I am still slowly plodding through The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien for the second time. Frodo and Sam’s journey took them about a year from the Shire and back again. It took me about a year the first time I read it in St Andrews, this time it’s taking about twice as long. But I’m still enjoying it: Frodo and Sam have just reached the Black Gates.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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.