26 June 2007

Proud to be British, but you can keep the weather

I just finished watching the Henman opening Wimbledon match. Add to the the Glastonbury footage that I saw over the weekend and I was feeling quite patriotic so thought I'd waffle on here for a bit.

I'm not a big tennis fan, yes I enjoy playing the odd game myself but I hardly ever watch it on telly. Except for Wimbledon. I remember growing up going through all those horrible school exams using Wimbledon as revision avoidance. I love the British optimism that one day there will be a male Brit champion. Tennis optimism is not like football optimism. Football fans genuinely believe England could win the World Cup and would analyse to death the results/form/tactics/mistakes etc. Tennis fans just seem to cheer along even when there is no hope!

Wimbledon also marks the start of the great British Summer. The May bank holidays seem to kick it off and then it'll rain a bit during Wimbledon but it still will make me want to get out more.

I don't think I would be able to raise a tennis racquet today though as I went cable tow wakeboarding at the weekend and am now suffering from it. Arms, legs and stomach all kill. Another sign that I need to get out more.

Previous wakeboarding attempts, both behind a boat and on a cable tow, have left me a little disappointed with the sport. Once you get over the initial barrier of standing up, then it's relatively easy to carve back and forth. That gets a little boring for me after a while so I start to want to mess around a bit more - jump about and the like. Naturally this immediately ends in a wipeout.

A faceplant on a snowboard, kayak or bike normally only requires a dusting off and your able to get right back on it. Not so on a wakeboard, you've gotta wait for the boat to come back and pick you up or swim to the edge. That has got on my nerves before.

That was not the case on Saturday, I had a great time. I was up on my feet on the second attempt and making it around all the corners on my third. I was even riding switch with a few wobbles and tried my hand at jumping. Before the end of the day I had nailed a frontside 180 off the heel edge - surely that must have a better name?! Not down with my wakeboarding lingo ;-)

I was pretty stoked with that and made it my mission that evening to celebrate. Ending up in a nightclub called Odeon - I'm guessing where there used to be a cinema. After a slow start the closing DJ came on and was the best I have heard in Amsterdam so far. Laidback Luke is his name and by the looks of his website, he's been around so check him out if you get the chance. He played a mix of Daft Punks Around the World, whilst the VJ also projected parts of the same music video got me grooving in my usual chaotic style. He didn't need to drop Technologic or Rock 'n Roll later on - I was sold! Seems that quite a few clubs here have the VJ thing going on - is that on the increase back in the UK too?

The good thing about a night out in Amsterdam now is that you don't need your bike lights anymore. You can still head out at 10pm and wobble home at 6am in daylight!!!

Well bedtime now but one last thing to say is that I won't post for a while cos Emma is over again for a long weekend with Kate and Dale. Chemical Brothers, Themeparks or surfing again are all on the todo list. No doubt with some good stories to tell here if last time they were both her is anything to go by. Toodlepip...

23 June 2007

Get in there and get yerself a nosebleed

Last weekend just gone was a nice long one for me back in blighty. I was home to see Emma and we had an adventurous one planned but the rain called off half our plan which included the York Races :-(

I flew home Thursday night and for the first time my flight was delayed was delayed :-( At least I made it though as some flights were cancelled. Schipol was not allowing plans to land because of the rain! Which was the story for the weekend really.

Friday I joined Emma and her house mates to go and see The White Stripes amongst other at the O2 Wireless Festival near Leeds. It was pissing it down for most of the day so we spent most of the time in the smaller stage which was a tent. Once enough cheap nasty lager and smuggled in Vodka was consumer we were brave enough to venture outside. After The Thrills we spun on a few whirly rides at the fairground then headed to the main stage for the Queens of the Stone Age.

They were pretty good and the crowd were well up for it. We made headway to near the front and started jumping. There was a crowd of guys really going for it a few rows in front of us. That few rows soon became none and we were right on the edge of the pogo nutters.

Queens of the Stone AgeFeel Good Hit of the Summer

I thought I was doing a stirling job of jumping into and fending off any guys that were content at jumping into Emma and Jaks. Until the "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer" song came on and the heavens opened to an absolute downpour. The crowd went crazy and it was awesome. That was until I met some of the mad guys that I guess had seen me pushing anyone away that was going a little too mad. They grabbed me and one guy said "Get in there and get yerself a nosebleed" !!! And that was it there stuffed me right into the thick of it.

Had I not been with Emma, I probably would've got stuck in and ended up with a nosebleed. But I thought it was wise to bounce my way through to the other side of the carnage and find my way back to everyone else. Little did I know, that Emma and Jaks had already escape and I was left on my own in the crowd waiting for The White Stripes to come on.

I had no phone and thought it was best to stay where we were last together. My new stripy hat came to the rescue and was spotted by the girls and we all enjoyed the fantastic White Stripes together followed by the largest hotdog in the world ever part III waiting for the taxi. Class :-)

That may sound pretty rough but it was in great spirits and I loved it. So I am quite jealous of those at Glastonbury this weekend but then again have you seen the weather?!

22 June 2007

Jenkins Stag Do

So the weekend before last was the last weekend of freedom for ex Winchester buddy of mine the mighty Gareth Jenkins. (Although it probably felt less like freedom and more like punishment to him!).

The weekend began quietly with those flying in to East Midlands airport from all corners of the UK (and NL) too late on the Friday to hit the town so a few cheeky ones were consumed at Jenkins Leicester pad - tons of furniture!!!

Best man Rian, dished out the T'shirts and the few cheeky ones turned into plenty especially when Stu produced a bottle of Goldschläger!

Then it went downhill with some lung (and heart) busting "I love me mates" singing.

I think that was just to escape from further drinks. Never fear, we made sure the stag got what he deserved and inevitably it ended in tears.

Up and at 'em the next day Jenkins put in a top effort to be alive and kicking for the Go Karting. In 3 teams of 3 and 4 we competed against 2 other large groups in a Le Mans style 2 hour race. Le Mans style as in constant racing for 2 hours with pit changes. The race even started with a running Le Mans start.

Although taking the number 1 team number, Jenkins blurry state meant his team never made it onto the score board!

Unlike the rest of us who took 1st and 3rd with also the fastest lap time - I'll claim that one ;-)

The afternoon was spent drinking Weissbeer beer in the glorious German Festival sunshine. We wore our T'shirts proud and so too did Jenkins wear his Oxfam dress. So proud that he even went to change his shoes to find a better matching pair?! Beeeeeep Gaydar alert!

The day soon quickly became night were curry was wolfed, glad rags replaced and the challenges commenced.

All the photos from the weekend are on my Flickr account and can be view in slideshow format by clicking here

Cheers G - I'm looking forward to the wedding :-)

18 June 2007

Give the Po' man a break

No not the song by Fatboy Slim but we have a man down in Whistler. Jimbob is currently out of action with a busted leg.

To quote Number 2 from Austin Powers - He is "very badly burnt" but I've spoken to him on the phone and "he is still alive down there". He's gotta be pretty gutted at the mo as he'd just bought a new bike and I imagine was really looking forward to spending the summer biking down the world famous tracks of Whistler.

I'm sure the nice Canadian nurses will be able to fix it for him better than Jim himself

STOP PRESS - I wrote the above in draft form a while back and not to be out done, Alex has also joined the man down frontier. No leg injury but his back instead - a fractured lower vertebra. That does sound serious but he's also up and about hobbling around so hopefully the both of them will be back on the bikes before the end of the summer.

It's not surprising Alex is down and out, his accident sounded like the reversal of this outstanding display of biking ability in Les Gets during the summer of 2004 ->

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13 June 2007

Missing getting wet

The weekend just gone I witnessed the ritual ruining of Jenkins for his stag do. But before I humiliate him here I will allow him some time to bribe me by putting some photos up of the previous weekend.

I was missing the kayaking and I went for my first trip of the year to DWD. It was a glorious day and I was surprised to find I was the only kayaker there. There were hundreds of inflatable craft to dodge though so I took a few snaps of them. I hope the management soon wake up to the fact that if they drop their prices then the place would be swarming with kayakers handing out their dosh.

It was definitely a wake up call for me paddling wise. I was knackered instantly and my favourite wave there had gone - I guess because only 3 pumps were working as opposed to the 4 when I ran it previous. I didn't have the bottle to get munched in the main hole straight away either. It's about the size of a nasty level looping pool at HPP. When I finally went in there I went straight for a cartwheel and immediately found the bottom - "I'll pass on a loop then thanks". After a few kickings I'd had enough of that hole and proceeded to try and nail a micro eddy I had spotted. Think I should grow a beard and get a Dancer :-(

Flickr has released a new version of it's slideshow so click here to see my photos. Let me know what you think of the new format, whether it is better than embedding a smaller slideshow and keep an eye out for the bouncy castle style volleyball court!

03 June 2007

Exploding Panthers

Yeah yeah, I know I have been slack at updating Whereismal in a while but I've been spending too much time in front of my new computer as it is without having to spend more time updating this! But that's not to say I haven't been busy...

Last Monday was also a Bank Holiday here in the Netherlands and I spent the day at the Pinkpop festival. A 3 day festival in the south east corner of the Netherlands. The line up on Sunday was also good but I only got a Monday ticket. However, a couple of my friends went for the whole weekend. To be honest tho. I'm glad I didn't go for the whole weekend cos there was a touch of rain.

I saw the following sign when I queued up to get through security and it made me laugh. My initial thoughts were "Wow this is going to be an awesome festival if people crowd surf the entrance gates!!!"

But alas, there was a lot less carnage than that image portrayed :-( For starters the main stage had a double barrier system to prevent crushing. But it was stupid - there was a huge queue to get in the front area and then when you were in there it was full of people complaining of being crowded. DON'T STAND THERE THEN!!!

Then cos there was not that many acts, once one band finished on the main stage, there was a mass exodus of people to the other 2 stages. Crowd control was daft - there should've been more overlap then everyone would not all be moving at the same time.

But enough winging, I did have a good time even in the rain. The bands I saw full sets of were The Fratellis, The Magic Numbers, Wolfmother, Artic Monkeys and The Kooks. Fratellis and Artic Monkeys were both the same really, took quite a while to get going but when they got there they were pretty good. The crowd enjoyed them too and everyone was humming the Chelsea Dagger theme waiting for the Fratellis to come on and were disappointed when the Artic Monkeys had to come off the stage for Linkin Park. The Magic Numbers again put on a great crowd pleasing show - they are good at interacting with the crowd.

Wolfmother was a surprise for me as I had never heard any of their work before - he's quite a character with a great unique voice. I will be finding some of his work at some point. The Kooks were probably the best tho. Again took a little while to get going but as they were the last band on that particular stage, they were able to keep going as the crowd kept cheering. No band following them so no need to get kicked off stage.

I also caught bits of The Dave Matthews Band, Scissor Sisters, Linkin Park and the closing ceremony of Smashing Pumpkins. I say bits of cos there was nothing there worth staying a long time for! I mean who chose the Smashing Pumpkins to close?!

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