Category Archives: tube

time took a cigarette

On Friday following a rather unproductive day in the office I took the tube to Angel and caught the 38 bus in order to meet some friends in a very residentially located boozer on the borders of Hackney and Dalton. A mutual friend of Swineshead and myself, Rochelle, had come all the way down from up t’North for work reasons and was now happy ensconced on the pub with another mate, Belinda and a further three other birds, Cath, Laura and Savannah. I felt a bit like Ziggy entering the Big Brother house, except I didn’t say ‘daddy’s home’ to the front door and proceeded to act like a testosterone filled bollock with hair thin lips and a penchant for conversing over the top of my ‘yeah, that’ll do’ little bummer boys tattoo.

So far so good, I caught up with Rochelle and Belinda’s comings and goings and chatted to Savannah, a former Melody Maker journo but now attempting to un-cuff herself from a dubious women’s magazine. The Flowers was slipping down nicely (that’s the beer, not actual fucking flowers, dear reader) when Swinsehead arrived with his missus, Theresa. Crowded round a tiny table in a rapidly filling pub I mentally acknowledged each cigarette I slid from my packet and the smoky atmosphere with a certain degree of pre-emptive nostalgia. A pleasant evening ensued, beers were appearing with splendid regularity and I did some laughs to boot. In time to catch the last tube Belinda and I caught a cab from the pub to Angel. The fucking cabbie wasn’t prepared to take her on to West London, as she’s a fucked knee I hung about to make sure she was able to find a ride back home before I hopped on the tube for a head-lolling trip back to my flat.

On Saturday, as is usual at the weekends, I woke up, annoyingly, at my usual weekday time and found getting back to sleep a non-starter. Why does this happen? Even if I go to bed early during the week I’ve no desire to get up, but when I am in a position to lie in, I can’t be fucked. Bloody human condition.

I did a shit load of washing; my priority was to bleach Myfwt’s blob spillage off the bedclothes and shove the lot into the machine. I would like to make it abundantly clear that such thing bothers me not a jot, had she (or indeed, I) grumbled an arc of beer slurry all over the Egyptian cotton I’d be a little more concerned. After a blast on Lara (got fucking stuck again) breakfast (smoked trout on toast) and the F1 qualifying, I made the usual Saturday trudge to fucking Sainsbury and spent my hard earned on essentials. My mind turned to the evening, the last time I’d be able to smoke a cigarette in a pub without getting fined £50, for fucks sake.

I’d arranged to meet Frank and Robert in my local, despite the beer not being up to much -lagers, no ales- the music has improved lately beyond belief and it has an edgier atmosphere that the usual Frank and I frequent. The pub wasn’t too full, surprising for a Saturday, made more so by my expectation to see lots of smokers mournfully gazing at their fingers. It was 7pm, I had 5 hours to wolf down as many cigarettes as my endangered heart desired before becoming an outlaw for crying out loud. This was ridiculous, obscene, even.

Frank and Robert appeared a bit after 7, we chatted away, those two had been at boarding school together, you know what they say about what happens at boarding school (if you don’t it’s a word that sounds like ‘thuggery’) but Frank and Robert no more doff the brown hat than I. Indeed, they seem to have had quite a good time of it. When I was little if I misbehaved I was threatened with boarding school, a nightmare proposition, but I couldn’t help feeling as if I missed something. Robert and I reviewed our Glastonbury experience; it transpired he’d had a better lot than I but I agreed it had sort of been worth it for the bands and company.

The beer and cigarettes were going down fast, as was the evening, we had a few frames of pool before finally settling down as the minutes ticked toward midnight. Frank bought a round of fucking tequila’s which we demolished in between objections, I fucking hate the stuff, and the evening was closed with some Jack Daniels and coke. At 11.45 Frank and I bought one last pack of cigarettes from the machine before it gets slung onto the scrap heap. Ritually we pressed the Malboro red button together and split the pack. I lit my last ever cigarette in an English pub at 11.56 and drew heavily on it. When finished I crushed the butt into the soon to be defunct ashtray and for some reason, known only to myself, stole a pair of shot glasses as a way of exacting some sort of revenge. I was pissed rotten.

We said our farewells and I quite literally staggered the short distance home. I was even too bollocksed to eat or roll a joint so I went straight to bed.

Predictably I woke up at the usual time for bloody work but managed to get back to sleep until midday. I watched a rather average Grand Pricks, save a few moments of raw excitment, ate some kippers with a couple of cups of tea, tried to get Lara back on course and after failing did some writing, the fruits of which you’re now reading. I have a dose of the screaming brown hot shits to boot, probably due to over indulgence and a lack of food.

This evening I’m going to cook some sausages and make a broccoli and cauliflower bake and avoid alcohol. I don’t want to, I just should. Stick with my self imposed programme and all that. Doubtless I’ll watch Big Brother and turn in early as tomorrow it’s bloody work. Again.

On Radio 4 yesterday afternoon someone said life is like a Hen Ladder, shit from top to bottom. I laughed. I don’t find it so funny now. I mean I can’t even fucking well smoke in a pub anymore. Wankers.


qwiz

I got roped into going to a charity pub quiz last night in aid of breast cancer.

It didn’t start until 8 but by 5.30 I was still at work talking to one of my favourite, and indeed, oldest clients. Her beloved daughter was a very well known and respected actress, she died a few years ago, her husband needs 24 hour care yet she still runs a successful business and even has time to natter to yours truly. She natters a lot actually. I don’t mind at all but at 5.30 and with a missed call from Myfwt I could feel my skin prickle with wanderlust.

By 6.00 I was on the phone to Myfwt walking with my bike down the hill towards the towpath that leads to home, she and I chatted for a while and after I mounted my steed and arrived back at the flat hot and sweaty enough to warrant a shower.

By 7.15 I was on the tube to town, I alighted at Leicester Square and walked past Chinatown to the foot of Wardour Street. The cloying smell of miso and MSG cut through the early evening traffic fumes, it was a lovely evening, people drifted past me, I must say that I did notice a few rather charming oriental types as I hurried up the street, past the remnants of The Intrepid Fox, the gay bars with Stretch Armstrong bouncers checking for bigots, past numerous eateries of all possible genre before opening the doors to the awful Slug and Lettuce that sits squat on the side of the street like an elephant turd.

‘It’s for a good cause’ I reminded myself as I pushed past the endless cunts with polo shirts, collars turned, and little blonde twatlets stinking of Dune and Darling. I went downstairs to the function room and got a beer, my colleagues from work arrived in a group Harri, Kit and Lee, and we settled down. After deciding what to call ourselves (‘Double Mastectomy’ and ‘S’only Rape’ didn’t go down well) we settled on ‘Cack Farmers’ and the show got underway. The quiz was presided over by 3 jolly hockey sticks types who’d taken it on themselves to boom out the questions without the aid of a microphone, not that they needed it. One of them was so fucking loud she made my teeth shake in my skull; it was like being yelled at in infant school when ones ears weren’t fully developed.

We weren’t doing badly; it may have been helpful if one of our team hadn’t ordered a sandwich the size of a brickies forearm which required virtually all of her attention for the first half round. I was answering the majority of questions but fell down on film quotes (all from things like ‘Pretty Women’ and the hilarious ‘Three men and a little winkie’ or something) world flags and the shittiest round of all where we had to guess what one of the yar-okay compares had done, i.e., ‘wheech whon of arse hes skydived frorm a pleen?’ Oddly I did quite well on sport, usually the weakest of my quiz categories.

Out of the 17 teams we came 14, not too bad, but not enough to win the fucking wine, which irked me somewhat, it was a fucking tenner to get in…AND more men die of bollock cancer than women of charley cancer.

Still it was for charity. And tits. I like tits.

This has nothing to do with tits, in the literal sense anyway. Take it away chaps…


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


reassembly

On Friday evening, following a pint and a half at the nearest pub to my office (a vile stinking boozer with the character of a stroke victim) in order to wish a colleague farewell, I made my way slowly to Angel to meet up with Swineshead. We made our way to a venue/pub to see 3 bands as part of Lark in the Park. We were joined shortly by his brother and uncle and finally by my old sparring partner, Jim. He and I go way back and like my other old friend, James, have no ability to know when it’s time to stop. Many a time he and I have been a liability to our friends, he in particular… happy days of shoving Jim into shopping trollies and running him over cobbles as he vomits heavily on his Dio t-shirt calling us all ‘cunts’ in between gasps. I swear the exact same scenario happened on a least 3 separate occasion, witnessed by the same t-shirt.

The second band on weren’t much to write home about despite being competent but apart from the excellent drumming from the support band, the headline act were the most impressive. Obviously I’ve no idea what they were called, I was with Jim and Swineshead, himself known to be quite good at blowing the froth of a few (7 at the last count) so my memory is a little pressed. Jim and I managed to get to the tube just as the last train was due to set from the platform. The carriage was surprisingly empty apart from three lads, one was lying on the carriage floor retching into a Sainsbury’s shopping back. Jim, smiled, looked at the lad on the floor and said to me, ‘I used to be like that…’ I remembered our trip to Hyde Park last summer where he’d got so pissed I had to stay with him and witness his fair features transform to one of Notre Dames gargoyles for an hour as sick came out. ‘Used’ to be like that?

We quizzed the sick lads mates, nice chaps, clearly taking responsibility for their pal whose eyes were rolling in his sockets like cue balls. We offered some advice, Jim in particular. ‘You know’, he mused, ‘he can hear everything we’re saying yet he’s unable to communicate with us’. Jim smiled, like he was fondly recalling a moment of agonising inebriation as if it were his first go on a pair of tits. The lads got off at Waterloo, Jim and I helped get the vomiter up on his feet and offered advice to his amused mates. Just as the train pulled off the sick lad opened his mouth a puked a substantial stream of raw beer all over himself.

When we got back to Tooting we opted for a Shawarma, essentially a slightly posher kebab, after being harangued by some racist Irish prick we rushed back to flat to eat. The flat was boozeless save some vodka in the freezer so Jim and I had sensibly purchased a couple of bottles of Coconut and Pineapple juice. To our joy and following day’s regret, it made a superb mixer and we cheerfully pushed on until 4-ish.

After a spot of breakfast Jim left. I had a shit lot to do after I’d strangled some veins, wash up, hoover, dust, prior to timing my trip to Sainsbury’s with the insufferable FA Cup Final as I figured there would be less people shopping. It paid off and after spending a fucking fortune I’d re-stocked on all the supplies that’d been dwindling due to the previous weekends’ engagements.

Later in the evening I met Frank in the local. The pub was full of weird people that had hung around following the football, more oddballs arrived. There was a strange atmosphere Frank and I concluded. It didn’t stop us putting four pints of Bombardier away though, and I walked back home feeling dozy as the sinking sun ignited a warm orange over half of the crisp blue sky. I took a bath, ate my favourite dish and watched a ‘rockumentary’ on BBC2 that focussed on the late 60’s and Jimi Hendrix, it was an above average effort at deconstructing the birth of ‘rock’ but as it featured lots of footage of Hendrix screwing his guitar I couldn’t have given a tinkers cuss about the editorial. Later I watched The Blair Witch Project, I’ve seen it a few times so being familiar with it, felt it would be safe to watch. Alone. ‘Of course’, I said out loud, ‘I mean it’s only a bloody film’, I don’t even believe in god let alone ghosts… By the end I was having a panic attack, possibly due to some sublime Skunk I’d allowed myself to become utterly absorbed in it to the point that I considered helping to look for fucking Josh. Despite it being late I was required to watch Southern Comfort just to help my brain settle. No idea what time I went to bed to bear witness to a nightmare of such horrific proportions it’s a miracle my heart didn’t explode, but at least I woke up with a hangover.

I stayed in bed ‘til noon, the motorcycle GP was on and I had a date with a cup of tea, toast, kippers and Valentino Rossi who’s more fun to watch ride than Silvia Saint (lads). Smashing race indeed, I was inspired to have a word with my black bitch and we hit the road, perfect riding conditions, warm without the stuffiness and bright but without glare. After checking my tyre pressures, essential to a slick ride, I shot down some A roads in Surrey, the bitch was responding as if made from my own flesh and we laughed at wankers in cars and speed limits. I nipped by to see my folks to give the bike a quick wash. She was all dirty from the rain earlier in week. I touched her clean. On the way back to the flat I had a race with a very souped up Subaru, it gave me a run for my money (to my surprise) but I was just about to make the podium.

By 7 I was home, shaking with adrenalin and feeling wholly purged. I wrote, bathed and ate a burger in fresh cheese and onion bread before settling down for the evening. I say settled down, I spent the vast majority of Sunday having an episode of OCD that required me to readjust aspects of the flat, nothing major, just minor adjustments but to the trained OCDer, essential minutiae. I did manage to watch High Anxiety in relative peace though; I’d forgotten how superb that film is.

In order to inject some sort of good into my battered body I cycled in today. Apart from a mid trip cough-up which I felt a positive thing it wasn’t too bad. I’m going to try and keep it up so I don’t look like a melted candle at Glastonbury. Busy week this week, I’ve decided I’m taking Friday off for reasons that will become apparent.

Aren’t I a little tease.


lost in music

I managed to get to Fopp records at just the right time. The hairy arsehole on the door had told me The Idler event was full to capacity, I curtly informed him I was on the guest list (I’ve no idea if I was) and in I went, instantly bumping in to a newly married Den. Perfect.

The first band on were The Rubbish Men of Soho, who were deliberately shit, the joke wore off after 15 seconds and Den and I went out for a fag. In the small courtyard behind Fopp half the guests were huddled in groups drinking and smoking, the atmosphere was far more congenial and within seconds Den and I were besieged by old familiar faces and I was introduced to the ones that weren’t.

We retuned to the bar where Den was in the superb position of not having to pay for his drinks, the gratuity was passed on to yours truly. Air Hammer, who I was informed was a classically trained opera singer, was a one man band, a cross between Lee Evans and Dennis Pennis with a guitar, it started well at least. The headline act were Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction. Way back in the late 80’s this outfit made a bit of a stir in my little group, Zody himself was the crush choice for most of my girlfriends and I was a fan too, of the music I hasten to add, I’m not a good listener… They put on a sterling show, they must be in their 50’s now but he’s still got it, even stripped to the waste on Prime Mover he didn’t look like he was a man facing a bus pass application in a few years. After the show I introduced myself to Cobalt Stargazer, the guitarist, who was drinking 2 beers by the stage, he didn’t seem too keen on making chitchat, but I persevered and impressed him with my tale of the trip to Durham high security prison to meet a mate who’d beaten his wife’s lover to death with a lamp stand, purely because he was a Glaswegian and my incarcerated mate was from Fife.

Den and I hooked up with chaps from The Chap and an illustrator in fantastic heels and we all fucked off to Soho. Somehow Den and I engaged in deep discussion lost our companions, Den invited me to The Groucho for a bit of peace and quiet and a chance to continue our chat undisturbed. I bumped into a former member of the Jesus and Mary Chain following a much needed shit in the toilets and being subsequently lost in the labyrinthine mess of stairs and corridors, who joined us with a couple of charming Cambridge university students who were already up to their necks in daring do.

Den left at about 11.30 and I followed shortly after as I didn’t want the expense of a cab. I rushed down Dean Street and got to Oxford Circus in the nick of time. The fucking tube was packed solid and after being made to wait at Stockwell for what seemed like a lifetime, my teeth now floating from all the beer and wine. On the platform a thin tattooed girl with haunted eyes was playing the violin with enormous skill, clearly classically trained and with an addiction to narcotics I was transfixed by her, I even gave her money muttering, ‘I’m patronising you giving change, but so be it’. She smiled weakly, I moved clear.

I arrived home at 12.30 hungry and, probably, stinking to high heaven. I resolved both and hit the hay at sometime after 1am.

I arrived to work on public transport this morning as there are after work drinks for a departing member of staff and a myriad of options follow, all of which require me to not be aboard my black bitch.

Todays offing is appropriate, in fact Den has asked me to take his wife when they play at the RFH, I’m sure Myfwt would like to come too…

It’s not raining today by the way, in fact it’s fucking sunny


porter

I am fucking furious with Tesco. After being alerted to the fact that the engine problems on my bike were due to iffey fuel, I subsequently discover that only fucking Tesco and Morrison’s are responsible for contaminating the southeast with Ethanol rich fuel. And I usually get my fuel from Tesco’s, there is one of those little Metro places near my house so it’s not a choice based on anything apart from convenience.

What is particularly annoying is that until recently I vetoed Tesco because of that cunt Dame Shirley Porter; the heiress to the Tesco fortunes. She was involved in the homes for vote’s scandal that made an utter mockery of ‘democracy’. The vicious slattern didn’t even lose her title and got away with her crimes virtually scott fucking free when really she should’ve been disembowelled under Marble Arch. And now, because of my weakening of standards/tolerance in my old age, the fucking cacky fingered crone has been granted access to my bike and poisoned it. I hold her solely responsible. And I bet she started AIDS off as well.

I’m with gentle hangover this morning. Last night I took the Northern Line up to Leicester Square where I met Swineshead in a congenial hostelry for the purpose of imbibing fine ales my good man etc (I would like to point out that if anyone undertook such verbal bollocks to my face I’d fork them in the tongue). His mate, nice chap despite being a bit tall, joined us and together we drunk, actually when I think about it, we were all drinking rather quickly… A lot of pints later and in spite of Swineshead looking up at me with big bloodshot eyes begging me to stay for another, I jumped the joint and got the bastard tube back which was, to my utter fucking horror, rammed with humans.

The tube freaks me out for a number of reasons. Ignoring that I get actually freaked out on them on a regular basis due to my little peccadillo for screaming claustrophobia, there is something strange about walking down the street, entering a designated zone to then walk down under the street to find there is a little railway inside the earth. Standing inside an empty moving tube when you can see in both directions is an awesome experience (when I say ‘awesome’ I’m mean it in it’s correct, pre skate incarnation) to think that one is thundering through sold rock underneath the bustling city that boils above, passing under millions of lives, is well fucking gnarly. The location of your spot on the tube remains constant, the view predictable, but when one alights at ones destination and exits the station, one is in an entirely different environment. Of course this is all blindingly obvious but, really, it’s a wonder we take for granted. Essentially what you’ve just read is the mental conversation that carried me back to my stop, and stopped me from crying and flailing due to the vast columns of passengers.

When I got out of the tube it was raining, I lit a cigarette and walked back to the flat relishing the contrast to being far underground and dimly aware of the activity therein. I was too pissed to bother eating and, oddly, not in the mood to drink anymore so unusually I went straight to bed.

Just before I went to sleep I concluded that it had been a good evening, I prayed for Dame Shirley Porters death to be long, painful and filmed for my future delectation and fell into a deep sleep where I dreamt of motorcycles breaking down and orange badgers knitting cheese.