Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday 16 January 2011


Sunday 16 January 2011

Dream: a long night equates to a lot of dreams many of which include several familiar faces from my past including the guy I used to do Gringo Records with and some kind of reunion gig.  Its awkward and something I do not wish to experience, much like these dreams.  Elsewhere things feel relatively successful on the whole so it is not all bad and thus I am happy to plough through them in epic fashion with view to gaining some kind of experience and/or understanding.  Alas it does not happen.

Today I think I sleep forever and when I eventually brave a peak at my watch the time is only 8.20AM.  To my surprise I thought I had at least gone past 9AM.  Happily I feel somewhat more refreshed and happier than I did at this stage yesterday.

Outside it is much better than yesterday, immediately the sun is out and all promises to be perfect and brisk.  This will be a better day.

Slowly I pull myself together and before long it is 9AM and Andrew Marr with Judi Dench appearing grumpy (when not necessarily being so) in addition to Ed Milliband looking like Ray Romano and rolling his words in the process.  I pay no mind.

In a gesture of assertive action, being that the sun is out I decide to head up London to check out the DAVID SEDARIS recording at the BBC today.  When 9.30AM hits I step out and hit the A12 heading to Marks Tey where today the replacement train to London begins.  Were it the usual National Express Sunday replacement train scenario (a bus between Witham and Shenfield or catching a tube at Newbury Park) I would not have bothered.

Eventually I arrive at Marks Tey just after 9.50AM to the realisation that the next train is at 10.10AM.  Why do I feel like I spend the majority of my life waiting on trains?

While standing on the Marks Tey platform and nearing 10.10AM an announcement rings out from an automated female Information Jimmy to apologise for the late running of the 10.10AM train and that it is six minutes behind.  One minute later she sounds off again to report that the train is now running eight minutes late.  National Express East Anglia really is pushing the standards of incompetence to the limit with their service this morning (and this year in general).

Another two minutes later (now 10.12AM) the voice reports that the train is now ten minutes late.  Only a machine, an automated voice would have the balls to report such a thing.

At 10.14AM the voice returns to report that the train is now running twelve minutes late, once again insincerely apologising “for any inconvenience caused” on the outset of the announcement.  God hates me.

At 10.15AM the voice then returns to report that the train is thirteen minutes late as suddenly I am beginning to feel NXEA tugging at the strings of my patience and sanity.  Standing on this platform it is fast becoming apparent that they are lending/offering/giving me too much time on my hands to dwell (and record) such things.

At 10.17AM the delay is officially further extended to sixteen minutes as suddenly a potential NXED rears its head.  Oh, its on.  Thankfully as ever though I have overcompensated for my journey today (due to a lack of faith in National Express) and I remain just about in the game for getting to the BBC on time.

Eventually and finally the train turns up.  It arrives with people in/on it as it becomes immediately apparent that the fucker was running from Colchester after all today.  Why are the National Express timetable changes so cryptic?  Is it to confuse users/customers so that they can’t forge together a concrete complaint?  Is it to install a slight seed of doubt in their minds so that they won’t react?

Sadly once rolling the train does not run smoothly.  At 10.45AM the train just fucking stops (beaches) outside Chelmsford.  Then later just after passing Chelmsford Information Jimmy pipes up to announce (declare) that we are now running twenty two minutes late.  Being that there are only two trains running per hour today (one every thirty minutes) I almost might as well have just caught the next train.

It is at Chelmsford where things descend further and fail to improve as a woman that looks like character from The Morgana Show sits opposite me.  Now there’s the face of a woman that has never had an orgasm.  In contrast her apparent daughter looks like an ugly Jaime Winstone.  It’s actually a pretty common look in Essex.

From here finally the 10.10AM train trots into Liverpool Street at 11.27AM.  What a fucking joke.  With this I am not even through the barrier before London immediately bites me on the arse as some oldster daytripper tourist hooks my iPhone headphones on her handbag.  This jolt then causes my travelcard to get knocked out of my hand as it lands on the floor face down and I almost cannot find it.  Come on!  This ticket is worth more than this woman, why pick on me?  Amateur extras are impossible to love.

With time just about on my side I decide to get a Starbucks and my usual venti Caramel Macchiato.  While standing in the queue ahead there is a guy buying his cup of coffee with his bankcard.  Surely there must be some kind of limit on this.  What kind of cunt buys coffee with a card, putting just a couple of quid on his account in one hit.  It is so wrong.

Today Oxford Circus is out so I decide to head to the BBC via Great Portland Street.  This is a station I have never been to before so when I exit I feel slightly lost while at the same time being pretty impressed by the odd charm of the station.  Frantically I attempt to get a signal on my iPhone to work the map but for some reason in the centre of London I find myself unable to get a signal.  Surely that is not right.

Soon I manage to get bearings and begin to indulge in my surroundings.  This is London at its most pleasant, sparse and bare without too many people around to ruin it.  You could film a post apocalyptic horror film through these streets at this time.

Eventually I find BBC Broadcasting House more by fortune than design.  Outside the queue is thankfully not too long or intimidating and neither is security.  From here the line moves swiftly and as we step inside Broadcasting House and towards the metal detector where I prepare myself for the heavy-handed tactics, method and treatment of last time.  Then just as I gear up to remove my belt we get waved through.  Am I less of a security threat this year compared to 2009?  Even when the metal detector beeps as I step through they still just wave me forward.

We get dragged into the holding area cafeteria where a TV screen is showing Only Fools And Horses.  This is indeed the BBC, the organisation where you can get fired for not owning a TV licence.

Now in Rome I figure it best to buy something so I pick up a bottle of water and wait an eternity to be served just before noticing a vending machine immediately prior to being served.  Why do I do everything wrong?  Then with bottle in hand I attempt to find a wall to be invisible against until we are let into the Radio Theatre.

While I wait I begin to smell the awful scent of orange which turns out to be the weird guy stood next to me unpeeling said fruit and placing the skin on the trolley behind us.  Who the fuck brings an orange to the BBC as a snack?  The smell of orange peel truly greens me out.  Maybe it’s the smell, maybe it’s the texture.  Maybe it’s the scene at the end of The Godfather and the disgusting thing Marlon Brando did with it.  Regardless this is the type of person security should be nailing at the entrance, enforcing a customs and excise-esqe set of rules that refuses entry to anybody sneaking food stuff into the building.

Finally they begin to let us into the Radio Theatre and suddenly it begins to look like I might actually manage to get a seat towards the front.  That is until the horror and reality of an already near full theatre gripes me.  Fortunately my eventual seat towards the back doesn’t prove so bad.

Even though there is almost half an hour until recording begins DAVID SEDARIS is already out and soon offering to sign any books that people have brought along today.  The guy cannot help but be likeable.

Eventually the show gets rolling as an episode of MEET DAVID SEDARIS is recorded for posterity.  This year the show’s format feels a bit looser and dare I say somewhat more personal in execution.

The first story is a typical recount/recollection of an incident in Normandy while being caught drowning a mouse at the house where he was staying.  His description of the homicide is vivid and detailed which paints the scene perfectly for what is met by a visitor upon approaching SEDARIS for assistance.

Following is a tale from SEDARIS about his boyfriend’s family having worms.  Coming from a man that looks and sounds as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth it is hilariously and pleasantly shocking even if the content is disgusting.  It’s a sick world.

After this story, in keeping with the mucky humour he then reads a diary extract about the non-flushing turd that he had to deal with and the social angst that comes from having to repeatedly flush the chain multiple times.  It very sounds like he is experiencing what we call in the trade a “Raymond”.  We’ve all been there, we’ve done that only we haven’t described it so deliciously as SEDARIS.

With this he moves onto one of his kids stories, on this occasion regarding The Vigilant Rabbit.  This episode is as thinly veiled as Narnia as he creates a scenario that sounds very close to what has to be endured when passing through security at an airport.  Kids have learn one way or another.

From here he reads out more diary extracts that are all uncanny observations with dates spread across the ages (well, the last decade).  More times than not they’re pretty bitchy but generally also spot on in their appraisal of the lives lived around SEDARIS.

Then it sadly comes to a conclusion.  It ends with the producer asking us the audience as Radio 4 listeners whether we would be offended hearing about “public lice” on the radio at 11.30AM on a weekday morning.  Not this room.

With this we get spewed out of Broadcasting House and onto the streets of central London where the outgoing vibe appears a universally happy one.  As I head back towards Great Portland Street I receive an email from the Led Bib people offering me a promo copy of their new record off the back of my mention for them in the Diskant year end pieces.  Hot dog!

When I get back to Great Portland Street station London still feels very sedate and incredibly pleasant.  As I step out onto the platform sat on the opposite side of the tracks is an Oriental lady with dyed blonde hair carrying an instrument.  She is the most gorgeous looking lady I have seen all year.  It is very much in keeping with the theme of the day.

Soon I find myself at Liverpool Street and boarding a train back to Colchester.  Before however I am afforded the opportunity to buy this months copy of Wire magazine which features more mention of Front And Follow releases and has Deerhoof on the cover.

I wind up on a 3.02PM mongrel train that is apparently going through Colchester, although National Express East Anglia does not necessarily make this information clear.  Sunday truly is not a good day for NXEA.  From here this train proceeds to take almost thirty-five minutes to get to Ingatestone.  That is typical of the Sunday service.

On the train is a Chinese guy watching a game of Call Of Duty: Black-Ops on his laptop.  He is WATCHING a video game.  That is fucking morbid.

Compounding my misery the time is 3.45PM when the train gets to Chelmsford when realistically it wouldn’t be wrong of me to expect the train to be closing in on Colchester at this point (as opposed to being just halfway through the journey).  I was genuinely hoping to be home by 3PM today.

As ever the rule arises: when it comes to riding this route/journey you just know you are fucked when your train stops at Hatfield Peverel.  I don’t think in my now six years of commuting I have ever seen anybody get on or off the train at this poxed station.

Finally the train gets to Marks Tey at which point it becomes quite apparent that trains were always running in and out of Colchester today.  Fuck you National Express East Anglia and your timetable of lies.

From here I head straight to my parents in hope of snagging some Sunday lunch.  By now the day is long past the usual 3PM dining hour and I fear that I am pushing my luck and the goodwill of my mother.  Fortunately mum is awesome and not long after I arrive she pulls out a plate from the oven.  This is a good place to be in this best of all worlds.

In the background dad is watching the usual Sunday football on Sky with the game today being Tottenham v Manchester United.  Its not strong and eventually turns out to be a 0-0 draw.  That’s a score line that helps nobody.

With this I hang around until teatime in the hope of engaging in the Sunday evening ritual of Simpsons and food.

Eventually I head home to Sunday night and the reality of work tomorrow.  At this point of the week I regularly die spiritually.

On BBC2 tonight is the movie Battle In Seattle which is based on the riots at the 1999 WTO meeting.  It is a terrifying watch, gritty and gnarly.  I cannot decide whether it is being shown to encourage people to protest or discourage them to protest.

The end.

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