Sunday, 31 January 2016

Ten things I really should have blogged about in 2015...

One of the best things about writing a blog like this is that it's a nice way to look back and remember the things I've done over the years, especially as I don't have the best memory in the world. However, there are many things in day-to-day life that get in the way of writing and, as a result, there were several events last year that I really should have blogged about but never quite got around to. So, before they are lost to the sands of time, here are few 2015 events worth a mention.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know all about my love for the Knicks and particularly Pablo Prigioni (damn you Clippers, I hope you know how lucky you are), so it was great to start the year by watching them play the Milwaukee Bucks at the O2, especially now that the O2 is only ten minutes from our house. Other sports highlights of the year were seeing two NFL games at Wembley.

Meeting Hakeem Alajuwon and posing with Prigioni

What an emotional day! My love of The Blackout was a dirty little secret for quite some time, until I decided to confess to the world (you can read that whole sordid confession here), so naturally I was pretty darn sad to hear that they were splitting up. You can always rely on them for a fun show and I have many fond memories over the years, from acoustic sets at Download to a memorable trip to Wales to see them in their home town at a little festival called Merthr Rocks. This show at Koko was their last ever and we weren't going to miss out. It was really fun night but tinged with sadness knowing that it was the last of its kind. Farewell guys and thanks for the memories!

Bayside and Taking Back Sunday at the same festival? Count me in. The weather wasn't great but there's nothing a little Jack Daniel's can't fix. Highlights included Finch, Reel Big Fish, Cartel and YouMeAtSix (another of those dirty little secrets). We also met Sean from the Blackout who very sweetly stopped to talk to the crazy woman who shouted 'legend' at him whilst shovelling chips into her mouth! Yeah, I'm classy.

Bayside at Slam Dunk 2016

Meeting Sean from The Blackout

This was my first time at Camden Rocks and it surpassed all my expectations. What an amazing day! For those of you who have never been, it involves over 100 bands bands playing at various venues across Camden. It's essential like planning your own pub crawl with an incredible selection of live music. Highlights included Funeral For a Friend, Dinosaur Pile-up, The Graveltones and Brawlers.

The only frustrating thing about Camden Rocks was that after we had bought tickets, Bayside announced a show at Oslo (the other side of London) with Tiger Cub. We had accepted that it was one we would just have to miss, but after Funeral For a Friend we decided we had more than got our Camden Rocks money's worth, so we dashed over to Oslo just in time to see Bayside! It was a long day but so worth it.

Dinosuar Pile-up at The Jazz Cafe

Possibly the least rock 'n' roll thing I've done in my whole life, but you know what? I'm not sorry. I spent a fantastic sunny day in St James' Park drinking prosecco with my beautiful sister and friend Charlie, before heading to Hyde Park (via Buckingham palace, because naturally heavy daytime drinking with only a sandwich for lunch convinces you that the Queen would really love you to drop by!) to see the mighty Taylor Swift. Did I have fun? Hell yes. Would I do it again? Probably not. From what I remember there was a lot of talk between each song aimed at boosting the crowd's self-esteem. Wonderful if you are a teenage girl in need of an emotional pick-me-up, but in the words of my rather inebriated sister... "Just shut the f**k up and sing!!"

The Sunset Safari at London Zoo was quite possibly one of my favourite evenings last summer. The basic idea is that you can buy tickets to visit the zoo after hours when it is much quieter and with the addition of some fantastic food and drinks stands. Anyone who knows me will know it doesn't get much better than spending a beautiful sunny evening drinking beers and watching some giraffes eat their dinner!

Louis Vuitton isn't the first name to trip off my tongue when I am asked what my favourite brands are, but I have a deep appreciation for an iconic brand with a lengthy history, and I do love a good exhibition. If it's free then even better! The start of the exhibition was rather abstract and initially I was concerned that the whole thing was going to be a bit pretentious, conceptual, and a little too 'fashiony' for my tastes. But as it progressed I became increasingly engrossed in the world of Louis Vuitton and this incredibly curated exhibition had it all, from 360 degree screens to live demonstrations of bags being made.

This was a very rare occasion for me that I went into a gig completely blind. A friend of my husband had invited us and although I knew The Virginmarys by name, I didn't know the music. The band formed in 2009 and are from Macclesfield (which admittedly doesn't sound very rock 'n' roll) and have previously supported a whole host of great bands including Eagles of Death Metal, Terrorvision, Skunk Anansie, Feeder, Ash and We are Scientists. After a handful of EPs they released their first full-length album in 2011 and I recommend checking it out.

I think my award for best gig of the year has to go to Refused. I mentioned my excitement at seeing them in my very first blog post back in 2012 and expressed how phenomenal they are live here. Sometimes it is very hard to drag your cold, tired, cash-strapped ass out on a week night in December, but this was a classic example of why some bands are worth the effort every single time. Playing a mixture of old and new songs (their highly anticipated album Freedom exceeded my expectations) they remain one of the best live bands I've seen, and this particular night there was nowhere else I would rather have been.

I love film, but my husband really loves film, so aside from the usual regular trips to the cinema to see new releases (I won't start talking about these or we will be here all day), he is very good at finding something a little bit different. In summer there are always plenty of great outdoor screenings around London, and my 2015 highlights include a screening of Alien at Brompton Cemetery, The Princess Bride at the British Museum and Clueless at Camden Lock. We also went to a Halloween screening of the The Exorcist at Pop Brixton.

Last but not least on a personal level there were a few more highlights: two of our beautiful friends getting married (congratulations Clare & Simon!) and the arrival of another gorgeous nephew, Theo.

I think that just about covers it! In truth this post could easily have been called '50 things I really should have blogged about in 2016' but nobody has the time to read that. Anyway, I will try and be a more consistent blogger this year so that I don't have to write a similar post in 2017...

Happy New Year to you all! Hope it's a good one x

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