Monday, 27 March 2006

My Glasgow Trip For St. Patrick's Weekend

Okay, it's about time I wrote about my trip to see Sue last weekend... well, the weekend before by now! I think it took the best part of a week to get over it, ha ha, and then of course it was Mother's Day yesterday, so that was a write-off! I don't think I could have explained to my mum why I wanted to sit upstairs on the computer instead of spend the day in her company. And I tried, believe me! Just kidding.

Anyway, there were a lot of cars, buses and trains involved in my trip to see Sue and the lads from NU2 on St. Paddy's Day. It started with a train to Carlisle on Thursday 16th March. I have done that trip so often now I could drive the train! Amazingly, everything was on time and the journey went smoothly. Sue picked me up, and we passed the afternoon at her place until it was time to go for dinner. We never need much convincing that it is time to eat... so off we went to a local pub and had a lovely meal and a glass of wine. Then when we got back to Sue's we had a tiny bit more wine!!!

The next day we had a bus to catch from Carlisle to Glasgow. It was about a 2 hour journey, and I didn't enjoy it much because amazingly the teeny tiny amount of wine that I had sipped from a thimble the night before, was making me feel a bit queasy. Luckily, by the time we got to Glasgow, I was feeling much better.

The hotel was superb and located right at the centre of things and nearby to where we needed to be. Bar Campus (where NU2 were playing) was literally less than 5 minutes away, as Sue discovered on a reccie trip (which also involved lots of spending on her part!).After having dinner that night in the restaurant there (called Gengis), we got ready for the gig and then went to the hotel bar. We had planned to meet up with Alan (Boner) and told him that we preferred there to a noisy bar in town. he turned up that evening with all the NU2 lads in tow - Mark (Egg), John (Adam) and Leonard (Larry). It was nice to sit and talk in comfort until it was time for them to leave to prepare and we had a good laugh.

At some point I can remember Egg telling us all about the Bonobo monkey and how closely related to humans it is, which was all very surreal! We decided that Alan should change his band name to Bonobo! And also that the band should become a Highland Pipe Band and change their name to "Och Aye The NU2"... the mind boggles... and this was before any alcohol to speak of!

After they left to go and prepare for the gig, Sue and I finished our drinks and then followed on about ten minutes or so after. The bar was very popular and by this time there was a long line of people waiting to get in. All of them much younger than us as this was a student hang out. We were able to walk to the front of the queue though, as the lads had very kindly put us on the guest list. So, in we went, into the heaving throng inside! We had to make our way through the busy upstairs bar (which was where we had come in) and downstairs to the stage. The whole of Glasgow seemed to be in tonight, and the floor in front of the stage was densely packed. But... being hardened U2 veterans, we were not fazed at all, and managed to get right at the front!

We imagine what it would be like to see U2 in such a small place and so close to the stage! Well, a girl can dream, right?! At the front of the stage here were 3 bouncers, all holding onto each other to form a barrier to the stage. They did a brilliant job and were very vigilant, although everyone was surprisingly well behaved despite the amount of alcohol being drunk!

NU2 came on at about ten past midnight (Midnight is where the day begins....) and played a very energetic set for just over an hour. We were treated to some pearls... such as "Sometimes", which Boner always does so well. "City of Blinding Lights" and "Vertigo" were the only other two off "Bomb"... with such a short set they did quite a mix from several albums, and the crowd loved them all! The best treat of all was "Bad", which we had not heard them do before.... nor U2 for a long time. Boner did a perfect job of it, and it sent tingles down the spine!

"With or Without You" was dedicated to us, which was nice.... and they went out after "I Will Follow"... a great show from beginning to end.

Right: Boner in action!

Afterwards, we fought our way outside and back to the hotel, where in our room we had cheese and fruit delivered earlier by room service. It went down very well with a bottle of wine. Before going to bed, we put a request for breakfast to be delivered on our door handle. It came at 9.45, deliverd by a nice Frenchman - that Sue missed from her hiding place under the covers!

It was a really lovely weekend all round. On getting back to Carlisle, it was nice to know that I had another night at Sue's before I had to head back to Stoke.

Now this trip is over I am looking forward to the next big thing, which for me is our trip to Dublin in May. Well, unless any impromptu NU2 jaunts come up in the meantime.

Monday, 13 March 2006

Monday Musings About U2 and Snow

Don't know what it is about Monday, but it seems the favourite day for me to do a Blog. Maybe it's a reflection thing after the weekend. My weekend was busy as usual. I almost got my husband to go and look at new computers, but we had to pay the deposit for our holiday in Greece in September, so the idea got pushed aside. I think it was the wrong time when he had his wallet out for something else!

Anyway, on to the reason for writing this Blog today. My thoughts have been with U2 for the most part, since the announcement about postponing the end of the tour. Nothing has officially been stated (at last checking) but many people have naturally assumed that Edge's daughter, who has been ill for a while, is the family member in question. One can only imagine what the family must be going through, and I am sure that all of you are thinking of those affected. It just goes to show at times like this that no amount of money and fame can stop things like this happening, and it might do us all good to reflect on the good things we have in our lives, and not take them for granted - or wish for things we can't have. Because at the end of the day, what is important is close family and friends - material things are worth nothing when it just comes down to you and your destiny, for want of a better word. Or you and your god, if that is what you believe in. Whatever force it is in life that determines these things (and there are many theories and this is not the place to discuss them), the only defence we have against them is to live a good and decent life; try to be kind and fair to people; and not knowingly or unnecessarily hurt those around us. Keep your friends and loved ones close, and respect your enemies.

Wow.. that is deep for a Monday. I think we need a lighter note here....This Friday is mine and Northern Star's trip to Glasgow to see NU2. I was panicking this morning because there are 2 inches of snow in Carlisle and 8 inches in Glasgow, and we have to get between the two places via public transport, which we all know is not the best when the weather is extreme. The trains slow down if there is the "wrong kind of snow" on the track... and goodness only knows if National Express coaches will be able to function if the driver has to wear a scarf and gloves!!

I wrote to Alan, aka Boner (lead singer with NU2) and told him of my worries. His response? He told me not to "go all English" on him and assured me that it snows in Scotland all the time, even in the summer. So that's all right then!!! Ha ha. Panic over. We'll see.

Monday, 6 March 2006

Ten Days To NU2

I've been checking out the new chat forum on NU2's website this weekend, and it's getting me in the mood. Sue and I are off to see them on St. Patrick's Day. What could be better? Seeing a U2 tribute on St. Paddy's Day.... perfect. I am really looking forward to it. It is so long since the U2 shows, and it will be nice to get a kind of fix. It is almost like the real thing - always a good atmosphere. For anyone who hasn't been to see these lads (unfortunately at the moment then only do gigs up in Scotland), I will post a review on here after we get back.

Anyway, on the forum, people are talking about the gig they did on Friday night last at the Cumbernauld Theatre. They played for over two hours, and blasted through tons of stuff. Apparently they got a standing ovation, and I think it was for "Sometimes", which I know they do particularly well. It's amazing that a song that is such a personal one for Bono can be done with such emotion and feeling by someone else. Sue and I can attest that the lead singer does it incredible justice. When we saw it in Dumfries with our friend Dawn, we gave it a standing ovation too.

Apart from the NU2 gig, I am looking forward to the trip in general. I am working a three day week next week (every week should be the same as far as I am concerned) and then travelling to Carlisle on Thursday morning, to spend the evening at Sue's before we head to Glasgow on the Friday. I enjoy Sue's company very much, and no doubt we will imbibe quite a bit of wine and put the world to rights. :)

Look out for my account of our time there. I am sure I will have something to say. But for now, back to getting through the working week. It's been snowing here a little today and it is quite chilly. I hope we don't have bad weather up in Glasgow.