Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New Tattoooo!

Been a busy week. Started with a quick but uneventful trip to Amsterdam for two nights to see Social Distortion, which was marred by the fact i was ill with some bug most of the time was there. The gig was great (far better than seeing them in London), and was cool to hang out with Shaun (who lives in Den Haag during the week), but sucked that i didn't really enjoy any of the cool pubs we tried out.

Saturday was a busy day spent recording our long overdue next demo with The Dead Beat.

Monday however, was new tattoo time. This idea has been around for a while and is something i've been looking to get for a couple of years now - although other tattoos got in the way first, mainly to fill up my left arm after me and my best bud Lisa got "bro-tattoos" back in July 2010 (after i was her best man the previous year). Anyway, it was back to tattoo ninja Aimee Lou @ Bespoke Tattoos in Guildford for this bad boy (or girl). Shes done my last three tattoos, and i was really happy she was into tattooing my zombie pin up girl for me. What she came up with design-wise was insane, and she totally nailed what i was looking for. Session was relatively copeable (some touchy and uncomfortable moments, but generally ok for the most part), and had a great afternoon. Was great getting tattooed by someone so into the idea, and i was excited seeing the tattoo forming on my arm.

Aimee totally nailed this - it couldn't be more perfect! It looks so stunning, and i can't stop looking at it. And I'm back to see her in a couple of weeks to complete the gap left behind on the inside of my wrist. Can't wait!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I Went To Chicago - The Rest!

So whats Left? We did lots of tourist stuff the last few days and lots of shopping. We found an awesome Reckless Records shop and picked up a few CDs. I did an Architecture Boat Cruise, which was not only expensive, but bloody disappointing, as I not only couldn't get any decent photos, I had a group of French tourists sitting behind me providing their own commentary so I couldn't hear the tour guide. That was $40 down the drain!

The Buckingham Fountain had to be seen in Millenium Park, as its the fountain at the start of Married With Children. Was great to see it in real life, and even better in such great weather!

For those that don't know, theres a big piece of art in the park that everyone calls "The Bean", which is a big chrome structure or something. We visited it a couple of times, as taking funny pictures in the reflection amused my simple
brain a great deal. Weird moment of the week - we bumped into Brendan from Lawrence Arms here with his kids. He recognised Tim, and was a truly bizarre moment. I wish we'd got a photo!

We also checked out the Shedd Aquarium, which although it passed the time, we didn't think was as good as the Zoo, especially as we didn't manage to see any Beluga Whales. When we came out, we were so knackered cos we'd walked so much, that we decided to get a "river taxi" back to our hotel. For $7, it saved us from paying for the extortionate lake boat trip, and still got to see the city from the water. And the boat had a bar on it. Bonus!
The barman was a bit of a nutter, and sounded like he can be a bit of a handful if theres a lot of people on the boat!

Our final evening was spent with Tims mates, who took us out for pizza and beers, and was a great way to finish off the holiday. Jim and Mel were so awesome the entire time we were out there, and i'm pleased to say i've made a couple of new friends.

I think i shall be back someday...in the meantime i've got the mother of all trips coming up in August, including another 5 weeks in The States. I hope they let me in....

I Went To Chicago Pt 2

Saturday started with a morning and afternoon of darkness and horizontal rain. So me and Tim decided to stay in the apartment and watch the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America until it was time to go to the Subterranean for our next gig. The SubT is another ace little venue with a decent sized stage, great sound, and a side bar with free wi-fi. I think saturday meant we saw Kepi Ghoulie (with added balloons) and Chixdiggit!, who were both excellent. Chixdiggit really didn't surprise me how good they were, but Kepi was definately a highlight of the weekend. Once the show was over, we were off to another couple of bars with Tims Chicago mates - Estelles and Club Foot. Again, i was a fan of both bars - both did great beer, played good music and had a decent scummy vibe to them. Estelles was a bit like being in Jackie Brown; Club Foot was very Kitch, and a toy lovers paradise! Unfortunately, the mega late night left me with a massive hangover on Sunday.

Which meant again, we had another total write off of a day. However, because the weather was blacker and meaner than it was on Saturday, it was a good idea to stay in. In the afternoon, it was back to the SubT and Estelles, to see Be My Doppleganger and Dear Landlord, then it was off ot the Empty Bottle to see a rare Marked Men show. I was absolutely knackered and wasn't happy we had to wait till midnight for the band to come onstage, but they were worth the wait. Check em out, they are awesome.

Next day i left Tim asleep and went to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The weather had changed from dark and stormy, to 92 degrees, sunny, hot and humid, and stayed that way for the rest of the holiday. Really enjoyed the baseball, even though the Cubs lost and i was sitting next to the most miserable old couple in America.

After that, i was treated to a BBQ at one of Tims Chicago friends houses, which made a nice change from being a tourist, and got to hang out with some very groovy people. Even if they did all drink my Anchor Steam!

I Went To Chicago!

ok, so this was meant to be a travel blog, and probably should have written this as I was going along while i was over there. unfortunately i didn't, and although i started writing a massive entry about this holiday, i ended up clicking the wrong button and i lost the whole lot...so instead, heres a brief lowdown of the holiday instead!

arrived after a very early 3.30am start in kingston and 9 hour flight to be greeted with the longest ever immigration queue, a couple of hours later (and after me and tim got interrogated at the desk by the immigration guy), we were in and on our way to Chicago central, and our hotel/apartment that was in the shadow of the Hancock Tower.

First night in and we headed to Delilahs, an awesome punk rock bar. I love these kind of places, and can't work out why they are so rare in the UK. This was a proper punk rock bar - tattooed skinheady bar staff, punk rock DJ behind the bar, cult movies on the TV, dark, dingy. The music was awesome, with the DJ playing everything from well known old punk like X, Gen X, Buzzcocks to things like Poison Idea and old 60s garage punk and rockabilly. We ended up here a few times, meeting up with a few of Tims Chicago mates, and dragging our UK mates that had come along with us.

Second day, and the morning is dark, foggy and cold. The weather in Chicago is mental, and we couldn't keep track of it. By the afternoon, the sun had come out, burnt the fog off and the coats and hoodies were totally redundant. Today we headed to Lincoln Park Zoo which was fab. Saw the usual array of animals - gorillas, penguins, various types of bird, and the highlight which was Spazzbear and her groovy chilled out bear-roomate.

Next, and it was time to drag Tim to my favourite chain "restaurant" and introduce him to Hooters. I'm not gonna apologise for it and don't care what anyone else thinks - Hooters is awesome!

Thursday we had a trip to Wrigleyville, which is where Wrigley Field is situated (as well as a couple of great dive bars and loads of shops). I needed to check this out as i was going to a Cubs game on the saturday so wanted to check where the place was. After a quick stop at The Ginger Man tavern (where we got served by a Lawrence Arms member), we headed over to Kumas Corner and a big meetup with our local UK chums. Kumas is an awesome burger bar. It does the best burgers ever (check out the menu) and was a highlight of our trip. Was just a shame we never managed to get back there before we left. But i do have a nice photo of me and Becki (our waitress) to make up for it!

Friday the weather perked up long enough for me to get up the Hancock Tower and get a good view of Chicago. The afternoon was spent wandering around Chicago city centre, then was time to head to the Cobra Lounge for our first of our replacement Weasel Fest gigs, Danny Vapid and the Cheats. Venue was great - prob took about 300 people, good size stage (so i could see the bands) and the sound was awesome. Had a great night, even though i didn't really know any Vapid stuff - but he put on a great show and everyone seemed to have a blast.

more to follow....