Monday, 30 January 2012

Sad Legacy of Fukushima

Photo from The Irish Times
It may not be in the news much now, but almost a year after the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear meltdown Japan is still struggling to recover. One problem is that hundreds of hastily abandoned pets are fighting to survive in the harsh winter in the exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear reactor. 

Of course the country has concentrated on containing the nuclear accident and protecting people from radiation,  but Yasunori Hoso, representative director of United Kennel Club Japan, has been trying to save as many dogs and cats from the no-go zone as possible.  He also keeps pets for those who are living in shelters where pets are not allowed. He runs a shelter for about 350 dogs and cats rescued from the 20-km evacuation zone around the crippled nuclear plant.  

He says, " ......when it comes to dogs, all of them, without exception, become really ecstatic when they get reunited with their owners. That is what keeps me going, what makes me determined that I have to push ahead until the last one goes back to its owner."

It's great that there are people like Hoso, working hard to reunite pets with their families.

Full article below.

Fukushima pets in no-go area face harsh winter

Monday, 23 January 2012

It really was a storm.... !

This was taken in Iceland last night, now that's what I call an aurora! We are in Iceland in two months, I hope we get a Northern Lights show like this!  Click on the photo to enlarge.

Friday, 20 January 2012

U22 Tracklist has announced the track listing for U22, the gift for re-subscribers of  For once it is actually an excellent gift, but not enough to make me shelve out $50!  Below is the announcement as it appears on

After tens of thousands of votes, Subscribers have decided which tracks will appear on 'U22'.

We asked you to choose your top 22 live tracks after listening to 46 the band played on U2360°. Three months later, the result is the first crowd-sourced U2 live collection.

You didn't just cast your votes. You also engaged in impassioned argument on our boards about which tracks should appear, which should not - and why.

In the end the great divide was between those of you who wanted 'U22' to become  a collection of the band's 'greatest' live tracks and those who wanted it to capture songs the band rarely perform, tracks hardly ever released live.

The results are fascinating - spanning nine albums and thirty years, excluding some of the most familiar songs and featuring some total surprises.

'This is really going to be a special CD.' said Adam, when we caught up with him this week. 'I wasn't expecting some of these tunes, it's a really fresh collection and it's going to make very interesting listening.'

So here's the 22 tracks. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see what happens next. And then get into the comments to give us your reactions.

1. Bad  
2. Where The Streets Have No  Name
3. Magnificent 
4. One
5. Ultraviolet 
6. Even Better than The Real Thing
7. With or Without You 
8. Beautiful Day 
9. City of Blinding Lights 
10. The Unforgettable Fire 
11. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For 
12. All I Want is You/Love Rescue Me   
13. Moment of Surrender  
14. Until The End of the World  
15. The Fly 
16. One Tree Hill  
17. Stay (Faraway, So Close) 
18. Walk On 
19. Zooropa 
20. Elevation
21. Out of Control
22. Mysterious Ways 

The tracks are now being mixed and sequenced while the editorial and design of the accompanying 24-page large format book (see above) is finalised. 

More details soon on when 'U22' will be arriving with you... if you've resubscribed to for 2012. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bono and Grace

At the moment Bono is on a seemingly unpublicised tour of Africa.  He recently visited the Mend project in Uganda - more information on this on their Facebook page here .

There's a nice little story about Bono meeting Grace, one of the workers there, and of course he just had to sing Amazing Grace to her!  On Facebook it says someone videoed this, if it turns up anywhere I'll put it on my blog.  But there's a lovely photo  of Bono with Grace (who has obviously been charmed by Bono judging by the big smile on her face) which I've added below.

Photo from Mend's Facebook page

Monday, 9 January 2012

'Stephen Lawrence' by Carol Ann Duffy

Wonderful poem by the poet laureate, sometimes less is more and says so much.  

'Stephen Lawrence' by Carol Ann Duffy

Written by the poet laureate after the conviction of two men for the teenager's murder in 1993

Cold pavement indeed
the night you died,
but the airborne drop of blood
from your wound
was a seed
your mother sewed
into hard ground –
your life's length doubled,
unlived, stilled,
till one flower, thorned,
in her hand, 
love's just blade.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Words To Take Note Of U2 .....

YES, YES, YES!  I agree with pretty much all of this article and I hope U2 read it and that it gives them food for thought.

From Rolling Stone:

Our 10 Greatest Hopes and Fears for 2012
2012 is going to be a big year for music.  We hope these people don't screw it up.

U2 Plot Their Future
Hope: U2's 2009 album No Line On The Horizon was an extremely ambitious record that sold millions of copies all over the world. Songs like "Moment of Surrender" and "Magnificent" rank with the band's best work, but the singles failed to connect with a mass audience and by U2's standards it was a disappointment. We hope that they realize that radio is unlikely to put any song they ever write into heavy rotation; instead, they should just focus on making another great record, and then hit the road on an arena tour that drops some of the old warhorses in favor of great songs from the past. How about "Acrobat," "Drowning Man" and "Numb"? "Pride (In The Name of Love)" is a great song, but enough's enough. 

Fear: U2 tends to end each decade with a commercial disappointment, and then begin the new decade with an album that's the exact opposite of their last work. The failure of Rattle and Hum gave the world Achtung Baby and the failure of the (criminally underrated) Pop led to the back-to-basics approach on All That You Can't Leave Behind. They have spent much of the last two years working with a rotating cast of producers, including Danger Mouse and RedOne. We fear their primary focus is competing with Lady Gaga on the radio. It's a fight they're going to lose. Hey Bono, don't overthink this next record. Just make it great. It'll serve you better in the long run. Remember that awful charity single "Stranded" you cut with Jay-Z and Rihanna? Never do anything like that again.