Thursday 8 April 2010
Dream: my work colleagues are suddenly scouring online dating sites for options. Needless to say with them being female, friendlier and better looking than me they immediately get responses. From here I find myself becoming jealous as they get particularly excited over a response from a man in Bradford.
I wake this morning off the back of too little sleep. Outside the sun is out which once more hints that summer may finally be arriving.
Needless to say I am sluggish today, yearning more sleep and immediately wondering when I will be able finally catch up on it. Consulting my diary I think I see an opening in two and a half weeks time.
As I leave my flat the bin bag is still dumped downstairs in the entrance hall. Does my neighbour do these things to wind me up on purpose?
Outside it is a brisk morning, which coupled with the sun, equates to perfection in my book. Suddenly my sensory begins to look up.
I need a shave.
Yet again I manage to snag a good parking space at the station car park. Truly why are there suddenly less people parking here? Has it suddenly become a black spot or no go area? Did NCP and/or National Express East Anglia hike up prices again? I wouldn’t put that past them.
From here the train journey is quiet and lucid.
At Ingatestone some tall guy decides to sit in the spare seats near us. As he removes his coat he steps on my own, tacking it to the ground in the process. Wondering just who this guy is when I look at him he has a soul patch line of facial hair hung beneath his lips and above his chin. It is weird. It half looks like a caterpillar and equally half looks like he is dribbling. I wonder what kind of statement he is trying to make. Really, is there anyway you could take a person looking like this seriously in the workplace?
It is at this point by thinking of incompetence that I remember today (this week) was supposed to be about industrial action. I guess this may be why the car park was so quiet this morning.
Upon arriving at Liverpool Street between walking from the train to the tube I spot lookalikes of Bobby Heenan, Zoe Bartlett and Tommy Steele. This collection is then completed when I spot Bellalike on the tube platform. It’s a strange world where I suspect that there are about twenty template human looks and we are all slightly variations of these. I fear mine was the Corden.
The tube smells earthy and soiled this morning. It is not pleasant.
As we pass through Great Portland Street it would appear that the train on the opposite line/platform is being evacuated. What the fuck is going on?
I don’t enjoy seeing construction workers on the tube, they always seem dusty and ferocious.
Today I feel relieved that tomorrow is Friday and we can call this thing to an end for a couple of days.
From here the day is a slog where I don’t quite get to where I wanted to on my work. By the end of the day I arrive at the stage I wanted to be at the end of yesterday.
Towards the end of the day the boss says we can leave a little early but this doesn’t help me as I am heading to the ICA tonight.
When I eventually leave work I change at Bond Street with view to heading across to Tottenham Court Road. As I walk through Bond Street station I spot Mishal Husain. It genuinely shocks me to see her, being a long time fan, and she totally clocks me recognising her, which I don’t think she is entirely enthused about. She is a lot smaller (shorter) in the flesh than TV would suggest.
I get to Tottenham Court Road around 5.45PM comfortably ahead of the 6PM meeting time. From here I wait by the barriers pretty sure that Racton will be along soon.
While I wait for him I indulge in one of my favourite activities: people watching. Tonight there are some real freaks passing through Tottenham Court Road. Additionally there are a few hotties but generally on the whole people just look insane. I guess these people are tourists (in more than one sense of the word). Quite frankly I am transfixed by these people, this is perhaps my favourite past time.
At this point I fuck up although this fact is not immediately apparent. Gradually 6PM comes and goes with no sign of Racton. Around 6.20PM I spot Sharpy heading down to catch a tube and finally I get chance to thank him in person for the On The Buses boxset he sent me. From here we tear into conversation, of catch up.
When the time reaches 6.45PM I tell him that I’m going to have to look outside for Racton and upon emerging from the station I immediately spot him who it appears has been waiting outside the station since 6PM. Even my flakiness disgusts me this evening as he is visibly pissed off and annoyed by my actions (fair cop).
From here we head down Charing Cross Road as he suggests I may have ruined the opportunity for food now but with blind optimism I say we have time even though I have no clue (despite working in the industry).
Eventually we get to the Strand via St Martins Lane where we look for the Zizzi. In the end we fortunately/thankfully find it by accident. With the clock ticking we make quick decisions as we frustratingly get tucked away in a corner where the waiters cannot necessarily see us. I order the Sofia pizza and it is the bomb.
Beyond the initial hiccup things soon being to pick up as cold drinks are taken and conversation begins to flow as we begin to win the race against time.
Halfway through the meal a young Asian couple gets sat next to us and from here I proceed to spend the remainder of the meal distracted by her like the dirty old man I am growing into. At one point while Racton and I are discussing Josh Brolin and I mention The Goonies this is like a buzzword that prompts the Asian table to look in our direction. Is this their favourite movie also?
After a pretty good meal we finally head to the ICA in really good time arriving well before any bands have started.
The opening band tonight is the KEN ARDLEY PLAYBOYS. I have no idea who they are but on the whole they look old enough to be my dad, they’re an old bunch. This looks like a band of old punks who are now literal granddads. They make me think of people from Southend. Their music is a kind of riffing old time garage rock blues that possesses plenty of brass and plenty of thump as their lively frontman turns out to be Bob and Roberta Smith (no, me neither).
Everyone in the band gets their opportunity to do their bit as it eventually gets revealed that the geeky looking guy playing away at the back of the stage is the aforementioned Ken Ardley. Towards the end a large bald friend gets dragged from the audience to add vocals to a self defeating expounding a kind of “you must joking” message to proceedings that just stamps this set as being a complete lark by people who should know better. There’s not much in the way of swing attached to the set, more precision battering of the most raucous degree.
Afterwards the changeover is rapid as within minutes the VERMIN POETS are doing their thing. Dressed looking like angry Morris Dancers and with BILLY CHILDISH taking a backseat on bass duties their set fulfils the promise as held by their record with a garage crossed with The Who sound.
Soon they are doing “Booming Baby Bastards” with its wry dig at modern past generations. With Neil Palmer leading proceedings the band provide something of a more rounded alternative to the usually abrasive garage offerings from CHILDISH. Eventually my personal song of theirs “She’s Got Ears” arrives and with its sly hook I truly feel the set taking off. This is a really fantastic little outfit, retro in a very defendable manner. At the close of the set they remove the flowers from their hats and throw them into the audience: “thank you.” No, thank you.
In between this set and the final news filters through that Malcolm McLaren has become the latest celebrity death I discover via Twitter (via Jonathan Ross). I never liked that guy anyway, all puff and no substance. A rubbish ego on rubbish wheels. Or more bluntly as I say on Twitter/Facebook: I always though he was a pompous dickhead who wasn’t half as talented or important as he considered himself.
Tonight BILLY CHILDISH AND THE MUSICIANS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE perform an incredibly solid set. You get the impression now that these are a set of songs that CHILDISH has honed to perfection as his wife Julie plays bass and Wolf from the Buff Medways doubles up on drums having earlier played for THE VERMIN POETS. You can’t help but feel that CHILDISH is in a good place as the threesome smile their way through the set. With his wife sporting a nurse’s uniform grinning and playing in his band, here is everyman’s fantasy.
Soon they are playing “A Quick One, While He’s Away” which Racton earlier tonight educated me about for the first time. This is The Who song from the Rushmore soundtrack and I have to say when I first heard the VERMIN POETS record it was the exact song the album made me think of.
Continuing the hot streak eventually the band enter into a stomping acapella version of “John The Revelator” which has always had a deep meaning and vast connotations for me. Tonight however for once experiencing good times I am able to raise in celebration, clapping along with all the other buffoons. This is a true moment of greatness.
It is with an equal amount of surprise and glee that CHILDISH then steers the band towards and through a reading of “Christmas 1979” when quite frankly we are closer to Easter than Christmas. It feels slightly perverse but at the same time this is a song too good to waste on only being wheeled out once a year.
To counter balance and compliment “Baby Booming Bastards” by the VERMIN POETS, CHILDISH then spews out “Thatcher’s Children” with appropriate and applicable venom and bile. There is a lesson to be learned here.
Seemingly with the babysitter of their kid about to leave upstairs the band closes on a storming version of “Fire” which is everything I want to see. Over the past six months or so this song has been a revelation to me, the finest piece of the work in the history book of rock and the CHILDISH interpretation serves both him and the song well as it displays an additional firebrand attitude to track while also further expressing just what a gifted player he is. Then all that is left for us is to pick up jaws up off the floor.
From here we step out onto a cool April night where things suddenly appear and feel somewhat better. Eventually I find myself at Charing Cross station where I head up to Tottenham Court Road with view to heading East on the Central Line and eventually to Liverpool Street, Colchester and home.
As I board the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road there is the usual flurry of people living the “Thursday is the new Friday” night dream/mentality. Not least part of this is a wasted girl struggling to remain coherent. Is it wrong that I want/hope her to throw up? Alas it does not happen.
Once back at Liverpool Street I board the 11.18PM train that stops at all the houses on the way back to Essex. Boarding the train tonight and sitting near me is some Jack the lad boy who spends the journey talking to a couple of Americans. I hate how the American accent does it for me, pushes my buttons in a manner that is demeaning to anyone involved.
Not long into the journey I hear him talking about Radio One and soon he has pulled out a Radio One microphone and is doing a pretend interview with the ladies like a cheesy motherfucker. Thankfully he exits at Chelmsford.
As the train stops at Chelmsford a strong Daniel Johnston lookalike boards and now commands my attention. The guy is the spit.
Finally I get home after midnight still buzzing from the show while equally aching from exhaustion. That’s life.