Saturday, February 28, 2009

A symbol of my devotion...or How to have an amazing night

So, one my most anticipated concerts of this year has now come and gone, and I'm left with the lingering loveliness of it all.

I might as well bore you with the whole experience - which for me started at 3 am the night before when I woke up plagued by two thoughts: 1) how early should we get in line to get the seats? and 2) perfect seats? what exactly does that mean in the Vogue, and for an event like this? I blame genetics for this sort of obsessiveness. Not sure exactly which parent I can pin it on, but I know my brothers and I all have our own obsessive quirks...damn you brain, damn you.

How do I solve this one then? How would any logical person deal with it? It's obvious isn't it? Firstly by wasting half an hour Googling the venue and studying floor plan of the Vogue in detail (even though I've been there at least half a dozen times for gigs and films), and secondly by talking to a sound engineer type friend of mine who has had a tour of the venue. I pondered. I spoke to my concert-companion brother, which isn't really the place to go if you want to calm your obsessive tendencies. The end decision? We would go for first row balcony - it overhangs the 12th row of the floor, and also is a bit of a sweet spot according to sound engineer type friend. I decided not to go home after work, so I could get in line nice and early - I'm thinking maybe an hour and a quarter before the show. I decide to take a wander by the venue at about 5:05 - 2 hours before doors - and there are already 10 people there. So I stake our claim in line, and my bro shows up shortly thereafter. And we are the first two on the balcony. Now, truth be told, we likely could have showed up quite a bit later and still found good seats, but if an extra 45 minutes means it is pretty much guaranteed, it's worth it to me (and my cold toes).

Now, if you read the above paragraph and just shook your head in bemused disbelief, consider yourself lucky that you don't have my brain to deal with.

As for the show, I couldn't have asked for more. Antony was engaging, funny, and I'm not sure how anyone can not be affected by that amazingly unique voice. The backing band were fantastic - I'm a sucker for strings and they just work so very well with Antony's delicate, soaring vocals. And even the audience didn't get on my nerves - for a group of 1000 they were amazingly well behaved (read QUIET) and respectful. And sitting there I couldn't help but think here is someone for whom life cannot have been easy, how fantastic it is that he has found his place in the world, and how lucky we are for it.

As for videos - well, the security guys tried to put the fear of god into camera holders in the lineup, so I knew it was going to be an issue. Quite frankly, for most of it i didn't want to fuss with a camera - I didn't want to break my own focus. But I did sneak a couple of slightly crap vids in full stealth mode (black plastic covering the viewfinder, the whole slightly pathetic nine yards) - one here, the other here. My brother also filmed one that looks promising, hopefully he will post it on the site sometime soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


It's been a lo00ng dry spell between gigs. David Byrne woke me out of my no-concert stupor. Such a great show. The man makes it look so very easy. Great set list, great stage show. And it was proof of how very well the music he worked on - both with Brian Eno and without - stands up over time.

I didn't video much this time - too hard to sneak it at this venue, both because of the policing and because of the seating. I did quickly grab a chunk of the second encore - if you get past the first 20 seconds or so it improves in quality as the girl infront of me stops darting into view and messing up the focus.

I remember seeing the Talking Heads "Remain in Light" tour at the Coliseum in 1980. I bring it up not only because like his music, the man himself has stood up ridiculously well over time - he is still just as captivating. I bring it up as a way of starting a short rant about the Evil commonly known as Ticketmaster. For the 1980 concert, my pal and I actually walked up to the ticket window the day of the concert and bought tickets (for $14 - oh how times have changed - I remember because it felt like a lot - so maybe times haven't changed after all). You were faced with the "inconvenience" of calling for tickets, or going to a ticket outlet to get concert tickets. Now, it's all about the ease of online purchases. Scratch that - there is no ease. There is a vendor with near complete control. There is just the anxious hope that perhaps this time the tickets won't all be sold out in presales or flipped to TicketsNow for resale at five times the original price.

When the revolution comes, Ticketmaster will be the first to go.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Down to London...

So I ask you should I cry or laugh
Drinking tea in a Kings Cross caff
A leather jacket against the cold
Gone down to London turning coal into gold
Down to London - Down to London
Gone down to London to be the King

(Click on the photo of my hotel to hear more about London from Joe Jackson...)

Had a good, busy week in London. Stayed at a hotel near Oxford street, (it's the white facade in the picture, the one with black flags sticking out) all too convenient for spending money. Work was worthwhile. Spare time was spent ... shopping. And taking this in. And out to go through the craziness of Camden Market with my pal of 20+ years, Ian, and his lovely girlfriend Magali, ending up for drinks at the Horse Hospital (now a bar/art/music venue, staffed by girls in riding gear), each stall now made into it's own snug area for sitting and boozing.

Magali (French by birth, moving to the UK a number of years back) came out with one of my favorite statements EVER about cultural idiosyncrasies when we were discussing the differences between Paris and London. I paraphrase I know, but it went something like this:
"In London, people are friendly. You have the sense that you are all in the same boat. If you get into trouble, people will step in and help. In Paris, if you get into trouble, people will run away. They won't help. More likely, they will do something to make the situation worse, and then stand back and laugh." Love it.

I'll end off with a list summarizing why I *heart* London:

1) they are kind enough to put "Look Left" and "Look Right" on the roadways. There are so many squares and one way streets and general chaos that I would have been flattened many times over without it.

2) there are still cute young men doing their best to be body doubles for the Gallagher brothers.

3) that finally, after much deliberation, they have banned drinking alcohol on transit (?!?)

4) you can buy good beer at corner stores.

5) you can walk down skinny lanes flanked by the most amazing 4 story, cheek by jowl, ornate wonders.

6) the size. And diversity. And the dignified sense of ... decay.

7) that the boys are, on balance, generally prettier (and prettier is the right word) than their girlfriends.

8) the embarrassment of riches contained in this one city. Amazing.

9) I just feel...comfortable...there.

It is somewhere I would love to live for a few months. I can't imagine how that will ever happen, but I really would.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Something for when I get back....

I thought the A & The J's concert in Vancouver was January 27. Walking to the venue, my spidey senses made me doubt myself and check the tickets - which were for the 27th - but of February. DOH. Ultimately, schedule-wise, it actually turned out to be a good thing. And it has given me more time to get familiar with this - which I am really, really enjoying.

Before this will be David Byrne on Feb 20. It's sizing up to be a fine February :)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

ok, promise this is the last for a while (maybe)

Yes, one more member. Made out of much rougher wool. Happy enough with the end result, but it is impossible to get the same level of detail or smoothness. I've learned that I prefer my wool carded first, for those of you planning to buy me wool...

And in other news - I'm off to London for a week. Mostly work, but there will be a couple of days of fun wedged in there as well. Of course I would be going during London's coldest, worst weather in recent memory, but there you go. I won't complain. Even more reason to hide in the galleries... :)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tiny Thom

I feel like this blog is getting a bit too "cute", but whatcha gonna do.

Meet Tiny Thom. The grey is a bit too light, but it was all I had.