First off, I nipped into town to go shopping for some new clothes; I've been needing a couple of new shirts and other odds & sods for a while and finally got around to it. In fact, I ended up spending more than £100, including buying a nice warm pair of pyjamas (sexy, I know, but they're lovely, and you need extra warmth in a Georgian flat in winter.)
Then I headed into St Nicholas Market to descend on my friend Emmeline, who runs a cafe. Had a nice slow lunch there while we nattered lots, told her I was seeing Thea Gilmore at the Folk House that evening, and we ended up getting an extra ticket for her, so she could avoid another Saturday in watching Strictly Come Dancing.
Then I came back to the @Bristol complex to visit the new aquarium -- brand new, only opened on Friday, and still working out a few teething problems, as I found when I tried two things that looked like main entrances, only to find the third that was actually open.
It's pricey -- £13.50 for a ticket -- but that includes a showing at the now-reopened IMAX cinema. I didn't have time to try that this time, though. What I did do was take a chance on it being nice before I'd even gone in, what with my love of watching funky fish, and stumped up £40 for an annual ticket, which seemed to be pretty good value. As it's on my way home, and turned out to be pretty cool, I'm sure I'll nip in more than a few times in the next year.
Anyway. General verdict: good. Many funky fish, interesting displays, cool stuff for kids, too, including things like cylindrical fishtanks with a hollow core you can crawl into and look out through from the inside, which was definitely a hit with the girl I saw trying it with her dad. Couple of big, big tanks, with lovely rays. Scary fish represented by sharks and piranha, lots of odd, ugly, pretty and just plain grumpy-looking fish. Maybe not good enough to justify nearly fifteen quid for a ticket if you don't want to spend time being impressed by the IMAX, though.
Then I nipped back into town for a random chat with jow_n_chris (well, actually, just JoW) and Christina, which was nice. Lots of occasionally-nostalgic natter and random gossip.
Then I left them to go see a film (what did you end up watching, jow_n_chris? And did they show it in the right aspect ratio in the right auditorium and remember to turn the lights down?) and headed home to get ready to come back out again.
I didn't know that Thea had a Christmas-themed album out. This surprised me a bit, but she confessed to being "a hardened, cynical girl for 11 months of the year, but not so much in December..."
Thea was supported by a guy I didn't recognise called Rod, but it turned out I'd heard a little of him before. That was given away by him talking about the loose collection of musicians he used to play with in the seventies, who ended up calling themselves Lindisfarne... (Yup, that Rod.)
Anyway, yes, with tongue fairly firmly in cheek for a chunk of the set, Thea, Nigel, Fluff and occasionally Rod, did mostly Christmas ("the c-word")-related numbers, with a few more standard Thea songs interspersed. Oh, and kicking off with what I recognised as a cover version of Yoko Ono's Listen, the Snow is Falling, though I only know the Galaxie 500 version(!)
(Fluff, by the way, is Thea's fantastic fiddler. This time wearing a t-shirt with the legend:
Thea was in excellent voice, and the Folk House acoustics were really good. And I'm in awe of anyone who can stand up in front of a few hundred people and do an a capella solo performance of a song.
If you want a flavour of the evening, head for Thea's myspace page and give The St. Stephen's Day Murders a prod in the music player. Or maybe her Christmas single, That'll be Christmas...
There was also a fantastic encore which involved an audience member throwing a dart at a big sheet of paper to choose a cheesy Christmas cover song for them to do. This ended up being Merry Christmas Everybody, once Thea picked the right lyric sheet out of the pile, rather than trying an impromptu round of One Song to the Tune of Another...
I've been mostly trying to avoid the idea that Christmas is impending again, but this was a truly lovely way to properly kick off the season, I think, and we're close enough to December that I can't really begrudge it. So I hereby declare the festive season open...
Anyway. Yes, so, that might explain why I'm a bit tired today. Bleh. Think I may just go and lie down for a bit...