Sunday, June 14, 2009


Sunday 14 June 2009

It is with a degree of disheart that today begins. I manage a lie in of awaking just after 7AM and with it comes the most feeble of hangovers despite barely drinking a thing last night. This ultimately comes as some kind of physical reaction to a bad sense of panic and urgency from the latest lifestyle revelation that was last night.

As I check my email there is an audience invitation of tickets to Vernon Kay’s All Star Family Fortunes and a welcome email to the BlackPeopleMeet.com website. Perhaps in these two emails this is where the secret is – I need to give in and accept mediocrity (in the form of watching shit mainstream telly) and then finally accept my future is in accepting that I need to meet black people.

Events need a post-mortem.

Almost from the moment of getting up I begin writing and it proves a highly productive session, this is the time of the day in which the words flow smoothest.

At 9.30AM Racton texts thankfully remembering the breakfast arrangements we half baked yesterday. Today human contact feels essential. We arrange to meet outside McDonalds at 10AM. In these circumstances even McDonalds sounds a good idea.

A problem arises when I put my shoes on before my trousers – hangover?

Colchester on a Sunday morning proves something of a revelation to me. It is early but already the sun is beating down and things feel warm and happier than the end of yesterday. The day is just so peaceful with no one around to ruin it and as I walk to town past Jumbo I am met with the sight of dad walking Bobby in the distance. When Bobby sees me he goes slightly berserk in his excited way and morning has broken as his happy bark shatters the Sunday silence. I tell the old man where I am going before watching him walk off in the distance with the dog dragging behind wanting to join me in going to McDonalds.

When I finally/eventually crash into the others outside McDonalds, Justin and Helen are also booking out of their hotel. I’m really happy to be catching these guys before they head back to Manchester as I really truly miss these guys, their brief return to Colchester a couple of years ago rejuvenated our social circle for a brief time and their gap is now sorely missed. As ever a visit up to Manchester is suggested but will I ever piece my shit together enough to make it up there. I’m a fool if I don’t.

After they head off Racton, Pauly and I collectively look at McDonalds trying to muster any kind of other suggestion/alternative. Suddenly we notice Sloppy Joes in the basement of the same building and the breakfast they do. It all sounds a winner.

Stepping into Sloppy Joes is a weird one. I haven’t been here for seven years when it was a regular social haunt when I was at Disney. Those were definitely different times. I remember one time sitting at the place for half an hour with Mr Disney after everyone else had left discussing how I was seeing a counsellor. The guy was super interesting and very understanding of the process. I was however having the conversation in the full knowledge that I had just had my first interview with Beaumont Seymour and only a week or so later I would be submitting my notice/resignation with view to working on Butt Road, which ultimately would prove problematic to say the least.

Despite the damp ending to last night this morning people are thankfully in high spirits. As we indulge in the idea of a £4 English breakfast in an American setting we cannot help but smile.

With a Limn practice calling Racton and Pauly have to sadly depart Colchester with a beautiful day ahead. Obviously the trains aren’t working today but the rail replacement bus ride out of Colchester is only to Marks Tey so the hero that I am I offer to give them a lift to that pointless hell hole (whoops sorry, that’s Kelvedon). As we pass my parents place in Balkerne Heights I ask them if they want to see Bobby but Pauly snaps, “I don’t like dogs.” That’s bad.

When I drop them off at Marks Tey it is with a true/genuine sadness. With less and less regularity I see these guys these days, which is all part of growing up I understand but that reality does also represent how we are all getting old. I also feel slightly sheepish and responsible about how Colchester appears to have let them down as Racton points out this visit cost him £60 and ultimately against this his entertainment pound has fallen short.

I head straight back to olds at Balkerne Heights where I now see the dog properly. With Nina’s barbecue being today I really need to get her a gift. Instead of doing this however I wind up watching the Mr T story on the Biography Channel. The guy’s a fucking legend, instead of hawking Snickers he really needs to put/get together some kind of product in order to clean up on his charisma.

Afterwards I endeavour to sort out my Facebook address and I discover that some scumbag has already snagged www.facebook.com/jgram. Strangely however when I tap the address into Internet Explorer nothing/nobody comes up. What is that about? In the end I settle for www.facebook.com/jgramworld but when the first guy appears I think everybody reading this should send him a message and point out he is a fraud.

Finally I head into town where I initially struggle for gift ideas and inevitably end/wind up in HMV looking at overpriced DVDs and CDs that I could either order online at a fraction of the price or download if afforded the time. Knowing that Nina likes Alf I look to see if there is a DVD of that series but no dice. Then I figure her being a singer songwriter and generally loving music she would dig Flight Of The Conchords so I buy her the first season on DVD.

Eventually I head home feeling exhausted, really not feeling up for the barbecue. As I leave my parents parking bay at Balkerne Heights I see one of Nina’s friends who I reckon/predict is heading to the barbecue also. This is Stan.

Back at Bohemian Grove I write a little, wrap up the gift and down a can of Relentless. It puts me back in the game.

I arrive at the party around 2.45 and it’s a good spread. Immediately upon arrival Nina shows me her engagement ring and birthday present.

Ben is at the party so I latch onto him and its really cool/great to catch up. He points out the number of hobos present and I snigger at the buskers. Surely this is not a healthy circle. And then there is the Stephen King lookalike dressed and acting like a man that has not worked a day in his life.

Food gets served up and this is the first barbecue I have been to in years which reminds me just how much I fucking love burned meat.

With the sun in full glory and the pace slowing what occurs is something akin to a perfectly pitched Sunday afternoon.

As Nina’s dog Dibdab dives all over me as I do my Dr Doolittle bit it unfortunately becomes apparent that the bitch is bleeding and suddenly it turns into a wrestle for my life and exercise in avoiding being covered in blood.

When later afternoon turns into early evening Ben and his girlfriend begin to make a move and being that they are the only people I have spoken to all afternoon I look towards making such moves also.

It would appear that Nina notices my motions towards the door as she begins chatting to me at length while Ben leaves. I begin quizzing her on just who all the people at the party are and I get a rundown. Yup, these are the kind/type of people you meet when you work in a pub.

Of the back of this I give the party a second go and finally begin ingratiating myself into proceedings and attempt to be sociable. This is of course helped by a glass of champagne from the bottle the Stephen King lookalike came up with.

As I take a seat on the veranda in the shade where people are talking I find myself privy to a strange conversation with a dad talking about science fiction toys talking to some guy who later will go off on a rant about kids and their cognitive skills now being TV gameshow-esqe. I’m not really quite sure how to take in these conversations and maybe even dare participate but it feels like the realms of the geek.

To my right as I sitting listening is Stan. Stan is a guy that made my life hell almost ten years ago when we both tendered for the affections of a person not a million miles away today and he won despite having a face filled with metal piercings akin to Vyvyan from the Young Ones, a limp approach to life and a history of self harm/abuse. Damn, what the hell was I doing wrong in comparison? Well, I suppose I didn’t have or ride a skateboard and couldn’t wear a baseball cap to save my life. Anyway, this was 2000 and it nearly ended me but it was also nine years ago and so today as I see him with his sweet dumpy new girlfriend as large as me and smiley outlook on life I can only but be kind/nice back as I point out that I saw him earlier leaving the car park where my parents live.

Joining us at that veranda table slowly comes the grannies, one of whom fires a lengthy story at us about living life to the max, which in her case is taking a dodgy as fuck cab ride around some Indian party zone that actually sounds more like an Indian warzone by her description and the anecdote finishes up with her and her friend being driven in this cab along some railway tracks.

In the background meanwhile at this party is a couple seemingly in a race to get drunker than the other. These are classic barflies released into the public. It’s a Bukowski scenario wearing shorts and Reebok shoes. I write the pair of them off as idiots until the guy discovers Indian cab lady’s name is “Sandy” at which point he begins going on about the song “Hey Sandy” by Polaris (the real Polaris and not the fakers from Leeds). “Hey Sandy” is the theme music from Pete And Pete and suddenly my interest has been infinitely tweaked. I acknowledge I get this reference and very briefly we discuss Pete And Pete but he soon bails just like the unreliable drunk that he is.

Later when nosing around for more champagne and only finding cheap wine I find myself back in conversation with the Sandy woman where we discuss Hanna Barbera cartoons being based on old American sitcoms and eventually we get onto the subject (somehow) of dating and when she tells me she is on the Guardian Dating website things begin to feel a bit funny, especially when the drunken lady from the drunken couple clocks us and laughs. A weird moment occurs and the woman old enough to be my mother and I make our excuses.

Inevitably I end up back perched on the veranda as people slowly begin to leave the party. However sat outside on a Sunday evening in the best of weather and the best of all possible worlds I suddenly begin to feel relaxed for the first time in a very long time (definitely months, maybe even years). I wind up sitting and chatting with Nina’s mum and her two friends (including Sandy) all of whom could be my mother. As ever I find myself able to charm the elder states(wo)men and it’s a pretty pleasant wind down to the day. At one point Nina’s mum tells me that I haven’t changed, which I am not quite sure whether to take as an insult or compliment even though it was said/stated to offend. Surprisingly Nina’s mum remembers a Saturday evening in 2001 when I dropped off Ben’s drum stool after having an argument with B and she invited me in for a coffee and a chat, which really meant a lot to me at the time. In the end however conversation with the oldsters moves to three women of around pensionable age saying how much they like The Prodigy. I don’t quite think these gals are the intended demographic. Sandy and I then appear to get into some kind of Prodigy anecdote face off as she tells stories of how she put in Liam Howlett’s kitchen while I worked in the studio where he has a residence.

Soon terror twilight kicks in and with it the realisation that the majority of the party has now left and I am one of the few last men standing. With this I pay my last regards and gratitude for the invite and take the short walk home through Shrub End.

With the night still barely light at almost 10PM I walk home with a strange sense/feeling to life. The latest of dusks can be an emotional time, the best time to kiss a lover or to have your most perfect, pure and clear thoughts – I wish the world could be like this forever.

Sunday evening is a most bittersweet time, the end of the week and the eve of another. As I walk these streets in Shrub End they are truly peaceful, away from the gnarly reputation that they have been given. They are silent and this is what solitude should really be all about. In a world at a time so blatantly lonely it is impossible to feel left out in such a climate and environment.

I’ve had a drink.

When I get home there is the aftermath of an argument on Big Brother and peace is shattered in the most depressing of manner/method.

Bored when I get home I fire off an email to Vice Magazine asking about my missing subscription.

As I put on my 30 Rock DVD for the Nth time Glenn hits me on Facebook to tell me how he has been to Clacton today. He is finally back in the country. I sense he is coming to get me, I feel it is only a matter of time until he will be suggesting we meet up. I’m not overly enthusiastic for that.

I pass out.

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