Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Monday, August 28, 2006

Life's better when you say Yeah!

Waking up in Winchester, carting boxes upstairs at Crouch End and dozing off somewhere near Basingstoke. It's fair to say I've covered a lot of distance this weekend. That's maybe because I've just been paid, so for once I've got the time and money to say yes to stuff.

I've seen Mog's new house in Winchester, Angela's new flat in North London (including the stairs), caught up with Smooth B, laughed at Electra's sex life and had my ears blasted out by a friend of Guinea Pig Girl. Not to mention the photo tour of Arsenal's stadiums new and old and falling flat on my face on the way to buy milk this morning.

Overall, I need a day off. Any chance of a another bank holiday? Posted by Picasa

The last band ringing in my ears....

Being me can take meto some weird places. In the case of today, here.

My ears still hurt now.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hole again

Three weeks ago, on my last night in Turkey:

"So where are you two from?"
"We are a mixed couple. I am from Czech Republic, and my boyfriend is from England."

It took me a fraction of a second to realise that she was talking about us. We were a couple, and I was her boyfriend.

And I was her boyfriend. As of last night.

I had three months to prepare for this moment, and it's finally come. We tried our best, but I knew from the start that long distance relationships just don't work.

But I'm fine about this. I wish things weren't this way but you can't argue with geography, so I knew this was coming.

And it was totally worth it.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Microsoft goes anti-capitalist?

Look at the main screenshot here- Do you think this is deliberate?

Monday, August 21, 2006


TPN :: The Mellow Monday Show » Blog Archive » Taking a break

Friday, August 18, 2006

Stupid question day

Ah, Friday is with us, and every Friday I hand over the work mobile, and with it the management of the house to my colleague. And every Friday afternoon I get called at home with a really stupid question.

"For the holiday to Spain, does X have to get Euros or Dollars?"
"Um, Euros. Because that's the currency of Spain."
"Ok, thanks."

Wow, I'd make a lousy manager.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just in case you care

I now have a Last FM thingy set up on the page. So you can actually test my indie credibility and tell exactly what I'm listening to at any time.

Creepy. But still not as creepy as that dead ginger cat in the cartoon.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I knew it!


Monday, August 14, 2006

Dane in the neck

Completely new atmosphere here in Meteor Street now my new flatmates are completely settled. Generally you can tell someone's settled when they get sick.

For those who are completely lost with the flatmate situation here's a recap:
Meg and Mog were here when I arrived but then got a flat round the corner and took the mice with them. Smooth B moved in, we advertised on the internet for a Danish flatmate and Rhianna moved in. The flat got very clean, but then she went home, I got two Czech girls who messed up the place, broke my heart and moved out again, and Mog took the room for a month whilst I picked up the pieces. Then I ran off to Turkey to persuade one of the Czech girls to come back and whilst I was away Rhianna moved back in and brought her friend Electra. And did some more cleaning.

Anyway, I can tell when Rhianna's ill as the kitchen starts to smell slightly. Poor thing's got a throat infection, and with a job interview tomorrow she's not very happy. Left to her own devices, Electra will lie in bed with a laptop all afternoon, occassionally getting up to smoke and eat takeaways. Which seems to be all that's happened since I left for work yesterday.

So overall everyone seems settled, although it's a little strange to be the only one who's up this time of the late afternoon. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that Rhianna will be up and recovered soon so that I can get some more of her date stories. And that they'll both get jobs- preferably before the rent's due.


Returning home from rather a disturbed sleep-in shift, I'm puzzling over fragments of last night's freaky dreams whilst listening to Robbie Williams on the Central Line. It's rather a potent combination.

There's a gigantic outdoor queue, the sort you might get at a theme park, but at the head of it is a reception desk and me. I'm queueing to go to my doctor, and it appears that his patient list has grown a bit. Or that everyone's got ill at once. I'm feeling quite smug as I've been given the number 1, and I'm feeling quite superior up until the moment the receptionist opens up the desk and calls for number 99. I plead my case, and she seems quite receptive, but I'm still not going anywhere.

There's a conversation between my two service users, one of whom is crying and the other repeatedly asking if he's alright. My phone shows 3.30am, and I slowly drag myself out of bed to find that they're both fast asleep and the house is quiet. So I go back to bed again. (NB- Some or all of this bit may have happened. The guys aren't telling me).

As I think about this one, my carriage fills with German Scouts. It's getting hard to tell which one is the dream sequence.

At the head of the doctor's queue there's my ex- (and now I suppose ex-) girlfriend. She's mysteriously shed about 3 stones and gained a pretty nasty set of bruises and scabs on her lips. But otherwise she looks pretty good. She explains that she was robbed by a woman and a man with a gun. I offer to help, but she seems remarkably laid back about the whole thing. For a woman who was hospitalised after getting locked in a corridor at work, panicking and putting her hand through a plate glass door, this is quite surprising, but then again nothing really surprises me in dreams. But the dream finishes with me heading to a rough part of town with a baseball bat. And I never got to see the doctor for whatever I needed.

I'm in serious need of an explanation for this dream. And a very early night tonight.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Red Alert!

I'm very glad I'm not getting on a plane today. And despite having only just returned from a greenhouse boosting jaunt of my own, I can never feel much sympathy for "stranded holidaymakers". Travel is all about disruption and chaos, and if you really think you're going to get on a metal beast the size of a street and go 30,000 feet in the air without any trouble at all, then you really haven't understood how implausible this whole aviation business is in the first place.

But still, terrorist alerts are the scariest form of disruption. Everyone stuck on the ground will be wondering if it was their flight which was targeted, and everyone in the air will be gazing at their fellow passengers with just a little more suspicion than usual. As they clutch their Scotland Yard issue plastic bags and miss their water and mobile phones.

The problem with this is that the public really don't trust the police on this sort of thing anymore. No matter how scary the news appears, we all remember the Stockwell suicide bomber, the ricin plot, the tanks arriving at Heathrow shortly before they went on to Baghdad, and the countless highly publicised terror raids where the suspect is quietly released without charge a week later, but not before his character has been thoroughly destroyed and his religion further defamed.

So is this the one? The best thing we can do is keep an open mind, not panic but not automatically believe everything that the press have been told. We've made that mistake once too often, but the truth will out in a month or so.

Still, it's nice to have peaceful skies overhead. Shame we only get to enjoy peace and quiet when there's a terrorist plot.


Coming off the sleep-in shift, I'm in my 21st hour at work and feeling slightly fragile. As I do three times a week. So sometimes I genuinely find myself lost for words. I was watching the news special in the lounge when my client came in.
"It's raining."
"Yes it is."


Saturday, August 05, 2006



We are an uncle!

I was woken yesterday morning by a text from Brother containing great news. It said "You owe me a fiver shagwit." I took that to mean that the baby had been born.

Yep, Big Sister gave birth yesterday to a little boy called Harry. She assures me he's very cute, albeit with a slightly misshapen head after a fairly brutal sounding delivery. And I'm now dying to meet him and send lots of love and congratulations to the new little family. Whilst taking loads of pictures.

And all my behaviour last night can be explained by the fact that I was wetting the baby's head. And smoking the baby's head too, as I remember...

Now what was I doing last night?

The text from Angela said "we're on the fake grass outside the National Theatre. Did you remember the wine?"

Sometime later I was enjoying a glass of wine with my good friend Angela and a refreshingly random set of people she knew, or had just met. She's fun like that. I was looking forward to a mellow and cheap evening, drinking wine on astroturf on the South Bank. Maybe the clue should have been the large signs saying Watchthispace. I wished I'd known outdoor theatre was coming to the South Bank. And that soon there would be hellish hoards and a public execution on the exact site of our picnic.

Within a few disorientating moments we were following a crowd around the square and surrounding streets chasing a rather empassioned fellow on a large cart. It was a story, as far as we could tell, about love, violence, murder and retribution. Which was how I came to be standing in a thick fog shouting "hang him!"

The videos and pictures shed about as much light on proceedings as being there did. It was hard to be bored for that half hour.

Several of our group were English teachers and afterwards enjoyed sitting and slating the performance. I was more sanguine; would we rather sit in a grey and uneventful city or be thankful when we're shaken out of our routines and boredom by a blaze of colour and chaos? I think something of Turkey rubbed off on me.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006


"the distance is quite simply much too far for me to row
it seems farther than ever before
oh no.
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer
I need you so much closer"
                      - Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism

Sitting in the pub last night, I couldn't believe that I was back in Willesden. In fact, ever since I took the decision to run off to Turkey last week, everything's seemed a little unreal. Unreal to see her again, unreal to be on the other side of Europe on a whim, unreal that it was happening, and unreal that it happened. Two weeks of sleep deprivation may have been a factor as well.

Sometimes it helps to be wandering around in a daze. After studiously avoiding his calls all day yesterday, I learnt that my New Best Friend's father had just died, and I was nominated by the pub group to be the one to take him out for emergency counselling. And after an entire evening of that, well, it helps to be curiously detached from my surroundings.

Exactly the same thing is happening with Sister. Maybe I should be making frantic phone calls to see if she's in labour yet, how far apart the contractions are and all the other birth-related facts people scrabble for. But I really believe everything's going to be ok now, and so there's no need for anxiety.

Besides, I'm still in a dream world. I keep thinking I'll wake up and it will be July again.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Coming down...

I'm in the pub at 11 in the morning with my friend Big Truth:
"I know I haven't slept in 30 hours, but are you really holding a hamster?"
"He's called Pedro, and you've already asked me that twice."

Having spent half the night trying to sleep on a concrete slab at Bodrum Airport and the other half slowly travelling home, it was inevitable that I was going to be a little bit blurry yesterday. In fact, when you've flown 1,800 miles to see the girl of your dreams, the rest of the week was always going to be a little bit of a letdown. But somehow it didn't seem to be wrong to be drinking beer with my hamster wielding friend at 11 in the morning as a night flight, jetlag and two week bout of insomnia had combined to make it feel like 11 at night. But its felt like 11 at night for about 3 days now. My friend's plying me with beer and demanding to know how Turkey went, and isn't going to let social niceties like time interfere with that.

"So you hated Gumbet then?"
"I can safely say I've been to hell and back for her."
"What about the hotel?"
"Pretty hellish."
"You going back there?"
"I think so."

So a drunken post-mortum of my trip in the early morning turned into a drunken post-mortum late at night, with my ex-flatmate on hand to lend advice. We combined it with a welcome drink for my new Danish flatmates. They were quite impressed with my travel stories and romantic sense of adventure, even if my lady wasn't. And it feels weird but good to be back in Willesden wearing a jacket. I actually slept for 7 hours under a duvet last night, and my short term memory is slowly recovering.

And things aren't going to be that dull today. My sister's waters just broke, and I'm going to be an uncle.

Crush them. Crush them all....

BBC NEWS | Politics | Mini-motorbikes 'will be crushed'

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

One for Rich

This, by the way, is a Holiday Latte.
  Posted by Picasa

Things we have learnt from our travels

They say that travel broadens the mind, but I'm not so sure. Before this week I had no particular strong feelings about Turkey as a nation. But having just returned home, I can say that there's things about Turkey I now really hate. Gumbet, for a start. And a lot of the Turks I met too.

But still, it was worth every minute spent sitting on a plane next to a screaming baby, every drop of sweat I lost in the 36 degree heat and every penny that was fleeced off me by insincere, manipulative, untrustworthy, noisy, aggressive and sometimes plain scary Turks. Because despite having spent a week in Turkey, I got to see a very special girl for another week. And that was worth the damage to my skin and my bank balance.

Maybe that's the main lesson from this week. No matter how scary, ill-advised or plain stupid the thing is, it may well be worth doing it if there's a girl involved. Just as long as she's special.