Monday, 29 November 2010

How is the band? Dunno. Gonna watch it later.


I went to see a band this weekend. It's nothing special to do that, I know. But it was the first time in a while for me so it was a real pleasure. I loved the way the bass churned my stomach as I walked into the auditorium. I liked the way the beat made my trouser legs vibrate. I enjoyed hearing the hiss of the smoke machine and being able to turn around to see smiling faces behind me enjoying the music. I even quite liked the sweet and sickly smell of the excited teenage rocker standing next to me. It was all about the experience you see. And even the slightly rancid bodily whiff of a soap dodging music fan is a part of that. That's the point of seeing music live.
So why then, so many iphones held in the air? Why do people spend entire concerts filming the concert? Do they watch it back when they get home? Do they upload it to youtube? What's the point? It's never going to be the same. Compared to being there it'll be awful. You'll never capture the true essence of what it was like to be there. You can never beat having a ticket.


Friday, 26 November 2010

Thank your lucky stars and give them a hug


I love wind farms. I know a lot of people don't but I do. The reason is very simple. It's because they represent a faith in doing things in other ways. They represent smarter ways of making energy without making a big fat mess. They give me hope.

And that's why I took this picture yesterday. It's of the new turbine at Morwenstow on the Cornwall/Devon Border. It's pretty isn't it?

Now I know that lots of people object to wind turbines because they are noisy (allegedly), will make house prices plummet (really? So it's not the economic turmoil that's doing it then?), kill birds by the bucketload (have you seen how big the sky is recently? Birds aren't that stupid) and are an eyesore (compared to...?). Well, whatever. You may even be right. But there's something that everyone should consider before objecting to a wind farm. If you live in an area of unspoilt natural beauty then you should be grateful that they never found coal or diamonds or china clay underneath the place where you live. And you should think about what would happen to your NIMBY paradise if they ever discovered how to get rich on granite or mud or whatever it is your house is built on. You never had to give up your countryside for industry. You never had a slag heap collapse on your school. You never had (excuse the cliche) dark satanic mills.

But you now have the chance to do your bit and give up your wind so that the rest of us can have hope. So say yes to wind farms. Hey, when they are finished with it and have found a more efficent and cleaner soltuion, they'll even take it down. Because it's only temporary. So what do you say? Go on. Go out and give it a hug.

Monday, 22 November 2010

In praise of the silver darlings of the sea


Yesterday was all about local specialities. I began the day with a breakfast of seaweed picked from the local beach. Laver, as it's known, is easy to spot but takes an age to cook - about 4 hours. For that reason it's not top of the list for camper van breakfasts. But it's a local North Devon delicacy so you can't live here without trying it at least once. I have bought it a few times from the local chippy, where they sell it deep fried in batter. I've never been particularly sold on it. Can't think why. So I thought I'd cook it in the traditional Welsh way rolled in oats and cooked in bacon fat. It was really very nice indeed. A bit like you would want a girder to taste if you had to eat girders. Full of iron.

Next up, a trip to Clovelly, a small fishing village a few miles down the road. It's a very beautiful place that now relies on tourism rather than the sea. Despite this massive shift in the village's industrial fortune there are still some devoted souls who work very hard to keep the community and traditions alive. And it's that spirit that took me there yesterday, as they celebrated the 'silver darlings of the sea' at the annual herring festival.

Today, of course, things have changed. The harvest is no longer quite what it was, but those that are caught are landed in a way that will ensure we will be able to enjoy a few cold smoked kippers in the years to come. So there's every reason to take a wander down the quayside to snap up a couple to take home. And, unlike the laver, they only need a few minutes under the grill. Another good reason to keep them on the camper van breakfast menu.

Making dreams come true: another slow road adventure.

When did you last make time to dawdle? Can you remember what it was like to do nothing more than meander, pootle or bumble along? A...