Archive for the ‘Concert reviews’ Category

Review: Doune the Rabbit Hole 2018

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Sunday of Doune The Rabbit Hole #dtrhFest.  Basically one of my gig photographer chums needed a taxi, but the festival kindly gave me entrance and a press pass so I could always find Sid if I needed to!  Oh the power of being able to get backstage!!  Proud to say I only used/abused it right at the end of the night…but more of that later!

So the bands I saw were, in order: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Harry and the Hendersons, Sketchy Beats (Jam Tent), The Mouse Outfit, Dizraeli, Frankie Cosmos, Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert, Big Country, Atari Teenage Riot, the Psychegaelic Ceilidh with AWRY, Levellers.

There’s an album with photos and videos of my day here:

We were Promised Jetpacks

It was my first time at Doune the Rabbit Hole and I was amazed at how small it was compared to others, plus full of dogs and kids – glorious company!  Most people seemed to camp for the weekend, we were just there for the day, but I enjoyed seeing all the glorious VW campervans in the car park on the way in.  There wasn’t a 2 mile trek to get in, or a massive queue, or any security staff to get past with sniffer dogs – as I’m used to when I work at Enjoy Music!

The whole place had a lovely relaxed vibe with hammocks dotted around and deck chairs in most of the tents.  A large proportion of the attendees could be described as hippies, and many were bare foot or dressed up in wacky outfits.  Basically it was fun!  There was a kids area where you could hug an alpaca, build stuff with logs, go to a library, play pinball or get your face painted.  I wanted to do several but hadn’t taken my kid along as camouflage…  There was a dance tent with lessons on how to DJ with 3 sets of decks set up for practicing on, there was a jam tent with a few musicians always playing and happy to be joined by anyone who wanted to.  I was there when a guy called Frank gave an ode to Buckfast (video in the above album).  There were cafes, and bars, and a big screen so you didn’t miss Wimbledon, or the World Cup final!  There were shops and stalls as with any festival – funky coloured jumpers or tie dye t-shirts.

Music wise there was a wide variety: I enjoyed ceilidh, rappers, crazy electro..stuff, folky songs and indie/rock.  Don’t forget I was only there for one day out of the three day festival!  Missed loads of amazing stuff!  The timings were well spaced, two of the stages almost took it in turns.  I did have one clash when I wanted to be in two places at once, but was pleased with my choice of seeing Aiden Moffat and RM Hubbert – although I’m sure Man of Moon would be ace too.

Highlights for me were We Were Promised Jetpacks – I’ve seen them before…somewhere, sometime…and loved them and they were ace on a festival stage.  Mouse Outfit were unexpected but enjoyable, Big Country took me back to the 80s.  Best of all though, and my third time of seeing them, was the Levellers.  OMG are they ace!  I was bouncing along down at the barrier.  Another great thing of this festival was that you could pretty much chose where you watched anyone from, if you wanted to be at the barrier it usually seemed possible, or you could choose a spot further out.  Anyway, Levellers were amazing as always, so many good tunes that you just can’t help singing along too.

I mentioned abusing my access all areas pass…well right at the end I was gutted watching the Levellers leaving the stage, especially after their fabulous violinist winked at me…so I shoved my pass round my neck and dived back stage.  Was lucky enough to catch Mark, the lead singer, as he was heading out the back and waffled on to him that during the day I had checked Facebook memories, and 4 years ago to that day I had gone to see the Levellers at the Lemon Tree with my cousin Nicole!  We’d gone for pizza before the gig – as had half the band!  Although we didn’t like to bother them, just admired from afar!  Quite spooky, but fab – as was the fact that Mark agreed to pose for a piccie with me.  Special memories which will last forever!

Mark from Levellers, photo by Sid Scott

 

 

My only negative about the whole thing – lots of people (including a musician on stage and one of the crew working the sound/lights) were smoking a certain substance, which unfortunately I am allergic to (believe it or not!).  Driving home my eyes were stinging and streaming, not to mention I could feel my lungs curling in on themselves!  Such is the way of the true authentic music festival though I guess!  Oh, and there was that moment that I realised I may be getting old, as I walked out of a tent thinking “urgh that was just Noise”.  Won’t name them though as I’m sure they were very good…if you like that sort of thing…

Review: Holywood Vampires at the Hydro, Glasgow. Tuesday 19th June 2018.

Monday, June 25th, 2018

This could be classed as a rock chick’s dream line up of an evening: The Damned, The Darkness and Hollywood Vampires. A plethora of musically genius gentlemen.

Finding out just how close to the front our seats were, in the vastness of the Hydro, was the first delight. The stress of Ticketmaster ticket release morning was worthwhile. The stage looked awesome with “The Damned” up on the back sheet and the stage full of equipment – and the crazy gents of the band. Three very distinct characters – Dave Vanian, the singer all in black, including shades; Captain Sensible the lead guitarist in quirky read and white fashion statement items; then the keyboard player (and groovy dancer!) in bold skull prints top and trousers. They played Eloise, among others, so all was good.

The Damned at the Hydro

The Darkness took over in a burst of long hair and bright clothing. Justin wasn’t in his trademark lycra jumpsuit – maturity perhaps – but he did take his jacket off part way through revealing a chest full of tattoos including a cassette tape. Someone asked for “The Christmas Song” and received dogs abuse from the stage – hilarious, after all it was June! They did close with A Thing Called Love so we could all singalong, most happily!

The Darkness, Hydro

Finally, it was the turn of the headliners. Out came Joe Perry of Aerosmith, then Johnny Depp and finally Alice Cooper made an entrance with a cane held high. All interspersed with the accompanying musicians – all very talented although obviously not “the names” of the main three. They played some classics from the deceased Hollywood stars they play tribute to, mixed with some of their own songs. One was pretty much “they were my friends, they are dead”. Faces came up on the screen of fallen greats such as Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Keith Moon, and even Prince. River Pheonix hit me hard, I still remember the moment I heard of his passing – reportedly in Johnny Depp’s Viper Rooms. All such tragic losses but at least their music lives on, in recordings and tributes such as this. Johnny Depp sang a cover of David Bowie’s Heroes which seemed even more touching and poignant than the rest of the evening, perhaps just due to a deep respect for both men’s talents.

The encore was School’s out and the place erupted – who doesn’t know and love that song?! An epic evening of epic musical talent.

Hollywood Vampires, Hydro

Further information: http://www.hollywoodvampires.com/tour

On a personal note – oh my goodness I was in the same room as Johnny Depp! At the end I went up to the barrier and he was on the corner of the stage and that is the closest I could ever imagine being to the chap I have worshipped from afar since 1990 when I saw him in Edward Scissorhands.  I now have photos of him, that I took, myself, of him.  Unfortunately I couldn’t afford the £1,000 meet and greet package – and funnily enough when that was on offer he wasn’t loitering around outside…but I saw him with my own eyes and heard him with my own ears, and that is enough for me.  Although a selfie with him would have been awesome, especially as I was wearing my “Mrs Johnny Depp” t-shirt….  And if you worried about what my poor husband thought of all this swooning, well I didn’t meet him till much later so he’s put up with it all through our relationship – bless him, he even bought me my concert ticket for my birthday!

Hollywood Vampires, Hydro

Winner!

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Yes, I do seem to be lucky…but I think that the fact I enter lots of competitions also helps when it comes to winning them. So many people complain they “never win anything” so you ask how many competitions they tend to enter in a week and they look at you blankly. Come on people, you have to be “in it to win it” – that’s just logic!

Recently I have done very well though. Thanks to our Disney Florida holiday booked through Kate Milton, our Travel Counsellor Bryan and I were lucky enough to get a trip to Rome last August. 3 nights in a five star hotel with tickets to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. Oh my, what a time we had! Hubby even enjoyed himself so much he suggested a selfie! Did you know the Coliseum is Really Big?!

Wednesday in Rome

Then we bought a replacement car for my 12 year old Suzuki in the January Sales. Arnold Clark were doing a #newcarfeeling competition where you had to post a selfie with your new wheels.

#NewCarFeeling

The week after we got Bumblebee the main prize was a VW Campervan tent. I’ve always wanted a VW Campervan so this seemed like the next best thing – and yes, we won! Happy Owen, although so far he’s only slept in it inside as its been quite a cold and snowy start to the year so not quite camping weather!

There's a campervan in my upstairs lounge!!

My father in law messaged me about a Twitter competition to win a Manchester United top, so I entered that – and won it too. Not arrived yet but Bryan thought I should get one for me as he and Owen already have a few, so looking forward to getting that and being able to fit in when they watch matches!

Last week Joe Bonamassa was to play the AECC, they ran a competition to win tickets on their Facebook page and I said I’d love to take Owen as he’s just started guitar lessons and I thought that the amazing Blues guitarist would be quite an inspiration. So I picked Owen up from school on Monday afternoon, after being away for a long weekend with his Dad and not having seen him since dropping him there on Friday morning. We went home, had dinner and chatted about our weekends and then I suggested he did his guitar practice as his lessons are on Tuesdays and he’d not practised all weekend. We went through to listen for a change and whilst we were there I got a notification, on my phone, from AECC. Yeap, we’d won! I’d not told him about the competition so he wasn’t disappointed if we didn’t win so it was exciting news to him, especially as the concert was the next night and would mean staying up late on a school night! It was a fabulous night and just brilliant to see his chin on his knees as he sat in awe of JB. The next morning I asked Owen what his review would be and he said thoughtfully “loud…but good”, and here’s one of the photos he took…

Owen's photos of Joe Bonamassa at AECC

To add to the magic, not only did one of my photographer friends give Owen a set list, but then… I recognised the man in front of us as being in a local band Full Fat so was speaking away to him – we’d all won our seats! After a minute or two he asked Owen if he was the wee boy who had danced in front of them at a music festival…and yes he was, at Celebrate Aberdeen a few years ago!

Full Fat at Celebrate Aberdeen festival

2017 as seen by the Robertsons

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Where did that year go?! It can’t be December again already?! Well I hope 2017 has been good to you, it’s not been bad here!

Posted by Maria Robertson on Mittwoch, 23. August 2017

I’m pretty sure Bryan and I’s highlight was our trip to Rome. I won 3 nights in the amazing 5 star Hotel Eden, with flights, transfers and tickets to the Sistine Chapel included through our fabulous Travel Counsellor, Kate Milton. Obviously we felt bad as it didn’t include Owen but we went the week the school’s went back after the summer holidays so he had maths and Grandda to keep him happy in our absence! Rome was amazing, Bryan still occasionally mentions how massive the Colosseum is. It was super hot but luckily we were there the week after their heat wave, I was definitely walking on the shady side of the streets! The hotel spoilt us rotten, after tweeting about missing Owen we came back that evening to find a framed photo of him on the dressing table! We also spoilt ourselves by going to the Michelin Star restaurant D’Imago one night for a most amazing experience. We thought as the holiday was free we could afford a treat and it was just outstanding. The Vatican was totally breath-taking and I got quite emotional in the Sistine chapel, most overwhelming!

Owen did get a wee holiday with us too, my parents gave us tickets for Belladrum Music Festival last Christmas so we went to that in August and it was Owen’s first time camping. We saw various bands and other entertainment – and found a mobile library with a Gaelic speaking Librarian, think Owen was back in there each day! Luckily we found his school chums setting up their camp and were able to get tips from them as they go every year, we also managed to catch up with my cousin Claire and her family.

Belladrum 2017 - library book in the tent

Work is going well for both of us, busy but good. Unfortunately Bryan’s had more trips to Manchester than previously, so Owen’s had to survive my cooking/reheating! I’ve done 43 external hires at the library including ITV filming a bit of The Investigator series two, which should be on in the New Year! There was also a scene shot for a zombie movie by a local company so I’m looking forward to that DVD in the summer – Dark Within.

Talking of filming, Owen is now used to being followed round by a camera as Midas Media produced a program called “Gaelic in Aberdeen” in May which he was in several times at school, Feis and Sradagan.

My son on TV, with his own subtitles!

They are now making a documentary of a year in the life of kids in Gaelic Medium Education so we look forward to seeing that! We didn’t need to question if we could film their Christmas Concert this year as the camera team were there and some of it should be televised! He’s doing great at school, still loves his maths and literacy – in both languages. This year he also performed a poem recital in the Inverness Mod.

Ben Portsmouth aka Elvis at AECC

As you can see above we met Elvis this year…well Ben Portsmouth anyway! Seeing him in concert is probably the nearest we could ever get to seeing the King, and it was certainly a special night. I’d managed to get us front row seats so when he was giving away a scarf from round his neck at the end of a song I was able to pounce on it – and when he sang Teddy Bear and gave out toy teddies Owen managed to get a wee monkey. He is now called Elvis and goes everywhere with him! We also had a weekend in Glasgow to see Ed Sheeran, went to a gig in my library with the Fair Mothers and Rick Redbeard, and Owen and I went to Glasgow to see The Shires and then took Daddy to Fyvie Live a month later to see them again! Bryan and I went to Country2Country music festival in Glasgow again this March and our Christmas present to each other again is tickets for next year! Such a lovely weekend going for nice lunches and then seeing fantastic musicians all evening! I’ve also been on my own, or with chums, to see Busted (twice!), X Factor, Kathryn Joseph, Lewis Capaldi, The Shires, Natives, Enjoy Music (worked at this festival), Emile Sande, Newton Faulkner, Skippinish and my beloved Kasabian. I also went to the theatre for Funny Girl, Lady Boys, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night and took Owen to see Wonderland, all with free tickets through my work. I got review passes for an author event with Liz Pichon at the Tivoli which Owen thoroughly enjoyed, the band from the books played and Liz taught us to do her style of doodling. I’m supposed to be reviewing for a new events newspaper, the first issue came out in August with 5 pieces by me but not been another one yet, so fingers crossed for the new year! I was at the press night for the panto which was fab, and we’re going as a family, with Ray’s family on Friday night. Bryan and I went to a comedy night with Fred Macaulay, and I managed to get a photo with him!

Breakneck Comedy night at Bettridge Centre, Newtonhill

Owen’s birthday treat/present was a trip to Manchester to watch Manchester United Legends versus Barcelona Legends. We took his Grandda too as the three Robertson chaps are dedicated Man U fans, and it was a fab day out! Instead of a party he had a couple of sleepovers – one with Lucas and Maya, the other with 4 chums from school, they certainly had fun but not so sure about how much sleep occurred!

Man U v Barcelona Legends at Old Trafford

His football obsession continues, he’s been to a few matches this year – including his first Scotland match as they actually played at our local stadium. He loves FIFA and physically playing football, his after school club now has a football club on a Monday which he enjoys.

Posted by Bryan Robertson on Samstag, 22. Juli 2017

This picture was from a charity event that Owen won a competition to name a “cocktail” for the little girl it was in aid of. His prize was to help AC Eventbars mix some mocktails and to get a rickshaw ride around Stonehaven. It was a lovely afternoon, he got spoilt rotten, and as usual his Dad got some fabulous photos.

All year we’ve been “saving up” to replace the wee Suzuki I’ve had for 10 years, obviously we keep spending our money on having far too much fun instead – but life is short and not a rehearsal so I doubt that will change anytime soon! My wee car limped through its MOT, then the alternator went one cold morning as we got to school, so the pressure is on to be sensible for a while and get that replaced!

As for my parents, they accepted an offer on Creagan in August, retired in October…and are still waiting for the sale to complete. Fingers crossed they can move closer to us in the New Year!

Hope 2017 has been kind to you, and wishing us all a fabulous festive period and wonderful 2018.

2016 as seen by the Robertsons

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

It must be said, that 2016 has been a fabulous year for my wee family. Mostly for the fact that we finally went on the holiday I’ve been dreaming of my whole life, and Bryan and I have spoken about for the 18 years since we met! When we got pregnant we declared the bump would be taken to Disney World when it was old enough, well it spent his 7th birthday in Magic Kingdom and had dinner with Mickey Mouse. Mission accomplished.

Must admit we said we were doing the “once in a lifetime” experience and our budget stretched somewhat accordingly, it was all wonderful and worth the saving up all year. However next time (oops how did that happen?!) we’ll do things differently. Hopefully next time the worst hurricane in a decade won’t delay our departure either, an extra night in Manchester doesn’t really equate with your first night at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. Luckily our ace Travel Counsellor booked us into the same hotel as some friends from home and we met them for dinner, which almost made up for it! The day I’d allocated as traveling from Universal to Disney became a Universal day and we ended up not feeling like we’d missed out much – thank goodness it didn’t mess with my Disney Fast Passes itinerary!

We had a fabulous fortnight, meeting characters and going on rides. Highlights (one day I might blog the extended version!) were Bryan’s face at high fiving Homer Simpson; Owen’s awe stricken face meeting Aladdin; me getting on stage with Captain Jack Sparrow and being sworn in as a pirate; the Star Wars fireworks; Be Our Guest dinner in the Beast’s castle; Owen’s joy at driving a car on Tomorrowland Speedway; watching the animals from our balcony at Animal Kingdom Lodge; Bryan’s excitement at Princess Jasmine calling him Sultan; Merida telling Owen he had to eat 7 cakes that day as it was his 7th birthday, the last of which had his name on the top as he was presented with a specially made birthday cake after dinner that night which Kate, our Travel Counsellor, had ordered for him; Splash Mountain; all being hugged by Chewbacca; Captain America letting Owen help to hold his shield; getting my photo taken with Chip n Dale; Bryan’s goat affection; multiple crêpes in the Food and Drink Festival at Epcot for Owen and getting ”one of each” at the chocolate stall for Mummy! Yes, that really is just some highlights, the whole fortnight was magical and amazing, hence the “next time” phrase starting early in our holiday and continuing today.

First though, Bryan and I will be going to Rome in 2017 as our Travel Counsellor also pointed out a competition her company were running and, one video review of her services later, I won! So we get flights, transfers, 3 nights in a 5 star hotel and tickets to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel! Kate didn’t know I’d won till she attended her company conference and my review was played to her 16,000 colleagues on 3 massive screens, the poor things!!

Bryan’s work is going well, his company merged this year so there are changes afoot. He’s going to be attending more conferences, and in September Owen and I accompanied him to one in Miami! As his company was paying his flights and for a hotel room it seemed a shame not to take the opportunity to go, and we only had to pay for our 2 flights. So we went from never having been to America to going twice in 2 months! The trip was a good practice for long haul flights and dealing with the heat – plus the conference hotel was gorgeous with 3 pools and a beach front so we got lots of swimming done! I may have also gate crashed some of the evening entertainment and got a cuddle with a lemur…

 

All year I’d been saying I should lose weight for Disney but as soon as Bryan mentioned Miami all I could think was the Will Smith video with size zero girls in bikinis. It was great motivation and I lost half a stone before we went, for the first time I can remember I actually enjoy looking in a mirror and in November I even took part in a fashion show for a local dress hire company! I did turn 40 this year, but the distress was distracted by my super chums getting me a Meerkat Moment experience at Edinburgh Zoo, we had a lovely day out with some other chums from down there. For a glorious 30 minutes I was allowed in with the marvellous meerkats, to feed them and pose with them! I also got to meet, and stroke, an armadillo!

Jennie's photos of my Meerkat Moment at Edinburgh Zoo

My work is also going well, external hires of the Library have seen me at a Downton Abbey theme civic ceremony, watching magic shows, listening to great gigs, helping organise a marriage proposal dinner, and being put in a disappearing box by Harry Potter!! I had a work experience student all summer so it was nice to have some company as I’m usually alone in the office – and whilst he was there we finally finished cataloguing the library collection. I also stood down as Chair of the BIALL Website Committee and attended my last of their conferences as the time has come to face up to the fact I’m not really a Librarian anymore.

Owen is also doing well at school, although he’s in Primary 3 he now does maths and literacy with the P4-7 class. Usually in Gaelic Medium Education (GME) kids are not introduced to English until P4, but when Owen told his teacher about the Road Dahl and JK Rowling books he’d read in the summer holidays they decided he was probably ready! He is a voracious reader, one Friday night I took him to the public library for new books, as I tucked him into bed I suggested that maybe he could let me sleep a little past 7 in the morning. Bryan and I awoke the next morning at 9.45 and I went through and found he was happily reading – “I’ve finished 2 books so far Mum” he says! It is embarrassing when he asks for help with maths and I have to get a calculator out though! He now goes to a football club after school on a Tuesday and he’s just passed level 2B in swimming classes. Oh and I’ve become a Parent Advisor for Gaelic education in Aberdeen.

I also managed to find myself on the committee for Fèis Obar Dheathain (traditional music tuition and a Gaelic arts experience for young people). We ran an event at the May Festival and a stand alone session in November, now planning a “proper” 3 day event at the February half term. Owen attended both Fèis this year and really enjoyed them so fingers crossed for the next one!

We think we finally have the hot tub settled. It leaks constantly but we’ve had the bathroom floor and walls treated so this shouldn’t cause any problems. We finally got a complete bill from the engineer and got paid up so we no longer have that debt hanging over us. It’s temperamental and will continue to have issues but when it’s working you don’t care, it is a fab thing to sit in…for hours…

I’m still loving my concerts, this year Bryan and I escaped to Glasgow for a weekend at the County 2 Country music festival and I enjoyed wearing cowboy boots! We saw some fab performers and have again bought each other tickets for Christmas so we can go next Spring. For my birthday, my parents took me to see Nashville Live in Glasgow, was the first time I’ve been to a concert with my Dad and a great night. I also had a birthday night out with some chums to see Kathryn Joseph, which was quite an experience! I worked at the Enjoy Music Festival again and was put in charge of the ticket collector team, it was a fun day – and I enjoyed the last few acts once the gates were shut at 9pm! Through Gig Shot website I managed to get free review passes for a few concerts and saw Ronan Keating, Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The View and Newton Faulkner. I also helped at the door of a few gigs my friends organised through their Flares and Seagulls music blog, saw quite a variety of different bands (and got chatted up by a drummer!). Owen was thrilled to come to two Best Girl Athlete concerts in my Library. At the first he got to meet the band, turns out Katie the lead singer went to his school, and the drummer even gave him a go on his drums! He was hanging out in the “green room” with the American bands who were also playing that night and spoke some Gaelic to them, which one in particular appreciated. I won tickets to see Red Hot Chili Peppers down in Glasgow so had a fun road trip with our cousin Nicole who’s quite a fan! I did try to actually buy tickets to see Busted, but a lovely Twitter chum set me up with free ones, with awesome seats that meant we were really close to the boys for 3 songs! We had another family trip to Party at the Palace and enjoyed our beloved Proclaimers again, as well as Gun, Bootleg Beatles and Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5.

I know 2016 hasn’t been as kind to everyone but I hope you had some happy times and go into 2017 with a good bank of memories. Here’s hoping the year ahead treats us all kindly.

Proclaimers

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

The time had come to take Owen to his first concert, but what should we take him to? I’d been looking out for things that would be appropriate one day remember listening to music Bryan suggested that if The Proclaimers came to town they would be ideal. We all love the Proclaimers and Owen knew many of their lyrics so that seemed perfect.

Finally I saw a tour advertised which included an Aberdeen date. I sent Bryan the details and we got tickets organised. Because Owen is under 14 we had to have seated tickets but I managed to get quite central in the third row. We were all looking forward to the evening.

A few weeks before the concert I asked Owen what he would like to wear to see The Proclaimers. I explained that some fans like to wear a T-shirt of the band at their gigs, he said he would like to do the same so I went on to The Proclaimers website to look for t-shirts in his size and was disappointed to find that there only adult t-shirts available. However I did find some press photographs of The Proclaimers and then noticed the email address for their management so I sent a wee email saying that we were taking our son to his first proper concert and that he would like a T-shirt to wear to see them. Response came saying that many young fans wear the small size of t-shirt and so I ordered one. When it arrived Owen tried it on but unfortunately it looked like a dress on him coming down to his knees. In great hysterics I sent a photo to the management and said that actually we might just make our own!

Small may be too big for my lad..

Surprisingly a response came back apologising and asking if perhaps Owen might like a photo with Craig and Charlie by way of apology. In great excitement I replied accepting this kind offer and stating our availability for the weekend.

The night before the concert I was at my works’ annual dinner greeting guests with the President of the Society. I took my phone out to take a photo of some of our members just as a notification of a new email arrived from the management of The Proclaimers. The email asked if Owen was still available to go backstage before the concert the next evening. I replied yes and asked if my husband and I could join him and where we should report to.

So on Saturday the 28th of November Bryan was driving Owen and myself to the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. Caught up in the excitement I tweeted that we were taking Owen into his first concert to see The Proclaimers and Daniel Meade a country artist we had seen at the Southern Fried Festival during the summer and that we were all very excited.

Ourselves and one of the couple got taken backstage. Once we were outside the dressing room the couple were asked to wait and we were taken forward and introduced to Charlie and Craig. Suddenly my son became very shy and awkward, his dad sat with him on the floor and he sat there with big eyes staring at these two men we had listened to so many times before. I asked him his question, which was if they could speak Gaelic and they said unfortunately no, so we said that Owen could teach them which surprised them until we explained that he was at the Gaelic School. They very kindly signed his program for the concert and then I suggested it would be nice to get a photo. Suddenly Owen jumped up full of smiles and with his thumbs up!

The Proclaimers at AECC

Obviously I couldn’t resist the opportunity and got another photo with myself included and then it was time to go and find our seats. We got taken out by the side of the stage and felt very special as everyone looked at us wondering where we had been as we grinned manically.

The excitement didn’t stop there, whilst we were waiting for the concert to begin my friend came in and we had a chat with her about our backstage experience. Then it was time for Daniel Meade, a few songs in he stopped and dedicated a song to Owen, a 6 year old, who is at his first concert! I turned to Owen in shock and said “that’s you” and his excited smile split his face from ear to ear.

Our third row seats were just perfect as no one sat in the two before us so we could see straight out over the standing crowd to the stage, although that was a fair distance. Owen sang along, clapped along, tried to take photos. Part way through The Proclaimers he started to look tired and sat on my knee, snaked his arms round my neck and snuggled into my chest. Still he was listening and it’s not as if there was a dance routine that needed watched. I was worried that he might fall asleep and miss some of the fun but at the end of each song his hands started clapping – still round the back of my neck. His dad tried to wake him up with a sugar hit from an ice cream and his smile got even bigger as he licked his way through the cone.

Even though it was over a year ago we still all remember that night well, obviously the Proclaimers are The Awesome anytime but when it’s your first concert and you’re spoilt rotten, well those are memories you’ll treasure forever!

The Proclaimers at AECC

As if that wasn’t all magical enough Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre then ran a competition just before Christmas to win an IWatch, I entered the photo of Owen with the Proclaimers and…we won!  Daddy was very confused when given an IWatch for Christmas as we’d said we’d not get each other anything but its always nice to get an extra surprise!

2015 summing up time!

Monday, December 14th, 2015

So 2015 has been an exciting year for the Robertsons. Owen has been to his first proper music festival and his first proper concert, much to his Mum’s delight. We were at Party in the Palace in Linlithgow to see Julie Fowlis the Gaelic singer, among others. We took his cousin Lucas with us so that made it more fun.

Owen & Lucas at Party at the Park

I also took him to his first album signing at HMV, where we heard a few songs from, and then met The Shires.

Owen meets The Shires

At the Celebrate Aberdeen festival he had a song dedicated to him by local talent Best Girl Athlete which made him quite happy.  When he learned his alphabet K was for Katy, the lead singer!  He was actually supposed to be at a gig she did in a local cathedral on the night of her 16th birthday but unfortunately he wasn’t well so I had to go without him.  Katy and her Dad Charley were kind enough to send me home with a signed poster for him!

Celebrate Aberdeen festival - day 2, 2015

We also attended the free outdoor stage at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival of American root music. The most thoughtful festival I’ve ever been to – when it started to rain they brought round a box of umbrellas, much to Owen’s delight! He and I also did the Strathyre Music Festival again, including a drumming workshop which he really enjoyed. The lad was truely spoilt at the Proclaimers too, not only did we manage to get invited back stage to meet Craig and Charlie, but the support act Daniel Meade and the Flying Mules had apparently seen on social media that it was Owen’s first proper concert and dedicated a song to him!!

The Proclaimers at AECC

Another amazing experience he had was being invited into the kitchen of The Courtyard restaurant. He helped Chris Toner the owner, butcher a shoulder of lamb and cook some and then his highlight was sticking a knife into a lobster’s brain!! He wasn’t so keen on eating it afterwards though so I had to help him!

Chef in the kitchen at The Courtyard amazing experience

Our “summer holiday” this year was to the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. Parents spend the week in lectures whilst the kids got to do crafts, sports, archery and even tried canoeing – another enjoyable first for Owen! On the Thursday night there was a ceilidh for all the families and we were shocked to find out that each class had to sing a song! My class did the Hokey Cokey whilst Bryan’s did a more serious number – and there was another first as he stood up in front of everyone with the microphone and introduced his class’ performance! I’d wondered why he was quite so nervous! The college is in a gorgeous location and had a good canteen, although we did escape to a local restaurant one night as a family treat. Luckily the weather was quite agreeable, we even missed a monsoon in Aberdeen that had shopping centres and the airport closed due to flooding!

Sabhal mor ostaig - Fèis an Eilein / Skye Fest

Owen’s Gaelic is doing well, now in P2 he’s reading with the year above and does maths exercises with them too. In the first week back he got a Good Kid Call for helping the new P1s, another lovely benefit of composite classes.  We helped out on the Gaelic education stall at the Aberdeen Highland Games too.  The boy is obcessed with maths, he complained during the summer when I dropped him at Holiday Club that he just wanted to go to lessons and learn more maths! Luckily Asda had Star Wars themed maths books that kept him happy till the teachers returned! We went to see his Christmas Carol Service last week, he’d been working hard learning his lines and even covered for his classmate who was off sick on the day. His swimming lessons are also going well and he moves into the next class up in the new year. He also goes to Gaelic Youth Club every week which he really enjoys.  We did try street drumming for a while this year, which we both enjoyed, but the timing of it didn’t really work out and we had to give it up.

School certificates

Work wise, Bryan’s is going well and we’re both now used to his trips to the Manchester office. In fact this update was written on the flight to and from his Christmas party down there! My work has been crazy busy, with the external hires of the library really taking off. We’ve had gin tastings, meetings, quizzes, dinner’s, lunches, seminars, photo shoots, and parties galore! Only one wedding this year but next year we have 4 booked including our first same sex, and first themed wedding! They are lovely chaps and going for Downton Abbey theme so that should be an amazing day! End of January we have a concert for a local music promoter so fingers crossed that goes well and leads to more. Actually a local musician, Oliver Richards recorded some music videos in the library this year to promote himself for a world tour next year – “Live at the Library”, most exciting!

My boys continue to be football crazy, following Manchester United and Aberdeen FC. Not been to many games but watched a few on TV and Owen reads the local paper’s The Score every Monday night when we get home! He also trades football cards with his school mates – and spends hours arranging the cards into teams or positions or whatever! For his 6th birthday he wanted an AFC strip and football party – which seemed to please everyone (once we persuaded him he didn’t need to restrict invitations to those who love and are good at football!).

Birthday Cake!

As well as enjoying the aforementioned live music with my family I did some extras without them. The most amazing was that I won front row tickets to see U2! As soon as I heard I texted my cousin Dave to ask if I was going “with or without you”. So we met up in Glasgow the weekend before his 40th and had an amazing night out. I’d not told him we were also getting in the Hydro Club Bar, we felt like proper VIPs! The next day my folks took us out for lunch, bringing along Dave’s brother Tony as a surprise (he was in Scotland on a course!). Special times!

Lunch at the Ubiquitous Chip

I also saw my theme tune – Stupid Girl by Garbage – live again. They played Usher Hall in Edinburgh and it was a wonderful and unique experience, including Shirley Manson’s Dad making a surprise visit to the stage.  Support was the most enjoyable Dutch Uncles.  I reviewed X Factor Live Tour again and Simply Red, requested that one as Natalie Imbruglia was supporting but they were both great. My friend George put on his first gig so I manned the door and enjoyed being part of the whole thing. Met the Media Whores and enjoyed Rumtumtartar and Life on Standby. I also worked at 2 dance music festivals in the city, wages paid for some of my other tickets, and I got to hear various acts in the process: Sasha, KatyB, Pendulum DJ set and Darius Syrossian. Also saw Prodigy supported by Public Enemy, The Answer supported by Bad Touch and the Picture Books, Jack Savoretti, Placebo supported by Mirror Trap.  Also seeing Texas next weekend.  Bryan and I also attended the Energy Ball this year as guests of the John Clark Motors Group and saw an amazing band called Swanband, from Paris.  A very good year for me musically!

We had a few family outings to various events: Scottish Ballet doing The Nutcracker, Aberdeen v Dundee at Pittordrie, Dr Bunhead’s science show, we saw a modern dance show called Windibops, we went to a Frozen Tea Party, we were VIP guests at the relaunch of our local Brewsters play area, an anniversary tour and ceilidh at my high school, a Shorts and Shades party, Farm Open Day at The Store, and Owen took part in a Super Heroes School.  There was a Gaelic kids day out to Crathes Castle when we went on the steam train, as well as a tubing session and Mud Pies with them – bbq-ing marshmallows and building tree houses! We also took Owen and Maya to Disney on Ice when it was in town.

Happy Mother's Day to me! Rink side at Disney on Ice and we've stolen a Princess to join us

Bryan and Owen had some “man time” at a Rumbling Romans and Wicked Warriors event at a local castle (click arrows at side of picture to see the full album photo album!).

Rumbling Romans & Wicked Warriors at Castle Fraser

We have my parents coming for Christmas, they are looking after Owen for the week between school and my work closing. On the 25th we have various members of Bryan’s side joining us although unfortunately his Dad will be offshore. Bryan and I have treated ourselves to tickets for County 2 Country music festival in Glasgow in March as our Christmas presents to each other so are looking forward to that.

Next year I have to face turning 40 and we’ve declared its finally time we made it to Disney Florida after all these years of wanting to go, so all being well next years round up will just be pictures of Mickey et al.! In the meantime we have even more saving up to do!

Hope 2015 has been kind to you and that you have a wonderful Christmas.

Enjoy Music festival, Hazelhead, Sat 25th July

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Sometime ago I heard that there was a dance music type festival coming to Aberdeen. As I love music I had a nosy. It wasn’t really my kind of music but I found on their website that they were looking for staff so I thought it might be a good way to experience new things and get a free lug full of different tunes!

Enjoy Music website

So on Saturday I spent the day scanning barcodes and applying wristbands to hundreds of wrists.

Wristbands

You would be amazed at the differences in wrists by the way – some I could wrap it round twice, some it barely went right round! Some had tattoos, good watches, lovely jewellery, and some were so sweaty I had to wipe my hand afterwards! Then there were levels of hairiness, one chap was really upset I caught a hair in the sticky bit – I didn’t mean to but it’s difficult to get the sticky monsters on straight first time especially when a bus has just delivered a load of folk and they all want past us to the fun stuff!

I was working with some lovely people which added to my fun, for example the guy from Skiddle, the ticket company who had all the clever technology for scanning. We actually just used iPhones to scan – and if someone’s barcode wouldn’t scan you could search for their name. Simple! Plus you could see how many tickets were sold, it was interesting as ticket sales were left open during the event – there were 300 sold after it started – some on phones right in front of us. The wonders of technology!

We were stationed in between the security guards who were searching bags and asking for ID to ensure everyone was over 18, and the police with their sniffer dogs. I loved watching the dogs work, they seemed so happy and excited to sniff everyone but if they smelt something they had been trained to search for they gave a sign and the person was taken away to be searched and interrogated.

My colleagues for the day

The police also had some clever technology…well as long as it was working which unfortunately on this occasion wasn’t long! They wiped a person’s hand then put the swab in their machine and it could tell if the person had handled drugs recently. I was most intrigued!  Apparently 2 men ended up in court for dealing drugs as a result.

It was all most interesting seeing what goes into a music festival.  I arrived when the place was set up but empty, was quite strange.  I spoke to the organiser Russell Aitchison and he was telling me about the walk round checks he had to do with the council for the license for the event and for Health and Safety.

Music festivals are quiet when you get there early

There was one chap turned up an hour before the gate opened. We explained doors didn’t open yet and he looked disappointed but stood to one side out the way patiently.  The chap from Skiddle was careful to ensure he was the first in, once we realised it was past opening time! He got his pic taken by the local press photographer for being first in and posed with his ticket and some wrist bands.  Anyway I saw him at the end of the night right against the barrier waving at KatyB through her performance and totally enjoying himself.  I kinda felt it made it all worthwhile you know?  He was totally Enjoying the Music and lost in that glorious feeling of seeing someone you love on stage.  There were a few faces like that when I wandered round Pendulum, Sasha and KatyB.

Earlier in the day hadn’t been so pretty – there were some people left, complained, asked for refunds as there was a queue for the bar.  I must admit I just felt sorry for them if they felt they needed to get drunk to have a good time.  Why go to a music festival if you’re only interested in getting drunk – there’s beer festivals, or just pubs!  We got grief on the door for the fact that people couldn’t go out and back in again too, I tried to patiently explain that it was due to the licensing for the event and it wasn’t up to us or the organiser but some people got quite abusive about it.  I did feel sorry for a couple of people that seemed to have genuine reasons for wanting out but it was in the terms and conditions of the event and the festival was in a park at the edge of the city, you would think people would just want to make the most of the music whilst it lasted!  Still, we all have different priorities in life.  One of my main ones is music, hence helping at the festival.

I did get to hear everything from the main stage from the gate which was fab.  I really enjoyed Fridge Magnets and local lass Cara Mitchell.  Once I finished work I managed to catch the end of Pendulum‘s DJ set.

Pendulum DJ set at Enjoy Music

Then I hit Food Street and had a wonderful pulled pork sandwich with Angus & Oink sauce (cue Homer Simpson like slobbering).  After that I wandered up to the Digital Love Dance Tent to see, or rather hear, Sasha.  Once KatyB started I wandered back to the main stage and had a wee boogie to her pop-tastic tunes.  She was quite fun, but did something that annoys me – didn’t sing every second word of her most popular song so the audience could fill in the gaps.  I didn’t go to hear a load of (mostly) untalented and (some) drunken singers, but hey ho, its a crowd pleaser so it was good to see everyone enjoying themselves!  Especially that chap that was there queuing an hour before the gates opened.

Katy B

A staff perk was having my car in the staff car park so I offered some friends a lift home, after bumping into them at the end of Sasha’s set once the main stage had gone dark and quiet, and soon afterwards was dropping them in the city centre before heading home.

I really enjoyed my day, I guess that’s another thing off my imaginary music orientated bucket list.  Work at a music festival – check!  I’m still buzzing from being there.  I’m not sure if it was the contact with loads of people, the fab tune-age or the fact I was part of the team whereas I’m used to being just another person in the crowd.  It was fun meeting most of the crowd on their way in, some just took their wristband and went but some engaged in banter – one even hugged me!  Still wondering why one chap waited until he had my attention to do up his cuff buttons, but I obliged none the less.

My day even allowed me to match the recent photo opportunity my son Owen got at his holiday club, thanks to a very nice police lady! :

Owen and a run in with the Police                                              Handcuffed!

2013 – an overview!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013


This year has been a busy and fantastic one for us.  We moved house in April to my rainbow’s end little pot of gold as you can see up above!  We are now well settled in, and enjoyed making the most of the gorgeous weather this summer.  We moved to the seaside at just the right time – I can assure you working in a heat wave is more bearable knowing you can go for a paddle when you get home!  Many trips to the beach 2 minutes away have been made, and many picnics there and on the deck area at the front door overlooking the sea!

We had a lovely 10th Wedding Anniversary celebration back in the honeymoon suite at Balbirnie Hotel (where we were married) and during our stay did some key conveyancing transactions with the solicitors!  I wasn’t bothered about my birthday this year, just wanted to get into the house and start living “happily ever after”!  In line with this I somehow totally lost my list of pressies and confused myself so much I never got round to doing thank you letters, so I do apologise for that.  If you missed the whole story of the house I did blog about it and I’ve posted photos on my Flickr.

The house is all I dreamed of and more, never realised how content having sea views would make me – and we lost count of how many times Owen squealed happily “I can see the sea” in the first month!  Even the cats love it as they can now go outside as we’re away from any busy roads, we just cross our fingers they won’t jump off the cliffs!  The house has lots of features that I love: an awesome utility room with proper old Belfast sink and a really useful hose type tap; a lovely bathroom with funky lighting; a great ensuite with a double shower; Owen’s room has tons of storage and fantastic views of the coast; a useful hose under the front decking so you can wash the car; a spare room that we can keep just as a spare room (yes that is your invite!); and 2 decent sized lounges including a perfect space for Firefly, my rocking horse.  I could go on but I don’t want to be a bore/show off!  Unfortunately when we moved in we had 3 quite major problems so we’re working through fixing those things (and paying the associated bills!) but generally speaking we’re all quite happy there.  Bryan doesn’t see it as his “forever house” in the same way I do but I’ve told him if he wants to move he can organise it all next time – if he finds a house we like even more than this one!

Our other news is that Bryan’s firm got bought over at the start of the year by Adept4.  Bryan then got promoted in April and the associated pay rise was perfect timing for our increased mortgage, and has meant finances aren’t as tight as we’d predicted.  Plus for the first time in our relationship he is the Main Breadwinner, so that’s taking some getting used to!  Owen and his Grandda got him an “I’m The Boss” badge for Father’s Day so that reminds me.  Adept4 seem to be a great company, and I’m not just saying that as I’m wearing the gorgeous earrings I got from their Christmas party one Saturday night a couple of weeks ago…which was an awesome Bond themed dinner, in Shropshire!  Was nice to get a night away and I got to drive an MPV for the first time as there were 6 of us travelling down from Aberdeen, nice bit of bonding time for the 3 colleagues/IT geeks.

Owen is growing as only little people do, can’t believe our wee baby is 4 now.  This was him as Joseph in the nursery Christmas Show – he was very diligent in learning his lines (and keeping his star role a secret from his Daddy until the big day!).  He’s very excited about going to GaelicSchool next August and has been learning a few words, we even went to a day course to learn some to speak with him.  We also got invited to a picnic of other families involved with the school so he met a boy who will be in his year and some others from above and below his year.  He is great fun, totally into drawing and Lego at the moment – and collecting shells and other beach “treasure”..  This year he’s had his first trip to England (Bryan had a work BBQ for us to attend), he’s been to Mickey Mouse Rockin’ Road Show, the Turriff Show, Leuchar’s air show, Lion King stage show (with Hillside flatshare reunion lunch, first time since kids born, pic below!) and exhibition, had football coaching at nursery, honed his climbing skills (rocks at the beach as well as in play parks) and been to his first music festival.  The last of these was Strathyre’s first attempt and my parent’s hotel was one of the venues.  Creagan is still on the market unfortunately but the good news is Dad finally applied, and was accepted, to The Master Chefs of Great Britain.

My work is going great, in June I gave my first ever seminar to my peers at the British and Irish Association of Law Librarian’s conference (I go most years).  A lot of work, and nerves, went into it but it seemed to go well, I even repeated it for one of the local law firms.  It was called Working Outside The Box and is about transferable skills.  I’ve also been promoted to Vice Chair of the BIALL Website Committee so that means I’m guaranteed a few more trips to London etc for their meetings!  I’ve been encouraging external hires of our library and in September we had our first wedding, in November our first concert – both of which were great fun.

I’m still writing concert reviews so I get to see gigs for free – in fact one birthday treat was finally getting to see Simple Minds in action, great night!  I’ve also seen Olly Murs, Emile Sande, Midge Ure, Toyah (even got my photo taken with her!), Emma’s Imagination (pic with her too!). Young Kato, Pigeon Detectives (ooh another pic!), Joe Bonamassa, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and local band Little Kicks.  Not forgetting of course CS Buchan’s album launch in the wonderful venue of…my library!  If you’re interested my reviews are online here.  I won 4 tickets to see Strictly Confidential, the dance show about Lisa Riley’s life so had a girly outing and we all really enjoyed ourselves.  Ooh and talking of prizes, I also won an iPad Mini so that’s been very handy for supporting my internet addiction!

Our Christmas Day was just the 3 of us in our new house, then Boxing Day we went to the pantomime with Ray, Nicole, Lucas and Maya.  Having moved to the south of Aberdeen we’ve managed to see more of them this year and our sons seem to be growing up as close as their Dads did, which is nice.  On 27th we were supposed to head down to Fife for my wee cousin’s wedding party as she’s finally home from the States where she got married but unfortunately a couple of members of the family were ill, so I still have that prospect to look forward to.  Instead we went straight to Creagan to have a “Christmas Day” with my parents last Saturday.

Unfortunately Bryan’s Dad is offshore this month but we do see him quite a lot when he’s onshore now which is ace, and at the end of January the 4 of us are going to Old Trafford to see Man U play (thanks Adept4!) so we’re all really excited about that, will be quite an experience I’m sure!

So really 2013 has been a great year for us, hope it suited you too?!

Birthday fun

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Getting old isn’t fun but life is what you make it so I used it, and moving, as an excuse to have a night out with the girls.  It turned into one of those AWESOME nights that you know you will all remember for ages – and as we bumped into a photographer we even have a memory of it!
Me and the pretty girls

Photo by http://www.danielmcavoyphoto.co.uk/

We had a nice meal out, then a drink in Orchid and then off to our beloved Club Tropicana for some 80s dancing.  Bad planning being out the night the clocks spring forward but never mind hey?!

On Monday I then got another birthday treat as I finally got to see Simple Minds in concert.  I’ve wanted to see them ever since they lived round the glen from me and we used to pass in the car and I’d try and peek in the windows of the recording studio they had overlooking Loch Earn.  Jim Kerr, the lead singer, even ate at my parent’s restaurant a couple of times but I always had to be somewhere else.  Anyway that was an ace night, as I have reviewed at: http://www.game-shot.com/index2.php#/info1/1/

My birthday wasn’t that special a day, I was working and then had the usual routine of getting Owen home, fed and bedded.  It was special in that I had so many lovely texts, Facebook messages, Tweets and emails from my super friends and family.  I am a very lucky girl.  Two lovely ladies even came and kept me company at lunchtime which was good, I do like a good natter!  Then in the evening Bryan went off and met our friend Steve, who managed to find us 2 unwanted sofas for our new house.  So they have been moved into Steve’s garage ready for when we get the keys.  Bryan brought home a photo of them and they look ace so that’s an awesome birthday present to get!!

I really wasn’t bothered about celebrating my birthday this year, the excitment will come later this month when we move house, but I still felt special – especially when Bryan presented me with a yummy Bournville Brioche and Butter Pudding after dinner – YUMMY!!!