We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Dear Pink Floyd fans: Sure, the concert being cancelled was a bit of a letdown, but never mind. Are you going back to Earls Court for the replay on Monday? I know I'll be there . . . and pigs might fly

BAD LUCK, chaps. I was there, too. I was at Earls Court on Wednesday to review the first night of your favourites' fortnight-long stay at the arena. Cliff Richard is the only other one who could pack them in for that many nights.

Like you, I bought myself a salt-beef-sandwich-and-lager combination (pounds 6), a glossy programme (pounds 8) and had a look at the VW Golf Cabriolet stationed in the foyer by the band's sponsors (pounds 16,500). Like you, as I took my seat, I was astonished by the banks of computers down on the auditorium floor. Like you, when I looked at the stage I tried to spot a musical instrument among the industrial components installed up there. And I marvelled at the way the way the performers had been marginalised by technology.

When the auditorium lights went down, and a white disc 40ft across emerged from the bottom of the stage, and the lasers cut through the cumuli of dry ice, the disembodied 'bloop' and 'blump' noises - sort of like listening to paint dry - threatened my eardrums. Then it all stopped and the auditorium lights came up. Like you, I thought a computer had blown a gasket.

Then I saw lots of people pointing and standing up and shouting. And in the middle of them you could see the twisted rows of seats where the stand had collapsed.

I ran round the back to see what was happening. No one seemed to know. St John Ambulance crews with sticking plaster in their shoulder-bags picked their way through the wreckage; men with walkie-talkies yelled a lot; the bouncers did their bit to help by pushing people out of the way.

Two tearful girls from New Zealand told me that the whole stand had started to shake when the house lights went down and they thought it was part of the special effects. Another man said he was amazed that no one had panicked. A couple of ageing rockers tried to attack the man from Sky TV who stuck his microphone in their girlfriends' faces.

Gradually, as the dust settled, it became clear no one was badly hurt. In among the emergency service personnel doing their efficient bit there was the engaging sight of rock critics trying to act like news reporters ('er, like, has anyone seen the press officer?'). Then you all started to think about the cancellation, and whether you'd get your money back. At the box office a woman yelled that she had come from Germany for the night: who would pay her fare when the show went on again? Poor thing.

You were all disappointed and showed it. You knew it wasn't simply a matter of turning up on Monday night instead. There were arrangements to be made, baby-sitters to be booked. You might have a dinner party.

Me, though, I have a dirty, guilty secret. I went home to the football on the telly, relieved. Two hours of Floyd, as I had discovered last time they were here, is a hazard of the critic's job. And I'd drawn the short straw in the office sweep. But the best news of all is: on Monday I'm washing my hair.

Jim White

(Photograph omitted)