Cast In Steel

Told you.
One more brand new album. One more world tour.

It’s out on 4th September this year. *begins trembling with mounting anticipation*

The return came about in a simple, organic way, as Paul explains: “it started off very easy and low-key with Morten dropping by my studio at various occasions, and I would show him songs that I was working on. He would sing on the songs he felt a connection with and leave the ones that didn’t and it just went like that until we had done 10 or 12 songs.”

The lack of pressure and deadlines was definitely a bonus, and reminded Paul of when the band first started out: “The beauty of it was that we could do this totally under the radar; there were no deals in place, no contracts, tours planned or deadlines looming … just our shadow endeavours. It was back to exactly how we started in my parents cabin way back when in the 80s. Some instruments, a song, a voice.”

Morten makes it clear that “we are not getting back to stay together. We’ve agreed to come back for a set period: one album, one tour. It’s a great opportunity and allows us to write another chapter.”

I need to be there for this one. I need to make a plan after last time.

Link to press release to follow Here’s a copy of it – the a-ha.com website appears to be struggling with high demand right now.

Seven London Bridges by Brian

Brian Micklethwait has been photographing London again. This time, looking straight down the river from the balcony of the ME Hotel Radio Bar. He (accurately) claims seven bridges in this photo:

ME7Bridges

I love how, because of the foreshortening effect, there’s almost no river showing at all.

As Brian says,

I thought I was photographing just the one big, obvious bridge, the one with the towers.  But it turned out that I was photographing seven bridges. Newcastle eat your heart out.  Sorry about that big white circumcised cock in the foreground, getting in the way.

LOL.

And since he invoked Newcastle, I’ll just leave this six bridge effort here:

Which, despite not quite matching Brian’s in absolute quantity, does also include a “Milennium Bridge” and surely wins in the ‘larger percentage of major bridges over any given river in one particular shot stakes’.
Happily, it also comprehensively fails to have a big white circumcised cock in the foreground.

Double bonus.

And while we’re on the subject of river crossing photos, may I remind you of this numerically inaccurate Three Prague Bridges post from 2009?

December 2nd

Never forget.

*weeps*

Looking back: The Daily Mail Weather Outlook for 2012

This goes out to @StephanieBe who is heading out to the UK shortly and read this morning that… er… the UK is about to face its coldest winter for 100 years. Stephanie is Saffa born and bred.
Her genes aren’t cut out to cope with cold Decembers.

Stephanie is afraid.

Fortunately for Stephanie, that “coldest winter in 100 years” thing comes from the Daily Mail.
Regular readers will know that 6000 miles… loves the Daily Mail.

Britain will shiver tonight as temperatures plummet in the first taste of what promises to be one of our coldest winters for a century.
The cold snap is expected to last until the end of the week, creating dangerous conditions on the roads and adding to the misery of those already battling floods.
Temperatures could fall to as low as minus 3C in some places, with snow already falling in the Pennines.

Cold temperatures? In the UK? At the end of November? Whatever next?
Let’s have a look at how November ended when I was over in the UK in 2010, shall we?

 Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 29th November 2010. Is that… snow?!?

But hey, maybe the Daily Mail has upped its weather prediction game since 2010. Let’s have a look at what they thought about 2012, shall we? This Daily Mail headline is from 15th April this year.

Britain faces worst drought since 1976 (and the Severn could dry up by summer)

Officials are concerned that a third dry winter this year could be a tipping point and trigger restrictions for businesses or even further restrictions in homes for the first time in 36 years.
The restrictions are embarrassing for the Government which is showcasing Britain during this year’s Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee. Parks are included in the hosepipe ban and London’s iconic fountains will be turned off.

Sounds bad. So what actually happened?

Well, here’s a photo I took at Howden Reservoir in Derbyshire in July, slap bang in the middle of the “worst drought since 1976”:

Yes yes, I know that the big wall is supposed to keep the water in, but the fact is that because the incessant rain throughout the summer, the dam was overflowing.

What happened? Let’s turn to… er… the Daily Mail for the answer. Here’s a story from August 29th:

After weeks of wet weather and seemingly never-ending cloud, many have dismissed the last few months as a miserable summer they would rather forget.
Today was no exception as heavy rains fell across many parts of the country as weather forecasters predict that September will bring some sun and reprieve from the wet weather but only for those in the south.
The north of Britain however should brace for more grim weather which is predicted to last until mid-September.

But… but you said that… Oh never mind. At least it wasn’t the wettest summ… oh wait. Yes, it was. Well, that is according to the Daily Mail (31st August) anyway:

The temperatures, which reflect the country’s cold and soggy weather over recent months, have proved this summer has been a complete write-off.
It came as it was revealed yesterday the summer has also been the wettest in England and Wales for a century.

The thing is, I know that forecasting the weather is not an exact science. And long range forecasting is even less exact. So yes, you’re going to get it wrong from time to time. But there’s no disclaimer in Stephanie’s “coldest winter for 100 years” Daily Mail story. There’s no:

However, while we’re telling you about how cold it’s going to be this winter, you might want to remember that we also said that this was going to be the driest summer in almost 40 years and we couldn’t actually have been more wrong about that.

So people like Stephanie who have previously lived a Daily Mail free life (lucky fish) thus far, read it – and believe it. Oops.

Stephanie, I’m no meteorological expert. I can’t tell you if it’s going to be the coldest winter foreverever when you visit the Republic of South Yorkshire this December. I feel that I’m standing on fairly solid ground when I suggest that you probably won’t need to pack your bikini for a day out on the beachfront at Filey, but that aside, it’s winter and I would expect it to be decidedly chilly. Especially when compared with your usual South African December day.

What I can tell you is that you really shouldn’t believe everything anything you read in the Daily Mail.

Happy Holidays!

a-ha receive Cross of St. Olav

And, as many of you who have tried and failed to get your own Cross of St. Olav, that’s a pretty big deal in Norway.

Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy will be awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav, during a special ceremony in Oslo on Tuesday, November 6. The Order of St. Olav is awarded for distinguished services for Norway and mankind. The members of a-ha are receiving this Royal Order for their outstanding musical contribution.

And local newspaper Aftenposten pulled no punches in their adulations at the band’s achievements.

Du kan gå hvor som helst på kloden og plutselig høre en a-ha-låt fra en kafé, en bil, et hus. Du sier navnet Magne Furuholmen, og du blir bedt med inn på te i Bangkok, du nevner i forbifarten Morten Harket og drosjesjåføren i Buenos Aires slår av taksameteret. På en parkbenk i New York kommer du i snakk med en person om Waaktaar-Savoys «Velvet», og du har en venn for livet.

Or:

You can go anywhere on this planet and suddenly hear an a-ha song at a cafe, in a car, a house. You say the name Magne Furuholmen and suddenly, you are invited for tea in Bangkok; you mention Morten Harket in passing and the Buenos Aires cab driver stops the meter, you discuss Waaktaar-Savoy’s song ‘Velvet’ on a bench in New York and you find yourself a friend for life.

I have to admit that even as a big fan, none of these things have ever happened to me. Maybe I’ve been listening to classic 80’s synthpop in all the wrong cities. I’d love to be invited for tea in Thailand or get a cheap ride in Argentina. To be fair, I’m less interested in a friend for life in America, but that’s just a personal thing. Anyway, I don’t generally discuss specific pieces of music with benches or any other form of street furniture.

After that incident while chatting about Bohemian Rhapsody with the cycle rack it’s safety first for me.