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2017-07-22 09:08 am

give me East London summer, give me North Melbourne summer

I had Monday evening at home last week and celebrated finally having my appetite back by cooking a ridiculous weather-inappropriate roast just for myself. I went to see Common at The National on Tuesday, which starred Anne-Marie Duff as a vengeful returning rural community member at the time of enclosures: it was nicely designed and some sinister Wicker Man-ish elements but most of us seemed to come out scratching our heads about what exactly it had been trying to say, beyond some individual v. community strands.

On Wednesday I went to see The Smith Street Band at The Garage with the usual Smith Street crew: they were supported by Shit Present, female fronted, a bit grungey and pretty decent, although they were rather eclipsed by the madness of The Bennies, fellow-Melbournians, who seemed to play about one song each from every genre, all with boundless gusto: they were certainly an experience. The Smithies didn’t disappoint but I do need to get round to getting more than one of their albums at some stage. The on Thursday N and I went to Royal Inn on the [Victoria]Park, for Woodburner, a folkish night we’d been to before. It was pretty endearing with some chap singing songs themed around Henry VIII in between the acts: Tell Tale Tusk were supporting and excellent; it was an album launch for Toytown Hustle, who I’d never technically seen but whose singer I’d caught in a couple of other guises (The Debt Collective, with Tell Tale Tusk): they have some brass and a double-bass and made a nice sound but whereas we had all sat for TTT, as the wide-but-shallow upstairs room filled we all had to stand up, at which visibility went out the window and the noise levels rocketed so the songs were hard to really get to grips with.

We managed Aberrant on Friday and on Saturday M & I went to see the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum , strolling smugly in thanks to the membership she and Cousin A had bought me: it was pretty crowded and we did a lot of queueing actually in the exhibition to shuffle from one print to another but I was glad I went, which I wouldn’t have done without the membership. I’m surprised that with this and the American Dream, the BM did two fairly atypical, print-based exhibitions so close together. After meeting N for tea when we got out, I headed back home for couple of hours before travelling to Egham to join the Ghost Stories LARP (I’d missed the first session) which was atmospheric and fun.

N and I headed back out into Surrey (Chobham) on Sunday where my brother and his wife were jointly celebrating their birthday with us and various parents, going out to lunch then hanging out back at theirs for Wimbledon and dessert. I popped down to Peckham in the evening (Rye Wax in the Bussey Building) for more music with a largely instrumental slant: wholly in the case of Cesca, who were pretty jazzy, then Paen were playing, who also seemed strongest when they dispensed with singing. Some friendly people also chatted to me as I sat around between bands too: perhaps that’s what happens when you cross the river!

I had another Monday evening in, went on Tuesday for what was initially just going to be a drink with MW (at the Thornbury Castle, where we used to go drinking from WLDC, which happily hasn’t changed much in the intervening 15 years) but I invited N, who invited his housemate, who invited a coursemate. It was a different dynamic but still very pleasant and I headed back with the Bruce Grove crew. Wednesday night I went out in Camden to the Black Heart: I got there halfway through Calva Louise, female-fronted rock that made me want to seek it out again; I was there for Fang Club who were really good and the headliners were Big Spring, who were fine, also quite rocky but the vocals a bit more swoopy.
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2017-07-17 07:29 pm

the tasteless bracelets and the dye in our hair

Once K had headed off, the day after Community Festival, I headed into town to spend some time hanging out on the South Bank roof garden with N, then came back to play board games (Plague Inc, appropriately enough!) with the Little Phoenix. I started the week with another couple of evenings-in, then headed to Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate (which is always a nightmare to get to and from, despite being technically not that far from home) to see a production of The Ladykillers which C had been doing her bit with: the story's a bit creaky but fun and the performances were really good. N was in Show Hell but thought he'd be finishing about 7 on Thursday so I headed up to Hackney to meet him: he eventually got away just approaching 10pm but luckily it was very pleasant to sit out and read on the grass outside Hackney Town Hall on a balmy summer evening. The warm weather also made me bail early to sit in Russell Square after work on Friday, prior to meeting up for a drink with Cousin Andy, M and another friend which was very pleasant, although it's sad what a novelty going for a drink after work on a Friday is these days.

It was Pride on the Saturday and I'd been vacillating for ages about going: I was pretty keen to but hadn't really worked out how to fit in, there were a couple of groups I liked the sound of but they're doing this whole thing where you're only supposed to march if you've got a wristband your group has paid for which I'm not a fan of. There were some spiritual successors to the Queer Mutiny groups I used to march with (No Pride in War/Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants) who were going to crash the march sans wristbands: I went down and scoped them out but didn't see anyone I knew and they were already getting plenty of police attention, so I went and flaneured up and down the parade as it was forming up and said hi to Kim with The Queer Alternative posse: I could easily have just slipped in but I wasn't sure I would get much added value from hanging around in the sun for another four or five hours so headed down to Lewisham to play board games instead.

I went up to Tottenham in the evening where the Pride Punx crew were having their after-party at T-Chances with a bunch of bands: reggae dudes Dub Righters, then Brit-Brazilian Erege and Master Blaster from New Zealand, who were both much more straight down the line DIY punk. It was a really nice night, a proper community feel, but I didn't know anyone there and headed off after the bands back to N's, as he'd made it home from work. We had brunch in Islington Sunday morning, then I went home for a bit before heading back out to an over-run Vauxhall to meet up with Lovely Joe et al. who had turned up for the tail end of Pride in the Park/Black Pride in the Pleasure Gardens. It wasn't an event that was really on my radar but was really nice: free, friendly and chilled out. I hung out with them for an hour or two then went back home.
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2017-07-01 10:56 am

we're going where the air is free

I did consider not going to Empire, especially bearing in mind I wanted to be well for Glastonbury, but I'd had the cold for a couple of days, it wasn't getting any worse, and these things don't last very long, right? My deciding factor was whether I could carry all my stuff to the station and I managed this without any trouble at all, so carried on to Egham Friday morning for the usual rendez-vous. Now 17 days into this illness I'm more savvy to the fact that I tend to be better in the mornings and my capabilities first thing do not necessarily predict how I'm going to be for the rest of the day. Suffice to say the weekend was a bit of a write-off. It's hard to say how much was the illness and how much the heatwave but I basically spent two days lying in the shade, coughing. I didn't got into battle or participate in late-night revelry, the two main attractions of Empire for me, but I did spend the weekend in a field with friends, engage a bit with the game and the cool Navarri woods were probably a much better place to be dealing with the 30+ temperatures than London would have been.

I'd taken the Monday after Empire off for once, knowing I was going to need some time to recover and prepare for Glastonbury, so was able to spend the day resting: I was back in work for one day on the Tuesday, including a random school art thing in the early evening, then I headed into town for a quick drink with Shazy, who was over from Australia, before going to the Social in Fiztrovia, a long, narrow, subterranean bar, to see White Room: they were supported by rockers Naked Six, who I really liked, and the heavier Blackwaters, who were fine but didn't make quite such an impression.

The hope that I would be better for Glastonbury didn't seem to have been born out, although I was mostly just coughing, but I got myself packed and down to the coach station on Wednesday morning: I joined the most epic queue I have seen there, but it moved okay and I only left an hour after my allotted time. The journey wasn't too bad in terms of the hours of queuing in traffic that I've experienced some years, but it was the last of the Very Hot days and the coach's air conditioning wasn't really coping, leading to a near mutiny and some unscheduled cooling-off stops along the way. We all survived in the end and I got there about 6pm: left to my own devices I would have camped at the first patch of space I got to inside the gate but my gig-mate J was insistent I come and camp with him and his friends up near the Pyramid stage and came to carry some of my bags for me (even if he then needed to enlist his brother's help to find his way back to the tent).

I didn't see any bands or travel far that evening, we went for a wander up to the Park but that was as adventurous as it got, just hung out with J back at the tent whilst others went on trips to collect stuff from the car, figuring there was plenty of time for it all to get going when I had more energy the next day.
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2017-06-29 07:18 pm

so what should you do? should you stop being you?

So about 3 weeks ago now (June 7th) I headed down to the (unnecessarily expensive) Sebright Arms to see Yonaka: whether by accident or design, they were supported by two other female-fronted bands, firstly the impressive, grungey Valeras and then the rather more terrifying Hey, Charlie, which consisted of three near-identically dressed and styled women of alarming perkiness: I think it's safe to say I didn't really get them.

After distributing my various votes on Thursday (I was proxying for an Aussie-dwelling friend), N came over, although the exit poll was enough to lure me into staying up to watch the results. I lasted until about 5 before grabbing a couple of hours' sleep. Luckily Friday wasn't too strenuous as we were having our annual staff shindig, which consisted of crazy golf in Battersea Park then retreating onto the roof of one of my colleagues' blocks of flats to carry on drinking: it was all pretty fun (although it turns out the one roof covered several separate buildings, something I wish I'd known before repeatedly trying to let myself into a flat that I was sure was the right floor and number, but didn't quite look right, sometime after 11pm) and I headed off when the usual suspects seemed like they were getting up a head of steam.

I had to be up vaguely early on the Saturday to catch the coach down to Oxford for an Iris Trustee Meeting, then I came back to London to finally make it to Pink Glove in the evening with E, a queer indie night we've been failing to check out for about a year. It was over at the Victoria in Dalston, popular, friendly and fun. Sunday I took it easy during the day then headed over to the Fiddler's Elbow in the evening to join N as he was setting up for a performance at our friend B's occasional experimental music night: B's group, Far Rainbow played, N performed by himself this time, a piece involving Nivea hand cream was recreated and impressive things also happened with strings and an enormous wobble-board.

I headed down to Aberrant on the Monday, had an evening in on Tuesday, then on Wednesday All My Woes Began as I started to have a bit of a cold: I popped out anyway to the Camden Assembly Rooms, my first trip since it stopped being the Barfly: it's much the same, except they seem to have forgotten how to switch on the lights. The first support were Massmatiks, who had a bit of a metal hip-hop crossover thing going on, but I was there for Irish rockers Otherkin, so didn't stay for the headliners. I's back in Camden Thursday night to meet up with S at the Hawley Arms where a bunch of bands were playing upstairs: we were impressed by electronica in the form of The Luxembourgs and I'd come for the neo-grunge of Subterranean Popular, I was still feeling pretty under-par so we didn't stay late.
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2017-06-05 08:40 pm

Barbecues & Bands

Thursday before last I popped out to Dingwalls in the evening to see Get Inuit again: support came in the form of Superglue who were a bit yodelly for my tastes; to begin with GI themselves were leaving me a bit cold too this time, but they finished strongly. I headed over to N's got BBQ #1 of the long-weekend on Friday night with various friends and housemates, then headed straight down to Petersfield on Saturday where K & I had a couple of drinks before going back to hang out at hers, the week's glorious weather didn't seem to be quite holding out but this didn't prevent us from putting BBQ #2 into action.

After walking to where K had abandoned the car the previous night and hiding round the corner while she collected her kids (because she'd told her parents she'd gone up to visit me in London), I got the train back in the morning and headed straight out to Acton for L's traditional birthday BBQ (#3!) with the Badgers. I took on chefing duties after the usual faff getting the damn thing lit and underway. I was pleased to remind myself what home looked like in the evening and crashed out early, feeling pretty exhausted.

Bank Holiday Monday, N & I met up in Kew and walked along the Thames to just past Richmond (a considerably longer way than just going down the road from one to the other!), stopping off at a food festival in Syon Park, where B was working with his chilli company, along the way. It wasn't a massive walk but again I seemed to be pretty much wiped out for the day.

I celebrated the novelty of having local friends by having the usual suspects over to play games on Tuesday, ventured down to the wilds of Wallington on Wednesday to celebrate Kim's birthday with a vegan feast, then had my old Queeruption buddy V over for dinner the next night: he's another one thinking of leaving London, I wonder if we're seeing a second wave of departures, there was a definite early-30s "the kids need more space" tranche, now there seems to be a late-30s & single "something needs to change before I get stuck like this forever" trend.

I was back in Tottenham on Friday night, N & I nosed around the Euroart Studios' annual open weekend again, even though L wasn't actually in residence this year, then hung out back at his. Saturday was Camden Rocks, a one-day festival around all the pubs and venues in Camden which I couldn't really say no to seeing as it's pretty much on my doorstep: I was worried that, being compacted into one day, it may be a hell of queuing and not being able to get in anywhere, but I didn't have a single issue and managed to see everyone I planned to (in fact I did quite a bit of hanging out too, having built more time to get between venues than one-end-of-Camden to the other really required); PFW dropped in and out for a couple of bands and I ran into some familiar gig-mate faces too. (I'll post about the bands separately).

Yesterday I walked down to Regent's Park and picnicked there with N before walking back home again; I've been at home this evening too, although I'm actually feeling fairly on top of 'home stuff' for once, having taken the morning off on Thursday, in theory for the dishwasher repairman to come around, only of course when I tried the dishwasher first thing in the morning, having steadfastedly failed to fill on the last half dozen attempts, it started working perfectly.
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2017-05-24 10:04 pm

(no subject)

I went to the Michelangelo & Sebastiano exhibition at the National Gallery Saturday before last with M and Cousin A; it should perhaps have been titled "Sebastiano and how Michelangelo Influenced him" as the latter was largely represented by some sketches and drawings, some (very impressive) copies of statues and the odd letter; still, it wasn't bad, although the subjects of the works got pretty samey after a while. M and I dashed home, tarted ourselves up, then headed back out down to South West London and the gothic grandeur of the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building for the evening of J&J's wedding, who we knew separately (she went out with M's brother at medical school, I was friends with him at LMH) but had met online; we'd been slightly dreading not knowing anyone else there but they were actually a friendly and interesting bunch.

On the Sunday I nosed around the Photographers' Gallery with N (the short-list for the Deutsche Borse prize plus some 60s realism from Roger Mayne), which was not somewhere I ever go and well worth it, then in the evening saw Frank Turner at the Roundhouse with M&E: it was the third of his four-night residency there and the acoustic set. Beans on Toast was almost inevitably supporting, with a whole bunch of new songs actually, which was great, then a chap from Frightened Rabbit. Whilst I'd see Mr. Turner in full-on band mode for choice, it was good to have a different kind of experience from him and hear a load of songs he probably wouldn't usually play.

Last Tuesday I met up with Kiki before she moves back to Sweden after 17 years in London: she was pretty much my first new friend here when I moved down so it'll be a shame not to still have her around but we had an almost idyllic evening, taking out curry from Drummond Street, eating it in Regent's Park's rose garden and then wandering up through the park and Primrose Hill in the evening sunshine.

N came over on Wednesday and then Thursday I headed down to Brighton for The Great Escape, the new music festival around all the pubs and venues there. I'll inflict all the bands on you in a separate (easily skippable!) post but I had a really nice time. It chucked it down on the Thursday, then started to get really nice from Friday lunchtime onwards, at pretty much the point that A arrived to take up my spare ticket [well, technically the spare I had bought after selling my spare, following some communication drama] and it worked really well: it was great to hear all A's stories of a life fully-lived and she seemed pleased that I had a schedule mapped out she could just follow. I didn't do quite as much hanging out in Brighton's cafes as on previous visits but it's always a lovely city to spend time in, with the month-long cultural festival, some kind of Morris Dancer convention and much else besides going on in addition to TGE. I was back in the same hostel dorm room in Hove that I'd used last time for the first two nights, then it turned out there is a handy 4am train back to London so after the last band finished at 2 on Saturday, just down the road from the station, I just waited for that and was in my own bed shortly after 6.

Once I had emerged on Sunday, N and I poked around the British Museum's little queer history exhibition and accidentally stumbled upon what's left of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in one of the back rooms (Oh in here? Just all that remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the World) which I'm not sure I even knew they had. We hung out in Russell Square for a bit, found that one of my LMH contemporaries had done the piece of public art outside the Crick Institute and generally ambled around in the sun before parting ways.

I walked along the river to Book Group after work on Monday (The Power by Naomi Alderman, generally well received), went down to Lewisham for board games in place of Aberrant last night and have been spodding at home this evening after strolling through a particularly verdant-looking Hyde Park on my way home to give myself the impression I'd spent at least some of the current heatwave outside.
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2017-05-13 01:40 pm

(no subject)

Having had a relatively gig-free April (honestly, I only went to two!), May is doing its best to redress the balance: I started on the 1st, I thought I'd missed out on the Los Campesinos! gig at Koko because I'd been keeping it free for M's birthday, but it turned out that she had other plans and I managed to buy a ticket off someone who couldn't make it: I only caught the very end of Muncie Girls but happily did catch the eye of [personal profile] venta & Chris C, who is was lovely to catch up with. Norwegians Slotface had plenty of energy and Los Campesinos! did not disappoint.

We caught up with Aberrant on Tuesday, after having to cancel a couple of sessions, then I managed to finesse a couple of bands playing just up the road from each other in Camden on Wednesday: first off The Shantics at The Monarch: they had impressed me as a support somewhere once but came across as a bit Razorlighty in both sound and attitude on this occasion, I managed to peg it up to Fiddler's Elbow and see nearly all of The Garage Flowers, who I felt much more at home with and had a bit of a shambolic glam thing going on.

I lured N to see Big and the Fat (a reconstitution of 18 Nightmares at the Lux) at The Victoria on the Thursday and happily he seemed to enjoy their noise rock. For the weekend, I headed down with the usual suspects to Seaford to strike out from PFW's absent parents' house to appreciate the surrounding countryside. This time we got the bus over to Eastbourne then walked back along the coast, only instead of going up and down the Seven Sisters, we walked along the bottom of them, clambering across the slippery rocks that low-tide had uncovered. It was quite a challenge but we succeeded in the day's stated objective to not appear on the news.

We headed back quite early on Sunday, so I go to spend plenty of time at home (with an interval meeting N in Regent's Park for cake) and I was in Monday night too. On Tuesday I caught Guardians of the Galaxy 2 up in Walthamstow, which didn't quite have the first one's impact but was still plenty of fun. Since then it's been gigs: Wednesday, The View marking 10 years of their first album at The Garage, supported by Scottish lads Pronto Mama, which had all the friendly energy I've come to expect. Thursday, Shame at The Dome, supported by Monk, who were interesting in a rather unpolished kinda way, and Sorry, who I'd seen before as Fish; Shame had all the sneer and sweat they're famed for and are probably one of my favourite new bands at the mo. Friday, now old favourites (albeit with quite a few different members) Tankus the Henge, back at The Garage; they remain anything but dull, although there's been a relatively low influx of new material in the years we've been watching them. There also seems to be an increasing trend towards Jaz taking his shirt off at any opportunity.
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2017-04-19 11:08 pm

(no subject)

My actual birthday was hectic at work, but productive: some people happily getting sorted out just before the shelters closed, then N bought me dinner at an Indian on Exmouth Market. On Friday night I went out to Planet Angel with the usual suspects, in Vauxhall again where other friends were boogieing at a Popstarz-throwback night just metres away, although I didn't regret my choice. Planet Angel never quite gets the crowd that Rumpus does but there were enough people to make it fun.

Once I'd surfaced on Saturday, the whole day was given over to cooking in preparation for Sunday when a bunch of people (mostly of an Eghamish origin, including Special Overseas Guests!) came over for to eat curry and hang out: it all seemed to go well, everyone just about squeezed in the flat and M had come back down from the Peaks, the only shame was that N couldn't get away from work.

I had an unexpected but welcome evening-in to recover on Monday, then went out in Tottenham on Tuesday for N's housemate D's 30th: I had thought we were going to the pub, so had already eaten by the time the plan had morphed into a meal, meaning (for the first of two occasions last week) I sat there awkwardly while others ate, although given the quantities of leftover curry I had to get through, I didn't really regret this.

It was a week of former housemates: I met up with R, who I lived with briefly in Lewisham, on Wednesday night, we wandered up onto the Heath, then [personal profile] cryx, who I hadn't really spoken to properly on my birthday, on Thursday evening (at dinner in Vauxhall: especially lovely to see Dr. J for the first time in about 8 years) and then heading out to Tonbridge together on Good Friday for a N&S's wedding. It was a lovely occasion, with a lot of old faces (mostly Egham, plus a couple of Oxford thrown in for good measure) I hardly see these days.

After [personal profile] cryx had headed off on Saturday, I had a couple of hours to get ready before my brother arrived with his family, the first time they'd come to visit me. We went pretty promptly off on a long walk on the Heath with N, had a meal at mine, then went for a wander through Camden Market and Primrose Hill the next morning, although the little playground up the road seemed to trump all of these in the eyes of my nieces. I had almost forgotten that it would be actually Easter when they were here but I just about got some eggs etc. in time and, whilst my brother and I didn't exactly chew each others' ears off, it seemed to all go pretty well.

They stayed later than I was expecting on Sunday, so I did a quick clear-up before heading over to N's: there had been a cheese & wine plan with his housemates, which was pleasantly unpressured. We headed off into town on the Bank Holiday Monday and saw the Queer British Art exhibition at Tate Britain, which was . . . fine but somehow didn't completely engage me, despite highlighting a few interesting figures (Havelock Ellis, Gluck) I wasn't aware of. We headed back up to Dalston for some boozy afternoon socialising before I headed home.

The drop-in's been closed this week, although the shortened week has meant I haven't really made much in the way of inroads to my office work: one of the flip-sides to keeping on the other caseworkers is that I'm supposed to be taking a step back from frontline work to concentrate on managing the team which is an going to be an awkward transition I'll have to start negotiating over the next few weeks. I've just been home in the evenings the last couple of days, which was much needed really.
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2017-04-18 08:17 pm

there's no need to speak in code, I think that by now we know the way this is going to go

First Dreawidth Post! Warning to those of you who weren't following me on LJ: I have an overwhelming need to diarise. Feel free to skip and skim as I'm sure it's not of vast interest to anyone not invested in either tracking my day-to-day movements or young guitary bands playing around London pubs. With all the excitement I'm several weeks behind too, but I won't try to cram it all into one post . . .

After Mother's Day, I started the week playing Aberrant with the Lewisham gang, I went to the shelters Tuesday night, N came over Wednesday and then I had a couple of gig nights: The Bulletproof Bomb were playing Nambucca on Thursday, they've gone heavy on their "sportswear punk" shtick but on this occasion were rather overshadowed by their support, first Loifior who were over from Hamburg and really skilled, then Blue Zoo, who as far as I can tell were glam rockers who had a couple of songs in the charts in the 80s and are still enjoying themselves. On Friday it was Arrows of Love at Moth Club: in their case supported by Meat, who had a fairly similar noise-punk approach to the Arrows, the excellently-named but sadly fairly average Average Sex and Claw Marks, fronted by a gyrating bear in hot pants. Arrows were really good and actually seem to be giving more coherent performances with time, which definitely wasn't the trajectory they looked like they were on at one stage.

I spent most of Saturday daytime in domesticity then headed down to Hampshire, where K has moved to an even more rural spot (West Tisted): she had friends over for BBQ #1 on the Saturday evening, then on Sunday L came over with her family for BBQ #2, it was lovely to spend lots of time with K's kids in-between times (even if her eldest did lock us in the cellar for a bit) and it was great weather to be out in the garden and poking around the local area.

I came back to an empty flat as M had gone up to the Peaks for (most of) a fortnight, it was also the last week of the shelters, so I had my last evening in work for the season on the Monday: it all seems to have gone well this year, the third circuit establishing itself successfully and we've found ways to keep all of the seasonal caseworkers on over the Summer, which is great as they've been a good team.

I went to the Sebright Arms to see Fangclub on Tuesday: the whole line-up had quite a grungey feel: I just caught the end of female-fronted Krush Puppies, Lullaby were up next and really impressive, although it took Fangclub to finally get people moving. Wednesday I marked the eve of my 40th year by making the most of being home alone and having an indulgent evening in.
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2017-03-04 11:11 am

And as much as I love the West End part of London to the core

Joe's birthday has maintained its form while getting quieter year on year: we even only managed a short burst dancing around his bedroom on the party night two weeks ago, mostly it was just half a dozen of us sat around watching 90s music videos, although I still hadn't really slept by the time morning came round and I decided clearly the thing to do was walk from Chorlton into the centre of Manchester when the others finally crashed. Unsurprisingly, Sunday didn't feature much beyond the coach back to London.

I had Aberrant on Monday, the shelter Tuesday and on the Wednesday evening N, finally free of weeks of musicals, came over. I finished the week with gigs: down at Jamm on Thursday, where Arrows of Love were supporting The Wytches, although first up were all-girl rockers Brutalistas. Arrows gave one of their best sets and the enthusiastic young crowd responded well to them, I also got more into Wytches than the last time I'd seen them and had a nicely sociable night thanks to a friendly student and Nima. Then Friday I was at the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen for Sisteray: they had Young Native and female-fronted Berries in support and were good, although could have done with more of a crowd.

Last weekend I got the train down to Wiltshire where K was celebrating her 40th at a gorgeous converted chapel in the equally picturesque Malmesbury, not that we saw much of it. Inevitably there was a Murder Mystery Dinner involved, although the original plan to do this in the afternoon, then go out for dinner and on to a pub soon devolved into drinking through the afternoon, doing half the Murder Mystery, getting distracted, half the people insisting we finish it in some kind of jumbled and chaotic fashion then stumbling across the road to the pub at about 10pm, although I took K back after about half an hour, the put-upon locals not responding well to her usual drunken sociability. We danced around the kitchen to all the usual songs until the others came back to hang out for a bit. I got to poke around the town a little before getting the (surprisingly swift) train home on Sunday, vegging out in the afternoon, then heading over to N's for an evening roast.

I had an evening in on Monday, M and I polishing off Westworld, then had the resurrected Book Group, albeit a trois, Tuesday (all of us more or less having enjoyed A Tale of Two Cities) before heading back to N's for pancakes with a rare Full House. I was at a work conference Wednesday and Thursday: Homelessness and Health, which was interesting but a bit above my pay-grade and, me being me, I didn't really chat to many people: good to hear Professor David Nutt speak and poke around Brompton Cemetery in the lunch breaks though. Wednesday evening I met up with [ profile] ketchgirl to see Travesties in the West End, which was pure bliss: Freddie Fox in a Tom Stoppard may be some kind of 'die happy' moment. I went back to the office after the conference Thursday as there were some after-work drinks planned: N came along but it didn't go on very late and we went to the Stockpot before an interminable bus home. Last night I was at the shelter again, which at least kept me away from the flat that's once again been turned into DIY chaos by a visitation from M's Mum & her partner.
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2017-02-21 12:23 am

Written offline, Saturday morning

I had a nice day down in Southampton the Sunday before last, I met up with R & family for a walk in the New Forest and home-made rice pudding during the day, then hooked up with J and L to watch Gaz Brookfield at Talking Heads in the evening. He was supported by Nick Parker, who I’ve seen play with him before, and it finished early enough that I didn’t have to get the absolute last train back to London.

As at the shelter Monday night, then had a day off on Tuesday to head up to Oxford for this year’s Iris Project Festival, which was themed around Science Ancient & Modern: such luminaries as Robert Winston were speaking, although I was keeping the hordes at bay on the food stall with the whole time, so didn’t see much of it: there was a fabulously eccentric old professor at the drinks reception though, who had come with his telescope and habitually miaows down the phone to his wife.
Wednesday night our occasional school friend meet-up dinner had become a birthday dinner for Fiona, who brought some Outsiders along, that for once I think we managed not to scare off, then I had Aberrant the following evening. Friday night I indulged in the privilege of living where and when I do: having dinner and chilling out at home, finding out exactly what time a band I wanted to see (Desert Planes) were on at the Monarch (stage times are one of the things Facebook has been great for), popping into Camden just to see them then popping home again to chill out some more.

I had a pretty busy weekend, all of my plans involving M&E, who hopefully didn’t get too sick of me: we had a meet-up with the Empire group in town Saturday afternoon, in theory for planning but mostly just hanging out, then E and I had a brief interlude where I actually tried to spend some time with N, although this mostly just involved being in the background while he worked in various different locations; we headed up to Tottenham to reunite with M and brace Styx for an event called Gypsy Disco. We had taken their event times rather too literally and ended up being way too early: it was an endearingly shabby but rather cold warehouse space, although people were friendly around the braziers in the courtyard. We were mostly there for Jabul Gorba (who we’d seen before at Rumpus) but I may actually have preferred the other band playing, Crinkle Cuts, and their infectiously danceable funk/reggae/ska. I mostly missed the circus acts trying to get to the bar and once the bands were done, having got there so early, we didn’t really have the energy to stay on too late: luckily the night tube made getting home a breeze.

On Sunday I headed out to Egham for the hottest social date in town: Daniel’s 2nd Birthday. It was another good crowd at TBFKA The House of Plot and even the birthday boy throwing up in the middle of the lounge didn’t seem to dampen proceedings. I headed back into London with M&E: we seemed to be specialising in the North East as tonight’s gig was with the Walthamstow Folk Club, above Ye Olde Rose and Crown. I was a proper old school folk club, with members of the audience coming forward to sing fold standards at the start of each half before giving the floor to Grace Petrie, but much friendlier than my traumatising experience with the Islington one.

On Monday I went back to the Pleasance Theatre and watched N’s students perform Rent, which was great, although they did need to restart due to a microphone issue at one stage, and actually got to spend some time with him. Tuesday I had at home, Wednesday at the shelter, then Thursday I was supposed to see Yonaka but had come over all shivery and feverish: I had a lie down when I got in and never made it up again until the next morning. I was only working a half day on Friday so managed to make it through it then hopped on the bus up to Manchester for my annual attendance of Joe’s birthday, the end of an era as he’s finally moving out of his studenty Chorlton flat.
satyrica: (chibi)
2017-02-04 11:27 am

(no subject)

I felt slightly like I had betrayed myself when I came back from the wedding a couple of weekends ago: my friend M was having a party for his birthday at his brilliantly rickety place in Stoke Newington which was themed around bringing your awful teenage poetry and diaries to read to everyone (something I have in abundance); it was only about 10.30 when we got back into London but I felt quite tired and wasn't going to know anyone there except M and wasn't really drunk enough to push on through so I bailed out and went home. I disappointed myself on a number of levels: not only do I not get to see M very often these days but drunken late-night house-parties are one of the things I miss most about everyone growing up and the chance for me to go to one come around about twice per year at best, most of all though I felt like I'd offended against my self-image of someone who doesn't flake-out on things and worried that this was a sign that I was slowing down. And since I didn't get to read out any angsty teenage diary entries, you get to read an angsty journal entry instead ;-)
satyrica: (chibi)
2017-01-22 11:33 am

see them try to bring the hammer down

Last Sunday involved [ profile] eggwhite's exceedingly civilised Stag Do, which comprised of meeting up in town for lunch, perusing the Wellcome Collection (I went back to the Bedlam exhibition and got to watch some of the great video exhibits all the way through) and an Escape Room up the Caledonian Road: our group seemed to blitz its way through (once we'd got out of the cell we'd been locked in to start with), although I'm not sure made a particularly sterling contribution to it all. The others headed back out to Staines for a meal but, being a Sunday night, I lingered in London.

I stayed in Monday night (M and I have started on Westworld), then went to see Love Labour's Lost the next evening with [ profile] ketchgirl, [ profile] anysbryd and others: it was pretty good, a fairly effective Edwardian setting, some really funny scenes and quite a bit of random singing. On Wednesday I was going to see some music at a cafe (MostArt) in Stoke Newington with M&E, only we couldn't really cope with the set-up so went and hid in Scenario (where N popped in for a drink en route home) until it was time for the music. Tell Tale Tusk were their own support, backing a guy called Kai Carter, who I'd previously seen playing with the Debt Collective; the band themselves were in their four-piece folky format and enjoyable despite the slightly random set-up.

I was in Lewisham for Aberrant on Thursday then headed out to Feltham for dinner with [ profile] molez, [ profile] mistress_fran and their other halves on Friday (steak fondue!), then back out in Staines yesterday for [ profile] eggwhite & K's wedding itself (or the UK leg at least) which was lovely and perfectly suited to them: lego-building competitions instead of awkward discos a definite winner and also lovely to see a couple of lesser-spotted (one-time) Eghamites. Spending today at home, then heading to the shelters this evening.
satyrica: (chibi)
2017-01-13 07:25 pm

He died on Christmas Day and looking back it's really quite profound

I'd taken the Friday off before New Year's Eve and we once again appropriated N's work van to drive out through the fog to Suffolk, where twelve us of (mostly school-friends), plus four children, were spending a few nights in a converted barn somewhere near Southwold. It was a lovely place, albeit rather open plan, meaning that several of the sleeping areas weren't partitioned off from the main area by such niceties as walls or a door; it wasn't too bad, although did make the sound of plague-bearers coughing in the night and children playing table-football early in the morning more audible than usual.

We all had a meal and settled in the first night, then on New Year's Eve itself ventured into Southworld for some general wandering around of the beach, church and town before being joined by another couple for a pretty epic Murder Mystery Dinner in the evening. We went for that most traditional of English New Year's Day walks, tramping through unremarkable fields in the drizzle to a pub, then back again, hung out playing games (some of the kids had recently been gifted Keys to the Kingdom which I got dragged into several interminable games of) and tried to make a dent on our enormous stockpile of leftovers. We tried to get out early on the Bank Holiday Monday to experience the delights of Lowestoft, which sadly seemed entirely lacking in delights: my high hopes for the signs indicating a "Historic High Street" dashed when the most historic thing about it appeared to be a Wimpy. We said our goodbyes on the blustery sea-front and drove home.

Tuesday was officially the end of the lovely festive period with the drop-in back in full swing, although I had Aberrant in the evening, which was a welcome return. I was at the shelter on Wednesday, then was very excited the next day to be finally making it to DIY Space for London, a gloriously ramshackle venue on a surprisingly badly connected industrial estate in Bermondsey, to see Onsind, with [ profile] cream_horn and M&E. Support came from very DIYish Megaflora and Swanning, a one-woman act who I really liked some of; I'd heard Onsind's name a lot from my compadres but never properly checked them out: turns out they played awesome queer, political, acoustic folk-punk and were cutely self-deprecating Northerners, a great discovery.
satyrica: (chibi)
2017-01-11 09:41 am

We all know the words to that Pogues one

The week before Christmas was pretty busy: we watched Rogue One in Walthamstow on the Monday, which was good fun and had dinner with N's cousin the next evening. I stayed in Wednesday evening to Make Christmas Happen and was at the shelter in the evening the next day. Friday was the annual December 23rd shindig in Winchester and I's able to slip away from work early for N to drive us down: we had a confluence of overseas visitors this year, with lesser-spotted friends pitching up from Canada, Fiji and Iraq. The usual suspects among us who were left awake after all the departures wandered into town, where we returned the next day for breakfast before driving back to London. I spent Christmas Evening making pastry for the first time in the cause of a Boxing Day dessert before heading over to N's.

I was spending Christmas in Bruce Grove with N's housemates for the first time, which turned out to be pretty lovely: no real pressures, the freedom to do stuff together then wander off and do things apart and obviously lots of food. We had a 10 year old with us for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, which engendered lots of Christmassy kids films but also playing with lego: she was whisked back to her Mum's after an enormous breakfast so N and I went for a wander around Tottenham, enjoying the weirdness of empty London streets (but not everything was closed: we ended up going shopping for tupperware, almost certainly a Christmas First) then started to prepare dinner for when the others reconvened, after which we hung out and played games.

On Boxing Day we drove up to my brother's, which was actually really nice (although could have done with a bit of activity between Enormous Lunch and Enormous Dinner): my nieces interacted really proactively with me, which is quite a change, I'm not sure whether because they're getting older or because I spent that time with them on their birthday.

We came back to London in the evening and on the 27th we went down early to Tate Modern to meet up with S&P, over from Canada for Xmas, who were going to stay at M & my place for a few days: we went straight up to the top and marvelled at London in the crisp December sunlight before trawling around a few galleries. We took P to Rough Trade then I returned with them to West Hampstead and hung out. I was back at work on the 28th & 29th, which was actually blissful as hardly anyone was around and I completely caught up on all my admin. I was at the shelter too the Wednesday evening and Thursday evening we all went out for a curry (often the thing that friends who live in other parts of the world say they miss the most about the UK) with S&P before they headed off; I nipped into Camden afterwards to have a couple of drinks with Joe, who was down for Christmas, as I was heading out of London for the New Year.
satyrica: (chibi)
2016-12-10 04:49 pm

Life goes on and round we go and words can kill these things I know

I went up to Walthamstow on the Tuesday after we got back from Somerset to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with N, which was perfectly enjoyable. I was at the shelter Wednesday evening then N came over on Thursday.

Last weekend was one of those where all of the plans piled on top of one another:I hung around after work on Friday to head down to the Royal Court with some Book Group buddies to see The Children, which I really liked: it's a three-hander about some nuclear scientists reuniting after a meltdown at the plant and combined some entertaining inter-personal drama with a thought-provoking exploration of inter-generational responsibility. Afterwards I popped back to the office to change into Rumpus-gear (the theme was Captains v. Bandits, I'm not entirely sure which I was going for) then headed up to Islington to join the usual crowd. I only saw a couple of bands this time (Buffo's Wake, who I'd caught there before, plus Shamus Oblivion and the Megadeth Morrismen, who in truth I don't remember all that much about) but there was a little selection of belly-dancing/juggling/gymnastics as well. I was reasonably sensible and left at 4, although my travel choices were less sensible and I still managed to spend an hour getting home.

I'd partly bailed early because my cousin was having a birthday lunch on Saturday, at a steak place in the West End, which I actually made it to in reasonably good shape. We retired to a nearby pub afterwards until it was time for me to head down to Brixton to re-unite with E to see The Levellers. The crowd are definitely starting to look like they've seen better days but nothing has dimmed their enthusiasm, even if there wasn't quite such a solid mass of pogoing as I remember from bygone years. Gaz Brookfield was opening for them, as he was the first time I saw him four years ago, and it transpired that that was the "London final show" he references in his Land Pirate's Life lyrics. Next up were Ferocious Dog, who seemed a bit more disjointed than the last times I'd seen them, before the Levellers played Levelling the Land all the way through (they were marking 25 years since its release), followed by a bunch of other songs.

Sunday was a lot more chilled out, although I did head out to the Museum of London's Great Fire of London exhibition with N: I enjoyed it more than I expected (fearing it may just replicate things I'd seen from the recent Pepys exhibition) as they had lots of items of the day that gave a really good feel of how society looked at that time.

I was home Monday then went up to N's for a cheese-fest with his housemates old and new the next evening. I was supposed to be going out to a gig Wednesday but had an energy crash and didn't make it. I did make it to the Lexington on Thursday where Arrows of Love were being supported by "dark psych" Southamptoners Melt Dunes and post-punk heroes The Homosexuals. The Arrows conjured a pretty coherent performance out of their usual chaos.

I was at the shelter last night and am just heading back to London from Oxford, having come up for an Iris Project Trustee Meeting today, so it's not felt very weekendy so far but was good to catch up with [ profile] iruineverything if nothing else!
satyrica: (chibi)
2016-11-28 09:41 pm

As much as I love the West End part of London to the core . . .

I spent most of the weekend at home, two weeks ago, catching up on stuff and work and only venturing out in the evenings. On the Saturday it was to Nambucca for bands: first off The Trap, who had a sneering appeal, then highly danceable Mancunians Dantevilles; I was there for White Room, who continue to impress, there was another band afterwards but I scooted off home. On Sunday evening I trekked up to Walthamstow to see I, Daniel Blake: I wouldn't say it was the best written or acted thing I've even seen, the over-expositiony dialogue maybe particularly stood out because I'm so familiar with the processes it was portraying, but it did a good job of presenting the commonplace processes and situations, by which aspects of the welfare system dehumanise people and wear them down, in a fairly engaging way. It was pretty restrained in only presenting the everyday outrages too, rather than be tempted to portray some of the more extreme examples of institutional abuse that occur.

I went to Lewisham to roleplay Monday night, to the shelter on Tuesday, had my ex T and his partner over to dinner Wednesday, hung out with M's Mum and boyfriend, who had descended to inflict DIY on us, the next evening, then headed out to the Hoxton Bar & Grill on Friday night. I was in time to see Fizzy Blood, who I've been following, and then stayed for Jpnsgrls, touring Canadians who turned out to be a really good find, sardonic-lyriced rock delivered with hip-wiggling elan.

I spent the weekend mostly trying to avoid the chaos filling the flat: I headed out into Surrey on Saturday, had lunch with cousin H & family before we went to visit Granny, who was on pretty good form, blissfully unaware that her nursing home is closing down. They say they can't retain the staff to make it pay, which seems pretty weak given this is the Church of England not a private company, and we're all pretty worried about the effect the upheaval will have on her. I headed over to Egham afterwards, dropped in on [ profile] urizen, [ profile] lucifermourning and their new arrival, then proceeded to the Englefield Green Social Hall for out latest local LARP. On Sunday I poked about town with N: we checked out the board game exhibition at the Museum of Childhood, eventually found somewhere to have cake, saw The Debt Collective (who I'd encountered at four in the morning one Rumpus) play some Sunday afternoon jazz in a pub called the Enterprise not far away, then meandered over to T&A's in Dalston for dinner.

Last week I had [ profile] ketchgirl over for dinner on Monday, back from what sounded like a magical time in Chicago, played Aberrant on Tuesday and headed to the Old Queen's Head on Wednesday for a trio of Brightonian bands: breathy-voiced duo Realms, Bloom, who had one song that made me think they were going to be amazing but the rest didn't quite sustain it, then Yonaka, who really got the glitter-clouded crowd going. I was at the shelter Thursday night then headed over to N's on Friday for fondue.

We headed off early on Saturday, driving down to Glastonbury, which happened to be in the midst of its annual Frost Fair, lots of stalls and bands spreading themselves through the town centre for us to poke around. We were down to visit my friend L who lives near by with her family and exponentially increasing number of animals. They've started a smallholding and we went down in the evening to the friends whose land they use for a bonfire, mulled cider, pulled pork from a pig they had reared themselves and to hang out in the Anderson Shelter and corrugated iron Land Girls shed they have in their garden. The people were all lovely and we came back the next morning to help L with her daily routine, seeing to all the animals, before driving home after lunch.