Friday, 17 April 2015

If This is Not an Exercise, Could it be a Drill ... an evening with Wire

Today's post is a bit of a departure from my usual psychogeography inspired, urban wanderings, but I had to share my experience from last night. More years ago than I care to remember, a good friend of mine brought in a copy of his brother's Pink Flag album by Wire. To say I was blown away would be a massive understatement. So, it was with huge excitement and anticipation that I made my way across London to the Lexington venue in Islington, to see the legends play live.

Wire, Lexington, Thursday 16th April 2005
Wire, Lexington, Thursday 16th April 2005

On entering the venue I was slightly confused as it just appeared to be a crowded pub, and it wasn't until I had bought my pint and turned around that I spotted the stairs leading up to the actual venue. I had arrived in plenty of time so was in no rush to head upstairs, and spent some time people watching whilst supping my pint of Pale Ale. Downstairs the crowd were quite mixed and it wasn't immediately obvious to guess which ones would later head upstairs to see Wire. Would it be the earnest looking, bearded chap reading a book? Would it be the leather jacketed chap with the one inch punk badges on his lapel? Would it be the guy in what I'm sure was a 154 sweatshirt? Would it be any of the 50 something, folically challenged crowd like myself?

As people started to move upstairs, I joined the small queue, traded in my bar-coded ticket for a rubber stamp on the hand (it's been years since I had one of those) and ascended to the performance area. I ended up standing within spitting distance of the stage, but of course I did not spit. This was a very civilized affair, with people who bumped into me turning to apologise, rather than elbowing me out of the way to get to the front. Nor was I actually that near the front as the venue is pretty small, so I guess I was just over half way in, with probably 4 or 5 rows between me and the stage.

As I watched the support act, various members of Wire brushed past me as they made their way backstage. After the support act had finished, they came to the stage and proceeded to pretty much set up their own equipment, with only a little reaction from the audience. This was a far cry from one of my recent gigs where Captain Sensible was greeted with his usual "Sensible's a w***er" chant. After a short time setting up, they came on stage and acknowledged this was Lexington number 3. Any fears that Wire would not live up to how I imagined them to be were immediately dismissed as they burst into their opening number, 23 Years Too Late from Read and Burn 03. The remainder of the first part of the set focused on their newer material, with some tracks from their new album, Wire, but dipping occasionally into the past to churn out staples like Drill. whilst at the same time avoiding the classics like Outdoor Miner, Dot Dash, etc.

Wire, Lexington, Thursday 16th April 2005
Wire, Lexington, Thursday 16th April 2005

After a short break they returned and I think they may have played some of their more caustic, earlier tracks but I have to admit I found it hard to name them - shame on me. No doubt someone better informed will correct me.

    

I notice they are also playing slightly nearer to me, in Southampton on Monday - very, very tempted.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Yet another coastal wander around Lymington, Hampshire

Between trawling through record shops in search of vinyl I used to have as a teenager, and work, I have found some time for a bit of wandering. I had last week off work and the weather was simply wonderful. We didn't go away anywhere but instead undertook a number of day trips, of which this trip to Lymington was one.

To make a change from our usual walk around the salt marshes to the west of Lymington, we headed off to the east to see what was around the corner, other than the Isle of Wight ferry.

Small boats, Lymington
Small boats, Lymington

Spring in bloom, Lymington
Spring in bloom, Lymington

Over the past few years we have only ever seen the Isle of Wight from this distance. It's on the list but we just need to find the time.

Isle of Wight, from Lymington
Isle of Wight, from Lymington

I'm not normally one for any sort of horse, pony or donkey, but in this case following the cost path it was unavoidable and we had to walk through them. Feeling brave, afterwards, I stopped to take a quick photo. Not sure why I was worried, the ponies couldn't have cared less.

Horses, Lymington
Horses and ponies, Lymington

I'm not remotely nautical, but there is something about the sight of a shipyard that attracts me.

Ships in Lymington harbour
Ships in Lymington harbour


Friday, 10 April 2015

A Wander Along the River Thames from Benson to Shillingford, Oxfordshire

Apologies for the absence of posts over the past couple of weeks, it's all been a bit manic for various reasons that I won't go into here, but I'm back now with some tales from the river bank. The River Thames between Benson and Shillingford, Oxfordshire to be precise.

This first picture was taken looking from the Shillingford Bridge towards Benson. Just out of sight is the excellent Waterfront Café where we stopped for tea and cake before our walk.

River Thames, near Shillingford, Oxfordshire
River Thames, near Shillingford, Oxfordshire

Looking from the Shillingford Bridge in the opposite direction, the river bends around, sweeping past one of the many boat houses along its banks.

River Thames, near Shillingford, Oxfordshire
Boat House on the River Thames, near Shillingford, Oxfordshire

There aren't many bridges crossing this part of the River Thames, but we decided to cross here as it seems that the actual Thames path did not follow the bank of the Thames but instead veered in land a little.

Shillingford Bridge over the River Thames, Oxfordshire
Shillingford Bridge over the River Thames, Oxfordshire

I came across this curiosity beneath one of the arches of the Shillingford bridge. I'm not sure whether this table tennis table is just here for storage or whether it's actually supposed to be used here. The height warning sign on the entrance perhaps indicates that it could be used.

Anyone for table tennis?
Anyone for table tennis?

The final picture on this short wander is of a beautiful, purple boat . If you look closely you can see the ruin of a much larger boat immediately behind it.

River Thames beyond Shillingford
River Thames beyond Shillingford

    

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