Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I'd Be Gutted But...

UCLA lost the national championship to Florida. I didn't stay out to watch the game this time, but Navid was giving me constant updates from home, seeing my dreams of a Bruin resurgence to dominance die, one text message after the other on my cell phone's screen.

To be honest, though, while I take my college basketball pretty seriously, I wasn't all that distraught. First off, I'm in London. Secondly, I just came off the last show of Depeche Mode's Touring the Angel's first leg, and it was a doozy.

Sarah and Amy decided to get to Wembley by 1oo pm to start queuing - we had standing floor tickets, after all. We joined up very well placed in line, and got the best possible spot in the arena, the crook of the barrier where the center of the stage meets the catwalk. This made for an up-close-and-personal view of all the action on stage, and better yet, an opportunity for some brilliant photos. I wish I could post them so you could see how close we were and practically smell Dave Gahan's sweat coming off the stage.

Ok, perhaps not.

Although somehow I'm sure some people wouldn't mind... Right, Sarah?

This trip to the UK has definitely provided one of the best concert outings possible. I saw Depeche Mode from the mixing board in Manchester, from dead center seats the first night in London, and then right up front last night. Throw a raw, innard-shaking performance by the Cure at Royal Albert Hall in the equation, and you simply don't get much better. Unless, of course, there was a Smiths or New Order reunion in Manchester, but even I can't dream that big.

Some things I've learned over the course of four UK shows in the last week:

  1. While the Brits love to sing along, they can be very subdued. It's almost rude to stand up if you're in a seated area, but seriously, how can you not?

  2. Fans from continental Europe are the craziest, loudest, and most enthusiastic. That's all our little Yank crew was surrounded by up front, and they were fun. Except for the drunk Poles who simply wouldn't shut up.

  3. Germans, while orderly as hell in everyday matters according to stereotype, will stop at nothing to get in front, whether it's jumping lines, shoving through the crowd, or beating you with a bratwurst.

  4. Scandinavians are passive, letting said Germans do all of the above.

There weren't any drunken adventures to speak of last night, except for having to create a big water balloon of piss. You see, I'd been drinking beers in the queue, followed by a double espresso, and just before the gates were to open, I was hit by the sudden need to go. Not sure if I had time to run to a nearby cafe to take a whiz, I was eventually convinced by the girls that it's ok to pee in a plastic bag, tie it off, and leave it along the wall for some poor bastard to step on. Or throw it at the German linejumpers ahead of us. Luckily, it seems public pissing isn't a great offense in the UK, and nobody around really said a word. And, as you can tell from above, I maintained my spot in the queue and got right where I wanted to be.

I got up early this morning as Elena had an early afternoon flight home from Heathrow. We made our way to my old 'hood of Bayswater to get a down-home English breakfast and pick up some cheap souvenirs, none of which are to be found around our digs in Sloane Square. In fact, anyone who can relate the words "down-home" or "cheap" with Sloane needs to get their head checked. And wire some funds into my Swiss bank account.

Well, it's now past midday and I was hoping to meet some friends for lunch, but everyone's busy. It's a workday here and all. Lunch sounds really good, though. I'm at the Easy Internet Cafe (once again) on King's Road, and there's a Subway sandwich counter in the same shop. The smell of baking bread is driving me nuts.

I guess I'll forgo the temptations of American fast food chain goodies and go out on some sort of photographic adventure. Hopefully, I'll have some visual goodies to bring back for everyone.


  1. bring me back a special hat. of your choosing. (yes, that opens a lot of possibilities). no piss hats, tho...aight?

  2. Hello Omid. It's Tiffany from Bong!


    The bestest part of the Manchester audience was them singing 'everything counts in large amounts' in thick Northern accents.

    I almost died laughing.