Monday, November 26, 2007

Old School

I traveled down to London yesterday after being invited to see Grand Central at the Islington Carling Academy.

I arrived about an hour before the sound check, just enough time to grab a beer and have a quick chat. Paul had to go off and help move stuff so I spent half an hour with Pippa. It was a bit difficult at first but we eventually got chatting about travel and life.

After a bit of messing about Paul, Jules, James and his girlfriend joined us for a drink and bit of a chat in the bar whilst they waited on the drummer to arrive.

Once the band were assembled it was off to the Watching Paul and the band set up. There was a really officious security guard who seemed intent on kicking us out, fortunately the event organiser was kind enough to hand out some passes. I have never had a pass to a show before it was quiet fun taking all the stuff to the back stage room.

Plenty of people turned out to see the gig, including Paul's Dad, Stepsister, his new housemate and Pippa's Australian housemates. They were really cool people, I had almost forgot how fun Aussies are, full of energy and excitement. I was a little scared of Paul's house mate he was very very drunk standing next to me. I was a little scared!

Grand Central kicked off the evening with a bang. It was the first time I hear him Paul play with a band since Australia, and the first time they played with James the new guitarist. I must say these are the these guys were much much better, much more in tune than revolution 9 and better musicians than the guys from Austrlia. They really took his songs and filled them with music. You could really tell they were enjoying themselves, Paul was exuberant, his presence filling the stage. The rest of the band were playfull all giving it there all. I also got a birthday shout out which was really exciting :)

I think the real testament to the gig was the round of applause at the end, it was so passionate, not just from friends and family but from the crowd. There were a couple of music people in the ranks and they both very much enjoyed it, the female one was dancing around. In fact everyone I spoke to afterwards really enjoyed the gig, it was mass of compliments and superlative being bandied around.

Paul spent a while chatting and meeting people so I sat with Pippa and the Aussies having a chat and a few drinks, listening to the other acts on in the evening. Once Paul had fulfilled his duties we all went for a Chinese meal. I was a very tasty buffet, I must say I eat more than my fill, the food was really good, (and I was very hungry long time since lunch).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Morning

Its been a while since I wrote a gonzo post, mostly I have written some time after the event, tonight is like the old days. I just got back from Didsbury.

It's been a strange day really. It was pouring down when I woke up so I decided to have a day of rest and Mario on the Wii. I also had to arrange something to do this evening. Originally I planned to go to Pesto the restaurant we ate at before the Foo Fighters but on ringing them, not only would they only do bookings for parties over (there were 7 of us) but the were full. I haven't organised a gathering ofr a while and had forgotten how difficult it is, messaging people to see if they will come, organising the place and the time, telling people when to turn up, giving directions it was all quiet stressful. I wanted to go somewhere a bit different but I ended up choosing Casa Tapas in Didsbury.

In amongst theorganisation I had several other phone calls, the first was from Lisa. She was out in Syndey and sounded a little drunk she wished and in fact sung happy birthday to me. Which was both surreal and wonderful, otherwise she sounded a little unhappy, out on a friends 21st and feeling a little old. I can really empathise I feel pretty old myself! I hope her night picked up. The second phone call I got was from Maia, she remembered my birthday was close and called me to wish my a happy birthday, have a chat and catch up. It was really nice and totally unexpected.

I went to Casa Tapas at about 7.30, we had the Banquet, the waiter was a bit funny about it, only a few of us wanted the banquet but he told us it was an all or nothing thing. In the menu it said for three or more people he made everyone get it. Fortunately they did a vegetarian version for Holly. We had a really fun chat an the food was tasty. I was a little dubious of the service, they didnt refrsh the plates between courses nor were they very speedy in taking drinks orders. The food was delicious though. I especially liked the mushrooms in garlic sauce and the meatballs. The aubergine with cheese was pretty special too.

After the meal Jo and Holly left, the rest of us headed to the picture and piano for a few drinks. Phil started us as we ment to go on ordering Mohjitos. We dranks and chatted. Becky was trying to encourage Phil and I too go chat up women but I was too drunk and totally lacking in confidence, even after all the rum. Becky managed to take her own advice though and spent the evening slowly getting with some guy. Eventually seizing the opportunity and going up to chat to him, I was quiet impressed but I guess she is a girl used to getting what she wants.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I went for a couple of drinks with Nick this evening. Foo Fighters apart I haven't really seen very much of him since he moved in with Brie. He dragged me to the Governors house in Cheadle Hulme and sneakily manoeuvred us toward the TV so he could watch the football (England Versus Croatia). I don't really like football very much but I suppose it was England so I acquiesced and we sat near the TV.

We were a little late on the start of the match and were a little bit bemused to find England already 2-0 down. I sat through the rest of the match almost in horror as England fumbled about eventually losing 3-2 at home to Croatia, oh dear. People were quick to blame the manager but they team as a whole were rubbish even I could see the mistakes the total lack of form.

Whilst not watching the football I was discussing buying houses with Nick. He gave me some good advice and kindly offered to help check places out for me which is a very kind gesture.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mario Galaxy

Phil came round today, the first thing he said to me was, "Sorry John I am going to make you spend £30's". He wasn't wrong either. A few minutes later I was playing Mario Galaxy on my Wii and loving it. What a game its so intuitive, the attention to details is incredible the levels are interesting and varied, from the traditional stomping on enemies to flying around like a bee or swimming in the ocean.

I had to buy it, so Phil and I went out on mission to buy a copy, Toys R Us were having a special. It has been years since I last set foot in one of their store, I have to say I found the place an overpowering labyrinth of consumerism. I would be scared to bring my children there, probably they would wear parents down to the point they would buy anything just to escape.

As we were leaving Andy text messaged and invited Phil and I over for an evening of Wii. It sounded like a plan so after a short sojourn at the data center we headed to Abito.

We sent out for Chinese food and while we waited for the delivery we warming up with Tennis and bowling. When the food we were feeling really hungry. Fortunatley arrived in those American style boxes. They look quiet petite, but are actually like little tardises. They hold a size able amount of food. I was very happy with the vermicelli, it was way more than I could consume.

We returned to the couch all feeling somewhat bloated, our hunger more than sated. Next up was Mario, we took turns hurtling through the levels all enjoying the weird and wonderful level designs. I also enjoyed a few beers :) Overall a great game, great night.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Infected Mushroom

A strange thing started off yesterday evening. I was booked to go to a blood donation after work, so I turned up at 5.40 for my appointment and was asked the usual questions, the final one being have you been out of the country in the last 12 months. I answered yes to China and Turkey. The nurse got all twitchy and started thumbing through a book of places then finally asked when I went I told her May and she said sorry you cant donate today you might have malaria. I was a little surprised given I was told I wouldn't need anti malarial shots when I visited the nurse before I visited China. I have also made a donation since I returned from China, so I found it very weird to be refused.

I planned to go round to Martina's she had organised a meal / DVD night with the other language assistants at her place. I headed to Cheadle picking up some Ice cream and a few drinks on the way. I was the first to arrive and we chatted about stuff. She had been backing the kitchen had a pleasant cookie smell.

The others arrived about half an hour later, a French guy Damien, and two Chinese people. One of the Chinese guys Michael took charge of the cooking frying up some rice and eggs. It was a pretty nice meal. After which we had a chat about languages and the perception of different cultures. Damien was amused at my typical English lack of language ability.

The Chinese guys had to leave early as they wanted to go see Liverpool in the morning. Damian gave them a lift home, when he returned we watched a film called Chronos. It was about a man who found a beetle which would keep him alive but at a price. I found it a little confusing because of the language (it was Spanish with English subtitles) but also because I wasn't much in the mood for films. We seemed to spend more time talking and joking then watching.

It was fun though many amusing moments. The only weird part of the evening was when the Martina's friend arrived, the were two girls and a bloke. Apparently both the girls fancy the guy, I have no idea why he was fat and seemed rather ignorant in the few sentenced we exchanged. It seemed a little weird to me putting up three people you hardly know who then go off and do there own thing, but that is her prerogative.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Everybody Knows That You Are Insane

Some days you everything seems possible, it seems like no matter what the problem its surmountable. Today was a little like that for me, at least the majority of it. I managed to solve a major problem for Phil, and some things at work finally clicked.
It left me feeling pretty happy this evening, I even received a little reward from Phil in the form of a couple of pints at the Orange Grove.

I also managed to finished my current book "The catcher in the rye". I enjoyed it the main character reminded me a little of myself, albeit a more affluent and socially outgoing version. I understand his obsession with the falseness of displayed by the majority of people. The hypocrisies and downright falseness displayed by the a great deal of people is incredibly depressing. However tonight I refuse to let such things dent my good mood.

The temperature has plummeted this evening. I am sitting in my room close to almost shivering from the cold. The heating ticks off about 11. I have spent the last couple of hours looking at places to buy. I tried both the local papers and online. Unfortunately the choice was a little limited but with my birthday coming up I have decided it high past time I did something to move on. I have been following the same path for over three years now so it time to make some changes and re-evaluate. One of those changes is moving out its going to take a few months to sort thing out but I am moving in the right direction now. There are some more change to make but that is for another blog.

Monday, November 12, 2007

For What It's Worth

Today was a struggle, I feel a little like I am at sea swimming against the tide, no matter how much I raise my game I am still going to drown in the end. I struggle on though getting through the days and weeks trying to get my work done.

I went to the gym after work jogged for about 50 minutes on the treadmill. I was disgusting by the time I was finished covered in perspiration. Fortunately I did have the good fortune to be on a running machine next to an extremeley attractive young lady which made the process somewhat more tolerable.

I feel pretty awful today though, I am not sure exactly why, mostly frustration with work and a lack of progress in life I suppose. I really need to move out of home I feel like I cant breath hear anymore, my parents are always around they stifle me. They never really have any faith in my abilities which is greatly depressing especially when others do, to them I will always be a little child.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Devil

Another Sunday, another hangover, more blurry memories. Last night I went round to Martin house for a Firework display and BBQ. It was a great evening well attended by many friends.
I had great fun listening to Becky's tails of bad dates, she also looked totally horrified to see Martins deconstructed front front. To be honest I had no idea how much he had taken it apart, it really is back to basics at the moment. Bruce and Nina, turned up she had some of her homemade fudge, it was excellent if dangerously fattening. Martin was his usual exuberant self, Endo seemed Jolly even Martins sister seamed to enjoy herself. Jo and Holly turned up I dropped off his new pc after making another trip to Aria to get a replacement motherboard, it finally seems to have solved the problems I have been having with it (touches wood).

I lost my usual BBQ master chief role to Simon who seemed to have great fun cooking away. It gave me a chance to go mingle so it wasn't so bad to be relegated. I hung around the super heated air radiating from the chimnenea, Martin really loves to get a good fire going!

Most of us brought some fireworks, though I don't feel like it was as much of a show as last year. It was still very funny though, I had a most enjoyable evening.

I only took one photo on my phone, left my camera at home like a fool :S
bonfire at martins

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Pretender

Did something pretty different this evening and went to a book reading. I had never been to one before, so I really didn't know what to expect. The girl from Japanese class invited me, her German network were all going.

The reading was by the author of Angela's Ashes Frank McCourt. He was a very interesting guy he told us a little about his life before giving a shore reading from his new children's book. He had a very powerful personality and waxed lyrical about how his miserable childhood gave him the material for his book.

I had a most enjoyable time listening to him, I would like to say he inspired me to work harder on my book. Unfortunately I feel quiet the opposite, he was so eloquent, so good at drawing characters I don't think I can ever get to that sort of level.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Remember Remeber

Foreign friends often find it strange that every year we British burn an effigy on top of a huge fire, then setting off a load of fireworks. They are even more amazed to find the celebration is based around the fact that a man named Guy Fawkes failed to blow up the houses of Parliament. There is something very British about the celebration of failure.

As usual I headed to the Woodford Community bonfire, its the only event of worth since the Woodford air show stopped. Joining me were Phil, Bruce and Nina. They parked at my house and we all walked down to the show together.

We found a nice place round the back. Not too close the the speakers which were blaring out music far far too loudly. Becky and some of her friends joined us. It was the first time I have seen her properly since she and Nick went there separate ways.

The display was pretty damn good, lots of big explosions lighting up the nights sky. There was a slight moment of Panic, when after a large volley of fireworks and despite the best efforts of the organisers the wind blew the fireworks over the crowd. This meant the hot ash fallout started to rain into the crowd, people went from "ooo" that's night to "OOO, run!" within moments. Fortunately the ash had cooled enough not to cause a mass panic and no one was trampled to death.

After the show we all headed to the rather less crowded British Legion round the corner. They had been rather enterprising and shown let people watch from there (their view probably just as good as the actual community centre). We had a couple of drinks and chewed the fat for a while.

I walked back with Becky and her friends then finished the final level on resident evil. I was still awake so I watched a film called "This is England", about 1980s Britain and the rise of the Skin head. After the loss of his father one little lad seeks solace with an increasingly violent group of skin heads. It highlighted how such radical groups could use people fears and basically offer a friendly environment, just so long as your face fits. Its a challenging film but definitely worth a watch.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Long Road To Ruin

What a weekend, havent't had so much fun for a long long time! Friday night I headed out to Bramhall with Phil. We had a chat and a few pints in the Orange Tree. Ian and Paul joined us after their Gypsy's playground band practise. Phil and I were already on our way to drunktown. We went for a drink in Belgua then into the Graze, to be honest by the end of the night I was so drunk I could hardly work out who I was. It was a funny evening though, I don't usually think of Bramhall as a going out place but I quiet enjoyed it. Some photos taken from my phone here

Saturday was a great day, at least after I recovered from last nights drinking binge. I spent the morning and early afternoon reading and dozing preparing myself for tonight's gig. Its nearly 18 months since I last saw the Foo Fighters at Lancashire Cricket club. That was an amazing gig so I have been eagerly awaiting this one.

Nick cunningly managed to get seated tickets for the gig, he timed the length of the phone call getting through the automated menus and called up exactly that amount of time before the phone lines opened enabling him to get the tickets. The standing ones sold out in minutes.

There were quiet a few of us going, Nick, Bruce, Bruces workmate Stephen, Nick, Mike and some of Nicks friends, I didn't quiet get the names of :( bad John. We met up in the Moon Under The Water beforehand for a drink then headed for food. Heading to a Mediterranean restaurant called Porto. We all chose the tapas special "Fiesta". it was excellent. £15 got load of tapas dishes to share and they were all very tasty. Calamaris, Chozio sausage, pizza olives, bread pizza, meat balls, salad, feta and steak tomatoes, I was very satisfied.

We still had a little time to kill so we headed to the Slug and Lettuce for a drink because the drinks were so expensive in the MEN. Phil used all his skills to muscle his way to the front and I was right there behind him. We managed to get about 4 people from the front, it was amazing. Watching the band so closely. We were buffeted and bashed about but it was all worth it, during most of the show we were literally meters from the band :)

The band were on excellent form, they played some of there new album some classics. Then changed tack a bit moved to whole band to a stage setup more centrally in the arena playing a acoustic set. The sound was fantastic and it was a really nice chill out, they ended playing Everlong. They played it partially acoustically building to a full rock out crescendo.

One thing they did that was quiet strange was bring a kid on stage to play Baker Street with the band. I have no idea who he was but for an 11 year old he totally rocked!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

15 Step

Today was an interesting day of work, as part of the new more inclusive team I was invited to a Buzz Session meeting. The aim was to impart the new business strategy of mission control. I think one of the IT lad encapsulated it best when he said "It's just all common sense really isn't it". Personally I didn't enjoy the thinly veiled psychological programming, presenting us with 5 options, 4 of which are negative but have components which you are meant to make you think yeah I don't want to be like that I want to be an effective follower. In fact all the messages were presented as stark choices basically your on board on message or your out. In my opinion and experience life, motivation, and reasoning is very rarely so clear cut.

I did learn a few things from the meeting though, it let me see that sometimes managers really have no clue about what is going on, they need the feedback and push back from staff in order to be more effective.

Nanowrimo started today so I started to write my first novella / novel. I am not sure how much I will manage to get though this month but it should be fun trying to pen off a few chapters. I think it might mean a slight slow down in the number of blog post though please bear with me and hopefully there will be something other than my rants to read ;)