Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday 31 December 2010 – NEW YEARS EVE

Friday 31 December 2010 – NEW YEARS EVE

Again I experience another disturbed night of Christmas sleep which truly does not bode well for my performance today.  So here goes on being awake for the next twenty one hours non-stop.

I find myself in not such a hurry to get ready this morning.  It’s New Year’s Eve for fucks sake and I really should be making an effort but I just can’t be arsed.  I need to change this attitude in 2011.

From here without much effort I get to the station for the impromptu 7.04AM.  As I stroll along the platform I spot a Kym Marsh lookalike, the still pregnant Epiphany Girl and Piers.  What are we doing?

When the train arrives this morning it is noticeably more quiet than yesterday.  This truly is the lost soul loser train consisting of those without families or lives and those most afraid of losing their jobs.  This is Broken Britain.  This is the crunch.

This morning the entire journey feels as if it is performed in the dark.  It feels like it is still the middle of the night.  The middle of the night at Christmas.  Could things possibly get any worse than this?

Eventually the train pulls into Liverpool Street at 7.54AM.  Yikes, a fifty minute journey from Colchester to London.  Truly evidence that this is still possible and that the slow performance of the timetable is lazy and unnecessary.

For a second day running I spot the Heather from Eastenders lookalike on the tube platform.  I bet she had turkey at Christmas.  She stares at me today but her faces fails to register emotion or recognition.

As I step onto the Jubilee Line platform at Baker Street the time is 8.17AM and this is officially the earliest I have ever been up town for this job.  What a joke.

Once at St Johns Wood I head to Starbucks where the Christmas coffees are now a distant memory (a figment of my imagination) and in their place appears to be a price rise of 5p on my venti Caramel macchiato (now £3.45 instead of £3.40).  Today however I only get charged the old price.  There is still hope.

Walking up Grove End Road I spot a stunning lady and as I pass her coffee spurts out of my Starbucks cup in what appears to be some kind of sick but amusing ejaculation metaphor which her expression suggests she may well have clocked.

To my surprise I am not the first person into work, the operations manager beat me.  Then again he did receive a £5000 end of year Christmas bonus.  Whatever happened to sharing the wealth?  He must have a pretty sweet contract.

Today I truly resent being at work.  Being asked (forced) to come in today really feels like a callous gesture of contempt, of having my employer take the piss out of me.

Picking up proceedings the banks are soon done and out of the way (via an excruciating exchange with the boss still larging it in Edinburgh).  From here I proceed to perform some housekeeping, which more or less equates to organising the photos downloaded from my iPhone.  By this stage the angry boss has popped in and handed me a cup of coffee.  A slight suggestion of empathy and understanding.

Around mid morning the IT Guy steps in and we exchange our Christmas stories.  It doesn’t sound as if it has been a classic one from either perspective.

With the phone remaining quiet most of the morning the looming threat of the consultant is realised when he calls at 11.30AM.  It turns out that he was indeed actually planning on coming in today.  I have barely heard from him in months and he wants to come in today?  From here I become further pissed off and depressed as he is already planning a meeting for us on Tuesday in the presumption that I am in work.  After I yesterday planned my entire January workload suddenly he dumps a whole load of new work in my lap as out of the blue the auditors are apparently in on the second week of January to audit the March 2010 accounts of the existing company.  Does this mean the March 2009 audit has finally been signed off then?  Additionally the accounts for March 2010 are not even finished as I have spent the last six plus months waiting for adjustments from him.  He tells me that he now has a member of staff that is going to do a pre-audit audit.  Perhaps we should be finishing the year end statutory accounts first.  Just a thought.

Once off the phone I begin to stew.  Then suddenly I realise that I have almost forgotten to pay my parking ticket for the weekend.  Close one.

Before long the day arrives at midday and time to order some lunch.  Despite the promise of food at Racton’s later on, I proceed to comfort eat a large bowl of rigatoni.  It tastes so good.

Originally I had planned to leave now but frustratingly the angry boss is still in the building and exiting (escaping) now would be poor form.  Thankfully eventually just after 1PM he heads off wishing me a “happy new year” in the process.  Then as with yesterday I leave around 1.30PM as once more I have to bank a crossing cheque at Barclays.  This is definitely the accounting equivalent of cheating.

For a second day running I step into the bank and do the deed before heading up to Finsbury Park for an afternoon of holiday cheer.  With this I am soon changing lines at Kings Cross onto the final leg of stepping into Islington.  It isn’t long into the journey that it suddenly occurs to me that I have no idea where exactly Racton lives.  On this note it doesn’t help that for some reason his and my mobiles appear to have issues with each other.  Really this shouldn’t be as we are both on the same network but what the fuck?

Eventually upon exiting Finsbury Park tube station I give him a call to ask what his address is and what to do but typically/naturally with my short attention span the name of his street goes in one ear and out the other.  I am flawed like that.  With this in mind I then text asking him to send his address and this is where our phone network truly lets us down as the message fails to arrive.  On a minor scale, I am fucked.

Strangely undaunted by this in cavalier motion I board the W3 bus as earlier instructed.  I hate buses, especially when I don’t know where I a going on them.  From here I vainly switch my attention from looking out of the window trying to recognise places in Finsbury Park while urging Racton’s address text message to arrive.

Then suddenly and miraculously looking from the bus window I recognise the street where they live at which point his text arrives and it all comes together at once.  With this I press the stop button on the bus and bundle past the woman sat next to me and towards their homestead.

Upon arriving things are mixed, the scene is sedate as Eleanor finds herself trying to shake off a flu.  Its beginning to feel like years since I last had a cold now so I am feeling vulnerable about this.  I’m not quite sure what my secret is, maybe just feeling shitty permanently disguises things and I do not notice when nominal illness kicks in.

Ever the amazing hosts they are laying on some food this afternoon in preparation for the long evening ahead as Thom and Chris are supposedly heading to join us for pre-gig celebrations.

I hate to admit that I’m not on form right now and with this I struggle with conversation, to deliver something worth enduring.  With this we compare our Christmas experiences and being that I was the only one of us that worked Christmas Eve and has already returned to work I forge a strong case for the shittiest holiday experience.  Its almost as if I want this title, the negative prestige.

Kindly they enquire about the wellbeing of dad after his stroke the Monday before Christmas at which point I tell them he is now doing ok before telling them about our friend’s dad passing on Christmas Day.  Way to up the atmosphere Jason.

Eventually Thom turns up.  These days I don’t feel that I get much out of him, I genuinely sense he just does not like me.  This is a fact I feel gets backed up by his seeming blank of me at the Brian Posehn show last August and the non-invitation to his birthday bash this Sunday.  Not good.

At this point we tear into Mario Kart on the Wii.  By nature I’m not competitive and can’t really be arse with it.  When I eventually get my go as with most computer games I am shit at it, shit akin to Grandpa Simpson having to deal with the modern world.  In other words, shit to the degree that I humiliate myself.

Before long losing becomes boring as the games causes me to act incoherent as it combined with a little booze frazzles me.  Thankfully around this point Chris arrives as soon some kind of spicy hot pot gets served up.  This is an incredible dish, perfect for New Years Eve.  Tasty and great we soon tear through it in wicked fashion.  Then dessert is served and suddenly a great New Years Eve is occurring right in front of my face.

By this point we are beginning to get comfy hanging around the apartment so necessity dictates that we best get a move on before we arrive at snooze stage and lose the ability to leave home.  For this we pepper proceedings with alcohol in the hope of discovering some kind of reckless abandon.

Finally we leave the flat carrying a bottle of flat Diet Coke laced with copious amounts of Sailor Jerry to complete the sweet sweet taste.  With this as soon as we board a bus to Finsbury Park tube station we proceed taking turns to sip from the thing.  From the off things promise to be messy, that’s the way we roll.

When we eventually get to the station and board a train we can’t even be bothered to change onto an easier line to get to Hammersmith, instead choosing to slump in a row of four seats continuing to swig at the sick concoction.

The view of the journey is somewhat enhanced by the vision of the attractive Eastern European lady sat opposite us coupled with a really goofy looking guy.  Are they really together?  How does that happen?  Do we look sexy dribbling what appears to be Diet Coke down our tops?  There is hope for 2011.

At this point Thom decides to take a power nap and listen to the latest episode of This American Life.  That is not punk rock.  In contrast I take photos and videos of our journey.  Does this really need to be documented?  Regardless it is nice to again be the people being frowned upon as opposed to the people doing the frowning.  None of us are going to come out of this looking good.

By the time we finally get to Hammersmith Thom has rejoined proceedings.  And upon arrival at our destination I already feel exhausted.  From here we exit the station and walk through the shopping centre that indeed resembles something from a George Romero movie.  Things already look messy.  At this point I take the opportunity to take another Pro Plus pill which seemingly serves to confuse Chris as he wonders just what it is I am swallowing.  He is certainly swallowing my shit.

Unsurprisingly Hammersmith is incredibly busy.  This is my very first New Years Eve out in London in public.  And I guess this is the carnage I have been given to expect.

After the others have a quick stop off at the McDonalds toilet we finally dump the Diet Coke bottle and head towards the Hammersmith Apollo where wonder just how heavy security is going to be and how long the queue for the cloakroom will be.

Just before we enter the Hammersmith Apollo I pop another Pro Plus in fear that security will take the rest from me upon entry.  In the end my paranoia proves unfounded as we don’t even get checked on the way in as Racton and Chris immediately go running for the toilets.

By this stage FACTORY FLOOR have all but done their bit and when we get in surprisingly easy (almost swanning in) we set about acquiring more drinks before resigning ourselves to the reality/necessity of having to enter the hall for the evening.

Tonight I am in my big coat and I want out of it so for the first time in my life I am looking towards the cloakroom.  Unfortunately and annoyingly the queues are long and slow moving just as in the background THE POP GROUP are stepping onstage.

In the end the group decision is to ditch the cloakroom as we head straight towards the front for THE POP GROUP.  It’s a crazy thing to see.  I swear the singer Mark Stewart now looks like darts legend Bobby George but thankfully the music that they produce is a pure groove.  Against expectations suddenly this night is winning.

It goes without saying that this is better than I was expecting (or rather told to be expecting).  In addition to seemingly having a darts player on vocals, THE POP GROUP also have a guitarist wearing what may or may not be a beige flasher mac which pretty much runs with the vibe of the act as to my surprise the band pulsates and generates a bouncing grind.  At the height of our drunkenness we dance around like loons ruining everyone else’s New Year’s Eve.  With this we become the dicks of the evening in the most passive fashion, best to get it out of our system early.  It’s easy and obvious why this band got back together.

From here things proceed to get even better as the ratty singer delights in wrecking his mic stand while said guitarist randomly switches to playing clarinet.  They do their famous song “We Are All Prostitutes” and that is enough.

Before their set comes to a conclusion we head (or rather some of us are dragged) to the bar for more drinks.  In my opinion it is a distinct display of false appreciation for THE POP GROUP.  And by this point I have had my fill and do not really need any more booze.

Eventually we step back inside to grab a sweet spot for SHELLAC.  With this we go cavalier and get surprisingly close to the stage.  Still saddled with my coat this feels like the beginning of my undoing.

Unsurprisingly when SHELLAC take to the stage immediately things become heavy on all levels causing the audience to wave a step backwards as the worst new years eve revellers take control.  With this they go apeshit even though the band is opening with “Paco”, a slow pace setting organ grind.  Then proceedings royally explode as “Copper” demolishes before they maintain the thunder blows with “Canada”.  This is not necessarily a crowd pleasing set.

By this point the crowd is beginning to get the better of me, not least the fucking cunt that is stood behind me continuously prodding me in the back.  More than once I turn around and kindly request that she stop shoving but it always appears to fall on deaf ears as the dolled up munter gestures “I can’t help it”.  Yes she fucking can.  Later I notice the shoves are more likely coming from her boyfriend who is clinging from behind like an arse rapist.  These people.

Meanwhile onstage SHELLAC continue with a fair amount of new material which they declare is from an upcoming record entitled “Dude, Incredible”, a term that feels very apt to these proceedings and this audience.  Tracks such as “Compliant” only serve to pod this evening while a song like “A Minute” is all about the build and too little about the pay off.

Occasionally songs such as “Steady As She Goes” and “Killers” offer to serve up a shot in the arm but material such as “End Of Radio” is so painfully anti-enjoyment.  Bring back “Wingwalker”!  As a result their set deflates to a conclusion with the people behind continuing to ruin the experience for me.  Its not entirely the fault of SHELLAC.

From here we head to the bar for drinks (my round).  By now my pissed enthusiasm for proceedings has long since worn off and there is still some way to go with the evening.

With drinks in hand we head back into the venue just as I spot the girl that was shoving me in the back through the SHELLAC set.  As we pass I call her a “fucking cunt”.  It fits, she’s deserves it.

A weird thing happens as we take our spot for SONIC YOUTH as somehow we manage to lose everybody in our group meaning that it ends as just Racton and I looking around for everyone (not as I partly suspect by this stage we have had our fill of the other).

Then suddenly it perversely all comes together as Chris then Thom rejoin us from different angles.  It’s a New Year miracle.  By now the hour is fast arriving at midnight and just as the new year strikes SONIC YOUTH step out onstage and begin counting down before some explosions hit at the vital moment and the band launch into “Brother James”.  Here come the greatest hits!

“Brother James” sounds amazing being jarring and terrifying in a most effective manner.  This is it, the is the dream set we always knew they were capable of and could deliver.  Then they play “No Way” from their last album.  Really?

From here it all goes wrong.  The set never really happens.  Instead SONIC YOUTH take an event that should be special and just proceed to plough through The Eternal and phone in their appearance.  It’s a decent enough record and all but come on, this is a band with so much more to offer the world/occasion.

Sacred Trickster” remains a good song, if not devastating, but it just lacks oomph.  Much like most of the tracks performed tonight.  Briefly excitement is hinted as “Hey Joni” and later “Schizophrenia” (introduced/announced as “Sister”) gets wheeled out but it is just not enough.

Finally the set staggers to a close with a whimper and the pairing of “What We Know” (or “Steve Albini’s Panties” according to Thurston Moore) and “Massage The History” and wonder from us why the audience is not booing.

When SONIC YOUTH return for an encore our little group feels resoundingly indifferent to the prospect.  Indeed by this stage Thom has already gone having fucked off to some media part in Kentish Town too.

In the style of a prick tease they do “The Sprawl” before ending two songs later with “Kool Thing”, now their hit song from Guitar Hero 3.  Storming through Kim takes centre stage mugging for the audience.  At best it’s only an OK take on the song.  And then it is done.  We are officially in 2011 and it doesn’t exactly taste good.

Soon we find ourselves stood outside the Hammersmith Apollo with all the other suckers.  From here we cut our losses looking to put the night out of its misery with the hope of swift return to Finsbury Park.

Unfortunately our misery compounds as early into the journey some posh boys sit near us.  While we are beaten and defeated by the occasion in contrast they are high on life.  And with that the happiest one begins talking to us.  Once upon a time I would have snapped back with a threat.  Tonight however they are correct in viewing me as a chump.

Not before time we get back to Finsbury Park via a journey that feels dragged/drawn out and excessive, slow and arduous.  By this stage we are barely speaking.  Things however pick up once we reach our destination.

Soon after exiting the station a black girl wearing a t-shirt with the word “awesome” on it walks past prompting Chris to comment “your shirt is awesome” receiving a quick “you are going to heaven” in response.  So if nothing else was gained this evening…..

As we walk back to Racton’s while passing The World’s End pub someone grabs me and randomly it is Iain from Baker Street.  This is strangest coincidence, not least with this not being his neck of the woods.  As ever it is great to see him as we exchange New Year positive messages while snapping at our former acquaintances from Baker Street.

Part of the reason morale has lifted by this point is the promise of food and with that we wind up in Black Sea Kebabs where I order the dirtiest kebab I can find.  From here we sit at the back of the shop continuing to attempt to pick up the pieces.  At least the food helps fuel proceedings.

While sit talking indie shit across the road at K1 some real NYE shit kicks off as schooled/veteran clubbers choose to turn on each other.  There are always people worse off than you.

By the time we exit Black Sea Kebabs Iain has caught up and as I carry what remains of my chips and rolled napkin he mistakes this for a huge joint.  Sometimes my reputation just does not live up to reality.

Finally we arrive back at Racton’s place where Eleanor is still up and ready to laugh at us.  With no expense she probably had a better night.  And at this stage the hour is ridiculous so we waste no time in nailing ourselves to sleep.  There is another gig at midday tomorrow.


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