Thursday, 28 December 2006

Back to blogerama

Apologies for the lack of blogaction, but the last two weeks have been spent on the road, in an edgy, low-res attempt to restage Kerouac's On The Road through the low counties of England. To that end, and hunched to the windscreen like Scatman Carruthers in a Shining-esque fog, we visited friends and family in London, Cambridge, Buckingham and Bedford. Some of the highlights included: Seeing the Slide at Tate Modern, although it did look awfully narrow in an Augustus Gloop kinda way. My mate quit her writing job and decided to go down it in an act of new found liberation. She ended up with terrible friction burns.

My insistence on taking Dee to Sarastro in Covent Garden, a converted theatre dressing room with low ceilings and gaudy decoration, like the Underground if it had been designed by Fellini. Dee bumped her head and knocked over a fellow diner's grapes while breathing in a fag hag's smoke. We retreated after the entrees, musing on how some hummus and celery could have cost us £30.

Visiting the highly racey Buckingham Folk Club, who are at war with the Independent Buckingham Jam Night. Enough material for a couple of plays here.

Eating veggie breakfasts at S and M in Upper Street, where Quadrophenia was filmed.

Watching a mental party of six punting on the Cam in freezing conditions. One of the group looked delighted, everyone else had murder in their eyes.

I could go on, but in the absence of any further posts, have an amazing 2007 y'all and hope it brings all you wish for.

Congratulations to: my pal Emily, who gave birth to baby Jake on Christmas Day. Well done guys.

Looking forward to: Peru in May. We is dee-lighted!

Monday, 11 December 2006

Lincoln refreshments

After spending Saturday stocking up on our karma by studiously avoiding the works Christmas party (we went and ate tasty veggie dips at Stevie Sticks' house-do instead, rather than the microwave canneloni they serve as obligatary veggie fare at the Mail Christmas bash). Then me and Dee got into the Christmas spirit by heading for the Lincoln Christmas Festival, braving biting winds and realising how to deal with hills again (Hull doesn't do slopes, but there's a mound just outside the Mail building which is its biggest peak).

The festival was lovely, over-priced, full of Germans and nutjobs and men in insane rooster-chic headgear. But we all took advantage of the free samples provided by the folks at Sloe Motion, and the sloe whiskey was gorgeous, and there's no doubting the beautifulness of the cathedral - even if some woman had missed the point entirely by barging and swearing her way out of there after a free tour.

Listening: Nuggets (Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedlic Era); Bill Fay; The Klaxons - Magick; Amy Winehouse - Rehab; Lady Sovereign - Pretty Vacant

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Welcome to 70s Hull

Nah, it's not an animation from Logan's Run but an artist's impression of a new club in Hull, Baileys, dating from 1971. The city has always pushed the boat out with nightclubs; one, Romeo nd Juliets, was rumoured to have a slide rather than a staircase between the first and ground floors. Can you imagine the fun that was after a couple of bottles of Strongbow? And Tower, known fondly as Tower For An Hour, where you were likely to stick to the carpet (just before you got to the girl you were about to chat up, apparently). This place Baileys, I found out after asking some grizzled old journalists was above the Co-Op. I wonder if it ever resembled this 70s anarchy?

Rock 'n' roll oblivion, Hull style

Check this picture of the Hullaballoos from 1965. One of Hull's biggest exports to the States - one of their singles hit number 56 stateside - there's something reassuringly Hull about the bloke on the far right. He's got the hair, the clobber and the Daltrey menance, but he's probably thinking how he'd get from one side of Holderness Road to the other in this get-up.

Some students do 'ave 'em

News from my creative writing college course that Some Mothers Do Ave Em creator Ray Allen is to be our next all-day guest speaker. Seeing as my life often resembles a complicated sitcom, I think this'll be an excellent thing. Some of the gasps from the loftier students on the course led me to believe they don't feel the same way - far too lowbrow for their tales of departmental store parental knicker madness or writing-masquerading-as-divorce-therapy. Elsewhere, me and Dee are in winter hibernation mode; eating nuts and watching back-to-back episodes of The Wire, while trying to avoid anything resembling work. Dee's house went up for sale today, and we were both doing hi-fives in the kitchen as it was described as "extremely well-presented" and "tastefully restored". All them Saturday's with a paintbrush suddenly seem worthwhile.

Listening: Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occunpanther; Jarvis - Jarvis; David Axelrod - Songs Of Experience; Lord Kitchener - London Is The Place For Me; The Holloways - Two Left Feet

Watching: The Wire Season Two; The Mighty Boosh Live

Monday, 4 December 2006

You're like Manchester, you've got strangeways

Over to Manchester for a day in a proper top 10 city. Went mainly to look at the Urbis collection of shots of the Hacienda, although perhaps eight pictures mounted on a wall before you get to the Urbis shop is pushing the definition of 'exhibition'. Even so, Urbis is an amazing space, and we mooched about the Level One photographs depicting modern China on the verge of its Olympicfacation. Then spent the afternoon making the inevitable comparisions between Hull and Manc while browsing through five floors of second-hand vintage at Afflecks Palace and finding a record shop that stocks new vinyl and not just tatty old copies of Queen reissues (Picadilly on Oldham Street). Then a desolate and gusty drive back over the M62 to the mean streets of 'Ull.