Monday, February 7, 2011

The James Blunt hour

Yeah, we had some internet issues.  We still do.  Let's just say I'm happy to have this connection and I'm not asking any questions.

So, Saturday was our first full day here.  The ice rink didn't open until 1:00 p.m., so while two folks in our group made their first assault on the mountain (one of whom was doing so in a 6-hour first time snowboarder class), my friend Peggy and I wandered around the little village down here, with little Jacob.  Jacob is easily amused -- making snowballs, kicking little bits of ice down the stairs, or climbing a rock (which is all of about a foot or two off the ground).  I looked around the village shops, scoped out the restaurants, and found out the outrageous amounts of money at which the real estate agents are listing local properties.  (Even buying a small share of a condo will cost you about $10,000 just in fees every year, not to mention the over $100,000 for your 1/7th piece of a one-bedroom condo.  Location.  Location.  Location.)

Went skating around 2:00, while Jacob napped.  It has been an awfully long time since I've been skating (two years, at least, probably more like four) and when I first got out there, I was pretty unsteady.  

Before I went on the ice, I saw a Northstar employee politely informing people around the rink that "singer-songwriter James Blunt would be performing."  And, in fact, about a third of the ice rink was taken up by a seating area for the concert, leaving us to skate little ovals (rather than somewhat larger ovals) around the remaining the remaining two-thirds.  

Eventually, Blunt comes out (without fanfare) and starts singing one of his songs.  (Thankfully, not that "You're Beautiful" thing, which was way overplayed on the radio, and is probably hell to skate to.)  He's playing a peppy little number called "Stay the Night."  I start skating faster to keep up with it, which is good for me skating-wise, but causes a bit of a mental challenge, as there isn't much ROOM on the two-thirds size rink, and some folks are just standing there like idiots watching Blunt play -- so I've pretty much got to keep adjusting course so I don't plow into anyone, and there are several close calls (although nobody goes down).  Blunt finishes the song to what can only be described as a smattering of applause, at which time he says this is just a sound check, he'll be playing this song another ten times by the time he's done, and we should ignore him.

He wasn't lying, although it may have been a bit of an overstatement.  He plays the song in total about four more times, and takes stabs at the first verse alone a few more.

The speed helps my skating quite a bit – I get as far as managing some cross-overs at either end of the oval, and, at one point, actually feel myself leaning down into my skates, which is what I really should have been doing all along. (Body remembers, even though the brain doesn’t.)

I return to the condo – eventually discovering the Blunt has signed up to do a “mini-concert” from 4:00 to 4:30. Which is actually pretty funny, as the sound check prior to concert ran longer than the concert itself.

We gather for dinner back in the condo – it’s nice to have a kitchen in here, so we don’t have to eat out for every meal. Of course, I convince everyone to go to “The Chocolate Bar” for dessert, where various lava cakes are consumed (with strawberry ice cream – an interesting variation of which I completely approve).

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