Sunday, October 11, 2009

Birthday Present in Birmingham

I gave A a choice a few months ago. She could have a birthday party, or she could invite one friend and I would take both of them to Birmingham for an overnight visit where one of her favourite bands was going to be playing. She picked the latter and I have to say I was pretty relieved as I was not up for the party. So last Friday, right after A got out of school, she and her besty J and I travelled up to Birmingham by train. Friday night on public transportation can be entertainment as passengers start the party early, and this Friday was no exception. I had booked us in a hotel close by the train station and picked the train station closest to the venue so everything looked to be in walking distance. But because we arrived so close to the time of the show and we still had to drop our stuff off at the hotel, I told the girls we would get a taxi outside of the train station to get to the hotel. When we walked up to a taxi and I explained where we were going, the taxi driver wouldn’t take us. He said you can walk there. I started looking at the map but I couldn’t find the building so I called the hotel. The woman at the front desk explained that the hotel was part of a shopping and entertainment complex. She kept saying that I should look for a sign for the mailbox because that’s where the hotel is. I repeated I’m sure to the annoyance of the hotel clerk, The Mailbox??? That is such an American term, one I have never heard before here so I couldn’t figure out what she meant. In the mean time, as A tends to do when she senses at all that we are lost, she started freaking out saying things like we’re never gonna find it. I finally had to turn to her and say “Don’t talk to me right now”. Sure enough, after about a five minute walk we are standing in front of a building called, you guessed it, The Mailbox. It was a comedy of errors finding the hotel buried within the building though.

By the time we got to the concert, we weren’t speaking so I pointed out a meeting spot to the girls and I went to find a place to wait until this was over. Knowing I’m not going to be crazy about the music, I look at these evenings photo opportunities. The venues in the UK are a lot less uptight about letting people bring in cameras. I did after walking around the venue, find what seemed to be the “parent’s section” and stood there. When the show was over, A and J emerged from the crowd completely soaked with sweat. They had pushed their way through the front. The only thought I had was oh God, how am I going to explain J’s internal injuries to her mother?

We stood outside the Academy so the girls could get autographs. The air was starting to feel crisp but it was still pleasant to be standing out there with a few other parents and a massive crowd of girls. I heard one of the girls say after meeting the lead singer, “I got his autograph and kissed his elbow!” Hahaha

Mission accomplished.

P.S. This must be the Guitar Hero effect. In between bands, as the venue blasted Bon Jovi’s Livin on a Prayer, and those teenagers, aged 14 to 19 sang every word.

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