Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Middle Aged Gig Goer

I go to a fair few gigs. One only last week in fact. But last night made me feel a bit old. Which is ironic because most of the audience were the same age as me and in fact the band members are my senior by a few years. But they have something I will never have. A desire to dress up in a boiler suit and a beanie hat and play dramatic extended electronic music most nights of the week.

The whole thing made me question myself and I'm coming to terms with what I have known for some time. I can no longer cope with rainbow lazers seemingly pointed directly into my eyes. I'm not sure about extended electronic dance tracks. I know I'm short but I could barely see a thing. Apparently there are five people in Super Furry Animals and yet I definitely only counted two. The only way I could see them was if I jumped on the spot like House of Pain. If I jumped I caught a brief second glimpse of a life I could never live and don't wholly understand.

Great view isn't it?
If truth be known I like my gigs to include a reasonable eye line to the musician or musicians, a bit of conversation with the audience, the band playing some actual well known tracks and more than a square inch to stand in. I want to sing, to dance and to access the toilet without having to practically crowd surf my way there. I don't particularly want to be blinded and my love of boiler suits and yeti outfits has left me, if indeed it was ever there to begin with.

I'm sorry. I know others loved it, it says so on Twitter. To me it was a good night because of fantastic friends, not because of the formulaic, sensory depriving gig. My head is still spinning.

Sunday, 24 April 2016


Talk about being late to the party. Twelve years after Bellowhead got together I finally saw them live, on nearly the last gig of their final ever tour. What was even worse I loved it.

I have never before seen a band with more ability, enthusiasm, comedy and drama. There are several things I couldn't get my head around:

1. How you jump off a speaker playing the violin
2. How you dance wearing a large brass instrument
3. Why a sequinned waistcoat seemed appropriate for a folk gig
4. Their never ending supply of bizarre percussion instruments
5. How they got so many middle aged people to stand up in City Hall so early on in the set
6. Why Jon Boden is so appealing
7. What the hell is a helicon
8. How the three year old who went was still bouncing at 11 o'clock at night when he left the venue
9. How the audience were encouraged to raise their arms up and down with very little resistance.
10. How it's possible to make playing the cello look jaunty.
11. Who knew there were so many forms of concertina
12. Why "whores" are referenced quite so often (but my friend says thats usual for folk music as are songs about death)

There are probably many more questions but I was so blown away I forgot the rest, along with the word for tambourine.

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this. A review of something you will never see (unless you have a ticket for the rest of the tour) isn't overly helpful I guess. Hopefully it might encourage you to look up all eleven players individually and go and see what they are up to next. Or buy Bellowhead albums if you don't have them already. But my Mum is right, nothing is like seeing Bellowhead live. Sorry.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Moving More

Two weeks ago I decided I would put my Fitbit back on. I haven't been wearing it for the simple reason that if I drive to work, which I have admittedly been doing for months and months now, I only ever walk about 5,000 steps in a day. There are few chances to exercise in a small HR office. When I wore my Fitbit it told me on a daily basis how I hadn't walked 10,000 steps. No-one likes to be criticised that regularly.

As a result of a freakish moment of commitment the Fitbit is now back and I am walking to work most days. This means I manage 10,00 steps most days too. I managed 13,000 on a day where I barely left the house but did shed loads of cleaning. I could do this instead of walking but the cleaning thing only works if I don't do any for at least 3 months prior which leaves me with a quite a few days where I'm a bit under target.

On the days where I've had to drive I have been guilty of syncing my Fitbit in my pyjamas and running on the spot because nothing is more satisfying than the three seconds when your wrist buzzes before you collapse into bed sweating.

One day in the pursuit of steps I even went running. That was until I met a friend walking her dog in the park. We spent so long talking I'd quite lost the enthusiasm for running but I still had to walk home. Since this is the same amount of steps I figured it didn't matter all that much.

My best day yet I wracked up 18,000 steps by walking to work and going to a Bellowhead gig.  In reality I suspect there were  quite a few claps plus a few air punches added in for good measure, all increasing my total. Maybe clapping is as good for you as walking.

Today I was hopeful of achieving a good number of steps by walking around shops on Abbeydale Road (I accidentally ended up eating a scone and coming home with a pair of boots and a new handbag but the numbers all add up don't they? ). It was only mid massive walk around Longshaw this afternoon that I noticed the Fitbit was actually flat and thinks I did 70 steps today. Brilliant, what a waste of time all that walking around waterfalls was.

It's back on charge overnight, which actually isn't a bad thing because it seems to have also set me a target for sleeping. It's bad enough being criticised for not moving enough, but being criticised for not sleeping enough seems very unfair. One day out of fourteen it flashed up with "Hooray you have met your sleeping target today". I felt buoyed for five seconds until I realised it really isn't that much of a success and, in fact, the 13 days weren't in any way an actual failure. Yey go me I slept eight hours last night. Anyone want to sponsor me?

So I'm trying. Moving more and in the process shopping more and eating more cake in tea shops. Win.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Reuse...Confuse the rabbit

Imagine how lovely it would be if, when you recovered from a recent illness or two, some kind family member purchased you a brand spanking new home. One that didn't have bits missing where you had chewed a bit too hard, and didn't smell of wee. Bliss.

A few weeks ago we did such a kind thing for our rabbit. A brand new hutch to replace the one with a collapsing roof and a fair bit of mould.

We had put it together a while back and put some of her straw into it. A gentle introduction if you will. She went in, then promptly came out again. Clearly it didn't have the wow factor.

Three weeks later and enough is enough. We only have two rabbits so three hutches seemed a little excessive. Paul spent the afternoon taking the old hutch apart, not so ably assisted by the rabbit who refused to move out. As screws were removed she held on in there for dear life.

After a while she tentatively went into the new hutch, ate some of the wood then came out again.

An hour passed until she ventured in again. We acted fast and trapped her in, waiting for her to acclimatise. She started trying to dig her way out. We let her out again.

Another hour later and Paul had taken large sections of the old hutch and fashioned quite a natty planter. Petal got in the planter and looked like she wished to take up residence despite the fact that it has no roof and currently no floor. Clearly she likes the idea of a project.

The day ended and I lured her back into her new home with carrot peel. Let's hope the whole experience doesn't stress her out so much she stops eating again. Seriously I know a house move is one of the most distressing life experiences but it's hard not to be offended. Talk about ungrateful.