Tomorrow’s World

Matt Bellamy, lead singer of my fave band Muse, released a new song last week written during the Covid 19 lockdown. I knew it was coming but had missed that it was out already. Listened to it this morning and I wasn’t disappointed!

Tomorrow’s World is a ballad with piano and strings in the background. Matt wrote and performed it without the band, but it still has a distinct Muse sound to it. It’s a mesmerzing and eerie song and yet there’s a feeling of hope in it as well.

The title of the song is taken from a BBC tv show that used to air, talking about future developments and technology. What I love about Muse / Bellamy songs is that they are different, that melody and words fit and yet don’t quite fit as in this case with hopeful lyrics but a bit of an eerie sound. Play this song on repeat and I’m sure it can send you into a trance.

For anyone interested, there’s also a small interview with Matt about this song…

I love when people talk about their creative process like that and hearing about the feeling that went into this song.

It’s been a lazy morning here, with sleeping in, reading some things on my phone and getting sucked into the Muse rabbit hole. Now it’s time to jump into the shower, get dressed and move on to all the Saturday chores I have planned for today. Before I do that, though, I’ll need to listen to this song a few times more…

Muse in Nijmegen

This past week the date of June 27th was boldly highlighted in my calendar: Muse was coming for an open air concert to the Goffertpark in Nijmegen in the east of the Netherlands and I would be there! The same park I saw Eminem in last year and David Bowie oh so many years ago in the early 1990s. Tickets had already been purchased last fall and I was going with my lovely friend Suzy from the Silverbluelining blog, we were meeting up there.

Fast forward to last Tuesday, two days before the Muse concert. I was leaving work late because I was meeting two friends of mine for the cinema to see Rocketman (I did end up seeing it, despite what happened next, and really liked it). As I tucked away my metrocard I missed the last step of the stairs and crashed to the ground, twisting my ankle quite badly, so badly that for a minute or so I couldn’t stand. First thought flashing through my head was, “NOOOO! What about Muse on Thursday??!!??”  Long story short, ice pack on my ankle when I got home later that evening didn’t help much, doctor said I needed to have x-rays the next day but in the end luckily nothing broken.  However the ankle was thick and painful enough to need extra support and I could barely stand on it.

So yes, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go to the long awaited Muse concert! Only standing places for that concert and there was no way I could stand for two hours during the concert and all the time leading up to that. Then Mr. Esther came to the rescue. My hero! He wasn’t going to the concert but offered to take the afternoon off work to drive me there (a little over an hour away from where I live) and borrow my mother-in-law’s wheelchair (she only needs it occasionally). My older sister ended up coming to the concert with me as well (she’d also bought a ticket a while back and the person she was going with canceled at the last minute). Downside to these changed plans was that I couldn’t spend as much time with Suzy before the concert as I had wanted to.

The weather on Thursday was gorgeous: blue skies, mid 20 degrees Celsius, perfect weather for an open air concert. We finally arrived at the Kiss & Ride spot near the venue at just after 5.30 pm (drive had taken 2 hours due to traffic jams!) where Suzy was awaiting us. My sister and Suzy took turns pushing me in my wheelchair to the concert grounds. I’m forever grateful to them and to Mr Esther for bringing me there! I could stand and hobble about for short amounts of time, so that was something.

Muse

We had a nice bite to eat at the venue and then went in search of a spot to enjoy the concert from. As I was in my wheelchair for most of the time we figured in the end it would be pointless for me to watch from the field, I’d be too small to be able to see anything. So, we found the wheelchair platform and there was enough space left over for me to have a spot there as well. The down side was that only one other person was allowed to accompany me there. Suzy came with me first and later changed places with my sister as she preferred to watch the concert in the crowd, and rightly so. The park filled up with some 66.000 people (I was told by another guy there). This slideshow shows some crowd overviews before the concert started, taken from the spot I was at:

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Andy Burrows, the second opening act, was good. He used to be part of a band called Razorlight with which he had scored this hit called America. Then, at just before 9 pm, Muse finally took the stage. And yes, yet again, I loved the concert from its first beat! The music is always excellent, the singing is always excellent and the show they give is always great too. Here some pictures, mostly screenshots from some short videos I took (click on images to enlarge):

The great part of being on the wheelchair podium is that the view is good, the downside is that wheelchair people (at least at this concert) don’t sit-dance that much. This means that I, and also my sister, were probably the most active hands in the air, fist bumpers and clappers there. Also, lots of coming and going on that platform which was somewhat distracting. Next time, I think I’d prefer to be in the crowd. 🙂 Nonetheless, I enjoyed the concert immensely with neon lights and laser lights and dancers with lightsabers and silver plated suits. Here is one of their most famous songs that someone filmed, Uprising, at the beginning of the concert…

… and a video of when a huge creature emerged on stage near the end of the concert…

Anyway, when Knights of Cydonia started playing (traditionally always their last song at concerts), I was bummed it was almost over. The crowd went wild (yet again) with that last song, it’s always a total crowd pleaser, but alas, Muse really was done after it ended.

We met up with Suzy after the concert and I was glad to hear that she had enjoyed it immensely as well! It was her first Muse concert, and my 4th or 5th, but I have a feeling there will be more Muse concerts for Suzy and me in our future. 🙂 And we need to meet up again extra to catch up some more as we didn’t get around to enough of that this time around. Muse in September in Amsterdam, Suzy? Might be tough, though, with that concert already sold out and my finances a little depleted, but we’ll see…

Supermassive black hole

After doing some chores around the house today and before going out for groceries (I always have Wednesdays off work), I sat down for a little breather and switched on the TV news. Just starting was a press conference that was being held about the first ever black hole picture. Now, I am not scientifically minded at all and I know next to nothing about astronomy, but the excitement at this news conference was so palpable, I was sucked in. The world was presented with this image:

first black hole image.jpg

This is apparently a supermassive black hole surrounded by a ring of gas in a distant galaxy far far away.  From what I understand, this proves that Einstein’s black hole theory was correct. This BBC news item describes it all way better than I ever could. Science theory (and fiction in a way) has become science fact! How very cool is that? I wish we had a Captain Picard who could go and explore for us.

Apparently the black hole in our own galaxy is harder to discover but the existence of black holes now seems to be proven. This really is pretty exciting stuff! And what is extra beautiful to me is how this has been achieved with people and organizations all over the world working together. An organisation called Event Horizon Telescope was formed with this aim in mind, to work together internationally and study black holes together. With all the focus in the news nowadays on egomaniac policies and politicians, this news is such a breath of fresh air.

And now for the past few hours, I’ve had this Muse song ghosting around in my head…

I think my older scientist sister, who now works as a computer programmer, but who has also studied chemistry at uni, has always been fascinated by astronomy and actually understands all of what Einstein’s theory of relativity is about, will be over the moon excited by this news. Heck, even I am excited now. 🙂

Pressure… don’t push me…

It’s been a busy week in Esther-world: celebrating my mother’s 83rd birthday last weekend (she’s still in good health and able to care for herself, thank goodness), dealing with family stuff at home (all is well, but still needing attention) and trying to get myself not too riled up about my micro-managing boss. I feel a conversation coming up in the near future where I make it clear to him that the pleasure I have felt working at this organisation the past year and a half has evaporated ever since he started micro-managing… During the first job interview he had with us (I was one of the people interviewing him!) he had said he was good at managing where needed and letting go where needed. I had faith in him when he said that, that faith has evaporated quickly. I guess he interprets the ‘where needed’ differently from me…

The news world has also been very busy. Trump has been a bumbling fool on the international stage again, the whole Brexit mess has kept me watching BBC news in fascination and even Richard Armitage has been tweeting nonsense (seriously, turn the other cheek to bullies? When has that ever helped? Peaceful resistance, I am all for that, but just turning the other cheek only helps bullies, not the victims). Thankfully, I did enjoy this picture of him that turned up last week or so from Audible…

Oh, and there was this picture as well from the upcoming season 3 of  Berlin Station

These are little highlights as I still wait for something great to come from the Armitage that even I can enjoy other than just nice images (nope, no audiobooks for me, Castlevania is still on hold and I’m not that keen on the upcoming Berlin Station either…). I wish I had the energy to blog about my stage in Armitage-fangirling right now, like Herba, Servetus and Nell have been doing so eloquently recently on their bogs. And I still might, when I feel more space in my brain, but suffice it to say that I too feel the drought and I too am still hoping for other great things to come from Richard.

This means that I am stuck to other fangirling right now. Lately that has been all about listening to Muse’s new album which came out last week. I like this album better than the last one, some really good songs on there! I’m really liking this one right now…

I guess the whole “Pressure … don’t push me” message feels relevant. 😉  Luckily, last Tuesday I was able to purchase tickets to their world tour that starts next year! They’ll be in The Netherlands in June. Some friends of mine are going too and I got tickets for myself and Suzy from the Silverbluelining blog as she too has become a Muse fan. This band is absolutely awesome live and I find myself already wishing for June!

Something Human & The Dark Side

My favourite band Muse has a new single out called The Dark Side. Released 3 days ago, it already has over 2 million views on YouTube! They are doing something different with this new upcoming album. It is somehow softer in music (almost sounds more like pop than their usual rock) but it still is a little dark in tone. The last single, Something Human, came out in July…

I’ve got to say, when I first heard it, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. It’s fine but not really Muse, I thought. The vocals are Muse but not quite the music, I’m missing what I call their “singing base guitars”. However, on repeated listening it has grown on me.

Now we have their newest song as well, called The Dark Side and it’s made in the same sort of style as Something Human.

It all has a bit of a 1980s vibe and as the 1980s was the decade of my teens, music of that era is happily nostalgic for me. I like that they’re trying something different. The songs aren’t up there with my Muse faves yet but I am very curious about the new album. Muse’s albums have a bit of a storyline and I wonder what this one will be. I see two songs they brought out earlier (Dig Down that I have already blogged about here and Thought Contagion) will also be on the new album. Those songs seem more old-Muse than these two new-Muse songs. Intriguing.Simulation theory albumTheir new album will be out in November, which means that there should be a new tour next year! I’ll be there. 🙂