Sunday, 17 February 2008

Despite all my rage I am still just a bat in a cave

Finally, on to this weekend! Very much a curate's egg, or even a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead...  Another photo-heavy one I'm afraid.

Spent Saturday daytime in the company of many lovely knitters, first of all at Knitflicks down at the Ritzy in Brixton. This is a monthly film screening especially for knitters, with the lights kept on low so you can see what you're doing if necessary. I'd never been before, due to unavailability, not being keen on the film or the ongoing weekend engineering works on the Victoria line, but this week fortune smiled upon me and I made it down there. It was really nice, with the low light and the slightly muffled clicking of needles making it much like being round somebody's house to watch a film. For anyone in London, go or they'll stop doing it. The film was Juno, which was very funny with a most excellent soundtrack.

We then headed on to a pub in Hackney to meet more knitters, for one last ktog in honour of Jenny who will soon be headed off for a new job in a far more exotic location than London. Good luck, we'll miss you!

On Saturday evening the boyfriend and I went to see the Smashing Pumpkins down at the O2 Arena (aka the Millennium Dome). We'd been really excited about this, but man, it was disappointing. Our seats were way up on the top level, miles away from the stage, and my view was this:

Which may or may not have been the Pumpkins, I couldn't really tell. The sound quality was about as good as when a hoodie on the tube menaces the whole carriage by playing mp3s on his mobile. There was the inevitable drunken twat sitting next to us, yelling for "old school" (or possibly "skool") songs - thankfully he got bored during the 20 minute prog rock session towards the end of the set (him and half the audience it would seem, judging by the mass exodus from our section). Anyway, it wasn't that bad, the Pumpkins were clearly rocking hard, if you were down in the mosh pit - not that I would really have wanted to be in there, as it swirled like boiling water or an enraged snake. My moshing days are sadly over, and I've only ever crowd surfed once, at Glastonbury, which was fun but never again.

It was a good set, with all my favourites - Tonight Tonight and Ava Adore in particular. It's great that Jimmy Chamberlain is back on the drums as he really does have an incredible sound (and stamina). I was disappointed that they didn't get D'Arcy back though - I always wanted to be her when I was learning to play the bass - but I hear she's still in druggie hell. But I wonder why no Melissa Auf der Maur (definitely on the list of women for whom I'd become a lesbian) instead of D'Arcy like on the last tour?

So we've vowed never to go to another stadium or mega-arena concert, unless we're standing down the front. Not even if Jimi Hendrix comes back from the dead to play the O2. Not even if they resurrected Kurt Cobain and reformed Nirvana. Not even for Leonard Cohen, for whom otherwise I'd crawl across broken glass to prostrate myself at his feet if he'd only talk to me in that voice... ahem. In fact, we agreed that the only thing we'd consider seeing at the O2 would be if they managed to do Jurassic Park in real life, and took it on tour with a T-Rex, because (a) it's really big and (b) up in the gods would be the safest place. So there's your challenge, O2 Arena.

Sunday more than made up for it though. We started out by heading up to Highgate to join a bat roost survey run by the London Bat Group. This was fascinating not least because it was in some disused north London railway tunnels that have been given over to bats. Here were the entrances, behind the old Highgate overground station:

Through the zinc portal:

And into the dark!

We spent about two hours scrambling (quietly) over railway sleepers in the cold, drippy tunnels, looking for hibernating bats in crevices in the walls by torchlight or in our case a night vision scope (we are the cool kids). So much fun! The boyfriend has a photo of a Natterer's bat (Myotis nattereri) hiding in a crack here (tip: it's upside down, the pink bit on the left is its muzzle and the other bit is its ear). We also saw Daubenton's (Myotis daubentonii) and Brown Long-Eared (Plecotus auritus) bats.

Back out into the daylight, we fancied some more animal action so bussed it down to Camden for London Zoo, where we're members. It was springlike outside, with some gorgeous crocuses out already:

But for the poor meerkats, a long way from Africa, it was still decidedly wintery, and they huddled underneath their heat lamps like smokers in an Islington beer garden.

We also went to the butterfly tunnel, where it is always summer. I have a bit of a thing for photographing butterflies, so here are a couple of them who graciously kept still for long enough to focus (I don't know what species they are I'm afraid):

Before leaving, we had to visit our favourite fibre animals, the camelids. Here's the boyfriend communing with his beloved llamas:

And a friendly ginger alpaca, oh if only I'd had a bag big enough to hide it in to steal it.

Finally, an amusing shop front from up in Highgate. Very important topic, the cat AIDS, I'm sure, but not quite what we'd have chosen for a massive yellow sign...

And if Billy Corgan ever reads this, play a smaller venue next time mate, please?


The Sick Chick said...

This is the point where I get puzzled as to whether the quote is different from the song on purpose or not. Hmm.

Anyway, I wanted to ask who you had as your instructor for the spinning course?

Ginger Lucy said...

Hope it makes sense now!

The spinning course was run by Nancy at the Handweaver's Studio in Walthamstow, website for contact details: Hope that helps, and have fun if you go!

Denise said...

you do really fun stuff Lucy!

Anytime I'm on the tube I'm fascinated by those 'closed' stations - places there used to be a stop but due to lack of demand (?) or something they were closed down...e.g. Shoreditch. Trainspotter at heart I suppose...

KnittingJenny said...

Lucy, sorry to hear the Smashing Pumpkins concert wasn't as you had hoped, but hey, knitting beforehand sure was big fun!