBC correspondent filled me with a sense of purpose.  I spent the build up to the first show on tenterhooks in case they called… but nothing happened and once the show started, my phone was forgotten about…