Catch-Up: Concerts

Yes, it’s true, I’m bad at blogging. But as we all know, weblogs suck anyway. Regardless: here’s the long-awaited catchup of my whereabouts and doings of the last week (as all I’d previously said is that I’d left and that I’d got back again.

Claire and I went to Preston a week last Thursday evening, for a busy weekend of travelling around and attending concerts on what turned out to be the hottest weekend of the year so far. At the Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester, on Friday, we saw REM, who are absolutely stunning live, it turns out: on stage, they throw a lot more energy and a lot more emotion into what is (in recordings) quite quiet and sombre tracks. A wonderful concert, although we did get somewhat crushed when we were (at the start) within spitting distance of the bands, and so we had to retreat back before the end. Supporting them were Idlewild, who turned out to be brilliant, Feeder, who were very good, and The Zutons, who weren’t so good. Claire was more impressed by the latter, but I think that may just have been because she could look down on their saxophonist (not in height, of course, but in saxophone skill).

Then, on Saturday, we travelled down to Milton Keynes to see Green Day at the Milton Keynes Bowl. The bowl is, to all intents and purposes, a large grassy crater just outside of the city, in which they’d erected an enormous sound stage. Green Day were supported by a handful of pretty nondescript pseudo-rock bands, much of which we slept through with our t-shirts over our faces to help us breathe in the sticky air until the sun set. Green Day themselves were brilliant – aside from a slight problem with the video link (the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound meant that by the time we could hear what they were singing we’d already seen them mouth it): they could have done with repeater projectors as well as the repeater speakers they had – a royally rockin’ gig. A good selection of stuff from their new album and older material, lots of crowd enthusiasm, a few bottle fights, all the stuff you expect from a nice, loud concert. We spent the night at a draconically-run travel lodge-like place a little way between Milton Keynes and London.

And on Sunday we went into London (well; if you’re going to travel 700 miles around the country anyway you might as well take a minor diversion if you pass a place of interest) to go to the National Science Museum, which was good as ever. Their new “Hitch-Hikers’ Guide To The Galaxy” exhibit wasn’t very impressive, but I don’t know what I expected from it, though.

The highlight of the trip has to be a conversation between Claire, my sister Becky, and I in the cafe at the Science Museum. It went thusly:

Dan: Claire doesn’t like carrot cake.
Becky: (to Claire) Have you ever tried carrot cake?
Claire nods
Becky: (to Claire) And did you like it?
Claire nods
Becky: (to Claire) So… do you like carrot cake?
Claire shakes head

Unfathomable.

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