I drafted most of this while in Ireland a few days ago. I would have posted it then, but my hotel's Internet conveniently went down and I didn't feel like wasting valuable vacation time in an Internet cafe blogging. Call me crazy. Various Random Thoughts From IrelandDelta Airlines can suck it
. I should have known I was going to have a problem with Delta as soon as I got on the plane. They had us on an older 767 without personal video screens at each seat (I flew coach), and we were forced to watch the tiny little screens they have hanging from the ceiling every ten feet or so. Even worse, Delta had chosen the absolute worst movies on the face of the earth. On the flight to Dublin, our movies included Stardust
and Mr. Bean's Holiday
. I didn't bother to watch either. On the way home, we got Hairspray
(awful), No Reservations
(everyone in this movie should be shot), and 80% of Transformers
(surprisingly watchable, though perhaps only due to its company). And by 80% I mean that they for some reason decided to start a 2.5 hour movie with only 2 hours or so left in the flight. Smart.
And before you think that I'm telling Delta to "suck it" merely due to the movies -- which, frankly, would be justified -- they also managed to misplace my luggage and get it to me 2 and a half days into my 4 day trip. Thanks, Delta!The National should be breathing a sigh of relief
. While boycotting Delta's in-flight "entertainment" on the way to Dublin, I listened to Future Clouds and Radar's
self-titled album three times. I've been listening to it off and on for a few weeks now, but this was the first time I've really connected with it. And, I gotta say, it's quickly become one of my favorite albums of 2007. It needs an editor, and several songs could easily be cut (those songs likely would keep the album from eclipsing Boxer
, but it would still be close), but it's a spectacular album that has quickly become a "defining" album for me -- i.e.
, an album that I'll forever equate with my Dublin trip and, even more, with Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood
which I was reading at the time (more below).
If you do nothing else over the next few days, you need to hear these songs: "Hurricane Judy", "Drugstore Bust", "Holy Janet Comes on Waves", "Our Time", "Green Mountain Clover", "Build Havana", "Back Seat Silver Jet Sighter", "The Great Escape", "Altitude", "Christmas Day 1923" and "Wake". There are 27 songs on the double disc overall, and 20+ of them are excellent, but these are the best (IMO)."Drugstore Bust""Back Seat Silver Jet Sighter"Buy the damn thing
.I'm weak-willed, and that's OK
. Although I promised myself I would stop reading Haruki Murakami books for a while, I ended up reading two more over my trips -- Norwegian Wood
and South of the Border, West of the Sun
. Both books eschew Murakami's more meta-physical weirdness (which I love) in favor of slightly more conventional love stories. But conventional love stories they are not, especially Norwegian Wood
-- if you're ever looking for a book that will absolutely rip out your heart and stomp on it, this is the one. And, as I said, the Future Clouds and Radar
disc was an uncannily good accompaniment to the book (for more reasons than one).I love Ireland
. This was my second time in Ireland and I'm already looking forward to my third. The country is beautiful; Dublin is a great, exciting town; the people are amazingly friendly; and the Guinness tastes better there. If I could figure out a way to live there for a few months, I'd do it.The only downside? My favorite little bakery, Panem
, was on two-week holiday. Dammit.Everyone involved in No Reservations should be shot
. Yeah, I know I said it already, but it deserves another mention. Just an awful, predictable, cloying, piece of crap.Irish venues are even bigger liars than American venues
. I have no complaints about Vicar Street as a music venue - in fact, it's pretty damn nice (if a little sterile). But how is it possible to list a show as 7:30 doors, 8:30 show, and not list an opener, and then tell people at the door that there's an opening band that will go on at 9:30 and the main act won't be on until 11:15? As a result, many people (myself included) ended up sitting around from 7:30-ish until 11:15 waiting for the Frames. There was plenty of Guinness, so it was actually ok, but still - a little more info up front would be appreciated.Don't buy Euros at the Atlanta airport
. Atlanta sold me Euros for $1.66 each. I didn't buy many. The currency shop across from my hotel in Dublin sold me Euros for $1.56 each. Another reason I like the Irish.The Frames are awesome
. But more about that later.