Friday, September 30, 2005

The Sun and the Rain

After a gruelling early start (2.30am BST) we made it back to the UK yesterday morning.

Some things that struck me while I was in Malta:

How much British people abroad hack me off. I was getting to the stage that if anyone else shrugged at me (in response to what they saw as indifferent service, or somesuch) and said ‘You British?’ I was going to respond (in a perfect Home Counties accent) ‘No, ACTually, I consider myself to be a Canadian’.
Living in the capital city of this country for so long has made me largely immune to rudeness from people. But I hope I am not alone in wishing that visitors to other countries had more respect for their hosts, whom are putting up from crap from us, and the Germans, and the French…it makes my toes curl, it really does.

How greedy people are when they are faced with a buffet of any kind.

How most advice about using sunscreens and sunbathing in moderation is being largely ignored. JJ and I were easily the palest people in the entire Med. One gentleman (a rather large Geordie) looked like a walking beetroot.

How much the music of Mogwai fits with a warm climate and blue sky – I never would have guessed this before. Thank the lord for the CD Discman.

How great sea water swimming pools are. This one had so much salt in it, it was practically the Dead Sea.

How (on the sea water note) when my hair is dirty and has salt built up in it, I have a barnet not dissimilar to ‘Is This Desire?’-era Polly Harvey. I quite like that look and it’s something I intend to cultivate. This won’t be hard, because as some of you know, I hate washing my hair.

How little I worried about work (or life in general) in the UK while I was away.

Now I’m back, my hacking cough has returned (lovely!) and I am feeling a bit deflated. I’m sure it’ll pass. Still, I have a the weekend to look forward to what with the Knitting Expo and a Sunday afternoon soiree…woo, suburban life!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Holidays are coming...holidays are coming...

Soundtrack: that Coke jingle

Yep, I couldn't resist that reminder.

I might not post for a while, unless the Mudhoney show this evening is worth recounting. Have a lovely couple of weeks, see you in October.

Blimey, that's properly autumn, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Don’t look back on an empty feeling

Soundtrack: Grand Prix by Teenage Fanclub

I was a late convert to the Fannies. It’s only in recent years that I’ve found them bearable. When I look back, I think it was owing to the music press hype that surrounded them at the time. That, and also the annoying bunch of try-hards at my sixth-form college that sang their praises so loudly.

I spent three years doing my A-levels at a college in Exeter. Having been to a comprehensive that imagined itself a strict grammar (belligerent ghouls run Devonshire schools), the relaxed environs of college were like a narcotic. On that point, the common room was busted about once a fortnight for drugs. Not that I’ve ever been one for illicit substances.

I met some wonderful people at the college, but there were a large number of total assholes. During my second year, four co-students were killed in a car crash, including the irrepressible Gabs Ropschitz. He was in possession of my first copy of The Cramps live mini-album Smell of Female when he died (my pal Richie Rich had lent it to him without my knowledge). I replaced the record at a fair a few years later. Every time I take that record out of the box to play it now, I think of Gabs and what a bloody waste it is that he didn’t make it past 19.

There was also a Floppy-haired boy who I can’t contact anymore (his missus won’t allow it). He ended up living with a quite-famous music journalist in Brighton (hint) and while there fielded phone calls from all sorts of people, including Mrs Cobain. There was also his pal from down the road, The Boy who would be King, who was very well-to-do but had gotten chucked out of a minor public school for acting the twat. And I can’t miss out How far to Hitchin. He was a friend for the full three years and was one of the most talented actors I have ever had the pleasure to know. All of these people have long since disappeared from my address books and Christmas card lists, which is a pity, but that's the way it goes.

There’s something about September that makes me lapse into these memories. Perhaps it’s something to do with the new academic year – on the bus to the station in the mornings, I see children all done up in their over-sized uniforms and I remember what it was like to be a teenager, full of rage about nothing. These past four years I have been observing a group of teenage girls going to school on the bus – watched them fall out with each other, fall in with new people, fall out with the new people, and so on.

I’m not sure how I imagined my adult life would be at that age, or even if I gave it a thought. I’ve a vague recollection that I reckoned that I wouldn’t make old bones, which is preposterous really. Now I’m quite the grande dame and I wonder what kids on the bus think of me.

Who am I kidding. I am invisible to them. To be honest - I like that.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hello bastards

Soundtrack: I am Come by Part Chimp [streamed on t'internet]

Grrrr, I love Part Chimp. They are one of the best live bands on the circuit - if you get a chance to see them, jump at it. I have a sneaking fondness for the lead singer. God knows why - he is a gorilla-like bloke whom always looks like he hasn't washed in year. Yeuch.

Weekend full o' tidying and stuff awaits. This time next week I'll be greasing my hair up with beer and getting all macho in time for the Mudhoney show.

Am missing Mrs Green terribly. My colleagues are mostly great, but the empty desk has been hard to bear this week.

Oh god, how I love to hate!

Soundtrack: Superfuzz Bigmuff by Mudhoney

Listening to this album ahead of next week's gig, which I'm looking forward to.

It's been a busy few days. Sunday night I went to see Om with Jezzabo. They were pretty damn fine, the first track was a mighty 25 minutes long. They were a bit like a slow Lightning Bolt. Inevitably (given that it was a doom/stoner rock gig), Clouse C was there, but no chance to say hi to him.

I've began to get properly excited about going away to the extent that I've begun making 300 lists of things to do. Pointless but satisfying...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Send me a postcard, darling

Soundtrack: Assorted Napster stuff

The last couple of days have been a bit of a roller coaster.

The leaving/birthday do was enjoyable, despite the fact that I was stone cold sober. This led to a couple of odd exchanges – funny how when some people are drunk, they assume that everyone else is at their level of inebriation…! Circusfreak was out. It was great to catch up with his goings on, and plots were made to go out to catch up properly when I get paid.

Yesterday was tough. I had to say goodbye to Mrs Green, my close friend and colleague of the past five years. This happens to be one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in some time. The pair of us have been through quite a bit together; more than I would ever want to reveal on a blog. Although she is returning to Warrington, which is a long way North, it isn’t somewhere ridiculous like, say, New Zealand.

A few of us ended up in a rather poncey (flock wallpaper; stuffed animal heads) pub on Lamb’s Conduit Street yesterday evening to continue the previous night’s revelries in a more relaxed fashion. Smudge made a brief and welcome appearance and DL’s flatmate Ms Darlington came out (this was a welcome diversion from the main event, because I have wanted to meet her for years).

With every drink that was brought to me, I realised that I was just delaying the inevitable. I couldn’t bring myself to leave first, and it didn’t help that every time Mrs Green and me would try to speak to each other we would end up choking back tears. Bit daft really. But the time came when she really did have to go, and we were both a bit of a mess. I’d had two months to get used to the fact that she was going but it made no difference. I know that Monday is going to be very hard, because I'll have to come in and look at an empty desk.

If you're reading this - good luck with everything, and see you soon.

On my way home I was feeling terribly sorry for myself but thankfully bumped into my young pal Busgrrrl, whom I got chatting to a couple of weeks ago. She had been at the Sleater-Kinney gig in town. She is cool.

I’m going to make my excuses in advance. I probably won’t have the time to post on here for a bit. My new responsibilities (and all the fun that goes with them) are kicking in. The next fortnight, prior to going away, is going to be fairly high-octane.

Fuck me, I’m looking forward my holiday so much, I could weep. And I probably will, if you don’t mind.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My heart’s in the basement, my weekend’s at all-time low

Soundtrack: Hunky Dory by David Bowie

I lost another two hours’ sleep last night. Shattered, I dragged my carcass into work, only to come home at lunchtime. I have a GP’s appointment tomorrow and I am hoping for illness-curing drugs of some kind.

During my two hours, I was diverted by songs on my internal jukebox (id-pod?!) by 1980s band The The. I was all for writing some kind of eulogy to them here today (discussion about why they aren’t mentioned in the many ‘100 Greatest Albums’ polls or cited as an influence by young bands; some words about the superior musical arrangements and wry lyricism).

However, I have just listened to Infected (the album from whence the songs came) and was sorely disappointed. Instead of the grandiose and cool album I recollected, it is mainly a pile of dated old toss, and sexist toss in places, at that (perhaps I’m missing the irony?)! No wonder they appear to have influenced nobody. As for the eulogy that I wrote during my fever last night – it just proves conclusively that I am unwell.

But ‘Life on Mars?’ eh? Now, that’s a song. [with Rick Wakeman on piano duties, nerd alert!]

Looking forward to tomorrow evening. It’s Mrs. Green’s leaving do combined with Lambo’s birthday do. Smudge and The Ram will be out, so it’s going to be an old guard gathering in the extreme.

Was cheered to my very cockles today by a lovely invitation to Pandaman’s upcoming nuptials, which he has clearly designed and fashioned himself. I know what you’re thinking - sadly, pierrots do not feature.