We’ve been to theatre to see Alan Cumming in MacBeth. It was stunning, powerful, and brilliantly acted. We were sat in the front row, at eye level with the actors. The premise is simple enough, Alan Cumming plays a MacBeth gone mad, revisiting the routes of his demise, set in the scene of a 60s psychiatric hospital room. He plays most of the parts himself, with some subtle use of props to help distinguish each role. There are some clever interludes to make it fit within the setting but plaudits must go to Cumming, he was sensational and must be absolutely knackered after each performance.

Whilst I’ll admit the ‘star’ name may be what draws the likes of me to the theatre, when the star can deliver a performance like that it can only be a good thing.

We’ve also been to Manchester. Stayed at the fabulous Velvet Hotel on Canal Street, saw Pearl Jam live, drank far too many cocktails and enjoyed a random wander round the city.

We’ve also been to Edinburgh for a night of debauchery which was, as always, a lot of fun. We are getting out and about a lot more and it certainly helps when you know a good number of people.

I’ve also bought a guitar. An acoustic, to get me started. Much cheaper than a keyboard and something new for me to try and learn. Will see how it goes.

And this coming weekend I’ll be buying a new suit, and NOT GOING OUT AT ALL! Just a quiet weekend for us. Can’t wait.

bookmark_borderPearl Jam, Manchester

And so it was that, 20 years since first hearing a single called Alive by a band named Pearl Jam, that I sat and listened to the opening chords of Release with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

We’ve been through a lot, Pearl Jam and I, more than I probably remember. Almost every song has some meaning, some emotional memory attached and I’ll happily that I was probably a little over-excited to finally be seeing them live!

Setlist was interesting, they change it every night* so you never know what to expect but some of the song choices weren’t MY favourite but that didn’t detract from the fact that this is a well-seasoned rock band doing something they obviously enjoy. No gimmicks are needed, especially when you’ve got someone with a voice like Eddie Vedder, and despite my general loathing of overly guitar wank solos, even when Mike McCready was letting rip it seemed to fit, seemed to be ‘right’ for the song choice.

Pearl Jam have always been that little bit different. They don’t seem hell bent on commerical success and whilst they are very much a rock band, they always seem to have been happy treading a slightly different path, lyrically and musically. My love for word play drew me to them as I listened to Ten, their first album, and I’ve been a pretty faithful fan since then.

They don’t tour in the UK all that often, and I baulked at £90 for a ticket in London a few years back, but this time around it was a must. I’ve heard a lot of their live stuff, largely because they record most of their gigs and release them on their website for fans to buy. That said, you don’t half get value for money, two and a half hours worth of songs which continued even though the house lights had come on! Quite a sight to see a sold out Manchester Arena singing along to Rockin in the Free World (yup, Neil Young cover) and refusing to leave!!

The only downside was finding out that someone who spoke to Eddie before the gig requested a track, got it played and… yeah well it wouldn’t have been my choice of song, and from the less than enthusiastic response I don’t think it was a massive favourite all round!

Regardless, it was an excellent gig by one of my favourite bands, and for once it was great to have my expectations both met and overwhelmed!! Memories of Eddie swigging on a bottle of wine, the opening chords of Just Breathe (as part of Encore 1), a soaring Given To Fly, Pilate (not often played), and the closing encore of Better Man, Come Back, Jeremy, Alive and that stonking cover of Rockin in the Free World, will remain with me for a long time. Hopefully I’ll see the band sooner rather than later though, and if that means a trip to the USA, so be it!

* Setlist from the gig we attended vs setlist from the gig the next night (and yes, I now wish I’d got tickets to the second night!)

bookmark_borderOne step forward

Life continues apace and that suits me just fine.

Still making changes (tweaks) to how I live, replaced cheap TV unit with a better, cleaner, solution (before/after), and I’ve been going through ALL of my belongings to declutter as much as I can.

I’m finding some neat parallels along the way too.

My tastes for interior design are typically minimalist (Oriental/Scandinavian inspired) but I also have a soft spot for quirky ornaments. Marrying the two isn’t always easy but I’m finding the balance.

Elsewhere in my life I’m starting to understand more and more about myself, unearthing and discovering little quirks that have been hidden (needfully) beneath a protective veneer. It helps that I have an understanding and amazing woman to listen to me waffle on.

Of course, that’s all against a backdrop of busy weekends with many nights out, and following the trip to London at the start of the month, we’ve still got Manchester (PEARL JAM BABY!!) and Edinburgh (TG BABY!) to go. I’ve recognised that I may need to recover from all the debauchery so I’ve actually got a calendar entry for the weekend at the of June that says DO NOTHING WEEKEND! (admittedly it also says “Buy a suit” but needs must).

Somehow, amidst the chaos, I’m also losing weight. Steadily, healthily, gradually and on Monday morning I creeped past the 100kg mark (99.9kg). My approach is counter to my usual desires (I’m very goal oriented, and want things to happen immediately) but it’s not been a struggle, and I’m not overly conscious of watching every tiny little thing I eat, in fact I had a DELICIOUS slice of backed New York Cheesecake at the weekend… 😀

The title of this post is a little misleading though as, right now, life is moving forward. We’re levelling up, kicking ass and the word OSSUM is being used frequently.