Looking back at 2009 it was quite an exciting and eventful year, I met many people and visited numerous cities on my numerous trips mostly around Europe. Here a few highlights of what I got up to.
Lady Gaga – One of the great aspects of living in London is the never ending list of bands & artists performing, both big and small. Lady Gaga was the Gig for 2009, she put on a great performance at Heaven.
Manchester – Headed up for the weekend to checkout nightlife on Canal Street – met some great people at my hostel, we great night out
Hamburg – Took advantage of the Ryanair’s silly fares (£5 return) and went to Hamburg Germany for the weekend.
Nightwish – A Finish band which would probably never make it to Australia was playing in London, so it was a must do. Had an enjoyable evening at their Gig, only downside was I had to sit down the entire time 🙁
Sensation – I flew all the way to Budapest Hungry to attended Sensation – Ocean of White, this was my second couch surfing experience. I had a great time and really enjoy my time in Budapest.
2 Week Trip – Spent two weeks mostly traveling by train around Europe, first stop was Amsterdam which they were celebrating Queen’s Day (National Holiday) followed by Berlin, Zurich, Rome, Venice & Barcelona.
46 Day Camping Trip – I haven’t done much camping beforehand but I braved the conditions and best time EVER, its one huge trip I will never forget.
We took an over night ferry from Italy to the laid back island of Corfu, Greece after relaxing, drinking cocktails & doing watersports we headed to Athens, then crossed over into Turkey one place I would love to head back to. After our time in Istanbul & Gallipoi we headed into the Eastern Block. Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania & Montenengro where very different and full of surprises along the way. We spent a 3 lovely days in Dubronivk Croatia. Hungarywas next followed by Bratislava, Slovakia, Austria, Mathausen Concentration Camp, Cesky Krumlov in Czeck Reupublic then onto Prague.
Our camping trip was coming to an end, our next stop was Munich the home of Octoberfest, entered Switzerland, the scenery amazing we visited Lucerne & Jungfrau. Back into Germany to visit Heidelberg, St Goar & Rhine Valley. To finish up we headed to Amsterdam then back to London.
Spent a few days soaking up the London Summer before I set out more travels. Watch out for Part 2.
For those who don’t know I am a tad crazy about Armin Van Buuren. Armin Only was the first event I saw Armin Van Buuren play a set live when he came to Sydney last year (2008). A State of Trance (ASOT) his weekly radio show is coming up to his 400th transmission. To celebrate the 8 year long radio show, ASOT 400 is being broadcast for 72 hours over three countries; Germany, United Kingdom & The Netherlands. I am quite lucky that I am able to make it to Birmingham next week. Only 7 days remaining!
In my spare time I knocked up a site for the special ASOT 400 episode, I also took this opportunity to expand my skill set, this was my first PHP website. Here’s what I used…
WordPress – The site is part of my blog working in conjunction with WordPress, this saved time from having to build the site from scratch and learnt some of the more advanced features of WordPress.
Twitter API – Documentation of the Twitter API is extensive and well written. Using SimplePie made the process of displaying tweets on the site a breeze as it took care of the caching.
Amazon API – I had quite alot of trouble with this API, very poorly written documentation with not many examples. One of the biggest downsides I found is the I couldn’t distingish between the MP3 downloads weather it was a single or album. I found an alternative way display just albums but its not ideal.
Google Maps API – I have worked with the Google Maps API before, if I had more time I would have liked to of used the Street View feature.
Flickr API – Using phpFlickr made the job easy and the well written documentation was great too.
RSS feeds – Parsing XML feeds in php wasn’t an easy task since I was so new to the langauge, but I seem to pick up quickly
I headed out last week to O2 Academy Brixton to see the Finnish symphonic metal quintet band; Nightwish. Nightwish are currently on their Dark Passion PlayWorld Tour which started back in October 2007. I missed out on the floor tickets, so I ended up in the sitting area, which turned out to be alright. The support act was Swedish industrial metal band; PAIN.
Nightwish put on an amazing concert which was filled with many pyrotechnics! They played songs from both their new & older albums, even though the leader singer Anette Olzon replaced dismissed singer Tarja Turunen back in early 2007. In my mind they left the best song till last – Wish I Had An Angel.
I will admit first up that I am not an avid Michael Jackson fan, but I have been told its a show of a lifetime and if I ever get the chance I shouldn’t miss it.
I never thought this opportunity would ever arise to see a solo entertainer of 13 Grammy Awards & 13 number one singles perform, but low and behold earlier this month Michael Jackson announced he was putting on 10 shows at the 02 Arena in London.
Later that week I signed up to be included in the pre-sale of the highly sort after tickets. I headed to ticketmaster.co.uk just before 7am on Wednesday and eagerly waited to purchase tickets. From the word go I had problems, waiting over 15mins in a virtual queue and then being kicked out at the last minute or after waiting to be told the tickets have been sold out, very frustrating.
Searching through Google & news websites to see if the pre-sale tickets had been sold out for all 10 shows didn’t yield any results. Twitter on the other hand was giving constant updates of other people struggles & triumphs of scoring tickets.
It finally clicked in my head for the first time the power of near to real time updates of Twitter tweets. It was the first time I had ever used twitter in this way, it reassured me that I wasn’t the only one with issues. ticketmaster.co.uk started adding new unannounced shows from 10am onwards and this was communicate instantly on Twitter.
I instantly started booking process when new shows dates were being posted, I waited impatiently. After 5hours of trying I succeeded in purchasing 2 tickets. The seats are on Level 1 which seem to be a good distance from the stage. After Twittering my success of scoring tickets I received a reply from a stranger stating how lucky I was & to enjoy the gig. Wow! This was such a nice surprise! I now see Twitter from a difference and quite useful angle.
All up Michael Jackson is putting on 50 shows stretching all the way to February 2010. I thought £75 a ticket was on the upper side of reasonable, but tickemaster.co.uk charged an obscene £20 booking + postage fee for two tickets. It has been reported even AEG Live, the event organisers have decided to rip off fans by charging £500+ for ‘premium’ seats.
Aug 19 is quite a number of month away so I hoping it will turn out to be the show of a lifetime. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest.
My Saturday night started with Gay Bingo at Institute of Contemporary Arts, with a bunch of friends. Arriving an hour before hand was a good idea, the line to get in was huge just to play bingo. The night was nothing like I was expecting, hosted by Jonny Woo a drag artist as they call him, it was full of unexpected events & random costumes throughout the evening. Each bingo game took ages to play, in just over 3 hours we only completed 3 games!
Having friends with connections always helps, getting into Heaven was a breeze, we were able to head straight in without lining up wooohoo!! I made sure I was close to the stage just before September was about to perform. I was pleased that Heaven wasn’t packed shoulder to shoulder as when Lady GaGa performed the previous month. The Swedish singer, Petra Marklund better known by her stage name September is widely known for her dance smash hit ‘Cry for You‘, put on a great performance. She came across as friendly and genuinely enjoying herself which made it a great night out.
I had been waiting eagerly for Lady GaGa to perform at Heaven ever since it was announced in Dec 08. I left home and battled my way through the cold wet rain and started to line up early (in the rain). Once I was in, the music on the main dance floor was very hit & miss throughout the night. As the hours passed people were still streaming into the club and it was beyond packed. I managed to be towards the front, but it came with many extra’s such as ‘free’ sweat from the people next to me, barely able move my arms and thick hot air seemed to fill the room, ahh… what more could you want.
Around 2am Lady GaGa came on and all little things that were bothering me didn’t matter any more. She put a non stop performance, created a fun & enjoyable vibe in addition to her unique fashion sense. Wooohooo!!!!
I took quite a number of pix, due to the lighting & the wild crowd not all of them turned out, check them out anyway. Can’t believe she is only 22 and her song ‘Just Dance‘ has already peaked at number one in UK, US, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand & Australia. Have a feeling there are going to be more great hits from her.
It's Isaac here, I also respond to other various nicknames I have. I am in my twenties have been lucky enough to travel all over the world, 50+ countries and counting. I spent 18 months living in the UK on a working holiday which was one of the highlights of my travels.
I have a passion of all things web, mainly focusing on Front End Development