Heineken Opener Festival 2013

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After going in 2009 with Gabriel and Kaz (and running into the Polish girls Mila, Basia, Ania and Magda), as almost a signifier of how life has moved on, I returned this year with Alex, Olivia and Jacqui from my MA course. As we planned it, the line-up kept getting better and better. Blur and Kendrick Lamar played Wednesday night, Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala and Nick Cave on Thursday. Friday brought Queens of the Stone Age and The National, Saturday The Kings of Leon and Rhianna kind of bizarrely turned up on the Sunday with Dizzie Rascal.

We missed the Wednesday due to work and the last two days out of choice butdespite major hiccups (airline lost my bag; Alex got drunk and missed the bus; we got to the show pretty late on Thursday), it all worked out rather brilliantly. The musical highlights were Nick Cave letching it up, The National’s Matt Berninger being wasted on stage and the whole Queens of the Stone Age gig. The true gem was Olivia losing her shoe in the mosh, only for us to see it flying towards the stage later in the gig and reclaiming it. A disaster became a great story.

The rest of the time we hung out eating in odd restaurants, drinking vodka and going to Sopot for the Polish seaside. Anyone who’s been to Sopot, where the German monarchs went to holiday will testify the town is nice, the beach is alright, the water is freezing. As a unit we were cool, getting on well and taking it out of each other, Olivia especially ;).

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After the festival Alex and I headed south to Krakow while Jacqui returned to Vienna and Olivia hung out with her friend Ewa until flying to Eindhoven. Krakow was as pretty as ever, the vodka is still cheap and the tourist hordes are greater than ever. The directions to strip bars were more persistent. As pretty as it looks, Krakow has overrun itself with tourists. Even stag dos don’t get a look-in.

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Red Dawning Night

The sky was red tonight. Dramatically so. I know that because I could see it. The clouds have gone away. Spring has arrived, they exclaim. The whole country has lifted out of some communism-era stereotype of pervasive greyness. I don’t know where the¬†somber¬†clouds have gone but I need to know. I don’t want to see them again. Soon maybe I won’t expect to. But it’s too early for such recklessness.

My upcoming weekend is adding to the joyful revival. Tom Lavin, an old mate from Uni and fellow Japanite is heading to Krakow where I will meet him. Joe is coming in from Dublin to join the fro. This will be the seventh country Joe and I have met in (Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, England and Poland in chronological order). That’s quite impressive. Tom and I have also been to countries together (Japan, Korea, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Spain and Poland). I could add England but it seems stingy.

The weekend should be a fair one. Plenty of beers and vodka, talk and wandering around. I miss certain people to talk to here. The people who know me. Those opinions or brains I can fruitfully pick. And those conversations and laughs always go very smoothly with Tom and Joe around.