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Benetux or bust: driving cross countries to catch Bryan Ferry in Amsterdam

“Trying to get to Holland from France”

This morning I was in the city of Reims in north west France.

This is the only region in the world you could legitimately have a Champagne breakfast with no bubbly. Go figure. One had to do this road trip driving thang, see. Having set off from my house near Bordeaux the night before, I sped through numerous Gallic regions to make it to Belgium for afternoon tea, finally arriving in Holland for dinner. As a committed Europhile it appeals to my restless, peripatetic nature that I can set a photographed foot or two in three countries in a day. You couldn’t do that in Australasia, eh.

It’s the first time I’ve visited the Low Countries for more than a decade, despite having lived in the Netherlands for a year. I call that 2002-2003 period my druggy, smiley sabbatical as it was quite literally the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Looking back, it’s nothing short of a miracle I made it out of there alive.

Bryan Ferry at Amsterdam ArenA, 4 June 2018 © Steve Pafford

It’s also 11 years since I last witnessed the coolest man in music, Lord Byron Ferrari of Avonmore in the flesh. So, Amsterdam and Ferry together for one night only, accompanied by the marvellous Metropole Orchestra, it had to be. What a fabulous night, despite the dressed down dress code. Bryan didn’t play Roxy Music‘s masterful A Song For Europe but hey, you can’t have everything.

As Catherine Tate would say, hurdy hurdy gurdy.

Steve Pafford

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