Saturday, September 25, 2010


Saturday 25 September 2010

Dream: I am at Ross’s new place for his birthday where yet again there is another set of work colleagues and other assorted adults as guests, all people that I do not know.  He now has a huge garden and gradually an impromptu game of football breaks out.  Initially when it is only about five of us playing I star but when everyone gets involved I suddenly find myself stranded unable to keep up with the pace.  There are two people (a dad and his son) wearing old Millwall shirts.  In theory these are my people.  As the day begins to move into night we are supposed to be heading to the local venue (a place like the Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall) to see Melt-Banana.  The more the game of football goes on though the less this seems like.  Ross is a pretty amazing footballer.

After briefly awaking far too early I eventually reawaken just before 8AM.  I was making a conscious decision to lie in and catch up on the lost sleep from this week but ultimately my body clock will never fully allow this so when it comes time to flip on the TV to BBC News I take the cue/hint.

Today the atmosphere has happily changed, improved now to a sunny vision even if it is still chilly.  It just might be a good one.

The news is boring, somewhat lacking in common sense and soon I am up, looking to get the day rolling.

Annoyingly I still have a slight headache.  I worry that this is from the movie last night but more likely it comes from an uncomfortable bed with rubbish pillows.  My headache is a delicate muscle.

The television remote to my set in the lounge is missing.  I think I last had it Tuesday night and now it is nowhere to be seen.  Beside it is so much paper rubble that it might take days to find.  I am at a loss.

Then I discover it.

Soon I find myself in my car wheeling towards Stanway and Sainsburys.  This morning quite frankly I feel awesome, amazing.  This is a world that is beginning to appeal to me more by the day.

A couple of times I pass really attractive looking ladies waiting at bus stops.  What are these poor women doing out at this time of morning?  It just looks wrong.

I’m beginning to like Sainsburys on a Saturday morning.  Without issue I get parked up and to the strains of Spiderland by Slint I find myself stepping through the front door where the security guard is giving me the skunk eye.  He can blow me.

From here I snap up the Saturday newspapers and proceed to buy nothing but caffeine based drinks.  Is this wise?  Is this an addiction?  Who cares they now have large bottles of Lipton Iced Tea and it’s on promotion!

Less impressive is how Sainsburys is already selling Christmas confectionary (chocolates).  It is September!

Eventually I pay up at a self service checkout that doesn’t seem to like me and skip home.  Indeed the sun is out in force today and it’s a beautiful existence.

I manage to get back just before 9AM and just in time for this week’s Danny Baker Radio Five show.  As an extra bonus Stephen Fry is on the show today and all bodes well.  This is a coincidental booking considering this afternoon I am reuniting with an old school friend that for years reminded me of Fry (and vice versa).

I am still thinking about Enter The Void.  There was so much that stood out in the movie and three scenes in particular are resounding in my mind: the abortion, the ejaculation and the couple having sex just as 9/11 is about to occur in the background, the “no he just didn’t” moment.  I really want somebody I know to see this so I can talk to them about it.  It was either the greatest or worst movie I have ever seen.  Currently I am leaning towards the former.

I currently have a sore throat.  Where did this come from?  The Girl at work who continuously complains of having one ailment or other?  Is it from riding in the confines of a train and tube daily?

As much as I try this morning I just can’t write, I guess I have too much on my mind.  Am I really that nervous about heading up to London today, to face old school colleagues?  When I eventually give in on writing I switch to TV I have downloaded and the Fearne Cotton Meets Beth Ditto “documentary”.  The download is really bad, eventually unwatchable but I do manage to see enough to confirm that Cotton is out of her depth in everything she does.  Ditto comes over slightly better, occasionally displaying her punk rock roots but also often resembling too much of a person now caught up in the machine of the music industry.  There will never be a pure indie punk crossover into the mainstream ever again.

Once I give up trying to watch the pixelating download I begin preparing properly for tonight’s meet up (and mini reunion) in London.  In addition to this off the back of Enter The Void I decide to head up town early and check out the IRREVERSIBLE screening at the Curzon with the Gaspar Noe introduction.

This morning I still appear to be somewhat pumped and excitable from the Enter The Void screening last night.  All in all witnessing such a thing makes me feel like an edgy motherfucker.  It is perhaps this rush which sees me slip in my bath and almost break my neck as water splashes up everywhere and nearly floods my bathroom.  In the end luckily (miraculously) I don’t even bruise.

Today I try to put a lot of effort into my showing this evening.  In full on Grosse Pointe Blank style the idea of seeing old school people after so many years half fills me with fear and dread, half fills me with a taste and desire for revenge.

Soon I realise that I do not have any of the clothes I want to be wearing so as a result I find myself speeding to my parents to pick some up.  This is not a good start.

When I arrive at Balkerne Heights the dog is watching out at the window and as I enter their apartment my parents are scrolling through/over various parking association documents in light of their recent clamping outside their front door.  There is no mention of John Stopford, Barry Hepburn or Terry Sutton for a change, just focus on the terms and conditions which do point towards the clamping being performed illegally and incorrectly.  I really hope this situation gets resolved quickly and soon.

Within minutes I grab my clothes and my visit is over as I head straight back to Bohemian Grove where I swiftly finish off my preparation to diminishing returns and eventually head off to the station.  This preparation includes putting on fresh socks for good luck, a new ritual for me that is not necessarily proving fruitful following the Millwall v Watford game last week.

Upon arrival at the station I manage to snag a dream parking spot and quickly I find myself on a 1PM train travelling up to London in high spirits.

Once on the train I check my Facebook to discover a message from Day 89 of Facebook Cull.  She is asking me nicely to take down the entry because it is scoring highly on the Google search of her name.  So it’s not only me that puts my own name into Google regularly.  She puts in her request nicely without a degree of malice/nastiness so I am all too happy to comply.  Others could/should take note.

When the train pulls into Liverpool Street the female Information Jimmy actually boasts that it has arrived five minutes early.  Shame they can’t accomplish this during the week when it matters and would make for a nice difference.

Upon arrival into Liverpool Street it would appear that the customary weekend collapse of the tube system is occurring full flow.  Luckily my various routes today are uninterrupted as I rely mainly on the Central Line and Northern Line as very quickly I find myself exiting Tottenham Court Road onto Charing Cross Road and over the tourist hurdles.

Briefly I pop into Fopp to see about getting Love Soup on DVD for Dave (him being a fan of Woody Allen and Tamsin Greig it’s a no-brainer) but sadly gone are the days of it being a steal there at £3.

From here I head to the Curzon Soho early where I grab a coffee and prepare myself for a second visceral cinematic experience in less than 24 hours.  As I do so I spot an amazing looking Japanese lady ordering at the bar.  Just what kind of effect are these movies having on me?  At this point out of the blue Mark texts me as we shuffle through some niceties.

Eventually the door opens and I step into the cinema where again people in the audience are chomping on popcorn.  Why do people eat popcorn at the weirdest movies?

Sadly Noe does not make an appearance to introduce the film.

Playing against what people told me beforehand IRREVERSIBLE turns out to be a magnificent piece of work.  It’s a fucking nasty piece of work but feels like an accomplishment all the same as pummelling me from the screen are vivid moments and images that I have not seen anywhere before.  It is pretty obvious that a situation is going to be sticky when it begins with people bursting into a club called “The Rectum”.

The film is visceral from the off as very graphically a characters meets his demise through having his head bashed in with a fire extinguisher in a squishy and surprisingly realistic manner.  And while this takes place it is amidst a pounding techno soundtrack seemingly designed to give the viewer a headache.

After the initial burst much against people’s prior comments the piece plays out very well (and surprisingly coherently).  There is definitely intelligent content within the movie that gets overshadowed by other elements.  Then comes the infamous nine minute rape scene.

It is not necessarily the most pleasant image in the world to have a near ten minute sexual assault thrown at you widescreen and literally larger than life.  The scene is nasty but dare I add that I expected it to be nastier.  Regardless it definitely fills its allotted and extended slot and ultimately I think it is the longevity of the piece that makes it uncomfortable the most.  Just what are these people going through (and I mean the actors mentally as individuals let alone the characters living out some kind of horror as empathy is supposed to be occurring).  Halfway through Le Tenia begins tooting some substance and you can’t help but react with disbelief at the absurdity of it all.

With this out of the way the movie actually matures and maintains, picking up on the party and the incidents that drove the Monica Bellucci character to fatefully find herself in the subway at the wrong time.

From a dialogue perspective impressively the film improves on a grand scale as it revisits earlier in the evening and an interesting exchange occurs between Bellucci’s ex and current boyfriends occurs on the tube that is genuinely witty and insightful.

Beyond this things begin to glaze over as the pregnancy, birth and 2001: A Space Odyssey themes play the movie out.  And then it closes with more harsh graphic visuals as Noe issues a final slap to the audience after lulling them into a false sense of security.  It is a blinding moment, one that runs the risk of causing permanent damage in the viewer.

For the second time in twenty hours I exit the Curzon dazzled.  Its an exhilarating feeling.

The ending of the film time wise perfectly syncs with the meet up at Tattershall Castle with Dave and whoever else he has roped into today.  From here I head down to Trafalgar Square where I begin to inhabit battery angst as my iPhone already complains about being low on battery.

Soon I arrive at the Thames and spot said boat cum pub.  Who fucking picked this place as a meeting spot?  For a moment I hesitate and pause from boarding but then I bite the bullet and step aboard.  It’s a truly uneasy feeling.  Honestly what kind of insane bastard created this Tattershall Castle monstrosity?  Is it really wise to combine alcohol with the risk and opportunity to fall/drop into the Thames?

Once aboard I do a few laps of the place but I just can’t see anyone?  Is there a secret section attached to this structure that I cannot find?  Am I missing something somewhere?

Eventually while beginning to queue at the bar I spot Dave who turns up with somebody called Matt from our year at school.  I barely recognise him.  He was somebody I was so so with at school so its cool.

With this initial greetings occur as all is joy and from here Dave buys us drinks with his Australian dollars as we take up a seat on the edge of the boat.  Its fine but as I look down at the Thames I almost begin to hyperventilate at the thought of dropping my iPhone into the river and losing my world.

We pause for a moment to take stock.  Without doubt this is weird.  A few minutes after the initial shock a girl from school called Jacqui turns up.  She didn’t give me the time of day at school so there is no reason to expect that she suddenly will now.  Such are the pitfalls are reuniting with old school types.

Eventually we move away from the edge of the boat and my sphincter loosens in the process.  It is at this point I notice a group of Japanese girls taking photo of one another at the table next to us.  Suddenly this place I like.

From here we continue to reacquaint ourselves as I ask Dave how it feels to be back in the UK and what he has been up to since getting back.  His is a very busy schedule.

Gradually a few other people turns up including an old university mate of his, who is coming from seeing Arsenal lose 3-2 to West Brom at home today.  That is not a good show.  This is the guy from Dave’s Facebook photos that looks like Rob Brydon, its that guy!  He’s a nice bloke and all but does tend to add “-age” to the end of every other verb as he acts straight out of some kind of lads mag.  It’s a tough sell.  Soon afterwards his girlfriend, a friendly and attractive Hungarian, arrives and its all gravy.

Before long people (the females) begin to suffer from the chill of the Thames so we head inside and downstairs of the Tattershall Castle (a castle that is actually a boat, go figure).

As I settle down and into my second drink I can’t help but notice a marked difference between Dave’s reaction to an anecdote from school (a smile and occasional laugh) compared to an anecdote from university (a veritable hysterical cheer).  Soon it dawns on me that these were too separate worlds for him and the idea of crossing these steams tonight is not necessarily the best of ideas.

Finally a fourth face from school arrives in the form of Anne-Marie.  When I see her I vaguely remember her from school but then she opens her voice (with lisp) and then it also clearly comes crashing back.  Within seconds she is berating Matt for being one of the smartest people in our year at school but so lazy and thus an underachiever with it.  Then she rips (half jokingly) into Dave and Jacqui but when it comes to me: nothing.

So is this how I am remembered by my old school colleagues?  Or rather not remembered at all.  Was (and am) I really so irrelevant?  I’ll try not to dwell on the negative and suggestion of this.

Invariably talk then becomes dominated by school as with the Facebook era of reunion she begins tearing through people in our year and in particular Dan Turner who is striking people as being some kind of weirdo with his Facebook recollections and seemingly endless supply of memories and photos from the period.  Its tough to disagree with her.

It is at around this point a lairy drunk black dude turns up along with a nasty looking fella who appears to be mute.  First impressions are bad but apparently these people are known and fine.

Eventually I get into full conversation with Anne-Marie as she shoves her story down my throat.  It turns out that she now lives in South London (Streatham or Brixton or something) and that she has a kid with an African dude who is not necessarily in the country 100% legally it sounds and thus this is the reason why she has had to pull her Facebook profile.  With this I struggle to see the advantages of being in such a situation, not least when she begins flashing photos of her family on her phone at me.  Or maybe I’m just jealous not having such an equivalent to throw back to her.  Ironically it turns out that she now works in the sales of advertising for a corporate magazine owned by the same people that own the Daily Mail.  Even she condemns this role.

Before long we are exiting the Tattershall Castle and stepping back on land much to my relief.  As we head towards Covent Garden I get into conversation with Matt who appears to have remained close to home as he is now the IT Crowd for a number of schools in the area we went to including working at our old schools in Frinton and Thorpe.  Personally I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

As we pass through Embankment station (for some reason) the black dude Martin decides to attach himself to us.  At first I can’t work the dude out but soon I warm to him in the same manner Larry David warmed to Leon Black.

From here we cross the Strand and try to get into TGI Fridays for some food but its just too much of a wait so instead we wind up waiting at Nandos.  Fucking Nandos.

As we wait for a table to come free a Wesley Willis lookalike turns up to meet with Anne-Marie.  She bigs him up to us all but I don’t see it myself.  All I see it myself, all I see is a friendly handy man (said snobbishly by me).  Then not long after his arrival she splits the joint with him.  Was Nandos too expensive?  We could go to KFC instead.

Unsurprisingly Nandos turns out to be a mistake.  Being the returning hero Dave gets head of the table and I snag a seat next him when really it should probably be for Jacqui.  On the other side is the Rob Brydon lookalike whose name has now long since escaped me (been forgotten).  This is probably to do with the fact that he keeps adding “-age” to the end of nearly every verb which, being a trait from about ten years ago, is now beginning to rub a bit thin (get a bit tired).

By now however I find myself more focused on the table of black people next to us and the pretty lady at the head of it that looks like Mutya from the Sugababes who appears to smile me at some stage which is something I proceed to spend far too much effort in repeating.

The distinct lack of occasion to proceedings gets established as the university crew soon finish their food, clear up and head off to a pub leaving us in a mini four person school reunion with the black clown providing the entertainment (the laughs).

Briefly I get into conversation with Jacqui whose existence appears to be counselling cancer victims.  I don’t really know anything about her what I do glean sounds such a joyless existence devoid of fun (such is my experience this evening).

From here this opinion is perhaps fostered and fuelled by the fact that it is soon she who causes me to give up on my benefit of doubt and come to the conclusion that these people are not necessarily for me.  Why as we near our mid thirties are we discussing who was the last to have sex and accusing those floundering (well, me) of being born again virgins.  Ouch.  Has life really been rubbed to such insignificance?

At this point I become obnoxious, ragging at any possible contentious issue.  With this I do myself no favours.

Soon we finish up and step out into Saturday night Covent Garden.  As we do so it would appear nobody knows where the pub the others have headed to is.  By this stage Martin is talking about “smashing it” which is apparently a much more positive saying/gesture than the wording would suggest.

Eventually we wind up in some shitty pub called Porterhouse.  Once inside I genuinely try with these people but there is just nothing to work with.  I try talking to Jacqui again and asking what she does for fun but as far as I can tell there is nothing.

So here I find myself living out one of my personal nightmares as soon I begin to glaze over in the face of drunken joviality.

Suddenly a couple of weird looking girls join us with a guy who has a wig and funny hairstyle underneath.  It turns out these are more Hungarians.  Bored by this I persist with Martin as we move onto making sexist comments that go nowhere.  And why should they?

Finally as it becomes apparent that I am not part of the pack and elsewhere the centre of attention is now Martin putting on the wig, I decide to make my excuses and move.

I bid Dave a fond farewell and make gestures of hoping to meet up with him again before he returns to Perth and Australia.  There will be a couple of opportunities but I am not sure if I will be able to make them.  Regardless the intentions and desire is there.  This could have been so much better.

As I leave it is at the point one of the Hungarian girls takes the opportunity to introduce herself to me.  With me having one foot out of the door she tells me that she “has never met anybody from Essex before”.  And it would appear its going to remain that way.

With this I stomp out of Covent Garden with a sense of defeat before boarding the tube at Charing Cross and heading back to Liverpool Street.

In the end I get back to Liverpool Street just before 11PM where slightly battered and burned I now feel delicate.  Unfortunately these set of circumstances are not assisted by a pair of young ladies plopping themselves in the seats opposite me with big tubs of stinky Wasabi noodles.  What cunt introduced these stores to Liverpool Street and public transport in general?

Needless to say I react badly to this gesture and invasion of my personal space/being.  On a night such as this the stench hits me hard, verging me to the point of vomit.  Pathetically I even make subtle retching noises in the hope that they will take the hint and move.  Pretty pathetic.  Then more explicitly I make a large gesture of opening the window above us on what is a fairly chilly night.  Alas none of this works.

From here the journey home is as miserable as my day.  Soon, against their chattering, the girls finish off their noodles and when the train gets to Chelmsford one of them thankfully exits leaving the other to my devices.  What a shame I am such a nice person.

Finally the train arrives back into Colchester and with it refuge a mere drive away.

When I step in naturally I cannot sleep so I flip on the TV in search of entertainment.  Unfortunately all I find is Cocktail.  What state of affairs was the world in that allowed and made this a hit movie?

With this I wind up exchanging messages on Facebook with one of the no shows from this evening.  It would appear we are both drunk.  Additionally I am tired and emotional.

Fail.

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