Monday 30 June 2008

Two Handsome Irishmen!

Found these really nice photos of Bono and Adam taken by fans have appeared on the Net. They were taken at HQ recently. Adam is looking very good, I'm not a fan of grey hair but I think the silver fox look is great for him and he's looking really well. Bono on these photos is looking great too. It never fails to amaze me at just how different he can look. One day he is drawn, lines etched in his face, seemingly older than his years and then the next day he can look wonderful and almost youthful as in these photos! That man is a real enigma.

Seems Edge and Larry are still keeping a low profile at HQ - in fact I'm beginning to wonder if Larry is really there at all, no one - to my knowledge - has met him at HQ this year! Maybe he's really left U2 and they are trying to hide the fact - even the latest studio video on didn't show his face did it???

Go here to see more photos of Bono and Adam.

Friday 27 June 2008

Happy Birthday to Ya!

Just watched the concert to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 90th Birthday. It was very moving to see him there, physically frail but still with that presence that sets him apart from others. There are few people in this world that are truly good and can inspire others, Mandela is definitely one of those few.

U2 were not at the concert but sent this video of their version of Stevie Wonder's Happy Birthday (with some changed lyrics for this special occasion). I love it, Bono's voice is amazing! This bodes well for the new album!

Go here to watch the video

Sunday 22 June 2008

REM Here We Come!

My friend Dawn and I have just got tickets to see REM at Manchester on 24th August! I love the new album and am really excited about seeing the band live. I've seen them twice before, the last time being quite a few years ago and I really enjoyed the gigs. Also, I am really ready to go to a live gig again. I just love the atmosphere of a concert and for me there is nothing like hearing music live.

Tuesday 17 June 2008

A Mother's Love

In these days of bad news, negativity and selfishness, it was heart-warming to read the story below in today's paper. It shows a (feathered) mother's devotion and kindness and compassion of two men. So sweet, and good to have such a happy ending!

(Taken from the Daily Mail 17th June 2008 - By Paul Sims)

Trapped in a dark sewer, the six little mallard ducklings found themselves cut off and facing an uncertain future. Their only hope of seeing daylight again lay with their mother - who they had last seen more than a mile away as they were sucked into a drain. Rescue seemed impossible. Yet somehow the mother duck had managed to follow her offspring for more than a mile, apparently listening to their cheeps of distress at manhole covers as they were swept along below ground. Her incredible journey took her across a busy roundabout, countless roads, a metro rail line, a housing estate, two school playing fields and hospital grounds.

The trail finally ended when she waddled on to Barrasford Close in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, where her chicks suddenly stopped. And it was there, standing over another man-hole cover, that the mother remained for the next four hours until local residents heard chirping coming from down below. They in turn launched a rescue operation, removing the manhole cover and using a child's fishing net to scoop all six from the sewer one by one and reuniting them with their mother in a paddling pool.

Peter Elliott, 59, said he first noticed the mother duck at 6am as he left his home on Sunday for a run. 'I was so surprised to find she hadn't moved when I got back,' he said yesterday. 'I went over wondering if she was injured but there were no visible signs of a problem.

'I went in and had breakfast and looked out again. I saw she was waddling away from a drain cover but then immediately going back and sitting down on it.

'It seemed odd, I couldn't figure out what was wrong.'

It was only when his daughter, Vicki Jefferson, 30, took her two-year-old son, James, out to see the mother duck that they first heard the ducklings in the sewer below.

'Vicki said she thought she could hear cheeping sounds,' said Mr Elliott. 'It was fairly clear that her chicks were trapped underground.'

Mr Elliott, his son-in-law Rob Jefferson, 30, and neighbour, Jim Calder, 62, returned armed with spades, a crow bar and spanners.

'We managed to haul this heavy manhole cover up and saw six little ducklings scrabbling around in the drain,' said Mr Elliott. 'We got a little fishing net from the house and lifted each duckling out in turn.

The sewer access point is close to the River Ouseburn, near the Three Mile Inn on the Great North Road, Gosforth - two miles away from where the ducklings were finally rescued.

'I called the RSPCA and they said to let them wander off. But in such a built up area we didn't feel happy doing that. So we drove them to a lake near Newcastle airport and watched them swim happily away. It was a lovely moment.'

Northumbria Water said the nearest sewer access point to Barrasford-Close was more than a mile away, close to the River Ouseburn. 'We believe the ducklings entered the surface sewer system there,' said a spokesman.

Owen Joiner, from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: 'I can only think that she followed the cries of her young from manhole cover to manhole cover. Had she not done so, the ducklings will almost certainly have perished.'

Saturday 14 June 2008

Bono, Edge and Adam at HQ

There are some nice photos here taken by fans very late at night at Hanover Quay - this was the same day that Debbi and I were there, though we had left many, many, many hours before!

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Burnt Cleavages in Dublin!

A few months ago my friend Debbi and I were pining for Dublin, I saw really cheap flights advertised on Ryanair and, as we live a short flight away in the UK, we decided to have a day trip over there. I decided on June 10th because that's the date that jumped out at me when I was looking at the calender.

It was so nice to be back in Dublin, though each time I go back there there are so many changes. But I still love the city and it's people.

First of all we went to Sandymount Green, which we love and was how we remembered it, peaceful and relaxing. We found a great little place called Cafe Java where we had a delicious breakfast. It was a gloriously warm and sunny day so we sat in the Green for a while after the meal watching a group of toddlers having great fun playing.

We then caught a taxi to Hanover Quay, and yes, since we'd been there another building had grown from the dust of the old. But the studio was the same, in fact it's the only thing that hasn't changed along the quay. We tried to get a drink at one of the swanky restaurants there but we could not just have a drink, we'd have to have a meal as well. So we went to the Spar and bought drinks and sat at the tables outside for a while.

We then walked the short distance down to U2's studio. There were lots of vans there and one huge lorry, all had something to do with film/video making, so it wasn't hard to guess what U2 were up to today! We also saw Catherine Owens, so it wasn't hard to guess who the director of the video is either.

We saw all the band arrive, Bono honking his horn as he did, but none of the band came out. Rumours are that they are in their last week of recording and very busy so that's probably why they didn't do the meet and greet most of them do regularly. On talking to another fan there she told me that the previous evening she'd met some of the band and that they were really nice but Bono had been very tired.

I never feel the band should come out to meet the fans. To me they should give us good albums and live shows, anything else is a bonus. And I can't complain, I've had two lovely meetings with Bono and Adam last year, so I was not disappointed about no meetings this time. We did get to see Brian Eno who came out to go to the Spar (that shop must be a hot place to see a famous face nowadays). He smiled openly said hello when he came out and when he came back he said,

"Nice day", to us which amused me as it was so British to talk about the weather! There's always something about Brian that reminds me of Adam Clayton and I felt that again then.

During our waiting time I heard a few minutes of Bono singing. It was not loud and often drowned out by the building work and traffic but what I heard was wonderful. It was very melodic and Bono's voice soared - I now know what Eno meant when he was quoted as saying that Bono is singing like a bird. I couldn't hear any accompanying music, just that wonderful voice and I kind of melted inside as I listened, it was just so beautiful!

Ever since we arrived in Dublin, at Sandymount and at Hanover Quay the sun had been shining and it was really warm and we had been out in it. Debbi and I realised we should have had sunscreen on - something not often needed in Ireland! Both of us are very fair skinned and burn easily so we left our jackets on to protect ourselves a bit, but at times it got very hot and we were grateful for the odd cloud that floated along.

We didn't stay long after the band arrived, as we wanted to have a meal somewhere before we set off for the airport. We ended up in Milano one of the new, ultra-modern restaurants on Hanover Quay. We had a delicious Italian meal there that, surprisingly, wasn't too pricey. I can remember when there was nothing at HQ, no shops, no restaurants, no toilets, all there was were businesses. Now with the shop and restaurants things are a lot easier for the U2 fans!

It was while in there we realised we had really caught the sun, especially on our noses and cleavages! That's me flashing my burnt cleavage in Milano in the photo.

This was a flying visit but it actually felt longer than the twelve hours we were there, and it will keep me going until our next proper holiday in Dublin in September.

Sunday 8 June 2008

I Was Right!

Bono has re-appearred once more, and I was right, he has surfaced back home in Dublin. He and the other members of U2 were back at the studio late last week to continue work on the new album. Mind you, he's already moved to another country. He surfaced in England, where he and Ali attended the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation Gala dinner in Hampton yesterday. Ali was as looking beautiful as ever in a gorgeous dress - her partner looks ok too!

I'm hoping that Bono soon goes back home and work as my friend and I are off on a short trip to Dublin next week and will be paying a vist to the studio!

Friday 6 June 2008

It's All Starting......

Daniel Lanois said in an interview on June 4th that the new U2 album is going great, all tracks are done, they are finishing vocals, and all the recording part should be finished in the next three or four weeks. He also said that the new album is one of the great innovative records from U2. Rumours are that it will be released in November this year which is the band's usual pattern.

Just hearing that has made me so excited! I love this time when a new album is on it's way and the anticipation builds. I so need an "innovative" album from U2 next time as I was a little disappointed with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It was ok, but it didn't challenge me, it was safe and it didn't venture into any new ground. And they took one of the best songs they've done for a long time, Mercy, off the album. I knew when I heard that particular song that U2 still had "it" and I've a feeling I am going to be made to sit up and go, "What the ....." when I hear the new music. And that's exactly what I want!

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Update on the Wolong Reserve Pandas

We’ve all heard about the terrible earthquake that devastated parts of China last month. Only recently I realised that the epicentre of the quake was only 30 kilometres from the China Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center which I blogged about a few weeks ago here. So I checked on the Internet if these special and highly endangered animals had survived.

I was pleased to read that the 86 giant pandas, though initially distressed, are all safe and well. All the panda cubs had been transported to safety by the staff and, though initially three adult pandas were missing, they had now returned to the reserve. Unfortunately, the humans at the reserve did not fare as well and five of the staff died.

All the panda houses were severely damaged. Of a total 32 panda houses, 14 were destroyed and the others were severely damaged.

The reserve is in an isolated, densely wooded mountainous area and it took a while for supplies to get through. But now bamboo, apples, and veterinary medicine for the pandas, as well as food and tents urgently needed by the dedicated staff have arrived at the reserve. Like the rest of the areas affected by the earthquake, Wolong is now picking up the pieces and trying to make a new home for the pandas and continue their important conservation work with these amazing creatures.

Tuesday 3 June 2008

They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There.....

I think we should have a competition to guess where Bono is going to turn up next! The conference in Japan is over so he's probably jetted off somewhere else by now. I wonder if he knows where he is when he wakes up on a morning?!

Well, my guess is that he'll turn up back home in Dublin and go to HQ and finish that album! Maybe that's wishful thinking, but let's wait and see!