Thursday, November 30, 2006

the end

Bono flies the kite during Kite (surprisingly), the last song of the concert. (This is two photos but I stuck the kite picture up the corner of the Bono picture.)
Bono plays mouth organ at the end of Angel of Harlem (which ROCKED) - Bono has made me want to learn to play the harmonica. Leaving the stadium, and looking back at all the people. Never realised how many people there were when you're right in the thick of it.
Bono and Edge sing during Angel of Harlem.
Angel of Harlem. Bono and Edge smile at something.

And then it was over. Sighhh. Good photos eh? Thank you (again) Katie! :)

The streets and more...

One - my favourite U2 song. One of the few I didn't jump up and down and scream madly because I was just too busy listening and absorbing.
Edge sings, I think during Angel of Harlem or The Saints are Coming. I could actually hear him over the speakers when he sang here, pretty cool.
Yay for rock star poses.
Where the Streets Have No Name. Bono wends his way down towards us; everyone waves their orange, white and green balloons. Awesome sight.

I'm so excited to get to show these photos to people! It makes it all seem real. I hope you like them! Thanks again to Katie!

up close and personal

Edge and his glittery guitar.
The Edge and Adam Clayton together.
Just Adam. As I said a few posts ago, we were really impressed with Adam Clayton. He's got a real stage presence.

Again, these are my friend Katie's photos and not mine, used with her permission.

in general...

The whole band!
The lights from Bullet the Blue Sky.
The lights during One Tree Hill.
Bono's first appearance down our end of the stage.
The main stage.

Here's some more general shots of the stage and the show.

before the concert

The stamp we each got to let us back into the front section if we went out to get food or use the disgusting Portaloos. We're special!!
Our little nook at the end of the stage.
Katie in the sheep-pen-like enclosures we had to line up in from 3:30-5pm
Our drunk friend Dan and a friend - the one who kept on telling us we were doing a "stellar job" and patting our backs. Obviously, he's taking part in Movember.

Katie and I - whose camera took all these photos. Thanks, Katie!

Here's the first lot of photos I'm posting from the U2 concert. Blogger only lets me post five at a time (unsure why) - so here's some from 3:30pm onwards on Friday as we waited for it to begin. These are not my photos but Katie's - thanks again Katie!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

U2 U2 U2 U2 U2 U2 U2 U2 U2 U2 U2 U2 U2

The back of the t-shirt I bought.
My friend Katie in Auckland central city, on the morning of the concert, on a little back street we thought was pretty.

.... Well. It was FLIPPIN' FANTASTIC. What an experience. This is going to be one massive blog entry. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the concert - my camera's too big to take in - but my friend took heaps of great ones, and when I get hold of them I'll post them on here. In the meantime, I will post the pages I scribbled down furiously this morning and have added to numerous times since, as I don't want to forget a single thing about this weekend. Here they are, slightly shortened, from Thursday to Saturday:

1.30pm Flight departs for Auckland. Sitting next to French guy and German girl who are very nice, on their way to Tonga, and kissing half the time.
3pm Arrive Auckland. Find my friend Katie, who came on a different flight up.
4pm My sister Felicity picks us up and takes us round to her and Mike's flat in Ellerslie.
8pm Burger Fuel for dinner, mmm! And home-made mulled wine - makes us sleepy!
9.45pm Exhausted, we head to bed. We are on squeaky airbeds in the lounge.

6.30am Our alarms go off! Katie and I dress in a hurry, and it's off to the bus stop. She has an appointment at 8am at the US Embassy to get a visa that allows her to stay in Canada for five months. Don't ask why.
7.40am We arrive in town. Not too hard to find the US Embassy - it's the one with the huge flag in front of it.
8am Katie goes in to get her visa. I'm not allowed to go up without an appointment. I sit in a cafe next door with a large flat white, and the Samoan man at the table next to me tries to hit on me. He tells me he's a diplomat working at the US Embassy which I find very hard to believe, and then asks me a succession of questions:
- Do you have children? Why not?
- Do you have a boyfriend? Do you want one?
- Would you like me to come with you today?
- Do you want to sit with me?
- Want some gum? (Final desperate approach)
Honestly, I don't understand what makes some people keep asking stupid questions!
8.45am Katie comes back and rescues me, and we go shopping - see photo above, in Auckland city. We laugh at the huge dodgy Santa on top of the Whitcoulls building, with a beckoning finger and a leery eye.
10.30am We catch a bus back to Ellerslie.
12.00pm I have a shower and wash my hair, and get into my concert clothes. I'm not feeling great and am worried I'll be sick, so I lie down, but don't feel any better. We put on the U2 Live at Boston DVD and suddenly I feel a lot better! Tony, my brother-in-law, arrives from Christchurch.
2.45pm We rush away to the Ellerslie train station to be on a train that goes to Penrose, from which there is a 10 minute walk to Mt Smart Stadium. One Tree Hill can be clearly seen not far from the stadium. We arrive there, I buy a t-shirt (see photos above). My umbrella is confiscated because apparently I could poke people with it, and they take our bottle lids off our bottles of water. Somehow Mike manages to keep his Swiss Army knife, which we all think is very funny when umbrellas can be viewed as weapons!
3.30pm We start queueing! We are at Gate A, in a big marquee, lined up like sheep in pens. We sit down, eat the food they didn't confiscate, and discover ingenious ways to drink without breaking the seal on our lidless bottles. We play a game trying to think of a U2 song for every letter of the alphabet. Get to N and give up. Graham, James and Anna Early are not far away from us in the queue, people we've known for years who used to go to our church in Christchurch.
5pm The gates open! We pour onto the field and power-walk/run/sprint up to the front. We get into the front section! The stage is made up of a main section where the drums and electronics are, and then two jutting out bits on either side. We are almost right at the front but for one row of people on the end of one of the sticking out bits, a fantastic spot. We plonk ourselves down to save our places, stretching out even more when one of us five goes off to the loo, or to buy a t-shirt or food. A drunk man called Dan introduces himself and tells us repeatedly that we're doing a "stellar job", while offering us his beer.
7pm It starts raining hard. Felicity and I go to get her a t-shirt, and end up also buying five dorky water-proof poncho-things - very sexy. We see our cousin-in-law Justin, who is even closer to the front than we are.
7.45pm Kanye West starts playing. Can't distinguish a word he says. His backing singer starts stripper dancing at one point, and he has a small string collection and a harpist who are completely superfluous as it seems to be all just noise. This is the point I pick for going to the toilets.
8.30pm Kanye West stops, the rain stops. We wait impatiently for U2 - have been waiting almost exactly a year since tickets went on sale. The crowd starts clapping in time while the crew sets up the stage, or singing the Ole ole ole ole song. Someone gets a Mexican wave going around the entire stadium, about ten times - a cool sight with 45,000 people and when you're on an absolute high of anticipation. The U2 crew soundtest what seem like a gazillion guitars.
9.10pm Finally, U2 COME ON STAGE!!!!! The place goes wild. They are real, and 3-D!! Bono is wearing a jacket with an Auckland Warriors logo sown on the back, and tells us we are "sexy people, in the rain". The lights are awesome, completely indescribable, hundreds of them towering over the stage and wowing everyone. This is the set:
City of Blinding Lights - amazing opening to the show.
Vertigo - everyone sings along to the "uno, dos, tres, catorce!"
Elevation - a verse of Crowded House's Four Seasons in One Day inserted in here, which pleased all us Kiwis very much indeed.
I Will Follow - Bono told us that NZ was the first place this song was a hit before anywhere other than Ireland; we are therefore "Kiwis before the groove".
New Year's Day - Bono introduces the other band members as they do their solos; very cool.
Beautiful Day - Bono changes the words of the "see the world in green and blue" verse to carry on as: "Aotearoa right in front of you / See the land of the long white cloud / Cape Reinga, the fjords in the south / Harbour lights in the City of Sails / Aroha, the love that never fails / See the bird with the leaf in her mouth / After the flood all the colours came out..."
One Tree Hill - the crowd went mad for this, the song written set in Auckland, where their Kiwi crew member Greg Caroll was killed in a motorbike accident. Beautiful lighting, with Maori koru patterns scrolling across the lights at the back of the stage. Bono helpfully suggested he could take some seeds up :) (For those that don't get the joke, the lone tree on One Tree Hill was cut down years ago by a Maori activist.)
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own - Bono comes down to us for the first time!!! He's alive and real!
Love and Peace - Adam Clayton and the Edge come down our end.
Sunday Bloody Sunday - Katie rings her dad on my cellphone so he can hear some of the concert, at this point.
Bullet the Blue Sky - Awesome lighting and guitar solo.
Miss Sarajevo - very beautiful. Bono sings the Italian part that Pavarotti usually does, and surprises me by his skill.
Pride (in the Name of Love) - Bono gets us all to sing the "oh oh" bit, which leads into the beginning of Streets...
Where the Streets Have No Name - Absolutely amazing. Somehow heaps of people all over the audience have green, white and orange balloons that are waving round during this; it's beautiful.
One - Bono gets us all to hold up our cellphones instead of the classic cigarette lighter; another beautiful moment.
The Fly
Mysterious Ways
With or Without You - Bono pulls a girl up on stage
The Saints Are Coming - very very cool and surprising; I hadn't liked the single when I heard it on the radio but it's wicked live.
Angel of Harlem - this rocked my socks off. Bono and the Edge came down our end again, together this time.
Kite - Bono flies a kite that has helium balloons tied to it as he sings this. It's so beautiful live, this song, especially Edge's guitar solo. As a nice symbolic gesture, he lets the kite fly away at the end of the song, but it gets caught in the lights - a funny moment for all.

As a whole, the concert is a fantastic mass sing-along. One marring incident is that there is a very tall man in front of me, at the rail, but I manage okay. Bono, the Edge, and Adam Clayton all come within a couple of metres of us several times which is the biggest buzz. I also love all the NZ references; they seem to put a lot more effort into them than in DVDs I've seen of concerts in other countries, which is lovely and makes everyone feel wanted! I am especially impressed by Adam Clayton, who comes across much better live than he does on the DVDs; he really connects with the audience and seems like a really cool guy. My especial favourite songs are probably: One Tree Hill, Miss Sarajevo, Streets, One, The Saints are Coming, Angel of Harlem, Kite.
11.40pm Sadly, the show ends (although with two encores already, no one seems to be sure if it really is the end). We all file out, and it's amazing as we go to look back into the stadium and see the huge number of people. Mike and Tony queue up to buy t-shirts, we see my cousin Debs, and Justin again, and then we walk along to catch a train... along with about 8000 others - makes for huge delays. Legs aching like nobody's business, waiting for ages to get on the train. Finally get home at about 1.30am.
2am We collapse, exhausted, into bed.

10.15am We get up finally after sleeping like logs. Still on a high. Tony goes to get us yummy things for breakfast. I text my friend Jane a whole heap of advice for the second concert which she is going to this evening, such as how to get a good spot, and to take extra bottle lids for when they confiscate them. By lunchtime we are putting on U2 DVDs - Sydney Zoo TV, Chicago Vertigo.
2pm Felicity drops Katie and I at the airport. My flight is leaving soon, but Katie has to wait around until 8pm to leave, poor thing. Luckily she has a book and is still on a high.
2.30pm I fly to Wellington. Am sitting next to another U2 concert-goer from Dunedin; she is also wearing a U2 t-shirt but a different style (there were about seven or eight available).
3.45pm Arrive in Wellington. Forty minutes or so to wait for next flight; eat some roti at the food court there, mmmm. See a friend from a few years back at music working at the CD Store there.
4.30pm Leave for Christchurch.
5.30pm Arrive in Christchurch, with a very bumpy descent that makes me glad I saw U2 before I died. Happily I am still alive when we touch down. My sister Rachel (Tony's wife) and her kids Sam and Alex are there to pick me up. We go to La Porchetta for pizza, then we're off to Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park, a big free concert at Hagley Park (the Chch equivalent of Central Park) which has big fireworks at the end. As terrible little teenagers try to sing High School Musical songs, can't help comparing it to the night before or wishing I had tickets to the second concert which must be going on as I think!
10.45pm Home! Into my own bed! The high is still present!

So, there it is. Had a marvellous time, as was bound to happen, and love U2 even more! Am planning to buy a few more U2 dvds as soon as possible, and Katie will come round soon and we'll work ourselves up to a high again! I will put the photos of the concert up as soon as I can - some turned out really, really well, and you'll be able to see just how close we really were!

Monday, November 20, 2006


I cannot believe it's only FOUR sleeps to go. I've started asking myself questions like what am I going to wear, which makes it all seem scarily real. U2 is flying in to Auckland tomorrow, and I am flying up on Thursday afternoon. What if Bono pulled me or Katie (my friend) or Felicity (my sister) up on stage? What if I somehow got to go backstage? I haven't been dwelling on these questions that much actually because just the thought of seeing the concert is enough to make me squeal like a thirteen-year-old. It is exactly a year now, give a day or two, since I first got these tickets; so much has gone on since then but it feels so recent.

I will be disappointed if they don't play these songs:
- One Tree Hill (from The Joshua Tree; One Tree Hill is actually a place in Auckland, and one of their crew was killed in an accident near there, and so the song was brought out in NZ but nowhere else as a single)
- Where the Streets Have No Name (but they always play that so it's not as if I'm worried they won't)
- One (my favourite U2 song)

I would like them to play these songs, but I won't be crushed with sorrow if they don't:
- Bad
- All I Want is You
- Running to Standstill
- Desire
- Walk On
- The Fly

I would like them to play these, but I don't think they will:
- In a Little While
- Wake Up Dead Man
- Love is Blindness

Don't worry - I will give you a full rundown of how it goes when I get back. As if you could escape. It'll probably be a record-length blog entry.

I'm inviting some similarly obsessive U2-fan friends over on Wednesday night and we're going to have a big DVD-watching frenzy before we all head off to the concert - just in case I need to feel even more wound-up and overly excited!

In other news, I have been cheap-shoe-shopping today, and I got some really cool new slippers and some great sandals and about the first pair of sneakers I've bought in about three years. So exciting.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Inspired slightly by Stacy, I have decided to list some of my favourite things. This is by no means a comprehensive list or scientific selection, but merely off the top of my head. Having done a list of things I dislike, it would seem a bit pessimistic to leave it there, so...

1) Meat. I love meat. Strangely enough, I have more than once considered becoming a vegetarian, but have never been able to do so, because meat is just so great. Nothing else has the same texture or taste. I love chicken, I love beef, I love pork, I LOVE bacon. I especially love barbecues.
2) Chocolate (just to be unoriginal). At the moment my favourite is Nestlé's Double Blend, especially the coconut version. I can literally eat a whole block of it in one sitting. While I've gone off lollies and very sugary things as I've got older, there's no way I'm ever going off chocolate, although I try very hard to keep it as only an occasional treat.
3) Reading a good Agatha Christie mystery, or a Georgette Heyer romance. They are so light you could eat fifty without putting on one gram but they are so pleasurable, especially on a rainy day, curled up on the couch with warm slippers and some coffee and chocolate with the Jacques Loussier Trio playing in the background.
4) Playing music outside. When I finished school, our whole Year 13 went out to the farm of one of the guys from school, and he put his speakers outside playing U2 loudly and we had a bonfire and fireworks in the dark and it was one of those nights I look back to and want to recreate. Similarly, I love playing music myself, on an instrument, outside in the countryside somewhere. One of my favourite pieces of music ever is 'Evening in the Mountains' by Grieg, and I have this fantasy of going to Mount Cook National Park and walking up some track in the evening and playing this tune on my recorder.
5) How could I leave Jane Austen out of this list? There is something so satisfying about finishing one of her books, nothing can compare to it.
6) Driving fast. :) Actually, I hardly ever speed, unless you count 5-8 k's over the limit as speeding, but I just love pushing the accelerator down as you come onto a stretch of open road with a 100km speed limit. Mmmm.
7) Funny people, including Flanders and Swann, Monty Python, Adrian Plass, Jasper Fforde, Peter Hellier, John Safran etc - not to forget Jane Austen, again. Not all comedians are going to rub me the right way, but some are so good that I end up quoting them to everyone. I also love funny things that no one else gets.
8) Vanity Fair, by William Thackeray. I've just finished reading this for the second time, and I love it and would recommend it to almost anybody.
9) Being with my family, all of us all at once. (That's about 22 of us, counting the in-laws and nieces/nephews.) Makes for chaos but fun.

Okay, so that's all I can think of right now!

Photo: This is another photo with which I fiddled around with the exposure; you've already seen the original on here, perhaps. I think it looks rather cool like this.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


This morning my dad left for a month to go gallivanting around overseas, in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and, quite possibly, Thailand. (My brother lives in Malaysia and a sister in Australia, the one who has just had a baby.) So I'm alone at home until he comes back on 18 December, unless some of my friends decide to stay for a few days. It was quite weird saying goodbye for a month. I've been thinking for a while that going flatting and getting more independence would be so cool, but I realised this morning that I've come to really rely on Dad's presence over the last while, now that Mum's gone. We're much closer, even though we get on each other's nerves just as often! So it's going to be very strange not having him round for a whole month. Also, he's left a huge long list of the things I need to do while he's away, in the garden (eg turning the hoses on every few days, mowing the lawns, tying back the tomatoes, clematis and sweet peas as they grow, etc), let alone the house. He advises I mow the lawns at least three times before he comes back... which, to me, doesn't seem feasible or likely. :)

It's only EIGHT SLEEPS until the U2 concert, as you may have noticed on the "U2 countdown" on the index of this page. I can't believe it's so close. I am so excited! I can't even try to express it! All I will say is, they had better not postpone it again!

Photos: I took these at a cafe I went to a few days ago. Obviously, the fish photo isn't exactly special, technically speaking, but it was just a cool fish.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


The hot springs at Hanmer, in winter. (Not my photo)
Our tent.
My friends Marielle (the bride), Kimilla and Natalie.

I have just had a very interesting Friday and Saturday! My friend Marielle is getting married in December, and last night almost all of her girl friends went out to Hanmer Springs for her hens' night. I may have mentioned Hanmer Springs before as a popular holiday location for Christchurchians, with its thermal pools. We ended up at Hanmer Forest Park, camping out in an Air Force tent our friend Kendyl borrowed for us. Unfortunately, Kendyl forgot the poles for the second part of the tent, so we ended up with the tent you see in photos above... for fourteen girls to sleep in! Obviously, it's not a huge tent. We ended up having seven people squished up along each side, in two rows, so you hardly had room to turn over, and if anyone wanted to get up to go to the bathroom... woe betide them. I was next to the door except for one, and these massive gusts of wind got up during the night, meaning the doorway flap actually slid over the girl next to me, leaving her outside half the time! It was pretty freezing during the night; I had on thermals, my pyjamas, and my polarfleece hoody with the hood zipped up around my head so only my eyes and nose were showing. I don't think any of us actually got to sleep but simply dozed the whole evening. There was something kind of fun about it though; it was an experience. And for only $8 each, it was a pretty cheap way to be accomodated! This morning we went to the pools, which are lovely, and there's lots of cute little babies gurgling away in the nice warm water to cluck over - although by the time you've broiled away in the pools for a couple of hours your fingers are about as pruney as they could possibly be. I drove back this afternoon with a couple of friends and I have to say I was very pleased to be at home and to stop concentrating on the road. Bring on the coffee. Strong coffee. And there's no doubt but that I will be sleeping well tonight.

We heard about Marielle's fiance's stag do - I am so glad I am not male. He got painted green and dressed in a grass skirt, tied to a stake, and carried through Riccarton Mall like a pig on a spit, with his "friends" yelling war cries all around him. They got kicked out twice. Apparently his wrists are still bleeding from rope burn. I do not think I will ever understand the male psyche.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

how to: catch a man

I was on another website when I caught sight of these ads at the bottom:

Still No Proposal?
10 Secrets To Get Your Man
Positively Addicted To You For Life

Next Pope is John Paul II
Impersonated. Bible Prophecy Shows
He Will be Last Pope. Learn More

No Spouse-No Problem
Marriage and family therapists

I just thought these were great and had to share them. I love catchy slogans like "No Spouse? No problem!!" I also love the "World's Last Chance" website that reveals John Paul II as the Antichrist. Sigh... life would be so boring without the internet.

[Photo: a little girl whose family stayed at my house for a night while they were in NZ a little while ago. She and her little brother were very cute, although the little brother did projectile vomit all over our kitchen, I have to admit. I spent the evening playing with them; it was fun. The trumpet she is holding plays Mary Had a Little Lamb.]


(Just because I'm feeling random today) - besides being the name of a very successful range of books of photography, milk is my favourite drink. I'm aware this might make me sound like I haven't gone through puberty yet - but I am not ashamed. Just like I'm not ashamed that I don't particularly like Charles Dickens and find his books very hard to read. I just love milk. It is the most refreshing drink ever. Which is why I find it particularly annoying when we buy some milk and it goes off very quickly. We suspect that the owner of the nearest dairy (NZ version of a corner store, where you spend all your pocket money on lollies at age 9) buys huge amounts of milk and leaves it out the back unchilled before he puts it in the shop in the refrigerators, meaning all his milk goes off well before the use-by date. In my opinion, this is gross misuse of milk.

Photo: I've been playing around on the computer with some photos, and this was quite an unexciting underexposed one. So I fiddled around with the exposure, and now I think it looks quite... interesting.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Happy Guy Fawkes for yesterday. It's always seemed a rather bizarre holiday but all the same I love it. Some people from my church have a house up the hill and last night some of us went up there for fireworks. It got a bit windy to do them in the end, but we had this fantastic view of the whole city bubbling and exploding all over constantly with little ones, and then we could see across to Brighton Beach where the big fireworks were going off on the pier. You could even hear them booming.

The government, however, warned the country that if people didn't stop behaving irresponsibly with them this year they would ban the sale of fireworks in future years. Unfortunately there's been a record number of fires this week as a result of fireworks so it seems likely they will be banned. I like fireworks so much so it is very disappointing, but I have to admit that there are just too many people being totally stupid with them. When I was working at the local library, a few people chucked some fireworks into the returns box and absolutely ruined a large number of books, for example. Why do some idiots have to ruin everything for everyone else? Grrr.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I have just written a rejection email to someone, and it made me feel rather bad. When I write rejection emails I find myself coming over all formal and staid and cold, and I can't think of anything nice or comforting to say except blatant lies when I hated a story.

I think one of the scariest things is being rejected; at least, it is for me. Rejection always comes after having made yourself vulnerable in some way, which is scary enough in itself. The thing is, if anything interesting is ever going to happen in your life you have to expose yourself to the possibility of rejection. And in many ways that can become quite an exciting thing. At the same time, it's not just a matter of opening yourself up and then being rejected and it's all over. If that were the way it worked, there would be no Harry Potter, and imagine a world without Harry Potter - we would be infinitely poorer. :) No, there has to be a sort of tenacity in us if we want to get anywhere.

I'm sorry about this little spiel. I'm just feeling a bit confused about the future at the moment. As is everyone, I suppose.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

my eyes are back!

Yay! I have a camera again. Basically it seemed that there was something wrong with the battery, which is of a rare type unavailable in NZ and the camera would have had to be sent to Japan to be fixed. So they offered us the same camera new, at a cheaper cost, and Dad ended up giving it to me as my birthday present! These photos I took yesterday on a walk to Halswell Quarry. The quarry was being mined from 1860-1990, but now it's a bit of a touristy or picnic or walking destination.

It is great being on holiday. I got five mystery stories out of the library today - I love good old-fashioned whodunnits. This morning three friends came round and we watched the latest movie version of Pride and Prejudice. There are aspects of it that I am beginning to be reconciled to. It's got a beautiful soundtrack, and great cinematography. Matthew Macfadyen is becoming a little easier on the eyes as I get used to him. All the same, I can't help but grit my teeth when they rush through some of the coolest scenes.

My dad's off to Australia and Malaysia to visit two of my siblings in less than two weeks. He's away for a month so basically every day he's been telling me something else I have to do while he's away - mow the lawns, wash and vacuum the floor, leave out the rubbish on the right days, turn on the garden hoses every now and then, put the right things into the right rubbish bins, etc etc... Ugh, he's going to have to write it all down. I'm inviting a couple of friends to stay while he's gone so it'll be fun, it'll be like flatting but without rent. :)

I found out yesterday that Americans pronounce 'route' so that it rhymes with 'flout' or 'gout'. The Great Vowel Shift of 1500-1700 affected the word 'route' in the States but not in Britain. Weird. No offence to the Americans reading this! Sometimes it's just that finding these sort of things out feels like the world is being turned upside down under your feet.