New Beginnings

So I’m excited to say that as of next Monday I shall be taking up the role of CTO for “Driven” – a new startup backed by Axa. As the name (currently a working title) suggests, it’s something to do with automotive. Can’t say too much about it at this stage other than I’m really excited by the opportunity to be part of this new team and do deliver something that I think is really going to have an positive impact on lives of the car-owning public.

More to follow πŸ™‚

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Samsung Smartthings – day 1

So recently I had my house broken into – so much for a nice neighbourhood!

Three things:
1. I immediately rigged up some cheap IP cameras that would take regular pictures of the back of the house
2. The landlord promptly agreed to fit a new alarm system, which is now up and running
3. I started looking again at home-automation as a way of telling me what is going on when I’m out and about

The latter is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I’ll be honest – never felt that the products out there were right. The choices seemed to be either consumer-level systems for single purpose actions (such as security cameras) or highly technical solutions that suggested a high level of electrical engineering expertise. However, with the new release of SmartThings from Samsung, I’m thinking it might be time to revisit.

SmartThings
This started as a Kickstarter project and proved massively popular – to the extent that the firm was bought by Samsung, and this week saw the UK launch of the Samsung labelled kit. In the UK, SmartThings is being sold exclusively through PC World and from Samsung themselves. On launch day I duly headed down to my local PCWorld to be told “we’ve not received any stock”… so it was only a couple of days later that I’ve managed to get my hands on a starter kit and start playing.

The small box contains, a hub (the brain of the operation), a motion detector, a presence fob for your keyring, a plug socket adaptor and a magnetic door/window switch. It’s all neatly boxed and the “START HERE” instructions in the top of the box are pretty straight forward.

The first thing you’re asked to do is download the SmartThings application onto your phone. It’s iOS, Android or Windows – but interestingly there’s no software option for your PC or Mac – it’s a phone-first experience. Having installed the app and registered an account, the app leads you through the initial setup. This took some time, when configuring the hub for the first time and being told to wait for the NEXT option to appear, it was fully 5 minutes with no real feedback other than a blue light on the front of the hub. Was it doing anything? Dunno… I went and made a coffee and came back to see it had completed. I was then invited to tell Samsung where the hub is located and to define a “Location” and locate it on a map. Interesting that I might have more than one location… they obviously think I might have a place in the country too.

I’m then asked to pair my first “things” – which is fairly painless, and my motion detector, plug socket and presence fob are all picked up quickly. For each of them I’m asked to give them a name, and to then optionally place them in “rooms” that I define.

OK – motion detector in the bedroom. Plug outlet connected to the radio in the kitchen and keyfob on my keys…. Now what?

Time to define a rule! The app comes with some preset routines – “Good morning”, “Good night”, “Goodbye” and “I’m back” but up to now they have to be triggered from the phone, and don’t actually do anything! Time to change that… The other pre-defined things are “modes” (or states as I would call them) of “Home”, “Night” and “Away”

By editing the Good Morning routine, I’ve now set a rule that says “if it’s been ‘night’ and there is motion detected in my room between 6-9 am, then trigger the ‘Good Morning’ routine, which now consists of turning on the radio and set the mode to ‘home'”
So far, so good! The rule will only run if there’s motion in the getting-up part of the day (rather than a midnight bathroom trip!) and will only run the first time it sees me in the morning (as the mode will have changed from night to home).

More tomorrow!

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2015 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100

Boris Johnson called the 2015 Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling β€œthe greatest mass-participation cycling event in the world”

So the idea is:

  • 100 miles
  • ~26,000 cyclists
  • Roads that are closed to motor traffic
  • It’s basically the equivalent of the London Marathon, but for cyclists! Also much like the London Marathon, you get a total mix of people doing it, club cyclists (like me), celebrities and amateur riders (many riding for charities) and many in weird and wonderful costumes.

    This was my second time doing it – I did it in 2013 when I had a lot of fun. Dodged a bullet in 2014 when I failed to get a place (it’s massively over-subscribed) – but the event was washed out by horrific weather. This year, I again failed to get a spot in the ballot, but Velosport CC had entered a couple of teams and were kind enough to give me a slot! Yay!

    My preparation wasn’t the best – I hadn’t been able to ride much in the two weeks leading up to the event owing to work and then having family visiting – but I spent the Saturday prepping the bike making sure everything was laid out for an early start on the Sunday. I went to bed early but didn’t sleep much and probably only had 2 or 3 hours sleep before the 5:00am alarm went off. Oh well…

    I had been given quite a late start time – 8:18am in start wave Q which meant that my wake up wasn’t as bad as it was for those starting at 6:00am! In fact, I didn’t leave home until 6:10 and it was glorious sunshine and warm enough that I didn’t need to take extra layers (this would save time dropping off/collecting clothes at the start and finish). Last time, I had driven to the start, but as I no longer have a car – and public transport doesn’t run that early on a Sunday I had decided to ride to the start line. OK, that was committing me to riding 20 miles done before the event even begins, but I couldn’t think of a better alternative. The route to the start was really well signposted all the way from central London, so there was no possibility of getting lost or stuck in the road closures and I made it there in under an hour.

    The start process was considerably slower than in 2013 taking about 45 mins in total, but I think that is down to the increased numbers (I think it was 19,000 in 2013 versus 26,000 this year) – but it was well marshalled and it kept moving through to the start and I used the opportunity to eat a bit more in preparation.

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    As we near the start line – I fire up the Gamin GPS and despite having been plugged in all night, the battery is completely dead. CRAP! I’ve grown very used to gauging my effort by watching my pedalling cadence and heart-rate on the GPS display, and I wouldn’t be able to do that. As it turned out this wasn’t going to matter, but at the time I was cursing! Having my phone with me meant I could use Strava to track the ride, but this wasn’t going to help me on the road.

    Off we go! As per last time, the first few km were a bit hectic as I tried to get past the slower people and hunt for a group at similar standard to myself to latch onto. This time I wasn’t quite so successful, mainly as being further back there were more slow people to get through, and I was held up by an accident on Putney Bridge. Even so, I managed the first 32km into Richmond Park in just under an hour so I wasn’t too unhappy.

    Richmond Park sees the first “climb”, Sawyer Hill isn’t anything special, it’s short and not too steep – but it was congested as hell as the inexperienced riders slowed down massively and caused a tailback. I saw three accidents there alone as there were so many people unable to control their bikes at slow speeds /sigh. One guy fell off as I passed him and nearly took me with him! Initially I thought I might have touched him, but I was assured by some riders from Romford CC that it was all his own work.

    From Richmond Park, it was onto familiar roads and I was able to make up some time as we headed to Walton-on-Thames and Weybridge before swinging south towards West Byfleet. I saw club mate Will at about the 40 mile mark (he had set off earlier) and we were able to chat for a little before I lost him in the crowd. I pushed on and hit the first proper climb at Newlands Corner. Nothing too dramatic, but the narrow lane made it difficult at times to pass so again I lost a couple of minutes.

    On the descent the roads opened up again and I made decent progress towards heading towards Leith Hill. As we approached Leith, the field slowed then stopped completely – obviously there was an incident ahead and we were asked to dismount and walk on the left to allow an ambulance to pass (there were some idiots who persisted in pushing forwards). At first I thought there had been another accident, but as we walked, about 1/3 way up the hill paramedics were clustered around a man giving him CPR. Clearly it was a very serious incident, and I felt very guilty about my initial grumbling about what this was doing to my time – clearly that was unimportant.

    We remounted, finished Leith and made the fast descent into Dorking. The town was very busy with spectators which was nice and lifted the mood somewhat. We turned up the A24 and made it to Box Hill, which was an easy climb – it was too busy to try and push. At the top, it was time to pause and refill the water bottles. The temperature had crept up and my biggest worry at this point was sunburn! πŸ˜€

    From there, the rest of the ride was uneventful. As we headed back from Leatherhead towards Kingston I had made my way out of the “Q” wave I had started in and the majority of people I was riding amongst were from D-G waves – so people became far more predictable and as a consequence the km became steadier. At Kingston however, I suddenly bonked (sugar level dips and your legs go to jelly) which in hindsight shouldn’t have been a surprise as I had already done 100 miles by this point! I took a gel and another bottle and pushed on.

    I won’t lie, the next 15km were torture and it wasn’t really until I approached the Embankment that I felt my energy levels starting to return. Bruce was spectating at Chelsea Bridge and I spotted him and gave a wave (I would have stopped to chat, but I might not have gotten going again!) From there the final 5km was plain sailing and I made it over the line in an absolutely disgraceful time of 5:29 – slower than in 2013, but given the incidents on the way, not surprising.

    I decided not to hang around at the finish, and once I was through the melee hopped straight back on the bike and rode home to start some serious rehydration therapy!

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    The Good
    It’s an amazing event – having the closed roads is a surreal experience. The marshalling and general organisation of the event is fantastic! The number of volunteers who make an event like this possible is astonishing. Couple that with sunny weather, and you’re guaranteed a fab day.

    The Bad
    The route seemed odd this year and seemed to go up some particularly narrow roads that just couldn’t cope with the volume of cyclists. I think in future they might need to sacrifice some of the gradient to accommodate the number of riders.

    The Ugly
    Too many people taking part who have no experience in riding in groups and aren’t prepared for the event. I saw a LOT of accidents this year, and most were down to bad bike-handling (usually at slower speeds!) There were groups riding 4, even 5 abreast making it impossible for people to get past. Hopefully the %age of club-riders can be increased next time (and those clubs be given the same start times!) to form more controlled groups.

    Get riding, and hopefully I’ll see you out there next year πŸ™‚

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    Trip to the Alps – Day 4, Alpe d’Huez

    https://www.strava.com/activities/332959040

    Alpe d’Huez is to cycling what Monaco is to Formula 1, or the FA Cup is to football… It’s not the biggest climb, it’s not the steepest climb but over the years it has developed a history through the Tour de France and is now “iconic”. It’s definitely one for the bucket-list!

    As we only had the morning to play with, we set off fairly early and made our way along the Balcon road to pick up the climb. Bruce wanted to get some pictures, so he was in the car whilst the 3 of us set off. I somehow dropped the others on the Balcon, so set off on my own up the first few corners trying to match pace with a bunch of youngsters.

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    As it was the last day, I felt like I had caught the rhythm of it at last and felt pretty comfortable all the way up. Being able to count down the corners definitely helps and having been reading the profile over breakfast I knew where all the steep bits would be. Bruce in the team car jumped ahead to take pics, and then as he caught up with me a bit later did the pro bit of handing water bottles direct from the car whilst we were moving, the novelty of doing that made me giggle out loud (although I don’t think the truck driver behind us was quite so impressed).

    As you round the “final” bend you know there’s still a couple of km to go to the official finish line – you ride through the town of Huez and up a wide clear road to the finish line. Of course on a race day, the place is wall-to-wall and bedlam. I got there and it was abandoned! Still it was nice to get some pics at the finish and I had a chat with a Dutch group who arrived a little after me.

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    Malcolm arrived and then Will – job done! We all headed to the podium for a victory photo!

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    The words “it’s all downhill from here” were never truer as we then made the descent all the way into Bourg. I decided to try and go for it, but got held up by a truck that wouldn’t let me past. Grrrr…. Somewhere on Bruce’s video camera (which I borrowed) there’s footage of the descent and if I ever get hold of it, I’ll post it. It might not be thrilling to you, but as I hit 80kph coming down I can tell you it was pretty exciting from where I was sat!

    We meet at the foot of the hill – it has been a fun few days, but now it’s time to head back, pack up and make our way to the airport. EasyJet decide to stiff me for excess baggage, but overall a great few days, and an experience I would love to repeat.

    Cheers to Bruce, Will and Malcolm for making it so much fun.

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    Trip to the Alps – Day 3, La Berard

    https://www.strava.com/activities/332959002

    Day 3 – the legs are aching a bit – but we’re here to have fun right?!?
    This was a bit of a trip into the unknown as it was a route new to our guide, Bruce. We drove to Le Clapier d’Auris and from there started to climb.

    The first part of the ride was fairly horrid – the roads were steep, the sun was brutal and there wasn’t much to look at – which gave Will the excuse to complain about something other than his bottom bracket. However, after about 10km the scenery opened up and was utterly breathtaking. We rode alongside the river coming down from the glacier and the water was properly BLUE.
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    From there the road kicked up a bit, and we rode a steep 5km up the switchbacks into the pretty village of Saint-Christophe-en-Oisans where we paused for photos again.
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    Back into the saddle, and up the final 10km up to the summit. Like most good cycling routes, at the summit there’s a coffee shop. This was no exception πŸ™‚
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    On the return we decided to divert for lunch to the pretty tourist village of Venosc, where we had fantastic savoury pancakes. Nom!

    As it was our last night, we went out for dinner (I think Bruce had had enough of cooking by this point), so into Bourg for pizza! Once back at the chalet, time to read up on the last day’s epic climb up Alpe d’Huez.

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    Trip to the Alps – Day 2, Glandon and Croix de Fer

    https://www.strava.com/activities/332959072

    Was excited to do this ride as it would feature two famous peaks that would both be on the Tour de France route a couple of weeks later.

    A not too early start, and off we went. Bruce suggested he would drop the car off in Bourg, so he and Will set off while Malcolm and I went down the Balcon road, back to turn 16 of Alpe d’Huez and descended the rest of the way into the town. Once we met up, we had a flat 10km to Allemont and rode alongside the spectacular lake and then started the long, long climb to Glandon.

    This road was hard. We went through some beautiful small villages, pausing to refill water bottles at the small fonts they have (the water is straight off the glacier and clean as anything!) but the road pitches through multiple switchbacks and has sections at 14% gradient. At one point I’m riding alongside a Frenchman, and we have a nice chat (in fractured French) about what an absolute bitch of a climb this is. The killer is that occasionally the road drops (usually to cross over a river) and you have a short, steep descent only to have to climb up again on the other side.

    2 hours into the climb we reach one of the landmarks on the climb, the huge Lac de Grand Maison where we pause for photos and to regroup a little. We have fun watching Malcolm trying to clip into his pedals whilst going uphill, and we set off the final part of the climb. For the last 10km you can actually see the peak you’re aiming at and can see the long, winding road up to it. Head down, get those pedals spinning and up into the clouds we go. The higher you go, the cooler it gets – and when the summit of Glandon finally comes it’s decidedly nippy at 15 degrees.

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    Some routes around here will send you back down the other side of the mountain and back up to do both peaks – but we’re not that stupid. We take the short climb to to the top of Croix de Fer and pause at the cafe there for a coffee.

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    We go back the way we had come – this time considerably faster! πŸ™‚ The roads sweep, and it’s a lot of fun. You can go 3 or 4 km without touching the pedals, letting gravity do all the work. There’s a few short, sharp climbs (the dips we had encountered on the way there) – but it’s generally a nice ride back to Bourg. We strap the bikes to the roof rack and home!

    (I’m knackered!!!!)

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    Trip to the Alps – Day 1, Col du Sarenne

    My cycle club is associated with Velopsport Cycle Tours and last month I went on a somewhat last-minute trip to Alpe d’Huez. Being last minute, we were a small group – myself, Will and Malcolm to be led by super-Soignier/chef Bruce who had organised it.

    We took an early flight from Gatwick to Lyon – picked up a minivan (which just about took the three bikes) and drove through Grenoble up to Bourg D’Oisins at the foot of the famous mountain. On the way we started to comment just how big some of these hills were… We met with Bruce in Bourg, and he led us the final few km up to the chalet.

    No rest for the wicked, straight away we assembled the bikes and took off on our first ride up the Col du Sarenne.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/332958918

    Oh my! This was a shock to the system… We started with a quick descent into Le Freney-d’Oisans and then started the ascent of Col du Sarenne, the peak that neighbours Alpe d’Huez. The uphill bit started, initially through some picturesque villages for the first 5km.
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    But then it went on… and on… and on… It’s not that it was the steepest climb ever, but it was relentless. We weren’t exactly rushing, but even so, spending 90 mins to cover just 15km tells you that it was brutal. The heat was building, and I got through two bottles in no time. I was so relieved that I had put on a climbing gear set, so I just stuck it in the lowest gear I had and tried to keep the pedals turning as fast as I could (a tip straight out of the Chris Froome manual). Malcolm wasn’t too far behind me, but Will was suffering a bit. Bruce was carrying a backpack with spare everything… and was pacing Will – properly heroic! Finally though, the summit (and photo op).

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    Onwards! We then followed a road along the ridge from the Col to the town of Huez, and then we descended Alpe d’Huez (to about bend 17). Wow – that was FUN! Bruce knows the descent well and was happy to go for it, so I parked myself on his line and down we went at about 70kph. The only thing I had in the back of my mind was that later in the week, we’d be coming back up it. We stopped at turn 16 and diverted up the Balcon d’Auris road back to the chalet. Scenery was spectacular, and served to take my mind off how exhausted I was.

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    Back at the chalet… beer o’clock! Fantastic dinner prepared by Bruce, some really nice wine and off to bed.

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    Lollapalooza day 3

    Oh my, what a day… Woke up this morning to RAIN, and not just a little bit – it was coming down in bucketloads… Oh my, that probably means it’s going to be Glasto-style mud in Grant Park.

    I lazed about for the morning, and by lunchtime the sun was back in the sky – so looked like normal service was resumed. As it was bound to be muddy I donned a pair of shoes I didn’t care about and headed down to the park to have a mooch around.

    First band I really wanted to see was The Cars, and they were pretty good fun. You realise just how long ago the 80s were… and despite the drummer playing a rather gutless electronic kit, the band rolled out all their hits – singalong time!

    Dived off to get something to eat and oh-noes, the rain arrives… with it’s chums thunderbolts and lightning… There’s no point trying to get under cover, the rain is hard and relentless, so I just quickly gave up and embraced the wet! I’m just soaked, head to toe… my phone has packed up… yikes! (looks like I’m staying in touch via hashblue.com for the rest of the week)

    Wandered over to see the Arctic Monkeys, whose set was delayed by the storm by 30 mins – Alex Turner wanders on and introduces themeselves as from “High Green, Sheffield…. Australia” (I think I’m the only one laughing at that). I have to say I was mightily impressed, in a slightly curtailed set (45 mins) they belted it out with the usual cynicism and panache. Alex is also sporting a new punkish haircut, which I have to say I would have loved 20 years ago!

    I’m in a good spot near the mixing desk and there’s only 45 mins to the Foos, so there’s no way on earth I’m moving. The crowd around me are a good laugh and we form our own “great wall” preventing people pushing in front. Anticipation builds… this is the band we’ve all REALLY come to see… Also building, over the spectacular Chicago skyline are more dark, ominous looking clouds…

    Bang on 8:00 and on stage they come… the cheers are immense and EVERYONE is singing along to every word. Three songs in and the heavens open… now I thought it was raining hard before (and I’m from Manchester, where we like to think we know a thing or two about rain) but it’s coming down HARD. The skyline behind us has completely vanished, but the band keeps on playing and the crowd keeps on singing.

    Dave is in happy mood, and it shows – he doesn’t once do his “hard rock stare” and serious face, he knows he has a good crowd in front of him, willing to risk drowning to have a good time so on he goes… As usual, the hits are coming thick and fast – a mix of old and new… but everyone knows the words. “Rope”, “My Hero”, “Learn to Fly” all met with equal gusto… It’s getting close to 9:45 (and the place has a strict 10:00 curfew) so Dave says, “no encores – we’ll play until they tell us to stop” – unbelievably they run out of time before playing “All My Life” (you’d think after I flew all this way they would play my favourite song) but all the same – a great set and a great end to a wonderful festival. The muddy throngs then trooped their way out of Grant Park, and I was still tight amongst them as I get back to my hotel halfway up North Michigan Ave. I’m cold, I’m wet – so straight into the shower… then down to the bar to write this (and enjoy a beverage or 2)!

    So Lolla is over… Totally unlike Glastonbury, there’s none of the alternative scene here, and of course no camping, but all the same – a lot of music and a lot of fun! Would definitely consider coming back (ideally with a bit more company – Vanda, whose idea this was hasn’t really been around)

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    Chicago / Lollapalooza days 1&2

    The Beehive - Chicago

    The Beehive - I used to work here...

    Holiday time, and I’m in back the Windy City for the first time in over 10 years. I used to come out here regularly for work (as head office for Encylopaedia Britannica is here) and it was somewhere I really enjoyed coming. So 10 years later – what has changed? Will I still remember my way around? Do the Cubs still suck?
    (answers being “not too much”, “just about” and “of course they do”)

    Got in on late Wednesday night after a rather stressful journey (had a connection in New York that I nearly missed thanks to a phenomenally long wait at JFK immigration) and crashed – so it was a hot an sticky Thursday morning that saw me venture out and hit the shops, as usual I brought a half-empty case with me – so was good to wander round and pick up a few “bargains” whilst getting my bearings again. That night I met up with Vanda (who is doing an improv course over here) and her classmates – we hit a couple of bars including the famous Green Mill for a bit of swing music and dancing before heading off and watching an improv show. Lots of messing around and, for some inexplicable reason speaking German on the way back with Lynne.

    Lolla – day 1
    So Friday arrives and it’s time for the festival – and man, it’s HOT… I’ve come prepared though, factor 35 suncream and a silly hat. As Vanda is studying I’m on my own for most of the day – so I mooch around the various stages checking out bands.
    First act up – Ruby Jane, young female singer/songwriter with a sort of country rock thing going on. Usually I steer clear of music with fiddles, but she was very good – so I’ll have to reconsider that policy.

    The Vaccines

    The Vaccines

    Then, off to see The Vaccines whose very British, snide lyrics over some relentlessly catchy rythms and tunes went down well with the crowd (and with me).
    The way the stages are organised is quite clever, there are two main areas, but each of those has two stages – so the second a band finishes on one stage it’s possible to walk a couple hundred meters to see another band start. So I did just that to watch The Naked and the Famous – I didn’t know this lot at all, apparently they are from NZ. Happy sounding electropop, but not really my thing so I wandered to the other end of the site (meh).
    Grace Potter and the Nocturnals came on, and I didn’t really get them. Apparently they are pretty good, but the first 2 songs didn’t grab me, so I wandered off again to try and find some shade for a bit and cool down some.
    I was very keen to get a pic with Tinie Tempah (if only to wind up Paul at work) but the lines at the autograph tents were HUGE and they were forcing you to buy stuff to have signed – and frankly that all seemed like too much effort.
    White Lies were good, but I cut them short to watch The Kills and can say NOW I understand why people get excited about Alison Mosshart… πŸ™‚
    Vanda finally made it to the site, so we grabbed a bit to eat and then watched OK Go whose colourful suits made me think this is what Teletubbies live must look like. πŸ™‚ They have a lot of very poppy tunes and were great, although their BIG tune (Here I Go Again… the one on YouTube…) they held back presumably so folks didn’t wander off. Well Muse were coming up, so sorry – we wandered off anyway.

    So the headliners…. Lolla has 2 headliners each night, one at each end of the site – so the choice was Muse or Coldplay. Not really a question for me. They came on and did their thing – it was loud, singalong stuff. Matt seemed in mischievous mood and looked like he was trying to mess up Dom on drums. Still the noise, coupled with the view of the skyline behind us was a great experience.

    Chicago Skyline

    Never bored of this view

    Getting out the site took a while – there’s no camping so 90,000 people need to get out the site and onto the streets so they drip feed people out by funnelling a lot of the exits. Only about a mile to walk back to the hotel, which was fine until I get to the top of Whacker Drive and realise there has just been a road traffic accident and a girl on a bike has tangled with a truck. She was clearly dead and the truck driver was being comforted by a passer by. The emergency vehicles were just arriving, but it was all too late. It was a rather upsetting end to the day – and is the reason this blog didn’t get written yesterday night. πŸ™ Note – I read today about the accident, seems the truck driver was blameless and that the girl had lost balance waiting at the red light, fallen under the truck which then moved forward as the lights changed.

    Lolla day 2
    Started the day meeting Vanda for breakfast at 11th City Diner which was nice. Vanda is feeling bad as having invited me out here for the festival she’s missing most of it and won’t be coming at all today, ah well – I’ll amuse myself. Luckily the day is *slightly* cooler, there has been a bit of rain (which means a little festival mud) but the humidity is high.. sweltering!

    Music Unlimited Stage

    Music Unlimited Stage - Day 2

    Black Lips were first up, not at all bad… On Thursday I had been tipped to go see Death From Above 1979 but I have to say they didn’t do it for me, so off I wandered and saw Big Audio Dynamite instead – they were good fun, and played all the hits so I stuck around for their whole set before walking to catch 2nd hald of Deftones. To be honest, they were a bit of a let down – they were having massive sound problems… (at least I hope they were)
    Ellie Goulding did her very British pop act and was a hit with the crowd, “cos you’re making me smile quite a lot” and then I walked down to watch Cee Lo Green. Cee Lo was great – wearing an outfit that was simply spectacular (spiked shoulderpads) and with an all-girl backing band that were dressed straight out of a 70s exploitation movie. He belted out all his hits to a crowd that I think was feeling the heat, but did so with a lot of energy and humour.
    Twat with flags

    Here to ruin the view for people behind... Fortunately not so many of these selfish idiots here, let's hope they get banned before it gets like glasto where you can't see a thing

    Lykkie Li from Sweden was great – and had packed out one of the smaller side stages. Great songs that I’ll be buying when I get back. And then it was decision time for the headliner…. My Morning Jacket or Eminem. Marshall won… the show begins and we’re all invited to witness Eminem’s RECOVERY. I’m not a huge rap fan, but have to say that he’s clever – and has a back-catalogue bigger than I would have thought. I’m also the only one in the crowd it seems who doesn’t know every word to every song… πŸ™‚ The set is loud and slick – Marshall doesn’t smile much through it, but it’s good to see him back after a long break. Eminem, it DID feel empty without you…

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    Roger Waters – The Wall

    So at the weekend I was lucky enough to go see The Wall performed live at The O2 in London.Β Β  As a teenager this was one of my favourite albums, the anthems of alienation and isolation are irresistable at that age I think.

    I had seen Roger Waters live before at Glastonbury, but this was the full “The Wall” performance and I was rather excited. πŸ™‚Β Β  Happily, it more than lived up to expectations!

    I had never been to The O2 / Millenium Dome before, and from outside I have to say it doesn’t look like much – and the endless rows of eateries and bars inside does little to sell it, however once we got into the main theater I really got an eyeful of how frickin’ big the place is. Our seats up in the top-tier were kinda dizzying.

    The O2

    View from the gods... @The O2 London

    Anyways – suffice to say the concert was fantastic. Roger’s voice hasn’t changed one bit, and he stillΒ belts out the songs with venom. The stage show is little short of amazing – the projections, the inflatables, the fighter plane… (!)Β  I did take a lot of pics with the phone, but none of them did it justice, so I’ll link the pics someone else took and posted here on Flickr.

    There was rumour that Nick Mason and Dave Gilmour were making appearances – sadly not tonight, (would have been awesome to say “I saw Floyd”) but that didn’t take away from a great gig.

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