First sight of the Gabba
One of the best Australian rock albums of recent years is Vulture Street, released by the Brisbane band Powderfinger in 2003.
They got the name from the long, undulating road that connects many of the suburbs in the south of the city.
And on Thursday, it will be filled by rival cricket fans making the journey to the Gabba, because Vulture Street also leads to the venue for the first Ashes Test.
This vast, hulking stadium, constructed in no-nonsense style with giant slabs of concrete, is typical of Australia’s main sports stadiums.
While used exclusively for cricket in the summer, the cash tills keep ringing in the remaining months because the Brisbane Lions, an Aussie rules side, also pull in big crowds.
You might remember Simon Jones’ horrible injury here four years ago when he twisted his knee in the outfield.
It transpires that such mishaps are a regular occurrence in matches featuring the Lions, where career-threatening knee injuries occur about twice a year.
It’s because of the wire-like grass that grows in these parts. Stand on it, and it’s difficult to rotate your feet from side to side. Wearing studs, it’s virtually impossible.
One of the best views of the action will be from the banqueting suite, which I briefly had to myself during a lull between practice sessions.
I have been to a few sports stadiums around the world, but it was pretty special to make that first connection with the ground where episode one of this great saga will be played out.
The seats are picked out in one of three colours - blue, gold and red – but there was a bit of talk, too, about the colour of the wicket.
Normally, two days before a Test the playing strip would be pale green, ready for its final cut.
But this was already a yellowish surface, and it was receiving a vigorous watering. Could this persuade Duncan Fletcher to play both spinners? You never know.
The Aussie players have been involved in a myriad of gimmicky marketing events – quite why Cricket Australia thinks this series needs futher promotion is a mystery.
By contrast, England arrived in the city late on Monday, went to nets on Tuesday morning, and dashed back to the sanctuary of their hotel at lunchtime.
Steve Harmison worked up some good pace in his half-hour bowling spell – an encouraging sign – but it was good to see Liam Plunkett, despite not getting a game so far on tour, also looking the part.
His run-up and action are not the most fluid, but he was bowling some very good balls – one of which caught the edge of Andrew Strauss’ defensive shot.
When he got back to his room, it is to be hoped that Geraint Jones did not find a copy of the Courier Mail jammed under his door.
The backpage headline, sitting over a photo of the Kent wicket-keeper, asks “Will this man drop the Ashes?”
The story reminds readers, ungallantly, that Jones “toiled in Brisbane grade cricket for years” but it would not have been written at all if Shane Warne had not rubbished the player on Monday.
It may be asking a lot, but the best response from Jones would be a century at the Gabba, completed with a nonchalant boundary off the Machiavellian spinner.