Down and Out in Paris and London

25 10 2011

I have just finished reading Down and Out in Paris and London, the true story of George Orwell’s time living in poverty in the capital cities of France and England.  The book provides vivid tales of working when he could in the worst hotel jobs in Paris, and surviving as a tramp in the doss houses of London.

The true story is full of great characters and humourous moments despite the poverty, but you never really get the feeling that Orwell is truely in poverty, rather that he is living on the edges of it.

I am a massive fan of Orwells 1984 and Animal Farm, and this is a good way of seeing what formed the 25 year olds ideas in later life.  I would give it a read if I were you.

Sorry its short, but my head is full of cold and if I wrote anymore it would be rubbish.


The National @ Brixton Academy

6 12 2010

Before I start, thanks to Beeskiffle for getting H and I these tickets as an Engagement present.

The Brixton Academy is an awesome venue (save for it being an Academy and them scalping you for your hard earned cash at every opportunity)inside an old theatre, so it has a loveley sloping floor, so even I could see the stage behind the tall people.  The stage looks like a set from Romeo and Juliet, with Italianate style bluidngs built around the wings.  All in all its a pretty epic venue.  Support for the evening came from Phosphorescent who were really good, but to be quite honest I was just a bit excited about what was to come.

I discovered The National late really, only after Boxer had come out and they were playing at an ATP festival.  Anyway, I had fallen in love with Boxer, and Alligator and the new one High Violet, so seeing them again was bound to be good.

Great songs from all albums were playes, with Slow Show and Apartment Story being my highlights, but the “I’m Evil” part of Conversation #16 getting a good sing-a-long.  The highlight however was the encore with a raucous version of Mr November including stage diving followed by the band asking for silence in the venue (which they got) and playing acoustically and singing without microphones.  What happened was the quietest sing-a-long in musical history, an almost lullaby like air, which still gives me goose bumps thinking about it.  Half way through the guy stood behind said to his friend “All gigs should be like this!”  I am inclined to agree.

Random Diary

17 05 2010
This is a bit of a catch up Blog, as I have been on Holiday and got lots to tell you, about all sorts of different things.  I am going to do it diary style.
Saturday 8th of May – Celebration of Steam at the Historic Dockyard.
H and I decided that we would go down to the Celebration of Steam, not sure what it would entail, but we had a great day.   Our £12 ticket, got us entry to HMS Warrior, which I had wanted to go on for ages, a Harbour tour on a

Traction Engine

boat, where we got to see part of the British Navy that is docked in Portsmouth.  As well as this there was a collection of traction engines and steam powered memorabelia including the world record holding fastest steam car in the world, which took the record by going nearly 150 mph.

There was also an Ale and Sausage Festival where we had a local tipple and an Ostrich burger.  Which I can say is very nice.
Monday 10th May – Natural History Museum – London
As we were flying to Riga Early on Tuesday we had decided to stay at Stanstead the night before which gave us the opportunity to go to London.

The Natural History Museum Dinosaur

  We had wanted to get to the Natural History Museum for ages and it didn’t disappoint.  It is spectacular but we could have done with having more time. 

After a swift meal in China Town we headed to Wimbledon to meet with May-Z who unfortunately wouldn’t be there for my birthday.  We had some great conversations about professional quiz-masters among others.
Tuesday 11th May – Riga
We flew to Riga from Stanstead on Ryan Air.  It was ok.  It was also my Dad’s birthday, so happy birthday to him.  I will write more about Riga in another Blog, but it was great fun.
Saturday 15th May- FA Cup Final
Pompey were in the FA Cup final, after a turbulent season with Relegation administration, numerous owners and players jumping ship, we had battled our way to Wembley. 
We defended brilliantly in the first half and were saved by the woodwork on 6 occasions and went in at half time 0-0.
Daring to dream in the second half, we had a penalty, which Kevin Prince Boateng scuffed and was saved, and then Didier Drogba scored the winner.  Not what the fairytale deserved.
Sunday 16th May – World Twenty-20 and Gigs.
Well done to England, World T-20 champions.  It was a brilliant final, with all parts of our team on fire.  Bowling was economical, Craig Kieswetter and KP were on fire, and we were finally steered home by Paul Collingwood and Eion Morgan with 3 overs to go, a huge margin in this form of the game.  To beat the Aussies was the icing on the cake.
As soon as this had finished I rushed out the door to go and see North Atlantic Oscilation at the Joiners. The Sarah Griffin Band were great, the Rebs were average and NAO were probably the best band that I had seen this year.
There you go, brief, but good.  I will catch you up on Riga later.  


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.

One Night in London

25 06 2008

Oh sweet jesus, what a night.  Me, my favourite band and 40000 other people in Victoria Park London.  To say that Radiohead are my favourite band is a bit of an understatement.  I have loved them since I first heard Creep in 1993.  Then The Bends in 1995 won its place in my heart as my favourite album with my favourite song Fake Plastic Trees.  This album was probably on heavy roatation on my stereo until about 2000.

I have never had the opportunity to see them live before (apart from the old VHS of Radiohead at the Astoria that I bought, and the Glastonbury coverage of 1997) so imagine my glee when Smyles said he had got me a ticket.  Yesterday on the way up excited wasn’t the word.  I knew that I would have to leave early so that I could get the last train home so that I could go to my interview this morning (It went ok by the way) but I was determined to make the most of it.

I decided that I was going to go to the Tate Modern first as I like it there and so I had a mooch around looking at the Roy Lichtenstein pop art and the Mondrian squares. After an hour of looking at the art (students) I took a walk up to the Barbican and met Smyles and Blob before we headed off to the gig.  We were going to get a pint first but there are no pubs on the way in, so we made do with the sangria stall at the Park.

Once we were in there, the stage was monstrous, proper festival size, but what struck me was the sound quality, no matter where we stood the sound quality was perfect, unlike the echoy bowl that is Wembely Stadium.

Bat for Lashes supported and did admirably despite the technical difficulties of all sound stopping and I enjoyed them too.  But then the main event started and it just blew me away.  For a proper review see Metro or the Times  I will just say that I wasn’t dissappointed, I thought that it was amazing.  Airbag is probably one of the best live tracks that I have ever heard and even though I left a song early this was probably the best gig that I have ever been to.  All of that even with the fact that they didn’t play thier big hits as most people are moaning about in the press, and the tunes that they did play were too melancolic for the setting.  So what,with playing as good as this it doesnt matter, I just wish that there were less people talking and barging through.

Steve, massive thanks for the ticket, I owe you more than one.

At large in London

4 11 2007

So anyway, it was Catherines birthday today (Happy Birthday) so I went up to Oxford on on Friday night after work (Why is it that whenever you have a holiday booked you have to work late on your last night?) for a couple of days.  Not a great deal happened on Friday, as we had planned to go to London early on Saturday. 

After much faffing about by Catherine on Saturday that seemed to include 3 or 4 phonecalls to the boyfriend we finally got the train and managed to blag the last 2 seats in pretty much the whole train.  It was full of stag dos and Arsenal fans (awaiting the lunch time kickoff at the Emirates)  and when it stopped at Reading, I am surprised that people weren’t bursting out of the windows.  I swear that there are trains in India that carry less passengers.  Anyway we got to Paddington to find out that there were major closures on the underground so all journeys took much longer and we had to go various different and non direct ways which blows, but we got to South Kensington and mooched around the Natural History museum for a while.  Catherine was looking forward to seeing the elephants, and needless to say I got excited buy the cross section of a 1400 year old Giant Sequioa.  Obviously the museum would have been better if I was 12, but I still think that there are a lot of excellent things in there, the Dinosaur exhibit is great but it was too hot and too busy, so we left the NHM and took the tube to Blackfriars and wandered down the Thames and across the Millenium bridge to the Tate modern.

 Now this quite excited me as part of my ever continuing quest to become an “interesting person” I quite like art galleries and can now tell quite a few artists work from a hundred yards.  The main installation (get me using technical words from the art world) that they have there is a 150 yard long crack in the floor.  To be quite honest I am sure the leaflet that I was given about it would have probably told me somthing about the division of class and society or some other gubbins but to me it just looked like the building was having trunking laid. 

 What I was pleased to see was that there was the original “Whamm” by Roy Lichtenstein and a couple of surrealist paintings by Magritte.  Its definately an interesting place and at some point I will go again.

 After this we headed off to the pub for a Toad in the Hole and a pint in the pub next to the Golden Hind where we were met by May-Z and some more drinking ensued and the talk got a bit more random as I had more to drink.  About 8 we decided that we should leave and headed off to London Bridge, which I swear had the Bakerloo line in it when I last looked at the map, but apparantly it had been moved, which in my drunken state is never a good thing.   Still we eventually got the train and after a few games of Scissors, Paper, Stone we made it back to Oxford.

 Oh yes, there was a girl on the train with a copy of the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath who I really should have made more of my opportunity to talk to, but I didn’t and I apologise, because you were cute (You never know she may be reading this).