Running from the dealer

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WordPress ate my homework. I’ll pretend it was a better, wittier, and above all, *longer* post than it was, but it’s gone. Local Draft, published… turned up blank.

What can I say? Life’s been busy, life’s been amazingly, fantastically, ridiculously good. I’ve got so much to do that I’m dizzy with it – except at work, which continues to merely require my physical presence. I have no idea why I agreed to work a month beyond my notice. Oh well. 17 work days left on my sentence.

Now, if I can just get rid of most of my crap, move the rest to Berlin, and settle my finances so I don’t need to think about them for a year … I can just get on with it. Study German, do music, sniff out tech stuff, but mostly just enjoy being in the city I love. Being in love. And that not being *right* and not any sort of problem. 🙂

I might just have got the hang of being happy…

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Jam Tarts. Uglyburner. Afterfruit. Whatever …

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The Social Club always makes *especial* efforts over Xmas, with a lush jungle of decorations – you expect glittering mirror-glass-scaled snakes to slither from the tinsel creepers, strange sloths to crawl down for their weekly shit, exotic birds (Rosie! Rosie!), stealthy natives poised at full draw, ready to get us horrible colonial types with their poison-tipped arrows… Or maybe that’s just the free tarts/pies/chocolates going to my head and inducing weird psychedelic effects. I don’t *think* frog venom arrows are the weapon of choice for Stoughton natives – but you’d have to ask one. Carefully… and watch out for the mesmerising effects of the jumpers….

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Double joy this week, with the festive jam PLUS a Saturday gig featuring Afterburner and Uglyfruit, most of whom come regularly to jam at the club. I almost didn’t make it. Another attack of lethargy, introversy, sheer worn out from workness…

Well that will change. In a perfect, wonderful, “having all the cards ready to play and seizing the opportunity when it came in the game” move, I’ve gone part time at work. 2.5 days! Only compromise I gave them was accepting the mandatory corporate chair choice. Seems fair exchange for getting so much of my life back. Berlin/boat/music here I come….

So, a celebratory rock out seemed justified! And these guys certainly provided. Good tunes, hyperactive wireless bassists and remarkably unselfconscious teenagers (and their long-past-any-sense of embarrassment parents) having a good time were incredibly infectious and I chucked myself around the dancefloor to much good effect. At least on my soul.

But is it Art?

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I walked out of a gig last week.

It had started as a good local night out, local bands, local pub, friends, silly conversation etc. The Facebook suggestion from the bass player of a band I know (who wasn’t playing) had me fighting introversy and winning, heading out to save my Friday night, saving me from a trip to where I didn’t really want to go. Disgusting Danish delicacies were discussed, beards compared (I lost), and, Will, the good sound man chatted to – he hadn’t got my message, so maybe we can’t have him for my gig at the same venue in November :-(. He’s the only one that can make the vocals sound not-crap in there. It’ll happen, I’ll sweet talk his boss…

Then the last band came on. The one from Guilfest, where the frontman had actually been amusing. Now it was a carcrash of destruction both physical and mental. It wasn’t about the music. Again, I find myself distanced and immune to what seems to be a certain charisma. I feel a deep sense of wrong – I should not be supporting this.

I’m not sure if we, the audience, by our presence, are treating mental illness as a freakshow, or consenting to being manipulated by a smiling sociopath. Either concept fills me with a very strong distaste. No-one else seems the least bit troubled.

I leave.

I still don’t know what to make of that.

Whispering ones and zeroes

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Couple of the new men in my life. Some dodgy website I signed up for, full of videos that are keeping me company, keeping my mind and fingers busy – all in work time. What you didn’t know that software development was all rainbows and awkward body language? Shhhh, don’t tell, they’ll all want a piece of the action.

“You might think of programming as whispering ones and zeroes to a machine or using some dark magic to bend computers to our will…”  Precisely, precisely…  and these new CSS3/HTML5 black arts are sooooo cool…  Completed the “Build a website”, HTML and CSS modules, now on Javascript – which is the 4th of 13 in the Front End Web Dev course… and I want to do at least 3 more courses after that (Rails, Python, maybe PHP, maybe Design then maybe Android… ) Slog, slog, slog. Big skills update. Finally seem worth doing – it’s caught up to the point that it won’t all drive me mental with obligatory hackerishness.

Found a new lunchtime sunbathing spot. Dried up pond, bushes with huge brambles, really close to the office. I’ve managed some workouts, a few guitar practices, both lessons and my own stuff, decent though not spectacular amount of German. I’ve got a case of the Summer Manics. Surviving on too little sleep, fizzing with slightly edgy energy, suffering odd deep steep (and mercifully short) trough – but full of the desire to be doing. Maybe it’s doing a little bit of creative work as part of the training. Maybe it’s seeing that I can do this front end stuff , that I will be able to do genuine proper freelance. That I can enjoy software, I don’t need to write it out of my life entirely – that would be a criminal waste. Maybe just is.

But I nearly bought a Very Project Boat for Dog’s sake! That’s a sign of something not quite right. Or maybe it is right. Or just cos the remortgage money is coming in soon. Or that the move to Germany is so far away. OR it’s The Next Plan After that. Whodafuck knows. Didn’t do it, in the end. Too many doubled frames. Like most of them. Not the way to do it…

I was looking back at photos this week. Me smiling with my friends in various places. Damn, I do actually have a great life. Even though there are quieter/lower patches, mostly there’s so much good stuff going on with so any good people… I thought it needed saying. Sometimes we can all forget. I try to pay enough attention in the moment, but in the practical movement and noise of it all, the underlying feeling can get a bit lost. So I make note to remind myself – and should do so more often. We all should.

But but but… I am deeply uncomfortable in the Comfort Zone. This explains me almost entirely. If you look at all the things going on in my life it all seems good, ticking along, more interesting than average – all that. Wish I could wrestle that into feeling like enough – but it just doesn’t, and I don’t know how to fix that. Doing my best. I think. Trying.

Guilfest: Saturday Night’s Alright

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It’s not a festival without a fryup. Surprisingly, there were more than a few Guilfest-looking types in – despite the cafe being a mile or more away, and not anywhere obvious. Internet research? Usual high skewed gender ratio – if I was into builder-type blokes, that place would be a chat-up-possibilty goldmine. Sadly, I am not especially – and they, like me, have their minds firmly on their stomachs. The guy in the 3-piece suit entirely made of bubble wrap – including shirt, hat and tie – is NOT a regular occurrence, however. He must have been dicing with death by overheating/dehydration on yet another hot hot day…

Wayward Chile – an unexpectedly good 80s style start to the day. Heart of a Coward – heavy and great. An inflatable pub…. My friend Chris showed off the “metaller” version of his hairdo and what is clearly his Serious Face for our visit to The Big Cheese Rock Cave. A heat-mitigation strategy rather than a fashion statement, I think, but hey, whatever works.

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Hung about with Chris, Peter + Sally and their drummer son Andrew most of the day. Young Andrew had a gig playing cajon in a 3 piece in the acoustic tent, later on.  In true middle-aged fashion we’d all brought our own picnics. Except Andrew, who as is only right and proper for a teenager, swigged ludicrously sugary drinks and raided his mum’s. We vegged out near the beer tent and enjoyed our feast whilst watching The Fabulous Fez Heads and their stunning lack of ability to avoid pointing mics at their PA speakers… Entertainingly, they once provided a large chunk of the audience at one of my Sabbath tribute gigs (there are about eleventy-billion of them). I believe I have a recording of Time Machine which features one of them drunkenly playing along on tambourine…

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“Stop the Alien Invasion” – too late, I am aready here….. 🙂

Nylon Sky – vocalist is Not Right In The Head – but has tons of charisma. Enough to get the audience to obey him and kneel by basically calling them (literal) c*cksuckers – and accusing the non-compliant of racism against his Asian guitarist. Can’t climb for shit though, and very awkwardly makes it just about to the top of a PA speaker (whilst almost destroying the lighting) in the time I’d take to get up and onto the cross gantry in the middle of the stage – wouldn’t fancy the drop though… He’s actually good-naturedly loopy and clearly Has Something. Just hope it’s not catching… I’m immune, of course, being really not terribly compliant, obedient or crowdy. Later, I find myself tagged on in a shot taken by one of the gig photographers – my friend Andy Pye, who I did not notice or see, then or later! Sneaky buggers, photographers… It’s the companion shot to the one in the top left above – I know because I can see myself holding up my phone in it… “If you don’t want to clash, hug “- it wasn’t like that back in my day…

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Soulfly sucked me in and made me headbang, thrash and take my clothes off. Caught up with Craig (Blackspires drummer) and his GF Sophie. Young Andrew and Sophie were in the thick of the circle pit (very joyous and civilised modern form of moshpit, methinks). There was a guy in a motorised wheelchar there, and everyone was running round him whilst he exchanged high fives as they tore past…. The youngsters don’t headbang (mostly don’t have the hair) but it’s a great loud hot sweaty experience. I notice that I haven’t had any festival blues yet, none of the lost empty alone moments that have haunted them all. Good, good… Then all over, steady red, time to go…

“Off now to get drunk and high”

“Just remember you have to play tomorrow. Don’t get too drunk. Actually don’t get too stoned, it fucks with your timing more… ach, fuckit you’ve got 19 hours…”

Blur

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Don’t ask me what I’ve been doing this week, it’s all a blur… Been up and down. Seems unfair, eating well, exercising a bit, dunno what’s going on in my head. Work, music on unexpected days, trip up to enjoy the sights of Epsom … er to see my friend Ferdy (of the London/Harrods adventure). Passing probation at work. Confirmed I wil get my re-mortgage money (time to blow the lot on something exotic…no, not really). Formally delaying the next year of my vocal course (mainly too much of a stretch financially, and on my holiday allowance, but will talk about that later). Getting my new Asus Fonepad set up (excellent deeeeeevice, will get its own entry soon). And this…

PhotoGrid_1406052801831My headlights on the bike lost both dipped beams pulling out of Ferdy’s drive – doublebloodydamnbollocks. After thought/reading/lunchtime poking (steady!), I think it’s the relay. Though they share a fuse (looks fine, swapped with spare to check anyway), dip and full beam have separate relays. I already tried swapping a bulb on the very unlikely chance that both had blown at once (well, they are identical and both went in new at the same time) or that maybe one had blown earlier in the week/last week and I hadn’t noticed cos I haven’t been out in the dark on it. Nope. So something else that requires taking tank, fairing bits etc off. Triplebloodybaldydanglybollocks. I have free Guilfest tickets this weekend… due to playing there on Sunday with Blackspires…

Sunday Roast

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Glowing radioactive sky ball! What is that all about – thought that had gone away again? I was brave, I went out in it, unadorned by shirt or suncream – bit of a stroll and blew my gig earnings on a Sunday pub lunch – not like me but I figured both me and my friend Roo could do with a bit of a treat. The Britannia is a ‘riverside’ pub that actually has a carpark between it and the river. Well, *usually*. When there aren’t mega floods, like there have been the past 2 years. THEN it’s on the river 🙂

I didn’t have my camera out when we went past what was either a leftover 70s sci-fi film set or Guildford’s secret concentration camp (complete with outdoor chemical shower…). Either seems entirely likely.

Listed yet more stuff on eBay – clear out and make a few pennies all at once. Batching it up so that I don’t get driven insane by constant posting/parcel pickup duties. Declined to go to the jam later – dunno quite why – thought I needed the rest, and not, frankly in the best of moods. Though managing to get angry is a vast improvement in some ways and I am not, really not ever letting go of my ability to feel ever again. Almost had a relapse, flirted with the control knob, fluttered it barely on… Not the pit to go into. Knowing that my life is going better than some people’s is no real comfort sometimes. I just hope I don’t get a visit from the Irony Police.

Of course an early night did not happen – post-gig blues, too many brain monkeys clamouring for my attention, too much paperwork that I can’t sort before Monday – weekday, workday when the rest of the world is awake. So extra oranges with yoghurt and blog updates it is. On into the after midnight.

That and feeling very, very alone.