Saturday, January 29, 2005


January 29 (Saturday): Today was a day I had been looking forward to for a very long time. At the Colchester Arts Centre this evening is a John Peel tribute show made up of local bands that once recorded a session for him. It’s a genuine shame that Hirameka could not do this show considering they did two Peel sessions; this event should have reflected some gratitude from Gringo Records. It is a free event so as a result it will be packed and a lot of people will be out including Richard coming down from London for the show. Likewise Mark will be in attendance and so will Chris and Sofie.

After doing the newspaper run otherwise it is a pretty normal, stock Saturday sat waiting for the event to happen. I spend the day tidying my flat in anticipation of Richard’s stay and pulling together some CDs with view to possibly DJing at the gig as Staff asked me yesterday. With the prospect of it being a full house though this is a very scary prospect.

In the evening I meet up with Mark and head to the venue where we are plainly some of the first people to turn up.

Slowly the others turn up and when Richard arrives from London he has just come from watching the movies Sideways with his housemates. He says how the movie is pretty emotional and at the end his friend has to take some time to himself.

The Arts Centre looks great this evening. Behind the stage is a huge video backdrop playing a documentary about John Peel which has the audience transfixed at his greatness. Some people get more emotionally involved than others.

The first band to play are THE SECRET HAIRDRESSER performing in front of a huge backdrop of Peel’s head. There is something incredibly likeable this band, something reminiscent of Urusei Yatsura, chunky but clean and with some kind of sense of adventure and charm attached to their set.

In order to fit in so many acts (and a Steve Lamacq DJ set) this evening the bands are doing short sets which keeps things light and zippy.

Next comes Adam and his CATS AGAINST THE BOMB set. By this point the venue is now almost full and with so many baying people squashed towards the front below him Adam puts on a true industrial sounding heavy set in order to knock aside any detractors. Wearing his customary Hawaiian shirt there is a big sound applied to his set as he overcomes a potentially sceptical audience by pummelling them into the ground. With the photo of John Peel behind him looking on like the face in 1984 there is an almost Nine Inch Nails feel to the bubbling sound.

Following on the bill come the DAWN PARADE. Here is a band fucking designed to appeal to wet indie kids. With their sound some kind of filtered guitar schmindie you get the impression that their main inspirations and favourite bands are Suede and Placebo, in that order. They churn out their set, they pull poses and they attempt to look disjointed and rebellious while also concentrating really hard on getting every single part of their set right and perfect. This is so horribly well adjusted, adult approved rock. Why on earth did Peel see in them?

In contrast EXTREME NOISE TERROR rip up the stage, not caring what people think only that they think something. The two headed monster that screams out the vocals (and lyrics?) is what the spirit of Peel is truly about. In the audience today are some smart people in sensible clothes looking forward to seeing Steve Harley this evening. With their din EXTREME NOISE TERROR blow off their wigs. More times that not appears as if they are screaming direct into the face of the John Peel visual. The barrage rocks the old church and at this time seldom could there be a tribute so fitting.

By this point STEVE LAMACQ has turned up and just before he begins his DJ set he rolls out a short heartfelt tribute to John Peel of genuine affection and appreciation. He then tears into the first song of his set which is a Mudhoney song from the Peel Session Sub Pop compilation, a CD I have ripped songs from myself for DJing if required.

Some dance people, some people cry but all dispose memories of Peel onto proceedings. Behind us standing is the sour faced girl I always fancied when clubbing at this venue and for once she appears to be actually moved away from frown.

The night ends with STEVE HARLEY taking to the stage with his mate in tow playing guitar. He is well seasoned and well groomed professional. He shares anecdotes and oozes some kind of personality in the kind of form that appeals to the parents in attendance tonight. When he delivers “Come Make Me Smile” it is done so in manner that completely strips and mutates the song down to a level of personal connection with anyone in the audience looking to be touched. This truly displays the strength of the song and why over the years it has rightfully been acknowledged as a classic. His jokes about getting paid fail on the highest level (we are not his generation) but despite not being the most obvious of choices as a Peel act his performance feels sincere and true in its dedication.

As the night comes to an end Staff comes over to me to ask if I have “Teenage Kicks” in my CD collection. I nod vehemently, I truly hate that song. He looks at me disappointed before heading off elsewhere in search of a copy so that the night can end with tribute to the man with his favourite song.

After the Harley set Anthony from the Arts Centre hits the stage with a final appreciation and tribute for John Peel before the documentary rolls with “Teenage Kicks” playing and Anthony bowing in a “we’re not worthy” manner at the spectre of John Peel.

Quickly I get asked to DJ as Steve Lamacq has run out of tunes (more likely packed up for the evening) and as I grab the CD decks I open with “I Want You” by the Inspiral Carpets and Mark E. Smith. I say “hello” to Steve Lamacq and as ever I am pleasantly surprised/shocked when he remembers me. We do a brief bit of the usual chit chat before I remember that his dad may or may not have been an accountant in Halstead and I ask him if his dad has any jobs going.

At this point I am pulled away by a delighted punter shouting at me “is this the Inspiral Carpets?” See, I know my crowd and what they want. Sometimes.

My set is brief as the decks are switched off after the next song (The Fall’s version of “A Day In The Life” I think) in order for people to clear the venue.

Today was a great night, a true celebration that felt appropriate and well judged/measured.

After the show we linger outside the venue for a while, everyone freezing in the winter coats and the suffocation of a chilly January night. With this out comes the camera and many great memories are digitally caught for history. All reality of my current job situation is long forgotten for a brief evening and no worries are in sight.

We wind up in Sam’s Pizzeria where they make the finest pizza pies in Colchester. We sit eating facing mirrored walls with smiles glowing and true promise lying ahead.

We rule the school.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

January 19 (Wednesday): Who You Drivin’ Now. This morning I wake up on my parent’s sofa after a hard nights sleep. And as a result for the third morning this week I feel dog rough.

Today comes with the intention of leaving for home at midday, so I immediately jump on the computer asap. Today I am really stressed out, it all stems from having no job (thus no income) and now my impending surgical work tomorrow is really worrying me more than ever. I have known for months that this day was coming but I have almost been in total denial of it.

Once bonus for the day though, a man comes along in a van with Homer Simpson painted on the side of it and he mends our Sky telly and we are suddenly back in the game.

My mobile rings and it is a call from a man called Alex from the agency I went to in Chelmsford on Friday. He is calling from St Albans and doesn’t sound overly related to the gentleman I saw but he does appear to be coming up with what sounds a really good opportunity. Additionally he doesn’t sound like one of these on the hustle agency types; I almost have rapport with him. He asks me the stupid question of whether he should forward my CV to a practise in Colchester and it all ends on a high.

And then shortly afterwards my mobile rings again and it is the fine gentleman from Greenstead apologising for not being in touch but telling me that he is still on the job and that he might have a temp position on the cards on Ipswich. He asks me if I would be available for an immediate start, almost suggesting I go to the firm for an interview this afternoon at 3PM. I tell him about the delicate situation with the hospital and he nods verbally in recognition of the severity of the procedure. He is agency king!

Once more my phone rings and it is the guy from the first call. He tells me that he has spoken to the practise in Colchester and he moves on to asking me what kind of reputation my last employers have within Colchester. I say they’re probably high profile from being well presented on the social front and the agency guy mentions that the firm he has spoken to has made comment that my old firm has a bad reputation with them and around town but the agency assures me that this does not necessarily go against me (although I cannot imagine it would help me). The cap would fit though.

With the day now past midday, I officially find myself behind schedule as my phone beeps and Mark texts me asking if I want to go for lunch. I don’t really have the readies but certainly I could really do with hooking up on a day like this, a day when it would serve well to be talked down.

I wind up having lunch at the parents before heading off home to Colchester and at this point Dad begins showing me his latest batch of correspondence from his old employers in Colchester who are currently giving him the royal run around. Today however I really cannot deal with looking at this I just stare at the pages he gives me while I subtly begin to hyperventilate.

I originally set a meeting of time of 2PM for Mark but at 2PM I still find myself in Clacton. I tell him I’m going to be late and I tear out of Holland/Clacton and turn into Tesco Hythe to do a quick bit of shopping before bowling over to Mark’s.

When I finally get around Mark’s he is the most chilled out he has been since he got back from Japan. Turns out he did his big presentation on Monday and now that big monkey is off his back and its all good times ahead (kind of). We chill and he tells me that I am not myself as I continue to take things in vacantly feeling like a zombie as I find myself unable to stop thinking about the slice tomorrow. Its really fun hanging around his house though and his mum cracks us up telling us about her Italian class and how they were extras in some movie (something we could have done had we actually been told about it!). My visit is cut short when Mark and his mum go off to see some Italian film in Greyfriars when Mark really sounds like he wants to go see Team America instead (“deffo”). I give them a lift there and do my thing.

And my thing just turns out to be go to the post office and sending some post off before returning to my pigsty flat. And I manage to waste the majority of the remainder of the day looking for my appointment letter/documentation for tomorrow’s surgery. Eventually I wind up calling the hospital itself and when I speak to someone the lady informs that I now will not be having anything physically done, instead the it will now just be a consultation with the specialist. I feel a real goof but also eternally relieved.

Early evening and I get a text from Mark saying how the Italian movie (some left wing nonsense) was not only Italian in language; it was also Italian in subtitles. What a waste, should have gone to see Team America. And this idea also appears to occur to Mark who suggests we now go see Team America now that I no longer have to stress about surgery. Unfortunately though Man Utd are on BBC tonight and my heart was really set on watching them/that.

The Man Utd v Exeter replay turns out to be equally pathetic as the first game sounded. Early on Man Utd score and take the lead through Ronaldo and you begin to expect an avalanche of goals, especially seeing that on the night Man Utd have the majority of the ball and Exeter do not seem able to get anywhere near Man Utd’s goal. Indeed, originally when Exeter managed to draw 0-0 at Old Trafford, the smart money was on the result being a fix in order for Exeter make several thousand pounds from a TV replay and bankroll their club for the next few years (if not decade). However, Man Utd plough throw the game lacklustre devoid of any spark or closure and eventually have to wait into the game is almost over before Rooney scores a second to make the result 2-0. Its not a classic showing.

And its not a classic showing on Celebrity Big Brother as they sneakily evict Lisa I’Anson while all the other house members think they are playing hide and seek. Losers.

Beyond that, I find myself watching the latest episode of Desperate Housewives but also falling asleep in the process making me question if it really is all that good in the end anyway.

np: Gil Scott-Heron – Lady Day And John Coltrane

January 18 (Tuesday): Everyone’s A VIP To Someone. This morning I wake up totally depressed and down, last night I didn’t even bother to set my alarm clock; I didn’t need to, I have nothing to do today.

Eventually I begin to murmur around 9.25 when I emerge from AM US sitcom hell but today really I don’t feel like doing anything.

Early on Dad hits me on MSN and to be honest I really don’t want to talk or deal with humanity. I decide however to go over to the olds today, there is stuff I have to do over there.

When I finally actually bother to look out of the window, I find that in fact it is a beautiful day and things start to feel/appear better.

After a few hic-cups in preparation, I eventually get out of the house to get going to Clacton and in the end I manage to get my stuff together and finally leave around midday. As I step out of my flat however there is a really suspicious looking woman just sat in the car park making notes from within her SUV. She is attractive however, so her intentions and threats get overlooked.

After I get a newspaper, I am really close to making moves to Clacton when I realise that I have forgotten to get a copy of my CV to take home to print off. This really shows how my priorities are set right now (job search least? Surely not!).

Eventually I get to Clacton around 1PM and when I get there Adrian is home talking to Dad. It doesn’t sound like things are getting any better for him. We all wind up talking until 3PM when Mum gets home and suddenly I realise I have wasted most of the day before I have finally got into doing some writing.

Around this time the parents go out to some bank appointment in Clacton (where I get the impression the banks are royally screwing my parents with their move) and when they get home Dad has had a mild diabetic attack which is really scary.

When I turned my parents’ computer on, sitting there was an email from my aunt, my Mum’s sister and the wife of one of Dad’s bosses at the company that is currently really messing him around. I just roll my eyes and ignore the email after reading the classic line from her: “as far as Bernard is concerned there is nothing up”. Nice one Bean.

Dinner happens and so does The Simpsons in order to give some structure to the world and I continue writing until 9PM when I find myself in front of the TV flicking between Celebrity Big Brother and the documentary about Auschwitz. And at times, its hard to decide which living option would be the worse.

Tonight is Tuesday and therefore Shameless night and tonight it is well back on form. The night ends with attempts to fall asleep on my parent’s sofa while on the boob tube is a combination of Big Momma’s House, Fletch and Live Celebrity Big Brother. Chevy Chase wins everytime.

np: PJ Harvey – C’mon Billy

January 17 (Monday): Huddle Formation. Monday morning downer, I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go. I’m up at 6.40 after disturbing dreams and almost immediately I find myself checking the internet for work in a panic. According to online, it is a really dry season, even more so than pre-Christmas which only makes me feel more alarmed than ever. And the fact that I may be competing for jobs now after being out of work several months I feel will stand me at a disadvantage in any upcoming applications. Bad times.

I spend the morning split between writing and applying to bad jobs on the internet just to stay alive and in the mind/consciousness of the agency personnel. However splitting my attention to the two only equates to my doing a half arsed job of both (I would suspect).

Lunch arrives and at 12.30 the movie The Arsenal Stadium Mystery comes on Channel Four. I have seen this film before and it is unbelievably fantastic. The film is from 1940 and stars the Arsenal team of that year as they play a team of amateurs (amateurs!) who unfortunately, despite being very sporting and skilled, have a player die on them on the pitch in the second half. And it was murder! The game gets abandoned and then during the replay the following Wednesday afternoon (and swift re-arrangement the FA seem incapable of today) the local plod detective goes through the motions and catches the bugger who murdered the chap (his teammate?). Unlike today however, no one suspects the Arsenal players of doing any wrong; and rightfully so. Today however, things in football are different. Personally I think in order to learn some manners and etiquette, Arsene Wenger should be forced to watch this movie every single day of his life.

With that out of the way, I head over to the East Hill gates post office and then onto Tesco Hythe for my first food of the day (and a food shop under £5). As I enter the superstore, all I can smell are hot cross buns. The odour is encapsulating and fishes me right in as when I see the two for one offer (“toofer”) I snap them up immediately when I really do not need or really desire them. I’m a slave to consumerism.

As I drive home up Hythe my phone rings and it is a lady from Reed in Cambridge. Fantastic! I do the right thing though and tell her that I am driving and request that she please call me back when I get home. I get in and do stuff and eventually (about an hour later) she phones back. She tells how an opportunity has arisen with a large corporate in Bury St Edmunds (“is it Greene King? I know it is but would you just please tell me”). I mention that I had just been up there last night but not that it was a real trek in my opinion. This woman isn’t overly clued up though, she doesn’t even know/realise that I lost my job. And unfortunately when I tell that, almost immediately she seems to lose interest in me; I am damaged goods. From here my morale drops to the bottom as it all begins to feel like too much hard work for what are really generally run of the mill jobs (these are not exec positions).

My mood lowers and in an attempt to lift it out of the funk, I watch The Rutles movie which I am in the process of getting from Soulseek. This film gets better with each time as, with more experience and savvy, the references get clearer and more recognisable by the day. Cheese and onions.

Pathetically, after last night’s late night, I find myself falling asleep in late afternoon amd when I wake up, it is one of those depressing “disco” sleeps that Daniel Kitson was referring to in his set Saturday. When I come around I begin reading Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thompson before the Simpsons comes on and saves the day, proving that all is right with the world while I discover that over the course of the afternoon I have eaten six hot cross buns. Fat bloater.

My eventful evening has a kind of resignation air/feel to it as I put on the Biggie And Tupac DVD I bought in the Christmas sales, realising that I never really wanted to see/watch it in the first place. Naturally, again I fall asleep watching the turkey, disrespecting my homies in the process.

When I come around, Celebrity Big Brother is on and Bez is losing it fast. These are the signs of a dope fiend having withdrawal symptoms. These and semen stains on his trousers from too much jacking off. It looks like the leopard is revealing his spots now with his antisocial tendencies and he’s bound to be the next person to get voted off/out (whenever that will be) just because he is now just plain weird, strange and scary. And those eyes! Don’t they just scream: “I want to do bad things to you”.

And this isn’t even the big event on Celebrity Big Brother tonight as John McCirick (what his name is) gets voted off unsurprisingly. This guy has the worst persecution complex in history; I thought I hated myself! He did say some mildly amusing things but ultimately Mr Hate Pants is from a different planet (something that has been noticeable for years from his basic clothing taste). At least however he did say stuff that was mildly amusing and upset/insulted people (especially the little cocksure school boy wannabe rapper).

From there my night ends with me sailing the day out watching ER followed by Men Behaving Badly (this show still cuts it). I find myself having to sleep with my window open because the flat is just SO hot/warm. And I wind up leaving the TV on all night which really helps both my electricity bill and potentially keeps up (and annoys) some of my neighbours. Nevermind.

np: Blur – Oily Water

Friday, January 21, 2005

like the effects of a Disney movie, the sounds Cats Against The Bomb emit turn into music notes around him

Planet Beet and the Bury St Edmunds scene

January 16 (Sunday): Friendship Update. Its an uncomfortable Sunday when I awaken. Misery abounds whilst outside its really not too bad, today I awaken grumpy. I ease into the day with the Sunday TV, where it all culminates with Millwall’s game being the featured game on The Championship.

Eventually I make moves and get up. I take my thrown for early morning twos and FINALLY I finish reading Kingdom Of Fear after repeatedly picking it up and putting it down for months now. By the end of my reading it through labour very little of it is registering, personally I think it is pretty incoherent and random even for Hunter S. Thompson. He is old after all.

I MSN with Racton for a while before noticing that outside, once more the guy is washing his clapped out black Fords again! I am so anti-social, I really do not want to have to have a twenty minute conversation about how I’ve lost my job and how the groundskeeper is weird and our property management are regularly taking the piss out of us living in this court. With godspeed, I avoid his advances and run to my car and speed out of dodge, wasting zero time in the process.

It is around 11.30 when I get to Asda, pretty much the calm before the storm period on a Sunday (lunchtime is murder time). I barely spend a pound, buying a little French stick and News Of The World to satisfy my Sunday needs. I do however freak out when I first step into the store and think I see the eldest boss at my old firm (he has the same balding hair style).

When I’m back in the flat, my phone rings and it is Staff asking if I’m still going to the Cats Against The Bomb show tonight in Bury St Edmunds. I say “yay” and offer him a lift, it gives me someone to go with.

I manage to get back into writing and finally begin to make progress on things, I only stop to have a break when Celebrity Big Brother comes on and I waste an hour of my time on that, not really learning anything about the world in the progress.

The afternoon movie on ITV is a movie version of War And Peace. It lasts almost four hours but I feel obliged to try and watch it because I will never ever read the book, so I guess it would be good to try and know the story in one capacity or other. Bad idea, this film is pretty terrible despite a couple of star names (Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda). Ultimately though, the film is boring and it sends me to sleep and I experience a “disco nap” when I awaken disorientated, feeling guilty about being lazy. To make amends, I almost immediately snap back into writing before realising that Twins is on the other channel and I wind up watching the end of that.

Back on the internet (anywhere but reality for me today it seems) I watch the trailer for the new Woody Allen movie called Melinda And Melinda. It looks fantastic, looking like one of those early nineties films he did set in plush New York about some kind of ridiculous drama. And Will Ferrell is the star in it. Scarily though, Chloe Sevigny is also in it with proper blonde hair and she looks almost exactly like Haslett that way. Makes me feel queasy a tad.

The Simpsons and dinner happen and then I head out at 7.30 to the show in Bury. I pick Staff up outside the derelict Odeon cinema on Crouch Street (where apparently there are a bunch of squatters living inside, I would really love to look inside the old cinema to see what it is like these days). I tear up my two least favourite roads (A12 then A14) while Staff tells me about his latest adventures with Extreme Noise Terror. The drive to Bury St Edmunds actually turns out to be a lot longer than I was expecting and arriving in Bury is a weird thing as it turns out to be a strange place (I have never been in this hood before). Eventually we find the venue (The Priors) and upon arrival Staff comments “it’s a beefeater!”.

We go inside and it costs £4 to do so. Immediately we catch glimpse of Adam and Doug and we find ourselves having stepped inside the Bury St Edmunds indie scene. Tonight’s show is being put on by Planet Beet which is run by a someone from the band The Secret Hairdresser and tonight is the Electro Beet night.

The first act tonight is some lad sat on stage cross legged at a laptop pushing out big beats in the style of the Chemical Brothers all in the name of distortion and noise pollution. The guy turns out to be called Bev and ultimately it is really really weird to see such a set occur it what is basically the backroom of a pub, always traditionally the domain of horribly bad rock bands. This is club music and it just seems so out of place here.

And following is something just as out of place as now three lads sit on the stage cross legged experimenting with noise pollution themselves, all in the name of Jack Nicholson (bet he would appreciate that). Here we have one longhair on a laptop with two oiks twiddling their guitars in the stylee of Sonic Youth in their most annoying and frustrating. This is that kind of non-melodic post rock people had us listening to a few years ago, taking music reviewed in The Wire straight to heart. It all reminds me of that Can track that sounds like an aeroplane flying/crossing inches above. I cannot recall many specific bands that actually get up and do this on stage (although there are loads) but the main reference I remember is Navigator from Norwich. This hurts. At the climax of the set Doug comments “very Mutebox” and that comment is so right.

The Cats Against The Bomb set tonight is special because it is the first time that Adam has headlined. I fear I may have sounded as if I were ripping on the venue with my comments earlier but the stage makes for a fantastic setting, it is lights everywhere to match the disorientating sounds emitting from the stage. Again he opens with Woodshed and it all starts out on a winning roll as the sound is pretty loud to match the ferocity of the material. Three songs in and the set threatens to break down as Cats Against The Bomb breaks a string, breaking flesh in the process as the set becomes bloodstained in a heated frenzy. Guitar Wolf Man rules the roost tonight as the tribute to the Orients seems to find it best possible environment. Tonight the I Wanna Be Sedated Ramones cover returns to the set as the person favourite of this writer (AKA Lover) falls to the wayside. Confusion abounds as Ant Gets Decked spews out inappropriate sounds and all too soon the sonic equivalent of a rollercoaster ridden on a deckchair set ends.

The night ends and Staff and I set off back down the A14 and then the A12. The weather appears to be taking a turn for the worse and I struggle to tear my way home on these roads, occasionally subtly flipping out in the process just in an attempt to stay on the road. Remember the impossible video game Pole Position? This was what I/we was/were living. Talk in the car turned to our metal past and exchanging our different versions/views of the infamous Colchester music scene over the past ten years. Regardless of what happens, it will always come full circle and wind up where it all began.

When I get in the TV options are The French Connection or Celebrity Big Brother. Once more, the latter prevails.

np: Sebadoh – Zone Doubt

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Daniel Kitson

January 15 (Saturday): Bottle Rocket. This morning it is the most miserable day in the UK. When I finally I murmur, I discover I have left my keys on my heater all night and they now appear to be melting in the process. I now fear my push button car keys will no longer function. Surprisingly however, they do still work, all marks to Ford for making them so sturdy and resistant to idiots.

Early on I go out and do the Saturday morning newspaper run (The Sun and The Guardian for the Guardian Guide). In the process I clear the boot of my car of the trinkets and baubles I got lumbered with from home. This includes a twenty year old boxed Atari 2600 which has been crushed under a pile of NMEs. Twenty years existence for such a demise and lack of respect.

I pick up the Guardian Guide and Mark E. Smith is on the cover. Today is going to be a day of listening to The Fall I think/decide.

I manage to get into writing up until lunchtime when it is Liverpool v Man Utd, which I check out on internet radio. When I join it, Man Utd are winning 1-0 and apparently when Wayne Rooney scored the goal, a Liverpool fan threw his mobile phone at him. Wouldn’t that prove to be a costly missile, surely a Scouse scally wouldn’t have insurance on his phone. Ah, maybe it wasn’t his phone, if you know what I mean. Also though, if the phone had been the property of the owner, surely it’s the easiest thing in the world for finding/tracing its owner? Bit thick, especially when the phone didn’t actually hit Rooney in the first place! Useless.

The afternoon is spent with my watching the rest of the Adam And Joe DVD but I have to admit I do fall asleep during the best of the fourth series. I do patiently sit through all the Story Of Adam And Joe though which is really interesting and funny, tracing them right from their grass roots level.

During this Ben texts about going to see Daniel Kitson tonight. He suggests that he comes over to mine at 7PM but my home is an utter pigsty right now so instead I go “no, I’ll pick you up at 7PM”.

It is 4PM by the time the DVD finishes and I check the football to see that Millwall are already winning 2-0 at Nottingham Forest thanks to goals from Hayles and Dunne. The team Millwall has put out is almost its strongest lineup (no Ifill or Wise) and Harris is only on the bench for Forest. I read in The Sun this morning comments from Dennis Wise where he was snapping at Neil Harris for not performing and only scoring eight goals all the time that he has been manager, which further adds to the obvious truth that he just did not get along (fell out) with Wise or someone else in management at the club. The whole situation looks even stranger when in the middle of the second half Neil Harris gets book when he isn’t even on the field of play (being still an unused substitute). The official line is unsportsman like behaviour and the mind begins to boggle as to just what he did to deserve the booking. Towards the end Forest claw a late goal back and with Millwall’s general record for letting in late goals this season, I say to myself “here we go”. Apparently right at the death, having now finally got himself in the game, Neil Harris goes close to scoring an equaliser but in the end the game ends 2-1 to Millwall, the first game with Dave Bassett involved and it’s a winner.

During the game, Dad comes online to ask me the scores and whether I am going over theirs tomorrow (“nope”). I tell him I’m going to see Daniel Kitson tonight and it works out helpful that Dad has seen Phoenix Nights when explaining to him who Kitson is.

Early evening and I actually find myself half watching ET on TV. It is the 20th anniversary version of the movie and it sees ET up to all kinds of additional/extra shenanigans such as falling into a bath. This film is all killer no filler.

Time arrives to head over to Ben’s and I actually find myself getting slightly lost on the way to his house. And when I find it, once more I appear to have lost the automotive skills required to park a car. Before I even get chance to call at his door, he is out getting into my car, the engine not even turned off.

We head into town and it is still pretty early so we pop into the Hogshead for a drink. I really didn’t want to go to a pub beforehand, I find myself still really paranoid about bumping into ex-work colleagues and as a result when we get sat down chatting, I find myself nervously twitching/twisting in my seat, looking distracted and shifty.

Eventually we head over to the Arts Centre for the show and when we arrive there is a huge queue formed outside the building. We go in, we sit down.

At around 8.45 Daniel Kitson shuffles on stage looking, as expected, a proper state. He proceeds to talk all the way through until 11.30, having a brief 20 minute interval in the middle. And from what I can tell, as an act, he gets away with murder. The first half of his “set” just really consists of a shambolic ramble of funny moments but slurred and stuttered all the way. Within in a couple of moments of starting, he is telling the Colchester crowd how he had to walk through the town centre, because of a taxi foul up, commenting that the place just seems inhabited by “cunts and slags”. And he gets away with this because he is playing to his audience. He then further proceeds to reveal (joke?) how he had actually forgotten about the set that evening until 2PM that afternoon when his agent texted him. If true, it showed. He continues early on, telling the audience how he has thrown his back out playing football that week and so now he will also be grimacing his way through the set in addition to stuttering through it (although a couple of times he blames the microphone for his stutter). He tells how he plays football every Tuesday and how the levels of excitement/anticipation he has for the next game (next Tuesday) helps him to judge how well his life is going that week. It is exactly 52 weeks to the day since his last appearance in Colchester and he hints at the many developments in his life in the meantime, the main one of which appears to be the event of him falling in love and promptly falling out of love. Rather than being a bleeding heart on stage however, he only hints at the pain it caused for comedic ends. Instead he captures his own insecurities and digs at this management for referring to one of his spells after a daytime sleep as being a “disco nap” (a cool term for awaking to things having gone “Pete Tong”) when really, as Kitson points out, it is just a nutcase losing all use of his functions and forgetting who and where he is. Kitson’s shtick appears to be to address his audience in a friendly, likeable manner which (fortunately for him) serves to make him forgivable if not overly professional.

The half point arrives (as he keeps asking a guy in a blue shirt in the crowd what the time is) and I notice sitting down my row of seats and a client from my ex-employers (a dentist who drinks until the early hours then does root canals in the morning the same day apparently).

After the interval, when Kitson returns, things definitely begin to pick up pace and heads towards some level of cohesion. Kitson smartly lays out a number of sheets of paper in the floor in front of him, which he refers to as his “set list” (“just like a proper performer”). The second section turns out to be anecdotageddon as Kitson turns out not to be all that keen on every day life or anything popular around him. He talks about his family visit over Christmas and his experience of beating his Father at squash for the very first time, prompting him to feel entitled to the alpha male privileges of the homestead, those privileges being to grab the head chair in his parents’ living room (“red leather upholstery, which I know sounds awful”). He also mentions a visit to a local gym with his Father, prompting a tirade against men who go to gym, the real alpha male types. He particularly turns focus on those god-awful magazines Nuts and Zoo, mocking the Johnny Vaughan TV adverts, now inserting a line about being “raped by a hammer” into the spiel. Kitson expounds pity towards any woman involved with a man who would read such magazines, proudly declaring any such lady as being “like a rabbit caught in the headlights of misogyny”. The female stuff is not all one sided, he discloses how certain women have a hold over men, obviously speaking from experience, shares the sad truth of how there generally is that one special person who is capable of bringing everything in a person’s life just crashing down. He so sharply states how “you can be having the best time, the greatest life but one text message from that special person saying “I was just thinking about you” can unravel everything and bring doubt and questions to the most clear mind”.

A quick/sharp return to mocking TV adverts sees a well aimed (and deserved) pop at the teachers adverts currently doing the rounds: “do the people you work with require two cups of coffee in the morning?” = “do the people you work with occasionally threaten you with a knife?”. Swiftly he moves onto his experiences holidaying in America and just how great the country was and how he is really sick of the vogue vague anti-American feeling/sentiment that currently prevails (“but its just such a fun fucking place, I was eating Ukrainian food at 3AM in New York”). He adds how he travelled from New York to San Francisco on the train, illuminating (almost) how the countries problems just come from the sheer excess size of the place. At this point he tells of how he went to a Joanna Newsom show in America (confirming just what the annoying music pumping out of the PA all night has been, that horrible little elfin shit) and how he and his friend were judging indie girls and how, just because the girls were at a Joanna Newsom show, they felt that they had just that little bit more chance with them.

The set nears an end as he continues to clock watch with the help of the blue shirted guy in the crowd (“I have a cab booked for 11.30”). Around 11.15 a person gets up to leave. Kitson calls her out and asks why she is leaving. The poor girl turns out to be late returning home. It turns out that she is only 16 and that her parents “disapprove of Daniel Kitson”. Rock and roll. Kitson warmly enquires as to how she is getting home, alone and it turns out that she has a half hour walk ahead of her. He warmly expresses some concern for the safety of the girl whilst the crowd laughs along (“am I the only person a bit concerned about her?”), even to the point of offering her a lift to her house in his cab. When she is gone, Kitson still appears worried for her wellbeing for a few moments afterwards. The set winds up and ends with Kitson dressing himself onstage, gathering his stuff together ready to leave at 11.30 (hit and run). He ends with a brief Q&A but doesn’t really appear want to talk about anything interesting or juicy (“tell us about Phoenix Nights”). The set ends and we applaud. Ragged as it was (and also lengthy), it was peaks and troughs and being a person used to Bill Hicks kind of sets, it did slightly disappoint. However, Kitson gets in the last laugh as with half the hall making their way out of the building, he runs back on stage yelling “sit down, it’s all right my cab hasn’t arrived yet!” prompting half the audience to get back to their seats.

Post gig, Ben and I head for some food. My recent diet of cereal, cereal, cereal and water is really making me sick, so to just buy chips in pitta (a chip kebab!) turns out to be a real treat. I don’t know what the problem is, I don’t know if it is the beard, but the guy in the kebab shop suddenly appears to be having some trouble understanding what I say to him. Perhaps if I slapped him on the head his hearing would get better.

When I get home, almost immediately Racton is online asking me how the show was. With my gut reaction being disappointment, I sound a bit of a downer in the process of describing the night.

On TV, a late Saturday night, the choices turn out to be Manchester United The Movie or Celebrity Big Brother. I opt for latter, perving over it to the point I fall asleep.

np: The Fall – C.R.E.E.P.

the V/VM mobile

January 14 (Friday): Air Raid Gtr. Oh my, I wake up this morning (around 6.30) and it is so bitterly cold. It’s a slow start and it isn’t until 9.30 before I am active.

More chores today and these begin with sorting out my mortgage insurance documents out to send off to the people that do not seem too happy with me (ho ho).

I get ready for the agency interview and I’m not really too serious about it. In other words, I don’t bother to shave off my “beard” for the interview, especially after last night’s comment (I am fool). I put on my suit and it fills really funny, it has been over a month now since I last wore a suit. And I really should have this suit (the pinstripe) cleaned in the meantime as there appears to be some kind of gnarly comedy stain around the crotch area. This does not look good, it makes me look like a member of Arab Strap.

I make moves around 11.45, to get out of Colchester in good time to deal with the A12 in order to be in Chelmsford for 1PM. It is a beautiful day actually, sunny and not necessarily cold (although some really bitter weather must surely only be around the corner). The A12 turns out to be a breeze and I find myself in Chelmsford well before time, actually leaving enough time to find a post office.

I do the interview thing at the employment agency and I sense a real reaction on first impressions when I appear with my “beard” (I really should have lost it for my return into the working world). By now I am pretty sceptical and blasé about all these employment agencies, so I probably don’t go into the thing/interview with fully the right attitude. That said however, I do feel I manage to turn on the charm and NOT appear too laid back (something I now really have a complex about). Initially/immediately I get set up with filling out some forms on a PC while my interviewer disappears to photocopy my passport and no doubt laugh at my photo on it (which by the way I am actually quite proud of). He returns and we get into the routine of my explaining my employment history, not least recent negative developments. I actually find myself really liking my interviewer, he seems the most human and least bullshit person I have met. I get onto the thing about the blog dismissal, hoping that he has heard/read about the Waterstones case. Sadly he has not. Once more I find myself twisting myself up in knots trying to explain the circumstances of my dismissal but at least this guy knows what a blog is, he tells me that he has one himself. And suddenly I sense some empathy mixed with paranoia in the knowledge that he will probably do a search for mine at some point (or am I being too paranoid, too 1984?). The interview goes with a swing and I feel really encouraged by what I am hearing. He tells me how Colchester is “dry” for salaries and from the perspective of this agency, it looks like I will be looking for work outside of Colchester. I tell him about my last job and how I didn’t even have a telephone on my desk and he looks at me as I am/were an idiot. I couldn’t disagree. He mentions/suggests a position in Billericay, which is pretty far away but the position sounds a really good one, a good opportunity. I have to say, I think I really need to get back into work soon because I am getting pretty comfortable here at home doing my thing. My interview with him ends and he wheels in the temp lady who says she may have some positions coming up. Unfortunately I do however see her giving me some funny looks and expressions, I’m sure brought on by the “beard”. This all sounds a lot more solid and real than other agencies I have spoken to over the past two months and when she is done, I leave their offices feeling optimistic again. Job hunting is proving so rollercoaster with the emotions.

From there, happy, I indulge in the opposite of retail therapy, retail victory? I don’t know, I just feel good and confident in putting things on the credit card. I find the Nick Cave “God Is In The House” DVD in the sale, so I buy that coupled with the Go! Team “Ladyflash” CD single and The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson. I then make a quick trip into Ottakers where I find The Great Shark Hunt in the shop, in really good condition. Almost always when I see this book in stores, it is always tatty as hell from where cheapskates have been fingering the 600 page tomb. I also briefly flick through the sale there and find Requiem For A Dream by Hubert Selby Jr for only £1.99. Result!

Chelmsford however lowers in my estimation when I think I almost get pick pocketed in WH Smith. As I bend over to see if they have the Toby Young book (nowhere else does), I find some Chav kid bending over in synchronity with me. I whip up as if to go “what the fuck?”. Not confident of my suspicions though, I don’t say anything as he moves away to pick up a Ben Elton novel, a sure fire sign he has not interest in buying a book. I hover around him for a bit, to piss him off back but the way I do it, it just comes over as if I am trying to pull him. I am so angry and so fucking offended and yet maybe it is all in my head, maybe I’m just being paranoid. I watch him as he ambles his way around another section to see if he is going to try it on with someone else. I watch as he picks up the Jonny Wilkinson autobiography with only confirms just what an arsehole wanker this kid. He doesn’t attempt to pickpocket anyone else so maybe I was being paranoid it seems but this is only thought until I see him hook up with his girl, a thicker tracksuited Chav than himself. So those are Chelmsford wrong ‘uns, I can now believe how Stevo was beaten/mugged in this town.

I fly back down the A12 back to Colchester and stop by at Asda on the way for some (deserved I feel) lunch. As I return home I find myself following a car with the number plate “VVM 1”. Oh wow, I bet the band V/VM would dig that I figure and I find myself attempting to get a photo of the car like a bored lunatic. And I actually do manage to get the snap (just about). I really need a job.

The afternoon sees me back in time to actually make something of the afternoon. Instead I watch outside my window as my neighbour, with the afternoon off himself, washes his crappy car for about the fourth time this month.

Myself, I wind up on MSN with both Justin and Racton exchanging world views. And this only gets interrupted as Steve Clear (Mark’s brother) emails during my mincing.

I manage to do some writing and eventually find myself in the evening when my phone rings and it is Stevo for some reason. He is calling me up after an ISP number for an internet connection where he is trying to fudge his mate’s old computer to get it online with a backdoor method it seems. It sounds absolutely excruciating just what he is trying to attempt, looking on the internet alone for a phone number turns out to be pretty painful work.

Friday night evening arrives but I have little recollection other than The Simpsons episode being the tennis one with the Williams sisters. After that is the first eviction night of this year’s Celebrity Big Brother. It is obviously the hilarious Jackie Stallone being booted out but before it happens, I find myself sent straight to sleep out of tedium.

np: Free Kitten – What’s Fair


January 13 (Thursday): Junior Kickstart. I awaken at my parent’s house, on the sofa, following a relatively good night’s sleep for being draped over the settee all night. I’m up around 8.30AM, which means that mum has already left for work by the time I’m moving.

Spirits are high this morning, not least for seeing Bob Odenkirk guest in Everybody Loves Raymond. I know who he is while the majority of people won’t really know (or care) who he actually is but still it’s a pleasant little in joke I have between me, myself and I.

I’m still lounging when my mobile phone rings early. It is a number I do not recognise and upon receipt of the call, it is yet another employment agency asking me about myself. This agency turns out to be one I almost had dealings with last year, applying to jobs via their website to zero response. Therefore I am rather blasé about arranging a meeting with them. Still, I go for it and a date is set for tomorrow at 1PM in Chelmsford. Anything that gets me out of the house has to be a good thing. And a step back into the professional world should surely mark a return for me to reality and mean my shaving my “beard” off. We’ll see.

Eventually I get up and running and into writing and scanning on my parents’ computer. I have plenty to do today and tonight is my return to the English class, which I am really excited about actually, especially being that I actually did my homework and enjoyed the book in the process.

My morning gets disrupted by another phonecall when a woman from the booking agency for the Johnny Vegas Show asks if I would be interested in audience participation in the show. I reply “I don’t think that would be wise”. Apparently the tickets are in the post.

Checking on the internet, I find out today that Dave Bassett has joined the Millwall coaching team. What? Gut reaction is that this is not that great.

At 12.30, the last St Trinian’s film of the week comes on and it is The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery. This is the first colour St Trinian’s movie and the first I actually manage to sit all the way through this week, really enjoying it in the process actually. This movie starred still starred George Cole but now Frankie Howerd came aboard and along with him came Reg Varney from On The Buses. None of the school staff or kids were famous by Terry Scott and Arthur Mullard do turns in the film too. The films ends with an insane train scene where the bank robbers (Howerd’s crew) find themselves first chased, then chasing up and down train tracks, in times like these it all looks insane. And it very entertaining.

During the movie, Dad pops out and once the film ends, I quickly pop out to get a newspaper to see today’s news stories on the sacked blogger. When I get home and flick through The Guardian, there does not appear to be anything (although I don’t look through it thoroughly).

Almost immediately after I get back in, mum gets home and she’s stressing over something to do with the building society, their mortgage and their house moving. As soon as she gets in, she goes out. And I’m not made to feel welcome still being around. Not long after she goes, Dad gets back and not long after, my aunt Sue turns up, who I briefly talk to but I’m really busy doing stuff.

Kindly mum sorts out dinner early so that I can indulge before leaving at 5.30 in order to guarantee that I get to my English class in good time (without having to rush and crash my car). Today, amongst the old rubbish that I am having to drag from my parents’ house back to my flat is a boxed Atari 2600, which probably doesn’t work, surely a games console with wood panelling has to suffering some kind of dry rot/wood worm over the course of twenty years.

On time, I head out to English class really excited about returning. As I enter the college, I see one of the other students (a very attractive other student) and she makes comment about my “beard” saying “its quite sexual actually”. You shouldn’t say things like that to me. I step into the group and its all pretty nonchalant and blasé. Teacher also comments my “rough look” before saying “dare I ask?” and it doesn’t even register with me that she is enquiring about my work situation. I’m lost for words. The class begins and I get smart arse remarks in my direction from the teacher which I’m not really in the mood for today. Unintentionally, I can feel my face of thunder, I’m lacking a sense of humour tonight and I feel the questioning I am receiving only serves to make me look stupid as my face goes red with each remark.

We tear into the book and it turns out that my perception of it varies/differs greatly from the rest of the class. And this really bothers me, makes me feel like I didn’t read the book closely or more that I didn’t read it properly. When I dare consider that the step father (but real father) having sex with the main character was not actually rape but consensual it occurs to me that I have probably got Lolita too much on the brain. And this bothers me. Then again, why would the wife being aiming her gun at the daughter and not the father?

Fortunately we get a breather when the fire alarms go off. We casually go downstairs and out the building where we are met by the crazing centre manager going “this is not a drill”. No, she appears to be holding some kind of torch. I actually used to work at this centre and I know/knew/remember the woman from 1993, scarily nearly 12 years ago now. I’m sure she does not remember me though while I still remember that the caretaker used to call/refer to her as “bum lips”.

We stand outside in the cold and I talk and rip the piss with Emma. Fire engines turn up but there doesn’t appear to be a real fire really. Around us, several groups of handicapped people have also been dragged outside in the cold and they begin to get distressed and start crying. I find myself more concerned just with my books getting burned.

We return to the class and the teacher looks really pissed off and phased when we get back. We launch into further analysis of the book and I don’t chip in while all around put in their ten cents (sense), only confirming further how different (wrong?) my interpretation of the book was to theirs. We begin some really analyse of the first six pages of the book, really looking into the piece in depth to a point I have never applied before. It all serves to make me really feel like some kind of hack writer.

Eventually I am put out of my misery and the class ends (thankfully). As I leave I tell teacher that “I probably be here next week” which probably sounded more sinister than the fact that I will just be in hospital having horrible work done on horrible parts.

Getting home, I watch the remainder of Celebrity Big Brother and Jackie Stallone gets funnier by the day but also less popular with it. She is a freak and yet makes just as much sense in that house as anyone else.

Finally tonight Channel Four shows some drama called Yasmin about a young Muslim lady living in England in the aftermath of Sept 11. It’s a pretty horrific programme and not really strictly how my experiences of Muslims have led me to believe that that is the way it is for Muslims (one of the Muslim characters is perceived/performed as almost feral). Its pretty depressing stuff to watch and I fall asleep before the end, before I predict whitey is revealed as the ultimate bad guy. It gives me bad dreams.

np: The Jesus Lizard - Boilermaker

worst Waterstones ever!

January 12 (Wednesday): Get It Together. Hard times. I awaken at 4AM and for some reason check the MSN beeps. Indeed they were from Tom but instead of asking for another chess match (the big rematch) he is alerting my attention to a news article in The Guardian. I just know it has to be blog related and indeed it is as some guy in Edinburgh has now been sacked by Waterstones for his blog and being in the media first, he obviously gets first claims which somewhat steals my little “local” thunder. Good luck to him though, its not a laughing matter or something that remedies quickly in the aftermath, 15 minutes may not last a lifetime.

My alarm clock goes off at 7AM but I’m really not interested, so I turn it off and roll over back asleep. I eventual re-emerge to the day at around 9AM, catching the arse end of King Of Queens on TV.

In the light of day, with hesitation, I begin looking into the day’s blog dismissal stories and looking at the incriminating blog itself. It is called The Woolamaloo Gazette and pretty harmless really, he has a reason to feel more aggrieved than me but I still don’t think the going to the media option is very productive for either party. The gentleman appears to be a SF geek, akin the Comic Store Guy from the Simpsons, and used the profanity “smegger” when dissing his boss at Waterstones. I sense an apparent lack of sense of humour on their part but being a corporate entity I guess they must be seen to be firm standing and could well be suggested/accused of being made to make an example out of Mr Gordon. It is also kind of ridiculous how Waterstones have taken such a dim view at being referred to as “Bastardstones”, sticks and stones and all that jazz.

I have to say to that I do semi envy all the courage of Mr Gordon and am pretty aggrieved myself that he has been handed the moniker of “first UK Blogger to be dismissed”. I always knew/realised that I could have taken the case to the press, especially after the high profile Queen Of The Sky story, but my old employers had slapped me on the hand and threatened me with apparent litigation, so best leave sleeping dogs lie it seemed. Still my trade off doesn’t really seem to have been very fair, I keep my ex-employer (and its reputation) out of the media and they have kept me out of work.

In the meantime Marceline hops online to point the story out and I’m resigned to going “yup, I saw it”.

Tearing into the day, now obviously bored of not working, being stuck at home suffering from cabin fever, I find myself perusing the internet looking for audience tickets for TV and radio shows. I stop short at applying for tickets for Trisha but I have to tell you, I come pretty (ugly) close.

Justin smacks me up on MSN and we get into some conversation. Today is his birthday, so I guess amongst items he is fishing for birthday wishes. I really hope I’ll be able to make it up for his birthday bash but I don’t think I’ll be up to it (something between Colchester and Leytonstone/London is bound to arose me and cause discomfort).

Finally, there is the dreaded thud at my door: the post arrives. There is a large brown envelope and this is what I have been fearing it seems. However, the enquiry into my dismissal against my ex-employers appears to have been ruled in my favour with “…..on how your job with GLOBOCHEM ended. We have now decided that this doubt no longer applies.” For once in my life, common sense prevails and a huge weight feels as if it has been lifted from me. Today I dodge a real bullet, so no therapy needed today.

Finally I manage to get out the house in order to go get a newspaper to check actually check out the “doocing” article in the Guardian. As I drive over, some insane woman in an SUV cuts me up. And it is one of those silver grey SUVs. Why is it that all cars in the silver grey colour are owned by complete wankers and are utter menaces on the roads, seemingly being the vehicles always causing the accidents? And even worse, when I drive back home after Asda, what seems to be the exact same SUV appears to attempt to cut me up and cause an accident on a roundabout yet again! I look in my mirror and it looks like some cranky professional housewife/mother talking on her mobile phone. That is how it appears. In reality I suspect it may be some kind of assignation attempt, akin to the way Princess Di was bumped off/whacked.

The SUV is a stupid fucking vehicle. It is too big for our roads. And too many women drive them as soccer mums and for school runs/pick ups. The stereotype goes that women cannot park cars, so how are the poor cows expecting to be able to manage a ridiculous off road, Big Foot car?

Back to Asda. I step into Asda and get my newspapers, the NME and some lunch. As I stagger around the store bemused, I see in the distance someone I used to go to school with, the kid in our year that was picked on more than anyone else (and no, I am not seeing my reflection in a mirror). As soon as I see him, I make a quick exit and pretty much hide from him seeing me. I always thought this guy was going to be big in computers, not big in grocery management (if). I should not mock vocations though, how close am I too losing my status and having to take a McJob? That will be the call/decision of Visa.

I get home and look at The Guardian. The Waterstone guy’s article is HUGE. He has made page five and almost has the entire page dedicated to his story. Once more, my former employers should bless for keeping my story out of the press and not really ruining the goodwill of their company (as they weakly claimed in my dismissal notice anyway).

I begin panic writing now, all this heat for blogs means that my “doocing” now hold less weight by the day it seems/feels.

While I’m doing this, Chris pops up on MSN and we find ourselves reminiscing over Christmas.

Today’s St Trinian’s movie is The Pure Hell Of St Trinian’s. It’s on but I don’t really pay any/much attention to it. Again the cast is fantastic (George Cole, Joyce Grenfell, Irene Handl, Sid James, John Le Mesurier and Warren Mitchell) but it is so apparent that these movies are a part of my youth that I will always view with rose tinted glasses.

Instead, now shook with the horror of my potentially missing the boat with the blogger sacking hype, I text a number of my friends asking them if they have seen the Guardian today.

I find, in order to continue with my writing, there are some things that I need to get from my parents (because those disks didn’t work) so I get on the phone and ask Dad if it is all right for me to go over to theirs (again!). Its cool with him but I sense it might not be cool with mum.

Regardless, I leave Colchester at 3.30, stopping by PC World to pick up some rechargeable batteries for my camera. This is daytime PC World then. I watch the girl sit at the checkout with her head on her hand holding it up, she looks as if she is about to fall asleep. I also witness the most insane Dad, wheeling his kids through the checkout hitting home how they have both just spent their month’s pocket money. And the weirdo just keeps going on and on, really labouring the point to his kids (“five pounds is more than I ever got”). Bad Dad. I do my thing within seconds and feel relieved to get out of there.

I speed home to Holland, listening to the Jesus Lizard tape that I just unearthed this week. I had forgotten just how good this stuff is, there is no music in the indie/alternative scene these days that sounds so edgy, tense or dangerous. Independent music to me now seems/appears to be the home of simpering wimps, intellectualising their music way too much, making it utterly boring in the process. How far away are we from All Tomorrows Parties?

I get home to Holland around 4PM where Mum is indeed in a strop. It however seems down to the fact that they have had a removals man discussing their move in their house chewing off Dad’s ear for two hours. He must be seriously casing the place, maybe he should get out of the removal’s industry and into robbing houses or something. An argument between my olds looks imminent.

I almost immediately hit the computer and get going on my thing, praying that my problems with disks so far have been down to disk issues as opposed to file issues. These facts/fears are really boring.

Dinner happens and mum sorts us out with some kind of stew. It makes a break from eating nothing but cereal I guess. From there I watch The Simpsons and then quickly get back into writing and computer work.

While I am doing stuff, Stevo phones up and asks me if I had asked Ben if he wanted to boycott MK Dons on Saturday and go to an AFC Wimbledon game instead. I got the obvious response from, three years down the line, AFC Wimbledon are no longer loved in the way that they were as they slowly/gradually turn into a non-league Man Utd/Arsenal/Chelsea. He mentions coming to a Millwall game this year and I point out that there still is Leeds at home and he goes “yeah, I really want to see some crowd trouble/footy violence this season”. Whoops, I thought he was over all that after getting smacked at football matches a couple of times.

I continue working on the computer, hearing Dad watch my Sopranos DVDs in the front room (the episode where Pussy has to wear a wire in Tony’s house). I plough through old music magazines and come across the Brat Pop-era press for Gringo Records. It all seems like a different era now.

I pack up at 10PM and find myself watching the second episode of Desperate Housewives. Its very watchable if unaccomplished in the process. The women are attractive at varying levels, which gives it eye candy appeal. The voiceover appears to be trying to give it a spookier feel than it all manages.

After that, I watch Celebrity Big Brother with more adventures of Sylvester Stallone’s mum experiencing some text book rejection, followed by Peep Show re-runs (where Mark befriend’s a racist workmate, horribly copying reality for me) before I end up falling asleep watching A Night On The Town, which everyone knows as Adventures In Babysitting. I’m getting used to sleeping on sofas again it seems.

np: Screaming Trees – Halo Of Ashes

January 11 (Tuesday): The Power Is On. Again this morning I set my alarm for 7AM, it is my new (pointless) declaration and I guess my new year’s resolution.

This morning I receive an early email from Andrea the lawyer asking me about my situation and potential case. At this stage, I don’t want to pre-empt strikes (nor run up a bill!). I’m almost cagey when describing the situation to her, attempting to change the subject/focus onto her.

This morning another new employment agency gets in touch with me. As basic as the services seems to me, they always find different ways of wording things. I come to the horrible realisation that this is the seventh such agency I have spoken to in two months, a fact/statistic that would make the best intentioned person jaded and cynical. Again this man does not specifically mention the position I applied for, making me wonder if half the jobs on the internet actually exist, they more seeming like a way of hooking and fishing candidates in. I never envisaged getting a new job would ever be this difficult.

Plans for today do not quite go to plan, when I find myself only getting around to reading my English book at around 11AM. Again I find myself really enjoying reading the book but it is somewhat predictable whilst also very touching but it screams of the Woody Allen movie September, surely the writer must have seen it and thought “right, I’ll write a book about that”.

Around lunchtime, the star accountancy personnel agency from yesterday phones again. The man is suggesting that I go up for a temp vacancy just to get me “back in the game”. It means taking a slight drop on an apparent hourly rate but it would do me. The man even suggests I might be able to start this Thursday, which is music to my ears as all writing aspirations fly out of the window as the bills/debts mount up.

Today is sign on day at the Job Centre and to celebrate this fact, I have a bath (ha ha). If these people are to continue giving me money, I figure giving them some hygiene in return to be a sound investment (ha ha).

Today’s St Trinian’s movie on Channel Four is Blue Murder At St Trinian’s. This movie isn’t as star studded as the first movie (shown yesterday) but it still boasts Terry Thomas, George Cole, Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell and Lionel Jeffries with a turn by Terry Scott. This film is much better than the first film but its kind of interesting to note just how all the men in the movie are trying it on with the schoolgirls and how the headmistress is trying to farm them out as an earner (the St Trinian’s Marriage Bureau?). Surely this is paedophilia and child trafficking for the sex trade, especially when exporting them is a consideration. And Clacton beach/pier gets a mention early on as a girl poses for a saucy picture/photo. Well, I guess it was 48 years ago.

In the afternoon I email Staff and Allen with various requests before heading off to the Job Centre to my thing there. I get parked up pretty easily and wander into town for the first time this week. I’m getting bored of Colchester now it seems, which might explain all my recent trips/visits to Clacton. As I head to the Job Centre with the expectation of flack to come from the enquiry over the ending of my job, I find myself becoming really paranoid as I think I see an ex-work colleague, one that would have taken the dimmest light of the blog (other than management). Stupidly though, the lady turns out to be a poor lookalike at best, suggesting that all this stuff is playing much too much on my mind.

I get to the Job Centre and wait upstairs, awaiting my fate. Next to me sits a guy that looks dead, or past out at the very least. This is not my environment. I get called over for my third bout of job hunting explanation and today I have a lady interview instead. She actually seems to take some interest/notice into developments, actually asking me questions about my activities (shock horror). I tell her this, tell her that but as usual it all seems to fall on deaf ears as the lady seems to concentrate more on filling in forms on her computer screen. At least though, she doesn’t patronise me by calling me “mate”. Today I go in armed with an envelope of questions though, mainly what happens if I’m lucky enough to get temp work and what about my mortgage insurance. I don’t bring up the enquiry/review into my dismissal, I wait for her to bring it up first. This does not happen though. She changes the time for my next appointment and very quickly it is all job done and I am able to go and happily claim again for another two weeks.

Before leaving the Job Centre I check on their computers for accountancy vacancies and I look in every possible line of work and there is absolutely nothing, zero, nada. I was lead to believe January would be fruitful, especially with the self assessment tax deadline coming up. What’s going on with the world if I can’t get employment?

I stagger around for a while, getting something copied in the library to send of with regards to my dismissal. I notice that the library is getting a coffee shop installed in the gallery area/section it seems. What’s that about? A sure fire money spinner but this is a library! A library is supposed to be inhabited by geeks, the unemployed and the elderly, a coffee shop is a setting for Friends and Central Perk types. The times are changing too much.

I get home around 4.30 and decide to attack the cupboard of demos left over from Gringo that inhabit (ruin) my kitchen area. I waste far too long on these CDs, most of which look awful making me remember why I put them there in the first place. Indeed, none of these artists have ever gone on to anything. Maybe, if I get enough time, I review them for a website. Then again, life really is too short.

Richard And Judy comes on around 5PM and they are reporting that Germaine Greer has walked out of the Celebrity Big Brother house. She was actually coming over as one of the best people in the house and was probably well out of place by appearing to be a real, intelligent and genuinely funny person. Whereas Kitten last summer represented liberalism in the worst possible way, her representation of liberalism came over as the opposite of a ranting and raving lunatic and at the end of the ridiculous Queen royal task, she just cut through the nonsense and called for it to be knocked on the head. Ultimately, she came over better in this than she does on the Late Review.

After dinner and the Simpsons, I get back into the book and finish it on the dot for 9PM. The book turned out to be pretty predictable and generic but I enjoyed it all the same, the writer made it very readable and rarely do I find myself able to read books at such a pace (Nick Hornby being the only other reader I can recall reading so fast). It stands me in good stead for returning to class Thursday I think.

In between, Dad briefly speaks to me on MSN as well as Racton but I really want to finish the book, so I’m probably a bit curt with them.

At 9PM I watch the Auschwitz programme on BBC2. I always get suckered in by these documentaries, it is as if I want to depress myself. I had never heard about block 11 before though. These poor people always stir me.

At 10PM, episode two of Shameless series two comes on and tonight I am less than interested by it, for reasons none to no one. During the show, MSN beeps and Tom has invited me into a three way with him and Sam B. And then Tom promptly disappears, leaving it to me and Sam B just to talk awkwardly (Tom is our conduit).

Late late and Tom plays sets me and him up to play chess on MSN via Chess Club (his jokey take on Fight Club). I want to play though and we end up getting into a really good hour long game. I turn out better than I would ever expect and by the end I am several pieces ahead of him by playing gradual and defensive (but nowhere near as intentionally tactical as that statement might suggest). I think I am about 6 pieces to his king at the end of the game when I go and make a foul stroke (for reasons unknown to the pair of us) and the game ends a draw. It was good fun though, please someone come along and challenge me to a game.

Later on TV, I watch the Germaine Greer exit interview on Celebrity Big Brother, then realising at the end that I have been missing a programme about the Comedy Store in London on BBC.

I fall asleep watching Angel Heart on ITV, which sucks because I was really enjoying the movie.

At 1.30, my computer beeps and it is someone on MSN trying to get in touch with me but instead just waking me up. I suspect it is Tom, asking for a chess rematch. He is the most notorious night owl.

np: Big In Albania - Bigboote

January 10 (Monday): Feel Good By Numbers. Monday morning and I awaken like a good guy at 7AM when my alarm clock goes off, apparently for nothing, I have no job to go to, so why don’t I lie in? I don’t wish to get complacent I guess.

Early on, around 9.30, I get the first of responses from my online job application gorge on Friday night. Sadly however it is a vague response from an agency, not really relating to the actual position I applied for itself. I email back immediately, guarded in its snottiness and almost immediately the phone rings and it is the gentleman in question from the agency. This is agency is a firm that an old acquaintance called Kenny used to highly recommend and the guy on the phone sounds cool (albeit with a voice exactly like Alan Partridge). It seems that people from smaller personnel agencies possess less of an attitude and in the process are more helpful. I am honest about my dismissal circumstances but once more find myself twisting myself up in knots in the process, something that is duly noted by Mr Man, although it does not appear to make him immediately dismiss me. The position itself that I applied for actually turns out to be with the first accounting practise that I ever worked for. I didn’t leave them on bad terms but I was hardly a star, stuck out in the sticks of a satellite office in Frinton while everything happening within the organisation was occurring at their duelling offices in Colchester and Ipswich (fighting for firm supremacy in effect, to be the number one office). The calls ends but it is encouragingly.

I spend this morning fearing the post, there can only be bad to come from any correspondence currently but I really must (have) to face the music on the Job Centre enquiry.

Around mid morning the phone rings again and it is another agency and some woman asking me questions about myself and telling me how there are a few positions about (but never specifying on anything). At least I’m getting some interest but I get the impression that this agency is not much cop by the way the woman represents herself.

For the longest time this morning, my clock appears frozen on 10.47; I guess this represents life appearing to stand still for me currently.

This morning I also find myself on MSN with Justin and I manage to get the email address out of him of the lawyer I met Friday night. Nice.

Again today I pick up the book (Eden Close by Anita Shreve) that I need to read for English class on Thursday. I actually find myself really getting into the book today, its good.

For lunch I head out to Sainsburys. I wasn’t going to bother with going out today but I fancy something of taste for dinner and there is a new Uncut also I feel like reading. While I am in the cereal aisle Hays in London telephones me asking me if I am still looking for work. Oh yes. And especially when she mentions a dream job/opportunity for me: a practise just off Piccadilly Circus that specialises in media clients. That sounds a bit of a bridge too far for me even before I tell her of my circumstances, as I once more tie myself up in knots trying to describe the weirdness of the situation and generally overreaction on my ex-employer’s that it was really. The girl however seems happy for me to stand in Sainsburys and go through all the facts. I tell her that I will send her an email with more specifics and then it turns out that I have never spoken to this girl before. My god, she sounded exactly like the one I used to deal with, they must all be clones up that way, maybe all tutored in the same impersonal line of bullshit?

As the call ends, a woman comes coyly around the corner and slowly wheels her shopping trolley past me; it is obvious that she has been eavesdropping. I initially don’t take offence because she is attractive but then the situation of discussing such important issues in Sainsburys occurs to me and I roll my eye balls, shaking my head.

This week Channel Four is showing St Trinian’s films every afternoon. I was raised on these movies (almost) so I check out today’s movie in morbid fascination. Today’s film is The Belles Of St Trinian’s and I am blown away by the cast of the movie; its features Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell and George Cole (Arthur Daley) in the main characters with supporting parts from Beryl Reid, Irene Handl and Joan Sims. Sid James, Barbara Windsor and Arthur Mullard all pop up in it also, which completes a mind-blowing cast. The film however isn’t nowhere good as I fondly remember it and soon I’m back into doing something of use.

And that something of use turns out to be returning to my book for college (again, Eden Close by Anita Shreve). I’m actually making major progressed on the book today and at this rate, I will have read it easily before Thursday’s lesson. And I’m finding myself enjoying it in the process, always a bonus when reading a book I guess.

My afternoon improves when I receive an email from Tura Satana, the star of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! This blows my mind. And she hits 70 this year.

I stop for dinner and The Simpsons and tonight’s episode is the one with the A Streetcar Named Desire musical, which is yet another reminder to 11 Dec 2004, as it was the movie that was on that afternoon. Will that night ever stop haunting me, following me around with reminders?

I resume reading my book before remembering that there is a documentary on Channel Four called “What Would Jesus Drive?” about the driving habits of America and how the pollution is adding to the green house effect blah blah blah. Its part of their War On Terra season in the light of the tsunami in Asia, a real scaremongering job. The show however is pretty interesting and makes some serious points about the excess of car ownership in the US. And then it ends by focusing on the latest vehicle of choice for your successful young (and not so young) American: the Hummer.

During the programme, they show the Thierry Henry advert where he is smugly driving a bubble car around Las Vegas and when it shows him being overtaken by a Hummer himself and the goof giggles like a bitch, it suddenly occurs to me just how much of a dig this is aimed at David Beckham. Good! But Henry ultimately is no better, the little corporate whore.

Celebrity Big Brother comes on, continuing with the Lisa as Queen of the house nonsense and then tonight Sylvester Stallone’s mum enters the house. She is pretty terrifying to look at; she looks like something Jim Henson put into his movie The Dark Crystal. Maybe Jim Henson did her plastic surgery, basing it on a Muppet?

During the show, Sara comes online to talk on MSN. I tell her that I am busy and she gets pissed off snapping “what busy getting a job?”. This coming from a girl who it was said used to go into job interviews, flash her tits and get immediate employment from that. I wish I was a silver spooner too, that might have been nice.

I turn in for the evening watching ER (which actually turns out pretty entertaining as usual), over to a fine Men Behaving Badly re-run and eventually I go to sleep like a loser watching Film 2005. Need to get out.

np: Palace Brothers – Come In

January 9 (Sunday): Ladyflash. Sunday morning and I’m up at around 9AM feeling pretty rough from nothing. I’d like to pull myself together early in an attempt to get moving and on the road for the day but almost immediately I find myself slipping back into the old Sunday morning routine of Match Of The Day, Frost and then the Heaven And Earth Show (for some reason). And then all of a sudden, with nothing accomplished or achieved, it is already 11.30!

Today I am heading back to the olds in Holland/Clacton and before going straight home, I pop into Clacton. As much as this place is now run down, I have a kind of love/hate emotions towards it as I have so many rough memories here that are all now viewed relatively fondly. It reminds me of how Peter Kay jokes about his home life and upbringing; it pretty much represents the eighties for me. And now it is weird, with my parents about to move away from here, that Clacton will no longer be regarded as my home and a place to come, return to for, in effect, refuge.

When I get back to my parents, its all good, my parents seem well, healthy and happy. The Sky is still broke though and sadness accrues. To amuse himself it seems Dad has bought himself a shredder for reasons only known to him. There is a lot of paranoia at the moment (probably brought on my Watchdog and GMTV) of people rummaging through rubbish piles for correspondence and personal details and committing all kinds of frauds and posing as other individuals, stealing identities. I wish I had a hand in that shredder buck and industry. Personally I don’t think you need a shredder but a person’s rubbish does need to be somewhat guarded. I have been semi paranoid (but not enough to purchase a shredder) since I spoke to my groundskeeper on a wet Boxing Day in 2003 and he jumped on the communal dumpsters where I live, telling me all sorts of information about my neighbours. However, if a person is willing to rummage through piss and shit stained rubbish to get your personal details/identity, you have to question their intellect in the first place.

We watch Yeading v Newcastle in the FA Cup from Loftus Road on BBC. It’s a rough old game but as expected. I think really Newcastle could have put a hat full away, against inferior opposition but I think the tendency is to go easy on these teams (Dad and I swap theories that Man Utd’s 0-0 draw with Exeter was a fix in order to generate TV money and funds from the replay). Eventually Newcastle win 2-0 in a game about damage limitation where, regardless, Yeading were always going to emerge as heroes if not victors.

I return to writing while I hear Dad in the front room actually watching Back To The Future 2, I think he is really missing Sky.

I write solid for the remainder of the evening, only breaking for dinner and The Simpsons, one of my favourite episodes, where Comic Store Guy has a heart attack and Bart and Milhouse take over looking after his shop.

I write until 9PM when I leave to return to Colchester (and my own bed). Almost immediately after getting in, Sara is online trying to contact me on MSN. She is harping on over some guy in Chelmsford told her that he has loved her for 14 years or something and what can she do to deal with it (“he’s really upset”). I suggest maybe that she get him to buy some tickets and put him out of pocket. Eventually Gimp Boy stops hassling her and she goes off on one again about her period being late etc. Poor baby, I’m not interested.

Tonight’s TV choice is From Dusk Till Dawn or She’s The One. I’ve seen them both before and didn’t really like either all that much. I generally stick to She’s The One, without really paying any attention (but I do think Edward Burns is pretty talented). Instead I come across Phoebe Toronto online, so I speak to her a bit between attempting to write but by now it is too late. I go to sleep watching crap Celebrity Big Brother.

np: Lemonheads - Rudderless

January 8 (Saturday): Panther Dash. Saturday morning, wake up to good times. Last night was a gas and today I’m full good stuff. I head out to the Layer Road shop to get the Saturday newspapers (Guardian Guide day!).

Today I am focused and busy but find myself hampered when one of the two disks of work I did at my parent’s house yesterday, today does not work (for the second time). Regardless, I find myself able to get on with enough stuff to make today productive enough.

Mid morning I find myself rummaging through several boxes of old NMEs and Melody Makers I was forced to bring home from my parents and I then hit paydirt as I come across the infamous NME On piece/interview with Hirameka where Tom and Steve argued their way through it. This is classic stuff, really fantastic to read again and the photo is totally hilarious, in a serious kind of way.

Around midday Stevo phones. It is the first time I have heard from him this year. He sounds OK, the normal. I ask him why he isn’t watching AFC (AFC Wimbledon) today and apparently it’s an away game and none of PISA are interested nor going. He points out that Colchester are playing at Milton Keynes next week and wonders if Ben would fancy boycotting going to MK Dons to go and see AFC instead (do teams still do that?). I remember falsely getting my back patted the first time I went to an AFC Wimbledon game because the same day Millwall were playing the old Wimbledon.

While I’m on the phone to Steve, the phone beeps and it is a text from Mark. He asks “are you still scanning shit in Clacton?” and I reply “no, I’m uploading shit in Colchester”. He asks about doing lunch but I really had my day planned and stuff to do. I suggest a compromise at later but no dice, he’s off to London later.

Today is FA Cup Third Round day and as usual BBC are in the act, showing Sheff Utd v Aston Villa at lunchtime. I watch it half arsed, more concerned with getting Millwall v Wolves on internet radio. Cyberspace lets me down and while I find myself at war with technology, Wolves score after about seven minutes. And then before I know it, they have scored a second a few minutes later, this even before I have had chance to look at the lineup. And the lineup is unbelievable, reserve players, players playing out of position, Braniff playing up front and reserves I doubt have half dozen first team games in total to their name. Either Dennis Wise has gone insane or the club has injury problems. Looks like no Cup Final or Europe this year.

I revert to the Sheff Utd v Aston Villa game on TV and the second half actually turns out to be a cracker when Aston Villa take the lead early in the second half only for Sheff Utd to happen upon an equalizer before scoring a couple of really dubious late goals from the same guy (Liddell, who he?) which would/should have left Aston Villa feeling pretty aggrieved.

After that game ends, I finally manage to get Millwall on internet radio and it all sounds fatal. The two early goals obviously killed off Millwall, who by all reports with a really weakened side put in a really good battle whilst also Barry Hayles apparently misses a sitter of an open goal. Shouldn’t have sold Neil Harris. The game ends 2-0 to Wolves and I believe the first game Wolves have not drawn 1-1 since Glenn “God” Hoddle took over as manager. Geek manager.

3PM hits and the full day’s FA Cup Third Round programme kicks off. By the end of the day, non-league come away with a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford against Man Utd reserves and Colchester come away from in-form Hull having won 2-0 at their place.

Afternoon TV sees Brewster’s Millions on Channel Four. You should always have time for Richard Pryor and this is a pretty interesting/cool movie, typically eighties with a great support from John Candy. And it features baseball, bonus! I have to admit I had never noticed Rick Moranis in the movie before.

Then on ITV, Dr Doolittle turns up, talking of Richard Pryor and his “son” Eddie Murphy. I actually really like this remake, being a huge fan of Norm MacDonald and generally a fan of talking animals. I half watch it (with one eye), having seen it enough times to know where/when the good jokes are coming from. Cool to see Paul Giamatti (American Splendor dude) on TV.

That ends and BBC are showing Plymouth v Everton. When I start watching it, Everton are already winning 2-0 and the game looks a bit of a mess, the referee really looks bad, making way too many mistakes. Tim Cahill isn’t playing strangely but he comes on as a substitute late in the second half (replacing the debuting James Beattie), as another ex-Millwall player Nick Chadwick comes on as a substitute and scores the third to make it 3-0. Football on a Saturday evening is the best!

Like a proper geek, I spend the rest of my Saturday evening working on websites and actually feeling some accomplishment as a result (coupled with nerd satisfaction). I really need to go out and just get pissed and offensive methinks, a blow out may be on the horizon. How long is it to All Tomorrows Parties?

Tired with that and done for the evening, I finally get around to watching a DVD I picked up in the sales: The Adam And Joe DVD. This stuff is really funny; I had forgotten how good they were. The hard chore of laughing out loud is made easier as they do all kinds of inventive stupid shit like organising a piss up in a brewery, going into a supermarket and only taking (eating and drinking) the “free” percentages of goods. And of course there are the great Star Wars figures TV show piss takes of TFI Friday and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire etc. How could they desecrate their Star Wars figures in that way though?

During watching the DVD, Sara comes online and hits me on MSN. I really can’t be arsed to speak to her (again). She tells me how her old man has the arse with her because of her antics with the 37 year old squaddie with Gulf War syndrome apparently. She is stressing about her period being late and basically: bothered. I’m more concerned about getting my ticket money back but to be honest this is a girl who chose to spend her money on nose candy instead of pay her council tax/rates, all to the point of her being taken to court in some kind of judgement and court order (or something). She asks me if I DJed last night and I ditch the bitch.

Jerry Springer night comes on TV and I figure I might as well wallow in shit and check out what I missed four weeks ago exactly. The show is ok. I reckon it would actually have been pretty good to watch in person, it would have been a really good night. I fail to see what all the fuss was over; it isn’t really all that shocking, just generally pretty silly. It does portray some sacred cows in a new, unique light but its nothing worse than anything else on TV even if it does affect people’s sensibilities.

Then I pass out.

np: Jesus & Mary Chain - Snakedriver

Monday, January 17, 2005

Cats Against The Bomb as per beer goggles

January 7 (Friday): Thunder Lightning Strike. Dream: I find myself out, knocking around with an old ex-best friend from school days. His gorgeous sister is there, one I once fancied to death, and we are at some acid tennis club in Little Clacton (but not the one down the road I used to live curiously). I don’t think I have seen these people more than twice this century but every now and them I am (sarcastically) privileged to news updates from mum via her work. Its always one too many success story to take. My dream swiftly moves to a waiting room for a job. Sara is also there in the waiting room and it appears that we are together but also competing for the same job. In another chair/seat I see Peter Cook, slouched and almost passed out. I awaken him and bug him and fun times begin.

I awaken feeling rough, these aren’t good times all the time. I get up (off the sofa and out the front room) to find mum getting ready for work. She still does not look well but she is getting ready to leave all the same. I find myself genuinely concerned for her wellbeing.

She leaves and I begin working on the computer. Early on Adrian (my cousin) comes over. He and his wife have now indeed decided to split. I talk to him about it but I feel really out of place, I am now authority or experience on this subject (an unmarried marriage counsellor). We discuss work and finances and there we hit something in common. Our credit card debts sound about similar and the circumstances and reasons are semi related (although mine sound less out of necessity). It would seem the whole credit card finance trap is something most people are falling into and perhaps represents and whole new trend and reality of life and a nod towards finances becoming tighter and harder for people, dare I say, working class.

I’m relieved when he goes to talk to dad, to leave me to my thing (seems I’m experiencing some kind of escapism keeping coming here and using this computer). I continue writing all morning until lunch time when my mobile phone rings. The immediate reaction “its trouble” coupled with a hope that it might be a job. I look at the caller and it is Mark. Happily I answer and he is calling me, asking if I want to go get some lunch. Sounds like he has done a draft of his presentation and feels like celebrating. Unfortunately I still have plenty here to do. I press him again on going to the Cats Against The Bomb gig tonight but it’s a no-goer.

Afternoon and mum gets home, seemingly very unimpressed that I am still around the house, which I can understand really. Perhaps though she is raggy from still feeling ill.

Sara comes on MSN and goes “Jason?”. I go “Jason” and we briefly get into another MSN conversation I really don’t want to be having while the money subject is hanging over our heads. She asks me how things are at home and I really really don’t want to talk about any of it. I’m curt and the call (cool) ends.

I stick around long enough to cheekily blag dinner. After that, while watching The Simpsons, I panic attack and worry about work hits me. I suddenly take a different view to the apparent enquiry into my circumstances of my dismissal and I wonder if they (my ex-employers) are actually claiming another thing that I had not considered, a scenario pretty plausible actually. Will I ever get a job again? I feel physically sick.

Eventually I make moves to get home for around 7.30. On the way I stop by at Tesco Hythe where I buy a newspaper and some milk. When I use the self serve checkout a woman and her child stare at me gormlessly as if I were a genius. I thank you. When I get in, it is so good to be back home (my home).

The phone rings and it isn’t a number I recognise. I answer and its Justin, he is already in Ipswich so I head out immediately. It feels so great to be going out again on a Friday night, my social life has been horribly barren lately (barring Christmas).

I arrive at the Steamboat pub in Ipswich and its in a lovely position (right near the docks on the water) but I still find it intimidating. I call up Justin to see where he’s at and they’re already inside.

I step inside the venue (the pub) and it is packed to the rafters, this is something I am not used to from a gig. It is being put on my Blank Generation who do a really good set of punk shows in Ipswich and are really enthusiastic. They put on the original last Hirameka show back in Dec 03 and it was one of my favourite ever Hirameka shows.

I plough through several jailbait punkers looking for Justin or Adam while some gnarly heavy band turns on parts of the crowd. Eventually I hook up with the others sat outside in the beer garden (Adam sat outside in a beer garden in January wearing a Hawaiian shirt and not freezing!). With them is a young lady called Andrea who turns out to be a lawyer, who will be someone very useful to know the next time I get arrested.

Not long after I arrive Cats Against The Bomb begin playing. After the first band, there were aching fears and reality (and common sense) that the kids (the jailbait punkers) were probably unlikely to dig the boombox beats and samples of Cats Against The Bomb. However, to their credit, several kids stuck around to check out Adam and appeared to really get into his set. I guess stick some heavy beats behind distasted vocals and the punkers will have it as their Digital Hardcore. I find myself really anticipating the set tonight and it turns out to be one of my favourite ones I have seen Adam do (my first since June 04) and all coming with a new sense of seriousness. He however wears 3D glasses atop his head, so fortunately its not too serious though. As the set carries on, more and more people take interest and check the antics out often saying between themselves: “what the fuck is that?” but in a positive, cool vibe. My personal favourite AKA Lover blasts as Adam pulls out his drill as the evening threatens to be a lesson in/of B&Q. He slips in a Lee Harvey Oswald Band cover (“69 Comeback”) and it all goes smoothly. Cats Against The Bomb appear to be intent on making all kinds of distortions and sound variations a priorities, the most redeeming effect generally being to make his guitar sound like some sci fi raygun, the burnt cousin of the Blitters. At the close, people are heckling for an encore but that is all, that would be commercial suicide surely.

Justin has to leave before the headliners come on but I stick around regardless. The headliners turn out to be The Secret Hairdresser who I saw play the summer before last when Bilge Pump played a show in Ipswich. Noticeable back then was how the keyboardist was rocking the Enid from Ghost World look and it seems the song remains the same. There is this band from Norwich called Kaito and The Secret Hairdresser really remind me of them. They also sound like Blur do (attempting) punk songs but remaining playful pop and also Urusei Yatsura, although this band is far from distorted. Their set sounds a lot better than the previous time I saw them and when they slip in a cover of Only Shallow by My Bloody Valentine. People walk/move around all set including Goldie Lookin’ Chain-esqe chavs clutching tightly their iPods, having the headphones permanently in ears while a real band is playing on stage. This may explain as to why the singer/band do not come over/act as the happiest puppies in the world. They end with a crowd favourite and audience participation as they clap and “miaow” in time to something kitsch and twee, almost straight out of Heavenly. There is life.

The night ends and I come away having had a great time. Before I leave, Adam’s brother hands me a demo of his band Big In Albania and everyone seems a winner. I leave Ipswich via Portman Road, really to see if the curb crawling legends are true. Nope, the only thing pulling birds here tonight is the Bobby Robson statue gathering bird shit.

I tear home back down the maniac A12 listening to Radio 2 for some reason. I get home buzzing just in time to catch the live feed of Celebrity Big Brother. I watch as John McCrirrick winds up all the women in the house (at least I hope he is and isn’t serious in what he says). It is also noticeably horrible just how grey Bez’s hair is. He is officially an old man, a survivor of a different drug: does this make him our Keith Richards? Please no. Night.

np: Primus - DMV