Crazy Weather

1 02 2009

I spoke to my dad the other day and he was telling me that the temperature in Melbourne on Friday reached 45.1 degrees! (Celsius that is…) Wow. what is going on with the weather.

Meanwhile here in London where Ive been told “it doesn’t snow” Ive been out playing in this…

Snow in Arsenal

Its really really beautiful, I love snow so much. Perhaps it will wear off after being cold and wet for prolonged periods of time, but for the moment it is nothing but exciting and beautiful and magic.

When I stick my head out the window I see this deserted street covered with the soft white blanket – completely undisturbed, no footprints, no tyre tracks. Just clean, pure snow. This is the view I have

Snow - view from my window

And the other way…

Snow - view from my window

and one from my walk into work today. Just for good measure:

Snow near Russell Square


Amanda Palmer @ Koko

3 12 2008

Again – it was a while ago since I saw my Loverly Amanda, but I’m only getting to it now…!

Amanda is the lead singer for the Dresden Dolls – who I completely love – and she’s just put out her own solo CD a couple of months ago called “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” which is great.  Also, it was produced by Ben Folds – so if you like him, you’ll probably like her album.  Her style is given as ‘Cabaret Punk’, and she’s a little bit crazy, and a whole lot awesome. Very Theatrical.

ANYWAY – So I had bought three tickets to see her, convinced that it would be easy to find people who’d like to come – however, it got to the night of the concert and I still had one ticket left – oops! Shannon had agreed to come, and so she brought along a friend from her work, Natasha. I was running late to meet them (as always) and eventually found them looking a little weirded out near the venue, Koko.  Some of Amanda’s team were staging a mock funeral out the front in the middle of the footpath and crying and handing out flowers to people passing by.

We all went to dinner (along with my mate Judith from Manchester) and Shannon and Natasha were looking a little unsure still after the theatrics outside, but I assured them it would be fine.  When we finished our dinner and started queuing to be let in a whole procession of interestingly dressed people gathered around us – Goths, Emos, Punks, Dita Von Wannabees and all that falls in between.  We got inside, found ourselves a place near the front as the first support act was halfway through.

The first support act was this crazy guy playing all sorts of funny songs on his piano-accordion – without doubt the highlight of his set was when he tried to get the audience linking arms and singing a German beer-drinking song – it was unsuccessful due to the sobreity of the crowd – so he said “who wants to get drunk???” Obviously this was met with an affirmative from the crowd – so the guy got everyone drunk – by making everyone stick an arm in the air, a finger up, telling them to concentrate on their finger and spin around 20 times – surprisingly the whole audience joined in – so it was a crowd of spinning giggling people who were well and truly tipsy by the end. From there it seemed a very natural progression to link arms with total strangers and sing the drinking song. Was a lot of fun, and set the tone for the craziness.

The next support act was a lady who played classical Cello, but processed it through a series of guitar pedals – the most effective of which was the JamMan, which allowed her to lay down a piece, and loop it, lay down the next piece, and add that to the loop and so on until she built up a whole backing orchestra for herself to play over – she got some really amazing sounds out of that thing – very impressive.

Finally – it was Amanda’s turn and Neil Gaiman (who I didn’t know! Apparently he is an incredibly famous graphic novelist? oops – there goes any street cred I might have had) came out and read a verse dedicated to the death of Amanda – then again the funeral procession started and Amanda draped in a sheer sheet was brought onto stage – think Shan and Natasha were still a little bit “WTF?” at this stage… Anyway – eventually it all kicked off and Amanda took control…(the first pic shows the Cello player support act, and the second pic shows Neil Gaiman and the guy who got the crowd drunk!)

Amanda Palmer @ Koko

Amanda Palmer @ Koko

Amanda did lots of amazing pieces, among my favorites (aside from all the Dresden Dolls stuff) were ‘Guitar Hero’ (as shown below – including Wardrobe Mafunction (sorry Amanda, its the only pic I have of that that isn’t out of focus!!!))

Amanda Palmer @ Koko

…I also loved ‘Oasis’, and this non-album song she sung called ‘I Google you

Amanda also did her version of Rhianna’s “Umbrella” – well actually, its Rhianna’s version of “Umbrella” she just lip-syncs and dances – but its still fun. And finished with a great finale of “Living on a Prayer” and a song from her new album, “Leeds United” – which I love if for no other reason because it features the line “Who needs love when there’s Southern Comfort…”

Amen Sister.


8 11 2008

Forget any of the heartbreak associated with the album – we are well and truly still on.

Brian, Roger and Paul

No one makes you feel the way your first love does – and tonight, it was amazing – 2 and a half hours of one of the most amazing experiences Ive ever had. I love them all – Paul Rodgers is an amazing frontman – he’s no Freddie, but he’s not trying to be – he’s a star in his own right – a different on-stage presence, but still a brilliant one.

Paul Rodgers

They make sure to acknowledge Fred though, he ‘sings’ a piece called bijou (they use his album vocal track and a set of video images of him singing so it looks like it syncs) and Bohemian Rhapsody draws on old vocal tracks of fred’s for the early part and shares the later parts with Paul – its a nice treatment of a tricky song which is completely synonymous with Fred.

Roger is funny and talented – his take on the traditional drum solo was refreshingly different! Aside from having a drum kit built around him – incorporating each new piece of kit into the solo as it was added, he also used his drumsticks on the bass players upright electric bass – playing both the rhythm and bass line of ‘Under Pressure’ – was very clever.
Rogers Drum solo

and Brian…
Brian May

oh Brian – my first ever love, my idol, my hero – he didnt let me down – he reaffirmed everything, what I wouldnt give to even have a shred of the intelligence, warmth and talent that that man has – its not fair.

And he’s still so sexy! He may not be everyones cup of tea, but you all need to admit he does look good for SIXTY ONE!!! Luv ya Bri!!!

Brian and Roger

For the full set of pics – go have a look at the flickr slideshow

Remember, Remember the 5th of November…

5 11 2008

I’m lying on my bed watching firework after firework explode over the rooftops of my street.

Happy Guy Fawkes Night everyone!


29 10 2008

Tonight I was lying in bed fully dressed, bed-socks inside moccasins under the doona and hating the cold in London – as I was mid-curse, a loud knocking on the door precedes Cress sticking her head in “Quick, come downstairs, you have to come downstairs and see this!!!” I follow her down and go out the front door and there is our lovely little street filled with snow-covered cars and front gardens. I stood there amazed – my first EVER snow!!! Cress hands me a handful of snow she scooped up from the front fence and I moulded a snowball – and piffed it with astonishing accuracy at a pile of construction materials two houses down. I was SO excited to see real snow! just like in the movies!

Heres out winter wonderland in the backyard, the snow on the outdoor furniture (luckily my camera applies the pink tinge to snow as well as skies?!)

Our Winter Wonderland Backyard

Our Winter Wonderland Backyard

Thu 11th September – Wicked!

18 09 2008

I had neglected to get Shannon anything for her Birthday this year, so made amends by going on and getting her, Brendan and I three £15 tickets to see Wicked, the musical which is based around the witches from the Wizard of Oz.

We met at a pub near the theatre and headed upstairs to the dining room for dinner. Walking in we realised that we were about 40 years below the median age of the people dining in there, and I think Brendan started to freak out that they were the crowd for Wicked and it was going to be some old peoples thing – I told him it was more likely that they were going to go to Billy Elliot next door – Old people love that sappy overcoming adversity crap – gives them a chance to talk about what adversity they’ve had to overcome – “carrying their horses to school in the snow with no shoes…” et al.

After our tasty pub meal we collected our tickets and headed in. What kind of tickets does one get for £15 you might ask…? Upper Circle, Row X. Backs to the wall. What kind of view can one expect from Upper Circle Row X?

Wicked - The Musical
Despite being so far back, we still could see all the action – and even hired some plastic binoculars for 50p for anything we wanted to take a closer look at. The sound was not bad thanks to some reinforcing, and the sets and costumes were amazing. The story is cute, the songs are catchy, the performers are unreal and it was a good show all up – I recommend my fellow Melbournians get to it if they get a chance. I even sent a mental nod to Sylv when the wicked witch sung her ‘look to the west’ line or whatever it is that they use in the ads and always gets stuck in Sylv’s head. Don’t worry, it sounds better in context….

Wed 10th September – More Proms

17 09 2008

I made it to another session of the proms – last week of it. Shame, its a great thing to go along to.

This session had an astro theme, and clearly someone like me with my love of orrery’s was going to be into that.  Seriously, I wanted to get along to see this one in particular because a piece by Xenakis was being performed and I was interested to hear it done live. Also, Holst’s Planets Suite was the last part of the program and thats a pretty surefire piece – its also Brian May’s favorite, so perhaps a little part of me was also there hoping he might turn up and I’d get a glimpse…sad. (even sadder that there was no sighting…)

The first piece was ok, a contemporary British artist, was not bad, not amazing.

The Xenakis piece was performed by 6 percussionists sitting in the arena area and banging stuff – there were mics scattered around them and an array of speakers around the perimeter of the hall at roof level where the signal from the mics was processed and sent in varying ways during the performance.  Also, owing to the performers position under the dome – some natural acoustic anomolies added to the (intended) sensation that the hall itself and its excitement by the percussionists is a major part of the performance.  Unfortunately the point of this piece was lost on the majority of the audience, so there was a lot of restlessness and talking – and in fact one jerk stood up in a lull in the playing and bellowed “BOOOO!!!!!” repeatedly before being ushered out by a very embarrassed looking wife or partner- Im sure thats got to be a first for the Proms!  Admittedly the piece probably did need to have an intro to the crowd to help set up the idea, or at least be coupled with more similar experimental pieces and not a safe British favorite like ‘The Planets’

Anyway – aside from that one Jerk, it was another lovely night at the proms – I even got to hear that massive pipe organ come to life a few times – very cool.