D4D

Like handing a monkey a sledgehammer and letting it loose in a bomb factory

The The, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

A while back I wrote about seeing The The back on tour, and last night was their first warm-up concert in at least sixteen years.  As well as having a ticket for the first ‘official’ concert in a couple of weeks time, I managed to get a ticket for the Nottingham one as well. Because, well, why not?

Of course, what I hadn’t really thought about was that it was a Friday evening – and even worse, the Friday before a Bank Holiday weekend. Nottingham is generally a pretty easy drive for me – satnav says two hours, but on quietish roads I know I can do it in 90 minutes.   Friday afternoon, to get there in time? Four hours.  Yep, four. Fuck sake. Usually I can get to Newcastle in that time, let alone bloody Nottingham.

Anyway, fortunately I had the time and had planned it out a bit, but still, it made for a longer drive than expected.

The venue was fine for this sort of thing. Rescue Rooms is a small venue – about 450 people – but I actually really liked it. More importantly, it meant that the majority of the audience were there because they were fans of the band (something that seems to be less and less the case with a lot of gigs) so there was a lot less of the usual stuff, people chatting away in spite of the band, or just keeping on journeying to and from the bar.

And the gig itself? It was great.  Because it was a ‘getting ready to tour’ gig, there were no warm-up acts, so it was just the band doing their thing. The band were also experimenting with in-ear monitors rather than the older wedge-speaker set-up (in-ears are a new development since last time they toured) although tonight’s second one will use the wedges, so they can compare results.  All told, it made for an earlier finish, with a curfew of 10pm.  But they came on at 7:45, so it’s not like anyone was short-changed.

The The played a whole range of things from their albums, some less-known than others, but pretty much all the favourites and crowd-pleasers. To me there’s still nothing like a whole audience singing along to a well-known track – and that must be hugely multiplied when on stage.

The entire thing was great, and I’m looking forward even more to the big concert in a couple of weeks.

Oh, and the drive home? 90 minutes, door-to-door.

Moving On

Well, thank chuff all that’s over.

No more mentions of either the Royal Wedding, and the FA Cup bullshit can fuck off for a few months as well.

Of course, now we’ll be heading straight to the hype for a summer of Kickyball in Russia and so on, but at least that’s two hypetastic media obsessions out of the way.

One Job – Admitting Mistakes

As a corollary to the whole “You Had One Job” post from earlier in the month, it’s only fair for me to also admit my own errors (on occasion)

I left for the airport last Saturday at Ungodly-O’Clock – an 08:30 flight required arriving at Heathrow by 05:30, so I left the house at 03:30 for an hour’s drive.  However, what I didn’t do was check Google Maps or whatever before I left, to check the traffic. “Half-three in the morning?“, I thought, “There won’t be any issues“.  What a fucking idiot.

So I got to Junction 13 (Southbound) of the M1, and – with no warning – the junction’s closed. Bugger.  But if it’s only the junction, that’ll be fine. Up the few miles to J14 (Northbound), go round the roundabout there, and come back down the M1 Southbound, past the closed junction.

Except. Except.  It turns out that it’s not just J13 that’s closed. It’s the whole stretch from 14 down to 11. So that’s helpful.

And then it also turns out that – completely unannounced or warned, even on the matrix signs in the run-up – J14 Northbound is also shut.

Cock.

So I ended up driving up to J15 at Northampton in order to come round that roundabout, down to J14, across to the diversion route, and down to J11 of the M1 where everything re-opened.

More galling in all this is that if I’d just looked at the map and seen that the M1 was closed, I could’ve done my own diversion that would’ve cut out all the hassle, and cut right through to the diversion route without anywhere near the hassle.

On the other hand, because I’m still also pathologically early on these things, I still managed to get to the airport on schedule. A little bit more stressed than I could’ve been, but still in plenty of time and all good.

So yeah, I do make mistakes. And admit to them. So there. 🙂

Lag-Free

Having come back from Toronto on Saturday into Sunday, I’ve managed to stay remarkably free of jet-lag.  Most people have pointed out that this is probably because my body-clock and sleep-patterns are so utterly screwed anyway, but I’m still surprised by how I’ve got through it so far. (And yes, I’m aware it could still ruse up and bite me in the arse, but it’s looking less and less likely)

Basically, I just beasted my way through it.  I was awake by 6am Toronto time on the Saturday, we spent most of the day walking the final bits of Toronto that we hadn’t seen, got to the airport, and took the 18:30 flight out.  We got in to Heathrow at 6:30am UK Time  (so about 01:30 Toronto time), and I then drove home.

Being aware of having been up 24-ish hours already, I didn’t do much for the rest of the day – sorted out all the domestic stuff, laundry and so on – but got through the day, and finally went to bed at about midnight, after being awake for about 36 hours straight.  Then was up again by my usual time, and it’s been an easy switch back to the usual timetable.

It kind of worries me that I’ve been able to deal with that kind of jet-lag and time change with no ill-effects. It makes me wonder how far I’d have to travel in order to get hit by it – not that I want to, particularly, but it’s sort of interesting, I suppose.

Toronto

So, where was I last week?  To cut a long story short, Toronto.

Basically, last year I got really lucky.  CocaCola had a summer holiday promotion where the label of each Coke product was printed with a design and a code. And as I drink a lot of it, I thought “What the hell”, and kept entering codes from them.

And I won.

At the time, they were saying that you could claim the holiday at the destination on the winning label – and in my case the winning label was for Dublin. I really wasn’t overly bothered – I’ve been to Dublin, after all. But I got to the point of thinking “Sod it, might as well claim, at least it’s a break”, and then when I spoke to them they said “Which destination on the list did you want?”.  So I went back to the list, and saw that Toronto was on there, which has always been on my list.  And that’s what I did.

The prize was actually for up to four people, and included flights, half-board hotel, and transfers between the two. All told, quite a significant contribution.  I only went with one friend in the end, with a room each, so it was all good.

The run-up to the break had been fraught – it’s where a lot of the “You had one job” post came from – but the break itself went well. (It turned out that the agency in question had made fuck-ups in every single aspect of the booking, although I’d caught all but one in the run-up to the holiday, and the last one finally bit us in Toronto, where the agency had booked the transfer to the wrong hotel – same brand, different location, a $100 taxi ride apart)

All of those fuck-ups are being dealt with, and have been referred back to both the agency and to CocaCola as well, so it should be entertaining to see what crap hits the fan from that.

Anyway, the week itself was great. We had a hotel right in downtown Toronto, which meant that everything was easily available, and during the week, we covered pretty much everything we wanted to in the city. It’s a very walkable city, and we covered about 70 miles all told during the week. As well as the classic touristy stuff (CN Tower, driving to Niagara Falls etc.) we got to do culturey stuff including the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario, and also visiting most of the local districts and regions within the city. It’s been busy, but not hyper-busy.

We got back yesterday, having been awake from 6am Toronto time, flying back at 18:30 Toronto time, arriving at Heathrow at 06:30 BST, and I then beasted my way through ’til gone 10pm on Sunday before admitting defeat. Hopefully that should enable me to reset my body-clock somewhat.

It’s been well worth it though, and all told I reckon it’s pretty much balanced out a bundle of the money I’ve given to CocaCola over the years…

Quiet Week

Busy. Backson.

Six Years

Today, it’s six years since I moved in to the place I’m currently living.

It’s also six years since I split up with the last ex.

How time flies when you’re having fun.

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