Saturday, September 05, 2009


Saturday 5 September 2009

Today I am going rock climbing!

Just kidding, today I am buzzing at the prospect of the return of Danny Baker to Radio Five. And coming off the back of a very fruitful time last night, albeit brief, the early indicators for this morning are exceptionally good.

With view to being around in time for the 9AM kick off for his new show soon after awaking just after 8AM I am dragging myself to Asda somewhat earlier than usual in a weird state of semi asleep flux.

It is shocking how busy the roads already are at this hour on a Saturday morning. I thought I would just be able to sleep drive my way to my groceries but instead I find some crazy woman in a Nazi sledge BMW deciding that she wants up my behind in the biggest way. Its not as if I am dragging my heels and driving slowly. Some people. Women!

Asda is also surprisingly busy at this hour too. Thankfully the sun is out (coupled with breeze) and the sight from the top of the mountain that Asda is situated on is a beautiful fresh experience as I look out over the remainder of Colchester stepping on tip toes to look over the Pizza Hut and rail lines to sample the beauty of my given town.

Inside Asda at this hour it is something of a war on the senses. It would appear along with driving slowly this morning I am also walking slowly as zippy commuters storm past me as I attempt to browse while also rushing view to getting home. I’m not up to this this morning.

To plan though I get back for 9AM and in time for the first show from Danny Baker’s new series. I guess this is going to be an extension of his super successful 606 revival and there are hints that it may even stray away from football. Here’s hoping for variety.

The Danny Baker show this morning reminds me of the heady days of 1992 as nostalgia fully kicks in. That Radio Five show is something of a pinnacle and highpoint in radio broadcasting. I was in my final year at school and would often find myself arguing its merits with my school friends.

This new pirate show represents the perfect way/manner to begin the weekend and much like his other shows the time flies by and before it has started it is over.

In the middle of the show there is a knock on my door and it is the postman handing me a pile of packages and envelopes. I blush at my extent of online retail therapy and how it screams a person with no life but more money than sense. In the booty comes the My So Called Life boxset, Crumb on DVD, a strange Sonic Youth “Death Valley 69” seven inch, the Sebastian Horsley book and a CD from some poor schmuck for me to review for Diskant. Yeah that’ll happen.

With the radio show out of the way I begin to pull myself together for meeting up with Mark and hitting the roller derby in Bethnal Green where the London Rockin Rollers are playing against Stuttgart Valley Rollergirlz.

First however I try to watch as much of the Big Brother final as possible. What is wrong with me? I watch the show from start to finish almost every night and when the final happens I am out and not bothering with it. Reality insanity.

Eventually I get going, boarding a train around 2PM with view to hitting East London just before 3PM. I fuck up and miss the train going to Stratford so I have to get off at Liverpool Street and Central Line it East upon arrival in London.

When I arrive at Leytonstone it is a happy experience as it now feels like years since I was last here visiting Justin and Helen. The place looks as vibrant as ever, for some reason possessing something of a feeling that is more continental than London. As I head out of the station passing all the Hitchcock murals I soon see Mark.

Today moral is high and soon we are heading to his new temporary crib, the place I was hoping to move into. Suddenly he warns me it is near the mosque and not just close to it, bloody opposite it. The shine now falls away. He tells me how the scenes at Friday prayer were eye-opening and how he will now have to be putting his Islamophobia on hold. I feel like pointing out that there is no such thing as Islamophobia but I can’t be bothered to get into this debate at this time.

As we take a left and turn into Mohammed Khan Road the street name leaves a bad taste in my mouth as does the flock of little hoodlums in white pyjamas stood outside his new crib. He almost apologetically tells them its all right for them to stand there and I just give them evils ESPing “fuck off.” Mark was not joking about the mosque being opposite as its snow globe dome protrudes and ruins the skyline.

Inside the house is great, pretty cosy and surprisingly narrow. In a way Mark was right the spare room is tiny and might/could have proved uncomfortable after a while. We sit down at the kitchen table, have a cup of coffee and tear into conversation.

Just after 4PM we head over to Bethnal Green and York Hall where the London Rockin’ Rollers are today playing Stuttgart Valley Rollergirlz.

After a brief moment where it doesn’t look like they have our tickets we get inside where the hall is decked out magnificently. This looks much more the real deal than the Roll Britannia event at Earls Court a few months ago.

This is a true freakscene and I do feel that we stand out. In order to deal with this we hit the bar while the rollergirls fly around the ring warming up.

Quickly the game gets rolling and with it Stuttgart stamp their authority on proceedings very early. As we struggle to get a good viewing point I notice the manager from work turn up so we head over to join him and his band that are apparently playing at half time.

As ever the game is fast moving and difficult to follow. I watch as the two girls from work get stuck in, relieved that they don’t bring such aggression into the workplace (the restaurant).

The roller derby experience remains a drunk and messy affair. Soon I spot the Heavy Metal Manager and I head over to greet him. Unlike Earl’s Court it would seem that this time he has actually bothered to turn up. The reason for this turns out to be that his band is the halftime entertainment today.

From here we all hang out, drink and take the piss as a gang while various girls go whizzing past us. At various points the poor ladies go flying out of the rink, occasionally into us. At one point the player called Von Bitch comes ploughing into us at which point the Heavy Metal Manager laughs at me, accusing me of shitting myself when it happened. Maybe.

While this is all going on Mark is lapping it all up laughing his arse off at the absurdity of events. Myself I have to say I am very impressed by the set up of Bethnal Green York Hall. Otherwise I feel like I am on a metal safari.

Eventually halftime arrives with Stuttgart flying ahead of the Rockin Rollers. It does not look good.

For entertainment the heavy metal manager’s band take to the stage next to the scoreboard and tear into their music, churning out the kind of dense metal I have not come across since…the last time I saw them.

It’s odd to watching a band (part) called Fuck Squad. When I explain to Mark what their name is he can’t help but laugh. Onstage it feels like a time warp as grizzly ageing men play music that more dads than sons appreciate these days.

Ultimately its fun stuff as the singer jumps off the stage Rob Halford style only to find that the stage is higher than he had originally thought when he endeavours to climb back up. From here the bass player then feels the mistake of playing in his socks as he falls over and winds up playing a song flat on his back. I’m too sober for this.

In the second half things become more exciting as we drop more beers and head up into the cheap seats, those that would be Z row bleachers were there any sun today (and no roof). This makes a far better view.

The game speeds up as gradually the Rockin Rollers begin to pull back and eventually they take the lead before winning the game 119-105.

From here we head down to the track where everyone is acting sportsmanlike and victorious. By this point now there is no sign of the heavy metal manager so instead I find myself pestering my work colleagues who just want to get on with all things celebratory.

Ruth gives me the time of day as moves towards the after game party at the 12 Bar Club on Denmark Street are suggested/gestured. At this point Mark, ever the enthusiastic, suggests we head into town for a bite to eat in Chinatown beforehand. To be honest I’d be happy to head home at this point but people are persuasive.

By this point I am blotto. This is not necessarily a good thing as I begin to lose the ability to function to appropriate levels/standards. Mark steers us towards his favourite Chinese restaurant Special Zone 1997. From here I am king of the chopsticks as duck aplenty is ordered; shortly before I come to the conclusion I’m no fan of duck.

We sit at the table in the restaurant window gawping at Chinatown on a Saturday night whisking by. Inside I spot the Chinese version of Sophie from Big Brother.

Eventually we finish up and the meal comes to £43.60 which Mark covers. My bad.

By now people are likely to have arrived at the 12 Bar Club. Stepping inside it is as horrid as I was expecting. Mere moments after stepping in I find myself being tapped up by an Asian guy. Apparently we are supposed to pay to get into this dive. Again Mark covers as I pretend to be too blitzed to comply.

This place is full of tattooed metal heads, people screaming out for attention. Since these people’s personalities are not at all manufactured these by rights this is the place to be. In a tiny room I hear a band play and in my head they sound and look like Unsane. This I suspect however is not the reality. Eventually we spot my friend from work who is in the midst of activities looking miserable. In contrast by now Mark and I are wallflowers looking out of place and bordering on miserable, we stand out like a sore thumb because we do not look like we’re in a band or are bikers.

My reaction to all this is that metal people just make me want to listen to Vampire Weekend on loop non-stop for 24 hours. This is backwards.

Slowly the scene droops for us and it becomes apparent that we are not to be part of proceedings. Still wasted just before we go Mark insists that we go over and say “bye” to Ruth who appears to be sporting a “why the fuck are you here?” expression when I go over to her. I have nothing to say, we have nothing in common so after a little awkward exchange we head home.

The Central Line journey tonight from Tottenham Court Road to Liverpool Street is as bad as it sounds. And Mark has to continue all the way to Leytonstone.

Finally I find myself on a train wheeling its way home to Colchester. Right now this is priceless. I sober up very quickly over the course of the journey, disheartened by how a good day got extended into oblivion.

When I get home things improve immeasurably with the arrival of National Lampoon’s Animal House on ITV. Now that is how outcasts and rebels should be. No one in that movie had a crap piercing or tattoo.

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