I might be a fan of your insolence

4 02 2013




These three numbers need to change.

I signed up for the Vancouver Sun Run in April the other day. It’s 10km. The only time I’ve ever run 10km was… well, LAST Sun Run. I have walked 80km non-stop (well apart from pee breaks, but I hope you’ll let me off for those), but that was a few years ago when I was a bit younger and a lot lighter. Actually no – a lot younger and a bit lighter.

I bought myself a fancy running jacket at Christmas and this was only its second airing. I’ve not been running in about 6 weeks, so I was actually quite please I managed to run my usual route without stopping. It’s a slightly modified Canadian suburban block, so I reckoned it was about 4km, but Google maps tells me it’s only 3.6km, so who am I to argue? As we get nearer to April I suppose I should move to longer routes, but I feel no particular need to do another 10km, until the race itself.

The 25 minutes can come down a bit though. Once I get back into my swing, it should be around 22, I reckon. Tonight I was pleased simply for finishing without having to stop or walk.

The 232lb? Yeah – not sure where that came from. I’d like to be around 200lb really – despite not seeing that since before I had kids (they do say it’s hard to regain your figure afterwards. 🙂 ).

I hovered around 215lb for long enough, but post Christmas I seem to have been pogging out a bit. Anyway, in the spirit of disclosure keeping us honest, I figured that if I publicly announce my weight/times you lovely lot will cajole and embarrass me into altering the numbers accordingly. The first up, the other two down. Deal?

You may recall my offspring bought me some lovely earbuds for Chrimbo. They’re a great sound, but the silicone inserts kept falling out of my narrow ears, so I replaced them with the manky old neoprene ones from my broken earbuds. Perfect. Not a hint of slip for the whole run, and excellent reproduction from the new electronics.

And the soundtrack for my exercise?

Not quite as gloomy as it might seem! My MP3 player takes a random sample of the 20,000+ tunes on my hard drive when I recharge it. Playing them alphabetically gives a suitably random performance of bands and styles. I just happen to have got into the D’s!


We’ll be glowing in the dark

22 04 2012

So you remember how I said the Mother Mother concert was beyond awesome? No? Then go read it here.

Well it’s not surprising that the somewhat larger budget of Coldplay lent itself to a correspondingly further step beyond awesomicity in Vancouver last night. They have so much sway that the Canucks/LA Kings playoff game was postponed to tonight just so Coldplay could take over Rogers’ Arena, cover the ice with some 8×4’s and rock the joint (I can attest to this latter part from all the heady fumes being wafted my way.) Hopefully the Canucks didn’t waste the extra day… we’re 3:1 down at the moment!

Though the concert was to support the Mylo Xyloto album, there were plenty of old favourites in the nearly two hour show. My favourite “Green Eyes” was not there to share in the mix though, sadly.

We arrived at around 7pm which was the “doors open” time, but there was already a support band in full swing. The Pierces. Meh. Wasn’t too upset we missed most of their set. A bit like a karaoke version of Fleetwood Mac. The sound mix was all to cock, and too distorted. On reflection maybe that was for the best. Anyway, as we entered the venue, we were all asked to take a wrist band. It seemed like a bit of a naff souvenir, but what the hell…

We made our way to our seats in the arena, caught the tail end of The Pierces, and watched the main support band, City and Colour. This is basically Dallas Green (City/Colour, geddit?) from Alexisonfire, and a bunch of rotating musicians. There was a most unlikely suit and tie clad slide guitarist in last night’s lineup. Kudos! I’d not heard any of his stuff before, but it it was interesting enough to track some down, though one or two of the offerings went on a bit…

So then the lights go down and the roadies get the stage together for the main event. During this time, the screens (which were bloody distracting – I had to keep forcing myself to watch the actual band. We are so conditioned to watch screens, George Orwell‘s Big Brother would cream himself) kept showing instructions on how to wear the boring looking bracelets and assuring us they were part of the show. OK – I’m convinced.

Then firstborn sends a text. She and beau have been forcibly ejected from their seats (all the way on the other side of the arena) due to a problem with their tickets! We’d all been barcode-scanned on entry, all the tickets (6 in total – 2 eldest plus their drooling beaus, Mrs Elephant and I: well away on the other side of the show) had been bought via TicketMaster… what could be the issue?

Anyway, it turns out that a Canucks season ticket holder had bought tickets to the Coldplay concert, and he had preferential access for HIS seats. No matter that TicketMaster had already sold them to us. With only 15 minutes to go before the show kicked off for real, and a sold out stadium, this was NOT good news. Thankfully my wife was off dealing with it, otherwise there might have been expletives and RCMP involvement (actually VPD, since Vancouver is too poncy to rely on the RCMP: they need their own police force.) Being Canada though, the lady dealing with seating was all polite and helpful, and firstborn and beau were quickly re-seated with the disabled people in a much superior viewing spot. The only slight downside being that she felt unable to get up and dance when the mood took her, out of consideration of her new permanently-seated neighbours.

So, disaster averted, Mrs E. returned in good time (with a small tub of Häagen-Dazs) to resettle before the show began, and all was well with the world once more. Until she couldn’t get the lid off the ice-cream. I’m ashamed to say that with two degrees and not a little engineering background between us, the removal of the lid took several minutes. No matter – the ice-cream wasn’t too slushy by the time we succeeded, and had returned the blowtorch and wire-cutters.

And then the lights went down and it began…

The wrist bands were actually strings of very bright LEDs – presumably triggered by some RF signal. The entire black stadium erupted into a sea of bright colours as the music began, and the fastest two hours of my life shot past. (Well, not counting those spent on Friday night over drinks).

Chris Martin is a great showman, and parodied the common airline spiel with: “We appreciate you have a choice of entertainment for your Saturday night and are grateful you chose to spend it with us.” At one point, air blowers threw out what appeared from up at the top in the cheap seats to be confetti, but looking at photos from closer in, I now see were tissue paper butterflies! (Oops – update… that was a photo from the Viva la Vida tour in 2009. This year there were a few different shapes.)

Flickr: by spacehindu

There were many visual elements to the show, with UV lighting picking out neon colours in the stage, on the instruments and the band’s casual clothing (no Sgt. Pepper-esque clothes for THIS album!) balloons of the globe were released from the ceiling and at one point large inflatable icons were produced in the galleries to add to the lights. These too included a giant butterfly.

During “God put a smile on your face”, Martin further endeared himself to the local crowd by tweaking the lyrics and assuring us we were going to beat the Kings 4:3 in the play-off series, which obviously went down a storm! There was one awkward moment when he threw his guitar into the air and let it smash down onto the stage. It made for a great slo-mo on the screens, but was very un-Canadian and a waste of an apparently perfectly good guitar!

Yellow was a great number, with the lights obviously being mainly, well, yellow…

Warning Sign had me closing my eyes to “be in the moment”, so I was glad to see someone had posted it to YouTube!

Charlie Brown was VERY colourful, with wristbands being a key part of the rendition, lasers everywhere, neon by the bucketful.

In the end, a very traditional close with a solid 20 minute plus encore beginning from within the crowd where they just suddenly appeared after a quick change into dry T-shirts, and the band eventually all lining up to take their final bow.

For more photos, go and check out Flickr!

The whole setlist is here if you missed it and want to recreate a local facsimile.

By the way, UK street artist “Paris” was key to the entire styling of this album. Read more here.

Fresh 102.7: Coldplay’s Resident Graffiti Artist, Paris – “It’s The Ultimate Dream Job”

Snow Patrol on 30th. Fiona Apple in July (if I can still get tickets and find someone to go with who appreciates her style).

Who says old people got no rhythm? (Don’t answer that…)

We Live in a Beautiful World

7 03 2012

I’ve had a Coldplay song stuck in my head all bloody day, and it’s been driving me nuts.

It was of the “na, na-na, na-na” variety and I couldn’t think of the lyrics at all, thus preventing any kind of internet search. Suddenly though, this evening on the bus home, the darker recesses of my mind regurgitated “we live in a beautiful world”, and the beast was slain. “Don’t Panic” is the ditty, and I was moved to offer you, dear, long-suffering reader, a photo from our camping trip last summer. Taken in Logan Lake BC, during one of several drop-dead gorgeous sunsets. This shot was taken with no filters or post-processing. It’s a tad blurry I’m afraid, taken at 1/80th and hand held. But come on… just look at those colours!

We do indeed live in a beautiful world.

Logan Lake, BC

And if you’d like a soundtrack to your photo-gazing, here’s the aforementioned ditty. Can’t wait to see them live in a couple of months in Vancouver.

Don’t Panic (Parachutes album): Coldplay

sinking like stones,
All that we fought for,
places we’ve grown
All of us are done for.

We live in a beautiful world,
Yeah we do, yeah we do,
We live in a beautiful world,

sinking like stones,
All that we fought for,
And homes,
places we’ve gone,
All of us are done for.

We live in a beautiful world,
Yeah we do, yeah we do,
We live in a beautiful world.

Oh, all that I know,
There’s nothing here to run from,
‘Cause yeah, everybody here’s got somebody to lean on

“Love, baby, love… that’s the secret!” – Louis Armstrong

12 02 2012

I was at a fund-raiser for Scouts last night. One of those things that just have to be done…

Not often I feel young these days, but I probably had a good 10 years to go before I was at the average age present. That of course meant the music was a little “mature” for my tastes (not much chance of “Arctic Monkeys” or even “Coldplay”), and I got itchy to leave as soon as the dancing (which you’ll recall is purely a spectator event for me) began. I was however returned to momentary calmness when Louis Armstrong came on the playlist. He had such a unique voice, and a kindly manner.

Wikipedia: Louis Armstrong

Wikipedia: Louis Armstrong

This song was first released in 1968, and written as a positive antidote to the American mood around the Vietnam War (allegedly.) Tony Bennett turned it down and it was offered to Satchmo. Good move!

This YouTube version has a spoken introduction by Armstrong, using his other nickname of “Pops”.

Have a warmer, snugglier day…


I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world

Skinny Genes

24 12 2011

Repeat readers will not be surprised to hear I have a thing for clever lyrics. Word play. Double entendres. Puns. Rich tapestry of words. The whole nine yarns, as it were. 🙂

I also have this thirst for learning new things. A love of technology. And a lousy sense of direction. The internet is therefore the perfect playground. It’s full of new stuff, easy to take a wrong turn, and almost guaranteed to present you with something new. Some of it is even true!

Enter Coldplay. My family went to watch them in downtown Vancouver a little while ago. They’re also all ticketed up and ready for their return to BC next April, by the way. Anyway, I was poking around to see what they were up to and idly thinking of Gwyneth Paltrow. As you do.

Wikipedia: Gwyneth Paltrow

Gratuitous photo of Gwyneth Paltrow from Wikipedia

I ended up on the Parlophone Records web site. This was amusing, as I remembered their logo from the old 45’s my parents used to have, with the Beatles and what have you.  Yes – 45’s. You know – records? Like CD’s but bigger? Oh – go look in a museum.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes – Parlophone.co.uk. So I’m idly clicking around, and I come to a list of their current signings. There’s mention of the quirky Lily Allen, already a firm favourite for her cheeky songs and clever lyrics. Like “Not Fair“. Not many songs out there that reference sleeping in the wet patch. Just sayin’…

Of course there’s the satirical “Fuck You” – a thoughtful little piece written as a political protest against George W. Bush. Don’t be fooled by the Carpenters-esque start to the song. This one bites – though the YouTube video is mildly censored. Loved the video treatment of Paris though…

She’s also not averse to covering other songs with thoughtful lyrics, like Naïve originally by the Kooks.

Anyway, enough of the naughty-but-nice Lily Allen. I was perusing their other artists (most of whom I’d never heard of), and I came across the name of Eliza Doolittle. Now this one drew me up short. Eliza Doolittle? Isn’t she George Bernard Shaw’s character in Pygmalion? Hm… worth a look-see, certainly! I actually found her music quite refreshing. Sure it’s pop. Summer music. Accessible… but: The Lyrics… smart beyond her years! (Oh – and she wears ridiculously short shorts, but that’s neither here nor there.)

“Skinny Genes” caught my ear because of the word play. She  counterpoints her boyfriend’s poor genetic qualities against his sartorial elegance.

And the cheeky chorus:

I don’t mind it when you [whistles]
Brings out the best in me when you [whistles]
Show your expertise

Of course, when I started to look on YouTube for a video of the song to share, I came across the recent posting from South America. São Paulo – I recognise the airport! Done – Posted!

If you really want the studio version, it’s also on YouTube (with more than a few visual sexual innuendos)