man walks into a pub, which turns out to have a stiff records party on. he about to go up to the bar when a man with a walking stick starts shouting at him, 'oi! you! you don't belong here! get the bleedin' hell out!' and pushes him over, and throws a stool at him, breaking his arm.
i tell you, he suffered a really nasty ian dury.


my week of living ridiculously

it's time the tale was told... of how i et out four times in a week. ah, birthdays.
my father was worried that my birthday money would disappear into the void-hole of my debt. fortunately for him, i just spent it instead. it's what he would have wanted.

i suppose i should start with my lovely saturday with ian, watching the polysics. such a great pop band. reader, i moshed. i haven't moshed for years - perhaps since 'this is the mad style' by mad capsule markets, in brighton. but the only way to enjoy that show, to be close enough to the band to have fun and also move around lots, was to mosh. it wasn't real moshing - not proper metal moshing. for me, it was more about hugging as many people as possible. full-on feel-good rawk, with as many exclamation marks as possible. drink vodka and ginger beer in the shopping precinct before hand just added to the experience.
and then we were so pumped up for going out... but speaking of pumps, ohmygodimissyou, bethnal green's burlesque disco showcase thing, had had to introduce a footwear policy to cut down numbers... you think they'd just make it more often, but i suppose that depends if they're doing it to make money or not. what happens when demand outstrips supply again? so anyway, instead of going to that - the only way we might have got in was to dress up in '60's gear - we went back to ian's and got tired and drunk with his new australian flatmates.

the next day was our first gig, described over on the party piglet blog, which is due to be expanded into a full website any week now. we wrote out the setlist over a cheap thai buffet, then got surprised as to how many people came, then didn't ask if they owed us any money (if we get 20 in, we're supposed to reclaim half their entrance fee back). then my back fell out from the lugging and i took the next day off work. rock and roll!

that day, that i'd have off work, my mother had bought me two tickets for daniel barenboim playing beethoven piano sonatas at the royal festival hall. i took rachel and we skipped through the confusing experience of getting to, then inside, the royal festival hall. we know now that it's the big one with the glass front. we had platform tickets - stupidly choosing to sit behind barenboim, so that we could see his hands, when surely his face would have been better. since we had to take our seats early, we slided into long journey games such as twenty questions. we were also totally confused by the order of ceremonies - people didn't clap between pieces, instead they showed their appreciation by coughing. between sonatas, they did clap, and there was a short break, like an interval, but no-one stood up. we had to ask the man sat next to us what was going on. during the interval we both went in the 'unisex assisted' toilet in the lobby. the door was broken so i stood outside for rachel. a lady came in. she said, 'excuse me, this is the ladies.' i said, technically correct, 'it's actually unisex'. she looked at the door outside and said two weeks ago it was ladies. in a criminally retrograde move, they've converted the ladies into the disabled. so they have a men's toilets... and a disabled toilets. what kind of a message does that give?
i apologised to the lady - she was quite in the right really - and said i was also minding the door for my girlfriend since the lock was broken, and i'd go and use the gents because i could, for which she seemed quite grateful.
then we dithered about which of the crazy ice cream flavours to buy, finally going for honey and ginger 2 minutes before the second half started. we gobbled it down, then moaned in agony with brain freeze and managed to shut up before the maestro came back on. on a steinway, on a steinway. the music itself started a bit pretty-pretty, but i think they got better and grander as the show went on.

afterwards we went to wagamama's below, who rushed us through since it was the national wagamama's staff party (which i'd love to have seen, all those tight t-shirts...). it was undeniably tasty. but the start of a bad habit.

thursday, i'd meant to have been recording with jamie, but it was some saint's day... we actually had a really unpleasant time and i upset rachel by adamantly refusing to acknowledge valentine's day. she didn't believe that i had caved in and made her a card - in fact two cards, so that i could choose the best one - and then left it at work. we went for a drink, and bumped into ian's flatmates, who i insisted join us for a drink. it wasn't a good move. when we got home she showed me the card she made, a big red thing with pictures of me, her, and a life-sized r. kelly doll hidden behind heart shaped flaps and in closets. it was heart breaking. but then we got over it.

the next day things were better, and we went to the dove with james and ruth and had a big feed and drink. veggie burger + kwak, delerium tremens, & westmalle triple, i think. everything was great except the cost but we didn't like to think about that and had to get back into the routine of enjoying ourselves after the night before, so it was worth it.

the next day, i had band practice as usual, then actual proper band drinks for the first time ever, in the first pub we could fit in - the last table upstairs in an off-road drinking hole full, as everywhere was, with football fans. we told each other jokes and stuff. then i went to meet dan, maria, and rachel at a greek restaurant in soho. it was fairly quite good.
we went back to mine and were excited about the prospect of a free sunday. sadly we pissed it away at home and the missed the tate modern and every other sunday entertainment. we went out to soho again, and sister ray was still open. as i was umming and ahhing over 4 cds, rachel said 'as long as you remember you didn't get me a valentine's present', and i felt guilty. i settled on dillinger escape plan's new one and iliketrains' first. we met james and his new fella in the john snow, had a quick drink, then they went out to see the london gay orchestra, while we went off to see 'that new cloverfield that everyone said is good'
we found a suitable place that was showing it, and handed over 20 quid for the privilege. we'd never been to the cinema together so it was kind of an important milestone, but we still felt insulted. we got tea at woodlands, a wonderful but overpriced veggie indian, and felt very poor indeed. then we went to see the film and oh, it was shit. a pointlessly stressful hour of dialogue-free, inspiration-free, backstory-free, disappointment. the cost just made it even worse. we went back to mine again, shaken and pissed off. thanks, bad robot. throbot.


my birthday, precious

my birthday party, or company, took place in the glasshouse stores, soho. basically my only stipulation was a central london sam smith's pub, and the glasshouse has the perfectly sized and shaped table for the number of people i was expecting. i got there just after six, and snagged it as soon as the downstairs had opened.
over the next five hours, people wandered in and out, through and round, not to mention any names, and a swell time was had &c, although i had the feeling i couldn't get round everybody.

by the time kicking out time had rolled around, we'd a hardcore contingent of couples - rachel and i, ian and thalia, joel and annie - and wendy, and tommy - and a plan. soho is great. i love it now. we went to a gothy-electro night downstairs in a swiss restaurant, since we figured it would be the most likely place to play 'it's no good', and it was just round the corner. there was a beautiful, cavernous but tiny (a grotto?), stage, with the most ordinary band i've ever heard playing, while a fantasticly lithe woman in a corset professionally gyrated meaninglessly in front of them. i couldn't really bring my self to look at her. about a quarter of the people were done up in gothy wear, the rest were tourists like us. my enduring memory of the night was walking to the toilet when 'master and servant' was being played, the dj who'd played our request for us dancing, dressed in similarly bonded gear, but with cat ears and a tail. it was a good place, and we left at about three. when i got home after spurning rachel - for some reason, i genuinely didn't believe she'd want to stay at mine that night - i spent twenty minutes thinking i'd lost my keys, before finding them in a pocket i'd forgotten existed. i was wearing my nurses uniform with all it's extra pockets.

for my actual birthday, i met dan and rachel in soho again - they'd met at piccadilly circus, luckily, after my attempt at letting rachel know what we were doing was an email at half fiven which she'd recived when she'd given up and gone home. actually, the more i think about the last few weeks, the more i think what an absolutely rubbish boyfriend i am to her. it just gets worse. i fucked up st. valentine's day tragically. anyway, we went to this indonesian place i'd spotted on a cross-street, which served what one indo-reviewer termed 'home-style comfort food'. it was ok. but nethermind. dan heaped a huge amount of presents on top of me, on top of the meal, then went home (it was late and this was after band practice).

the next night, i had a school reunion to attend in clapham common, which i willingly had a good time at. there were people there who i really wanted to see again, and hadn't in the year and a half i've been in london. of course, i had to leave at 8, when most people got there, but catching up with catherine farrell and liz ainsley-smith for an hour was very nice.



i saw something back in madrid i think, in the window of a music shop. i paused for a second.. an accordian with midi out? impossible. i must be confused. then we moved on, as people crowded round. i'd completely forgotten about it until i saw this, which i think illustrates how roland have developed what might be the ultimate musical instrument: