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October 1st 2009
Published: October 1st 2009
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Or at least cheap ones...
Gawd it's been a busy summer! Festivals, football and tango have the been the order of the day for some time now, much to our enjoyment. The last four months have been a period during which we have felt very happy to be here in the UK, taking full advantage of what we came for - Europe, London and culture. Festivals have punctuated our summer, with 2 in London and one in the mother of all festival cities, Edinburgh. We were lucky enough to get tix to a couple of London's larger music shindigs - the Hyde Park festival, featuring Q-tip from a tribe called Quest, and the man with a huge ego called Kanye West. The latter felt it necessary to set up a massive platform on the already impressive stage, atop which he deigned only to surround himself with half-naked live sculptures. The whole thing was incredibly impressive, but he wore his sunnies throughout (it was night-time), presumably because the sun shining out his arse was so bright.
The level of organisation is beyond anything we'd everseen, and for good reason - the place was packed. One drinking area even had roving staff who took you order and the
The NoisettesThe NoisettesThe Noisettes

They're awesome!
money; literally 2 minutes later the drinks followed. Why this level of service can't be applied to the rest of the city is beyond me...
The Lovebox festival in East London's Victoria Park was a quirkier, more relaxed affair - dodgems and a better food selection complemented a wider range of music and the punters to match - see photos... Kiwi girl Ladyhawke was there, as well as a few other bands we like. Loo queues were shorter, and the rationalised lacohol distribution system would have made Ford proud.
Easy-going crowds made for a relaxed, fun atmosphere - the dodgems deserve special mention as our favourite pastime!
Of course, these are mere twinkles in the eye of the Big Daddy - Edinburgh. We had the extraordinary good fortune to be offered what turned out to be a converted farmhouse for the duration of our stay. 45 minutes from town, set in the purple moors and overlooking a wildlife reserve (complete with mesmerising bird-hide), this piece of heaven almost made us wish there were no festival. Every day we reluctantly left the place after several cups of tea and a walk, to head into that outpost of an older, more magical world. Edinburgh's population of half a million swells to untold numbers, thousands of outsiders teeming to see the Fringe and International acts, as well as any number of other events. For a town whose centre is easily crossed on foot, Edinburgh sure packs an incredible punch. Every possible venue is used by acts of varying quality. On our first night we were unlucky enough to be lured to a 'five-star musical comedy'. We should have known... The rest of the shows we saw were all better (and more expensive), ranging from music to dance to theatre via (Yes!) French mime. All of amazing calibre, all hugely inspiring. I have decided to get into some amateur theatre over here next year.
The buzz about town was exceptional, containing no trace of bravado or aggression. Street performers and pampleteers vied for everyone's attention. We were lucky enough to know some locals who showed us the good places to eat and drink. When our exhausted bank card finally declined to pay for further libations, we were unsurprised...
Mon is right into the tango scene over here, and I've been to several top-flight football games, as well as playing regular 5 a side footy, so we're both keeping fit and happy!

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 24


The Rumble StripsThe Rumble Strips
The Rumble Strips

Very cool peeps
Raaah! Raaah!

The Big Stage
Jess and JamesJess and James
Jess and James

The Elvis convention was on...
Who brung her? Who brung her?
Who brung her?

...looking good.

So I'm putting it on. Mwahaha.

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