Friday, 31 August 2007

Things I'll Miss About Hull: 5

Beverley Road baths. Back in the day, to be chair of a Baths Committee merited your own bust. These days, busts are bursting out of Primark suits while fatmen swim diagonally into my line of swim vision.

Things I'll Miss About Hull: Number 14

Shops like Booze & U, which is slighly more interactive than the very similar Booze 4U and a miles away from the funky pretences of Rhythm n' Booze. Booze & U acknowledges that you already have a drink problem.

Things I'll Miss About Hull: 545b

This trophy is the only thing in this Hull chap's front window display. He was St Paul's Boxing Club Champion in 1988. He looks exactly how you'd expect a 1980s boxing champion to
look. Sovereign rings. Mullet. Tache. He now rears pitbulls in his garage.

Things I'll Miss About Hull: 375

Its distinctive people. This chap was seen close to Boothferry Park. I gave him 30p for Laundromat. He was delighted to have his picture taken and is an active blogger. Smell not included in photo.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Old media, new media

Plush interview yesterday in a penthouse overlooking the cranes and mills of Salford Quays, which has changed massively in the four years since I was last in Mancland. It's a changing landscape round here, that's for sure - and a glimpse at the Manchester Evening News property pages reveal apartments going for London prices. Saying that, it's a city where it's hard not to be positive, as new developments spring up and landscapes are re-routed and rewired. Easy to be overwhelmed by all these concretes and casinos, so I stepped into a black, beating heart of old Manc, the Hacienda Exhibition at Urbis. A great testament to Tony Wilson, but also the late and oft unsung Rob Gretton, it's an ear-throbbing, visually splendid exhibition going from the cold dark days of Manchester in the 70s through the superb dance culture it beckoned in in the 80s and its sad, gun-related decline. The pictures of Russian spies Philby, Burgess and McLean, which were behind the bar at the Hacienda greet you as you enter. And giant screens mean I spend the post-interview dwellfest being inspired by clips of Curtis Mayfield and Copey. Go and see this exhibition, but not on a hangover.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Different world

I've got a job interview here tomorrow, in the funkily named Laser Quay, in Salford, in a really glossy hi-tech job as an interactive content editor. Couldn't be further removed from my current role in Louth - like comparing Heroes to Last Of Summer Wine. Even the instructions on how to get to Laser Quay are a lesson in new-meejah speak, apparently I am to look for the "white and glass building with the centrally-focussed glass atrium" and I must park my car in bays GE, GR or GT but not in GX or GY. If I can get through all this conceptual nonsense, and, indeed, the front door, I may stand half-a-chance with this job. Weird how Salford, once desolate and home to that evocative Smiths shot, is now a burgeoning home for twisted cyber geek cyber speak. What would Morrissey say?

Listening: Cherry Ghost - Thirst For Romance; Hole - Live Through This
Reading: Wait Until Spring, Bandini - John Fante

Friday, 24 August 2007

Cattery Power

Cass, my four-year-old tortoiseshell, is now safely ensconsed in her new home, Catterie Towers, overlooking the vale of Axholme halfways between Caistor and Brigg. I left her with a heavy heart, not because her palatial kat bedroom is loftier than ours, but because I am entrusting her to what looks like a couple of new rave cat obsessives. David, the bloke, was wearing trouseurs last seen on the Newbury bypass protestors of the early 90s. His wife looked like a cross between a Katebush and a Klaxon. I'm not expecting High Street fashion from my cat guardians, but happy-clappy children entertainer chic with buckets wasn't on the agenda either. They took a look at Cass, and said: "Who's this little person, then?". 'She's a Cah-Ah-Ahht,' I was thinking. Quite what kind of beast I return to is anyone's guess.

Also: Have paid £28 for 20 early bird swims at Beverley Road baths. Most early bird swimmers are nutters. One today looked like Martin Samuel, surely the fattest football reporter on the NOTW. After swim, he joined me in the showers and delivered a note-perfect rendition of Bloc Party's The Prayer. Not the natural tune of a 20-stone beardo in Hull, but different.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

International nonsense

Many critics have often called the insurgency and illegal war in Iraq George Bush's Vietnam. It seems that the Dubya, now separated from Karl Rove's brain, has decided to take this onboard and compare a pull-out from Iraq to the 'disastrous' consequences of the American (let's tell the truth now George) defeat in south-east Asia in the 70s. He then goes on to cite what happened to Cambodia in the late 70s (a recap - political coup, mass genocide, complete devastation of country) as a reason to stay in a country you have invaded. Isn't GWB missing the point? Surely, the main reason why Cambodia descended into total chaos under the Khmer Rouge was because of the secret bombing launched on its innocent, peaceful, beautiful Buddhist people by Kissinger and Nixon? And you can read it all here. Having been to both Vietnam and Cambodia, I would say they are still suffering from America's 70s foreign policy, not their own. In Vietnam, thousands still suffer the effects of Agent Orange, while in Cambodia the dollar is currency for American sex-pats happy to eat pizza sprinkled with marijuana and fire off AK47s in the desert. It seems rather rich for Bush to be preaching this doctrine to veterans when his own military record is a sham.
Anyways, back to catteries, footy and more songs about chocolate and girls. Here's a couple of people who say all this better than me.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Lookalikey fight club

A fight just broke out outside our office. We work in a bizarre windowless room with frosted glass, which means we can see out in the street, whilst outside, people assume there is a mirror and there can't possibly be minions aligning copy behind it. This normally leads to much preening-related mirth amongst ourselves, but today's fight was quite hilarious. There's a scummers Job Club opposite and a ruck broke out between a Justin Lee Collins scumbaggy lookalikey and a John Hendy from E17 wannabe. There was head-locks, and bum baring, and police calling, and lots of hands outstretched in a "what have I done" kinda way. These kids are outside the Job Club daily, making me wonder what active steps they are actually taking to find some kind of work.
Elsewhere: To cattery, or not to cattery? And when, when, oh when, will Dee's house sale complete?
Lifestyle pointers: Having no TV is actually quite fun and liberating, although I am developing a fixation to semi-autobiographical books about "place" and a reliance on DAB radio.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Boba Sheen. Or Martin Fett.

This moving is a complicated bizzle. Me and the cat have been playing an elaborate game of, erm, cat n' Loz, as I attempt to stick her in her basket and move her into club Dee, our halfway home of sorts for the next gawd-knows-how-long. It's become something of a stand-off, as she is proving trickier to pack than my record collection, assorted Chesterfield sofas and a battered stylophone. I feel like something of a cut-price bounty hunter, in me goretex jacket, trying to lure her with Cat Bix, me huddled in a corner like a cross between Boba Fett and Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, warpaint on, waiting for her to get off the bleedin' roof.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Racist overtones

There's not much to do if you're skint. On Friday, hopefully, that'll all change, when Club Loz becomes the property of Mr Halfacree. But in the meantime, we're idling. Went to the Ferens in Hull to check a couple of exhibitions, the mildly diverting Fabulous Sound Machines, and the superb late 70s, early 80s poster art of Hull Rock Against Racism. FSM was nothing like the Miami Sound Machine, but instead, a series of Cage-ean installations designed to annoyed the bejaysus out of you within 20 seconds. There was a fully-formed adult (but in shorts and wearing a maniacal grin) tinkering around with the world's most annoying piano. These giant windbags and insane harps would be impossible to tour with, which leaves you thinking what is the point, apart from to be used by adults with inane grinnery and no musical savvy. Thankfully, better times were had at the poster collection, although it makes me feel a bit sad that this counts for little in 2007 Hull. The late 70s really was a poltically right-on time, even if the trousers and band names weren't, with the focus of events at the Wellington Lane Community centre. Pity that 30 years on, the fight goes on, but appears less cohesive now than it did then. If only a Tony Wilson-esue character could transform Hull's cultural scene and pull all its dispirate parts together. Maybe then the city wouldn't be so isolated, in terms of its cultural life and its attitudes.
Meanwhile: So will Amy Winehouse ever sing Rehab again? How can she, unless she turns the chorus to 'Yes, yes, yes'. Please discuss.
Listening: Ramones; Dusty; Dee's entire record collection

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Goodbye Club Loz

Doesn't matter how much good stuff you fill a house with (and am talking memories and CDs here, basically), strip it of all of its furniture and it all appears very desolate and uncomfortable. My computer is basically the last thing to be packed away and here I sit, typing in an empty room, hearing the tic-tac-thud of my fingers on the keys, putting off the final dust, spray and yellow glove donning. For the next six weeks or so, we are TV and computer less, which means we are looking for other mental stimulations. Have already raided Dee's CD collection to listen to long-forgotten albums by Mudhoney, Mazzy Star, Iggy and the Ramones, whilst The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple is being thumbed when in the rare down-time when I'm not bopping to Brat On The Beat and Judy Is A Punk.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Joy Division - New Dawn Fades (live)

A tribute to the Division. And to Tony Wilson. RIP.

A moveable feast

After three and a half years we leave club Loz today. Most of the time, I love my vinyl. But on moving days, I begin to wonder what on earth possessed me to buy The Brothers Johnson, Gorkys Zygotic Mynci and the complete Belle And Sebastian fey 1997 EP range. There's an interesting debate about whether I should just chuck the lot in a skip here

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Pensioners' special

We are brassic. Skint. Looking for cash down the back of chairs. This is all due to a convoluted house move. This is all beginning to show. Tonight, having found a fiver in coppers, foreign currency and through selling a book of 12 postage stamps for £2, I ambled off to the local chippery, the intention of splitting a fish n' chips to share with my beautiful girlfriend. The chip shop staff took pity though, and allowed us to have two pensioners specials - £2.50 for fish, chips, gravy and breadcake (buttered). I'm a mixture of feelings to be honest. It's a great deal. But if I'd had an extra 60p we could have got the spam fritter thrown in as well.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Goodbye old Silver Spurs

Duos. A very hit-or-miss affair, generally. Renee and Renata - bad. Kylie and Cave - inexplicably good. Winehouse and Church - let's not go there. Then there's Nancy and Lee, without a shadow of a doubt the best and most menacing/kitsch/beguiling duo ever. The strawberries and cherries and an angel's kiss in spring of Frank JR and Mr Hazlewood's evil 'some velvet morning when I'm straaaaaight' worked great and set a lineage in place that continues to this day with Richard Hawley and the Tindersticks. Apparently, Hazlewood was once punched out by Sinatra senior after telling Nancy to sing These Boots Are Made For Walking "like a 16-year old girl who fucks truck drivers". He then made bizarre solo albums in Sweden, became a really notorious old cuss, smoking and boozing and brawling and then, knowing he was dying, he released Cake Or Death last year as a finale. It was, by and large, bobbins. Remember him instead for Some Velvet Morning, Summer Wine, Ladybird and I Move Around, with their laconic drunkeredness and Billy Strange orchestration. Oh, and read this obit. RIP Lee, you grizzled old trooper.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Where's me Sharples

This girthy story about a fat woman who got stuck in a deckchair having to be rescued by emergency services as the seas accelerated towards her is one thing. But why the blue blazes do all the fat people in this photograph look like Ena Sharples. It's as if a cryogenic Corrie convention are all holidaying on the south coast. Probably Bournemouth.

Sunday, 5 August 2007


So Britain basks. But none of your Bournemouths or Brighton's for us. No, we went to Hornsea, a little gem of Victoriana on the neglected east coast, which would surely be a really expensive curio if there was something as new-fangled as a train line there (the victim of Beeching cuts - and now a charming track for mini Motos). It was lovely, gazing out from the promenades to the North Sea, despite the abundence of semi-nakeds on Shoppers. Genteel, and delightful, in a lazy Sunday kinda way. Later, and perhaps ravaged by the sunbeams, I decide to sell my original Rolf Harris stylophone, complete with 70s packaging and demonstration disc. To me it sounds like marrauding bees caught in a pylon, but I reckon the Klaxons or one of the princes of New Rave will snap it up jack quick.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

A week of contrasts

Been off work all week with a dodgy back, some even dodgier painkillers that make my dreams go a hazy shade of purple and a sense of impending crisis after we realised our new house would have required an astonishing £30k of work before we could even get round to sorting out the carpets. Deal subsequently pulled, we have spent most of this week back on the home trail. And am happy to report - today - some success. And a better house than the one we just lost! Funny the way the cards are dealt at times, innit? Now we can look forward to Autumn barbecues in the garden on the right, a choice of outbuildings, and a two-minute walk to this park on the left!

Listening: Noah Georgeson; The Zombies - Into The Afterlife; new Rilo Kiley stuff

Watching: Have been hooked into Heroes, if just for the Japanese time traveller's amazingly manic off-kilter laugh and pirouettes

Loving: The sunshine, even while on my back

Overheard in chemists: "Mam, I'm dyeing my hair red" "Why?" "I've got to dye it red before I can get it brown"