Iron Maiden

www.ironmaiden.com

S.E.C.C., Glasgow

The SECC is easier to get to than I feared, despite the freezing fog, my blocked windscreen washer jets and as a result a dangerously dirty windscreen. I arrived just in time for the support, Funeral For A Friend, to ring out their few final chords, thank the crowd and exit stage left. Half-an-hour later Maiden stormed the stage, which looked something like a castle, guarded left and right by Grim Reaper-like figures. The Dance of Death entourage was in town.

Maiden played an amazing set that lasted two hours, covering tracks from most, if not all, of the their 13 studio albums. Highlights for me included Paschendale (when the speakers blew and we were plunged into silence, apart from the enormous cheer from the crowd!), Can I Play With Madness, Dance of Death, Journeyman (an acoustic encore), and of course Iron Maiden and Run To The Hills.

Surprisingly, when I emerged into the chilly Glasgow evening outside my ears weren’t ringing as much as I had expected. (I didn’t wear ear plugs to this gig as they muffled the sound far more than in a smaller venue.) Enormous thanks for an incredible evening to Messrs Harris, Murray, Smith, Dickenson, McBrain and Gers.

That’s another legendary band I’ve wanted to see live under the belt. Who’ll be next? Voivod? Celtic Frost? Prong?

Douglas Coupland

Life after God by Douglas Coupland
Life after God by Douglas Coupland

A friend of mine, Andrew Howie, recently gave me a book by Douglas Coupland (author of Generation X) called Microserfs. It is brilliant: a search for meaning, relationships and connection the story centres around a group of computer programming geeks at Microsoft’s Redmond base, near Seattle. It made me cry.

So I went out and bought Life After God, which I read in a couple of days on holiday. Another brilliant read with some incredible insights. Next up I’ve got his latest read Hey Nostradamus and after that Generation X is waiting for me in the wings.

Fantasy Football

Right, well we’re a couple of months in since I hand-picked my team of professional football players for the BBC Fantasy Football thingy on this thing we call the internet, and I am now quite definitely bottom of the Pie-miership.

My fantasy football team
My fantasy football team

I asked previously if my team was rubbish. I now know the answer: yes. But as I said before, I know absolutely nothing about football and chose my players because they were the only nine I recognised the names of, and the other two were the same name as a band I like (Primus) and my mate Danny’s surname (Curtis).

Holiday 2003

Jane and I are just back from a week in Bath and Bristol, with a brief jaunt in Manchester to meet up with Jamie Burton and the Hallé choir and orchestra.

In Bath we visited the famous Roman Baths, and Bath Abbey.

We caught up with Lindsey Dear and Jim Whalley in Bath, and Jonny and Emma Coore in Bristol, with a guest appearance by Nick and Kate Morgan.

Our trip down south coincided with Danny Wallace’s book reading at Borders in Clifton. So we went along, and in good Join Me style we ended up over a pint in a local hostelry.

I’ll put up some photos in the next couple of days, and move some of this older news to the… er, news section.

Motörhead

www.imotorhead.com

Barrowlands, Glasgow

An amazing gig at Glasgow Barrowlands. Lemmy is legendary. He nonchalantly wandered onto stage and announced, rather matter-of-factly, “We are Motörhead. We play rock’n’roll!”

And they did, loudly. Very loudly indeed, so much so that my ears were still ringing two days later. Even though I was wearing earplugs.

I met up with Joinee Mhairi Mair, another metalhead from the Scottish Collective, and the two of us stood in the middle of the hall and watched in wonder as Lemmy, Phil Campbell and Mickey Dee tore into song after legendary song . Lemmy is a genius of rock god proportions. And even when they messed up a song they had resurrected from their back-catalogue (Love Me Like A Reptile?) it didn’t matter, because they were having fun and we were having fun.

A top gig, from a very class band. (It is worth mentioning too that The Wildhearts were supporting, and while I’ve never really rated Ginger’s studio offerings they were quite phenominal live. New found respect for the Geordie and his chums.