Monthly Archives: August 2010

stagged2

By the time I got onto the lane to bowl my first ball the crew had pretty much doubled in size, the non-limo lot had met us in the bar at the pre-arranged time and we were split into 4 teams of 5/6. I was playing with my bro, Frank and a couple of other guys, but everyone was watching as I hurled the ball skywards only for it to come crashing down and roll lazily out of sight via the gutter. I then decided, quite reasonably, that I’m shit at bowling.

On the other side of fence my bro was a dab bloody hand at it, he even got the highest score following numerous strikes, I on other hand discovered that in addition to making an abdominal tit of myself, bowling is to slipped discs (in case you didn’t know, I have one) what hammers are to teeth. Indeed, my back still isn’t right some 5 days later.

After coming 2nd last I decided I’d be better off playing pool, which at least allowed me to claw back some dignity. Few frames of that then off to lunch at The Hawksmoor, what ho.

I’d never been to this place, I’d heard of it and knew it was some sort of steak gaff and on that basis wasn’t fussed. On arrival it became clear this place wasn’t going to be cheap, my heart sunk into my Docs, especially as the menu didn’t really tickle my stomach, initially. The starter of potted mackerel on toast was amazing, then came the meat, sticky belly ribs and some other matter which I have to say was delicious. Then everyone started to get all excited about the Chateaubriand and I have to confess I didn’t have a clue what they were all harping on about, until I tried it. Holy cow, quite literally, it actually fucking melted in my mouth, meat, melting, who’d have thought?! I actually carried on eating until I could barely breathe, it was a medieval display of sheer gluttony and with all the wine involved I didn’t turn a hair at the massive sodding bill which doubtless has contributed to my decision to sell Brutta, we’ll get onto that some other time.

Following this quite appalling display of wilful greed we hobbled out and away to a boozer off Liverpool Street where conversation gathered pace along with the drink that appeared to be coming out of the walls. I’m not sure what time we arrived at the final designated venue, I will say this though, it was a karaoke bar.

More of this crap tomorrow, probably.

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stagged 1

Without wishing to sound like a snob, what pops into my head after someone utters the words ‘stretch limo’ is something combining amateur porn, babycham and prison. Even the idea of it in a sense of ironic playfulness feels me with the urge to scrub myself until I’m bleeding. So what part of me agreed to getting inside one?

Let’s leave that part shrouded in mystery, maybe somewhere a part of me agreed that, in the right company under the right circumstances, it might be quite fun. I had no idea I’d spend over an hour paralysed with laughter and not wanting to get out.

It was Rob’s stag-do. A handful of us had taken the best man up on the tasteless transport offer from New Cross to the bowling Alley in Brick Lane, the rest of the crew were due to meet us there. I could’ve opted out of the white stretched jeep with its mirrored ceiling, faux leather couches, neon lights and wood veneer drinks cabinets complete with decanters and glasses. But I didn’t.

It arrived outside the meeting point like a vast white shit, a bear without any hair got out, gave us the once over and we sheepishly climbed in. We drove to the stags gaff, who was entirely clueless about his mode of transport, and after picking his jaw up off the floor joined us in the back where beer and rock music helped to launch us towards the city. It was so much bloody fun it’s hard to explain why, the expressions on people’s faces as we cruised by, the ostentatious vehicle we were sat in, the music, beer, perhaps it was just all of us simply enjoying the same bizarre experience. We were in and the world was out.

We stopped to get some more beers and my bro and I decided to chat with the driver. Turned out he’d just come back from Dover after picking up some lads at 7am that morning who were all blitzed. They wanted to go to Lea-on-Sea, but because they were being so obnoxious he booted them out in Dover. Of course they objected but our driver was a 10th Dan in Karate and taught Aikido… He wasn’t the sort of chap to piss off but he was actually quite a nice bloke. He told us about some of the things that he’s seen in the back of the limo, no need for detail here save to say ‘everything’ but left he left us to ponder one stinging comment, ‘the richer they are, the looser their morals.’

We climbed back on board the limo, just as we were approaching Tower Bridge the bloody thing broke down. By now our crew were all rather jolly so we sat in the back giggling like over-excited school kids, despite being convinced it was the bus for us. After 10 mins our driver had the limo started and we all set off with a cheer. We wound our way through the city and arrived at 3pm at our destination, all reluctant to exit our mobile nightclub, said farewell to our driver and headed off down Brick Lane for a spot of 10-pin Bowling. So far, so good.


skumer

Now for the bad news.

The fucking flat. A few weeks before I was due to go away I got some news, Cunt’s father told my agent that he wanted to buy it. The wheels were set in motion, which essentially means haemorrhaging yet more money in solicitor’s fees, only to discover a week before going away that he was, and I quote ‘ deliberately time wasting.’ What a fucking wanker, eh dear reader?

Another buyer stepped into the equation. He was keen but wanted to know about the loft, could he convert it, for example. Cunt’s father, being the freeholder, refused on the grounds that ‘it wasn’t in his interests.’ Legally it’s dubious he can refuse permission but it would require costly proceedings to sort this aspect out, besides, the buyer had cleared off anyway, that’s the sixth so far.

I then learn from my agent (who’d decided to spare me this little detail for the sake of my sanity) that every time I’ve had a viewing he’d heard Cunt listening at his fucking door prior to walking into wherever he keeps his shitty guitar and turning it on full blast. I’ll move away from this aspect of the matter as I’m still incandescent with rage and fear I may bite off my chin.

My agent then suggest we get some rather nasty tenets to move into my place, they’ll cover the mortgage (just) and hopefully will become sexually violent when woken up at 3am by the sound of a chimpanzee having a biro forced up the end of its dick. They move in early September…

This can’t happen soon enough; a combination of mortgage, rent, bad business and solicitors fees (and cold, cold vengeance -with more to come, believe me) has made Zimbabwe’s financial problems appear to me like losing a game of Monopoly. On top of it all I’m moving with IC early September which comes with its own headache, both in terms of money and logistics… still, at least this is an ultimately positive step.

Speaking of IC, she got her first tattoo on Tuesday. I’d spent about 9 months designing it to her brief and finally it was time for it to come to life. We arrived at the studio at 5.30, the artist and I had been to the same art college which cheered me no end, in addition he was very likable so I didn’t mind him making minor alterations of my design for the sake it ‘working’ in situ.

He spent a good while working on the tattoo design prior to it becoming realised in flesh. This allowed me room to pop away a few cans of Holsten as we three chatted about suchlike. IC was nervous about the actual inking but as soon as first contact had been made she (and I) relaxed. Mary popped by to see how things were going (she’s no stranger to the needle either) and the evening turned into a sort of tattoo party. I’ve no doubt where I’m going next, I’m still not entirely happy with my last effort; the artist made one suggestion with regard to it and solved the problem there and then. As soon as I’ve a few quid I’m in.

I’ve a stag-do on Saturday which you will probably read about next week, sadly I can’t post Gerry’s chart from this PC, the format goes all funny after I’ve cut and pasted it, so to make up for it, this vid and tune will blow your socks off, if you wear any.

May the force be with you.


romin’

The afternoon was spent in the baking heat trying to do too much at once. The mind is perpetually switching on and off to connections from the past, its living breathing surrealism, you get glimpses of how things were then struggle to re-capture them in the midst of a bombardment of noise and beauty. The other aspect that becomes apparent is the annexing of what was ostensibly Roman Paganism by The Catholic Church. Apart from lopping off a few marble cocks (wanton vandalism) the church has merely stepped into the boots of another’s culture which it happily parades up and down as if they created it. They did a nice number on The Coliseum for example, in the mid 1700’s Pope Benedict declared it sacred on account of the fact early Christians had met their comeuppance in there (we saw it in the afternoon, it’s quite staggering to think it could seat 50,000 and to think of what they saw once in) the church didn’t even bother making excuses for The Pantheon, Pope Boniface just declared it Christian without so much as a by your leaves to its creators.

By the time we met up with our friends again for a farewell drink I was bushed, we went back to the hotel and early evening found a beautiful al fresco spot to eat traditional Roman fare without too much shit from tourists and locals. This meal is worthy of a particular note as it’s one of the finest bloody things I’ve ever had. Saltinbocca (meaning ‘jumping in mouth’) alla Romana is basically meats (cured and otherwise) and melted cheese, but like most Italian dishes which are, by and large, simple affairs, it’s the way of making and the ingredients involved that take it way beyond the immediate sum of its parts. It was the perfect way to see off Rome, short and terrifically sweet it begs another visit. If you see me there stay the fuck away, okay.

After checking out in the morning and a short taxi ride I had the mother of panic attacks on the train from Verona to Bescia following the rather nice air-conditioned journey on the Eurostar out of Rome. It came from out of the blue, a full on Can’t Breathe fit conducted in front of IC and a handful of foreign types. Not sure of the source by the upshot was hell. By the time we arrived I was just about recovered, just.

IC’s mum collected us from the airport and took us back home where we had time to shower, relax and indulge in a spot of lunch prior to picking up Mary from the ‘port place later in the afternoon. After jettisoning her stuff we wandered about Brescia which is almost totally tourist free. It’s a beautiful little city but as it’s close to Milan and Verona gets somewhat overlooked, save the Mille Miglia in April, it’s pretty much left to function without the trappings of tourism. This means that when you order apperitivo, for example, you get the full monty without any fuss, that is, Prosecco with either Apperol or Campari and complimentary snacks, anything from crisps/nuts to little sandwiches and pastries.

After dinner at home (rabbit, delicious) we popped to the local bar and caught up with some friends before carrying on to meet up with Len and some of his pals in a another bar that one of the said mates owned. It was afterhours, everyone knew each other, and there was a strong bond between all present. It’s hard to contextualise but maybe because of most of the guests were drinking wine and Sambuca, and certain factors regarding the average over-40 age-range, I found myself realising that this sort of situation would be strangely unfamiliar to most British people. The place was devoid of any aggression or malice; I can only liken the situation to a loving family enjoying a top-flight Christmas. Bloody ace it was.

I’ve no idea what time we arrived home but the following morning IC, Mary and I nipped over to the local supermarket to indulge in provision buying. Visiting supermarkets isn’t the traditional thing for a tourist to do so for fucks sake, if you do visit Italy make sure you go to one, they are, of course, like any ordinary Tesco save the fact the cured meat and cheese isles are about 50 miles long and the rest of the stuff on sale is simply better than what we have here. Next thing I recall, following is lunch, was travelling through the Italian countryside to IC’s parents place by Lake Garda. It was spectacularly hot and the place was alive with chirping crickets and miniature flying pairs of teeth.

We spent the remainder of the day and evening relaxing, eating, playing cards and finally, drinking, on the veranda that overlooks the lake, with the odd bat zipping past for good measure. On the Sunday Mary and I went to the lake for a swim whilst IC and her mum went to church, we had pizza for lunch and walked about Salo (no English people go there, it’s a holiday destination for the Italians, though the odd German could be found) one of the small lakeside towns that’s like a mini, though just as opulent, version of Cannes with its million euro yachts and boutique shops. You can walk the length of the town with the lake inches away on one side, the other flanked by all sorts of posh bars and eateries. Of course we tried one of the former out.

In the evening we headed back to the lakeside apartment, one final meal and a few hands of cards then off to bed. On the Monday we went back to Brescia, it was time to pack-up and fuck off. I was less than happy to leave, I’d enjoyed leaving all the hassles of London behind and now I was going to have to face up to ongoing work and flat issues, aspects of these detailed in the next instalment before the weekend.

Join me on Twitter ‘piquedcouk.’ I’ve got the bug…


cist

We arrived at Rome at lunch and located our not-as-central-as-expected hotel near Trastevere in the South-East of the city. It was already 40 degrees. After a shower we ventured out, trams and busses (no underground due to some turd knacking himself earlier) were employed to get us panting to The Pantheon. To say this building freaked the fuck out of me is somewhat of an understatement; in many respects I didn’t take it all in at the time and even now find myself contemplating that unfathomable roof with its oculus, almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.

From there we moved on to The Spanish Steps, the quite jaw dropping Trevi Fountain that featured in La Dolce et Vita and continued on our way passing the ruined foundations of our modern Western Culture with dropped jaws, boiling hot. It’s too much to detail here so I’ll skip to the end…

Later on, we met up with some friends, native Romans, old friends of IC, who first took us for a drink and then to dinner, a fish restaurant in the West of the City that served the most amazing oysters. The partner of one of IC’s friends is a professional gambler, smashing fellow, who was due to play in a poker tournament in Venice the following day. He was making a fucking fortune, incidentally, and I discovered recently he cleaned up in Venice too. Getting these Italian friends to accept money for their kind invitations to dinner or drinks is a hopeless task I’m partially happy to report and we left them feeling sated and stuffed (and bloody grateful) and embarked on a behemoth walk back to the hotel, during which I nearly followed through on account of the fish ravioli that was cheerfully entertaining my bowel.

The Vatican is fucking enormous; to walk the whole thing you’d be looking at the wrong side of 70 kilometres. I was in there to see The Sistene Chapel but things weren’t going according to plan. We’d sort-of taken heed of the advice to get there early and miss the queues, but after arriving at midday following a lie-in and breakfast deliberations (I skipped it on account of the previous evening) I managed to lose IC in one of Raphael’s wall daubed rooms. We’d both gone for a pee (in separate facilities you understand) and I’d come out to find her still queuing. Being a bit keen on renaissance graffiti I busied myself in the graphics and hidden among a load of Germans, she failed to see me when she was done and assumed I’d carried on.

I was alerted to this almost an hour later by the attendant after clenching my fists looking to hea’en and hissing a protracted ‘fuuuuuck.’’She gone,’ said the attendant, and pointed out the door. I shot off spurning awe inspiring works of genius and some 15 minutes later stumbled into the Sistene Chapel. No IC but, for once, this wasn’t my immediate concern. And that last sentiment will have to suffice over description. It’s genuinely breathtaking, one of those see before you expire things without question. I mean just to see the iconic hand of God giving life to Adam, despite it being very small, was enough to make my eyes go a bit wet and shit. I’ll shut up now.

There were some other great contemporary pieces following this episode, re-imaginings of Christian iconography which were, in some respects, rather alarming. Pieces by Sutherland, Dali, even Bacon none of whom are known for devout Catholics beliefs, quite the opposite in fact. Having said that there are a load of sublime Caravaggio’s in there too and he was fucking murderer.

After another 30 mins walking (this place is vast, vast!) I finally found IC outside quietly reading. Thoughts of Polanski’s ‘Frantic’ faded and we headed off for coffee, actually, apperitivo.

More of this next week, if you’re still here. No chart today as Gerry has selfishly buggered off abroad with his family, so I leave you with this, in peace for once.

Have good weekends.


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roam

‘Put some suntan lotion on.’

I swished a white hand through the air, ‘nah, fuck it,’ I said, as I gingerly lowered my back into the burning sunbed, ‘I’ll be fine.’ The beach aspect of the trip was sort-of unexpected. It’d been arranged by IC that we were to meet one of her mates in Ostia, Rome’s beach town for those not in know (like me) but it hadn’t really sunk in. I’m not a beach person so I couldn’t envisage it and the phenomenon to be, therefore, existed outside of my reality, like. By lunchtime I noticed that the burning feeling on my stomach, shoulders and legs were accompanied by a pink hue. I concluded that this was sunburn, and moaned accordingly.

The trip to Italy had began exactly as I’d intended, I’d spurned sleep before the 3am cab journey and chose instead to drink-on after IC and I went out for Vietnamese food, and watch Butthole Surfers vids on youtube.

I’d learnt my lesson at Christmas, get drunk before you fly and you won’t notice it. I didn’t quite make the whole flight memory-less, I remember a bit of the cab ride and IC pointing down at The Vatican before we landed, but it was pretty much it.

My next memory is meeting IC’s mate, Leonardo, who took us from the airport to a beach bar at 9am before telling me it was all day drinking on him. I liked him instantly. It’s worth mentioning at this point that IC and Leonardo hadn’t seen each other for at least 6 years, yet they’d stayed in touch. Despite this seemingly precarious connection Leonardo patently refused for us to put our hand in our respective pockets for anything, we later found out he’d paid for our hotel.

Leonardo worked at the beach bar so he wangled us some sun beds and a parasol on the (private as it transpired) beach. It all felt a little otherworldly if I’m to be honest; there I was with a diminishing hangover following a sleepless night in London sat looking at the Mediterranean nibbling black sand on the Italian coast. The English don’t come here, and there I was whiter than bone preparing to make my first foray into the fucking blue sea over burning sand… it suddenly occurred to me I’d never actually done this save an attempt at snorkelling in Egypt during which I regurgitated streams of Kefta and Birum Ruz on account of having a foreign object gaping my mouth, but this time flailing in the sea was like some sort of epileptic baptism. Beach none to beach bum in an instant.

The day passed very, very slowly, usually this implies something wholly negative but not in this instance, it was if time had decided to simply stop what it was doing for the day and go fishing. We drifted between sunbed, beach and bar; we had a word redefining ‘salad’ for lunch and carried on as before afterwards ensuring the afternoon was a simple combination of sea and sunbed punctuated with the odd drink. At 5-ish we met Leonardo in the bar for a final snifter and watched the Italian women’s Synchronised swimming team training in the adjacent pool, which was a little odd.

After a shower and brush up in the lovely hotel we three went out for dinner at a bloody posh restaurant, due (I was informed) a Michelin star, as guests of Leonardo who knew the chef. It was an 8-course taster menu, mind-boggling food that I can’t be pissed to describe with selected wines for each course. By the end of the meal the lack of sleep was well on me, but this didn’t stop us going to a bar on the beach and watch the sea glitter under the full moon, back at the hotel I slept like the dead until the following morning.

Before we left for Rome on the train IC and I met up with Leonardo, his missus and baby son. We had a farewell Spritz with complimentary snacks and fucked off in the burning sunshine.

It was going to be a long day.

More soon.

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE LAST WEEK WEEKS ON
30 We Are Scientists Nice Guys 21 12
29 Pendulum Witchcraft 24 5
28 Bombay Bicycle Club Flaws NE 1
27 I Am Kloot Northern Skies NE 1
26 Faithless Tweek NE 1
25 Iron Maiden The Final Frontier NE 1
24 Diagram Of The Heart Dead Famous 25 2
23 Editors Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool 16 8
22 The Hurts Wonderful Life 30 2
21 Murderdolls My Dark Place Alone 18 4
20 Biffy Clyro God And Satan 26 2
19 Gorillaz On Melancholy Hill 12 6
18 Feeder Call Out 10 6
17 Arcade Fire We Used To Wait 14 6
16 Xx Islands 13 5
15 The Drums Let’s Go Surfing 19 3
14 The Hurts Better Than Love 8 12
13 Tired Pony Dead American Writers 17 3
12 Combichrist Never Surrender 22 2
11 Richard Ashcroft Born Again 15 4
10 Mark Ronson : Business Intl Bang Bang Bang 20 2
9 The Futureheads I Can Do That 7 5
8 Klaxons Echoes 9 3
7 Brandon Flowers Crossfire 5 5
6 Broken Bells The Ghost Inside 3 6
5 30 Seconds To Mars Closer To The Edge 6 7
4 One Night Only Say You Don’t Want It 11 4
3 Band Of Horses Factory 4 4
2 Korn Oildale (Leave Me Alone) 2 4
1 The National Bloodbuzz Ohio 1 6