The Home Of Football No More!

When people think of Archibald Leitch, they conjure memories of some of the great northern football grounds including Anfield, Old Trafford, Hillsborough, Villa Park and even Ibrox and Celtic Park in Scotland. Personally, I only knew of him for his work on Anfield and The Kop for many years. It wasn’t until I began exploring the grounds of the north that I came to realise his impact on the beautiful game in the U.K. Leitch passed away in 1939 at the age of 73 yet his legacy lives on today through his grand designs.

For me, one of Leitch’s grandest accomplishments was The Arsenal Stadium in Highbury. Whilst the famous Art Deco style didn’t come until after the original construction, it still an amazing design. Originally built in 1913 for a princely sum of £125,000 (£11.3 MILLION in today’s terms), The Arsenal Stadium became a landmark design for its time. In the 1930’s, the ground as we kind of still know it today due to its listing was designed by Claude Ferrier and William Binnie at a collecting cost of £300,000! The Art Deco style would become synonymous with the London club until May 7 2006 when the last ever match was played at The Arsenal Stadium, or, Highbury as most of us affectionately know it by. It was a shame to see Arsenal leave such a beautiful stadium behind. Having been to The Emirates a few times now, I still can’t believe Arsenal moved out of Highbury. I know it’s all about money but Arsenal haven’t looked like winning a title since the move to their new home.

Highbury became affectionately known as “The Home of Football” with the passing of Father Time.

My only regret is not going to Highbury when I had the chance in the early 2000’s. One of my greatest regrets to this day.

A couple of years ago, I decided to take a wander down to Highbury and was blown away to find the heritage listed East & West stands still in place at the newly named “Highbury Square” residential development that included over 700 appartments. Times had changed yet the remnants of a wonderful English football ground still stood firm. It was a nice touch to see. Where the old pitch is, lay security gates that lead to a decorated parkland which is also a nice touch considering the developers could have easily dumped even more appartments in the middle of it all. To buy into the development, you can acquire a block for around £800,000!

I spent a good deal of time wandering around the complex. Despite there being no ground to watch football at, it was kind of quirky to think about what used to go on in the years and decades before. One also gets a slight feeling of sympathy for the Arsenal supporters who used to frequent The Arsenal Stadium. At one juncture, I bumped into an older gentleman who spoke of his time growing up in the area and going the match back in the 1950’s & 60’s. If I recall, his name was Allen and he went to The Emirates just the once over 10 years ago and he hated the experience as a whole. Too many ignorant football club owners today put their ego’s and money ahead of the traditions of the beautiful game and, as a consequence, the genuine football supporters are often the first to suffer. People like Allen are pushed aside for progress yet, without the Allen’s of this world, the game wouldn’t be what it is today.

Days like this do make me wonder what will happen in the coming decades? How many more beautiful old fashioned stadiums will be brushed aside in the name of progress? How many more clubs will be pushed to the point of extinction? Many of the modern grounds are soulless bowls that all look the same, feel the same and are, more often than not, surrounded by B&Q, Tesco and IKEA superstores. Food vans, for many decades, run by local families are being replaced by Pizza Hut and McDonalds chain stores whilst there is even continued talk of match day programmes being cast aside due to a decrease in popularity.

There is some solace mind. Many non-league football grounds have remained relatively unchanged over the years. Predominantly because many of them don’t have the funds to upgrade. It’s the charm of standing on an unchanged terrace at these smaller clubs that has excited me more and more in recent years. That along with respectable and reasonable ticket prices. Either way. I dearly hope all the non-league clubs continue to survive for many moons to come. In an era where more and more traditional English grounds are being swallowed up by tourist dollars and incredibly greedy, money driven players, it’s nice to still be able to take a stroll around what is left of Highbury or spend a Saturday afternoon down at a local non-league club where you can still stand with your mates and not pay a fortune for a pie and a drink.

It’s quite sad that we no longer have Highbury with us as a competitive stadium. There really isn’t a great deal of difference in watching a match at either The Emirates or The Etihad. They are both lifeless and lacking character but that is the world we are now living in and no matter how many times we pine for days gone by, they simply aren’t coming back any time soon. When I see players today earning upwards of £150,000 a week and kissing badges weeks before moving to “bigger” clubs, I just shake my head and think to myself, how did we get it all so incredibly wrong?

The Bowie Concert Tape Files: Vorst Nationaal, Brussels, Belgium – June 11 1978

As far as raw energy tape recordings go, I don’t think I have ever heard a Bowie show from 1978 sounding this good.  This copy of the show was sourced from a XLII90 Tape recorded on a TEAC w600r Tape Deck and converted using RealTek HD Sound Manager.  Over the past couple of years of writing these reviews, I have always loved hearing the 70’s shows above all else simply because there is a distinct energy that is captured from a cassette tape recording of a concert.  As we moved away from recording concerts on cassette tape and the technology advanced into the 90’s and beyond, I felt some of the gloss had evaporated from concert taping due to the upgrading of this new technology and the “do it yourself” attitude to “cleaning up” recordings.  You see, the problems with this can sometimes be that the original energy of the show is lost.  Thankfully, whoever “cleaned up” this Brussels show did so with distinction and didn’t make a mess of it.  I would suggest that the lad’s behind the “Hunky Geordie” productions of recent times may be responsible for such a spectacular effort improving the quality of the recording for this one.

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This Brussels concert appeared on a few traders lists back in the 1990’s but I was never able to secure a copy because, back then, I simply didn’t have enough “valuable trade stock” on hand.  Of course, I had plenty of shows back then but they were often the run of the mill concerts that everyone had.  Naturally, I could have paid for shows off mailing lists instead of trade lists but often, the concerts were priced around $35 per cassette tape in U.S dollars, following the (at the time) poor exchange rate from Australian coin and extra charges to pay for international money orders and postage, it would sometimes cost me upwards of $70 AU for a single tape.  That was money a 16 year old lad in Australia simply didn’t have to throw about in the mid 90’s.

During the opening of “Warszawa”, you can hear a little bit of faint crowd chat from within the tapers immediate direction.  Once Bowie’s obscure vocals kick in, you would think the background talk would fall away right?  Not this time.  Over my 25 years of attending concerts, I have never been able to understand why people just don’t simply shut the fuck up!  Nobody wants to hear what your plans are for the weekend or why you decided to smoke a pile of weed whilst listening to Bob Dylan records in your University dorm back in 1986.  Save that shit for another day and enjoy the show.

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The crowd are a little subdued during the second track, “Heroes”.  It does however allow Bowie spectacular vocals to soar across the arena.   He breezes through the entire set with gusto and energy.  It’s certainly a show from this tour that he was enjoying more than just a little.  As with concert tapes from this era, there are a few disappointments along the way.  For starters, half of “Fame” is missing.  Also, “Beauty & The Beast”, “Stay” and “Rebel Rebel” are missing completely from the recording with suggests the taper may have had recording issues or perhaps even got sprung by security.

Bowie doesn’t talk much through the show but he delivers some outstanding “accent” variations and vocal changes during the entirety of the performance.  No more fine example than on the versions of “The Jean Genie” and “Blackout” that were captured at this show, probably one of the best on the tour.  As the show progresses, almost all the audience noise drops off.  Unlike on the original recording of “Stage”, the crowd reduction on this recording doesn’t kill the energy.  This recording was never mentioned in Pimm’s concert tape book which suggests the show surfaced sometime towards the later 80’s or early 90’s among collectors.  As mentioned earlier, I saw it turn up in trading catalogs around the mid 90’s so it must have spent some time in the hands of a small selection of tape traders before being “released” as they say to the wider fan base of concert tape collectors.

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Listening to recordings of Bowie shows in the mid to late 1970’s is almost spellbinding.  I know we all have our favorite tours yet, for some strange reason, the 1976 and 1978 tours saw a man at the peak of his powers.  I’m more than grateful for the many fans who took the plunge/risk to capture these amazing nights on tour for prosperity.  On days like this, listening to a show recorded in such high quality for its time, I feel the need to raise a glass and toast all the Bowie fans who made it possible to listen to a David Bowie concert recorded on 11 June 1978 in 2018!

Setlist:
1. Warszawa
2. “Heroes”
3. What In The World
4. Be My Wife
5. The Jean Genie
6. Blackout
7. Sense Of Doubt
8. Speed Of Life
9. Breaking Glass
10. Fame (1/2 only)

Second Set:
11. Band Introductions
12. Five Years
13. Soul Love
14. Star
15. Hang Onto Yourself
16. Ziggy Stardust
17. Suffragette City
18. Art Decade
19. Moon Of Alabama
20. Station To Station

Encores:
21. TVC-15

Missing: Beauty and the Beast, Stay, Rebel Rebel

The Bowie Concert Tape Files: The Great Western Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles – 29 October 1995

In late 1995, as the year drew to close, so did Bowie’s most ambitious tour on more than a decade drew to a close with the final dates of his US tour with Nine Inch Nails.  At the time, it was considered a curious match however, in hindsight, it’s been regarded as more of a masterstroke.  This show was the second of two consecutive nights at The Forum before moving onto the closing night in Hollywood on Halloween.  From there the tour would move onto the U.K and Europe following a short break or 2 weeks.

This copy of the show fell into my lap a number of years ago.  It’s a very high quality DAT recording that was captured in very high quality.  There is some quite audible audience cheering and chatter as the show opens which quickly filters away as the show starts and carries on.  It’s a blistering set from start to finish and you can feel that Bowie himself is starting to settle into a very tight band.  I had previously owned a much poorer version of the show on CD-R in the early 2000’s which didn’t do the concert any justice.  I’m so glad to have received this updated and far superior version.

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An early highlight of the show comes via “Hurt” which pairs Bowie and Reznor together for the nightly swansong of NIN on the tour.  As a side note, Johnny Cash later covered “Hurt” in a most splendid way on his “American IV: The Man Comes Around” LP from 2002.  I often wonder if the rumors are true of Bowie recording his own version of the song in 1996 whilst laying down his “Earthling” album.  I guess you can tell I kind of like this song.  A lot!

Of the twenty songs on this recording, 8 are from the “1. Outside” album which shows you just how much Bowie was enjoying his own recent music by this stage.  And, as with many shows over this period, he was re-working and re-arranging a number of older songs to bring them into the 1990’s.  None more so than “Andy Warhol” and “The Man Who Sold The World”, both included in this show and outstanding versions at that.  At the end of “TMWSTW”, Bowie reminds his adoring crowd that the song is from 1968.  He was a couple of years early with that one.  The song had also been included in Nirvana’s 1994 MTV Unplugged LP which became a fan favorite.   I was in the final stage of high school when Nirvana’s version was released.  This prompted many music fans at school to ask the “Bowie freak” AKA me to lead them towards copies of the album.  I remember making a few cassette copies of “The Man Who sold The World” to pass on around some of the more interesting students.

David Bowie & Nine Inch Nails - Live @ Riverport Amphitheater, St Louis, USA, 11-10-1995

I’m also quite fond of “Breaking Glass” from this set and “I Have Not Been To Oxford Town” is also delivered with great gusto.  It’s a shame there has not been a box set of live recordings from this period of Bowie’s career.  One could easily take a show from each of the US & European legs of this tour and couple them with two or three recordings from the Japanese & festival shows that arrived from the summer 1996 tour.  It was a fascinating and highly creative period for Bowie and, in my humble opinion, often undersold period.  The years of 1994 through to 1997 were prolific in every way for Bowie.  He was, once more highly creative and motivated and you feel it by the spade load in these shows.

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Now, I’m often sent requests to include copies of these Bowie concerts as part of the reviews however, due to prior requests from Bowie’s own people to cease placing copies of the shows in the public domain on my blog, I’ve refrained from sharing copies of the shows which I hope you can understand?  Another issue relates to alternative versions of concerts floating around in the world of the internet.  There are a couple of recordings from this show on YouTube which are not a patch in this recording.  It would be unfair of me to write up a show only to post an inferior quality version from YouTube.  You would be listening and thinking to yourself, “Is this fella having a laugh?”  Still, you can always visit and join the usual online file sharing sites to obtain copies of these shows I write about as most of them are now available through that source.

So go and grab yourself a copy of this amazing concert, make sure you are home alone and pump it out through your best speakers.  I promise that you won’t be disappointed!

SETLIST:
1. Subterraneans
2. Scary Monsters
3. Reptile
4. Hallo Spaceboy
5. Hurt
6. Look Back In Anger
7. The Hearts Filthy Lesson
8. The Voyeur
9. I Have Not Been To Oxford Town
10. Outside
11. Andy Warhol
12. The Man Who Sold The World
13. Strangers When We Meet
14. A Small Plot Of Land
15. Breaking Glass
16. We Prick You
17. Nite Flights
18. Teenage Wildlife
19. Band Introductions
20. Under Pressure

How To Make Your Life A Success!

Quite often in my travels, I meet people who have encountered success on a number of levels and, to various degrees of achievement.  Success is what we make of it.  For some, it’s judged by a property portfolio.  Others may consider success by the level of their profession.  Sports stars may measure success through the number of medals and titles won.  I’ve worked with people in mental health who feel success is getting through the week without putting a gun to their head.  The first step to success is taking the first leap towards your objective whatever that may be.  For example, when I began running marathons in 2012, the thought of running 42.2 km’s without a break seemed impossible.  6 years on, I have run 8 full marathons and 31 half marathons.  The first step to those achievements was simply running small blocks of 5 or 10 km’s on a regular basis, then building to 10 or 15 km blocks and before long, running 20 km’s without really blinking.  It was a journey I worked hard on all the way and used the OKR methodology to reach the end result.

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The world truly is your oyster!

What’s an OKR you ask?  Let me explain.

Objective’s are gained via the route of key results.  My objective to running a marathon in 2012 was to complete 42.2 km’s.  The key results of this objective were many.  Here were a few.

  • Consistently running small distances with regular improvements over time
  •  Loss of weight
  • A healthier state of mind which led to improvements in the work place, better sleep patterns, less fatigue and more energy
  • Lubricated joints and bones with extend a healthy life into old age
  • Strengthening of the heart which allows more blood and oxygen to flow to the brain and muscles
  • Increased motivation in personal life
  • Travelling to new places to run
  • Meeting new people
  • Running for charity causes which help others in need
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Good health and fitness increases your chances of success!

Whilst my O(bjective) was to run 42.2 km’s and my K(ey) R(esults) were highly beneficial on many levels.  Now, whilst running marathons may not be something you could envisage yourself growing to love and enjoy like I did, there are many other ways, particularly through the business world.  Take my friend Emma for example.

In 2008, I met Emma whilst booking a plane ticket to Europe.  As a travel agent, she was bright and bubbly whilst being bullshit free and hassle free.  She worked hard and gave her all to making sure her clients were well looked after.  Normally, travel agents are driven and motivated by incentives and up-selling.  Essentially, travel agents are fuck wits.  I learnt this myself from being a travel agent for two years.  Thankfully, Emma wasn’t and she has since gone on to big things through her business enterprises with Intimo Lingerie and Comfort & Lace.  Also, Emma offers some entertaining and funny V-Blogs by way of her page, The Lazy Keto Mum.  She’s always off having adventures and living life her way.  Essentially, Emma’s objectives have provided her with countless key results.  Perhaps, far too many to mention in this article.  If you want to know more, just head to her pages and check ’em out.  You won’t be disappointed.

Another key objective of mine is to visit the 92 football league grounds in the U.K and many of the lower league grounds around the region.  A healthy objective that is achievable over time and has already given me a plethora of key results.  So far, I have managed to visit 57 grounds for matches and will be able to knock off the balance over the coming years with more dedication and drive.  Once more, the key results have already been spectacular.

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  • Multiple countries, cities and towns visited
  • Countless museums and art galleries all over the U.K and Europe explored
  • Countless concerts attended
  • Less time working and more time enjoying life with less stress and lowering my chances of heart disease
  • Increased fitness through walking & exploring on days out
  • Improving knowledge, understanding and appreciation of foreign culture
  • Appreciating ones home life more due to witnessing extreme poverty on third world nations
  • Your travels stories and experiences make you a far more interesting human being
  • Enjoying amazing food that you otherwise would not have known about
  • Meeting heroes and idols
  • Creating a lifetime of memories whilst making countless friendships that make you a better person all round
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A key result of visiting 92 football grounds is the random cities the cause takes you to like Girona in Spain!

There are many successful people in this world yet we still have many people who aren’t as successful as they should be.  To be successful, you need to surround yourself with successful people and feed off their positive energy.  Anything is possible.  You just need to believe in yourself and realise that you really can do anything you set your mind to.  It’s why OKR’s are so important to implement in your life.  For every objective, there must be key results.  Keeping your vision, goals and final objectives in sight are important and often we don’t fully realise our potential because we fail to see the key results along the pathway to success.  Even when you fail, there are positives to take from the experience.

Every Man’s Worst Nightmare!

Many years ago, when I worked in the menswear department of Myer, I would often encounter a plethora of men buying suits for special occasions at the last minute, more often than not, on the day of the event. Most of the time, they were after a new suit because the one they anticipated wearing was a bit of a snug fit or had dated poorly. Unfortunately, we mere males are not quite as diligent as our female counterparts when it comes to “event” fashion.

Woman will spends weeks, sometimes months in search of a dress for their special occasion. Us lads on the other hand, will just sit back and scoff, safe in the knowledge we have our tried and tested suit at the ready. You know, the one we have worn to just about every wedding or semi formal dinner for the past fifteen years or more. The ladies will also seek out a new handbag to match the new dress as well as a new pair of shoes. It’s a finely tuned art form this dress shopping lark, learned over many years and, with secrets passed down from generation to generation. It’s almost as if it’s some kind of black magic this dress shopping business.

How us men think we look in suits

Me? Well, I’ve always taken pride in not being that man who relies on the same suit time and again to bail me out of trouble. I’ve seen many a man fall foul to relying on a suit that he last wore three years ago, only to find it’s now a bit of a tight fit thanks to the ageing process (well, that’s our excuse anyway) and then proceed rush about like we are possessed by demons, trying to snag a new suit at the last minute. Often on the day as I mentioned to you earlier. Nope, that’s not me. Never has been. Never will be. Until now, that is.

Back when suits and I had a less complex relationship

A few days ago, I tried on one of my old suits and found it didn’t fit that well. I was lazy. I just assumed it would always fit. This was a potential disaster! The realisation hit home that I had an awards night to attend in a matter of days and nothing in my collection of formal attire was fitting! I had finally, after years of resistance, become “that” fella in the Myer suit department on the eve of an event. Years of scoffing at stupid, silly men for not sorting it sooner had come to bite me on the backside! Hard as well!

My luck was dealt a huge blow when the realisation hit me that I now live on the Gold Coast. Men don’t wear decent fashion down here. To be fair, they don’t really wear much at all aside from shorts and flip flops. I can’t even say many of them wear shirts because most fella’s down this neck of the woods are far too busy strutting about shirtless to show off their bronzed six packs and full sleeve/chest/neck ink jobs. Hell, even middle aged men who should know better get about without shirts on.

This is what happens when you type “bad uncle suit” into google!

My positive side kicked in. I thought finding a nice suit would be simple enough as I jumped the train for Robina. They had both Myer and David Jones on site so surely, I would have no trouble laying my mitts on some dapper clobber for my night out. Big mistake!

My most sordid fears had risen above my abundance of positivity with an hour of scouring the menswear departments. Nothing. Zip. Nudda! Nowhere in sight was a suit of style that was firstly, within my budget or secondly, actually in my size. I cursed away under my breath as the reality had sunk in that my waistline was no longer that of a fit and healthy twenty-something. I’m now a 41 year old man with a 34/36 inch waistline depending on the brand. My shoulders have broadened a bit in recent months thanks to repeated visits to the gym whilst bench pressing 100 kg’s. I soon found that if I wanted to walk away with a suit that not not only looked good but felt good, I would be required to part with well over $1,000. Money I simply didn’t have spare at this moment in time.

The reality was fast sinking in that I wouldn’t be going to Kansas anymore! Not even a pair of red shiny slippers would save me now!

I walked away from Robina with my head down. The agony of defeat was fast sinking in. I had left my run too late and had become “that” man I somehow always thought I would never become. Had I tried to sort this dilemma a few weeks ago, I’m sure an amicable solution would have been found. Not today kiddo! My only advice to offer from this sad and sorry debacle is that, should you live on the Gold Coast and require a suave suit on short notice, forget about it! Just head to your local tattoo parlour and get that full sleeve tribal tattoo you’ve always dreamed of never getting. It sure as hell beats the stigma of becoming that man on the last minute hunt for a suit.

Feminism As We Knew It….

My name is David. I’m a not so young man from the outer suburbs of Sydney. My love of cinema grew at a young age and failed to subside. At a guess, I would suggest that my tally of films captured first hand in cinemas over the past 35 years of my life would equate to well over 1,000 at the very least. 148 of these alone have come since the beginning of 2017. I’ve sat through and thoroughly enjoyed films in cinemas all over the world. Paris, San Francisco, Sydney, Berlin, Singapore, London, Hong Kong and Dubai to name a few. Always one to stray from the line, I’ve grown to enjoy a somewhat lustful desire towards foreign and art house cinema. Hollywood blockbusters can be ok yet they seldom quench my thirst for quality story lines or evoke emotions from deep within the soul.

The older I grow, the more depth I require from life.

A particular theme that has evolved in our modern world of social media is the art of labelling. It appears apparent to me that you are nobody if you aren’t somebody in 2018. Like a football match, we have to be for or against almost anything. We can no longer sit ourselves down on the pickets of the fence, instead, being frog marched from one side to the other with no latitude to think for ourselves.

Think about it.

We are pro-war or against war. We are pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine. We are pro-conservative or vehemently to the left. We are being told every day how to to think. How to feel. How to react. When to be sad. We have become robots to corporate dreams of the elite.

Feminism in 2018 appears to be a train wreck that is well and truly beyond repair. Woman from all walks of life are now standing up, loud, proud as self anointed feminists. Charging their way into the unknown like troops into battle on the western front. Sadly, they might have got it all so horribly wrong!

I watched a film today. It’s perhaps going to be wildly ignored because it deals with an issue we prefer to sweep under the carpet, the pioneers of the feminist movement from the late 1800’s and early part of last Century. Brave, bold and decisive risks taken by woman who truly did risk losing everything. Including their lives.

“Colette” is a new British drama that dives head first into a world of feminism that has surely been lost on many modernists striving to be labelled for doing very little, if anything. Keira Knightley steps out of the spotlight once more to deliver yet another stellar performance in her already remarkable career as she takes on the role of feminist pioneer, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a French novelist who sets the high society of Paris in a spin with her debut publication series, the four Claudine stories. Each publication follows the semi-autobiographical life of the author and later, her husband’s (publicist and writer, “Willy”) misgivings and debauchery.

Seeking co-authorship, Colette is denied her dues by her then husband and begins to express herself through stage and sordid affairs with other woman. Eventually, we find Colette fall into a dreary life of hand to mouth living by way of a travelling stage show, earning a pittance compared to her male contemporaries. The early 1900’s were a time when woman didn’t have a right to vote and were often denied careers, opportunities and money because, put simply, they were woman. This summoned a fighting spirit within a select brand of woman across Europe who decided enough was enough and it was time to fight for their rights as woman.

Upon her death in 1954, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette was granted a state funeral (the first female in France) for her pioneering writing that brought the plight of woman to the forefront and continued push for equal rights for woman. A true feminist if ever there was one!

The many stories of the swashbuckling and progressive feminists that I have read and watched through books and cinema have given me a somewhat disappointing view of modern feminism. Woman today should understand that feminism is more than a label. It’s about taking a stand and sacrificing for the greater good. It’s about actions, not screaming histrionics about American Presidents and hating any member of the opposite sex. If you don’t believe me, go and see “Colette”. You may actually learn a thing or two.

Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette may just shed some light as to how we got feminism so terribly wrong in 2018 and why the feminist movement needs to go back to its roots before it’s too late.

Hamburg: A City For The Underdog

It’s no secret that Germany is my favourite country from almost 20 years of world travel. There is just something about the place that has always stood head and shoulders above the rest. When I think of Germany, I think of a fluent and independent culture, efficiency, progression, atmosphere and substance. I’m yet to have a bad experience there or stumble over a German city that I haven’t liked. In fact, I suspect it might be impossible for any German city to be anything but brilliant!

One of those cities that stands out for me is Europe’s second largest port city of almost 2 million people, Hamburg. I’ve enjoyed a few visits there now and am yet to be disappointed in any way. It’s a left leaning city that has that “special” feeling not many world cities can attain. There is rarely a dull moment and the people are some of the most thoughtful and kind human beings I have ever encountered. So what makes the city of Hamburg so much better than the rest? Take a moment out of your day and please, allow me to explain.

Situated on the Elbe River, Hamburg was first discovered in the 2nd Century by Claudius Ptolemy and the region was originally known as Treva. In 808 A.D, the city took its modern name of Hamburg after a castle built by Emperor Charlemagne. The castle no longer exists and the left cation also remains a mystery to this day. Destroyed and occupied no less than six times, the city lost over 60% of its population in 1350 due to the Black Plague. The city was also battered by seven great fires before it became the city we love and adore today. To say Hamburg has been through the wars would be a massive understatement!

Fast forward to 1942 and over 46,000 innocent civilians were murdered by British bombers in air raids that lasted more than 6 weeks. The city surrendered to Allied Forces on May 3 1945, just three days after Hitler’s death. Between 1960 and 1962, Hamburg was then home to The Beatles who used The Star Club as a way to fine tune their sound before they went on to conquer the world of pop culture. Even today, the night life and culture is second to none.

One cannot visit Hamburg without taking in a football match at either St. Pauli or Hamburger SV. And, whilst you are at it, get yourself booked into one of the stadium tours both clubs have on offer. Like everything German, both clubs offer well rounded tours that give you a fantastic look into the rich history of both clubs who now ply their trades in the German second division. Tickets for games are reasonably easy to come by through online club shops or picking up a spare outside the ground on the day. Both grounds are not to be missed!

One of the many positives about visiting Hamburg is the ability to move about the city with relative ease. German transport, as always is spot on here and, there is a diverse culture splitting off into all corners that cater for the needs of just about anybody and everybody. You can’t get lost getting around and, if you do, the locals are always more than helpful in sending you on your way in the right direction. Food options are plentiful and the drinking is cheap and tasty! If shopping is your thing then you can take in all the big brand names or find some truly unique stores that support local fashion designers, artists and other business ventures.

If you have no yet paid a visit to Germany’s second largest city behind Berlin, then perhaps it is time to hit up the cheap airlines for that weekend away you should have taken on long before now.