Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Waiting For This Moment 

Strange to be in the pub in Preston on a school night, but Gareth who never comes out with us wanted to come out and today was the only evening we could all make it, so there we are.

We all sat around in various states of surprise at the evening's main news. It was flattering to have been included, trusted.
There was a hearts in mouth moment – couple of minutes, actually - when we feared it was going to be something awful, a terrible illness or a new job in a new town, but no.

I haven't quite got my head round it yet. I'm happy and glad, but can't help but wonder if this is actually the good news story it's being presented as.
I'd like to hear it from all angles before reaching any final conclusions, but that's probably not going to happen.
Is it terribly grown up and sophisticated, or a bit sad and grubby?

Charlie's reaction was lovely and she slipped comfortably into her role as Interrogater in Chief.
FFA, JP and Girlfriend were, I think, fairly flabbergasted. Leanne, who already knew, seemed subdued. Long day, apparently.
I do know that they all absolutely think the world of him, and unlike some of his friends, this isn't going to change anything.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

No Churns, No Porter, No Cat On A Seat, At Chorlton-cum-Hardy or Chester-le-Street 

Had a very pleasant boozy afternoon in the pub with Girlfriend and Looby off the internet.
He lives very faraway, just up the road in Lancaster.

From his writing, Lancaster sounds like a dark and gloomy world of depressing international cinema and painfully avant-garde performance art.
We go to Lancaster every now and then, but I don't remember it being quite so bleak or intense as how Looby presents it. It's just old ladies doing their shopping and people waiting for buses. I'll have to remember to wear my Bohemia seeking goggles next time I'm there.

Looby's interesting and funny. It was our first meeting.
He used to serve refreshments on the West Coast Main Line, stopping at Milton Keynes, Rugby, Nuneaton, Tamworth, Stafford, Crewe, Warrington, Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle and Glasgow Central, currently works in the cut throat world of high finance, and is never happier than when sitting in the corner of a pub adapting translations of East European short stories for the stage. In the great tradition of artistic heavy drinkers, he's as thin as a rake. Runs like Niles Crane too.
Hopefully that won't be the last we see of him.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What? Are You Crazy? 

Back to Manchester with Girlfriend and Leanne to see Dean Friedman at the Royal Northern College of Singer Songwriters.

He was really good – just him, a guitar, a piano, a ukelele, and an ever so slightly awkward stammer in the early stages. He played all the hits and Girlfriend sang quietly along to just about everything, swept along in the moment, which was really nice.
I enjoyed it more than I expected to. I thought he might be a bit sappy, but that wasn't the case. He's got some powerful songs. Maybe he has too overstretch a little to reach the high notes these days, but overall it was dead good.

Juggling Protege turned up late – tssk – arriving during the half time break.
To add insult to injury, he set about videomugging Dean in the bit where he stands about in the foyer afterwards, hoping to sell CDs at £20 each.
JP got him to say get well messages for all his (JP's) friends, or for anyone else who might be feeling less than 100% at any time in the future. It took several takes, but was worth it in the end. JP's a very funny man, and the Deanster took it all in good heart. Probably.

We bade our farewells – JP was driving to Cornwall the next morning – then drove Leanne home.
Since we returned from Derbyshire, she's been going out with someone she met not long before. Sounds nice. She says it's going really well, and is big smiles happy. I'm ever so pleased.

We resisted the urge to do the 'Slide over here, Babe' actions during Lucky Stars, but I'm pretty sure we were all thinking about it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Downtown Lights 

If there was a prize for “Being useless at finding your way around Manchester,” I'd put money on me and Girlfriend winning. We just don't get it. Where is everywhere, relative to everywhere else?
On the plus side, our sense of wonder and surprise is never diminished whenever we visit the City of Rain -
“Hey, isn't that the GMEX again? Didn't we just walk past that an hour ago?”
“Maybe that's a different one.”
“Yes. That'll be it. Definitely.”

I bought some new jeans, because my current pair has become so threadbare around the buttock regions that an embarrassing pants exposure incident can only be a matter of minutes away, in jeans time.
They remind me of Dodo, my childhood soft toy of choice. I loved that dog. Mum had to keep sewing his head back on.
Girlfriend bought a gothy type dress in Afflex Palace for the wedding we're going to – and that I'm photographing; yikes – in a few weeks. It looks nice whichever way round it's supposed to be worn.

In the evening we saw The Blue Nile play their first concert in three hundred years at the wonderful Bridgewater Hall.
They still sound just like they did in the Eighties; in fact, they sound just like the Eighties.
They make a lovely noise and your man Wotshisface is possessed of one of the most gorgeous goosebumps voices, and some achingly beautiful songs.
One I'd not heard before, Family Life, was especially evocative - “Gather me in snowfall, and the cars going by the north and the south; flowers on the table and the coffee gets cold like the milk in my mouth.”

There was oodles of enjoyment to be had simply from watching the more devoted fans – and Blue Nile fans are nothing if not devoted; quasi-religious in their reverence, almost – lapping it all up, hanging onto every sweet, sad note, every word, loving every last drop of it. Which is kind of magical, really.

Here's a picture of an interesting old pub - note the juxtaposition of the ancient with the modern, blah blah - tucked away a mere hundred yards or so from the Bridgewater Hall. That'd be a good half hour's walk then.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

You're Always Chasing After Deer, My Dear 

We drove over to Leeds after work, to see Midlake at the Irish Centre.

We met up with Steve, who'd led us to believe it was a part of town where you'd think twice about leaving your car. It didn't seem so bad.
True, several nearby houses had metal grills over their windows, but we didn't knowingly experience any hassle.
It's a nice little venue - social club by day, rock venue by night. If we'd been there at lunchtime we could have played bingo with the over sixties over a bowl of stewed cabbage. I'd have enjoyed that.

We've become suddenly obsessed with Midlake, what with only 'discovering' them last month, or something – I'm in a bit of a time warp right now - but we felt very lucky to catch them.
I can't remember loving an album so much for a very long time.

Mildly disappointing that they weren't dressed up like on the album sleeve - “I caught an apple and she caught a fox, then I banged my head on a branch, so had a bit of a lie down under a pile of leaves, and when I woke up it was Spring and we'd been burgled” - but apart from that they were totally rockin'. A very good night.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


We spent a very enjoyable afternoon in the pub with Joella and M.
It was our first time in a pub since the smoking ban came in and it was fantastic, if a little surreal. I'm so pleased.

After a few pints we went to another pub, but did our drinking on the concrete 'n' weeds bit by the RNLI where the skateboard punk rockers sometimes hang out. We must have scared them off.

Then we went for a cup of tea at her parent's house.
Joella said there's a woman in one of the flats next door who has lots of loud and enthusiastic orgasms at all hours of the day - leading to some potentially awkward moments over the breakfast table, I dare say, not to mention lunch table, dinner table, or middle of the night snack table for that matter - but it was all quiet while we were there.

I pass the house twice daily on my way back and forth from Company X, and now I always slow down and wind my windows down as I drive past [this is being written six weeks in the future] but apart from the sound of dodgey brakes on my Toyota Nosebleed, I haven't heard a squeak, enthusiastic or otherwise.

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