There’s no gatecrasher like a musician. The thought of free food and drinks acts on us like the Ring does to Gollum. Here’s an amazing story from somebody who was at Cannes: [Warning: some people are going to read this and go ‘tsk tsk tsk…’ Heck, _I_ went ‘tsk tsk tsk.’ But it’s too good a story to leave out.

“Although following the ups and downs of the upcoming trilogy at for almost 2 years know, I’ve never had the urge to write to you. Even after reading everything on the Cannes footage, I was not tempted. Well actually I was tempted, being at the Cannes Party myself! but I felt like telling the same story again and again. But after looking at the footage and the pictures posted on the official site (06/06/01), there is actually something I like to share with you. On the video and on the third picture from the right of the “party preperations”, a little table is shown inside the hobbit-hole. There are some things on the table like a feather, a leather bag, a Hobbit pipe (a wooden one) and a calendar that is hanging on the wall ! The calendar is not only planning Bilbo’s Birthday Party and Gandalf coming, but it is also looking at me every night before I lay my ear on my pillow! Actually I felt a bit ashamed at first, stealing something from a party you weren’t even invited to. But no way I’m giving it back now!!

I play in a dutch jazzband and this was the 10th time we attended the filmfestival of Cannes. Maybe it has something to do with being a musician or just the fact that a considerable amount of people have read the books, but most of the bandmembers can be called Tolkien “fans”. Going to the LOTR-party anyway was not an option. I knew the name of the castle, saw a picture, but that was that. On Sunday night (the night of the party) we were enjoying a good meal, when suddenly our soprano-sax player saw somebody with an invitation for the party. We just couldn’t resist to ask were it was and take the change of going there, experienced party-crashers as we are. We only knew the place of the village north of Cannes. It was, however, not at all easy to find the castle. All signs leading to the place were removed. There even was a road block used to mislead party-crashers. But after an hour of driving on very small mountain roads in the middle of ****ing nowhere, we saw a shimmering blue light high up in the sky. Figuring out that was the place to be, and choosing the wrong way for three times (picture 9 people in a 9-persons van, going uphill in gear 1 on a dusty road. Every time they conquered the hill they saw the blue light on the hill next door; damn wrong mountain…again!!), we saw a car coming up. Turned out to be two French guys who attended the party but were lost after leaving it. Happily we could exchange information about showing them the way down and showing us the way up. And after 1 hour driving, there it was: The blue light was coming from a beautiful castle, transformed into a Middle-earth surrounding. You could get to about 300 meters from the castle until stopped by big guys with hairy arms. As we always do, we just drove our van inside, pretending we were “the band”, but the guards said something like: “No ****ing way…” Disappointed, but not defeated yet, we drove 200 meters back and stopped at a big fence surrounding the castle. We couldn’t see if the place was guarded, but if you don’t try… So we climbed the fence, wearing the most ugly yellow band-shirts you have ever seen, crawled our way up bushes, hid in shadows and moved silently across the lands and between deserted (we hoped) houses. It was our own little quest. Whenever someone made the slightest noise we froze and with some “Tour of Duty” moves we finally reached a wall with on top of it the way leading to the entrance. Coming this close, there was no time for hesitation so in a few seconds 9 yellow fellows walked towards the entrance. People were staring at us, but the only thing we were interested in was getting inside. Which of course was chanceless, without an invitation, which was about as big as a CD. Plan B was about to fail, when I saw another entrance, used for catering people. I guessed that they wouldn’t mind us getting inside, so plan C was born ! I was just about to ask this waiter to let us in, when I discovered I could just walk inside. As we walked past Galadriel’s Boat, lying in a beautiful lake full of strange lightning and smoke, the music became louder and louder, and before we knew it, our band had entered the building. First thing we did while inside, was running to the nearest bar and order nine gin-tonics. Of course as low profile as we could be (patting each other’s back, which definitely contained marks of a big bush-struggle), all of us saw his wet dream come true. Especially when we saw pictures inside the castle of the whole cast and things like Gandalf’s staff, Narsil and Sting, the Prancing Pony, the Troll and of course the Hobbit house. Inside the house my fingeres started to itch, seeing all these have-to-haves and before I knew it (or anybody else hopefully), some of these gadgets were well hidden in my pants. Leaving the party we obtained a bag containing a special edition of the books, a pipe, tabacco, a poster and a little Sting, of course just like all the other guests! I must say the guards were looking a bit strange when we left the castle through the main gate.

Anyway, maybe an old story, but I just could not keep it to myself. What a relief! Hopefully my calendar is in the movies, wouldn’t you say.

Greetings from The Netherlands, Porto Sandybanks of Frogmorton (my Hobbit name according to Chris Wetherell) “