Monday, January 29, 2007

Climb the mountain with your fingertips...

Soundtrack: Redd Kross; Devo

Another weekend at the capricious whims of the goddess Do-It-Yourself. Lots more sandpapering, gloss paint, white spirit and brushes...we're beginning to get tired of it. However, as Sister Number 4 rightly pointed out yesterday, at least when don't have a collection of cheeky canines and felines rubbing their fur in the paint like she has, which is enormously frustrating. [Instead, I absent-mindedly managed to put the backside of my jeans on a freshly-painted door frame on Saturday evening. So it's official, I have the brain of a small mammal.]

I had a long chat to Mrs West on Friday evening. Her move back to Derby is taking place next month. Even though I don't see her much I'll be sad that she isn't half an hour's drive away anymore. Well, it shall give me an excuse to go and visit her and her lovely hubby and kids, which will be fun.

Mrs Green is coming down for a visit from England's North at the end of this week. I'm looking forward to this a lot. My hopes that the aforementioned DIY would be completed have evaporated. No matter, I'm sure she'll enjoy the piles of tools and paint everywhere. I might even be able to get away with calling it an art installation.

In other news, my mother has been called in for a series of medical tests. Her optician thinks that she may have diabetes. This shouldn't be surprising, given her deteriorating health recently, but it has come as a bit of a shock to all of us. The optician went straight to her GP with this intel, which was very canny of him (he must have noticed that she was a medic-phobe).

I suppose I shouldn't really worry, given that diabetes is an entirely treatable disease, but I am worrying anyway.

Friday, January 26, 2007

You gotta beat the clock

That resistable little turd Jamie T is getting a lot of press at the moment. I saw him support the similarly terrible Vincent Vincent and the Villains at The Peel in December 2005 (see here), and remember wincing at his terrible saaarf laahndun/cod-Jamaican patois back then. Every magazine or paper I open, there's his cheeky little fizzog leering at me, the miniature shitbag.

I said in my review of the abovementioned gig that the atmosphere was that of a feverish Kingston Grammar School social. Which leads me onto this...

Last night I fell prey to the E4 marketing machine and tuned in to watch the new teen drama thing Skins. In this drama, which left me feeling ambivalent (apart from a couple of obvious laughs), there were posh girls flitting about, with a counterpoint of geezerish young chaps who were very much 'yeah I'm dead into naughty stuff like drugs and sex, me!'. It put me in mind of that night at The Peel.

Not sure what I'm really trying to get at here. I suppose Skins reminded me vaguely of my time at college, which was an interesting experience on many fronts (although frankly, the cast were better looking and better dressed than any of us were in 1989). I feel genuinely sad that I have lost contact with some of the friends I made back then. However, it's bleedin obvious that you can't stay young forever.

This morning I went to the Post Office to order my new passport. The man at the counter looked askance at the photo and I said, 'that's me ten years ago...' to which he responded, 'yep, we're all getting older aren't we'. Quite right we are.

No looking backwards though, only forwards now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The most depressing day of the year

Soundtrack: The Sisters of Mercy

It's the most depressing day of the year, apparently.

I think that sweeping generalisations aren't useful in general, but this time of January does tend to be a bad time for a lot of folk. It isn't a good time of the year for me in general for reasons outlined a year ago in this same spot, but I don't feel too bad at present. Of course, all it takes is something small to set me off. Personally, I have found that the passage of time helps with grief - that's an awful cliche, but it does have some truth in it. As you get older you become more adept at the whole coping strategy thing too.

There's not a lot to report chez me at present. I had a pleasant chat/drink/meal with first Merv, then Circusboy and finally Ms Robinson on consecutive days last week, which was good fun. That's been the fun bit.

Mostly, however, JJ and me have been up to our eyes in sanding woodwork and painting in our bathroom. The whole flat smells of gloss and white spirit, which really gets to you after a while. Our adventures in DIY seem to be never-ending and we are both a bit depressed by this. I'm also getting worried about the allotment, which has been neglected for months on end in favour of flat improvements.

Still, I suppose it's possible that I'll have plenty of time for gardening come June.

A postscript: a neighbour has recently bought a miniature black and tan dachshund (my dog of choice, having owned one as a child). We discovered on Saturday that the puppy is called Dave. He also won't go out for a walk unless Rufus, the Jack Russell that lives upstairs, knocks on the door for him.

Priceless on both counts.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Two double-oh seven

HNY everybody!

New Year's Eve passed without a hitch really, despite me and JJ having the plague. We both felt rather ill before going to Guilty Pleasures, but forced ourselves to go out. No doubt our companions are now ailing with the illness we had (sorry everyone).

Before the night started, we got to see Ennio Marchetto do his thing. He made me laugh like a drain - particularly his impression of Kylie, which has a great pay-off (can't reveal this in case any of you are off to see him).

The party itself was alright - but not nearly as weird or cheesy as I had hoped, being a big fan of some of the strange numbers that make their way onto the GP compilation albums. Lots of very obvious records good-time records played, some by Nicky Holloway - whom some of our number had last seen DJing at a rare groove New Year event some twenty years previously. Now that's a sure sign you're getting on.

It also had a very unusual mix of people. Well, when I say unusual, I mean quite at lot older than your average crowd. Not sure if that was a GP thing or a South Bank thing. One of my pals said 'it has the air of a science conference here' - despite never having been to one. I have, and that observation wasn't far off the mark! We did have a great view of the fireworks from the terrace outside the Royal Festival Hall, as well as glow-sticks - my favourite.

But the biggest bonus of all was bumping into Ms Sarah P in the loos. I wasn't expecting to see her and vice versa, and it was marvellous. A night out to Uptight is being tentatively planned.


I am pleased that the New Year is with us - 2006 was not the best of times.

I tried hard to leave my job and failed, then the large multinational I work for decided it wanted to see the back of me instead. Which was ironic, but provided me with the first real glimmer of hope I've had all year. Now I'm back at work in 07, the novelty has worn off swiftly, and I've realised that it's going to be a long slog to hit my inevitable paydirt. I'm currently looking at it like a out-of-shape woman in her mid-thirties looks at the assault course at Lympstone Commando.

I was going to do lists here, but my ailing memory makes this very difficult. So I'm going to randomly group some stuff together instead.

Good bits of 2006
Finally getting broadband from a decent provider
Enjoying MC5 and Iggy at ATP
Enjoying my pals' company at ATP
Finding out I was being made redundant
Finding out how much money I was potentially worth at the end of current employment
Hearing The Amazing Vomit Story, which is rapidly passing into legend
DJing badly at Pandaman's birthday party
Our break in Barcelona, including the insane Champions League celebrations
Seeing Go-Kart Mozart at long last
Lost Season 2
Enjoying Russell Brand's Sunday morning show on BBC 6 Music

Bad bits of 2006
Having my joint bank account defrauded from another continent over Xmas - don't ask, I don't want to go there!
Putting up with some boorish macho nonsense at ATP
TableGate - my family's feud, which is only currently half-resolved
Orange Broadband, the worst internet provider of all time ('Let me call you sweetheart'? NO, let me call you a bunch of useless wankers who can't run a business and whose definition of free broadband clearly means broadband that won't ever work...)
Not getting to see Lost Season 3 (curse you, Rupert Murdoch!)
My horrible meltdown over Easter

Umtimely departures
The inimitable Arthur Lee

Timely departures
Smash Hits
Top of the Pops

Should be euthanised
The people who run the club night Club de Fromage
The England football and cricket squads
Anyone who defrauds other peoples' bank accounts
Those who run and make money from Orange Broadband

Best quote on a TV programme
'I'd rather have cat AIDS, fanks': Amy Winehouse, in response to Simon Amstell's suggestion that she should work with Katie Melua

Best anecdote
Should really be The Amazing Vomit Story, but Copenhagen Paul's tale about turning down a support slot with Gary Numan was a corker ('our manager said we should do it and not tell anyone')

Acid trax
Over and Over by Hot Chip
Rehab by the aforementioned Winehouse
Alala by CSS
Listen Up by The Gossip
...and a special mention for Simple Man by Klaus Nomi, for which I must thank Trevor Locke.

That's that - toodle-pip for now!