gibbon-arsed ramblings of a hopeless underachiever

Monday, August 30, 2004

So much to say  

So little time to say it in. It's sod's law that this is the first time in ages I've got stuff to talk about and it isn't just a discussion on hairstyles or other mindless day-to-day pap.

And why no time? Because, of course, this is the week of The Move.

Everyone else involved seems to be stressing at me about various things, without actually saying what the problem is or suggesting any alternatives. Which is nice. And the landlord here is being a total cunt, which helps things along no end, I can tell you. Anyway, I need to get loads of work and loads of packing done before Friday, because I really want to go out. I don't care how bad an idea that is the day before you move - I've done it for the past two but H is panicking about this one and more or less telling me I shouldn't go out unless absolutely everything is sorted, and even then I should come back early.

Aaaanyway. Next time I get the chance, I'll blog about the great bits of Reading - the stuff I loved and how much I enjoyed the weekend in general. But tonight, I'm choosing to rant about the part of the weekend that made me fucking furious and kind of spoilt the last few hours of the festival for our little gang.

It's an "accepted" Reading tradition that specific bands get bottled off stage. It started with Daphne & Celeste at Reading 2000, where the crowd thought it would be cool to throw rotten eggs and bottles of fresh urine at a couple of teenage girls who dared to sing pop songs at a rock concert. On Sunday this year, they got rid of The Rasmus after only six minutes, by flinging full bottles and mud at them until one bottle hit the bassist in the eye. On the one hand you could say "What the hell were the organisers thinking, booking those kinds of acts?". On the other, you could question why people think it's acceptable behaviour to throw stuff at people just because they don't like their music.

But what happened during the 50 Cent set was just disgusting.

We were camping in the guest section, but I bumped into a friend who was in the regular campsite and he told me that people had been walking around all night on Saturday telling people to bottle 50 Cent. No reason, just "because". I didn't believe him, to be honest, so when we got two texts from S within a space of seconds "50 Cent's just starting" and "He's being bottled", we couldn't believe it.

But bottle him they did. Bottled and booed for 25 solid minutes until he'd had enough and walked off. The atmosphere in the crowd as we joined it, five minutes or so into his set, was totally fucking poisonous - tens of thousands of people all booing and calling him a wanker at the end of every song.

And why? Because they were protesting against gangsta rap? Because they were making a statement about the glamourisation of drugs and violence, or sexist and homophobic lyrics? Because they just plain didn't like him or his music?

No. Because some fucking teenagers had told them to. Nobody was making any other comments than just "boooo!". We knew damn well that if we'd gone up and asked any of the people what they were booing for, they wouldn't have been able to tell us. If the answer had been "Because he's crap", then surely they wouldn't have even been standing there? If it was because he was sexist or homophobic, how about some chants saying specifically what it was they didn't like? It's a fucking festival for God's sake! There were so many other things people could have been doing with their time if they didn't want to watch him. This wasn't just the people who'd crammed in at the front ready for Green Day - the field was fuller than it had been for most of the other headline sets. People had come specifically to boo and to throw bottles.

Now, I'm not a 50 Cent fan. I only know a couple of his tracks - the obvious ones. I'm not defending violent or sexist gangsta rap here - that's another argument, for another day. The thing that made me so furious was that I just cannot understand what would make people stand in front of a stage for the sole purpose of showing hatred towards someone who's performing in the name of entertaining them. Pantomime hatred, too - though he wouldn't know that. I know Big Brother's only just finished, so the sheep obviously haven't got over their need to boo at people for no good reason, but still...

I can't imagine what it must be like for an artist to stand up in front of a crowd that size, doing something they love and be booed, heckled and pelted with bottles for their trouble. The booing wasn't a comment on how well or badly he was performing. It wasn't because the sound was bad or because he abused the audience or any of that shit. He didn't get this reception at Leeds, where the demographic is pretty much identical. It was just "a laugh". Just "what people do" at Reading. Something like shouting "Bollocks" in unison all night - another 'quaint' Reading tradition.

You want to know the last time I was in a crowd of tens of thousands of people, all booing? I was standing outside Downing Street, letting the Government know what I thought of them trotting after the US into a war they lied to get us involved in so they could stir up a bit of nationalism and distract the masses while they steal more civil liberties off us and engineer massive tasty deals for their corporate sponsors. That's when you boo, kids - when someone has done something wrong and you want to let them know you don't like it. Not just because everyone else is doing it.

Maybe I sound like a cross between a bleeding heart liberal and a hopeless hippy, but I don't apologise, if that's what you do think. Bottling and booing bands as some "tradition" is pathetic, unnecessary and (hell, I'm on the righteous indignation path, I may as well go for it) dangerous - often those full and very heavy bottles end up hitting other punters, rather than the stage.

I felt bad for him. I felt bad for the people who'd worked so hard to put the festival together and book bands they thought the crowd would enjoy. And later on, my blood boiled even more when I considered the fact that this spectacle had been organised by kids who had spent the whole weekend enjoying this festival and that some people would have only gone for that one day, possibly because that's all they could afford, and that some of those might have come mainly to see him. And a bunch of kids had wrecked this for all of them. They must be so proud.

The longer it went on, the more this booing etc started to have really unpleasant overtones. This wasn't a protest against a rap artist being on the main stage at a "rock" festival - The Streets had been on the main stage to a rapturous welcome a few hours earlier, two years ago I saw Eminem and D12 headline Reading, and the dance tent is always packed - we couldn't even get in when Dizzee Rascal was on.

Was this because 50 Cent's black? Or because he's black and American? I honestly don't know, but the middle class twats next to us mocking the way he rapped in their plummy tones, smacking of "Oho, daaaahling - just listen to how the funny brown man talks!!" made me ill.

And when he'd finally had enough and walked offstage, the crowd started chanting/singing that old terraces favourite "You're not singing any more".

That pretty much summed it up. Forty thousand of the UK's "alternative" youth, behaving like a bunch of England's finest football hooligans abroad. No wonder Goldie Lookin' Chain went down so well earlier in the weekend - it appears chavs are disguising themselves with punk haircuts, Slipknot t-shirts and skater jeans these days.


*slow clap*

posted by bandhag | 8/30/2004 12:59:00 AM

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

gabble-abble-abble-abble aaaaaaarrrghhh!  

I'm off to Reading festival on Thursday, and have gigs to go to tonight and tomorrow, shitloads of work to do, clothes to wash and pack, an estate agent's valuation to deal with in the morning (so have to have the flat spick and span before then - as opposed to its current bombsite/crack den appearance), gym appointment, and going to the next town to ours as I need to do bank things. Plus I have to go sign the contract on the new flat on Thursday a.m.

And of course, there will be no packing to move until I'm back from Reading on Monday. Oh, and I haven't booked a van for that yet and, naturally, no-one else has done anything about it either - they just keep asking me what we're doing and expecting me to deal with it.

Stressed much?!

I may be gone from here until Monday/Tuesday. Or I may be back every five minutes between now and Thursday, as Overload Disease cripples me from being able to get on with any of the tasks I have at hand, which is what usually happens when I've got so much to do that I don't know where to start. We'll see...

Meanwhile, back and tit are flaking nicely. Mmmm. Sexy.

posted by bandhag | 8/24/2004 04:08:00 PM

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Ok, pics then  

These will be disappearing on Monday night:

snip - they gone!

Voila. Here endeth the vanity.

posted by bandhag | 8/21/2004 10:57:00 AM

Friday, August 20, 2004

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away  

The Lord giveth:

Well, the braidy lady and tattoo man giveth, actually. Dreads are in and very very, oh so very bright pink. I've taken some photos of the pics as the braidy lady asked me to for her website, but I'm a bit hesitant to put them up here as I'm getting a shitload of random hits at the moment - I think from that thing blogger have added at the top of each blog where you can just click "next blog" and go on to another blog, because when I look at the so-called referring web pages, there's no link on there to mine... Maybe I'll put them up for one specified day and then take them down again. Otherwise, just take my word for it - PINK.

And the Lord taketh away:

My GOD, the tattoo on my back hurt. I know - "Tattoos in Hurting Shocker!", durrr, but it was a total shock how painful it was compared to the chest/shoulder one, which was just sort of a dull burn. He reckoned it was because I'd already been being tattooed for three hours on my chest, so my body was kind of in shock and going "Enough, already!". I'm really happy with them, though.

The Lord giveth:

We got the flat!! The one on R&A's street, that is. So it's all systems go for moving. Again. And just like when I moved into the co-op, I'm going to a festival the week before and have got gigs to go to most of the nights before we move, including (just like the last time I moved, I think) Silver Rocket the night before. D'oh. Hangover moving is a bitch.
Still, at least this time it's 5 minutes down the road rather than 50 odd miles...

And the Lord taketh away:

Remember I said one of the companies I work for has just been merged with another? And how I was worried about what this meant for me? Well, I do two different jobs for two different parts of the company, one small one and one much larger one. Having been reassured that the merger wouldn't affect me, I've just been told that as of today they no longer need me for the larger one, which was going to be my main source of income once I've finished a large project for the other company I work for, in a couple of weeks.


posted by bandhag | 8/20/2004 10:56:00 AM

Thursday, August 19, 2004

La la la  

It's before six in the morning and I'm up.

La la la, I discovered yesterday that I've dropped two dress sizes from a couple of months ago, so had to reward myself by buying several items of clothing that, hopefully, I'll grow out of in a couple more months. Quite how I've dropped two dress sizes, when the tape measure tells me my waist is only an inch smaller, I've no idea.

Enough of that girlie shit.

La la la, dreads n tats, dreads n tats, dreads n tats!!!

posted by bandhag | 8/19/2004 05:45:00 AM

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Woo ha!  

After a collaborative effort between the tattoo guy and (mostly) me, plus help from M, my tattoos are all designed and ready to go on Thursday. I'm much more on the excited side rather than the nervous, now. Which is nice.

All we need now is to get some good news about the flat, and I'll be one happy bunny. Apart from the fact I still haven't started packing, of course... But let's not mention that, eh?

Meanwhile, we got to see a preview of a new film last night, courtesy of R&A's UGC membership. All I can say is - when Man on Fire comes out, go and see it. At once.

If you're a fan of Leon, you will love this film. The overall concept is very similar - cute and precocious young girl melts the heart of a hard-as-nails assassin, who wreaks bloody vengeance on those who harm her. Yet despite this, and the fact that the plot 'twists' are pretty predictable and a couple of the lines of dialogue were cheesy enough to make the audience burst out laughing at a moment of "tension", Man on Fire manages not to be a soulless Hollywood ripoff and is, instead, an engaging, well-directed, well-acted, extremely aesthetically pleasing piece of cinema.

The film's set in Mexico and quite a bit of the dialogue is in Spanish so, as you'd expect, there are subtitles. But don't be put off. You've not seen subtitling done like this before - it's cleverly stylised, and used to add impact to some of the English-spoken stuff, too. The cinematography is excellent, particularly in depicting memory flashbacks and drunkenness, though at the start of the film it took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the judder-vision that's used at various points throughout.

I'm fairly sure I wouldn't have bothered going to see this film if I'd seen it advertised, but I can't recommend it highly enough. The only odd thing is that every time Christopher Walken is onscreen, it's difficult to take him seriously and not be sitting there waiting for him to break into his Fatboy Slim dance...

And with that, I'm taking my Barry Norman ass to bed.

Good day to you.

posted by bandhag | 8/18/2004 12:56:00 AM

Monday, August 16, 2004


Ok, I succumbed to the quiz meme over at Oeillade and Fluffy's places. Come on then, do your worst.

Take my Quiz! and then Check out the Scoreboard!

posted by bandhag | 8/16/2004 12:17:00 AM

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sunday, muggy Sunday  

In an attempt to not turn this blog into one that concentrates solely on how much gorgeous food and luvverly booze I consume, I shall not tell you about the past few days and nights. I will tell you, though, that I went to Tunbridge Wells the other night, and saw some top bands at a place called The Forum. It was might fine.

Comments were made (by someone I barely know) about how I seem to be dancing with a different "friend" (of the male variety) at every club night she sees me at. As I said to R&A - it's all very well getting myself a reputation, but I'd kinda like to be actually doing some of the shagging I'm clearly being suspected of...

Anyway. I realise that I have been out of the house doing stuff every single night since Big Brother ended. On the one hand, this is great - I'm being all sociable n shit. On the other it is baaaad - no matter how many times I set off for an evening out telling myself that tonight I will have only diet coke, or at the very most a spirit with diet mixer, I inevitably end up with a pint in my hand. Still, at least I remember not to eat during the day, so all's good.


Meanwhile, I'm busy getting excited and nervous by turns about the dreads/tattoo extravaganza scheduled for Thursday. Twelve hours of unbraiding and combing-out has returned my hair to "normal" state in preparation. The tattoo guy sent through pics of the designs - one I loved, the other (bigger) one was not quite right and I'm hoping he's got time to re-do it before Thursday. If not, I guess I'll just get the smaller one done, which will be a bit of a disappointment but a world of preferable compared to getting some fairly large thing that I really don't like indelibly etched onto my left tit...

posted by bandhag | 8/15/2004 10:24:00 PM

Friday, August 13, 2004

Curry, music, impending unemployment  

Off to Brick Lane tonight. First had a fucking delicious curry at the Naz (I think that's what it's called), then off to 93 Feet East where, surprisingly, the sound was for once not akin to trying to listen to a band from the vantage point of the bottom of a mud puddle.

Sadly, we'd already missed Help She Can't Swim, but The Edmund Fitzgerald had just taken to the stage as we got there. I think this might be one of the best times I've seen them. The sound was suitably loud and helped give a lot of the tunes the swelling, surging sound they need. Yannis and Lina seemed a bit more animated onstage than I've often seen them, too - jerking away to their spasmic rhythms. Fuck, they're so tight - I can't even begin to tell you. The tempo and metre of the tracks twists and turns all over the shop, and drums plus both guitars manage to stop and start in perfect synch at all times. They must practise until their brains bleed. They also manage to totally avoid the common Oxford band syndrome I call "Why use one word, when ten will do?", in both band name and song titles. Yes, some of their tracks are nearly 8 minutes long, but you don't seem to notice, because they cram so much into each one. A band without pretention or self-aggrandisement, where plenty would be justified. I heart them muchly.

Souvaris... were kind of similar, but without so much innovation or change. I found them a little repetitive, but I'm totally willing to put this down to the beer. I'd like to see them again to get a better idea. From Monument to Masses were veh good.

I know, it's rubbish to do longer/more descriptive pieces about the supports. What can I say? I live to serve the underdog.

Or something.

In other news, it turns out the guy I like does still have a girlfriend. Which is no great surprise and much as I suspected. So the idea of him fancying me was just wishful thinking. Still, there is defintely an upside. Since I found out now, at least this time I discovered that I was busy fancying someone who didn't fancy me back in time not to make an arse of myself/let myself get worked over. It's all good. Ha ha, laugh it off.

Turns out also, from an email I received while I was out this evening, that one of the companies I'm freelancing for is being taken over by/merged with some other company. Meaning that there's a very high chance I'll lose my job any time soon, I should think, because I can only imagine this has been done because the company I was working for is going down the tubes. Again.

Marvellous. And great timing. Cheers.

posted by bandhag | 8/13/2004 12:34:00 AM

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The One Where I Try Not to Get an Ulcer Over Moving House (Part I)  

Last night:

M: I'll be back at the house by 12 tomorrow.
Me: Um, ok. Well, that's cutting it a bit fine - it would be better if you could make it a bit earlier. He said he's off for lunch at 12:30-1, so you'll pretty much have time to dump your bag and turn around again.
M: It'll be ok. Actually, I guess I can get up a bit earlier and be here earlier.
Me: Should be fine as long as you're definitely here by 12 at the latest.
M: Ok. See you later.

M goes back to Cambridge for the night and spends the evening drinking mucho wine with S. I spend hours looking for bank statements and proof I'm self-employed. With limited success. Cross fingers that it'll be enough to get us by.

This morning, 10:45

brrring brrrrrring

Me: Hello?
M: Hi, I'm just about to leave Cambridge.
Me: [mild panic] Um. Ok. What train are you getting?
M: The next fast one.
Me: [less mild panic - the next fast train will be at 11:15. The journey to King's Cross takes 50 minutes. The Tube journey takes about 30, then 10 minutes to walk from the Tube to my house. Meaning he will get here at 12:45. The journey to the agents' will take about half an hour] I'll meet you at Walthamstow, we can go straight there. Give me a ring when you're at King's Cross.
M: Oh, I've got a big bag with me though.
Me: It'll be fine. Just ring me, and I'll come and meet you.
M: I haven't got much credit on my phone, I didn't manage to top it up.
Me: [thinks - oy vey. You said it needed topping up before you left last night, but you had enough credit left to call that bird and arrange a date, then phone up to tell me all about it] Text me then. Or use a call box. See you later.
M: Oh, right. Ok, then. Bye.

GAH. Men.

Who says moving-anxiety causes me to become manic and irritable about petty things?

posted by bandhag | 8/12/2004 10:12:00 AM

Keep all available appendages crossed  

Having been into/called several estate agents, having to say several times "No, two bedrooms - we are not a couple", visiting flats with such joys as carpets so covered with greasy filth that our feet were still sticking to the pavement 10 minutes later and interiors that looked like an explosion in a 70's Indian restaurant, we may have found a flat. A nice, plainly-decorated, plenty of storage, pretty basic, a "few things missing but easy enough to get hold of/get by without for a while" flat. A cheap, cheap, ohsoveryfuckingCHEAP flat.

Naturally, it was the first one we looked at.

One, in fact, that I've been hankering after since we moved in here and realised our landlord was a nightmare and was never going to sort out everything that had gone wrong. Yes, it's been on the market for that long, even though there's absolutely nowt wrong with it other than it's not got any white goods, but those are easy enough to obtain. And yet despite it being empty for so long, surprise surprise, the letting agents claim they're supposed to be showing someone else around it tomorrow afternoon, so the only way we'll definitely get it is if we take all our paperwork in tomorrow morning.


M's gone back to Cambridge to hunt down old bank statements and payslips and I've turned my room upside down and managed to find all but a month's worth of mine.

And here's the best bit:

The place is on the same street as R&A! I predict some kind of yogurt-pots-and-string device will be in place within the first fortnight, to facilitate the ever-more-frequent "Anyone fancy going to the pub?" conversations. I also predict R&A becoming sick to the back teeth of me and leaving the country, with no forwarding address, within about a month. Or pretending to. "No, sorry. No speeky da inglish. No R&A here. Wrong number, missiz. Innit".

Meanwhile, on a serious note, all please send good thoughts to Fluffy and her bro.

posted by bandhag | 8/12/2004 01:10:00 AM

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Ever have one of those days  

Where you have fucking shitloads of energy and this pressing need to "do something", but you absolutely cannot concentrate for longer than a couple of seconds at a time? On anything.

Woe is me. I have so much work to do and I'm going to get sacked if I don't... oh, I could go and play with that rexlace I got in the post the oth... room could do with a bit of a.... perhaps a quick trip down the gy... probably should start packing soo.... NO - focus, bandhag, you are writing a blo...

posted by bandhag | 8/10/2004 12:50:00 PM

Monday, August 09, 2004

To: You Know Who  

Why do you come here
When you know it makes things hard for me?
When you know
Oh why do you come?

You had to sneak into my room
'just' to read my diary
It was just to see, just to see
All the things you knew I'd written about you
Oh so many illustrations
Oh, but
I'm so very sickened
Oh, I am so sickened now

Still, it was a good lay, good lay
It was a good lay, good lay
It was a good lay, good lay, oh...

Words sung by Morrissey. Sentiment echoed by me.

posted by bandhag | 8/09/2004 04:13:00 PM

Sunday, August 08, 2004

And then there were two...  

Lovely Flatmate H told me this evening that her and her bloke have been offered a 1-bed flat for a ridiculously low rent, so are taking that instead of looking for somewhere with me and M. It's not the greatest news I've ever had - things are now going to be much more expensive for the two of us, I've wasted my time looking at/for places (on my own) for the four of us, etc. However, it is much easier to find 2-bed places round here than 3 or 4. There's a flat on R&A's street, for starters. I feel bad that I've told M that rent was going to be x pounds a month, when it now looks as though we'll be paying at least 60 quid a month more, and bills will be more expensive, too. Won't make a lot of difference to me, though - just means I won't be getting rent cheaper than I am here, which I would've been had we moved to a bigger place. Kind of saw it coming, though.

Ho hum.

Of course, this all means that I'm now definitely going to have to make the t-shirts I've been threatening to get. One each for me and M, saying "No, we are not a couple"...

Meanwhile, two independent witnesses have told me I was sitting talking to someone on Friday night but I have no recollection of sitting down talking to this person, let alone what I might have said.

Friday also saw the return of UDIs (Unidentified Drinking Injuries), as R calls them. I've discovered I have three massive and very black bruises - one on my left arm, and two on my left thigh, about an inch apart. Nobody I know saw me fall over (so I'm fairly sure I didn't), and I don't remember bumping into anything.

But then, I don't remember anything much past H turning up and us dancing together.

I'm scared.

I'm giving up booze.


posted by bandhag | 8/08/2004 11:24:00 PM

Busy busy busy  

Hmmm. I'm going to like M living here, I think. He's good at getting out and exploring, so on Thursday I rode along on his coat-tails on a trip to the Tate Modern. He'd got confused about which tube station A had told him to go to, so we got off at St James's Park and ended up doing some sightseeing by accident, which was pretty cool - walked past Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, and up along the river to Embankment, at which point I suggested we'd probably best get some directions (we'd been aiming for the Millennium Bridge). I'm ashamed to admit that, before Thursday, I'd never been to an art gallery before. Shocking, eh? Seen a few art shows in various places, but not "done" a proper gallery. It were good. I especially liked the Rothko room and Matisse's Snail, which I never knew was that big. Innit. The only thing I didn't really like was this. The lightning bit (huge bit of metal hanging from the ceiling) was ok, but the 'animals' looked like turds made of metal, and nailing an ironing board to some chopped logs and calling it a stag... hmmm... leap of faith I wasn't quite ready to make, I guess...

After a quick lunch at the cafe there (where they automatically add 12.5% service charge to your bill, so the waiters can afford to be as rude to you as they like), we headed off to Covent Garden where I applied girl skills to M's shopping dilemmas and he bought lots of H&M goodies while I savoured the opportunity to spend time in the men's department, ogling totty but looking like I had legitimate reasons to be there. HAR.

Oh, and I bought a t-shirt, but the cut of it is really weird, and looks like it's got shoulderpads.

Friday was the club and it was a suitably fantastic night - too much booze, as always, and lots of dancing (despite the fact it was ridiculously fucking hot). The bands were ace and the place was rammed with fantastic people, including M, H (aka Lovely Flatmate) and That Boy I Like. So all was good. Just wish I remembered more about it...

R&A, look away now, please.

One thing I do remember about that night, was looking around after R had just been onstage talking about the CD they've brought out (featuring some of the mighty-finest bands y'ever did hear, dagnabbit), seeing all the people there, clearly loving yet another great night put on by R&A, and clearly loving them, it almost choked me up with how proud I am of them and what they do. And how genuinely chuffed I am to be counted among their friends. Fortunately for all, I held myself back from jumping up onstage myself and calling for the crowd to applaud R&A for being so facking great.

Anyhoo. Woke up on R&A's sofa at 8:30 on Saturday morning, fully dressed and still wearing my contacts, stumbled (mercifully only five minutes) home, slept for a couple of hours and then went to look at a couple of possible houses, one of which is huge and cheap but severely lacking in kitchen cupboards and the other of which was smaller and not as handily-placed, but had a lovely character. Will have to try and round up the troops for a look at them both.

Then back round to R&A's to get teary-eyed over watching the video of Nadia winning BB - bless her heart, back home, another quick nap, then off to Cambridge for the ex's birthday drinks. I should stop calling him that, really, as he's my mate. S, then. We stuffed ourselves full of... yes, you guessed it - tapas, so much so that we barely had room to pour beer over the top. S was chuffed with his present from R, A, M and I, which was a ticket to Reading (he's never been to a festival before, and we're all going - and staying in the fancy schmancy Guest bit. Woohoo!). And then back home.

To spend today working. In the kind of heat that makes cats lie down in a way that looks as though they were standing up and suddenly got tipped over.


posted by bandhag | 8/08/2004 11:01:00 AM

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


There's a couple of pieces of tattoo work I've been wanting to get done for absolutely aaaages and it just so happens that my braidy lady's boyfriend is a tattoo artist and did most of hers (she has loads of really cool designs - two full sleeves, just for starters!). So I got chatting to her about it via email and now, the work is in progress. He's drawing up designs based on what I asked for, and I'll be getting them done on the 19th. My God, I will be in a world of pain...

Also, braids are nearing the end of their term in office, so I'm going to try out braided-in (ie temporary) dreads, which braidy lady will be putting in on the same day. Again in browns and pinks. Ah, such a girl...

So, the 19th August will see me leaving London with one slightly poor tattoo and returning with two ace ones and a head full of dreads.

The mid-life crisis is in full swing.

posted by bandhag | 8/03/2004 10:53:00 AM

Monday, August 02, 2004

And while I'm at it  

Back on the subject of those ten-minute previews of adult channels, for those of you who have just got cable, are teenagers, and/or are tempted to pay for it, I just want to give you a cautionary tale.

The previews fall into two categories:

1. Girl (or two) with dead eyes and estuary accent rubbing her tits like she's polishing an ornament her mother gave her that she doesn't particularly like but feels it would be rude to smash to pieces and bury in the garden, and promising to "fulfill AAAWWWLL yaw fan'aseeez" if you would just please hurry up and press the "buy" button, already.

2. Zoo tv-style quick flashes of what look like extremely racy and/or explicit "action".

If you choose to pay for the first, more fool you. I expect you also enjoy phoning numbers that will connect you to a call centre in Guyana and play half an hour's worth of "Press 1 for Hot Schoolgirls. Press 2 for Bored Housewives. You are only 45 menus away from total ecstasy!" before realising you are not going to get your rocks off, and hanging up. If you do choose to pay for this channel, I can only imagine you will be treated to several old episodes of Benny Hill, a 10-minute clip of some girl rubbing away at herself over her knickers and, as a feature, a Ben Dover film full of "Woooar, look at the arse on that! Let me rub your buttocks! Cor, I'm getting well horny here!" and no beaver. Do you also masturbate over your overdraft statements?

If you think you're in for something better from the channels that show clips ("Hey, that must be the kind of thing they're actually going to air! Smart!"), let me assure you that only disappointment can follow.

Sitting up late with the ex one night, he happened across one of these previews and sat goggle-eyed in front of it for a few seconds before saying "Can we get it?".

"What? It'll just be soft porn shite. Why don't you just get a video if you want some porn? At least you can choose what you want", I replied.

He turned red "It would be embarrassing. Besides, I bet it isn't soft porn, if you have to pay for it" he stammered.

"With Britain's censorship laws? Are you mental? Anyway, you really think it's more embarrassing to pay cash in a sex shop where they, y'know, SELL PORN, than to have it show up on the phone bill? Get a mail order catalogue or something."

"They'll know my name and address then."

"Oh no - the porn police will come and get you for liking sex. Flee! Flee!"


"Do what you like. You're paying for it, though."

He said he'd put a video in and we could set it recording and go to bed.

And when we sat down the next day and put the video on? Some fake lesbians kissing a bit, pawing at each other's boobs for a couple of minutes, then getting as bored as we were. Then a film. Ok, this looks more promising... pizza delivery guy, uh huh... oh dear, she doesn't have enough to pay him but it's ok, she knows another way to make it up to him... way hey.... taking his top off (nice bod).... taking her top off...well there's no way those are real... what's she doing there? Oh, looks like she's undoing his trousers.... hmm.... by the way her elbow's moving, I'd say she was... oh, yep, look, she's kneeling down, and...

"Why are they just showing the back of her head?"

"Sssshh! They'll change camera angles in a minute and we'll be able to see"

Hmm...ok, she's standing up again... bending over the couch... he's behind her... here we go... Oh. They're just showing her doing the square-mouth thing and him with his eyes closed.

"Told you it would be soft porn. I'm going to bed. Get a catalogue."

He came to bed two hours later, having watched most of the video and fast-forwarded through the rest. Nothing he'd seen had even vaguely resembled the preview, and he dejectedly admitted there was neither a cock nor a cunt to be seen in all the hours of footage he'd recorded.

Hollyoaks late night edition is more hardcore. You want porn? Get an R18 video. Hey, go crazy - get a DVD. It is the 21st century after all.

This public service announcement was brought to you by the letters Q and Z.

posted by bandhag | 8/02/2004 03:44:00 PM

Trains and boats and... stuff  

Went with R&A, plus A's folks, to Greenwich. Time Out is doing BOGOF vouchers for the catamaran trips from Embankment down the Thames, so it was a bargaintastic £3.50 each. I hadn't quite gathered that when R said to wait on the platform, at the front of the train she had meant that they would already be on it, so I believe I let out a yelp of some kind when A popped his head out of the arriving train and waved me onboard. How cool I must have looked.

Queue for the catamaran was pretty long, so by the time we were at the front we had to dash over the road to a public loo. I mention this, because it was a very nice public loo. As well as painted murals on the wall and generally good cleanliness, R and I discovered that it had a vending machine selling overnight kits! The picture was this fab 70's thing, declaring such giddy heights as a face freshener, hair clip, shampoo, conditioner. Naturally, I had to buy one. Imagine our dismay, on putting the coins in, to find the machine had dispensed a gentleman's overnight kit! In a vending machine in a ladies' bog. Had there been an address, a stiff letter would have been written. Still, if I ever need to shave my legs or shine my shoes, I now have the perfect kit for the job. And it came with a foldaway toothbrush and teeny-tiny toothpaste tube, so all's good. I fear a hobby may have been born. Buying random things from vending machines. I've been tempted for some months to get one of the vibrators they sell in a vending machine in the loos at the Buffalo Bar ("Club getting boring? Why, just slope off to the toilet and get busy with the buzzy!"). Heaven help me if I ever get to Japan.

Anyway, onto the boat. We got cross with the total lack of queue management from the muppets in charge, then "settled" into school assembly hall style plastic chairs to listen to the commentary by the guide blokey. Most of it we'd heard before when we'd done a circular tour ages ago (the day after R&A's wedding, I do believe), but this one stopped at quite a few places along the way to pick people up, so I got to see some of the touristy London things I haven't done yet, up close.

The London Eye. That's quite big, then.

I think I've blogged before about this weird thing I get looking up at very tall buildings - I get really dizzy and think I'm going to fall over backwards. Couple this with choppy water on the Thames and mmmm, headrush. I settled for kind of squinting at one lower quarter of it out of the corner of my eye. Up the river, past the various monuments and buildings that our guide (who had fucking gorgeous eyes) pointed out and generally told us had cost millions of pounds, only to be closed down/not worked properly/etc. As we passed the monument to the fire of London, I added extra commentary to R about how they only put the baskety thing on because in the years after it was built it became London's most popular suicide spot, with the first person flinging himself off the top being, coincidentally, a baker. I had watched a documentary on the Fire the other week while waiting for Big Brother or something to come on. I expect R went home and wept with joy at what an astoundingly interesting and thoroughly non-geeklike friend she has...

Blah blah, Oxo tower, Tate Modern, blah blah Mayor's Office, Tower Bridge, Bermondsey, blah, pub next to where they killed pirates, and eventually arrive at Greenwich to fling coins in Pretty Eyes' bucket while scampering past and trying not to catch another look up close, lest I should be turned to stone or summat.

First thing we came across was a little French and Continental market thingy on a green behind the naval colleges. Dear God, it was like we'd died and gone to culinary heaven. There was stall upon stall, heaving with (mostly home-made, or "home-made" as in non-factory, I presume) food and all the stallholders insisted you could try stuff. The enormous sausage stall was a particular favourite, with chorizos and smoked sausages of every conceivable variety. Not only was there comedy mileage to be had by pretending to be measuring the wares for girth, you could also try them. The duck one was a my favourite. Then, armed with a cocktail stick, R and I attacked the olive stall with gusto and found that when they said "olives with garlic" they meant "Olives. With GARLIC". Man, they were good. I can't remember the other ones we tried before R eventually settled on some with garlic, herbs, peppers and (I think) grapefruit. Sounds weird, but it worked. They gave her them in a bag that made it feel like she was carrying eyeballs around.

By the time we got to the macaroons (the real kind, not the club kind) stall, the memory of all the hours spent at the gym so far reigned me in from trying anything else and I even passed the cheese seller without trying anything. Well, when I say "without trying anything", I mean "stood in front of it, salivating, nose pressed against the glass in the vain hope some taste might get through by osmosis, thereby rendering it calorie-free". I did succumb at the jam stand. Mmmmmarmalade.....droool. Damn right you'd be a Bonne Maman if you kept that lot in the larder.

There were some non-fattening stalls too, selling your usual stuff like candles and proper flower-scented soaps. My favourite was the one selling little ceramic plaques to put on the front of your house, containing such witicisms as "La Famille Lunatique".

And what did I buy in this den of sensory overload?

A pair of flip flops.

Anyway, we then wandered off to a tapas place, had some, and then went home. It was a Very Nice Day Out.

And later, M arrived. He's a mate from Cambridge who's moved down to London and will be sharing with H and I, plus H's bloke, when we move out of here at the end of the month. Meanwhile we and R&A are time-sharing him. So that was cool too - plenty of chatting to be done.

And that's it. My Lovely Sunday, by Bandhag aged 29 and a bit.

I have vowed to stop working at weekends, so I can have more of these days. Wish me luck.

posted by bandhag | 8/02/2004 03:06:00 PM

Back from black  

Blip over, I think. For now. *Touches wood* And without the need for meds or taking to bed for days, which is always a bonus. It's amazing how feeling that way will make you just take every situation, blow it up, churn it over and turn it around so that you convince yourself it's all more evidence as to how shit you are, rather than just being "one of those things" or whatever.

Aaanyway. Had a fab day yesterday, which I shall blog later. I'm goin' aaaht, innit. Abridged version: a boat, big sausages, gentleman's overnight kit, tapas and a new resident in our flat.

Like the ten-minute free sample of porn you get on them adult channels, the preview sounds a shitload sexier than the real content, believe me.

[edited, because this made no damn sense. Clearly brain not working again properly yet...]

posted by bandhag | 8/02/2004 09:22:00 AM
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