A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘2009’

Long time no update

Posted by Alan on December 22, 2009

A friend of mine always says that ‘happy people don’t keep diaries’ and given the utter deafening silence here that could be true. More likely is that busy people have Outlook to manage their diaries for them and thus never notice the gaps…!

As ever, December descended into the mental abyss of Christmas do’s, beer festivals, rounding off with a couple of quiet weeks at work as people start to disappear on their jollies.

Pigs Ear 2009 (ELAC CAMRA/Hackney Beer Festival) was a great success. More people through the door than ever before and some excellent beer on hand. Even got a few of the grads from work out for an excellent night at the foreign bar. As a pigs ear worker, I got stuck in helping run the games including the awesome roll the barrel:

Action Shot - Barrel

Mind the rolling barrel...

Needless to say, I was bloody awful, despite all the practice I had to drum up a crowd!

Action Shot - Punters

Action shot of the happy punters...

I finally bought a proper camera but haven’t had time to use it in anger yet. I guess one more thing to plan in for the new year.

Not much to do now but pack for xmas. I have half a kilo of excellent bacon, some rather special cheese and a bottle of Orkney Dark Island Special Reserve to bring North. Mmmmm…

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Hurricane

Posted by Alan on November 7, 2009

I haven’t done much new music lately. I am hoping not to get stuck in the 00’s!

I have however really enjoyed Lungs by Florence + The Machine. Favourite track is Hurricane Drunk (Spotify required). Lyrics as follows…

Hurricane Drunk – Florence + The Machine (Lungs, 2009)

No walls,
Can keep me protected
No sleep,
Nothing inbetween me and the rain
And you can’t save me now,
I’m in the grip of a hurricane
I’m gonna blow myself away.

I’m going out,
I’m gonna drink myself to death
And in the crowd
I see you with someone else,
I brace myself,
Cause I know it’s going to hurt,
But I like to think at least things can’t get any worse.

No home,
I don’t want shelter,
No calm,
Nothing to keep me from the storm,
And you can’t hold me down,
‘Cause I belong to the hurricane,
It’s gonna blow us all away.

I’m going out,
I’m gonna drink myself to death
And in the crowd
I see you with someone else,
I brace myself,
Cause I know it’s going to hurt,
But I like to think at least things can’t get any worse.

I hope that you see me,
Cause I’m staring at you,
But when you look over,
You look right through,
Then you lean and kiss her on the head,
And I never felt so alive, and so.. dead.

I’m going out,
I’m gonna drink myself to death
And in the crowd
I see you with someone else,
I brace myself,
Cause I know it’s going to hurt,
I’m going out, woah-oh-o

I’m going out
I’m gonna drink myself to death
And in the crowd
I see you with someone else,
I brace myself,
Cause I know it’s going to hurt,
I’m going out, woah-oh-o
I’m going out, woah-oh-o
I’m going o-o-o-o-o-o-out
I’m going out, woah-oh-o
I’m going out.

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The gig race

Posted by Alan on October 27, 2009

Been a bit of a frantic week for gigs. Firstly, last Thursday the Highbury Garage for Capital/Swimming/I Like Trains (iLT). I do like the garage – went there for the first time to see I Am Kloot not so long again and it’s good. Beer is a bit crap and expensive (ÂŁ3.90 per pint of Guinness / metallic ‘cider’) but then it’s a gig venue, not a real ale pub!

I Like Trains

I Like Trains @ Highbury Garage

It wasn’t a great gig for photos either. Last time I saw iLT (way back in 2007 at the Scala) I managed to get some great shots on my phone. Alas even with a glass lens the C913 didn’t quite cut the mustard.

I Like Trains II

Close up of the lead singer

Of course, photography isn’t really why you go to a gig. Swimming were pretty good – after I’ve digested the latest pile of new CDs I’ll look into them more. iLT themselves played quite a few new songs which was OK. Highlights of the evening were Spencer Perceval and Terra Nova (Spotify required)


On Sunday, it was the turn of Bellowhead – a modern English folk band. This was up in the Academy 2 in Manchester (yes, resulting in the early morning start for London on a Monday. Owch!)

 

And it was pretty awesome.

Bellowhead

Bellowhead

Bellowhead

Bellowhead

Bellowhead

Bellowhead

A very lively gig with much audience stomping along 🙂

To check out: London Town, Widow’s Curse and The Outlandish Knight. The latter is my favourite track of theirs but they didn’t play it. (Bastards!). The studio recordings don’t quite capture the essence of the live performance but are worth a look nonetheless.

I also saw Bellowhead back in 2007. Perhaps it’s time I found some new bands to go see…

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Field Day 2009

Posted by Alan on August 1, 2009

Second festival of 2009 for me, Field Day in Victoria Park near Bow. It was a pretty good idea but a bit of a washout.

There were a few OK bands but sound quality wasn’t awesome at any of the stages. And it rained. Quite a lot. Never mind… could have been much worse. However, by MOGWAI they had fixed the sound problems on the main stage and the event bowed out with an awesome Glasgow Mega-Snake. Can’t be bothered with a proper review like… so here are some pictorial highlights 🙂

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy

The Thing - Not My Thing!

The Thing - Not My Thing!

The Horrors

The Horrors

Rainbow over Bow

Rainbow over Bow

Mogwai

Mogwai

——————————————————————

List of Bands

  • Wet Paint
  • Final Fantasy
  • Wood Pigeon
  • The Thing
  • The Horrors
  • Juana Molina
  • Mumford and Sons
  • Malcolm Middleton
  • Santigold
  • Four Tet
  • (DJ Skream – Positioning move!)
  • Mogwai

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Scilly Holiday

Posted by Alan on July 20, 2009

Probably last update for a little while, as the search for a new flat gets going – sorry… this is going to be a long one!

Our main summer holiday saw us abandon the UK mainland for the Scilly Isles. 30 miles off the end of Cornwall this delightful archipelago was a great choice. Good food, good atmosphere and always a lovely day for boating.

St Michael's Mount (Near Penzance, Cornwall)

St Michael's Mount (Near Penzance, Cornwall)

1st class rail travel put us in Penzance, where we stayed in a lovely B&B. If you ever feel the need to go west check them out! Our first proper holiday day, took us to St Ives and Lands End.

Cream Tea

Mmm....... Cream Tea

There’s nothing quite like a good cup of tea. Unless it comes with cakes and clotted cream of course!

Sennan Cove

Sennan Cove

299 Miles to Wallington

299 Miles to Wallington

Lands End is a bit of a non-event for those who haven’t been. The land stops and the sea starts. Just before the transition there are a few tacky shops and a bar. Still, I guess it’s good to have been. You can also pay a few quid and have your home town put into the sign – I spotted Wallington on the sign whilst having a cheeky half.

So… Scilly. Well, it’s a bloody lovely place. Very relaxed and generally friendly. Our first day we checked out St Mary’s and found Prince Charles.

The second day we headed out on a trip to see the puffins and seals on a glass bottomed boat. It was good fun though for the glass bottom to be any use you’d need clearer waters than the Scilly Isles. You can see tiny fish in the shallows but not a whole lot else bar seaweeds. However, the skipper (?) did take us up close and personal with the customs vessels moored off St Mary’s

La Douane Française

La Douane Française

The French one was a whole lot more impressive and really not bothered we came so close.

Our first smaller island to take in was Bryher. With a population of somewhere between 80 and 100 there isn’t much there…

Bryher Beach

Bryher Beach

…except of course the post office, local shop and the FRAGGLE ROCK BAR! Where we enjoyed a well deserved pint. In fact all of the islands still have a post office!

On Friday evening we took a trip out to St Agnes for tea at the Turks Head, the most Southwesterly pub in the British Isles. A couple of gig race boats left for the race that evening – can’t help but feel they were somewhat at a disadvantage having to row across to St Mary’s first…

Traditional Gig Race Boat

Traditional Gig Race Boat

Saturday took us to St Martin’s, famous (locally of course!) for it’s bakery and vineyard. Sadly the vineyard was closed but we did enjoy some good baked food, before relaxing on the beach for a while.

St Martins' Beach

St Martins' Beach

Sunday brought us to the last inhabited island- Tresco, proper famous for it’s gardens. But I don’t know much about plants and Ruth’s hay-fever was playing up a bit. So we just wandered the island. You’ll be pleased to learn there is no Tesco on Tresco.

Tresco Abbey

Tresco Abbey

The Tresco Channel

The Tresco Channel

Lastly… Monday brought us back to Penzance via chopper where we could board the sleeper for London – after a cream tea and a really good dinner of course. You really don’t get much space on the sleeper!

Sleeper Train

Sleeper Train

That’s all for now – another update soon with info on the really tame Scilly Wildlife.

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Glastonbury 2009 – Saturday

Posted by Alan on July 8, 2009

Saturday was a little bit less mental than Friday; I guess I was kinda worn out!

Starting in the speakers forum where I picked up some enviromental poetry whilst waiting for Mark Thomas. Very enjoyable – recommend checking out Danny Chivers.

Mark Thomas (Speakers Forum)

Mark Thomas (Speakers Forum)

After Mark I walked down to see Eagles of Death Metal via Rolf Harris. Except 60,000 people had had the same idea so getting so see any of Rolf wasn’t going to happen. Great time to use the cash point though! Eagles were good but not awesome. Perhaps it was the fact they’d played at 0215 the previous morning…

I then went up to the acoustic tent to chill out a little. You can sit down in there and it never seems to be too muddy no matter the weather outside.

After a food break and stocking up with some tinnies from the tent I headed over for a night of other stage headliners. Plan was to hang round the back for Maximo Park (having seen them in Glasto 07 anyway) then move forward through the crowd through Pendulum for Franz. By the time Pendulum came on I was already pretty close to the front…

Pendulum

Pendulum

The crowd was mental. Being quite fat and unfit I actually had to duck out after a few songs. Just too energetic for me… how rubbish is that eh? Oh well. Maybe next time I might be in better shape! So I headed off for the bar to avoid the unidentified flying liquids etc. Not too long after I could see people lighting fireworks and flares for the crowd.

Finally, Saturday headliner for me was Franz Ferdinand. I wasn’t expecting great things having heard previous live material. But it was pretty damn good, especially the extended version of Lucid Dreams (Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, 2009), featuring a lengthy electronic noise solo and the ending of Outsiders where all the band were playing a single drum kit!

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand

To be continued…

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Glastonbury 2009 Overview

Posted by Alan on June 30, 2009

So was it worth all the mud? Hell yeah. Glastonbury was, as ever, an awesome experience. It did take me a while to drop out of real life and tune in… but that can only be expected now I’m a real person instead of student layabout.

Owing to the whole holiday thing, it’s going to take me ages to go through the photos and review stuff properly so here is just a list of what I saw.

Thursday

  1. Liz Green (not Regina Specktor as I thought)
  2. Alessi’s Ark
  3. Golden Silvers

Friday

  1. Bjorn Again
  2. Sub-Universe
  3. The Slips
  4. Maura Kincaid
  5. The Mojo Fins
  6. City Stereo
  7. ? in orange chill n charge tent – had a single stealing all of the rifts from Echo beach due out August
  8. Fleet Foxes
  9. Lily Allen
  10. Little Boots
  11. Jack Peñate
  12. Layo and Bushwacker (Dance)
  13. Freeland (Live, Dance)
  14. Jamie T (begrudgingly, basically waiting for Doves…)
  15. Doves

Saturday

  1. Live poetry at Speakers Forum (Danny Chivers, Claire Fawcett and Merrick)
  2. Mark Thomas
  3. I tried to get to Rolf Harris but 60,000 people showed up at a small stage. Fail.
  4. Eagles of Death Metal
  5. Hope and Social
  6. Bap Kennedy
  7. LĂşnasa
  8. MaxĂŻmo Park
  9. Pendulum
  10. Franz Ferdinand

Sunday

  1. Status Quo
  2. Martin Healy Band (from the red flag bar – the queue took the entire set!)
  3. Kate Walsh
  4. Music of Penguin Cafe Orchestra
  5. The Capitol Years
  6. Madness
  7. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (from Solidarity Bar)
  8. Blur

And a quick few pix- was well worth taking a camera with a glass lens over a mobile!

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March Madness

Posted by Alan on March 30, 2009

Quick picture thread tonight on some of the mad March things I’ve missed out. Very careless indeed.

Bogle 09 – some more photos.

 

Big Dave at Bogle - Manchester Uni

Big Dave at Bogle - Manchester Uni

 

Bogle 09 - Welcome to Macclesfield

Bogle 09 - Welcome to Macclesfield

Illuminating eh?

 

Lights at the Camden Centre

Lights at the Camden Centre

Lights at the Forum, Kentish Town

Lights at the Forum, Kentish Town

Lights at the Royal Albert Hall

Lights at the Royal Albert Hall

And lastly… some epic fail:

 

5 a day Fail!

5 a day Fail!

Estate agent trying to be clever fail. It was like this for over a week!

Estate agent trying to be clever fail. It was like this for over a week!

 The last one is actually from February but had escaped…

Danger! Fail!

Danger! Fail!

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Bogle 09

Posted by Alan on March 9, 2009

This weekend, I walked half of Manchester RAG’s bogle event. The event consists of a 55 mile walk around Manchester. I elected to start the 55 mile walk, but I wasn’t at all too sure how far I would get round. In the end I made 29 miles – just over half way, and just in time to meet Ruth who was only doing the ‘north loop’ – the final 26 miles.

It was hard work. Normally I walk from my flat to the tube stop (c. 10 mins) and back again. Even if I’m going to another building at work if it’s more than 5 minutes away I tend to get the bus, I am that lazy. So this was hard.

Training, well that didn’t really happen. I made 5 miles though some fields near the river Severn. And then went to the pub.

But the shoes worked! I got one blister, on my little toe but other than that seem unscathed. So… here are the vital statistics:

Twitter’s record of events.

20:10:00 Nous sommes départs.
21:10:00 Sainsbury fallowfield. Buying replacement trousers.
22:10:00 Northenden. Have ice cream.
23:06:00 Heald green. So close to check point one
23:15:00 Checkpoint 1. Circa 10 miles in. Arches and calves hurt.
23:23:00 Mmm. Cup of tea. It’s lovely to stand still for a bit
23:40:00 Leaving checkpoint 1
23:59:00 Just into cheadle hulme, by the welcome to macclesfield sign
00:03:00 What is the queen doing now? Asks Bill.via Twitter
00:23:00 Acre lane. 12 miles down.
00:41:00 Checkpoint 2, 13 miles in
00:55:00 Leaving checkpoint 2
01:32:00 Jacksons lane. 15 miles. Just witnessed a man kicking a car. Lovely.
02:02:00 Hazel Grove, almost 17 miles in. My feet hurt!
02:28:00 18 miles.
02:54:00 A bit of rage against the machine has helped me pick up the pace again. Outskirts of stockport now
03:08:00 Checkpoint 3. No hot food but the kebab shop has jacket spud left!
03:22:00 Leaving checkpoint 3
03:43:00 Cheadle heath. 21 miles
04:04:00 Cheadle centre, 22 miles.
04:29:00 Tesco east didsbury. 23 miles. I’m really feeling it now
05:06:00 East didsbury. 24 miles
05:33:00 Checkpoint 4. 25 miles in. Not sure how far I can get.
06:03:00 Fallowfield 26 miles.
06:35:00 Top end of rusholme. 27 miles
06:57:00 Aquatics centre. 28 miles
07:15:00 Checkpoint 5. I give in. 29 miles is enough for me! Now to help run this event

Stats

Total time on route – 11 hours and 05 minutes, an average of 22 minutes per mile (just under 3 mph)

Total walking time – 10 hours and 12 minutes, an average of 21 minutes per mile (still just under 3 mph!)

CheckPoint 0 – Checkpoint 1, UMIST – Heald Green
Distance: 10 miles
Duration 3h 5m
Average speed 3.2mph
CheckPoint 1 – Checkpoint 2, Heald Green – Bramhall
Distance: 3 miles
Duration 1h 1m
Average speed 2.9mph
CheckPoint 2 – Checkpoint 3, Bramhall – Stockport Edgeley, via Heald Green
Distance: 6.5 miles
Duration 2h 13m
Average speed 2.9mph
CheckPoint 3 – Checkpoint 4, Stockport Edgeley – Withington
Distance: 5.5 miles
Duration 2h 13m
Average speed 2.5mph
CheckPoint 4 – Checkpoint 5, Withington – UMIST
Distance: 4 miles
Duration 1h 42m
Average speed 2.4mph

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And so to 2009

Posted by Alan on January 26, 2009

Another post arrives some 20-odd days late. 2008 was a bit of a washout for me in many ways. OK, there were a quite a few good things but a few things I probably wouldn’t want to do. Moving house twice  within 3 months, across the Thames both times was probably the most traumatic experience I really don’t want to do again…

More positive, 2009 is going to be a good year – this year I have to find myself a permanent role at work. So there’s going to be a fair bit of work to do. The YPG stuff is all coming along nicely now (see YPG blog to the right) and I’m generally much more organised.

Yes, 2009 promises to be a really great year 🙂

And the first posted lyrics of 2009? I’m finally getting into reading on the tube, let’s start with a bit of Scottish alt-folk that tells a story…

Sons & Daughters – Rama Lama

On a blue antique night
In early October
His wavy brown hair
Stuck wet to his shoulder
And its click, click, click
Go the heels of his feet
Listen
How long has it been since the boyfriend has visited
The milk’s in a pile by the door
Her series is playing on terrestrial T.V. the neighbours they don’t even know
And its click, click, click
Go the heels of his feet
Listen
Did you hang her out to dry?
The meal that she was going to eat for her dinner
Is left on a plate by the stove
While there’s unopened bills and letters and junk mail
All strewn on the mat by the door
And its click, click click
Go the heels of his feet
Listen
Did you hang her out to dry?
Rama lama lama
Shake, shake, shake, shake
How long has it been since the boyfriend has visited
The papers are filling the close
While she’s face down on porcelain
An inchful of bathwater
The neighbours they don’t even know or care
And its drip, drip, drip
Goes the tap on her ankles
Listen
Did you hang her out to dry?
Rama lama lama
Shake, shake, shake, shake

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