Thirty Thousand Streets

Monday, June 30, 2008

Web Ding

Ha ha sorry I meant wedding, cause this weekend I was up in Lincoln, for my old friend and Drinking Buddy, Ade's wedding.

I'd never been to Lincoln before but it's a pretty little market town, built around a hill – the only hill in Lincoln I'm told – which is otherwise as flat as a witch's tit. Yet in spite of it consequently being the site of about a zillion old airfields, Lincoln's not seemingly all that easily accessible. To get there I had to connect by jumping on a single carriage train that appeared at Newark Station like the Hogwarts Express, at a platform advertised with a sign the size of the Guardian Guide.

Anyway Lincoln was grand – the more London makes me want to kill me or someone else, the better it is to escape to idyllic, cobble-streeted zones like this, where the most modern thing is the Topshop in the ubiquitous precinct. Which is a good thing. (I must admit though, even though I didn't really come to shop I did have a nose round some decent second hand bookshops).

Anyway, after a few beers on Friday, the day of the wedding came, and I got duly kitted out in the kind of suit people only ever wear for weddings, including a Jacket with tails, waistcoat and flouncey tie etc. I quite enjoyed cufflinks though.

The ceremony was nice and sweet and secular and completely devoid of any kind of religious trappings aside from the tones of the 'National 12 Bells Striking Contest' who were having their annual showdown in Lincoln cathedral across the way, so in that respect, we kind of got a two-for-one deal. In fact, immediately after the photos, we were further regailed by the sound of Status Quo warming up for a gig in the castle grounds next door, and a flyover by a spitfire and a Lancaster Bomber, so all in all the auspices were good.

But all this was kind of dramatic build up the sound every Best Man dreads, the clinking of knife against wine glass, speech time!

One phrase I've never really got into using much is "Shitting it". Ocassionally I'll be sat on the tube and I'll overhear some media-career lass say to the mate/colleague sat beside her something like: "Yeah I was absolutely crapping myself", and it all just seems kind of wrong, but I suppose if ever I was to adopt such a phrase, then might have been a good time. My heart felt like a game of Space Attack!

Anyway, like so many things in life, it's all about the rythym, and after a bit of a trembly start I got more into the flow of it, and before I knew it, it was over. A lot of people complimented me anyway, saying it was really good, and I think was too, but then, I also think it's a bit like the speech at the closing of the Olympics, where whatever dude it is always says "Truly, this has been the best Olympics ever" (apart from the one in Atlanta, which everyone agrees was wazz).

After that it was your buffet and reception at the hotel round the corner, which was about as wedding-y as they come. I really like weddings, but they are pretty odd events in any social calendar, replete with the kind of things you only ever get to see at weddings – someone's gran dancing with a five year old bridesmaid for instance, or a web designer in a suit.

The DJ was cheesier than an family-pack of wotsits too, and after promising the bride and bridegroom he was going to 'keep it real' with lots of Motown and disco, proceeded to drop what I imagine was a carbon copy of the last wedding set he played (and the one before that, etc). Which was actually fine, as I don't think some cold-assed minimal would have fitted the bill really, though I do think he made a mistake dropping Billy Jean second! There were a few raised eyebrows amongst the attending DJs after that one, I can tell you.

And Sunday was a bit of a 'mare, in that I was really, really hungover, and had to get back. Not so bad though, as I got a lift, but bad enough.

Monday now. Been working today on some pitch work for a lingerie account which I don't reckon is as fun as it sounds. I've been hit by a large-ish phone bill, as although I'm supposedly the only one who uses it in the flat, there are 108 'non-itemised' calls on there (whatever that means, I didn't make them). Annoyingly, my spidey-sense for this kind of thing can dimly perceive that it's 'one of those shared house things' that will never be satisfactorily resolved, and the closest I'll get will be a nonplussed BT employee answering me in the negative from a call centre in Mumbai. Thanks.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Best Man?

I certainly hope so. Off to a wedding in Lincoln now. Cheerio.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My most popular photo

The internet is a funny old place.

I have a Flickr account, and while I do like taking the odd photo, I can't pretend I'm particularly amazing at it, and nor have I sought to publicise what I do to any huge degree – which is probably why the bulk of my photos probably have under ten views.

The other day, whilst out a wandering I snapped this photo, after noting a slightly more than passing resemblance to the Edvard Munch series, The Scream... Scream
...and posted it on a group associated with a blog 'faces in places' (which it was duly featured on), before leaving on the Friday for Ireland.

I returned to discover that it's been picked up on 'Explore', and some 'Digg' style link aggregator, and has 36,000 odd views. At the time of writing, this has gone up to 78,241. The next photo along? 17 views.

I don't know what to draw from this, apart from if you get people talking – you generate hype. And if you could harness that hype, you'd probably have it made.

That and people like pictures that simultaneously resemble expressionist paintings and dodgy wiring.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Despite it being a hop, skip and a jump away, I'd never been to Dublin, so I was pleased to be going for my old friend Ade's stag do, which took place in Dublin the weekend just gone.

Dublin is something of a chiched destination for such an event to be sure but when I mooted Belfast, our source of inside info from the Emerald Isle itself said (and I quote) "I wouldn't consider going to get smashed in Dublin unless you actually want to get smashed up".

So we reverted to stereotype and went to Dublin.

We set off on Friday morning, a motley crew of advertising sales execs, web designers, Swedish web designers, jazz keyboardists and myself, and kicked off proceedings with a pint at Stanstead Airport at 11 am, which got the ball rolling nicely.

Other than that though, it was relatively tame. No drugs/stripping/prostitution/murder etc. though we did drink rather a lot. Oh, and no matching polo shirts with iron on transfers.

Dublin's a bit of an odd place, and I struggled to get a grasp of what it was really all about though. Nice enough to look at in the day – with an impressive portfolio of historical architecture – which my sources tell me has more overall continuity than, say, London, due large patches of it not being flattened by the Luftwaffe in the 2nd World war. But it did also look a bit like a large English town with a river and bridges (Shrewsbury anyone?) rather than a bustling metropolis. It also had green post boxes, which was a momentarily diverting novelty, and I can reveal that the pedestrian crossings emit a rapid-fire glockenspiel-esque sound which Orbital sampled for one of their tracks in the mid nineties.

It also had a slightly trashy resort feel in the evenings that weekend, what with all the vacationing inebriates staggering round, grunting at one another. I had sort of anticipated this though, and to be fair, we were at least part of the symptom, even if we hadn't chosen to wear outsized Guinness hats and puke in a fountain somewhere.

And be-jaysus it was expensive. I'd been warned about this but I think the 'penny dropped' when, shortly after we checked in, we went to get a bite to eat. Having opted for an restaurant selling traditional Irish 'fayre', I chose a 'Boxty' which is basically a filled pancake, which cost about sixteen quid. This was pretty much par for the course really, and while I can appreciate that people have got to make a living, the portions weren't hugely generous, and I couldn't quite kick the feeling that they'd seen us (the Brits) coming.

The boozers were pretty good mind – I really liked the John Kehoe on Saturday afternoon – and as for the Guiness (and Murphy's, and Beamish...) well, it tasted like another drink really – cool and ridiculously smooth.

Culturally, well, it wasn't that kind of holiday, though I did find a gallery/exhibition space round the corner from our hotel where they had a graphic art show on, consisting of posters responding to the brief of 'Flags and Anthems'. There was some excellent stuff and I bought a couple there and then.

We headed back Sunday, which was just in time. Sharing an apartment with six other guys smoking, sweating, drinking and farting has got a pretty limited sell by date really, and by that time I really wanted to go home and sleep properly. Easier said than done however, and the flight was delayed for about two hours, during which one of the people on our flight helpfully managed to spew all up and down the concourse. Which was nice.

Chilling out tonight. My housemates are out drinking at the Hermits Cave (sic) in the aftermath of the Camberwell Arts College degree show, and my housemate Jess didn't seem to be able to comprehend why I didn't want to go and booze in a pub stuffed to the gills with pissed up art students, but then, I did all that years ago.

Monday, June 09, 2008


This weekend just gone I schlepped up to 'Gunchester' on the Iron Horse, to screeprint some t-shirts. It's something I've been meaning to do fo ages, and I was assisted in this by general all round good guy Keith at 78 Plate Apparel Printing, who as a fairly long time acquaintance allowed me to sit in on a process I've only ever previously experienced from an art-print perspective.

Despite some initial teething issues involving the transparency size, with a little of my Photoshop nous (and a lot of his printing expertise) we'd soon got the plates exposed and were rattling off the garments themselves, which I'll probably be selling through my website very shortly (watch this space).

So once again, big thanks to the man like Keith for all his help, and if you're looking for some assistance in that area from a very reasonable guy, you should do yourself a favour and check out his

In other news I quite enjoyed being back up North for the weekend. And as I strode from my brother's house in Heaton Norris over to Didsbury Road to catch the 23 to Chorlton, I was reminded why people choose to live in the suburbs – they're so damn quiet! which is of course something that never struck whilst I actually lived in them; being the hip young urbanite that I perceived myself to be.

Anyway, I caught up with some friends and generally had a buzz, and at the end, as I sat in my brother's back yard in the Sunday sun drinking coffee, while he cleaned his mountain bike with a toothbrush, I actually slightly regretted having to leave so early, to catch the train at a quarter to four.

But time and tide and all that.

Back and work today (and until Friday, when it's Ade's Stag do) which has been fine, except the lovely weather has brought the onset of my relatively infrequent, yet immoderately irritating hayfever.

It started off OK, but actually built to a climax at aroud five o'clock when I knocked off, by which time my eyes were itching and watering and I was sneezing in stacatto. The warm evening air felt like a kind of peppery soup as I staggered through Soho, struggling not to breath in through a nose displaying a reservoir-like capacity for liquid I was hitherto unaware of.

I've found a small tube of spray stuff in a draw now, so fingers crossed, if worst comes to worst tomorrow should be fine.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Today I saw a waterlogged sign sellotaped to a poop bin in Camberwell Green, that advertised a 'Staffie neutering service'.

"Staffie neutering?"

I mused

"why not just say 'dog neutering".

Then I remembered – in South London Staffordshire Bull Terriers pretty much are dogs, and if you were to present your average home grown South London teen with an Alsation (or even common or garden mongrel) they'd probably think it was a wolf.

But Staffordshire Bull Terriers are pretty ubiquitous round here – everywhere you turn there's another of these squat muscular canines straining at a leash with a tracksuit in tow. I can't quite understand how they have become the status symbol that they are, but I'm guessing it has something to do with them looking 'a bit like Pit Bulls' – hard and 'street' – the pet equivalent of a New Era baseball cap with the 59/Fifty circular gold sticker left attached (to a peak as flat as the Netherlands).

As my esteemed colleague Zeno Cosini once surmised, the only way Staffordshire Bull Terriers could possibly become more desirable to rudeboys was if they came with a built-in MP3 Player and mobile phone, sort of like a mobile cyborg entertainment system with an attack function, purpose built 'for da streetz'.

I find it slightly depressing that people buy these animals as a sort of auxillary snarl – to orbit their heels like one of the modular weapons from R-Type and I guess I feel pretty sorry for the dogs. A friend was recently looking after a Staffordhire-cross pup, and it had a lovely temperament, so it's sad that many of them are probably reared to act as a fierce-looking accessory. Slightly depressing, and, like any fad (e.g. cabbage patch dolls) slightly odd... You wonder why more people don't think, hang on, do I really want a hard looking dog? Boring! I'll never get on any Flickr 'Loldogs' group that way – I'll get a Shnauser instead, or a wet-eyed Spaniel mayhap.

Anyway. As far as I'm concerned, it's all about the English Bull Terrier. Now that's a dog – and you don't look like a wannabe DMX if you go for a stroll with one of those...