Weekend fun.

Overall, a very pleasant weekend.

Friday evening I went to see HuunHuurTu (Tuvan folk band) at the Royal Festival Hall, supporting a 20-voice Bulgarian Women’s Choir, and a trio of Modern Jazz nutters from Moscow & Stockholm.

It was a bizzare fusion of music, and worked well – solos and combined efforts, sax and scat-singing backed by the women’s choir, hybrid steppe cowboy-songs and russian folk, and a stonking set of modern Jazz with piano, sax, coronet and a 4-meter long Alphorn.

Impressive stuff, done with rhythm and humour; I am hoping that HuunHuurTu come back for a solo tour, though, because they deservedly got the most applause of the crowd.

Most of the rest of the weekend was given over to friends, movies, motorcycles and experimental gastronomy; a mate from work took delivery of a shiny red Ducati 748 and went blasting all over the place at speeds of up to 130mph. I turned up at his place on my freshly washed 125cc trailie, which though positively wimpy compared to his sportsbike, towers above the same. We had a nice chat, and then I went out for a potter around the locale. Stopped in on the Hartlands, and sorted out the next few weeks socialising.

The food included haddock poached in cream and butter served over mustard mash; banana and muscovado crumble with cognac – and on sunday, chicken breast in pancetta, braised with spirit molasses and chili, and served with green salad and a wholewheat crouton. I am not satisfied with the latter – needs a bit more kick, garlic maybe.

is it me, or…

…is the “don’t auto format” option, slightly broken? sometimes I look at my previous posting, and it is manually formatted as I intended. Other times, and it gets superformatted and looks chunky.

small world, good music.

Well, the They Might Be Giants at the London Astoria tonight, proved three things to me:

  1. You’re never too old to have a happy childhood.
  2. It’s a very small world.
  3. Irrespective of the views of some of my friends, I must have had the words Nice Guy, Chivalrous, And Safe Too tattooed on my forehead in a script legible only to women. I can think of no other excuse…

The queue – which I joined an hour before the gig, and hence was at the front – was a living history of geek chic throughout the past 20 years, and being at the front got me a prized front-and-centre against-the-fence position.

There was I, standing with a woman on either side of me; to my left, blonde and pretty, a German who works as a media analyst for RTL (a TV station) and who has seen the band live some 40 times. She is over to the UK and booked to follow the band around the UK and attend every gig.

To my right, brunette, perky and cute, a Brit who has seen the band live 27 times. She’s a journalist, and is booked to follow the band around the UK and attend every gig.

And finally there is me, a TMBG virgin.

A pleasant three-way conversation sprang up when I put these two in touch with each other – they were astonished at the amount of overlap of attendance (“Fillmore Hall in San Francisco in ’95?” “Yes!”) yet never having met each other – and I seemed to get “adopted” as the band newbie and chatted (and listened in) at length on the history of TMBG gigs over the years.

The warm-up band was competent, fun even, but a little too serious perhaps; there was then an overly-extended break to the recorded soundtrack of Oklahoma!, in which further chatting with my new brunette friend revealed:

  1. Her name was Amy
  2. she was apparently writing this up for GQ and Bride’s Monthly (!?!)
  3. and yes, she also liked The Divine Comedy
  4. and also a band called The Cardiacs
  5. Oh My God, yes, I know Jim Finnis
  6. [He’s] a friend of my ex-fiance, Nige[l]
  7. So, how do [I] know Jim?

…which was about the time I swung around out of shock, only to find Narenek peering at me from the depths of the audience.

I really wonder, sometimes, how far one would have to go in order to not be within (say) 5 miles of someone who has not met, slept with, lived with, or worked with, someone from the circle of friends I know from my college days, to a depth of twice-removed, say.

Anyway – I shall leave the TMBG review to Narenek – suffice to say it was a foot-stomping spectacular and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, whilst alternately being tugged or snuggled-up-to by the girls on either side of me in order to stop people cutting into “our” slot in the fence, and simultaneously fending-off the crushing, drunken, beer-swilling mob to our rear. One guy was particularly pissed, smiling like a loon, handing out Lockets lozenges, drunkenly punching the air (and us) with his fists, and “grinding his genitals into [Amy’s] backside” for some time, until with a little surreptitious shin-kicking from my walking boots, he left.

The gig wound up well; I bade my new ladyfriends goodnight, fought my way out, and – in a pique of suicidal nostalgia – purchased a kebab from a notorious take-away that was known as “Dying-Greasyus” in my UCL years. It was just as vile as I remembered. Caught the tube, and the penultimate train home.

Funny old thing, life.

Oh, and while queueing, I think i saw Strange Behaving Dave, too. Or his twin. Something like that.