looche-er

Good day. Hang on, it’s bloody freezing in here, just turn on the heating. Christ it stinks too, bear with, I’ll open a window. That’s marginally better, I guess.

So. Been a while, I know. I’ve been pre-occupied with other things, not had time to post and for the foreseeable future this will be the case, nothing personal, just the way it is.

The reason for this sudden surge of activity is down to various ventures, long gone are the days of sitting wretchedly in my office chair lazily typing nonsense as business drips slowly into my bank account. That aspect of my work-life has changed, these days I can pretty much do all of that shit twice a week and dedicate the other three days to finer things, such as writing about motor powered bikes.

Admittedly it isn’t proving to be particularly lucrative (yet) but it’s going very well and I’ve some rather splendid stuff in the pipeline. And I guess the company I write for like me enough, they’ve just bought me a 750 quid camera for taking snaps to accompany my wordings.

There has been another fundamental change too; I wouldn’t say ‘I’ve grown-up’ but I’m just not feeling the same degree of deranged manic bitterness toward everything and everyone. This is partially down to IC and my present location in the universe -nothing whatsoever to do with my advancing years, I hasten to add (if anything I’m worse in this respect).

Also responsible for this marginal quickening of the step is the aforementioned writing. I went to the Bike Show in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago, in addition to getting paid expenses and, indeed, paid, I had a press pass which meant I could legitimately talk to whomsoever in an official, professional (for want of a better word) capacity. It occurred to me that instead of lamenting the wasted years of doing a job I’d never applied for or enjoyed (after previously pulling myself up by my bootstraps and getting a Masters Degree following a truly pathetic school education and abuse of natural artistic tendencies etc.) I was starting to move on. And it felt alright.

So, what else? The usual routine of going out, enjoying myself with IC, my bro and friends. Nothing out the ordinary save a trip to Italy but that’s fairly common these days, here, I’ll tell you all about it.

On Saturday IC and I got up at some ungodly hour to get the train to Stanstead. As we trundled East and London gave way to marshland I noticed the first real frost of the season, it was a beautiful sunny morning and the aurulent light picked out the ice crystals in the passing grasses and shrubs, fucking lovely, ‘almost a shame to leave the city,’ I screamed down the carriage.

It being a Saturday am, and the only flight of the day to Milan, I was concerned that we’d not be able to sit together on the plane, something I was very keen to avoid after the flight back from Barcelona. Decided it was best to nip to the bar and have a few wines in case, take the edge off it all. Despite the plane being packed we managed to get a double seat next to some misery-guts. IC generously allowed me the window which was fortuitous because it was so clear I could see land/sea/Alps all the way, another wine prevented any worries about crashing in flames or exploding mid-air. Or suffocating at 30,000 feet.

We landed and met Leonardo and his missus who whisked us off to IC’s place in Brescia where we were greeted by the mum and sister-in-law, just in time for lunch. Following this delicious pork and tomato-based intervention, we went out for a walk round the city which was packed with shoppers preparing for Santa Lucia. To the unenlightened, Italians don’t really do the Santa Claus thing; instead they celebrate the martyrdom of Santa Lucia on the 13th December. Unlike Claus she rings a little bell to announce her presence and flies about on a donkey instead of reindeer, like Claus she leaves children presents following the latter’s fervent letters on the eve of the day. But, unlike Claus, Santa Lucia is blind. My pointing out that she can’t read the children’s letters, then, went down like a lead balloon.

It was nice wandering about the town with IC’s family, my family these days, and I felt very much part of proceedings. The wide-eyed days of yore consigned to history as unfamiliarity is no more. Even the language is starting to permeate the grey matter, er, Ciao!

IC and I stopped off for Apperitivo in a favoured bar and returned home for dinner before going back out for a drink in the bar/restaurant closest to IC’s house where we’re friends with the owners, as it happens. The place was half empty so after all the punters had cleared off G&G closed early and we four played cards, smoked, drank, until 2-ish.

I’d been looking forward to Sunday for weeks. Simple plan, avoid church and drive to Sirmione on the shores of Lake Garda (where we had our wedding reception) and enjoy a meal as the guests of the staff who presided over our sickeningly lovely day. This was no empty gesture, the restaurant, next to where we had the time of our lives, is no greasy spoon. It has stars, it’s fucking expensive and the food is astonishingly good, some of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. It was a splendid afternoon, I didn’t cane the wine as IC was driving -and the last thing she needed on the way home was her English partner rolling round the front seat demanding she pull over in order to relieve his swollen bladder- and the food was better than ever. The roast sucking pig and the tasting dishes (each course is preceded by one) particularly excellent.

Before we returned home the manageress insisted we visit the house she owns with manager husband, bit odd even by Italian standards but a pleasant invitation. The couple are in the process of refurbishment so the place is only half done, nonetheless, it was abundantly clear by the size and contents (to date) these folks have both taste and a lot of money. Professional kitchen, vast living area with vaulted ceiling, glass and chrome staircase, solid marble bathrooms, a sauna room, a fucking pool on the roof… They even invited us over for dinner when we were next in town, and as guests in their restaurant again.

That evening we spent some time with the family before heading back to G&G’s gaff for a drink and, as previously, some cards after-hours. On the Monday we visited the church in which we were wed and popped by the vast mausoleum in which my father-in-law in interred. Pisser I never got to meet him, bit of an Anglophile as it turns out, massive fan of Sherlock Holmes and Alfred Hitchcock which suits me just fine.

After lunch, IC, sis and I went and played cards in a coffee shop and chose a film for the evening. This was tricky, after much prevarication we got ‘Robots’, an animated job that wouldn’t offend mum (strict Catholic, when the Pope’s on TV she calls IC into the room. Also this was the first time we’d been able to sleep together in the house, previously, as unmarried partners, we’d had separate rooms) or send me to sleep. We grabbed some pizza’s from a tried and tested eatery and headed back for the evening, though, of course, we weren’t done until we’d seen G&G before retiring, this time we were joined by Michele, a friend who helped the wedding day go to plan.

Tuesday morning I was awoken by the sound of Santa Lucia’s fucking bell and ushered into the kitchen. I was given a pair of slippers which was splendid as my old shit pair had just split. Following this bit of good fortune we all hopped in the car and headed to the mountains to visit IC’s uncle, auntie and cousin.
To our surprise they’d bought IC and I a hard drive on which they’d copied all the wedding footage, this gesture was warmly received and IC’s Auntie smokes so I didn’t have to suffer the pain of abstinence. Perhaps even better than that, IC’s uncle makes his own Grappa which he insisted I tried. I don’t know what the proof of this stuff was but after one shot glass I could feel its effect coursing through my face. When he asked if I liked it he presented me with a fresh bottle. Happy Santa Lucia!

We had a spot of lunch back home before we were forced to take a bus to the airport, there was just enough time for a wines before boarding and we headed home, tired, sated, chuffed. Marvellous.

Right, that’s it for 2011. I’ll post early New Year unless I feel otherwise. Have a good Christmas break and enjoy New Year. Oh, spare a thought for me on Boxing Day, it’s my 43rd birthday. Forty-three, how the fuck did that happen.

Over to Gerry…

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Jane’s Addiction Irresistable Force 21 12 1
29 Friendly Fires Blue Cassette 28 2 28
28 Twin Atlantic Free NE 1 28
27 The Wombats 1996 19 8 13
26 Young Guns Learn My Lesson NE 1 26
25 Chase & Status Flashing Lights NE 1 25
24 2:54 Scarlet 20 4 19
23 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds If I Had A Gun NE 1 23
22 Hurts Blood Tears And Gold 16 7 12
21 Snow Patrol This Isn’t Everything You Are 24 4 21
20 Blue October The Feel Again (Stay) 26 2 20
19 Mastodon Curl Of The Burl 13 13 1
18 The Subways It’s A Party 23 3 18
17 Cerebral Ballzy On The Run 14 9 4
16 Bush The Sound Of Winter 11 8 7
15 Adele Rumour Has It 18 3 15
14 The Maccabees Pelican 22 2 14
13 The Kills Baby Says 15 4 13
12 Pulled Apart By Horses VENOM 12 4 12
11 Kaiser Chiefs Kinda Girl You Are 8 6 4
10 Zola Jesus Vessel 9 3 9
9 Band Of Skulls The Devil takes care of his own 5 6 3
8 The Vaccines Wetsuit 10 5 8
7 Kasabian Re-Wired 4 8 2
6 King Blues The Future’s Not What It Used To Be 6 5 6
5 You Me At Six ft Oli Sykes Bite My Tongue 7 5 5
4 Korn Narcissistic Cannibal 17 2 4
3 The Black Keys Lonely Boy 3 5 3
2 The Joy Formidable Cradle 2 5 2
1 Rammstein Mein Land 1 5 1

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