Month: February 2014

Storms, flooding, gales, bog fires

Britain – stormy weather, flooding, bursts of wind pushing my bike over, and bog fires.  And Russell Brand doing his best Michael Moore impression (trying to argue for something which is worth arguing for… but in such a bad way that he looks like an idiot, and damages the argument in doing so).  I’m reconsidering my New Year’s Resolution of becoming British.  Speaking of which, an update on such Resolutions:

Becoming British: Mixed results… finished studying my “Life in the UK” book – telling me all about how “Britain is a fantastic place to live…”.  But haven’t done much about it since… need to book myself an exam I think, before I forget “the values and principles of the UK”.   Slightly related – have signed up to English Heritage  – with free entry to all sorts of castles, historic sites, etc, etc.

Eating one-handed: Mixed results… probably succeeding in this about as much as I normally do anyway.  Should have, could have, come up with a better worded/intended Resolution.

Drink water: Mixed results… generally doing quite well.  Drinking lots of water whenever I’m “in routine”… ie: at home, or at the London office.  But any deviation from routine – where I don’t have my water bottles reminding me… not so good.

Side-project resolutions: Mixed results… still on plan to get rid of all my hair, probably when next in NZ – allow niece/nephews to cut it off.  Or somewhere/sometime when there’s some sun, but not too much sun; North Korea is looking unlikely this year… trip to NZ might preclude a trip to NK soon thereafter; I’ve started back on the rowing maching, but not as religiously as in 2012… and running out of suitable TV material to watch while exercising.

All in all – a poor set of Resolutions, looking back.  I blame that on 2013… its effects linger on.


Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – all right.  That’s about it.

Phoenix – really good.  Quite enjoyed this one… a bit louder than I expected, as gigs often are.  More energy brought to the live set, or whatever.  But yeah – no one extra-special thing, just good music, decent energy, decent lighting… adding up to rather good.

Bill Callahan – good.  I was rather tired for this one… after Phoenix on Wednesday, and a team dinner/drinks in Kent on Thursday.  So – off the train back from Kent on Friday evening, head home, change, head to Royal Festival Hall.  Find I’ve got a very sweet seat, nice and civilised like.  So settle in for the gig… but the seat was a mixed blessing.  I think I dozed off near the end… but overall, a nice quiet evening.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – very, very good.  Opening act: Harper Simon, son of Paul.  At the end of his set, announced all his ‘merch’ was available for free.  Then the main act… just really, really good.  Straight away – it was obviously going to be good.  Just so much energy, stage presence (easy when there’s 10 of you I guess), with such original/varied songs… and then there was the crowd interaction.  Inviting members of the crowd to sing a verse (which worked amazingly well), or play harmonica; inviting crowd members onto stage to sing/dance/hug (which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before is nearly always a sign of a great gig… I don’t know how/why/which-direction the cause-effect is).  And of course, their hit song at the end – which annoyed me for some reason (I expected a more original setlist) – but they did it rather well.  And played, I believe – well past the official curfew.

The Adventurer… haven’t been out on it too often recently.  Storms, flooding, gales, and bog fires – you know.  But – did go out one weekend… before I realised there were storms, flooding, etc.  Had spent a few days in the Kent office… so took the opportunity to stay out there Friday night – meaning on Saturday… I was already in the countryside – and didn’t have the 1 hour journey each way through concrete – just to get in/out of London.  So – headed to Battle… and toured the site of the Battle of Hastings, 1066… where William became the Conqueror, Harold became dead, and England became a French province.  Headed onwards… in decidedly less sunny weather… and wondering about the terrible drainage of english roads… considering (what I thought to be) very little rain recently – there was a LOT of water just flowing over the roads.  But then I started noticing fields under water.  Apparently, a lot more rain had fallen recently than I thought.  And then I hit the coast, with thoughts of a nice scenic ride along the coast.  Stopped at one beach – stretch the legs… as I prepared to head off again, sleet, gusts of wind strong enough to make me very worried about me & bike being knocked over, and then the rain.  So – onwards to Dover, trying to figure if I should go faster so that I have momentum on my side, or slowly so that if a gust of wind really threw me – it’s not a 70mph collision with a curb.  Anyway – headed on, intending to tour the Dover castle and get some hot food… but that was closed.  Headed instead to Deal, and checked out the Deal castle very quickly.  Rather smaller than the Dover one.  Still drizzling, but not stormy… headed on to Margate, arriving at a hotel just in time to watch the 2nd half of England losing to France in the rugby (I stayed quiet about 1066).  Sunday – relatively scenic route back to London.

Future – a few gigs lined up.  Need to get some more momentum on the becoming British thing.  Hope to head to the Isle of Man sometime this year.  Looks like I’m visiting New Zealand in June… don’t have definite plans/dates yet, except a flight to Rarotonga on 7th June.  Which means I’ll be missing Arcade Fire.