Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Tuesday 15 September 2009

This morning I awaken at 8.25AM after two fantastic dreams. The first appears to be my participation in some weird kind of reality show based in a large house combined with the ATP festival and within in I appear to be thriving at the game while others fall to the wayside. I have no idea what this means but it is great. The second part of my dream sees me returning to kickboxing and thriving at that also, returning like some kind of absent hero. This is ridiculous.

Today is horrible. The skies are the most grey they have been for months and the inevitable wetness that is guaranteed comes with it in abundance. This is not the kind day in which you want to leave your bed.

As a result of this I barely leave my bed this morning. I have the internet fingertips and therefore the world – what more could I possibly need?

This morning I find myself drawn and suckered into watching the strange programmes on Channel Four that they show aimed at youngsters. It would appear their entire schedule in the mornings is aimed at unemployed teenagers with view to either empowering them with stories of people climbing out of the gutter and making a success of their lives or showing them the hell consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. This stuff is truly subtle propaganda, the kind of good cop to the Jeremy Kyle bad cop on ITV at the same time. Are there really teenagers knocking about at home watching and taking in these shows, believing their messages and actually feeling empowered as a result?

I remember watching one of these “documentaries” a couple of years ago which featured some guy running with the wrong crowd, hanging out on street corners and generally causing a nuisance of himself while wasting his life away in the process. He had one interest however and that was dancing. The camera crew followed the lad around as he looked into his options in order to dance his way out of the ghetto without forgetting his roots. The whole show was presenting as if it were entirely real but then I realised and recognised where I had seen the lad before and it had been in that movie Breaking And Entering where he had been Juliette Binoche’s parkour/traceur bouncing son that was committing all those crimes. This show I was watching was indeed not a documentary and some kind of weird docudrama. I felt I had been lied to.

Late in the morning news begins to trickle through that Keith Floyd has passed away. This is a scary coincidence because just last night a documentary of Keith Allen interviewing him at length was shown on TV. It is from Facebook that I actually learn of his passing, the latest death I have discovered via social networking websites. I’ll learn of the death off a real person (a friend not an extra) from one of those websites one day.

Sadly while the world is still mourning Floyd around lunchtime I discover that Patrick Swayze has lost his fight with cancer and also passed away. This guy was a hack, a trick and now people are suddenly lamenting his awful films to a too high degree of self-satisfaction. It doesn’t really help that I was bullied at college by somebody that considered himself to look like Patrick Swayze although in essence the full extend of his bullying was to entice a whole department of construction dimwits to call me “Stress” when the reality was that I have been called much worse names during my existence. Patrick Swayze will only ever be represented in the indie fraternity’s mind by The Male Nurse song “My Own Private Patrick Swayze” which was a bonafide Peel classic back in the day.

Tonight NEKO CASE is play at the Arts Centre and I feel I should not waste the opportunity to see such a lauded musician, especially being that I don’t have to worry about work tomorrow. With this in mind (and the intention of making the most of my life) I text Staff to see if he is going and if I can get an in on proceedings. He responds in the affirmative.

In the afternoon I head over to the olds at Balkerne Heights to finally bank a cheque with view to transferring enough money to be in my account for Sunday’s annual Travelcard renewal.

Town on a school day is illuminating and depressing. Colchester’s shopping district these days feels fucked as stores remain empty and genuinely I have cash money and nothing to spend it on.

When I return to my parents’ place their neighbours are now they’re making noise and getting in my way (making dinner late). I listen in on the usual bullshit of a set of people from a different generation to mine with a different grasp on reality. As ever I keep quiet not wanting to get involved.

There is a package waiting for me and it is a box from Boots of Alli. Getting the stuff mail-order cuts down on the humiliation, not that I think the stuff is working. If anything it is just a glorified laxative, the magic beans of our generation. I bet if I planted these little blue pills in the ground a vine would emerge and grow leading straight to Boots and the diet pills section.

As the rain pours down outside, as ever I manage to snag some dinner at the olds before heading over to the Arts Centre for the gig.

When I arrive the support band BLACK GOLD are already into their set. With a pretty trad set up onstage they spew out a light pop rock set with alternative leanings in their clothes and hair. To me they sound like a combination of a slowed down Phoenix, a no edge Spoon and the pop sensibilities of Crowded House. For a bunch performing material as light as this the songs have to be really strong but unfortunately with BLACK GOLD this does seem the case. They charm the audience but more with their smiles than their chops.

In comparison NEKO CASE turns out to be a genuine revelation to me; full of heart, spirit and charm she melts my heart. Her emotive voice fills the Arts Centre in a manner that I have not witnessed in a very long time. To her left she has Kelly Hogan backing her and together they light up the stage with their coy smiles and confidence. They appear to find great humour in the fact that Cannibal Corpse will be playing the venue soon. With a very receptive audience in the more mature Colchester crowd all exude mutual gratitude.

The songs are varied and the set is lengthy but special (with much of it taken from her Middle Cyclone album). The standard swings from country to classic songwriter stuff as men with beards back up prolifically. The more rewarding moments are when the songs veer away from the trad country fair Case is known for, the moments when her vocals illuminate and expertly express the emotion she was experiencing when the songs were authored. Personally I find myself mesmerised, affected in a way that I was never expecting from the band. Within this performance some kind of soul passover occurs as a warm tingly feel builds inside my belly. This was something special.

After the show I find myself hanging around for a while speaking to the Argentinean. Mutually we appear wowed and as Staff and others rejoin us after show drinks get suggested and we head over to the Playhouse on a Tuesday night headed towards midnight as proceedings begin to feel like old times.

It is so strange to be back in the Playhouse. This was my regular haunt every Friday night for many years and often the scene of a lot of midweek drinking also. The times were always mixed but often good, especially when we were able to camp inside a booth.

The last time I found myself here was on Boxing Day two years ago when all the Zoe confusion was still going down and while Chris and Tom were at the bar I attempted to give her a call which was promptly rejected for one reason or another. I can only imagine how bad the voicemail that I left was.

Tonight however is better even though everyone appears to be feeling weary and cranky. Having had a couple of days off and with no work on the agenda tomorrow I find myself on form excited to be back in the position once again: out on a school night in Colchester with what appears to be a “casual social scene.” As a result I turn on the charm with lots of funnies (I think) even though my tales are somewhat ill representative of me (tales of Szesze and Mindy blah blah blah).

Around midnight the teenage staff of the Playhouse begin slowly easing people out. As we look around there are plenty of young sloshpots all dressed up with nowhere to go. It then occurs to me that I am now technically old enough to be these girls’ father (not likely though). There is a kind of mixed up small-town mentality to getting dolled up on a Tuesday night, getting drunk and having nowhere better to go. Ouch.

Outside we wait for a cab to arrive to take the others back to Wivenhoe and Mersea as the rain begins to drizzle above. After I get wet enough their taxi eventually comes to pick them up, as I am able to head home on a high.

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