Posts Tagged ‘london

18
May
11

Day 8 in Brighton, then HOME.

Hey guys,

So this will be a recap of what happened on Day 8 in Brighton, UK and then an overall wrap-up.

Day 8 found Meghan and I waking up at our usual vacation time, 12ish. It was a Friday, and you know what day that was… Bon Iver tickets onsale at 11am EST for United Palace Theater. Unfortunately, 11am EST was also 4pm UK time, so Meghan was nice enough to indulge my fannery (not a word, but i’m keeping it) and lounge around til 4. We both managed to get dressed so we could leave directly after I got the tix, which by the way, general admission sold out in minutes, but not before I snagged a decent floor seat. YES! So that brings my total to 3 Bon Iver shows this summer – 1 in Wisconsin, which is the holy grail for the following reasons: he’s from Wisconsin so you know he’s gonna perform like nobodies business, CHEESE, and I will also be meeting up with Meghan once again!! The others are both here in New York.

Wait a minute, this is not a Bon Iver blog dammit. Sorry… carrying on.

After we left, we meandered, no, we moseyed to the tube station. Far away in Brighton lay the proverbial cherry on top of our vacation, a Sofar Sounds gig. Sofar Sounds, or Songs From A Room is a series of global pop up gigs happening in peoples living rooms. (more on this later).

We had to switch to a railway to take us down to Brighton from London. About an hour later, we arrived.

1st thing: IT WAS COLD!

Geographically we saw it was near the coast. I wore as many layers as I could without looking like the Michelin Man, but Meghan was winging it in her cardigan…. tsk! We were both famished by the time we got there, so we stopped at this little stand that sells these things called Pasty’s. To me, they look like huge empanadas or beef patties, but these had a multitude of different fillings. I chose the “Meat Exravaganza” (which is totally not something I would normally do because the lady behind the counter had no idea what was in it) and Meghan got the Bacon and Cheese. NOM.

Despite the ominousness name, mine was delicious. Definitely chock full of sausage and molten hot cheese and tomato sauce. I had to do the fast huff puff so I didn’t burn the beejeezus out of my mouth.

Anyway…

A short cab ride over to the “secret location”. We were really early,so we found a pub down the block from our final destination. At this point we were desperate to rid ourselves of this blasted UK coin money so we got some drinks. I still couldn’t manage to count mine fast enough without the bartender looking at me like I was mental, so out came the paper poundage. That was such a FAIL, but I had it with those stupid coins.

Finally, we decided it was late enough to head over and not look lamely early so off we went. As we entered, we heard someone behind a door singing. Immediately my eyes went wide. I said “That sounds like Jack Savoretti”. I didn’t know if that was the room we were supposed to be in or not, so I didn’t knock. We walked a little more in and then we yelled out some “HELLO’s”.  A voice from downstairs welcomed us, so we descended. Immediately I see a blond haired guy with such a friendly face. He said we weren’t too early (thank goodness). Moving further into the room I come across Passion Ate Dave, or Dave Alexander, and Rocky Start – 2 of the founders of Sofar Sounds. I just recently saw Rocky at the last NY gig, so  I hugged him enthusiastically. I hadn’t seen Dave since the 1st NY gig, so I waved a hello to him, and decided it was best to get out of their way as they were still setting up.

Meghan held down a little couch in the corner, so I stood by and watched the space fill up. There was also a little patio area that people would mingle in as well. While we were down there, a band called Trophy Wife was rehearsing. From what they were playing, I knew they would be fantastic.

Talking more amongst ourselves, all of a sudden I look up and there’s Matt Hope! Matt does most of the tweeting and social networking for Sofar Sounds. I swear the look of pure joy on his face made me so happy. We hugged and he exclaimed how happy he was to finally meet us.

Nearing the start of the gig, I moved closer to the “stage area” so I could get some photos, leaving Meg near the couch. I didn’t anticipate what angle the performers would face, so this was not a good idea,lol. Aside from that, Trophy Wife went on 1st and they were just as good as I knew they would be:

Sofarsounds - Brighton

Sofarsounds - Brighton

So after that, the next performer was up… none other than Jack Savoretti. (I’ve got some stellar voice recognition, don’t I?). He tore the place down, as I expected. This was Meg’s 1st experience with him, and she was impressed as well.

Sofarsounds - Brighton

Sofarsounds - Brighton

And then after that was a lovely group from Paris called We Were Evergreen. So whimsical! I loved the odd little piano they used too 🙂

Sofarsounds - Brighton

And finally, it was Passion Ate Dave’s turn to perform:

Sofarsounds - Brighton

Sofarsounds - Brighton

There were 2 more performers, but the last train back to London departed at 11pm so sadly we had to leave early. Sofar was the perfect end to a perfect vacation as we packed up for our early morning flights. Meghan and I were departing from different terminals so a short goodbye hug in the tube ended our pairing. All I can say is that thank goodness we decided to go together!!

Which brings me to the wrap-up. I am not sure why traveling abroad was something that I always felt was so unobtainable. Maybe monetarily, yes.. (thank goodness for fair tax returns). I guess for me this trip represented a turning point. For me to just decide to go to London and actually follow through – buying the passport, booking the tickets, etc, is a STEP for me. I am the biggest procrastinator about certain things, and doing things for myself is something that I struggle with, not sure why.

Aside from that, during my time in London I kept feeling like “is this really my life”? Because I just couldn’t believe where I was. I am the 1st of my entire family to travel abroad.This trip represents a step in the direction that I intend on going. No, not moving to London. But wanting something, and following through on it to make it happen. I don’t want to go places or do things and feel like it shouldn’t be happening because it isn’t how my life usually pans out. I kind of felt a little out of place, like sure this is nice, but this isn’t MINE… if that makes sense. I know the lay of the land and the lay of my life in NY, but London was a complete clean slate. I felt confident and self assured, but only because I was thinking…. this isn’t really my life.

The next time I go back to London, I want it to feel like I’m supposed to be there, if you know what I mean. 2011 has been huge by way of changes, and I believe that I’m finally starting to get it all figured out. FINALLY.

So on that note, thanks to everyone who took the London ride with me… let’s do it again sometime 🙂

I don’t know how often I will update this because my day to day is not nearly as eventful as this vacation was, but we’ll see.

Til next time,

L

PS – For more info on Sofar Sounds and how you can be a part of it, visit www.sofarsounds.com. Also, if you would like to support the movement, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/70445312/a-global-music-movement-supporting-incredible-new-0

11
May
11

Day 6: Farms and Facepaint in London

Today. Such a conglomeration of happenstance. I don’t even know how or why it came together, but it did.

A simple tweet alerting us of a Marcus Foster performance, a few more tweets later we got confirmation of where and when. Then… Walk the Moon was already on the agenda. Was turning out to be quite the day, lemme tell ya.

First, we lounged around til about 3 and then finally got up and headed to Hoxton. The farm was in the area, so we decided to grab some food nearby. We ran into this small little cafe, which coincidentally is a recording studio. There were pics of artists up on the walls to prove the point. Meghan and I both got the eggs florentine, and for the first time eating that, it was super delicious! Then we sat talking for hours and finally ended our brunch with some slices of chocolate cake, in honor of Meghan’s birthday of course.

Strolling a little bit down the way, we managed the find the farm where Marcus and Chris were to perform. Just one problem…. It was invite only. *cue horror music*

Meghan explained how Chris said we could come down, and they finally let us in, thank goodness. It wasn’t packed at first, but it did quickly fill up eventually. Free booze, and free food nonetheless, lol. We relaxed and enjoyed the atmosphere and appetizers until it was time for Marcus to sing.

We made our way into the little barn like area, and lo and behold…. A cozy couch for us to sit on and watch. Odd thing is, the total number of people that actually came into the barn to watch the show was only 12. 12 people! So odd. I guess the wanted their free booze more than a gig… More for us then, because it was like a private party! Woo!

They did only 5 songs, but hey, after 2 years, that was more than enough to make it worth my while.

  1. I Don’t Mind
  2. Shadows of the City
  3. Don’t Need to Lose You To Know
  4. Tumble Down
  5. Kiss is a Knife

I recorded 2 of the 5, but the files are too large to upload now. Will have to do it when I get back home 🙂

Those guys certainly make a great team, and so happy to see Chris playing a cajon! Thats an instrument that needs way more love.

After the show, Meg and I chatted with them a bit, but we had to be on our merry way to see Walk The Moon!

Finally making it to the venue, there was about and hours wait until the got on. I had to partake in some facepaint. Sadly it was so hot in there, Meg declined… Maybe next time?

Finally the boys got on! The crowd is nowhere near as energetic as the last time I saw WTM in Brooklyn, but still a fun time. My favorites are Quesadilla,I Can Lift A Car and Anna Sun, of course.

Kevin Jones and Ben Lovett even showed up to the gig. I wonder if Ben already knew about them from Communion NY or if they are gaining a following in London… Ah well.

Afterward, Meg talked to Kevin, and mentioned Bushstock, and the exclamation of remorse for it getting rescheduled was instant, lol. Considering everything that has happened in place of it, I am not mad about anything at this point!

So now, sitting here in my facepaint, blogging. With the feeling that I don’t wanna wash it off, lol.

What a day.

Who the hell knows what tomorrow will bring.

Til then,
– L

10
May
11

Day 5: Derp Derp in London

Ok so this morning, we totally overslept. I’m talking after 12pm. Meghan still had leftovers from the Thai we ate the previous night, but I didn’t, so I decided to walk down to the fish and chip shop in town. I got the cod and chips, and by the power of magic he produced this, sprinkled with sea salt and malt vinegar in like 2 seconds. Hot, crispy, delicious. Then I headed over to Tesco to get some water and some more snacks! This time I got different bags of crisps: Wotsits, Doritos, and Thai Sweet Chili. Haven’t tried them yet, but I will let you all know how it goes.

Back at the pad, stuffing the fish and chips in my mouth, or at least as much of it that could fit comfortable, perusing Twitter, we found out that Walk the Moon have two more shows in London, today and tomorrow. Without nothing else on our agenda, we decided to check out today’s show in Kings Cross.but beforehand, we decided to catch a movie at Leicester Square.

We saw Water for Elephants! Ha! No, i kid. Really, we saw Limitless… A movie I’ve wanted to see forever now, but just now getting around to it. First off, what’s all this sweet popcorn business? Who knew that was so popular? Secondly, I ordered salty popcorn. I get the popcorn and I peer around the theater looking for it in earnest….

WHERE IS THE BUTTER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.

Do you all not believe in buttered popcorn? Wait, that’s blasphemy… But seriously,how can you Londoners eat dry ass popcorn? I was so baffled by this.

So toting my dry ass popcorn and slushie, we made our way into the theater. You could easily tell we were the only Americans in the place for the simple fact that Meghan and I totally laughed at the American humor on the previews. Mind you her laugh can alert the masses anyway (read: loud).

The movie in itself was good! Very good actually. I wish something like that existed in real life… Even though it might kill me, it’s worth it, lol.

After the movie, we headed to Kings Cross, but we were both famished, so decided to stop at the little pub before heading to the venue.

Here’s what happened. We get there at 7:30, there are supposed to be 2 opening bands, so we took our time and ate slowly. At 9pm we walk (ACROSS THE STREET) to the venue, and guess what… We see them packing up the van. WE MISSED THE ENTIRE GIG! I could have spat fire I was so disgruntled,lol. We chatted up some folks outside just to make sure we really botched this terribly, and yes, indeed we did miss the show because we were eating across the street.

DERP DERP.

So instead of new pics of Walk the Moon, I’ll just insert these pics from the last time I saw them, so you guys can just squint really hard and pretend they were taken in a London pub.

Thankfully there is another gig tomorrow, and we will not miss it. I will not leave London without a painted face.

Plus, tomorrow is Meghan’s birthday 🙂 Victory shall be ours!

Til tomorrow,
-L

10
May
11

Day 4: Boot Stomping in London

So this morning we decided to head over to Knightsbridge to check out Harrods. It really is like a huge huge Macy’s. Neither of us purchased anything and we had hours to kill before the Mumford & Sons gig, so we went across the street to this restaurant where we sat outside and had tea, scones, clotted cream and jelly. Absolutely delicious. Must find a way to get this again when I’m back home.

And here’s Meg, drinking her coke and eating scones, while I had the tea 🙂

Anyway, after some hours of sitting and talking we got on the tube to Wimbeldon, to the New Wimbeldon Theatre to see Mumford & Sons. Matthew & the Atlas opened for them. I would have loved to see more banter from Matthew & the Atlas, but I did enjoy his voice, very unique. I will be sure to listen to more of their stuff. The venue was gorgeous too…

Meg and I tried to stand on the side near the railing but the usher sent us back to our seats immediately when the show began.
Anyway…. After some preliminary announcements and hoopla, it was time…. 1st person to come out:

Then….

Then….

And finally…

The crowd was energetic and eager to participate. Everyone stood up. Everyone clapped. Everyone danced. Everyone cheered. Old and young alike.., it was pretty spectacular. But when a moment of silence was asked for, this happened, and it was lovely:

Meg and I looked at each other like “OMG.” It was so silent you could hear a pin drop, I was very impressed that the silence lasted the entire song.

They also played another one of my favorites:

I love a multi talented man! Seeing Marcus on drums is invigorating, I was again… Impressed.

Overall I thought it was one of the best gigs I’ve been to in recent history. Winnie humped his banjo as usual, Ben smiled the entire time and whipped his hair back and forth, Ted was Ted, and Marcus left his heart and soul out onstage. It was inspiring and possibly one of the best nights of my life. Can’t wait to see them again.

Tomorrow would have been Paris, but since someone at the Eurostar website is smoking crack and trying to charge £400 roundtrip, Paris will have to wait. At least until I make my millions or the sugar daddy comes along, whichever is 1st.

So, more days in London, which I’m not sad about. Maybe some art… Maybe some sightseeing, maybe some more beer? Ok definitely more beer. Lol.

Til then,
-L

08
May
11

Day 3: Touristy in London

Another day of sightseeing under our belts. Went to Tower of London and saw the castle. The tour guide was a complete riot. Got some video of him that I will post later 🙂 For now, some photos:

The castle even had a moat. It was full of grass by now, but I thought it was cool. Turns out this was the place were Anne Boelyn is buried as well…. And everyone knows how much I loved The Other Boelyn girl, lol.

We also went into the chapel, and saw the Crown Jewels as well, but we were not allowed to take photos. Talk about bling that would but these rappers to shame! So ornately beautiful.

We did walk around the grounds a bit and saw this:

And this:

Man those crows are huge! I didn’t realize how big they are until I saw them next to a pigeon… Holy crap. Lol.

After a while, we went up into one of the towers and saw some graffiti:

And I peeked out of where the archers would have been while protecting the castle:

After that Meghan took a lil tiger snooze on a bench…. Not really. But she did take a break on a bench while I went into another tower to see the armor and weapons.

And this was my face after coming out:

Slightly unenthused… You know why? Because this man inside who was old enough to be my dad hit on me. In London! My plague has followed me across the pond. Seriously? Does my face just scream for only old men to come talk to me? Agh I give up! Lol.

After that we were ready to go home. Stopping for another Magnum ice cream…. Nom… We walked to the tube station. Planning on going out to a nearby pub in Kennington. There are so many line cancellations we thought it would be safer to stay local.

Not holding my breath for any hot guys to come up to me…lol. Such a fail.

Til next time,
-L

07
May
11

Day 2: Clumsy in London

I don’t know what it is, but so far Meghan and I have tripped and fallen twice and I nearly twisted my ankle 2 times. Is it the London air? I’m never this clumsy. I think the fates are conspiring against me to look as uncool as possible so I don’t attract any hot guys. FML.

Anyhow, today sightseeing! Oxford Street was like a posh LA I suppose. This is also where I fell mind you. In the middle of a crowd. So suave? Lol.

No I didn’t buy anything… Gotta save for more food and record stores aghhh! Speaking of food, Meg and I saw this little street vendor place where I got these:

Those are my Justin Vernon shades…lol. Long story. We then stopped at an italian restaurant. I got shrimp spaghetti, Meghan, a salad. We both got dessert: tiramisu for her, Chocolate mousse for me. All delicious! I haven’t had one bad meal since I got here.

More sightseeing.. Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square 🙂

Yea I know there’s dust on my lens, forgot to clean it before it left. But there was a “free hugs” guy in Trafalgar Square! Had to partake in that 😉

Then onto Westminster Abbey and The Eye. Big Ben… Yeah! We totally stuck around to hear the “bongs” too. Haha.

Now mind you they sell those “Magnum” ice cream bars all over the place here. So far I’ve had 2. I plan on having more. So decadently delicious. Hope they sell them around my house when I return because I don’t think I could live without them at this point.

So right now we are relaxing for a bit before heading out to a pub that Chris suggested, and hopefully catch some music.

Til next time…
-L

06
May
11

London… Day 1

It started off innocently enough. Flight went smoothly, dinner service was great. They even had “Killing Bono” as a movie option on the flight. But it couldn’t have continued this way if course….

It just so happens that I managed to buy the only sim card that doesn’t come preloaded with credit, and they didn’t sell any top up card for that carrier..boo. So for now, still phone less.

Then Meghan. Couldn’t find her at the airport for 3 hours,lol. Apparently we were so worried about planning out itinerary we forgot to plan where we would meet. Doh! Then after sitting on a hot tube ride (seriously London? No AC?) we finally made it to Kennington. Meghan and I were so hot and tired we both just laid down on the bed, but not for long because we had reservations at the Royal Court Cafe for 5:45 dinner. Quick shower and a change of clothes later, we were in a cab and the way over.

I was freaking out in the car because we passed by The Eye, and this:

Look at all that lovely architecture! Nom nom! More of that later when we actually go out sightseeing this weekend.

So finally made it to dinner. I had a lamb burger with a mint sauce and some sautéed potatos, Meghan had some delicious ham thing with chutney and relishes.. Then onto Wastwater.

Wastwater is a play which stars Tom Sturridge as Harry. The play was split into 3 parts: Harry explaining to his foster mom the reasons why he desperately needs to flee town, Mark and Lisa – 2 married (not to each other) adults meeting in a hotel room for a tryst, which turns out to be a lot more than he bargained for, and finally Jonathan who somehow wanted to buy a little Vietnamese child. Yea, Meghan and I couldn’t figure out how the last act related to the 1st two. The 2nd did tie in why Harry wanted so desperately to leave though. Overall, Meghan and I did enjoy the 1st 2 acts the most. Tom shines at being a very awkward character…not as aloof and childlike as his character in Waiting for Forever, but still an strong undercurrent of whimsy that makes him perfect for these roles. The woman who plays his foster mum Frieda, also had a strong presence. Her overprotectiveness of Harry adding to the urgency of why he does need to leave. Loved the male actor in the 2nd act though. He was funny and also rather attractive…Win! Also, this act was far more raunchy and sexual which is right up my alley…tawhaw! Kidding! The 3rd act had me feeling a bit like “what is happening here?”… Not much else to say on that front.

Which brings us to the awkward after show bumping into Tom on the street. I swear we weren’t following him, but as we rounded the corner he was just standing there on the phone so Meghan and I decided to say hello and let him know we enjoyed his performance. He looked a bit bewildered, but from by the way he was casually strolling round, not too many folks come up to him on the sidewalk I suppose,lol. No pics, just a short and sweet convo, then we got on the tube home.

But not before I stopped at the store and got some water, and these:

I refuse to leave London without trying the prawn cocktail and roast chicken chips. Oops i mean crisps…smh. Not for nothing, but the prawn ones were damn tasty! We need those in the states. Leaving the roast chicken ones for tomorrow.

And that’s day 1 folks. I promise more interesting things tomorrow once I’m on London time and i’m not rushing everywhere. So far I have to say this is a really cool city. Haven’t felt this relaxed in years. I don’t think anywhere compares to the constant grind and stress of New York though. And the hot guy ratio here is pretty high, not even kidding.

Til tomorrow 🙂

-L




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