January 8th, 2007


Eight Miles High

It's not often you'll hear me say this, but everything is pretty cool at the moment.

Yesterday we went to this gig (also reviewed by juggzy), and I can't really add much to what's been said, except to say "Yes, that really is REM and Robyn Hitchcock, in a barely half-full 500-capacity venue, and I am going to stop being smug about it soon, but not yet, okay?" Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 were ace: surreal in ways that undergraduates who overuse the word "fish" could only dream of, psychedelic in a way that didn't need the drugs, crazy and exuberant and sexy (and I'm not just talking about that fringe, though I would if you gave me half a chance, goodness me yes). We were right at the front, grinning and bouncing, they went out (as we thought) on a high note with stomping and clapping and calling for encores, and then! Suddenly on stage! All of REM! The whole shebang! Actual real live Stipe, ten yards away, flat-capped and grinning through thick-framed glasses, and not just a could-be-Stipe-or-could-be-a-sock-puppet three miles away on the main stage at Glastonbury! And at the end of the encore they played "Eight Miles High", and when they started the immediately-recognisable twingly bit at the beginning I thought they were just messing about, like playing the opening bars of "Stairway to Heaven" in a guitar shop, you know, but no! Eight miles high indeed, a gigantic build-up of sparkly guitar on walls of sound.

AND, before the gig we'd ended up in the same restaurant as Robyn Hitchcock, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin -- as you do -- and decided against saying anything to them on the grounds that they were nice people and we didn't want to interrupt their dinner. After the gig I would have to revise that opinion: they are clearly lovely people, and I'm really glad we didn't pester them. There, now, you thought that was going to be a boring "and then I said 'hello' and he said 'uh, hi'" fangirl anecdote, but instead it was a heartwarming vignette of somebody making the right choice for a change. (The restaurant -- Oxford Thai on Cowley Road -- was, incidentally, great; sensibly-priced, sensibly-portioned, and extremely tasty.)

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And finally! Bringing you bang up to date! Owen started his shiny new job today (in really quite pretty surroundings), and I even managed to get up in time to make him coffee and give him lots of fortifying hugs, before heading into work and actually having a pretty fair day of it myself. And then after work a lady from Freecycle came to take away our clothes-rail, and Chris (WINOLJ) came round to take away our over-door storage thing, and stayed for a coffee and a good long rant about proofreading and text conversion. More fun than it sounds, really.

I wish I could parcel up bits of all the good stuff and send them out to where they're needed.