Thursday, 31 December 2009

Thursday 31 December 2009 – NEW YEARS EVE

Dream: I am in Starbucks and when I get to the counter I order/request an eggnog latte.  From behind the counter the guy serving me tells me that they haven’t done that drink in a long while and he begins verbally scolding for my choice and option.  I decide not to have coffee.  Elsewhere in the dream I find myself crossing paths with the fat guy I took photos of on the train.  More so than ever I feel I represent this guy and as it appears that we are bumping into each other at an event that is possibly new years suddenly there is some kind of urgency attached to my self-improvement and desire to avoid becoming this guy.  Elsewhere I wind up in a shop and find myself indulging in the DVDs that are on sale, all cheap at one pound each.  They generally are titles that I will eventually have no time to watch/view but they are cheap and on the whole they are good and as a result will enhance my DVD collection.  The fact that there is no real point in buying them fails to occur to me, there is just a thrill in their purchase.  As I spot more and more classic titles posing as bargains I begin to implore people around me to snap them up but once again I find myself being castigated over my choices.

Today I awaken with a headache.  Once again my own laziness has meant I did not bother to prevent this happening last night when the headache was already coming on and I knew that this was going to happen this morning.  I need to get well, I have major plans and lots of things to get done today before the year ends and passes away without any sense of achievement.

I manage to waste the early part of my new years eve by first watching a documentary about Alexei Sayle riding trains across Syria followed by the Julia Sawalha episode of Who Do You Think You Are?  Never accuse me of watching television that dumbs a person down, no I watch TV that serves to make a person prematurely old.

In between I also polish off the final episode of season 2 of In Treatment, which again provides an equally uninspiring close to the series.

As midday fast arrives my feeble migraine remains and with a worry towards the progress of my day.  I toy with the idea of heading out in the hope of kickstarting my existence but I really don’t feel I have anywhere to be at this time.  The reality is that the atmosphere of my parents place is not one to bolster as the pair of them appear to be truly at odds with each other this year.  The concept of getting a Starbucks in town appeals and the fresh air would truly kick my headache into touch but the idea of getting dressed and cleaned sadly feels a bridge too far at these times.  Am I being lazy?

With no real heart for writing today due to my bad head I scour the avi files on my PC looking for something to watch and wind up with some old Jonathan Ross documentary about Japanese movies.  It turns out to be more entertaining than one would imagine.  Now if only I could be bothered to read the subtitles of the actual movies themselves.

Feeling tired and down eventually I head to bed for an afternoon snooze when really the normal, well adjusted world are getting prepared for their New Years Eve night out.

When I finally re-emerge my head is feeling somewhat better and from here I put in a very good shift/session and write conclusively until 9PM.  Truly life in the fast lane.

I break in order to listen to the radio and specifically Radio Five where Helen and Olly from Answer Me This! are playing out their guide to the internet this year (Web 2009 With Helen And Olly).  These two sound absolute naturals as the show turns out far better than I had been expecting.  David Schneider wins the honour of Twitterer of the year and generally the whole occasion is all shits and giggles.

After this I wind up watching Family Guy on BBC3 as the witching hour and new year begin to loom.  When the time finally arrives I end up watching Myleene Klass walking amongst the proles along the Thames, those fools happy to hold their bladder and freeze.  New Years is like the anti holiday these days, you appear to need to be a fucking idiot to really jump into festivities with both feet and full heart.

The new year turns and with it more self-analysis and introspection.  I often come back to the Damon Runyon version of events of how where you at the time says a lot of how and where you will be come this time next year.  In a way this hogwash but in another it does add and lend weight to the moment, one that should not be spent or wasted lightly just as I am now for the third year running.  I would like to think that this time next year I will be amongst people once again but I think that was part of my hopes and wishes for this year.

Unfortunately I feel 2009 will go down as the year that I gave up on people, gave up on certain hopes that I had from friends and individuals.

Then midnight strikes.

With 2010 in place I settle down to sleep and prepare for a new year ahead.  On ITV they are showing Midnight Run in rather cheeky fashion.  I remember ten years ago at the turn of the millennium when BBC2 showed The Book Of Life by Hal Hartley at this time.  How things have dumbed down.  That is not to say this isn’t a good film but surely there is something better out there.

My sleep finds itself interrupted a couple of times as a couple of new years messages trickle in but nothing overly substantial.

Be kind in 2010.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Wednesday 30 December 2009

I cannot believe just how cold it is this morning when I step out of the flat on my way to the train station and onto work via the most spurious of redirections.  As I leave my apartment this morning it feels as if the rest of the world is still asleep in bed, still on holiday and maintaining the festive spirit.

I am not ready for this yet, I am still in sleep mode.  I want to be still partaking with Christmas and in my mind and attitude I still am.

In the end I board the 6.48AM train which proves to be an unsurprisingly sparse affair full of miserable expressions and broken people with broken wills.  And it is all males, probably single men with nothing better to do than to work.

The journey is utterly tainted and when eventually the train grinds to a halt at Ilford an hour later it is as if the train and driver can’t be bothered with it all either.  Not long afterwards the train dies again at Forest Gate and finally this feels like confirmation that god hates me.

Finally the train gets to Stratford at 8AM at which point us losers have to get off and board the poison Jubilee Line tube and Liverpool Street is closed this week and I have to take the Nike swish route up to St Johns Wood.

The Jubilee Line is always an illuminating experience.  To my right I notice a red-faced lady who I cannot identify as being either Asian or Eastern European.  For some reason I find her attractive, I suspect it is due to her apparent awkwardness caused by her redness.  With her big nose she looks a tough customer.

At West Ham when the tube stops an Asian guy gets on and stands almost on top of me.  He stinks as bad as the team named after his tube stop.

Eventually my Jubilee Line crap experience ends up with me sitting opposite a girl that looks like a member of Shonen Knife.

Walking into the restaurant today is a very downbeat and solemn moment.  When I get in my boss and the operations manager are already in but it doesn’t look like anyone else is coming along today.

Originally I had my day planned out but in the face of what appears to be such an unnecessary attendance into work today I have no real interest in doing anything when there seems to be no real demand for it.  In the end instead of actually doing any work I just decide to tidy my desk with view to starting the new year next week with a fresh desk and clean environment.

Soon my boss is flapping as suddenly some adjustments to the accounts seem necessary.  Personally I find them extracurricular but in order to placate him I post them all the same, scratching the surface on the imperfections of the figures.  With this tough the wage changes required on the October accounts suddenly mean that real work is on.

Today I have XFM on the radio and it brings the hits as it counts down its Top 1000 songs.  This provides many thrills with the absolute highlight being “All I Need” by Air.

I wasn’t going to bother ordering lunch today originally but with the boss being held up in leaving he insists that we have something to eat.  As ever I go for the salmon, new potatoes and hollandaise sauce option which at least contains less guilt than the majority of the dishes on the menu.  When the food turns up we both sit eating stunted in conversation.  Seems we can go only so far.

Eventually he heads off and after he leaves things begin to calm down.  They also begin to turn dark on me.  In the afternoon while sat on my own in the office I experience my heaviest dose of depression in a long time.  A sense of hopelessness rains down as I fail to see beyond this.  In my mind I play over errors I have made over the past year and with the new year.  With nobody else around to straighten me out and snap out of it resentment builds as the pointless sense of appearance here at work today beds in.  I feel low and as I list everything I have to do and everything I want to do suddenly it all begins to feel overwhelming and unmanageable with my own efforts seeming futile.  These I guess are my apparent abandonment issues kicking in.

Thankfully I finally head home at around 3PM feeling tired and perversely drained.  Nobody beats me up quite like myself and my own mind.

In the end after another ride along almost the length of the Jubilee Line I snag a 4.10PM train at Stratford.  It seems to be semi full of daytrippers and idiots, people that get in the way because they act as if they have never seen a train before.  When I eventually find a seat, sat underneath the table is a dog.  As soon as I am sat down the owner warns me that there is a dog beneath, which by now I have seen with my own eyes.  I make some stupid comment like “he’s not on this side is he?”  Twat.  From here the journey proceeds to smell like Bonio and dog breath.  These are the breaks.  Ultimately though I like the dog, it is just the Time Out reading owner that I think is a cunt.

Despite this I remain relatively happy, very relieved to be heading home and returning to my Christmas holiday.  The mood splutters slightly as I experience a mental hiccup when the train nears Colchester and I spot Nine Finger Keeper sat opposite in a seat across the aisle.  It is actually he that acknowledges me when I look up/over for the first time so I wave back and say “hello” in the most feeble of reactions.  This is truly the worst timing.  Just as I am questioning my own sanity and real social standing in the grand scheme of things with regards to my public Facebook culling of so many old school acquaintances I suddenly begin to feel paranoid and wonder if he knows about it and thinks I am so weird as a result.  What am I playing at?

When I finally get back to Colchester I head direct to the refuge of my parents where I discover them eating a roast dinner, a meal for which my invitation was lost in the post it would appear.  Just joking.

As I hang around their place Mark texts to suggest some drinks and with my sudden concern about social standing I jump at the opportunity to inject some life into these proceedings.

Currently his phone is playing up so in addition to sending a response in the affirmative I take the risk of walking in on their dinner (also) and just bowl up at their door.  Indeed my arrival is ill timed as they are having dinner too but also I was right in thinking that my response would not have arrived.  So while they all have their dinner I find myself sat in the front room with a bottle of beer watching Dumb And Dumberer on TV, perhaps one of the worst films ever to have been made.

Eventually we head to the Hospital Arms where the place is swinging.  We end up shooting the shit and with only two Bitburgers under my belt the drinking knocks my head off.  It’s a fun evening, we put a lot of things straight and with the new year looming I feel on form.

By the time I get home I already have a headache and am staggering around.  As I take a piss and look down I fear/feel it is about to be complimented by my puking up into the bowl.

In the end despite my headache and inevitable hangover signposted for the morning I fail to make preparations (take a pill, drink some water) as instead I pass out on top of my bed fully clothed.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Today I am awake and up just before 8AM with a puzzled expression.  Again it is fucking freezing in my apartment but today I really do need to have a productive day after considering what was the lame start to proceedings of yesterday.  Tomorrow I am back into work already.  Where does time go?

Things are beginning to feel almost back to normal today.  When I flip on the TV I almost expect to see Jeremy Kyle back in the TV listings.  I bet he could do some wonderful shows about Christmas incidents.

GMTV is back today and with it its horribly moronic method of reporting the news.  The main/lead news story today is about the execution of that guy in China that got caught smuggling Heroin into the country.  What did he expect, a fucking slap on the wrist because he holds a British passport?  Perhaps it was the fact that he doesn’t have a British name that went against him?  Perhaps it was those stupid photographs of him that are being splashed all over the news that meant the powers that be didn’t really give too much of a fuck about saving him.  I do find it strange how the media is attempting to get/make us sympathise with someone who was a drug dealer.  Surely the usual mentality and reaction to such individuals is to string them up?  Oh no, that’s only if they harm children.

I start early today thankfully assisted by the fact that television is rubbish and failing to distract me (although I do feel disgust in the awful Disney sequels to The Jungle Book and Peter Pan they are showing).  From the off I am writing and for a while it gets good even if the subject matter fails to spark me and fills me with fear that it may not quite be the most interesting stuff ever put down.  I have a plan for today and I have to settle down.

Elsewhere The Girl has returned to work today having the unfortunate task being first to fill in.  Her Facebook status reports that she is hungover, that’s gottta hurt.  My go is tomorrow and I have plenty to do and squeeze into that one day.  In reality I could do with being in work every day this week but at the same time there are things I feel obliged and dedicated to at home also.  There are not enough hours in my life to satisfy everything (or anything for that matter).  I would like to think this reality lent some kind of urgency to proceedings but ultimately it just makes me tired and causes me to sag in the most defeatist of manners.  Where are people when I need them to buoy me up.

I make comment on Facebook to the extent of “well don’t smuggle heroin into China then” and I await response from well wishers.  Sadly my friend in Austria bites as ever looking to take me to task on my apparent and insinuated racism.  Seriously things are not so dedicated or deep.  People love to get on their high horse.

Around 11AM which the knowledge that I have no food in the flat I head out to Asda to do some post Christmas grocery shopping.  As I head down Butt Road past Action Park I have to stop at the traffic lights that lead towards the barracks.  I think I spot the old man waiting at the opposite junction but I do not recognise the person in the passenger seat so I dismiss it as not being him as my eyes fail me in the process.  Time to get them checked?  Not with Specsavers as my fucking opticians it ain’t.

After this I head towards the end of Butt Road and the beginning of town and as I pass Butt Road and Chernobyl I spot Stevo precariously crossing the road Frogger style to get from one office to the other.  The poor sod has had to go into work today, between Christmas and New Years.  I remember those dank few days at the firm, with only half the staff in attendance and often most of the bosses still on holiday, sometimes off in foreign lands, no wonder resentment for those people would fester.  Luckily I am soon passing the company, moving away from so many Nam-esqe flashbacks.

Today Asda is Asda, busier than usual but not in a ridiculous manner keeping it still manageable and bearable.  On the agenda today I just buy the essentials in the form of milk, drinks, cereal and bread while also treating myself to some cheese and pepperoni.  It is still Christmas after all (just about).

With groceries in the pocket of my car I then make the fool’s journey (and errand) of heading over to Stanway and the Tollgate shops where for some reason I suspect there just might be some bargains for me.

Pulling up I spot Staples and remember that I need to get a 2010 diary.  As I head to them I spot an old client from back in my Disney days.  I say “hello” but I doubt he remembers me or even knows who I am.  Why do I bother?

After this I head to Currys in search of a new DVD player and/or Freeview box but the sales are limited and offer little in the way I am after.  Looking at the DVD players none of them appear to be multi region anymore.  What happened?  Are they all multi region now?  Also where the fuck have all the Freeview boxes gone?  Everything seems to have them built in now so in order to get a decent Freeview hook up does this mean I have to now buy a new TV or DVD player?  It has to be a DVD player that is multi region though.  And thus we come full circle and we are back at the start.

Empty handed I head home where I continue to write into the afternoon while over indulging in cheese (actually eating the whole block over the course of the remaining day).

With the sad reality of having to head to work tomorrow dawning the blues begin to kick in as I play out the evening writing and watching bad TV.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Monday 28 December 2009 – BOXING DAY 2

It is with a high level of disillusion that I enter into today.  After awaking just after 3AM and watching a Woody Allen documentary I re-enter into the day around 8.45AM under the illusion that I have just experienced a lazy lie in.

I am slow moving today, desiring some kind of rest that will recharge my batteries and help me get through the following two days with a high level of productivity so that by the time I return to work and enter the new year I will be facing it head on, full of steam and with some kind of ferocity that sadly seems and feels missing at this time.

Out of boredom I find myself scouring over Youtube looking at videos that could easily be described as porn by the easily offended and those with a more discerning eye.  It is weird how the website is happy to pull down old pop music videos for breach of copyright but leave these titillating and corrupting images up online.  Not that I am complaining.

My flat is chilly this morning, the weather has taken a distinct turn for the worse again and as more snow gets threatened for later in the week suddenly it is beginning to look more likely than the initial predictions.

I remain in bed where I pull out my Tom Waits book and read a few more pages.  It now feels like ages since I was last afforded the opportunity to actually read a book and as ever I feel I only read pages slowly as I continue to swear that I have some kind of mild form of dyslexia which coupled with my natural tendencies to distraction (a mild form of ADD too) means I don’t get very far with the book, much to my detriment.

There is a train of thought that suggests reading enhances an individuals writing skills and quite frankly reading back some of this drivel it sounds like something I could/would really benefit at this time.  It won’t happen by reading at this pace though.

Just after 9AM Mark texts to say that his phone is a “twat” and how he is only just now receiving text messages from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  With this we hatch vague plans to meet up this afternoon.

The morning is spent for me cursing the participants of the meet up last night.  Some kind of minor persecution complex takes hold as I begin to feel sorry for myself for having no friends or social life this Christmas.  With this frame of mind I begin to feel betrayed and abandoned.  Such mentality never serves anybody well and probably explains why I don’t leave my bed until past midday today.

Happily Danny Baker is on Five Live all morning, which serves as a best possible Christmas comedown and reason to remain in bed.  Afterwards I spend some time reading my new Tom Waits book, anything is better than actually getting up at this time.

Eventually I get up and drink a can of Relentless in the hope of getting pep, which fortunately indeed happens.  With some gusto behind me I manage to get some more writing done as I finally attack my flat and give sorting it out a real crack.

All the while this is going on and I am doing my best with my apartment all that I can hear emitting from downstairs is some kind of muffled shouting.  I cannot quite work out what is going on or being said but none of it sounds good and much of it sounds drunk.  Suddenly I have shit neighbours it would seem.

In true self destructive fashion despite suddenly beginning to do a good job on my flat I get in touch with Mark with view to hitting town and meeting up at 3PM.  In the light of last night’s flagrant rejection it would seem I had best get dining on such scraps.

When we eventually head into town staggering the place is truly heaving.  I’m not really quite sure what people are after or finding because when I had a peak on Boxing Day proceedings appeared very limited indeed.  This is not good, this town feels like it is flagging.  I can just imagine the conversation from last night “Colchester is shit this”, “Colchester is shit that”.

Mark and I wind up in Costa where they appear to be doing their own version of an eggnog latte in the form of a vanilla latte.  It tastes good.  As we step through the door Mark reminds us of the woman from the summer that was breastfeeding here.  We could certainly do with her at this time.

As town begins to shut up shop for the day as we head back home it gets suggested that we stop for a couple of drinks in the Hospital Arms.  From here onwards we spend a strong afternoon of putting the world to right before we eventually call it a night and I finally head back to my parents in the hope of snagging some dinner.

Upon arrival as ever the dog is happy to see me but stepping through the door I sense some kind of tension between my parents.  As the atmosphere feels awkward it would appear that dad has turned into some kind of taxi service for the locals (their South African neighbour and now some dickhead ex-salaryman who now runs a cleaning company).  I agree with mum that dad is perhaps too accommodating but she really does go to town complaining about these people going off on one of her “people are just users” rants once more.  Such statements always serve to depress all and anyone within earshot.

Eventually after lots of their Christmas food I begin to feel sobered up and I head down where the night on BBC2 is dedicated to Not The Nine O’clock News.  The documentary is pretty interesting but they really do go to town and do a number on Chris Langham.  That guy reminds me so much of Mr Melchet, perhaps our local equivalent has kiddie porn hidden on his PC also.  It would not surprise me.

The documentary is kind of sad because it feels seeped in failure.  Also the sight of Mel Smith so visibly struggling to comment is very disheartening.

Beyond this it doesn’t take long to fall asleep.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Sunday 27 December 2009 - BOXING DAY 2

This does not feel like a Sunday.  Today feels aimless and thankfully still possesses something of the holiday feel.  This is a day for lounging but sadly that also gives birth to worry and remorse whenever I endeavour to undertake such downtime.

I worry about last night, about a world making party without me.  I guess my invitation got lost in the post.  I thought last year was a barren period and season over Christmas but this feels ten times worse.

With that in mind thank god that today Justin and Helen are down from Manchester (via Kent) for lunch and a visit.  If there are two people I sadly miss from my life at these times it is them.

My morning gets spent endeavouring to write which comes with minor returns and some progress but nothing near what I had hoped to achieve.

In addition to the writing I watch the penultimate episode of season 2 of In Treatment.  This is the final episode for John Mahoney’s character and I have to admit I have really struggled to get through this season of the TV show again.  John Mahoney has proved one of the more interesting characters of this season and with it he has really displayed a range that you would not expect to come from Frasier’s dad.  That said this character does not conclude in a satisfying manner.  For a figure that has been put through the wringer to end on the verge of a heavy dose of self-introspection does not really serve to help or assist anybody.  I wonder just what other people take from this show.  Personally I take some of the self-analysis and attempt to apply it to my own circumstances but often this just does not go.  Mahoney’s character did at least offer an example of a person with a life of work and not much else and truly I was able to identify with the imbalance at some points but on the whole no solution to his existence ever came across over his episodes.  Maybe I’ll find the time to rewatch these shows one day.

Halfway through the morning Justin texts to say that he and Helen will be hitting town at 1PM, which works out perfectly for me.

With this in mind I pull myself together for lunch and my highlight of Christmas 2009 and eventually head over to my parents crib for 1PM.  In between times I get a text from Justin to say not to hurry as he and Helen are stuck in traffic so for an extended spell I wait around my olds as Arsenal v Aston Villa kicks off on Sky.  At 1.30PM the call comes through and we head to the Hole where Chris apparently already is.

When I get to the pub I see Chris and Steve in the window.  I wasn’t expecting to be seeing Steve this Christmas, this being the first time I’ve seen him since the Frank Chickens show in the summer.  As I arrive everybody seems well on their way to ordering food, which is the first disappointment as I thought we were going to a restaurant, I had truly saved myself for some good food.

Soon Steve is kicking off but it is in a nicer manner than back in the day.  Quickly he mentions my Facebook Cull blog half in the fear it seems that I may suddenly decide to either delete or save him as a result of discussing it.  This is something I hadn’t even considered.  He is full of nice props for the site though (even calling it “genius”), I guess he can tap into the bitchiness of it.

In the end it’s not a classic meeting.  A few people are conspicuous by their absence and also a few people really are not on form as our group seems to splinter in half at times.

The food turns out to be shit.  First it takes forever to arrive and when it does it just feels like slop, typical pub grub.  And I get the biggest portion.

I fucking hate this pub and have no fucking idea why it was suggested that we come here.  For various reasons I have felt intimidated here for years, not necessarily a physical intimidation just a mental fear that this really is not a healthy place to be at my age and stage/point of personal development.  There is a stench of defeat attached to a place where I spent so much of my time years ago that weren’t necessarily good in the first place.  My friends however do not appear to necessarily acknowledge this treating the place in the same way that they did back in the day which to an extent suggests a lack of development/movement on their part.  I may be wrong but this is just how it feels to me.

To reiterate this point in my mind it just feels typical when we look out of the window and spot one of Chris’ ex-girlfriends with her family that has recently got married (very adult).  We glare at her in mockery but in comparison we must only appear on the whole childish, stuck in the rut that is our inhabiting this pub.

Afterwards we head into the town escaping the grunge pub.  As our group drops in numbers we trawl around town as Justin and Helen go in search of replacement Christmas lights.  Unsurprisingly we wind up in the tacky, temporary Christmas shop that doesn’t actually have any carpet or linoleum.  Truly what has commerce been reduced to?  Also the shop appears to be devoid of heating and the people inside it are of a miserable state.  Still when Steve finds a Boyzone 2010 calendar that features Stephen Gately we can’t help but giggle at the bad taste of the experience.  Quite frankly disgusted by the state of the shop (but not the calendar) Justin, Helen and I exit the shop leaving Chris and Steve behind to tickle their way through all the cheap kitsch items probably made in Chinese sweatshops by elf-sized children.

The three of us head towards Wilkinsons where they figure they are bound to have some tree lights left.  As we pass through onto Long Wyre Street I spot The Wookiee walking through town with a kid.  This is the second time ever I have spotted her in town on a Saturday, both times with a kid.  I wonder if it is her daughter.  Certainly I have never spotted a wedding ring on her finger (should I really admit to having looked?).  Maybe The Wookiee has emerged from a failed arranged marriage with this kid.  Or maybe she is a lesbian and this is her nephew.  Sadly this second scenario is more in sync with her business like disposition that I see on the commute.

Eventually Justin and Helen find some new lights and with Chris and Steve now seeming to have disappeared I give Chris a call and it turns out they’re in Costa so we head back to join them.  On the way I now spot the Purple Haired Girl as we emerge from Sheargate Steps.  What is with today and bringing out old crushes?

On the way Justin and I stop off in HMV where the sales now appear in full flow as the shop is rammed.  Unlike previous years there have been no goodies in the sales this Christmas, I guess that’s a symptom of having sales all year long.  Nothing is special anymore, nothing is sacred.

In the end Justin buys a boxset of the Bourne movies before we catch up with the others at Costa.  Soon after I arrive Steve heads off and it has been genuinely nice to see him.  I don’t bother getting a drink, instead I just in the corner with the others as we discuss all our developments.  In some ways it feels hard work, everyone seems shattered.

From here we proceed onwards and wind up in the Hospital Arms where Chris continues not to drink which is totally out of character for him causing me some concern for his wellbeing.  Soon he heads home also leaving only Justin, Helen and I.

All day various comments have been made about my broken iPhone and I’ve been telling everyone how it is the one thing about my person that people comment about and then suddenly the magic of my broken iPhone is displayed as the girl collecting glasses asks me about it.  I can’t help but feel a more seasoned person could be able to clean up at this point but in the end I just fall over my words looking foolish in the process.

Things are definitely changed.  I guess it is a sure-fire sign now that we are getting old as Justin and I begin discussing at length accounting for his record label.  I always surprise myself when I have the words of experience to facilitate such requests.

Eventually it comes time for them to return to Kent and with a long journey ahead of them I feel quite bad for keeping them out for so long.  This will probably serve as my Christmas highlight and I really appreciate their efforts to come and visit us in Colchester.  This is not something that can be said for a number of other people.

As we bid farewell to each other at the crossing on Crouch Street I head back to my parents’ place in hope of snagging some dinner and sobering up.  I find moderate success in visit.

Tonight there are reports of Tom heading to Colchester and while I sit watching Beetlejuice at the olds word comes through for an 8PM meet up at the Hole.  This sounds good.  Then Tom adds in following text that the guy I used to do Gringo Records with will be out tonight too.  Now this is something I can’t stomach so I ditch those chumps.  Why would I want to be in the same room/space as somebody such as that?  It just makes no sense?  How could it be a fun evening if there is going to be such a level of tension attached to proceedings?  I would seem the Christmas Eve Massacre has now slipped into post Christmas proceedings as well.  At the end of the day it is just some kind of popularity contest that I am not winning.

Ironically though it is Steve Coogan night on BBC2 so in the end I wind up spending it with a Coogan after all.

Choices made.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Saturday 26 December 2009 – BOXING DAY 1

This just might turn out to be my favourite Saturday in a long time.  I remember with great fondness the days of waking up at my parents’ on Boxing Day, often having the dog run in on me to wake me up and my father making us all bacon sandwiches for breakfast.  Perhaps more than Christmas Day itself this was a true event that best represented the holidays and the sense of family.  Maybe I should have stayed at my parents’ last night and sailed out the uncomfortable feeling of sleeping on their sofa.  I remember a couple of years ago waking up and watching Stranger Than Fiction followed by Talladega Nights in the hope that one of them would join me in watching one of the movies.

For some reason we get two Boxing Days this year.  It is without doubt that today is THE Boxing Day but in some parts people are insisting on describing Monday as being Boxing Day because it is the bank holiday.  I’m happy to take two, in fact this time next year and for the remainder of time I will be happy to take two days off for Boxing Day.  Will that happen though?  Will it fuck.

I wake up around 7.45AM this morning feeling relatively good and relatively happy astonished at just how fast Christmas Day flew by yesterday.  Is that what happens when you grow old, you lose all concept of time compared to pace?  Perhaps this is a knock on effect to be attributed to the information age.  Maybe the information overload is causing great confusion in our attention sockets ruining our perception of time.  I’ll have to give this theory some more thought and represent it later when its not so half baked.

My day begins with watching the Christmas 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live which this year was hosted by James Franco who it now seems weird to think I once saw at the first Latitude festival.  With musical guests being Muse it is not a patch on last year’s Christmas show with Hugh Laurie and Kanye West but the appearance of Mike Tyson on “What Up With That?” (amazingly done as ever by Kenan Thompson) is great fun even though Iron Mike does not look happy in it or himself.

Afterwards I begin watching The Room but today that is just a bridge too far, I don’t think I have it in me to watch a bad film and eventually I just fall asleep.

When I finally reawaken I trot out of bed with view of getting some writing done before heading over to the olds for some Boxing Day fun.  I experience mixed returns from writing today.

Today I finally brave the final set of In Treatment season 2 episodes watching three in a row.  There feels less satisfaction in the conclusion and closure of these characters this year: Hope Davis remains a depressed mess, the Cancer girl happily moves on and the fat kid is still miserable and his parents unpleasant.

Eventually I make my way over to the parents where it remains business as usual as per yesterday.  When I arrive mum has already gone into town shopping and dad offers to make me a bacon sandwich (Boxing Day breakfast tradition) as we all move slowly.

I wander into town half hoping to find bargains, half hoping to accidentally on purpose bump into somebody.  Unfortunately on the former occurs as I end up hitting pay dirt in Waterstones with some great half-price books including the new Charlie Brooker book.  When I take the books to the till the girl fucks up by ringing it through incorrectly and eventually I wind up getting the books even cheaper than I should do.  The magic of Christmas and inexperienced temporary holiday staff.

After this I head back to the olds for some more festive spirit and jollies.  Soon though I find myself heading back to Bohemian Grove wishing that things were like the old days where/when we would all be heading out to the pub on Boxing Day night.  The times weren’t as great as I remember them rose tinted but at least they existed, the opportunities for fun were there.  This year it just does not seem the same, nobody appears able to be bothered and if they are certainly I am not being included in proceedings.  This is especially bad considering that this year Boxing Day falls on a Saturday.

At 8PM I pathetically head to bed to read my freshly purchased Tom Waits book while listening to every MP3 of his I possess.  I wonder what the poor people are doing.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Friday 25 December 2009 – CHRISTMAS DAY

Today I awaken into Christmas smiling even though I am truly disheartened by the actions of others.  Did Santa visit last night?  I don’t know I was passed out in my bed too early to notice.

Merry Christmas everyone I wish only but the best for you, with a few exceptions.

After falling asleep early last night unsurprisingly as a result I am awake prematurely early this morning at 3AM to the sound of the Talking Movies year end round up of 2009 where interestingly the guy failed to mention In The Loop even though he did get a shout in for The Room.  Go figure.  Later after gaining a little more sleep when I eventually resume and enter into Christmas Day properly I find myself being served Mark Kermode’s year end round up also on BBC News.  It feels like the pair of them are reporting and recalling different years (Kermode at least mentions In The Loop).

Outside it is not a white Christmas but that was always to be unexpected.

As mentioned above as ever with any day my first action is to flip on the TV (very festive) where I learn that just before midnight mass a crazy woman climbed over the barrier at the Vatican and dragged the Pope down to the floor.  With it a mass panic ensued and hopefully she got tasered.  Why do people do this?  Why do people have to ruin Christmas?  I can’t help but feel her actions act as some kind of metaphor for my general experience of Christmas this year.  Yes, I am comparing myself to the Pope.  What is really striking from this news story is how the crackerjack attempted to do the same thing last year also while wearing the same red hoodie.  Surely somebody in security should have clocked that, you’d think.

This is not a day for winners.

Its with the blues that I enter into Christmas Day this year.  Off the back of last night today I feel resoundingly betrayed and let down, sadly devoid of the Christmas spirit that Charles Dickens once promised us.

As usual I spend the morning wrapping the presents I have bought for my parents.  In the background Beyonce and then Honey I Did Something To The Kids plays out on TV as I realise that I have forgotten to buy the dog a Christmas present.  In my muddle I then also proceed to wrap the lid of my flashdrive in one of the gifts (the Sat Nag).

Eventually I head over to the olds for 1.30PM and Christmas Day lunch.  There is something delicious about driving on Christmas Day, the roads are next to empty and it almost feels like it should be illegal, that you are breaking the law as some kind of curfew enforced.  Christmas Day lunch is more tradition than routine and when I arrive I am a little late but not to a spoiling degree.

In the house all is well as yet another year running the bounding and bouncing dog makes up for shortfall of having a small family.

Dinner is really good as ever.  I purposely chose not to have breakfast so that I would be super prepared for lunch.  While we eat the dog tries to jump up all of us for scraps of turkey while in the background the Christmas Top Of The Pops opens with Alexandra Burke mooching around.  When Beyonce comes on mum sings along at the dinner table in an act that was not expected.

Christmas Top Of The Pops is as much a tradition as anything and later on in the programme Muse and Kasabian humiliate themselves blowing any opportunity at credibility or artist redemption.  At the end of the show TOTP does at least play Rage Against The Machine’s video (kind of), it beating X-Factor, despite all this Sony v Sony pap, was an amazing feat this year.

Eventually we get to the Queen’s speech and with each year now she seems to be getting more and more politically correct and more and more boring.  Paulie Walnuts might say “what’s the deal with her, when I was young she was old and now I am old she is still old.”

With presents still wrapped and unopened the afternoon movie of The Incredibles arrives on TV and I begin to lounge.  At this point my phone appears to be whirring and vibrating and it turns out to be The Girl phoning me to wish me “happy Christmas.”  She sounds really happy and I half feel a bit guilty with my subdued response.  When she asks me if I got everything I wanted she is shocked to hear that we haven’t opened our presents yet.  In the background I hear (I think) her mother comment “that’s what rich people do” to which I happily respond “no, that’s what boring people do” to which she leaves me to unwrap our gifts.  The was nice of her to call.

The highlight of the gift giving in recent years has been to give our dogs (Snowy and then Bobby) presents and watch them slowly tear open the parcels as they get excited when the package begins to squeak and they sense excitement held within.  It is truly evident that this is a family that needs grandchild.  This is a lot of pressure for me to carry at this time.

This year the main present for the dog comes in the form of a waddling chicken (similar to the Nandos variation) that proceeds to follow him around the room as he tries to ignore it.  Basically the three of us are looking for Bobby to get angry at the toy and proceed to attack and tear it apart.  Is this the Graham family version of dog fighting?  Are we trying to rear our little dog to be some kind of bruiser?  Unfortunately if that is the intention, it certainly is not the result.

We proceed to pass out, pass over presents to each other, sadly stuff we don’t want and stuff we don’t need.  As ever mum puts a ton of effort into buying us gifts to unwrap and it is the greatest gesture that only gets received with humpy reactions from me and the old man.  Indeed halfway through opening my presents I give up and just watch the TV instead.  Sometimes gratitude within the confines of our family is hard to come by.

When dad opens the comedy Sat Nag that I bought him for a moment it would appear that both he and mum think it is a real Sat Nav.  My bad.  I’m a bad son.

In the end I get lots of smellies, lots of underwear and a few items mum had desperately teased out of me (The Wrestler DVD, The Damned United DVD, Guitar Hero 5 for Wii).

I wonder if my parents wish we had a larger family as much as I do.  Each year with the three of us it feels more and more laboured now, thank god we now have the dog to aim the spotlight at (“entertain us!”).

By now the day is entering into the evening and things really begin to wind down as dozing occurs and we pretend that we really want to be watching Shrek 2 at this time.

Eventually the Christmas Eastenders arrives on TV and with it a ridiculous storyline aiming towards the demise of Archie Mitchell.  All through the episode he sets about pissing people off and giving them reason to kill him off.  All in all it resembles the “Who Shot Mr Burns?” episode of The Simpsons.

The night ends with further TV and Christmas episodes of Gavin & Stacey and The Royle Family.  The former turns out to be very disappointing but the latter is a surprise hit, very mucky and tangible at this time.

I head home around 10PM with dad having already gone to bed.  I really don’t want to get into the argument of last year when mum refused to allow me to sleep on the settee.  I tell them that I will come around in the morning.

Christmas ends.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Thursday 24 December 2009 – CHRISTMAS EVE

After a disturbed night of sleep I wake up fidgety once more today.  A few years ago I would have mistaken this for excitement but this year I sense it is the fear.  I think subconsciously my impending rejection for a third consecutive Christmas Eve Massacre is causing me to ask real questions of both myself and my apparently/evidently dwindling friendships.

Despite this I leave early today in the hope of snagging a decent parking space away from the terrifying black ice at the station.  It is the small things that get you through.  As I leave our complex we still have a fair bit of black ice of our own.  The black ice at the station really is disgusting though it genuinely felt like I was step out onto a pond last night.  Perhaps I should park on it and when I inevitably slip and hurt myself then maybe I should sought legal action and sue NCP for their lacklustre maintenance of the car park.  Really for all the fucking money they get out of me for my parking space surely as a gesture of goodwill they could get somebody in to grit/salt the parking lot.  The corporate world fucks the working man yet again.

In the end at the station I board the 6.45AM Norwich train to London.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t be possible to get a seat on this train but today it is sparse, full of the many other poor saps having to trawl into work on Christmas Eve also.  For a second year running there is no need for us to go in and do this half day, ultimately my travelling will eventually probably prove as long as my actual time in the office.  Where is the logic in that?

I arrive into London just after 7.30AM with it still dark outside and suddenly proceedings appear to resemble a bad Christmas movie.  Trudging across London on the tube today I feel thoroughly depressed.  There is no pay off for this.

The tube from Baker Street to St Johns Wood further resembles a Fellini movie as seats are aplenty and faces sparse as the expressions that exist emit a resounding sense of defeat.

Stepping into work today there are already a few bodies in despite this being the earliest time yet I have arrived at the restaurant.  Slowly people gradually turn up and with it some degree of cheer.  For the bosses however today is business as usual as something appears to be going down with regards to the bank.  From my perspective however today just represents an obstacle to Christmas for me.

For a second year running we have not been paid a Christmas bonus.  This is the first company in my fourteen year career that does not bother with this gesture of goodwill.  As a result one of the first things I do today is to dig out that scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Clark finds out he’s been screwed out of a Christmas bonus and I post the clip to my Facebook profile.

Despite it being Christmas Eve annoyingly my boss still nags at The Girl today.  For the longest time this really got to her and caused bad feeling but thankfully it calmed down.  Unfortunately though it still does occur from time to time and annoyingly today is one of them.

Things pick up slight as some chocolates appear and begin to do the rounds.  Happily I tear into them, comfort eating as I just cannot be bothered to actually do any real work out of some kind of protest spirit/theory/mentality.

Later on Radio One Scott Mills wheels out his Editors’ Christmas Album spoof which is comedy genius.

Eventually we do the Secret Santa thing and everyone is happy.  The IT guy got me in the draw and came with a copy of Waltz With Bashir on DVD, which is a pretty good gift.

The Girl leaves at 11AM given an early escape after offering to work New Years Eve.  As things head towards midday our boss comes in and begins discussing plans for next week.  Suddenly things pick up as plans change to us just having to cover one day each, which definitely suits me.  Things eventually pan out with me having to come in next Wednesday meaning that a decent break will be experienced by all this year.

Finally we get to leave at 12.30PM as I get held up leaving getting caught in conversation with people discussing Christmas plans.  After a swift tube journey across town I eventually board the 1.30PM Norwich train bidding good riddance to London for a week and a half.

This train is littered with tags on top of seats representing bookings.  I still can’t get with the booking seats thing on trains, very few people stick to it and ultimately it is such a nuisance, especially to professional travellers (commuters).

Luckily I find a seat though as every backward arse fuck with luggage seems intent on squeezing into this train home.  Two large old fat Americans prove to be the worst example as common sense just flies out of the window causing minor havoc.

Elsewhere on the train a half attractive lady sits to my left and when she makes a phone call I hear her commenting (to her mother it would seem) about a rash she has.  As I begin to imagine it being on her fanny suddenly I notice it on her left hand and good god it is a disgusting thing, something akin to a serious burn.  Up until this point I had quite fancied her but imagining that claw thing gripping any part of my being suddenly fills me with repulse.

On cue the train returns to Colchester around 2.30PM and with it comes an enormous sense of relief to be almost back home.  As I exit the train I spot Lulu from Butt Road and eventually we can’t avoid each other so I get into a brief nonversation with her.

Gingerly driving my way out of the station car park I head directly for my parents place with view to going into town and snagging some last minute shopping while also in the hope of bumping into somebody and maybe doing drinks that absolutely nobody appears interested in doing.

That said people are supposedly going out tonight as Mark sadly confirmed on Friday that for a third year running the Christmas Eve Massacre is going to occur as the arse bandit I did Gringo Records with apparently monopolises proceedings.

Stepping into my parents this afternoon comes coupled with slipping on the pathway outside their apartment.  As I do so their chain smoking neighbour makes comment to the extent which pretty much causes me to slip further.  Fuck her.

Once inside their crib the dog reacts happy to see me as dad informs me that mum is currently in town herself.  The effort these guys make.

Around 3PM I head into town to do some last minute shopping.  Due to the snow and my lack of enthusiasm realistically I haven’t managed to buy very much in the way of gifts for the Christmas, definitely not enough to justify a day of good feeling.

Quite frankly I shouldn’t have bothered.  In a way I head into town with the hope of bumping into people accidentally on purpose and this does indeed happen when I bump into Jackie from back in the day.  Now I can remember exactly the last time this happened, it was five years ago while I was unemployed from my blogging exploits.  It was excruciating back then too.

Today is particularly annoying.  When I see her she is stood outside the bakery on her own and to be honest had she not clocked me I would have ignored her.  Briefly we exchange nice nice and then suddenly her kid and div husband emerge from inside the bakery.  As ever she asks me if I see anyone from YT college anymore.  What people from nearly 15 years ago that I really didn’t like?  OK, I have to concede that I am friends with a couple of them on Facebook now but this is only because I fancied them.  Sadly being from Clacton they are now saddled with kids even if they have maintained their looks.

At this point Jackie’s kid begins tugging at my coat and asking me stupid questions such as “what’s my name?”, “what’s my mum’s name?”, “what’s your name?”  Fucking hell the kid really has a thing for names.

We walk along chatting for a bit and as we near Superdrug I make my excuses just as the kid (Jordan) begins asking me more questions.  Really, that was not somebody I wanted to be seeing at this time.  Memories of her blowing me out two too many times still rankle and jar my memory.

Happily I manage to find the perfume mum wants for Christmas in Co-op.  I knew that if anywhere would have it in Colchester it would be this shop.  Basically this is the perfume that I used to buy mum with my pocket money when I was ten years old.  Perhaps we/she should look into some kind of new, different and exciting scent but such is a trait that I have inherited myself, we stick with what we know in our family.

As I head into Waterstones to look at some books the miracle of Christmas occurs as one of the ladies working in there smiles at me.  Perhaps it didn’t be a blue Christmas after all.

From here I queue up and get myself a Christmas Starbucks.  At first I ask for an eggnog latte but being late in the day they have run out of mixture so in the end I have to settle for whatever they’ve got.  Still, gotta love that Starbucks in whatever form.

With drink in hand I head back to the olds feeling down that there is nobody to hang out with tonight or at this time.  Soon it becomes more and more apparent that the third Christmas Eve Massacre is surely destined to occur.

After snagging some dinner at my parents I head home with view to doing some writing on Christmas.  Dickens couldn’t write this.

At 8.45PM I receive a text message from Chris asking me if I am out.  Is he taking the piss or something?  I respond curtly, asking him where he is.  The answer turns out to be some place I have never heard of.  I don’t bother replying to this, tonight everyone can go fuck themselves.  If they’re out on the piss on Christmas Eve I hope they all get drunk and have steaming hangovers for Christmas Day.  Such is life.

Not long after this I head to bed to watch TV and welcome in Christmas Day in my own way – bitterly.