Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Everything You Want You Already Have 

Round and round the garden like newly weds, underneath the apple tree, in the potting shed.
Hey hey, it’s a beautiful day. And everything they want, everything they need, they already have.

Up and down the high street like a superstar, revving up her engine, the girl in the sports bra.
Hey hey, it’s a beautiful day. And everything she wants, everything she needs, she already has.

Will you still love me when I can’t dress myself? When I don’t know what year it is, and think you’re someone else?
Hey hey, all our beautiful days. And everything we’ll want, everything we’ll need, we’ll already have.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out 

"Woah there, Nelly! Where are you taking me now?"
"Never you mind, my pretty. I've got some important business to attend to."

I'd taken a hard right at the traffic lights, a little too quickly. We usually go straight ahead.
We both leaned into the bend like we were the Schumacher brothers at Post Office Corner. For a moment, her hair brushed against my shoulder. I have to admit I found it quite exciting.

Later, as we watched the shoppers and the diners in the cafe at Supermarket X, Diana, Head of Marketing said, "That was your song, wasn't it? In the jiffy bag?"
A fat lad in a yellow jacket wrestled a huge crocodile of trolleys across the car park. Sweat was dripping off him. I nodded.

"Don't look so worried. It'll be fine."
"I feel a bit deflated now," I said, staring into my soup. "Bereft of purpose."
She touched my hand. "Something else will come up soon. You know it will. Mark my words."

Monday, July 19, 2004

Art For Art’s Sake 

We wrapped up our trip with Art. Ooooh!

Banksy is a graffiti artist, and I guess many Londoners will have seen his stuff mysteriously cropping up here and there. I was really pleased to see a couple of ‘works’ on our walkabouts. He’s also the guy who did the artwork for Blur’sThink Tank”.
I think what he does is well cool.

At the Tate Modern, we both liked the “Your Dual Lighthouse Projection” thing, which is one of those conceptual modern pieces that probably infuriates Daily Mail readers. One ‘lighthouse’ is a large circle which you stand or sit inside, surrounded by walls of slowly changing light. It’s part art and part weird-science-experiment, and the changing colours mess with your brain. The second lighthouse is intended to put you straight again. And it’s free, so if you’re in the area, you have no excuse for not checking it out, you cheapskates.

The Edward Hopper exhibition (nine of your English quids) was excellent. And incredibly popular too, even on a Monday morning. His paintings depict isolation, alienation, loneliness - not very cheerful stuff you might think, but there is something very engaging and absorbing about them.

Next we dashed up to the National Portrait Museum, where the contemporary stuff was especially good, I thought. I hereby give you my permission to thump anybody who says that modern artists can’t paint. Check out this year’s portrait competition entries to see for yourself.
I also really liked Julian Opie’s pictures of, erm, Blur again.

The video of David Beckham sleeping, while not exactly profound or anything - just like the man himself - is amusingly inventive.

While we topped up our grease levels in a dimly lit restaurant in Charing Cross, there were two attractive American girls in their early twenties dining in almost silence with a much older gentleman. We decided he was either their grandfather, or a millionaire choosing which one to marry. It could well have been a scene from an Edward Hopper painting - spooky! Or maybe they were just having a very bad blogmeet experience.

Finally, we concluded our trip with a three hour tour of Peckham, which I’m afraid wasn’t nearly enough to do it justice. That will be absolutely top of the list for the next time, I promise.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

London’s Brilliant Parade 

Hats off to The Fabulous Jones Sisters for suggesting Primrose Hill and Camden Lock as nice places to hang out on a Sunday. You were spot on.

We spent the morning drowsily browsing round the markets and buying stuff - hammocks, knock off T-shirts, forged MOT certificates, etc. - before strolling along the canal to Primrose Hill.

On Primrose Hill, right on cue, there was a Dalmatian enjoying a lunchtime stroll. We assumed the owner couldn’t manage all one hundred and one at once. Girlfriend sang “The lions and the tigers in Regents Park couldn’t pay their way” while I kept an eye out for David Bailey photographing Jean Shrimpton, but I think we were a few decades late.

In the Elephant’s Head a bit of a micro-blogmeet took place. We met James Blogwell and Lisa Badger, along with Lisa’s husband The Animator and their Housemate C. We were later joined by James’ wife Natalie, who had locked herself out.
If you’ve ever wondered what other bloggers look like, I’m pleased to report that they look more or less like you and me - they’re just like ordinary people! Many funny things were discussed, not all of them blog related I don’t think, and a good time was had by all. Commemorative micro-blogmeet tea towels are available for a very special price in the foyer.

As the afternoon passed, the pub filled with people from the fifties. It was shakin’ all over. I was half expecting gangs of mods to come hairing in from the sixties on Lambrettas and for it all to kick off Brighton beach style, but if it did happen, it wasn’t until after we’d left.

Lisa and TA, two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, were kind enough to go out of their way to escort us halfway back to our hotel, so that we wouldn’t have to keep stopping at every other streetlamp to squint at our map, looking like the Guinnessed up innocents at large in the Big City that we so conspicuously were. Cheers guys, we made it back safe and sound, despite an unexpected detour around Wimbledon Common. We didn’t spot any wombles.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Waterloo Sunset 

I’ll bet you didn’t know that Mike “Dry Your Eyes” Skinner of ‘The Streets’ also works for Ryanair. They’ve got him mumbling unintelligible boarding announcements, and for one worried moment we thought he might be flying the plane too. I knew it was going to be a wicked weekend when I realised it was him bellowing at us through the otherwise tranquil calm of Blackpool International Airport’s departure lounge at some unholy hour on a drizzly Saturday morning, and you know, for once I was right.

The plane ride to Stansted positively whizzed by, much faster than the time it had taken us to check in, and faster still than the ride from Stansted to Liverpool Street.
We eventually emerged blinking into the daylight at Waterloo Station to be greeted by a clever and confusing combination of bright sunshine and a heavy rain shower - you Londoners really like to have it all, don’t you?

You might recall that I’d asked for your suggestions on What To Do In London when I first booked this trip. So we took your advice and started at the London Eye, which we didn’t go on, stopping to snoop round the Second Hand Book Stall, wandering round the gallery and poncey shops of the Oxo building, before heading towards the Tate Modern. We had lunch at that pizza place with the awning outside, where we witnessed a man guzzle a whole bottle of wine faster than I’ve ever seen anybody guzzle a whole bottle of wine before 12:30 in the afternoon. And he had a pudding too, the greedy pig.
We crossed the wobbly Millenium Bridge which didn’t wobble in the slightest, and watched the beginning of what I guess must have been one hell of an expensive wedding at St. Paul’s. I counted at least five clergy blokes, and the army were on standby too, just in case. How much must that set you back?
I took a few photos, on the off chance that the official photographer screwed up, or the films get lost when they’re taken to Boots afterwards.

We mooched around the streets, past literally thousands of Starbucks and Pret A Mangers, every single one of which was closed, and checked out Somerset House, where the evening’s entertainments would be taking place. Then we shuffled along to our hotel, to have a bit of a lie down and enjoy a hot shower. Only the hot water was off. I went downstairs to tell the reception staff, but they seemed to be going through a living hell at that moment, with dissatisfied customers demanding transfers and rowdy Australians being hilarious and calls to taxi firms being ignored - it was the hotel lobby version of the Battle of the Somme - so I didn’t make a fuss and hoped the water would be back some time during the weekend.

The support band The Shins were very good, and the main act, Belle and Sebastian were just brilliant. That’s the fourth time we’ve seen them now, and I can’t wait until the fifth. I took a few photos, on the off chance that the official photographer screwed up, or the films get lost when they’re taken to Boots afterwards.
They did an unrehearsed and slightly shambling rendition of Waterloo Sunset, struggling for a while to find the best key. I could have told them G - you get to do a nice descending bass note around the A minor shape - but they wouldn’t have heard me. All the same, it was a beautiful moment, with the evening sunshine on the tax office, being right next to Waterloo Bridge with one of the best bands in the world singing one of the best songs in the world.
Girlfriend managed to get hold of one of the much coveted set lists that the technical crew threw into the crowd afterwards.

Stuart Murdoch, who I suppose you could loosely describe as the lead singer, keeps a really good online diary , by the way.

Afterwards, we stumbled through the crowds and buskers in Covent Garden, and crashed out knackered but very happy. Then we went back to the hotel. Ha ha ha. (See what I d - oh, forget it.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Like A Cat Tied To A Stick That's Driven Into Frozen Winter Shit, Calm, Fitter, Healthier And More Productive, A Pig In A Cage On Antibiotics 

I always make sure to say thank you to the cleaning lady who empties my bin every day. I’ve noticed that not many people here do, but it’s only common decency, isn’t it?
She has never once acknowledged my thanks, or existence for that matter. In fact, if you wanted to engage in a bit of wordplay, you could say that she treats me like dirt. She ignores that too.

But I’m not going to let the small matter of being invisible stop me. I’m a do as you would be done by guy, and as Ringo Starr used to sing, nothing’s gonna change my world.

Depressingly, and I’m afraid this is not one of my occasional flights of fancy, I recently heard that staff working on the helpdesk downstairs have to ask permission before visiting the toilet. They’re supposed to wait until their break time.

What the fuck? Even battery hens can take a dump when they need to.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Walk On By 

If you see me walking down the street and I start to cry each time we meet, for pity's sake, please don't walk on by.

Rush up to me and give me a hug, take me for a coffee, tell me something funny, take off all your clothes and entertain me with your Riverdance routine if that's what it takes. Please don't just walk on by. Is that OK?

You know that I'd do anything for you.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Good Morning Judge 

I was taken hostage at the weekend. Dave, my imaginary publisher came round and wouldn’t let me leave my Attic Studio Complex until I’d finished my song for the Radio 2 competition.
I once read that Phil Spector used to wave a shotgun about in the studio as a method of ensuring that his clients performed to the best of their abilities. Maybe this is just standard music industry practice.
Nobody said it would be easy being the nation’s foremost song writing talent, so perhaps this is a sign that I’m finally getting somewhere.

Here’s a photo of Dave sitting in my chair. Notice the obligatory cables all over the place, just like the ones you see in pictures of Abbey Road. To the right there is some equipment with flashing lights. If you recognise any of it and know how to make it work, drop me a line.

I did get it finished though. I’ve re-recorded Hanging Around, with infinitesimally different bits and bobs added on. Next I need to fill in the entrance form and make up some interesting things to say about myself. I wonder if I should point them to this blog. What do you think?

Rest assured that once it’s been posted off, I’ll be asking you to do some finger crossing on it’s behalf. You have been warned.
And in the unlikely case of you knowing any of the judges, (or maybe you are one of the judges, in which case - Hi, you’re looking great! Been working out?) I’ll be expecting you to offer bribes and sexual favours in order to help them see the true worth of my work.
I believe this is also standard music industry practice.
If it all works out, I’ll see to it that your efforts don’t go unrewarded.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Nothing Isn’t Nothing, Nothing’s Something That’s Important To Me 

On Wednesday night we went to Manchester to watch the wonderful Ben Kweller play a concert.
“He’s so tiny!” exclaimed three girls independently of each other as he took to the stage, one of them being Girlfriend.
Regardless of his minisculinity, and maybe even because of it, he certainly made a hell of a lot of noise. I love it when bands realise that their job is not just to play the songs. Real showmen understand that their mission is to entertain and put on a performance. Ben Kweller and his band certainly did that alright - they like so totally rocked, man.

More often than not, the bands we go to see in Manchester tend to be at one of the University venues. The car knows it’s own way there by now, which allows me to take a little nap en route, but the Night And Day is a new one for us, and it took several circuits of the town before it finally found somewhere suitable for itself to park. Then we ambled along to the venue, to be sure we’d know where to find it, before grabbing something to eat.
Ben himself was pacing up and down outside the door, making what seemed to be an Important Music Business Phone Call, and it reminded me that I must ring Dave, my imaginary music publisher, sometime soon to talk Important Imaginary Music Business stuff with him. I played it cool and resisted the urge to go up to him and say “Hey - you’re Ben Kweller!” He didn’t notice our presence, so all told I think everyone handled the situation with dignity and no small amount of coolness.
A similar thing happened before Snow Patrol’s recent Manchester gig, and look at them now. See my point? Well, exactly.

We ate at a restaurant with a giant window open onto Picadilly Gardens, and the council had put on a rather good swirling litter exhibition for us to enjoy. At one point a gust of wind deposited a great prize of litter onto our table - an empty Hula Hoops packet, pages from a newspaper, flyers, leaves - it felt like you were really interacting with the performance, and the place had an engaging and vibrant “street” quality which other restaurants struggle to attain but often fall short of.

The concert was an utterly brilliant sweat soaked affair, and then we listened to Mark Radcliffe chatting to John Cooper Clarke for the hour’s drive home, while my bloodstream snapped, crackled and bopped from the copious amounts of cranberry flavoured energy drink I was consuming to keep myself awake.
Marvellous. Who could ask for more?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Driving Away From Home 

Of course there was no actual need to have taken my Estonian Oompah Band CD with me to Birmingham. This is because Charlie is charm and loveliness personified, and not the man-eating femme fatale you so rashly assumed. Tsh, readers, eh? Mind you, she was charm and loveliness personified in rather foxy attire. Grrr.

My mobile rang somewhere south of Stoke.
“Do you want to answer that Charlie? It’ll be Girlfriend checking up on us.”
So she answered the phone, and then spent the next thirty minutes happily chattering away. By the time we got to Cannock I was starting to feel a little bit excluded. When she finally hung up, I asked, “What’s with the big cheesy grin? What did she say?”
“Oh, it wasn’t Beth,” she replied, cool as you like. “I think he said his name was Dave. He said he was at a really wild party and he couldn’t talk for long.”
“It didn’t bloody sound like he was in a hurry to me.”
“He wants to know if you’ve posted some song off yet for a competition on Radio 2.”
“So have you?”
“Well, erm, no actually. I’m going to redo it to try and make it feel less like a Burt Bacharach pastiche. And add a new bit in the middle.”
She looked at me sternly.
“I’ve been busy digging…” Good grief.
Then her phone rang. She talked all the way to Spaghetti Junction.
“That was Leanne,” she eventually said, checking her battery level. “She knew I’d be with you and wants to see how easy it is to get mentioned in your blog.”
“Bloody hell! You know about my blog?”
“Well duh, Mr. Pepys!”
“Oh shit. Oh really shit! Listen, about what I wrote about you yesterday. I think I might have gone a bit too far.”
“Too bloody right you’ve gone too far. We’ve just past Bromsgrove! Turn around at the next junction.”

Readers, I think you might be witnessing a coup. I don’t feel in control of my own blog anymore.
One minute you think you’re in charge, the next you’re Mikhail Gorbachev.
I don’t like to melodramatise, but I’ll always cherish our time together, you know, just in case.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

She’s A Star 

I’ll never forget the first time I set eyes on Charlie. I hope not, anyway. Girlfriend and me were enjoying what Bridget Jones (no, the other less famous one) would call a weekend mini-break, in a pub in the Yorkshire Dales. I was on my own, Girlfriend having gone up to our room for a jumper, when seven or eight bikers entered the bar.
One biker in particular caught my eye, because her legs went on for miles, all the way down the A59 as far as Clitheroe, and when she removed her helmet, her jet black hair tumbled in slow motion down her shoulders like a waterfall, only stopping when it got to Gisburn.
I was spellbound.
So were the other bikers, and Charlie was clearly the centre of attention, the star of their galaxy. Five foot ten and slender as a racing snake, the only possible way she could have squeezed into her leathers was if she had been melted down like chocolate and poured into them.

Imagine then my surprise when Girlfriend entered the bar, yelled “Hi Charlie, what are you doing here!” and then spent the next ten minutes hugging her excitedly as if she was a long lost twin. They only see each other every day of the week - Girlfriend is Charlie’s team leader at work.
After a further ten minutes of talking and laughing Girlfriend said “Why don’t you come and meet Tim?” as if I was a five year old sat in the car with a packet of crisps and bottle of coke.
“Great. Where is he?”
Only about ten bloody feet away, the guy in the corner with the steamed up glasses, ankle deep in his own drool. I wiped myself down, shuffled unnecessarily further into the corner, and we all got along famously for what turned into a great night.
At one point, Charlie asked if I’d like to go for a quick ride on the back of her bike. By that time I’d already put myself outside several pints of Black Sheep, and wouldn’t be going anywhere in a hurry.
“Go on, I don’t mind if you want to,” smiled Girlfriend.
“I think I’ll pass on that. I don’t think it would be a good idea in my present condition. Maybe next time, yeah?”
Charlie feigned light hearted disappointment, squeezed my knee for longer than seemed appropriate in the circumstances, and whispered in my ear, “Never mind Tim. You and me can maybe go for a ride some other time. I’d like that.”

I mention this now because Girlfriend has volunteered me to give Charlie a lift to Birmingham tomorrow evening, to pick up her repaired bike from a breakdown which happened last Wednesday. Girlfriend only does this to traumatise me. She knows I’m terrified of being alone with strong women.

I often think about the ride through the Dales on that glorious August evening that never happened. Up through the gears out of Clapham and hanging left onto the A65, screaming past Ingleborough rising majestically from the Yorkshire soil to our right, tiny paragliders clinging to it’s outline like multicoloured birds of prey; past lush green fields of dozing sheep, framed like old sepia photographs within dry stone walls, ancient scratches on the landscape which have stood for centuries and will be standing the test of time still when we’re all of us pushing up daisies; faster and faster, past Ingleton, Westhouse, Lower Westhouse, Higher Westhouse, too fast now to read the signs, too fast to breathe or think, faster than the swifts and swallows that dip and dive high above in the inky blue sky; we rush headlong into the golden sun, our shadow stretching behind us for miles like a vapour trail, only fading away in Settle; and now we slowly descend, into third, second, coming to rest in Kirby Lonsdale, gasping for air, exhausted, exhilarated, high on a giddy rush of excitement and the sheer thrill of being alive. Then she turns around and we do it all again.

I wonder if Charlie will want to change into her biking gear somewhere when we get to Birmingham, or whether she’ll want to go all the way with me in her leathers for the full three hours?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Don't Say We're Over 

Have you seen him? Has he called you today? Does he send you flowers, do you talk for hours, does he make you laugh the way that I did?

I was wondering how you'd feel if we met up Sunday, maybe in the park, and took a little walk? I think we need to talk. Don't say we're over.

Have you noticed they're always playing our song on the radio? It's as if they know. Is a broken heart that obvious?

Don't let him change you, you're perfect as you are. The way you do your hair, and the clothes you wear. When you're ready, I'll be there at your side.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Copyright(c) 2004-2010 by Tim, A Free Man In Preston.
It kind of goes without saying, but this is my blog. I own it.

Slightly daft MP3 disclaimer: All MP3's are posted here for a limited time only. Music is not posted here with the intention to profit or violate copyright. In the unlikely event that you are the creator or copyright owner of a song published on this site and you want it to be removed, let me know.