It’s taken way too long to get around to imparting this next portion of my life, the end of summer into the beginning of Postgrad study so I’m going to have to make it a quick run down even though it’s been way exciting and eventful, so imagine the events imparted multiplied by about 25 to cover all of the cool stuff I forget/don’t have the time to include. This will probs be my biggest post every so I don’t expect anyone but me to trawl through it but I’ll add as many pics as I can find to break it up. Also it only really reaches the start of uni in October:
So when I got back from France it was pretty swift before my cousin Tom, his friend Hugh and a French kid of about the same age were due to come over to stay. I went to pick up Billy from the Eurostar on the Friday afternoon, well 12ish; which is still morning to a lay-about like me. I took him home and initiated him into the hell that is the Oyster Card. Then I decided that the best thing to do for my cousin, his friend and this French fellow was to settle them down in front of a badass studio Ghibli movie: Castle in the Sky, which had the benefit of French subtitles. I was supposed to be educating this kid in English was I not? But it turned out that he wasn’t really interested and neither were Tom and Hugh. I also set out the Dreamcast in case that was more to their liking so Hugh and Tom played that into the night whereas I think Billy wanted to just go to bed and play on his phone and perhaps do a little reading (they all thought the film was too childish!! The fools!).
Planet Angel 10th August
That evening Becky and I went to Planet Angel which was as amazing as ever; we met some awesome new people and caught up with some of our Planet family. I left the Planet Angel website open so that Tom could check out the evening on the webcam but I doubt he saw us as we spent most of the mild evening in the garden, chilling massaging, drinking tea and watching poi. It was also cool to catch up with Will Mitchell and co. When we got home I said good morning to Gaia and laid out some breakfast for the kids.
We stocked up on food, and I took Billy to K-stores taking the time to explain to him the travel situation and pausing to check out the giant squash that was growing on our street. On the Saturday we chilled out and prepared stuff for the BBQ we planned to have, which was timed so that Billy and Tom etc could get a chance to hang out with various members of the London posse as they had been cruelly denied that chance on the Friday. We sadly missed a sunny hangout on the Thames beach which Foxy and the guys were at, but we were too whacked and we had to get coal in and prepare salads. Big style.
This was a frankly fantastic BBQ, I borrowed next doors flat BBQ and stoked up the chimenea. Loads of people came down for it, the Liverpool St & Ricky posse, the Film Folks, Nadders and his little bro Hamim, the delightful Gladers all made it along later in the evening (they’re evening people), Sylv (pictured) and a French friend of hers, Toby and a French mate of his who I’d met in Serville previously called Vianney. A couple of uni peeps made it over as well as Nathan and even Becky's sisters made it down and Maddy stayed for a few days after, and we hit the Tate en masse.
Everyone ate bountiful meats salads, played table tennis, imbibed, all to a relaxed playlist coming out of a speaker pointed out of the door. Rip-roaring good fun! There were lots of cool creative and simply lovely people. It didn’t cost a bomb and Becky put on the most amazing salad spread (my fave was tomato and buffalo tomato which we sneakily bought from fresh and wild).
9 black alps
One morning I was listening to XFM, they had a competition to see 9 Black Alps at La Scala, I entered, won, called James Howard, went along with him, it was quite fun, we left before it finished as the music was mediocre and had a nice beer and a catch up in the pub on platform 9 of kings cross station. Nice evening all in all and I was glad to get to check out La Scala as a venue.
Just before we went to Reading Becky was intent on dreading her hair so we sat down for a day at hers and I divided, backcombed, handrolled and waxed from around 12 noon until around 1 in the morning stopping only for 2 hours for a slap-up Daddy Allen lunch. I assume we visited the Inn too on another night. Billy headed home as we left for…
Reading 24th-27th Aug
This was another great festival to finish off a summer of great, mental festivals. We were working a beer tent with the workers beer company for Campaign Against the Arms Trade. We took our tent and a train, when we arrived at Reading station we asked directions to the festival and then proceeded to get lost, having been confused by the fact we weren’t going to the main entrance. We took a cab the last little bit of the walk as we were lost and carrying a lot of stuffs. We got in and had our photos taken for staff cards then we went off to meet the Harpenden crew in a nearby campsite (which was convenient when we had to go and meet our group, have a briefing or use the superb ruby-ground facilities).
The group were all sitting in a circle knocking back tinnies when we arrived and they had saved us a primo location by the walkway. It was just perfect. I spent as much time as I could being FireMan! I love stoking a good fire and providing people with warmth and light and a fantastic central focal point over which to have banter. Everyone was on top form and it was great to meet another Harpo-Mentalist: Niel. The first night we went down to the action aid tent and had a pics taken with plates (good to get some politics in there from the off, serious faces:on) and we danced a little bit with the early birds. They even played the Doctor Who theme-tune Orbital mix! Every time I hear it I think it’s playing just for me (and everyone else in earshot).
Working the bars was great, the people we were working with were all great interesting people and the shifts were 3 manageable 6 hour blocks. The punters were all good and chatty and it never really got too busy. The supervisors were safe, allowing me to hang back when it got quiet to juggle lemons or what have you and mixing up a shitload of pure lemonade for us despite doing a 12 hour shift. I particularly enjoyed operating the pouring machine which filled 12 cups at a time with either Carling or Strongbow rather than having to deal with maths stuffs. There were some amazing people, just a feast for the eyes and we got chatting to a lovely Scottish guy who works in the indie music industry and was trying to get Becky to audition for a presenting job. We also got taken to one of the indoor bars for a bit after our tent closed and that was pretty fun too, a different slightly less shambolic clientele and a slightly larger range of bevies I think.
In contrast to Glade the second day of the festival was a really sunny affair. And hot to boot, somehow too hot. This day Becky grabbed a bag of smart clothes, tied her dreads back and went off to a Mormon Wedding in Reading!! I took the opportunity to go for a wander and happened upon Ed Byrne doing a really great comedy set and I wandered though the campsites observing all of the gathered characters and snatches of hilarious conversations. Becky came back reporting one of the weirdest experiences ever and we got right back on it!
Music wise it was rocking and we were really lucky to be in the tent that was right next to the tent that I wanted to see most stuff on: the Radio 1/NME stage, although the acoustics weren’t great from tent to tent. I’m sure it was a more of a chilled vibe than the one over by the main stage. Top music the first day/night was provided by Ash, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and the Kings of Leon. The second day/night The Eagles of Death Metal were cool on the mainstage during the day and we worked late so missed Red Hot Chilli Peppers which was lucky cos apparently they were crapish. The third day/night was a highlight. From our workstation we could hear The Cold War Kids followed by The Maccabees, followed by Jamie T followed by Devendre Banhart followed by LCD Sound System. We then got off work and got some snacks and when I say some snacks I mean SOME Snacks! We had amazing vegi pakoras and noodles and stuff for less than a fiver. It was so delicious but so portionous that when we finished we had enough to offer some hungry looking young boys sitting to one side who were wholly grateful for the nutrition. Then CSS were on, there right in front of us! I’d been waiting for this since seeing them in Serbia at EXIT. It rocked, so much fun, grooving down with Becky, it was just way sexy.
Then we headed over to the main stage, caught the end of NIN and regrouped for The Smashing Pumpkins which were more than smashing! They were truly touching and astounding at creating an intimate experience with a crowd of thousands. Also the lightshow was the best I’ve ever seen. It blew the one Muse had last year out of the water.
It was a great evening. We carried on partying all night, kept the fire going and went for a walk to observe the carnage which was significant. We met one girl by the toilets who had fallen over so I helped her up and proceeded to give her advice on how to make her dreads better (cos they were pretty shit and I’m now expert no.1). By another set of long drop toilets there was a huge mud pile with hormonal 14 year old boys jumping up and down on it screaming primally and fighting each other to be king of the castle, no one was going to take their mudpile away from them. The really weird thing wasn’t that these boys, who were obviously just desperate to get laid, were being so brutish and pointlessly competing to scale a pile of mud but that people would stand around and watch them! So when in the toilet I decided to compete with them in terms of noise. So I bashed out the beat of the doctor who theme tune on the metal side of the toilets: Dum du Dum Dum du Dum Diddly Dum and then hollered the Woooo Eee OOoo part, I also hoped it would confuse the little tykes and maybe wake them from their push and shove reverie.
At about 4 when the sun had begun to come around again Becky suggested that we just hold out and try and make it home without sleep before the tent carnage begun and everyone was on the move. This seemed wise, so we decamped, said our confused morning goodbyes and hopped on a train, which was a fun as it could be considering. We got home well before noon and hit the hay.
On the 28th I did a bit of work with my good mate Ben Mason shifting boxes and furniture and taking photos and doing an inventory of radiators that were for sale for a family friend Rebecca. It was a really nice house in the middle of Shoreditch. And a really nice day for it.
Lake district 31st August – 2nd September
This had been on the cards for a while so I was delighted to be able to fit this into this already really fit summer of antics. Nadders arrived at my door to pick me up. He had with him the James’ Ranger and MacKinnon. We went up to Brent cross and met Tom and the James Spillard who was driving a larger vehicle (a nice long volvo) we stocked up in the nearby Sainsburys, and Mackindo and I went into Toys R Us where I got a doc who action figure and a big box of bubble tubs, he bought a frisbee and then we headed up to the Lake District. It was a fun drive, good tunes, and nice chat, tho I did go a little anti social and did do a bit of reading. We arrived and went up a small walk up a hill, and along a really pretty path. We then found a place to camp for the night, we set up the huge tent that the boys had rented and we got on to cooking up some lovely sausages etc.
The next morning we decamped, left our stuff in the car and embarked on our trek. We went up a huge hill, and across a little connecty bit called the razors edge. It was well steep by easily scaleable. We got to the top and it was really cloudy so we couldn’t see too much. We had some army issue grub and followed the Sandhurst cadet Ranger down the hill the other side. Only when we were half way down did he say the immortal line “This compass is pointing in the wrong direction”. Classic! Tom and I had been arguing over the Iraq war all the way down and were beginning to reach some consensus so we knew we had a long way to walk back up. It was really tiring as we had done some hill running on the way down so it was a long way, but beautiful none the less. When we got back to the top it was a lot clearer so that was one advantage but it was way cold. Oh and I had a poo on the hill near a pile of stones that looked a little like a makeshift grave. Ranger kindly lent me a really nice warm jacket to put over my day wear. Oh and I think it was Nadders that dropped the map over the edge, they shimmied down to get it and then we headed back down the other side. We were totally knackered by this point but had a long way to go. MacKinnon was having some issues with his vertigo on the way down as this was a more perilous climb than the steps we had been running down the other side.
When we reached the campsite it was a frigging relief. We drove back to Mackinnon’s, dumped our stuff and went off to a pub run by mates of Mackinnon’s and we had delicious steak and ales to ease our weary limbs. Alesfor what ails you.
When we got back to Big Mack’s we watched a bit of James Bond, I cooked the popcorn I had brought along and then we sunk into bed. I got up early the next day so decided to whack on a doc who vid James had lying around; “Caves of Androzani”. I watched 3 episodes then everyone got up and we watched music videos while we packed up. We set off home and stopped in Morrisons to say our farewells and ate a cooked breakfast.
It was a great Old Boys get together with all the trimmings and gay banter.
On the 6th of September Joel came around to hang out which was lovely as did Jen Thomas and Emily Thompson. A nice wee gathering indeed
Acid Jam - Saturday the 8th of September
This was a really cool event, put on by a core of people that’s gathered around a lovely chap, Ed Saperia. I grabbed some newspaper and some empty jars to use for painting and headed off to the Synergy Centre near JW’s in Oval. It was a safe day, the was a wicked Jam throughout, juggling, diablo, glowstick sculpture, lovely hot veggie food, painting and drawing, a huge variety of people to get chatting to and to play with.
I read some poetry and got some cool feedback and did some improvised singing which was really fun. Foxy and Jordan were there from the Ricky Crew which was ace. A bunch of the lovely Glade peeps made it down later, and Karim, JW & Verity were all there with so many cool new people too. It was a really good thing, and banter to the max. A great reason to go to the Synergy centre for the first time. I was there from about midday until about 4 the next morning When Karim, JW and I retired to his to crash. There were great chats about life, politics, LARPing, social software and much more besides.
Becky had her teeth out in Golders Green on the 11th of September so I went along to hold her hand. And she had just finished up working at the theatrical agents; Jane Larah’s. It was great to have her over for the period she was working there, it was nice to have the run of the house and use it as a base of operations between festivals and socialising.
We went up to Coventry to meet Matt and Lucy and go house hunting in Coventry on the 13th of September. We had a list but ignored it really and just walked into Student Homes. They said they had a place that sounded ideal but the landlord hadn’t dropped round the key but we asked if they could give him a call and he just happened to be in. So we went to check it out and really liked it. We haggled him down on the price a bit and then signed on the dotted there and then. I was especially excited to be so close to Clive’s Comic book store, but sadly he closed down the shop just as we arrived, removing the highlight of Earlsdon colour/culture. But we do live right opposite this old school looking butchers!
I went to see Verity’s play Left Luggage at the Shunt Vaults it was brilliant promenade puppet theatre, really well done and nicely polished without losing any charm. It was in fact one of the most charming performances I’ve seen in ages.
On the 23rd of September I went with JW and his friend Marcus to see a comedy event called A Seriously Funny Attempt to get the Serious Fraud Office in the Dock. Which was an event raising money and awareness about the closure of the corruption inquiry into BAE’s dealings with the Saudi Royal Family. It was a brilliant event for a brilliant cause. The amazing line up was thus:
Jo Caulfield (MC)
Phil Nichol (MC.2)
And a surprise appearance by Bill Bailey!
It was the bomb, if you’ll excuse the weaponry reference. A great night, it was like a whole comedy festival crammed together into one night. There was also a great speech by a member of Corner House who are pursuing the action and when we left JW and I took posters down and knicked a running order. I decided that despite the light drizzle I’d try and get an autograph so I said to JW the first person who comes by then we’ll go. Simon Amstell went by too swiftly in a cab but Bill Bailey pulled up and started doing a few signings out of the window of his car so I got him to put himself onto the running order on which he was missing (as he was a surprise duh!). It was amazing, I garbled some fan love and he had a dog in the back of his car! And he drove off into the London night with his hair blowing behind him in the wind! His act got me so psyched as I had booked tickets to see his stadium show Tinsel Worm in Manchester.
Somewhere before heading back up to Uni I managed also to squeeze in a really fun game of poker at Fred’s in Harrow. It was great with Chinzano’s on ice, I only lost a tenner and it was a fun game that I would have got further in without making some really dumb mistakes. James was there, as was Rob (another of my hall mates from the first year of uni) as well as Ben and a clutch of Fred’s nearest and dearest. Lovely lovely lovely. On the way back I carried the hat stand that had been adorning Fred’s hallway since he came back from Leamington. It was unwieldy but not too difficult to commute with. I also managed to make it to Camden to see Toby, Jamie and Harv for a wee pub lunch. I had soup, it was still sunny, everyone was lovely.
Also I got to see Debbie and baby Rosh a fair few times over the summer which was great, despite Roshi's huge lung capacity: