Sunday, August 26, 2007

To make matters worse(r)

I have of late--but
wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all
custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me,
what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not
me: no, nor woman neither

You may have perhaps been wondering as to my whereabouts? Worry not, I had merely taken a momentary hiatus from blogging to order to re-charge my batteries and renew my enthusiasm.

The past few weeks have been packed with some rather notable events too, which on the most part were exceedingly good for ones soul. For starters I went on my second ever Stag Do for my future brother in law, which was a damp squid somewhat, resulting in me arriving home whilst Match of The day was still on the telly! I can assure you that it was not due to alcohol intolerance on my part, but sadly that of my sister’s fiancĂ© and his best man- not to mention general tiredness from other members of the party and one poor soul’s unfortunate and untimely dose of the shits.

At work it was the end of an era as my colleague Sean (mentioned countless times in these hallowed pages) finally left our team to return from whence he came…The Wirral. An above average work night out ensued with some surprising results. Most surprisingly of all was that I actually enjoyed myself – something I haven’t managed to accomplish on a staff night out for an eon. It was more rawkus than the aforementioned stag do with all my colleagues falling by the way side due to over indulgence of alcohol. I would like to point out that perhaps this was due to the incredibly unwise decision for him to have his leaving meal at the tapas restaurant La Tasca, as by the very nature of tapas it did little by way of soaking up the booze, so much so that only a few hours after leaving this vaguely Spanish themed establishment it was a tactical necessity for me to devour a pizza from on of the city’s many poor quality Take-Aways.

We saw Jon and Eve off in style as along with a merry band of chums, staying in a remote barn near Colne for a couple of nights. Indeed it was good- complete with as many relevant Withnail & I quotes you could shake a shitty stick at. We lit fires, ate an abundance of meat, drank a shit load of beer and made merry. Indeed it was seriously good. It was also my lil’ sister’s wedding, which was a most beautiful day for all and of course we had our final –final send off and goodbye for Jon and Eve this weekend gone, which proved to be more emotional than I had first anticipated; culminating with me forlornly sat in my front room yesterday morning,30 mins after they had departed, drinking some of their left over beer, eating some of their unwanted chocolate, tears rolling down my cheeks (of my face) staring at the framed Sweet Johnny poster ole sweet Johnny had given to me to look after until their return. Lisa too was very upset and despite our excitement for their forthcoming Round-the –World-Trip we couldn’t help but feel lonely and rather sorry for ourselves (hence the Baird’s quote above- notably used in Withnail & I – incase you didn’t know- though you really ought to)

I’ve also been back at work.

This, as you’d imagine, isn’t exactly to my liking and has done little to raise my weary and dwindling spirits. For the most part as I’ve been forced to take some annual leave off for Barn Trips and Weddings (not to mention The Connect Festival this weekend) it’s been more tolerable than I’d become accustomed to, however tomorrow I’ve been asked to come in early to prepare Tea and Coffee for a meeting. Not just any meeting but for my ex. Bosses and colleagues who’s last contact with me was a departmental meeting, where they took great pleasure and pride informing the rest of the organization that I was quitting to go into the studio for 6 weeks to record the band’s debut album. Possibly the last time I felt optimistic about anything.

To matters even worser[sic] my usual protagonists and now mortal enemy, Mersey Rail have pulled out all the stops to really get on my tits. Not only are they only providing a train every half hour instead of every fifteen minutes, but they are only providing these trains with only 3 carriages, resulting in there being no space on these effing trains. So in order to arrive at work on time to provide these beverages (which by they way just entails pouring water into the tea pot and coffee pot- which both already have the correct amount of tea and coffee waiting in them and the milk, sugar etc has been taken car of in advance too) I’m going to have to leave the house at the time I usually get out of bed. And it was this bombshell which has only just been dropped that I decided to reacquaint myself with this ere blog. Sharing my pain. Venting my frustration.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Aplostonic bender

I knew I was making a scene.

I was devouring a Subway Meatball marinara sandwich on Hearty Italian bread and making a total fucking mess in the process. The one solitary napkin the spotty adolescent had provided for me was not in anyway adequate enough to meet my needs. The poor girl whom had the enormous misfortune of having to sit next to me on the Leeds to Liverpool train, edged as far away as she could until her shoulder blades were pressed firmly against the train carriage's window, her face buried firmly into her trashy novel. I tried my best to act as if I was sober, but sadly the vast quantities of alcohol I'd devoured during the day made this an impossible task.

I was so hungry though and knew that I needed to soak up the booze. Actually I was beyond hungry. I needed food in my body. I ate my subway as if my life depended on it.

Thankfully I had managed to finish the food before a mealy mouthed looking train conductor asked for my ticket, giving me a look of distain in the process.

"What's your problem?" I slurred at him, spitting globules on un chewed sandwich at him in the process.

He avoided eye contact with me and continued to ask the other passenger for their tickets.

From the corner of my eye, I could see a woman put her arm around her young daughter in a protective manner and look at me fearfully. Her daughter looked scared yet wildly curious.

Never before had I instigated such fear and loathing in other people. I was impressed and I lapped it up. I gave them a smile and the child's pupils widened through fear and the mother turned her head so not to look at me. I sat back in my chair and laughed quite loudly to myself, before coughing harshly on a piece on meatball that had reappeared in the back of my throat. I really couldn't believe it. After years of avoiding confrontational pissheads on public transport, I had finally become one myself. I thought back to what Mark, Luke and I had agreed upon earlier in the day; that perhaps the cider drinking winos who congregate on the park benches of our country, have perhaps got the right idea. As I contemplated my new life as a Bukowski-esque drunkard I felt the need for sleep and all went dark.

I awoke confused, disoriented with the taste of minestrone soup in my dry mouth. The girl who was sat next to me was stood up and trying to get past me. She looked disgusted. I moved my legs wearily to let her get passed, then slumped into the warm seat she'd vacated. I rested my face against the window and looked out over the gloomy industrial landscape of Manchester and let out a little whimper. I felt like death. One of my main reasons behind drinking at 9.30 in the morning was for hangover prevention, however the proceeding 7 bottles and five pints only exacerbated the situation. I tried to blink, but my eyeballs were so dry my eyelids found close properly.

I could see that the young mother and daughter were no longer sat opposite me, instead a rather large black gentleman was reading a copy of the daily Star. My booze fuelled bravado had deserted me and I was left to suffer the pains of day time drinking. I let out a long and thoroughly pathetic groan and with my head in my hands mumbled "what was I thinking?" to myself, but smiled at the hazy recollections of that morning and the preceding night.

Some twenty two hours earlier I was heading in the opposite direction, full of verve and positivism. Not only was an old chum's 30th birthday but also my first day at work for over 6 weeks. I felt of use again.
On route to Leeds I'd had a thoroughly pleasant sleep whilst listening to Joanna Newsome on my MP3 player. I'd arrived with enough time to spare to make it over to Luke's gaff in order for me to drop of my bag and sleeping bag. With the exception of a rather confused taxi driver with sat nav whom couldn't find the street- the journey was a success. Thankfully he had a dog eared A to Z which he proceeded to thumb through whilst driving at speed and I eventually arrived to find Luke and Mark sat on the doorstep swigging beer from the bottle on route to intoxication.

Several hours later after helium balloon hilarity and pints of quality pilsner, it all started to get a little messy. As my alcohol tolerance is at an all time low, my memories of the night’s events were sketchy to say the least. I’m convinced I talked more crap than usual, and from my foggy recollections I talked to Luke’s sister and husband for an eon on a range of subjects which I can no longer recall. I do however remember dropping my pint in the courtyard/alleyway where we were stood and it covering Luke’s sister Mary and some guy whom I’d not been introduced to yet’s coat, which lay oddly on the floor by a wheelie bin. This guy, whose name was revealed to me at a later point during the night, looked fairly put out by my customary clumsiness and as is accustomed; I apologised profusely… I think?

It was from this point things really started to get sketchy. The next bar we swaggered to had a very steep staircase and a rather dodgy banister which it was unwise (not to mention unsafe) to put any weight onto.

The beer choices were good though, Erdinger and Staropramen on tap. I’m certain that due to confusion and an act of overwhelming generosity from Mark the Deviant, I ended up with three pints of varying pilsners. I can assure you that none of this was wasted.

As the night drew, clarity went right out of the window. Where was I? What time was it? Where’s this other pint of Erdinger arrived from? Why’s some forlorn looking woman telling me that my cohort is acting like an asshole? Why was my knee feeling particularly swore? Most of these questions remain unanswered still.

I do, however remember Luke’s courageous proclamation that we should head back to his, where he had a fridge full of beer. This sounded like a plan, though I had a ¾ full pint left. Not being the wasteful sort, I concealed this drink by placing my coat over it whilst it remained in my hand. It was the perfect crime.

At a nearby taxi rank, two rather surly looking Asian gentlemen told us that they wouldn’t provide us with transportation due the inebriation of Mark.
”He’s going to be sick” They told us.

Somehow, we persuaded them that he wouldn’t although I’m still not exactly sure how we were able to do this. They pointed towards a taxi that was parked outside. Our carriage awaited us. I chose to alight in the front passenger seat. Alas as I was about to take my seat, a dazed and confused Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci T-shirt clad friend of mine, decided that he didn’t want to get this particular vehicle and disappeared down a nearby side street mumbling incoherently. Luke gave chase and I decided to take my seat.

I apologized to the friendly looking driver for the confusion and introduced myself. I think I may have told him about my knee and the funeral I had attended that morning. The stolen pint was still under my coat and I wanted to show the driver but thought better of it.

It seemed like ages before an exasperated taxi driver told me that Mark and Luke had got into the taxi parked behind us. I swaggered out of the taxi and could see Luke swaying in the back seat. They got out and found their way into the correct car. It would be fair to say at this point I realized that we were all drunk as lords.

I don’t remember how long it took to get home or who paid for the cab, but we were soon in Luke’s gaff and I whipped my coat from my hand to reveal the ¾ full pint and decorative glass. “Da da daaaaa!”. I knew that Lisa would be so proud when I return with this beauty. Somewhere along the way some typically peculiar and almost unlistenable music found its way on the record player. The room was spinning and after a brief moment of unfamiliar charity on my part whereupon I had attempted to clean the house’s toilet for no good reason, I was on the sofa listening to the end of the record and Mark’s snoring and I was out like a light.

The following morning I was awoken from a heavy and alcoholic slumber to the sound of someone equally overhung as I searching for a pair of £4.99 H&M sunglasses. The bright sun seeped through the thin curtains and pierced my eyelids causing my head hurt like a cunt. Once these problematic sunglasses were eventually found (in his bag no less) I was wide-awake. It was 8.30am. This was unprecedented for me and the early morning caught me off guard. It was less than an hour when a bottle of Carlsberg Export was placed into my shaking hand by Mark, who by now had already knocked one back and was encouraging me to join the party. We sat on the doorstep looking out at the world, a cold beer in hand, not overly concerned by the neighbour’s look of contempt. Rhid provided us with conversation and some cracking cheese and crumpets; not to mention an introduction into the rocktastic word of 1970’s garage band The Gizmos which had just arrived via the post that very morning. Once Luke was up and more food was consumed the beer started to flow at a faster pace than it had already. By 10.30 I’d already had 3 or four beers. I felt like hybrid of Chinaski and Sir Digby Chicken Ceaser and all was well.

The morning flew by and by 12pm there was only a few bottles left and therefore the allure of pub was too overwhelming to ignore. At the time this seemed like a good idea, but it only made things messier.

The pub was deserted expect for the Fararr slack wearing, side parted and neatly combed short sleeved shirt wear regular who watched us closely whilst we sunglasses clad piss heads chatted to the amiable barmaid. Despite her slow Yorkshire drawl and her butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth face, she was razor sharp, perhaps a byproduct of having a baby at the tender age of 15. When Luke did the formal introductions she made a joke about our Gospel inspired names.

“Where’s John?” She asked.

Until that moment, I’d never really realised that we where a John short of a Gospel.

We sat inside and discussed a plethora of different subjects that are almost mandatory when one is hammered. We argued playfully on many subjects but we all were in agreement that our soon to be King’s on/off girlyfirend Kate Middleton is a hottie.

I don’t recall much else except a particularly scary looking dog running amok in the pub’s car park and that we’d agreed to form a band, accordingly named; The Apostles.

It must have been getting close to 4pm before we staggered back to Luke’s. I don’t think I noticed Mark was missing until I was slumped in my chair in the taxi on route to the train station and I could vaguely recollect Luke calling his mum on the phone to apologise for the state he was in.

My next memory was trying to act sober eating my subway. I can’t even remember buying it though.

When I arrived in Liverpool at 8pm I managed to somehow crawl into a taxi and not puke up. I couldn’t get rid of the taste of Minestrone from my mouth and I craved what would only be my second non alcoholic drink of the day. I was also rather alarmed to notice that my arms were bright red and feeling rather hot.

Once home, I truged wearily up the stairs to our front room where Lisa sat reading the paper. I slurred some words that indicated how cruddy I felt and she suggested I take a shower. I agreed and dropped my bag to the floor dramatically.

“What was that?” She asked.

I didn’t know. My bag had made a nasty smashing noise. I opened it to see what was left of my Erdinger glass.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Broken Household Appliance

Well I successfully managed to extend my little holiday for a few more days, however due to a combination of our utterly useless and bamboozling landlord and a broken washing machine, not to mention Lisa’s reaction when I divulged that in times of anxiety I find it soothing to urinate in a sink, I’m not exactly jumping for joy.

Instead of enjoying my extra day away from the office, I’m now ringing around to see if I can get someone out to repair it, then call our landlords back and forth with quotes. Plus the dozens of household jobs Lisa’s roped me into doing.

Wish I was back at work.

Grandaddy - Broken Household Appliance National Forest

Band of Horses- The End’s Not Near

Edwyn Collins (with Bernard Butler) - In a Broken Dream

Sebadoh- Not Too Amused