November 30, 2003

Echo and the Bunnymen at Shepherds Bush Empire

Ian McCulloch smoked like a chimney the entire show. And his voice was superb. A bit strained on the ballads, but I never liked those anyway. This was the best "where are they now" concert I've attended. My favorite song would have been "Never Stop" but alas, they didn't have the capacity to play the beautiful string intro, and perhaps therefore left it out of the set. Hence, my favorite of the evening was "Lips Like Sugar". Joyfully, they only did a smattering of songs that were post 1987. Just before the show I had a frightening thought that the band would be on stage sans McCulloch but a quick read on the All Music Guide allayed my fears.

November 19, 2003

Martha Graham Dance Co. at Sadler's Wells

Fantastic show of strength. Too modern for my tastes, though. Give me street dance any day.

November 06, 2003

Firey Commute

Today was the most beautiful day I have seen here in London. Due to an unusually dry, warm summer and early autumn, the leaves on the trees are full of firey color. I rode my bike to work through corridors of reds, oranges, pinks and yellows.

November 03, 2003

Flaming Lips concert at the Hammersmith Apollo

I just learned of the Lips a few months ago. Kevin Burgess recommended Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. I bought it and loved it upon first play. I knew the music was going to be extraordinary, but I wasn't prepared for the engaging, artistic and creative stage show they produced. There were two dozen people dressed in full animal costumes (rabbit, monkey, duck, chick, gnu, panda, owl, gorilla and more) flanking the stage right and left and dancing the entire show. They put giant balloons out into the audience which the crowd batted into the air to keep afloat. They had a gigantic video screen behind them showing visuals such as mushroom clouds, intense orchestra conductors, bizarre motorcycle a girl in only panties dancing and doing roundhouse kicks into the screen on the beat, a black and white video where a blonde boy chases a white pony through shallow water, a Japanese girl (Yoshimi) grazing on fresh fruits and vegetables to get her strength up to battle the Pink Robots. I was giddy with excitement during each song.

Of the two warm-up bands; only the first was worthy of sharing a venue with the Lips. The music was great and their stage antics were brilliant. The "drummer cam" afixed to the drummer's cap projected a live picture on the massive screen, allowing the audience to experience a couple songs from a percussionist's perspective, including some rhythmically complex head bobbing.

November 02, 2003

Givin It Up

This is the month I'm giving up coffee. The goal is to increase my energy level, wipe out my anemia and maintain a healthier diet by cutting out coffee, sweets and alcohol. Quite a challenge, as I adore a big pot of coffee in the mornings, a couple glasses of red wine in the evening (especially if I'm blogging) and a bit of chocolate on those days I've done an extra hard workout.

In September I quit eating sweets. I've been able to avoid chocolate, cookies and cakey things without much problem. Last month I quit drinking alcohol. That particular commitment isn't going so well. I've basically just switched from red wine back to beer. I've consumed more beer this past 30 days than I had during all of 2001 and 2002 combined. Gambrinus premium traditional lager is my current pick; a malty Czech beer with just a hint of bitterness. Oh dear, this is going to be difficult. It's quite easy for me to say I'll give it all up when I'm slightly hungover the morning after, or when I'm so full of chocolate coated Hob Nobs that I feel sick to my stomach. But just give me six hours and the story's different.

I'm two days in to the no coffee thing and it's been easy thus far. I don't get headaches when I don't have caffeine, but I do love the coffee aroma, the morning ritual and the buzz it gives me. Now Thom West was apparently a ten-cups-a-day kind of guy and he's been able to give up coffee for the past three weeks. He's drinking herbal tea which, frankly, I just can't picture him enjoying.

November 01, 2003

Design School

Today I started a 5 week course in graphic design at the London College of Printing. I've been interested in design for about 10 years. I'm considering doing a masters program, but I'm not sure that I can handle it with my current job. So, I'm starting with a short course geared for working professionals, 5 Saturdays. If I like it, I'll take another in typography.