Werewolves of London...
I am now in an internet cafe in London. I can hear the sound of the tube through the wall while I'm typing and its just starting to get dark.
On the last day of the festival yesterday I ended up seeing a couple more great shows. I saw the Futureheads, a nice little Scottish outfit that sounded kind of like Devo and Talking heads a bit. Then of course Fiery Furnaces who's album I love so much. They weren't amazing live but it was great to see them anyway. Then one of my favorite bands of the last year The Stills. I love the album so much I was curious as to why they weren't on the main stage as a headlining band. But seeing them in person I see they were much younger and less experienced as I thought. The show was still great, it was interesting to see what they look like after listening to the album so much.
After that I went back to the hotel and was able to take a shower for the first time in probably 4-5 days. It felt great. My body really needed it. I laid down for a bit then went back to the festival. I saw bits and pieces of performances by 50 cent and the Von Bondies but one show really blew me away.
I ended up taking a chance and going to the show by an English band called The Others. It turned out to be one of the greatest performances I saw of the entire festival. They were 4 fellows who really looked like "The Others". The drummer looked like a scruffy Jack Black with a Joy Division t-shirt on. The bass player who I thought from the back might be an ugly woman at first turned around and had an exact replica of Robert Smith's haircut from The Cure. The lead guitar player was a thuggish bald fellow. The lead singer was a scrappy little fellow with curly untamed blond hair. He looked like one of those little guys who sells newspapers in period piece films in London. It turned out they were outstanding together. It was beautiful post punk at its best. The lead singer was just the right amount of inebriated. He wasn't too drunk as to not sing the words properly, but drunk enough to really get into it and get the crowd going. They did seem to have influences from both Joy Division and The Cure but the sound was raw and unique. The singer jumped in the crowd several times and never missed a note singing which was impressive as people were pulling his hair and grabbing him, but he enjoyed that. For the last number, with sarcastic grin on his face, the singer made a call to the crowd. He said "it will be a bit harder than last time because instead of just 2 security guards from the last show there are now 12 but I wish you good luck mates to all come up on stage. Best of luck to you mates, see on on the other side." The crowd went nuts. By the end of the show there were about 30 people on stage. It was truly a great show.
I hobbled back to the hotel after that as Green Day began the final show of the festival. It was worth all the pain and dirtiness for the great experience in Reading.
So far London reminds me a lot of New York in a lot of ways. After a night of sleep in a bed and another shower this morning I felt much better today. We got here about noon today. Took the train in from Reading. We had seen on the news there was a carnival up on Notting Hill which isn't too far from where we are staying down in the Kensington district. The reason for the carnival and also one of the reasons for the Reading festival is a national bank holiday today. It turned out to be a bit of a walk but it wasn't too bad. We walked through Kensington Gardens which is just adjacent to the Hyde Park. We saw Kensington palace on the way. It turned out the carnival had a ridiculous amount of people. It was absolutely crazy. Really interesting but we were kind of looking for something a little more laid back after what we went through at Reading. Unfortunately we had got ourselves into the middle of Notting Hill and it wasn't easy to get out. We saw some interesting sites on the way.
I noticed today that I saw more people smoking marijuana than cigarettes. I know its not legal but it is very accepted. Everyone does it out in the open even with a ton of police around. I guess they do arrest some people but the penalties must be light because no one seems to worry about it at all. Maybe that's the reason most people seem to be less angry and cordial to each other.
There was some great street parties of all kinds of music. It seemed a lot more racially cool than in the US. They still have the black thugs here but they are much more friendly it seemed. Probably because the white people seem to be more accepting. That is just my initial take on it so far.
On the way back we stopped off by a beautiful pond/lake area in Kensington Garden. I went to sleep for awhile there. I sat in this lawn chair for a few minutes. I thought, what a nice place that they provide lawn chairs for everyone. It turned out it costs 1 pound per 2 hours to sit in it so I just laid on the ground. We walked around through the Kensington area for awhile by some museums. We saw Albert hall which made me sing "A day in the life" in my head for several hours after that.
Kevin isn't feeling well so he's back in the hotel right now. I feel gung ho about trying to see everything possibly this evening and tomorrow I can in London. We should also have Saturday as well to see more stuff in London, there are a ton of things I want to see here. Hopefully Kevin will be feeling better tomorrow.
So far it seems things are a bit more reasonably priced here than in Reading. Also a much better selection. But still things are a good bit more expensive than in the US.
Well, I am going to walk around some more tonight and see what I can find in London. I'll try to post again tomorrow if possible. I plan on a big day of exploring tomorrow so I'm sure I'll be tired. I've taken 300 photos so far. I am going to try and take the other 400-450 that I have space for before I leave here.