[N22 7AY] Sigur Rós Concert

Last night approached the surreal for my little suburbian life for which the most adequate has to be tranquil if not sleepy like the county where I have settled in.
Last night we hit town, the big one with a capital C as in City. Last night we went to London’s northern borough of Camden to attend a concert like no other in a venue grand in name and feature, Alexandra Palace. The boys on stage were none other than the four fellows from the brisky country anchored out in the midst of the Ocean, Iceland, a country that has reached unparalleled heights of publicity with the economic crisis in recent weeks. But to be fair to the ebullient island, it is also famous for its singers namely Bjork and Sigur Ros, two groups/singers who have severely redefined the aural landscape.
If it hadn’t been for a late-night talk with a new colleague of mine, Jia-Yan, I wouldn’t have been aware that Sigur Rós was in London for a couple of nights reciting their favorite Icelandic chants. I had discovered with Laurine a couple of years back in her room in the ‘German Mansion’ along with Coco Rosie and Iggy Pop.
As the big handle flirted with IIII on Ipswich’s redundant church’s clock, JuanLu dropped me off at the station where we caught up with Jia-Yan and Alex who’d only just arrived. The journey went eventless though we did manage to lose two friends who were to catch up with us in Colchester but up to now it still seems they caught the wrong train or failed to see us in the coach. We listened to a few tracks of music, including work by a very new artist whose name I shall keep hush; and eventually, in spite of signaling trouble at Ipswich Station (the Indian must have fallen asleep in his tipee) and congestion at Liverpool Street, we eventually made it to the City with a good thirty minutes of delay.
In a matter of minutes, we sped to the Central line, oystered our way through the gates, and stepped onto the escalators which swallowed us down the underground tunnels. A couple of changes and a jolly enjoyable ride on the Northern Line (Bank Branch) later, we made it to Highgate. Taking the underground can be fun, entertaining, and even pleasant. But when one is lugging more than two bags (i.e. in hands-full mode), taking the tube can reveal itself to be an interesting challenge. London TFL does make it simpler with sidegates avoiding the overloaded mule a tourist can be the trouble of extricating one’s way through the revolving gates. Nonetheless, carrying several bags on a moving train could often be compared with an equilibrium exercise a doctor might have recommended to his ill patients in a XIXth century sanatorium in the Swiss Alps.
Traveling all the way to Highgate, then the following day around London and the woeful Paris underground with its sinister RER felt very much like a trial of balance.
Back to our bag of beans. After dropping off our luggage at Clare’s pad (a selfless friend of Alex’s), Alex and I hailed a cab to go to the venue. The concert was due to start at 9 and by the time we reached Alexandra Palace, it was a good few minutes past 8. By then of course, and as very often, I was penniless having ditched my queens and shields (colloquially called quids) for some Mariannes and Belgian Kings (aka euros) ahead of my trip to Paris the following. As such I had to rely entirely and solely on the very broad shoulders (and wallet) of Alex, my English friend. Being English and averse to gluten, he invited me to a platter of chips which in the sudden cold unforgiving temperatures were like golden raindrops of warmth sent straight from Heaven (rather than fried potatoes from the fields of Norfolk). We munched on these fishy chips (they slightly tasted of fish) as we progressed through a very orderly queue – as one would expect in England.
Alexandra Palace is in fact no palace but it does commend superlative adjectives to one’s mind. Such are its dimensions, grandeur, and style that the novice is very much overtaken by the archways, the slightly oriental stuccos, the voluminous rooms, and of course the sound. We were indeed greeted by a rhapsodic ruckus as we entered the main music hall where the start-up band was warming the waiting crowd. Alex, displaying his speleology skills spaded his way through a tightly packed sea of fans to Jia-Yan with me tagging along with a Canadian student in his wake of crowd wrath.
The Canadian Girl, Maria, having lost her friends in this hive of fans, buzzed around with us and even offered to share her snack with her: asparagus. Yes indeed, asparagus. Well to be precise, chocolate asparagus. You needn’t look bewildered. She wasn’t carrying a hoe, wicker basket, and gardener’s apron either.
And finally, the concert kicked off. There are no words to describe what I felt then. I guess one would have to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and bite into Dahl’s imaginary vocabulary to come anywhere close. My hair stood straight up, it almost felt as if I were floating in ether, and there was a rush of cool air blowing our minds away. It rained confetti on the dazed crowd; it plain rained too between the stage and us. There were movies projected on the curtain of water. Magical! To some extent, it echoed in my mind what I imagined whilst reading Locus Solus, Raymond Roussel’s whimsical opus.
Once the concert was over, none of us were truly in a talkative mood, as we were all awed by what we’d heard and seen. And so after parting with Jia-Yan and her friends, Alex and I walked home and shared a nice little Chinese dinner in Clare’s dining room.