Thursday 31 March 2011

U2 360 La Plata, Argentina (Spoiler)

This is the opener from the second gig of the 360 Tour in South America.  What a surprise!  Lovely new version of an old favourite which gave it a very different feel.  It brought back a lot of memories.  I hope that they do more things like this, surprises are good!

Radio 1's Big Weekend - in Carlisle!

Our small city of Carlisle is well off the usual tour circuit - even for the smaller bands.  Seeing a big band always means a long journey, often an overnight stay, so on top of ticket prices it's an expensive deal to go to a concert.  So people here were very excited to hear yesterday that the city has been chosen to host the Radio 1's Big Weekend, an annual event by the BBC to be held over the weekend 14-15 May.  This festival is deliberately held in places that normally don't get the chance to see famous acts on their doorstep, which I think is a brilliant idea.  Amongst the many, many acts performing are Lady Gaga, The Foo Fighters, The Black-Eyed Peas, Ellie Goulding and The Script.  You can see the full line up here

Another great thing is that it is completely free, you register for tickets and win them by ballot, with the greatest percentage given to local people.  Even though I'm not a mega fan of any of the acts there are some I'd like to see, especially The Foo Fighters, who I've never seen live.  And it would just be a great experience close to home.  So I've registered - let's hope I'll be one of the lucky ones chosen!

Sunday 27 March 2011

- 12lbs

I haven't updated how I'm doing on my diet recently so I thought I'd do that today.  It's going slowly, I've had weeks when my weight has stayed the same but none where I've gained so I am happy with that and my waist is re-appearing yay!  It's going to be a long slog but I'm still well motivated and will stick to the diet until my holidays in the summer.

Friday 25 March 2011

U2 Tour to End in North America?

I've not written in my blog for a while, things have been quiet here and compared to world events (natural and manmade) my little life didn't inspire me to write.  But U2 reared it's head today and ahead of the opening South American Show in Santiago today Edge did an interview for Phantom Radio in Ireland. Points that came up:

-  The 360 Tour will "probably" end with the show in Moncton, but Edge was not 100% definite on this -  as of now "That will be the end", but "Never say never"
-  They have lots of projects in the air all going in different directions and are not ready to commit to any one just yet.  They will "Sit back and figure it all out" after the tour ends.
-  They are looking forward to Glastonbury and want to "shake it up" song wise there
-  Edge playfully joked about Bono's height (or lack of it!)

It's strange but when Bono says something you take it with a pinch of salt but somehow Edge is more believable!  But a lot of the interview does show the usual  U2 dithering and inability to just give facts.  Surely they know definitely when the tour will end considering all the organisation such a big project needs?  Lots of waffling about an album release too, but in reality U2 usually only release an album every four years and it's only been two since the last one so I'm not expecting anything soon.  Glastonbury?  Almost bound to be greatest hits, rather than shook up.

I'm actually partially relieved that it looks like there will be no further 360 UK/Irish gigs because this tour has cost me a lot so far and if they played here I'd just HAVE to go!  Give the old credit card a chance to recover lol!

Listen to the interview on the link below.

Phantom Radio Edge Interview

Monday 14 March 2011


On Friday morning I was up early for work.  I was my usual early morning grumpy self.  I got my Cornflakes and tea and plonked down in my chair in front  of the TV.  On the screen I saw a brown wave full of debris sweeping across land at great speed, ripping out everything in its path.  Whole houses, cars, lorries, trees, were caught in the sludgy torrent.  It was in Japan and there had been an earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami.  It was dreadful to see everything being swept away by the wave.

As the days went by more and more images were brought to us via the Internet and the brave reporters who travelled there to tell the story.  The scenes towns literally being taken out of existence by the tsunami reminded me of the grainy black and white images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bombs were dropped.  In Minamisinraku only the hospital survived amidst the devastation, looking much like the domed building that still stood amongst the ruins of Hiroshima. Only this time the destroyer was nature not man.   And there also may be another nuclear danger, this time with the threat of meltdown in the reactors at the Fukushima power station.  The Japanese have asked for help from specialists to work with them to prevent the unthinkable happening.  Let's pray they manage to avert further disaster.

A lot of the people look dazed and worried, searching for family and friends.  Many have lost everything, there could be half a million homeless, at least 10,000 dead, the infrastructure severely damaged.  Japan is well prepared  for earthquakes, but there's nothing you can do about a 25-30 metre high tsunami.  It just shows how quickly the thin layer of a modern society can be swept away.

The Japanese are very resourceful people, they recovered from those nuclear explosions decades ago to become a leader in the world economy.  There's a typically Japanese stoicism and orderliness evident amidst the chaos and, in time, and with the help of the rest of the world, they will recover from this.

Saturday 5 March 2011

Harvey the Dog

I've just seen the Harvey the Dog ad. Almost everyone in the UK will know what I mean, It's an ad promoting the power of advertising, showing a rescue dog in a kennel trying to impress potential adopters. Very funny, and Harvey just has "something" about him.

I was curious to find out more about Harvey, so in this age of finding answers easily in cyberspace, I Googled "Harvey dog ad" and up popped lots of info. Harvey is actually called Sykes and is seven years old.  He was a rescue dog, as a pup of seven months he followed friends of the current owner and their dog home.  No one claimed him so he went to live in Oxfordshire with Gill Raddings who runs a company called Action Stunt Dogs and Animals. She quickly recognised his good temperament and intelligence, and a legend was in the making!

Sykes was a star pupil and took to training well. He has appeared in many TV programmes - and he has even starred in two films with Johnny Depp, sigh....!

You can read an article all about Sykes (though I think Harvey suits him better) that was in the Daily Mail a while back here.  Below is the advertisement that made him famous.

Friday 4 March 2011

Greatest Frontmen and Women Poll

NME are doing a Greatest Frontmen and Women poll.  Bono's one of the people on the list but so far he's not in the top 20 - Robert Smith is the surprising number one at the moment. So get voting for Bono here.

Thursday 3 March 2011

Crocuses, Starlings and Weather

We've been having some nice, bright and sunny days recently and Spring is bursting out everywhere. There are great swathes of crocuses across my city, our council planted them years ago.  I did a work visit today and the large patch of grass outside my client's house was full of thousands of blue and white crocuses, beautiful.  On the way home I noticed starlings starting to roost.  Once home I watched as the groups of birds joined together to form a huge cloud of thousands that swooped, weaved and turned as one. The movement of the flock reminded me of the undulations of the Northern Lights. They came so low as to almost skim the roofs of the houses, I could hear their wings flapping but there was no other sound from the birds.  How do they know which way to turn so suddenly?  Eventually the moved into the distance and settled for the night, but what an amazing show they had put on.

At this time of year nature comes alive again, the buds fatten up, birds sing more, even after the icy winter we had nothing stops the rebirth.  But people seem to come alive again too. The DIY stores are full of enthusiastic folk raring to get decorating or improving their home.  You see more of your neighbours as people re-discover their gardens, tidying away the winter debris, planting bedding plants, sighing at the thought of having to mow the lawn again.

Bright colours, tee-shirts, summer dresses, swimwear and sandals appear in the shops, the winter woolies are in the sales.  Holidays plans are made, I've got a holiday in Canada to look forward to.  Hopes for a hot summer abound, definitely not a guarantee in the UK, "We've had three crap summers, surely we'll have a good one this year!" People say, me included.  Our weather is never boring and we are obsessed with talking about it.

It's a good time of year, almost like coming out of hibernation, and I love the buzz and energy that is always around at this time.  Now, where's that paintbrush.........