New Year 2006/2007 in London

London Travel Blog

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After spending Christmas on my own (which was fine), I decided to do something on New Year´s Eve and not being alone.
As me being a lucky person very often in my life, it was to become a very special New Year!

Nachdem ich Weihnachten allein verbracht hatte (was ok war), hatte ich beschlossen, etwas an Sylvester zu unternehmen und nicht einsam zu sein.
Und da ich sehr oft in meinem Leben sehr viel Glück habe, wurde es dieses Jahr ein ganz besonderes Sylvester!

Back in March I was standing in Paris at Jim Morrison´s grave, talking to his spirit and now at the 30th and 31st December in London I actually did see two of the still living members of The Doors in concert. The band Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger form together with Ian Astbury (The Cult) is called "Riders On The Storm" (they are legally not allowed to carry forth the name "The Doors").
As so often, I was lucky to know the right person and so I got AAA to both gigs.

Noch im März stand ich in Paris an Jim Morrison´s Grab und hielt Zwiesprache mit seinem Geist und am 30. und 31. December sah ich nun zwei der noch lebenden Bandmitglieder von The Doors im Konzert in London. Riders On The Storm (leider sind sie nach einem Gerichtsbeschluss nicht mehr berechtigt, sich The Doors zu nennen) nennt sich die Band, die Ray Manzarek und Robby Krieger gemeinsam mit Ian Astbury (The Cult) gegründet haben.
Und wie so oft, hatte ich das Glück, die richtige Person zu kennen und so bakam ich AAA zu beiden Konzerten.

The gig on the 30th was sold out and I was simply dazzled by the fact to see these legends on stage (not to mention shaking hands with them backstage).

Das Konzert am 30. war ausverkauft und ich war einfach nur sprachlos, daß ich diese Legenden einmal auf der Bühne sehen konnte (ganz zu schweigen von einem Händedrück mit ihnen im Backstage-Bereich).

And man, those two nearly 70-year-olds ARE rocking!
Robby Krieger, who still belongs to the best guitar players in the world, and Ray Manzarek, who once met Jim Morrison and decided to make music with him and who´s just a genius on the keyboard, made me stand in pure amazement close to the stage and singing along those well-know lines of The Doors songs.
I never thought to hear (just to name a few) "Light My Fire", "Touch Me", "Alabama Song" and "Riders On The Storm" perfomed live by  the actual hands who played them many decades ago.

Und verdammt, diese fast Siebzig-jährigen können rocken!
Robby Krieger, der immer noch zu den besten Gitarristen der Welt gezählt wird und Ray Manzarek, der einst Jim Morrison traf und beschloss, mit ihm Musik zu machen und einfach ein Genie an den Keyboards ist, liessen mich in purem Erstaunen neben der Bühne stehen und die berühmten Zeilen der Songs von The Doors mitsingen.
Ich hätte nie gedacht (um nur ein paar zu nennen) "Light My Fire", "Touch Me", "Alabama Song" und "Riders On The Storm" einmal live von den Händen gespielt zu hören, die diese Songs vor vielen Jahrzenten bekannt gemacht hatten.

I wasn´t even born, my parents hadn´t even met, when Jim Morrison died under misterious circumstances in 1971. But now, standing there, watching Ian Astbury singing Jim´s lyrics, I thought, I was there. I really did see Jim Morrison on stage again and I felt as part of history and not as a little girl, who grew up in the German country-side in the boring and "uncool" 80s and 90s.

Ich war nicht mal geboren, meine Eltern hatten sich noch nicht mal kennengelernt, als Jim Morrison im Jahre 1971 unter misteriösen Umständen starb. Aber nun, als ich hier stand und Ian Astbury sah, wie er Jim´s Texte sang, dacht eich, ich wäre dort. Ich sah wirklich Jim Morrison auf der Bühne und ich fühlte mich als Teil der Geschichte und nicht als das kleine Mädchen, das auf einem deutschen Dorf in den langweiligen und "uncoolen" 80ern und 90ern aufgewachsen war.

During the day at New Year´s Eve I took my time to explore the hall of The Roundhouse in Camden Town a little more. And I could as well sneak on stage for some being-silly...

Die Zeit bis zum Konzert am Sylvester-Abend verbrachte ich damit, die Halle von The Roundhouse in Camden Town auf´s Neue zu erkunden. Und ich konnte mich sogar für Albernheiten auf die Bühne schleichen...

Today was the official 40th anniversary of The Doors and of course the New Year´s party for 2007.
Many drunken Londoners attended the concert and after some pyros and confetti at midnight, some of them even entered the stage in a scary extend.
But it was another great evening and I was happy that I had spent it here in London!

Am Sylvester-Abend wurde offiziell das 40-jährige Bestehen der Doors gefeiert und natürlich der Beginn von 2007.
Viele betrunkene Londoner erschienen zur Show und nach ein wenig Feuerwerk und Konfetti stiegen sogar einige in beängstigendem Maße auf die Bühne.
Aber alles in allem war es ein weiteres gelungener Abend und ich war froh, daß ich hier in London gewesen war.

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29/06/2006 - London, my London

After just 5.5 hours and no sleep whatsoever, we landed in London at 8am.
I locked away my luggage for the day at Liverpool Street Station and wondered what to do with this day.
Danny, my Italian friend, who showed me around last summer already, offered to host me and originally my friend Saskia. But she told me unfortunately that she won´t be able to come because of an operation. So I had 6 days in London on my own ahead of me.
Danny had to work till the afternoon, so I had time to waste.
First thing I did, was to go to a NHS centre, because I gathered a few more health problems and I didn´t want to endure that trouble in the American health system again. So, I was tough and waited till the just slightly better English health system was available. I got a list with medication and bought the things at Boots.
On my way I noticed and interesting view on one of London´s relatively new attractions - the "Gherkin".

I had something do sort out at Carphone Warehouse and then I wanted to eat somewhere, but didn´t find a place, that attracted me. So, I drove to Piccadilly Circus to my little secret pub, which had fair prices, good food and strangely enough, was always empty. So it was now. I had a rumpsteak, which wasn´t that good actually, drank cider and a lot of water and coke - it was here as well, terribly hot!
With my laptop in front of me, I tried to prevent sleeping and worked on some pictures for the blog. I was sooooo tired.
At 3.00 Danny called, we met at the train station for my luggage and drove to Leytonstone, where he is living.
We talked for a while, ordered some Indian food and at 8.00pm I went to bed.

30/06/2006 - loathing

I woke up at 8am and was disappointed, but luckily fell asleep again till 1.30. I definitely needed that!
The only thing I did today was getting my nails done and shameless loathing.
Danny and I watched football.

01/07/2006 - loathing again

I was so glad to do nothing for a while after all that action in New York.
Danny and I watched football. Because England is the chosen home for both of us we were supporting the English team, which was shot out of the world cup in the penalties.
Football´s not coming home...again!
I made a lasagne and the Italian tongue approved it! Phew! Lucky me!

02/07/2006 - a movie, English food and another American

In the afternoon, Danny and I went to the cinema and watched The Da Vinci Code. It was alright, but of course not as good as the book.
Later on we met a friend of Danny from the USA - another American.
All together we went to a so-called "carvery". Here you get traditional English Sunday roasts with as much potatoes and vegetables as you wish.

I have to say, it was quite yummy... a bit of salt and pepper to it and you could actually call it good food. Even though it was English.
As dessert we had apple-rhubarb crumble with a loooot of custard cream! Gooood!
Afterwards we sat outside and talked till they closed at 11pm.
We brought Jeanne back into the city to her hotel.

03/07/2006 - St.Paul´s, Pizza Hut and Pirates of the Caribbean

Today was action day. I took the Underground into my favourite city on earth. I wanted to find out, if it is possible to get up to the cupola to take some pictures. 12 years ago you could still get up there, but I´d been 15 and wanted to save the price of 1£ for other things.

I found out, that it was 8£ just to get inside the cathedral nowadays. Absolutely unacceptable! And as far as I could see, you can´t get up to that wonderful view anymore. What a stupid child I was, why didn´t I took the chance a decade ago?
I had an evil allergy attack. Where the hell where so many pollen coming from here in the city? The heat helped this flying pain in the ass to wonderfully stick to my sweating skin and so I wasn´t just sneezing all the time but covered with red itching spots. I got some medication in a pharmacy and when I sat for a while in the CCUSA office with Gloria, I felt a bit of a relief.
Gloria gave me my mail and explained how to get to the US embassy to get some information about Visa issues.
When I arrived, I wasn´t surprised to find extended security efforts. And all I got was a telephone number, which was about 1.50£/min.... that is absolutely mean!

Italian pizzerias lined up at the streets and I thought, I must have been in a kind of Little Italy. That was good, because I was really craving for a Pizza Hawaii. I checked the menus of several places but no Hawaiis and too high prices.
So I went to Pizza Hut for the first time in my life. I got a huge Pizza Hawaii and had 3 Pepsis...bottom-less...I was in heaven! As dessert I had ice cream, which was as well, bottomless. From now on, I´m a Pizza Hut fan!
I went to the Trocadero Centre, which isn´t as good anymore as it was 10 years ago. It´s quite Americanised. I played a bit on some slot like machines and won 4£. Whoohoo.
At 3.00 I met Jeanne at Piccadilly Circus.

Danny worked in Bristol and I had offered Jeanne to show her around in London for a bit.
We went to my little pub and at 4.00 the menace started! One block away at Leicester Square was the European premiere of the second Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. I had had the right feeling again and did some research at the weekend.
There were so many people here and I doubted, we´ll have a chance to see something. But we did exactly the right things and found a place a bit sideways of the main action. I didn´t see the red carpet and all the "small" stars arriving. But after a while of waiting between nervous fans in all ages and an upcoming sun-burn, there they came, the big stars! Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom und Johnny Depp - so close! The people went crazy!

It was a bit sad to see, that Keira seemed quite arrogant and she wrote autographs with a long arm and no smiling. Orlando on the other hand smiled all the time and tried to look into the faces of the people in front of him and he looked in my eyes as well... *sigh*..hehe. Johnny seemed to be stressed by all that screaming and carried a panic smile, but he seemed to be nice.
I´d never seen anything like this and it was really impressive. As soon as I got my pictures of all of them, we fled from this craziness!
We had some good food in my pub and at 9.00 I said good bye and drove of to Leytonstone. Instead of sleeping I did stupid things till 2am.

04/07/2006 - Come back to Camden

Drinking tea with the taste of the Thames, Sullenly on a chair on the pavement
Here you'll find, my thoughts and I, And here is the very last plea from my heart
My heart. For evermore
Where taxi drivers never stop talking, Under slate grey Victorian sky
Here you'll find, my heart and I, And still we say come back, Come back to Camden
And I'll be good, I'll be good, I'll be good, I'll be good

(Morrissey, "Camden Town")

For London being my favourite city in the world and Camden Town my favourite part of London, you could conclude that Camden Town is my favourite place on really. But I love it here! It´s alternative, it´s dirty, it´s crazy - and there´s MTV (former Central) as well.
Camden is cult, but as it is with cults, they die as soon as they get known. More and more Starbucks and Prêt-a-mangers squeeze in between the punk shops and second hand markets and I have to admit that I find it very disturbing that this place is getting "cleaner".

I had a task for today. I wanted to find the single "Let´s Pretend" from Life Of Agony in second hand shops. It would have been the perfect thank you for Brian, who has all Life Of Agony CDs except this particular one. Well, as you might expect, nothing here in Camden is air-conditioned (except Starbucks and alike....*sigh*) and after three CD shops and pure finger exercise in flipping through CDs, the sweat was running down my face and I had to be careful not to dribble on the discs. Discouraged and totally exhausted I gave up and decided to sit somewhere at Camden Lock Market with a lot of drinks and watch the hustle and bustle. Well, I guess it was simply to hot for hustle and even for bustle...

After cooling down a bit, in a state of clear craziness, I tried on a few clothes in stuffy square meter boxes and bought myself a shirt. Although I didn´t get myself the "Good Girls go to Heaven and Bad Girls go to London!" one, which I found quite amusing.
I quote another Camden Song, this time Suggs "Camden Town":

A drunken busker hits the pavement, sending hot-dogs in the air.
Towards a broken down bus full of people going nowhere.
A string of Irish pubs as far as you can see,
Greek, Indian, Chinese. Or would you like a cup of tea?
There's tapas, fracas, alcohol, tobaccos,
Bongs, bongo bingo, Portuguese maracas,
There's Reggae in the jeggae, music everywhere.
Every kind of song and dance. Madness in the air.
In Camden Town, I'll meet you by the underground,
In Camden Town, we'll walk there as the sun goes down.
In Camden Town.
In Camden Town you can do anything you want to.

(Suggs "Camden Town")

And that is exactly what you do here. You meet someone at the Underground Station and then you have a nice walk through the streets.
Jeanne and I wanted to meet here at 6.00. Luckily there is a big place in front of the station for all the waiting people. I got a message, that Jeanne will be half an hour late so I took the chance to get myself a Strongbow in the pub The World´s End, under which the club "Underworld" is situated - smart, eh?!
A bit later Jeanne and I strolled along the closing shops an I told her about the adventures I had had here...there´s no space here at this point to tell you all of them, but some other time.

After our walk, we went to have dinner in my favourite Thai restaurant, which Danny recommended last year. It was unbearable good! Not just the food was simply outstanding, but also  the service (the serviette is unfolded on your lap by the shy waiter), the prices are good and (which is kind of a miracle in London) the toilets are really clean and comfortable (including folded toilet paper to the triangular shape as you know it from expensive hotels)! WOW!
After this satisfying experience we went back to the World´s End and talked about differences between the US and Europe. At the same time Germany was kicked out the World Cup by Italy.
I had to say good bye to Jeanne and drive back to Leytonstone for my last night in London.

05/07/2006 - back to work

So, this absolutely exciting holiday had to come to an end now. Danny brought me to the Underground Station at 8am and I drove to Victoria Station, I fought my way of about a mile through the upcoming heat to the Coach station with all my luggage and took a National Express bus to Birmingham (for a fun fair of 1£).
When I arrived there, I took a cab to the train station New Street and had an ice coffee at Starbucks. I took a train to Kings Norton at 2pm, waited there for a while and was brought back to Burcot by Martin with the 145 bus.
Normality welcomed me again. I was really pleased to see, that the flowers I had planted with a little help before the holiday were in full bloom and all still alive. My first gardening experience - a full success. Unfortunately I can´t say that about my last essay, which I sent from holiday - 56%. Now I really have to go and learn!
Bye bye!

photo by: ulysses