"so i be ghost from my projects i take my pen and pad for the week and hittin' L's while i'm sleep' on a two day stay, you may say i need the time alone to relax my dome, no phone, left the 9 at home you see the streets have me stressed something terrible.."
Nas – One Love
Ok so I haven't got a nine, and I actually took my phone (though I might as well have taken one of those snake shaped draught excluders for all the good it did me) But the last few days were spent on a hillside in Wales.
I was literally surrounded by green, but neither of the crisp folding persuasion, nor the sticky kind that makes you laugh at crap films and walk to the garage at two in the morning to buy a twix. No it was the rather more prosaic form of green that sheep/cows eat, though there was lots of it, and it was probably partly to thank for the lovely fresh air that I got to imbibe for the duration of my stay; it's been a veritable tonic.
So I've done bugger all really, save walk aound, check emails, chill and read books (Truecrime by Jake Arnott, great, and Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosely, almost finished). I also recovered a few bits and pieces that were languishing in my mum and dads' garage, thou not a great deal really – my Orb 'live 93' poster being one of them, along with a Henri Lloyd jacket that had a busted zip the last time I saw it (from my 26th birthday when I ended up getting bitten by a drunken Isrish man, don't ask).
And now here I am, back in babylon, staring down the barrel of another bank holiday weekend, and more immediately, a house meeting tonight. Can't wait. Got to don my 'Victor Mature' hat to talk reasonably about cleaning rotas and the house cleaning kitty. Then I might go to the pub afterwards to moan about it to someone else.
I saw Gail Porter in Marks and Spencer in Soho today.
Other celebs I've seen whilst in London include the guy who plays Martin Fowler in Eastenders outside the cafe across the road from the John Snow pub (I overheard him say something like "I dunno, I don't even know the geezer" as I strolled past, ears burning) the guy with the really flat profile/wonky nose who was in Holby City and that Smirnoff Ice ad where he's got off with his mate's mum at a party – he in a pub in Clapham junction, and Brian Dowling, who I saw strolling along just north of Oxford Street clutching a Louis Vuitton bag.
Pretty good eh?
I'm off to Wales tomorrow, where the only celebrities I'm likely to meet will probably be prize winning livestock.
Two police support officers removing sheathes of those postcard sized chatline cards from a phonebox on the Charing Cross road.
Went to the Blues Bar on kingly street last night, and drank lager in the presence of Gridrunner and man like Zeon Cosini. Saw a guy there amidst the crowd that lived, or still lives in all probability, in Muswell Hill with a girl I saw last year. Couldn't remember his name though, so there really didn't seem much point in saying anything to him.
Then went to The Coffee House round the corner, which is, according to a clipping above the bar 'the pub where regulars go to be insulted'. They don't dissapoint either, and the guy behind the bar kept yelling "lightweight!" at me because I was trailing Ade in beer consumption. Also, last year when I was having about three pints on my luch break before nearly missing a flight to Corfu, the wizzened old guy kept whistling the Scooby Doo theme at me (I had long hair and a beard – I think he was implying I looked like shaggy).
Then went home and ate noodles and internetted.
Things I can see from my desk:
A photo of a a fat, gormless looking grey cat staring at me from the divider between the desks. I think it belongs to Carole who usually sits here (insofar as cats belong to anyone).
A stapler with 'Kate' written on it in black marker on Carole's desk.
Um, my hands?
That's not it obviously, but those are the things that stand out right now.
Well, another bank holiday weekend, and this time my brother's in town, so I feel I should really impress him with the glory that is London – go and do something interesting say, rather than drink in the Hermits Cave. Drink in the Joiners Arms maybe?.
I'm bored. Straw poll: what's in everybody's right pocket?
Really tired again; yet more no sleep action. Frankly, I feel slightly pissed (and no, I didn't drink last night). Maybe this would make a cheaper alterntive to boozng in the future? When aware of an impending date where alcohol is to be consumed in quantity, I could simply stay in and give sleep a miss for the night, and, hey presto! posess the glassy eyed torpor of the post-inebriated, but with a healthier bank balance and liver. There, that's my 'top-tip' for the day.
On a happier note I just hade a look on ebay, and a Futura 2000 print I bought in 2001 is going for nearly five times what I paid for it then. It's not even that good quality a print to be honest, as the stock is very thin and the screenprinting slightly dodgy. But still.. nice to know some baggy jeaned hipster somewhere's willing to pay big for it (and there were 29 bidders when I last checked).
Painted the living room completely white yesterday, and it looks great. A vast improvement on the previous sickly yellowy rent-a-beige anyhow. It took me Marvyn and Cecilia about four hours to do, and was actually quite enjoyable as some relatively no-brain jobs sometimes are. We listened to music as we were doing it – Animal Collective and Hi Records soul compilations, mainly, which I'd heartily reccomend to anyone doing likewise, and the time flew by. I got a pair of 'designer' paint spattered jeans out of it too.
It almost might not have happened too, as Cecilia went to get the paint rollers in the morning, Camberwell Church Street was cordoned off by police 'Do Not Cross' lines due to a shooting at the bottom of Grove Lane. This kind of thing seems to happen slightly to often for my liking on my street – Flashback to 2005 when me and Jess were talking in the living room only to hear rauccous sounds outside. What's this? Oh it's a phalanx of black suited police wih machine-guns wrestling two yardies to the ground. With dogs. While being filmed by CID. Oh. The best bit was that both the rudeboys were staring straight up at us from the ground when we looked out the window. Special.
Anyway. Too much merderation for my tastes. I laugh at Camberwell's eccentricities sometimes, but these eccentricities have as yet to pull a shank on me at the bus-stop, so I do so from a admittedly privileged position.
Top-tip two's probably keep your eyes out then, seen?
I'm sat up, it's twenty to five, the last of whichever housemate it was's syrupy orangle licqeur(?) is gone. The last Dire Straits tune fades to silent on my iTunes. Might be painting the living room tomorrow. Goodnight.
So just what is it that makes good friday so different, so damn good?
No work for starters, all tickety boo thus far then.
But what exactly do people do with their Bank Holidays? Anyone not involved in traditional bank holiday pursuits such as going to B&Q or the pub might like to do what I've been doing. "And what's that?" I hear you scream with such intensity that your spittle temporarily blinds me.
Well. Woke up this morning and read a bit of The Incal 2, by Moebius, then ate breakfast with Marvyn watching some Second World War comedy film thing called Ensign Pulver. It's a kind of shades of Sgt Bilko type affair set on a ship, and not actually that good. Most of what I saw involved the hapless Ensign Pulver ogling a bevvy of nurses stationed on the island they're anchored off – and comic hi-jinks ensue etc.
Then went and bought a scanner in town on Tottenham Court Road. Going to test drive it in a minute. I also got the latest All Star Superman by the team of Grant Morrison and my fave 'drawerer' Frank Quitely. He' really is almost too good. There's so much detail in each of his panels that each issue demands a reread just to drink up the little touches dotted around. We3 that they also collaborated on is also rather splendid. cyborg pets in exo-skeletal armour – what's not to like?
And now, I'm writing this, obviously. But just before then, I was staring at assorted bits of paper relating to banking, and trying in my own limited way to make some sense of them. The ongoing saga of me setting up as a limited company gets more tortuous each passing week. At the minute I've got a load of tax stuff from the Inland Revenue, who've managed to mis-spell the name of my company – a company I've as yet to invoice anyone for any money with, I might add. I really want to get this moving, but at the minute I'm just waiting for the final documents and information relating to it all to arrive. The woman I've dealt with at HSBC said she'd leave the relevant papers at the Baker Street branch yesterday, which I duly hiked to from Tottenham Court Road on my lunch break only to find she hadn't. I duly wheeled 180 degrees and trudged back – and that was my lunch break. Anyway. Also emailed Amnesty International to bitch at them about one of their shifty tabard wearing street people.
And later? who knows. Probably involves food at some point, but what I'm not sure exactly. I think the oven's broken now. but nothing in this fucking flat works anyway. Not even me today! Hah.
Just bought a Kinder Egg, which contained a 'haunted tree' which was something I never thought I'd need, but there you are.
I slept for two and a half hours last night, which combined with five or so the previous night makes for about seven hours out of the last fifty whatever. I actually went to bed early (for me) at 11, and fell asleep to at two, only to wake up at half four, and not be able to get back to sleep.
This has been going on for a few weeks now, and it's really starting to wear me out. I just really want to sleep a good nights sleep before work, but am seemingly incapable.
I feel wired, and somewhat stupid. I keep on making really crass mistakes, and am almost too tired to care. Yesterday on leaving the office I kept pushing on the door until the girl on reception gently said, "just pull it sweetheart".
I realised I'd been reading the "push" printed graphic on the outside of the glass (in reverse, of course)
Mentally, I feel on the level of watching lots of daytime tv, and that's about it. Countdown would probably seem as tough as quantum physics right now though.
If I can just get through tomorrow, I might just hibernate over Easter and not leave my bed.. In the meantime though, any sleeping tips?
Well, monday rolls around again, and though I wasn't booked to work anywhere, here I be, in the studio of an agency on Rathbone Street. Looks OK. I'm told I'll be working on direct mail shortly. Hmm. Can't complain, or more accurately, turn the work down if it's offered, but I had planned on sorting some other stuff out. Like cleaning the flat. Woo.
Last week I was back at the dadvertising agency on Dean Street, which came and went, moderately painlessly. Lots of mocking up to do, which was slightly tedious – One of the slight perks of doing such things these days is that people don't use spraymount anymore, so you might live a bit longer anyway. I wasn't sleeping very well though, and one of the corollary risks of running on empty like this while working with scalpels was lopping an errant thumb tip off in an especially enthusiastic bout of trimming. I've jus checked though, and all digits remain intact, including that all important middle digit, which is handy because..
I did find out this morning though that I wasn't getting paid overtime for the evening work I did, which takes the piss a bit, as it was only time and a half, and I only did two and a half hours anyway. Gee thanks, tightwads. The girl at the agency put it down to them being a small agency and not having allowances for overheads like that etc etc.. blah blah.
Weekend was ok. Went to a Spanish place on Hanway Street, where I drank lots of bottles of Spanish beer, which somone else was paying for on their tab, then promptly regretted it when it came to divvying up at the end.
Saturday went to Clapham North for drinks, then wound up going to a nondescript party up the road off Camberwell Grove. Someone was playing somewhat nondescript drum and bass, so I stood by the decks and worked my way through two plates of free pizza (leaving the crusts) before vanishing bedward.
Nearly Easter, then. Not sure what I'm doing for it. Might go back to Manchester, but I'm not sure. The appeal of sleeping on couches for an entire weekend has started to lose some of its native charm recently.. not sure why but I definitely like waking up with two pences and cig butts stuck to my face less than I did a couple of years ago. On the other hand, I'm not sure who's going to still be around Londres for the festivities, so if there isn't anyone, perhaps I should get organising a solo easter egg hunt for myself. Or maybe dress as a giant rabbit and befriend the alcoholics and nutters of Camberwell.
Which reminds me. Whilst walking up Camberwell Church Street the other day I saw a Rasta guy dressed in black with 'DJ SILVER PRINCE' written on the back of his jacket in tippex. The cross bars of his bicycle had some kind of makeshift soundsystem attached, and though he wasn't playing anything, one could only surmise what he might if he had chosen too. My money's on some scratchy 70s dub (or the theme from fraggle rock) Either way, it's times like this you wish you had a camera, or one that worked anyway.
Well went back to Manchester, fleetingly, and got my ears lowered as I generally do in those colder wetter climes.
The place I go is a The City Barbers, just a few doors up from The Roadhouse. It's run by a lovely guy called Jim, who's started to remember me. He's a pretty unpretentious type of guy, as happy dispensing short-back-and-sides or ceaser-cuts as anything, I suspect, but dude knows how to style it too. After all, this was the man that gave me a semi-mullet briefly in 2004, and happy I was with it too.
I used to go in on my lunch break. Once when I went in, he was scarfing down a curry, which he promptly ate to give me a cut. He'll also typically light up a cig mid-session, which he'll ocasionally retrieve from the ashtray with thick fingers, whilst gesticulating with the scissors held in the other hand "Getting these in for the ban next year mate". He's brown, slightly wrinkled, paunchy, a Manc.
He always asks how work's going, and tells me how his kid's doing, and narrates tales of the ex-wife with whom he's embroiled in some long running Kramer-esque feud. He never talks to me about football, which either means he doesn't like it himself, or some barberly sixth sense, (perhaps innate, perhaps bestowed by a device concealed in the chair) lets him know I'm not really bothered myself, and indeed find the ritual of confessing to a lack of interest in football as unrewarding as queueing to get frowned at. Either of these possibilities are fine with me.
Sometimes his patter is so good natured and unselfconcious I have to fight to control my laughter, quaking silently in the chair. He doesn't seem bothered though, and inevitably rambles on, about where he's taking his kid next year, or how he's always wanted to run a bar.
And a bargain too, at £9, for a gents haircut I don't think I'd get better than at. say, Toni and Guy (not that I've been). I tipped him a quid last time, and he said thanks, and then I left, with a colder neck, to return no doubt in a couple of months.