Monday, July 30, 2007

That's neat, that's neat, that's neat, that's neat, I really love your tiger print ironing board

Being something of a twat at times, I’ve always loved Monday mornings, however today I can related to the rest of the world whom wake up with a depressed groan. I’m supposed to be going back to work on Wednesday (ain’t that a kick in the head?) and I don’t think that I’m fully ready to be reinstated in the working environment and I am currently racking my brain for possible and plausible ways for me to avoid going back until next Monday. Sadly my doctor’s note expires on the Wednesday, but I’m in the hospital on Thurs and on the Friday I’m hoping to leaves fairly early in order to get to the fair city of Leeds for Luke’s birthday felicitations. It all seems pointless really, plus there are a few more films I want to watch before I go back.

This weekend proved to be a success in all respects and Lisa and I made it past the finishing line and watched the final episode of Heroes. We both patted ourselves on the back for managing to watch the entire series (23 episodes- each one 40 mins long) in one week. Sadly, it’s left a huge void in our evenings’ viewing.

Amongst other things, Lisa tricked me into acquiring a new ironing board. We’ve needed a new one since we first moved into together some 2 and a half years ago. One of my key contributions to the household (besides the pile of guitars/amps/keyboards and tea spillage) was my Tiger print ironing board which has been in my care for some 8 years.

Way back when, when I first moved back to Liverpool I rented a small one roomed bed-sit. I did have to share a kitchen and a bathroom with the other four tenants, which was a complete nightmare and the main reason for my talent at being able to urinate into plant pots or other small receptacles, but I got to meet some other blokes of a similar age group, which whilst not making any long lasting friendships was for the most part a positive experience. One such chap was the previous owner of the aforementioned Tiger Print ironing board.

I’m pretty sure after several minutes of trying to remember; his name was either Jamie or Paul and was several years older than me at the time. He was pretty much the only other tenant who ever would knock on my door and be pro active in starting a conversation. I remember the day he moved in. I left my flat to go to work I was greeted with the sight of a very, very attractive blonde girl in a fake fur coat, tight jeans and FMBs. I was immediately elated that I would be having such and attractive tenant. I locked my door, took a deep breathe and walked over to her to introduce myself. She clocked me and gave me a warm and friendly smile. As I got closer a tall fella’ with collar length hair came of the room and quickly thrust one of his giant hands out in my direction. After shaking it heartily he explained that he was the new tenant and had moved up to Liverpool to be closer to his girlfriend. I think he was from Wakefield or Huddersfield- either way he was from my neck of the woods. I remember thinking that I would have moved from Australia to be near her. He was very proud of her, as any man would be, and looked like the cat who’d got the cream.

Anyhow, he would knock on my door from time to time to ask to borrow the odd item of food or a lighter, the usual neighbourly type conversations. I never ever invited him into my flat, it was a door step friendship.

On one particular occasion, he knocked on my door and asked if he could borrow my mobile phone to contact his girlfriend as the pay phone located on our landing was out of order. I let him, but wasn’t too pleased that he’d ask such a favour. He had promised that he’d only be a minute or so, but after five minutes I started to pace up and down in my room, chuntering obscenities under my breath and looking at the clock.

Several minutes later, after wearing the cheap carpet thread bare, I heard the familiar knock upon my door. I opened it and there he was with his hand outstretched with my phone. He didn’t look good though and I could tell that something was a miss.

“She’s just dumped me” He said, sounding slightly dazed and understandably dejected.

I gave some generic words of support and pulled sympathetic grimaces as he explained what had happened. For a moment when he looked like he was about to burst out crying, I almost broke convention and invited him into my room, but thankfully thought better of it.
I did feel sorry for him and thought it amusing that he was dumped on my phone, in some funny way, I actually felt responsible.

The next time I saw him was a couple of weeks later and he was back to his usual buoyant self. He informed me that he was moving back to Yorkshire the following week and thanked me for all the things I’d leant to him. I, in return, thanked him for all the things he’s leant to me; though both he and I knew that I’d never borrowed anything from him during his short tenure.

Later that week I spotted a man who I assumed to be his father, helping him move his stuff into a people carrier. I sneaked into my room to avoid helping.

I was strumming my guitar gently and watching TV when I heard that unmistakable knock on my door. When I opened it, he was stood there beaming with a Tiger Print ironing board under his arm.

He knew that I’d been using a bass amp and a towel to iron my clothes and offered me this monstrosity.

“My brother gave this to me, when he moved in with his girlfriend. I think it’s time for me to pass it on to you”

I joked that I was honoured- but I liked the story of it being a symbol for bachelorism and thanked him for this thoughtful present. I wished him well and I never saw him again.

At the time, I assumed that I would have this ironing board for another year, perhaps two, as I figured that Lisa and I would soon be living together. It took another six years and three more homes before I managed to convince her it would be a good idea. By the time we did move in, I was the only one of the two of us who was an ironing board owner and despite her hatred of hit, we’ve used it ever since.

I did promise to buy a new one about a year ago but for the usual reasons I never actually got around to doing it. At least once a fortnight Lisa’s reminded me of this fact.

So I was tricked into buying one at Home & Bargain yesterday. I told Lisa I am unhappy to part company with the ole tiger print until I had found a suitable home for it. I mentioned that about a year ago, I had offered it to Jack- the only bachelor I knew. Alas, he didn’t want it despite being suitably intrigued when I regaled the board’s origins.

Anyway, I’m going to iron some of my work clothes- that is if they still fit me. Sitting on my arse non stop for the past 6 weeks has resulted in me gaining a few pounds.

45 hours before I return to work...

(follow link)

Pulp- Monday Morning

Palace Music- Work Hard-Play Hard

Dolly Parton- 9 to 5 (live version)

Yo La Tengo- Big Day Coming (demo version)

Dean Martin - Ain’t That a Kick in the Head

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ape Shit

I’m feeling shitty.

I’ll be back at work this time next week and I’m actually starting to look forward to it, which does not bode well for my current state of mind. What once was a pleasurable, utopian experience is turning into a nightmare the better my leg gets.

I woke up in a foul mood this morning too which hasn’t helped. Since returning from hospital I’ve been making myself get up with Lisa at 7.45ish, but this morning I decided that I would allow myself to have a lie in as for the third or forth night in a row I didn’t get much sleep. Much to my dismay some chump working for Virgin media rang our door bell at 8.10 am.

“That’ll be the cable guy” I said sleepily to Lisa.
“Well I’m getting ready” Was her matter of fact reply.

I looked around to find a T Shirt then opened the bedroom window and shouted down to see who it was and as I did this Lisa screamed at me and followed it up with a slew of abuse. Alas due to my sleep deprivation I’d inadvertently opened the curtains whilst she was stood naked in the room. I shouted down that I would come down and let him in and struggled to find some clothes in the bedroom whilst Lisa continued to lambaste me for my carelessness. This incident was exacerbated by the fact that I have berated her for years for opening the bedroom curtains whilst I have no shirt on, or I’m in my pants. Call me a prude but I don’t really want my neighbours to see me like that.

“You’d have gone ape shit if I’d have done that!” She seethed.
“You did go ape shit…” was my stupid response.
“Oh this isn’t ape shit! This isn’t even close to ape shit!” She growled.

She was right, this wasn’t her ‘ape shit’ mode, however, this irate state that she was currently in the midst of, was on a par with my ape shit mood. Her ape shit mode is off the scale. It’s a sight to behold, it really is. My ‘ape shit’ is quite modest in comparison.

I tried to explain this whilst putting my jeans on. This wasn’t a clever idea on my part and her mood increased from ‘irate’ to ‘very irate’. I hobbled down the stairs to let this chump in and could hear Lisa still bollocking me when I got to the front door.

The guy was an idiot and the whole visit proved to be a total waste of everybody’s time. Because of my little altercation with my beloved and the fact that he turned up at ten past fucking eight in the fucking morning, I was understandably extremely curt with him.

Since he left and Lisa left for work I’ve spent the majority of the morning trying to stomp about the flat, but my knee isn’t strong enough to enable me to successfully pull it off. To make matters worse, Lisa will of course be plotting her revenge- which means I’ll never be able to be changed in the bedroom for fear of her opening the curtains. After all she is as childish and vengeful as I am (well maybe not AS childish-but close.) which is why we’re such a perfect match.

Radiohead- Go to Sleep. (Little Man Being Erased.)

Nirvana- Very Ape

(Smog)- Live as If Someone Is Always Watching You

Madness- My Girl

Billy Bragg- Sulk

The Wedding Present- Anyone Can Make a Mistake

Monday, July 23, 2007

The inevitable urge to piss cometh

Aside from my father’s marriage on Friday, two major and life changing events took place yesterday. One of which was that I saw the first four episodes of Heroes last night on DVD. I’ve been on the look out for a TV programme for some time now that would completely take over my life and I truly believe I’ve found it.

Having heard so much about it I was dubious as to whether it could live up to the hype, but it appealed to my mostly suppressed -inner sci fi geek.

I love it right down to the marrow of its bones!

Sadly, the second life changing was not as pleasant. It is my sad duty to inform you that I somehow I managed to wet myself! Between episodes I went to the toilet and was distracted to the sound of the rain pounding down onto the huge beech tree’s leaves from the open bathroom window as I pissed. When I walked back into the front room afterwards, I noticed my leg was slightly damp. I looked at my legs to see the unpleasant sight of two massive wet spots on the inner crotch of both legs. I turned to face Lisa and just looked at her open mouthed.

“Erm, I’ve wet myself” I said.
Lisa jumped up and looked at me eyes wide open.

“I don’t believe it! Probably a troublesome and stray pubic hair down my foreskin got in the way of my piss stream?” I said reassuring myself.

Lisa found it hilarious and I too saw the funny side, but I was actually pretty traumatised by it. Even now I’m not sure how I couldn’t have noticed.

“Are you sure you didn’t splash yourself with water from the tap?” She asked.
“Noooo! I didn’t wash my hands” I reluctantly admitted.
“You’ve probably pissed all over the floor too!”
“Nah... I doubt it”

She stomped off to check whilst I stripped my piss soaked jeans from my shameful body. I was surprised to notice that my underpants where bone dry- which re-assured me that I hadn’t suddenly become incontinent.

“It’s all over the bloody floor!!” She shouted.
“I didn’t piss my pants though!” I exclaimed proudly.

The last time I’d ever pissed myself (well sort of) was on a family holiday to France. We stopped off on route to the usual remote campsite my parents always insisted on taking us to, to use the facilities. At the impressionable age of 15 I was pretty alarmed to find out that the toilets over there were just a hole in the floor. At first, like so many unenlightened Brits, I assumed it to be a shower, however after consulting with the family friends we were travelling with and my father, I was told this was what some of the toilets were like over there. It was the first time I’d heard anyone use the phrase; ‘When in Rome…’

Sadly, on that particular occasion I needed a ‘number two’ which made my standing toilet debut so much more challenging.

I half-squatted but leaned back on the wall and relaxed my sphincter.

I can still recall the sound it made as ‘it’ fell through the air; akin to the sound Wyle. E. Coyote made when he fell off the cliff in the Roadrunner cartoons.

Fire two… Again the same noise.

I breathed a heavy sigh of relief that I had managed to have and authentic French crap. Sadly as when ever one takes a dump the inevitable urge to piss cometh, and this was no exception. I stared to wee, but because of my squat/leaning position I had adopted, I was unable to move my pants and jeans out of the way in time and I was pissing straight into my clothes which were in the customary position of being around my ankles. I struggled to stand up straight and feared that I may slip and fall near where I’d dropped ‘the kids off at the pool’ so had to swivel my hips so that the piss steam went against the wall.

Once the bladder had done it’s worse, I managed to regain my posture and stood up and assessed the damage. The seat of my jeans and pants were piss wet through…literally. This made the next six hours of travelling most unpleasant. Of course I didn’t tell anyone and just suffered in silence with only my cheap personal stereo and a home made Guns N’ Roses tape to lift my spirits.

Number One Cup- Why Did You Piss Yourself

Jamie T - Dry Off Your Cheeks

The Kingsbury Manx- Piss Dairy

Badly Drawn Boy- Pissing in the Wind

The Hidden Cameras- Golden Streams

Greenday- Armatage Shanks

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sly Old Dog- The Man From Del Monte Suit

I’m still mostly housebound. I can now hobble about without the aid of crutches or a walking stick, but holy shit; it is hard going.

Yesterday, I decided that I ought to bask in the short lived sunshine we were enjoying here in the Northwest. I also had to drop off my new and ill advised suit that I recently acquired off at our local Dry Cleaners. The suit itself was ill advised because it’s of a light colour, and needless to say that if you’re as clumsy and messy as I, especially near food or drink, then the odds are you’ll end up with food and or drink spillage on my garments. My usual charcoal grey suits I wear would for the most part adequately hide any such spillages; alas the new suit makes my food indiscretions painfully obvious to all and sundry. So having only worn it once, I was a little aggrieved to be having to take it to the cleaners, especially as I’ve been a suit owner for 7 years and this is the first time in my life I’ve ever taken an item of clothing that I own to dry cleaners. It was an experience to savour nonetheless.

I hobbled in and rang the hotel style bell on the counter and a rather jolly lady came bounding round the corner with a cackling laugh and a spring in her step. I complimented her on the bell, and she said I could ring it again, and I duly obliged.

I showed her the suit, and suggested that because I was foolish enough to purchase one in such a light colour I’d no doubt be giving them lots of business. She laughed and commented to the man who’s appeared from the back room.
”guess where this suit was made” she asked him
“Let me guess… Turkey?” He answered.
“Yeah. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!” She replied.

I gave her a strange look, and she explained.

“Oh I just love Turkey, I’ve been there 47 times! I’m off in a few weeks. I need to get away from all these bloody crap weather”
I just responded with the raise of my left eyebrow and a jocular smile.

She stared to write the ticket and read out loud as she wrote it out, chuckling away to herself as she did it.

“You can tell she’s new.” The man said to me in friendly manner befitting the laid back atmosphere of the establishment.

This time I responded with a raise of both eyebrows and a nod of my head.

I asked them if it would be ready before Friday and I was assured that it would be which came as a great relief to me, especially as Lisa had told me that there was no chance that they’d be able to do it in time.

“Phew. This is my only suit [a lie] and other wise I’d be going to the wedding in my jeans and trainers” I said making idle chit chat.

“Oh you’re going to a wedding.” she said with genuine interest but without looking up from her scribblings on the ticket.

“Yeah, my Dad’s.”
“Your Dad!” She said surprised looking up at me.
“He’s off to his Dad’s wedding…sly old dog eh?” She told the man who chuckled politely.
“Your Dad’s wedding…” she continued laughing and shaking her head disapprovingly.
“…that’s weird. The sly old dog, the sly old dog.”

I was taken aback with this statement. Granted, yes, it is a bit weird, as attending a wedding to any of your parents would be, but no need to call my old man a sly old dog! How does she know that my mum isn’t dead? How can she assume that my Dad hasn’t been a struggling widower for the past twenty years? As these thoughts ran through my head I contemplated for a split seconds suggesting that I take my business elsewhere and that my mum had died, but thankfully I stopped myself. This wasn’t because I didn’t want to get embroiled in a web of lies, but because they were the only cleaners in the vicinity.

She carried on muttering “sly dog” and shaking her head whilst continuing to slowly write out the ticket, when suddenly she looked up at me.

“Is your mum still alive hun?”
“Sadly no…erm… she died 9 years ago” I said without even thinking.

Fuck!!! Why did I say that?! My mum would bloody kill me if she found out I was telling people she was dead.

“Oh my God, I’m sooo sorry hun! There I am implying that you’re old man’s a sly bastard…oh I’m soooo sorry” She looked mortified but nullified it with her warm smile..

I thought that I’d gone too far this time a recalled that episode of Curb your Enthusiasm where Larry’s mum dies, and he uses it as an excuse to get out of things.

“Tell you what, I’ll only charge you for the one item” she said
“Really, there’s no need.”
“No honestly, you must have thought I was a right insensitive cow”
I laughed and re-assured her there was “no need.”
She insisted though and I reluctantly and sheepishly accepted.

I left the shop, and instead of basking in the sunshine, I was wallowing in self loathing and guilt. I decided to go home and contemplate where these heinous things I say come from.

Of course, when I informed Lisa of this little conversation, she looked at me with massive indifference.

“Well that doesn’t surprise me” She said in such a disapproving manner.

I think that could have been the cruellest thing she’s ever said to me.

I contemplated trying to justify it to her but knew she wouldn’t agree. I decided to appeal to her fugal side and told her of the discount.

“What? She’s only charging you for one item?!” She repeated concerned.

“Yeah, she said she’ll only charge me for the one item. It’s only going to be a few quid saved, but it’ better than nothing isn’t it?”

“What did you get cleaned again? Your ‘man from Del Monte’ suit?”
“(sigh) yes”
“And what else?”
“That was it.”

She started to laugh.

“Ohhhh Matt!!!”
“Whatttt!!!???” I snapped back.
“They’ve got an offer on saying that they’ll clean a two piece suit for the price of one item!!”
“They’ve got an offer…usually you pay for the trousers and jacket separately…yeah?”
“…but they’ve got an offer now saying they’ll only charge you for one item if you bring them in a two piece suit!!”
“So?...She hasn’t given you any discount!”

It took a moment before I understood what she was saying and then the penny dropped.

“The lying bitch!!!” I thundered.
“Ha ha ha ha!!” Lisa cackled heartily, I could see the unbridled joy in her eyes at my unhappiness.

I do feel though that I can take the moral high ground on this though issue, after all as far as she’s concerned, my mum did die, and offering me a discount that already existed is no way to treat a potentially lucrative customer such as I. Lisa recons it’s karma, but I disagree. Regardless whether my mum is alive or not, she still shouldn’t have referred to my dad as a “sly old dog”.

As I said to Lisa; “Had she called him a ‘sly old fox’, then I’d have been okay with it.”

(Follow links)

Ivor Cutler- Who Tore Your Trousers James?

Pavement- Easily Fooled

Jeremy Warmsley-Dirty Blue Jeans

The Young Knives-Tailors

Monday, July 16, 2007

Spite for spite's sake

I had an amazing revelation whilst on route to Harrogate to attend my father’s stag do, that all the major decisions I’ve come to make in my life have been either the result of guilt on my part, or more frequently the result of spite.

I’m not ashamed of my spiteful side, as it’s not in anyway meant to cause offence but it’s the fuel that gives me my super powers as Lisa so succinctly put it:

“You spiteful? No shit!! It’s what makes you the twat we all know and love.”

Saw the Hold Steady on last Wednesday, and they were fantastic. Sort of GBV meets Husker Du. I’ve since re-listened to their album and have been berating myself incessantly for not appreciating as much as I ought to have. I went with Tom and mentioned my spite revelation to him. He concurred. Though he did try and convince me I was often churlish and contrary. I disagreed.

So my father’s stag do eh? This was my first ever stag do, and it wasn’t as anywhere near as freaky as I thought it would be, in fact I had a good time.

The journey was a nightmare though. I had to leave the flat early as I had a college interview for this Dreamweaver/Multi media evening course I fancied. It turned out to be a bit of a farce. I knew I was going to get on the course when the tutor noticed I was more qualified than he was.

I had been notified that the interview could go on for 3 hours, so I brought my Macthel (my man bag) and had planned to head off to the train station straight afterwards. Alas, the interview was over by 9.45. I didn’t fancy getting a taxi home, waiting a few hours then getting another taxi back to the station especially as it was £7 each way, after all you can take the boy out of Yorkshire, but you can’t take the Yorkshire out of the boy.

So I arrived at Lime Street Station some 4 hours earlier than I had anticipated. I was soaked too and as I was hobbling along on one crutch it took my ages to walk there. I noticed that I was once again wearing my girl’s army surplus jacket again (I purchased it in NYC but wasn’t aware it was a girl’s jacket until I returned home), and with the bedraggled look and crutches, I felt that I resembled a Vietnam War vet a la Born on The Forth of July.

I had to kill 40 minutes once I’d arrived at the station and read a wide range of magazines in WHS Smiths.

I got to the platform with plenty of time to spare and a Chocolate Brownie and a cup of tea and got myself a decent seat once the train’s doors opened. I was still soaked and feeling peeved over the journey and the interview. The chocolate brownie was a good idea, and dunking it in my tea caused the cake to get stuck in my gums, but I didn’t care.

Alas, before the train departed I was involved in a altercation with a fellow passenger.
As I was happily muching on my cake I heard a woman’s voice ask:

“Does this train go to Manchester Piccadilly?”
No one answered and gave her blank looks.
“It goes to one of the Manchester stations- though I’m not sure which?” I said through a caked filled mouth.
“What?!” She said rudely shaking her head at me in a mixture of distain and confusion.
“It goes to one of the Manchester stations- though I’m not sure which. It’ll be on the screen on the platform.”
“I’ve check that and it doesn’t” She snapped back.
“It should do. If you just wait a moment, it changes screen and the destinations will be on the next screen.”
She tutted at me, shook her head and walked off chuntering that no one could be arsed helping her.
“Ohhh you’re quite welcome” I hollered back to her.
I was pretty outraged by her rudeness. I was only trying to help. A fellow passenger looked at me in agreement.

I popped my headphones in my ears and switched on my MP3 player and tried to forget about it.

After the train set off, this girl came back into our carriage and took the seat opposite me.
At the time I felt quite guilty for shouting down the train at her, so avoided any eye contact and just looked out of the window and the industrial landscape of the North West.

As our journey progressed, she was frequently on her phone arranging to be picked up from Piccadilly and bemoaning Virgin Trains and the fact that and I quote: “no one in this city seems to want to help anyone”. Of course I was listening in and had stopped my MP3 player in order to do so. I was pretty outraged with her, but being the easy going chap I am, I didn’t let it get the better of me.

The journey passed pretty much without any points of interest however, as we pulled into Manchester, I glanced over to my right and noticed this girl was asleep! I decided that me waking her up would be quite disturbing for her, and chose to let the tannoy announcement alert her to the fact we were approaching her destination.
The robotic and monotonous voice announced that we were arriving at Manchester Piccadilly yet she didn’t move. Again, I assumed that she would still wake up in time, but as we pulled into the station she was still fast asleep.

At this juncture, I convinced myself that she might not have been departing at this station, and merely wanted the information for a friend who wanted to catch the same train as her. I therefore chose to do nothing and let her sleep peacefully.
Deep down I knew this was the wrong thing to do and that I was being especially spiteful, but frankly I didn’t give a shit.

As we approached Huddersfield, her saw from the corner of my eye her wake, and switching off my MP3 player, I pretended to be asleep.

I noticed that she was quite calm, however when we approached Huddersfield, she looked a little panicked. She asked the Conductor, who was walking past, if we were near to Manchester? I found it so hard not to let out a sly and devious cackle when he told her we’d been passed Manchester.

She got off at Huddersfield which was only a few minutes away. She looked upset and was on her mobile. It felt good.

The rest of the journey was a nightmare, but thankfully no spiteful actions on my part.

I had to waste time in Leeds, and I got soaked.

I arrived in Harrogate at 3pm, and both my brother and father were at work until after 5pm, so I thought it sensible to seek refuse in the near by cinema.

“What’s the next film that’s starting; that’s NOT Harry Potter please?” I asked the fresh faced girl behind the counter.

“What any film?”
“Any film….except Harry Potter” I repeated.
“Shrek III is showing the trailers now and starts in five minutes.”
“One adult for Shrek please!” I ordered slapping a tenner on the counter.

The film was okay, but nowhere near as good as previous Shrek films.

I also looked like a kiddie fiddler, in drenched, bedraggled and sat on my own at the back. The rest of the audience consisted of young parents and there excited offspring. I was the only one there sans children. I felt weird and noticed a few odd lokks from the respective parents and guardians.

After the film, I went to the toilets to put in my contact lenses ready for the stag do. Whilst doing so some kid came in and asked me what I was doing.

“Just putting my contact lenses in” I answered.
“Why?” He asked.
“So I don’t have to wear my galsses” I responded whilst delicately trying to concentrate.
The kid, walked out without using the toilet.

20 seconds later an old lady knocked on the door and walked in. I could see her in the reflection of the mirror.

“Ohh I’m soo sorry” She said
“Erm…it’s okay” I said slightly perplexed.
“My grandson came running out saying there was man doing something strange in the toilet!”
“It’s okay. Just doing my contact lenses”
“Sorry.” She said again closing the door behind her.
As she closed the door I could hear a Odeon member of staff ask if everything was okay. I felt the pressure of trying to get these lenses in quickly.

Allow me to introduce my eldest son” my dad said proudly as I hobbled into the Old Bell.
“How was your journey?”
“Crap! It was full of Spite, arguments, chocolate and I was almost attacked by an old lady in the cinema toilet who thought I was a child abuser…” I answered.
“…Does anyone want a drink?”

(follow links)

The Hidden Cameras- Ban Marriage

Buffalo Springfield- On the Way Home

Calexico- Drenched

Superchunk- New Low

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You don't sweat much for a fat chick.

Whilst still being off from work, normality is an ambition still on the horizon; however thanks to a sweaty Beth Ditto I am encroaching upon outer reaches of my familiar lifestyle.

It was my first social occasion since the op, and was the perfect remedy to my cabin fever. Sweet Johnny only really realised he was going to be in Normandy on a school trip at weekend gone, so had to send his apologies. I took it upon myself to locate a suitable replacement and thankfully my first choice of replacements, Tom, was more than happy to step up to the plate.

It was fairly clear from the get go this was not going to be your standard gig judging from the sight of my fellow audience. It would be fair to say that there was a fair few people there whom are not your ordinary gig goers, or more appropriately, not the usual gig goers that my friends and I see. I likened it to an England International football game i.e. the crowd was not built up of the ‘regular’ attendees of Association Football matches.

We handed in our tickets and entered the venue. Tom told me that someone behind us made some comment along the lines of “Oh I nearly knocked over the cripple” by which of course he meant me. The usually highly dangerous stairs in the venue proved even more troublesome especially knowing that there was a swarm of ‘big boned’ ladies wishing to get past me. I eventually made it to the top and was totally fucked. The non-alcoholic beverages I was drinking at the bequest of my pharmacist served as scant conciliation for the epic trek I had just endured. We found a suitable place for me to stand whereupon I wouldn’t get trampled and waited.

It wasn’t long before the main support act Robots In Disguise arrived on stage.
The band comprised of three girls caked in 1980’s kitsch make up and Chrissie Hyde/Russell Brand haircuts. It came as no suppose to me that despite all the gusto and enthusiasm they possessed, musically they were without any redeeming features whatsoever. The songs themselves were built around drum loops upon which the drummer (who looked like a cross between the Kiss’ Paul Stanley in his full stage make up, and kids’ TV cartoon Gem) mirrored adding little interest to them. Simple bass lines and guitar chords stabbed out in staccato style were played with no imagination or interest either. The vocals, which mostly comprised of the two guitar players moronic shouting really was the cherry on the cake. Of course though, the sell out crowd for the most part, lapped it up.

It was a depressing start to the show and with the increasing audience I was getting bustled about a fair bit and my crutches were knocked on several occasions. It was getting hot in there too.

Whilst waiting, Nik walked directly past us. I tapped him on the shoulder and he decided to stand with us. He was rather excited about the show and looked a little like a child on Christmas morning.

It wasn’t long before they took to the stage. The crowd went wild and the atmosphere generated from their legion of supporters had us all wide eyed and excited.

She looked marvellous wearing a gold jump suit and a sliver glitter wig.
The difference in quality from The Gossip to Robots in Disguise was a vast a gap can be between bands. The understated drums and hooky bass lines left the space fro Ditto to fill it with her impressive voice…and what a fucking voice. Her stage presence is as good, if not better, than anyone I can think of ever seeing. Not only did she do it gusto and passion it was clear to see how connected she was with the music and the audience.

Lisa’s had the album on loop in our flat for the past month, and despite never actually sitting down and listening to it I know most of the songs-though with the notable exception of ‘Standing In the Way Of Control’ I couldn’t tell you any of their names.
Whilst Ditto belting out a number is a sight to behold, the understated playing of the rhythm section can’t go unmentioned. Tom succinctly put it that they were like Nirvana with glitter.

Please check this out:

Between songs Beth addressed the crowd with humility and respect which was reciprocated by the sweaty masses. Not one for being overly impressed all that often, I was in total awe of her stage presence and he voice.

If not ever so slightly predictably, they closed with ‘Standing In The way of Control’ and the place went fucking nuts! And I mean FUCKING NUTS! The floor was shaking, drinks were being tossed aimlessly into the air and the annoyingly too common spectacle of every other person’s mobile phone being thrust in the stage’s direction (which was handy other wise I wouldn’t be able to attach the above YouTube clip. It was awesome. Ditto, now sans wig and drenched in sweat, made her way down to the front of the crowd, connecting with the audience – by which time were foaming at the mouth coupled with the strobe lights, that the engineers had obviously been saving until the end.

After the show it was agreed by one and all that they were fucking amazing. It was a perfect antidote to the past few mind numbingly boring weeks. I also coaxed Tom to come and see The Hold Steady tonight too- so even more reasons to be cheerful!!!

Monday, July 09, 2007

It’s my house and I can be a twat of I want to

So the weekend came and went. It was devoid of anything interesting, Lisa’s friends arrived and it was nice. I left them alone for most of their stay and sat in watching the truly terrible Live Earth gig on the telly, occasionally switching over to watch Escape To Victory on ITV2.

The ‘great lie’ was pointless and I didn’t have the heart to execute it- informing them that my leg has improved drastically in the last week. They arrived at 2.45 ish and sitting down with a cup of tea, we scratched the surface of what our lives had entailed for the past few years. I tried to pretend to be interested in the blandness of some of their anecdotes, and I was mightily relieved when they trotted out to the pub at 4pm.

I watched most of the concert and with few exceptions all the bands were tosh. I was looking forward to The Foo Fighters but Lisa and Co rolled into the flat as they took to the stage and I had to answer three drunken girls who’d ruined my uptopia as to who was performing.

“It’s the Foo Fighters”
“The Foo Fighters!”
“Who is it Michelle?”
“The Red Hot Chilli Peppers”
“No it’s The Foo Fighters”
“I didn’t know they looked like that?”
“God they’re really rocky aren’t they?”
“You don’t think of The Foo Fighters as a ‘rock’ band do you?”

A just looked slacked jawed and made a mental note of the conversation for this ‘ere blog.

Lisa tried to motivate them to hurry up in order for them to hit the town. But it was clear they were half cut already. Both of her friends decided to ask me what accessories they should wear with their respective outfits and emptied the contents of their over sized bags on our sofa. After talking throughout the performance Dave Grohl started up The Best Of You and despite being mid conversation Michelle screamed at me:


I rolled my eyes and turned it up- though the TV was pretty loud already to account for their loud shrill voices.

“C’mon turn it up Matt!”
“I have”
“Louder!!!FUCK!!! I Love this song!!”
“It’s loud enough””C’mon you boring bastard, turn it up”
I turned it up a notch.
“FUCK-louder!!! I love this song.”

I gave her the remote and got up to leave the room. I didn’t have many options of where to go as they’d decamped into the spare room and Lisa was getting changed in our bedroom. I found refuse in my fortress of solitude; our ‘little’ toilet and read a Select Magazine from 1994 whilst The Foo Fighter rocked it at Wembley. I could hear it clearly as it was blaring out from our TV.

I heard Lisa round them up as they were going to hit the town and the sound of high heeled shoes stomping on our poor quality laminate flooring ensued as they all relocated in our bedroom.

I got back into my chair and turned the volume down to a normal level, but the band were leaving the stage.


I’d already agreed to tape Madonna’s performance for Lisa so didn’t see the need to watch it and turned over to watch Pele’s overhead kick Sly Stallone save that penalty.
Her friends drifted back in to the room.
“Is Madonna on yet?”
“Yeah- I’m taping it for Lisa”
“Can I just see her for a bit please?”

I flicked over to see Madge with a Gibson Les Paul and the Gogol Bordellos. I let out a sad and frustrated sigh and turned back.

“Oh please can we just watch this song?”

Escape to Victory had finished so I reluctantly agreed.

“Do you like Madonna Matt?”
“I don’t hate her, but she is a Dick Head”
“Why’s she a dick head?”
“You know…just look at her”
“NO really why? I thought everyone liked Madonna”
“Aw c’mon? Really? You’ve been living in London too long.”
“Seriously – you think she’s a dick head? Why? I don’t understand? You’re the first person I’ve met, besides my dad , who doesn’t like Madonna”
“Why? Erm…I don’t know, but she is the personification of the term dick head isn’t she?”
“I really admire her…doesn’t she look good for her age?”
“I guess so. But that shouldn’t be a reason for admiring her though”
“Why not?”
“Because if that was a justifiable basis for admiration , then you’d have to admire Cliff Richard too.”
Hah! I’d got her with my legal reasoning’s.

“She’s still an amazing musician and dancer though”
“Oh- unquestionably!” I answered with the sarcasm dial turned up to 11 and watched here ponce around stage like the dock head she really is.

I watched her performance and laughed loudly like a Bond Villan throughout.

I could tell this wasn’t being appreciated but didn’t care, after all it’s my house and I can be a twat of I want to. It’s a good job Bono didn’t turn up.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Just Call Me Costanza (another web of lies ensues)

For once it’s Lisa who’s suggested a web of lies for me to perform, and as ever I’m ready for the challenge.

Lisa was due to go over to Leeds to meet up with two friends from college whom she hadn’t seen for a while. She was looking forward to meeting up with them and she was especially looking forward to a night out in the fine city of Leeds. The weekend had been planned for nearly 6 weeks now, but when texting one of these chums to see if it was okay still for her to stay at her flat she received a text saying words to the effect that they couldn’t be arsed going out in Leeds and preferred it if they could come to Liverpool to ‘reminisce’ and “it’s okay for us to stay at yours isn’t it?”

Naturally Lisa was offended by this, after all you don’t change plans last minute and assume to be staying at someone else’s? I agreed with her wholeheartedly when she relayed the correspondence, in fact I don’t think I had ever taken such a keen interest in any of her problems or stresses as much as I had with this particular predicament.
She did the sensible thing and text back stating that I was crippled with pain, on crutches etc etc and that it wouldn’t be a good idea and could they re-arrange for another time?. Of course I said that I didn’t mind if they wanted to stay.

“Really you wouldn’t mind?” A friend asked me when I regaled this scenario.
“Well that’s what makes me such a special person” I answered quietly confident they wouldn’t be staying.

…I was wrong.

Once Lisa had sent this text message she immediately received a phone call from the friend in question. Lisa, who’s preferred method of ‘text lying’ Is to ignore the message and say that she hadn’t seen it until the following day, by which time of course it’s too late or she has time to conjur up an excuse (the world’s worst excuse I frequently tell her) so when she answered the phone she was out of her depth and comfort zone and in a muddle of panic and guilt agreed to have them over.

“No….really? they’re coming?”
“You said you didn’t mind” She informed me.
“I know, but I was confident they wouldn’t come”
“Well it serves you right then doesn’t it!?”

It was only for Saturday, so I could cope I suppose. After all I’ve always got on with them. One of the girls in question lived with Lisa for a few years and went to my halls of residence so I know her quite well. A nice girl but who swears way too much in her loud Northern Irish voice. “Fuck NO!!!!” is her favourite line and is used in place of a “no way” type scenarios or just generally yelling “Fuck!!” at the top of her voice for no apparent reason.

Her other friend we haven’t seen for about 6 years, in fact I think the last time I saw her was the day of my first ever gig with the band! Both of her friends always laughed a little too heartedly at my jokes, which at first is flattering but after a while becomes grating -“your SOOO funny” and applauding over zealously at the merest whiff of humour.
There was a caveat to their staying however:

“I told them you’re bed bound…”
She found my reaction hilarious.
“Well I had to make Michelle feel as if it’s really bad so they couldn’t come.”
“But I’m getting better- I’m only using one crutch now!”
“So- you’ll just have to use both of them when you get up- but I told her you spent all you time in the bedroom.”
“Why should I!? They’re your friends- I can’t get to the Playstation/computer?! Can’t you just explain that I’m recovering much better now?”
“I can’t- I laid it on pretty thick.”
“Then why the hell is she still coming?”
“Because she reckons the three of us won’t be able to meet up until 2013!!!”
“Okay- but why can’t you go to Leeds still”
“She wants to reminisce!”
“What she wants to go the Student Union, drink watered down larger, play some pool, cop off with some spotting hair straightened stripy top wear emo student go to the Jackeranda and spend the remainder of the evening dancing in Baa Bar?”
“Oh I don’t know…but I thought you revelled in your excuse making and web of lies?”

She appealed to my ego....

“…I mean, how many times have I got embroiled in one of your lies to get you out of anything?”
“When!!??” I demanded to know.
“Yesterday you fat head!!…You made up a back story so if Steve asks me where you were when he asked if he could come over.”

She had a point. When I told a friend that I wasn’t home without giving an explanation I told Lisa to pass on the story that I was at the hospital waiting to be X-Rayed and had to wait an eon to get it done and hilariously (and typically me) I left my copies of the X-rays in the back of the taxi. OF course I was just sat on the bed watching The Pink Panther and couldn’t be arsed seeing anyone.- but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

So reluctantly, I’ve agreed to have to ‘put it on’. If ever there was a challenge I relish, it’s providing people with elaborate excuses- after all I’ve so frequently been called the master. So with much gusto I shall try to pull the wool over Lisa’s two friends. It ought to be easy too- just lay in bed watching TV.

Just call me Costanza!


(follow links)-

Broken Family Band - Honest Man’s Blues

Sugar- Feeling Better

The Earlies- Burn the Liars

The Kingsbury Manx- New Old Friend Blues

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

video (games) killed the radio star

Since my operation I’ve had many well wishers enquiring as to how I’m feeling ‘in myself’. I’m not a fan of this phrase; however I have been very civil and honest in my responses and confirmed that I’ve never felt better and that I’m actually having a whale of a time!

Sadly however, Lisa is off sick too, which is obviously terrible for her, but it bad for me too as it has slightly affected my daily routine. For starters at 1pm when I’m usually in the font room listening to some records and reading, Jeremy Kyle was on our telly! I couldn’t stand it so I had to leave and start watching Seinfeld in the bedroom earlier than scheduled. I even decided to forgo my nap and Lisa’s presence even affected my daily movie watching. According to my schedule, Citizen Kane was Monday’s movie de jour, however we watched Rocky Balboa instead.

I’d like to point out at this juncture that with the notable exception of Rocky V, I’ve not seen any of the Rocky films. I’m often laughed at by peers of mine when this fact is brought up but despite enjoying boxing I’ve never felt the inclination to sit down and watch any of them. (It’s the same with Rambo too, though I saw First Blood for the very first time the weekend before we went to NYC) Anyhow, Rocky Balboa was lent to me when Jon and Eve came round to visit. Jon thought I may be running out of films to watch so loaned me a few choice DVDs from his impressive collection which included the aforementioned Stallone ego fest. Safe to say it wasn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, but it amongst the worst films I’ve seen in a very long time. Not all that surprising is it?

Anyway, so Lisa’s not well, so I decided to get up after her alarm had woken me. I came down to the back room and switched in the radio, which was still on Radio 6 from last night. On a whim I decided to enter a competition for a new X-Box. I e-mailed my name etc via the BBC website.
About a minute later I received a call from the producer, who was from what I can ascertain calling me to make sure that I’m succinct and not going to freeze on air. Safe to say, a minute later I received another call from another producer to inform me that I’ll be on air in 30 seconds….coool!

Anyway- you can listen back here (aprox 8:40am):


I didn’t win, but it was fun. I was squashed between Blondie and Interpol.

Oddly, it was on this day about 4 years ago that I made my second Radio 6 appearance, when the band recorded a live session for Marc Riley, I remember the date as it was my Dad’s birthday (as is today obviously) and at the time he was attempting and subsequently succeeding in walking Mt. Kilimanjaro at the time.

My first ever live interview performance was for Radio 6. At the time I’d already done several recorded sessions for Radio 1 XFM etc, which at the time was nerve wracking enough (though the second Peel session wasn’t- that was just a joy to do!) so going down to London to appear on Gideon Coe’s mid morning live BBC Radio 6 show did have the butterflies going in my stomach.

Sadly, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

I was supposed to be picked up by our (now ex.) manager who was to drive us to the BBC HQ on Great Portland Street. We’d planned to set off at 6am in order to make good time. Our manager had even hired a car for it, however after waiting for him for 40 plus minutes I had the feeling it wasn’t going to be so straight forward. I tried to call him but there was no answer. I called Tim and Ellen who were the only other band members travelling down for this acoustic session, and they’d been trying to reach him too but to no avail. We re-assured ourselves that because he’d made such a big deal of the session, there’s no way he’d have forgotten…or would he?

After another twenty minutes or so we had to come up with a contingency plan, and despite never driving further than Hull before Helen stood up to the plate and offered to drive us to London. Of course, they live the other side of the city, so I had to wait nervously for another thirty minutes before I saw her car arrive. At the time I had an acoustic bass guitar that had been leant to me by our ‘other’ manager. It was awful and looked the type of thing that the lanky cunt from The Manic Street Preachers would use or a session musician (the scourge of we crappy indie band musicians), but I was just happy (as a bass player) that I was permitted to attend an acoustic session.
I sat in the back of the car and laid the guitar, which had no case, across my lap and proceeded to chew my finger nails for 4 hours until we’d arrived.

After we’d crossed the Runcorn Bridge our manager, Glenn called me panicked and flustered to say that he’d slept in because his house mate’s toddler had unplugged his alarm clock. We didn’t believe him but he said he was going to set off and reckoned he’d get there before us and we could follow him as he knew the way. He didn’t but called every 30 minutes on route to check on our progress and being generally as unhelpful as someone can in these situations.

By the time we’d started to leave Liverpool, the traffic on the motor way had started to get heavy- and continued to do so until we reached the outskirts of a pre-toll road Birmingham and the motorway was at a virtual standstill. It was a proper race against time.

At one point it was looking like we weren’t going to make it and Ellen had refused to go over 75 mph he shouted down the phone at me “Tell her to out her fucking foot down” I decided not to pass this message on for fear this may cause more problems and in my own style suggested that if possible and safely we could go a little faster.

Obviously he had called ahead to inform them of our impending lateness and from text messages I received from friends listening to his show told us that they’d announced that we were running late, stuck in traffic etc on air.

We found the BBC Studios easier than we thought possible and screeched up outside and ran into the building with guitars in hands. Our radio plugger met us in the reception and he wasn’t pleased, but we did the only thing musicians do in these scenarios; we blamed our manager. I don’t think I’d apologised so many times for something that wasn’t directly my fault before.

We had a few minutes to tune the guitars and discuss what songs we were going to do.
I remember Tim asking our radio plugger if we had to do our new single.
His eyes widened so much that they encompassed the entire of his skinny bald head, making him look like a Tex Avery cartoon.

“OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR FUCKING NEW SINGLE! That’s what they’ve invited you here to play!!”

I wanted to reason with him that surely the DJ plays the new single and we play non-single tracks, but decided ‘not to go there’.

We were then bustled into the studio and met the DJ. We sound-checked and were on air with 15 minutes left of their show. The DJ, as nice as he was, just asked us what food we’d eaten on route. “Ginsters Pasties or homemade sandwiches” and other question of this ilk for seven or so minutes.

“What a buffoon” I thought and laughed along with his quasi humours musings.
We played the two songs okayish, though the acoustic bass was a terrible idea. At the time, as Simian was still in the band there would have been no way he’d have let me get away with playing his guitar parts to the songs though he couldn’t attend the session. I recall the band being a political nightmare at the time, Steve and I ensuring that the equilibrium was maintain between the other band members- a tough job to say the least.

It all went very quickly. After we’d finished and exchanged niceties with the DJ and production staff our sweaty and stressed looking manager burst in dispensing apologies all round. I thought the whole thing was hilarious, but it appeared I was the only one in the band who thought so at the time.

Glenn then offered to take us for food where he grovelled some more, and took us to meet some more radio pluggers and PR type folks, most of whom we’d met before and all of whom were very nice. I loved grassing Glenn up about him sleeping in. I really got a kick out of it. I think I heard him say in response “Christian’s baby had unplugged my alarm clock!” at least two dozen times. Also I remember it was the day after
Jemini had got nil points on the Eurovision Song Contest. This was slightly embarrassing to us as our ‘other’ manager was at the time their manager and released their single in his own record label!! I think at that point I knew we were fucked but stupidly remained optimistic.

Things got tense as we’d been up since 5am and it was a 4 hour journey home and Ellen by her own admittance was getting cranky and wanted to go. This just made our manager more cantankerous and argumentative. “I’ve said I’m sorry, you still made the show…it wasn’t my fault it was Christian’s baby who must have unplugged his alarm clock!”

I remember saying: “We were on a break!!!” in reference to ‘that’ episode of Friends in a hopeful attempt to clear the air. It didn’t work though Tom laughed.

We had to leave early, and as ever I was left to pacify the ‘artists’ and ‘the management’ individually. Glenn said he could give me a lift home though he was visibly upset at the way he felt he’d been treated. I did actually feel sorry for him, which I did throughout his tenure as our manager, though I felt he had it coming as he’d been pissing the band off now for sometime. I politely declined his offer as he was unquestionably the scariest/fastest driver I’d ever had the misfortune to be in a car with- something of a joke amongst those who knew him- plus he smoked heavily and I couldn’t be arsed listen to him bitch about the band. Instead I opted to go home with T&E.

Considering Ellen had never driven to London before she did a bloody good job at getting us there on time and in once piece, though I can recall on the journey home wishing at some point that I’d gone with Glenn instead as we pulled into two service stations to sit down take a break a coffee etc. and arrived home some 5 and a half hours after we set off.

This was a clear sign that I must have been thoroughly shattered as in the cold light of morning I would never in a million years have got in a car again with this oaf.

Rock n’ Roll!


Richard Thompson – I’ll Tag Along

Micah P. Hinson- Patience