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Archive for the category “Travel”

Another Massive Attack

Many years ago, in 1994, Massive Attack released their second album, “Protection“, which I love. The following year, it was remixed in a dub version by the Mad Professor, and released as “No Protection“, which is one of my all-time favourite albums.  I don’t know why I prefer it, but I do.

Earlier this year, Archspace, a new gig space in London, announced that they’d be doing a one-off gig of the Mad Professor performing “No Protection” live.

Yep, I got tickets straight away. The gig was originally lined up for the end of the month, but moved to the start of the month for some unknown reason.

Still, it’s all good, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a fair while.

And tonight’s the night, so it’ll be interesting to see how good it is. I’ll write more about it once I know, and have got home again.

Filling Time

(no, that’s not a euphemism)

So – this is a perfect example of how my life suddenly ends up getting busy…

As long-term readers know, I’m a regular at the Meatopia cooking festival at Tobacco Dock in London, which is usually on the first weekend of September. I’ve got tickets for both days (again, as usual) which would usually be enough to keep me out of trouble for that weekend.

Except now there’s a gig I want to see on the Saturday night, also in London. Which is also utterly doable – but makes for a rather busier and more complicated weekend, it’s safe to say.

So my plan was

  • Saturday
    • Drive down to Barbican, park up
    • Walk to Tobacco Dock
    • Eat Lots
    • Walk back to Barbican, check in to hotel
    • Travel to Camden for concert
    • Gig
    • Travel back to Barbican
    • Sleep
  • Sunday
    • Walk to Tobacco Dock
    • Eat More
    • Walk back to Barbican
    • Drive home
    • Die quietly.

Except it turns out my cat-carer can’t do that weekend. So….

It now consists of

  • Saturday
    • Drive down to North London
    • Travel to Barbican(ish), then walk to Tobacco Dock
    • Eat Lots
    • Walk/Travel back to Camden
    • Gig
    • Travel back up to where the car’s parked
    • Drive home
  • Sunday
    • Drive down to Barbican, then walk to Tobacco Dock  (or maybe get the train, depending on other stuff going on)
    • Eat More
    • Back to Barbican / Euston
    • Home, and Die Quietly.

And that is how my weekends suddenly get silly. (We’ll also mention that September already has every weekend booked with stuff to do)

Theatrical

This week has, again, been somewhat theatrical (and with a fair dollop of travel, just for balance)

On Wednesday I finally got round to seeing the Harry Potter play, which was very good (and I’ll write some thoughts about it later on) but made it into a seriously long day. Because of the size of the story/play, it’s been made in two parts, both just over two and a half hours.  Including the break between plays, it meant I went in at 1pm (for performance starting at 2) and left just after 10pm.  Then including getting back to Euston, and the Train Of The Damned to get back to Milton Keynes, I got home at about half midnight.

Yesterday I was down in London, going to see Hamlet at the Almeida Theatre in Islington.  I’d gone down earlier in the day, which was fine, and the play itself – again, very good, although I still need to formulate my thoughts and reactions to it a bit – was pretty complete, and ran to nearly four hours, including intervals.  So again, starting at 7pm, I didn’t leave ’til 11. Driving home was easier, but still, I wasn’t back ’til gone midnight.

This evening I’m back down in London for a friend’s birthday thing (and another late return home) and then tomorrow morning I’m over in Reading supporting another friend who’s running the Reading half-marathon (again) and raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

So yeah, busy, and there really is no sign of sanity impinging on my life at any point soon…

Changeable

The last couple of weeks – and the coming one – have been… chaotic, to say the least.  I’m used to this in general, but it’s felt like it’s been even more frenetic than usual this month, and there’ve been a lot of contributory factors that have all conspired to make it so.

Work-wise, I’ve been ending up on-site at least twice a week, rather than the usual one day a week, and that’s just disturbed things a bit. Usually I can take my work laptop on-site on a Monday, and then leave it in my own office for the rest of the week, rather than constantly lugging it around.  This month though it’s been on-site, in-office, on-site, in-office etc. etc.

Around the work stuff, there’s been a lot of other bits going on, with stuff in London on some evenings, as well as other social stuff and going to the cinema.  And it all adds up.

For example, this week has involved…

  • Monday – on site
  • Tuesday – working from home, then going to London to Mere in the evening.
  • Wednesday – in office
  • Thursday – on site, then seeing Kong: Skull Island in the evening
  • Friday – in office
  • And then just my usual idiocy in the coming weekend, another trip to London to see friends, and a social-and-food even locally on Sunday

Next week is no different really, including two London trips to the theatre, as well as all the usual work. I’m vaguely hopeful that I won’t be on-site more than once, but I’ll only find that out during the week.

Once next week is done, I’m hoping that things will be a bit quieter again. That’s certainly the plan – if nothing else, I need some downtime – but we’ll see how it goes.  In fairness, I can handle the multiple days on-site or I can handle the other stuff – it’s just when it’s both things at once that it gets somewhat harder to deal with.

Knocked Down

After the events of last week, I pretty much exhausted myself – as evidenced by the fact that since then I’ve been dealing with a heavy cold and nascent chest infection.  It started up on the evening of the Thursday, once we were back from the Fat Duck. (Of which more in other post, most likely)

As usual, basically it all kicked in once I’d stopped. It’s pretty standard with me – I can keep on going for as long as I have to, and then once I’m done, it’ll all catch up and whack me with a hammer.

I was rough on the Friday, and the Saturday was the worst, although I hadn’t realised how bad it was until too late. I’d been at the parents and doing some other stuff, and started to drive home. I’d not been feeling great, but it was only once I was driving that I knew it wasn’t good. I’d burned myself out completely, and all I could do was just get home and that was it.

For the first time in at least a decade (and that’s something else I’ll come back to in another post) I found myself thinking that I wished I’d got someone else around, someone to call on, so I could get home safely. It didn’t happen, of course, so I just got on with the task in hand, and got myself home.

I’m truly not proud of it, of having carried on and done the dumb thing instead of pulling into a layby or whatever and having a sleep. I did get home, and did so safely, with no problems. But that was, to be honest, more by luck than judgement.  I honestly can’t remember at least half the drive, but I know that if anything had gone awry, I’d have remembered it, so that’s kind-of sort-of reassuring in some warped way.

I effectively took Sunday off after that, changed all my plans so I could do as close to sod-all as I’d let myself do, and it was needed.

It’s all on the mend now, but man, that weekend was really no fun at all.

 

Varied

So, this week is somewhat varied in its activities.

Yesterday was John Wick Chapter 2.

This evening I’m off to see Neil Gaiman at the Southbank Centre, talking about his newest book, “Norse Mythology“, his latest book. (And collecting a signed copy into the bargain)

Tomorrow, I’m off for a meal at the Fat Duck with friends, and driving them all there and back.

There’s stuff lined up for the weekend too, but that little lot should keep me going for a while anyway…

Surf vs Turf, Blues Kitchen

Last night, I went with a friend to one of my favourite places, Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch.  I’ve been going there fairly regularly over the last eighteen months or so, but usually on a weekend. This time was different though – they had organised a three day “Surf vs Turf” event, bringing in the chef team from Extra Fancy in the US to ‘do battle’ with the team from Blues Kitchen, with a special menu (including cocktails)  to play with.

And it was epic.

Once it had been announced on Twitter, I had booked in straight away. For me, it was a no-brainer, I wanted to try it. And I am so glad I did.

As well as the food and drinks, it meant we got to spend time with some of the people we’ve been talking to on most of the visits, talked about what was good on the menu, what they should be keeping, and even got introduced to one of the owners of the group that owns Blues Kitchen. For me, that’s what makes Blues Kitchen stand out from every other place in a similar vein – the people make it, even more than the food.

Between the two of us, we had everything on the menu – including the cocktails. Plus a couple of things that were so good we had two…

I’m hard-pressed to even decide what the best things were – it was all good, and most of it was great. Hell, even the cocktails were awesome.

All told, a great night, and a type of event I hope Blues Kitchen repeat – there’s plenty of opportunity, with lots of different kitchens and teams that would be up for it, I’m sure.

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