Take That!

December 5, 2007 -

John Heald

There were 15,000 people, most of them screaming, hysterical ladies and sitting amongst that sea of female hormones gone mad………………was me.

Heidi and I were at the The London Millennium Dome or the 02 Arena as it is now called or as I had renamed it, The Dome Of Hell…………….and it was my fault that we were there, me and my tunnel-sized mouth had me sitting in a dome surrounded by bonkers women.

A few days ago I had asked Heidi what she would like to do for our anniversary and after deciding we would go to a Gordon Ramsey restaurant that she would like to go to a concert. Being the loving, teddy bear of a husband that is me I agreed and thanks to American Express I managed to get to tickets to see………………….Ozzy Osbourne nope…………….Motorhead……………..nope…………………Puff Daddy …………… nope ……….. Jennifer Lopez………….nope…………………The London Symphony Orchestra ……………… nope………………..we were there to see a boy band………yep…………… a boy band…………………called Take That.

Now, most of you will never have heard of them but let me tell you they are a hugely popular band here with having had more number ones than someone with a bladder problem who has drunk 100 liters of water in one day…………………….They retired a few years ago and now they are on their comeback tour……………………Heidi is a huge fan so that was me………..£150 ($300) poorer…………………listening to the 4 boys singing sloppy cover songs about love, heartache and why  all men are complete bast%$£ds. Robbie Williams who now has a very successful solo tour used to be a member but he saw sense and stayed away.

As I sat there and looked up at everyone standing and singing along I realised that they should have been singing a song called “next time don’t ask your wife what she would like to do you idiot.” Of course Murphy and his law had crapped on me from 100 feet yet again.  The room was full of women, some very beautiful and some who had decided not to wear skirts but instead wear a belt……………….they were all over the place ……………… but of course next to me were two…………………….men………………….and lets just say they were in touch with their feminine side as the screamed, waved at the band and generally swooned every time one of the boys would say anything…………………..I was in hell ……………..I would rather go shopping……………..I would rather kiss a camel with bad breath………………..”beam me up Scotty”…………………thank goodness for my Raspberry and I spent a lot of the time e mailing various people including PA 007 much to the disgust of one of the gentlemen next to me who in between declaring his adulation for the boys in the band gave me looks of hatred that I would dare to send an e mail while the performers sang that they were back for good. Anyway, Heidi had a wonderful time and seemed oblivious to the fact that constipation would have been more enjoyable for me and I guess……….that’s the most important thing.

Apart from this adventure things have been pretty quiet. I have been doing some work here and there for the Carnival Splendor and continuing to work with Roberto on the Bloggers Cruise. Alan is doing well but goes back into hospital on Friday so I will be there with him for that.

OK, let’s do some Q and A starting with the last remaining ones from the blog called Does This Dress Make me Look Fat and then some from the New Orleans blog.

Here we go then. To skip the Q&A, click here.

TOM AND JANE – I am glad to read that you had a great time on the Carnival Sensation and glad you enjoyed your Cruise Director Matt. Thank you so much for your complimentary words about your time with me and I also hope that we get to sail with each other again very soon. I hope your enjoying the blog and our best to you both.
BIG ED – If I do or do not slap on a photo of Heidi in her Queen Victoria dress, trust me, she will be wearing it again. The amount I paid for her dress she should wear it every day, or, I could part exchange it for an Aston Martin. The bloggers cruise is getting ever nearer mate and we shall see each other soon…………….wearing a dress.
DANNY – You described my plight as “camped out by the ladies dressing room”……….that is the perfect description as camped” I certainly was. You asked who the Cruise Director would be on the 2008 TA cruise on the Carnival Freedom. I am not sure yet as the schedule has not been done that far but it will be Todd or myself I would think. Thanks Danny and my best to you and Cindy.
ROBIN IN NEW YORK – I shall look out for a beautiful lady on the Carnival Imagination covered head to toe in soft ultra deluxe toilet paper with a bemused looking husband trailing behind. Thanks for laughing at the blog and hopefully one day your hubby will understand. I wish I was performing on my Carnival Imagination cruise but I do look forward to shaking your husband’s hand and giving you a big hug………………..or the other way round if your husband prefers. See you both soon.
KATHY KROLL – How wonderful that you are returning to the place that gave you so many happy years so have fun in Vegas. I have read one or two different reports on the Explorer and how it may have hit some ice and the official report will be very interesting to read. I am very interested to read also about your experience at lifeboat drill on the Carnival Pride, can you tell me more? Regardless, the drill is the most important aspect of any cruise and anyone who does not take it seriously is ………….. well……………. an idiot……….just ask the folks from the Explorer and other ships that have got into difficulty. Anyway, have fun in Vegas and my best to Paul.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – Ahhhhhhhhh Carol, thank you so much for asking what I will be wearing at the Queen Victoria naming ceremony. Well, I will be wearing a dinner jacket (tuxedo) by top designer Gianni Versace, shoes from a famous Spanish shop in Barcelona called Las Payless and underwear featuring the famous Burger King logo “Home of the Whopper.” Seriously, I do not think there is much chance if any of me meeting HRH Prince Charles and the lovely Camilla. I am at the bottom of the batting order but regardless it will be a huge honour to be there.  I hope you enjoyed the experience of the Rockefeller Centre and the Christmas tree lighting and as always it is great to see a posting from you. Cheers.
TAMMIE – I enjoy Harrods but like that store I once went to in Miami called Needless Markup or something it is very, very, very expensive. Heidi does look great in her dress though and I am sure she will make quite an impression. I have asked her to leave the price tag on the dress as a public expression of how much I love her. Hopefully you will get to wear your special dress during formal night on your next cruise. I hope you and the family are well and thanks for reading the blog.
SHELLY P – Thanks for the compliments Shelly. Hopefully that will be the last time for a bit that I have to endure shopping as Heidi will be in charge of the Christmas gifts. Thanks for taking the time to post a comment and hope you continue to enjoy the blogs.Cheers
LINDA HERNACKI – I will post the 2008 Cruise Director schedule by the end of the year, so everyone will see who their Cruise Director will be. Thank you for your kind words for Nani. You and Mike are such special people who I hope to meet very soon.
AYR – How wonderful to hear from you. I hope you and the family are well and Heidi and I have wonderful memories of our time together. Hope to see you again soon one day.
RICHARD DIETRICH – Reading of your own vast experience in the cruise industry, I am humbled by your words. Thank you for passing on the blog to another Cruise Director, please send her my best regards. You asked about my T.V. series, well, maybe one day, but for now I am a blog man. My best to you and I hope to hear from you soon.
LOIS GREBOWSKI – I was so sorry to learn of your tough times during the last few months, I hope that the future is brighter and I really look forward to seeing you on the bloggers cruise and you have a wonderful week of fun and rest. See you soon.
GREG BALDASARRI – Thank you so much Greg for your obvious support of New Orleans, I hope that indeed you are correct and we will be able to put one of our ships there very soon. I will ask PA 007 to keep his ear to the ground and will let you know any news on ship re-deployment. Heidi and I send our best to you mate.
DIVETRASH – I am so glad you enjoyed the interview with Gary whose obvious love of the city of New Orleans was plain for all to see. The Camellia restaurant and the other dining areas you mentioned sound amazing and one day I hope to sample its delights for myself again. I am sorry your last posting got lost, I certainly would have answered it, especially as it contained the words “curly wurly” my favourite British chocolate bar. I am also very much looking forward to seeing you on the bloggers cruise and until then Heidi and I send you our very best. See you soon Laura.
SOUTHERN DREAMS – I am glad you were on your soap box Bonnie as you mentioned one of my pet peeves. It is extremely frustrating when you are on stage and people leave the show before its conclusion. Maybe people don’t understand that this is not the proper thing to do and can have the entertainer feeling that they have not enjoyed the performance. Thank you for bringing this up and I hope you and Prince Charlie are having fun together as always. Cheers.
DWA 76 – Thank you mate for your support for New Orleans. I am sure Gary from New Orleans is enjoying reading all the support that his city is receiving here on this blog and thank you very much, as always, for your kind words. Cheers mate.
CANUCK CRUISER – I wonder if, by the time you read this, you have had the joy of the birth of your second grandchild and did the Cowboys win? Please let us know and thank you so much for your continued thoughts for Alan, Heidi and myself. Hope it is not too cold down in Canada, hope to hear from you soon.
KIRSTEN L – Thank you for your brilliant words for the port and city of New Orleans. They are truly appreciated and the fact that having read the interview with Gary makes you want to cruise from there is wonderful to read. Thanks for that and thank you for your support of the blog. Our best to you and your family.
TRACY PORTER – I was so sorry to read that your recent cruise on the Carnival Freedom came to such an unexpected end in Venice due to sudden illness of your Mum. I see that she is having chemotherapy treatment and please know that thousands of people who read this blog every day send positive thoughts and best wishes to her. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to sell our European t-shirts on line. However, if you send me your address via a blog posting, I would like to send your mum a personal note wishing her well. Hopefully, next year you can cruise with us in Europe again and I will buy you a t-shirt. Our best to you and the family.
FRANK C – I am very proud of you and your fellow citizens of New Orleans. I am happy that things are getting better for you and maybe one day, you can show me the Big Easy and all its delights. Cheers mate.
TIMONEER – Thank you and I am sure the people of New Orleans were so happy to read your words of support for their city. Thanks mate.
TOMMASO FARINA – How wonderful to hear from you and thank you for sharing your memories of your 2003 Carnival Triumph cruise with all of us. Hopefully, you will be able to visit us again and as a journalist, maybe you can come and visit us in the shipyard in Genoa aboard the Carnival Splendor. I wish you success in your career and it really would be nice to meet you again one day soon. Ciao mate!
LFTTNSFCF – Hello John, sorry I used the abbreviation today. I never thought I would type the words Alligator Sausage, but thanks to you, I just did. You asked about the 3-day cruise from Dover to Amsterdam being just for Travel Agents. While there will be many Travel Agents on board, I do understand that the cruise is available for purchase for the general public. If you are serious about staying in the U.K. I will be happy to help you in the places that you really must see and that is not just London. I am sorry to say, the only way I can rent you my apartment is if you are prepared to wash my underwear and socks while you are there. How is Mrs. MTSFP, I have not seen a posting from her recently. Heidi and I have wonderful memories of our time together and hope there are more coming soon.
SHERYL PELTON – I promise to post photos of Heidi and her new dress next week. She has decided to be a rebel and not wear a hat. I wonder if Prince Charles will be upset. You asked about the couch and the wine stain. Well, I am happy to report that I did a very good job with the cleanup and so far, I have not been sent to the doghouse for this, although, I have been there for many other reasons. Hope all is well with you and thank you so much for your kind thoughts for Nani and her dad.
LISA K – I hope you get your wish and very soon you get to sail out of New Orleans on a Carnival ship. Your kind words about Alan are so very nice and as he returns to hospital on Friday, I know everyone’s kind words will be so appreciated by him. It will not be long before we are on the bloggers cruise all together where Heidi and I very much look forward to meeting you.
BILL ZYDECOCRUISER – Thank you mate for the t-shirt. Heidi proudly wore hers yesterday. I am sure that you, more than anyone, appreciated the interview with Gary from the port of New Orleans. You should be very proud of your continuing support for the city I know you love so much.
INEZ – It seems Dean and I have a lot in common with our hatred for shopping. I am sure we could swap horror stories. Thanks for thinking of Alan and Heidi and I send you our warm regards.
LUV2CRUISE – I had to read your comments twice Leona as I could not believe my eyes when I read that my mate John from Mount Holly loves to shop while you, his beautiful wife, loves to sit at home and watch sports. I think John and I need to give each other therapy to help with understanding our differences………………..John, we need to talk. It is great to hear from you though and our memories of our time together are crystal clear. Our best to you both.
MICHAEL HESTER – How great to hear from you three, my friends in Tennessee. I remember the incident with Bruno very well and in fact I will write a bit more about that in a moment. For now I hope you are all well and maybe one day we can sail with each other again and renew our friendship. Cheers and please write soon.
SUSAN B – I am glad you enjoyed the interview about New Orleans and I will promise we will post a lot of photos of our visit to the Queen Victoria and of course, Heidi’s new dress. Thank you Susan and a special thank you for thinking of Alan.
DICK WOODEN – How fantastic that having cruised with Heidi and I in 2001 and having found the blog, you have now booked the bloggers cruise. I am truly honoured by this and want to thank you also for your kind words towards New Orleans and the people that live there. Very soon I will be writing about the program for the bloggers cruise which I know you will enjoy so very much. Cheers mate and thanks for being so much fun back in 2001.
ILAN – Goodness me, another wonderful friend from the past and I am excited to hear that you have set roots in Jamaica and congratulate you on what looks like a wonderful operation. I will be calling to Jamaica in January and I hope to meet up with you then. I send you my best and look forward to chatting with you about old times.  Cheers mate.
KATHIE KAPERINO – It is indeed a very small world. Here we are writing a blog about New Orleans and I read that you have rented your house to a 78-year-old mother of eight whose home was destroyed by Katrina. Carnival will be standing alongside New Orleans and its rejuvenation. As for Mobile, Carnival continues to be proud to sail to Holiday from there and if I hear of any additional vessels I will be sure to let you know. Thank you for being such a kind person and please keep reading the blog thingy. 
HEIDI-BETH AND KEVIN – Hello you three. Thanks again for your kind words for New Orleans. I am glad you enjoyed the interview and I hope the three of you are having fun. All the best from us both.
LINDA THE MOUSE – I agree Linda and Heidi and I have wonderful memories of our time sailing out of New Orleans on the Carnival Sensation. Usually we sailed away with a cabin full of local produce. Hope things are well in Orlando and it is always great to see a posting from you.
VICKI – I see you are a huge fan of New Orleans and we really thank you and the Cruise Critic group for being such supporters of Carnival and of New Orleans. Hope to see you soon.
ROBERT – I remember so very well the time aboard when Katrina hit. It was a difficult time for the people who were so far away from their homes wonderful if they had a home to return to. Thank you mate for mentioning how well we handled things and as always I thank you and Suzann for being such great friends.
CAROL SCHOENBERGER – The Queen Victoria’s naming ceremony is on the 10th, however, Heidi and I have to Honor of boarding the vessel on the 9th. They probably want some help with the cleaning. Have a wonderful cruise on the Carnival Imagination and I look forward to hearing all about it.
SCOTT – Your words about New Orleans are very special. Especially the ones that state you “want to stay longer”. This is a great advert for the city. Many thanks for writing these words and for taking the time to read the blog.
JOE KYLE – Indeed, let the good times roll and I am sure they will once again down in the Big Easy. Cheers mate.
MIKE L – Aahh yes, Gumbo. I was trying to tell Heidi what this food is, maybe Bill Zydecocruiser can post us a good Gumbo recipe? Hope all is well with you Big Mike. When are we going to meet?
NICO R – All is well mate, how are you? Any news?
NANETTE – How is Dad? That’s the most important thing. Please let us know. I saw that Carnival has yet again won a lot of awards from Porthole Cruise Magazine. They are all well deserved, although, I do not understand the Best Party Line award. I have never thought of Carnival as a Party Cruise Line. We certainly have the most FUN but sometimes the word Party conjures the wrong image and makes people uncertain about the on-board experience. Anyway, we are very grateful to Bill Panoff, the editor and the readers of Porthole Magazine. Muchos huggos for you and a big one for Dad.
PAT – Hope you are having a wonderful time on-board the Carnival Freedom, please let us know your thoughts about the cruise so far and give my best to Todd and the crew.
BIG ED – It would certainly be nice to cruise with the bloggers to the Big Easy. It is certainly something worth considering. As for the Godmother of the Carnival Splendor, well, I hope to be able to announce this very soon, I might even be you.
JAKE SILVERBERG – Where did you send the mail mate? I look forward to reading it and is there anything I can do for you.
JOHN AND SUSAN FROM FRISCO – A wonderful review of the Carnival Miracle and Heidi shares Susan’s praise of the America’s Cup Tour in St. Maarten. Heidi was a winch – wench, whatever that means. It was also wonderful to read how much you appreciated your Platinum benefits and Yes, call your stockbroker. I am so glad you had a wonderful time and isn’t meeting great friends like Pat and Don one of the best things about cruising?  I look forward to meeting you in the summer and welcome home.
SUZANNE AND LISA – I honestly do remember the couple who got engaged and I hope things are going well for them. I am glad you enjoyed your experience at Harrods, it is one of the most remarkable stores in the world. Your brilliant description of your Carnival Freedom cruise was a joy to read and go ahead, sell the house and you and the dogs can cruise all year long. Our best to you both and please keep reading the blog thingy.

Right, that’s enough for now, more next time.

I wanted to share a brilliant and superbly conceived website with you all. Have a look at www.carnivalentertainment.com This site has been constructed under the directorship of Kerry Stables who as you know is responsible for our remarkable and award-winning shows fleet wide and is regarded as the best in the industry.

Anyway, this site is a portal for anyone wishing to find out about how to get employment as a performer, dancer, musician, technician, entertainment staff etc as well as spotlighting our magnificent shows and entertainment venues. Congratulations Kerry, the site is truly amazing.

Talking of entertainment I wanted to ask you about a friend of mine who has his own TV show on NBC. The show is called Journeyman and stars Kevin Mckidd whom I have gotten to know very well during the last few years. I met him through my mate Danny and we have become great friends. Kevin found fame in the HBO series Rome where he played ……….well…………..a Roman called Lucias something or other. Anyway, Journeyman is his first venture on the major networks and I was wondering what you all thought so I can let him know. He is a great actor and is destined for a wonderful future.

I was reminded by my blogging friends from Tennessee about the film crew that filmed on-board the Carnival Destiny. This was back in 1996 when she was the largest cruise ship in the world and the first at 100,000 tons. The film crew was from England and was there to film a six-part “fly on the wall” series which they called ALL AT SEA. The idea was to film the start up of the ship, its problems and the resolutions. They did this except they forgot to film the resolution bit. Henceforth we were left to look a bunch of idiots. Now, back in 1996 the Fly On The Wall craze thing was just starting and it is a real shame that we had a bunch of hacks filming us unlike the BBC who did a wonderful job later the next year for a another cruise line.

I was unfortunately one of the featured characters and the show by channel 4 productions made headlines in the British Press including this gem from the Daily Mirror on its TV Critic Page. “Amongst the mayhem was ex-city broker John Heald from Essex. Although he has been blessed with a sense of humour he did at times portray the charm of a nightclub bouncer.”

My Mum was so proud.

Anyway, the show went out and even though it did not portray us in the best of lights it was marvelous exposure and overall I don’t think it did us too much harm.

Maybe it is time for another Fly on the Wall program to be filmed on-board. Things have changed so much it might be great for the Travel Channel or the like to film the behind the scenes.

OK, back to the Take That Concert and the final straw. The concert had finished and we joined the line to leave the arena Heidi in front of me and my new boyfriend behind. It took 15 minutes to get out of hell and when we did I breathed in the fresh cold air glad in the knowledge that the torture was over. We then had the marathon walk to the vast car park and as we did so I noticed my new boyfriend and his partner were walking (skipping) alongside us still singing Take That songs and although probably very nice guys I am afraid they were at the end of the line when God handed out singing capabilities. However, this did not dampen their enthusiasm and for the entire walk back to the car Elton and his friend relived the entire concert.

I reached the car and could not wait to escape inside and put on my Led Zeppelin CD. As I opened the door of my rented Honda Accord I looked across at Elton and his mate as still skipping and singing they got into a brand new Porsche 996 Turbo Convertible.



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John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.