Boston: good fun, thanks to a day wandering around the delights of Cambridge with teddywolf. There's a good quote from the day, but I said I'd leave it to him. I was surprised that all the various containers of chai syrup I'd picked up didn't lead to my case being opened by the TSA. Much book shopping also occurred, as did a sweep through the sales in the mall next to my hotel (£18 for a jacket? £10 for chinos? I do like the current state of the dollar...).
My real reason for heading over, the two days of press conference, also proved useful, and should lead to some interesting articles in the future.
Billy Bragg: the hot weather I'd missed in Boston arrived with a vengeance as I stepped off the plane at 7.15 on Saturday morning. The best way to keep jet-lag at bay is to be busy, and Saturday was a most active day. Lunch al fresco with marypcb's sister and her fiancé, followed by rupertg's 40th birthday drinks in a dark Soho pub (where we briefly saw codepope). There was some time to kill, so we filled up with sushi in a park before heading over the river to Billy Bragg's Meltdown 2005 gig at the QEH.
Much fun was had by one and all in the concrete depths of the South Bank. A semi-acoustic gig with a bunch of the Blokes, Billy's set veered off into new directions and new arrangements of familiar songs. The highlight was a mash-up of "John Barleycorn" and "England Half English" performed with Eliza Carthy. A righteous dose of politics, some Woody Guthrie and a mix of new and old songs made it a gig well worth staying awake for, even in the heat of a summer evening...
An excellent support too - I missed his name, but he was from the East End, and mixed rap, folk, blues and rock with an anger and energy I've not seen for a long while. I'm going to have to do some research.
Down by the river: yesterday afternoon was spent picnicking and lazing on the banks of the Thames down at Ham, reading the papers, and some more of karentraviss's Hard Contact (one of my Boston book purchases). Extremely hot and sunny, but there was some shade, and a touch of a breeze off the river.