Month: June 2015

Digbeth Dining Club – Original Patty Men, Manila Munchies, more Canoodle and Esmie’s

After last week’s tum tickling fabulousness, we decided to head to DDC again on Friday to sample the delights of some food vendors we hadn’t tried before. My husband classes a good burger as right up there in terms of his favourite food items, and the Original Patty Men recently won a UK burger battle challenge which was held in Birmingham, so their wares were on his must try list.

OPM

Obviously lots of other people had the same idea, because when we got there at around 7.15 the queue for their stall was huge. It didn’t look huge, until you got closer and realised they’d put metal barriers out so people were snaking round and round like a queue for the funfair. And then, when you got to the front to place your order, you were given a ticket and had another 10-15 minute wait after that. All in all we waited an hour and 20 minutes to get our mitts on a burger. Although it was payday, so probably more people out than usual, but still.

I had a Bean Bean King – burger topped with pulled pork and spicy beans and cheese.

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I was all up for trying their Krispy Kreme burger (basically a glazed doughnut in place of the bun) but they’d already sold out by the time we were half way through the queue. Other choices seemed fairly tame compared to what I’ve seen on offer before, which was a shame considering they’re known for unusual and innovative toppings.

Was it worth the wait? Well, in my opinion nothing is worth waiting that long for. It was good, it was tasty, it was fresh and juicy and well cooked. The burger bun was sturdy enough to hold the contents and the flavours worked well together. But really, an hour and a half? I’d say Original Patty Men have become a victim of their own success. And obviously that’s not their fault in any way. But queuing for that long on a Friday night (or any night) is just daft. Although the burger was very good.

Husband had a bacon cheeseburger – the bacon being flavoured with maple. And here it is!

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The queue was so long that I used the time as an opportunity to grab something from one of the other stalls. Manila Munchies serve Filipino street food.

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The menu looked good, with 4 different offerings (including one vegetarian). I opted for the pork liempo, which was slow cooked belly pork in spicy sauce served with rice and vegetables.

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Very tasty – the meat was delicious and cooked to perfection, tender and succulent with just the right amount of bite. The vegetables and rice were a great accompaniment. It was a fab starter! (although service was slow; I waited around 10 minutes and there were only 3 people in front of me. You’ll get the picture that I don’t like waiting for food!)

Finally I returned to Canoodle for more tasty goodness following the success of the previous week, this time trying their Sri Lankan pork curry.

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Again the meat was cooked amazingly, and the rice and pickled veg worked perfectly as an accompaniment. Overall the dish was slightly too citrusy for me as it was flavoured with lemongrass (not a favourite of mine) but there was no denying that it was very tasty and well executed (and I ate it all anyway!)

Being on different food wavelengths (as in I’d had three dishes to husband’s two) he wanted one more thing, and decided on Esmie’s.

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The queues for this Caribbean food vendor had been consistently long all night and he was drawn in by the scallops. They were in a tortilla bowl (an edible dish, brilliant!) on a bed of rice with asparagus spears and he also ordered fried plantain.

Plantain

Naturally I had to try it, purely in the interests of research, and it was delish. A few people had been caught out by the hot sauce which they’d smothered all over their meals and then had to counteract with lots of cooling yoghurt sauce, but by exercising caution the kick of the dressing was a delicious accompaniment to the subtle seafood.

Pricewise: burgers were £7 each, Manila Munchies Pork Liempo was £7, Canoodle’s Sri Lankan pork curry was £6.50 and the Caribbean scallops were £7, plus £2 for fried plantain. Not cheap, but certainly good quality and cooked right in front of you.

Marriage equality in America – the best bits

Common sense has prevailed in America. Brilliant.

Brilliant for the couples who can now cement their love for each other when they’ve previously been forbidden.

Brilliant for the couples who will now enjoy equal rights around insurance, welfare and health in relation to their partners.

Brilliant that a few rogue states with delusions of power have been firmly put in their place and over ruled.

Brilliant that the Whitehouse was bathed in multi-coloured lights to celebrate such a momentous decision.

Rainbow Whitehouse marriage equality

Rainbow Whitehouse marriage equality

Rainbow Whitehouse marriage equality

Brilliant that Niagra Falls followed suit.

Niagra Falls same sex marriage

Brilliant that President Obama tweeted about it.

President Obama Twitter

Brilliant that Twitter had a hashtag with a rainbow heart.

Twitter rainbow heart

Brilliant that Facebook had an app to change your profile picture to a rainbow version.

Facebook rainbow profile picture

Some great stories about bigoted pastors who vowed to set themselves on fire if same sex marriage became legal…

…who then furiously backpeddled because he didn’t really mean it (roll eyes).

Americans who planned to move to Canada if the law changed (Canada legalised same sex marriage in 2005)

But this story here, with pictures, sums up what it’s all about – marriages that took place immediately after the ruling that would have previously been impossible.

Who can deny love like this?

Jack Evans, 84, left, and George Harris, 82, right, show their marriage license after being the first couple to receive it from the Dallas County Clerk Friday, June 26, 2015, in Dallas. Evans and Harris, who have been together for 54 years were the first couple married after having their license issued. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Jack Evans, 84, left, and George Harris, 82, right, show their marriage license after being the first couple to receive it from the Dallas County Clerk Friday, June 26, 2015, in Dallas. Evans and Harris, who have been together for 54 years were the first couple married after having their license issued. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Jaque Roberts,  left, and her partner of 31 years, Carmelita Cabello, right,  show off their marriage license at the Travis County building after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that  same-sex couples have the right to marry nationwide, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The court's 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Jaque Roberts, left, and her partner of 31 years, Carmelita Cabello, right, show off their marriage license at the Travis County building after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry nationwide, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. The court’s 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Of course the fact that a decision got made by 9 individuals in the Supreme Court is ridiculous. But that’s a whole other story. Had the decision gone the other way then I’d have been more vocal about the process.

All that matters is that love wins.

Summer workwear – a variation on a theme

I’ve been a bit predictable / unimaginative with my work outfits for the last few days. I find dresses so easy to wear in summer – one item to throw on, no colour matching, no waistbands which can be uncomfortable and hot when sitting at a desk all day. All of these dresses are from Matalan, from last year, and all of them are crepe – the easiest fabric in the world to own. Lightweight and crease free, they dry mega quickly and don’t need ironing. I’d have a whole wardrobe full of crepe clothing if I could!

Pink dress – Matalan
Snakeskin and feather sandals – not sure, maybe ebay? Love these, they have 3 ankle straps covered in purple jewel chips and small feathers, and a tiny wedge heel
Jewellery: Turquoise colour ring – Primark, turquoise colour cuff – gift, silver swirl ring – Camden (present from husband on a day out)
Tortoiseshell sunglasses – Primark
Chunky coin necklace – ebay

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Snakeskin feather sandals

Snakeskin feather sandals

Silver turquoise jewellery

Boho jewellery

Floral dress – Matalan
Red pointy ankle strap flats – Matalan
Multiple rings – H&M, Birmingham rag market, Primark
Round sunglasses – Primark
Freshwater pearls – Mauritius (present from husband when we got married, bought on the beach from a local fisherman)

Summer workwear

Red pointy flats

Summer floral dress

Summer workwear

Freshwater pearls

Blue dress – Matalan
Tan gladiator sandals – independent shoe shop
Brown iridescent glass beads – H&M
Turquoise colour ring – as before (Primark) / amber ring – gift from Mother-in-Law

Blue dress

H&M glass beads

Turquoise and amber jewelery

What’s everyone else wearing for summer?

Red lips, fingertips (a lipstick and nail varnish post)

In honour of the immortal line in Girls Girls Girls by Motley Crue (because I have bought tickets for their last EVER tour), and also because it’s a combination I’ve worn a lot recently, here’s a post about my favourite red lipstick and red nail polish.

I mentioned a couple of weeks back how dry my lips get and how I’ve been using Nivea lip balms to great effect. Because my lips were in good shape I wanted to venture into red lipstick territory again. It’s such a bold and in your face look and I love to see it on other people. I haven’t used lipstick for ages, mainly due to longevity issues (it wears off so quickly!), so instead have used lipstains (literally like a red felt tip pen) or coloured lip balms (which give a sheer coverage) – neither of which give me the texture and colour I was looking for.

Because I didn’t want to waste oodles of money on yet another lipstick that will sit in the drawer unused, I went in at the very low end – Natural Collection Moisture Shine by Boots in Crimson, just £1.99.

Boots Natural Collection lipstick Crimson Boots Natural Collection lipstick Crimson

I didn’t have high expectations for the colour or the texture, because I find lipsticks very drying and thought I wouldn’t wear it much. But I’ve been amazed! I wore it constantly over Download weekend from Friday to Sunday and my lips were in great condition – despite being subjected to wind, rain and sunshine. What’s more, I didn’t really need to re-apply it very often, in spite of pretty much constant drinking and eating throughout the day.

Boots Natural Collection lipstick Crimson

It’s very creamy to apply, glides on the lips, and doesn’t feel claggy or drying when it’s on. It retains enough glide to be able to rub your lips together comfortably and is a vibrant bright orange tinted red.

Boots Natural Collection lipstick Crimson

Boots Natural Collection lipstick Crimson

I’d be mega impressed with this even if it was high end (not that I buy high end, tight madam that I am!) But for the price it’s unbelievable. It also means I won’t have to cry if when I lose it, which I invariably will.

On the fingertips (and toes) front I very rarely move away from red. It’s just so easy and fun to wear, goes with pretty much everything, and is a classic. My favourite red (indeed the only red I use now) is Nails Inc. St James. It was a freebie with a magazine and is my go to nail colour. Vibrant and bright, you can (just about) get away with one coat and it dries pretty quickly (a bonus for me, because I usually quickly paint my nails on my way out of the door or even in the taxi, shock horror!).

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I’m pretty slovenly with nail varnish, and am usually sporting some variation of chipped/worn off colour on the occasion I don’t have bare nails, but I do find the longevity on this Nails Inc one is pretty good and the brush is a good size for applying.

I did, however, realise just how many nail varnishes I have when I was packing for Download (I was looking for something a bit different, but ended up with…red). Maybe I’ll dig some out and mix it up a bit!

Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

I thought I’d post some topical pictures (as topical as they can be, when they’re about a subject matter that’s millions of years old!) But with Jurassic World being released at the cinema (which, incidentally, I’ve been told is rubbish) it reminded me of my brief but interesting visit to the Natural History Museum.

A couple of months back I had a meeting in London which finished waaaay earlier than expected, but I’d got a pre-booked cheap return train ticket so I had some time to kill.

Embarrassingly, I’ve never actually been to the Natural History Museum. So I decided to poke my head in and have a quick look at the dinosaur exhibition.

My initial surprise was just how fabulous the building is. Wow!

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I love decoration for decoration’s sake. Look at the detail on those pillars around the entrance.

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Of course the big thing as you enter the Natural History Museum and what I really wanted to see is the model of Diplodocus. So big I could barely fit it all on one photo!

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Absolutely amazing and well worth dropping in for that alone.

Look at the size of its feet.

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The inside of the main entrance hall is a huge cavernous space, bathed in light from the big windows. Such a fabulous building.

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The dinosaur exhibit is free, and I imagine will be getting a whole load of visitors following the release of the film. Plus, with summer holidays coming, it’s a great place to entertain and educate the kids.

I’m slightly child phobic (the noise that they make, especially as a collective, goes right through me) and, despite it being after the Easter holidays, there was quite a large number of them there with parents and schools. Time constraints were therefore not the only reason my visit wasn’t of the lingering variety! I did get to see some cool stuff and snap some pics though.

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Some days I feel like I’m having a T-Rex growth spurt!

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There was a life size moving model that was rather atmospheric.

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And so my brief but box ticking visit was over. Short but good!

Why don’t more women get more tattoos?

This is a ponder, rather than requiring a definitive answer.

When I was out last Friday I saw a girl, with long sandy wavy hair, tanned, pretty, wearing a maxi dress and sleeveless denim gilet. When she turned around, I was shocked that she had a full sleeve. Not shocked in an “oh my god, that’s disgusting” kind of way. But she didn’t look the type.

Daft huh?

I mean, what does “the type” look like anyway?

On the same night, my husband took this photograph of me.

Tattooed back

It’s not often I see how many tattoos I actually have (I mean obviously I know how many I have, because I commissioned all of them, but because of their position and me not being able to do an exorcist style headspin I don’t get to see them all). And I wondered how many people had the same thought about me? Were they surprised? Did they do a double take? Did they think that I was purposely trying to show them off with the top I was wearing? (that isn’t why I bought it, by the way, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the effect).

If the girl I mentioned had been a boy, I wouldn’t have taken any notice at all.

I know a lot of it is down to pop culture. David Beckham is heavily tattooed and has made the look very much mainstream. Sure, there are people who are vocal about not liking his look, but in the main he’s classed as a handsome man with a fantastic career behind him, a sporting hero and a real family man (apart from the old Rebecca Loos phase). ASOS use many (in fact, mainly) tattooed models in their male section. Sports (I use that term lightly) like UFC, where men are pretty naked as they fight, showcase tattooed bodies. And, let’s face it, tattoos on blokes are now pretty “trendy”.

Name a heavily tattooed woman? You probably can’t. The first one that comes to my mind (excluding actual tattoo artists) is Jodie Marsh, and she’s not exactly someone to aspire to based on her past (can you say judgemental?!). Yes there are women who have tattoos (Angelina Jolie, for example) but not many of them, and certainly none with much coverage.

Maybe part of it comes down to clothing differences between genders. If a man is going to an event, or to work, where he may not want to show his tattoos for whatever reason, then he can easily cover up in a long sleeved shirt and trousers. If a woman is going to an event then it’s much more difficult. And while I have blogged before about my own appreciation of a glamorous woman with tattoos on show, I can’t say I would dress like that for a work function.

If I had a different life I would look different. I’d certainly like a half sleeve. I’d like finger tattoos. I’d like to look like any one of these cool ladies.

Tattooed woman

Tattooed women

Tattooed woman

But fear of judgement stops me in my current life. Because, despite equality and feminism and all the other great steps that womankind has supposedly made, I still believe that women with tattoos are judged negatively by many.

And that is why I think more women don’t get a lot of tattoos.

But to those that do? You’re awesome!

Digbeth Dining Club – Low ‘n’ Slow and Canoodle review

On Friday evening we made a last minute decision to head to Digbeth Dining Club for food and drinks. It’s been a couple of months since we were last there and there were some vendors we hadn’t tried before, so off we popped into the sunshine armed with hungry tummies!

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Low ‘n’ Slow’s offerings are all based around slow cooked barbecue meat. Brisket cooked for 24 hours, baby back ribs, the most tender pulled pork – this guy knows his meat. He’s also made “baconaise” a thing – triple oak smoked bacon mayonnaise which is used as a dressing on burgers. I mean, I don’t even like mayonnaise, but I would bathe in that stuff.

We headed straight to the Low ‘n’ Slow area and ordered. Husband went for a chilli beef brisket burger; I tried to get a picture but he was too quick for me. Judging from the looks on his face and the yummy noises he was making, it was very good! (he confirmed as much afterwards).

I ordered pig cheek tacos.

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Delish! Tender juicy smoked meat with spicy sauce and fresh tomatoes, served up on fresh soft tacos. I’ve never had pig cheek before but I’d definitely have it again. Such a lovely texture, a firmness that melts in the mouth, and a sweetness from the dressing.

Next stop was Canoodle. Their pan Asian menu was one of the reasons I wanted to go on Friday night. Unable to decide what I wanted, I coerced husband into having one thing and me having another so I got the best of both worlds! He ordered Malaysian Beef Rendang with soured mango, and I had Chilli Pepper Squid with Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Both dishes were served with steamed jasmine rice and pickled vegetables. The rice alone was fragrant and delicious, I’d have eaten a plate of it with no sauce! We both expressed concern about the pickled vegetables before we tried them, but their sharp crunch were a perfect foil to the spicy falvours of both dishes.

Malaysian Beef Rendang was a delight – thick rich sauce with tender chunks of beef; loads of meat and really really tasty.

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Chilli Pepper Squid was amazing. The thickest most succulent pieces of squid I’ve ever seen (or eaten) in a light batter, with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. Squid can be very hit and miss, and if not cooked well can resemble tyre rubber, but this was a joy.

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And then, something terrible happened. We were both full up! No room for even another dish between us. Gutted! I had hoped to have a burrito from Habanero Café, and then also spotted a new vendor – La Grande Viande – who had the most tantalising sounding lamb dishes, but stomach said no.

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Also on site were Spectacular Goat pizzas and Delizie Italiane.

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Only one thing for it – go back again soon. How terrible for us!

Self criticism – perception vs. reality

Yesterday at work we were brainstorming some video ideas to promote our company, and looking at lots of different styles.

This one was played to us. I’ve never seen it before. Seriously, take 3 minutes out of your day to watch it. It’s beautiful, and eye opening.

I mentioned in my previous post about my blogging experiences how personal Twitter use has made me critical of myself. I’ve blogged about hating my hair. I look at photographs of myself and immediately pick up on the bad bits – I don’t like my nose, my face looks round. There’s always something not to like.

When I was in my teens and early 20s, I was so desperate for a boob job. I’d belittle my own appearance in front of people with the intention of them thinking I didn’t care if they thought I had small boobs. I wanted to get in there first, before they did, so they couldn’t hurt me. I was convinced that my life would be that bit better if I had breast enlargement surgery. When I first got together with my husband, who I’d been friends with for 2 years, he asked me why I was so critical of my chest (his actual words were “I was really relieved when I saw them, because the way you go on I was expecting two saggy half inflated balloons” – gee, thanks!) His reality of me was very different to my own.

I’d like to lose a bit of weight and be a bit more toned. But in truth I like food and hate exercise too much to ever look that way. And that’s a lifestyle choice. I can’t then complain when my jeans feel too tight and I’m not a consistent size 10 anymore.

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Yet other people perceive me as slim, doing a big roll of the eyes when I mention wanting to lose weight. Again, their reality of me is different to my own.

I’m not entirely sure of the point of this post. I know it won’t change things, not for me anyway. I’ll still be self critical. Maybe that’s a human nature thing – to put ourselves down. Is it for fear of being accused of being conceited? In case someone questions our self confidence and tells us we’re not “all that”? Women especially often struggle to accept a compliment, or will counteract one with “thanks, but have you seen my thighs/wrinkles/double chin”.

Maybe we should try and be less critical. It’s nice to make the most of yourself, and important to be happy, but our body is the vessel which enables our minds to live. Hating it will only stifle our enjoyment of life over things that we often can’t change and – in the grand scheme of things – don’t really matter.

Deprived of Dave and the Foos Crew

So the Foo Fighters have cancelled the rest of their European tour, including Saturday’s Wembley gig which I have tickets for. I kind of have mixed feelings. Obviously I’m gutted not to be seeing them – it was going to be a great day out, hopefully in the sun, with friends. The support acts of Iggy Pop and Royal Blood were bands I was really looking forward to seeing (having never seen either before). I’ve never been to a gig at Wembley, and the only time I’ve ever seen the Foos I was up in the gods at the O2 arena – literally 2 rows from the very very back, so I was looking forward to getting more up close and personal. BUT Dave Grohl is a performer, a rockstar, and delivering a set from the confines of a wheelchair just isn’t him. He wouldn’t be enjoying it, the crowd wouldn’t enjoy it as much (despite what people are saying) and the band wouldn’t have that same interaction. Plus, Dave’s future health and wellbeing has to be priority. No point struggling on and doing himself more damage.

I think that cancelling all of the UK dates is the right thing to do. He couldn’t pick and choose one or two.

Being as I currently still feel rough post-Download (whether I actually have a touch of illness or the worst hangover ever isn’t clear, although lack of appetite suggests the former, as I’m usually ALWAYS hungry!) it’s not the end of the world for me (remind me of that on Saturday!). The thought of a lie in at the weekend is all that’s keeping me going, and it also means I get to spend Father’s Day on Sunday with my Dad. Financially I could do without the spends, as Download was very expensive. At least I’m not out of pocket. The hotel we had booked has a 24 hour cancellation fee, and a friend of ours was driving, so no train tickets booked. I might have had a very different opinion if it was going to cost me money!

I’m sure the dates will be rearranged, rather than completely cancelled, and I can only hope that the support acts can still support, and it’s still a Saturday and I can still make it. We’ll see what happens. Perhaps I was optimistic thinking I could do two weekends in a row. I’ll be even more excited by the time they do reschedule!

Meanwhile I have a sneaking suspicion that Foos will headline Download next year (and I may have already booked a hotel, because I had so much fun this year!)

Yet again proving himself to be the nicest man in rock, here was Dave’s message to the fans (accessed by clicking on the “broken heart” on a picture of Operation).

Dave Grohl cancels Foos tour

“Hey everyone….

Your old pal, Dave here. Been a while, eh? It’s been one hell of a year, that’s for sure. Looks like we’ve got some serious catching up to do! Hmmm, let’s see…..where do I begin?

Drumroll, please….

The funniest thing happened to me the other day in Sweden!

Two songs into our set at Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, I made a mad dash to the right of the stage during MONKEY WRENCH to shred some tasty licks for the kids up front. It was a beautiful night, beautiful stadium, 52,000 screaming people….dream gig! Well….wait for it….I definitely shredded something (ZING!) Wound up feet first over the Edge (pun intended), dropping about 12 feet, dislocating my ankle and snapping my fibula like an old pair of take out chopsticks. Whoopsie daisy. Not good. Without realizing the extent of my injuries, I stood up to get back onstage and crumbled like a sack of Joe Theismanns (look it up, kiddies). That shit was B-R-O-K-E.

As I lay there on my back, I just thought, “Are you kidding me? We haven’t even gotten to the screamy bit of the song and the gig is fucking OVER?” So, I asked for a microphone and told the audience I’d get fixed up and come right back to finish the show ASAP. Shock? Probably. But, I couldn’t stand the thought of such a perfect night going to waste! I looked at our drummer Taylor and said, “Bust out some Chevy Metal covers while they fix me up!” So, as the band kicked in to “Stay With Me” by The Faces, the medics poured me onto a stretcher, took me off to the side, cut my favorite pants off (so bummed) and popped my ankle back into place. I asked if I could get back onstage to finish the show, but they said I needed a cast (which was 20 minutes away at the hospital) to hold my ankle in place. So I looked my EMT, Johan in the eyes and said “Well, then you’re coming up there with me right now and holding it in place until they can bring the cast here. Ready?” He stared at me wide-eyed for a second and said, “OK, lets’ go…”

I don’t know who was more scared, me or Johan. 5 minutes later, I don’t know who was having more fun, me or Johan. (I actually looked at him in between songs and said “This is pretty fun, isn’t it?” He smiled and nodded yes.)

Like clockwork, the cast arrived, I walked offstage for a song or two as they put it on me, and then came back to finish the gig. Let’s just say that singing our song “Walk” with a straight face was pretty goddamned hard. “These Days” was a good one, too. (Easy for you to say! Your leg has never been broken!) All in all, it was without a doubt the single most bizarre Foo Fighters show in the entire 20 years of being a band. Hands down. What seemed like a tragedy at first turned into a triumph, and we all walked away with a new sense of appreciation for what we’ve got…

Straight to the hospital for x-rays, where we finally saw the extent of the damage. That’s when things got really real. I was told I needed surgery to fix the break. I decided to fly back to London and find a doctor that could see me ASAP. (Thanks for the recommendation, Paul!) An MRI and a few x-rays later, we set a date and prepared for the operation.

Operation went well. Had a great team and nice stay in hospital. Good curry, too! Thank you to everyone involved.

So….here I am, recovering with 6 metal screws in my leg, thinking about a lifetime of holding up TSA lines from here to Kalamazoo….damn.

Here’s the not so witty bit…….My doctors have advised me to lay low for a while. The most important thing now is for me to recover from the surgery, to keep my leg elevated so as to keep swelling down and prevent any infection/complication that could do long term damage. I’m not out of the woods yet, folks…

Which means, and it kills me to say it…..the doctors have told us to cancel shows. I’m really so sorry, guys. You know I hate to do it, but I’m afraid it’s just not physically possible for me at the moment. We’re doing our best right now to work out a plan, so bear with us. You know we’re good for our word. But for now, I need to make sure we have YEARS of gigs ahead of us….

You have always stood by our band, and we will always stand by you. Like I say at every show, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys. And I mean that. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I will do everything I can to come back and give you a night to remember for the rest of your lives AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Until then…my sincerest apologies.

Your friend, Dave”

You can’t be mad about that. Well, you can, but a) it would be pointless, and b) he’s hardly done it on purpose!

Let’s have some cool pics of Dave and the band to finish off with.

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Foo-Fighters-Logo

I say “GET WELL DAVE!”

Download festival (in the rain)

My worst fear about going to a festival is rain. And mud. And basically all of the associated icky, cold, not fun, wet parts of bad weather. It’s hard to get excited about anything in the rain.

Last year at Download it was glorious. Which made sitting around, watching bands, having drinks and chilling out on the grass all lovely and nice and how summer should be.

This year I was determined to remain optimistic in the face of adversity – despite all of the weather reports that were saying otherwise, I was sure it wouldn’t rain. At most it might be cool and, even if there were showers, it had been so dry in the lead up that the rain would just drain away.

Wrong. The heavens opened on Friday night like someone had turned a tap on. It bucketed down! And by Saturday the whole of Download was churned up into a big squelchy muddy field.

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I learnt some stuff this weekend. I learnt that wellies are much more comfortable than I ever remembered (I haven’t had any since I was about 8). I also learnt that it’s kind of fun splashing around in puddles when you know you’re protected. I learnt that paying £100 extra for a guest area pass is most definitely worth it if you want to sit down under cover and not queue ages for a stinky muddy toilet (although I seriously hope the drinking water and toilet water came from separate sources!)

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The lesson that jagerbombs and Sambuca shots will lead to a whole body hangover that lasts almost as long as the festival was a harder one to handle.

Jagerbombs

Most of all, I had fun. The kind of fun that makes your sides hurt with laughter. The kind of fun that you only truly have when everyone is on the same wavelength. Daft fun, sing-a-long fun, screaming til you start to lose your voice fun.

Me at Download

I didn’t see as many bands as I expected to, which was partly due to the weather (we had to abandon Judas Priest and missed all of Slipknot on Friday) but also partly because Download is about more than that. It’s about catching up with friends, hanging out, talking crap and soaking up life. Also because it was always mainly about the Sunday line up, for us, and we knew that’s when we would find a spot and barely move.

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Friday started off badly due to poor organisation – collecting our wristbands took 2 hours this year, when last year it had only taken 10 minutes. The set up just wasn’t equipped to deal with the number of people and the process (the festival organisers had introduced a cashless system this year which meant that each wristband had to be uploaded with the pre-paid cash on arrival and there was one person at one computer doing it). We missed a couple of bands as a result just catching the end of Lacuna Coil.

Marilyn Manson on Saturday was as weirdly brilliant as ever (although I’m hearing conflicting stories that he was terrible, so maybe I was really drunk!)

Our Sunday started with Backyard Babies on Stage 2 – kicking off with their new song and delivering a corking set. Billy Idol was brilliant (and looking fab; my childhood crush doesn’t abate!) Slash with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators was as cool as expected (throwing in a couple of GnR classics too – brilliant!) Motley Crue delivered the goods more so than expected considering the car crash from Sweden Rocks the week before and the stage show and pyro made up for Vince’s missing vocals.

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Kiss were a blast of noise and fire and make up and everything you would expect – sounding and looking great.

What I will say for Download is that it’s an incredibly friendly festival. No attitude, no trouble – just like minded people with no alternative agenda enjoying themselves and throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the action. And fair play to the organisers for having a shedload of hay on hand to try and make up for the mud – it certainly helped! In spite of the fact I originally said I wouldn’t be going next year, there’s a very real chance that in 365 days I’ll be rounding up my 2016 highlights – hopefully with less hangover.