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THE TOUR WITH NO NAME - DAY 17
THE TOUR WITH NO NAME - DAY 17
A Brush with Beyonce
'Remember, that's not your bus, lads, yours is the Purple one.'
Tommy, our Geordie driver is very keen to impress this point upon us, because the Blue bus, which is in fact one of a phalanx of seven blue busses on the car deck of the Stenna Sealink ferry, belongs to Beyonce.
Beyonce. Beyonce rules. She pisses all over Britney and Madonna. Oh my God. I’m a humble Egyptian serf cowering in the presence of the caravan of Queen Cleopatra. I'm not even joking.
Beyonce Knowles is the woman who found Tina Turner’s neglected tiara lying in the gutter, looked around twice and tried it on. It was a tight fit. *
"Freakum dress” is an entirely coherent and frightening post-feminist broadside; Beyonce equates the assumption of a short, slutty dress with a declaration of war. In the live version in particular, the song exudes threat; the central guitar riff recalls Napalm death and the lyric owes as much to Doctor Freud as Doctor Dre:
"Every Woman got one Bring out the big guns" *
Ascending to the passenger deck, a sickly weightlessness overtakes me on the stairs. The proximity of Beyonce has the effect of sort of nullifying my existence. In the face of her unarguable bootiliciousness, my entire life is reduced to nonsense.
Of course, she's probably not physically present. The celestial being is high above me, on a private astral plane...but her substance is in the hold. 5 decks below me is her entire retinue; squadrons of European dancers, security guards, her lights, her Freakum Dress.
Yes, I'm 99 per cent certain that that divine body is not on any of those 7 blue busses. But as my trembling fingers grasp the door onto the outside deck for a cigarette, it’s the one per cent that's bothering me. What if she's got a fear of flying, like David Bowie? I cant shake the notion that I might chance upon her smoking a sneaky spliff on the aft of the deck, or even standing proudly astern, arms spread like The Spirit of Ecstasy.
Stumbling through a squall along the starboard rail, I bump into one of her security guys. Mitch is large, black, warm and laconic. We chat about our respective tours. He's been on the road since June. And it’s a long road, with dates in Sweden, Russia, Egypt, Mordor, Trumpton and the Sun. It makes our 18 dates look like a walk in the park. Except he gets days off; no more than three dates in a row. We don't get days off anymore. Not since the Preston Travelodge incident.
I try not to betray the fact that I'm covertly pumping Mitch for information. Has he met her? What's she like? And most importantly Is she on the boat? The conversation remains amiable until I become a bit too effusive in my praise for the Creole Diva.
'Yeah, yeah, she's brilliant isn't she, she beats the shit out of Madonna, is it true she writes all her own songs, you must've met her what’s she like eh? eh? I bet she's amaaaazing'
'Uh yeah, she's a real nice girl, real down to earth.'
His eyes narrow while he assesses my security status.
'It was real nice talking to you. I'm just gonna go and er, have a look at those lifeboats over there.'
© Orlando Harrison 2009