What a whirlwind week, last Tuesday I flew from Rochester to Edinburgh to finally meet a friend from one of the IRC channels I frequent. So I landed early Wednesday morning and we spent some time wandering around Edinburgh. I can report in that in fact Haggis is actually pretty good, and in spite of what I've heard about the Guinness the USA gets being different from the real stuff, it's really not.
Thursday morning we picked up the rental car, which was a pretty spiffy new Audi A4 Advant TDI (btw, the future is here folks, I got 42MPG in a wagon... gooo diesel) and promptly drove out of Edinburgh and headed south towards London. I admit that driving around the city was a bit of a white knuckle ride but once we got out on the A702 it was nothing but clear skies and beautiful countryside. We tossed on some awesome and classic tunes and bombed through the countryside zipping from classic English roadworks to classic English roadworks pausing only to eat shitty fast food at rest stops. We rolled into London at about 21:30 and checked into our hotel and flopped to sleep.
Friday we returned the rental, which taught me that London biker dudes (motor bike and pedal bike alike) have no fear at all and that the cars give exactly enough space to them and not a millimeter more. It was a bit harrowing but we made it through without any major problems. I am really glad we didn't just fly or hop a train. After wandering around Camden a bit we scoped out the venue for the show and ate at a place called "The Diner."
The show was amazing. It was crazy to see an electronic band pull out the stops like this. There were 2 guitars, a bass, a cellist, DJ, and flautist! Not to mention a crazy monk male dancer dude with eyes on his back, 3 go-go dancers, and a pair of costume-changing female vocalists who performed the chanting and wailing live. I'm not as much of a Shpongle fan as some in my group but I can tell you the show really impressed me. There wasn't a single song I didn't enjoy and it was just about 2x as thumpy and loud and insane as I'd expected. At one point during the encore they brought out a guy with a steel drum that sounded exactly like the the generic trance steel drum sample.... It was beyond amazing. The hoodie I bought says it all "I was Shpongled"
(From Wikipedia's Shpongle article)
On October 31 2008, Shpongle played a sold out live concert at The Roundhouse venue in North London - this was reportedly only the third concert they had ever played together, although Simon Posford often plays Shpongle DJ sets. As well as Raja Ram and Simon Posford, the band featured Andy Gangadeen (drums), Nogera (percussion), Chris Taylor (bass), Pete Callard (guitar), cello and Dick Trevor (keyboards and programming); Michelle Adamson and Hari Om (voices), three dancers and for one song only Manu Delago on hang drum.
Saturday I got a taste of the official English weather. It was cold (about 5°C) and rainy. We did some more walking around Camden and I started to get sick. Later that night Stevie met up with his girlfriend and we took the tube up to London Bridge and wandered around a bit.
Sunday we got a nice day and spent it wandering around some of the more 'historic' parts of London. We went from the London Eye, past Parliament House, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Whitehall, and the Royal Horse guards. Then we walked up to Trafalgar Square, past Buckingham Palace, stopped to eat at Chinatown and then back to Camden. It was really awesome and I got a really neat sense of the city. There is an amazing feeling as you're walking by monuments and buildings from ages long ago.
Monday morning we got up at 05:00, hopped on the tube at Camden, got to LHR at about 07:00, flew to JFK, chilled until 14:30 EST, then flew to Rochester arriving at about 16:00 EST. It was a whirlwind tour and I'm still trying to absorb how awesome it was. It was great to finally meet Stevie and it was really awesome to go visit the UK.
A whole bunch of pictures are up over at my
There's so much more I want to do and see in the UK, so I can't wait to go back. Also Stevie needs to come see this side of the pond now.
I'm sure there is a ton of stuff I'm forgetting, but I need to watch more of the Comedy Channel election coverage...