He did! Well, for me and the hundreds of other people who were there, but still - I was one of them! Oh, the 'he' refers to none other than Bob Dylan - I still can't quite believe I managed to finally see him play, especially after my abysmal track record with other Great Gigs I missed at the last minute, viz. Rolling Stones (stupid man falling off trees) and John Cale. Now if I could only see Lou Reed, my life would be complete....but I digress.
The gig was so much fun! Actually I'm not sure it can be described as a gig - more like a concert - the atmosphere was slightly surreal, in that the average age of the attendees was rather higher than usual, and their degree of movement and vocal participation rather lower than usual. I'm not claiming that I usually go to particularly raucous or destructive gigs - that's best left to other people :-) - but seriously, here there was coffee on sale, and at times the arena was completely hushed, in a sort of reverential silence, and people gently rocking from side to side - though clearly enjoying the music. So that was rather entertaining in itself.
The man himself was predictably hard to understand and as mumblesome as I'd been led to expect, and he had a nice balance of 'classics' and newer songs (from the last 10 years or so) which was pleasing. I do wonder how he feels though, having to constantly go back to his old successes, while being clearly proud of his more current work. Anyway, the band was also great, and we got a few harmonica solos from him, which was very exciting. And despite my limited height, I'd managed to find a spot where I had uninterrupted views through various people's heads and necks, so I didn't even have to stand on my toes too much.
This all took place in Cardiff, we ventured in a few hours earlier to give it a look, and concluded that it is a very bizarre place indeed. Part slightly rundown, unattractive, part like-any-other-UK-town, part amazingly pretty late 19th/early 20th century buildings and arcades popping up unexpectedly, just as you were ready to give up on the place. Sadly it was raining most of the time so I never really took my camera out and have no photographic evidence of said pretty buildings. Also on the topic of architectural prettiness, we drove over the (second) Severn Bridge to get there, and I was very taken with it, and the views therefrom: you can see several pictures of this bridgey goodness here (lazy, I know).
What else? Oh, I also managed to fit in a couple of days in London, which included a looong visit to Borough Market (which is still one of my most favourite places in the whole world ever), prime viewing spots of the elite runners at the Marathon, an exhibition on hats at the V&A, and a very nice stroll through Kew Gardens, a peaceful haven away from the Marathon chaos.
So, back here again, a place which I am increasingly more comfortable to call home. I'm going to stay put now for, oh, more than two months (apart from a quick conference in June), amazingly. I think that part of my problem so far is that I have been living in a suspended status, feeling like this is a temporary parenthesis between England and whatever comes next, and refusing to really get stuck in - cf. for example my reluctance to make progress with acquiring a car, not putting things up on the walls, generally not decorating the house in a particularly permanent way. But I realise now that this is ridiculous - I am here, for another 18 months (just signed my renewal contract!), and the best way to enjoy it is to stop living with my head half in England, trying to keep up with the everyday doings there, and focus on having a life here - whether it's with friends, the gym, volunteering or whatnot (oh yeah, I had another Girl Scout meeting where I was in charge the other day, and I think it went a little better, so that is pleasing). After all, this was my idea, not a forced exile! And I have to say, I'm really looking forward to the next several months - even if they do include a 3-week visit from my parents...