My home town of Gloucester can seem a pretty dull place at times ( especially after visits to more happenin' locations like London ) but occasionally things can hot up around these 'ere parts. This week, of course, saw the Olympic Torch reaching the shores of Old Blighty and going for a whistle-stop tour of the country ahead of the actual London Olympics.
After a triumphant-looking appearance in Cheltenham the night before ( featuring the strange combo of Zara Phillips and Labrinth... ) the Torch arrived in Gloucester Docks early on Friday morning. Being currently unemployed ( a scrounger, a waster, dole-scum ) I managed to get down to Glos Cathedral for about 7:30 ( in the AM! ) to see the Torch arrive in the city centre.
Even though it was quite a chilly, misty morning ( after a week of solid sunshine ) loads of people had turned out to see the relay runners appear. I'm not too sold on all the flag-waving, faux-patriotism of such events, but there was definitely a very positive, friendly atmosphere and a sense of being a small part of an historic event. I'm sure I'll never see another Olympic Games in this country in my lifetime, so I'm glad I went along. ( I tried to persuade James to come too, as he had a half day from school, but he couldn't drag himself out of his flea-pit at that time of morning... )
As my camera decided to malfunction at the very second the Torch passed by me ( shit! ), I only managed to get this long shot of the very cute athlete who ran up to the Cathedral. After a few photos the relay runners changed over and they ran back out again. Phew! No time for any sight-seeing :-)
Hordes of people, me included, then headed down to Kingsholm Rugby ground to see the next leg of the journey.
The police escort above gave the local cops the opportunity to be waved at and cheered on for a change... as opposed to being shouted at and having bricks thrown at them. I remarked to my friend Eric who was standing next to me that the last time I saw so many cops in Glos they were all sitting in riot vans...
On a less historic but more musical, er, note... Sarah and I saw a couple of bands play at Gloucester's Cafe Rene today at the Rene:gade Festival, in aid of the mental health charity Mind.
Opening the festival were The Fixed, a scarily young band I first saw at Bristol's Fleece last year supporting the mighty Chinese Burn.
I don't think The Fixed will be relegated to opening festivals much longer! They're a highly professional and talented band for ones so young ( I know how to patronise, don't I? ) who have a sunny, Vampire Weekend / early Talking Heads sound, often very funky and with an ability to properly rock out when needed. They're definitely going to go far...
The next band on were the unfortunately-named Nudybronque, a quirky, energetic indie band with some great tunes and some spot-on vocal harmonies. Somewhat in the vein of bands like The Automatic or Lo-Fi Allstars ( or even The long-lost Zutons ) they're another band to watch out for...
The latest additions to the graffiti surrounding the former Gloucester Art College, these pictures of Felix, the cat who walks by himself, are cheeky and funny and strangely appropriate.
And then there are a couple of random works of art which are too good to be painted over by the city council... which is no doubt their eventual fate.
Soundtrack: assorted songs from The Fixed and Nudybronque