I’m From Barcelona

I saw the best gig last night! It had everything. Balloons, confetti, hand gestures, singalongs, conga lines, stage diving, bouncing up and down. What more could you want?

I'm From Barcelona

If you don’t know I’m From Barcelona how can I describe them? Tempted though I am to write “Just fucking brilliant!” a slightly more accurate definition would be a bunch of 29 wonderful people who play a myriad of instruments and have a hell of a lot of fun.

Now I know that’s not much of a description either, but I’m at a loss. Better to let a picture paint a thousand words. My apologies for the rubbish quality, but I left my new camera at home for some bizarre reason so I had to rely on my shitty little phone for recording.

They like to get you singing:

And they like to get you dancing:

And they really like their balloons and confetti!

Not just the music, the whole night was a bit of an adventure. Getting there was lightly shambolic. I’d been to the Tabernacle before, but I must have gone to a different tube station as I had no idea where I was when we came out. Thank God we asked someone for directions because we could have ended up miles away if I’d gone with my instincts.

But we made it with time to spare, got some drinks, and plonked ourselves down til the show started. We weren’t sat for long though once the music began. Generally I’m not too bothered about being in the thick of it these days, too many tall people at gigs have put me off it, but once all the fun started I couldn’t stay away. Who can sit on the sidelines when there’s clouds of confetti on the go?

Honestly, I haven’t had that much fun at a gig, ever! They just put on such a brilliant show. The tunes are easy to pick up on, you can join in no bother at all, and the dance moves are dead easy (provided you can bounce and do hand gestures at the same time). I sang so much I was a little hoarse by the end of the night.

Speaking of which, here’s how it all ended.


 

How good is that! 🙂

So chuffed I went for it and got the tickets. I’d never seen the band before, and didn’t really know any of their songs (actually, it turns out I knew one of them, but only as it’s the bed for the Geoff Lloyd show on Absolute Radio), but I’d heard them perform once (on said radio show) and the video that came with the e-mail about tickets looked brilliant, so I just thought what the hell.

If you ever get the chance to see them live, do! As you can probably tell I’m a big fan now after just one show, and a guarantee you will be too if you give them a go.

This is the vid that sold me on the gig.

And here’s another, just for the hell of it.

Thank you so much guys. We love you too! 🙂

4th Annual International Kiki Day

September 14th : International Kiki Day. A day when all Kiki’s take a break from ‘real life’ and go out and do something less boring instead.

This turned out to be a bit of an odd one for me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and in the end what I chose to do conspired together to mess with my head a bit; but I’ll get to that later.

I started off with a trip to the cinema. Been wanting to watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes for a while now. I’ve been following the announcements of how great the special effects were, so I was keen to check them out for myself.

All told I have to say very good. The effects were still very much effects, it’ll be a while before they are able to totally fool an audience 100% of the time, and the script was thin and underwritten as so much coming out of Hollywood is these days, but I enjoyed it and I’ll probably go see the sequel when it comes out.

What I found hard was the theme of animal abuse. The casual cruelty depicted that we find in real life too. And the use of animals to experiment on. I understand the arguments for it, I just don’t think we have the right.

These thoughts came to bear when I went on to my next activity, visiting the London Aquarium.

As you would expect they had all manner of undersea creatures for you to look at. Here’s just a selection of what I saw.

faraway turtle
 
spiny fish
 
jellies!
 
They were all beautiful to look at, and I was enjoying seeing them all – I even got to touch a starfish, which was weird – when I suddenly felt bad about being there.

I mean I know it’s different looking at fish in a aquarium, fish that are probably very well taken care of, but ultimately it still comes under the banner of human being messing with nature for our own purposes, and I’m sure given the choice they’d rather have stayed where they were, in the wild.

I’ve got to be honest, I tried not to think about it too much as I went round, but I certainly had mixed feelings about being there; especially when I got to the penguins.


 
I console myself with the high level of care the must receive, to survive in such an artificial environment, but I’m definitely going to think twice about doing something like that again. Kind of makes me wish I’d gone with the alternative, and gone to a play at The Globe Theatre instead.

I ended the day with a yoga class and a bit of chanting and meditation. I was in two minds about doing this, as it qualifies as something ‘productive’ (which goes against the ethos of International Kiki Day), but I placated myself with the idea that I would indeed visit The Globe very soon, and thereby make it up to the Universe.

Sivananda Yoga Retreat

Well, I’m back from my yoga retreat. Quite a weekend, let me tell you. Hard work sometimes (getting up at 5:30am for example) but certainly worth it. And I don’t feel half as tired/achey as I thought I would. Maybe I’m getting better, lol.

gaunts house

It was at Gaunt’s House, which is this big old former country house (now retreat centre) in Dorset. The place is massive, with lots of grounds, a big garden, and good sized rooms. I paid extra for a single and got a room that’s bigger than my flat (seriously, though I do have a very small flat!) with a double bed. Oh the luxury of a double bed! So nice to just spread out like that. I miss having a double bed.

enjoying the view

The grounds were made for chilling out, but there wasn’t much time for that. The schedule kept us quite busy. Check this out:

5:30 – Wake
6:00 – Satsang (meditation and chanting)
8:00 – Yoga
10:00 – Breakfast/Brunch
12:00 – Nature walk
14:00 – Demo/talk
16:00 – Yoga
18:00 – Supper
20:00 – Satsang
21:30 – Finish
21:31 – Bed 😉

Quite a lot to do huh? I tell you, took a little getting used to. You just had to relax and go with it (probably part of the ethos I reckon). And I’m not kidding about the last one. Soon as you were finished it was straight to bed (for me anyway). If I’m getting up that early I needs me beauty sleep.

The whole thing was run very well, which is no surprise from the Sivananda lot. I even helped out with some of it, getting to the centre early to load up my car with stuff (I had pictures of the swamis and deities on my back seat, and every time someone cut me up in traffic, and I swore without thinking, I found myself apologising to ‘the boys’ for my bad language, lol), helping set up when we got there, and finally fiddling with the sound system during the satsangs, swapping wires between mikes and twiddling knobs to get the levels right.

All the yoga-ey stuff was excellent. My ability to do it though, varied from day to day. Funny how some days you can get your toes on the floor when doing the plough, and other days you find yourself completely scrunched up, feet flailing, unable to catch your breath.

nature walk vs fence

The nature walks were nice, though ‘walk’ is a bit of a misnomer. March, stomp or trudge might a better way of describing it. With Swamiji and his long legs up front, striding off into the distance, it was sometimes a task just to keep up. I know for a fact we lost most the group on the first day (and the second day for that matter) and it was just some good guesswork (or the sound of our post-meditative omming) that brought them back to the rest of the group unscathed, lol. 🙂

As for all the chanting, I can’t say I’m entirely sold on that. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good Om as much as the next man, but after 30-40 minutes of it… well, you get the idea. Maybe I’ll get into it one day, maybe I won’t (the Swami himself admitted he had some difficulty getting his head around it in the beginning), I just know for now it’s not the thing for me; and so mote it be.

thai yoga massage

On the last night, instead of a long satsang, we had a talent show. People told stories, played the piano, sang, did demos, and I even got roped into doing a bit of Tai Chi for them. Got to admit, I was a bit nervous doing it. It was a big crowd (about 70 odd) but it went ok in the end. I got plenty of compliments afterwards, which was nice, and maybe some people might feel motivated to give it a try; which would be great, as yoga and Tai Chi are very much sister disciplines.

(more pics here)

stonehenge

On the way back we stopped off at Stonehenge to go check that out. Was nice to see the stones close up, though not as close as I’d have liked, as you’re not allowed near them for some reason; and you have to pay £7:50 for the privilege, which seems a bit steep to me.

And, everyone was walking round with these little recorders listening to a commentary on the stones, which made for an odd sight. Made me think of the Victorians, who would go out into the countryside and, since they only ever saw landscapes in paintings, had to use a little framing devices to look around, otherwise they couldn’t ‘see’ the beautiful views around them.

Still, it was worth a visit, and I’m glad I went. And it was fun to spend some time with Swami Krishnadevananda and the gang not doing yoga or anything like that, just monkeying about a bit.

swami and the stones

He’s such a cheery fella! 🙂

kiki and the henge

Still rockin’ the new do’. 😉

All told a very good weekend, and one I would recommend to anyone who fancies a bit of a yoga retreat some time. They have them twice a year in the UK, and at other times at other centres around the world. Check out their website for the what’s going on.

Give ’em a go! You’ll meet some lovely people, learn some new stuff, get a bit fitter, and have a right laugh whilst doing it. What more could you need? 🙂

Very Excited…

Got an e-mail today from the Buddhafield Cafe. They’ve accepted my application to volunteer for them at the Greenman Festival in August.

For those that don’t know (and why would you?) the Buddhafield Cafe visits UK festivals year round serving vegan eats and treats to the festival goers. It’s run by a Buddhist group who also organise their own festival each year, and it’s all about promoting Buddhist ideals, veganism, and having a good time.

I applied just coz I want to get out and meet more like minded people, as well as learning how something like that is run, and the mechanics of feeding the general public vegan yum-yums for a whole weekend. I went for the Greenman Festival coz of all the cool folk acts that will be playing. Check this out for a list of who I’m gonna see (for free).

Iron and Wine
Fleet Foxes
Laura Marling
Alessi’s Ark
Noah and The Whale

to name but a few. I can’t wait! 🙂

Bye Bye, Twenty Ten

It’s been a wacky old year, with a lot of the really interesting stuff happening in the past few months. But I don’t want to bang on about all that like it’s the end of something and the beginning of something else.

The whole new year thing is somewhat arbitrary, and generally based on religion. If you want to get technical there’s an argument for the ‘new’ year to start after the winter solstice, once we’ve had our darkest day and the nights start getting shorter again, but that’s not what I want to talk about either.

Let’s talk food, time wasting, and accomplishments.

First up, check out me Christmas dinner!

christmas dinner 2010

Similar to the dinner I made for Thanksgiving, but a damn site cheaper let me tell you; and just as tasty. It’s Redwood Co’s Cheatin’ Meat Free Roast Turkey for me from now on.

Also, food wise, plans are on the drawing board for my food blog idea. Just needs a wee bit of formatting and we should be good to go.

Want to see something fascinating? Follow the link and go check out the level crossing outside Abbey Road Studios. Now no guarantees, as time of day in the UK is a factor, but I could spend hours watching all the tourists annoying the drivers as they try to recreate The Beatles’ famous album cover photo for themselves. NB: For those of you who aren’t British, when someone is waiting to cross at a level crossing and you’re in your car, you have to stop and let them cross. And you can’t go until the crossing is clear, it’s the law! ..hehehe..

And finally a wee celebration. Last night I finished the script I’ve been working on. A solid 92 pages of movie gold! 😉 Of course now the re-writing process begins, but I’m well chuffed to have something to re-write finally. It’s been a long time since I finished anything substantial (if you don’t count Christmas dinner that is, haha). Next year I hope to knock out a couple more in fairly quick succession, now that I’m in the groove, then I can see about finding an agent. Wish me luck.

Ok, have fun in 2011 y’awl. See you after New Years.