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Bruce Dickinson on his upcoming one-man show, lockdown and Iron Maiden tour

Bruce Dickinson

An Evening with Bruce Dickinson tours next month (Image: Nidhal Marzouk)

Bruce, 62, will reminisce about his years as a boarding school rebel and “explain how I ended up singing instead of drumming or joining the army, and the story of my ridiculous trousers. “But,” he says, “the last third of the show is entirely adlibbed. The audience are given cards for questions and comments. I see them in the interval, shuffle them around and create an improvised script. You have to think fast and laterally but it can be very funny.

“Once someone wrote, ‘Do you remember meeting my mum in 1983…’, I paused, the audience tittered. ‘In a hotel’ – another titter. ‘In Budapest…’ – they’re laughing now. ‘By the way you’re not my Dad, I checked.’ It’s comedy gold.”

Could Maiden have a secret love-children?

“We weren’t exactly choir boys,” Bruce says candidly. “Especially at the beginning, 23-year-old lads in America… talk with an English accent, and women’s clothes dropped off before your eyes. But the main event with us was always on stage, not off it. We always took it seriously.”

Iron Maiden performing on stage

Dickinson joined Iron Maiden in 1981 (Image: John McMurtrie)

Bruce came slightly late to the Maiden party, replacing original singer Paul Di’Anno in 1981, in time to lend his operatic vocal range to the East End band’s third album, the multiplatinum Number Of The Beast, and first top ten single, Run To The Hills.

Not everyone was impressed. One fan complained that Bruce’s singing was ‘like listening to my favourite songs through an air raid siren’. Maiden responded by dubbing Dickinson “the Human Air Raid Siren”, turning the negative into a positive.

Since then, the band have sold more than 100million albums worldwide. Have you turned into a British institution, Bruce?

“I might end up in one,” he snorts. “We’re immensely proud of being British. We’re a little bit eccentric and quirky and we don’t fit easily in a heavy metal category. We’ve got our own identity and we side step all attempts to put us into a little box.

“Our relationship is not with the media, but with our fans. They’re like plywood, every year we add a layer…”

Despite Bruce’s protests, heavy metal is in his heart, his soul, and even his left leg, thanks to recent surgery.

“I had five and a half inches of titanium hammered into my thigh and was up walking the same day,” he says proudly.

Decades of jumping around on stage had eroded the cartilage in his hip joint. “The fencing played a part too,” he says.

“I fence left-handed so my left leg takes the brunt of it. I was hobbling around last October and the surgeon said, ‘Your cartilage has worn out’. I said, ‘Can we just change it now?’ A week later, the crutches were gone and I’d started physio. I’ve been cycling, I’m doing weights. It’s incredible.”

Bruce Dickinson jumping on stage

Dickinson has had surgery in his leg from decades of jumping around on stage (Image: John McMurtrie)

The irrepressible Dickinson is the only child of a shotgun marriage between an aspiring ballet dancer and an ex-soldier. He was brought up by his formidable grandmother in Sheffield while his parents toured with a performing dog act. When they got regular jobs – estate agent and car salesman – he was dispatched to Oundle boarding school at 13.

Bruce’s school horror stories take up a chunk of his first half. He famously had two tons of horse manure delivered to his housemaster’s front door and was expelled for defrosting the headmaster’s runner beans in an unorthodox way.

“If I’d been around in this day and age, I would’ve been medicated at an early age,” he laughs.

Dickinson joined the TA before studying history at London’s Queen Mary College and joining his first metal band Samson. A can-do person, when Samson’s manager forgot to book them a tour to promote their first album, Bruce jumped on the phone and did it himself.

He has rival careers as an airline pilot and beer brewer “because I love them,” he says. “Life’s too short to do things you don’t love.”

Not all his ventures have turned a profit, but he says “If money is your only arbiter, rob a bank.”

Bruce Dickinson with plane

Dickinson has had many careers, including being an airline pilot (Image: John McMurtrie)

Fate dealt him a bum hand in 2014 when he was diagnosed with cancer of the head and neck.

Postponing a tour for treatment, Bruce advised Maiden’s manager to “tell them the reasons are too tumorous to mention”.

He says “I get questions about cancer and what I try to do is make cancer amusing and serious and sad all at the same time – a bit of dark humour to allay a lot of the fear that goes with it, hopefully funny and a bit informative.”

Iron Maiden on stage with their Ed Force One plane

Iron Maiden have their own on stage mascot, Eddie the Ed Force One plane (Image: John McMurtrie)

He talks about flying jumbo jets, the band’s own Ed Force One plane (named after Maiden’s monstrous stage mascot, Eddie), and bringing troops home from Afghanistan.

Maiden anecdotes can be scary. At a concert in Florence, a Kiwi roadie was so incensed by seeing a man assault a woman that he broke his jaw, only to learn he was a mafia don. He returned the next night in Naples “with heavies with bulges in their suit pockets,” says Bruce. “He said, ‘Where’s the Australian? I kill him!’ We said he’d taken off in fear, but we’d hidden him in the bay of the bus.”

Other tales are hilarious, not least the terrifying experience of flying with Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain. All are told in graphic detail “so be careful bringing small children to this show.”

One of nature’s cavaliers, Tory-voting Bruce finds himself at odds with lockdown measures.

“I’m not an anti-vax conspiracy theorist but there’s such a lack of joined-up thinking, it’s quite frustrating. I had to go to France because my girlfriend had an eye operation. We’re both double vaccinated, and when we came back we had four nasal swabs, we took the tests and were all clear, yet we’ve still had to quarantine. Are we all mad?

“I don’t think most of the SAGE committee know any human beings at all. They’re like a weather forecaster who never looks out the window. Do they have any real clue what effects the lockdowns have on people? People who didn’t have health issues have started to acquire them because of that lack of human contact.

“People get depressed, it makes me angry. I could accept it at the beginning, old people dying, but now it’s time common sense prevailed. I’m so sorry for people who have lost years of their lives, old people unable to see grandchildren etc. We need a new broom someone with a brain and some nous.”

Bruce, who lives in London, spent the first lockdown in Paris with girlfriend Leana Dolci. “I spent three months sitting on a balcony writing stuff about military history which might turn into something.”

He’d moved to France three years ago after his split with second wife Paddy, mother of his three grown-up children, who died last year in a tragic accident.

Iron Maiden have got a sold-out European tour to play “as soon as the government work out how to get us visas,” he says.

“Every tour and album are an adventure. I’ve been writing stuff for Iron Maiden which I can’t tell you about but I will be able to talk about it at the one-man show. It’s exciting!

“What we’ve done will really rock your world…”

An Evening with Bruce Dickinson tours next month. Tickets available now on Ticketmaster.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

Vince hits maiden ton to lead England to series sweep

England beat Pakistan by three wickets to clinch a 3-0 ODI series whitewash after chasing a record 332 on #BlueForBob Day at Edgbaston; James Vince (102 from 95 balls) led the way with a maiden international ton; Babar Azam’s stunning 158 in vain for Pakistan

Last Updated: 13/07/21 10:37pm


The best of the action from the 3rd ODI between England and Pakistan



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11:30

The best of the action from the 3rd ODI between England and Pakistan

The best of the action from the 3rd ODI between England and Pakistan

James Vince scored a maiden international hundred to take England to a thrilling three-wicket win over Pakistan as they completed a 3-0 series sweep.

After Babar Azam made a masterful 158 to help the tourists reach 331-9, Phil Salt (37 from 22 balls) set the tone for the chase with a typically forceful knock but with the hosts precariously placed at 165-5, it was the class and composure of Vince (102 from 95) alongside Lewis Gregory (77 from 69) that allowed England to get over the line.

The pair put on 129 for the sixth wicket before they succumbed in successive Haris Rauf (4-65) overs, leaving Craig Overton (18no) and Brydon Carse, who claimed a first international five-for in the Pakistan innings, to complete the highest successful chase in a one-day international at Edgbaston with 12 balls to spare.

Carse (12no) finished it in style with a glorious cover drive for four to ensure the majority of a bumper ground on #BlueForBob Day could go home happy.

Ben Stokes won the toss and chose to bowl first but before play began, there was 45 seconds of applause to remember the late, great England bowler and former Sky Sports pundit Bob Willis and to signify that every 45 minutes in the UK a man dies of prostate cancer.

Edgbaston remembered the great Bob Willis and turned #BlueForBob to fight prostate cancer as England clinched a 3-0 ODI series sweep over Pakistan

Sky Sports 4:41
Edgbaston remembered the great Bob Willis and turned #BlueForBob to fight prostate cancer as England clinched a 3-0 ODI series sweep over Pakistan

Edgbaston remembered the great Bob Willis and turned #BlueForBob to fight prostate cancer as England clinched a 3-0 ODI series sweep over Pakistan

When play did get underway, the powerplay looked set to follow a similar pattern to the first two ODIs as player of the series Saqib Mahmood (3-60) struck early, claiming the first of his three wickets on the day when Fakhar Zaman was well caught by Zak Crawley at second slip.

Saqib Mahmood took three wickets at Edgbaston and was named player of the series for his nine across the three games

Saqib Mahmood took three wickets at Edgbaston and was named player of the series for his nine across the three games

However, Imam-ul-Haq (56), having survived when England opted not to review an lbw decision off Mahmood that would have seen him depart in the first over, and Babar took a patient approach to calmly take the visitors through the remainder of the powerplay and beyond without incurring any further damage.

The stand had reached 92 before it was broken by a moment of magic from Matt Parkinson. The legspinner tossed the ball up outside Imam’s off stump, dragging him forward; the ball dipped late and then turned sharply to fizz back through the gate and clatter into middle stump.

That brought Mohammad Rizwan to the crease and while Babar had taken 15 balls to get off the mark and steadily moved through the gears, Rizwan was full of positive intent from the off.

By now, Babar was well set and was timing his innings to perfection, turning a 72-ball fifty into a 104-ball century, his 18th in ODIs, with an array of stunning shots either side of the wicket.

The partnership had reached 179, a record for Pakistan in an ODI against England, by the time Rizwan (74 from 58) tickled a short ball from Carse behind down the legside in the 46th over to give the home side’s bowlers some respite from one end at least.

Pakistan's Babar Azam plays one of the great ODI knocks seen on an English ground as he powers through to 158

Sky Sports 1:57
Pakistan’s Babar Azam plays one of the great ODI knocks seen on an English ground as he powers through to 158

Pakistan’s Babar Azam plays one of the great ODI knocks seen on an English ground as he powers through to 158

Pakistan had passed 300 and were only three down heading into a jam-packed final three overs in which they lost six wickets for 24 runs, Carse (5-61) claimed four of them, including that of Babar in the last over, to become the first England bowler to take a five-wicket haul in an ODI at Edgbaston, while Mahmood took the other two to end with nine for the series.

At the halfway stage, chasing a record 332 with a hugely understrength side seemed a tall order, even on an excellent batting wicket but when Salt came out firing, hitting Shaheen Afridi for four boundaries in the first over, it was clear that England were far from daunted by the challenge.

Dawid Malan (0) departed in bizarre circumstances in the next over, given out caught behind to Hasan Ali and walking off without reviewing despite replays going on to show he had missed the ball by a distance.

Vince hits maiden ton to lead England to series sweep Vince hits maiden ton to lead England to series sweep

England vs Pakistan

July 16, 2021, 6:00pm

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That strange dismissal did little to slow England’s progress though, Salt had Pakistan, Shaheen in particular, rattled and Crawley quickly took to his task with a couple of top-class straight drives.

Salt’s fun was ended at the start of the seventh over when he pulled Rauf’s first ball straight to midwicket and Crawley (39) followed when he played all around a straight one from the same bowler in the 13th to leave England 104-3.

England were well ahead of the required rate but wickets were the problem and the situation would have been far worse had Pakistan – whose fielding was lacklustre throughout – not dropped Stokes (32) twice off the bowling of Shadab Khan before the spinner finally got his man caught behind on the sweep.

When Shadab trapped John Simpson (3) lbw soon after, Pakistan were firmly in control with England five down and still 167 short of their target.

Crucially though, Vince remained and was showing all the poise and elegance of a well-established international batsman that so many believed he would have become by this stage of his career and in Gregory, he had a more than capable ally at the crease.

Lewis Gregory hit a maiden ODI half-century in a crucial partnership with Vince

Sky Sports 1:00
Lewis Gregory hit a maiden ODI half-century in a crucial partnership with Vince

Lewis Gregory hit a maiden ODI half-century in a crucial partnership with Vince

A combination of good running between the wickets and well-timed boundaries helped them whittle away at the total, and when Gregory brought up his first ODI fifty from 53 balls, he took the partnership to three figures as well.

Vince’s big moment came in the 41st over with a crunching pull shot for four taking him to a first England century, from 91 balls, in his 50th international innings.

Gregory launched two big sixes into the Hollies Stand to cement the hosts as firm favourites but when both set batsmen fell to Rauf with 29 more runs needed and only tailenders Mahmood and Parkinson left in the hutch, Pakistan were back in contention.

There was to be no dramatic comeback from the away side though as Overton and Carse finished the job for England to seal a special win on a special day in Birmingham.

Watch the first match of the IT20 series between England and Pakistan at Trent Bridge from 6pm on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket.

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This post originally posted here SkySports | News