Wednesday 30 April 2008

Off to Greece!

There won't be any updates on my blog for a couple of weeks as I'm off on holiday shortly. I'll take my laptop to write up my holiday, but I won't be going online much - I believe in taking a holiday from the Internet when I'm away.

In the meantime, If you'd like to read more of my blogging, pop over to my sister site Luminous Times at: to read about my U2 experiences over the years.

Meanwhile, I'll luxuriating by the pool below...... mmmmm...... pass me a cocktail......

Monday 28 April 2008

The 27 Club

Bono's daughter Eve Hewson has a part in The 27 Club, an American movie premiered at the Tribeca Festival in New york on 26th April 2008.

A rock star's best friend dies at the age of 27. He hires a grocery store clerk to drive him across America to the funeral. The 27 Club is a beautiful road movie about friendship and healing. Eve plays Stella, an Irish hitch-hiker who they pick up on their journey.

Eve was accompanied to the premiere by her mother and sister Jordan. I'm sure her dad was very proud of her, but really there was no way he could have been there as the spotlight would have fallen on him and not Eve. The price of fame! But I'm pretty sure there will have been a private party somewhere for family and friends where father and daughter could celebrate together.

Above, Eve with her mother Ali at the Tribeca Festival. What a pretty young lady she is,very like Ali, but with her father's eyes and mouth. I wonder if this will be the start of an career in acting for Eve?

Monday 21 April 2008

Edinburgh - History, Music, Culture and Horror!

Friday 18th April 2008

Debbi, Julie and I were up quite early, originally we were going to get the 10.10 bus to Edinburgh but we quickly changed our mind and got the 11.10, less of a rush!

The journey was long, three and a half hours, we chugged through the Border mill towns, Langholm, Hawick, Selkirk, Galashiels and then finally chugged into Edinburgh’s bus station. But we can’t complain about the long trip, the return journey was only £9.90, the bargain of the year!

We got a taxi to our hotel, the Haymarket Travelodge, which, unusually, was a Victorian building on the corner of one of Edinburgh’s beautiful, quiet crescents. The building was gorgeous inside with oak panelling, carved staircases, marble fireplaces and ornate cornices and ceiling roses, not your usual Travelodge! Our room was huge, so large it had an echo! There was a large bay window that looked out towards the crescent, and the ceilings were very high and beautifully ornate. It was an amazing room!

Later we set off for the city centre using the suburban railway to Waverley. We walked up many, many, steps up to The Mound, between lofty buildings and having glorious views down onto Princes Street and the Victorian Gothic Walter Scott monument. We came out on the High Street close to the castle right opposite George V Bridge where the restaurant we were going to eat was. Once again I marvelled at just what an extraordinarily beautiful city Edinburgh is with it’s grand buildings, narrow closes, and meandering steps.

We quickly found the restaurant, an Italian called Vittoria’s, and had a delicious meal there accompanied by an equally delicious bottle of wine!

Afterwards we had a short walk to Victoria Street where The Liquid Room is where we were going to see our friends in the U2 tribute band NU2 play a gig. Victoria Street is another of Edinburgh’s amazing sights, a gracefully sweeping crescent with an upper level of buildings with it’s own walkway on one side of the street. Plus the myriad of closes and steps to others levels and streets.

Alan (Boner the lead singer) had kindly left three tickets for us at reception and in we went to the darkness, we were the first in, we must have been keen! We got drinks and waited while the club gradually filled.

The Debut, a young band from Falkirk (where NU2 are also from) were the support, I’m afraid I wasn’t too keen on them, the music often drowned out the singer and it was hard to make out any lyrics. But young bands have to start from somewhere.

Alan had told Debbi by text that the had a really bad throat infection and had struggled with his singing, especially the high notes, during the sound check so we didn’t really know what to expect. Debbi and I have seen the band play a few times and they have always been brilliant. Julie was a NU2 virgin, so we hoped that she wouldn’t be disappointed if Alan didn’t quite get all the notes tonight.
We needn’t have worried, just like Bono would have done in the same situation, Alan soldiered on and his voice actually improved as the gig progressed and he did amazingly well. As usual The Egg, Adam Claypole and Larry Mullet Jr were a tight musical unit. They did The Fly and then went into Ultraviolet and then back to The Fly at one point, which worked brilliantly. Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own gave me goosebumps, Discotheque really rocked and I thought Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses was fantastic! I can hardly believe how like Bono’s Alan’s voice is, if you close your eyes it could be Bono singing. The set list was well balanced and the audience in The Liquid Room were great. NU2 are certainly the best U2 tribute band I’ve seen by a long way and I'm looking forward to the next time I see them live.

After the gig we waited outside for a while, I turned round and right behind me was the tall, white-faced, cloaked figure of Dracula smiling down a me! I did a double take then I saw lots of people following him and realised this was one of the many creepy tours that Edinburgh is known for. "Dracula" headed down a steep close right beside The Liquid Room which I heard him call "Stinking Close"! You never know what's around the corner - or behind you in Edinburgh!

We met up with the lads from NU2 for a while, chatted and said thanks for a great gig. Then we set off back to the hotel. We would have had a 45 minute wait for a train to the Haymarket so we decided to get a taxi back to our hotel. We had a drink in the bar there before going to bed.

Saturday 19th April

We had a lie in (again!) had breakfast and then checked out of the hotel and headed into the city centre. We had seen a advertisement for an exhibition of Ansel Adams photographs at the City Arts Centre and decided to go to see it. His themes are primarily landscape and nature, all in black and white with amazing clarity. He captures the majestic, big horizon landscape so indicative of America perfectly. Yet he can also make a picket fence with peeling paint look special. His eye for composition is stunning, and some of these photos must have been the result of a lot of patience waiting for the perfect light and effects. One photo that I found especially beautiful was the one I've reproduced here The Tetons and Snake River, taken in 1942.

After we left the exhibition we had two hours to spare before our bus was due to depart. We crossed the road to Waverley Station and saw a sign for the Edinburgh Dungeon and decided to to go in. It was expensive, £12.95, but it was good fun, consisting of various scenes with actors who were really good, lots of audience participation. It was very dark inside and first we posed for a photo with Debbi in the stocks and Julie and I wielding an axe and sword! Then we all moved on to a hall of mirrors and walked in circle for a few minutes, amazing how disorientating it was. There was a group of five young girls who jumped at every sound which made everything all the more entertaining!

Next was a courtroom and the "judge" picked people to go on trial. Who was picked first? Yes, me! I don't really like being in the limelight but you have to play along with things like this, so I went on trial for witchcraft! Mercifully I wasn't on trial very long and didn't have to go through any punishment !! We passed onto other scenes, the plague in Mary King's Close, met up with one of the daughters of the cannibalistic Bean family, the body snatchers Burke and Hare, various torture methods, were the scenarios we were taken through. I noticed at times that we seemed to be going into the real vaults beneath Edinburgh, as sometimes the manmade scenery gave way to real stone and high vaulted ceilings, now that felt scary knowing the reputation the vaults have for ghostly happenings!

The Edinburgh Dungeon was good fun, the acting was good, you learned a bit about the nastier side of the history of Edinburgh and it lasted an hour, so we felt it was worth the money.

We blinked as we stepped out of the darkness into the sunshine of the afternoon. We decided to head towards the bus station and find somewhere to have a drink on the way. As we sat drinking our coffee we vowed to come back for a few days and "do" Edinburgh, and really explore all it has to offer. It really is an extraordinary and unique city and one day we hope to do it justice by taking the time to savour it's many delights.

Tuesday 15 April 2008

Bono Lost??!!

Found this on the Internet and thought it was hilarious! Trust Bono to manage to get lost in Downing Street!

(By Hannah Louise Dunne)

BONO has revealed he got lost in 10 Downing Street after a dinner withTony Blair. Blair, seeing out his last few weeks as prime minister, invited Bono for a private dinner.

“It was very romantic. It was just me and him,” joked Bono.

They drank the Downing Street cellar’s best wine although the Dubliner conceded he had a little more to drink than the PM. Later, Mr Blair said he had to take an important call and asked Bono to see himself out. The Irishman couldn’t believe he was being allowed free run of the residence. He sat back and savoured the moment but then promptly got lost as he tried to find the front door. He took in all the historic photos on display and even came face to face with a portrait of villain of the Irish history, Lloyd George.

“We were face to face. Me and Lloyd George. The man who oversaw partition with the threat of war. We were eye to eye..... he said nothing,” joked Bono.

Saturday 12 April 2008

10th Anniversary Celebration of the Good Friday Agreement

Bono attended a celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. I can remember that day that happened, a momentous day for Northern Ireland. How fast those ten years have gone by! The celebration was held on April 11th at Dublin Castle. Other attendees included Bertie Ahearn, Tony Blair, Bob Geldof and John Hume.

I must say Bono looks really smart and handsome in the photos from that day, his hair is a bit longer and he's wearing purple is. Purple is my favourite colour on him - wear it some more Bono!

Bob Geldof is trying his best to be smart bless him, but somehow it doesn't work out, now there's a surprise!

Dancing on Ice

Those of you in the UK will be familiar with the TV series Dancing on Ice where celebrities learn to ice dance with professionals and compete to win the series. This year was actually the first time I've watched the series and I really enjoyed it. So, when my cousin Glenys asked me if I'd like to go to see the Live Show in Newcastle I said yes.

Last night, straight from work, we headed over to Newcastle Metro Arena an hour's drive away. We had a smooth journey and before going into the venue we ate our sandwiches in the car park as we were really hungry by then!

The show was not what I expected, I thought it would be skating shows with both the professionals and celebrities. But the first half was like the TV programme, each couple skating and being commented on and voted for by the judges. In the interval you could vote for your choice of celebrity by text. The whole show was being filmed for the next Dancing on Ice DVD.

The celebrities involved came from all the three series. They were, Kyran Bracken, Chris Fountain, David Seaman, Gareth Gates, Zaraah Abrahams, Linda Lusardi, Suzanne Shaw (who had to pull out after the first half as she had hurt her knee), Claire Buckfield and Bonnie Langford.

The second half had various skating routines which were wonderful. the professional skaters were amazing. The speed, grace and strength they showed was beautiful, I thoroughly enjoyed it. And of course Torvill and Dean performed as well, and captivated us with their routines including a stunning "flying" routine. They do so well considering they are around the same age as me now!

Finally the results came in and it came down to the final two celebrities chosen, Kyran Bracken and Chris Fountain, to dance Bolero to decide the Newcastle champion. They were both good, but Kyran had the edge and was voted the champion.

All in all, it was a great evening's entertainment, talented skaters, striking lighting, good music (including U2's "One") and lots of laughs - audience participation was encouraged and the Geordies are not ones for holding back! If the show comes your way try to see it, it's something different and good family entertainment.

Thursday 10 April 2008

Weigh-in Week 15

Just been to my weigh-in at Weight Watchers and I've reached my 10% goal! It happens that my 10% goal is also halfway to my final goal so I am well chuffed that I have got to that point. I have now lost 21 pounds, and am as motivated as I was when I started my diet in the New Year. So I have to lose the same again - and I AM going to do it!

Monday 7 April 2008

U2 24 Hours!

Found great site for U2 fans that I thought I'd tell you about, it features streaming U2 videos 24 hours a day! The content is very varied there, there'll definitely be something for everyone -here's what last weekend's schedule was:

Documentary: The Making of Vertigo;

Live Concert: U2 Live @ Irving Plaza (NY 2000 Elevation Promo Tour)
Setlist: Beautiful Day, Elevation / Steppin' Stone (snippet), Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, I Remember You, New York, I Will Follow, Desire, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Mysterious Ways / Sexual Healing (snippet), One / Walk On (snippet), All I Want Is You, Bad / Ruby Tuesday (snippet) // encores: 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, Won't Get Fooled Again;

Official U2 Video: In God's Country;

U2 Duets: U2 & Rem performing One;

Early U2: Life on distant planet (1979)

Movie Special: Sightings of Bono.

To view go to: you'll find it hard to tear yourself away!

Saturday 5 April 2008

U2 to the Rescue!

The other day I had to visit the dentist for a root canal filling. Like many people, I hate going to the dentist, I'd never had a root canal done and had heard several stories about them so I was more nervous than I usually am.

Well, it wasn't pleasant, I was lying in the chair as my dentist was filing away infection with great vigour inside my root canal, I had horror pictures of her going right through the root wall into my jawbone, or my tooth disintegrating and other such delights! I tried my best to distract myself, but it didn't work. Then I heard it, "Where the Streets Have No Name" was playing on the radio in the surgery! Hey, U2 was my saviour! In my mind I went back to the band playing the song live and visualised it all. The red lights, the spotlights coming up, the ecstatic, jumping audience all singing along, Bono racing round the heart......

And do you know, it really helped and soon the dental work was all finished, so thanks for your help U2, you were around when I needed you! The only problem is, I have to go back next week for more treatment!