13 July 2011
'Manhattanhenge’New York. Day off.
Yesterday evening saw the first of the two nights of ‘Manhattanhenge’, a phenomenon that occurs twice around each solstice. The sun sets in the West which means, if you’re in Manhattan, it sets over New Jersey. The grid of streets in midtown is such that on very particular occasions, the sun will set directly in line with the direction of the cross streets in the grid pattern of the city layout. This means that if you park yourself on a street that goes all the way to the Hudson River, you will see the sun setting directly between the skyscrapers. Last night saw the ‘full’ sun and tonight a ‘half’ sun, sitting right on the horizon, flanked by buildings. The counterintuitive part is that it doesn’t matter which street you choose – as long as it’s on the grid and unobstructed, you get the same view of Manhattanhenge. A long way away is that sun.
I’ve been decompressing a little and allowing myself to slow down a bit. Tours don’t end gradually, they just stop dead one day, so if at all possible it is helpful to reduce velocity before slamming into the brick wall. I had lunch with a colleague who specialises in LED technology and spent a while musing over future projects. Naturally, we’re already thinking about ‘next time round’ and the task is always to imagine not what’s possible now, but what might be possible in a couple of years’ time. There are larger questions about what kind of show U2 might want to do next, and whether another technology-based show would be at all appealing, but its always interesting to do the research. I’m very proud of the 360 show, not just the technology and architecture but also the breadth of what U2 have been able to perform over the past couple of years. The current show references every single U2 album, including Passengers and a movie soundtrack, which is pretty good going for a band with this much history. What they’ll do next is anybody’s guess at this juncture.
In the evening I went to see Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, which is really charming. Whatever you make of Woody Allen, it is extraordinary that he puts out a movie every single year. Some are big, some are small, some are great, some are less so, some hit, some don’t, but he keeps working and occasionally comes up trumps. This is one of his more whimsical movies and I loved it, it could have been written for me.