Ah, Easter, and time for a break… Remember when I lived in Korea, and this blog was half about the incredible amount of time I spent in work and half about how hard I partied when I wasn’t working? Well life’s pretty similar in Dublin these days. The parties are a little different – mainly gig reviews for an assortment of music magazines – but the work isn’t, apart from not having to start at 6.45 in the morning. There’s an awful, awful lot of it.
Combining intense language teaching with almost as intense writing is wearing me down. Hence the lack of blog entries, Phone Box Experiment stuff aside, for far too long. (Check out my latest project, here, by the way – it’s a daily blog post on different aspect of travel, which is a little ironic seeing as this is probably the least travel-ish part of my life for some time, but hey, I still have plenty of memories!).
So apart from standing in a phone, what have I been up to? Well, it’s involved a bit too much of the local Aston Villa fan club, which, as usual with Villa, hasn’t been much fun now that it’s the back end of the season. The Cup Final defeat to Manchester United was dodgy at best (how they didn’t get a red card in the second minute is beyond me even now), but there’s little excuse for getting thrashed by Chelsea (thanks for the cans of 7up, guys, very funny). The basic format of a Villa season these days is ‘promise a lot, reach March, capitulate embarrassingly and perhaps just scrape a European place’. At least I missed the Chelsea game for Helena’s graduation.
The rest of the time, weekends have become recovery periods, apart from the gigs, of course, and I’ve been going to a whole lot of them. I think I’m probably past the twenty mark for the year already, which means I’ve been watching a live band around one night in three since the turn of the year. The highlights have mainly been the big ones. MGMT’s new album has come in for a lot of slack, but personally I love it, and thought they were a fantastic live act. The biggest problem seems to be that they’ve changed so much from the last one.
Lynyrd Skynyrd are an odd live proposition, especially given that they have only one of their original members left (excusably really, a three of the five died in a plane crash), and And So I Watch You From Afar were every bit as good as they usually are. I’ve been doing a few festival launches, too, which are interesting if only for the real ‘insider’ feel to them. The line up for Oxegen this year looks absolutely superb, though I’m still torn on whether to go down or not, as it’s reputation within Ireland is very much as a second-rate festival in terms of atmosphere. Still, with Muse, Florence and the Machine, Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend to entertain, I’m sure I could live with that. If not, it’ll probably have to be a European one instead – Rock En Seine and a festival in Budapest look relatively affordable, especially next to the Irish ones.
St Patrick’s Day was a big one last year, but this year I actually had to work on the day (one particularly eager German student), and missed the parade. We ended up having a very quiet one, but even the second time around it seems a bit of a pointless reason for everyone to get extremely drunk, and possibly the worst time in the world to be in an Irish pub (they’re ludicrously busy). I did book a handful of trips away – my sister’s wedding is all booked for June (couldn’t miss that one), as well as a friend’s stag party and a trip to Munich in early May to cover an Irish band’s single launch. Busy times, and a bit more to write about on the travel side!