Saturday, 11 July 2009

Saturday 11 July 2009

With my watch nowhere to be seen (and most definitely not on my wrist) when I awaken this morning I have absolutely no idea what time it is. Soon flipping on the rolling news it turns out to be 7.28. After bashing one out to a “news” item about the weathergirl I am ready to go!

There is a package waiting for me to collect at the post office this morning. I believe it is the new Lydia Lunch record on vinyl so obviously I want that asap. The one fun thing about dragging myself down to that part of town is that it is close to Tesco so for a change I’ll do my Saturday morning shopping run there this week. Life in the fast lane!

Indeed the package is the record so that is pretty exciting. When I head to Tesco my mind fills with memories from this area of Colchester. This is definitely a rough part of The Sprawl. As I park up and head towards the shop I stop for a car to pass and driving it is the receptionist I used to work with at Disney. She recognises me and waves and I am genuinely happy to see her and slightly saddened I wasn’t a little earlier and able to bump into her in the store.

There's no glow or gloss to the Hythe Tesco. I used to come here a lot back in the day, often during lunchtimes at Disney, often with B (Bella) and often with Chris. When Chris and I ran/drove around Colchester guerrilla (gorilla) style recording my Big Brother audition tape (in 2002) part of it was recorded here where I was filmed dueting with a singing S Club 7 action figure/doll. Thankfully no footage of this event has been recovered and put on Youtube. To date.

There is no extravagance to groceries this week, pickings are distinctly slim. However as I head towards the cereal aisle I find myself walking in tandem with a lady that feels just a little bit more than coincidence, especially when we bypass the same aisles. She is OK but still I feel intimidated. From a distance I notice no ring but I still shy away. Why make a fool of myself so early in the day. Later when I return home the exact words in my horoscope in The Sun are “you meet in the supermarket.” Hindsight is 20/20.

When I get back to Bohemian Grove Yo Gabba Gabba is on Channel Four and I am still freaked out by the Anglofication of the show. Way to turn something weird and fun into something just weird. This is the worst dubbing since all those Bruce Lee and kung fun movies back in the day. Absolutely no element of the England/English experience will ever be as brightly coloured as this.

As I flip open this week’s copy of the NME there is a large, fawning review of the new Gringo Records release which only serves to bum me out further. This however is the record I managed to download via a Mediafire file the other day so indications are that sales are hardly going to be swift on this sucker. The review however says the record has been released on Southern – has something happened recently? I remember back in the day attempting to get in with the Southern crowd and after an initial meeting was misconstrued thinks eventually fizzled out as the distributor SRD only managed to shift about 32 copies of the hyped Reynolds record in the first month and the reality of our lack of professionalism hit home. Still it was Southern who were supposed to be blamed for messing about and changing their minds according (wrongly) to the other half.

Today is the definition of drab. The skies are horribly grey and now the drizzle has begun.

As per usual I listen to Jonathan Ross on Radio 2 but it hardly spurs me into action, especially when towards the end of the show Kasabian appear on the show and in conversation you could never expect to meet more dull and boring individuals it would seem. You get the impression that they are wary of Jonathan Ross, half attempting to be aloof and cool to maintain their “cred” but also half afraid to have him take the piss out of them too much, which he just does anyway. Suddenly previous guest Honor Blackman sounds like Stephen Hawking in intellect compared to them. The thing is they’re all part of the same machine, shills at the top of the game through self promotion rather than pure/genuine talent. Please please say something interesting for once in your useless fucking lives. They’re not even flowerpunks in the process.

Eventually I head out just before 2PM. As I reach my parents’ place at Balkerne Heights at the top of the hill a bunch of annoying kids try it on and step out in front of me (in my car) and take their time moving. As I sound my horn they shout at me. Maybe I should have stuck with my gut instinct to plough into/through them instead. As they continue shouting I sound my horn again and they shout some more. It’s a neverending circle.

Once parked up I head into town to bank some money with the vague notion/concept of actually having some savings. Not in this day and age.

Colchester today is busy and packed. It is also a depressing sight as poor Dawn Of The Dead types buy shit they barely want that they do not need. This is where people die, dragging their families through this zoo against their wishes.

Back at the olds’ I borrow £2 from dad for the car park at the train station. He gives me a £2 coin. Now I know the machines there are old and probably do not accept these coins but I take it all the same. Inevitably when I park up I fluke a good spot only to fuck up with the money. There is a phone number you can apparently text to pay for your spot but these instructions are clear as mud. While I fuck about with this thankfully two guys come along and unlike me they are not pricks and they sort me out for some real change.

I end up boarding the 2.49PM train which is a weird orange train akin to the kind you find at 9PM on a Friday night heading to Lowestoft. This could be iffy.

Today the soundtrack to my journey is “Get In The Van” by Henry Rollins. I haven’t listened to this in years and it is weird hearing it now with a more mature set of ears and mentality. It holds up but I no longer see it for what it once was.

With no real solid plan on the table for today I decide to head to Trafalgar Square to check out the fourth plinth and what is going on with One And Other. As I emerge from Charing Cross I manage to fall up the steps and subtly chip the corner of the screen of my iPhone. This is not going to last forever.

With the rain and wind pummelling down this appears to be both the worst time possible to be on the plinth and the worst time possible to be watching somebody on the plinth. It really is not much of an act or statement to be a person sheltering yourself from the elements in front of everybody trying not to get blown away.

Quickly I get in touch with Pauly who responds by telling me that he is already in Camden in The Enterprise pub just opposite the Roundhouse. As fast as my legs will carry me I head up there immediately.

When I arrive at Chalk Farm Pauly has prime seats and is joined by Miranda and Joe. Everyone appear to have a head start on me and are already jolly. Much amusement comes from the source that Miranda has a book called “Rape” coming out apparently.

As fresh meat people are happy to buy me a drink as it has been a long time since we have seen each other. Still slightly wringing wet I allow the others to run with the ball as I hang back hoping not to make a fool of myself.

When the next round is called for I head to the bar with Miranda to ask her about her book that is coming out. I’m sorry to admit that this is an area and subject that interests me because it concerns me so much. I have spent my entire life having it drummed into me that the worst possible thing a person can be called is a “rapist”. As I begin asking about her book and testing one of my theories that it may come about from a person being immature in mentality suddenly I find myself getting a lecture in the process. I guess conversation was supposed to be kept light today.

As we resume our conversation seated at our table suddenly the tables get turned on me as she begins quizzing me about things and getting quite explicit when telling me how my Facebook statuses are coming over as misogynist. I tell her that this is just my humour and it is in someway designed to make people think that, rightly or wrongly too often when pissed off I say things in jest to piss easily offended people off. Never should such things be taken so literally even if they appear to be misogynistic at face value and suddenly somehow all focus of this conversation has turned on me. Immediately I clock how I am sat with my arms crossed all defensive and I point this out in an effort to laugh things off. Going for the jugular Miranda then asks me if I care about how people perceive me and I respond by telling her that their reactions say more about them than me when really the case is that wrongly I really do care what people think about me. She however is relentless in her questioning but likewise I am like a dog with a bone and desperate to prove my point. When however she hits me with the question “do you think men and women are equal?” it is such a horribly loaded question that I can’t win with my answer. Of course I don’t respond by taking the simple route and saying “yes”, that would be too easy. Instead I harp on how about people aren’t equal in general regardless of their sex but unfortunately I do not express this succinctly and only dig myself a deeper hole.

At this Pauly begins to cut in and once more the issue of my Facebook statuses gets raised. Thankfully Pauly expresses that he finds the majority of them funny. With this Miranda tells me that this is not the time to be having this conversation because we are both drunk, except I am not drunk. This girl is a fucking nutcase.

Thankfully a few more people turn up and the tone returns to be light again although I come away feeling scolded and treated unfairly, undermined and a worse person for my attempts to explain how and why I do things. Its not worth it the long run.

Still reeling from my apparent scolding we head over to the Roundhouse where worryingly we still need to collect our tickets for tonight’s 100th episode of ANSWER ME THIS! being recorded as part of the iTunes festival. Tonight I have given my plus one to Eleanor but we don’t have either of them as of yet. As we pass a long line of teenage hopefuls hoping for returns and to blag their way in on La Roux later tonight after a bit of herding around the pick up point we snag our tickets.

We tickets in hand we head into the Hub where the recording is being done and immediately we are faced with Josie (Long) and Matthew (Crosby) handing out goodie bags to all comers, guest stars a-go-go.

For anyone that has never listened to ANSWER ME THIS! it is easily one of the funniest podcasts on the interweb. With near weekly regularity they churn out 30 minutes of pithy fun as listeners send in their questions and Helen And Olly (ably assisted by Martin the soundman of Sound Of The Ladies fame) answer the questions in jackpot fashion giving edutaining answers in the most humorous of fashions. And it is so much more.

Taking our seats and with a buzz in the air we soon spot Racton on stage ready to assist Martin on the stings and musical accompaniment and then the stars of the show coming running out in special silver 100th episode capes to rapturous applause.

Today feels like yet another victory for the people around me. After much persistence and hard work my friends (and those attached) are no enjoying smatterings of success and this live recording of the one of the finest podcasts in the land is an amazing piece of recognition for such a lo-fi show.

The show today in a live setting takes on something of a slightly different format. First the audience gets to sing along to the extended version of the theme song before asking the questions of the day as Crosby roams the audience with a microphone as special “question correspondent.”

In a live setting ANSWER ME THIS! proves a totally exciting experience as onstage Helen And Olly look thoroughly comfortable and at home. Every question, they fucking nail it to the wall.

With this being the 100th episode another landmark gets reached as they answer their 1000th question which unfortunately gets asked by me. I have to concede that my question is fucking rubbish, something about 101 Dalmations as I endeavoured to crowbar a 100 theme into a potential question. So for the first time in my life, trembling, I get to handle a microphone which to me feels like handling a gigantic electronic cock. It is heavy and exciting and perhaps because of this and the quality of the question (and my hard day in general) I embarrass myself when I stutter my way through the question. For asking the 1000th question I get awarded a big blue hippo that I later christen “Wundred” when also stressing about riding the train home to Essex with a bright blue stuffed toy under my arm. Completely turning the event into being about me I glaze over as Helen And Olly deliver the answer and have no idea what their response was.

Aside from the questions Josie Long et al act out scenes from the origins of ANSWER ME THIS! and later the show closes with a pretty accurate enactment of what the show may look and sound like in the future. Basically all involved wearing tin foil hats and Kanye West sunglasses.

The show ends with a bang and everyone comes away excited and buzzing from the resounding success. As we exit I bump into the girl with a moustache from our chalet at ATP. He forgets my name and I forget hers only I do it in a less ruder fashion. We all reconvene on the balcony of the Roundhouse as DAN BLACK plays on stage in the background while we all queue to mob Helen, Olly and Martin. Some of us are more drunk than others and most people tend to be either congratulating me on winning the blue hippo or just giving me strange looks as being an overweight 32 year old walking around with a stuffed toy under my arm is tending to make me look a bit special. Camp and special.

We wind up talking to some young American dude from iTunes Europe involved in the organisation of the festival. This guy is one of the guys that chooses which podcasts are the ones that get featured and promoted on iTunes. He is a big cheese in a little boy’s body. Impressive.

Eventually LA ROUX takes to the stage and we go watch her from a distance. Her (their) set is all about bright neon lights and pulling strange eighties moves. The music is hugely bubbling and somewhat confusing and frustrating. Where did this little piglet come from? A year ago she (they) wasn’t even on the radar and now she is deserving of a huge stage and light set such as this? No! This is a music act that has not paid its dues, instead its plough through the industry off the back of a gimmick as subtle as a sledgehammer. This is the kind of drivel that is the bread and butter clients that maintained my old job at Baker Street. Watching LA ROUX at the Roundhouse kind of represents my sell out = completion.

Gripes aside the lightshow, the lightshow is great to the point that I struggle to see the little Bowie copyist up against it. Slowly I stop being grumpy and inbetween conversation I begin to enjoy the musical distraction of the evening. Eventually a song I recognise comes along in the form of “In For The Kill” but just what it is that LA ROUX is able to kill in the song is another question. Still, the lights.

The set ends predictably with “Bulletproof” and it is the better of the two singles LA ROUX has put out that has seemingly earned the act a headline slot at the Roundhouse all fucking ready.

Forget LA ROUX though today we came to Camden to see ANSWER ME THIS! and as the salutations for the evening are made (and by now I have a bag to hide Wundred within) this is easily the best of all possible worlds.

Buzzing I tear home on the train back to Essex and an hour and a half later I am back in Colchester walking the streets with a blue stuffed toy in a bag under my arm. This could well be my final entry.

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