Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Wednesday 12 May 2010

When I awaken this morning it feels unfamiliar.  I think I actually scored a decent night’s sleep, not that I can remember any of it.

After last night’s late night this morning is my first opportunity to see TV coverage of David Cameron as prime minister.  It’s as depressing as I had imagined, all style and no substance.  This is a man seemingly with an evil glint in his eye similar to an SS guard at a camp just doing his job.

This morning is again chilly to the point that there is a thin film of frost on my car windscreen.  This comes as a surprise and a nuisance, one that briefly holds me up as I struggle to head off to the station.  Later as I near the station I get cut up by a transit from a company called S&M Contractors.  Are they taking the piss by naming themselves that?

When I am finally waiting on the platform semi freezing I spot one of the Kym Marsh lookalikes for the first time in weeks.  Where have they been?  Then once on the train things warm up as the Paul Sturrock Gang chat nearby.

At Chelmsford Square Hair Man decides to sit opposite me and I pray that he does not decide to head butt me.  By the time we reach Shenfield it occurs to me that he reminds me a bit of Metal Dan from school.  Its not a good look.

Nearing London we frustratingly beach at Maryland.  Despite this the train still pulls into Liverpool Street before 8AM and as I pass Bellalike on the train side of the barriers for the first time upon reaching the tube platform there is already a tube awaiting me on which I am able to grab a seat.  Things are good on the tubes these days.

From here the ride across town to work is a pretty smooth one and when I finally get to the restaurant I am first in with alarm duties.  As I treat myself to an orange juice from the bar the posh boss comes in and asks me if I am feeling better after yesterday.  Never felt better.

Once upstairs I assume my perch, taking my seat in the hope that nobody went on my computer yesterday.  My broken chair feels different, wonky and facing a different direction.  Somebody sat here.

Eventually the Filipino comes in and she is nice, asking me how I am feeling.  It turns out that yesterday was a boring and quiet day and that I missing nothing with my absence.  Also it should be noted that the consultant did not come in.

Five minutes late The Girl trots in and suddenly her timekeeping begins to feel like an issue to me again.  We exchange laboured niceties and when she asks me if I am feeling better and respond “yeah a bit” as I spot/clock her rolling her eyes at the response.  That’s not very endearing.

Against what people think honestly I am no longer in a strop today but I do decide that things need to be reined in a bit and as a result I am aloof to proceedings.

This morning I learn that Frank Sidebottom is sadly suffering from cancer.  That is now two in two days.  Things are trending downwards.

With this mindset I have a happily productive day, pulling away from my misdirection by the consultant and concentrating on pulling things together on the new company’s accounts.  All in all it’s a much better thing to be doing at this time.

Soon midday arrives and with it lunch.  I throw caution to the wind and have a penne with chicken chock full of carbohydrate goodness.

Into the afternoon things begin to pick up as I even manage an overt laugh brought on by Scott Mills on the radio.  Things are trending upwards.

Eventually the day comes to a close happy with full knowledge that tomorrow is likely to be a tough day.  From here I head straight down to Waterloo and the Southbank Centre for tonight’s JOANNA NEWSOM show.

As I arrive on the banks of the Thames there is still no word from anybody about their arrival and after I collect my ticket (which comes with an AAA pass) I go off in search of coffee for dinner.

I end up on a truly aimless wander.  Initially I head back to the Starbucks at Waterloo station but when I arrive there the queue is ridiculous, almost out the door.  Slightly discouraged I return to the main part of the station where I stand and wait at a Caffé Nero kiosk until I come to the conclusion that I have turned invisible to these people.  Is it ‘cos I is white?

From here I continue my wander and get lost in the shadow of the wheel before finally heading back to the Royal Festival Hall STILL not having heard from anybody.  As I trudge towards the venue I notice the Udderbelly temporary venue is now up.  It looks like a terrifying purple Disneyland sculpture/attraction.

In the end I wind up getting an expensive but poor tasting cup of hot chocolate in the Queen Elizabeth Hall as it becomes more and more apparent that nobody is coming to meet me this evening.

Eventually I enter the Royal Festival Hall and take my seat.  Tonight support comes from ROY HARPER, a strong singer songwriter from a different era with an apparent huge legacy nothing of which I know about.  For being just a man with an acoustic guitar playing in such a barn to a large room of people he gets a remarkably booming sound.  Unfortunately the content of the songs sound less impressive, dated and not really knowing, lacking a hook or any real humour it would seem.  Not to compare them too closely but our generation has people now such as Will Oldham and not a man that looks like a smartly dressed Santa.

Ultimately there just feels too much gratitude coming from HARPER, like he knows he is out of place being here, as do the smart people in the audience.  In the end he finishes his set with demure of a person that appears bemused by his surroundings.

Behind the stage this evening the choir circle has been opened up to punters and at various points throughout the set a red light flashes as some annoying person from the back takes photos.  Does he even realise what he is doing?  What a tool.

ROY HARPER ends his set to rapturous applause although to me it just feels like a stunted (and stunting) throwback at a time when our generation needs significantly more.  In a way you sense he realises himself that he is getting away with murder being here tonight.

As I sit waiting for JOANNA NEWSOM to begin her set my ticket source finally arrives with her boss/partner in hand/tow.  By this point I really wasn’t expecting to see her at all this evening.  And there appears to be trouble in paradise as I find myself privy to some kind of drama/domestic.  Having just hung out with myself on my own for the past four hours, was it really too much to be hoping for some decent human contact?  Is this an unreasonable request?

Away from the drama eventually JOANNA NEWSOM takes to the stage offering some significant distraction away from the tension.

These days JOANNA NEWSOM is a bigger deal than ever, more than anyone rational would have dared imagine she would be.  With her she has a full band to accompany her quirkiness.  For years now I have railed against her acceptance by the alt rock community but now like a complete hypocrite here I am.  I still think the audience is on the whole made up of posers and people up their own arses but I’ll digress.  However unfortunately this is a point that gets reiterated by the annoying Yank behind us talking his way through proceedings.  Does he really any interest in being here other than to be seen?

The set appears most derived from her latest record making it new song happy/heavy (not hard considering it is a triple album).  It is today however I have clocked that I don’t really like Have One On Me very much.  Yesterday when Mark made bitter comment that “I like Kate Bush” it kind of put it all into perspective for me.

Eventually NEWSOM does “The Book Of Right On” which fills the room being the one track of hers I can sincerely say I love.  In this setting it sounds so fitting to its environment (of hypocrisy).

Later while she tunes her harp some kind of Q&A session with the crowd ensues but this ain’t Shellac.

From here the rest of the set plays out unspectacularly and eventually I begin to yawn (hidden for politeness).  When the set finally ends it arrives with a sense of relief.

As the others dust off their AAA passes and get ready to head backstage to congratulate all involved, I sought my escape back to Liverpool Street via Waterloo.

In the end I get a comfortable but late train home meaning I’ll be feeling this in the morning.

These things.

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