August 21, 2008

Corduroy Cowboy

vw workvw roof offdsc00542.jpg#

Here's the Van at an early stage. In the first photo you will notice the rust over the wheel arch. We've now had that welded so we should be able to install some seatbelts too. The roof is back on now hopefully totally sealed to the elements. The windows have also been resealed and the rust welded.


beetlejuicebeetlejuice at the amersham arms

I bopped to the Amersham Arms of a screening of that wonderful film Beetlejuice with James H, James A and Andrew S. We had a few pints and hotdogs and were totally sated and entertained!

optimumfoxes nobsohobritish sexHerepj

These are some of the sights and sounds of Soho that I encountered whilst working at Optimum Releasing. I did a lot of running and got to know the film world that exists in that area. The first picture above is of the excellent Indiana Jones pin-ball machine. Great fun. The next picture is of an ale pull called fox's nob. Haha. Stephen Fry got a nasty stain out of a silk shirt of mine in the celebrity dry cleaners. The PJ's there in the window are what I got Becky for her Birthday. The sun is saying to the cloud "Get out of my way!".


Tony Blair is a religious hypocrite

This is there security that was arranged for a speech Tony Blair made in Westminster Cathedral about religon and politcs. It was a hugely noisey in an attempt to drown out the crashing hypocracy inside. I brought along my Grandpa's old drum which was great and I met my little Asian sister Ash for shoutyness and a pint or two.


mmmarina dinner

Here's a tastey meal Marina made. Russian food is delicious.

snowday1snowday2

How did this happen? Such a late snow day. Pretty tho.


jc1jc2jc3

Mmmmm, Japanese Canteen teriyaki Salmon. Hells yeah! I bopped over there one lunch time with James who was working very nearby at myspace. Let me reitterate; mmmmmmm!

plug

garden1garden2garden 3

I scaled the tree at the bottom of the garden to pull down the parasitical ivy. I was worried that it was going to pull the tree down in a high wind. Nice view. It was a bit hairy as the wind picked up and it rained a tad. Some of the ivy was as thick as your arm and it required a saw, shears and a lot of elbow greese. I disturbed this Squirrel's nest and this tiny fella fell basically from the top of this tree to the bottom. It crawled over my arm and then Ziggy wanted to sink his teeth into him.

squrillbare tree

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So one day this had sprung up right next to the office I was working at. It's a thing of beauty if you ask me... A good bit of free art for all of the Oxford St shoppers and tourists who are otherwise simply bombarded by advertising and crap. I love it tho. This is so my city.


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This is my beautiful road in Hackney. Walking down this was always makes me feel fulla homely joy.

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Becky's birthday party was as ever a jokes, completely mental affair. Lots of lovely crazy people came around. Including some mental neighbours who threw bottles at one another and are the cheif suspects in the doorstep poo case. It had electro echoes of Bex's 21st and some excellent and snazzy, pimping get-ups. I was super glad that Foxy Annora Karim and Spud made the effort to bust up to give the party a second wind after the first haf of Synergy in London. The next morning Spud made some excellent spag bol and we all kicked back. Below we have John wearing all of Ruth's jewellery and hats and Ruth, wearing bunny ears.

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Below is the view from Optimum Releasing's new offices off Carnaby St. Also a DVD cover that made me think of my housemates, or as I like to call them my 'three wives'.

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I got to sit in on a lot of meetings between the Optimum marketing team and the Elevation sales team. I even got to sit in on the third quarter presentation where all of the upcoming releases were discussed and forecasts and projections were mulled over. It was held in a beautiful hotel near Picadilly Circus.

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What is this all about?

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A helpful little underground sign. And Optimum's theatrical releasing department when most people have gone home.


Here's Fred with two huge posters he bought online. They're massive and massively cool. Debbie Harry and Jackie Chan Le Magnifique! They're going to cost a bomb to frame my friend. But worth it indeed! Better than wallpaper!

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A real life Samuri helmet. Each photo progressivly more scary than the last.


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It's little baby Rosien. What a lovely wiley baby! A total cutestick.

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Gaia relaxing in the driveway. Sunny day... Why not?

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So here are the sets I helped design along with Emma Fernandez. They came out really well and were excellently and expressively used. I liked to think of the play as a triptych so that was reflected and we created a forrest with one tree, smoke, lighting and projection. The tree worked really well I think and wend up into the rafters and I think it conveyed it's hollowness like the tree in Pan's Labyrinth, anyway it fit 3 witch-like woodsmen in it which was a boon!


the duende director

Here's the director herself: Petia. She did a very fine job and produced a sizziling piece I'm sure Lorca would have been impressed by.

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Here's 75 Newcombe Road. From behind.

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We went for a nice picnic in Regent's park. Here we have Lucy, Spud, Annora, Simon, Toby and Karim. It was pretty banterful. I forget where we went afterward but it was really good to see everyone, especially Lucy who isn't in the country very often.

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BBQ and Kinderchess time! How fine!

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Notice the "Vegetarian" Becky Allen. Gnaw girl!

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I was enlisted to help my pops move a garden chair from my Grandpa's. On our way home we stopped and had a lovely Vietnamese in Shoreditch. I saw James Howard and Phil in a bar so I hopped out and said hi before chowing down.



July 09, 2008

January, February, March & Marches.


hanging pigs VW in progress

New years brought a family wide commitment to reducing the anount of meat we eat to help reduce our carbon footprints. This is wholly unfair as neither my parents or my brother live on a road with a butchers at the top of it.

The grand work on the VW begain with my first task: change the tire. Done and done.

haha 3

I made my promise to reduce my meat consumption at Testi's turkish restaurant. I was eating lamb's testicles at the time but we began our veggie vow over this ray of beautiful meatless hope. If that makes any sense.

At the start of the year I handed in a managing intellectual property essay which I did on the fair dealing clause of the Copyrights and Patents act. It was really interesting but I don't think I'm cut out to be a lawyer. I did alright tho getting a 69. Can't compalin.


The CME crew had a great little party on the 17th of January at Sophie's pad in Coventry. DJ micromonkey (kate) threw on some great little bangers! It was so hot from all the dancing we had to take regular water breaks and stick our heads out of the door to keep cool.

party cme style an old married couple

On the 18th I watched Black Sheep with Freddy . It was a pretty shit movie, with no plot, crud dialogue and come cool makeup. It could have been so much better. But it was pretty much a waste of time.

This January saw the end of series 2 of Torchwood. I've gotta say it was vastly superior to series one on the whole. There were still some huge flaws but it was great fun none the less with a lot more emphasis on characterisations and character development. A good series all in all. Lots of light fun.

torchwood

On the 22nd of Jan I won the One World Week story reading competition with the story below "The Beasts of Accrum Moor". Jokes! Well worth a day's work slaving over the keypad. Neil Gaiman was right; Writing is one of the most enjoyable things one can do by oneself.

On the 25th I went to see Sweeny Todd in the Arts Centre. A great live performance, one of the best things I've seen MTW do, and I'm not just saying that because Becky was stage managing. Totally rousing and great set and music. Movement on the stage was a bit stilted but the performances were otherwise great.

On the 4th I went to London to meet with the artistic director of the BFi. He set me up with another meeting with the marketing supremo. Gale Cohen. The next day I popped in on the Optimum Releasing who offered me a placement right off.

It was Ruth's birthday on the 7th and we celebrated on the 8th. On the 9th we went to see John Hegley at the Arts Centre. He rocked hard! It was a great show, I'd missed live Hegley. So so dry and surreal. 

Blood Wedding and green pancakes Lost Senses production meeting

Above you can see the prepartory meetings for two submissions I was involved in for slots in the Warwick Arts Centre. The first one; with the green pancake, is of Emma who was doing design with me for Petia's production of Lorca's "Blood Wedding". The second photo is the production team for a project that became called "Lost Senses". I was super excited about this as it was to be devised, promenade and I was going to help shape the script and do design which would have involved using lots of nooks and crannies backstage and allow the audience an interactive, experiential theatre show.The submissions were on the 13th of Feb. It would have rocked, the team was great and I would have been able to write my major project on the project. Sadly we lost at the submission stage, despite the fact that I believe we had one of the best submissions ever. Others thought the same and started a huge, contentious discussion on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?ref=sb#/note.php?note_id=8874841622&id=61309400&ref=share

This discussion instigated a meeting to discuss the process which unfortunately I couldn't make. Sadly I also was unable to make the performance of the play that beat us. I was sad because we were beaten by my favourite shakespeare play "Macbeth" but I had to finish an essay before heading off to Glastonbury. But I do bemoan the lack of student devised theatre in the arts centre, but nevermind, I can't bear a grudge and I was able to do some amazing placements which I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. Such is life.


Roving CCTV Earlsdon sunset

/Something to say for Coventry over London. \

I think the following photos are from a night a Top B or some such with a clutch of lovely fellows from my department from variously; China, Korea, Taiwan and Poland. As you can see we didn't succumb to the lure of cheap purple.

top b anyone?

I got hoes in different international-dialing codes

Here's some lovely munch broken up by something I spotted and thought pretty outside work (click for bigger).

The first meal is a veggie burger breakfast with all the trimmings, cheers to Becky for that one. The other is a jacket Poe Tay Toe as big as your face, but luckily not quite as big as my mouth.

mmmmbike seatjacket Po Ta Toe

On the 19th of Feb we bopped down to the Phoenix to support our mates Gareth and Jack doing standup in a regional competion. Gareth won a slot at Edinburgh and they both brought the house down, but don't take my word for it, check it yourself:

Gareth:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDCVsYwdewg

Jack

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmxHU5voM7U

new ebay boots!

These boots were made for partying!

On the 12th of Feb Becky and I were due to go for a date at Kakooti's in Coventry but the whole of the town was cosed off as an unexploded bomb was found so we went into Earlsdon instead and had a lovely meal.


I went down to London ready to start my placement at Optimum on the following Monday on Saturday the 15th of March. My dad picked me up and we took Ruth with us and we went to a Stop the War March. Just as we were discussing my fears about driving the VW and the accelerator locking off shooting me into oncoming traffic my dad said "What would you do in that situation? You'd engage the clutch doofus" at that exact moment the clutch went on the Espace. We had to push the car across a huge crossing and pull up in a bus stop. We decided that rather than wait for rescue of popping home via the bus we'd just jump onto a train to trafalgar sq to meet JW and the marchers. Alan decided rather than call the rescue services immediately; first things first, cross the road and buy a packet of fags. HAHA! that's addiciton for ya!

stop... killing people you...

The march was great, loads of people there in Traf sq from the off, and it was amazing to see people still snaking onto Westminster Bridge as we at the front of the march were crossing Lambeth Bridge.

ON YOUR KNEES!

JW oversees Ruth gets in there

Here's JW surveying the situation.                 And here's Ruth, citizen journalist getting some good pics for the Daily Planet.


you don

Easter fandangocakes!

Just before I started work at Optimum Easter weekend was upon us, so I took the chance, with Alan and Vix to pop down to Devon to see the Grandrents and the cousins. We had a great time. Amazing food, lots of chocolate, This wonderful wafer cake gifted us by Marina. I lazed around a lot and was fed like a prince as usual.

A proper Grandpa Breakfast

While I was down there I was trying to organise a lift to a demonstration at Aldermaston, the nuclear weapons base. I managed to get a lift with this lovely pair. One of whom was a Quaker with some very interesting insights. We shared the front seat which was a godsend because the previous night I hadn't slept well and had some sort of stomach bug which meant that I was sick that night. But by the time we hit the road I was fine and not bad company I hope.

Cheers ladies

The Hiroshima delegationWhat happens to you in an atomic explosion

It was a fantastic demonstration, we totally surrounded the base with thousands of protesters. There was a rinkydink peddlepowered soundsystem, a lorry with stage that took the fantastic speakers around the various entrances. Another gazebo with speakers including an excellent older chap who was at the 1968 march who regailed us with all the details as someone started a fire and it begun snowing. There was even a delagation from Hiroshima who were fantastic, they gave out peace fans and sung some beautiful songs which the rinky dink amplified. Just stunning.

I borrowed this skull mask from my Auntie Jen which was great, and I borrowed my grandad's old scout drum with which to attack the base and make ourselves hear. There were lots of people with noisemakers. It was fantastic. My neighbour Bob was there with a giant nuclear bomb and I managed to jump on a coach back to London too with my new little asian sister Ash who can be seen below posing with my laminated poster which reads AWE=WMD=MAD     That is, for the layman:

Atomic Weapons Establishment

=

Weapons of Mass Destruction

=

Mutually Assured Destruction

Greenpeace Bomb

Give Peace a Budget

'Give peace a budget' was my favourite sign there, but the entire fence was beautifully adorned with signs, posters flags and knickers. PANTS FOR PEACE!

Lil

Walter WolfgangNuclear Bomb Factory directions


What a great turn out. Nuclear weapons... Who needs them.

Click below for a bigger pic if your screen allows you.

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July 06, 2008

Christmas and New Year 07/08 Fartensplau

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So there it was Merry x-Mas. What a lovely one. This is a wreath I made for the Allen household. I had a really good time going with them to pick a tree, decorate it and drink warm cider.

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Kina popped over and here you can see her with Ziggy on her lap and Vix by her side. She joined us in Gurnsey, and I joined her for a Catholic mass on Christmas morning. It was nice to see what chrsitians make of the whole thing that they apparently started. But it was a little culty, lots of chanting and all of that stuff.

Wise man Archie

here's Archie, fresh down from Scotland. Great to have him down as ever.

Our Tree Debs and Rosh

I loce christmas trees. They look great from outside and smell great on the inside. Baby Rosh's first x-mas was lovely. She didn't evenmind wearing the crown. She has got a big head. Lotta brains that girl.

Queen Rosh

We went to Gurnsey from the 23rd of December to the 27th. We had all of the Webb cousins, Grandpa and Grandma Cuckoo, Granny Kina, Arch, the rents and myself. We feasted and swam and played lots and lots of games. There were speeches for Grandpa and Grandma's Gold Anniversary on Boxing day, a letter from the Queen and Doctor Who stopping a giant replica of the Titanic crashing into her. Great fun, nice walks, I bought myself a suit and some excellent shoes from an Oxfam for a fiver which have steel toecaps and a map of London on them. Jokes!

Carcassone and Jamie grandma

a gurnsey shop

Sunset at a Nazi bunker

a Nazi bunker in Gurnsey

A true wise man


Foodglorious foodmore food

New years was a fantastic affair, we decided to go to a steam punk party. We went all out, we were even joined by Gaurav. I built some working canvas wings and we all looked like some victorians up for anything, an absinth party or a war with aliens. Even a detour to a squat pub in Clapton. It was a great night, totally mental. We got involved in a round table discussion forum with added helium and had our futures told. A great night to ring in the new year and no doubt.

The Fartensplau Gang

matt 18th century time rift

squat swing     ALien

Round table



This is Coventry

Matt and chair primark hoodies

So we hunted down and found a great little place in Earlsdon. It's really cool because one can cycle to campus in 20 minutes, take a bus in 10 or 15 minutes and walk in 40/50 minutes. The office chairs and some of the furniture in the house was crap so our landlord (Kingsley Cull, great name) gave us permission to buy some stuff. We went to OfficeMate or some such in Becky's car and got all the chairs we needed. But it was a bit of a squeeze in the car. We also went to Morrisons and bought all the neccessary items. Such as toaster and all that sizzle.

burying a small child

We also tried to do a bit to beautify the place and make the best use of our garden, which is really long and backs on to a pretty primary school. So here is Becky burying a small child. I jest it's beans or something. No zombies have crawled their way out yet. But we have been quite sucessful with some bedding plants around the front and a creeper we're trying to grow over the doorway. I reckon Mr Cull owes us for increasing the value of his property ;o)

vix and rosh

Ok this isn't coventry, it's baby Roshi. I made a few trips back to London, often for a break from the hustle and bustle of coventry and usually for a bit of a Planet Angel or Synery party. When I'm lucky Debs and baby Rosh visit at the same time. They're a lovely pair but already a bit of an odd couple. Debs is a great muma (how couldn't she having had such excellent practice) and Rosh is imbued with the wonder and amazement of life, wide eyed all the time. And she really loves her muma. And she loves my muma too which is good.

wedgie

He's JW getting a killer wedgie from Verity. I was lucky enough to see her Left Luggage company in the middle of September at Shunt, one of London's best secrets. I saw their next show premiere in an old converted church in docklands which was really great. Brilliant design and a great evocation of a period with puppets and space.

dearest

Here's Becky and a deer in Clissold Park one chilly Sunday afternoon. Deerlightful.

thursday morning purple smoothie

So back to Coventry. The photo above left is campus on a thursday morning. Can you spot how I why I know this is a Thursday? And here's Anita a coursemate of mine with a lovely purple smoothie she made me. It matches the colour of the walls in her Heronbank halls.

Nagging Wife

This is my nagging wife on a particularly dishevelled, sunny Coventry morning on the way to the bus.

dalek cookies I made some dalek cookies. They were delicious.

Curry Media Enterprises

Here's my great CME group having an end of term curry at King Baba's. Again this is in Leamington, not Coventry, that'll be a bit of a theme of my time here ;o).  A great bunch of people and a great meal and time had by all. Especially me, in prevegetarian days, working as the human dustbin! Gosh it was a long table with a lot of seat swapping.

stereophonics

This time we escaped to Brimingham. That's the real blessing of Coventry, it's really easy to get out of it to proper cities. I joke. I love place. We managed to get some free tickets for the Stereophonics from RAW, it was a really good gig, great tunes, a great light show, all the better for being free. Ooh but they gouged us on the drinks :op

film noir

Ahh this is my old common room, lookin very film noir. I still pop in occasionally for a daytime nap.


The following six photos are from a really fun trip to visit the Harpenden boys in Manchester. It was Alex's birthday so we did a cool tour of the city, I got a haircut, we went to see Bill Bailey's Tinsel Worm in the MEN Arena and we went raving in the excellent warehouse project.

manchester mural tinsel worm

purplezebramadchester

sam and cress alex

We lost Matt as a housemate to a job on campus that pays his rent and has the added bonus of giving him the authority to bollock and fine first years: resident tutor. So after we found our new housemate I had to change our Blur poster that hangs as a centrepiece in our living room:

newcombe blur     Newcombe Blur Ruth

Everyone was so egotistical that they failed to point out that my hair isn't actually that colour. Shit.


I applied for a little job on campus and my wives did too, as did Rowan. But strangely only I, the least qualified, got the job. Here are some pictures by a visiting artist, that were displayed during our work shifts, that quite accurately summise the job:

You owe me

i love you

It's good work and really reassuring as I got to speak to many film and CME graduates who are doing well, some good contacts and work placement opportunities. Also there were a lot of nice people working there. But the organisers have slightly too much fondness for karaoke. I hate karaoke.

cooking and games wife sleeping in freddy

Here's two of my wives having naps, hibernating during the winter months.

the wivesJ the G

We went for a christmas meal at Wing War's, a local all you can eat buffet where they cook some of the food infront of you in a sizzling style. Above is a pic of John the Grocer (JtheG) a classic scotsman dressed like a classic russian. Well it was cold. And delicious.


this is coventry

This photo sums up Coventry for me. The child didn't float as well as the trike.



March 16, 2008

An old untitled poem.

This is a hangover,
and I’m on edge.

If i fall it will be onto eggshells,
but you can’t make an omlette.

Turns out I flew off the pan handle
and into the fire.


March 10, 2008

ID Opinion

NO2ID letter, Evening Standard

Check this out (click the image for larger)

I got a message on my Facebook on Thursday the 6th while I was finishing an essay on creativity for a guy at the Evening Standard asking me to write a letter giving a student perspective on Jacqui Smith's regiged ID card scheme. I boshed out these three paragraphs and gave the guy a call who suggested a few grammatical/syntax tweaks here and there and it became the lead letter on Friday the 7th's copy!

Well Chuffed you might say! Anyway back to business please check out the national website: http://www.no2id.net/

and if you're a Warwick student and want to get involved please conact me directly as I'd really like to start up a preemptive NO2ID society on campus to fight a system that's got us in its sights. We're first up against the wall, let's fight back!

demonstration, meeting in Trafalgar Sq      

On the topic of fighting back, Everyone should get their asses down to London on the 15th of this month to protest 5 years since we began on the illegal escapade that is the Iraq "War". Read occupation. This is a protest for peace. For a real, urgent, lasting peace in Iraq, Afganistan, Palestine and to show that we won't support the risk of military action in Iran that would endanger our troops and so many civilans.

Prince Harry has just returned from Afganistan and the armed forces appear to me to be recruiting harder than ever. Let's sort this country out first before we embark on projects in god forsaken deserts simply to bolster our flagging arms industry.

Click Here for more details: Demonstration 15th March 

BBC coverage of the March 5 years ago: 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2765041.stm 


NO2ID - Stop ID cards and the database state

(I'll catch up on the more "mundane" [read; fantastically exciting] posts about my life as a student, a creative, a party person and any other complimentary adjectives one might use to describe me & what I get up to; feck it is my blog is it not?) 


February 28, 2008

Biggest blog post ever. The Second Curve of Summer '07

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:

Billy and the giant Evering Road Corgette

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!).

Chatau dans la ciel our heros

laputa


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.

Gaia and the Boy

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.

BBQ 12th-August
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.

Steph Allen Jamie and Jen or The Hulk and Captain America Em, Slyv, and I

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).

salad


the guys; Karim, Joel and Simon

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.

Dreadlocks:

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).

Adam, Alex and I

actionaid tentmyself, neil and chris
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).

Sun shiney day
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.

Simpsons dudeSimpson

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.

Pakora!
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.

Bex and random on the last night
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.

Hiking manLook at that Muslim troll under the bridge!

Base Camp

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.

WhoHiking man1 Chillin


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.

Ales The Summit
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.

CCF all over again!

The Lakes Sublime!

Big Mack and I


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.

Glow sticks sculpture

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.

music sweet music

A window as it should bePerspective roadArtscape

painting in action

Karim & JW JW & I

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!

Taylor and Sons Butchers Kingsley Cull in Earlsdon


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)
Simon Amstell
Ed Byrne
Josie Long
Mark Steel
Omid Djalili
Phil Nichol (MC.2)
Mark Thomas
Robin Ince
Stewart Lee
Russel Brand
And a surprise appearance by Bill Bailey!

SFO Gig poster

http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk/summary.shtml?x=558467

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.

Toby and Harv

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:

leaf baby rosh sweet rosh


January 25, 2008

The Beasts of Ancrum Moor

I will continue trying to catch up on my blog soon, when I get some more photos to accompany the calamatous summer fun . But as one set of fun things happen another takes its place so you can understand the difficulty. In there mean time get comfortable, get a cup of tea and check out this story:

This is a true story. As told by Professor McCrimmon, my great uncle for which he won a prize at One World Week's Tales by moonlight on the 22nd of January 07.

Now you may be surprised to see me sitting here in front of the fire trying to put the willies inta you as the shadows dance a jig aboot my craggy face. Ghost stories are for the young you might say. And d’you ken wha? You’d be right. Mine is a fairie story. None of your Disney nonsense. But fairie stories are in m’blood, stories of bloody hard fought battles wi’redcoats are too and all of the monsters that you see out of the corners of your eyes abide in the wrinkles around mine, behind these old glasses.

He was a lot like me when I was young; tall, handsome and he had sharp sight. But I’m getting ahead of m’self, I haven’t even told you his name yet.

Where I come from we have a saying; cometh the hour cometh the man, well this was the hour but he was no man. He belonged to the Bunnock tribe in Jedburgh which is near the east coast of Scotland and he was a fierce warrior. By the turn of the fifteenth century he had killed many a… wait, oh yes, his name was Mungo. Let me tell you, there have always been unjust wars. And there have always been insurgents. And there has always been the Cu Sìth (pronounced 'coo shee'). Obviously this all happened long ago, I don’t know why I’m telling you all this. You probably want to go home and play with your x-plods and i-cubes. You want me to carry on?

A'right but first put down your marshmallows and show due reverence of the dead, because even brave heart lost his head in the struggle. That’s right Mel Gibson, what a man.

T’were Henry the eighth that started it all, but that name didne mean any more to Mungo than any other name that past from the lips of a mother to the birth certificate of her bastard Anglo-Saxon scum, I mean son.

Henry was trying to persuade Mary queen of Scots to marry his son. Although why Edward couldn’t court her himself is a subject for debate, I’m inclined to believe it was due to his lack of a good pair of testicles.

So how did Mr the Eighth try and get our Mary into his son’s empty sack? Did he send her flowers with love poems and sign them “Eddie”? Did he arrange a blind date or a trip to the local bowling ally?

Did he bugger! He sent over five thousand men, including three thousand Spanish and German mercenaries and seven hundred Scottish turncoats to boot. Now you might just understand why we call this the war of the rough wooing. And that’s hard to say if you’re a Scotsman.

Mungo had women problems of his own. There was a lassie in his village called Colina who Mungo had his sharp eyes on. He would tell his cuz’n Dougal how he followed her out one night onto the desolate Ancrum Moor to try and have his way wi’her.

Dougal would eagerly ask; “How was it? Did you touch this, did you see that? How did it feel?” But Mungo would sigh and say “When I got to the top o’Palace Hill she had disappeared, and I was left wi’only the stars for company.”

Colina would tell her cuz Rhona a different story. She too had her sights set on the tall and ruggedly handsome Mungo and would always whistle as she past his door when she went for a late night walk up onto Ancrum Moor, in the hope that he might follow and have his way with her.

Rhona asked the selfsame questions as Dougal; “How was it? Did you touch this, did you see that? How did it feel?” But Colina would sigh and say “When I got to the top of Palace Hill he was no where to be seen, his foot steps stopped only to be replaced by the howling of a dog at the moon.”

On Sunday the Bunnock Tribe congregated on Melrose Abbey, more for the gossip than the religion. As the young and old alike of different tribes settled down to lessons of morals and gods that were not their own, a popular young lad called Jamie burst through the abbey doors.

“What’s the bother Jamie?” Colina asked the out of breath youngster. He gasped a lungful of air and screamed as only those whose lungs aren’t fully grown can: “THE ENGLISH ARE COMING!”

The English, the English, the selfsame English that had devastated Edinburgh, the selfsame English that had destroyed Leith, the selfsame English that had dutifully and without an ounce of malice laid waste to much of Southern Scotland the year before. Year of our Lord 1544.

They were at the door. Before the minister or anyone knew what had happened the abbey was destroyed and was serving as an encampment for the English. And not all lives were spared. Dougal and Rhona were caught up in the mealy and slain as the dogs the English thought they were.

Melrose Abbey

Now here’s the particulars of the story and forgive me if I’ve rushed it but by a curse of fate Colina was a Cu Sìth spirit, I’m sorry to mix my mythology but she was a familiar, a familiar in the Karma game in Jedburgh. Colina is Gaelic for “Young Hound” and funnily enough Mungo is a Gaelic name meaning “My Wolf”. Mungo Too was a fairie hound, a Cu Sìth in the Karma game in Jedburgh. A Cu Sìth, so I’m told, is an enormous dark green beastie roughly the size of a cow or a large calf, with shaggy fur and a long braided tail. And despite their size they hunt silently.

That night Mungo and Colina ran though the dark, tears streaming from their round hound’s eyes and they spied the encampment and the fires at Melrose Abbey. The wind was behind them but it carried not a sound of their approach. The fell upon a tent each mauling as many men as got in their way. Colina had attacked a German tent as she heard their Germanic tongue through her howls of rage. “Achtung! Shnell, Shnell, Shnell oceltoff Schweinhund!”. Mungo in turn fell on the turncoats who knew the fairie hound by his green fur. “Cu Sìth!” they cried “run Cu Sìth!” But the English wouldn’t listen and they charged on the beasts, hang the consequences!

Cu Sith

The Cu Sìth ran back outnumbered five thousand to two. Mungo laughed and could see Dougal laughing too in his mind’s eye, as he ran into the wind wi’the taste of blood on his lips and in his nose; Scottish blood, but he could hear the English charging after him and he howled with delight as he reached Palace Hill.

He turned… but Colina was gone. Fallen; their skill of silent huntin was Colina’s curse. She was gone.

And as the English advanced he could take no comfort in the fact that the whole Scottish army stood behind him waiting in ambush. Two and a half thousand men with position, wind and surprise on their side. With the rising sun behind them and the gunpowder smoke blinding the English eyes the Scots won the day, and this war was over shortly after when Henry the eighth died. But since the battle of Ancrum Moor we dunne say cometh the hour cometh the man any longer; we say cometh the hour cometh the beast.

Thank you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancrum_Moor

http://www.rampantscotland.com/visit/blvisitmelrose.htm

Here I discovered that the real reason Edward couldn’t woo Mary himself was that he was 10 at the time and Mary was just 5 years old!

Here's a link to the website of one of the most inspirational writers of our time Neil Gaiman, to whom I shall dedicate this story along with all of the Bunnocks and the McBeans:

http://www.neilgaiman.com/




January 17, 2008

France 1st–9th Aug

Smoking on the bike
A great time was had in France, with the parentals, my cousin JW, his girlfriend Verity, her sister Erin and later Ken, Caroline and lil’Sarah. It was a lovely way to while the time. We went to the beach, we went swimming, had BBQ, played badmington, even lit fires on the colder evenings.

alan cake minikart

Sarah proved herself a little daemon on a trike and a more than willing convert to the land of all things Who. She even watched the scary episode Utopia on a laptop outside one nice day. But was a bit more scared when the Master went all badass and brought on the Toclafane. We also watched Castle in the Sky which was mildly astonishing as it’s quite a long studio Ghibli film and not necessarily the best for little kids but Sarah seemed to love it. We also played with a really friendly butterfly, that was rather eager to land on people.

bonjour butterfly

It was probably just our pale skin that did it but it was delightful none the less. There was a fair bit of cycling which was banter, except Alan did his best to obliterate any health benefits by smoking while cycling. I'm sure that'd just increase incotine absorbsion rates, but hey-ho, there's no telling some people.

old town st bruac i think smoking on bike2


We went to Hammacs bar which was tops, had a meal at the Auburge on JW’s B-day, always delightful, played poker and boggle. I was a bit ancy as I had just spent a lovely week with Becky and was getting withdrawl symptoms a bit. But I’d made a nice little den in the out-house attic with a b/w tv and a little sofa and a bunch of comics I took out from the library and a doc who mag I managed to secure on the way to the ferry from London Bridge WHSmiths.

my french den  beaching

balderdash  haha!
We also went go karting a couple of times which was great fun, always just a few milliseconds behind Alan, and even Sarah hit the noddy cars just for fun. There was also a lovely little walk along the cliff tops over looking Erquy’s little port.

kart racing!

al log
On the way over to France we caught a bit of a magic act and I got involved in tying up the mental magicians assistant and then when hidden in a tube of material she put on my coat while still wearing all of the rope. But it was mega lame, and she was a lot better than he was at it.

magicshow

All in all a great time with banterful company. It was also great to spend some time with A/V in the old place and in the sunshine! Great food and great chilling! 


Lagos Portugal 23rd–30th July

headbanging

trusty tent

So wow this was lovely to the max. It can basically be summed up thusly:

Beautiful beaches (and I mean really beautiful) & tastey picnics on them. Beautiful Bex in a beautiful bikini on it too. Beach volleyball, cool camping where we met cool Irish and Aussie travellers. Banter in the various grungy pubs, a town layout that was like something out of an MC Escher picture. Sardines to die for. Lovely little restaurants especially the Mimar bar run by Marc and Minda (read Mork and Mindy) where we met a lovely older Scottish couple (mainly due to their accents and the man’s amazing cheek to cheek moustache, the kind of which you’d expect went out of fashion a couple of centuries ago) who said that now they were too old to get “pisshed” so they’d tell us the best spots to get “pisshed”.

bex and jim

Lazy lazy lovely lazy boys who went everywhere very slowly and daily would be recovering from the half remembered nights before. Ice lollies: that had to be purchased in the mornings to stop over heating in the tent. The Icy Atlantic. Comic books and Charles Handy. A lovely and very necessary shower but feet from our tent. Hello Kitty. Gorgeous flowers. Sweet ass barbeques laid on by the boys and then the ex-pats with sumptuous swimming pools and delightful dogs, one of whom couldn’t get enough of headers.

bex at camping

Some of it was messy (slightly excessive drinking), and some of it was annoying (boys not being on the beach for volleyball when they said they would be, sand being blown by the wind at an unpleasant angle and camping German families playing operatic rock music at 10am to rouse their family and the unwilling masses in Camping Trinidade). But most of it was laughs, table dancing, sunshine, relaxing, getting lost and found, nice little beach bars and top notch partying.

lagos1

Head banging, pole dancing right,

Contemplating in moonlight

swimming through ice and cocktails

sunshine and sand never fails 

flower in her hair



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