U2360° TOUR Leg 2: 2010


New York. Day off

The words 'Day Off' are used pretty loosely in these parts, in reality only meaning 'non-show day'. Todays day off we spent at the Slipper Room, a wonderful burlesque bar somewhere below Houston in the East Village. Its a wonderful little place, Brecht meets David Lynch, with a long wooden bar, low lighting and a tiny stage with red velvet drapes and a sparkly backdrop.

The goal of the day was to shoot a short film of U2 performing with Leonard Cohen, for a documentary about the great singer songwriter legend. All of U2 showed up and crammed themselves onto the stage which was barely the size of Larrys drum riser for the Vertigo show. Leonard Cohen arrived looking very elegant and transfixed all present by singing 'Tower of Song' in his car-crash voice, with U2 providing back-up in the role of house band. As is the way with film shoots, they performed the song many times, with much re-jigging and hanging about in between. The club was absolutely tiny and soon became very hot, so the default place to hang out was just outside on the pavement. The sun was shining, steadily turning into a gorgeous afternoon, so it was really very pleasant to sit around and watch New York happen in front of us. It doesnt matter how often you come here, if you just sit and watch New York it never ceases to amaze and entertain.

By 6pm it was clear that proceedings were pretty much over bar the shouting, so myself and Frances, the tour publicist, got in to a cab and headed uptown. Managed some quiet drinks with friends later, heading out about 8pm and riding the elevator down to the lobby with Christina Ricci. Really. Our hotel is crawling with celebs for some reason (Ive complained to housekeeping buy they say theres nothing they can do). There must be another premiere or some large event going on. Christina Aguilera was here yesterday.

Headed down to the Algonquin Hotel, which is a place I love. Its where Dorothy Parker, ,Robert Benchley and the New Yorker magazine crowd used to meet and bitch about life ad infinitum. I love the atmosphere of the lobby bar which is simultaneously extremely elegant and old-worldy, but is also very cosy. Its very grown up and boring, so I would recommend against going there if youre under thirty, but its a wonderful space and the Martinis are highly effective.

The lighting is beautiful too - expecially by the standards of most hotel lobbies, which usually go into a 12v frenzy with little spotlights on wires everywhere. Dont get me started. The Algonquin is done with table lamps, which might seem conservative and old fashioned, but in truth table lamps are the most humane and intimate way of lighting a room. Trust me on this, Im an industry professional. I know that interior designers the world over will tell you to go with the latest groovy, over-designed, low voltage, self-dimming, LED colourchanging light sculptures to create the perfect ambience for your domestic environment, but have no truck with them. If you want a room thats pleasant to walk into, with light thats flattering to human faces and where you could comfortably sit and read a book, then table lamps are the way to go. One in each corner, on little side tables, will also give you somewhere to put your cup of tea.

Sorry. Didnt mean to get off on one there, but spending some much of my life in environments lit my other people, (consultants mostly) one does become painfully aware of the shortcomings of much contemporary design. Seeing a room as perfect as the Algonquin makes a man wonder aloud why every public building couldnt be lit this way. And serve Martinis.

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