Thoughts on Le Tour 2011

22 07 2011

I have been a bit slack posting things on here of late, with lots of things going on to distract me.  One of them being Le Tour De France.  Pretty much everything stops while this is on and the 7pm nightly highlights become part of my life for 3 weeks in July.  It has been this way since the eighties. Phil Ligget, Paul Sherwen, Gary Imlach, Ned Boulting and Chris Boardman provide the soundtrack of 21 Days. 

This year has been something special for the armchair cycling fan, I can’t ever remember a tour that has been this open.  With 3 stages left any of the top 5 riders could conceivably still take the yellow jersey in Paris on Sunday.  So through the flat stages and the dominance of Mark Cavendish  (what a legend now with 20 Tour stage wins), the 2 stage wins for Edvald Bosson Hagen (who rides for Team Sky, so is an honorary Brit in my eyes), World Champion Thor Hushovd taking 2 breakaway stages, Andy Schleck taking the mammoth stage to the Col du Galibier and a huge chunk of time out of the current leader Thomas Voeckler.  There is a lot that you can say about little Tommy V’s heroics this year, keeping the Yellow through the Pyreneese and into the Alps and keeping himself in contention still.  The effort has been amazing and I hope he keeps a place on the podium.  He won’t win, but I hope he is there. All of this has gone on to make this a great version of the greatest stage race.

The final 3 stages will shape the Tour’s podium and an Alp d’Heuz finish today and a time trial tomorrow will provide the Yellow Jersey (please not Cadel Evans).  The final stage to the Champs Eleysee in Paris will provide the ideal stage for Cav to claim the Green Jersey, providing he gets over the final mountains.

This month has provided more sporting excitement than any football/rugby/cricket/F1 season than I can think of and is an ideal armchair sports fans viewing.  Allez Le Tour.


What I Forgot to Mention About Glastonbury

12 07 2011

I guess that if you read this regularly, you will know that I am a bit of a music fan.  I have been like this since I was young.  The first single that I ever had was “You can call me Al” by Paul Simon.  Now I have reached my thirties, I never expected to ever see this performed live, but I did get to in the sunshine at the Pyramid stage on Sunday afternoon.  I won’t say that it was the best performance I have ever seen (Chevy Chase wasn’t on the stage, and the whistley bit was done on a syntisiser) but it was great for me to experience that.

Further Updates on My Life

26 05 2010

This first part was written on 16th of Feb 2007, and the 2nd on the 13th August 2008


For some reason I was thinking what I was doing a decade ago:

I was at college studying English Language, P.E. and Law.

I had a part-time job at Homebase

I was listening to Radiohead OK Computer, Blur by Blur, the Fat of the Land by the Prodigy.

I learnt to drive and had a brown Mini, with a tape player that I used to make tapes for

I rode my mountain bike, that summer I was doing 200 miles a week

I used to play roller hockey with my mates Lee and Nick

I first went to the pub

I got mugged

I  lived with my parents


A decade has gone by now and what the hell has changed in my life.  I finished College with 2E’s and an N.  I lost all faith in the English legal system as a result.  I went to university and started studying forestry, which I then changed to get a 2:2 in Geography.

I work for a charity called the Tropical Forest Trust, having left Homebase after 8 years.

I have actually just listened to tracks off of all of those albums on my mp3 player

I still have no claims and now drive a Ford Fiesta, I long for the day that I can afford to buy a mini as a 2nd car

My mountain bike hasn’t been out of the shed for 3 years

I had to get rid of my blades, and Lee and Nick are both married.  Lee lives in Chichester and Nick lives in Aberdeen.

I still enjoy going to the pub

Haven’t been mugged since

Due to a series of unfortunate incidents I am back living with my parents

So have I developed as a person in 10 years, I really hope so.  Who knows!  Am I better off?  Yes, but i’m buying a flat, so that’s going out of the window.  I’m certainly more world wise, I know that.

So why am I thinking all of this?  I have no idea, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.  That and the fact that im sat at home on a friday night alone is also a kickback to 10 years ago.,

13th August 2008

After problems at work, and my role changing I have left the TFT, and am currently temping in a metal factory.  I have an interview today for a job that I don’t really want and am not that confident of getting anyway.

I havn’t bought any music since May, which is really sad, and it’s probably been that long since I went to a gig too.

I still have no claims and now drive a Ford Fiesta, I long for the day that I can afford to buy a mini as a 2nd car.  My car is however gradually falling apart.

My mountain bike is on the landing, and I ride it regularly.  I am in the early stages of training to ride from Lands End to John O’Groats (or the other way around).

I had to get rid of my blades, and Lee and Nick are both married.  Lee lives in Chichester and has a Kid called Evelyn Louise, and Nick lives in Aberdeen.

I still enjoy going to the pub but haven’t been for a while.

I own my own flat with the housemate, although depending on finances in a few months I may have to move back in with the parents and rent out my room.

So there you go, just a quick update, not sure what will happen in another 18 months time.  I will keep you informed.

26th May 2010

I am now 30.  Woo hoo, where did that time go.  The last 18 months has flown by.  The biggest thing in my life is that I am engaged to H.  This came as a bit of a surprise to me, but I really couldn’t be happier about it.

I have been working at the University of Portsmouth doing Admin work, I don’t particularly enjoy it, but in the current economic climate a job is better than no job.  I also really like the people, which helps more than you can imagine.

I am still buying Music, most recently that fantastic High Violet by the National. 

Still no claims on the car.  It is however still falling apart.

H and I go out on our bikes whenever the sun is out, and we are enjoying getting fitter together.

For a year I had a decent quiz team that would go to the pub every Tuesday, however that has tailed off now that one has moved to London, the Boy Lord has moved to Korea, and Ahab is going back to sea.

I didn’t have to move back home, but a move is on the cards as H and I look to move in together before the wedding.  We have set a year, so 2012 it is. 

I have taken up photography as a hobby instead of more energetic pursuits.

All in all I can conclude that my life is pretty darn good now.  Much better than it has been in previous years.

Radio 2 ≠ Middleage

10 02 2010
Realisation hit me last night at the pub quiz with the question “Who replaced Chris Evans on the Drive time show on Radio 2?”  The answer is Simon Mayo.  I only know that because I listen to it.  I realised that I may be turning middle aged.  I am not 30 yet, a few more months to go, but not just yet. 
Now, I only really listen to the radio in my car as my CD player doesn’t work properly, and I don’t listen to Radio 1 as Chris Moyles is on in the morning, and I can’t stand the man.  I would listen to 6 music but you don’t get that on old school radio. 
Anyway, it has good music on, yesterday I was listening to the Doors on the way in, The Cure today.  The downside is that they play awful lot of rubbish.  Especially during the day, when they had in Interview with Jedward and then played their horrific version of Vanilla Ice crossed with Queen.  On the flipside (ooh listen to me with my youth vernacular) they had an interview with Lloyd Grossman, the TV chef and pasta sauce creator, who also plays in a punk band. You don’t get that sort of thing on Radio 1.  You also don’t get classic tunes from Curtis Mayfield, Johnny Cash and Pink Floyd.
Anyway,  I have had my quarterlife crisis (its a real thing, google it) and I am not really that fussed about turning 30, but then again, what is wrong with turning 30 anyway.  Most of my friends are now either married or having kids, so is that what it means?  Is it having a good job and a nice car, because I am not there yet, and won’t be for the forseeable future.
I don’t feel 30, so I know what I will do…carry on as normal and go to gigs and listen to Pendulum in the car.

The One and Only

5 02 2010

Last night I popped my Cellars cherry with a trip to see Chesney Hawkes, yes, him of The One and Only fame.  Do you know what, take the piss all you want, but he was actually great.  More than just a footnote in musical history. 

I didn’t really want to go, but said I would as it is one part of the Boy Lord’s leaving do (he moves to Korea to teach English in just over a week).  So we got there and it was busy, not packed, but busy enough.  We found a decent spot to stand and waited.  2 support acts came on and went Dirty Sky Jones was very good, and quite comical. 

Not however as comical as Chesney.  If your career highlight was a one hit wonder back in 1991 (actually theer were 2 follow up singles, number 28 and 68 in the charts respectively) when you were 18, I guess you have to be.  The last 19 years appear to have been good for him, his songwriting really is very good, and his voice is good too.

He is not so much of a joke anymore in my mind, but he finished on The One and Only and it got a big sing-a-long.

Review of 2009

4 01 2010
I have been neglecting this blog for a while and concentrating on my photo blog, which I really enjoy doing.
So to kick off this year, I thought that I would do a kind of review of the year for 2009.  I don’t think I am doing a Spex awar this year, mainly because I can’t be bothered.  I am getting Lazy I think.
January started off with New Year in the most random pub in the world and a trip to a brewery for May-Z’s birthday, and then not a great deal happened, until February when I started going to Gigs again, Iglu and Hartley was the first of the year.
In March, not a lot happened again, but I saw a couple more bands.  April was great though, I met the wonderful H and we had a lot of fun.  I also formed the Victorian Gentlemans Amaretto Drinking Club (Fingers Up) in a pub in Worcester and went to Thorpe Park for the first time that year.
May was pretty good, my birthday was superb, we had a lot of fun, and then I went on Safari, this took me until mid June and was one of the most amazing things that I have ever done.  June came and went with more gigs and a trip to the Isle of Wight.  July flew past with Mark Cavendish winning 6 stages of the Tour De France and the Ashes starting.
August saw the completion of the Ashes, with England victorious, me failing to walk the Southdowns Way because of injury.  September included Bestival, which was superb, (Elbow were sublime) and Love Albert Road Day which was good too.
October was my month of blogging and to be honest it is some of the worst things ever written, I did start taking a lot of photos though.  In November I saw the Flaming Lips, which was about the only thing I did that month.
December flew past, with ATP and christmas, and I cooked for H on New Years Eve.
All in all, not a bad year.

My Favourite Gigs

4 12 2009
Its been a while since I have blogged, so I had better make this a good one.  As I made a very bold statement in my last blog that the Flaming Lips gig may have been the best gig that I have ever been to, which got me thinking, what are the best gigs that I have ever been to.  I have made some tough choices here and omitted some really good bands (Including Muse twice, Elbow and Radiohead who are my favourite band).
So here they are in vaguely Chronological order, with a bit about why I thought they were so good:

3 Colours Red (1999)- This has probably made it on to the list as it was one of the first gigs that I had been to, and one of my favourite bands at the time (Listening to Nuclear Holiday still rocks my socks off), but mainly because I was chatting to the Lead Singer at the back for ages. 

Goldie Lookin’ Chain (2004)- On the back of Half Man Half Machine, I went to see these (the first gig that I went to with the Jolly Green Dave Ware). They didn’t sound like any music around at the time and still don’t.  On their day (this one) there stage show is amazing, even when the power went out it was brilliant, they improvised a game show called Win a Date with the Maggott.  Sadly they are getting worse every time I see them. 

Gogol Bordello (2006)- Immigrant Gypsy Punk has never sounded so good, to have the drummer girls crowd surfing on top of giant drums was genius.

Apples in Stereo (2007)- You know when a new song hits you and you need to know what it is and everything about the band, that was what it was like with Energy.  Seeing them at ATP vs The Fans topped off the festival, it also helped that I was stood on a chair so that I could see.

Bon Iver (2008)- Again its amazing what a brilliant song can do to you, top it off with one of the best voices in Music at the moment, sat in a festival field with a paper cup of Cider when the sun comes out, you have near perfection. 

De La Soul (2008)- At ATP again, De La Soul provided a perfect hip hop party beat.

Vampire Weekend (2008)- Mansard Roof, was easily my favourite single of the year (probably of the last 5 years) and I may have said that the album could challenge The Bends as my favourite album.  I am not sure if it has or not, but this gig on my birthday was utterly superb.

…And you will know us by the Trail of The Dead (2009)- Awesome band name, awesome music, 2 drum kits, brilliant.

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip (2009)- I have seen these 4 times now, the first in 2008 at the Joiners was great too.  This time was at Bestival though, their second set.  At midnight, in a tiny tent.  It was sweaty, it was loud, the place went mental, it was everything that all gigs should be.  I really can’t wait to see them agin in March.

Flaming Lips (2009)- See the last Blog entry, but this was a definite spectacle.

The main thing that all of these have in common is that I was there with good friends, and I liked the music before I went.  I suppose I had a pre-programmed idea of what the gig would be like, and I guess these lived up to the expectations.  The 3 big bands at the top that didn’t make it in aren’t the only ones that have had great gigs, some of the others include Skindred, Rival Schools, Modest Mouse, Le Savvy Fav, Futureheads, Editors.  I could go on, but I won’t.

More Things.

21 09 2009

I was searching round the Blogosphere and came across this on the front page of WordPress.  Its another Things to do before I die list.  Its actually one of the better ones.  I typed this into the search bar, and most of them have the same sort of thing on there. 

  • Create World Peace
  • Go into Space
  • Write a Novel
  • Adopt a child

That sort of thing, which are all very noble (in the case of adoption and world peace), but mostly won’t happen.

I had forgotten that I had made a list a while back in August 2008.  A year later I have realised that I missed some stuff off of there:

  • Do the water experiment at the Equator
  • See a Basking Shark off the British coast
  • Visit Leptis Magna

and some things that can be added to the cool things done section.

  • Seen the Wildebeest Migration
  • Seen a Cheetah Kill
  • Go to Zanzibar

These probably should have been on the original list, but they weren’t.  At the moment the things to do list is stagnating a bit, I am sure that I will kick it into gear again soon.  For Everyone that has written one of these lists, good luck in achieving it, especially if you have put World Peace on there.


6 07 2009

On Thursday, myself and H went to see Blur in Hyde Park and were both a bit over excited.  All I am going to say is that they were utterly brilliant, and the support bands were good, except for Foals, who I don’t really like anyway.

Sorry I am not writing more, but I have a lot of work to do and I can’t really be bothered at the moment.  I may add some photos, but probably won’t.  They will be on Flickr though.


7 05 2009

I was talking to Andy on Tuesday at the pub quiz (just the 2 of us, we came last, but not by much and we got a good score) about things that we have done, and it turns out that I have done a lot and my looking back at it my life has been much cooler than I thought or seem to remember. 

I suppose I may have blocked the coolness out of my mind by spending so much time in a bad mood, but now I can look at these things in a slightly more objective way.

List of cool things in no particular order

  • Swam with Sharks
  • Ran with the Bulls in Pamplona
  • Climbed an Ancient Mayan Temple
  • Walked on Glaciers
  • Showered under a Waterfall
  • Tubed down rivers in Fiji and Belize
  • Eaten Conch straight from the sea
  • Experienced the Edinburgh Festival
  • Had a Horse Fondue
  • Taken a hot air baloon ride above the Nile
  • Drunk in a proper German brewhouse
  • Watched the sunrise on 4 continents
  • Been to a proper rainforest

As you can tell, I’m not one for package holidays.  I went on one when I was an adult and didn’t like it.  This list will probably keep getting bigger as I remember or think of ways to phrase things, but for now its a start.