Friday, May 21, 2010


Friday 21 May 2010

Dream: I am hanging out with my friend in Colchester whose dad is poorly.  We are moving the books on his bookcase, compacting them to make room for other things.  It’s a strange chore to be around and involved in.

Today is a beautiful day.  Early I awaken with my TV having been left on over night and the Countdown repeat turning into The Hoobs and giving me discomfort.  This I just brush away as I switch off the TV and roll back over to sleep.  Last night I slept on top of my duvet without need for cover.  These are things that make summer great.

I have no work today and it is a true bonus.  I finally emerge around 8.30AM where I have a yoghurt for breakfast, start writing and brace myself for texts and phonecalls from work.

I take up perch at my desk and endeavour to begin writing.  Unfortunately I have a headache.  Even when I take some pills it fails to move away and leave me.  From here my attention switches to the comedy shows on Channel Four and the Will & Grace repeats.  Grace has never looked fitter.

From here I switch on my download of last weekend’s season finale of Saturday Night Live with Alec Baldwin guest hosting (for a record fifteenth time).  This show never fails; I cannot believe that fool at the Bill Hicks documentary Q&A last Friday said nobody watches it anymore.  Somebody should fire him from his position, he plainly knows nothing.

By the time the show comes to an end it is already 10.30AM and I am well into wasting away my day off.  So much to do but so little time.  How can I possibly mentally prepare myself to do anything when I never have capacity to finish things conclusively?

In the end I find myself jazzing away my day off by sneaking peaks at Super Nanny US where she is stepping in for one of Wilson Phillips (not the fat one).  Super Nanny in America, when did this happen?  Do Americans really love people from Essex?  The jury is out on that one (see The Teeth).

With DJing on my mind choosing tracks for tomorrow night (and maybe tonight) takes up my attention.  After the Joe Lally gig I now feel kind of clueless with regards to what I should be selecting, for somebody that listens to and writes so much about music I feel so out of touch.

As I look out of my back window and onto the barracks I spot the soldiers out on some kind of routine task/mission.  I looks like they’re learning how to operate kit.  They genuinely look like The Hurt Locker.  This is the modern world.

Around 11AM I send an email out to Mark and make plans to meet up for lunch at the Hogshead for 1PM.  On a day like this it would be a waste not to take advantage of the freedom.  From here I scrape out an hour or so of DJ preparation, reviewing tracks and weighing up the options.

Soon I head into town.  As I drive down Butt Road I see a Goth couple.  It’s the usual except for the guy in black Goth cowboy garb and bondage gear (collar and chains etc).  It is over the top.  Bloody hell, just how much effort do kids have to put into rebelling these days?  I hope for all his efforts the kid is getting it good.  Sometimes I think I imagine these things.

God is out to get me today.

When I get to my parents’ place at Balkerne Heights I enter their flat to discover that they are out.  The dog however is in and when I go and see him in his caged off little room (in dad’s en suite bathroom) he goes bolo and unsurprisingly craves attention, sticking his paw through the bars in the process.

From here I head into town and as I walk beneath the Crouch Street underpass I spot a woman in a hijab and cream garb, the kind that is understated and even more attractive as a result.  The ultimate forbidden fruit.

Almost immediately however my pleasant attention is diverted/distracted away from good stuff by some creepy old guy with his hair (a wig) in bunches wearing a schoolgirl’s uniform.  Briefly I look around for a punch line but it would appear that he is on his own and that this is just his thing, his very disturbing thing.

Swiftly I step into the Hogshead just at the moment that Mark texts me to say he is sat out in the garden out back.  We do lunch and today I have the lasagne I meant to order a few weeks ago and from here we shoot the shit.

It sounds like the state of the union is as per.  Nothing terrible has happened since our lunch last Tuesday, which is good news.  I make a family enquiry and it is as she blows.

From here he begins telling me a strange story about how he grassed up some kids at the South Bank book stall the other weekend and how it gave him great pleasure to do so as the bookseller promptly went up to them and scolded them.  I cannot understand the basis of this story, why he felt motivated to perform such an act and as to which party he was most identifying with – the party being scolded or the party lashing out.

Next we get into a weird disagreement (almost argument) over the Draw Mohammed Day that was on Facebook yesterday.  With his lefty Guardian leanings naturally he condemns the people behind the group while I condemn the stupidity behind the creation of the group and the apparent necessity for it.  It’s a sticky wicket of a subject where common sense looks destined to never prevail.

Invariably we get onto discussing how people on Facebook just portray themselves as idiots (coming from a person that is a classic lurker).  I think I discovered this fact the hard way when I was using the medium to lash out and express myself a bit too explicitly a couple of years ago while I was being tormented with heartbreak.  I never gained anything from it and now since I have been losing friends in the past year I have completely toned down what I put on the website.

After lunch I head into town for a look around while Mark heads back to his work.  I find little joy in the Colchester retail experience but happily I bump into Nina, which offers light relief.  As ever she is moaning about her job but it’s her bed.  We discuss the two upcoming gigs this weekend and she says she can only be bothered to attend one.  She then proceeds to reel off a list of TV shows on tomorrow (Saturday) night she wants to watch which dismays me.  Does she not realise that Saturday night TV is created with the intention of being watched by thick/stupid people?  It is who these shows are explicitly aimed at; it’s no great secret.

Not long into our meeting Stan walks past and joins in, taking the mantel.  These days he now has huge holes in his ears from where he used to where huge earrings and I really can’t envisage him being taken seriously in many walks of life as a result.  Its modern day Forrest Gump.

Eventually Lee walks past also and collectively we wish him happy birthday and suddenly the weirdest of things is occurring: I have bumped into people I know.  There just might be life in this old dump after all.

Soon afterwards Nina and Stan go off in one direction while I head off with Lee where we step into HMV.  Next when we pop into Game at this point I again spot the old guy in the schoolgirl uniform and thankfully this time I have Lee there to witness that I am not imagining the freaky style.  What on earth is this guy’s thing?

From here we head off to check out the new Slack Space gallery.  This one now situated in the old Shoe World building near the bus station is much nicer than the old shop next to Argos which has now been ingested by Specsavers.  The work on display is really good.

At this point I head back towards the Colchester Arts Centre in order to see Staff and ponce a poster of tomorrow night (the one with DJGRAM on it).  When I get there bands are turning up to soundcheck for the evening, which makes for a brief visit where I snag some posters as well as a guestlist spot.  Mission accomplished.

It is 4PM by the time I head back to my parents’ at Balkerne Heights and when I return there they are still out.  This time I let the dog out of his pen as immediately he runs past me and around the flat looking for them before coming to me to request a game.  Nice priorities.

For a while I consider hanging around but soon figure it is best that I return home and do something constructive for the couple of hours before the gig.

In the end once I get home the something constructive ends up resembling watching Danny Baker do his BBC London show being streamed from the roof of Broadcasting House on Regent Street/Great Portland Street.  It’s actually a pretty compelling thing to watch.  Once it ends I finally discover some go on the writing front as I put in a pretty decent session for an hour or so.

This evening things feel genuinely exciting, fresh and reminiscent of better times.  This is the first real summer evening of 2010, warm well into the evening and benefiting from the simple act of having the window open to allow in a gentle breeze.  These are the times that matter between now and the grave.

From here I head over to Mark’s for 7PM where I arrive late to the sight of him waiting outside his house.  He doesn’t appear to mind my delay, as I say it is an amazing evening, easily the best of the year so far.

We head into town to get a drink as explain who all the people were that I bumped into this afternoon.  As people that consider ourselves to no longer have any friends or acquaintances left in this town it was a half decent haul.

Initially I think we’re headed to the Hogshead but when we bump into Nina’s mum outside and ask her if her daughter is bothering to come out tonight it all turns cloudy.  To my surprise from here Mark steers us to the Hole, which is a direction I just don’t understand, it’s really still not a very nice pub.

As we sit outside it is under cover of the gazebo where the awful smokers go to fester.  Does he really not clock this?  Surely the guy with a Mohawk should ring alarm bells – it is 2010, what kind of mental disintegration suggests that a Mohawk is a good idea at any level in this day and age?  Unsurprisingly the group is noisy and full of it, they have nothing else.  They drown out the conversation of us squares.  Basically I just want to leave and head to the gig.

Finally we come to our senses and head to the Arts Centre where we are greeted by the sight of Staff have just having come off stage meaning that we have missed THE HOONS which greatly annoys me as I thought they were great at the Jim Robinson Townhouse Reunion show a few years ago.  To add to my misery he informs that they did a cover of “100%” for me.  Sadness accrues.

From here we step inside the Colchester Arts Centre where (((OH DEAR eventually take to the stage.  With breezy vocals akin to Lou Barlow they plainly sound like Sebadoh, which in this climate is an incredibly fresh sounding thing.

Afterwards THE HILLMISTERS prove equally American sounding with a wonky three guitar assault in the best tradition.  When one guy opens his mouth he sounds like Pavement and when the other guy opens his mouth they sound like the Flaming Lips.  Theirs are long intricate songs that expand and explore various avenues, which hilariously reveal an apparent inability on their part to finish songs.  At one point my co-pilot for the evening is insistent that they’ve revving into “Father To A Sister Of Thought”.

When SMUDGE take to the stage they possess a pretty serious demeanour.  Then they open their mouths to reveal that they are very Australian.  Australians don’t tend to possess serious demeanours.

SMUDGE are great.  Immediately they leap into a fizzy, light song not a million miles removed from the sound of the Lemonheads (that elephant in the room tonight).  There is real breeze to their output, more in keeping with classic song writing than hulking distortion.

Before long they do “The Outdoor Type” which I remember buying on twelve inch from the Clacton indoor market back in the day.  It has truly aged well.  By this point the seriousness has left proceedings as it is suddenly nice to see a band playing onstage looking as if they are having fun for once.

Rightfully they do not shy away from the other hits that were “borrowed” such as “Divan” and “Being Around” which now being performed by the authors feel better and more apt.

Eventually after storming through a triumphant set SMUDGE close with their second encore of the night with a cover of “Whole Lotta Rosie” sung by Gabi.  Chunky and effective it reminds me of how people sometimes say that Shellac just sound like AC/DC because this version sure sounds like Shellac.  Also it perhaps says bad things about me that I spot the AC/DC cover in the set while Mark spots the Go-Betweens song.

After the show everyone has had their fill and are feeling pretty upbeat on the outset.  Later there is rumour that Evan Dando was trying to get down for this gig.  Rumours they are.

From here I find out who Lee from Culture As A Dare is as I get into a drunken conversation with him as I ponce some records for review (a seven inch and a twelve inch – vinyl bliss).  At this point Mark drops heavy hints to leave.  In the end I cut things short as they begin to get incoherent.

As we head back past the hospital the place resembles something of a science fiction movie with its weird building and people scramble around an ambulance dropping off a patient at the hospital.  Is this some kind of Dr Benway experiment?

We escape.

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