Sunday, November 26, 2006

“Make way, Administrator coming through” Mitchell & Webb

I went to go and see The Two Faces of Mitchell and Webb last night and they were tres funny. Sadly, we had to wait for over an hour and a half to get in as their projector was not working. I don't mind queuing as long as it's not too cold. As I retorted to one of my friends "it gives you time to think".

So we waited, and waited, then after being fobbed off we waited some more. It was getting colder, and you could hear the masses grumble at this predicament. It wasn't long before we saw two bouncers help an elderly gentleman indoors as he looked like he'd had a funny do of sorts. Something had to be done.

Shortly afterwards, once the ambulance had removed the body of the frozen old chap, the Royal Court Manager came out with his emergency megaphone to address the masses.

"I would like to apologise for the delay, but we are experiencing some technical difficulties. The projector that Miguell and Weed (sic) use isn't working- and they apparently can't do the show without it."

A large groan and a couple of boos was emitted by the freezing masses.

"It looks like the show may have to be cancelled unless we can find an expert on Microsoft PowerPoint…."


"Anyone? Please?"

This was the moment I'd been waiting for. Years of working as a poor dog'sbody in a multitude of crappy offices had been preparing me for such a moment. I felt my heart racing, the adrenalin was pumping round my frozen body- the type of excitement that is akin to doing the lottery and getting the first two numbers and waiting with anticipation for just one more number. I raised my hand and decreed:

"I have the ECDL!"

The crowd gasped with awe.

Lisa put her arm around me "Are you sure you can do this Matt?"

"I was born to do this"

I took off my coat and placed it around her shoulders, gave her a kiss and was escorted into the venue

"Make way, Administrator coming through"

We passed the grieving widow sobbing in the corner, passed a line of theatre workers all saluting me until we arrived at the stage.

"What seems to be the problem?" I asked the head technician.

He looked back at me with a worried expression. The strain was showing.

"We can switch the projector on, but the image on the lap top isn't showing… I've tried everything….it's hopeless. David Mitchell will have my legs broke for this!"

I slapped him hard across the face.

"Calm down man. You're losing control."

I slapped him again to make sure he understood.

Tears filled up his grey eyes, so I gave him a hug, the held him by the shoulders.

"What's your name"


"Well Robert, my name is Matt. What I want you to do is get a hold of yourself, everything is going to working just fine, and when it does start to work you're going to need to be ready for the start of the show."

He wiped his eyes, took a deep breath and saluted me. I felt like Mr. Wolf.

"God bless you Matt, God bless you"

The pressure was on.

I sat down at the lap top and ensured that all the relevant cables were correctly attached.

"I've checked them twice." Robert shouted defensively.

I took no notice. I was in the zone. The PowerPoint was running fine, but as Robert had mentioned there was no image being shown via the projector. I stoked my beard, and thought back to my PowerPoint mentor Stephen and the advise he gave me when I struggled to get the projector set up that fateful September Morning 5 years ago. What would he do?

I thought back. What was the invaluable advise he gave me? If only he hadn't died saving my life from that demon photocopier. If only it was him here and not me.

Confusion and panic turned to despair

I put my head in my hands and let out a long depressed sigh.

"This guy doesn't know what he's doing" I heard the manager say

"Get him out of here"

Suddenly I heard a sweet scouse voice echoing in my head.

Stephen is that you?

"Use the function keys Matt- use the function keys…"

That's it! Huzzzzar! Thanks Stephen!

"Have you tried pressing Fn and F4?" I barked

The blank look Robert he gave me back indicated that he hadn't.

I looked up and saw a nervous looking Mitchell and Webb in their costumes on the stage and knew this was it!

I held down the Fn key with my left hand and pressed the F4 key with my right and closed my eyes hoping for the best.

"You've done it!" A voice cried.

I opened my eyes to see the slides with the humorous doodles on flickering on the screen.

"Kalu Kalay!" I shouted.

I heard the cheers from the crew and staff. I was a hero.

The manager came up to me and took my hand into both of his sweaty hands and shook it so enthusiastically that I thought I'd never play the piano again.

"On behalf of the Royal Court, I would like to bestow my eternal gratitude to you for your endeavours in saving tonight's performance. I'd like to…"

"Don't mention it-" I interrupted "but with all due respect- there's a lot of cold people out there. Your job is to ensure they're all let in soon. The show must go on"

I then felt embarrassed that I'd used such a cliché.

I was escorted back to the queue with the largest of the five bouncers by my side. "He's done it!" the bouncer excitingly cried.

This was followed by the largest cheer you could ever hope to hear and women and men ran up to me kissing me and shaking my hands. Sadly it was the men kissing me and the women shaking my hands. I didn't care. I was ecstatic. I could see Lisa looking cold in the crowd. I ran over to her- hugged her and carried her into the venue. The crowd moved aside, tears of joy in their eyes. It was like a scene from Officer and a Gentleman….

Anyway, Mitchell and Webb went on to do a storming performance. No reference was made to my endeavours, but when they did their "are we the baddies?" sketch, I noticed them look to me in their Nazi regalia, and they both winked at me simultaneously.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Keep on Keeping on!

I went along to see Bobby Gillespie and Co. last night and was once again disenchanted by an apathetic Liverpudllian audience. You will, no doubt, often hear of football season ticket holders bemoan the part time, prawn munching fans infecting the game; who come along and create an atmosphere devoid of any passion or energy. The same has to be said for gigs too, especially bands whom without wishing to belittle them in anyway- as they were bloody good, have been around the block several times and have a few "hits" under their belt. With this in mind I actually felt pretty sorry for the band.

They came on the stage and Bobby G was as cool as fuck as you'd expect him to be; roller-skate skinny, long shaggy haired and reassuringly confident in his dance moves and on stage. Despite my friend's belief that they'd open with tracks from Screamedellica, they burst on to the stage with a barrage of rock n' roll numbers from their current album and previous r' n r incarnations from their lengthy and mostly excellent back catalogue. By song three, the audience was subdued and even the blokes in their mid thirties who were off their tits on a no doubt vile concoctions of ecstasy, Stella and Coke stopped jumping into people as they had done during the reprehensibly crap support act The View (I really can't convey just how much I was disappointed with them and hated this band's performance). By the time they played 'Jail bird' it was only polite applause from the indie prawn munches. Without letting it show too much you could see the band's disappointment, and it was clear to me that Gillespie juggled the set around in order to keep the crowd on his side. Thankfully for me though, regardless of the crowd's reaction, the band were great and I was pleasantly surprised with just how many songs of theirs i knew and loved. Disappointingly, the crowd continued to be crap and the plethora of the student union plastic pint glasses containing liquid (probably just water) continued to rain down on to the stage- much to the band's displeasure. After for what was for me was the set's zenith- a segdway of 'Swastika Eyes', 'Vanishing Point' and other songs from the Kevin Shields era of the band, a full cup was lobbed in Mani's direction splattering onto his hefty and ear punishing loud bass cab. He didn't appear to be too enamored, and both he and the guitarist (the one whom resembled Johnny Marr's son...I assume) gesticulated angrily to those responsible. Crest fallen the band ploughed on into the rocktastic 'Country Girl' followed by a lackluster version of 'Rocks' and predictably the crowd reacted positively to this. The hundreds of mobile phones lofted into air by drunken subscribers to Nuts magazine documented what was a tired finale- no doubt appeasement for the hoards of fans whom forked out £25 to come and see them. Okay- I say 'tired' but as the rest of the set was so good, I can be forgiven for being disappointed by the predictability of it all- and I had seen Primal Scream perform 'Rocks' when they headlined the Reading Festival in 1994 with the late great Joe Strummer joining them on stage- so I'm allowed to be under-whelmed.

After a lengthy break, the band arrived back on stage, only this time with a beefy and thoroughly scary member of their security staff in tow. "C'mon, if anymore pints are thrown on stage we're walking off the stage- we've come here to play rock n' roll not get soaked with beer for fuck's sake- and that won't be fair the rest of the crowd". A heard a few boos from the crowd, and I overheard some meat head behind me say to his female companion "has he never played a gig before?" in a manner that suggested that this sort thing was acceptable. There was little I could do but roll my eyes and try an listen to the band. It wasn't long before I was hit on the back of the head by another pint of water. Ho hum.

The band finally wound down and the vocal sample that signified the start of 'Loaded' finally got the crowd moving. In fact the crowd went nuts- swaying from side to side as the hooky bass line hypnotized one and all. No doubt a large portion of the crowd had only attended in order to see the band perform this monster of a tune and once more hundreds of mobile phones captured the moment. Of course each and every one of these people will be watching their recorded footage back with their friends in their taxi on route home- thoroughly displeased with the resulting indistinguishable noise and imagery their precious phones captured, lamenting the fact they could have enjoyed the performance and remembered it, as opposed to watching the performance through a brightly lit mobile phone screen. Their loss not mine.

After 'Loaded' finally wound down and Mr. Gillespie and co thanked the audience they walked off stage. Suddenly and surprisingly the majority of the crowd left, yet the house lights hadn't come one and the roadies and guitar techs were quickly on stage tuning the instruments. "Great- another encore!" I thunked. But, like a fickle football crowd who leave when their team is 1-0 down with five minutes to play, the hall was 3/4 empty in seconds. Eventually, after 5 minutes of shouts from the hardcore P.S fans the band must have thought "fuck it- why bother?" and why not? No doubt the hoards of folks whom fled the venue had no idea that bands do play further encores, but obviously they were too concerned with tomorrow's work or making sure they got home in time to pay the babysitter or watch the repeat of "I'm a Celebrity…".

Perhaps it's time for the band to fuck these fans off and just play new songs for the sake of their sanity and mine.

Oh aye- RIP Robert Altman. Hopefully the beeb will perhaps re-show some of his films, Short Cuts M.A.S.H, Popeye, The Player and erm… OC and Stigs???

Saturday, November 18, 2006

fiddledeedee - I'm fucked

Disappointment turns to confusion rather too hastily for my liking.

I finally received formal notification that I wasn't worthy enough to be interviewed for the job in the Catholic School I applied for- you know the one which my colleague got.

As I had already decided that I would make pie that evening I was it fairly good spirits.

In a desperate attempt to free myself from the shackles of employment from this darned place, I decided to take typing speed test. Why? Well , despite having a degree, at present I'm not even qualified to do the dog's body job I do- as important piece of criteria for many of the jobs I've raised an eyebrow at- have all dictated that I need to type at 35 WPM. Now as my many ramblings/blogs should demonstrate- I can type pretty fast, but my accuracy is shit and low. After taking this test; low and behold I can type above the required speed but my accuracy was pathetic- a bit like the England football team I suppose. Anyway, I downloaded this darned tutorial and spend a few hours over the next few days training. Progress was slow to start with, but I gathered momentum eventually. Spirits were high. Alas, the tutorial was a freebie- so after learning how to type the keys asdf, jkle; &I the tutorial stops! So unless I want to write words like fiddledeedee and false it is of no use having this knowledge. Yet another best laid plan goes to waste.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A lack of Weetabix

As I walked bleary eyed on route to the office, a white transit van drove past. Written in the grime and dirt on the back of the van was a disconcerting piece of text which read:

"I wish my g/f was as dirty as this van"

What troubled me was that the fact the cheeky japester who wrote this witty remark chose to use the term "g/f" rather than bother to write 'girlfriend'.

Has it really come to this?

I was already feeling less than enamoured this morning as I got very little sleep last night. I awoke engulfed with a feeling of impending doom which was accelerated when I stumbled into our kitchen to learn that we didn't have enough milk for any cereal and only have white bread. A lack of Wheetabix does strange things to a man.

Also- on a separate matter- I've been listening to the new Califone Record lots at home, but after searching for the 'currently listening to' section I notice that I have alternative artwork from the one attached- what gives?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Morning Wonder (Take Me Home)

I awoke this morning and decided that I didn't want to go to work. I feebly told Lisa that I wanted to call in sick so I could catch up on some much needed sleep. She promptly ordered me to get up. I duly obliged.

As I left the house, I noticed a package waiting for me. I stuffed it in my pocket and made haste for the station.

For Fuck's Sake II:

The trains were down again, and I was once again forced to sit with all the other disenchanted shulbs on the No. 60 bus. I knew it would be lengthy voyage but thought that listening to Joanne Newsom's latest album 'Ys' would be a rather pleasant way to kick start my day. However my journey turned out to be depressingly nostalgic. It was almost like I was visited by four ghosts akin to those in Dickins' 'A Christmas Carol'. (by the way in case you're thinking of being a pedant and saying there was only three ghosts in 'A Christmas Carol' read it again you shmuck)

The first was a good pal from college's identical twin brother who along with his brother are both doing extremely positive things with their respective Art degrees. Working freelance and also teaching at the local community college. We made with the polite chitchat. Learning of other peoples happiness and contentment with life I sadly find most irksome so I did my best to throw a few curve balls to get off the subject. Thankfully I was rescued by the visitation of a second ghost a former band member (and out of touch friend)'s girlfriend, whom informed me of what life has been like post band for her and her boyfriend and asking me how life was. Whilst regaling her of my current and recent activities, realised that life has remained pretty much the same as when I used to see her on the ole 60 bus when I commuted to job number's 24 and 26

The third ghost I didn't speak to. I didn't need to and didn't really want to either. It was a girl I worked with at Abbey national whom was fancied by all. Her name escaped me, but she was sat in front of me all the way to work. I waited for her to get off the bus to see if I could confirm if it was her. It was. She noticed my face, and gave a vague smile of recognition- one similar to seeing someone you know, but not sure where from. Her looks have diminished significantly as she has matured- though she must only be 26ish now. Her youthful spark now extinguished.

I also noticed that the bus took me past many locations that I had worked I had almost forgot existed:

The bus stop where I used to wait cold and tired after a 20 minutes walk from the Riverside Housing Office,

Wavertree Technology park, where I worked for Connexions.

The Office where I had a three and a half hour job interview in the Old Swan dealing with motorbike insurance that I turned down. (well I just didn't return any of their calls)

The houses in which I deliver Council newsletters.

The route to which I droved to Netherton when I worked for the Inland Revenue after I got the fear of travelling on the trains after being caught with no ticket,

The house in Walton which the band rehearsed for several years.

The final Ghost was the scariest of them all. A bored looking gentleman in his mid-late thirties, ginger beard, brown/auburn short hair and brown rimmed NHS style glasses. "My God" I thought "it's me!" I'm being haunted by an older fatter me!

I avoided eye contact, I looked around the bus to see if there was any other significant visions- my late Grandfather perhaps? Nothing.

I just starred out of the window and thought "at least I'll still have my hair."

So what was the purpose of these visitations? I'm not entirely sure; after all I was always pretty slow at "reading between the lines". I'm now trying to fathom it out.

Were they trying to tell me something? Trying to illustrate that I was on an alternative route? On a prolonged journey? Or were they merely pointing out that an alternative route wouldn't be so bad.

If I was a character in the Sopranos, I'd be watching some poignant television programme film to highlight my plight and give me an easy answer, but then if I was in the Sopranos I'd have been killed years ago for perving at Tony's daughter..

Also- where are my keys?

Anyway, as I got off the bus, I just shrugged it all off and opened my package which I had forgotten about…..It was the new Earlies album promo, which had kindly been sent by the excellent (and clearly generous) Names Record Company after chance correspondence via MySpace. This was a sign I thunked. This was a sign…

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A bitter man rots from within

I don't like to lament my own misfortune and I certainly would not wish to write the day off as "one of those days", but this ethos of mine has certainly been tested.

Tired and crabby I didn't get out of bed until it was painfully clear that I would be late for work. Resigned to the fact that I would be tardy, I relaxed into my morning schedule of having a wash, and trying to find a pair of matching socks from the massive pile of odd socks I have now accrewed in our spare room. Upon leaving the flat, I stepped foot into the middle of a hurricane, and for the first time since parting company with my beloved Audi, I felt the pangs of unhappiness as I walked past the spot where I used to park it. It was also the third day in a row that I'd forgotten to collect my Family Guy season 5 DVD from the local Post Office. Lisa reminded me of this fact from the comfort of the shelter provided by her umbrella.

As we walked closer towards our train station we both knew something was amiss as hordes of stiletto clad office types headed towards us, their heels loudly clacking on the pavement as the metallic point of their shoes stabbed the concrete. Lisa was first to react to these commuters headed in the opposite direction to us. "I bet the train's cancelled" she said. Fortunately, a fellow commuter who must recognise us as fellow train passengers confirmed that indeed the trains weren't up and running. I shouted "for fucks sake" loudly, and Lisa gave me a look of disproval.

We wandered over to the bus stop and a large crowd of disgruntled commuters greeted us. I shouted "For Fuck's sake" again, and ignored Lisa's glower.

The only money I had on me was and weather worn £10 note, and I remarked to Lisa that I should change it in order to get on my bus. Lisa's response was caustic to say the least and indicative of the number of occasions we have 'disagreed' over this issue. By her reckoning, I should feel no guilt to handing a bus driver a £10. but I feel ill at ease when I hand over a £2 coin to bus drivers, so this was not an option.

She suggested that I break into my note in the local paper shop, but having become quite experience in these matters, I rolled my eyes and informed her that I will be going to Tescos.

Predictably this was met by a look of confusion.

"Why not just go the this shop? You won't have to queue?"
"pah! There's nothing I want to buy from this shop….I'm going for it!"

And I darted into the supermarket.

I noted to myself just how full of produce the shelves were, compared to the bare shelves that greet me when I usually frequent the shop after work. Usually in these circumstances I find the acquisition of fruit or croissants to be most favourable, however due to a pledge to make Lisa breakfast I was rather full and decided that a tin of soup would be the purchase of choice. The woman working behind the kiosk in Tescos didn't say anything to me but looked suspiciously at my limp tenner.

For a moment I thought she'd inform me that it was a forgery. I had time to contemplate what would happen and if she was to retain the incriminating note. Alternatively she may in fact be quite generous, realising that I was an innocent part of some nationwide counterfeiting scam. She didn't, and with Tin of Baxters healthy choice Tomato & Brown lentil Soup thrust into my pocket I beat a hasty retreat.

Lisa waited for me outside and I held the tin of soup aloft as if it was some grand accomplishment. Obviously it wasn't, and she wasn't impressed by me doing so. Whilst I had been in the supermarket, she'd noted that the busses, due to over crowding weren't stopping and suggested that we walk down towards the stop near the T.A. I disapproved of her plan, but followed her all the same.

Suddenly a 60 Bus appeared. I ditched Lisa shouting "I've got to get this one, see you tonighhhhtt!" as I ran back toward the stop from whence we'd came.

Not many commuters were boarding the bus, and I noticed whist I queued that the bus was empty.

I over heard a confused gentleman ask the girl behind me in the queue if this bus went to town. It didn't and she told him so. She had a thick Northern Irish accent, yet appeared to be wearing a Muslim headscarf. I thought this was unusual, then immidiaely felt bad for assuming that there was no Muslims in Northern Ireland.

Her colleague asked her why she was getting this train "I'll get off on Croxteth Road then on into town from there" I thought for a second, the decided that I should do the decent thing.

"This bus doesn't go the Croxteth Road" I said.

"So it does" she replied sharply

"erm, no, it goes down Smithdown road"

"No it goes down Croxteth road"

"Okay, just trying to help" I said in a manner which she would have understood that I was annoyed.

I boarded the bus shaking my head, paid for a ticket, found an empty seat, wiped the condensation from the window with my sleeve and let off a long depressed sigh. I called work to inform them of my predicament.

The Irish Muslim got on the bus soon after me, and took off her head scarf, which as it turned out was just a 'normal' scarf that she was wearing in a most unorthodox manner due to the harsh weather. I scoffed at her to myself.

As the bus jolted forward, I smiled to myself thinking I would give her the "I told you so look" when she realised the bus went no where near to Croxteth Road.. I debated whether or not I should stick my fingers up at her, or mock her bay wrapping my scarf around my head too. Either way, I would be triumphant, and she would be left stewing in her own bitterness as she regretted the unsavoury manner in which she dismissed my offer to help.

I listened to my MP3 player as the buses weaved its way around the Park before making an unexpected turn from Aigburth Drive onto Croxteth Road. "For fuck's sake"

She got off the bus, and as the bus departed our eyes locked and she gave a faux smile and all I could do was stew in my own bitterness.

The remainder of the journey was long and arduous, and I started to feel nauseous. "You don't get this on the train" I pondered.

I noticed whist in the mother of all traffic jams by the Old Swan that it had stopped raining which perked me up, but only momentarily.

When we arrived at Merton Road, the bus driver reminded me that this was my stop. I was impressed that he'd remembered me, but felt aggrieved as I'd realised that I if I'd stayed on the bus, the next stop would leave me closer to the office.

Upon arriving at work, I was informed that my vital role of the day was to over see the photocopying of some cabinet documents. Great.

The photocopier as usual snarled up everything that was put into it and I've spent the majority of the morning burning my fingers whilst attempting to retrieve jammed pieces of paper from it innards.

To confound matters, Phil, who only joined the office in March and the only person that I kind of out rank informed me that he's got a much better and well paid job as an administrator in a Catholic School in Southport !!!! "FOR FUCK'S SAKE!!!!"

I tried to look pleased for him and didn't mention that I had applied for that job and heard nothing back. I asked if he was Catholic and he said he wasn't. Even better I thought! tonight i think I'll decide what form of self harming to partake in.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

...likes her hair to look real orange

So I went to see The Flaming Lips last night in Manchester...which was nice, although sadly from this moment forth I shall be unable to enjoy anymore gigs unless fifty or so giant balloons are released into the crowd and confetti cannons fired repeatedly by an enigmatic mad professor type front man a la Wayne Coyne. Wacky props aside, they sounded pretty close to amazing too. It was also incredibly refreshing to see a band perform a set of crowd pleasers rather than delving into their more lengthy and diverse back catalogue or perform a tedious amount of as yet untitled future B-Sides (thanks again Hot chip). Also opening with my favourite Flaming Lips' track 'Race for The Prize' really was a statement of intent- and whilst playing the 'hits' along with several of the better tracks from their current L.P meant there was no predictable finale or encore (thanks again Young Knives)- in fact coming back on stage to carry on the song they left the stage to 5 minutes previously was good, but not as good or surprising as their fine rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, which was barely audible over the crowd's jubilant voices screeching along with every word. Okay so Wayne Coyne has a tendency to take a eon when introducing a song and can appear a little Bono-esque (without the evil smugness) but it's all coming from a good place and said with genuine intentions so I did feel incredibly cynical when I realised I was rolling my eyes at another 7 minute song introduction- but hey when the song kicks in all was forgotten.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Stanple Umbrage

This profession of mine- by which I mean my role as an office administrator is a perilous one. As moment ago I injured my index finger on my right hand (my favourite finger on my second favourite hand) when an unruly stable took umbrage with me from wanting to remove it from a wad of papers. I was forced to take flight and retreat to the kitchen whereupon I dressed my wound with an elastoplast.

I'm think of asking for a pay rise to reflect the dangers to my life I encounter every day; I doubt they'll succumb to my wants.

Once more my mood has fluctuated from contentment with my status as a dog'sbody to sheer resentment and bitterness. I have yet to hear anything from the two jobs I applied for and my hopes that they will invite me for an interview diminishes daily. Cunts,.

So I need something to prevent me from self harming or turning up to work one day and doing something totally outrageous like leaving my dirty cup on my desk when I leave the office or use my telephone for a personal call. With a dwindling music career and an as yet un attempted career as an illustrator, my best hope for escape is my sit com…just need to find the right motivation to do it.Of course, after my old pal Ant's unsuccessful TV project entitled 'Matt McPartlan : who's that twat?' my expectations are low.

On a positive note, how good is a three hour drive on your own in a hire car whilst singing badly along to your favourite songs? A simple pleasure in life. Future birthdays I may just treat myself and hire a big car for the day and just drive and sing,..and snack. Of course listening to Sports radio whilst driving is also a joyous activity and can provide some much needed rest time for ones tired vocal chords- especially when your team beat Chelsea.