Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hairy Thoughts

Over the last few weeks I've been considering getting my hair cut. Not just a trim, but cut...off. No big deal right? Well, whilst thinking about it I had this thought...that my current cut is very much a part of who I am and really states to the world what sort of music I listen to and all that that encompasses. But then I thought that if my haircut partly defines who I am, isn't that a bit sad? Surely I'm more than a haircut right?

I mentioned to the Viking last night that I was thinking about going for the chop (so to speak), and his reply was something along the lines of "Hmm, isn't that part of who you are though?". Worrying times. It seems I am actually my haircut.

This reminded me of a post I read a little while ago from Tannis (here). You'll have to read it to make any sense out of what I'm saying, so go check it out if you've got a moment. I personally think it's a great post, probably one of the best I've read. Mainly because, after several weeks, I still find myself thinking about it. Yeah, it's more than just about a haircut, it's about everything that we consider "defines" us, but my most pressing issue right at this second is that I'm bloody hot and my barnet is a good way of releasing some heat.

But I also kind of like other people knowing at a glance that I'm not some techno house loving freak (for some reason that's what people believe when I've got short hair) and that they instantly know the type of music I like. Not that I'm overly bothered about what others believe, more that I like being associated with my musical taste.

Mind you, if I got it cut now, I'd have some pretty awful white lines around the back of my neck. All that sun exposure last week has really ruled out any sort of cut.


I'm also out of work at the moment, a situation that I hope resolves itself faster than my hair issue. I can't pay bills with hair. More's the pity.

Monday, July 28, 2008

You Can't Beat Filling A Crack

The Vikings Garden & House Opposite, incl A Cloud.

Well, the "holiday" has ended and I'm back to the real world. At least, for a little while anyway. Unfortunately(ish) I don't actually have any work today so I'm still a man of leisure. I say "still", which implies that I've been a man of leisure for the last week...which wasn't exactly how things turned out. I'd actually planned on helping out with a spot of painting, to earn my keep so to speak. But when the Viking suggested I give him a hand re pointing some of his drive as it was a little dangerous at the moment, I thought why not. It was different to what I normally do and working together on something seemed much more appealing than painting black gloss.


Things started off reasonably well. Figuring that we'd only have to do a few of the stones, we set about removing the loose ones. Only, as we took out those, others started to move more. And there was no point in trying to fix down the ones we'd taken out next to ones that were going to move. So...5 or 6 slabs became 10 or 12...which then became 20 or so (I'm sure you can see where this is leading...)

(I'm sure he'll love me for posting this photo up!)

In the sweltering heat, the stone slabs began to stack up whilst the driveway morphed into a larger and larger hole. A combination of part of the drive sinking and the largest infestation of ants we'd ever seen meant that almost half the area had to be taken up. Eventually, after about 8 hours of removing stuff we decided to stop. Everything was levelled out and then we started trying to put the stones back. It was at this point that we figured it might have been a good idea to mark the slabs before we took them out. Because putting them back proved to be rather more difficult that we had anticipated. In fact, it took us the best part of an entire day.



But we got there! Kind of. After bedding them down, it was time for what we had originally set out to do. Pointing!


After toiling for yet another full day, we managed to finish. 4 days after starting, the drive looked great (well, the part we did...it's now very obvious that the rest of it needs doing!).

Not a bad effort for 2 blokes on their "week off".

Actually, the whole week was fantastic. It's been ages since I had chance to hang out with the Viking after he moved & doing "manly" stuff was great. There's nothing quite like knocking shit down & building something. Although, if he decides he's going to do the rest of the drive I might just be "Away" somewhere else...because I'm bloody knackered!

Other news, Terence is now on steroids and I've had a great idea for a cartoon. It's been a while since I picked up a pencil with an idea in mind, and if it turns out ok then I'll post up the results.

I've also decided that being single sucks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Away

Today is a strange day. I find myself somewhere I didn't expect to be, doing things I hadn't planned on doing. Firstly, I'm sitting on a sun lounger, at 9.30pm, in the Vikings garden (one of the wonders of having a new laptop that doesn't require being plugged in in order to work). This is my week off, a much needed break from the turmoils of living in a large frantic city. My original plans had to be changed slightly at the last minute, and I decided to give my mate a hand painting his windows before the crap weather set in.

So far we've managed to sit in the garden, play some Playstation, drink copious amounts of Coke, eat enough chocolate to sink a small pea green boat, sit in the garden some more, talk utter rubbish, put the world to rights, eat at a rather nice cafe for "brunch" and listened to large volumes of music. Not once have I had to think about work, or anything I "should" be doing back at home. I guess that's what a proper break is all about, being able to totally forget about everything that your normal day to day life consists of.

So now I'm sitting outside, midges keeping me company around my screen, Small Faces playing in the background, and I'm really able to appreciate being away.

I'm sure that I've got other things to say, but to be totally honest, I'm loving being away from my laptop. The less time I spend at my la......

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jumble McJumble The Jumbling Jumbler

Last weekend I went to the countryside to spend a couple of days with the Viking and his Missus at their new-ish house. They bought it a while ago but have spent a lot of time and effort, not to mention the odd quid or two, doing it up. Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of rural England. It reminds me too much of where I did most of my growing up...where everyone knows everyone else, with their narrow minded country attitudes, tracksuit trousers, fake gold earrings, white trainers, cars with stereos that are more expensive than the vehicle itself, blaring out Jay-Z or some other tripe. Thankfully, where the Viking now lives, the average age of the residents is about 935. And it's highly unlikely that you walk down the street and are greeted by an Adidas tracksuit wearing granny, flipping you the bird, whilst shouting "Sup Muthafucker".

His house is a stones throw from the gloriously sandy beach, where we went for a bit of a stroll. Which is a bit frightening, I remember a time when I thought that only old people went for a stroll anywhere. Especially on beaches. Then we went for a quick drink in a proper country pub, the locals sitting at the bar on stools bringing back memories of where I used to sit in my local.

The Sunday was taken up with sitting in the rather large garden, breathing in clean air for a change. And watching the tennis. Was really good to get out of London for a bit, and he's got a fantastic house, and the area is pretty nice too. But as the sun went down you could hear, in the distance, nylon tracksuits being zipped up and Argos gold rings being squeezed onto fingers. Reminded me a lot of The Lost Boys. Only, nowhere near as cool.

Here's some photos and a video!



This is a view of his house from the back of the garden. Pretty nice eh!



Lord Of The Manor & His Humble Abode!


The Viking Keeping An Eye On One Of The Staff


The beach! And my new desktop background (not the actual beach, but this photo).


Feet In The Sand.


The Viking and a windswept All Mod Cons. Please note that I do not wear my jeans like this all the time. I just didn't want them to get wet and sandy! Personally, I think I look like a farmer. Could be worse, I could look like a resident!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I did have grander plans for this post, but it has been a substantially shit week. On a grand scale. But, we live and learn right? At least, I hope I do.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, I was fast approaching 29 and went through a bit of a panic about not having "done" anything. I thought it would be a good idea to create a list of 12 things to do before I was 30. 1 for each month of the year. Number 5 on the list was to own a plant, and not have it die before I turned the big 3 OH. It was my attempt at having some "responsibility" for someone/thing other than myself. I'm incredibly bad at keeping anything remotely green AND keeping it alive. It was a tall order. So I used my head and went and got a cactus, figuring it would be very low maintenance.

On the 27th of August 2006, Terence was purchased, and came to live with All Mod Cons...hopefully for longer than a week!

Well...he made it. Not just until my birthday, but WELL past then. I've now had him for almost 2 years! Last weekend I went to see the Viking at his new house (probably the next posts subject), and being the green fingered laddy that he is, he gave me a new house for Terence!


This is proof that All Mod Cons CAN DO GARDENING! Well, kind of.



And here's Terence in his new home. Maybe the writing gives it away a little. I'm most impressed that I haven't managed to kill him. Either I'm better with plants than I thought, or he's one hard little geezer. I'm going to go for the latter.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Normal Service?

Well, I managed 1 post without mentioning Paul Weller. But it's back to normal again (or so it seems recently) as I went to Koko again as part of the iTunes Festival. I got hold of a ticket (can't say how, it's a secret) and met up with a fair few people (can't say too much about that either, that's also a secret!)., none of whom I had met before. Turns out that they're a great bunch! A special "hello" to Carl, Chris, Chris' Dad, Russ and his good lady, Paddy and Keiko...you all made me feel very welcome!

Anyways, I rock up and wait in line, watching the world go by and wondering what songs Weller is going to sing when out pops Steve Cradock from backstage. A few people go over and have their photo taken with him, which he seems fairly happy to do. I decide that, whilst he's a great guitarist (in my opinion), he's not Weller and not worth losing my place in the queue for. I'm not that close to the front of the line, but when I get in I'm amazed to see a spot at the front of the barrier just to the right of centre. Instead of getting any kind of beverage, or looking for people I know, I boot it to the front as fast as my spindly legs could carry me. My first front row spot!! Which meant being able to have the best view in the world, EVER. I then met Russ and his good lady, shortly to be joined by Chris and his Dad. We're all from different age groups, which in any other situation would have meant that we'd have little to talk about on a common ground. Not tonight though, we're all bound by the music. Tales follow from all of us of gigs past, where we've been, what was played, what did we want to hear. First on were a group called Glasvegas. I'd heard them mentioned on XFM a few times, but couldn't recall hearing their stuff before. Russ mentions that they're supposed to be the "next big thing". I then eagerly waited for something special...only to be let down drastically. The weirdest people on the planet arrived on stage and proceeded to make a lot of "unnecessary noise". Halfway through their set the unsatisfied audience began chanting "Weller, Weller, Weller...". I would've felt sorry for the band had I not wanted to shout it myself.

Weller arrived soon after, the audience letting him know how grateful they were to see him. And he didn't hold back. Opening with "Peacock Suit", which is one of my favorite songs, he let fly with a fantastic amount of obvious passion for what he was doing and singing about. His performance enthusing the crowd even more. He played a plethora of my favorite songs, including Wild Blue Yonder, Eton Rifles and Come On/Let's Go. I've read various people's comments on Weller's gig, some were not impressed with him jumping all over the place, knocking his mic stand over & acting like he was on speed. Personally, I found it incredibly energetic and loved every single minute. I was so absorbed in the music and everything on stage that I might as well have been there on my own. Chris and I often exchanged knowing looks, both of us really appreciating what we were watching and listening to. His encore went a bit awry, but that didn't matter because he ended up playing All You Need Is Love by The Beatles, which went down incredibly well. I looked back over the heads of the audience behind me at one point and I don't think there was a single person not singing and waving their arms around. Quite something to see. Below are some photos I took...again they're not great but when all you've got is your phone, I don't think they're that bad.




The next Weller gig I'm off to is in Germany (with the lovely Linda) in October. Flight and gig tickets have already been purchased. Then it's the first night in Brixton, tickets also already in hand. Unfortunately I don't have enough cash to go and see him on his HUGE tour of, well, everywhere. I'm particularly gutted not to be seeing him in Osaka (where I went last year) and the V Festival in Toronto in September. I'd especially love to go to the one in Canada...Oasis are playing too. Arse. Mind you, if I win the lottery between now and then, I might still be able to make it.

Couple of other "things"...I've been a particularly bad Blogger of late & haven't been updating things as much as I should. I've also let my Google Reader numbers escalate much higher than should be allowed by law, for which I apologise profusely. This is definitely on my agenda to get rectified.

Also...on the 4th of July it was my Blog Birthday. I was 2 years old. I started blogging with my original blog (Teabags And Ashtrays, which can no longer be found by prying eyes) then flirted with Phoque Me! (which also can't be found anymore) and I'm now settled in my new home (here!). Over those 2 years I've read many blogs and have been fortunate enough to get to know some people quite well. You're all lovely! And come February next year I'm hoping that I'll be able to catch up with some of you in Canada.

The next post has absolutely nothing to do with Weller, but in fact contains something from my original blog. Terence will be making an appearance for the first time in a VERY long time! For those of you not in the "know" I'll explain all next time. Also on the next post will be my visit to the Vikings new home near the coast!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A VERY Rare Celebration

Happy Canada Day people.

I've put THIS up on my old blog last year, but it will never stop amusing me! I like donuts 2 and 4 best. Eh!