and so, the hour is nearly upon us. in a few weeks The Stone Roses shall return, and in a little over a month they shall hold their much anticipated weekend of excellence at Heaton Park.
in order to ensure that the weekend is as excellent as possible for all a rather magnificent help and faq website thing has been set up. it really gives you answers to every possible question, and if you are one of the quarter of a million or so heading there for one of the gigs i strongly suggest that you visit the site and take some of the details away with you.
the number one thing i would suggest you save somewhere is the ace layout of the gig venue. here's a look at it.
this is a somewhat reduced version of it to illustrate. if your eyes are better than mine and you can use that, well then ace, but i would advise that you go along to the official info site and download the full size version. old school types can print it out, and i would imagine that "the kids" will store it on their blueberry or iTwat devices.
i would further suggest that you do it now rather than wait until you are in Heaton Park to get the map. i would imagine that between June 29 and July 1 the "internet traffic" in Manchester will be on the heavy side and that help website thing will probably rather busy.
slightly less useful to me, but perhaps of use to some of you, is another map which shows how to get to Heaton Park via one specific road :
i think that shows how the park and ride business will work.
otherwise, the site has some truly excellent stuff, like a really rather polite message from the whole of the Manchester Constabulary. they take the time to point out that large areas of Manchester are alcohol-free zones, and encourage visitors not to test their patience in regards of this as it will in all likelihood result in you missing the gig of your life. to be honest, i would not know why anyone would want to risk getting too hammered before they've even got to the gig - rather be a bit merry, but be sober enough to enjoy the gig and go, if you must, on an all out celebratory bender after you've seen them.
there's also a list of things that you cannot take into Heaton Park with you. here's a rather silly look at some of the prohibited items for you.
1. Folding Chairs, Stools, Tables
note the priority given to this one, for it is number one on their list of banned items. it's also the biggest blow to us, and no doubt others, that were hoping to have a quick game of Bridge before, or possibly during, the gig.
interestingly enough ouija boards do not feature on the banned list, but taking one with us will be pretty pointless if we can't set it up on a table.
it would have been pretty interesting to invoke the spirit of a Keith Moon, or indeed our Holy Hendrix in Heaven, to see what they thought of the gig. i can't see us being able to communicate with the other side without having the board on a sturdy table, however, so i guess we will just have to make somewhat educated assumptions as to what they made of it all.
2. Shooting Sticks
shooting sticks were once considered the preserve of the aristocracy. they are now, however, of a price that the average common man can purchase a set. they make the owner look rather dapper and sophisticated, and should be carried around at all times by the more discerning man about town.
sadly, though, they are not to be carried around the grounds of Heaton Park. there's a general ban on "weapons" too, which is fair enough but to single out shooting sticks is a trifle harsh.
the ban on weapons and shooting sticks is going to make it rather tricky to deal with any wayward zebras that might make it into the grounds, i hope the decision to ban both does not come back to haunt them.
erm, moving on......
10. Luggage / Trolley Cases
i'm not sure what kind of special person it is that takes luggage with them to gigs, but hopefully they clock this warning and leave their luggage somewhere else. at home, perhaps, or maybe in a hotel.
the trolley case ban is a bit more difficult.
trolley cases are quite class, and very useful things. they have, usually, extending handles and wheels. some people would be expecting to bring their laptop along to the gig and work on a spreadsheet or two during the quieter moments of the day and night at Heaton Park. that sort of thing most likely happens at U2 and Coldplay gigs, and it's interesting to see that the Stone Roses have put a bit of a flag up here saying "not on our time".
19. Footballs, Golf Balls, Darts (or any Sport Equipment)
oh dear. the ban on footballs i can understand, and indeed directly related to that the problems some in football have had with golf (Bellamy, Tevez) means that this ban makes sense too, but why darts?
we were quite looking forward to taking in a board and a set of darts, really. it would have been excellent to have a quick game of 501, or possibly Shanghai, when the band were doing things like I Am The Resurrection or something. it's disappointing that we can't, certainly, but i am sure we will somehow manage watching and listening to the band instead.
23. Fireworks, Flares
now the ban on fireworks i understand. in all likelihood The Stone Roses have a rather bangin', quite smart light display and that ready to go, so they wouldn't want to have some chap letting off rockets distracting the crowd. the ban on flares, however, is just plain silly.
the iconic image of the band, after all, was built on the platform that is most excellent and most flared flares.
i was hoping, against all hope, to find a smart pair of flares to wear to the gig. it was unlikely that i would find a set in my size anyway, now it seems i might as well just stop looking for them.
26. Articles which may be a danger to public or cause nuisance.
this last one truly worries me, and could well be why i had such a restless, mostly sleepless night last night. John Payne is most certainly an "article", he in all likelihood is something of a danger to the public and he is as close as you can get to a guarantee of being a cause of nuisance. i also happen to love him dearly, and wish to go and see The Stone Roses with him.
i suppose we shall have to try and restrain him as we enter the venue then, or do some sort of sweet talking at security. in a worst case, i am not exactly against the idea of allowing the security to solicit from John any sexual favour they care to name, no matter how warped or depraved, if it assures him entry to Heaton Park. he will thank me in the long run. i think.
there we go! i hope that some of this, if not all, has been of some use to you!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!