Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday 14 January 2011

Friday 14 January 2011

It is a true relief to be bringing this week to an end.  The Christmas hangover persists and remains.

Swiftly I go through the motions: waking up, putting my contacts in, splashing some water on my face, getting dressed, eating two yoghurts while I feebly attempt to spark some life back into my ailing Maxtor external drive.  Spot the odd one out.

Beyond this I finish up by brushing my teeth and soon I am heading out the building and getting in my car to drive to the train station.

Today all is relatively routine as I board the 6.57AM and get my seat where we eventually arrive into Liverpool Street late thanks to National Express East Anglia.  From here I soon find myself on a tube wheeling across town to St Johns Wood.

Once in the office it is another day that sees the auditors royally on my arse while the bosses begin leaning on me for monthly figures.  All in all it’s a tough day approached with an irritable and shitty attitude.  I truly try to be a good guy and cooperate but you can only be so accommodating and I am just being leaned on with too many requests to deliver at the same time.

Things then get worse as the consultant trots in and immediately makes smart comment in the form of “don’t you have a smile for me this morning?”  Thankfully just over an hour late he has to shoot off, seemingly when one of his preferred clients needs him.  After he has gone we all exchange quizzical looks wondering “what did he just actually do?”

Before long we arrive at lunchtime.  It’s the same old same old.

In the afternoon a long session of clockwatching begins as I hope (and pray) that the auditors do not hold me up and keep me late.  To my relief it doesn’t occur and when 5PM eventually arrives I am able to leave.

The real drama of the afternoon however occurs as clouds form above us and finally give way and begin raining heavily.  Before long the ceiling and roof begins making creaking sounds.  Then depressingly and predictably rain begins to seep through as the ceiling begins to leak on The Girl’s side of the room.  With this we immediately jump into action, first turning off the lights in fear of being electrocuted as it is the light fitting through which the water is dripping.  From here we begin scrambling around for covers to place over the desks and computers and for containers to catch as much of the water as possible.  It is pathetic, it is a joke.  And I hate to admit how I am the person to demonstrate least organisation and common sense in dealing with the flood.  My bad.

With the rain continuing to pummel outside things worsen as the light fitting begins to droop it becomes inevitable that it is about to fall.  When it finally drops it does so in slow motion before stopping and dangling as water drips around it.  All in all it takes the piss and fucking hacks me off.  Why has this situation never been properly dealt with?

Eventually the bosses emerge from their meeting and wonder why we are sitting in the dark.  Then they see dangling strip light.  With this they finally call somebody out to deal with it this weekend.  From here with nothing to do and time nearing 5PM we finish of covering up the office and head home to the weekend.  Except….

Tonight Racton and I are heading to Café Oto to see CHARLES GAYLE perform.  As usual we arrange to meet at Highbury & Islington and being Friday I get out earliest so wanting away from my workplace I tell Racton that I will wait in the Starbucks for him.

Coffee shop culture remains somewhat alien to me.  All these people with their laptops covered in stickers and personalised gestures looking like they are producing pieces of work that are significant to the human race when really they are more likely using the free wi-fi to bid on shit on eBay.

That aside things begin well as I order my trademark venti Caramel Macchiato and they only charge me for a tall.  Then as I just about snag a seat in the window looking out at McDonalds and Upper Street I get a good, extended view on Friday night in North London.  This pretty much covers the Islington experience.

Eventually Racton arrives just as the scene begins to get boring and laboured as I come to the end of my WTF podcast.  Within seconds of his arrival I am soon telling him about the incident in our office with the rain, the roof and the light fitting to which he offers a dry common sense suggestion “isn’t that dangerous and illegal?”

From here we catch a bus that takes us straight to Dalston.  Boarding proves almost something of a headache as the driver verges on disputing the validity of my travelcard.  I guess my response and explanation of “it’s a big one” doesn’t really help but why is he getting sniffy with at this time?  I am hated.  Once through the scrutiny I step upstairs of the bus looking for Racton.  We sit separate for the journey, I guess its poor form to be seen with an apparent fare dodger.

Upon getting to Dalston we mull over our eating options as we head up Dalston Kingsland in search of treats.  Everywhere appears to be ethnic and comes with a snarl that does not necessarily serve to make it welcoming or enticing.  Then we spot the crap mirage that is Nandos.  This feels maverick.  Then despite an abundance of screaming kids with single mums making noise in the background we appear to score as the waitress seems to take something of a shine to my friend and she decides to royally look after us.  This is living.  Then after the chicken we even decide to go for pudding.  I wonder what the poor people are doing.

Tonight Racton and I put on our usual Statler & Waldorf with comedy complaining as we get external gripes off our chests.  Why is it that everyone is an idiot except for us?

Eventually we head down to Café Oto.  Tonight the place is very busy as so many people come out for CHARLES GAYLE.  I have to say that I am very excited.  There are rumours going around that he is late arriving because he is busking elsewhere in London.  Then James (the soundman and former Limn member) points him out in the backstage area.  There he is.  Or so I think as initially I mistake GAYLE’s drummer for himself.

Finally the CHARLES GAYLE TRIO steps out onstage and hops into the first of two sets for the evening.  The trio is a definite set of individuals that each commands their own space, which initially offers little in the way of cohesion.

The drummer Michael Thompson sports a look akin to Uncle Remus while Christopher Dean Sullivan on the stand-up bass accompanies his playing with strange strokes of ethnic singing.  As the guy’s portion of the performance continues the other two members of the trio (including GAYLE) do not necessarily look amused as his bit gets dragged out.

Naturally it is CHARLES GAYLE that takes centre stage as he doesn’t so much wail but caress proceedings.  His playing style is majestic, angular and with a staunch sense of spontaneity.  At times the band often does not necessarily appear as if it is all on the same page but it is exhilarating nonetheless.

Tonight they plough through two sets of disjointed noise which sees GAYLE switching between saxophone and piano.  Meanwhile his other two players find their own space to grace proceedings, which achieves varying degrees of success and sinks slightly when the bass player Sullivan outstays his welcome with his vocal stylings which appears to prompt the greatest expression of Thompson who looks as if he just wants to get on with the job.

Very quickly both sets tear by as the deceive strums bounce of the walls in ricochet projection as seldom is any groove or rhythm attained as the band instead brings to the plate a divisive sound that tests the regions of patience and décor.  As an audience member, to be treated in such way feels like a mental test of strength with an air of feat and accomplishment attached to digestion.  Most people I know would hate the experience but I love seeing a master at craft even if it requires indulging him.

Towards the end GAYLE finds himself sat at the piano seemingly screaming in tongues between key licks.  It’s a crazy outing, exciting as the performance feels distinctly on the edge of collapse and corruption.  The seeming insanity is highly appreciated as it borders on other worldly.  This was a dimension to proceedings that I was not expecting from the evening.

By this point the time has long passed 11PM and I find myself beginning to get twitchy about getting home.  With GAYLE still flying at the piano seemingly with no end in sight I eventually have to make moves.  As I squeeze through people, through the rammed Café Oto I rub past a table on the way and send its glass content flying.  It’s a smashing exit.

When I get to the Dalston bus stop it is not exactly clear as to when the next bus will be.  This is unnerving as this is not a time or place I want to be.

Several minutes later after a few heinous visions at the stop finally a bus arrives to whisk me down to Liverpool Street via Shoreditch, Bishopsgate and all other good things East London.  This is not a journey ever do with ease.

Buses are not for me.  These days when you sit down you can see a monitor that flickers between four or five CCTV cameras spread around the bus.  I don’t know what’s worth: the implied fear from the necessity of these cameras or seeing myself on TV.  In this world, with my mentality and demeanour, it is the latter.

By the time I get back to Liverpool Street it is really fucking late.  Originally I had been hoping to get the final fast train (Norwich train) at 11.30PM but instead I wind up on the 12.18AM.

Now into a new day this is what Robin Ince once described as a “happy rutter train” as it quickly fills with pissed up young people.  With this I just cuddle up to a window, increase the volume on my iPhone and attempt to be invisible while people around younger than me eat dirty burgers and talk to strangers in a vain final attempt to get chat up.

Eventually I get some twats sat around me, a lad with two girls.  He is utterly wankered and trying to be talked down by his lady friend while the tatty girl sat next to me talks to the ‘roid heads sat across the aisle.

With this I attempt to drift off into my own closet land but the lad begins stomping on the floor to emphasise his point.  It’s annoying; not least as with each stomp his foot nears mine and my Linkin Park trainers!  Eventually it gets to close and I kick his foot back away.  Naturally this is not received well but I sense in his state the lad (the kid) sees three of me, which is a pretty hefty and ugly sight.  Pained his lady friend gives an apologetic expression while not necessarily holding any disdain for the original action.  Then it all happens again and the lad begins to get tetchy.  Join the fucking club.

Thankfully they get off at Shenfield.

From here the remainder of the journey is noisy but without the threat of having my toes stamped on.

When I get home the hour is arriving at 1.30AM.  The lengths I go to for jazz.

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