Suicide by drum solo

I should stop doing the surrealistic post titles. It's too much like The Hard Work. And yet, and yet.

The Website, being set up with blog software, gets comments. As with other blogs, many of these are spam, many are shite and some are just worthy of note for their... amazingness. Just saw this in an idle glance:

i did not like girls aloud to go
i was very sad when they went down in lift
i did went girls aloud to go off stage
and i do not like when they are going down
on a glittery lift i was very sad when girls aloud after when they went down lift
i did miss all of girls aloud and i do miss my favourite in girls aloud is cheryl
tweedy when cheryl tweedy sang on stage
i was sad when girls aloud went down on a
sparkly lift i was upset when girls aloud
after go i was so sad when girls aloud went i was going to cry i missed girls aloud so much where are you going to be touring again?what is your next tour called? what will you be wearing on the next girls aloud tour what is the name of your next tour going to be?

Lord. The conversations people have with thin air on there. Asking things of the subject of the posts as if they could respond. It's a bit sad. But that is the internet.

(I had a big barney with someone last year about whether or not 'internet' takes a capital 'I'. I eventually grudgingly conceded it probably does, but I'm more or less reverting to my previous position i.e. only pompous nerds call it the Internet. I may be pompous, and I may be a nerd, but... well, I have my limits. Every day I find a new one.)

Shedfox isn't gone. He was there today. But there is a certain tension of course. How long will he hang around? And what's happened to Shedvixen, anyway?

I should be writing an actual feature at this moment, but having cobbled together some sort of exoskeleton to be filed into shape and slapped with hi-gloss goo tomorrow, I am having some Green & Black's hot chocolate and taking to my bed.

I was complaining as usual to - what's a good blogonym - my friend Walthamguy (that'll have to do) about what a lousy excuse for a journalist I am. I'm a decent enough writer which is why I get away with it, and I have proper principles about use of quotes and employment of grammar out the wazoo, but all the nuts and bolts of interviewing and researching and winkling out I am hopeless at. One of these days I'll do a course and actually learn all the stuff I've been bluffing I can do for years. Yeah, of course, the greater part of it is bluff, fake it till you make it, and all that. I was astonished when I did some proper corporate writing - I basically pastiched what I thought corporate writing reads like, and it turns out that's what corporate writing is. I do have a slobbering bloodhound nose for house style, it's uncanny.

But yes, I'm sorely in need of an arse-kick to that end. Also, to the end of getting to bed on time. Bed is about my favourite place in the world (even with the stale slice of Mother's Pride augmented with chickenwire and coathangers that is my current wretched excuse for a previous tenant cast-off of a pitiful mattress), but I suppose the pull of the PC is hard to resist.

London fell to bits on Friday, with torrential rain knocking out loads of the tube. (There were signal failures and security alerts too, but those we're used to.) The sky was so dark around midday it was like a goddam total eclipse yes it was. Went in a pub at lunchtime and the flagged basement was sloshing with grey water. And! People were still sitting there drinking and chatting like their shoes were dry. Ah, Britain. Britain, Britain, Britain.

There was a humiliating attempt to see another Somerset House gig, thwarted by the uselessness of record companies who can't get guest lists right. We had aftershow passes, ironically and more or less uselessly enough (for anyone who's never been to one and imagines they are amazing, allow me to disabuse you - they are people drinking in rooms and can be lovely or utterly depressing like any other occasion of that nature), so we doused our dolefulness in free booze, and nearly got covered in red wine by a twat in a suit who tipped a glass over and left a lake of the stuff to fester on table-top and floor while he chatted to his stupid friends. I wouldn't be surprised if it was his fault we didn't get in.

The remainder of the weekend has been spent half-arsedly attempting feature and more full-arsedly apostrophe-wrangling - on a print-out, for a pleasant change, so I could sit and make authoritative scribbles with an actual physical red pen. Turfed the dog off the chair and sat under the light with the stereo on. Big black hulking proper boys' thing it is, having been salvaged - legitimately, boringly - from the offices of defunct music mag in 2001. It doesn't see as much use as it should. Put on a Spiritualized thing I finally found after a lengthy hunt (I can't count my CDs, especially not the flimsy packety ones) and did smiles. I've had worse Saturday nights. I have.

Earlier I'd found, after similar scrabble through drawers and shelves, the one CD recording I have of myself warbling. It was made sometime mid-university with a bloke from home I had been in a band with when I was 17 - he was doing some tinkering with some new joybox of some sort so I helped. Astonished to find that not every muscle in my body spasmed with embarrassment at the sound of it. The cringe factor was far lower than all the pollsters predicted. Even the flat notes had that attractive "yeah, I meant to do it like that" thing about them, like... I can't think who but people get away with it all the time. Morrissey? Morrissey.

I should have learnt by now that a great deal of the time, not bad is more than good enough.

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Disloyalty cards

I must repair the posterlet that I swallowed my pride to stick under the passed-around pen of the band. (The pride went down fine actually, more like a morsel of seafood than a giant cod liver oil pill.) I kept that bit of semi-shiny promo-paper immaculate for six years, through countless house-moves, 300 miles north and back, and then when I get it signed and bung it back up on my wall for the first time in years, the oaf who comes to fix my PC leans against the wall and makes a little rip in it. And doesn't even have the decency to be a bit horrified. (He didn't fix my PC properly either, the steaming berk and clot.) It infuriates me to look at it. A pox on him and his big ape hands. Well, OK, just a minor pox as it is just a bit of paper of some sentimental and now doubtless some eBay value BUT STILL.

So the other day I was on my way to some fuckforsaken region of western London where I never usually go ever, where the tube comes out and gasps for air above ground, and was listening to a song that went "Through southern snow to Heathrow", and just as that line came on the Heathrow express went past saying heathrow heathrow heathrow. I like this sort of coincidence. It's suggestive to me of a tiny signpost telling you that you're still going the right way. Of course this is a lot of old arse but it's a nice thought.

Is it time for mergers and acquisitions yet? And am I going to format it correctly this time?


- Weekend's worth of work (well, more of it) delivered by courier with terrible fear of dogs. I opened the door and there was no one there. The beast had spoken, the man had run away. Dear dear.
- Some bits and pieces from helpful individuals that may save me from hiding under the bed from a deadline, and if you saw my bed you would know how bad that is.
- Cough. The kind that doesn't affect you all that much but kind of makes your throat taste of something that does not belong.
- Lockets (2 packets)
- Invitation to gig (at venue I will always remember fondly for one particular sweaty night when we poured water over each other's heads like the kind of idiots you try to ignore at gigs).
- Some lurid green earbuds, I suppose, by default since they've been left there. They are too big to fit in my ears and look like they are made of the stuff they make jelly shoes out of.


- Potentially, in the next week the Social Utility. Ah, said the fox, I shall cry. But really, I will be so bereaved and so bereft. Like a Bowery bum, when he finally understands the bottle's empty and there's nuthin left. Yes.
- Website job. Only I didn't lose it, it lost me. More fool it. I'm there till the end of next month, at least, and I shall be gathering free shit like a nut in May, so I shall.
- Shedfox. He's gone. He is an ex-fox. Although I hope he's just found a better shed to sleep on.


- Degree of laughable chutzpah, apparently. Have forward-put myself initially for two projects - one already started by someone who needs another person, one only existing in my tiny mind - neither of which I'm quite capable of pulling off but y'know, it's nice to.... oh, I don't know.
- Lipbalm, thought lost and replaced, proving both how disorganised I am and how frivolous with money. Terrible. Terrible.

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Oooo, ooooo, ooooo: Look what you've started

To paraphrase some red-nosed bloke, a band ruined music, music journalism and probably several other things for me and I never even had the common courtesy to thank them.

I'm too completely shagged out to do the quality of waffling I ought, but the whole point is that while they inspire me to all sorts of flights of fancyness, they also make me realise that there's not really any need for it. It's enough to experience these things. And I kind of want to keep it to myself, anyway, because... I'm still not sure why, being a writer and all. But it's like... I could make some money writing about sex, but I sort of can't. Not because I'm a prude about it, but I can't translate my thoughts about it into writing, somehow. And don't want to. Really don't want to. Want to keep it for myself. Even writing about it in generic terms, drawing on the most general experience - just Do Not Want. It's too private. It is.

I feel almost the same way about this band. It's a private pash. A warm-glow, hazy-shared-bubble, separate-dimension-in-which-everything-is-good-and-pure sort of thing. Not that I'm not pleased to find other people who love them, it's just... I'm not into being a fan in that way. It's not really like that. It's not a drooling obsession. I just know that I'm somehow plugged into them and at home with them in a way I've never quite been with any other band, or thing. And it's all very safe - there's none of that sickly lurching feeling of wanting what you can't have about it, the kind of thing that makes girls cry in huge gaggles at airports as boys in sunglasses are hustled away by a hundred suited brickshithouses. Good things can be oddly painful in ways that almost make them worth avoiding. But not this one. I suppose there was some nagging twinge of unfinishedness before I'd interviewed them - interviewed being the operative word, as opposed to just met, that wasn't it - but that's gone now. There's nothing left to do but enjoy it.

See (at this point you may wish to go and make a cup of tea, and drink it, and then go and do some shopping or something) the thing is I am so deeply fond of them that even if things are rotten and rubbish - and we've got to say, folks, we are pretty much up to our eyebrows in landfill at present - they will not only cheer me up but actually make me happy. Really goofy-grin, tears-in-eyes, lump-in-throat, tingle-in-ribs happy. I'd flogged my spare ticket (being on my own, a very bad start) to a tout for a fraction of what it cost, nearly laid out a security git for telling me to 'smile' and nearly burst into tears at another one for telling me to say 'please' (I'd said "excuse me" but I don't think he heard, and I'm such a big believer in politeness too). I'm stricken with a nasty emotional common cold (the one I never thought I'd get, but these things mutate, and this one might be bedding in), mourning the loss of the small but real dream of the website job that died suddenly of budgetosis yesterday, and wondering if there is such a thing as a perfect balance between fluttering anxiety and despairing fuck-all-this-ness. (I'm sure the tension between those two forces works great, like when they find out Monty Burns has every illness ever discovered but they all keep each other from snuffing him.)

And then this band plays, right, and I am not stricken or mourning or bemoaning at all but just gazing and smiling. There was a lovely bit of a breeze (this was Somerset House, so kind of like being the filling of a stately stone wedding cake) and the sky was stubbornly dark blue for hours. They were soppy and said nice things (and tried to get us to sing 'Happy Birthday' to the drummer, ferchrissakes, the soft bastards), and played great, and looked great, and were just great. I try to be objective, but why would I want to do a thing like that? Why would anyone?

I'm quite blissfully aware that I've lost all objectivity with them - I do occasionally try an experimental switch to distant analyser mode, and it just physically doesn't work, like trying to flip a lightswitch with your chin sometimes doesn't. It makes me giddy that I can't see over or around this band - I totally understand why people don't like them, and I'll never try and win anyone round if they're not immediately into it, but all that's irrelevant when I see them. Criticism just doesn't exist. It's real escapism. The only other things that ever give me that complete respite from all the shite (does that rhyme? well, it ought) are the beast, some of the time, and sleeping with someone. (Or sleeping on my own, in fact, but that's rubbish, because no one worries in their sleep, it's cheating.)

OK, there are other small things that successfully disengage me from the toxic gloop, but it's a hard thing to pull off for more than a minute.

The singer was standing around watching the support band (who blew, sadly), straggle-haired man of the people that he is. He more or less remembered me from the half-hour I spent listening to his Steven Wright drawl and tommy-gun laugh. I was pleased to see him and he wasn't displeased to see me, so I didn't feel funny shouting a couple of friendly things in his ear. They are different, I realised that ages ago - they've sort of got the approved organic rock star stamp on them. They're not putting it on - that's who they are. It's got nothing to do with posturing, that's not in their vocabulary. They might not have fallen out of the sky but they could have been pulled up from the earth (I think their clothes were, at least). However, the thing is that I can never tell them what they mean to me - I have a bit of a desire to in a way, but not much. I couldn't articulate it anyway, but that's not the point - there is no one you can really address it to, just yourself. They said themselves that whatever they write isn't really theirs, and it's true - the whole thing is greater than sum of parts and so they're only partly responsible. And they're not supernatural, they are just blokes. The people aren't really the thing, they're just what starts it. The string of the lovely balloon.

I had a better way of putting that, but pfffft.

I don't credit them with making me quit, I realised it was necessary on my own. I think they did a bit of precipitating and a bit of easing of transition and a bit of inspiring. It's not like you can really make a living at music journalism now unless you've been established for years on end - someone today tried to justify his writing for free because "everyone's a critic now, and who's to say my opinion's more important than this guy's in his bedroom?" and I had to flush his head in the toilet five times before the sound of "it's the democratisation of content" finally gurgled into silence. I didn't down tools the minute I heard the twangy rumblings of the first song on the first album. That was in ruddy 2001, so I kept at it for a while, and they were just my favourite band in a way no band had ever been my favourite, but it wasn't any sort of deal-breaker.

Still, whatever else I lost when I threw in that particular stinking soul-destroying towel, I didn't lose them. I was sure a while ago that there had been some natural evaporation, and they'd become a bit more ordinary and banal to me, and they sort of did, but miraculously it takes no time at all to tap back into the way I always felt about them. Which is, just so all-consumingly fucking fond.

My love for this stuff is pure, there is nothing clagging it or compromising it. It's my joy, even if it's momentarily punctured by drunken oaf morons of the kind that go to gigs and run the risk of me punching them to the ground - but never mind them, look at this wondrous lovely beauty of a splendid rock'n'roll nonsense and then blow your hair about by the end window of the tube on the way home. All else is rather a bit balls, frankly.

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July is the cruellest month

The weather is still ass - well, there was some sun and actual warmth and everything this weekend but consistency is the thing oh and sunny proper sun, the kind that makes me complain because I'm usually wearing specs but I'd rather be complaining about that than this. And give me an album full of upbeat uptempo poperiffic choons and I will go straight for the slump-shouldered moody track, and sit there staring out of the window at Shedfox, or the roofy space where Shedfox was until he went off about his foxy business, WITHOUT ME.



Like omigod these amazing boots that I want to, I dunno, put on and walk around in?
Invitation to see one of favourite bands in October
Some really amazing blisters from the shoes that didn't give me any grief at all on my birthday
Box files (4) (like that's anything like enough)
Supposedly, a copy of The Dirt for research purposes but is it here? It is NOT
Details of several nice properties that I will not be moving into soon
Special edition of Airplane! (leading to loss of shit - it really is the greatest. "Joey? Dgy'ever... hang around the gymnasium?")
Times for job interviews (2)


Goodie bag from networking event I didn't get to because I couldn't find the damn place goddammit
Optician appointment (hungover) (but I did summon the wherewithal to ring and cancel)
So much time, to the Social Utility, but it is the bringer of joy
A drift of paper, some of it crap and some of it sad and soggy with meaning, but it all had to go and we're not done yet either
Decorum (modicum thereof)
Composure (unmeasurable)


Most of dignity at Roman-grade drinking occasion, remarkably
Glut of misplaced sentimentality, unprepossessing propensities... inability to use short words where five long stupid ones no one ever uses will do
Funds from stewarding (£20) (although that's not true, it just looks like it because the note is here on my desk; I could not guess how many of its comrades have fallen this week in the immoral financial war that is my life)
Loads of crap that is ripe for the banishing

I can't quite pinpoint what I've done this week, actually. It turns out to be a week off between stints of website cover, although I'm now graduating to between-perma-people cover from holiday cover. The people it is between is the person who has just left and me, hopefully. There is going to be some wretchedness around here otherwise, oho sirree. Well, more wretchedness. The wretchedness levels are pretty healthy at the moment. But the boots help. And will do until I am forced to stop wearing them because the pain, the pain is too much, probably. I should be allowed to wear comedy tigerfeet slippers all the livelong day because my feet hate everything.

If I end up in actual gainful employment - which I could do with because freelancing at present is like being one of those fish sort of half-immersed in wet mud between the spokes of an old bicycle wheel in a drained riverbed going bloop GASP bloop GASP you get the general idea - then I'll have to be careful what I say here, won't I? I wouldn't like to get dooced. (Oh google it, I can't be bozzed as we used to say at school. But the blog of the woman who was the original dooce victim is brilliant and I'm totally ripping her off with the CAPITAL STUFF. I hate caps for emphasis but if I do it in a slightly arch way I can get away with it to myself. FOR NOW.)

Thought: does anyone get dooced for writing nice things about their boss on company time?

Other thought: how do people with proper jobs ever manage to do stuff? Work takes up all their day. It is inhuman. Oh, but I want it.

Lastly: Go Rachel.

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I had done a thing since Gordon Brown got in. Tsk. Poor brane.

Fox is back. And so is rotten weather. Hail! Hail the size of cantaloupes. Or at least, the size of pence. American pence. Or old French pence.

More good news! Tiny girl taken from back of car is returned to family, covered in mosquito bites.

It's awfully quiet working at home again without people with whom to exchange piffle.


The fiercest number

Some actual bona fide good news last week - Alan Johnston, kidnapped journalist, freed after 114 days. I think this should be marked in some way. How often do you get actual good news in the true sense? Usually it's sporting victories, which aren't really news, or things about calves born with extra legs, which aren't really good.

Meanwhile, one of the new brooms says the terror fight could take 15 years. I would like to see how he's worked this out. Maybe people are just demanding specifics; they're easier to deal with than vague hand-flaps of uncertainty when lives are at stake. I suppose the people responsible for the impossible job of sorting out terrorism can't just hold up pieces of string at press conferences and shout "HOW FUCKING LONG IS THIS? A? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?"

Still, I'm finding it hard to stifle my sense of absurdity when it comes to the recent non-attacks. (I'm sure there are better links than these to cite but dammit, if you are here it means you are an intelligent bean with ability to use internet, and there are many more splendidly comprehensive bloggers in my blogroll to whom you may refer on such matters of import. So!) It's not that these things shouldn't be taken seriously (ish) because it shows that the intent is still there, even if the ability isn't (and there were doctors behind these things? I fear for the quality of our healthcare all the more. Perhaps years of listening to people complain about their knees drives one to jihad. My GPs are thoroughly sociopathic fucks in any case. So!). And terrorists are just as able as anyone else to learn from their own and each others' mistakes, especially if the media helpfully point those out.

But the fact is that this - two non-bombs in central London and one semi-bomb in Glasgow complete with flaming terrorist determined to at least take out one person even if it was only his silly, on-fire self - was a giant laughable arse-up all the way. I was very pleased by the sensible reaction of Brown's lot (since I last wrote he has finally ascended - I did ask him to wait till I was ready, but he was busting), a far cry from what would have been another set of ominous showboating pronouncements from that flouncing ringmaster of a Blair swine - but! the media have overwhelmingly taken the line that we were only saved from being bombed to molecules by "a combination of luck and public vigilance". Not that the Scottish bloke doesn't deserve much kudos and his internet celebrity - in fact that just makes me grin a lot, really. He did good. But in both London and Glasgow, the attacks were thoroughly buggered up before they even didn't happen, and it was less to do with luck and vigilance than the kind of blithering incompetence rarely seen outside of rubbish 70s sitcoms whose plots revolve solely around thin men being unable to operate bicycles.

So the rhetoric baffles and bothers me somewhat. Of course any number of other, more efficient attacks might have been ready to go, so I understand the raise in threat level etc etc etc (what a whimsical notion that is - I like to find out the weather, the travel and how scared I need to be of a morning) bUT I wish these attacks had been put in better perspective by the Feral Beasts. Considering the failure of a non-viable bomb to go off an 'attack' is like considering a foetus a toddler. Saying "if these bombs had gone off thousands would have been killed", when the bombs couldn't have gone off (they were missing a vital component, apparently - that one is a good link, btw), is taking the fine art of rabid speculation to glorious new levels. If all the news were treated in the same manner, we'd have so much hysteria-based fun.

Supermarket knife rampage man thwarted

...The weapon was later found to be a small plastic spork. "If it had been a large machete, the carnage would have been unimaginable," said Inspector Dollop...


Meanwhile I've had an interesting week at the Website. I've been doing holiday cover there for a year, and now the job's come up. I have concluded, for a variety of reasons, that I would step over my own mother to get it. I would also step over an acquaintance who is also apparently applying. Only, the first time I tried to step over her, I would deliberately miss.

Yeah, s'like that, homes.

It was a week unusually full of interesting men, which is always a good week. I don't know where the interesting women are, but - oh, it might have something to do with the fact that I've always worked in ever so slightly gender-wonky situations. These were men I worked with or have worked with, or men I met backstage at Reading and ended up living with who I haven't seen in four years and who look so completely different with their weight loss and tattoos and coloured contact lenses and lack of facial hair that it was rather a surreal experience. Media-ish and/or music-related men, to a man. These are the circles I've always moved in. I've probably absorbed an unhealthy amount of testosterone over the years, and get mistaken for a man all the time without realising it.

Actually, I did get mistaken for a man rather a bit when I wrote for the satire sheet that is no more. We had credits, not bylines, and everyone else there had a Y chromosome which was plain to see in their names. So it wasn't surprising that people would write in about something I'd written and refer to me in the register of bloke. It was curiously gratifying, though, especially as it meant I never had to take any criticism, because it all went to this male alter-ego the readership inadvertently created. I named him Ted.

The week's menfolk were mostly curmudgeonly and cynical, in a mostly pleasant way, although one was properly wise and one maintained the same infectious enthusiasm for things that I remember appreciating before. One of them gave me a new drug experience, although he didn't necessarily mean to - but I have discovered the secret of joy, and her name is CODEINE. How it is legal, even if it requires a degree of cajoling and fibbing, is beyond me. I spent the last hour of work stoned out of my gourd, then ran home from Baker Street to Walthamstow on winged feet, wrote a 300-page high-concept novel and showed it to God. God gave me this wicked quote to use on the cover of the paperback.

(I'm pretty sure I also saw some E scattered on the steps at King's Cross, but if you think I picked any of them up to check, you're sorely mistaken. I simply bent down to lick one. It was inconclusive. Thinking about it, I should have gathered them up and sold them outside regardless. Curses.)

Yesterday I did a stint as a steward for an art event in a pretty wood in a place I thought for years was made up by the BBC so Mark from EastEnders could get his first break. I wasn't too impressed with the fluro-jacket, but was thrilled with the walkie-talkie. There's nothing like strolling past some innocent event-goers with your hip occasionally bursting into a snatch of semi-comprehensible monologue. I was bitten by something on the neck, but it didn't matter because it was the first July-like day of July and I would gladly have given a vein's worth to the starving insects of Essex for that.

Oh, and Shedvixen has apparently given over the shed to Shedfox. I saw them together, looking like a single fox with four ears, but since it's just been himself. Neither today, though. Keine foxen. I no longer appear able to get decent pictures, which is an ass. But if I got this Website job, I may be able to borrow some gobsmackingly brilliant camera that digitally compensates for all lack of talent and wobbly arms, and run away with it.

Two new additions to the 'loll - Piqued and Evidence of a Struggle. You will laugh, you will curl your lip, you will vomit uncontrollably but not notice until you wake up three hours hence.

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