I’m just back from another stint in London, staying down for a whole week – from Wednesday to Wednesday. It’s good to be back in (almost equally) familiar surroundings, although I was home so late that I didn’t get to see Elisha properly – she was snoozing away when I got in.
At the office down there, work was pretty hard going, with lots of frustrations that led to working later than planned every night. I’d even planned to make a couple of trips to the office over the weekend just to keep some processes running and keep the momentum going, but that came to nothing when I didn’t have the required support.
Still, the weekend wasn’t a total waste – I got to take in the R.E.M. concert at Twickenham after Mike lost, then found the tickets at the eleventh hour. Quite literally, actually – he only called at 11am on the day to say he’d discovered them wedged between some CD cases. Up until that point I’d shrugged off the fact that he lost them, almost convincing myself I wasn’t that bothered, but I was so delighted when he found them!
It was a fantastic evening, too. The support act, Editors, sounded good, but had all the hallmarks of bands I find really annoying. I’ll concede that the drummer was awesome, but the singer had the whole self importance/love thing down to a tee. Umpteen guitar changes? Check! Pained, wistful expressions? Check! Microphone clutching and other unnecessary hand gestures? Check! Just enough use of a piano to endorse ‘musician’ credentials? Check!
Needless to say, I was glad to cheer them on their way when they finally strode off stage to the sound of feedback-noise from the singer’s guitar, which had been plonked face down on top of the piano in a show of wanton rock ‘n’ roll abandonment. Yes, quite. Pretentious wankers. Still, at least they were gone and it wasn’t long at all until the main event.
With dusk setting in and a variety of aircraft soaring majestically into the deepening sky over Twickenham, R.E.M. abruptly took to the stage in an explosion of colour from the giant screens which served as their backdrop for the night. Opening with Living well is the best revenge set the pace and tone for the night – the energy came in waves with each hit, new and old, accompanied with a unique burst of colour and visual effects.
What’s the frequency Kenneth?, Hollow Man, and Orange Crush spring to mind as coming with powerful use of those real time visual effects, with weird Matrix-esque digital effects for ‘frequency, and the entire stadium being bathed in a furnace-like orange glow for the latter.
Mike and Kate had taken their leave before the end, but myself, Iain, Nicola, and Victoria left with the crowds when the lights came up and took a free bus back into Richmond. Once there we went in search of a Wagamama’s that Iain knew of, but found it had since closed down. Walking back up the main street, we ended up in a small Italian restaurant instead, where we enjoyed a nice meal before heading for our respective trains home.
On Sunday I went to meet my mate Charlie at Tower Hill, where we found a decent pub and enjoyed each other’s company whilst following the football on my Eee PC. The afternoon seemed to fly by all too quickly, and after Charlie went home I made my way to meet Iain and Nicola at Earls Court, and after that we ended up back at Nic’ ‘n’ Vic’s to eat take-away.
On Monday after work I went back to Nicola’s place to have dinner after I’d made a detour via Harrods. It was the first time I’d been there and it was massive – it took me ages to find the bicycle department, but only nano-seconds too balk at the prices of the scooters I was looking at, so I left empty handed. Nicola’s tasty meat loaf ensured the evening wasn’t a total waste, which meant I felt a bit bad for robbing her of certain victory at Buzz! after we’d eaten. 😉
On Tuesday I was joined in the office by workmates Grant and Andy, and after a hard day Andy joined me to go and meet Demian for some beers and an Indian meal. As it was at Iain’s usual haunt, he and Nicola came to meet us for a beer and the meal, too. It was a really good way to spend my last night in London before coming home – great to catch up with the main Canadian again, too.
With that all over I’m back home for a week before another long stint in London – I might try to take it a bit easier next week, though – my finances and my waist line seem to be going in opposite directions with all this fast living. For now I get to enjoy being back with the family and taking it easy for a few days. 🙂