2nd July 2005. I had been living in London for almost a year, and my girlfriend was coming over from Dublin to join me. That year has been one of transition and although I was a Londonophile, I learnt quickly that working there was different to visiting there. I hadn’t taken the time, nor had the time, to get to be comfortable with the place. I had also failed to get tickets for Live 8, but that didn’t matter – we already had tickets for Elvis Costello that night in Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath.
For fun the two of us went down to Marble Arch that morning and watched the crowds drifting in. Listened outside to Macca & U2 and some Coldplay before wandering off into central London.
Discovered Marylebone High Street for the first time and ended up in Regents Park watching the show on the big screen. My wonky geography meant we ended up over near Swiss Cottage thinking it would be close enough for the Costello gig (pre-smart phone days, no Google maps in the pocket). A taxi got us there.
Even though I had been living in a 1970s style flat in Islington, I had never gone near the Heath. It was wonderful to visit it for the first time, although the second row tickets were lessened somewhat by Elvis being on the other side of a lake.
During the show I mentioned “we’re missing Pink Floyd” but guessed it would be on again. Costello was great, even the Brodsky Quartet turned up. We took a taxi afterwards back to Islington. “This place is nice” I thought, as I went through Highgate for the first time.
Sitting in the pub, it was approaching closing time but it became obvious from their TV that Live 8 was running late, and that The Floyd were yet to take the stage. We ran down the street back to the flat and I had the telly on in time to hear the opening of Breathe.
I still think it’s the greatest, most perfect reunion, in spite of one or two wobbly moments. They said it would never happen, but it happened, and it’s wonderful. The Floyd story would be incomplete without this day. Whenever I watch the footage, it brings me right back to that day. I like to remember this as the day when I felt like a Londoner for the first time. And readers, I married her.