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Summer catch-up

During my long hiatus from the interwebs, I have been up to various things. Some of them are marginally interesting! Over time I will try to catch up a bit. Let’s start with this summer, because it’s been a pretty good one! Let’s see, what have I been up to?!

SanFran 2009

San Francisco and Vegas - 16th May

16th May - San Francisco and Vegas

This was a great fun trip to Vegas for a week for Colm’s birthday. I flew via San Francisco and took the opportunity to stay there one day and night to explore. I really love SanFran! As you can see I took quite a few pictures there, more than I did in Vegas. I spent a lot of time at the pool and at blackjack/poker tables in Vegas and taking photos in those places is generally frowned upon :)

Highlights:

  • Turning $300 into $2300 at a $10 blackjack table over the course of 2 hours
  • Sitting at the same poker table as Steph and the most annoying British poker brat I have ever met - they really went at each other and Steph gave as good as she got :)
  • Pulling an all nighter playing blackjack with the group (there were like 12 of us there!), then going for a full Irish Breakfast at an Irish Pub off the strip, run by a Scotsman, watching an Irish Rugby match at 10am local time, quite drunk.
  • Endless mornings by the pool drinking Strawberry Daiquiris!

Lowlights:

  • Losing my $2000 winnings on a $100 blackjack table in 5 minutes flat :o
  • Dropping a full Gin and Tonic into my own lap at Parasol Down in the Wynn. Much to everyone else’s amusement!

Glastonbury 2009

Glastonbury 2009 - 23rd June

23rd June - Glastonbury.

Ah, Glastonbury, always a pleasure. This was my second time - with the same crew as last year. I don’t think anything can live up to the religious moment I had at Glastonbury 2008 watching Leonard Cohen performing a legendary set with the sun setting behind him, but this was also a good year. Great weather (bar the odd little shower here and there), a good line-up, and once again we had a good camping spot and no major drama or incidents :)

Favourite moment? Probably Friday night when I was a little tired and emotional and pouring my heart out to Colm and Steph :) I think Neil Young was playing at the time? Or maybe hiding out in a tunnel in Shangri-la during a sudden and tremendous downpour - rain water coming through the ceiling and dripping down my neck - comedy!


London pride and madonna

London Pride then a Madonna concert - 4th July

4th July - London Pride and then a Madonna concert

I remember calling this my super gay summer day :) It was a really fun day. London Pride is always entertaining and this time we got to see One Star (Denise Pearson of the former band Five Star) singing. I even took some video of her and she is standing the test of time quite well as you can see.

Madonna was just brilliant. I was not expecting her to be that amazing. High energy, perfect choreography, great singing, and a tribute to MJ that was quite touching and nicely done. If only MJ hadn’t died, I could have seen both my childhood music heroes live this summer :( A somewhat selfish way of looking at it I know, but I think that’s how we all handle death isn’t it? How it affects us?

After London Pride, we took the Thames Clipper to the O2 for Madonna. This was a really nice jaunt on the river and as a Londoner I must remember to do this more often!



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U2 concert in Dublin - 25th July

25th July - U2 concert in Dublin.

Chance to see U2 live in Dublin? Not to be missed. Having not seen them live before (somehow), I was thrilled to see this show - it was epic, and to the home crowd! Sunday Bloody Sunday was amazing, I could barely hear the band over the crowd!

I had a great time, and sang myself hoarse, along with everyone else :)


August was very hectic indeed - check it out:


All Points West, 2009

All Points West in New York - 1st August

1st August - All Points West in New York

When a work trip lined up with the APW weekend I couldn’t believe my luck, nor turn down the chance to attend. What a line-up! Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Tool, MGMT, Elbow, Echo and the Bunnymen, Gaslight Anthem and Coldplay! Oh my!

Festivals in the US are funny - especially this one, with bizarre and annoying rules about a) how much alcohol you can drink and b) which areas of the site you can drink it in. Most of the weekend was spent finding creative ways around these rules :)



Amsterdam, 2009

Amsterdam Weekend - 7th August

7th August - Amsterdam Weekend.

I’d never been to Amsterdam, so when Rick and Colm suggested it (primarily as a means to get air miles and tier points with BA via a discounted business class return), I couldn’t say no!

It was a weekend in Amsterdam, so about what you’d expect really! i.e. lots of museums, culture, and canals, of course (what did you think I meant?!)

We stayed in a 3 bed private room in the Bulldog hotel (hostel really) - good location and atmosphere. Good value too - recommended.


U2 in Wembley, 2009

U2 in Wembley - 15th August

15th August - U2 in Wembley.

They were so good in Dublin, I couldn’t resist seeing them again in Wembley. Amazing concert - in Wembley it was fully a 360 degrees layout (unlike Croke park in Dublin where it was about 270 for safety reasons). This was the 360 tour so I’m glad I got to see that :)




Cannes and Monaco

Cannes and Monaco weekend - 21st August

21st August - Cannes and Monaco weekend

Summer drawing to a close - must go somewhere hot and beachy stat!! Managed it. Cannes was beautiful, I spent the whole weekend on the beach sunbathing, eating and drinking :) Popped into Monaco for lunch on Sunday “on the way” back to Nice airport.


Reading festival, 2009

Reading festival - 28th August

28th August - Reading festival

I really needed a weekend at home at this point - what a month! But what the hell, it was Reading festival and I’d not been to that before. Rick scored me a ticket and even got there early to score a good spot for me so all was set for a great weekend :)

Reading had an incredible line-up this year. Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Vampire Weekend, Yeah yeah yeahs, The living end, Gossip, Glasvegas, Gaslight Anthem,The Maccabees, Florence and the Machine, Faith no More, Prodigy, Radiohead, among others!

That said it wasn’t all roses. I must say having been to Glasto twice Reading was a shock. A much younger, more hectic, rude and “nasty” crowd. Some scary moments of pushing in dense crowds, people throwing stuff into crowds at gigs, and the absolute craziness of the last night….

It was like ‘nam - I’m telling you man, it was crazy! You weren’t there man, you weren’t there!!

…breathe. Okay, so anyway, picture a campsite at 2am on the last night. Groups of young kids roaming the site looking for trouble like something out of Lord of the Flies.. Flares and fireworks going off horizontally (occasionally hitting tents). Mushroom clouds on the horizon from kids throwing camping gas canisters and aerosol cans onto bonfires (!) Fire engines hurtling around… Crazy!

I’m not going to reading next year. (Unless the line-up is awesome again…)

Anyway - that was my summer. Not a bad one eh? How were yours?!

Back from Glastonbury

Too exhausted to do anything now but shower and sleep. But got some great pictures and stories to share. Here’s a teaser before I upload the rest, from our best and last night at the festival:

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One comment: Leonard Cohen on the Pyramid stage with the setting sun behind him, singing Tower of Song, Suzanne and then Hallelujah, was the one of the most amazing things I ever experienced. Unforgettable.

Edit:Rest of the pics are up now: Glastonbury 2008.

Edit: So here is my glasto 2008 music schedule:

Friday

  • Vampire Weekend – great set, started raining halfway through but noone cared
  • The Feeling – one of my highlights.
  • The Ting Tings – were on the John Peel stage (which is small) and it was packed – fun stuff
  • Sinead O’Connor – was great. Hard to get into her newer stuff because the noise of the crowd took away a little from the acoustic atmosphere, but she was on fine form and once we found a good spot it was ace
  • Kings of Leon – rocked.

Saturday

  • Crowded House – so good. Better than I expected – when the sun came out, and they did Weather with You… Oh man.
  • The Raconteurs – utter genius, and an amazing set. One of my highlights.
  • Manu Chao – unexpectedly amazing – I had never heard of them but Steph talked us into hanging around for it and wow. High tempo Mexican/Cuban/Reggae mix and the way they maintained the energy of the crowd for an hour at that pace… Wicked.
  • Amy Winehouse – as expected, she was a mess. I think Steph coined the term “hot mess” and it suits. Very wobbly, ended in a fight with the crowd but somehow her voice was still perfect throughout. Worth seeing
  • Jay-z – he rocked the place, and was a good headliner. Loved the opening (playing video of Gallagher moaning about him then opening to Wonderwall), and 99 Problems was brilliant.

Sunday

  • Neil Diamond – good. Not great, but good.
  • Goldfrapp – aw yeah. Started with some of her newer, more flowery stuff, which I enjoyed a lot, then finished in style with Oh La la and others. Great vibe during this gig to match the great weather.
  • Leonard Cohen. See above. A religious experience for me. Worth the ticket price alone.
  • The Verve – great Sunday night choice, lots of crowd pleasing stuff. However it couldn’t top Leonard and I could have done with him staying on another hour instead.

On Sunday we stayed out all night in Trash City and Shangri-la then watched the Sun come up from the Stone Circle. Sunday really was the most amazing day. Then on Monday on the way home we saw the sun going down over Stone Henge. What a weekend :)

Magic Moments

  • Thursday night in a bar in Shangri-La (”the first class lounge”), James asking “when do you close?” and the bartender shrugging and replying “Monday”.
  • Sitting in the tent playing hold’em and drinking while it rained.
  • When The Feeling covered Video Killed the Radio Star.
  • Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. And the rest of the set.
  • Stumbling into the Cuban Brothers in Dance West, wow they were awesome and crazy funny :)
  • The cider!
  • Watching the sun come up from the stone circle.

Some more highlights from my flickr stream:
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