Monday, 30 November 2009

Monday 30 November 2009

Dream: my local population has been wiped out and in Douglas CouplandGirl In A Coma” style only a handful of us remain.  Of the remaining people we splinter off into two groups of six people each made up of me and a group of ladies in my life against a group populated by the bullies from school who I vividly recognise.  Our group moves to get away from them but they want to stop us and as we set up opposing camps there is a sense of them watching us, creeping up on us ready to pounce.  Then a number of people return including dad but not mum.  Some kind of rough alternative normality returns as a few shops get re-opened with heavy security.  Amongst the security in a large makeshift store inside an HMV is Moriarty from Baker Street.  It seems the original group of bullies are now running things.  More than ever we in our group are determined to get away, the suggestion of which is to hit seaside towns.  Dad is coming along with us also.  As we prepare to leave the bullies once more endeavour to scupper us.

I wake up just before 5AM laying the wrong way round on my bed.  As I turn around and resume normal sleep before I know it the time is 6AM and time to get up even though I am still tired.

My throat feels like a wasteland directly connected to my heart today.  I think I may have caught my winter cold.

When I get into my car the first thing I hear are the sickening strains of Vernon Kay on Radio One filling in on Chris Moyles’ morning show.  Talk about replace one sycophant with another.  Can’t someone release the dogs on him?

Today I ride into work listening to the rest of the post-apocalypse movies episode of Tank Riot podcast.  Having listened to the first half yesterday this show could well be responsible for the dream I had earlier.

As we arrive at Liverpool Street I perform my good deed for the day by getting in the way as a guide dog appears to be leading his blind owner off the platform.  Does he (the dog) really hate his job that much?  Quite frankly I am a hero.  Where’s my statue?

Later by the time I am emerging at St Johns Wood it is into a rainy, shit day that sees me getting drenched on the short walk to the restaurant.

Things pick up slightly though when the Filipino brings in mince pies for us all.  I guess this means that Christmas has now arrived.

Flipping on my PC I expect an email or two from the consultant but to my surprise there is nothing.  As a result thankfully without the hindrance or his misdirection I am able to plough through another good day of work.

Things are strange this month, I am not feeling any real pressure to supply accounts at any given time and as a result I am not getting any feedback or queries as a result.  Because of this I am finding I am able to do more work to the balance than I am usually able to but I still can’t help but think the shit is going to hit the fan at some point.

Regardless for lunch I have penne with The Girl forgets to describe as penne with chicken and as a result it arrives as just pasta and sauce.  This is the most pathetic dish I have ever been served at this place but I don’t complain too much, just make repeated remarks about it.  In the end I pour some tomato sauce on top of it to liven it up.  Halfway through the angry boss pops his head into the office probably having heard my complaints.  He inspects (literally) all our dishes and when I describe mine as “vegetarian penne” it almost gets a laugh.  Perhaps this was a higher power pointing out to me how I need to stop having heavy carb penne.  Later on in the afternoon he brings in pink glazed donuts for us, the kind that Homer Simpson eats.

Today I set up my latest website which is the Facebook Cull, my entry into the 100 Days To Make Me A Better Person event run by the London Word Festival with Josie Long at the helm.  When I decided that this would be my contribution immediately it occurred to me that it came with a negative mean spirited feel in comparison to everyone else’s endeavours.  Still I need to clip from my Facebook friend list because there are so many people on there that are now irrelevant to me who actually resemble bad memories for me.  This should be an interesting exercise.

With it being mum’s birthday tomorrow after work tonight I head straight to Bond Street in search of some presents for her.  I already have a few gifts I bought on the internet but realistically its not enough.

My first stop this evening is Selfridges where I go in search of a tin of eggnog their food hall apparently sells at Christmas.  Unsurprisingly I don’t find any but thankfully I do manage to find a little cake in a snowman bag that I think mum might like (even if the overpriced tat comes in at nearly £9.99).  I then also find a strange American jar of marshmallow called Fluff which I figure makes for a fun gift/present.

Suddenly in the groove of shopping I next hit paydirt by finding a weird Robin redbreast money box ornament in John Lewis which resembles just the kind of tat she likes.  Good work.  My shopping streak then continues as I decide to buy her A Christmas Story on DVD which is without doubt in my mind the best Christmas movie there is.

Inevitably I wind up record shopping arriving at a near empty Sister Ray with the pouring rain hurtling from above.  Truly there is nothing I can find that I want in this shop which is depressing to consider how I would once want to buy more than I could afford in the place.  I swiftly exit the shop.

As ever I cut through deepest darkest Soho to get to Fopp as the hyper sexualised aura of clipjoints and gay themed shops take hold.  Arriving at Fopp I experience a bit more success with my gift hunting as the Christmas gift theme continues as I buy a Stevie Wonder Christmas album and the Phil Spector Christmas album, which I half suspect I bought her as a gift a few years ago.  By way of self reward I also by myself some tat that I think I want but do not need.

Once done at Fopp I head up Charing Cross Road popping into Borders which is now well into the process of administration as the shelves begin to depressingly clear as the percentage reductions that the store is offering on books just reeks of desperation and how the end is nigh.  I spot both new Hunter S Thompson books and with significant reductions in mind I am almost tempted to buy them before I realise that considering the girth of the tomes I am unlikely to ever find the time to read them.  Briefly I toy with the idea of heading upstairs to see if Starbucks is open to get a coffee but when I notice Borders have switched their escalator off (seemingly in a cost cutting exercise) I just cannot be bothered to walk up the stairs.

I really hope the Charing Cross Road Borders survives.  As with the dearly departed Oxford Street branch this is a store full of memories for me as it always appeared to offer more than the average Waterstones.

By the time I get to Tottenham Court Road it is past 8PM and suddenly I feel desperate to get home because I am wet and knackered.  Thankfully I get to Liverpool Street in time to catch the 8.30PM Norwich train which serves me well.

Eventually I get home just before 10PM too tired to do anything.  In the end I just fall asleep watching Entourage.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Sunday 29 November 2009

It’s not good when the stories you write about experiences are better than the actual events themselves.

I wake up on a sofa just before 8AM.  I remember crashing on it but I struggle to recall just when that was.  This is Tulse Hill and South London, always home to a rude awakening.

In my phone the name of the lady I was talking to is typed in at 1.23AM earlier this morning.  The name is “Anna Turrell” and I can’t really remember what she looked like.

As I get up to go to the toilet I notice some slashes in/on the upholstery of the sofa I crashed out on.  Damn, I hope that wasn’t me.

I feel depressed today.  Last night didn’t quite turn out how I had positively envisaged it would.  The people I feared would blank me indeed did and the people who I worried would annoy me did so too.

Being first up I have the wait that lies ahead of me and with the time at just 8.20AM it could well be hours before there is any other sign of life.

In the bathroom I look at my reflection in the mirror.  It is bad.  Self loathing kicks in as a pudgy demeanour screams back at me in the glass.

With nothing better to do I begin clearing and cleaning up.  Perhaps it is with the intention to make noise and shake the house into life and action.  It works.

First up is the Australian girl in glasses that didn’t give me the time of day last night.  We share some stunted conversation and finally introduce ourselves.  As I begin bagging up bottles, cans and plastics in an eco friendly manner eventually others begin to rise and I let them take over the cleaning duties.

It is a strange feeling as so many people rise; so many people that I have nothing in common with and do not necessarily feel I should be associating with.  I know this sounds harsh but as a social event the party last night only appear to serve to hamper my wellbeing rather than help me flourish as an individual.  I could say I have felt this rejected all year but last night felt bad in a way that it has tasted in a while.

As we look out of the window over the view of the city there is a gorgeous rainbow flying over the landscape.  On another day these could be the greatest times.

Slowly the rest of the “dream team” emerge.  Racton briefly acknowledges how I had been snappy towards one of them last night and together we hope that this is not remembered come this morning.

The exit from the scene of the crime is fast moving as people soon pull their shit together and head off.  Perhaps this is what happens when you grow up, I can recall being part of a group that have lingered post party well into the afternoon in the past.

Our little band makes moves around 11AM after having been served up slice upon slice of toast.  This time people take notice of me as we head towards Tulse Hill train station with view to wheeling quickly and painlessly back into town and home.

Spirits feel low as we trudge through South London.  Myself I suddenly find I am in possession of a dulling headache and by the time we get to the train station itself the heavens have opened which resembles our group morale as the weather turns to shit.

Eventually a train to Farringdon that stops at St Pancras turns up which we all board in a deflated manner.  Later as the train grounds to a halt at Elephant And Castle we look over at the hostile architecture of one of the meanest Central London environments that today feels fittingly coupled with the raining pissing down on it.  As the train sits stationary we begin to wonder if it will ever start moving again, if the drive has just given up on life in face of what surrounds him.

In the end though the train does start up again and soon Chris is departing at St Pancras.  I wish him well as he really has not appeared to be very happy this weekend.

With Tom’s train not being until 3PM Mark originally suggests that we head to Bethnal Green for a great Sunday roast that he apparently knows of.  However when the train eventually gets to Farringdon, rather than hopping a tube to the Central Line it is decided that we are getting off/out here and trying our luck in the city.  For me this is not the best of days to be trawling around exploring London as the rain drizzles down from above.  With these being my first time wearing my new BAPE shoes I half suspect that this is some karmic intentional tool to ruin my new wheels.

We wind up walking towards the Smithfield Market as Mark tries to steer us towards St Pauls.  Eventually we wind up in an Australian café called Kipferl.  Quite frankly by this stage I am hanging and when I order a hot chocolate it is with the hope that the sugar rush will rejuvenate and reengage me.  Half ill half bored I begin to glaze over as the other two take control of conversation happy to talk tosh.

In many ways this is a nice peaceful way to spend a Sunday.  Outside despite the rain London looks nice and inside here the room is quaint and relaxing, genuinely coming with an air of Austria, of being European.  With a seating capacity look like being around sixteen I can’t help but wonder how this place survives.

Elsewhere as I listen on I begin to wonder at which point does observation begin to represent whine.  To be honest I could live without these two at this time.

I think I am still pissed off about last night in order to deal with them.  When a similar sort of party took place a couple of years ago the crowd felt pure, people were fresh and new but now here I am stuck back with these types as my streams cross towards these guys but their streams do not cross back.  For this fact I can’t help but feel somewhat resentful.  I kind of see/feel why Chris was subdued now.

Almost an hour later we leave the coffee shop.  By this point there is a brief break from the rain but rather than actually do anything Mark says he feels in the mood for a walk.  Common sense is not a winner on this day.

At this point my head has not improved, if anything it now feels worse.  As we walk towards Holborn nearing Chancery Lane I see my opportunity to ditch the others and head home.  I make gestures towards Tom to see him at Christmas and ask Mark to let me know about the spare MBV ATP ticket that there suddenly appears to be.

With the trains out today this means I have to haul myself across London across the Central Line over to Newbury Park where a hell coach is waiting to drag me to Romford or Shenfield or Ingatestone or somewhere.

My journey to Newbury Park is soundtracked by the Disney episode of Tank Riot podcast.  At this time I would love to be anywhere but here watching cartoons.  Eventually I get to Newbury Park for 2PM where I board a busy coach heading to Ingatestone I believe although the person that directed me to the bus did not fill me with confidence in his knowledge of the replacement bus service.

As I ride the coach my head begins to pound more than ever and at points I even begin to believe I am about to be sick on someone.  Slowly we get onto the A12 and gradually pass through Dagenham and past Moby Dick eventually winding up on proper motorway while all the time I worry/fear that this might be a bus just going to Romford.  Dark times.

Eventually the bus arrives at Ingatestone and I catch a train from there at 2.55PM.  This is one of the most welcome trains I have ever boarded.

I get back to Colchester at 3.30PM hungry and with my head still pounding.  With time I pop into Asda to get this week’s copy of The Observer because it is Observer Music Monthly week.  I’ll miss this when the newspaper goes under.

Around 4PM I call round at my parents’ place.  Thankfully mum has made me Sunday dinner, albeit an hour ago.  It doesn’t matter that its cold it tastes so great under these circumstances.

I watch the second half of Arsenal v Chelsea play out with Chelsea already leading 2-0.  Late on Drogba adds a third as Arsenal just look like a shadow of the team they once were.  How has this been allowed to happen?

On the computer front it would appear that dad has temporarily managed to get it back online but obviously as soon as I touch the thing it breaks.  As ever I get involved in trying to repair the thing but when AOL asks for the credit card details of the bill payer dad proves seemingly incapable of providing this information without getting into a huff and we up having a shouting match.  Fucked off and tired I head home soon after this, knackered and uninterested.

Not long after returning home Nina sends me a text message to see when I am going out.  Oh shit, I agreed to go to the pub quiz tonight.  After watching Harry Hill and an episode of Entourage I head over to the Hogshead for the pub quiz.

Realistically I am too tired to go out tonight and as a result unfortunately it turns out to be something of a flat evening.  As the other two (Nina and Sandy) sink two bottles of wine between them we fuck up the quiz by getting only 11 and a half (and that is with cheating as a table opposite us gives us a couple of answers).

At the end of proceedings I give everyone a lift home and as I drop Nina off at Shrub End we acknowledge that it was a crap night.  Oh well.

Back home I watch more episodes of Entourage before passing out.

That was a tough weekend.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Saturday 28 November 2009

Dream: I am still at the gig DJing.  Now there are more familiar faces there including my old Gringo Records cohort who I continue to avoid like the plague and who still reduces me to misery despite my many apparent feats.  At the end of proceedings I walk a Japanese girl down the hill towards the traffic lights accompanying her home.  As we walk along she hooks her arm in my arm.  When we reach the traffic lights I attempt to kiss her but she pulls back and tells me that I am misunderstanding proceedings.  The rejection isn’t the end of the work and for once I take it well.  Go figure.

I wake up just after 8AM today.  I still have my headache and as a result I fear pain will now ensue and stagnate my day.

Moving slowly I do the Asda thing around 9AM and in the process I spot The Crab doing his weekly jaunt also.  I have no heart or interest for this shit today.

Back home I casually listen to this week’s Danny Baker show while trying to pull myself together for the day ahead.  I endeavour to get a bit of writing done but I doesn’t go anywhere.

With view to socialising on a grand scale today and this evening I actually manage to get into the bath today all in an effort to polish this turd that is Jason.

Strangely even though we are working to a strict train time of 1.03PM nobody is really getting in touch this morning with arrangements so with the day hurtling towards 12.30PM I send out a few feelers.

As I leave the flat the first thing I see is a washing basket sat on our landing filled with ladies underwear.  That’s not a bad start to the day.  I bump into my new neighbour moving into the flat and she’s friendly once more.

In the end I wind up giving Mark a lift to the station while the others hitch a lift with Chris’ dad.  As I drive into the car park at a clock racing pace I cannot help but get pissed off when the car in front decides to pull over to make a phonecall without acknowledging I am stuck behind him.  Some people are so pathetic sometimes.

Mark and I get to the station in very good time for the 1.03PM train which Chris has tickets for only, which is also a train I never knew existed.

With time to spare we get tickets before heading to platform 3 to wait for the others to turn up.  Eventually the train comes and goes and there is no sign of Tom or Chris in the process.  Briefly Mark toys with the idea of catching this train and letting them catch up but realistically to split up the group at this point can only serve to cause painful complications for later on.  We then spot the other two waiting at the wrong platform.  Why is this not surprising?

In the end we wind up catching the 1.17PM train.  With Tom and Chris lugging around their guitars on their back while being wrapped up for winter I make comment that they look like the movie Once.  Tom remarks how we more resemble The Dream Team.  The fucker just had to drag us into the insult.

Today I am wearing my Camo Bapes with command the expected smart comments from the others including “wow, you’re wearing white trainers as an adult.”  Harsh.

The train journey up to London is fun but harsh.  It would appear that I am feeling excited and a buzz towards proceedings although I guess the coffee will have assisted in lending me some pep.

At one point things turn a bit tetchy as Tom begins asking me some accounting advice only for Mark, fresh from a meeting with an accountant yesterday, decides to hijack the conversation and despite my qualification and thirteen years plus experience he appears to have more knowledge on the subject than me.  I guess this was the beginning of the end.

With Mark exiting at Stratford to go to Leytonstone, when the remainder of us get to Liverpool Street we head to Brick Lane, past Spitalfields to meet up with some girl who I spotted at Liverpool Street while the other two were attempting to work out a ticket machine.

As we pass Spitalfields there is a weird flat back truck with a new dancing game being demonstrated on it with fluorescently dressed girls egging people on.  They sure egg me on.

Eventually we meet up with Tom’s friend who I had indeed pointed out at Liverpool Street to zero response, although even after I say this they still do not believe me.  After a bit of flakiness and a couple of people joining us at Brick Lane we end up in a place called Patisserie Valerie where it turns out one of the people joining us is Henry from Lovvers, who are a band I actually really like.  Now eight strong we all sit at a long table buying overpriced coffee in a modern setting.  When the waiter comes along to take our orders he notices my iPhone and makes immediate comment about the broken screen.  As I’ve said countless times already nothing more than this creates such personal interest in me.

Quickly Mark rejoins us just as Tom’s friend splits in what seems to be something of brief and pointless meet up.  Realistically not all our pennies stretch to a second cup or cake so soon we begin making moves from this place, which to be honest is slightly out of character for our group.  If only these people weren’t too proud to buy Starbucks.

As the other people (including the Lovvers dude) head off back to their own lives back in our dream team group we head along Commercial Street to the Commercial Tavern just as the lights come down on our Saturday night.  I have to admit I’m not such a fan of this place with its grotty faux dive feel that translates as actual grotty but at least we get a decent seat.  Unfortunately conversation comes couple with my headache continuing to pound and my desire not to be here at this time.  I shy away from a second drink as the ill affects of the first continue to slow me down.

Finishing off here we head back towards Liverpool Street with view to getting a tube to central London where Chris wants to meet up with Sofie and her mum.  When we get to Liverpool Street suddenly some strange middle class lady offers us free tickets to the Motorhead gig tonight.  Really, do we look like Motorhead fans?  Graciously we decline, suspicious of the funny looking lady and just what the catch to the offer is.  More than likely they were just some kind of rubbish corporate comps.  Not long after turning them down Tom comments “and The Damned were supporting.”

Saturday night on a crowded Central Line train just is not where I want to be at this time.  As we squeeze onto a squashed platform, staggering past the rapping busker, I wind up stood in a carriage on my own, away from our dream team whose morale suddenly appears to be rapidly on the wane.

Eventually we get off at Tottenham Court Road at which time Chris solidifies plans to meet up with Sofie etc at for 7PM at Leicester Square.  By this point however I just want to head to Tulse Hill and indulge in fresh blood for friendship.

At Oxford Street we head North up to the Samuel Smith’s pub on Charlotte Street.  With no seats spare on the social level we wind up heading down into the dank dungeon basement of the establishment which appears full of German tourists on the arse end of a London shopping spree.  Not long after we arrive they filter out, occasionally giving us smiles as they establish and express their own retail orgasms.  The smiles are wrong, these women are old enough to be our mothers.  Later as Chris falls asleep and Tom turns conversation in a serious direction bemoaning the latter life decisions of Christopher Reeve what appears to be So Solid Crew filters into the pub and turns the volume up uncomfortably.

Soon we are leaving heading off to our meet up at Leicester Square.  Almost immediately I begin to question (and moan) about just how sensible it is to be meeting up with people at one of London’s busiest destinations on a Saturday evening.  Sometimes common sense does not prevail.

Somehow as we near the station we wind up on opposite sides of the road as Tom and I change to the more quiet side of Charing Cross Road as Mark and Chris seem happen to continue combating the hoards of tourists in the rain.  Then I realise that I am with tourists myself.  They really should know better but just don’t.  This is tourist Armageddon.

Finally we meet up with Sofie, her mum and her friend Katy.  I barely recognise Sofie’s mum and she certainly doesn’t act as if she remembers me.  As we stand in the rain gawping at our existences the smart suggestion goes on heading to a restaurant for a Chinese meal.  As ever Mark suggests Special 1979, which I tend to be indifferent about, it’s a solid restaurant but not blinding.  Unsurprisingly when we arrive it is rammed and packed but happy to accommodate us they lead us up three sets of stairs to the third floor, a room for special people it would appear.  I suspect this may have been a bedroom or two at one point.

The seven of us squeeze around a table that realistically would barely be fit for four.  Again my friend takes over ordering, casually telling people what they should have and insinuating that we chuck all our food in the middle in some kind of communal gesture and free for all.  Thankfully it is not only me for whom this idea does not go down well.  Then he says to me he has ordered enough duck for two, insinuating that I should share his.  I fucking hate duck, its greasy and putrid and one of those posturing dishes.  At this point I get a bit snarly and snappy pointing out that I am having lemon chicken and I ain’t sharing it with anybody.

Ultimately it’s not the best meal I have ever indulged in.  I spend the majority of it giving Tom looks as our friend says one annoying thing after another.  By this point Chris appears to have clammed up completely, seemingly shutting down away from us.  With this gesture I truly get the impression that we weren’t supposed to be tagging along to this part of the evening.

Eventually we get done with the meal just after 9PM.  By now I think Sofie’s mum has just about remembered me as we exchange a few pleasant quips.  When the bill arrives I duke £20 into the pot because I don’t have any change even though my lemon chicken and beer came nowhere near to costing this.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t mind this had I enjoyed the meal.

With the rain still coming down we part ways at Charing Cross Road with Sofie, her mum and Katy before boarding a tube at Leicester Square and heading down to Brixton to get a bus.  This is a bone of contention with me as we have words about the route to the party.  Without doubt I know that the best route to the party from here is to get the overground to Tulse Hill from London Bridge and being the only member of our party to have actually been to the house before you would think/expect that I know best.  How naïve.  Nope, I get railroaded as it is insisted that we do the tube thing to Brixton and then a bus to Tulse Hill.  This is not a good start to any party.

We finally get down to Brixton, which is the end of the line.  Emerging at the station the rain is still pouring down and the queues at the bus stops are vast.  When a bus finally arrives a small mob descends on it like ants with Oyster Cards.  We don’t stand a fucking chance of boarding up against these natives.  Mark however makes sure he gets on before realising that the rest of us have not been so bolshy and swiftly he makes the driver open the door for him to get off.  That’s not going to make anybody popular.

Soon another bus comes along and this time we board as a group without necessarily knowing where or when to get off.  Had we got the train as I suggested I would have known exactly where we had to go.  On the bus Chris now stands on his own away from us, away from the group, his group.  As a group I now sense that we are splintering, a feeling it is just not me sensing.

Eventually we get to Tulse Hill where we are apparently supposed to be getting off at the fire station.  I see no fire station.  I know no fire station here.  Luckily Tulse Hill isn’t the biggest of places and soon I spot the hallowed train station and I know where we are.

Just before attempting/attacking the hill we buy beers from a corner shop (me: Red Stripe) with view to arriving at the party with goodies to compensate for our late (rude) arrival.  As we arrive at his place the time is now 10PM and we are drunk.  These are bad manners.

Happily upon arrival at the party I am soon pounced on by people (friends) by the doorway meaning for the first few minutes I barely step into the party.  It is quite a relief when smiley faces react happy to see me and I am able to drop the people I feel I have been stuck/lumbered with all day (in the best possible of manners).

Soon I find myself being complimented on my top by a pretty American (the wife of a friend) and I am ashamed to admit that it is just a £6 job from Asda George.  Really it is the BAPE shoes I want the people to be commenting and commending at this time, to which I go to great lengths to highlight and point out.

Drunk I find myself slipping into a lengthy conversation/discussion about Jeremy Piven and how Ari Gold is currently something of a hero of mine.  I think I have found my scene as the statements get responded to in the affirmative, albeit in drunken fashion.

I spot Kerry-Jo from the weird Facebook altercation back in July and I truly would like to make amends with her, to explain myself and put right the back opinion/impression she obviously harbours towards/of me.  Unfortunately she does not appear to be acknowledging me.

From here as a result of a tough and tense day I find myself becoming mouthy and snappy towards my cohorts.  At one stage I find myself getting into a weird argument with my friends over the person I used to do Gringo Records with, getting into something strange whereby Mark makes comments about the situation that he is nowhere near qualified enough to be make observations about.

The party later takes another dip due to our arrival as Tom pisses off Racton attempting to tamper with his partylist, trying to get Kraftwerk on the decks and apparently interfering with “Sexxlaws” by Beck which is apparently the only request from Sam.

Going forward the rest of the party feels like something of a haze, like me playing a kind of cat and mouse game with my existing friends as I feverishly try to make new friends.

The low point occurs when I finally cross paths with Kerry-Jo as I bump into exiting the toilet and I enter it.  She just proves fucking rude to me as I ask her how she is and she responds in kind before struggling with her snap I repeat my apparent question of concern and she cuts me dead by going “is this going anywhere?”  Maybe it’s the acne, maybe she’s on the blob.  Thankfully Racton witnesses the exchange and confirms that I am not just being paranoid.  Cold as ice.

Later it appears that I am truly out of favour with this part of the crowd as another mutual friend appears to blank me as she leaves.  To overcompensate I proceed to more than once bid “hello” to Miranda a number of times bearing in mind our last little encounter which was at the Answer Me This 100th episode in the summer.  All in all this is a sure-fire of remorse on my part and guilt in my mind when it may not actually be necessary.  More than likely I am just being played by people who don’t give a fuck about me in any capacity.  What a joke.

All in all I fucking hate how all this leaves me reeling.

Things improve when I eventually find myself talking to a lady in the doorway about finance, Suffolk and blogging.  To my surprise she does immediately glaze over and as Tom leaves me to chat with her our nice nice conversation carries into something of more substance.  Typically though she was by the door for a reason as soon the realisation hits that she is leaving.  Oh well, fail.

From here the party begins to noticeably slow/wind down.  Subtly things begin to get messy as Tom begins to fall asleep while leaning on the arm of a chair just short of Blair Witching while elsewhere Chris, seemingly depressed by proceedings, discovers a banjo from somewhere and begins plucking.

Out of nowhere there is suddenly a loud Australian girl and her friend who are serving as some kind of centre of attention.  As I take a seat on a sofa and begin to pass out myself the night pretty much ends with Tom and Pauly snapping at each other.

Where was “indie disco”?

Friday, 27 November 2009

Friday 27 November 2009

Dream: I meet an exciting and pretty Japanese lady.  Even though she gives me shit she likes me, this is flirting.  As she shivers I lend her some of my clothes to wear and she looks hot dressed in my oversized clothes, so sweet.  This feels like it has potential.

Unfortunately I then wake up.

Inevitably after last night I awaken with a headache this morning.  This really is not the type of day in which I want to be held back by a migraine, I have things I need to do.

I begin the day by watching repeats of Frasier and awaiting a phonecall from work.  The former is fun and the latter thankfully never comes.

As Will & Grace turns into Friends into The Big Bang Theory it suddenly becomes apparent that daytime Channel Four is so much more better than primetime Channel Four.  Go figure, the school holidays must be here.

Eventually I begin putting CDs together for tonight’s DJ Gram set.  As the discs come together slowly I feel genuinely panicked that I won’t have enough time to burn everything for tonight.

Gathering tracks turns into a pain in the arse as soon it occurs to me which songs I have left on my PC at work.  Generally though I am able to find everything I need online and quickly I grab them but unfortunately I am not able to find enough time to create any new DJ Gram originals, the closest I get is to rip a Kenny Powers self improvement tape from the sound track of his TV show.

My neighbour texts me early in the morning asking if he can borrow the stepladder I have knocking about in my flat.  I leave it out for him and when I hear him picking it up around 11AM I pop my head out and say hello.  According to him it sounds like all bodes well with/for the new person moving in.

Slowly the CDs begin to take shape and before long I am aiming to be done by 2PM so that I can get some hang out time in the afternoon.

Around 1.30PM there is a knock on the door and it is my neighbour asking me to witness and sign some documentation between him and the new tenant.  Dressed in the clothes I slept in and with major bedhead I get introduced to the blonde personal trainer that is moving into the flat next to me.  To say this is embarrassing is something of an understatement.  I try to play it cool but in this uniform it is impossible.  I don’t even bother to try and suck in my gut, concentrating more and trying to pat down my bed of hair.

Again I find myself in my neighbour’s flat and as ever I look at it in comparison to mine and I feel like weeping.  His is so much more adult and grownup than mine.  I guess this is what happens when these apartments aren’t filled with clutter, I remember now how big my own flat appeared to be when I viewed it just before buying it and how roomy it felt when I moved in before I filled it up with tat.

Slowly the forms get signed and I linger for a while in the hope of making a new friend.  My neighbour tells her that I am DJing tonight and she makes the comment of that had she known earlier she would have come along.  Please don’t lie to me.

Not long after this I burn a third CD and decide it is time to head out.  With me I take ten discs which equates to over ten hours to fill what will barely be two hours of space this evening.  I head straight over to Mark’s, getting a really crappy parking space and arriving at 3PM.

Eventually we wind up in Café Nero getting a coffee.  I do the honours as we take up a couple of prime seats and I manage to grab a glimpse of what late afternoon Colchester resembles these days.  With Stevo’s Six By Seven CD in hand I inform him that we are in Café Nero and that we should meet up.  First of course he has to get out Butt Road.  When he eventually turns up it is a very sober version of himself having just been to a baby’s funeral the previous day.  Unsurprisingly as a result of this he has decided not to come along tonight.

Shortly afterwards Sharpy turns up and Chris (Baldwin) also phones and suddenly an old school Colchester reunion is on the cards akin to the golden age of Gringo Records.  Not really feeling the need for anymore caffeine swiftly we head over to the Hole.  As we take our seats I truly cannot remember the last time I would have shown my face here on a Friday night despite in the early days of living in Colchester coming here every Friday was like some kind of crap religion.

Baldwin shortly turns but without Tom in tow.  We ask him where the other half of his band is and it sounds as if Tom is caught up in the midst of travel hell and the reality is that he will not be arriving at the venue until 8PM.  What about a soundcheck?

Sat around a comfy table with the pub quiet we hold court in a manner I haven’t been involved with for a long long time.  Will things ever be this way on a regular basis again?  I doubt it, this ship has certainly sailed.  Perhaps were I living and working in Colchester I might find and fall into another casual social group but as I’m not getting any younger with each year my social opportunities appear to be dwindling with it.

Soon Baldwin heads off for his soundcheck and Staff tells me to get to the Colchester Arts Centre for 7.30PM so with an hour in hand we look into food options.  We continue to try and talk Stevo into coming along but he’s just not interested.

In the end Mark, Sharpy and I wind up in the Noodle Bar on North Hill.  Along the way I bump into Swapna on North Hill who is off on her own jollies.  Sounds like she is off to South Korea soon.  It has been a long time since I have been here, I partly suspect the last time was with Mark post new year as he told me about a hellacious experience at the Koko that evening.  The food remains as I remember it and the service is quick which serves me well for getting over to the venue.

As instructed I head over to the Colchester Arts Centre for 7.30PM where JOE LALLY is soundchecking.  Stepping into the venue I think I see Chris but instead it is a member of SHITSOCK.  Embarrassingly I actually go right up to the guy before I realise that it isn’t Chris.  Onstage JOE LALLY sounds amazing and quickly I am reminded of just what a talented guy he is and how his solo record easily tops anything else any Fugazi members have done post hiatus.

With time pushing towards 8PM and doors Chris the sound guy shows me the mixer for the CD decks.  Whoops, they have put out a proper set up for me.  I have no idea how any of this stuff works.  Thank god I’m not flying a plane tonight.

Soon the doors open and I get started.  The first song I play is “Hooch” by the Melvins as suddenly there is nothing on any of my CDs that I want to play.  Things then fail to improve as I accidentally play “Bam Thwok” by the Pixies as I get the discs and drives mixed up.  Nobody notices though, nobody cares.  At this point one of the drives jams and suddenly I am unable to get my second disc out.  Suddenly it begins to look as if it will be a one record evening akin to the disco on Father Ted that only played “Ghost Town” by The Specials.  Luckily Chris the sound guy suavely points out that the button is “just a bit spongy.”  Despite this it still does not prevent me from randomly playing the next track on the disc in the drive which turns out to be “We Want Your Soul” by Adam Freeland, a song I do not believe has been heard anywhere for about five years now.  Unsurprisingly it sounds kind of naff now but at least this is the version with all the heavy Bill Hicks samples that appear to make the early crowd guffaw.

Slowly people begin to turn up and I get comfortable with the discs and the decks.  People begin to congregate around the DJ area (a desk) and I play my first request of the evening: “Eraserhead” by Bruce McCulloch.  Happily this song goes down like something of a little bomb as the chunky riffs combined fortuitously with the clear and weird lyrics.  It even prompts an old guy (an elder statesman of rock) in a Samhain shirt to ask me what it is.  He doesn’t look like a Kids In The Hall fan, more a Kids In The Hall character.

By this point it becomes apparent to me that I am neglecting my freshly burned discs in preference to keeping with the discs that I used to use five years ago.

Eventually SHITSOCK take to the stage and take their dynamic duo performance to the masses that have come out tonight.  Again they remind me of Ten Benson with their pretend redneck shtick and purposely goofy songs, which is not to say they are without charm.  Onstage they wear their trucker caps, sport checked shirts and have a drummer that sings like a lunatic all in time with scraping US lo-fi sounds that come direct from better times of/for music.

A band with the name SHITSOCK is never going to trouble the more professional sections of the music world but in a current climate where guitar bands are once again becoming slicker and more sickly they are a truly refreshing alternative gesture coming over as a force that is not necessarily best fucked or messed with.  Their victory this evening is a salute to drunken nights of being fucked up.  They’re wacky and people lap it up like kittens liking spunk.

From here I resume DJing with Steven Jesse Bernstein before launching into a hip hop flava with Doom and Dalek.  By now the night is filling up quite nicely and the radio DJ girl from Ipswich comes over to say “hello” commending me on playing hip hop enthusing that I just play whatever I want and not to care.  Whatever that means.

Just before YONOKIERO play I drop “Punks In The Beerlight” by Silver Jews which later I am told is a bit too obvious to be playing just before their set.  My bad.

Tonight YONOKIERO deliver a staunch set much appreciated by an audience.  The last time they would have appeared on this stage would have been the final Hirameka gig back in June 2004 and now five years later much as has changed.

With one person standing and one person sitting a more mature approach attaches itself to proceedings far removed from their noisy previous existence.  The new songs these days come with more focus placed on the songwriting, the lyrical content and a more explicit outpouring of emotion.

As a homecoming they receive the best of welcome as an exuding sense of appreciation pours out mutually and content.  In many ways both artist and audience have no matured in many ways and tonight is less a throwback to past times but more a gesture of growth and achievement.  Some people never lose it.

After the set people begin to congregate and reconvene around me so as requested I play “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats.  I doesn’t really fit into the scheme of things but why start getting sniffy now.  That said ever since the movie The Mexican and seeing James Gandolfini dance to it the song has scored major hip points with me.

Before JOE LALLY gets underway I manage to slip in Massive Hospitalisation, Country Teasers, the Male Nurse and Knuckel Drager before during “Depth Charge Ethel” by Grinderman we wheel out the Alan Partridge “Dan! Dan!” sample.

Soon JOE LALLY takes to the stage with an impressive standing.  This is third time that I have seen him now and the third band I have seen him play with.  Once again it lends the material a new element of change managing to keep things fresh and remaining exciting.

A couple of years ago when the first JOE LALLY solo album “There To Here” emerged it came as a surprise as the quality far exceeded expectations, easily eclipsing the efforts of Mackaye with The Evens.  With a calm almost delicate approach the smooth grind of the piece carried and lifted it to unique heights and proud plateaus.

Rather than being a solo project there is a real band feel to this outfit as every member is offered their opportunity to star as for a third time I hear songs that I recognise from the records mutated into exciting new versions.

As the set nears its climax it offers the opportunity for his drummer go indulge in some solo playing before the night ends with JOE LALLY stepping into the audience to deliver a truly solo (acapella) version of “Sons And Daughters”.  This it would appear is his way of getting up close to his audience and making a real connection.

People come away from the show impressed and excited.  When the lights come up I get encouraged to continue playing music as I end playing out the evening with a set of cool instrumentals evening closing with the Taxi theme by Bob James (which appears to get some appreciation from LALLY now onstage clearing his equipment).

With the room now almost I head over to JOE LALLY for a photograph and a quick conversation.  The guy is lovely, turning out to be really accommodating.  It helps that I know both his records inside out and have already seen him do solo shows a couple times already.  I ask him about working for NASA and how it impressed/surprised me.  I discover that he now lives in Italy which I guess is one of the reasons Fugazi have not got back together.  As the guy from the venue calls us both out to the back to get paid (PAID!) I almost drop a bollock by asking LALLY if he ever feels the urge to play any Fugazi songs but he responds “nah” before I think I just about save the day by saying ““Recap Modotti” is one of my favourite Fugazi songs” which he thanks me for.

I get paid £20.  This was unexpected.  Suddenly I am a professional DJ.  Things are good.

By now everyone has gone to the pub where we head to the Hogshead to catch up with them but as we approach Balkerne Hill everyone appears to be leaving and heading home already.

Regardless Mark and I grab a drink in the pub as some kind of gesture of celebration of the best reunion night of the Gringo Records era in Colchester for a very long time.

Not long after we arrive we bump into Staff who says I can DJ for the next Abandon Ship gig in the new year.  Eventually we head home ourselves as the night approaches midnight.

A total victory.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Thursday 26 November 2009

Thanksgiving Day.  Whatever that is.

I wake up dizzy laying in the wrong manner and direction on my bed.  By the time I am boarding the 6.59AM train I am still half asleep.

Today the man with the dog is back on the train.  It’s his guidedog.

At Witham a middle aged affluent couple decides to sit next to me.  They both pull out laptops and begin clicking away.  How boring must these people be?  These aren’t talented individuals they are yes men and brownnosers happy to sacrifice their existences with view to garnering favour from their superiors.

Later at Shenfield some guy squeezes between us when there is plainly not enough room for us all.  Motherfucker and my misery is completed.

The train pulls into Liverpool Street at a healthy 7.55AM, this is the way it should be.  As I head towards the tube platform there is a woman handing out Flake Bars to people who are taking The Metro.  I get giddy as I join the swarm on her before we swiftly and collectively dump our copies of the paper, giggling in the process.  At work this chocolate will today be my tease toy.

The tube fucking stinks this morning and the pong is not from the grafters in high vis jackets sat to my right.  No the whiff appears to be coming from the frumpy middle-aged women sat around me.  Their natural funk and cheap perfume coupled with the musty smell of the carriage verges on overwhelming.

I always appear pensive on public transport these days.  I guess it’s my look; my method of hiding and avoiding in with appears to be the rest of humanity.  I don’t want to become another train zombie.

As I step into the restaurant I spot the bouncing chef lying in one of the booths looking like he has been mugged.  Instead it turns out he has just pulled an all-nighter stripping the deli we are disposing off.

I get into work in amazing time with me and the big boss being the only people in.  He at least says “good morning” to me today.  After I go to the toilet when I return to my seat a coffee and bacon sandwich are sitting on my desk.

The working day opens healthily as The Girl brings in croissants and chocolate coins for the office.  More food.

Work wise I tear into further balance sheet stuff and soon find myself on intercompany items.  This feels a rare occurrence to be afforded the opportunity to be taking so much time on these areas of the accounts.  These will probably be the best set of accounts so far.

Surprise beyond surprise Chris Moyles actually says something sensible on the radio today as he points out the less than perfection of Mumford & Sons.  I guess it’s only a matter of time before they become popular and the thought police catch up with him to change his mind to loving the latest shiny thing.

Around mid morning our boss announces that the consultant is coming in this afternoon.  This shakes things up somewhat and niggles me slightly, a little more heads up would have been useful.

For lunch for a third day running I have chargrilled salmon, new potatoes, beans and Hollandaise sauce as it begins to taste of diminishing returns.

In the afternoon on cue The Girl begins playing up and fucking about.  When she goes to grab my pen with view to writing on my arm I stop her by grabbing her wrist at which point she gets all lairy at me accusing me of squeezing/pressing her wrist.  As a result of this she gets in another one of her moods as she reacts as if I had just assaulted her.  Later when The Girl goes to the toilet the lady asks me what it was I did as it would have appeared to her that I had just sat in my seat the whole time.  When I explain it she responds, “I guess you just don’t know your own strength” and we let off semi-pained laughs.

As the room descends into silence I suddenly become cavalier with the intercompany balances with the impending visit from the consultant in mind.

Eventually at 4.50PM the consultant comes in.  The mentality behind this is as ever dubious and disheartening.  Yeah, I wasn’t planning on leaving on time this evening.

My boss and the consultant talk about how the October accounts should be done by now.  I agree and also realise that neither of them realises that I am off work tomorrow and suddenly after weeks of being left alone to do things I am suddenly being leaned on and pressured for accounts here and now.  With this in mind I stay behind late tonight pulling together accounts to show for tomorrow.  In the process I do a last minute review that ends up taking slightly longer than I was expecting it would.

Slowly as the others slope off home eventually it remains just me and the angry boss remaining behind.  In the end I wind up staying later him as I leave the building at around 7.45PM.  Ultimately the accounts I email to everybody are OK, almost there and probably the best set of monthly accounts there have been so far this year.  That said there are still some gaping holes in certain areas of the balance sheet which I am happy to concede leave a little to be desired.  Likewise the head office costs are astronomical but as these are based on actual monetary movements they can’t really be argued.  It hasn’t happened yet but likewise with the head office and balance sheet items I don’t think my boss will be too happy to discover that £80K of his capital has already been nearly fully wiped out already.  There is a definite slush problem.

In the end I don’t mind pulling a late one but tonight I did want to see the first episode of the new series of Gavin And Stacey but unfortunately I work too late to make it back home in time.

Eventually I get home to Colchester just after 9.30PM after a hell journey on a Clacton train home that left at 8.18PM.  On top of everything else this evening this just serves to beat me up further.

Back home I head to bed relatively soon after getting back.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Wednesday 25 November 2009

I wake up exhausted and beat, miserable to be entering into another working day.  This is a new kind of ill that is taking me.

Eventually I head out slightly earlier than usual all in a blur.

The temporary scar just above the bridge of my nose and between my eyes remains present.  It looks cool but I don’t think anyone will notice it without my bringing attention to it.

This morning the 6.52AM Norwich train arrives into our platform delayed.  I catch it even though I know it will mean having to stand the whole way to London.  This is not good for me at this time.  Also standing by the door means I have to act doorman for dozens of wanker salarymen extras when we arrive at Stratford.

It’s a weird phenomena but I don’t feel fat until I get to London.  Maybe it is the air.  Maybe it is the overheated clamminess of the public transport that causes me to sweat and my clothes to cling to my body.  I really don’t like how this swings as it only serves to play havoc with my mind and wellbeing.

Once off public transport as I step into the office the angry boss does not say “hello” or “good morning” to me today.  Oh well, shit happens.

Despite my apparent dissatisfaction with the place somehow I find myself in work at 8.30AM this morning, something of a new record.  With half an hour to kill before official work time I take the opportunity to watch the latest episode of The Thick Of It on iPlayer.  Later when the lady turns up and hears the swearing coming from my PC and my subdued giggles she asks me what I am watching and I blush at how I have managed to turn the air blue.

Against odds I have another really good day, despite the baggage/dressing this is turning out to be my most productive week in a very long time.  Perhaps this may be my best manner of operating after all: pissed off to fuck.

For lunch I again have chargilled salmon, new potatoes, beans and hollandaise sauce.  It feels like it has been so long since I have been able to have this dish.  God bless the new mispelt staff menu that we are supposed to begrudge and despise.

My productivity follows through into the afternoon until things turn weird as I end up shouting at The Girl once again.  What is it with us?  Of course with my gesture she promptly gets into a huff, a mood and a strop.  What did I expect, she’s female.  Meanwhile with the room now turning silent all that can be heard from elsewhere is the Raiders Of The Lost Ark ringtone of the angry boss’s phone.

I end the day very positively after getting a great reflection of myself in our office window.  For the first time in weeks (maybe months) I think I may actually look good.  This moment comes very well timed in the light of recent morale and proceedings.

When I get eventually get to Liverpool Street the trains are fucked with all excuses pointing towards signalling problems at Chelmsford.  With this in mind I assertively walk straight past the masses of extras and out of the station heading direct to Rough Trade on Brick Lane.  As I pass Spitalfields I see the Starbucks there advertising eggnog latte.  Surely this cannot be.  Hail Satan!

Spitalfields looks genuinely beautiful this evening, all lit up and gorgeous displaying a kind of modern vibrancy that has always felt so missing from East London.  This place is a lot nicer than anything Oxford Street has to offer, especially now that large portions of it are being turned into a horrendous building site.  More and more I find I GET East London these days.

I hit Rough Trade dead on with view to getting the new An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump seven inch.  I had been planning a visit here for it anything so in a way the broken trains have offered me the opportunity to do something I wanted anyway.  At first I struggle to find the single but then the floodgates open as I find the single and a spending spree ensues.  Eventually I spend £37.22 on nine seven-inch singles.  I am truly a dying breed who really should have better things to do with his money other than to try and recapture his youth.  I fear I am a modern trainspotter.  That said it has been a good year.

Fleeced from buying records as I rush back to Starbucks just before closing time I manage to snag my first eggnog latte in two years.  As soon as I sip it with my first taste it is SO sweet and good, even denser and tastier than I had remembered.

When I get back to Liverpool Street the time is just after 7PM and by now things have calmed down significantly.  Ultimately my impromptu shopping trip was a true tactical manoeuvre, a sure sign indication of commuter smarts.  As a result now of everyone cramming/crushing onto the first few wanker trains like a herd of commuter sheep the subsequent trains are now half empty.  Smackdown.

My journey home is distracted by a loud girl with red hair talking importantly about very media things.  I don’t bother to actually pay attention to any of the words she is saying, instead I concentrate on her movements and her looks which have wannabe TV presenter written all over them.  In a way I admire her falseness.

Eventually I get home to Colchester around 8.30PM with Manchester United at halftime losing their champions league game against Besiktas.  With the game on TV I half wanted to sit down and watch it tonight but now having had my evening eaten away by crap trains I feel I cannot be bothered to join the game at the second half point.

Tonight I feel desperate to get some writing done so as a result I overdose on caffeine drinks on top of the eggnog latte.  In the end I manage to complete some stuff that I have recently been labouring over but on the whole the returns are diminished by the general structure and lateness of the evening.

Later I go to sleep just after midnight only to reawaken around 3AM with Jimmy Leg.  I curse caffeine.