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Hurrah! It’s January 2009! The beginning of a whole new year. I think it’s going to be an exciting new year for a number of reasons;

1) I am almost over the stinking cough and cold I picked up in London before Christmas which put a huge dampener on my holiday.

2) I am starting a new job. Yes. Breaking news! I’ve been dying to mention it in public but my clients haven’t been told yet, so keep it under your hat, won’t you? More details of the new company may or may not follow at a later date, depending on their policy on personal blogs, but I can say that the tech PR world is about to become my oyster (Watch out. Tech companies. I’m after you) and the centre of that world will be based in Manchester. Exciting!

3) I don’t have a free weekend until the middle of February. I’m already a social whirlwind.

3) I’m hitting the big 30 this year. I know most people don’t get excited about that birthday, but I’m looking forward to it. Kind of. Plus, in my head, I’m still about 23 so it makes no difference really, except that it’s a good excuse to dress up, go out and be spoiled (Mr Jolucy; take note. I expect to be treated like the Queen for the day). 

Clearly the numbering system I was using has let me down, so I’ll risk it. I’m going to do away with numbering the points and go “freestyle”. Stay with me now. Deep breath. ready?….

I’m also going to make this my year of sport (or Year of Sport). I’ve already entered myself for a 9 mile hill run (stupidly) in March (too soon) which means that I will need to run more than 40 minutes a week between now and then, I suspect. I’m hoping I will be able to complete a half marathon by the end of the year. I’m also planning to finally go and see my ‘local’ team, Sale Sharks play, go and watch a football match, get up to Old Trafford for some cricket and I’ve got a dance weekend coming up in February which I’m looking forward to. I’d quite like to see Andy Murray play as well if we can get tickets. After his performance against Nadal and Federer this week, I’m hoping this could be an exciting year for Andy. It would be great if we can finally have a tennis player to be proud of in the UK.

Also on the ‘to do’ list for this year is to get to the top of some more mountains. Probably including Scafell. I expect that it will involve me swearing and muttering under my ragged, oxygen-starved breath every step of the way, but I will look forward to boring everyone with the photos when I get back down and to the feeling of smugness that comes with climbing things that most people are sensible enough not to bother with.

And, how could I forget? we’re off to Glastonbudget in May. I’m hoping they’ll soon get their website up and running again. They have got a My Space page, but there’s not much info on there and they’ve used the same colour for both the font and the page background, so it’s a bit tricky to read. However, I did see something to indicate that the antarctic monkeys might be playing. hehehe. brilliant. (I’m already offering up prayers to anyone who’ll listen that the weather will be good)

Then we get to go on our honeymoon – 10 days on the Amalfi coast. bliss. I’m planning on doing a large amount of sitting in the sun, with an equally large amount of walking up and down steps/hills whilst I’m there. I also plan to visit Capri – which I think will be horrendous, but too close not to go and see – and we’re going to go and visit Pompeii, which I expect will be creepy in a fascinating way. 

Phew, any that only just gets me half way through the year. I think I’ll take July – December off, have my self a well earned break and let Mr Jolucy worry about paying the mortgage. I’ll just stay home, put up my feet and drink some tea. I’m sure he won’t mind…

Oh, and another reason it’s going to be a good year? I started out dressed as a red indian, and got a refund on our New Year’s Eve event because they ran out of drinks at the bar. How.

I had a sudden, dreadful moment of remembering last night. I realised that last time I saw a band at Wembley I swore never ever to do it again. We had seated tickets for Pearl Jam and a combination of them trying really hard to sell their slightly rubbish new album, combined with some of the worst acoustics ever conceived meant that I’d have been better looking at a really small picture of them, whilst playing a scratched 7″ copy of Ten with a large, damp cushion over the speakers.

“Oh dear” I thought. “Please, please let the sound be better and please let the venue not spoil this gig…”

As we got into the venue, the first thing we noticed was the lack of men’s toilets. Whilst Mr JoLucy was busy investigating that issue, I was discovering that Manchester bar prices are like a little slice of heaven. And then we realised that there was actual live music coming from the stage area. Which was odd, because the doors had only just opened. The only option was to investigate!

I have no idea who the support band were. I considered googling them, but the only reason I would want to know their name is to help me avoid making the mistake of going to see them again. They weren’t exactly dreadful, but, well, the songs went on and on and on and on. And on. I felt like I was stuck in an uneventful scene from a film in the late 80s, early 90s about teenagers and hacking. The teenagers would probably have been smoking to show that they were edgy rebels.

Anyway. I’m waffling. What can I tell you about the band I went to see. Their name? Kings of Leon.

THEY. WERE. BRILLIANT!

I know my last post was all about highs and lows of 2008, and I have to say that in all honesty, this gig was the highlight of my year. And yes, that does include my wedding day. I was (and remain) excited about this band in a way that I haven’t experienced since I discovered Nirvana, The Pixes and The Lemonheads as a teenager.

I had already decided I would blog on this when I went to the gig last night, and had intended to make a note of the set list, but I failed. I think they started with Use Somebody but I couldn’t swear to it. I know they did play Molly’s Chambers, California Waiting, Charmer, Knocked up, Sex on fire, On call, Arizona, Be Somebody, Closer, Cold Desert, Crawl, Notion, Revelry. (LET ME KNOW IF I MISSED ANY?)

Oh, and my favourite; Fans. At which point I went a bit nuts and may have enthused so loudly that a) I deafened the woman in front of me (sorry about that) and b) managed to destroy my voice. I’ve been croaking all day. I don’t know quite what to say to describe the gig. I keep wanting to use words that I would normally run away from as fast as possible, like “wicked” or “awesome” or “fabulous”. gah! I will stick with “it was rather fine indeed.”

I think I’ll avoid talking about the actual performance, because you know when you’re at school and you have to pull books apart, word by word, for English and it ends up ruining the book for you?… I’ll leave you with these slightly blurred photos to tell the story:

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I kind of fell on this story today – it wasn’t featured in any news programmes i watched, it wasn’t in any newspapers that I read, It was an RSS feed from the BBC’s tech pages that drew my attention to the fact that a European online library had managed to open and close within the blink of an eye and nearly pass me by completely.

monalisaApparently, the website will include images of paintings, photos, films, books and maps from 1000 museums across Europe. Unfortunately, so many people visited the picture of the Mona Lisa on the site last week that its servers crashed and took it off-line within hours of going live.

Clearly, it’s a pity that the system was not set up to deal with more than 10 million visitors at once. It’s not like we didn’t know that there are more than 10 million people in Europe with internet access, right? plus this site, being one the WORLD wide web, is actually open to anyone in the world who wanted to visit, and that’s DEFINATELY more than 10 million potential visitors…. however. There are two things that really astound me about this story:

1) Enough people knew about this site to crash it.

2) Even Americans knew about this site before me.

Am I just really culturally backwards, or was there no information or promotional activity in the UK to announce the imminent launch of this site? I’m a library member, there hasn’t even been any info in our local library about the site, as far as I could see. I mean, it’s just as well – imagine the chaos that would have occurred if more people had known about the site!

Anyway. I’d like to ask the developers of the Europeana website to get hold of some lottery money and appoint a UK PR company before they go live again in December, because I’m sure I’m not the only person who’d be interested in visiting. I imagine that there might be a student or two out there that would find it helpful for a start….

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