Tuesday, May 02, 2006

 

Catching Up With...Part 2

Is my long weekend really over? Dammit!

We had a brilliant time up in Newcastle staying with my sister, Lou and her boyfriend, Shaun and their assorted animals. We drove up Friday night so Audrey slept most of the way and we pretty much dumped our gear on arrival and hit the sack right away.

We were up fairly sharply Saturday morning because we had to take the puppies to the vet for their shots. My sister thought it would be fun for Audrey to see it all happening, so we tagged along, but they kind of needed our help with four puppies and two full grown dogs in tow. For those interested, all six puppies are alive and well...one had already gone to a good home so was getting its shots elsewhere and the other was also going to get its shots done by its new owner in due course so wasn't due at the vets. The remaining four got thoroughly checked over by the vet - the poor little mites were quite an amusing sight with thermometers up their butts but they didn't fuss one bit even when they got the needle. Anyway I got some nice photos of them playing in my sisters garden later on and here are a couple for you to "Ahhhh" over.



We heard that it would be the best weather of the weekend on Saturday, so after dropping the pups back home we then decided to head for the beach. It would be Audrey's first time seeing the sea, because unfortunately we had an aborted mission to do that the last time we were up there. We headed to the pub first though to miss the lunchtime rush (which we didn't) and had a bite to eat and a pint before heading down to the sandy beach. It was a lovely bracing walk with the older dogs, and Audrey did some splashing in the waves and played in the fine sand. The photo shows her finding a shell which we kept - hopefully it's still in her jacket pocket...must go check that!

On Sunday we kind of vegged out a bit. After a prelunch beer (or two) at the local pub with Shaun's father we had a nice lunch. Martha then crashed because she'd been up with Audrey a bit in the night and lack of sleep caught up with her, and with Lou's boyfriend also passed out after Sunday lunch, my sister and I decided to take Audrey and the dogs for a walk. I took our child carrier, but we let Audrey walk, and *boy* did she walk! We took her down a huge hill most of which we ran because the dogs were dragging us along...Audrey LOVED this and was giggling the whole way. At the bottom we put her into the carrier and walked across a field towards the river. Part way across Audrey asked to walk again, so we set her down and walked the rest of the way to the river. She wanted to splash in the water, so we found some safe places to do that and she jumped in puddles as we went along. After crossing a small rivulet (back and forth about 5 times because Audrey couldn't get enough of it) she agreed to go back in her carrier, and we walked back up the hill to home. Audrey fell asleep unsurprsingly and remained so for a good couple of hours afterwards.

Later that evening we went across to Shaun's parents house just for a quick visit. We got talking a bit about the Pet Shop Boys "Battleship Potemkin" gig and Shaun's Dad lent me a book on Russian history for me to gen up on which I initially thought would be wasted on me, but proved to be actually quite useful.

Monday was the day for the concert, so the buildup was spent walking again down at the river (more splashing in puddles for Audrey) and a large lunch. At 4pm Martha and I decided to leave for the venue, Newcastle's Swan Hunter Shipyard. The gates weren't due to open until 6pm with the show not expected to start until 8.30 but we didn't know the territory so decided to leave earlier was better. I'd heard about a designated car park for the concert which was running busses to and from the venue for £4 per car so we headed for that and arrived at 5pm. The guy at the gate told us they weren't opening until 5.30 so we drove off down to the venue to see what was going on down there.

When we arrived we discovered a FREE car park immediately opposite the gate, so we parked there and thanked our lucky stars! We wrapped up warm and headed down to the gates where a small queue of people had already gathered. We could even hear the Pet Shop Boys and the Northern Sinfonia running through the set as we waited which was pleasant entertainment since we had quite a bit of time to kill. So we waited...and waited...and waited. The queue grew, and we waited some more. The gates finally opened nearly an hour later than advertised and we snaked our way into the shipyard. This is what it looked like - I tried to get some funky industrial shots and yep, that's Martha in the one photo, in a rare appearance.

























Martha grabbed a chip butty, and we wandered around to find a suitable place to see the show. In the end we plumped for a spot just in front of the movie projectors (photographed here) and the sound mixing desks. It meant that we wouldn't be harrassed by people from behind and I discovered a pole which was just great for leaning against, and boy did I need it because we were standing there until nearly 11pm.
























The show itself was brilliant - here's a slightly less biased review if you don't believe me - the movie, Battleship Potemkin, was shown on a huge screen above the orchestra, and you should be able to make out from my photos the conductor, Jonathan Stockhammer lit up underneath the huge screen. Also, there's one photo from at the end of the show with Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys...you can't tell it's him terribly well though, even though I've zoomed in as much as I could and then zoomed in again on the photo itself.

I'd heard the Pet Shop Boys' score for the film on CD but had never seen the film, but together they work magnificently. The music is in parts orchestral, industrial, techno, pop and there's even some softer ballad style moments as well - it's mostly instrumental but there are a few points where lyrics are used which fit very well with the context of the film. I think as the reviewer suggested, a lot of people went expecting a Pet Shop Boys concert which is a VERY different experience to this, but the movie and music is rousing and by the end I was ready to down tools and lead a revolution! The people who we saw leaving early obviously just didn't "get it" at all.

I tried to capture some stills from the movie too, especially the famous Odessa Steps sequence with the baby in the pram (if you've seen the film The Untouchables, that's where Brian De Palma got it from, OK?!) but the best shots were when I was using the cameras flash, which, as Martha so helpfully pointed out to me was pissing a few people off and provoking "stares". I didn't notice anyone giving me "evils" but I was fairly aware that using the camera flash was drawing unneeded attention to myself, so I tried to keep it to a minimum.

Anyway, after the film, we were treated to an encore, a reprise of one of the more "complete" songs taken from the score which seemed to go down well with the more hardcore folk like myself.

We headed out of the venue with everyone else and were back at the car within a matter of minutes. We saw the queue of poor sods waiting for the park and ride busses we had originally planned to take and thanked our lucky stars again before heading for home. We were back at my sisters before midnight and soon tucked up in a warm bed! Fan-bloody-tastic!

This morning we were woken early by Audrey, packed up our gear, said our goodbyes and headed for home. The traffic was light, Audrey slept for most of the journey again! We couldn't have wished for more!

I don't know if it occurred to my sister, but it did occur to me, that this was quite possibly the last time we would see each other for quite some time. I quite like that we said goodbye very casually, as she hurried to leave for work, rather than dwelled on that fact.


Comments:
Ahhh they are seriously cute liddle wuffits!!!

Looks like a great gig, the visuals look excellent. Which reminds me, I must gen up on Russian history myself before Friday!
 
Sounds like you had a fabulous time this weekend Gabby. Good for you! I'm glad you got to go and I'm sure you won't soon forget it.
 
Ann - Those cute liddle wuffits had seriously uncute liddle gnashers...nasty little anklebiters! And don't even start me on the minefields of poo! I only genned up on one year (1905) of Russian history and that was quite enough for me. My parting comment to Shaun was "Russia was one seriously f'ed up country!"

SS - We did have a great weekend. I'm going to bottle that fun and send you a sample!
 
Great pictures. The beach looks cold!
 
MyUtopia - The sun shone but it was a tad nippy, yes!
 
That is a fantastic picture of Audrey!
I hate goodbyes. Just ask CCB.
 
OGO - I guess you've done your fair share of moving from what I've read. Hopefully though there'll be lots of entertaining UK visitors in Canada (and maybe non-UK too!)
 
Hi Gabby, you not getting nekkid this week?

Happy HNT sweetie ;)
 
Suze - Sorry, I quit last week whilst I move my family to Canada...I plan to return though.
 
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