Friday, January 27, 2012

We've got some visitors!

Owen, to me on the phone last night: You have more visitors? I've never known so many adventurous Americans!

In 2004, I took a miniature road trip with a friend of mine from Villanova. We spent about 6 hours in the car and one of the highlights of it was sharing music. He introduced me to the band Explosions in the Sky, and they blew my mind. Their entirely instrumental sound that blended orchestral, poignant, and in-my-face elements seemed perfect for the trip.

The night we got back from that trip I went to see the theatrical release of the movie, Friday Night Lights. I went by myself, sat in a historical and uncharacteristically sparse theatre, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that very same band as the soundtrack to the movie (the trailer for the movie doesn't have their music on it, but that's Hollywood I guess). The movie was surprisingly good; it played against the feel-good-sports-movie-formula. And I love when genre movies play against the expectations of audiences. I bought and read the book it was based on.

The foundation was strong - I was going to love this band forever.

Then the television show came out. If you haven't watched it, I give it my full recommendation (well, forgive some of the story lines from season two). It suffered the same fate most all other critically-acclaimed-yet-under-watched television shows experience. But it had Explosions in the Sky on the soundtrack again. And it was awesome. The only drawback was that the studio didn't pay for the rights to have the band's songs on the DVDs, so they got some chameleon band to produce their style of music for the DVDs. However, if you were watching it live, you got to hear the real business.

So, since 2004, I've been listening to this band. It's one of those bands that you can go back to time and time again and never get tired of. Each of their albums has its own feel, its own story that you write in your own head as you're listening to it.

When I saw that they were going to be playing in London, I didn't hesitate to get tickets. I got four because I knew Kenz and I would easily get two other people to come along with us.

I wound up e-mailing one of my BFFs from Villanova. I had told Will to listen to the band in 2006, and after the first listen he went out and bought all of their albums. It was a shot in the dark. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio - not exactly just down the road from London. But, he nerds out on the band as much as I do, so I had to give him first dibs on the tickets.

And he did it - he and his girlfriend booked a flight arriving Thursday, leaving Sunday. They got in yesterday morning and I dragged them all over the city.

Will and Kira upon arrival. Excited, full of energy, and ready to go out on the town!
They're still smiling despite the blisters on their feet. 
This is the first time I've met his girlfriend, Kira. She's a blast - the two of them together are a real joy to be around (which is great, considering they're staying with us for three nights! Ha!). She teaches at a special needs high school in south Philadelphia - the three of us had lots of Philly-talk all day.

We went around Trafalgar square, Covent Garden, Soho, the National Gallery, the British Museum, and a finishing walk through Westminister.

Will noted that this was a periscope for the driver. 10 minutes in the city and he's already noticing things I've been oblivious to for months. 

It was a beautiful day.

Some street performers were out. 

The linguist in me has to go say "hi" to the Rosetta Stone every time I'm in the British Museum.

I downloaded a free audio tour podcast and did my own self-guided tour while they strolled around. 

More Covent Garden performances.

They've about had it with my talking at this point. 
 Kenz cooked some yummy pasghetti as we were headed back. Afterwards, we taught them how to play "May I," which is a card game (for money) that my mom taught us two years ago. Mom and Tom gave us our own set of rules and 4 decks of cards for Christmas so that we could bring the game overseas.

Will was ready for bed and unhappy that he wasn't winning. 

We had Explosions in the Sky playing in the background. 

We're going to the show tonight. We're prepared for a face-meltingly good time.

It's a shame that Will and Kira got here a week before we move to our new place. They're forced to sleep on these ratty, uncomfortable couches in the meantime. Bad timing. On top of that, can you imagine 3 days in a time zone that is 6 hours ahead of you, then going back to the original time zone? They're going to be wrecked when they get home. But that's what youth is for, right?

"Ah well." - Tom Sanders, all the time.

We're going out on the town again today, and they're going to see Wicked tomorrow. I'll take some more pictures along the way, but probably won't include them till next Friday.

Shout out to Nancy Rucker for sending me an email last night:

friendly reminder that your friends, family and or stalkers are hoping for a post tomorrow

We'll be spending a lot of this week packing and getting ready for the move next Thursday. I imagine next week's post will be about our new place (considering I have Internet connectivity). Fingers crossed!

Thanks for reading!