Category Archives: astoria

bye 2007

The Tuesday shits at work got much worse as the day progressed. By 2.30pm my bladder had given up the ghost choosing instead to pass it’s workload onto my arsehole that gaily pissed budget Cola from it every half hour. I was beginning to feel slightly feverish, weakened by my condition I discharged myself from work and rode home with my bones shaking in my person like tinned Twiglets.

After cancelling the evening’s appointments I lay down to rest in my bed feeling decidedly nauseous allowing the waves of cold sweat to ripple icy fingers over my skin in between the dark warm waves of sickness. An hour later my mouth yawned over the edge of the bath as I jettisoned 3 terrific blasts of gut broth into the North sea. I felt instantly cured for about 15 seconds until my stomach re-established its foul congregation of vapours. Five minutes later I was back in bed pondering he consequences of my newfound fever.

The biggest threat posed by my condition was to Myfwt who was due to have surgery on Friday. If she contracted this bastard, her appointment, which had taken years to arrange, would be cancelled before she’d even set foot on the ward. Having said that I wasn’t sure if this malaise was due to a bug that I know had been going around, though not in my office, or food poisoning. I’d been feeling queasy since the previous evenings meal, which I apportioned to the asparagus due to my forgetting to wash it.

Aside from the Myfwt equation there was also the matter of my being able to see Hawkwind the following evening. ‘Fuck’ I thought. Then I said it out loud. Then I went to sleep.

The next day I was feeling a little better but the arse gravy was still featuring. I decided an egg with toast would be a good binding agent and I tentatively consumed my first meal in 36 hours. Happily it stayed down and I subsequently felt better. I’d arranged a shopping trip with Myfwt in the afternoon and was deliberating whether or not to risk contact with her should my ‘asparagus food poisoning’ theory, which I’d reasoned was the cause of my woes, be incorrect. I discussed the matter with her and we decided to risk it. The trip took its toll to some degree, I was feeling weary and delicate but this was the only way, psychologically, I was going to be able to make it to the evenings gig. I figured that if I can do the Christmas shopping I can do Hawkwind.

At 6pm Jamie arrived and we headed off to the local to meet James. I’d not had a drink since Sunday and the thought of a pint, worryingly, wasn’t doing it for me. I managed a foul tasting Fosters, really nasty, like drinking paracetamol, and seriously questioned if I was going to be able to see the evening through. Instead of setting off we had another ‘tester’ pint after which I was pretty much on the side of giving the gig a shot. By the time we arrived at Tottenham Court Road I was feeling a bit better and after a couple more at The Royal George I was better still. Astonishingly Jamie and I bumped into an old mate from way back, he’d not changed in the least and evening begun to get hilariously rambunctious. The Astoria was packed solid; a bit too packed to the point we contemplated some counterfeit tickets in circulation, but nonetheless, Hawkwind did a splendid set (which included the quirky Calvert-penned Flying Doctor) and finishing with Silver Machine. Despite this being their seminal number and their best known tune, in the 20 years I’ve being seeing them (this was about my 17th time) I’d never seen them play in. When it began I nearly burst into tears and James had to, well, look after me. I felt like a right berk.

Following the gig we bumped into yet another mate and headed off to the nearest available hostelry with a rather peculiar crew that comprised of mates, friends of friends and few hangers on. Bonded by our penchant for liking a band with an outsider, non conformist oeuvre we merrily bought drinks and chatted, but with an eye on the time in order to secure the last tube home. By the time we arrived back, following a farewell to James at Balham, Jamie and I grabbed a kebab (which I couldn’t eat, my stomach still wasn’t 100%) and arrived home to a sleepy Myfwt.

Next morning after Jamie left Myfwt and I went to finish off our Christmas shopping. On the way to the Kings Road I had to pick up a pair of motorcycle goggles for my dad, the old-fashioned Second World War fellows desired by fighter pilots, specifically, Halcyon Mark 4 Silver Cross. Having failed to find a pair outside of the internet (they never would’ve arrived in time) I was forced to purchase them from a Chelsea Scooters. For a hairy arsed seasoned biker such as I this was tantamount to entering a gay bar and asking to be fellated. Having no choice in the matter I entered the establishment and found myself looking up at a giant skinheaded mod. Oh the difference between the gentlemen motorcycle retailers I’m used to dealing with and these fellows. Whilst perfectly cheery to me the loud and aggressive manner – peppered with very blue language- that was used to communicate with colleagues was startling, frankly. The Skin was unable to locate the item despite his bug-eyed mate insisting they were ‘on the top fucking shelf over the fucking counter’, this made the Skin cross until eventually his mate had to down tools being used to reconnect some elastic to a leaf blower and find the item himself amid much ‘you blind cunt’ and suchlike. When the item was finally presented to me I was told that they’d been hanging around for the past 5 years, subsequently I purchased them at the arcane price of £36 Queen heads when they’re £42 brought direct from Halcyon. I asked the Skin if they were the silver ones with black leather, ‘dunno mate’ he said cheerily ‘lets find out’ and he helpfully ripped the box in half to satisfy my curiosity. I wasn’t going to bother complaining.

Following our final Christmas shopping trip, which was quite a success, we came home and settled down for the night. We had to get up early, at 6am to be precise, as Myfwt had a hospital appointment and I was the designated carer.

Living quite near to St.Georges in Tooting we were able to walk there. It was pitch black and cold outside and neither of us were in any mood for the journey that would end in surgery for one and a wait for the other. By 7am we were in the waiting room with about 20 others, all waiting for the stations to the theatre. At 9am Myfwt was gowned up, I walked her down to theatre with a very ginger male nurse and I said goodbye, assuring her I’d be there when she came round. Needless to say she was nervous, I’ve had two General aesthetics in my life but she was a virgin. My attempts at reassurance hadn’t helped either. Having been an auxiliary nurse (in fact, I had worked at the very hospital we were in) my bedside manner is somewhat pragmatic; I don’t think I was being very helpful in hindsight.

For me there began an 8-hour wait. I’d been told to call the relevant department at 10.30 to enquire about her allocation of a bed, then told to call back at 11.30, and so on. After a few hours my mind began to install itself into the wait. I deliberately spent time drifting between teas, cigarettes, sandwiches and various waiting rooms, all fired up to the temperature of fucking Hades, as is the want of such institutions. My book, which I’d been half way through, was soon finished to heightened emotion -Giles Milton, Samurai William, a triumph- and I was forced to purchase a paperback from the woefully inadequate but time-killing hospital shop. Fortunately, amidst all the fucking crap that passes for fiction these days, I found something rather good, a delicious crime novel into which I became immediately engrossed.

After what seemed like 2 days I eventually arrived on the ward at 5pm where Myfwt was due half an hour later, following a conversation with a chap who’d just had his toe amputated, a confused soporific patient with a bandaged limb was parked to rest. The procedure, we were informed by a rather dashing surgeon, had been an unmitigated success. Splendid news. Her sister arrived shortly after and I left them to it. On top of everything, tonight was the office Christmas party and was expected to be there for 7pm.

I didn’t bother going home; I jumped on a bus and in 30 minutes was in the loathsome Wimbledon ascending a staircase to my co-workers, who, it must be said, greeted me with a certain degree of enthusiasm. Most were already half cut, being the model of sobriety I allowed myself to fully indulge in all that was offered in the form of booze and to a lesser extent, food, though my appetite for the latter was virtually non existent. It was a nice evening, everyone in good cheer though toward the end some casualties were dropping off the end. One colleague, the unstable actor I occasionally have cause to chide like an infant, interrupted a colleague and I having a deep and meaningful. Of course I told him to fuck off out of it and he came at me shouting and screaming a few minutes later making an utter twat of himself. I had him removed. He later re-appeared to apologise, the berk.

I brushed of the hangover the next day. I called the hospital and discovered much to my delight Myfwt was ready to be discharged. I drove over and after a paperwork interlude took her back home. When we got back the noise downstairs was a fucking disgrace, despite having informed Cunt that she needed to rest the arsehole had decided to throw a fucking party for his grubby mates. At 11am I went down to tell him to shut the fuck up. He answered the door wearing sunglasses (what a fucking cunt) and clutching a can of strong lager. He apologised with as much sincerity as a Rumsfeld before inexplicably informing me he was Catholic and then, ironically, asking me to give Myfwt his blessing like he was the fucking Pope.

Myfwt was still very dazed by the drugs and spent most of the Saturday asleep in bed while I read, wrote and watched TV next door. The time passed in a not entirely dissimilar way to the previous one, I felt largely removed from reality but was snapped very much into focus when later in the afternoon the noise began again. There were by now a few of them downstairs and I assumed all were pissed stupid, we had no choice but to suffer his utter selfishness, going downstairs again on balance may have been unsafe, besides as Myfwt was largely out of it she didn’t seem overtly fussed by his cuntiness. The noise continued on and off all fucking night but despite it we were both so exhausted/stoned that we slept soundly. On the plus side he must have awoken knowing he’s been an utter wanker as I’ve not heard a peep downstairs since. I’m praying for violent death, of course.

On Sunday I took Myfwt to her sisters in dense fog, it was rather fun but no so much when on returning I got fucking lost. Earlier I’d been forced to Sainsbury to do some last minute food and booze shopping. I wasn’t expecting the place to be so crowded. It was fucking unbelievable actually, it was almost impossible to actually get to anything with a fight and I queued for over three quarters of an hour before I was served. That and the journey back in the fog had soured my mood but I was cheered by a trip to Clapham to meet my bro, Frank and his missus and Harry for a few Christmas drinks. I got back home in time to take delivery of an exhausted Myfwt who’d been dropped off by her sister. We had a lovely quiet evening, exchanged gifts and watched Christmassy shite on the box before retiring. I admit to staying up a little bit later and having a few whiskies, its Christmas, I thought. Why not…

So, here we are, Christmas eve. I’ve just dropped Myfwt off at her sisters (again), as they are all off up t’northern somewhere to meet the rest of family. Shortly I’m off to meet Frank for one last snifter before it all kicks off. Tomorrow I pick up My bro and his missus and we all head off to deepest darkest Surrey for the usual family shenanigans. I have to say I’m rather looking forward to it.

This really is the last Piqued this year, I’ll be back in just over a week so don’t fuck off now. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you where ever you may be. (Obviously, I reserve this goodwill for cunts, however.)

Toodle pip.


avuncular mutterings

Cunt, downstairs, has no friends. Please don’t let me be accused over emphasising this, he’s friendless. One or two people have been over since he entered the place like a smell a few years back, literally, one or two, but they’ve never returned. When there have been twats downstairs stupid enough to visit you can here this perpetual fawning goof-laugh before he subjects them to his out of tune/time anti-virtuosity performance on his fucking daddy-bought instrument. Such is his isolation, he’s always ‘in’, that he’s slipped into a make believe world. Whenever I’ve the misfortune to have contact with his fucking face, he’s always clad in designer dark glasses and a baseball hat, fully togged up in Hollyoaks Teen TV ad gear. Just pause to think about that, what can be going through his tiny little mind? No one can see him, only he, and if I’m unlucky, I. He’s truly deranged.

Something good must come from having to put up with such a cunt. It seems that something has. Today I finished all the initial planning to begin the new book; he’s inspired me to write another novel. If vengeance can’t be mine in reality, I don’t see why I can’t sabotage his fantasy world by creating one designed to off his. I mention this only because the extra workload may affect this blog on occasion.

After the usual horror of Sainsbury on Saturday, I returned back to the flat, unpacked my groceries and got dressed in my motorcycle gear. Usually I just wear a jacket, jeans and boots but if I’m going out of London on fast roads it’s time to don the leathers and earplugs. My sister, brother in law and niece live in Surrey and I was going to pay them a visit, for the first time in the case of my niece. Earlier that day, 9.08 to be precise, I was in the process of emptying my back when the doorbell went. With no time to lose I jettisoned the bum cigar, grabbed my Yukata (look it up if you don’t know) and belted downstairs to catch the bloke from City Link before he got back in his van and fucked off. On Friday afternoon I’d bought my niece, Institute, a babygro. It cost me more to have the bloody thing delivered next day than the item itself. So what if I looked like a bleary-eyed fairy stinking of cack at the front door of my flat? This was for my niece and I’d just undertaken the first of many vaguely embarrassing Uncle-related tasks. It felt good.

Suited and booted I got on my black bitch, I stopped at the closest garage to check my tyre pressures, then another further down the road to buy some flowers and fags. When I got back on the bike it wouldn’t fucking start. I instantly flew into a combination of rage and panic, I did what any self-respecting biker would do in such a situation, called dad. As luck would have it he was only 10 minutes away after having picked up my bro and his missus from Clapham. I got a jump-start and continued on my way leaving my family miles behind in an instant.

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for being on a bike; the air was still so no wind to impede progress. Once out on the A3 I gave it some stick. The bike responded in a goose pimple-inducing roar and before I’d checked I was doing in access of 140. To those that don’t ride it’s virtually impossible to describe what it feels like to be moved through the world in such a manner, to feel all that power underneath you, to have total control of your destiny, assuming some cunt in four wheels doesn’t do something silly, and it feels wonderful. When the going is good you can feel the woes of existence blow off you as you slice through the atmosphere, indeed, you actually acknowledge the process of relaxation, it makes you physically smile, sometimes laugh, shout, scream. As you pass other bikers on machines with similar spec it is the done thing for one to nod at the other. This isn’t done because of some sense of brotherly duty, it’s done simply out of a sense of understanding. Putting it frankly, one is congratulating the other on knowing how it good it feels.

I arrived at my sister’s house grinning from ear to ear. She opened the door slowly and I could see through the house behind her into the garden where my brother in law, Mark, was holding his daughter, my niece. Virtually pushing my sister aside I made a beeline for her. Mark wordlessly offered her up and, still in my gear, I held her for the first time. I’d like it made clear here and now that I am very well versed in aesthetics, if the kid had one of those faces that only a mother can love I’d say so. Similarly, if the kid was actually beautiful, big blue eyes, turned up little nose, full cut lips and the epitome of symmetry, I’ll so say too. Since she was born I’ve been somewhat confused as to how I was to react to the first new family member in 30 years. I felt something but it wasn’t defined or fixed, sort of like trying to remember a dream. It all became clear now.

My folks arrived with my bro and his missus and we all took turns to have a go on Institute. Everyone was frankly elated, Mark has already become a fully fledged expert on babies, he’s sensible with his daughter, not too precious but obviously over the moon, my sister who is still recovering from the caesarean doesn’t seem remotely bothered by the fact she nearly carked it giving birth. Mark told me that she lost well over a litre of blood and her blood pressure was dangerously low to the point there was genuine concern as to her welfare. Laughing caused my sister difficulty which was unfortunate as we were all on top form. Institute lay in the midst of off colour quips and comments, I believe I was the first person to say ‘fuck’ in front of here, I’m terribly proud of myself.

When it was time to leave, and after my dead arm had some life back in it from holding her for so long, I jumped back on black bitch for the blast home. Institute came out with granny to see me off. I hope the sound of my bike will go deep inside her psyche so that it unlocks something within her when she hears a large bike engine running, as it does me.

My deliriously happy journey back was complimented by a few pints in the local with Frank; I probably bored the poor fellow to death gushing about our new family member. When I got home I ate my favourite meal, sausages and broccoli smothered in a cheese and onion roux, which was made better by the day that had preceded it. I drank wine and got thoroughly stoned; I couldn’t wipe the grin of my face, even when I went to bed.

On Sunday I got up before 10, I wanted to do some writing before Myfwt showed up early afternoon. I had the usual kipper which for some reason wasn’t dissecting to my satisfaction, I’ve eaten so many I’ve got filleting the bastards down to a fine art, but not today. Still my spirits remained high; I’d every intention of getting on my black bitch and wringing her neck, just as Myfwt showed up it rained. Fuck.

The afternoon was nonetheless a triumph; simply it was sat lolling about in front of DVD’s with cups of tea and as the day passed to the evening, roast chicken and wine. The Sunday blues were held off… I’m an uncle don’t you know.

Can’t beleive I found this, saw this lot at The Astoria in the early 90’s, still one of the best gig experiances I’ve ever had, Jamie will remember this


black night

It’s rather spiffing when one is looking forward to an evening and it ends up as a classic. After a rather pithy day in the office I cycled home full of good spirits, I’d had a jolly chat with Myfwt, Jim had e-mailed me to tell me he was already waiting at the flat and after a quick change at home we were just about to get into the tube when I got a call from Ray. I’d not from him in a while but as soon as his number appeared it was obvious that we were both heading in the same direction, he too had succumbed to the whole goth thing in the 80’s and had figured out that I was going. We arranged to meet at The (new) Intrepid Fox in a couple of hours

I’d already made plans to meet pals at The Two Brewers on Monmouth street so at precisely 6.10 I met Gee and Rick, who’d just arrived, and bumped into Swinsehead as I went to the bar. It was a glorious warm evening, if a little muggy, but stood on the street with a pint watching the passing throngs going about their business I could actually feel my self unwinding. A friend of a friend passed by and I grabbed him to say thanks for the book he’d kindly signed and given to me, he’s currently enjoying an acting role in a nearby theatre but to say anymore would be indiscreet. Nice bloke.

We had a couple of pints at The Brewers and made our way to The Fox, needless to say it was rammed with just the crowd I’d expected, largely middle aged men, a few gothy chicks and all still maintaining something of the you-wouldn’t-understand-if-you-don’t-know about them; wall to wall black, piercings tattoos, it felt like coming home. Essentially, it felt 20 years ago. Beautiful.

We were joined by one of Gee’s mates, Justin, he runs a nightclub in Surrey (I can assure you it’s not as shit as it sounds) and is good pals with members of Hawkwind, I liked him instantly. By this time the pints were going down nicely and the crowd had begun to thin to catch the support act, slowly the black faded and the usual ‘metal’ punters began to diffuse the absence of colour.

Ray arrived with his boss who immediately bumped into some of his friends, who, coincidentally, Justin knew. Even more coincidental, I popped on a Cardiacs youtube link last week and one of them was the guitarist from the band. Everyone was introduced to everyone else; there were now 9 of us.

We arrived at the Astoria just as The Fields of The Nephilim took the stage, Ray got me a beer and I began yelling at the exact same moment Myfwt texted to wish me a good evening and to not get shouty, as is my want. The band began sedately, a little to quiet for my ravaged ears before kicking off into their main set. It was fucking hot in there, sweat was pouring off the crowd, it was a sold out gig and the place was rammed solid much to the detriment of getting a good view. Our group disbanded into individuals and couples vying for a good spot, I found a super platform on the stairs to the bogs until Jim found me and ushered me upstairs to a prime location on the balcony. We bumped into a gild who’d flown alone from Dan Diego just to see the band, it was her first trip to London, she was flying back the following day. I only mention this to give some idea of the impact the band has had on some of its fans. Largely the crowd were congenial and polite most probably due to age, despite that the atmosphere was intense. The closing number was the best, a swirling, gliding drone that had a hypnotic quality; it was one of the best numbers I’ve seen performed by any band anywhere. By this time the volume was immense, my trousers were vibrating to the bass and I could feel the chorus in my chest.

After the gig we convened on the street and wandered over to The George for a closing pint. It was still very muggy but a relief to be out of the venue which by the end was like the Persian Gulf. The 9 of us stood about chatting, I was texted by a friend who wanted to know the band personification of ‘shoegazing’. This resulted in a ludicrous and hilarious 5-minute conversation of grown men shouting over each other. We settled on Ride.

When it was time to go Jim and I were half cut, as were my friends. I left Gee grinning at me from the entrance to the pub clutching yet another full pint. Both Gee and Jim are married with kids so when they do get a chance to get out, neither wastes it. We got off the tube at Tooting, Jim and I were ravenous but it being Thursday and after midnight the decent fast food outlets were shut so we had to opt for snacks from fucking Tesco. We didn’t drink anymore when we got back, a cup of tea and a spliff, which wiped Jim out completely, and he crashed out fully clothed in my bed.

Jim and I have always slept together since we were 17, neither of us is remotely known to doff the brown hat I hasten to add, it’s just the way it is. I woke up to the dulcet tones of Jim having a good old spit up in the bathroom, when he came back to bed he smelt exactly like aromatic pipe tobacco. His heart was racing and he was feeling shitter than dung, he put this down to over indulgence, I put it squarely at the feet of eating 3 cheap Cornish Pasties, two bags of Revels and most of a large bag of cheese balls prior to sleeping. He was just about okay when he set off and I ran a fucking massive bath before sitting down to write this crap.

Myfwt is popping over in a minute, it’s another warm bright day and I’m feeling just fine.

Today’s youtube clip is in memory of Rod Poole of Swervedriver who was murdered in LA last week. Bye dude


petit holiday

It was about 10, walking back from an eatery in Brixton with a friend from work, Harri, and her step dad who was down from Wales to help install a kitchen for his daughter in law. The evening was warm, a little muggy but offset by a gentle breeze, I just had half a bottle of wine and eaten a very rich but delicious fisherman’s pie, not as good as mine of course… We’d not decided at this stage to go the pub, the stage at which a large quantity of small discreet farts were being released from my bottom ending in that crippling realisation that…yes, I think, no, Christ, I’ve followed through.

I managed to get to the pub and calmly walk to the toilets, it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected, I’d not touched clothed for example but it had been a close call. It took a good 5 minutes of pedantic attention to ensure I was out of the woods so to speak. I arrived in the beer garden as if nothing had happened and carried on drinking like a good boy.

Harri’s step dad was sporting a watch; the bloody thing had been bugging me all evening. It was a very expensive Breitling, apart from the cost it was unremarkable but for one fascinating feature. There was a pin set in the side, if said pin was a removed a fucking helicopter would land within feet of the watch. I’ve checked this matter out btw and it’s quite true, there is a £60,000 fine if the feature is misused but it hadn’t stopped me weighing up the pros and considerably heavy cons against grabbing his wrist and yanking out the pin. To be honest the watch made the evening awkward, as I couldn’t get this idea out of my OCD riddled mind and on at least 2 occasions I was dangerously close to actually busting a move, yeah. The fact I’m here typing this should indicate that I didn’t, Harri’s step dad whilst being a perfectly nice chap is built like a brick shithouse and I didn’t think he’d have been best pleased.

Here at work I’ve a similar day to yesterday, interview, meeting but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Tonight Jim is shooting over and he and I are going to meet up with an old punk mate from my childhood, Gee, and after a few beers go to the Astoria to see Fields of the Nephilim, an established though rarely seen goth outfit in the dying days of one of London’s most wonderful music venues. Aware of the very real possibility of a hangover following our venture I’m taking Friday off which means, as it’s a bank holiday on Monday, I’ll get 4 days off. I can’t remember the last time I had 4 days off…

This does also mean, dear reader, that my blog tomorrow will be late, in fact, it may not even be up ‘til sat/sun and as it’s a bank holiday Monday, which also means that the Monday one will be late…

I’ll make up for it though. Oh, one bit of useless information; I learnt last night that brown/granary bread is made up from the literal sweepings off the bakery floor. Warbrtons are the exception, apparently.

Apparently this was the first time performed on US TV…