Diaryland is back up! I missed my blog. (2005-03-24 - 9:09 a.m.)

This is from two days ago - couldn't get on prior. The news for today: Leaving for Sweden in 8 hours! I have been reading up on Stockholm and am very curious and excited to be going somewhere once again. Despite the fact that I now have to go to work on Monday. Oh well... will try to take it a bit easy in Sweden and try not to return completely burnt out.
Major Diaryland problems, as I'm sure you've noticed if you've tried to read this lately. And obviously someone has, as I got two whole complaints (one of them being from my parents) about the blog being down. Made me feel important! Or something.

So Pia leaves tomorrow. I mention that because we've just been out for coffee and are now checking our email at the caff. Pia has just found out she's got a job in INDIA! for next year, doing some translations for a big company (or something - that part I was never quite clear on). Which is great news for her. Her parents will not be too impressed, though! Things have been a little strained at 9 Murieston Crescent for the last little while, but I figured I'd make an effort to hang out in a Craig-free atmosphere today and say bye to Pia properly.

The new girl is Irish and is called Dee. I only met her briefly, but she seemed alright and Pia has given her approval. She should be moved in by the time I'm back from Sweden (at which point I will be in bed every hour I'm not at work for the next three days, trying to recover!)

Did I mention that I have to work Monday? It's meant to be a bank holiday (or stat, to you Canucks), but it's the day the hotel may or may not reopen and Alex wants me in just in case. It really sucks as I fly into Prestwick at 11 pm Sunday night and will likely stay the night in Glasgow, but on the other hand I can take a lieu day later. And I plan to! Jen is going travelling for a month during May and I am hoping to string together some bank holidays, lieu days and whatever other holidays I can muster and join her in either Spain or the South of France for a few days. Nothing planned as of yet (and finances are shaky) but I would love to see Spain and/or the South of France and am going to try very hard to make the trip.

So my busy week is finally over, just in time to suddenly go rushing off to Sweden. It was a bit of a strange weekend, though really good in some ways. Bee was here, and it was really nice to see her. I didn't see as much of her as I would have liked because of the way things worked out, but it was good nonetheless. She's stuck down in Kent and not liking it too much, by the sounds of things. Maidstone is apparently not the live music capital of the world, and the nightlife is not much to speak of. She's already talking about moving on to Dublin or somewhere as soon as possible.

There was an international student house party on Friday night, which I was actually quite enjoying (chatting to random Brazilian girls and Spanish guys... always interesting) but Craig and Pia were bored so we took off. Bee and I ended up at Finnegan's Wake and Dropkick Murphy's, as per usual. Saturday Bee got her hair cut (never static, that girl - change change change) while I wandered around in a daze. That night was the lacrosse ceilidh, which was good fun. Unfortunately they didn't have anyone calling the dances, which made them very hard for beginners to pick up and meant Bee didn't have much fun. I did, though! I dragged Brad and Bella from Oz along and they were both fairly enthusiastic about the whole idea, which always makes for a fun ceilidh. Brad has bought a kilt and was therefore resplendant, but was somewhat the worse for wear after having spent the afternoon watching the rugby at the pub with his cricket team.

The ceilidh band was awesome. There were two of them, one on accordian and one on drums. They had matching tartan bowties, and they were both 80 if they were a day. I kept expecting the drummer, in particular, to keel over before the end of the ceilidh. He just kept tap-tap-tapping away at his drum, though. The crowd was mostly lacrosse people and interest in dancing was somewhat lacklustre (except on my part, of course) and the accordian player kept exhorting people to get up on the floor in an indecipherable accent. Also their repertoire seemed somewhat limited. By Brad's count, we danced the "Gay Gordons" (not as dodgy as it sounds) four times and the "Dashing White Sergeant" twice. Good practice, though, I suppose. Jen requested the "Canadian Barn Dance" (yes, an actual ceilidh dance!) but they didn't play it. I danced a lot with Grand the Calgarian. He was with his flatmates Scott, in a pink shirt, and Steve, who looked like a giant shambling bear in a kilt. (And I mean that in the nicest possible way!)

Sunday I didn't do much beyond meeting Shannon to do some Sweden planning and hitting the gym (my guidebook tells me "Swedes take very good care of their bodies", so I thought I should do likewise so as not to look completely pathetic). Sunday night, however, was the Ani diFranco concert. I was very excited, and with good reason as it turned out. I went alone - sadly, there are no music geeks here (not in my social circle, anyway, which it must be admitted is fairly small). I almost had Kevin from work convinced to come, but he couldn't get tickets at the last minute. I am going to see Lucinda Williams in July with him, though. It will be a good incentive to come back here after my visit home in June.

Anyway, the concert. First of all, the venue (the Queen's Hall, Edinburgh) is absolutely amazing. Possibly my new favorite venue. It has a very intimate feel, and the seats are super comfortable. I was up in the stalls along the side, but I still had a great view of the stage and my seat was so comfortable that I had a little nap while waiting for things to start. Also, there is a bar and sort of lounge thing in the venue as well, so I had fun just watching all the hippies mill around. The variety of dress at that show was amazing. Everything from your typical dreads-and-sandals look to smart business attire. (I wore my army trousers and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings shirt in an attempt to look like a Righteous Babe). At one point someone came over and asked me to taste their two identical-looking glasses of cranberry juice. "One has vodka in it and I can't tell which one! And I can't drink the alcoholic one because I'm driving!" Luckily for them I'm an expert in discerning the taste of vodka. Ahem.

Anyway, the opener, Rory MacLeod, was interesting. I rather liked his songs but couldn't understand a word of what he said. I liked the percussion, though - he stood on wooden boxes and tapped his feet! Some Rory quotes:
"The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time."

"It takes 10-15 years to become an overnight success."

Poor Rory got heckled constantly from some jerk directly below me, though. Not cool behaviour at a concert, sir!

Then Ani herself came on. She was quite something. For one thing she's tiny - her guitars were almost bigger than her. But man, was she forceful. She came across as being a very grounded and powerful person, which I suppose makes sense given what she's accomplished. She had a really really American accent, though - I tried not to let it grate.

I don't know much of Ani's music, mostly because I can't afford it. I applaud her starting her own label, but the upshot is she's sort of priced out of my range. I've borrowed a few CDs off people and quite liked them, and I thought she's be really good live. (She was). I suppose if you think about it I could buy a CD and a half for what the concert cost... but unfortunately while I'm on the road I have to resist the urge to buy music. Anyway, despite the fact that I didn't know any of the songs I really enjoyed the show. Her lyrics are extremely well-written and she can really turn a phrase when she wants to. The best part was the encore, though, when she sang the song everyone obviously wanted to hear and all the wee hippies started jumping up and down and screaming, and it turned into a singalong.

She also read us a poem, which sounds like an extremely bad idea... but it was also fairly impressively-written and not cheesy (though very political! Not really surprising from a feminist icon) and I was impressed she pulled it off.

All in all well worth attending, though I wouldn't have said no to some company.

Since then, I have spent the week alternately resting and getting very excited about Sweden. Sweden! I can't believe I'm going. Maybe my next post will be from Stockholm (more likely Edinburgh, though.)

backwards ~ onwards

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Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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