spayns

It’s all been a bit hectic, if I’m honest.

The day before we left for Spain I managed to do some office-based work in the am, attend the bloody gym at lunch, get a haircut in Clerkenwell, go on to Oxford street (in order to procure some American-styled Jeans) in the afternoon which left me with over an hour to hang out in a horrific coffee shop before meeting IC at a gallery in West London for a private view in the early evening, if you please… It was quite a posh affair, lots of micro foods and champagne, and, I have to say, the waiting staff were very accommodating. By the time we left a couple of hours later the missus and I were a little bit fucking tipsy don’t you know.

On lunchtime Friday after a fine sleep I met IC at Borough in order to arrive at London Bridge at a prescribed time for the purposes of train travel to Gatwick, travel that would see us board an Easy Jet flight bound for Barcelona, but first IC had to have her bags checked at security for carrying a miniscule tube of some emollient or suchlike, before we hit the bar for food and perhaps a glass of wine, for the nerves of course.

The plane was packed but the journey under an hour and a half so it was acceptable; we arrived at 8pm local time and took a train to Sitges where we were met by Claire and her two year old daughter Lindy, who was sat at the back of the car looking puzzled. First stop was a bar, but not in the usual sense. In addition to booze this place sold side-plates of food, a vast variety of meats, cheeses, pickles, traditional tapas concoctions, all of similar size and all attached to bread by a cocktail stick. It’s a simple concept, you eat what you want, keep the sticks, and they’ll determine how much you ate and therefore how much you pay. Of course, this marvellous system relies on honesty, a few discarded sticks on the street outside and on the floor indicated that not everyone was perhaps being straightforward, but still, do you think this system would work in these emerald isles?

After stuffing my face and a few glasses of Cava we took the short trip to the flat and we were ready to settle into our holiday. Claire is pregnant and her partner, Carl, works nights as a chef in nearby restaurant, so to some extent we were restricted with activity on account of Lindy. This wasn’t an issue though, we were happy to sit around drinking wine, eating, playing with the Lindy and watching kids movies -I saw Rio which I’d never have done under my own steam and I’m glad I did too, excellent stuff. Carl came home after midnight, he and I stayed up for a bit smoking and chatting. He’s a smashing bloke with a very colourful past and makes for excellent company and his grass was fantastic.

The flat was situated in a quiet residential street with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean framed by mountains to the East and West, when we woke in the morning the air was warm, the sky perfectly blue and it seemed frankly rude to not pop by the beach, but a specific one. Sitges is well known for its large gay community which has a reputation for being somewhat uninhibited. Carl informed me that certain beaches in the area, in addition to offering cotton-soft sand, crystal clear water and million mile views, often feature naked men indulging in acts of a sexual nature, to wit, sucking, fucking and spunking up, without so much as a by your leave.

As it was low season the designated beach was relatively un-crowded so we were free to pitch where we wanted, sort of equidistant between water and a bar and hang, so to speak. Carl and I played with Lindy in the sea and then decided to go for a swim. The water wasn’t Mexico-warm but it was more than bearable, the waves were a little pedantic I’m happy to report and it was all a jolly good wheeze. By the time I clawed my sorry ass back onto the beach I was knackered and a bit annoyed that this would be it for me ‘n sea this year. Bollocks.

After a few hours gallivanting we went for a late lunch at a nearby eatery, the meal was to celebrate our recent nuptials, which was bloody nice I must say. The meal kicked off with wine, naturally, and a small tree from which hung a variety of ten or so chorizo sausages recalling the partially torn bodies in Goya’s Disasters of war, if you’ll fucking please. I have to say I went to town on these bastards, by the time my main dish of roast lamb arrived I was already stuffed and, believe me, this was not a good idea.

The plate that was popped under nose contained, I’d say, about a quarter of a lamb. There was enough for four people, easily. I inwardly groaned until I saw Carl’s plate, a t-bone steak the size of a healthy cat, it’d been my second option and suddenly the heap of flesh and bone on my plate seemed more approachable-ish. The sea bass and roasted vegetable medley that had been chosen by IC and Claire were themselves of a robust size, but in comparison to the meat, minuscule.

It was delicious, of course, and I was inspired to eat until on the brink of consciousness. It was fortunate that I had to work my round a number of bones as I was able to hid parts of the dish that if consumed would’ve seen me in hospital. It wasn’t helpful that Carl was insisting I help him with his behemoth steak which was red raw in the middle. It was very good though, how on earth I survived lunch without CPR will remain as one of life’s mysteries.

After lunch Lindy wanted to go outside and play on the swings and slide, the restaurant had them just out the back so the place was full of families cheerily munching away, though perhaps not on our scale. I helped Lindy on and off the slide when it was her turn, some kid of about five decided to jump the queue and shoved Lindy away from the steps as she was about to ascend, so I told him to piss off. His mum wasn’t very impressed, especially when Lindy made friends with the little shit’s sister and decided to hang around Carl and I as we puffed away on our tabs.

We returned to the table which had been furnished with four bottles of lethal liquor, we were told it was on the house and encouraged to help ourselves (turns out Carl knows the manager, which is handy) so we did. Believe it or not I was actually rather restrained, simply because I had no space left in my stomach.

We left at 4 and went back to the flat; unbelievably Carl went off to work while the rest of us took a siesta. We were up by 7 but still feeling odd because of lunch, it was decided we’d spend Saturday night in lazily playing with Lindy and watching Elmo -rock and roll. It was a nice night, I drunk a few litres of water with a tentative glass of Tempranillo and by the time Carl came back I was feeling as if I could fart without the liquid consequences.

On Sunday morning we went back to the beach and sat outside a cafe by the promenade. There was some sort of zombie festival (yes, really) taking place so the place was peppered with stalls selling lots of horror-based gaff. I came very close to spending 25 Euros on a realistic-looking severed head (inverted, dangling tongue, dripping bloody etc) but really couldn’t justify why. I wished I had I hasten to add, just on the odd chance of getting stopped at customs.

We walked by the sea in the sunshine before saying our goodbye’s. It was time to go to Barcelona.

More of this crap next week, I seemed to have mislaid Gerry’s chart too, bear with me…


leeon

On Saturday morning, IC ushered me onto the train for Liverpool Street and bought some tickets for somewhere, or other, once we’d arrived. I was having a surprise, I was informed.

It was already too hot and I was feeling lazy, I wasn’t overwhelmed at the prospect of having to walk to Fenchurch Street when she discovered that the train to wherever didn’t depart from Liverpool street at the weekend. I put on a brave face.

We took a pleasant stroll through the city; it was as if some Hollywood virus had removed the usual clamour of people, leaving the buildings and streets devoid of content in anticipation of shoe leather and gossip, a kind of explosante-fixe if you’ll pardon me.

We arrived at Fenchurch Street after a fifteen minute meander, very picturesque, clean, and boarded the 11.20 to Southend via Leigh-on-Sea, our destination. I was rather chuffed, especially after learning it was only a fifty minutes trip and IC had bought some Prosecco for the outward journey.

You would be forgiven if you assumed the train was stuffed full of people with similar intentions, after all it was unseasonally hot, sunny, and the weekend. On the contrary the train was gloriously empty, surprisingly comfortable, which made the journey a pleasure.

We arrived at lunchtime and walked the short distance down to the front which overlooked the estuary that reached out into the channel. The little street that ran behind the small collection of sea-facing pubs and seafood restaurants was pretty with a quaint, timeless, aspect, but we were more interested in the food/drink deal in the sunshine.

Despite the weather and location Leigh on Sea was busy but not rammed packed; we found a table outside (for example) and got to work. There was a nice pervading atmosphere, families, couples, no gangs of arseholes, we ordered drinks and a platter of fresh seafood and soaked it all up. Bloody lovely.

The afternoon rolled lazily on by, we watched the tide come in over the estuary, grounded boats were slowly righted and the sun began to head West. By now we were merrily pissed and at five, full, decided to head home. We shot back through Essex and the East end and arrived where we’d started a few hours previously, the sun was still making itself known so thought it best to round off the day with a final pint at the local, itself solid with punters, and home for a film and some easy food.

Sunday, still very not, a bit too much to be honest, so we hung around the flat following a spot of shopping gasping and in my case, moaning. At 3 my bro popped by and we all headed off to Paul’s gaff who’d invited a few of us over for a Barbeque on his roof. Thankfully there was some shade so I could enjoy the rest of my day stuffing meat and beer into my face without the risk of my brain broiling in my skull. My bro popped back to the flat with IC and I after we’d filled and we watched a couple of Come Dine’s etc., before launching into another Curb Your Enthusiasm session –they get better and better, do it.

I’ve had a busy week with office shit and writing, but plenty of time to relax, of course. I’d go into more detail but I’m off to Barcelona with the missus in about an hour so must fly (Christ, literally.)

First, Gerry’s chart and a tune, er, Ole!

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 The Big Pink Stay Gold NE 1 30
29 Bring Me The Horizon It Never Ends 22 9 5
28 The Strokes Macchu Picchu 18 9 5
27 The Jezabels Endless Summer NE 1 27
26 Marina And The Diamonds Radioactive 27 3 26
25 Kasabian Switchblade Smiles 20 10 2
24 Brett Anderson Brittle Heart 29 2 24
23 Arctic Monkeys Suck It And See NE 1 23
22 White Lies The Power And The Glory NE 1 22
21 Kasabian Days Are Forgotten 13 7 5
20 Airship Algebra 26 2 20
19 Snow Patrol Called Out In The Dark 16 5 16
18 The Vaccines Norgaard 10 10 3
17 Enter Shikari Sssnakepit 23 2 17
16 Evanescence What You Want 14 4 14
15 Mastodon Curl Of The Burl 19 3 15
14 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds AKA What A Life 17 3 14
13 Foo Fighters Arlandria 12 6 11
12 All The Young Welcome Home 7 14 1
11 All The Young Quiet Night In 21 2 11
10 The Kooks Is It Me? 11 6 10
9 Blink 182 Up All Night 5 6 3
8 Cherri Bomb Spin 8 4 8
7 Battles ft Gary Numan My Machines 15 2 7
6 The Subways We Don’t Need Money 4 7 2
5 The Duke Spirit Surrender 9 3 5
4 Bombay Bicycle Club Shuffle 1 7 1
3 The Horrors I Can See Through You 3 5 3
2 The Howling Bells Into The Sky 2 3 2
1 Janes Addiction Irresistible Force 6 2 1


injun

It’s been a hectic few weeks, hence the lack of postings lately.

The weekend before last I met my bro in Angel after a long journey from Chichester, where I’d spent a superb weekend working (details available next week on request, they’re not for here). I was damp from a drenching earlier in the afternoon, knackered out from all the walking I’d undertaken but still keen to see off the weekend with a self-congratulatory pint. After a couple of beers and a tiny plate of smoked salmon and ‘leaves’ (six fucking quid) I lazily made my way home and, most unlike me these days, took a hot bath to reset myself.

Monday and Tuesday were manic. In addition to the work resulting from the weekend excursion, I also had to see to my more regular blathering. It was intense, hard work, but also very rewarding. It feels good to get paid for writing stuff and due to positive feedback and more readers than I expected (about 5000 an hour) more is in the pipeline, not enough to give up the office-stuff just yet I hasten to add, but it’s all coming on nicely.

It also helped fill the gap left by IC’s trip to Italy, the same trip that I was forced to spurn in favour of the weekend job. By the time she returned Tuesday evening I was ahead of the game, dinner in the oven, flat cleaner than a surgeons digit and just plain happy to have her home in one piece.

The following day I went to the office (on the Triumph, which is now running again. The breakdown, dad discovered, was due to a wire that had fallen off the kill-switch A single bloody wire caused all that hassle.) She’s still pissing out oil but the quantity isn’t too worrying and she’s running beautifully, so for the time being I’m happy…

I didn’t stay there long, just enough time to get a few things done then back on the Triumph home. I can’t begin to tell you what a difference it makes, it’s not just the having-to-face-public-transport gig –a protracted, uncomfortable and expensive affair- it’s the sheer joy of riding her again.

On Saturday IC and I took the train to my sisters gaff in Surrey, we were supposed to meet my bro en route but he’d had a bit of a significant Friday evening and spent most of Saturday morning throwing up his toenails.

My youngest niece is two so we were there to do the whole cake/toys thing. The afternoon rolled-on cheerfully, IC, my parents, sister and bro-in-law, dividing our time between the garden and lounge depending on where the shrieking kids were playing. At six my parents took the kids off to spend the night with them leaving us four, then five when my pasty faced sibling suddenly made an appearance, for some wine and eventually, Chinese food from the local takeaway.

I wasn’t sure about this stuff, it was okay but not a patch on Vietnamese food to which I’d become accustomed. In places it was delicious then it got overly greasy and sweet when it needn’t have. Mind you, I stuffed myself full, we inadvertently ordered piles of it and I’m sure there was enough left over to keep my sis and family full for the rest of the week.

After arriving home, which took a bloody age, IC and I were about to call it a day when we stumbled upon Straw Dogs on the tellybox. After a load of warnings from some doom-laden voiceover before it began, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, while slightly flawed, it was so gripping I’d gladly allow myself to be repeatedly hit over the head with a shovel in order to forget it so that I may enjoy it over. Depressingly I’ve been informed it’s to be re-made.

Sunday was a day of rest, a spot of time in the pub, some comfort food, a few Come Dine with Me’s before a film, then bed in good time for bloody Monday.

I had a drizzling ride into work but I wasn’t fussed, I was more bothered by what a shocking waste of time it was when I got there, nice ride home though and on the way I was inspired enough to make dinner for IC and I in the evening.

Tuesday was the first day of this weird post-summer weather that we’re bathing in now. Everyone seems to be in a state of shock over it… Come on! It’s still September, it’s not an Indian Summer by any stretch of the imagination, for a start that so-called phenomena only occurs following the first frost and secondly ‘Indian Summer’ is an American term. The European term, and therefore the correct one, is ‘St. Martin’s Day Summer.’ Either way, we’re not having either of them and it’s too hot.

In the evening IC and I went out for dinner at a favourite near-by eatery in order to celebrate a calendar event. I had the pork belly, IC the haddock; both were excellent, the small potions belying their sufficiency. The walk back to the flat was undertaken in bloated satisfaction.

I chose to go to the office on Wednesday; it was a bit too hot for the Triumph who let me know her feelings by running lumpily and offing a more than generous portion of oil to the concrete when we stopped. Still, better than the pissy tube and accompanying trains.

I saw my bro in the evening at the local, we sat outside in the dark with our pints discussing his job and the characters he works with, one of whom is the son of an eminent film director. Apparently this chap is pleasant enough but he’s inclined to fart deadly clouds of gas in confined spaces, he also has a mild tick causing him to repeat ‘do you get me?’ in street-slang. My bro and I discovered it’s highly addictive and we’ve both found ourselves doing it, at first for amusement but it’s easy for it to just pop up, most peculiar.

Thursday evening I met up with Pete and Kate in (another) local, this one renowned for its excellent ales. Nice evening with a sensible finish at home with IC and the latest season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s refreshing stuff in so far as it’s actually funny, in places brilliant, and shows that our American cousins do have a sense of humour if you dig around.

Right, time to go back to complaining about this fucking heat. Here’s Gerry’s chart, a fantastic tune from some old favourites and a cloud of noxious gas, do you get me?

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Cults Go Outside 20 5 17
29 Brett Anderson Brittle Heart NE 1 29
28 The Drums Money 21 5 21
27 Marina And The Diamonds Radioactive 28 2 27
26 Airship Algebra NE 1 26
25 Florence And The Machine What The Water Gave Me 22 4 22
24 The Wombats Our Perfect Disease 15 7 13
23 Enter Shikari Sssnakepit NE 1 23
22 Bring Me The Horizon It Never Ends 14 8 5
21 All The Young Quiet Night In NE 1 21
20 Kasabian Switchblade Smiles 12 9 2
19 Mastodon Curl Of The Burl 23 2 19
18 The Strokes Macchu Picchu 9 8 5
17 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds AKA What A Life 25 2 17
16 Snow Patrol Called Out In The Dark 18 4 16
15 Battles ft Gary Numan My Machines NE 1 15
14 Evanescence What You Want 17 3 14
13 Kasabian Days Are Forgotten 7 6 5
12 Foo Fighters Arlandria 11 5 11
11 The Kooks Is It Me? 13 5 11
10 The Vaccines Norgaard 5 9 3
9 The Duke Spirit Surrender 16 2 9
8 Cherri Bomb Spin 10 3 8
7 All The Young Welcome Home 4 13 1
6 Janes Addiction Irresistable Force NE 1 6
5 Blink 182 Up All Night 3 5 3
4 The Subways We Don’t Need Money…… 2 6 2
3 The Horrors I Can See Through You 6 4 3
2 The Howling Bells Into The Sky 8 2 2
1 Bombay Bicycle Club Shuffle 1 6 1


bollast

On a beautiful September afternoon, just after lunch, the Triumph rumbled back into life. I’d spent Monday re-assembling the chaincase with dad and was about to launch into the ether when the bike stalled and we discovered that one of the carb rubbers had perished (causing an air leak). My heart sank, but at least it wasn’t a big deal, more rubbers were ordered and by Wednesday, had arrived.

On Wednesday, another unexpectedly glorious day, the bike eventually started. It should have started first kick but took a few minutes of pounding at the kickstart. Putting this down to the accepted characteristics of a British-built machine over thirty years old I was happy to confidently set off when it fired. And by Christ did we set off. The engine was peachy and responsive; indeed, it hadn’t run like this in a decade.

We flew down the A3, my intention was to pop by the office before pointing the bike Eastwards for home, but something wasn’t right. As I approached my destination round lunchtime, in a corner of South London too close to my old flat for comfort, the engine started to get fluffy and it stalled at a junction. It started again but it still wasn’t happy, when it stalled again I knew something was seriously wrong.

I spent a good ten minutes leaping up and down on the kickstart until I was literally drenched in sweat. It was no good; there wasn’t even a hint of life, so I prepared myself for a long wait after calling the breakdown unit. I parked the bike off the gridlocked road in full gaze of the static occupants, who seemed to be relishing my efforts with some self-satisfied glee, and retrieved my phone and the number I had printed on a card in my wallet.

It was then I discovered my phone was dead.

Of course, these days, unless you live in the sticks, there is more chance of finding a WMD than a phone box, working or otherwise. My heart sunk to my Doc’s, what to do?

Across the road I noticed a newsagent stuffed full of school kids buying crisps and porn, for a split second I figured there was a solution in buying a phone card for the phone box that didn’t exist, until I realised it wasn’t the 80’s and I was boiling hot. I wandered up the road for a bit and happened upon a pub.

I entered and sheepishly asked the worn-out bar man if there was a phone, of course not, but he agreed to lend me the pub one. I thanked him, ordered a coke, called the breakdown unit and after much sweating and puffing (I was still in my gear and weighed down by helmets, rucksacks and tools) I finally arranged for a pick up, ‘in the next 90 minutes’.

The bar man said I could use the pub phone number as a contact number for the unit when they arrived, so I figured I’d sit in the boozer until they called. Despite having solved the immediate problem I was still immensely pissed off, I didn’t even have a phone to check stuff in the office (let alone tell them I wouldn’t be in) more annoyingly the time-killing Angry Birds was out of my reach. Some degree of solace lay in the book I’m currently reading (god help me, Bill Bryson, but his ‘At Home’ is highly recommended) and the coke was a bonus after all the efforts employed trying to start the sodding bike.

I literally peeled off my jacket; my t-shirt was wringing wet, when the cool air hit it I sighed with relief. I arranged my accessories and sat down to read, drink, pass the time… A quick glance round the pub was enough to inform that this wasn’t a happy place. The shabby bar man leant over the bar cradling his chin in his hand, eyes glazed over a handful of middle-aged men sat alone staring into pints of lager or the flat-screen TV featuring a sport of some kind near the Gents.

I was just about to return to my book when I accidentally met the ping-pong eyes of a piss-pot sat a few feet away from my table. Before I had a chance to look away he suddenly started on me, ‘You looking at fucking cuntface, you cuntface?’ And then he said again, only this time a bit louder with an additional ‘f’ word and a troubling amount of animation.

That’s me, then, I thought. I wasn’t going to spend five minutes, let alone an hour and a half, in the company of some special needs case who’d taken a disliking to my having been born, with patently nothing whatsoever to lose. I sighed, drained my drink, picked up my gear and, before telling the barman where I was when the breakdown unit called, left them to it.

I walked out into the sunshine and sat by my bike on a wall with my back to the traffic, now slowly moving. It occurred to me that this would inevitable delay the rescue unit. ‘Bollocks’ I shouted.

I spent over two hours sat there, occasionally I’d try and start the bike, go over obvious signs of fault but a lack of tools prevented any real progress. The battery was charged, tank was full and as we hadn’t disturbed the timing or carburetion logically that had to be ruled out too. Fuck knows. I passed the hours getting increasingly frustrated, hot and bored. Finally, at the end of a queue of traffic I saw the unit, which promptly u-turned and disappeared down a side street. I grabbed my stuff and ran after it and, following a sprint of some note, managed to catch it up.

The bike was pondered over by the driver/mechanic, I curtly advised him not to touch it, just take us back to my folks and the garage full of necessary tools. This took an hour as by now it was rush hour, I then had to get home from there, another two crawled by as I was cheerlessly packed and stuffed into a variety of trains and tubes.

I was a little livid ball of fuck-off when I finally got home, with just enough time to push bread and cheese into my gob and meet my bro at the pub at 8 for a well deserved pint. It took me a while to unwind, and the silly cunt in the beer garden wasn’t helping either. We went indoors to escape her loud lectures on the why’s and wherefores of her horrific sex-life, later on one of her crew (the big-nosed arsehole had already annoyed me by not saying ‘thank you’ when I let him pass through a narrow gangway) dropped a tray of his/their drinks in the middle of the pub. Made my night that did.

Tonight I meet IC in town; she’s taking me out for dinner which is marvellous. She’s off to Italy in the morning leaving me to my own devices for a few days. Can’t say I’m thrilled at the prospect but it’s my own doing. I have a job this weekend which I am both dreading and excited about in equal measure. I’m afraid this entails an enormous amount of work next week so it’s likely they’ll be no Piqued…

Gerry’s chart, a tune (though not from the chart this week, I fancy something more insane) and I’ll be back soon yeah. Cheerio.

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Baxter Dury Claire 24 7 14
29 The Horrors Still Life 20 15 1
28 You Me At Six Loverboy 30 3 28
27 Cerebral Ballzy Cutting Class 21 8 7
26 The Fixers Swimhaus Johannesburg 23 5 23
25 Florence And The Machine What The Water Gave Me 29 2 25
24 Red Hot Chili Peppers ……..Rain Dance Maggie 18 8 14
23 Evanescence What You Want NE 1 23
22 She Wants Revenge Must Be The One 15 8 6
21 The Drums Money 22 3 21
20 Kids In Glass Houses Animal 16 7 16
19 Snow Patrol Called Out In The Dark 25 2 19
18 Mona Shooting The Moon 12 8 4
17 Cults Go Outside 19 3 17
16 The Kooks Is It Me? 26 3 16
15 Cherri Bomb Spin NE 1 15
14 The Blackout The Storm 10 6 7
13 The Wombats Our Perfect Disease 13 5 13
12 Japanese Voyeurs Cry Baby 9 7 2
11 Foo Fighters Arlandria 11 4 11
10 The Horrors I Can See Through You 17 2 10
9 Bring Me The Horizon It Never Ends 6 6 5
8 Kasabian Switchblade Smiles 4 7 2
7 Blink 182 Up All Night 14 3 7
6 The Strokes Macchu Picchu 5 6 5
5 Kasabian Days Are Forgotten 8 4 5
4 The Vaccines Norgaard 3 7 3
3 The Subways We Don’t Need Money…… 7 4 3
2 All The Young Welcome Home 1 11 1
1 Bombay Bicycle Club Shuffle 2 4 1


sighkl

The Triumph has been sat quietly in my dad’s garage, chaincase off, clutch out, waiting for its drive sprocket to be removed in order to attend to the oil seal in the gear box that, until its cessation, has been pissing transmission fluid all over London.

Said oil seal, about the size of a basic-range ginger nut, is supposed to fit tightly into the gear box casing, not flop out like a dead dog’s tongue when touched. Nor is the casing from which it has flopped have parallel score marks that could cost literally thousands of pounds to repair.

So far, so good, then.

Tomorrow, after having glued in a new oil seal with Araldite (yes, really) I’ll re-assemble the cited components and pray it’s worked. Then, hopefully, the only time you’ll hear mention of my bike will be as a result of a wonderful ride rather than yet another thing dropping off.

It’s not just motorcycles that have been making my life difficult/unfulfilled, bicycles haven’t been on my recent list of ‘yay’s’ lately either, not since the one I bought in the spring got stolen the night after I brought it home. The monster I’d been using up until this point -and by default, after- I’d purchased some five years ago and I despised it with its wanky peddles and lack of engine. It’s one of those mountain bike things, sprung forks, knobbly tyres, the bicycle equivalent of a Mitsubishi Shogun, and despite being of reasonable quality it’s a relative dinosaur when compared to the current crop of razor-wheeled singles that populate this part of that there London.

Not that I care, a bicycle is a means to an end for me. I use it three times a week to get to the gym for the sole purpose of preventing my spine from coming off. IC, on the other hand enjoys this peddling lark, she uses hers every day to cycle into the city and has been vocal in her keenness to involve me in going on bikerides. I have, of course, contemptuously spurned this idea.

A few weeks ago I was about to clamber aboard my dishevelled velocipede when I noticed that my rear tyre was flat. I shouted some rude words into the ether, fucking cunts, I think it was, and retrieved my bicycle pump from the flat. For weeks after, before I darkened the doors of the gym, I had to spend a minute or two pumping up my rear tyre. It’s not as if attending the gym is easy in the first instance, factor in the addition pumping, and the fact I hate cycling anyway, it’s a miracle I’m not bumbling about Hackney in a mobility scooter.

A handful of days ago I decided enough was enough. I briefly considered taking my bike to a repair shop but that would’ve been an unnecessary expense, fixing bicycles is easier than farting. I just couldn’t be arsed to do it. Reluctantly I ordered a new inner tube (I thought it wise to get a fresh one, the current, flat, incarnation hasn’t been changed in half a decade) and then decided that whilst I was about, why not fit more suitable tyres as well. The knobbly ones, aside from being about as practical as Stephen Hawking’s trampoline, were virtually worn to the carcass. I was certain you could get more road-friendly mountain bike tyres so after a quick search ordered a pair in my size.

On Friday afternoon I left the office with my recently delivered orders and set off home to fit my new purchases. I brought the bike into the flat, turned it upside down and set to work. As anticipated it was a very straightforward affair, half an hour later I had a new rear inner tube and a pair of knobble-free tyres.

With a good hour before I was due to meet IC (in the pub) I took it on myself to give the bike a bit of a clean, remove the surface rust, get the grunge and muck out of the derailleur, even adjust the brakes. I found myself rather enjoying the whole process; unlike the Triumph matters are resolved relatively quickly and your achievements are feedback to you instantly. By the time I tuned the bike upright and wheeled it into the sunshine my relationship with it had altered somewhat.

First off it felt like a new bicycle and secondly, peddling towards the pub, it felt smooth, easy and, Christ on a bike, actually fun. Sort-of. Would’ve thought eh?

Before I leave you with Gerry’s chart and a tune, I was fortunate enough to catch Tim Minchin at the Greenwich Comedy Festival (quick thanks to the operators of the DLR who, on our return excursion, left hundreds of us literally dangling over Canary Wharf for almost a fucking hour). I have to say I wasn’t expecting what I got, for a start his act is truly hilarious (largely because it’s darker than Burzum) and he’s single handedly restored my faith in the whole comedian-with-instruments deal.

Toodle pip.

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 You Me At Six Loverboy 30 2 30
29 Florence And The Machine What The Water Gave Me NE 1 29
28 Black Keys Howlin’ For You 21 5 15
27 Two Door Cinema Club Undercover Martyn 20 7 7
26 The Kooks Is It Me? 29 2 26
25 Snow Patrol Called Out In The Dark NE 1 25
24 Baxter Dury Claire 18 6 14
23 The Fixers Swimhaus Johannesburg 24 4 23
22 The Drums Money 27 2 22
21 Cerebral Ballzy Cutting Class 16 7 7
20 The Horrors Still Life 12 14 1
19 Cults Go Outside 25 2 19
18 Red Hot Chili Peppers ……..Rain Dance Maggie 14 7 14
17 The Horrors I Can See Through You NE 1 17
16 Kids In Glass Houses Animal 19 6 16
15 She Wants Revenge Must Be The One 9 7 6
14 Blink 182 Up All Night 22 2 14
13 The Wombats Our Perfect Disease 15 4 13
12 Mona Shooting The Moon 6 7 4
11 Foo Fighters Arlandria 17 3 11
10 The Blackout The Storm 7 5 7
9 Japanese Voyeurs Cry Baby 4 6 2
8 Kasabian Days Are Forgotten 13 3 8
7 The Subways We Don’t Need Money…… 10 3 7
6 Bring Me The Horizon It Never Ends 5 5 5
5 The Strokes Macchu Picchu 8 5 5
4 Kasabian Switchblade Smiles 2 6 2
3 The Vaccines Norgaard 3 6 3
2 Bombay Bicycle Club Shuffle 11 3 2
1 All The Young Welcome Home 1 10 1


deery

I met IC on Friday evening in the pissing, pissing rain by Liverpool street station. We bust our way through the busy Tesco in order to glean some food for the journey ahead and some wine for the same reason, boarded the train and set off.

Regarding my comments a few weeks ago about trains and how they’ve improved blah, blah. I take it all back to the point of deleting said post and doing a steaming fat shit on the very idea. The thing we took to Ipswich -and, believe me, you need all the help you can when you’ve that waiting for you- was a disgrace. Even the wine and Upper Crust ham salad did little to take the edge of it. And the train was choc-full-o-cunts.

After a miserable hour we arrived at the ‘Switch but there was worse to come. If I thought the train we’d alighted was bad, the fucking thing we boarded to Beccles (Norfolk) was Hitler mothering his dog. This object was diesel powered and moved like granddad on a Sunday afternoon going for a drive over Scafell Pike, in addition it was so bumpy I was being physically ejected from my seat every two seconds for a full thirty minutes. Apart from inviting grave spinal problems the perpetual up and down-ness wasn’t helping my constitution, if it hadn’t stopped fifteen minutes before meeting Eugene at Beccles station I would’ve greeted him by screaming at his hips and vomiting over his shoes.

Instead I greeted him like a gentleman and he whisked us back to his pile in the sparsely populated hamlet where he dwells. For the second time in a month we were greeted by fine country architecture, lots of space, outbuildings (filled with all manner of toys and delights –that sounds dubious, I can assure you it’s not. It both hobby and business based) in the rich gardens in which to potter. And deafening silence save the odd passing car.

It was nine-ish by the time we settled down with his missus for freshly smoked fish (delicious to the extreme) cheeses and bread, and perhaps a spot of wine. By eleven-ish I was cunted, which wasn’t altogether my fault. I’d not been feeling right all day, neither had IC, and the following morning confirmed we both had fucking colds.

After a breakfast of kippers Eugene took us off in his car for a tour over the Norfolk Broads and we stopped off by the seaside to play the penny arcade on the pier. I manage to bag whole 12p on penny drop/drawer thingy, which I then recklessly blew. We spent a good hour on the pier, most of it on the machines therein rather than looking forlornly out to sea.

After lunch we visited Norwich, a place now so synonymous with Alan Partridge it was hard to resist screaming ‘Ah Ha!’ at shopkeepers and pedestrians. In some ways Norwich is locked in a sort of time bubble, in addition to a feast of ancient buildings it retains a sense of ‘Englishness’ that is almost disquieting. Put it this way, the word ‘multicultural’ doesn’t feature anywhere. Still, it’s very pretty and historically speaking fascinating; this aspect was helped along by Eugene who, since moving East, has acquired a vast knowledge of the city’s past.

We finished off at Norwich cathedral to admire the stained glass, fading frescos, ceiling bosses (some which seemed as far away from God as I) and a right nice rood screen an’ all, phwaor. Slightly more irksome were first hand encounters of stone statues that had been vandalised by that pus-faced prick Cromwell and his army of reformers. Twat.

Before we set off home we had a pint in a pub reputed to be the oldest in England. It was very pretty and the Adnams, a local ale, was spot on. By now IC and I weren’t feeling too clever but, after we returned back to base camp, mustered enough energy to walk a country mile from Eugene’s place to a marvellous restaurant in the village where we ate and drank handsomely. The walk back, undertaken in pitch black on a grass verge flanked by countryside and a virtually empty road, was both precarious and hilarious. The evening ending with Eugene and I sampling an excellent single malt and catching up on past times.

IC and I woke Sunday with the cold-thing in full swing. We had a lazy breakfast before being taken to the station and saying a fond farewell to our excellent hosts. The fucking bumpy train was worse than before and seemed to take an age, we then had to get a bus to the next station, change to a slightly more contemporary train, get yet another bus to the arsehole end of the Underground from where we traipsed home. Took over four bloody hours and by now we were both pike-ill. Still, it was more than worth the effort.

I’ve finally managed to clear my desk of all the office-based drivel that’s been making my weekdays a stressful misery. Since February this year I’ve been forced to meet a succession of ludicrous deadlines that have left me out of pocket and exasperated beyond compare. It’s not even as if I like the fucking work which makes stressing about it both pointless and humiliating.

But I’m not entirely stupid, there is a reason why I’ve not jacked it in, it does allow me space to do other things, and ‘other things’ seem to be starting to come together, or at least, are facing in the right direction. Unfortunately these enigmatic otherthings require time and effort as well, but it’s stuff I actually enjoy, the sort of stuff that requires me to write this shit for no money, or readers for that matter.

Chart/tune Ah Ha!

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 You Me At Six Loverboy NE 1 30
29 The Kooks Is It Me? NE 1 29
28 Skindred ft Jacoby Shaddix Warning 17 9 3
27 The Drums Money NE 1 27
26 Hard-Fi Fire In The House 24 3 24
25 Cults Go Outside NE 1 25
24 The Fixers Swimhaus Johannesburg 26 3 24
23 Machine Head Locust 13 7 3
22 Blink 182 Up All Night NE 1 22
21 Black Keys Howlin’ For You 15 4 15
20 Two Door Cinema Club Undercover Martyn 10 6 7
19 Kids In Glass Houses Animal 21 5 19
18 Baxter Dury Claire 14 5 14
17 Foo Fighters Arlandria 22 2 17
16 Cerebral Ballzy Cutting Class 11 6 7
15 The Wombats Our Perfect Disease 18 3 15
14 Red Hot Chili Peppers ……..Rain Dance Maggie 16 6 14
13 Kasabian Days Are Forgotten 25 2 13
12 The Horrors Still Life 8 13 1
11 Bombay Bicycle Club Shuffle 28 2 11
10 The Subways We Don’t Need Money…… 19 2 10
9 She Wants Revenge Must Be The One 6 6 6
8 The Strokes Macchu Picchu 12 4 8
7 The Blackout The Storm 9 5 7
6 Mona Shooting The Moon 4 6 4
5 Bring Me The Horizon It Never Ends 7 4 5
4 Japanese Voyeurs Cry Baby 3 5 2
3 The Vaccines Norgaard 5 5 3
2 Kasabian Switchblade Smiles 2 5 2
1 All The Young Welcome Home 1 9 1


lam

On Saturday lunchtime, following a horrific shopping experience in the big Tesco in Hackney –which featured open swearing- and a waddle home with too much stuff, IC went out again to collect a shoulder of lamb from the Turkish shop near the gym. She prepared it with garlic, rosemary, salt (name that tune, as it were) and wine, left it to marinade and at three pm slammed it in the oven.

That afternoon the delicious cooking odours became almost intolerable, I paced about the flat with my mouth micturating saliva with one eye on the clock. At sevenish my bro and Mary showed up and the lamb was released from its enclosure and left to rest on the side as I fixed up some roast potatoes and IC dealt with the starter of scallops and pancetta.

There was no earthly reason why we were going to all this trouble, in fact, IC doesn’t even eat meat, it was just we fancied having a big slap up meal with some friends and wine, of course. Following the excellent starter my bro carved the lamb which I’d already had the pleasure to sample, it was giggle-good. In fact it took all of my strength to not chuck it on the floor and eat it with my fucking teeth, pausing only to growl at approaching, and probably very concerned, dear ones.

For someone who hasn’t eaten meat in well over a decade IC has an almost savant understanding of how to select, prepare and cook the stuff. It was softer than a French Fancy with more flavour than that dick from Public Enemy, best of all there was loads of it, and enough leftovers for a private growl during the week (well Monday, when I nearly broke my jaw trying to get as much of it into my gob as possible.)

Speaking of the week, as I did just there, workwise it’s been beyond awful. I seem to be going from one disaster to another, in addition to it being an utter waste of time (time that would be better spent writing) it’s expensive traipsing to and from the office –something I’m required to do on yet another bloody deadline- just to go sit in a cauldron of stress and worry. On the other hand it’s been a busy week of socialising and hanging out with her indoors, so it’s sort of made up for it in one respect. Trouble is that I’m worryingly skint, my day to day business has been shite and I’ve not financially recovered from the matrimonial delights of May. To add insult to injury the Triumph is off the road, this oil-leak issue still hasn’t been addressed and I’ve had no time to look at it because of fucking work. The only consolation is that the weather has been so dreadful it wouldn’t have been much fun riding it in the first pace, but still, bollocks.

I maintain optimistic mind you, actually, fuck that, I don’t.

Right, shortly off to Norfolk to see Eugene and his missus. Doubtless it’ll rain all weekend but I’ve been promised smoked fish, ales, wines and a go on one of the big-eared boys he keeps tethered out back.

Here’s Gerry’s chart (incidentally, the Cerebral Ballsy track I played off his chart last week has led to a mild obsession, check their vids on you tube, marvellous stuff –reminds me of the wonderful Minor Threat) and a timely if just-about-carried-it-off tune from therein.

Laters, yeah.

NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Limp Bizkit Gold Cobra 17 7 12
29 We Are The Ocean Runaway 22 6 17
28 Bombay Bicycle Club Shuffle NE 1 28
27 Arctic Monkeys The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala 20 5 13
26 The Fixers Swimhaus Johannesburg 28 2 26
25 Kasabian Days Are Forgotten NE 1 25
24 Hard-Fi Fire In The House 30 2 24
23 The Joy Formidable A Heavy Abacus 15 7 6
22 Foo Fighters Arlandria NE 1 22
21 Kids In Glass Houses Animal 24 4 21
20 Nero Promises 16 8 12
19 The Subways We Don’t Need Money To Have A Good Time NE 1 19
18 The Wombats Our Perfect Disease 26 2 18
17 Skindred ft Jacoby Shaddix Warning 12 8 3
16 Red Hot Chili Peppers ……..Rain Dance Maggie 18 5 16
15 Black Keys Howlin’ For You 19 3 15
14 Baxter Dury Claire 14 4 14
13 Machine Head Locust 6 6 3
12 The Strokes Macchu Picchu 23 3 12
11 Cerebral Ballzy Cutting Class 8 5 7
10 Two Door Cinema Club Undercover Martyn 7 5 7
9 The Blackout The Storm 10 4 9
8 The Horrors Still Life 4 12 1
7 Bring Me The Horizon It Never Ends 11 3 7
6 She Wants Revenge Must Be The One 9 5 6
5 The Vaccines Norgaard 13 4 5
4 Mona Shooting The Moon 5 5 4
3 Japanese Voyeurs Cry Baby 2 4 2
2 Kasabian Switchblade Smiles 3 4 2
1 All The Young Welcome Home 1 8 1