copenhagen and a suggestive toilet

once again, laurence has stolen my thunder (like he did with budapest) and blogged my holiday before me. it's not fair this time 'cause it was my holiday, not his, but i'll summarise as best i can (without all his short sentances). if you read mine, then read his, you might see something like the truth.

from work on wednesday, i tracked to the train station to find that because of the 'wrong kind of heat', half the trains to london were cancelled and there was a speed restriction. but the journey down wasn't too bad, despite the best efforts of my mp3 player to destroy my mind my playing the same songs over again and getting stuck all the time. so i got to the foundry in shoreditch, and met the gang - the girls girls girls and the loveable rogue sam. slept well at ed and jez's house, and got to stanstead well before check-in opened. i've never flown on my own before, and it really wasn't very interesting. there was no one to tell me not to play on the arcade games, only now there aren't any games worth playing. growing up for all the wrong reasons.

copenhagen airport was wierd - you come out into the departure lounge and there's no signs for the exit, just a whole bunch more shops. but there were l and j to meet me from the plane. i blurted all the thoughts i'd had on the plane straight out at them in excitement and then went to the cash point to get out 500 kroner (50 quid). first things first, we go to the cafe for a beer and some nachos, and start contemplating what we were going to do with the time we had. i now have a list with lots of ticks on it. this is the story of that list.

we went the shop and i was introduced to the recycling machines they have - you get a fiver back from a crate of cheap, drinkable beer, bring the cost down to about 15p a bottle (or so i was reliably informed). and they have so many flavours of carlsberg over there.

it's a shame emil wasn't around, but then i got his bed so that worked out alright. i really enjoyed playing his bass, with a life-size hitler head on the headstock. i enjoyed lar's guitar too, very playful and cute. and i enjoyed lars himself, julie's cousin. a very freindly, jolly lad, but who wouldn't admit to socialism (i tried to play the 'we're all socialists now' card but he wasn't having it; and who would buy battery eggs anyway?), as an avowed capitalist (i didn't play the 'free market capitalists are either misinformed or evil' card; sometimes it's better to just get on with people). we disagreed early on about the german cannibal case, and my disgust at his conviction, and after i pointed out lars' inconsistencies, he admitted it could be okay to kill people, but eating them should be illegal. l and i went to the lakes with some beers and talked about stuff. who knows what mystical secrets we might have uncovered in forgotten conversation?

the next day, while julie was at work, l walked me around the city and made my feet grow blisters (my fault for poor shoe choice - i went for light shoes because of the heat, not heavy shoes good for trekking). so pretty in the sunlight; plus an excellent exhibition of steve bloom's too-good animal photos. then we picked up julie and went for buffet opposite an inuit museum/shop that inexplicably had 'star wars' written over one window, ressurecting the 'have you seen the new star wars transformers' conversation; on the way back home a pro-isreal demo was being started up, and a solitary woman with 'what about gaza?' on a placard being moved away by the police. the hunger strikers looked on. what'll it take to make those guys eat? what are they actually watiting for?

we rented a boat and rowed about the canal, which was fun and futile. we kept having to move out of the way for massive tourist boats, nearly ran over some ducks, and drank the obligatory bottles of beer. l was excited about spotting a jellyfish and spent the rest of my time there looking for them. we discussed whether or not jellyfish had central nervous systems, and whether or not that made it okay to eat them. always thinking, you see. i probably wouldn't. went home, picked up more beer and lars and went out to cristania for a kebab and sight seeing. we went and stole a bunch of things from a skip, including a toy truck for david, the little boy next door who's always crying.

on saturday, julie gave the truck to david's mum. "thanks! where did you get it?" was the obvious response.

so we went swimming at the beach that wasn't there two years ago, virtually in the shadow of the wind farm. i got ice cream - chocolate and vanilla. always gotta go with one scoop of vanilla. i didn't have any swimming trunks so i went in my boxer shorts. did anyone notice? did anyone care? did i care? still, weeing in the sea is more difficult than i remember, a real physical effort.

we needed pizza for dinner and since the local ('best value food in town') was on holiday, we went to the one everyone down the canal was eating. at five pounds a pizza, restaurant quality, it refutes the blanket claim that life is more expensive in scandinavia. a take-out pizza of that size in britain would be more expensive and shit. we're suckers.

then we played the regicider's board game, and julie's dread pirate board game (a fun one, but really needs a better combat mechanic than just 'roll a die'). got exicted and tanked and went out into the night. the place we went to had classic rock music upstairs (she left her mclusky at home, and i didn't stick around to see if she played adam and the ants) and classic dance/party downstairs. at some point, we figured we'd better start dancing, and then they played depeche mode's 'it's no good' and i went sick, but that was the only good song they played. i found i can only dance properly to music that i really like; it's not a case of letting go, i can't force myself to have a good time. julie got up and danced for a bit, but the early nights had taken their toll and she collapsed in a heap in the corner. we got falafel kebabs (except l who got more pizza) for the walk home, got in about 3 or 4.

the next day we cylced out again, despite my nasty saddle sores, this time to the botanical gardens. they were fabulous, especially the mysterious exoctic plants room, made even more bizarre by the juxtaposition of plants that would look strange anywhere but in different ways next to each other. it was all very 'forbidden planet'. then we ambled over to the art museum, where there was an invisble maze, that wasn't as mind destroying as it could have been. if you'd been left in the middle of the room, then your headset switched on, and the jolt so bad you physically couldn't walk through the walls, nor take off your headset, and you could see the door if only you could figure out how to get there.. but instead it was just an empty room with some buzzing headsets, and no exit except the door you came in, which was a shame. we watched a very good jazz trio for a bit and then returned to the gardens to find j.
we walked around a bit more, and sat down on a bench. and that's when the real adventure started. i sat on the woodchip path to ease my aching arse, and noticed a mobile phone under the bench. it had two missed calls, and fairly recently, so someone had obviously noticed it's lack of presence. the adventure was, in the end, a short lived affair, the owner met us an half an hour later in a prominent square. but imagine the fun we could have had! a treasure trail all over the city.. mysterious meetings with strangers, notes pushed across coffee tables.. and of course, ending up where you started from. dan brown would have a field day. in fact, that phone probably had dan brown's phone number in - it's the kind of unlikely thing that always happens with us and dan. i got coffee and bagel and the others got smoothies to celebrate a good deed, as i explained 'world of lifecraft'. it was the second time in not very long that i'd been sold a bagel cooked in a panini cooker. the first one was virtually fried but this one lovely and crisp. it's different, and too early to say if it's as good. it's not as good a way of cooking a bagel in terms of the original method, but you can't judge it on those terms, eh?

we cycled out to the mermaid. swarmed by people, staring out at the only patch of clear sea in view, all the people only adding to her worries. tragic beauty, the tourists unaware of their own role in the sculpture.

and we cycled back to christania for tea at the veggie cafe there. i wish i could see it in the winter, everyone huddled inside having a right jolly time. mmm.

julie went to bed early for work and left l and i to watch ghost in the shell 2 (good as/better than the original) and memento (i wanted to watch it forwards, but we couldn't remember it well enough. next time; it's still great though)

waking up around 12, it suddenly occurred to me, if life was a day, what time would you get up? eh? 24? get up! it's a beautiful day! and it's your last day on earth.

we watched youtube all afternoon. it was terrible, but at least it had grant morrison ranting that 'it works' like an evil hypnotist. i will not go into his theories now - or rather, his distillation of other people's theories (plus his alien abduction story) - you can just watch it.

when j got back from work, we went out for expensive hot chocolate (i mocha'ed mine up good) and bought an espresso cup for mum. went for wholesome curry (no naan on the menu, but the chapati was quite naan like anyway, like some misclassified missing link). again, julie went to bed, and the lads stayed up watching films; lars was still up, so we trawled through the knowing mess of 'not another teen movie', which, conversely, is just another teen movie, and when he went to bed we de-toxed on fight club. i'm so riled now. i could do anything, if only i had someone to tell me what to do.

got back to britain before midday, and met dan for lunch, presenting him with his obligatory toblerone.

so thank you very much everybody for that top class holiday ness. it was just what i needed and it makes a smile a little just to think of it.

comedy is best when it's true; this made me laugh because it's the situation i find myself in every day: everything made in sweatshops.
and yes, it's the onion, but i liked this one more than usual.
what i said isn't quite true; palin, in the otherwise useless commentry to 'ripping yarns' with terry jones, explains how most of the jokes are based around taking a cliche, and either exagerating it or subverting it. thus some things are funny because they're not true.

special bonus round!

do you see what i see?


panic attack at sainsburys

well, no. some anxiety in the 8th day organic health food shop.
it's this trans-fatty acids thing. they put signs up everywhere, big things advising that certain products (sosmix!) contain the EVIL trans-fatty acids while others (organic sosmix!) don't. i got terrified. even my margarine has it in. it's not worth eating.

here's an interesting thing. there's this new film - adaptation. a review on imdb says "Beowulf & Grendel owes as much to John Gardner's Grendel as it does to the Beowulf epic". of course, gardner can't take any credit, since he was making something entirely out of a copyright free story. but then i just read moore and cambell's 'from hell' - good but maybe too detailed, with the necessary plot somersaults to fit in with established fact (which kind of reminded me of 'shadows of the empire'). but somehow, a film that bore no relation to that book was made with credit to the authors, to the effect that when i had it out at work, people said 'wasn't that that a terrible film?'. moore was doing a similar job to gardner; both were taking public domain material and putting their own slant on it. so why does 'from hell: the movie', that bears no relation to the book, credit moore and cambell, while 'beowulf and grendal', which alledgedly takes much from gardner, not credit him despite being based on/inspired by his recreation of the grendal myth? it's not like the batman films, which although they may draw from one author's work on batman or another, all batman owned by dc.


a bunch of new jokes

did you hear about the french woman who got pregagant off fucking a cow?
she gave bouef!

what d'you call an alternate history biopic of judy garland, where she lived as an unknown mechanic?
a part is worn!

did you hear about the web surfer, who wrinkled his brow when he couldn't find a webpage?
he had a furrow fore!

elvis was throwing a tantrum backstage; he wouldn't appear unless they changed the billing to include his middle name. "ok, ok," said colonel tom parker, "keep your aaron!"

why do they have electrical resistors in the tate?
because ohm is where the art is!

why did the juvenile delinquent with a lisp not know white from wong? because i couldn't make it work.



i seem to have got myself in a bit of an emotional pickle.

i'd lent marion there a cd, back when we talked. a release of m.j.hibbet and the validators complete with hand written note pad paper thanking me for my purchase, 'this is not a library', the title especially ironic to me as i decided to endevour it's return. this is an especially timely tale too, as mr. hibbett has just released his new album which i intend to purchase one of these days too, the mainstream-busting 'we validate!' (catch them on the evening session next monday). so ultimately, and consulting many friends, i sent her an email. having not spoken to her for what must be four months, i thought i'd keep it dry, impersonal and civil. 'there is nothing to say', i thought, 'so i will say nothing.'

one might wonder why i wanted the cd back at all. is it worth that much? let her hold on to some detritus. i can always buy it again.* but there's no reason why she should have it, and no reason why it should be a difficult matter to get back something i didn't mean for her to keep.

so i emailed her a plain and simple request for the cd, with no subject, signing off with 'ta'. and today she replied, a simple, civil reply. and i thought, oh god. look what i've done. for months there was silence; but a tacit silence, not a deliberate silence like ignoring each other in the street. but now i've made the lack of communication look so contrived, so particular, and made out that i am happy for it to be so. oh, i've got to learn the hard way, haven't i? i should have just left it. but now i so regret writing. and i want to reply, tell her i'm sorry for the way things turned out and it wasn't my idea, but leave it obvious that she doesn't have to read it.

shut up, grilly! shut the fuck up! no-one wants to read this garbage!

*oh shit, i've just convinced myself that this is what i should in fact have done. god i'm such a dick. so it gets worse. should i backtrack, send another email and say, 'nah, keep it'? oh the tangled webs we weave.. if i do then it looks like it was all a ploy.

on a completely unrelated point, i know there's already been 'myspace: the movie', but i'd love to remake charlie and the chocolate factory supplanting willie wonka with tom and the chocolate factory with his shitty office.

today's reading

if a virus destroyed every mp3 player on the planet, would it be a podcaust?

participate: thursday week is world jump day (see the huge entity below). i won't beable to as i will be in the air.

play: not pron.

gasp in awe at: the on-line encyclopedia of integer sequences.

listen to: pondman on radio cymru2 (and check out their album blog).

trawl: the huge entity.


impotance and frustration

i ring up 'special mail services' to see what's happened to the passport i sent off for renewal last month. i give them my name, my adress, and my reference number. "right," says the bright young lady handling my call, "how can i help you?" i thought it should be pretty obvious, given she's now got my account right in front of her face, but apparently i have to tell her that i've not received my passport. so it turns out they tried to deliver it twice last month. did they ring the door bell? no. they claim the address was insufficient, an attempt to make it sound like i fucked up, not them. given the volume of mail that comes through the usual route, i guess the 'special' in their name must refer to the mail they handle and not their bungling service itself.

they then returned it to the passport office without telling anyone - not me, not the passport office, who tried to fob me off with 'well, once it's left our office their's nothing we can do'. i told them it was in their office. they called me back a couple of hours later when they'd found it and asked if i could give a clearer address; "where in manchester is liverpool road?" she says. just fucking google it dot com. what is this, 2005? so hopefully i'll have it by the end of the week, three weeks late.

and for some reason, as you can probably tell, this ordeal realy irked me. i couldn't sleep, i was furious. normally i can deal with this kind of beaurucratic shit. i don't know what it was. maybe because i'm waiting to book flights upon receipt of the passport, which are becoming more expensive every day. maybe it's my general situation; i feel so 'trapped in my flat', like i've just realised 'what i thought were friendly pats on the back, were really the hands that drove me deeper down'. and then, remembering my mind hacks book, i realised it could be something completely inconsequential and irrelevant that sparked off the whole episode. or maybe i'd had too much caffeine that day. it was very reassuring to think how rediculous feeling anything at all is. but i still couln't sleep.

and then, despite waking up with the alarm, i was later for work today than i was yesterday when i slept through it.


from the archives: jess nichols and grilly

here's something interesting i found whilst searching for a blank tape: two songs jess nicols and i wrote (with russell preston) that we recorded as a present for a friend of hers. i've no idea of the date, i assume sometime in 2001 but i'm not going to think too hard about it. lucid dream will be known to you, as it appears on try the view change button with a sterling vocal by dale. this version has the jam outro that was always intended, but i couldn't do it not live. thinking straight will be new to you.

the two guitars were recorded first onto my minidisc player, using a pair of headphones as a stereo mic. i'm in the left channel, jess is in the right; i then recorded this onto tape with a live vocal on my brother's hifi, because that had an echo function on the mic in.

jess and grilly: thinking straight
jess and grilly: lucid dream
i make no apologies for anything on these two tracks; take them as they are. i quite like them, but that's beside the point. however, i must apologise for the lack of volume.

notice too, i have rejigged the mp3 section on the side bar, added a dj gallow slutt section and on benefit. on benefit is finished. i've not put any new mp3s online; the early mixes will stay there for the time being, and i'll distribute the cd through the usual channels (i.e. very slowly over the next two years). i make grave apologies in advance for on benefit; it's good but it's not right. it'll have to do; digby's calling and says if it's not finished by this weekend he's releasing the demos i sent him four months ago. a collection of guide vocals, rubbish snare sounds, and loops that were meant to be solos.. i'm having the wrap party on my own with a bottle of whiskey here tonight.