Thursday, January 20, 2005

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.


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