This section covers the start of a concert tour by Undepoldus.
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The Albert Hall concert was just as successful as the first in Hyde Park. Applause was symbolic until the end when it was rapturous. George, Marita and Kerstin were swamped with requests for signed holos of Undepoldus. A stand in the foyer that had been set up to sell recordings of the Hyde Park concert closed before the Albert Hall concert began. All the copies of the recording had been sold. Disappointed customers were advised to order copies via the vidcom network.
The next day George received news that Undepoldus recordings were selling faster than any music previously published. Every concert planned in Britain was sold out. Sarah and Eva were amazed at the rate the trust's finances were increasing.
Undepoldus scheduled his next concerts to be in most of the capitals of western Europe with additional concerts in Frankfurt, Malmö, Gothenburg, St. Petersburg and Marseilles. The extra concerts in Sweden were planned to give Kerstin and Marita a little extra time in their homeland. Undepoldus had set himself an arduous schedule but he was conscious that his size and weight would increase rapidly. George calculated that Undepoldus would be 50 metres long and weigh 80 tonnes at the end of his European tour.
Undepoldus had chosen his agents well. They had hired site managers for each venue to organise the sales of tickets and the sound systems. Undepoldus specified that the stage lighting should be enough for people to see him and no more. Most of the venues were in sports stadia to accommodate large audiences and to provide plenty of room for Undepoldus to stretch out. His size and weight were calculated for each venue to ensure that the site managers would be prepared to produce a suitable stage. Undepoldus hired a heavy lift floater to get to the British venues and some of the venues in Europe. From St. Petersburg to Cairo he organised a heavy goods road transporter and from Cairo to Athens and Marseilles he hired a hydrofoil. From Marseilles to Lisbon he reverted to a heavy goods road transporter. From Lisbon to London was planned as a voyage by ship.
The Spacers League provided a modified heavy transport floater
as mobile accommodation. It was equipped with a low gee bed, a
formfit recycler and some basic kitchen equipment for George,
Marita and Kerstin. A Spacer crew of three pilots and two cooks
had their own space within the floater. The tour of Europe went
mainly according to plan. Wherever they went they were greeted
by huge crowds of people who wanted to see Undepoldus.
George was surprised that Undepoldus had developed more skills than were apparent when the concerts began. One of the floater pilots, Gabrielle Leclerc, had expected to work as a translator in France and Belgium. Her services were not needed. Undepoldus spoke to the set-up crews in perfect French. The local site manager had selected crew members partly on their ability to speak English.
George said to Undepoldus. "You surprise me almost every
day my old buddy. How long have you been able to speak French?"
"George, you forget that I can remember everything if I want to. I started to learn French when I knew that my first concert in Europe would be in France. I have learned several other human languages now and I will learn more. I find it strange that so many humans have not learned to talk to processors in processor language. It is a slightly strange form of English. The processors here in France talk to me in the same language as in England but they have to translate into French for French people."
"Undepoldus, first you amaze me by your knowledge, then you amaze me by your ignorance. All humans learn to speak the language that they hear when they are very small. Usually they learn from their parents before they can walk properly. The parents use the language that they learned from their parents when they were children themselves. By the time a child is five years old it can speak the language it has learned quite fluently. It is only when a child starts school that it learns how to work with a processor. By then it can only use the language it has learned from its parents. The child soon finds that processors work well with any human language so there is no need for the child to learn the processor language. Later, many children will learn another human language because it will be useful if they travel to another country. Most of them will learn some English because it is the most widely used language in the world. If human children were brought up by processors, then they would learn processor language. For us humans, we think that such a way of bringing up children is unacceptable."
"George, thank you for explaining that to me. I do understand that humans cannot learn as quickly as I can. I know that I have been made so that I can learn things quickly. I now presume that my creators must be quite like humans in the way they think. You have created processors that do not forget. I do not forget. Processors can handle information much faster than humans and so can I. While I am here in Paris I will arrange to visit a school."
"I am afraid that it would be a waste of time for you Undepoldus. All the schools are closed now until September. The children are having a vacation."
"Tomorrow I will be in Brussels where many children speak two languages. I will arrange to meet some of them before the concert starts."
One of the crewmen approached George and said. "Monsieur McFigg, vous etes une Spacer, n'est pas?"
Almost simultaneously Undepoldus provided a translation.
"Mr. McFigg, you are a Spacer are you not?"
Undepoldus said. "Monsieur, monsieur McFigg, il ne parle francais pas. Parlez avec moi s'il vous plait. Je traduis pour monsieur McFigg."
The crewman said. "I am sorry Mr. McFigg, I thought that you could speak French too because Monsieur Undepoldus speaks very good French. I wanted to ask you if my family could meet Undepoldus before the concert starts."
Undepoldus said. "I will be very pleased to meet your family. Please call them to come here. You can tell your workmates that their families can come too if they want to."
The crewman was rather puzzled that Undepoldus had answered for George. George had noticed that many people found it hard to talk to Undepoldus directly.
George said. "Undepoldus wants me here as his friend. He has organised everything. You may find it strange to talk to a long white hairy worm but he loves to talk to humans. He likes it so much that he frequently talks to a lot of humans at once. If you look you will see that he is talking to three of your crewmates now while I talk to you. He is very intelligent and friendly. He can talk to you and your family in French. I cannot."
Undepoldus said in French. "I have already asked some of your friends to call their families to come and meet me. If you give me the call code, I can call your family for you."
George found that both Kerstin and Marita had some knowledge of French. They were dressed to look differently with Marita wearing a dark wig and Kerstin wearing an auburn one. Undepoldus left the stage and went to the player's entrance of the stadium to greet the families who had just arrived.
George was wondering what to do when a processor on the stage
said. "George, please come and meet the families with me.
They want to meet you, Marita and Kerstin as well as me. You must
remember that although I am famous for what I am, you are famous
too for what you have done. These people here are very curious
about Spacers, particularly the children. I have told them that
you do not speak French and I will have to translate for you."
George said. "OK Undepoldus, I am coming."
As the three went to meet the families he wondered how Undepoldus could access the processor network a hundred metres away from the nearest processor.
Undepoldus was unprepared for the way that the small children wanted to touch him and stroke him but he soon adapted to their curiosity. The children were happy about the way Undepoldus could talk to them all separately at once. They were not at all interested in George, Marita and Kerstin. The parents preferred to talk to the three Spacers.
From time to time George looked towards the stage and saw that Undepoldus was still talking to the crew members via the processor. A robotrolley appeared with refreshments for the guests. Undepoldus had turned his little meeting into a picnic for all concerned. Undepoldus managed to keep all the children occupied so well that their parents began to worry why they were not causing trouble. George discovered that Undepoldus was telling them stories and jokes that made them laugh. Another robotrolley appeared carrying rocks for Undepoldus. The children hardly noticed Undepoldus having his lunch. Some of the parents were alarmed when four children stood up and started to walk purposefully towards the entrance. Undepoldus reassured them. He told the parents that the children needed to go to a hygiene station. He had instructed them where to go.
When the parents decided that it was time to go, the children stood up and joined them without protest. The parents were bemused by the way their children appeared to be so disciplined. George wondered what Undepoldus had said to them that had had such an effect.
The Paris concert featured a lot of music by French composers
and was as successful as the British concerts had been. Gabrielle,
Horst and Samantha, the pilots, had become used to the excellence
of the performances. Sabine and Frederik maintained a good galley
so George, Marita and Kerstin were well catered for.
The tour gradually settled into a routine. At each venue Undepoldus spent time with the families of the local crew while supervising the set-up. He provided soothing music as the audience entered the stadium and spoke in the audience's language. Sometimes he used a female voice but most often he sounded male. Undepoldus had somehow chosen able and reliable people to set up his concerts. There were differences in style but the results were always similar. The Swedish queen attended the three Swedish concerts as a guest. Kerstin was able to visit her previous colleagues in Sundsvall and Marita was able to meet again some of the few friends who knew her before she became a Spacer.
George discovered that Undepoldus had made it a part of each
contract that there should be no official welcoming party wherever
he went. Sometimes minor functionaries attempted to regulate the
way things were organised but they soon found that Undepoldus
had an answer for them.
He just said. If you want it your way, find someone else to perform. Then tell the audience why I am not here."
All of them acceded to the way Undepoldus wanted things done.
At Vilnius the sound system failed because of a breakdown in the power supply. Undepoldus responded by using his own sound. It was a little quieter but not much. He was now thirty-two metres long and capable of producing a respectable volume. The concert continued in darkness until the power was restored. The ovation at the end was louder and longer than at any of the previous venues. In Bratislava the stage had to be rebuilt because the designer had not allowed for the weight of thirty tonnes that Undepoldus had reached.
As the tour moved southwards Undepoldus showed that he found the heat oppressive. He ordered coolers to be put on the stage at Ankara, Alleppo, Tel-Aviv and Cairo. In Aleppo, Undepoldus showed that he was just as happy with eastern style music as the western style that he had started with. George had wondered how well Undepoldus would be received in an Arabic speaking country. The language and the culture made no difference. Undepoldus charmed his audience with ease. In Tel-Aviv he introduced each piece in Arabic, Hebrew and Yiddish.
He took the opportunity to make little comments like. "Please
forgive me while I speak to those who are not fortunate enough
to know your language. I am sorry if this delays things a little."
The bi-lingual and tri-lingual members of the audience saw the humour in his remarks. At the end the demand for more encores was overwhelming until Undepoldus said. "Shut up, all of you!" in English.
"If you want me to play more items, I will perform them all at once to save time. Do you want that?"
In Egypt Undepoldus made a special early morning trip to see the pyramids and the Sphinx. He was not very impressed. He thought that the Sphinx should have been repaired to its former glory with images to show how time had damaged it. It was clear that Undepoldus was much more interested in people than objects.
The concerts in Athens, Rome, Marseilles, Madrid and Lisbon completed the tour. He had given 42 concerts altogether and entertained more than three million people. George, Marita and Kerstin were glad to get back to London to enjoy the tranquillity of the Spacers Club.
Undepoldus had plans to visit the U.S.A. He enjoyed touring and was anxious to get started before his weight became too much of a problem. He also wanted to avoid problems with the supplies of rocks at his different venues. On his return from Lisbon he was using nearly ten tonnes a day.
The next section covers the concert tour in the USA.
Viewers familiar with this subject may pass on to the following section.
Please select PASS or CONTINUE.