Monday, January 17, 2005

January 2 (Sunday): The Hourglass Syndrome. I wake up and the headaches have returned. I also awaken to find that I have slept the night on top of my glasses and now as I put them on this morning, they are all on the piss and very annoying at that.

Today is typically Sunday, a bright sunny back I really cannot be arsed to do anything. I find an old John Peel video interview on the BBC from 2002 and I watch that and it is fascinating.

I finally get up with view to making moves (I’m supposed to go over to the olds again today) and I look out of my flat window in the car park to see one of my nutty neighbours washing his car for the second day running (I believe). Now that is boredom. Or maybe just the feeling of necessity to be clean for some reason (remove blood and/or semen stains or something). Or maybe he just has a really blatant OCD.

After yesterday I feel SO ill, this must be some kind of food baby, the dietary version of a hangover in grocery currency.

Eventually I manage to pull myself together enough to make the drive home and when I arrive in Holland, there is a motorcycle parked out front. Inside I find a very morose atmosphere in the kitchen where I find my cousin Adrian (who I used to think was my uncle) telling my parents how he and his wife decided to split up on New Years Eve. It’s hard all over it seems. And I don’t clock that this is this story immediately, instead I stand around them moaning about feeling ill through food poisoning (or rather lack there of food poisoning). As soon as I clock what has happened, I stand awkwardly listening in really wanting to leave and move into the other room and watch telly or desiring to get myself a sandwich/lunch. All these activities seem rude and a faux pas to me as I feel obliged to hear things out, appearing supportative. It is a really sad day though, this should not be, these are some of my favourite relatives. I guess the big Graham reunification is experiencing more obstacles than expected.

In the end I get my lunch/dinner (“happy now?”) and almost immediately I feel much better for it. I proceed to begin clearing out five boxes mum has got down from the loft which I have to clear out. This is personal paper work dating back ten years, everything since I left school almost in addition to a few items from my final wilderness (retake) year at school. I find my examination result slips, so now if anyone ever wants to check if my CV is honest, I guess I’d best adjust it before showing the people these (joking!). The clearing the box is hard/heavy work, exhausting because it genuinely takes a mental toll as, once more, many ‘Nam-esqe flashbacks shoot back from various periods/occurrences over the past ten years. Once more I come across box after box of old Gringo Records items/documents and all that holds within that are the most exciting times of my life, from its inception in late 1996, to brushes with fame in 1998, the grand days of 2000 and then things sadly begin to peter out after that. I come across an old newspaper (the Halstead Gazette) with a picture line-up of Lando with Tom and Joe (posing as Chris) and they both look so young. And then comes the newspaper article featuring me, Matt and Chris (Chris got in there in the end!). Ouch, was it really seven years ago already. I weep.

I also come across many accounting documents, both from study and former employers. Part of me thinks I just stopped short at taking stationery with the photocopier (again, joking!). It all hits home though when I find I was studying the audit exam in 1999 and, because of various circumstances, I only just passed that exam last year (first time though). Oh dear, my career really went off the rails somewhere, I really should be qualified by now. With that thought in mind, I put all that rubbish to one side and return to reading about myself in the local press (ha ha).

In the evening I find myself on my parents’ computer, on MSN. Sara comes online on MSN and I brace myself. She hits me on MSN, with me under the Messenger name of my Dad. She wishes a random “Happy New Year” and it is obvious she isn’t sure whether it is me or the old man on MSN. I play along a little bit, pretending to be the old man but the basic speed of my typing gives me away. Once the veil is lifted, we get into some conversation which leads to argument which she tells me she “isn’t in the mood for”. Like I am. I ask her where my money is and she plays dumb (or at least I think its playing). She carries as if nothing ever happened, water off a ducks back. She retorts “I said I’m sorry”, which obviously makes it all better. Is she thick-skinned or just thick? I rag on her a bit and then she goes “I’m seeing somebody”, throwing it at me like a rock. By this point, I am no interested in that, I just want my money back; it’s the principle in representation. She pisses me off, so I stop replying/responding to her (just like Dec 11th). She keeps asking “you not talking to me?”, “are you pissed off” as she offers to make things better when I’m not feeling in a very good frame of mind, especially when she tells me how her year end ended so well eventually (what happened to all the relatives that were dying of cancer just two weeks prior? Did they get better? Hope so). She tells me her new year’s resolution is to give up smoking. How about give up breathing (ha ha). I give up on responding to her and when she goes “not talking?” for the last time, I just log off and go watch the telly. And tonight’s entertainment is……

Night three of the Peter Kay weekend on E4! The Sky has been playing up slightly all day but tonight it’s good as E4 repeats the entire series of Max And Paddy. And while I really didn’t expect the series to be any good, it is fantastic, full of great pastiches and cultural references that really relate to my generation, right and wrongly (references such as Mr T, the A-Team, Miami Vice, Ghostbusters anything eighties and American basically).

As midnight hits (and the witching hour with it) I am absolutely spoilt for choice on digital TV as the Max And Paddy marathon ends and turns into a Peter Kay live show while elsewhere the BBC channels are showing the Smoking Room Christmas episode, Armando Iannucci’s Alternative 2004 and the TV version of Dennis Potter’s Brimstone And Treacle (with Denholm Elliott and importantly without Sting). Why must good TV be shown so late? I have a lust for life in the aftermath.

np: Art Brut – Formed A Band


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