so five people walk into a pub. they all walk up to the bar to find who, but flash gordon (saviour of the universe) himself waiting on.

after collecting their orders he recaps: 'so that'll be a white russian, no ice, guiness, another guiness, cocksucker blues with extra mint, two bags of crisps my choice, and a lager and lime for the virgin*. okay that'll be 12 pound 63 altogether, but lets call it 12.50 for ease shall we, and if everyone just chips in 2 quid 50 then we're sorted, right? don't worry about standing around, i'll bring it all over when it's ready, and if you notice that couple by the window are just about to leave freeing up that 6 seater in the corner so if you wander over there you should be able to grab it...'

good old flash gordon. he saved everyone a fuss.

*this references a song i wrote: 'i'm a virgin, everybodies fucking like swine; i'm a virgin, can i please have a lager and lime'.


a quick whip round

bugger this for a bowl of cornflakes. wheetos and soya milk - what would be the point? somethings are irreplacable, but that doesn't mean you have to hold on to them.

coming soon: 'like i love prince charming.' it sounds better than i thought it would.
coming even before that: dj gallow slutt vs aaron mcmullen, 'don't filter sweep tonight'. awaiting vocals.

what would improve my quality of life... a device like the last.fm scrobbler but listed all the songs that got stuck in your head.. it would be the worst mixtape ever...

so where were we... after newcastle.
mugison cancelled his show at the luminaire...

the weekend was world aids day, and rachel and i's 6 month anniversary. in honour of marking this milestone, purely for our own entertainment, we went to kew gardens. i picked up some sandwich ingredients first - awesome spicy cheese, decent bread, and vegerami (or something like anyway). so sandwiches and kew, we got there at two but at this time of year that means only two hours of daylight. we didn't even get as far as the compost heap. but we had a good nosey around about a fifth of it. then we bought a couple of plants from the shop at the train station - campulas and chillis (still alive at the time of writing). we went into the bookshop and looked up a nice restaurant to goto. 'blah blah blah' sounded quite good and it was only two stops away. still took us about an hour to get there though... an hour stuck in hammersmith... we got to goldhawk road, the restaurant was right there, so we went and found a nice pub. and a nice pub we found, the goldhawk, really nice in every way - hip but with good beer, board games, decent grub. we had nachos to start and they almost seemed wholemeal or something - really well textured. i found a shesh besh set - jess and alex always used to call it that. pretentious or right? - and played a few rounds. it turns out rachel is a terrible cheater, but she says i caught her everytime - how would i know? we got to the restaurant 15 minutes late and it seemed the waiter was the original joker. plonked us down next to the door, despite me saying about the cold - he said he'd keep an eye on it, but that didn't stop it opening. the music was... well, wonderwall. it appeared to be a ten year old mix that they surely played every night, over and over. the food was quite good but probably overpriced. we didn't want to go somewhere swish, we're not like that, but if the alternative was a nice soho cafe, we could do that anytime. it wasn't really worth the money we paid. i can't remember what we had now. afterwards we went back to the pub and played more backgammon, with me losing 2-1 resulting in her winning me as a for slave 64 days. damn doubling points system.
we came back here, and the next day i was meant to go to brighton to see off simon for south africa for, like, ever, but given the hecticacity of every recent weekend, and the fact i now had very little (i literally didn't have the money in my account to buy the train ticket, having given adrian more bills money than i really should have done), i just couldn't go. we played sam and max for a bit instead.

the next thursday was a wierd one. aaron was doing open mic, sam and i were up for a jam then a jaunt into town as a duet, and adrian was meant to come... the jam happened and it was great. stoned doom folk, followed by a fine chips kebab and discussion about going in for the raw food diet. i went off to finchley road and met him, alone. the guy who was up was really good in an undiscoverded open mic way... it was his rhymes. his rhymes were just great. not that i can remember any.

the next guy was just nickelback and he was shit.

then it was aaron's turn. now, as we had been stood there-ish, a couple of drunk girls had been, er, encouragin us to get on stage, and had in fact prompted us into performing together and me performing at all. then one of them started stroking me. then she just held my arm. a couple of songs into aaron's set now, and i had to take her and off me and smile politely. i would have said 'girlfriend', but it's impolite to talk innit? the two girls left immediatleyt without making eye contact with me again.

then everyone else in the room left
including the promoter
leaving me and the sound man
and aaron.

aaron and i did a song for the soundman, who's very decent, and asked us to come back again soon. we will.

next weekend was expenisive. dinner in the dove on friday. next saturday was the climate change demo, which unfortunately i slept through. samosa chat on broadway market, before i finally left for josh's birthday.. i got there at five just as everyone was leaving... it was a really posh, parent-endorsed, function, nice to see everyone but very briefly and i felt really bad that i couldn't stay, plus actually lied about 'just popping downstairs' on my way out... it was like it was asking me to be cheeky.. i walked to covent garden with adrian to meet hannah, from where we somehow got to whitechapel and went to a curry house. if i hadn't already arranged i was going to meet ian and thalia, i'd have tucked in. regardless, i had a swell hour with adrian, hannah, alex bowler+1, bertie, and jez, before walking over to brick lane for my actual dinner - i was now sordidly hungry and the side dish i'd planned on ordering would never suffice. ian could have told me he'd wrangled a free round of drinks though - does he think i drink half pints for fun? after the meal rachel turned up and we went for a drink in a very nice cinema. then we went to club motherfucker, late, but just managed to catch rhythm king and her friends' awesome set. i'd seen them on a documentary before i heard their music, which i think makes them famous in some definition. after the bands, the sound went terrible, and rachel kept threatening to leave, but i didn't care what the music was i just had to dance... eventually they fixed the sound. but we didn't stay too long anyway.

tuesday i recorded some tracks with jamie, sounded great but my playing might have been a bit iffy. i'll put them up when i get them. wednesday was the earache christmas party but i didn't go, it was free with a fiver donation to something i'd never heard of. i wasn't going to go to see four bands i didn't know on my own. thursday i met rachel in covent garden, we drank free champagne in a new beauty shop and beer in a pub and had a nice time. friday i went out to kate's birthday party which was great we danced to all sorts of decent tronicas and i made new and old friends.

yesterday we went and had broadway market curry again, then went out to buy gloves/irrk records compilations. on the way we stopped off at hackney city farm, which is quite heavenly. they have four massive pigs who's attitudes seem to be a combo of housewife and monk. donkeys and goats are affection whores. rachel decided to get a couple of gineau pigs. you know, shit like that.

so the we got to rough trade and i could have bought the organ album but didn't.

it was so cold.
we got back home and realised how foolish we'd been, underdressed and shivering and exhausted and actually verging on ill. nothing was happening so much as sitting down and watching two hours of curb your enthusiasm. then round ian ruth and katy's for hot port and mince pies. and the bit at the start of batman begins that's rubbish where he's in tibet but we didn't get past it to the actual film before we all fell asleep.




so a few weeks ago i went to newcastle. hooray! i've not been for ages.

the occassion was the first ever ex libris records gig - catalogue number xlr001gig. andy and luke booked a couple of local bands, plus label acts bec jones and local heroes girls girls girls.

after the kerfuffle of getting up - booking tickets ages in advance, changing them, taking a couple of hours off work, and taping up copies of on benefit/aggregate on the train, i got up to newcastle with a dead phone and got lost somewhere around byker bridge. eventually - the people really _are_ friendly - i found my way to the cumberland arms. on the way a woman started talking to me, she was going there to to see one of the local bands - ohoh, i thought, that's a good sign. complete stranger asks me if i'm going to this place (down a dark steep stairway apparently, which is why she was asking... maybe not everyone's nice) and i entered.

the cumberland arms is _niiiice_. especially how they had it. fairylights, a crooked, broken tv in the corner behind the merch stand. the girls girls girls album and badges were on advance sale, as were some of my records. free sweets label samplers (mixtapes my arse) for everyone who showed up, until they ran out. then i gave them my 3-track demo to give out, but i only had three copies.

bec jones was very much better _encarne_ than i've found her demo recordings to be. charming really. she played songs that i'd all heard before, i think, and everyone shut up for them. a mate came on and played bass wind for the last three songs, with one rediculously large brass instrument after another.

girls girls girls lollopped onto stage and went down very well i think. they made a lot of fans. shame they won't be able to exploi- er, shit, i mean like follow-up but not in marketing speak. after them, the suprisingly laid-back the eye jab got up, and were very good too. four keyboards isn't very rock and roll, but they were good and proggy and tight and epic when it needed to be.

after them, shin jin rui (japanese for 'generation x', i found out, having just read that book) were punk, but it always seems a bit of an anti climax after a really rounded band. they were kind of mcluskyish, but maybe without so much humour.

then we all danced to 'sex'. i felt dirty doing it.

people wanted to go 'out'; i was lost and confused and wanted to save myself for saturday night. i could see where the midnight express to nowheresville was headed - into town then back out again. i just wanted to go home. home wasn't much rescue though, as the others arrived back and started dancing on the tables to bruce springsteen. i couldn't understand why people didn't just want to sleep. i was shown the way to the mattress in the study and fell into something like sleep.

the next day, i clearly had a cold. i've no real memory of what happened - oh the night before i had the vegetarian argument with andrew warmington out of my attorney, forcing him to admit his view that 'science is a bit like religion isn't it?'. it was all water under the bridge the day after. i went out with the girls to get breakfast, which we did very succesfully, even getting some awesome ginger beer too. the rest of the day was spent internetting as far as i can remember, then off to a nice but crowded pub to sit and shiver. bought some veg from tesco to cook for my tea - i really fancied some kind of baked aubergine/tomato/courgette thing, all to myself. instead i fell asleep on the couch and ed used them to make a thai curry for everyone which was very nice. everyone else left us to go out partying. we played a dreadful 'board' game called taboo, which we're possibly the worst people in the world to do with our pedantry and word games. and listened to yanki uxxo. and then went to bed.

sunday, rather than waiting for the train i'd booked, i took adrian's offer of his spare un-stamped ticket and just _left_. i had to go home to my flat, duvet, teddies, and girl. and i'm very glad i did. i felt better, just in time for work. emoticon. sigh.

so it could have been better, all in all. next time i'm going up is 22nd february to _play_ a _gig_. more news on that soon.



the other thing in edge that irked me was the use of the phrase 'ip'. it was used probably, on average, twice an article. at least once in any feature. nowhere did it explain what it meant, though. of course, if you're in the know you know, and i know it stands for 'intellectual property'. as in, franchises and such. ususally from a game written by a small company, although a larger company owns the ip, meaning that they don't own their work, just like, hmmm, every other area of artustry (what i from now on will refer to as industries ostensibly producing art, but actually harvest the creators of the art).

like emi, here, with them's new website http://radioheadstore.com/.

here we see they are selling the 7 radiohead albums they own on different formats for different prices.

firstly they have the 7cd box set, all repackaged in digipacks. this is forty pounds. quite who would buy this, when they've had about 15 years to buy pablo honey and probably have at least some of the others, is a mystery; but people will.

then there's the download package, a snip at only five pounds less. that's insane.

then there's the whole thing on usb stick, which i can see fitting into only about 5% of usb ports due to it's awkward shape. this is eighty quid.

the whole thing is a smelly cash-in, protrayed as an official radiohead product, with their distinctive branding and iconography, and of course, their music; all of which is owned by emi. it makes me feel a bit sick.

Facebook | Six Degrees Of Separation - The Experiment

there's viral marketing, and then there's Facebook | Six Degrees Of Separation - The Experiment.

what a tosser.



the hype starts here:

new blog; the aim is weak political satire of the labour party.


Martin and me | The Guardian BAE investigation | Guardian Unlimited

Martin and me | The Guardian BAE investigation | Guardian Unlimited



so as our luke page (who's blog seems to have been cut off at the two-post mark sometime ago) said, he doesn't like wearing headphones any more because it's anti-social.

for a while i agreed with him. i still agree with him that it's anti-social. but after living in london for a while, i both think it's anti-social, and continue to do it. there's something about this town that encourages anti-social behaviour, even if in such a week way; you come to realise that all these people around you are just in your way. the only comment you could ever make to them is 'excuse me please'. and so i wilfully, and knowingly, wear headphones partly to cut them out.

they ask for it. there's something very depressing about being surrounded by people reading the same dreadful paper full of sleb rubbish and anti-news. someone gets up, leaves the paper, someone else sits down, picks it up. it's like my neighbours are the papers rather than the people.

that said, i wouldn't go as far as the man i saw last night. round the corner from work, there's a pub with free wifi. often i see a chap in there playing world of warcraft, or others checking their emails (it would be fun for a bunch of us to go into a wifi pub or cafe and play quake or something. sitting at different tables of course). but last night there was someone in there, (no laptop or anything, that was by-the-by), pint in front of him, headphones on, eyes closed, head down.

he was probably waiting for someone; but until then, he was obviously content to have nothing to do with anyone else at all. sat in a little warm bubble, alone. are personal stereos are the new opium?


i saw this couple in a bar, disgustingly canoodling, while putting on horrendous cockney accents. i tell ya, i can't stand open displays of affectation.


from this month's edge editorial

and what happens to the games that actually succeed in selling? well, let's say you're one of the many edge readers with a wii, ps3, and 360. let's say you buy galaxy, drake's fortune, and call of duty 4. that's on top of the orange box, which you still haven't exhausted. and don't forget multiplayer halo 3, which you're been neglecting. and it's christmas, after all, so what about singstar ps3 or perhaps guitar hero 3? the cost isn't the issue - it's all about being able to give these games the time they deserve. as problems go, it's not a bad one to have. and if you find a solution, please do share it with the rest of us.

the easiest answer to the question they pose is the simple 'mu'.

but to dig deeper, that piece eats so much shit it's hard to know where to start. so you've bought a wii, a ps3, and a 360, and you've only just realised you have a finite lifespan? how long can your funds support your idiocy?

Now playing: Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Heywood Lane

more jokes

the last post has a sort of reference/pointer problem; i can't tell the difference between a humourous event being said, and it actually happening. cue several hundred self-important words on post modernism and the reality of language.

of course, the joke is that this ambiguity between life and conversation about life (all very gofai) is often used as a crux of humour, and that's the joke.

another joke i did recently was the prison experiment, although this was instantiated as a party.

the set up was that everyone who came in was assigned either guard or prisoner, using the aperture science centrifugal decision tool - a bottle spun so as to either point to one role or another. ed and i had been down to sainsbury's and bought as many party treats as possible, in both 'basics' and taste the difference' ranges. so we had wine, vodka, orange juice, crisps, and dips, and probably more that i've forgotten, all in one flavour for prisoners and another for guards. and 60 cans of carlsberg for everyone.

one flaw that crept in, i think, was that chances of being a prisoner or a guard were even. prisoners should have outnumbered guards.

ed had printed out a whole bunch of great warning signs to put up everywhere, which worked nicely in different ways and opened avenues for conversations and fights. there was 'guards only' for the nice food, 'prisoners only' for the bad stuff, and 'human use only' for the toilet. some signs were so obvious in their message they were reverse-psychoactive - 'no spitting', 'no throwing of drinks', &c. a large 'deserters will be shot' sign was stuck above the door. then some signs were completely arbitary, the informative equivelent of white-washing coal - 'look both ways before entering the corridor' and so on. they were good.

upon deciding which of ed and i were prisoners or guards, before anyone else came, ed was imprisoned and i was a guard. i really wish that at this point, i had said 'right. no more guards' and taken the whole party under control. but to be honest, it failed to catch light. people were flaunting the rules fairly openly, and i didn't have the conscience to come down on them like they deserved that early in the evening. i did make sarah dance on her own to a song, which she really resented, so i joined in. then ed decided we should swap everyone round. i don't know why i allowed this, comning from a prisoner, but i thought it would be fun. instead, rather than making people react more strongly by giving them the opportunity for power where there was none before ('now i've got you, you son of a bitch') i think it just undermined whatever roles had been seeded and the whole thing became a bit of a prisoner-guard mish-mash. but then it was a party.

as a party it was pretty good. there were no bands playing this time, but ed and i set up a five hour set list of party music, from scott walker to mad capsule markets (i think digital hardcore is very party. others might not agree). this lasted a few hours; a large proportion of people left before midnight to get transports. a significant proportion didn't turn up, mainly due to colds. and at roughly midnight or one, everybody disappeared upstairs to the party in the same flat one floor up. then they came down and something quite remarkable happened, as the mp3 players and the internet came out, and everybodies' favourite songs came up on youtube for the dancing of. i went to bed about four, after a selection including vile pervert, born to run, girls just wanna have fun, and the phantom of the opera. you can dance to anything if you like the song.


bad statistics

Forecasters say UK population may grow to 108m by 2081 | Society | The Guardian

at the start of the article:
Britain's population could almost double to 108 million within 75 years, according to government projections published yesterday.

at the end of the article:
The official prediction that Britain's population could almost double over the next 75 years certainly makes an eye-catching headline. But there is such a wide variation between the "high scenario" and the "low scenario" published by the Office of National Statistics that their figures range between 108 million by 2081 at the top and 64 million by the same date at the bottom.

yes, it does make an eye catching headline, doesn't it, the guardian?



so my taste in jokes -

why is ravioli like a party game? it's a pasta parcel!

- has evolved somewhat into practically based non-jokes. stuff that would be funny if you said 'wouldn't it be funny if...' but wouldn't if you actually did it. most of them at the expense of my long suffering girlfriend.

after famously stinking of garlic after i went to garlic and shots, i thought it would be funny to eat some raw garlic bread before it went in the oven. cause, you know, that would be ridiculous.

and so after inexplicably annoying rachel with a text that i was staying over at our friend emma's (what with it being half an hour from work (theoretically; it actually took nearly two hours) and an hour from home, it made sense), and saying that i was in fact excited to be doing so. apparently she was annoyed that i didn't say 'i hope you're ok too' (although i did put about ten 'x's on the end of it and had spoken to her for about forty minutes that evening), not that i want to go into the particulars, i thought it would be funny to put a picture of her as my desktop background. cause she'd gone to a lot of effort with some of them.

it occurred to me that maybe i should just say that i'd done this, rather than waiting to let her experience the actuality. well, she didn't exactly blow a fuse, but she was rather upset in a tragi-comic way. i changed it to a picture of steve reeves.

what she didn't get was that the joke was not that, hey, look, i put a picture of someone else on my desktop, but actually that i thought the whole joke itself was funny. as i say, a practical joke, with me as the fall guy.

all the world's a stage.


YouTube - Everything about you (Ugly Kid Joe)

as you now know, i am having to re-think sex because of the recently blocked sample.

ryan suggested using a live version, thus ignoring the actual mechanical copyright. however, this video is taken from mtv so is still owned by someone. so what could be better than this hand held crowd video of a dutch band covering it extremely well? skip to about 1:30 for the sample. boys, we are ready for planet rock.


Master use of "Everything About You" by Ugly Kid Joe (the "UME Master) as sampled in "Sex" by Grilly/ Ex Libris Records (the "New Recording")


Further to your request sent to my attention dated November 11, 2007 to use the UME Master recording of “Everything About You” as performed by Ugly Kid Joe as sampled in the new Grilly’s recording entitled “Sex”, after consideration of your request, unfortunately UME has determined that it does not wish to participate in this project at this time. As such, this letter shall confirm that your request is hereby denied.

Please be advised that any use of the UME Master without UME’s express written consent will be deemed an infringement in and to the UME Master Recording.

Thank you for your time and understanding.

Kind regards,

LaVelle Leverette | Universal Music Enterprises, A Division of UMG Recordings, Inc. |



my friend scott died last week (as i wrote this; it's two weeks ago now). i say friend although i've not seen him for two years, because i always thought i would. several of us at the funeral hadn't seen him - or each other - since two christmases ago, at a holiday meet up at the governer's in cheadle hulme. i'd just finished purple milk, if i remember correctly, which puts it at 2005, when i was living in manchester (this timeline gets very hard to keep track of).

i was in two minds about going initially. the distance seemed almost too great, until i realised that i just had to go, and then i realised i just couldn't afford to go, and then i realised again that i just had to.

so i went up to manchester last sunday and stayed at my (biological) father's in stockport, and luckily got to see my mum in hospital too, as she'd just had her hip operated on and was fortunately just a couple of villages away from both my father's, and the cemetery.

i might add a tangent about ewan mcgregor's awful 'going south' programme or whatever it's called (actually 'long way down', but 'going south' is a better description). i've never seen anything closer to tvgohome's 'sting cares'. ewan and another 'famous' person ride motor bikes from john o'groats to cape town in 80 days, complaining about how they don't get to stop anywhere. pointless. hateful.

so after i left the hospital, just outside cheadle, and found a bus back to stocky. i wasn't feeling too bad, and i had the best part of an hour or so to hang around the cemeterary before (because you don't want to be late for the ceremony), and it's a nice place, as they often are. not very grand and probably not very many famous people buried their - made me think back to budapest, nearly getting locked in on halloween, the graveyard an inverted skyscape of candles, with the massive monuments to budapestian heroes, those who tried and failed to resist against napolean, the ottomans, the nazis, the soviets... a funny bunch, the hungarians. there was another funeral before scott's - there were bagpipes, cars, and suits. i had time, once i'd been all the way round the cemetary, to leave and get a bottle of water, then come back in. when i did so, i went back to the chapel in the centre and found martin, mark, luke - crikey, i just typed 'and scott', without even thinking. and luke's parents too, who looked the same as ever. matt and dom turned up just as we were queing up to go in, matt sporting some apparently brand new shiny black shoes. i was just wearing smartish wear, what i would describe as 'work smocks' - not something that i would consider particularly respectful to scott, but i would to his family so i wasn't going to argue this time. i did have to call up martin and ask if it was going to be smart wear though. 'do people still do that?' i thought. 'surely that's not our tradition.'

it was an explicitly humanist funeral - did they have to say that? couldn't it just be one, without it having to be pointed out? anyway, luke, martin, scott's mum and his girlfriend jojo all wrote fabulous pieces that the director read out. then the curtains closed and we didn't see the coffin rolling out of sight (?). there's something utterly final about a cremation - someone you love is dead, and instead of trying to preserve them, you destroy the body. i think it really helps the grieving process.

afterwards, we adjourned to the hesketh, right near our old school, and et and drank and reminisced. scott was such a charmer, and one of the funniest people i've ever met. upon meeting, he'd be able to take the piss out of you for something, entirely accurately, and never with a hint of maliciousity. we told our stories, had a laugh, and got on like we always used to. then i got the train back down to london and went to sleep.

the next day was worse i suppose. back at bloody work, and it had really sunk in. i am normally a solidly stoic person, but scott dying was just so completely unfair that i really couldn't help but get genuinely upset.


a qwik catch up

as i'm approaching the point where what i'm writing about happened three weeks ago, i thought i'd better do a whirlwind tour of the recent past to get myself up to speed. hey, i'm reading this too.

that sunday - the 28th - i met dan and ed in a pub on great portland street. ed had brought a massive stack of computer games with him from home, more than you could really sit through every day after work. but some classics from the golden era of the mid 90's. ed and dan argued about semantics, then i went back to his for dinner. a more than somewhat unusual combination, but all i remember was falafels and cream corn fritters. i stayed over since it was closer to work than where i live. like everything.

monday night i went home, grabbed my guitar, et, and headed back out to a different back of beyond, tottenham (actual tottenham, not the street in town) for to practice with the girls girls girls for their acoustic gig. jez was to move over to piano for it and i filled in on guitar. it felt like being back at youth theatre, doing fiddler. someone else's material, bashing stuff out to be heard and add rhythm and an occasional flourish. we played for about an hour, then back to finsbury park to the pub for a bit. home late.

the gig itself, on thursday, was really good. i did a solo set first (whenever i can) and my good friend sam had the good fortune to turn up just while i was sitting down. i played through some songs, i forget what, other than pregtard's acoustic debut. love i think, and purple milk... i dunno what else. being mic'ed up was difficult, feedback and volume issues, so i switched to plectrum for the show. it went very well, i forgot a few chords, getting mixed up between 'dreams' and 'the sweeny'.

after wards, sam, ed, and i went up to primrose hill with some martini and i woke up with a hang over.

the next day i was off to rugby to see laurence for the weekend. we got up to all sorts of mischief. played a silly boardgame about cheese that would have lasted forever if people hadn't conspired to let someone win. having too many players unbalanced it, and when we played it again later in the weekend with only four players it was fine. the 'party' )more of a gathering( was fun and lasted forever. it was a shame rachel couldn't come up - part of me really wants to take her round all my old haunts - favourite films, best friends, exes - as i feel it says even more than just being around me, about myself. but we've been going out 6 months now, so it's getting a bit late for that kind of thing. anyway, ben++, corey, martin++, aimee, and nicola (who i'd not met before; ++politics that i'm not going into here) a big pot of curry, and mr and mrs ashmore, and yashi, made for a grand old time. plus a man who's name i i forget, but he kept getting confused between scifi books and i knew which one he was talking about everytime. just don't get me started on 'stranger...'.

the next wednesday i had the good fortune to two tickets to the guitar hero 3 launch. i don't really like guitar hero - it's explicitly not as much fun as playing the guitar. but i got to meet up with log again, which was fun, and bring sam. the free beer was great, but the free jaegermeister was a killer. both bands - funeral for a friend and maximo park - were dull, and sam and i ended the evening sat back on a couch complaining loudly about the music industry.

the next day i had a hangover. then rachel and i met up at oval and went to see my old friend debora in a piece of physical theatre - i don't suppose you'd call it a play as such. a terrific piece of loony-tunes inflected mime, riffing on the mirror sketch from duck soup and taking it beyond. it just shows you can do so much more with mime than with props. like radio. the sound effects, all from the mouth too, were great. and to top it off, there was george mann, from the old youth theatre days. what a nostalgic couple of weeks i was having.

the night after, lizzie was having congratulatory drinks, on behalf of her being crowned european champion of her chosen martial (made sure i typed that correctly) art. here's the vid. there was a nice man there, who won his silver medal, a raw food vegan. we had a good old natter.

then was alison's house party. big fireworks. dj grilly on the deck, getting the complaints for not playing anything from beyond the 80's, which was obviously when alison and alan stopped buying records. plenty of specials, and blimey, i never knew, chas 'n' dave are actually good! that's worth an exclamation mark, you see. ed fell asleep from too much drink and was carted off in a taxi with vic (also asleep) to hampstead at about 5.

the next day i got up about 12, went home to sort myself out, then got a train north - a slow, slow train - up to my dad's in stockport.


doll face

so the next day (we're talking two weeks ago now) was friday and i'd taken the day off work. i cooked up some halloumi, but we'd got the wrong stuff and it melted and tasted like cheddar. so i don't know what that was about, but it was pretty rubbish. rachel (on half term) and i stayed in all day, worked on my c.v. and cover letter, and watched 'the fatal glass of beer' (much of which i'd forgotten) as well as other delights. fiddler on the roof finished downloading, but was password protected; a quick search revealed the key, only to find it was subtitled, which is quite a distraction. there's plenty of dubbing too, since most of the locations are rough and there's so much singing, so it's got a wierd feel; it's in english, dubbed into english, with english subtitles.

i'd said something the night before about going round to leslie's, but what with all the ingredients i'd bought, and rachel, it was going to be too much hassle. so instead we took it all round thalia's and made tea there, discovering that half of it was mouldy or off. thalia's flat is very... creative. her and her permanent flatmate are two very expressive, artistic, girls, and the flat is a jumble sale of skewed taste. broken chairs nailed to the wall, used as shoe racks, stacks of boxes of bits and bobs, and oh so many mirrors. thalia has an interesting collection of cuddly toys; a threadbare old lion she bought from an antiques shop after falling in love with him, a cute tiger from childhood, and an innocuous small doll with it's bonnet leaning down over it's face. upon lifting it's head up, i was shocked to screaming to discover it didn't have a face. just two slanting lines for eyes and a massive torn hole where it's mouth had been. it had been nibbled by mice, she said, but she still loved it. to her, it's slow decay must have seemed like consistancy and it wasn't disturbing at all. but to rachel and i, it was hideous.

we stayed up til two, then slept in jo's bed, since there was no need to waste time on the night bus. in the morning rachel had gone, she needed to tart up her flat ready for her mum's birthday. i rose and had a lovely breakfast with jo, then went home on the (painfully slow) silverlink. that evening was another birthday meal, this time esther's and at masala zone; trying to be cheap, i just had a chaat and a daal, oh and a roti, which nearly cost the same as an actual meal and didn't fill me up. luckily there was plenty of left overs from everyone else, but still it showed frugality doesn't work.

ruth was having difficulty breathing, so we went back to london fields and watched 50 first dates, with rachel and her mum. the good thing about bad films is it's okay to talk over them. i did feel like ignatius reilly though, declaiming my disbelief at the horrors i was watching, yet still not turning away. at least i know i never have to watch it again; it's worth seeing, not because it's so bad it's good, but because it's so bad it's fascinating.

sunday... i can't remember. probably something really good.



the next wednesday, i didn't go to see valerie. they were playing at the launch of a book about the riot grrl movement, with three other bands and electralane and others djing. even in my current circumstances, this was worth 6 pounds and a few minutes on the bus. what's wrong with me?

i suppose part of the reason i didn't go might be a feeling of intimidation by valerie now. perhaps too associated with marion. there's a different feeling though, some kind of embarrasment at seeing them again, after a gap of nearly two years. i dunno. the real reason i didn't go was that rachel and i went off back to hers from whitechapel to drop her bags off, and never left again, instead just sat on the couch like a couple of stoners. oxytocin junkies.

the next night i met her at finchley road and we went to see aaron mcmullen. it turned out that while pre-arranged, the gig was technically open mic, in a nasty gaudy i-can't-believe-it's-not-whetherspoons pub. the doorman was heckling the acts; 'do some rapping!' he shouted during the sound man's opening set of delta blues dirge. obviously i asked to do a set. aaron was marvellous, his inability to look at the audience resolving itself as a gaze fixed on a particular ceiling tile. his song performances were urgent spasms of need and pain, like a mouse pestered and terrified until it finally, viciously, attacks; only hindered by the neccessity to play guitar along with them. i advised him to drop it and get a band behind him so he can focus on being the front man that everyone looks at.

i started my own set with 'forever' since we had some people from melbourne, australia in the house. i got half way through and couldn't get any further; those lyrics are like an avalanche until they stop, then they're like a train wreck. in fact, a freight train would have been a better analogy to start with. i didn't do gxs, unfortunately. but upon someone requesting ugly kid joe(this actually happened) i played sex then everything about you. blimey. went through a series of jovial songs and jokes until i realised i'd been up there far too long, at which point i handed the guitar over to three misguided students who did an abysmal take of 'save tonight', including a hilariously repetitve poorly fretted chord of G major, where he seemed to have forgotten he'd put the guitar into dropped d.


'don't call me a shoa denier'

David irving, denying he's a haulocaust denier.

Irving told the JC on Wednesday: “I am indignant at being called a Holocaust denier. i am not sure that i have changed my position, it is just that i was not properly represented in the press.”...

...Meanwhile, Irving has said he will not now participate in a “free speech” debate at the oxford union next month, alongside British national Party leader Nick Griffin.

How far could we take this? next year, irving could admit that he is a 'holocaust denier', thus becoming a 'holocaust denier denier denier', and so on.

at least he makes the world a richer place.


stray shots

this post involves the events of and surrounding my brother dan ([soon to be ex-games journalist] and [pun merchant extrordinaire])'s birthday.

i met dan in soho. eventually we found each other, coming in from
opposite directions, at the john snow, which was rammed and crammed
and creamed, and even reamed. so we took a wander down the main drag looking for somewhere friendly, sauntered through china town, stopping in at his favourite bakery where i had a custard tartlet like the ones i used to adore as a child when our mother managed the yang sing in manchester.. they'd be all i'd eat. it's amazing what you can do with sugar and egg. and you know what? actually, they're not that nice. i think i even realised that as a kid, but maybe in that case it was only after 12 of them.

this is my kermit the frog impression.

then a man with a pyramid frame in brass resting on his head quicklywalked past us and dan chased after him with his camera.

we went for a sit down in 'garlic and shots', where dan was being bought dinner later by the bioshock pr people for giving them a good review. can i write that? is that too much information? dan is always remarkably candid (with me) about the score he gave it; "it's a 10/10 game, for the xbox. regardless, they were absolutely lovely. later tim turned up:

in a very nice, convienient stopping through kind of way.

many words can be said about the cuisine of garlic and shots. indeed, for days after, many were. the next day, my boss remarked that everywhere - not just me, or this room, but everywhere - stank of garlic. i owned up to it and explained what had happened. for at least two days later, every pore of my body was seeping out garlic juice. washing didn't help, it just unclogged the holes so more could come out [citation needed]. both dan and i went off to see our respective girlfriends after dinner. stifled, they were.
understand, the garlic was everywhere. i started with a garlic and
honey brandy, followed by a bloodshot (uber-thick bloody mary in a
shot glass) and then half pints of beer with raw garlic in the foam. starters were fried cloves on a skewer - remarkably textured like chicken - and roast bulbs with bread - remarkably textured like potato. for dinner i has one of the sadly only two veggie options, the halloumi noodles (also very meaty). we didn't have any pudding, but had we done, garlic chocolate would have been served. it was delicious. by the end it was enough. and then you realised it was too much and there was nothing you could do.

given that i then went round rachel's after that, i can't figure outwhat i did with friday. the only clue i have is a text saying 'where are you now?' from rachel at 5.20. there's no communication with her on gmail. we must have discussed something 'off the record' the night before. why can't google just record everything? if you remember, rachel, leave a comment please.

So what actaully happened was it got to 10 o'clock and i'd not gone
round yet and she;d only just got in, cue a hilariously protacted
conversation of refelection and indecision as to whether it was worth the hour long journey, just to go over and go to bed, as oppose to coming over in the morning for breakfast. well of course it was. the next day we met her ex-flat mate seb and her friend heather. as an aside, i must say there is a complicated relationship pattern here; heather's brother is james who went out/lived with seb for, like, ever, with rachel in the flat too for at least some of it. so he, being the actual thing that binded the three of them together, in a way, was absolutely not to be mentioned, sadly. damn these soap opera life styles that we have.

so then i went home to get some jewish-style food for the party. it
was a bit of a disaster; getting home took a lifetime, sainsbury's had sold out of kniedles, or anything interesting, and pretty much the whole jewish section is made by either nestle or unilever. so i just got 6 different boxes of falafel mix (a nod towards dan's barmizvah present from our father, except that this time, they weren't empty). sadly this left me with no time to prepare a rabbi costume. i wish everyone else's (or even my real) excuse was that good.

so when i got down there, way down at the bottom of everything
(catford), our father dimitri was still there with iona. it had taken him two hours to get there from the other end of south-west london. dan had several silly beards he'd bought, photo-a-gogo with everyone trying them on, and then taking them off. there was a nice and small selection of people to begin with - the bath contingent, james petit, and the family. quite soon the telly went on so that a couple of people could watch the rugby, not exactly a great way to start a birthhousewarmingday party, but never mind.

The party was a little subdued for the most part, but it was pretty
vibrant and cosy too. eventually, when only the over-stayers were
left, the lads started trying to complete the advance challanges on
portal, and despite it being the first time i'd ever seen it, i
couldn't help but move over to the other half of the living room,
where all the girls were sitting, and having a conversation, and
stuff. mostly about how their men were completely ignoring them, and largely each other, but still. anyway, i could still see the screen from where we were sat - best of both worlds.
Rachel Wheeler and Maria Vasiliopoulos are now friends. they spent
most of the evening, once they realised they both grew up in the same square mile in kent, digging for further co-incidences, going as far as including a loathing of the peak caps that dan and i have
similtaenously taken to.

party pictures are here

the next day, we woke up to the sizzling childhood joy of vosht (a
kosher sausage, which according to a thorough google search, doesn't appear to be a word in use outside my family) and egg. us veggies just got egg, and i wish i'd thought to pick up the similar-looking meatless equivelent from the health food shop. course it wouldn't be the same without marks and spencers ketchup and instant mash....

once everyone but me had gone, i got the chance to play portal for
myself. i'll write up my experiances after i finish it tonight.

then we went off to meet our father and family and ann mitchel at kew gardens, a pointless hour before it was due to close. instead we went for a walk around hampton court woods or perhaps they're just gardens,and got a curry in. then went home and fell asleep in front of the


earache xmas party

Photo Hosting at imageloop.com

the arcade

so amongst my rambling last post, i managed to not include the funniest and most interesting part of rachel and i's journey around soho.

after we'd come out of maoz, i spotted the 'amusement' arcade across the road, and because being a grown up is all about being able to make decisions for yourself (ha!), i asked if we could go in to play pinball. we went on the pirates of the carribean one this time (last time ed and i played the lord of the rings one), and we did okay, rachel doesn't seem to have played ever before and considering i didn't explain the fine physics of it, she was alright. after our go, she wanted to go on the coin pushing machines. there was no stopping, or reasoning with, her. i started to feel very confederancy of dunces all of a sudden. "they probably push them all back every night" i said. but it was no good. i stopped myself before i completely ignatiused out everywhere and let her have her 'fun'.

i made her at least use some sense and go for the far left unit, where they were obviously in more of a state where you could imagine they might fall than the other two. she put a ten p in, to no effect. on her second however, a remarkable thing happened; it worked. some coins fell off the top row, a couple of pushes later and the knock-on effect had forced the row below right to the edge and omfg the coins were falling. clatter clatter they went, down the silvery dark hole at the front. i couldn't believe it. sure, i had stats on my side but she'd gone and won.

as we bent down to collect our winnings ('our' winnings now), i noticed i was finding it difficult to get the coins out of the hole at the back. in fact, it was difficult to feel any coins at all. in fact, an impartial observer, who had not just seen and heard the coins, might wonder what exactly we were doing down there because there were clearly no coins to pick up. when we came to our senses, wondering now if indeed any coins had actually fallen down at all and it wasn't just some kind of random hallucination, we decided to ask the attendant for our money (lebowski). she pawed pathetically at the security locked machine and said there was nothing she could do. we heckled her a bit, and she said she'd get the manager, which could take five minutes. rachel wanted to leave, but now i was digging in. this is their scam right here, we figured, and i thought it not too much to just hang around a bit.

EVENTUALLY a woman in *white* came out, and in broken, beyond-accented english, she tried to explain what might have happened. i can't remember much of what she said, but she seemed to be implying that this was somehow normal or reasonable, and sometimes, if you rock the machine like this - and she pushed the machine backwards, making sirens ring out and lights flash - then the money goes into a separate place. no, we explained again, we put the money in, more money fell down, but it didn't appear. ok, she said, she'd get the engineer, but it'd be ten minutes.

we had too many questions after she'd left. they need an engineer to open the damn thing now? what if her rocking the machine back had caused the alarm circuit to trip, which we hadn't done, but it would reverse-legitimise us not getting our money since it would be recorded in memory that it had happened. obviously someone would have noticed the alarm go off.

so this is their scam. if you actually get any money, you don't get to touch it, and you get increasingly severe attempts to put you off. we hung around for about five minutes, mooching around looking at the various gambling machines. i had to persuade rachel not to go on any of - what would be the point of giving them the money straight back, before we'd even got it? the situation got more and more political between us the longer we waited; she accused me of only wanting to stay so that if she left i could say 'it was you that walked out'. i genuinely wanted to hang around and see what would happen if we did. would the mythical engineer ever turn up? ten minutes is an impossible time; either he's on-site, or he's miles away, right? so either they're making us wait needlessly, or they're getting our hopes up only to be crushed. after some time, even i began to falter. perhaps we'd made our point, and leaving now would inconvience them the most, also sending the message that we didn't want to hang around in their crappy arcade, even for the money that we had won. after some more time, rachel simply walked out without any more todo. so we'll never know. but at least i got an anecdote out of it.


a not-very vegan weekend

last week, mother was down, so i did spend some good time with her, shmying round the bookshop in the hideous o2 centre. in the music section, a wonderful book of early photos of the smiths, many taken in the abandoned and ruined manchester central station, before it's renovation as gmex. another book was a full-colour history of simply red, including a cv written on notepaper headed with my father's late holiday company logo, which shell claimed to have helped him write. sharon osbourne's _second_ autobiography (why doesn't she just keep a blog like the rest of us? surely she'd make more from the ad revenue). we had sushi, with some bloody great aubergine dish. it made me miss dimitri's though; everything would be so much bigger. tapas, sushi, thali, call it what you like, little plates of everything rock. we went to waitrose, and spent a gigantic amount on some fairly rudimentry ingredients for tea, a nutritionaly complete pasta dish. we should do that more.in the end, what with leslie being in india, it was uncle neil, cousin georgie, brother dan, mother shell, and i.
the night after, i came round again, where shell and georgie were watching the dance x final together, shell describing to georgie the difference between the good and bad routines ('feet like kippers,' she'd say), polished off some left overs, then went round rachel's, where james was already. in this way, by living off other people, i mananged to make it through the week on only ten pounds (plus travel &c.). i confessed to her how i'd had a hankering for her to pretend we weren't going out, so i could relive the thrill of unrequited love. that's what 'circumcised' means in the context of the forthcoming song.
on friday i had a quiet word with my boss, and in the tamest way i could manage, asked whether she thought it possible if i could maybe just have a little more money in my pay? i felt so small, and afterwards like bashing my head into the wall. but at least the concern is there. from there, i was having a shit night, my aparrent lack of concern towards rachel coming to a head in a painfully protacted phone call when i should have been on the train to london bridge to see girls girls (ed was ill so it was just the two of them), with andy and sarah, plus andy's lovely friend who's doing a pro-tools course. which reminds me, that french drummer who i met the previous friday at the george never got back to me. why don't people like what i do? why is it so difficult to find anyone here? by the end of the evening i felt pretty good (drunk), got back home and shared the wild garlic tofu fillets i'd bought for tea with adrian, then stayed up til 2 on command and conquer. i can only worry that my regenerated computer games habit is connected to my lack of concern for my suffering girlfriend.
so saturday we went out for lunch in soho. we stopped outside govinda's, with looked great and will be taken on one day, but soldiered on because, frankly, i really was in the mood for falafel. we went to maoz, despite the chain-iness of it, because it's great, and she'd not been. after that, we brazed the cambridge circus crowds to get to a cash point, and had coffee and cake at the curzon, because it's where all the cool people hang out. for the first time of the weekend, we played 'polity chicken', the person who can't divide the remaining portion of food in half and pass it back being the loser. then we had a good nosey poke around the really wonderful shops in soho - that brilliant little coffee shop (she bought thank-you chocolates for her comedy dad), we must have stood half an hour outside the vodka shop window (bought a minuture snow queen and full size boston waltz), anne summers (i've never been! i seemed to worry rachel by knowing what everything was _for_), the sweet shoppe (cinder toffee and butterscotch, but _no moffatt toffee_), then into the glasshouse stores for a swift half and finally the tube back home. phew.
saturday night, then, and it's the great dinner party. sarah and andrew came over, ed made some french apple/cream/mushroom recipe (with prawns for everyone but me) which was very good indeed. there was so much wine we never got to the vodka. we listened to some of ed's good jazz, as is apt, then in rainbows, making andy slowly capitulate because it's actually quite good, the new girls girls girls album in the agreed order, from there into remixes and comdey and stuff. by the time andy and sarah were leaving, we'd missed the pub, so we just sat outside with candle and guitars and wine.
on sunday, upon rising about midday and leaving about half one, we thought it would be nice to get a curry and eat it in queen's park. on the way, there was a farmer's market just closing, where we started fressing on homemade chilli preserves, even a little too obviously hungry. it's a lovely area, but all skirt and no knickers; despite so many lovely places there was nowhere that actually sold anything we actually wanted to eat. eventually we found ourselves back on kilburn high road, and _still_ no curry. finally, we were almost back at small and beautiful near the station, so went to a nice italian for a 16" pizza to share. i dropped her at the train and came home. did a little music, played a little computer, relaxed into my sunday evening.


the credit trap

i accidentally paid my rent twice this month - once by transfer on the friday, then an invisible direct debit came out the monday after (it doesn't show up on your account until after the first payment comes out, so how are you meant to be able to be sure if it's set up or not?) thus i incur another 25 pound 'informal over draft arrangemt' fee, along with a letter to the same effect.

i figure, i'll call them up, say if they don't cancel the charge, i'll switch my account away and close it... as soon as i've paid them back the money i owe them.

and i realised how futile that is. i realised how it was absolutely in their interest to keep me on the edge of my overdraft, they get to keep charging me interest, they keep getting to charge me overdrawn payments. we haven't got the same goal at all. damn.


being sucked in again

i remember speaking to someone - a nice guy - a couple of weeks ago. he spoke, i listened, i disagreed, and now i realise, looking back, i was disagreeing for the wrong reason. here's how our conversation went.

he said that, since plastic bags barely contributed to your carbon footprint, so recycling them was a waste of time. i said, well however little they matter, if you go around with the attitude of changing your habits and being enviro-conscious, it would have an impact.

i should have said, there's more to the environment than just c02, plastic bags are full of poisons, it's idiotically wasteful to throw something away that can be reused, just because it's cheap and labelled 'disposable', if it takes centuries to rot. plus they're ugly.

all of this was out of my mind due to his unintentional misdirection. i'll try not to let it happen again.

this joke is sponored by sam smiths pubs

bloke walks into the white horse in soho. he goes up to the bar and orders a bottle of oatmeal stout and a glass. he asks the barman to pour it for him.
"fair enough mate," says the barman, and as he pours it asks "what's up with your hand?"
the bloke's hand is a large oblong mass of iron. he says, "well i work as a blacksmith, see, and i lost my hand in a greeting accident. what with my work, it seemed to make sense to have it replaced with this here mallett."
at some point a wealthy cockney jeweller has walked in, spotted the bloke, and is not even trying to contain his excitement. he spritely walks up to the bloke and says "you! your 'and! i'll give you anything for it - 6 million pound! 10 million pound!"
"what - for this?" replies the bloke. "how come?"
the jeweller, gesticulating wildly, says, "it's the biggest 'ammer-fist i've ever seen!"

...and the joke is on sam smiths, because they don't advertise.


the fiasco

wednesday night was euros childs; once again i didn't go. the real tradgedy is the lack of the gorky's forum; i'm sure i'd have been egged into going by strangers on the internet if that had still been operative. which reminds me, must get that gorky's family tree sorted.

thursday i was meant to be meeting aaron mcmullen, which would have been nice. i looked for a decent eastend pub on beer in the evening (dot com) and found the wenlock arms (dot co dot uk) near old street. having ran out of energon cubes at a crucial point, i nipped round rachel's after work, and got unexpectedly fed a proper meal with her dad and his wife. to whom i bequeathed a good puzzle off the xkcd forums, to which i have laurence to thank for pointing me to. he gave me a puzzle which he gave me far too big a clue for, but if he hadn't, i don't think i'd have got it because of the technology i'm used to. then i hightailed it back out, met adrian, michelle, and a friend of michelle's in the pub, to which aaron unfortunately never made it. the wenlock is a remarkable place; an 'old man pub', as michelle's friend put it, at the top of her voice, daubing us all with the pooey stick. a drunk old grey haired man was wandering about singing smiths songs, with remarkable accuaracy and length, while supergrass's innit for the money played in it's entirity in the background and a jolly looking quiz master set up. i'm not even getting to the endless line of handpumped real ales they had lining the bar.

so friday i was knackered - work and a full week of socialising. by the time i got home and et, i couldn't face heading out again to the roaring spectacle of central london on a friday night, and ultimately 'oh my god i miss you!' at the other sid eof town (bethnal green, actually) for michelle's official leaving do. failing even to meet up for a post rehearsal drink with girls girls girls, i was falling asleep at home when i realised i said i'd meet rachel outside the jonna newsom gig, since i had planned on being in town; i set off, and ultimately returned to the tube empty handed since by the time i'd got to edgeware road she was out and at the tube and it was just quicker to meet back at willesden green. the excercise took an hour and 15 minutes. this is why london sucks.

saturday i had planned on going to brighton to see everyone, pick up my qy70 from the old house, go to veggie shoes, and so on. it got to one o'clock, i'd just finished watching trapped in the closet through with rachel, who can explain it's shortcomings better than me. we took in a classic episode of fry and laurie too. so there we were, one o'clock, and part of the brighton plan had already fallen through - i'd pulled out of rach and robin's sukkot party because she had to come to london instead, so i signed up for jo's birthday meal instead. so here we were, at home, and it's seven hours before i have to be in dalston, and my auntie says to give up. so the plan changes, rachel will take her foot and herself home and i stopped off in camden to buy some shoes. and buy some shoes i did! from a shop called, according to my bank statement, scorpion, where i went in and asked if they had anything leather-free, and you know, i think i just got the right man, because he directed me to these very nice, vegan, on sale shoes, made by a company called macbeth. they were half price down from 45, and he called it 20 because one of the insoles was a little too big. stick that up your 65 quid arse, vegetarian shoes in brighton. i was thinking about blackspotting them, but rachel asked why i would blackspot a vegan brand? it's a difficult predicament ain't that the truth.

jo's meal was a fine affair at 'lmnt' (erroneously pronounced, i imagine, as 'element'). this place is like a missing section of the crystal maze, and i mean it actually is like that, the missing egyptian zone. it's got table on top of other tables, tables in pots, it's a little adventure world, and antique porn in the toilets. to be honest, it's a shame about the food. the mushroom starter, a little stack, was nice if light, but the main course, one of two veggie options was some crappy pasta bake. at least it actually had pieces of vegetables in, and it was fairly tasty, but not really up to the 9 quid i paid for it. i guess that's novelty restaurant prices. in the end a 21 pound meal at a fascinating place. maybe if you're the type of idiot who thinks it's ok to eat meat then you'd have a good feed, yeah you've got it fucking made haven't you. then we went out to the jazz bar, a strange, waiting-room style, well-stocked bar, packed to the brim - fortunately for everyone they banned indoor smoking because i don't know how all those addicts would fit inside too. so we hung around, danced a bit, and they played all the songs rachel said they would, so i can't imagine why people would go. 'to socialise' you might say, but who wants to do that when you could be at a decent night club? if there is such a thing.

sunday, after attempting to rescue a cat from a building site and a nice fry up, i headed off to brighton. i went down, i got there at four. i went to meet jess in queen's park and saw a woman with two ferrets on leads. the ferrets were ignoring her as much as a tied animal can do. jess came up with stompy, a very handsome hound, and we sat and talked for a merry hour, watching the dogs play. then i went to pick up my package, grabbed a grub's mango chilli burger, caught the 6 o clock back up. at 8 i was at london bridge, having missed dan by a whisker, and from there i came home. picked up some booze, and introduced michelle to munchkin. and also, &c.

candles are great.


consciousness = complexity/time

i'd like to return to my thoughts on the mind briefly, if i may.

it occurred to me while reading the emperor's new mind that no-one seems to seriously be taking time into account as a factor of consciousness. penrose seemed to be hinting in towards this, perhaps even directing my thoughts, but i haven't read it anywhere explicitly; i think time-scale is key to consciousness. think about it; think about how fast an animal's internal biology moves, in terms of enzyme reactions, nerve impulses and the like. our consciousness-generating neurons fire perhaps billions of times a second, yet consciousness is something that takes place over individual seconds - which is surely why seconds are the length they are. if we were to run a simulation of consciousness on a machine at a rate we can monitor, it would not just have to be scaled down in terms of complexity, but also slowed down so much that it would take a very long time to be recognised as conscious - perhaps only by another mind running at the same rate.

in discussions about consciouness, the differences and similarities between brains and computers are always brought up. the problem that i don't think is addressed with enough weight is that each neuron of our brain is a computer, not the whole thing. to replicate, or even create, consciousness, we need a large number of linked-in machines, each connected to many others. a human brain has what, 100 billion neurons, 100 trillion synapses. the plot of 'the moon is a harsh mistress' almost sounds plausible, although the internet has got a long way to come to achieve this; but what it also needs, is a reality as rich as the one a human inhabits. as the nazis demonstrated, lock a baby in a room with enough food &c. to live on, and it will still die through lack of stimulation and affection [citation needed]. without an external reality to stimulate us, our minds rot, or if we are young enough, fail to develop.

of course, any one machine can simulate the running and the commumication between several other machines at a lower rate; a classic computing time-space pay off. so one immensely powerful - perhaps impossibly powerful - machine could concivebly model all the neurons in a brain talking to each other. we can do this now with simple artificial neural networks. penrose, however, does make the quite good point that consciousness might not just be an accurate model of neurons firing, but something to do with the underlying laws of physics. let's say you could model those on a machine (although quantum theory might have other implications), but the complexity in doing anything remotely near the scale of a real brain, even a simple one, would be probitively horrendous. consider a machine modelling the laws of physics required to run itself; at what fraction of it's own potential speed would it be running the simulation at? i think that's quite a good way of telling, and perfectly illustrates my point about time being the crucial factor. it would ultimately be a perfect representation of itself, just massively slower.

so the internet _is_ like a brain; so is society. so is any graph of nodes. it is only a matter of scale - as in the number of nodes and the number of connections - and time - as in the relative time based on the frequency of communications. but also, i conject, a matter of clear division between environment and self. which is not something you'd often hear me say, and i might have to think about that a bit.

books I've read recently:

how mumbo jumbo conquered the world, francis wheen.
good, but i'm a bit suspect of the all-encompassing, ill-defined term 'mumbo jumbo' which starts with voodoo economics - a fraudulent ideology from the word go ('hey! i've got a great policy idea: tax breaks for me and my friends!')- and goes on to include just about anything wheen doesn't like. including john gray's straw dogs, interestingly. mainly because gray used to be an arch-thatcherite, in fact he used to be a lot of things and seems to change his mind as often as he can.
the irony is, of course, that by mumbo jumbo, he means the all-encompassing, ill-defined anti-sciences; so he ends up having to use of of those terms. i guess that makes it ok because the set of mumbo jumbo includes itself. what's the opposite of a paradox called again? not a tautology, but something that definies itself only because it defines itself? one of them.

A mind to murder, p.d.james.
hmmmm. if i say this book is poorly written, i mean the structure of the book glares through the narrative, and clues are painfully obvious even when the detectives take no notice initially. and the detectives are both characterised as characterless, which certainly helps. it gets good 200 pages in when they start doing some detective work, then stops 20 pages later, the twist being it was the most obvious suspect all along but you got distracted, so it's ultimately annoying.

The emperor's new mind, penrose.
i couldn't finish this, despite joyfully ploughing through the section on turing machines; it just seems i've read this book too many times already. there was a point where i'd a collection of about 5 or 7 books that meshed together into a coherent theory of reality, which i might write down one day. given all those, is one is superfluous. also it's premise, that given current science, we can't understand/replicate consciousness is a little flimsy, because what is future science going to be based on but current science?

Oryx and crake, Margaret atwood.
very good spec-fi, in a oh-that's-actually-quite-plausible, 'stand on zanzibar', kind of way. that should be reccomendation enough. i had, however, two problems with it: the statistical improbability of going out with a woman you saw in a porn film as a teenager (a completely unnecessary addition to the plot), and the open ending. wha' happened??

A goose in Southwark, one eye grey.
i found this modern penny dreadful disappointing. a bunch of people have 'spooky' (not really spooky at all) experiences, going to a cinema that's closed, seeing ghosts of cromwell and his mates discussing modern politics, meeting an 19th centuary whore in the south bank fog... i mean, smog and dead people, that was about it. the big with the horse was quite good though. still, maybe volume two is the wrong place to pick it up, and it's a great idea. it feels a bit like a zine, and that's a good thing.


word of the day: 'consilience'

"the convergence of evidence from different branches of science on a common explanation"
from 'information' by hands christian von baeyer


there's too much happening at the moment to fit all this stuff in. it's only been a week but i feel like i'm trying to cram stuff in and i always forget the interesting bits, why does that happen? why do i always end up filling in on the facts and leaving the opinion?

take, for instance, harmonicas. this was something i wanted to rant about after green man; while the previous year had been the year of the one-man band, this year had been dominated by shit harmonica playing.a significant number of acts had dreadful moments when they brought out the harmonica and just blew and sucked over the music.

i never mentioned this, although i really wanted to.

i missing out so much. all the little things too; i'll never get that time back and i'll never know what i did with it. i probably just stayed in.

I'm realising now that I've got two weekends to write up and I can't differentiate them.

so all i can remember of the last few days goes something like this:

last night emma came round to play some music, which went well. we got through love and purple milk, emma enjoying (i gather) the versatility of my synthesiser. towards the end she was making some lovely chords and patch, but i couldn't make my damn computer record, no matter how many soundcards i plugged in, and then into each other.

Monday Rachel came round for a candle lit dinner, that briefly saw the entire flat united around the dinner table, but not for long. it's like taking shifts sometimes in this place, and i'm not pretending i'm not guilty of it too. house curry next week, guys?

Sunday sarah came round to play music, which was good but she said she wouldn't commit to a 'serious' live project. *sigh*. However, the 'mwng' (beard?) project seems to work, our voices sounded lovely together and most of the songs are fairly easy to work out. The night ended with a listen through to parklife, still hard to displace as best album of the nineties.

Saturday I woke up at rachel's, but she was gone to Birmingham. It was midday and I wasn't eating. I wandered into town with ian to look for shoes with no luck, went into forbidden planet to see if they had any signed phonograms (they didn't, but we had a nosy in the trade paperback;, then had a look up the techno-dump of Tottenham court road for an alarm clock cd player. To no avail. Went home, then over to leslie and niel's to play with georgie's magic set and break the fast; went out to meet my old school pal deb at archway and introduce her to girls girls girls; a great gig with a strong fan base in attendance.from there, caught the last line down so far south to new cross, where once I might have lived. Robbie's band, maybe myrtle tyrtle, were playing at a weird cool housing project festival. it reminded me a bit of christania. very independanty. i got there just as they were finishing. to be honest, outside the immediate area of the housing block, it was quite scary; a woman i asked for directions thought i was gonna mug her. everyone i actually saw around was really nice but sparse. I got back at half four resulting in another midday rising.

Friday after work I was the usual knackered, the usual go home for a bite and a shower and an internet, the usual hour on the tube heading out across London to the east end, the usual getting there far too late. I hunted around for the dirty three, and found they were leaving to go somewhere. It was basically another hour before we managed to sit down in some bar at the top of brick lane, morrocan style but with fairy lights. I was on water (which I never received) as I was fasting. Brick lane was a stressful horror of people, cars, darkness, and thumping music that felt like being kicked in the head. Jo left early, giving up on the night as a lost cause; ruth went off to jazz café, Rachel and I went back to hers, although because she was off early in the morning, I had assumed I would just be going back home.

Thursday I met Robbie and adam and his friends down round London bridge, an area with so much obvious history, and it felt just like thief. The shadows were actually dark enough to hide in, the streets thin and tall, even the impassable barriers of conveniently placed repairs were right where they ought to be. I gave out cds for beer, how it should be.

Before that, things are more difficult.

I stayed at rachel's on the friday before and walked down the market for breakfast and coffee with the gang on Saturday morning. Jasmine's pub crawl was cancelled so we had our picnic on hampstead heath instead – a classic picnic, and we even managed to get our own very decent fire going, without the instructions of luke. Newspapers help. We debased at 11 o'clock after singing through various points of cultural reference, from the sound of music to trapped in the closet (which we have adopted the sentence structure, rising in pitch at the end of every sentence). I actually do have a problem with it; it's possible I've now heard that one bar of music more than any other already, and I have dreamt I was taking part in it, a 'player', if you will. We all went our separates, some going off to jazz café, me hardcoring it out to unskinny bop to meet robin. However, my plans were foiled; I bumped into michelle on the bus back to Bethnal green, took her briefly back to rachel's to dump my stuff (leading to a situation as I knew it would, but I couldn't exactly leave her downstairs could I?). by the time we got to the pleasure unit, it was quarter past one, and it turned out they stopped letting people in at midnight. So that was rubbished. michelle and I went back to the bus stop and carted ourselves to our homes.

Sunday Rachel and I went to her mum's friend's 60th birthday party on a boat on the thames, where we spent most of the trip, from houses of parliament to the far side of the isle of dogs and back, entertaining a small excited child who believed the boat was powered by dinosaurs. Well you know, why get someone to look after your kids when you can just take them to the party with you and dump them on someone else to look after for three hours? Not that I didn't enjoy the repetitive attempts at poisoning me the kid was trying.

Monday was the locust and I didn't go. I'm not sure why not – cost, effort, last album, all of these things were factors. i did the same with euros childs tonight.

in between that monday and that friday is where it all gets difficult to pin down. can anyone remind me if i did anything with them?

i say i say

europe walks into a bar.
barman says ‘what’s that mark on your arm?’
europe says, ‘this? that’s just a bruges.’


welcome to alleggra

welcome to alleggra
Alleggra is the new, great tasting alternative to egg.

It tastes like egg, and looks like egg, and is made from soy.

however, it does contain egg.

point being?

jack kavorkian is cool

BBC NEWS | Health | Call to revamp death definition
call me morbid, call me pale; favourite article on the beeb for a long time.

weekend was good, we watched borat and a mighty wind (both of which need dissecting) and went to the natural history museum.

Borat was ok. I realise now that it's not like his sketches, using an outlandish character to poke fun at people, it's more like a mr. bean film, that just happens to use real people every now and again. The fact that many sequences are staged means you can't treat it like an exposé of people, or even being about their reactions – it's about borat. In several interviews, the other person only gets to say one word – I can't imagine the efforts gone to, arranging such things for such simple jokes. it was more impressive than funny - stunning feats of bravery and embarresment.
a mighty wind is not spinal tap. it's quiet - while it is quite funny, it's barely a comedy, verging on just a fiction-mentry. it's almost entirely plausible. the best parts were the covers of mitch's solo l.p.s, and the horrendous manager of the new - ach, i forget the name. but it would have been better if that band had occupied more of the film because they were a much greater source of humour.

on monday night sarah came round and we had fun in the garden, listening to bitch's brew on ed's mobile...

tuesday night i went to chaos and the cosmos - first band were genuinely awful, and i won't go into it other than to say that half an hour of abusive feedback is just a waste of time, even you did arrange the whole night (the 'drummer' wandering around with his head through the floor-tom was quite entertaing though). second band orion arm were completely brilliant, and exactly what today's jazz-metal obsessed youth need. they deserve to be massive; they claim to be a two piece (guitar and drums/vox) but they had a sax palyer along too. the phil collins 3, who had drawn us (me and matt and his belle) to the event were brilliantly loose and tight and pleasing. archaotic good-time humour music. the theme of their fancy dress was 'cats'.

last night i had dinner at rachel's with rachel, seb, and ruth, and latterly joined by ian. rachel made cheese and lentil loaf with ratatouille, both of which were fab. ruth is recently single, and has bought a nurse costume to wear out on friday night. i said i have one she could borrow, although the idea of her not only wearing it to a 'new rave' and perhaps even sexing in it wasn't too appealling; but it was pointed out that mine is an actual nurses outfit as worn by a nurse, and she wanted a slightly more revealing, plastic, one. so that's probably for the best she got her own.

the shop that sells itself

down at the marble arch end of edgware road, there's been a most remarkable thing: a shop for sale. an empty unit with adverts plastered on the windows; it looks like a real shop, possibly jewelry, perfume, mobile phones, or something else that's largely empty, but it's hard to actually see in because of all the decor on the front. plastered over it are new-media buzzwords by comittee; choice, quality, inspiration, &c. a distracting idea, the shop whose sole thing for sale is the shop itself.

last time i went past it had an update: it's being turned into a bank; something that doesn't sell anything real either, funnilly enough.

'you have a problem'

is what ed said to me. But who's got the problem? After all, he's the only person I know who, when exposed to trapped in the closet, didn't immediately want to watch it all the way through and show everyone they know.

But it's impossible to notice that titc isn't what it was. It's wandered so far away from the purity of it's original remit of the social network that expands by roughly one character per episode. Now I owe that's not strictly true but it's a good working start point.

So I propose 'fract in the closet': a computer-generated, fractal-based, adapatation, with a basic set of rules that generates endlessly varied new episodes, making sure each character can find their way back into the tangled web of relationships. For example, a new character might be married to a, be pregnant by b, go to church with c, live next door to d, went to prison with e, and so on.

isn't that what we all want?


dick around

by sparks:

All I do now is dick around, All I do now is dick around, dick around

Every day, every day, every day Every night, every night, every night Every day, every day, every day, every day, every day Every night, every night, every night, every night, every night

Overtime, more overtime, I'm conscientious by design
To reach the heights of academe To be the captain of the team
To CEO a thousand who will do the things I say to do
And I will make a lot of bread And you will find me good in bed
I will push, I will pull, I will push, I will pull
Pull a couple strings and find myself atop the corporation

Tailored to the maximum, I send another fax to them
A parking place, a new Corvette, a manicure, a private jet,
A stock incentive busting out,
"A phone call, sir."
Well, say I'm out.
"Your lady friend."
Well, put it through.
(SHE:) "Uh, listen, dear, I'm through with you."
(SHE:) "Through with you, through with you, through with you, through with you."
Yes, I think I got the point and bang, there goes my motivation
What to do, what to do, what to do, what to do,
All that I can think of was "I'm tendering my resignation."
But, all I do now is dick around
All I do now, is dick around, dick around

All I do now is dick around, when the sun goes up and the moon comes out
When the leaves are green and the leaves are brown
All I do now is dick around
I've got so much to do, gotta pick things up, gotta see things through
My, how the time does fly, gotta wave hello to a passerby
All I do now is dick around, when the sun goes up and the moon comes out
When the leaves are green and the leaves are brown
All I do now is dick around
I've got so much do
Gotta pick things up, gotta see things through
My how the time does fly, Gotta wave hello to a passerby
All I do now is dick around, when the sun goes up and the moon comes out
When the leaves are green and the leaves are brown All I do now is dick around

Think about the recent past The cynics said too good to last
But she could change her mind again Oh, no, this movie said "The End"
So I will go about my day Just dicking round, my metier
And realize that life is change And furniture to rearrange

Why the hell, why the hell, why the hell, why the hell?
Why the hell did she desert you when you were so influential?
Why the hell, why the hell, why the hell, why the hell?
Why did she desert you when you told her she was so essential?

Pull yourself up off the ground You've started liking being down

The persecution feels cool The subtle feel of garden tools
But what about that other life 'Cause this is more an afterlife
Seducing you each night and day You're never gonna break away
Look at me, look at me, look at me, look at me,
Knowing that from now on what you do is strictly non-essential
Look at me, look at me, look at me, look at me,
Knowing that from now on no one wonders if you've got potential

All I do is dick around, the sun goes up and the moon goes down
The leaves are green the leaves are brown
And all I do is dick around
Why the hell, why the hell, why the hell, why the hell?
Why the hell did she desert you when you were so influential?
Why the hell, why the hell, why the hell, why the hell?
Why did she desert you when you told her she was so essential?

But all I do now, is dick around All I do now is dick around, dick around
Every day, every day, every day, every day, every day
Every night, every night, every night, every night, every night
Every day, every day, every day, every day, every day
Every night, every night, every night, every night, every night
Every day, every day, every day, every day, every day
Every night, every night, every night, every night, every night

But all I do now is dick around All I do now is dick around, dick around

And all I do now is dick around
All I do now is dick around, dick around

Then I got the late-night call,
(SHE:) "I really miss you after all"
"I had a fling and that is all,
"A stupid fling, then hit the wall."
"So take me, take me, take me back."
"I love the way you scratched my back."

(HE:) Well, there is something you should know."
(HE:) We might not be simpatico."

All I do now, is dick around All I do now, is dick around

(SHE:) "I don't care what you do, dick around, I will too."
(SHE:) "I don't care what you do, I'll dick around next to you." But all I do now, is dick around

All I do now, is dick around
Dick around

there is a video, but you need not watch it as it is half the length of the song, a compressed, ruining experience. just somehow, please, get the mp3.


BBC NEWS | Health | Guinness good for you - official

BBC NEWS | Health | Guinness good for you - official

they tested lager against guinness.

this article contains the word 'guinness' 12 times, the word 'stout' once, and the word 'ale' zero times.

it contains the supposition: "They believe that "antioxidant compounds" in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls."



2007 09 Dave & Dan at Green Man Festival

oh yeah, i forgot to mention when dan and i fashioned hats out of plasitc bags to keep the rain off.

you can't see my big bag nappy to keep my arse dry in this photo.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Space pile-up 'condemned dinos'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Space pile-up 'condemned dinos'

how the human race can avoid being wiped out by an asteroid strike: don't all stand in the same place


the past

once again it's two weeks of diary entering!

so i went to green man two thursday's ago. brought all my baggages to work, and piled off to paddington, getting to the station ten minutes before when i thought i train was. being me, i had managed to compensate for the mad dash by setting my train for an hour later - and then forgotten i'd done this. so i found the cafe bar upstairs, ordered a pizza and a grolsch whit beer - both of which were surprisingly good - and had a last good natter with rachel. i had taken plenty of books, both as emergency reading material and head props for sleeping. i didn't get through much of them.

the train got into newport ten minutes late, meaning about thirty campers and i missed the 5-minute change over to the abergavenny. this was about predictable as anything i can ever imagine happening, and i saw it as soon as i bought my tickets online. sigh. so i left my bags with some people i'd just met, and set off into newport to do a booze run, having forgotten to get any myself. i walked into the same town as derby and leek and so many other industrial midland market towns - the undulating 3-story streets leading to a clock tower with police van parked underneath. people handing out flyers, me smiling and taking them, so i wouldn't have to speak and reveal my accent, for fear of starting a conversation or worse. eventually i found an open late shop - i had to walk into the suburbs, which were about 2 minutes away. got back and chatted to some of the other greeners a bit, there were some very nice people as you'd expect. but some were a bit boring which is always a bit disappointing.
when we got to abergavenny, an hour late at 10.35, rumours started by a tacsi driver abounded of the last bus having already gone. nonesense, declared the majority of the crowd, it said on the website they were running all night, i was told we'd be in plenty of time... &c. half an hour later, we had confirmation from someone on-site that buses stopped at half ten. it's like everyone fucked up except me. i called dan's friend alish, who'd he'd put me onto set up with, who said she'd come get me and all that but then couldn't because the warden wouldn't let her out... and so on. eventually i mangaged to squeeze in a taxi with a physics magician. wandered in and found them; it wasn't raining and i wasn't alone so my predictions kind of fell flat.

once again it's two weeks of diary entering!

so i went to green man two thursday's ago. brought all my baggages to work, and piled off to paddington, getting to the station ten minutes before when i thought i train was. being me, i had managed to compensate for the mad dash by setting my train for an hour later - and then forgotten i'd done this. so i found the cafe bar upstairs, ordered a pizza and a grolsch whit beer - both of which were surprisingly good - and had a last good natter with rachel. i had taken plenty of books, both as emergency reading material and head props for sleeping. i didn't get through much of them.

the train got into newport ten minutes late, meaning about thirty campers and i missed the 5-minute change over to the abergavenny. this was about predictable as anything i can ever imagine happening, and i saw it as soon as i bought my tickets online. sigh. so i left my bags with some people i'd just met, and set off into newport to do a booze run, having forgotten to get any myself. i walked into the same town as derby and leek and so many other industrial midland market towns - the undulating 3-story streets leading to a clock tower with police van parked underneath. people handing out flyers, me smiling and taking them, so i wouldn't have to speak and reveal my accent, for fear of starting a conversation or worse. eventually i found an open late shop - i had to walk into the suburbs, which were about 2 minutes away. got back and chatted to some of the other greeners a bit, there were some very nice people as you'd expect. but some were a bit boring which is always a bit disappointing.
when we got to abergavenny, an hour late at 10.35, rumours started by a tacsi driver abounded of the last bus having already gone. nonesense, declared the majority of the crowd, it said on the website they were running all night, i was told we'd be in plenty of time... &c. half an hour later, we had confirmation from someone on-site that buses stopped at half ten. it's like everyone fucked up except me. i called dan's friend alish, who'd he'd put me onto set up with, who said she'd come get me and all that but then couldn't because the warden wouldn't let her out... and so on. eventually i mangaged to squeeze in a taxi with a physics magician. wandered in and found them; it wasn't raining and i wasn't alone so my predictions kind of fell flat.

i sat up for a bit with alish and tom, their twelve string, and some herbal tea that i had flattered them with. the tent went up no problem as it always did. That night was absolutely freezing, even through all my layers. Foodwise I was well prepared: the keystone was the large round loaf of organic sourdough bread, with a remarkably long shelf life. Added to this was a jar of roast peppers, two packs of tofu fillets – one corn/rice, the other tofu sea cakes, both of which rocked massively – oatabix and individual cartons of flavoured soy milk (chocolate porridge for breakfast!), hit biscuits, bananas, and eventually some naff baked pretzel things too.

It rarely stopped raining, but it was never much more than a hard drizzle; my tent leaked a little. After the first night I was completely shattered, soaked through, and possibly in danger of suffering from exhaustion. I watched Joanna newsom from the perfect vantage point of a well placed café, sadly disrupted by the break-core coming from the Mexican next door.
Last year I gave a complete breakdown of everyone I saw but it’s not possible now; so many bands I merely glimpsed and I can’t remember who they were even with the listings in front of me. Euros childs was obviously great, but Richard james now seeming pretty dull. I couldn’t stand through an entire set of gruff rhys either, not for any particular reason. The north sea radio orchestra were brilliant because they were an actual orchestra, with their own program and everything, battles were fascinating and in retrospect pretty good, although I found a live video on that youtube thing that was very similar to what I saw but crikey it was boring. I caught the last couple of songs by thee, stranded horse, who seemed brilliant. Fridge were completely missable – I joked with ian about them coming out and playing a set of bad smashing pumpkins covers, only for that hebden fella to then actually play some riff that I know from Laurence playing it. eerie. And then they played forty minutes of basic go-nowhere post-rock. Again, I’m surprised at just how many bands are completely uninspired; one highly-touted band we’d walked past had a last song consisting of the three basic chords and an endless refrain of ‘it’s over now’. As ian said, repeating something doesn’t make it psychedelic.

We all had our problems of course; much of one day was spent trying to repair thalia’s new tent, which had a broken pole, with no replacements available from the on site camping shop. Only some weak gaffa tape from the general store brought it partially back under control, until a drunken sod felll over onto it at 4 the next morning and break two of the other poles. Queue more taping and seething. On Sunday I went back to my tent to get my torch, to find the whole thing had blown over – it was frequently being blown a good 45 degrees on Saturday night, waking me up as dangling socks (my washing hadn’t dried when I left) stroked my face. Generally it was too cold and wet to enjoy the bonfire this year, but when I did go up I found james Milroy once again entertaining all and sundry. On the last night we went up to the disco tent for the strangest mashup I ever did hear – b music djs (can’t believe I never went to that when I lived in Manchester) playing everything, as long as no-one knew what it was. I think I recognised one song, can’t remember what now. Possibly from the ‘welsh rare beat’ album that votel and gruff rhys put out.

I managed to get a lift back with alish and tom, piling the luggage up high, djing on their mp3 player, and playing guitar and uke in the back while they sang along in the front. I dumped my stuff at home and went down to London fields. It was a short week, then; three days of work and then off to my parents on Friday morning, with Rachel. I’ve not taken anyone home for about 7 years. I’ve hardly been out with anyone in 7 years but that’s not the point I’m making. We went on lovely walks and had dinner in the pub (which is now more of a restaurant, but at least it’s open). It went very well, and I even had the fortune to bring back a mountain of bedding on Monday.

Thursday, I went out on a brighton binge; sam’s birthday in the cock near oxford circus, where I would have hung around longer if he wasn’t so drunk, and if I then wasn’t going to meet robin, kate, and friends at the ghetto for ‘miss shapes’, a gay indie pop electro night. I think we danced; not real big dancing but it was still fun. There seemed to be almost a trendy trend going on, prompting the girls to wonder if lesbianism was finally cool. I left about one, and stayed up drinking and chatting with ed, who’d just got back from nice, ‘til about three. All this to Rachel’s chagrin, as them lot were all having a meal at pizza express.

So we’re up to last weekend; I think I managed to stay in pretty much the entire time. Friday I was too tired from Thursday. Saturday I tried to meet up with a Spanish girl called lorena and her boyfriend at a Singapore festival in brick lane, but I didn’t get down there until about four, when they weren’t letting anymore people in due to the hour queue (free food and booze will do that). So I just tried out the new rough trade shop, bought botch’s debut album and the new euros childs record, then accidentally got a bus to the south bank – which is actually quite interesting, and walked back up to soho for ‘lunch’ at beetroot, which I’ve wanted to test for ages. when I got home, I called Adrian, who said them lot were just heading over to see james kettle perform in Camden. Why didn’t I call when I was in town? Well they were recording but I could have tried. They never made it to Kilburn where I said I might meet them but there you are. Sunday I think I just struggled with my mp3 player and then went for dinner in the dove with Rachel. I’m sure it was a smaller portion of mash than I’m used to. Monday night the tubes struck, so girls girls girls had a brief rehearsal in our flat with me on un-asked for guest guitar, then drinks in the good ship with michelle (who’s leaving in 30 days and counting) and her friends. I went home with ed, while jez and Adrian decided for some reason to go out to piano bar.

A word on Adrian; In the last week he has once again tried to give up boozing, womanising, and meating, and comprehensively failed at all three, which would be okay if he hadn’t failed at the womanising as well as failing to give it up.
And then last night I had a roast supper with the girls of Istanbul (Rachel, jo, and ruth), drank lots of wine and chatted shit over each other all night.