I’m never sure how to do this, other than: the Charlatans kicking it off with the best ones. That bit of masking tape letting me know the Albion was on course. Run them jewels (fast). King Creosote’s impromptu stand-ins in the Crow’s Nest making everything okay. Mavis Staples taking us there. Ain’t nobody tired. Singing happy birthday to the Dalai Lama. Belle and Sebastian in the Sunday evening sun. Who are you?
Somehow or other, we found ourselves with tickets to see Blur at the Newhampton Arts Centre in Wolverhampton on Saturday. We were two of what can only be described as a handful of people and it was completely sublime (goes without saying) and I may or may not have gone all teen-fan-girly for a moment or more. The only way I can stop myself from reeling off the setlist right now is by letting you know you can find the setlist here. Okay, I think I’m done. Apart from maybe THIS.
how does it feel when life doesn’t seem real
and you’re floating about on your own?
life is uncertain, so you draw the curtain,
pretending there’s nobody home.
Well, we stepped into May in Naples. Also known as the place where: I discovered my new favourite pasta dish (which I’ve vowed to recreate at home, but more on that another day), ate the best arancini and pizza of my life (the best – effortlessly), explored what felt like an extra city of underground tunnels, marvelled at the sublime Museo MADRE, and stayed in the most divine converted gallery space (thanks again, airbnb). It really is a city of superlatives. And that’s without mentioning Pompeii. Here’s some phone snaps.
More retrospect coming up! We visited Copenhagen in February and, when I wasn’t busy being cold or lamenting the fact that I’m not Scandinavian, we loved it. The airbnb apartment we stayed in helped a lot – it was so good being able to make breakfast/coffee, have drinks before heading out in the evening, and generally spend a few days pretending we lived in that sort of flat in that sort of place. Oh, to dream.
I said I’d put a post together with some eat/drink/dos, so here it is. I actually found this pretty hard to pull together – there was a lot of: what was that place? you know, the place down that road? it had a funny letter in the name? you know! when we crossed that bridge and it was really cold and then we stopped for a drink! So the below is by no means comprehensive, but these are some of the things I liked the most – and if you stick to this, you’re also bound to find loads of cool stuff nearby and on your way.
I NEED A DRINK
Needless to say, I did drinking pretty well in Copenhagen. There was one cocktail bar I’ll never be able to remember the name of (if it even had one) (it was near Enghaveparken) (if that’s any help to anyone) where I tasted the most delicious twist on an Espresso Martini. It being so cold meant we always had great reason to nip into anywhere that took our fancy (I was usually drawn in by the lightbulbs), but besides the lost ones, I recommend Dyrehaven and Café Høeg.
Food was our main purpose, for a change. Definitely take the walk (or cycle, if you’re a proper Scandi) out to the Copenhagen Street Food warehouse. We ended up staying here for hours, grazing away all afternoon, drinking perfect G&Ts and watching the dusk settle. Blankets were provided (I needed three). Other than that, we were based in Vesterbro, so we ended up heading to Vesterbros Originale Burgerrestaurant for burgers (great dips) and Neighbourhood for organic pizzas and cocktails (luckily I got my perfect pizza fix here, because we didn’t make it to Bæst). We had a meat feast like no other at Barbie – again, we didn’t get to check out any of its sister restaurants but they all came highly recommended too. And, finally, to the hotdogs! For the street version, check out DØP, or if you fancy a seat and a side of champagne, head to Foderbrættet.
AND THE REST
We stayed in Vesterbro (it won over Nørrebro) and I loved it. It has that un-established vibe that makes you feel like you’re the first one discovering it. Not for much longer, I imagine. It also meant we were able to party our heads off in the Meatpacking District and walk just a few streets home. On that note, I don’t think I can do the Meatpacking District justice. I can’t wait to visit it again in summertime. The club Jolene had been recommended to us, but we discovered the DJ playing 45s in Mesteren & Lærlingen on our way and that was that – I had the obligatory picture with the neon ‘Jolene’ and then Mesteren & Lærlingen stole my heart.
I told you it wouldn’t be comprehensive. And I haven’t even mentioned Jægersborggade, the street in Nørrebro where you’ll find loads of cute shops and the almighty Coffee Collective. Or the gourmet delights to be found in the Torvehellarne food market. Or the hours I spent buying tea-towels in Hay. Or the beautiful parks, beautiful homes, beautiful streets. København – we’ll be back!
P.s. I was useless at taking photos. You can blame the gloves.
And so to last week, when we were lucky enough to see The Staves at Wilton’s Music Hall, Van Morrison at the Royal Albert Hall and Morrissey at – let’s just say – an arena in Birmingham. After it was all over we found ourselves wondering: was there anyone else in the world at the same three gigs as us? Unlikely, we concluded – which feels like something of a privilege.
The Staves were captivating, naturally, and they’re not half bad at picking venues either – Wilton’s Music Hall is a destination in itself. I didn’t expect to be saying that Van was even better than I imagined he’d be – but he was. Sticking out for me are the cover of Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home, a sublime rendition of Into The Mystic, and the peculiar and unacclaimed way he shuffled off the stage, never to return. And Morrissey was Morrissey. He dived straight from The Queen Is Dead into Suedehead like it was nothing and made sure we didn’t leave without a side of meat-is-murder and ban-the-monarchy.
I’d never been to Birmingham before, so it was cool to have the day to do a bit of exploring (even if I did find myself gravitating firmly towards Selfridges in the end) and to have some friends lead us expertly into the Birmingham night after the gig. Could’ve done without the 6.30am fire-alarm wake-up call at the hotel though – though without that, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting the local café owners who revelled in our fate: ‘You won’t be able to get back to sleep now. It just won’t be the same.’