New Years’ Eve – over the years

 

2000 – Sydney, Australia

2001 – Sydney, Australia

2002 – Sydney, Australia

2003 – Sydney, Australia

2004 – Sydney, Australia

2005 – London, United Kingdom

2006 –

2007 –

2008 –

2009 –

2010 –

2011 –

2012 – London, United Kingdom

2013 – London, United Kingdom

2014 – Brighton, United Kingdom

 

Elderflower Collins Cocktail Receipe

Elderflowers have to be the ultimate in ‘old world’ ingredients that are not commonly found in Australia. The scent of Elderflowers is amazing and I think the delicate flowery taste is wasted on baked cakes but is perfect in a drink.  This recipe was inspired by an advert I saw in an Australian paper and used Appletiser.

Elderflower Collins

  • Elderflower cordial
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • Appletiser or sparkling apple juice
  • Zubrowka Vodka
  • Ice cubes

Mix main ingredients in a tall glass with plenty of ice and top with sparkling apple juice. The Bison grass vodka adds to a great taste.

 

A basic Tom Collins recipe

  • Spoon of sugar or sugar syrup
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • Vodka (or gin)
  • Soda or Lemonade

Mix all ingredients and serve in a Collins glass

Source: Wikipedia

Cielo Cocktail Recipe

Having never drunk Cassis … I was inspired after reading an article about UK Blackcurrant producers in the Guardian.

Cielo Cocktail Recipe

  • Cassis
  • Vodka
  • Ginger Ale
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • Dash of Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a tall glass.

The colour was more red than black currant and mine tasted strongly of bitters. Unfortunately we ran out of Cassis so I couldn’t attempt a second one.

Source: The Spirit

Alan Bennett Collection

Alan Bennett

If it weren’t for History Boys and Russell Tovey I might have missed Alan Bennett … completely. As it stands I’ve seen a number of his plays but not read a single word.

The Habit of Art is his newest play – set around an imagined meeting between WH Auden and Benjamin Britten.

Smut I heard one night on the radio and Untold Stories, I just like the cover.

I find it odd that a persons work is worth more when they are dead – once you’re gone you can’t make anything new. So I hope to grow my collection of Alan Bennett.

Orhan Pamuk Collection

Orhan Pamuk 19

The first novel from Orhan Pamuk that I read was Snow … I can see now that it’s the one book missing from my collection of his novels.

All of these are 1st Edition (either UK or US) and many of them are in excellent condition … aside from that, White Castle, My Name is Red and The Museum of Innocence are my favourite novels.

I’m an adult with ADHD and that’s that.

I have ADHD … and I have lived with this every day of my life since junior / primary school. As an Adult ADHDer, it’s only now, nearly 5 years after my ‘clinical diagnosis’ that I feel I can say I have ADHD. I’ve preferred to keep it a secret.

I’ve wanted to avoid negative stereotypes

We automatically attach labels to people we know and interact with … we do this so we can understand the world we live.  Labels can be good like ‘cool guy’, know-it-all, easy-going, motivated, caring … around the office we use lables to stereotype and pigeon-hole our colleagues.

Stereotypes become ‘negative’ when combined with another label … inattentive, motor-mouth, hyper-active, ‘micro-manager’, task-focused … all have different meanings when you ADHD to these labels.

So I didn’t want people too know. I didn’t want my professional life to be affected by ADHD.

 

That’s that.

Funny thing is, I’m in more control of my life now. When I wake up, I take my medication and by the time I leave home I feel human. Actually I’m better professionally now then I have been. Sure, my brain still leaps between ideas faster then you can possibly understand. I can switch from on task to another in a fraction of a second and I can walk out of a room and back having forgotten what I was going to do. BUT … I can sit down and do stuff. I can concentrate more, I write better, I think in detail better and I find the method in the madness.

 

Pompeii – Volcanoes & Ancient Greco-Roman things

Destruction of Pompeii

I’ve wanted to visit Pompeii since I was about 10 years old – volcanoes, destruction, death, buried alive! all those things that (most) boys find exciting.

Now that I’ve been there — it’s still got some powerful allur to it. I want to go back already. Walk around the empty streets, poke my head into the empty houses … imagine what it was like to live in such a famous town.

I’ll have to just go along to the Tate Britain for now and stare at this rather weird picture. Full of doom and sense of natural power.

Pamukkale Terraces

Oh yeh it was stinking hot … not exactly the best conditions to be taking pictures ….

Pammukale was great to visit again, to see these amazing white terraces coming out the side of the mountain. We even swam in the mineral waters among the ruins of the old roman baths!

more pictures from our week in Turkey here

Summer plans are coming together

Yes, its been a busy month here in Istanbul. Finished my work on Vodafone live! and now starting a new project.  But Ian and I have been really lucky got a few things coming up.

First off, we got tickets for Glastonbury … along with 170,000 other people. My first Glastonbury. Everyone pray for fine sunny weather please!

The in July, we are going to Glade Festival, this is my 3rd Glade and I’m really happy to be going back.

A little bit sad, as we are not going to Sonar in Spain, but really its the week before Glastonbury so can’t do that as well. Ho hum.

Actually June and July are going to be crazy months for me. Look out for more info on what I’m doing and your own personal invite to join something new.

War on Words?

File this under … Bloody Brits or Bloody Aussies??

Britain may no longer parrot the US on the “war on terror”, but George Bush can still count on his other loyal ally, Australia, following a ruckus over a British diplomat’s remarks on the war in Iraq.

The tough-talking Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, today took issue
with the British high commissioner to Australia, Helen Liddell, who had
told reporters that Iraq was never seen as part of the “war against
terror”.

In doing so, Ms Liddell, who was in Tony Blair’s cabinet when the decision was made to invade Iraq in 2003, has sparked a right row
in Australia as opposition politicans gleefully seized upon her remarks
to attack John Howard’s government over its staunch support for George
Bush over Iraq. The government was quick to back the US invasion,
providing some 2,000 troops to help topple Saddam Hussein and about 300
Australian troops remain in Iraq.

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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Yeh, I’m a fan of Daft Punk and their Discovery album still gets played a lot when i’m out n about with the ipod or at the gym.

I’ve had a great weekend with Ian, his brother and girlfriend staying with me. Saturday we did the tourist trail that I came up with.

This involves taking the light rail to Sultanhamet to see the Blue Mosque, coffee in a local pastahane, shopping in the Grand Bazaar, a late lunch at Fes Cafe in the Bazaar and then the walk down through all the clothes shops to Spice Market or Egyptian Bazaar to buy teas, nuts and Turkish Delight.

We then walked over Galata Bridge and took the funicular or cable car up to Tunel … which is hard work so we stopped in for the worlds best profiteroles.

Now its Sunday night and I’m looking at my Turkish homework and thinking about this week. So Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – to keep me motivate.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WufLXFlI_dM]

Joanna Newsom new EP

Apparently folk faerie Joanna Newsom delivers a new EP on 4/24. It’s got one new track, “Colleen,” and reworks of “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie” and “Cosmia.” (Three songs that begin with the letter C!) and the EP is titled Joanna Newsom And The Ys Street Band.

Amina Album

The Sigur Ros email this month is all about Amina and their new album! Ian and I saw them a couple of times in London last year. I was really excited at the time about their music and now here comes and album!

Equally, if not more importantly, amiina’s debut album, ‘Kurr’, will be available through their website from March 21st. It can be preordered now here along with a new range of related merchandise and will also be available on the tour. Amiina are currently negotiating record deals to release the new album through traditional routes, but meantime, this is best and only the way to acquire this quiet gem of a debut. In addition, the existing EPs are now available as a download here.

white




white

Originally uploaded by DamienOz.

I was going through some old photos of me and decided to upload a few ‘classics’ from my days in Sydney.

There are a few funny ones – like this lovely white look, one I miss the most! and yes that was a big piercing in my eyebrow!

They have all been added to Flickr but you must be a ‘friend’ ie you have your own account on Flickr so that you can see them,

London in A Bag




London in A Bag

Originally uploaded by DamienOz.

No I haven’t forgotten about London … and to remind myself of home, I went a bit crazy and brought myself these wooden toys from Muji.

Hours of fun to be had – pushing some little wooden blocks around and creating new city landscapes … or even using them as a map to try to show people where I live! How great is that!

last.fm

Anyone else using last.fm for tracking their music habits let me know your id to add me to my friends …

do i have any friends is a better question?

— last.fm keep track of my listening habits such as the Recently Played list on this page ..

Cold as cold …

a few people have been showing this pic from Ankara on Sunday which was front page on TDN 

Yes it is cold here finally … and it did snow for an hour in Istanbul on the weekend – blowing around big white fluffy stuff. Then the sun came out, dried up all the snow and .. oh shit thats a nursery rhyme I’m thinking of.

Yup its pretty damn cold right now. I finally turned the central heating on in my apartment. Going up to London tomorrow, British Airways stirke is off but already had been re-ticketed for Turkish Airlines … who apparently dont have a veg meal as an option. Go figure! It probably has a sound logical argument if you are Turkish.

Australia Day 2007

G’day, Go For Gold and hope everyone had a good weekend Down Under …

Hello from Istanbul, where we are having a mild mild warm winter -Happy Australia Day to you all and maybe I’ll just tune into Triple J Top 100!!! For most people, this day as I remember is spent hiding from the heat, after 26 Jan, it slowly gets colder.

Meanwhile, temperatures have stayed in the mid-teens and still no sign of snow or rain. Finally the papers are waking up to the fact that a warm dry winter can lead to crop failures and drought if and when spring comes. Interesting the Turkish Daily News wrote last month about the smog problem in Istanbul and blamed it on ‘illegal’ coal – which apparently was being given away to poor/low income people. So who produces the illegal coal and who distributes it didn’t seem to get much mention!

Er Ian turned up Friday night so … that explains why it is Sunday night my time and this post was for Friday … We had a good weekend, rained all day Saturday and Sunday was cold and then it snowed for an hour.

The weekend was spent enjoying Muzedechanga and the Sabanci Museum, which was a private ‘estate’ that was gifted to a local Uni to become a Museum. I wish it was my house! in a quite Bosporous Village. Great Views, Great House! The food was great too. I’ll write it up for my VegIstanbul blog.

Nice one Andy!




Andy who?

Originally uploaded by DamienOz.

So Andy made it to the Aussie open and I think a lot of people were hoping the UK No 1 could do good.

The result seemed predictable … BUT BUT BUT if he has a good year on court, who knows where he might be in the Aussie Open next year.

Hmm was Leyton Hewitt one of the youngest people ever to get to No 1 ?

Happy New Year

In the continuing story of celebrating the new year … here is something special I found when I arrived back at work.

Isn’t he just the cutest rat-dog with reindeer antlers you ever laid your eyes on! I have to keep my eyes on him. Several of the ladies at work are threatening to take him away to a better home … hmmm

But surprise surprise … I got to work and let me tell you things weren’t too bad … 2 diaries, several pens, a few calendars, a lighter and A SHIRT AND TIE BOX SET …. I’m doing pretty well. Shame the shirt is too big and the tie is not me!

Haven’t people figured out that I have my own style yet?????

2006 NYE

If you haven’t figured out yet that I came to London for NYE … then maybe you could get in touch …

We both came back from Istanbul, I get to go to the office and Ian went back to work earlier than he planned. Which is actually good news as that means he has more annual leave to come see me.

We ended up at Brixton Academy for a party – this is a really old theatre with a great main room (slippery vinyl and yucky old carpets to keep you on your toes.  Amazing sound and a great recap of some of the best in house and trance from the last couple of years … good party stuff.

Anyway off to Ian’s parents for the weekend, before heading back to Istanbul for work.

a few of my favourite things from 2006

In no particular order here are a few of my favourite things that

1. Barcelona for Sonar Music Festival – 3 days and 2 nights of music and arts/visuals associated with electronic music

2. Moving to Turkey for 6 months (kind of) work

3. Back to Aus and NZ with Ian

4. e.s.t. jazz trio as part of the London Jazz Festival

5. Sigur Ros live with Amina

6. Radiohead live

7. International Gourmet Veg Dining – Level 42 Sydney, Sketch London, Christophs Amsterdam – and so many others!

8. Shakespeare at the RSC  in Stratford-upon-Avon and in particular, the Knee High Theatre Company

Christmas Cheer and some stuff

Well its now the day after the day after Christmas. I had noticed a lot of silly people writing christmas blog posts on the meaning of life and what they had got up to this year. Perhaps I’ll try to be sentimental.

I had thought of writing a long email about how great my life is and then sending it to everyone I haven’t heard of this year, but the idea passed quickly. Equally, the idea of creating a long photo-journal in powerpoint and sending it to my dearest friends passed just as quickly. Everyone knows that there is one photo-journal for me online, which I keep more up to date than this site.

This year has been a good year and the end of it came along just as quickly as it stared. The year ends with Ian and I in Istanbul. A quiet Christmas it hasn’t been, the streets are decorated with trees, fake santas, lights and we have had snow over the past 2 days. All very Christmassy, except its for the Yeni Yil.

I’ll be here til summer 07 … back to London for adventures, hopes to get tickets for Glastonbury, Sonar in Barcelona, Glade in SE England … and a trip to Italy. I hope.

Next year looks interesting for work … no idea where I might end up this time next year. It’s all exciting.

Mutlu Yillar – Happy New Year

snow snow snow


I don’t know what you would call a light snowshower … but the whitestuff is coming down like crazy today.

The worst part is thinking about all the locals who are work today. If it get’s really bad, then a lot of people could be stuck at work. Last time it snowed here, people stayed at home or slept the night on the floor of the office! How crazy is that!

Google Calendar Mania

Are you thinking of coming to Istanbul? Wanting to hang out in the bazaar, haman or the Harem? Then check my Google Calendar to see if I’m going to be around (or if someone is here already).

Istanbul is such a great city and January can be both warm (average 10C) or snowing and cold. February is likely to be very STRESSFUL and BUSY. March is getting better and then suddenly I’ll be thinking of London again!

So Google me … and if you don’t have a googlemail address /// I can get you one!

6am from my London home




6am from my London home

Originally uploaded by DamienOz.

In case you missed me last week … I was in London for 2 days. Came back as part of my team were in London doing systems training and I wanted to be sure of supporting them.

While I was there … got the chance to head to the London Jazz Festival and check out some cutting edge new jazz.

Ian grabbed a few of his things and came down to Istanbul for the weekend … we got up really early on the Friday morning by London standards, so I managed to get this shot on camera … phone … pretty good I reckon

Istanbulu is what I am

Excellant source of info and twisted expat humour that is Timeout Istanbul has made my first week all the more enjoyable

Apparently I’m an Istanbulu – I think the extra u is for a language rule which says your vowels must have harmony, believe it or not. But I’m settling in. There is nothing that is more fun then trying to get your head around a completly new language which has no resemblance to any you have previously studied.

So far I’ve not been run over by a mad driver, though they are all mad – braving a pedestrian crossing is a risk all of its own. But I can’t say driving is a good experience. Everyday this week the driver has been late which means dealing with ‘rush hour’ traffic problems and arriving at work usually 2 hours later … you then repeat the whole same exercise in the evening. My day usually starts at 6.20 heading to the gym, rushing breakfast and cursing the driver between 8am and 8.30am when they turn up.

I haven’t started smoking – but the next person who lights up around me, better be SHARING. Everyone smokes here, at breakfast, in the car, in the office hmmmmmm and the smog in the evening is ridiculous.

I was surprised to realise that it snows in Istanbul and it was cold enough yesterday to be bloody snowing in North Queensland as far as I was concerned. It was that cold. Yes, we were expecting snow. NOW I AM WORRIED. If it snows in London, it snows in February to just be romantic, here in Istanbul … its all blue skys and sunny … no snow, thank you.

Back to London on Tuesday for 2 days in the office, supporting my team who are coming up to learn all the technical stuff that they can learn on Vodafone live! Guess who is coming to Istanbul next weekend! ! ! ! ! ! !

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Halloween and more




Pumpkin Head

Originally uploaded by DamienOz.

It’s getting dark, the days are colder and shorter. Halloween has beeb and Guy Fawkes night is here.

Tonight all we can see from the apartment are fireworks across the London skyline … really amazing and something more. So much to watch.

I’ve finished my packing and just doing the last washing / drying before closing the suitcase. Heading off to Istanbul first thing in the morning.

Save the Children Christmas Wish List

Save the Children has launched its ‘Wish List’ range of Christmas gifts for the developing world, which is sold purely online.

The charity has set up a ‘Wish List’ online shop, to sell a range of around 25 gifts intended to help the lot of children in poor countries.

If you have any spare change for Christmas presents or want to give a gift that ‘keeps on giving’ then try this out.

As you know, I’ll be in Turkey so make sure you send my birthday presents!! and then buy me a Christmas present from here!

… oh and the elephant is sneezing because it tried to eat a chilli plant!

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20060930 Dad’s coming back

So my father returns from his pilgrims walk around northern Spain on Monday. Having been gone only 7 weeks, he did the walk faster than we all expected and went on to see more.

Since finishing the walk 2 weeks ago, he has travelled to Portugal – Fatima as part of the pilgrimage and then to Lisbon. He then bused to Madrid and took a slow slow painful bus to Paris. He’s there right now and I hope he’s enjoying himself. I’m betting he comes back a little more tired a little too sore and probably never wants to walk anywhere ever again! But congrats on actually doing the walk.

This week I’ll try to organise for him to come to visit Istanbul with me. It’s something to jump at. I’ll be down there this week for meetings with my project team and possible partners to work with. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go out and look around some more. Thanks to JJ for his steady support and supply of articles on where to go out.

20060928 Did you hear the one about Istanbul?

So at some point in 2004 I decided that Istanbul was a cool place and I’d like to go back and live there. A few of you have been lucky enough to go through the hundreds of shots I took when I first visited the country.

Without any doubt, part of moving to Europe was the adventure to live in a country where English was not going to help me … the opportunity to immerse myself in another culture – to live and breath it, I was just hoping that this would happen sooner rather than later. So in the past month, most of you now know this, I was quietly chasing a role in Vodafone Turkey. I’ve had to be a bit quiet about it, just until I knew it was going to happen. I visited about 2 weeks back and now today it’s all been confirmed and now I have 6 months overseas to contend with.

So Telsim is the number 2 operator with 14mil customers. In a country of 77mil there is still alot of opportunity and growth. Judging by whats happening in the global telecoms market, I have an excellant chance to go do something rewarding with the team there. I’ll be working on a number of projects or showing my massive capacity to manage anything large or small.

I’d thought Ian and I would do this together, once I have my European Passport in about 4 years time. I thought if anything it would be me following him to the US or Spain or France or somewhere for post-doc work. Now I’m packing my bags and going to setup a second ‘home’ for us and we shall take turns to visit each other. It’s going to be cool – Turkey for Xmas (they don’t celebrate) and New Years (its supposed to be brilliant).

So I have to go and buy a diary to mark down all those weekends when people will come visit and I’ll show off my great apartment with views of the Bosporous. Tours around the old town, Taksim square and great food!

20060927 Shakespeares’ Cymbelline @ Stratford-Upon-Avon

As the RSC this year is doing all the works of Shakespeare, it’s time to dust off one of the lesser known plays. This one is part tragedy, part comedy – your left not too sure what it wants to be. It’s a great story – the King, Cymbelline has been lost in his depression since his 2 sons were kidnapped 20 years before and his only daughter has gone against and married his adopted son. He’s remarried and the former nurse is just power hungry and her son is worse. Complicated … just like Shakespeare really!

This new production by Kneehigh Thearte Company – who did Tristan and Yseult last year that I loved so much … is full of energy, flashing lights, explosions, songs and dance. Done in a small thearte ‘in the round’ style and very experimental, you’d be forgiven to think it even was Shakespearian drama.

After an astonishing few years of creative frenzy, Kneehigh has emerged as a major force in contemporary theatre. With its vivid, physical storytelling style, Cornwall’s award-winning, and ground breaking theatre company interpret Shakespeare for the first time.

Artistic Director Emma Rice and writer Carl Grose will create a new adaptation of the rarely performed Cymbeline. This wild, giddy and elemental production will see Kneehigh dance through invasions, misunderstandings, intimacies and betrayals, with heart-stopping poetry, live music and touching madness. Never has confusion been so pleasurable and surprising.

20060916 Back home for a few days

Well I have been getting around a bit lately … just home today from my visit to Istanbul. A very busy couple of days work and some good times. I stayed in an old palace now converted to hotel – Çırağan Palace (say jiraan) on the banks of the Bosporus.

By Friday rolled around I had exhausted myself and headed back to the old town. Walked past a few of the places I visited in 2004 before getting lost in the maze of the Grand Bazaar.

Lights in the Bazaar

So a few hours of great shopping later … I headed back to the hotel. Thinking I’d have a nice soak in the hamaam before heading out, I was thrown by the fact they wanted 70USD for this! So I’ll just have to find a good place next time.

This week, I’ll be off to Johannesburg. I think I’m starting to miss my home comforts so just having a quiet night at home.

20060911 The coming week

Ok it’s a solemn day today – 5 years on since the WTC was removed from the NY skyline along with a few thousand good people. This week is going to be busy with a trip away to Istanbul, TR and next week I’m off to Johannesburg, ZA for work.

Walked into work today listening to Aerosmith‘s album from 1989 – Pump. You so quickly forget how much of a masterpiece this was for its time. Just about every track on this album got released and did bloody well in NZ at the. ‘Love in an Elevator’ I remember as a hit of that summer.

I think at the time, I might have gone along to see them live … but now I’m not sure. The power of Google doesn’t extend to what I was doing in 1989.

I’m heading back to Turkey this week too … Istanbul. Yes, going to talk to them about Vodafone live! and a few organisational things. They have put me in an old summer palace that is now a hotel … on the Bosphorous, I hope the weather is nice. Yay!

Back on Friday night and maybe Rick will be here – or maybe he won’t. Not sure just yet.

Out on Sunday night to see an interesting progressive/electronica act called Matmos with Levon. Going along without Ian (thanks for the tickets) as he’s off to his Grandfathers 80th!

Some more on Dad


Well he is in a town of 80 people right now called Terradillos de los Templarios. Its HERE on the map. He’s heading towards a city called Leon which is quite big and famous for its history and culture.

He’s got about 400kms to go and thinks he should be in Santiago within 15 days … so um thats still a lot of walking to do!

20060829 Away again to Iceland

Well I have a ‘full’ week ahead of me … off to Iceland tomorrow for work. First work trip of the ‘year’ now that summer is ending. Will be going up there to talk to them about mobiles, segmentation, internet, propositions and generally all that stuff. I get back Friday night.
It’s Ian’s birthday next week so we are off to dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s at Claridges mmmm vegitarian degustation tasting menu …….. oh I’m a food junky. He’s chosen his presents (dinner was one) and so there won’t be any last minute surprise I think. I did however buy a rather flash Digital SLR from Canon and it came with a couple of funky lens so maybe Ill offer to take a portrait shoot or two. Though photos are not very nice.

I also sorted out a trip to South Africa – you might have noticed it in the section of what I’m up to on the right. So that will be good, I just hope to actually get to do some tourist stuff this time. Rather than just go from compound to compound. Let’s hope.

20060822 No more festivals for 2006

Well its been a busy and if some what hectic couple of weeks. We went to Wales on the weekend for an alt.folk / indie / rock festival called the Greenman – so still feeling tired from that. Festivals and camping can be quite cool I think, here are some Laws that seem to be fixed …

1) festivals involve lots of good music. If there is shit music or no music there is Beer

2) festivals in England are usually sunny … festivals in Wales involve RAIN (copious amounts).

3) festivals give the excuse that you can eat anything – but you’ll pay 10x the amount you’d pay in an corner store.

4) there are great people there – all getting pissed, all wanting to have an argument when you are sleeping at 3am.

5) if the weather is shit, you can be guaranteed there will be a mud bath and people will flock to it

6) toilets … errr (just shut your eyes and hold your breath for 3 mins then run in)

7) the tent part is great, so long as you don’t have to carry the damn thing the 30 mins from where the car is

I’m sure there are many more Laws of music festivals – I’ll remember some more, maybe I’ll read up on Murphy’s Laws!

20060810 Another Day Another Closed Airport

Well the early morning news today wasn’t very good for quite a few people who were suddenly stuck at a London airport. Extra searches, extra security, unable to take any hand luggage on the plane – hmmm I’m glad I wasn’t flying today.

I have a colleague from Germany who is stuck here an extra night – but is now going home tomorrow on the train. Sounds so nice … a 6hr comfortable train ride home. And another workmate is trying to get to Ireland for a wedding tomorrow – she just left the office and her flight isn’t for another 5hrs.

Having only seen tired, stressed people stuck in the terminals at Heathrow – you got to wonder how long security can be kept this tight. Another 24hrs at the most.

This weekend we’re getting out of the city – off to the country to get fresh air, read a book, pick some fruit and chill. Hopefully I’ll get to see the Swans and their ‘babies’ paddling around the ponds outside Ian’s parents place.

20060803 fire evacuation does and don’ts

Oh well you can never get it right – we had a fire evacuation in the middle of workshop with people from Luxembourg. Though I felt it was a good time for a coffee break, obviously our fire warden didn’t!

Today’s unplanned fire evacuation was caused by someone breaking a break glass in the basement, as yet we do not know why.

Thank you all for leaving the building quickly and in good humour as this is the second day running we have experienced this.

Would also like to remind everyone that our assembly point is the bandstand at the far end of Embankment Gardens, and not Cafe Nero, Starbucks Topshop etc.

20060801 First day in town

So the big question is always – what do you do on your first day in London? After a morning of work, checking mail and few phone calls we headed into town – walking of course.

It’s not that far from my place to Big Ben, Westminster so headed up that way for a couple of photo op’s before heading up Horseguards Parade and over the Palace. We just missed the changing of the guard but thats ok, too many people hanging around hoping to see something. Headed back to Trafalgar Sq, where Nelson and his lions have just been freshly cleaned – more photo op’s.

After more ramblings around Leicester Sq and SOHO we ended up at Mildreds for lunch – great veggie place next to Carnaby St. Yum! Then over to Covent Garden before heading back home, footsore and exhausted.

With more veggie delights this evening at a gastropub in Angel, I’m now stuffed silly and ready for bed.

What to do tomorrow!! ??

20060728 the flat is warmed

Yes, after a month of being in the new place in Borough we finally got everyone over for a few drinks and the lure of the balcony with a fine evening paid off. Several bottles of Vodka, too much wine, beer, a devine cheese platter and getting to bed at 4am. Thanks!

So we won’t be having any more parties – as I suspect its now downhill for the weather. I might just have to buy a disposable BBQ to at least ‘show willing’ in the cooking outside department.

20060725 2 YEARS AND STILL GOING STRONG

Yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m now starting to sound like a pom and look like one too. It’s hard to think that I’ve been here two years!

It’s been so bloody hot too – you would think I lived in Sydney – official temperatures got up to 36C last week, but the tubes and buses make it feel more like 45C or 50C. Nothing here is air conditioned either, which makes the whole matter even more miserable.

So to ‘celebrate’ this milestone, we were off to the National Theatre to see Market Boy a feel good play set in the mid 80’s, during the peak of Thatcherism – with all that bad music, bad hair and bad clothes! What a good laugh and nice story, based on the people working in a street market – something you don’t see much of in Sydney or Auckland.

20060629 Antony & Cleopatra and Don Giovanni

If you’re into rape, ‘licentous’ behaviour, unrequited love and murder then this weeks post is for you. We had a busy week with moving and setting up the new flat and so had to take a break from this and get cultured with a play and an opera.

My first Mozart opera experience was Don Giovanni. I have to say it was a bit of a struggle after 2 very late nights moving and unpacking. Our ‘modern day’ Don Juan is caught attempting to get in bed with Donna Maria and then kills her father before making off. He then tries to get it on with Zinefrea who only that day married … adding more twist. Though not fully staged the cast all have been ‘working’ on this production for some time, all were from an Italian theatre so they knew what they were doing and a few costumes or props might have helped. Of course it comes to a dramatic end for the Don and a very short moral number to remind us about the price we pay for this kind of behaviour.

Later in the week we went down to the Globe Theatre on the banks of the Thames. A brilliant venue constructed in wood with a thatched roof. We also had good weather and good seats so didnt have stand or rained on from the open roof. Antony and Cleopatra is maybe not as well known as Romeo + Juliet but at least it has battles, sex, suicide and more melodrama than a night in front of Neighbours. Good ol’ Shakespeare!

So that was 2 very different bits of cultural activity by 2 brilliant creators – and anyway, if all the classics have this much bloody action and drama then I’ll go see more

20060625 Depeche Mode

By the time you make it to The 30’s it’s not often that you get to ‘pop a cherry’ so when I was offered a ticket to see Depeche Mode live, I jumped. Well thanks to Levon, he had a spare ticket to the o2 wireless festival,

This ‘festival’ in Hyde Park has to be the most corporate over-branded, over-hypeed and awful MOR music event I’ve been too. Ad’s for SMS competitions every 20mins and if you weren’t with o2 it seemed like you could barely use a loo, let alone enjoy yourself.
Anyway back to Depeche Mode – well they have been around since the 1980’s but it wasn’t really until Violator (c.1989) that they managed to top the single charts with pretty much every track off that Album. Their earlier album Songs of Faith and Devotion (thanks Jamie) had also given them a credible swag of emo-loaded numbers to pull out and play. So the set list had to be a mix of the new album Playing the Angel and much older stuff The setlists are on the bands’ website but included A Pain That I’m Used To(new), Suffer Well (new), from sofad Walking In My Shoes with superb Red visuals, In Your Room, Judas and from Barrel of a Gun we have Martin singing Home while Dave freshens up. From Violator you could pick any track but I think we only got Policy of Truth and Personal Jesus. Finishing with a flashback to the encore started with another track sung by Martin – leading some people to wonder if Dave is losing his voice??

JUST BRILLIANT

20060616 sonar.es day 2 night 1

Well we bagan this holiday in style – in an open air club at the old castle here. After that we managed to sleep til about 4pm. Missed the 'surprise act' of Scissor Sisters as they were playing, we queuing … hmmm no worries. Day 2 had less hip hop music and more live acts, we saw some fantastic new groups, others we had to sit and watch from a big screen as the room they were in was too full. Not sure yet, but expecting the ticket sales to top 90,000 people. Most interesting act was a Japanese guy who was using a fluro tube for a guitar and making some weird noises.

So we left and headed back to the lovely apartment to get ready for Sonar Noches 1. If you can picture 4 warehouses each larger than the Hordern Pavillion you might get close to the size of this place, I was told one room could hold 45,000 people. This is such an amazing festival of music and a/v stuff, I'll definitely be coming back each year.

I have to check out flickr – there was so many people with cameras and videos, I'm sure there are some amazing shots. Watching CHIC (le freak cest chic) the lead singer was asking everyone to email all the pictures to them. Anyway YES we watched CHIC – with their boogey/disco from the 70's, of course it was a bit OTT, but you have to remember that house music, techno and many other genres basically are progressions from Disco. Thats the history of modern music.

So who else was there – Jeff Mills with his amazing hard techno (and a sigue in to disco) follwed by Satoshi Tomei (who a few of us saw at SOS in Sydney, remember), Tiga was cool with vocals by Jake from Scissor Sisters, Laurent Garnier started a lovely set in his French house style (lots of Sax, some guitar and drum kit).

The place closed about 530, so we headed home for much needed sleep.

20060615 sonar.es day1

so we have just got back to the apartment Ian booked, there's a thunderstorm going on right now but we have had an amazing day. We are staying in the heart of the old town – I'd recommend the extra euros for this place – not just location, but having our own place and not staying in some hotel in just grand (the place is grand too). 

Sonar … how to describe … well it's been a mixed day. I'm amazed at the people who have come to this electronic audio/visual 3 day fest from across the globe – spotted some aussies, french, dutch, english and tomorrow we will see a famous kiwi act 'fat freddys drop' so its a global party.

The sonarday is situated right in the city and if you believe that last year some 90,000 people attended, then you get an idea of the size of the centre where this event is held. There is also a new tech symposium which surprised me – people doing cool stuff with mobiles, GPS and music. First demo I saw was of a system that plays random music based on Satelites currently flying overhead!

Once the rain has stopped I think we'll head out and explore the off-Sonar clubs. Perhaps a dance on a terrace in a club overlooking BCN! or maybe we'll go find some German techno in the form of the Tresor record label (we've seen some of their stuff in LON).

20060613 Sonar.es

Today the Tory's announced they need a new corporate brand/logo and scrapped the one created under Thatcher … surely it would be easier to just call themselves the 'new new' centre labour?

So we are off to Barcelona tomorrow morning and heres a few 'thoughts' on people that will be playing. If you really are jealous then you won't want to read about the lineup.

To Tony … as you are still his Number 1 Fan … here's a few tracks from someone I might see over the next couple of days. I'll say 'hi' for you.

Tiga – I wear my sunglasses at night

Tiga – Move my body

Tiga – Burning Down the House

(if you want to play these tracks without downloading then bookmark this )

20060607 Homefires 3

Well what a weekend of interesting music and an opportunity to get out and start on the summer festival circuit here. Homefires is more like an indoor picnic – with lots of sitting around and 'navel gazing' as they call it here … pretty much any serious contemplative music can be called 'navel gazing' – the alternative is to call it 'chin stroking'.

I took a few great photos – so go check them out. Some of the photos are just really lame. Please note I want a NEW BIGGER CAMERA for my birthday and for Christmas I haven't decided yet. Adem of course was brilliant and getting to see him rework some of the new album supported by a string quartet was brilliant.

20060523 the new flat

'A fantastic two double bedroom apartment situated on the fifth floor of this modern development close to Borough High Street. The property benefits from a fully fitted open plan kitchen, secure parking space and a balcony from the reception. 'Did I mention that it comes with a balcony! and the view is superb – we can see Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and I think even the top of the Gerkin.

(The balcony is along the top of the beige facade and is quite long). Great for a party if you're into line dancing, but not wide enough for out door dining. BBQ anyone???

radiohead@hammersmith


radiohead@hammersmith
Originally uploaded by mr snail.

That was a very very big TICK in the list of things to do in London! and this was an awesome gig running for almost 2 hours.

Sure enough they have an incredible back catalog now and they shuffled between old and new stuff seemlessly. The production was superb but at the same time simple things like Thom using an old piano just kept it real.

So now I'm already thinking of Radiohead in Edinburgh at the end of the year. Absolutely!

What’s happening this summer?

So here is a start to what I'll be up to this Summer in the way of festivals and other stuff. So much I'm looking forward too, but as always, have to remember that it might just bloody rain – which I'm not thinking about!

May 19 Radiohead in London – first tour in a few years, and my first time.
Jun 4 Homefires. 2 day festival in London of alt/folk music
Jun 16 – 20 Barcelona for Sonar. Three day outdoor electronic music, arts and more festival
Jul 14 – 17 Glade Festival. My second year at this festival, one of the best in the UK for dance music. Secret location and secret line-up … mmmmm can't wait for this one
Aug 18-20 Green Man Festival. In Wales, this is more popular for the folk music but combines some great alt-rock and electronica. Acts include Calexico, Kieran Hebden (Fridge and Four Tet), Adem which I've seen.
Aug 22 Radiohead and Fringe Festival. Back to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival and also Radiohead again.
Aug Bank Holiday The Big Chill. Chilled out festival with variety of music sounds from rock to ?? This year includes Adem, Lou Rhodes, Kieran Hebden, the Proclaimers(!) and and and

Graham Coxon Live (ex Blur)

So tonight we are going to see Graham Coxon a post rock (pop?) guy. Ex-Blur guitarist. I was not really in the mood at first, but after walking someway from home along the Thames before jumping on the Tube things were changed. I like the Hammersmith Palais – leaves you wondering what the history of the place is – it looks a bit like an old ballroom, still with wooden floors and long flowing clothes suspended from the ceiling.

I was hunting around the net and the excellant Hype Machine has some of his stuff to listen too. So I'd completly forgotten the Blur connection who I used to really love (I think til I moved to Australia). Most of the tracks were from his new album (I hadn't even heard the first solo one) and they're good … some moshpit mayhem and some attempts at crowd surfing showed me how popular he obviously is!

Listen to Graham Coxon (you need Winamp) now

Sigur Ros @ Hammersmith Apollo


opening scenes
Originally uploaded by alan.brett.

Well the quick trip to Bulgaria for work fortunately didn't clash with us going to see Sigur Ros in London.

The band opened with the first single from their current album 'Takk' – performing behind a white sheet with their shadows projected on to it. This being their most accessible album and tour for it, most of the aural/visual show was creating music from takk. And they did it very well, supported by a 4 piece 'string' ensemble Amina and a brass section to add some omph to the sounds.

Dan Flavin Retrospective


Dan Flavin Retrospective
Originally uploaded by yetiover.

It’s not often you get to see something cool done with fluro lighting .. and not pink neon lips either.

Dan Flavin mucked about with fluro lights in various sizes and colours and created some interesting works with just a glowing tube. The expo here in London wraps up in a week so finally we got our act together and walked down to the Hayward which is near us.

what was probably most challenging is actually stoping thinking this is just some crummy fluro tubes hung up in a corner – how is that art? but more like some post modern bug caught by the eery blue glow of a bug zapper, it was somehow really appealing

Valentines = Measure for Measure

What a dark comedy with all the twists of a modern day thriller. Poor Angelo is trusted by the Duke to rule Venice as test and of course immediately creates his own problem by promising a pardon in return for sexual favours. Nice!

Wasn't too sure if this was a Valentines treat – but either way it was a good laugh and until the end, I just wasn't sure if there was going to be one more twist!

National Theatre : Productions : Measure for Measure

Damiens delicious links