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Enjoy St Valentine’s Day? Candllelit dinner for two at her favourite Italian, was it? Or perhaps a quiet night in with a bottle of bubbly, a box of chocolates and a chick-flick?
Red roses? Perfume? Sexy Lingerie?
Well, in 20 years or marriage, I think I’ve done the lot though there’s just one February 14 that my darling wife chooses to remember. 14-2-98!
It’s a date she won’t let me forget. Ever. For that was the night I chose rock over romance.
Or to be more precise, I went to see UFO with my mates, leaving my nearest and dearest at home to look after the kids.
I know, I know but there were mitigating circumstances. Very mitigating. In fact so mitigating that the decision was actually quite easy.
For UFO are one of my favourite bands. Their classic line-up had just reunited for the first time in years and I hadn’t seen them live since about 1983.
St Valentine’s Days come around on an annual basis. Knowing Michael Schenker’s habit of walking out on or being chucked out of the band, this was perhaps the last chance I’d ever get to see the Fab Five as a unit.
(It wasn’t. Not that I was to know that at the time.)
Anyway, my marriage just about survived that crisis only for fate to reveal it’s cunning hand once again a few years later.
Whitesnake were heading to town and this time the gig clashed with….yes, you’ve guessed it, my wife’s birthday!
Again the same debate (“But darling, I haven’t seen them in 15 years” and “don’t you understand this could be the last time….”)
Though on this occasion, I adopted more Machiavellian tactics by taking my wife out to lunch earlier in the day and showering her with gifts.
I got away with that one (just) but then came the wedding anniversary……no, only kidding but you get the drift. You wait years to see a band and then Sod’s law strikes. Your double-booked.
It’s happened to me on several occasions. I recall having to hand over a prized ticket to see Aerosmith at the Arena in Newcastle the last time they visited the region (1997, I think) because a football match I had to report on (Blackburn v Boro) was hastily re-arranged for the same night.
For the same reason, I had to hand back my tickets to see Robert Plant and Alison Krauss at the Gateshead Sage (Grimsby v Newcastle, Carling Cup) while I missed out on Whitesnake when they played the City Hall six or seven years ago because I was working at Wimbledon.
This year, I’m abroad when Black Country Communion, a band I’m desperate to see live, come to Tyneside and I’m also struggling to see Paul Rodgers.
And then there’s Rush and Roger Waters. What a problem they’ve caused me!
I bought tickets to see the ex-Pink Floyd bassist perform The Wall at Manchester Arena when they were first issued about six months ago.
May 21. A Saturday night. No problem work-wise since the last set of fixtures of the Premier League season is now traditionally on a Sunday. Or so I thought.
Now there are seven days in a week and 365 in a year yet our dear Canadian friends decide in their infinite wisdom to play Newcastle on…Saturday, May 21.
I’ve got tickets for both and am frantically trying to swap my Waters tickets for the show 24 hours earlier. May 20 at the Manchester Arena.
So if there’s anyone out there who has tickets which clash with wife’s birthday, wedding anniversary or kid’s party, you know where I am!