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.


most of my postings tend to be on mondays.

interesting times

I still feel ridden by bugs. This is possibly caused by my crashing out after gardening yesterday, sleeping until 1am, and then spending the morning hours until 0500 coughing + reading the new pratchett paperback. Two more hours sleep and thence hot-showering myself into consciousness and into work for a meeting to be informed of the shortlist. I was hoping to observe the meteor shower on sunday morning; no such luck – however, I saw it at its peak a few years ago, fireballs scorching the sky, and the memory of these pleasant events will comfort me for some considerable time.


well, my 7-dvd compilation of carl sagan’s “cosmos” arrived today… it will be a wrench not to be up until the wee hours watching it all. now i just have to work out why i got hit with 40 quid import duty.

unexpected pleasures

an amazing weekend.

friday night, i was looking at two days of gardening and a degree of boredom; chatting on irc with telsa we mused at not having seen each other for months, and thus i ended up with a sudden invitation to see telsa and alan in swansea. checking my answer-machine the next morning, i further discovered an previously missed invite to a fireworks party in malvern for the sunday night.

therefore i went from nothing, to a jam-packed weekend of interesting events in the space of 12hrs flat.

saturday morning was a rush of gardening and housework, making the place fit for visitor habitation and for a future garden-waste-dumpster-skip episode. then (1) sling telescope into car, (2) grab sleeping-bag, (3) grab whisky and wine and (4) grab change of clothes, followed by (5) a rapid drive up the m4 to swansea.

we – me, telsa and alan – talked hacking, gossip, linux, food, cooking, trips to australia, icelandic booze, amusing canadians, and a pile of other chitchat, ate good food, and listened to weird music until 0200, whence to bed in the top-floor spare room with ensuite fridge and futon.

slept-in the next morning, more chat and a bout of concerted scone-making made a pleasant and entertaining start to the day.

drove hence to my sister’s place in droitwich, lunch, swapped plans for a visit to canada next year, her new car, and absconded to the parents. tea and browsed dad’s colonial-era memoirs. jumped in the car towards dinner, and drove to chris and donna’s place in malvern.

food, interesting people and fireworks++. i got to be “range safety officer” knocking-out all the expended fireworks to a safe location (long pole at arms length) and lighting the way for chris (who was setting them off). we had a box of “normal sized” ones, followed by a huge skyrocket and a fountain of commercial-show dimensions. the last two thundered off the hills and must have been heard two miles away. ended the evening, unsticking the car of one of chris’s colleagues frm the mud outside the house.

finally made it home at midnight. all in all, a most unexpected time, and very pleasurable too, seeing old friends.


This is so *weird*. It is so *quiet*. It’s like my favourite soap-opera suddenly being on hiatus… I shall have to fill-in. Steve came down at the weekend, which was lovely of him because I was sick, at home, and bored stiff. We had a nice chat, watched a fun, mindless DVD, and time passed amusingly until Sunday morning. Sunday evening was spent witht the FIPR bods ( see: ) talking about all manner of interesting civil-rights-type stuff.

Channelling Zippy

Th’ MIND is the Pizza Palace of th’ SOUL

Why do you say that?


What makes you believe were these parsnips correctly marinated in taco sauce?

Is a tattoo real, like a curb or a battleship? Or are we suffering in Safeway?

Maybe your plans have something to do with this.

Do you have exactly what I want in a plaid poindexter bar bat??

I don’t understand.

BARRY.. That was the most HEART-WARMING rendition of “I DID IT MY WAY” I’ve ever heard!!

Is it because of your life that you are going through all this?

It’s a lot of fun being alive… I wonder if my bed is made?!?