Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oxford for Electric Six

Saturday 14 March 2009

We took the train to Oxford, famous for being one of the two most well known university towns in the UK. Owing to a momentarily lapse of stupidity, I left our camera on the train and it was swiftly whisked away, despite numerous calls to lost property in Wales (as that was where the train was heading) it was never seen again, but at least there were no photos on it. Despite the loss of camera (we had a second one at home) I was able to snap a few photos with my mobile and all was not lost.

The reason for coming to Oxford was to see the American band Electric Six, who are simply brilliant with their witty and humorous music which is a mix of rock, disco and a dash of synthesiser thrown in for good measure. It was also a great opportunity to marvel at the architectural style of Oxford and generally just soak up the culture and history of the town.

Prior to seeing the band, we took a look around Oxford and took a bus tour with commentary, followed by a walking tour - the tour guide, Stuart, had a wonderful name...I mean, was a fantastic guide and allowed us access into a number of the university colleges, both inside and out, as well as one college's chapel.

Architecture spotting from the bus

One of the colleges

Inside the college

Nice ceiling...

Pretty as a picture

The chairs look a little hard though!

More pictures

He looks like John Lithgow...

One for the fans of the latest series of Dexter

Inside the chapel

In this particular chapel, only men were allowed (as it was a male college) and the wife of the dean was only allowed to attend a service in a walled off section of the chapel. Oh, how times have changed!

A flagstone in the chapel

I can't read Latin, but it appears to be something about glorious resurrection

We also were able to wander through some of the gardens along with the obligatory 'keep off the grass' signs.

Keep off that grass Sha!

In fact, we were asked at one particular college what the Queen and the college gardener there had in common. One plucky walker said "Uh, they both have corgis?" to which the tour guide burst out laughing. Apparently, it is because they are the only two people who were allowed on the grass in the courtyard. We learnt that the Queen owns all the swans in England and is the only one allowed to eat them! Visions of the Queen with a bloody swan hanging from her mouth, jumping up and down on the grass filled our heads.

Strike a pose

Archways are always interesting

An intriguing alleyway

Some good looking towers


It was mid term break while we were here which meant that the majority of students were being picked up by their parents and were loading their cars up with everything they needed to keep themselves entertained over the couple of weeks they had off.

Student stealing a speaker

Looks like his Dad is in on the action as well!

Student stealing a bike

After our walking tour we caught up with a FileMaker guy, Ben and his partner Monica for a tasty fish and chips lunch at a local pub, the White Horse.

Since being over here, I have really started to gain an appreciation for cask ale - all the stories about British beer being flat and warm is simply not true. Sure, there are some cheap and nasty beers but there are a number of yummy cask ales too and they are far preferable to drinking lager, well at least in my humble opinion.

After lunch, we proceeded to have a wee wander around by ourselves to see what else we could spy.

More cool buildings

And another

A crest from one of the houses within a college

And another crest

Oxford Library

This library has a copy of EVERY book ever published in the UK

A tall steeple

After popping in on a little studenty pub down a couple of tight alleyways, we headed for our accommodation, checked in, ate a small dinner of nibbley bits from the supermarket as we were still feeling full from lunch and then headed back out to the gig. Oxford is (obviously) a very student focused town and there was no shortage of drinking in the street en-route to more exciting venues. I think there was a bit of fancy dress going on as well, due to it being mid term break.

After arriving at the gig, we were confronted by the support band, which were doing metal covers of disco songs. I can't recall the band's name, but they were very unique and a couple of them were wearing classic white disco suits. Strange to hear a hard metal version of Stayin' Alive! I love seeing a band that doesn't take itself too seriously and also enjoys what they do, and this was clearly in evidence.

Following on from the support act, the main event - Electric Six - lived up to their name and were as good as when we had seen them in Wellington a few years ago. I was a little taken aback at their first couple of songs as the lead singer seemed to be having trouble getting into the swing of things. Not to worry, as after a song or two, he picked up the pace and the crowd were spellbound. On another note, this was the first gig I had ever been to where they had cigarette girls...girls dressed glamour style holding trays with packets of cigarettes - I thought this was the noughties, not the 1930's!

The following day we headed back to London as we had a date to see a whole lot of sliced up bodies preserved in plastic…but that’s a story for another day.


Anonymous said...

Viva la Ale Foo!

These pics remind me of Shada (Yeah, I know wrong town and all)

Were the chopped up boides Damien Hirst? Was reading about him last night...


Foo said...

Nope, they weren't Damien Hirst...something a little different and will write about it shortly.