Wednesday, August 29, 2007

NaNoWriMo

Things may get a little quiet around here (or maybe not), and here's why:

I'm going to attempt a little NaNoWriMo over the coming month.

The National Novel Writing Month officially starts 1st November, and it's simple aim is for anyone so inclined to sit down and pen themselves a fiction novel at the breakneck speed of 1,667 words a day, ending up with a 50,000 word novel come the end of the month.

I've started early, and on an abstract 28th of August, because my spectacularly unremarkable idea was dying to get penned, but I urge anyone out there to consider it for the following reasons:

1. Your creative juices will be exploding on a daily basis, and that is good.
2. If you're a miserable whinging bastard like me, it'll be a welcome diversion from reality.
3. Apparently, free-time mundanities such as window shopping or channel surfing will seem like well-earned oases of near-sexual excitement once you're dedicating yourself brain-wise.
4. Not having a plot, any characters, or a general clue doesn't matter one jot. In fact, it's a requirement. Based on the principle that 'The first draft of anything is shit', NaNoWroMo demands that you just write the damn thing anyway rather than attempt The Greatest Story Ever Told for six harrowing months then give up by Chapter 3. The fun is seeing this world evolve as you begin writing your vague story and not care too much, lest your shit first draft becomes a shitter quarter of an otherwise complete novel with a fair amount of self-loathing.
5. Most important of all, it actively encourages you to force out any old crap, very much quantity over quality, resulting in some amazing things happening as your lacklustre story begins to take some kind of shape and your newborn characters get bored and start going fucking mental.

As every creative endeavour I've ever undertaken has collapsed under the self-induced weight of my perceived shitness of it, forcing myself to do this will be very interesting indeed. And yes, it will be forced. I'm on Day 2 and already I'm 1,000 words under the daily quota and boo-hoo, I'm tired.

If you're keen, I recommend you check out the NaNoWriMo website. And if you're really keen, I really recommend you buy founding member Chris Baty's book of the project, 'No Plot? No Problem!'

Go on, I dare ya.

Will I be writing a delicate story of unrequited love in fifteenth century Belgium? Or will aliens invade the Channel Tunnel and turn it into an intergalactic Starbucks? Or perhaps I may write about Ben Gefwola and his pathetic attempts to have sex. My imagination is truly remarkable. Is yours better?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bring The Noise

This could be an encroaching age thing, but I can't help noticing just how unremittingly fucking noisy my world is.

Living in a box amid a series of other boxes doesn't help. I am surrounded by people stomping around upstairs, screaming downstairs, or fucking each other into the middle of next week somewhere else.

For example, there is the oft-mentioned French neighbour, currently blasting out hardcore techno. Granted, it's 9pm, but I am shattered and any hopes of an early night are now ruthlessly destroyed like a British soldier fighting near some Americans.

Then there are my new loved-up neighbours upstairs. I attempted an early night on Wednesday, and got woken up by their walking, softly, like an elephant that's just spotted a mouse.

Downstairs are my South American neighbours. They have a child that likes to shriek on Saturday mornings. They also like to play James fucking Blunt most afternoons.

Outside my window is a high street. A big one. The gentle rumble of traffic is a constant, as is hooting of the Angry genus, because I am not far from a left turn onto another main road. There are traffic lights at this junction, complete with a left turn filter arrow. Consequently, at least three idiots an evening (seven at weekends) don't budge when this arrow appears, causing fury in the row of vehicles behind them. Thus, I don't so much hear a gentle 'parp' of the horn, more an outraged cacophony of sixteen klaxons that roar for ten minutes. (Slight exaggeration.)

Ah, and here comes a violently loud police siren.

At 5:30am yesterday morning, I was awoken by cackling. Looking out of the window, I spied a mad old woman on a bench, the latest Sainsbury's biodegradable plastic bags affixed to her worn-out boots with rope. She was lying on her back and yelling like Britney Spears after a night on the tiles.

That was fun.

And work's no better. I work next door to a pub. Specifically, my desk is right next to a wall, the other side of which is fixed a speaker. As such, I get to hear a rhythmic throb of the latest chart hits which, in duller moments of my employment (between 9am and 6pm), I am reminded of what it sounds like when I'm in bed, trying to fall asleep. Sometimes I confuse work with sleep and get a momentary impulse to leave my desk to yell at a Frenchman when I remember that I should be working, or something.

We also have a resident nutter living near my place of employment, a young Scandinavian woman with issues of sanity (she has none), who likes to walk slowly down the middle of the street screaming in Swedish, normally when her medication's run out.

Two weeks ago, she was being frisked by two men in civilian clothing, forcing me to check that they were in fact coppers and not just two perverts copping a feel. (I had been under the impression that only female policepeople could search lady humans.)

And today, as I was queuing up at the bank, a young girl with attention-seeking needs burst through the door and screamed out random songs. My mistake was to acknowledge her disapprovingly, which I did via the medium of grimacing. This merely provided her with a clown to humiliate in public, yelling 'Ooh, sexy, sexy. Sexy man's body', while I went bright red and got quite nervous.

I went out yesterday, on a school night. For some reason, my friends will not accept 'Not feeling like another drink' as a justifiable excuse for not having another drink.
So I had seven pints and got to bed at 2am.

Thus, my bank holiday weekend starts sedately, at home. It's 9:30pm and I'm very much up for an early night. Sadly, this is not on the cards. There's a bar below my flat and they make a colossal din til midnight, and in between breaks of speeding traffic noise, I can hear an entire conversation in Urdu, and some geezers yelling obscenities somewhere off to the right.

I simply can't imagine the concept of a quiet part of London.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Coming Up

Ok, maudlin self-introspection over. Just for the record, I'm not a suicidal manic-depressive loner with a gun fetish and old scores to settle.

Because, you see, I don't like guns. Everything else is accurate.

But anyway, I'm actually quite normal a lot of the time, providing I've had plenty of sleep and I'm not at work.

Sometimes, committing keyboard strokes to monitor when feeling under the weather can imbue some (ok, all) of my posts with a violent surge of introspection when all that was there before typing was a minor itch in my head. Monday's post - it was a Monday, after all - being a case in point.

So that's that. It's a gorgeous rainy grey evening in August. I sense fun ahead.

Etc.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Falling Down?

Today was going to be The Beginning.

But it's still the fucking Middle.

On Sunday night, I had my last supper (doughnuts and Frazzles), and prepared a healthy salad to enjoy on the First Monday Of The Rest Of My Life. I even went to bed reasonably early.

Then, at 4:30 this morning, while I was for some reason dreaming about giving directions to a man on a bus, the sound of a car crashing into a van in the Real World outside my window woke me up and had me racing to look. All I could see was a sheepish looking fellow collecting bits of his car from an empty road, while a van driver swore at him.

It took me a while to get back to sleep, such was the unceasing excitement of a very minor Road Traffic Accident below. My alarm then woke me up at 7:00am. I looked out of the window. The dented car and van had gone, but grey skies, wet roads and queues of rush-hour traffic were in its stead.

So that was cycling out. Despite my normal daily cycling routine, I had spent last week on the tube, simply because I couldn't be bothered to bike it. This morning, despite my every intention to cycle, the weather put me off yet again.

And so, considering this was going to be the day I turned everything around... I didn't.

Work sucked. Work normally sucks, but it sucked to the point where I thought I may be clinically unemployable, because I don't actually mind this particular job. I can just do it with ease, that's all, to the point where I now resent having to wake up for it. But then I get that with most jobs.

This weekend, I'd discovered the resignation letter from my last job. I had written,

"Life (here) has become duller than a pocket torch in a deep cave. For quite some time I have managed to develop a supreme apathy thanks to this company and its knack for bringing everyone down. I find the work of no redeeming value whatsoever, my colleagues are as miserable and fed-up as I am, and the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the thought that I am not alone in having a crap job.

As I sense my third decade bearing down on me like a jack-knifing lorry on the M1, I’m annoyed with myself for not leaving this stopgap of a job a long time ago. I earn a pittance, far less than I had been earning four years previously, and I have absolutely no future here."

I wrote that only three years ago when I was in my Twenties and had one less thing to whinge about - namely, being in my Thirties. I recalled this letter today while sat at my desk. Then, it dawned on me: I don't really like working for a living. Don't get me wrong. I'm not a work-shy layabout. I just come across as one. Give me a job that challenges, intrigues, utilises my skills, and fills me with joy, and I'll shut up. It's just that I don't think I've had that yet.

But I know things are bad. Really fucking bad. This morning, I actively sought out THIS song on my iPod. I first heard it a few months ago on Classic FM and downloaded it, despite it being as subtle as a Vicar in a drug rehabilitation centre, and squirming at its thinly-veiled Christian undertones. The artist is Josh Groban, and the song is called 'You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)'. As the title and genre suggests, I'm in a pretty bad state if I need to listen to that to get me on the tube. You have to be either a teenager in the bitter throes of your first doomed relationship, or else a committed Christian whose faith feels undermined because you laughed at a gag that contained the word bugger to want to listen to that song. I listened to it this morning through gritted teeth, particularly the lines 'Everybody wants to be understood/ Well I can hear you/ Everybody wants to be loved/ Don’t give up/ Because you are loved.'

I am British and male. I find it hard to put up with those kinds of sentiments at the best of times. Now I am listening to it on the way to work and listening intently.

But moreover, I want to sample the strings at the end and turn it into an epic house track.

So that was work today; trying. Mainly because half way through the day, I realised that I was tired, and when I'm tired, I can't concentrate. And when I can't concentrate, I resent having to concentrate. And when I force myself to concentrate, and the phone rings, or my colleague shoves paperwork under my nose (he literally does), or a customer walks in and demands immediate attention - I find it hard to tilt my head back and laugh like a carefree student on a gap-year holiday picking strawberries in the Dordogne.

I finish work and go home. Hordes of commuters fight to storm on to the tube I am trying to leave. I nearly shout something in anger.

I don't.

I switch tubes. This second train eventually arrives at my home station and I stand up to leave. A young girl on the platform outside lines up with me on the other side of the door and barges on before allowing me to get off. I bite my tongue.

I get to my flat and chop up some lettuce and tomatoes, and add mackerel to my plate - the meal of the dietarily condemned. I reach into the fridge for Large Northern Flatmate's brand new, full and huge jar of Mayonnaise, my one non-healthy nod towards taste. In one deft movement, I scoop up the jar and watch as it slips from my hand and flies through the air.
'It's made of glass, the fucker's gonna smash,' I manage to think before it hits the hard ground and explodes with an unexpected heavy splat.

I twitch my nose.
A vein in my head pulses.
I leave immediately for the newsagents downstairs. There is a strong body odour in there, emitting from several pensioners, and no mayo. I try another shop. They have a smaller squeezy bottle version. A gang of Chavs are gathered nearby, yelling at the proprietor for various condiments and dangerously close to getting into a fight with me. They yell some comments in my direction but my iPod blanks them out. I concentrate on not killing them all. I meant it. I was ready and able to go eyeball to eyeball and scream vicious abuse into the face of the cockiest one, but they're remarkably not abusive enough.

I head back to my flat, replacement mayonnaise in hand. A young thug storms towards me, and begins to bodypop. Now I've never been Threatened via Dance before, but it was odd. It was only a dance, but it was unnecessary. It was vulgar. It was two people walking toward each other, yet he felt the need to start a one-man hoedown. It was his random Fuck You at a complete stranger.
I stare at him like the idiot he is. I sneer. He jives past, then turns around and shoots me the evil eye. We sneer at each other. He can dance the dance, but he stops short of stretching both arms out and asking if I've got a problem. This is a good thing, as I would've said 'Yes. I've got the sexual allure of a bin, I have no career, a teenager's wage, one life I'm expertly cocking up, and I'm really, really fucked off right now.'

I go home and eat a cold mackerel salad avec white blob.

I blame fucking Facebook for my current funk. I couldn't resist the temptation when I joined to see if the guys I went to school with were there. They were. Mostly married, some with kids. The ones who weren't married were dating. And it ached. Not because they were living some perceived great life that I wasn't, but for other reasons.

There was one guy on there who I liked a lot when I was at school. I 'added' him to my Facebook list, and we struck up a brief conversation. I asked him about himself, and he never replied. It seems daft, but it irked me. I hadn't harboured any deep-seated desire to meet up with him after all these years, but a response would've been nice.

I think I have good reason to feel peeved. When I was at school, I was bullied. It wasn't particularly physical, although I was punched a couple of times, but mainly I was spat at. But the main abuse I got was ostracism. I wasn't sure why, and even now I'm not too sure. In retrospect, I think I was too needy, and a needy child, desperate to please and have other friends in my experience won't have any. My problem, my reason for being shunned, was that I was the school Fat Kid, and you Do Not befriend Fatty. A large, formative part of my childhood was spent indoors, because I didn't have any friends to go out with. Mondays were hell as a sea of grinning faces forced me to admit to staying in at the weekend while they were all out together. At the time, it tortured me. I thought this is how life would be and now, whenever I read of a bullied teenager who's killed him or herself, I want to scream. More accurately, I wish I could be there before they take the plunge, and make them see reason. Their lives would almost certainly change full circle in as short a time as a few months - mine changed irrevocably when I went to University - yet the intensity and passion of their emotions had clouded their judgement and their notions of the future.

All the guys I've found on Facebook, some of whom were my childhood bullies who revelled in calling my disabled Mother a 'cripple', are all settled, and all keep in touch. Even groups who were separate to each other at the time are all connected in their wider network today, while I'm spying on them from my bedsit and I feel slightly strange and stalky. Ultimately, I still feel ostracised.

My being bullied has had zero impact on me, or so I thought until very recently. I have since made my own friends over the years, the most fantastic, decent people you could ever wish for - including a Large Northern Flatmate - who like me for who I am. I've even reached the point where I struggle to keep in touch with all of my friends. And until I saw all these old schoolguys again, smiling and posing in new photos, I had forgotten all about them.

But as these bad memories came back to me in waves and torrents, so too did the promise I made to myself when I was 15, fat, and friendless: I'll show them.

No I didn't.

Living well is the best revenge. I live in hope.

Still, at least Josh Groban loves me. Or maybe that's Jesus.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The God of Misery

I've just out-tramped a Tramp. I was in my local newsagents, buying a copy of the Evening Standard for Large Northern Flatmate, and a packet of fags for me. Said Tramp was just walking out, having bought himself a 4-pack of Tennants Extra Strength Obliterator.

He turned to me and yelled, 'You gotta larf, eh?'

'Why?' I replied.

I am a Cappo Di Tutti Cunt.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The French Affection

It was pitch black and I couldn't see my hand in front of me.

Fumbling in the darkness, I reached up for the fusebox and found the switch. I pulled it down and turned off the electricity. A nearby electro beat stopped abruptly.

3:45am, stood on the top floor of a neighbouring apartment block, outside my French neighbour's flat. For the past year and a half, my French neighbour has woken me up at ungodly hours to a soundtrack of gabba techno or Gallic hiphop. My spontaneous attempts to murder his speakers earlier this year only served to have absolutely zero effect when he acquired further speakers.

I fumbled for the hallway light switch and turned it on. In the new light, I saw that my French neighbour's door - his replacement door as I'd kicked his last one down two months earlier - was now broken, so I pushed it open and switched his electricity back on. He was walking out of his bedroom in front of me.

'Oh no, I woke you up again.'

I said nothing and lit a cigarette, like a nonchalant detective in a Raymond Chandler novel, minus a trilby and raincoat, and plus a t-shirt and jeans, and a severe short new haircut. I walked towards him silently.

'Zorry,' he said as I walked past him and into his bedroom.

Fortunately, it was early Saturday morning and I had no work to be woken up from. I hadn't even gone to bed yet, but when I'd switched everything off in my room, I'd heard his music and paid him this visit. I wasn't angry, just fed up.

I had intended to appeal to his sense of decency if he had any, but as soon as I entered his bedroom, I stopped in my tracks.

His room had been demolished. In a fit of - I don't quite know what - my neighbour had destroyed almost everything. The floor was strewn with shards of glass, mounds of paper, twisted cds and dvds, empty beer cans, and small hillocks of cigarettes and ash. There wasn't a visible patch of carpet to be seen.

'What the fuck has happened here?'

'Nuzzing.'

'Jesus Christ.'

I pulled out a cigarette and handed it to him, which he took. At my feet was one of many beer cans, so I picked it up and flicked cigarette ash into it and sat on the edge of his bed with a sigh. He joined me. I said nothing. He could let it all out, and I would listen.

'My bruzzer, he has left me.'

I met his brother a month or so ago, a night I hadn't blogged about. He'd woken me up again, despite my having broken his previous speakers. It was 2am then, and I was disconcerted to see two people in this room, particularly as his brother was older and meaner looking and rolling a joint when I'd walked in to yell. He seemed a lot more level headed, albeit less approachable.

And now this man had gone. His kid brother had got into a fight with him and thrown a saucepan of food at his head.
Twice.
His older brother subsequently walked out.

'I have no money, my landlord, I 'ave not paid 'im for two monz. Everyzing is shit.'

I looked at the sea of paper and filth on the floor, and nodded.

'I 'ave no family, I 'ave been in foster 'omes sinz this 'igh.' He raised his hand a couple of feet off the dirty floor. 'All I 'ave is my music. I will never see 'im again.'

'You're 19,' I told him. 'He's your brother. Of course you'll see him again. It just feels like you won't.'

'I try to kill myzelf. I have a knife.'

'Show me the knife.'

Karim reached down to the floor and handed me two kitchen knives. They had bits of dried food on them, and they were viciously sharp. He then showed me his wrist where he claimed to have cut himself. I couldn't see any scarring, but I didn't doubt that he'd held one of these blades against his veins and toyed with the idea of suicide in a drugged haze.

'Ze police, zey arrest me for possession.'
I took my eyes off the knives and looked at him, trying to work out just how intelligent he may be.
Possibly not very.
He has dark brown eyes, almost black. If there was a glimmer of youth in them, it's virtually extinguished. He has a small thin frame, his grey t-shirt sagging off his drooped shoulders. His face is lightly tanned with a smattering of youthful stubble, and has a look of permanent regret. He could easily pass himself off as the 'before' photo in one of those 'Faces of Addiction' montages.

'I 'ad a gram of cocaine on me, and 'ad been smoking skunk all night. Zer paper, is there.' He pointed to a yellow duplicate slip on my right. I picked it up. It was a notification of police bail.

Karim became overcome with a newfound vigour and began handing me forms and papers explaining his story. He then handed me a menu for a local pizzeria.
'I work at zis restaurant. I do orders for tomato, mozzarella, for pizza an' wine. Is shit. I 'ave no money. My life is shit.'

He looked at his floor. Not the best place to stare at when he's down, really.

'That's what life's like, Karim,' I found myself telling my tormentor. 'It's not an easy ride. You're lost, mate. Perdoo.'

'Yes,' he said. 'Perdu.'

'Why do you think you do so many drugs?'

'I like to get 'igh. I had once 29 pills in my fridge. I wake up, 'ave 'alf a pill, I 'ave zem many nights. You know Fabric?'

'Yes, good club,' I said, dragging on my cigarette and recalling those days when I would go clubbing and walk past troops of ladies like a ghost, wishing I had a different head.

'I go zere a lot, take lots of drugs.'

'What about women? You're a good looking young man,' I said. 'Why don't you go out and meet women? You're 19 and French, for christ's sake.'

'When I go zere, I see ze women and I like zem, but zen I 'ave ze pills and I am all for ze pills all night.'

'Look', I said, 'You may think your life is shit, but you're 19. You can always turn everything around. You live here like this, but I'm only over there,' I pointed at his wall, 'and I'm 33. I'd like to be married with a wife and kids, but life doesn't always turn out the way you'd like.'

Karim nodded.

'Do you want your brother to see this room so he realises how unhappy you are?'

'I don't know.'

'Clean your room. Clean up this mess, and get back your dignity and respect. I think you've stopped loving yourself, and all the drugs, the knives, and waking me up with your fucking music, you want confrontation. You want to be hated because you hate yourself, and me yelling at you is like the proof.'

I stood up to leave. Karim was happy that we'd talked. Moreover, he wanted to talk. And for the first time that night, he beamed. I didn't know whether it was a grin on getting one over on me, or if he was relieved at finally getting to air his woes. Only time will tell.

It is Saturday afternoon as I type this. All I can hear are police sirens, random conversations from the street below, and techno.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Fate is Other People's Thing... that... they.... have.

Funny thing, Fate. So much so that I felt the need to capitalise it just then. And stick it in italics.
There, look! Above!
I guess it's just so damn Funky. 'Fate' is this thing, this unquantifiable, inexplicable whatsit that simply can't possibly exist in my boringly rational scientific brain (which makes me sound far more intelligent than I ever could be), but it would be really darn cool if Fate actually did exist, a bit like discovering God, or Martians, or a really noble Politician.

Like God, for Fate to exist, there would have to be an ordination for everyone, a predestiny that suggests really very strongly that we've all got our lives mapped out in a very, very large book in the sky; an unshakable, unbendable, deliberate path that we will always traverse, even if we try our damndest to avoid it.
Now call me a cynic, but I can't really believe any of that.

Which is a shame, as there's something terribly romantic about destiny, a divine will that has marked out our otherwise completely irrelevant lives from among six billion other humans, not to mention loads of frogs, lions, ants, bats and penguins.

So what the hell is this post all about? Well, this one very brief story to follow, based around this positively huge ramble about predestination...

Neale was a friend from my schooldays. We hadn't seen each other for twenty years when we caught up on Friends Reunited and agreed to meet. We met in a pub, had our first beer together, and got completely smashed, even though it was a Wednesday.

It was pleasant, and odd. We'd moved on significantly enough to be complete strangers. Neale didn't even remember me properly. The photos he'd brought along from our schooldays were of a completely different ginger kid called Christopher. We then caught the tube home where I drunkenly yelled at some commuters who had the bad luck - or fate - to be stood nearby, that we were old schoolfriends who had caught up after twenty years, and Isn't that Great?

Then I humiliated Neale via email (Point #6) and hadn't heard from him since ~ until last week, when he 'found' me on Facebook and added me.

Neale has since got himself engaged with a view to wedded bliss, and to a very nice looking young lady.

He had met her on a tube platform.

Apparently, I'd walked up to her a several years ago and yelled, 'Alright? Me and this guy here went to school together and we haven't seen each other since we were 8!'

I have tonight found my first girlfriend on Facebook and added her as a friend, if she'll have me. Oh look, she's married with kids now.

Always the Gloom, never the Groom. Perhaps that's my Fate.

And that's just Fine.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Are You Experienced?

I read an article last week, hastily viewed at work whilst flinging a sandwich down my throat, contending that time flies as you get older. The point being made was that adults' perception of time goes 'quicker' as they've experienced most things, unless you're bungee jumping into a ravine or being held at gunpoint by insurgents for the first time in your life, in which case you will have a child's eye view of the world and these events will seem like they're taking an eternity, a bit like watching Jim Davidson in concert.

It was much the same for me last night, spending nine hours traversing a series of bars and pubs with Nothing Man in what felt like ten minutes. If I had a penny for every time I've whiled away the hours in pubs, I'd have enough money to buy my own Lear jet. Presumably, if I was given back all the cash I'd ever spent on booze, fags and kebabs, I'd be able to buy Zaire.

We'd agreed to meet at Baker Street at a ridiculously early 5:30pm. The weather was finally agreeing to be summery, so we made our way to the Harcourt Arms beer garden where we were both largely ignored by two rather impressively blonde and attractive Swedish girls. To be fair to Nothing, he hadn't shaved and was in the early stages of a heavy cold. I felt fine and had a light smattering of beige stubble which was barely visible, yet he still looked better than me.

Deciding that we should traverse North West London so I could find myself a nice Jewish girl on the lookout for an anaemic loser with no direction in life, we took a bus to West Hampstead and the well-hidden Czech bar. There were some very attractive women here with shaven-headed boyfriends, a Kylie concert on TV, and a man vomiting furiously in one of the toilets, so we walked back to West Hampstead centre and to Eclipse, panicking that I might run in to an ex girlfriend of mine from a couple of years ago. She was the girl I'd decided to make a proper commitment to, seeing her as often as possible and accompanying her and her friends on mass-coupley nights out. I never realised she was actually quite shy until she eventually met my friends at a wedding and didn't seem keen to mingle. Or maybe she hated everyone. Perhaps one friend's drunken comment to her that she was a 'prime specimen' didn't help our relationship. That, and her dating me. I was dumped a day after I'd booked us a weekend to Brugge because she wanted to be "wooed". She just didn't emphasise that she wanted to be wooed by a better looking bloke with a decent job, car and own home free from Large Northern Flatmates.

I noted with interest that unlike the bars near my flat, the patrons of Eclipse looked like some of my cousins, and many were dressed up for the night. Despite my fairly smart attire - Nothing Man had handed me the new jacket I'd bought and left in Spain - I still looked like I'd dressed in the dark and was desperate to cultivate and air of smart casual on a budget. Nothing pointed out two glamorous girls sitting at a nearby table he thought may be Indian, but my J-dar said otherwise, particularly when they opened their yaps to slag off a girl called Abigail in clipped London tones.

I would've said hello to them, but I didn't want to be humiliated. We were outdoors and crammed together. Any chatting up on my part would've involved being heard by everyone in a 10-foot radius, plus if they were checking any guys out, they were doing so with the stealth-like surreptitiousness of a Cold war spy. As far as I could tell, they had no idea anyone but them existed. Two more attractive girls were dressed up to the nines on a neighbouring table and were checking us out, but this felt more like a ruthless assessment being undertaken than a positive appraisal. Perhaps this was because I'd shouted to Nothing "They're definitely Jewish", and they'd heard. As a general rule, Jewish girls glammed up on a night out will gut you like a fish if you tell them they look Jewish. I could be wrong - and I have a strong track record in being wrong - but try it out for yourself and see if you don't end up at the bottom of the Thames wearing concrete boots.

We took a bus to Golders Green and a cab up North End Road because we couldn't face the long walk uphill, and ended up at the Old Bull & Bush, the only pub I can think of that has its own song. The place has had a massive refurb since I was last there during the previous millenium, and it seemed pretty soulless. My guess was that most patrons had driven there. We stayed until the last order bell rang us into shock - we'd been traipsing around suburbs all night - so we decided to walk into Hampstead and get the tube back to into central to decide what to do.

We only lasted two stops to Chalk Farm, where it dawned on Nothing that the Barfly is just around the corner. This was my first time back to the grungey, filthy Barfly since the smoking ban, and it felt strangely sanitised and clean, despite the general grime.

We danced. Some guitar-based rock songs were being spun by a bored looking grey-haired gentleman with glasses. I don't know who this guy is but he's been here for years, playing the same songs - Nirvana, Blur, The Kinks, The Kooks, other artists I've only vaguely heard of - to drunk kids, completely indifferent as they storm the stage and jump up and down.

And then we left.

Sitting on the nightbus home, I remembered the article about time. I couldn't help but envy teenagers experiencing things for the first time; their first gig, their first pub, their first all-nighter, their first kiss, their first love.
After you get used to all these things, their magic seems to fade.

Or maybe I'm just a miserable bastard with a £70 hangover.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Saturday

It's gorgeous out. I surfaced from the pit around 12pm having had my weekend lie-in, and I'm not hungover. This is all good.

But now I'm at a loss as to what to do. I don't want to go to Tescos and by a small hillock of crap food as I normally do, for health and financial reasons. I could go for a bike ride, but that seems exhausting. Cycling for me has become all about commuting to work and the thought of Cycling for Fun just seems odd.

Large Northern Flatmate is nowhere to be found, and I'm straining for things to do. I had a quick scan of job sites but instantly felt overwhelmed by feelings of apathy and boredom.

I can't spend money as I'm skint - Spain demolished my wallet and I want to do something free and interesting.

What the hell do you lot do?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Viral Hype

Here's an interesting new movie being very cunningly marketed through the internet. It has no name, other than its (American) release date, 01.18.08, or Project Cloverfield, for some reason.

Tantalising teaser trailer here. Includes a gratuitously stunning woman who wants Rob to have fun in Japan.

3-1 on says the finished flick will be a pile of pants. And the bad guy's probably British.

Again.