Well the final weekend in Lancaster+Preston came and went and I'm now some sort of protopermanent resident of Oxfordshire again. I went to see Corinthians play at the penultimate Feedback and later got to hear a dead dude's memorial in the form of a Stone Roses song. Some oddness happened but I didn't have time really to worry about it as I was then busy shifting boxes around for the next 48 hours. I was fucking knackered by the time I got back to Charlbury on Sunday evening, I think I must have changed my top about six or seven times over the two days. SWEATASTIC.
I think I'm going to apply for a job at the place my brother works at, it sounds interesting, I'll be keeping an eye out for other stuff though as well. I have no idea as yet how and when I can move out of here to a place in Oxford, I guess I should start looking into it now though I suspect I'll be here till July or August. Once I do start getting some cash it's going to rapidly disappear off to various debts owing before I can start saving up for deposits and stuff like that.
As long as I can sort out the money/time for it I'm going up North again a couple of times in July (having a job by then will mean more money, but less time). Early in the month it's Sian and Julie's birthdays. Then on the 21st it's Glenn's Indietron night at Time Square in Preston, followed by a teaparty at Lauren's the day after. I'm a social butterfly.
Uhhh I guess that's about it for now. This made me do LOLs.
Today's mp3 is by poppy Australian noisechiks The Grates.
The Grates - 19 20 20
I like New York in June, how about you?
Well, I'm not in the Big Apple, so I've made do with Oxfordshire instead. The Big Aubergine!
Yep, after a couple of weeks kindly being put up (with) by WJ Hudson at his palatial Preston townhouse (having finally exited Hope Street) I am now back down in the family home again. The journey south was the usual hilarious catalogue of missed trains, broken heaters, confusing bus routes, over-heavy bags, and smelly co-passengers that seems to accompany all my long-distance travels. Plus my phone (and alarm) broke the night before so I ended up staying up all night in fear of sleeping in. Bonus! Still I got here in the end and the last couple of days have been pretty nice and relaxing. The weather's lovely (though the charm might soon wear off if we get fucking water shortages) and it's been fun chilling out in the garden and playing with the three muskahounds.
Despite earlier assurances from the jobcentre types it turns out transferring my dole from one county to another is a massive ballache that will take at least a couple of weeks to sort out, if not longer. Of course this isn't too much of a disaster as I have food/tobacco/internet/alcohol to hand here (the essentials) but it does kind of put a dampener on my vague plan to do some fun stuff for the couple of days I'm back in Lancashire next week. Oh wells.
I think I'm going to drag people down here to Charlbury for my birthday in August, as I don't fancy trying to organise some sort of party from afar. That probably means I'll be breaking from tradition and not doing a fancy dress theme this year. But I'm already probably going to another fancy dresser back in Preston in July so I don't feel like I'm being too deprived.
Anyway there's not much else to report at the moment, I guess I'm going to get on with looking for work in Oxford. Maybe I could polish people's mortarboards or something.
Today's song is by the mighty mighty Daniel Bejar off the new Destroyer album.
Destroyer - European Oils
Well it's been a bit of another desert crossing between blog posts on here. I suppose there's been quite a lot going on over the last month or so and I just never got round to sitting down and talking about it. Though generally I guess there's not a lot to say.
The main big thing is my ever hilarious carcrash life antics. Basically due to fucking up my benefit money and then my rent as a result, I'm getting kicked out of the house by the landlady. So as of the middle of May I'm homeless. As a result I'm going to have to give up on any last shreds of dignity and head back down south with my tail between my legs to stay at my parents' for a while. Maybe a month or two. After that I'm not sure, I had thought I'd be able to come back up here and try to sort something out again. That's not looking too likely now, so it may be a more or less permanent stay in Oxford. Ah well, maybe I'll get a cool job down there and be able to whizz round the country visiting people. I'll be in easy striking distance of John and Amit for a start.
Other downer news from the last month - Stanislaw Lem died. Weirdly enough I was actually rereading A Perfect Vacuum the weekend before too.
Anyway, enough of the mopey shit, the last month has also been one for celebration as Karl and Corinna tied the knot. Before the wedding we went on a stag do in Manchester with Karl (which we nicknamed the elk do seeing as *gasp* girls were allowed). The obvious mission of the evening was to get Karl pissed out of his head, however I think we were all a little surprised at how easily this came about. At not much after 11pm Karl classily threw up in his pint glass and over himself in the middle of a bar and had to be taken home by his brothers. Hardcore! So that left me Sian and Christian sat around in Manchester waiting for a half 1 train, and we ended up going to the Fab Cafe for the rest of the night. The actual wedding a few weeks later was pretty cool, aside from some disappointing absences I guess, it was funny seeing everyone in suits and we got to meet Tazz's wife! He's been married for years but none of us had ever met her, we'd begun to believe she was fictional. Or maybe married to Columbo as well.
Well, I guess I haven't been up to much apart from that. I've been in Preston a bit more at the weekends, going to parties the last couple of weeks and also hanging out with Hudson and Glenn some more. I think I've probably eaten more strawberry laces in the last month then I have in the previous year, which probably isn't good for the intestines.
Best trailer ever? It makes me quite excited.
Today's mp3 is by The Lovely Feathers. I'd quite enjoyed their debut effort but it wasn't anything particularly great. Their new album though is fucking fantastic. So here's a track off it.
The Lovely Feathers - Breakfast Cake
It was a pretty quiet weekend, I found myself entirely drained of cash so didn't go out on Friday and Saturday, did the staring-at-the-internet thing. On Sunday I met up with John and Glenn and we went to some laugh-a-minute war exhibition in the Harris Museum in Preston. Actually the museum trip overall was quite fun, they had weird bits and pieces there that were amusing. Like numbered boxes full of stench, an exhibition on red clothes, a revolving funeral urn with a glowing face, and ceramic tentacled vaginas.
Paul showed us this, it looks fucking amazing. I haven't been into games for quite a while now, aside from the odd bit of console action round friends houses, but this new game looks like it could suck me back into the cyberworld again.
Pssst! If you are a bad thievy person you might be interested in this.
Sunday evening we watched a succession of bad movies. Well, three bad ones and one good one.
Heh, while getting those links I noticed this which made me laugh (you need to be registered at imdb to see it).
Today's mp3 is off the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album. I have to say I've found the album really disappointing overall. There's no bite to it. But there's still a couple of tracks I like, and this is one of them.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cheated Hearts
The season two finale of Battlestar Galactica was a thing of beauty. While some of the events I saw coming did happen, they were just plot points in the episode rather than the basis of a cliffhanger like I'd suspected. What actually happened at the end took my breath away. BSG felt like it was floundering a bit around the middle of this season, compared to the tightness of the first season I was worrying they might be losing it. But safe to say this week's episode has restored my confidence that BSG is the best thing on telly featuring spaceships, ever, and one of the best things on telly full stop.
In case anyone was worried due to my previous posts, yes I did manage to get some kung po sauce in the end. I did a stirfry thing with quorn pieces and very nice it was too.
Speaking of cooking, I've had a few nice catering-related evenings around Lancaster since my last post. Christian made us all pancakes on Pancake Day, and Dave cooked for us when we went round there to play Diplomacy. Will of Feedback fame provided the game, which I'd never played before. It was kind of a Risk type thing (based on my distant memories of Risk) where you tried to conquer Europe using little army dudes. But the game's quite cleverly set up so that you have fuck all chance of doing it by yourself, you pretty much have to make deals with other players to get anywhere. This weekend we were all round Sian's where she cooked us fajitas. I love fajitas, they're so tasty but so easy to make (not that anything's easy when you're catering for eight people of course, but I mean on an individual level). I like how they're "customisable", it's like having a sandwich at Subway or something (but you feel like you've actually eaten a meal rather than just eaten a big sandwich). Sian's soiree started off quite civilised, though by the time it got to midnight quite a lot of booze had been guzzled down by everyone there (shock horror) and there may have been incidents of bad rock karaoke, "urban" dancing, and Dave waltzing with a wooden cat.
I had a bit of a flashgeekback this weekend and somehow ended up lurking around some Call of Cthulhu sites. Don't judge me! I think I got weirdly excited at the idea of listening to a podcast featuring Sandy Petersen. It was quite cool actually though Peterson himself sounded like a slightly hysteric nerd. I don't know what I expected of a roleplaying game designer really, some sort of James Bond? Props to him though for creating such a lasting and (still) original game though. It made me worryingly nostalgic for my (now disturbingly distant) Uni days of rolling dice and avoiding any contact with fresh air or girls. Of course I still manage the fresh air and girls part these days though. Anyway while perusing the site I came across this short story by Charles Stross (author of scifi-laugh-a-minute-novel The Atrocity Archives), which I heartily recommend to anyone who has a passing interest in Lovecraftian stuff (though it won't make much sense if you haven't). A look at Stross's site reveals that he has actually put an entire novel of his up for free download as well, which is pretty cool. Much as I hate reading anything longer than a magazine article off a screen, I may well grab it and then print it off or something.
Heh, I've got into the habit of using the LJ spellcheck before I post an entry due to my spazzy typing style, and apparently "podcast" isn't a word. Good to know they're keeping on the cutting edge of the internet there.
Today's mp3 is by Islands, a nice Canadian band made up of two-thirds of the sadly defunct Unicorns. While the album isn't as good as The Unicorns' mighty WWCOHWWG it's pretty cool, you should probably buy it.
Islands - Where There's a Will There's a Whalebone
They didn't have any Kung Po sauce in Asda ):
I'm kind of glad in a way that I didn't go out on Friday after all, or go to Preston on Saturday, as I appear to now have no money left after buying food and paying for the cyberweb connection. So if I'd spunked money on beer this weekend I'd have even less no money.
Hopefully I'll get my hands on some more cashmoney this week as I need a bit to oil my gears on Friday, I'm meant to be going to Feedback. I feel like I should, I haven't been to a non-Superkings one for like half a year. I was looking forward to seeing Y'r Impossible again as well, not seen them since their debut gig last year. Except Fil seems to have gone mad and fired Judith and taken over singing duties himself, which will be... er... interesting. But I fancy checking out Theoretical Girl anyways, I've heard good things about her.
Heard some sad news yesterday, Darren McGavin died on Saturday. He is of course the guy who played Kolchak in the 70s. Kolchak The Night Stalker is one of my all-time favourite TV shows, despite actually being pretty terrible. Part of its appeal is the ace idea, part of it nostalgia, but a big part of its charm is down to McGavin's portrayal of Kolchak as a perpetually cynical and down-at-heels hack. Still, McGavin did make it to the grand old age of 84 so that's not a bad run. I think I've actually only seen about two-thirds of the full run, I really should get the DVD they've released some time when my finances are a bit less laughable.
Today's song is from the mighty Stephen Merritt's Showtunes album, which is a collection of tunes he wrote for three musicals by Chen Shi-Zheng over the last couple of years. I'm not sure who the actual singer is on this, I think it's one of the cast rather than Merritt himself.
Stephin Merritt - What A Fucking Lovely Day!
I didn't make it to the AIDS Wolf gig in the end, due to various fuck-ups. Cue a following day of reading comments on Prestone about how it was "the best gig ever" :(
Oh well, I expect I'll survive. I suppose if I had gone I may have even walked away feeling a bit underwhelmed by all the awe evinced by everyone else. I tend to do that with gigs a bit. I like gigs. The concept of them, that is. Something about the idea of going to see a band can excite me. But generally the actual experience pales before the idea (as with most things in life I guess). I suppose to me music has always been a particularly personal experience. That indie trope of the boy in the bedroom listening to records by himself has always informed my relationship with music I think, both as an audience member and as someone peripherally involved in actually making it. Generally speaking the gigs I've enjoyed the most have involved good company and a lot of alcohol, which sort of suggest that they rather than the supposed focus of the night are where my enjoyment's coming from. The music becomes a hopefully pleasant and/or memorable backdrop to the evening, like in a nightclub. I don't think I've ever had that transcendent feeling that some people seem to get from it, of feeling that they're part of something that necessarily involves the music happening there and then to them and the others around them. Like I said, my connection with music seems to be personal rather than communal, as much as I like then discussing it with others. Gnostic or neurotic, depending on your point of view.
Anyway that's all just an amazingly long-winded way of saying that I'm annoyed at missing the gig but eh, whaddaya gonna do?. I think I felt a similar way about ATP selling out. I both really wanted to go due to the amazing line-up, but at the same time had this nagging voice in my head saying "yeah but do you really want to spend a hundred quid just to see some bands?" Hmmmm.
It's been a bit of a quiet weekend overall really, due to people generally being off and away. I did thankfully avoid a Saturday night spent sitting around in an empty house by going to Will & Cat's house to play boardgames. I wonder what it'll be like when I finally end up in a place of my own. In a lot of ways I find the idea of my own space to be more and more appealing, maybe as I get more of a sense of what I'd do with that space as I get older. Maybe just as I become more of a crotchety fucker obsessed with unwashed cutlery. But at the same time I've spent my whole life so far living with other people and I still get a bit weirded out by long periods of time by myself. It's funny how I could spend two basically identical evenings mostly sat in my room in an empty house or in a house where other people were in other rooms and for some reason the former has some sort of emotional effect on me. Like the inability to interact with other people upsets me in some way despite the fact that I may well not interact with them if they were there.
Meh, I'm waffling now. This is what happens if you leave me alone for too long!
So I'm going to go off and do some supermarket shopping. I hunger for kung po!
Speaking of the Orient, you should probably watch this.
Oh, the reason I'm being all verbose today is probably because I'm overcompensating after reading a vaguely fascinating online seminar about China Miéville's novels in general and most recent one in particular. Very well thought-out and terribly informed, two things guaranteed to make me feel stupid. So that's probably why I feel this sudden urge to muse and get all erudite (and use words like "erudite"). Sort of like whenever I watch The West Wing I want to start speaking entirely in quips and bulletpoints. Anyway the Miéville thing is interesting, a lot of political and literary criticism goes right over my head but I do agree with quite a few of the points made about what's both exciting and frustrating about his books.
Today's song follows the Wolf Parade trend and is by Sunset Rubdown, the sideproject of WP's Spencer Krug. It's off the forthcoming album which features the band actually fleshed out as a real band, rather than just being Spencer's bedroom recording hobby.
Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings
I forgot to mention yesterday that I did make it to sukeq's party in the end and had The Fun. There was a slightly weird mix of people ranging from apparently random teenage college kids to elderly family members, I guess me and Paul were somewhere in the middle. At about 3am I remembered I had a camera and took a few exciting photos. Poor Paul was dragged into some sort of whiskey drinking vortex by a certain morose Punch lookalike and ended up being sick outside Lauren's house. We bring the class!
This Friday I'm off to Preston again, this time to experience the majesty of AIDS Wolf in someone's cellar. I'm looking forward to seeing them but I'm also slightly worried I'll end up stood next to them and get beaten with a microphone or they'll get naked or something. I'm a simple indie boy at heart, I'm not sure I'm built for subterranean noiserock moshpits.
Today's mp3 is by Atlas Strategic, Dan Boeckner's band that eventually split up (with him then going on to form Wolf Parade with Spencer Krug). This song was in fact recycled and retitled for one of WP's early EPs, but here's the original version.
Atlas Strategic - National Flag
Uhhhh yeah so I quit the band, for reasons too terrifyingly dull to go into here. So I guess that's probably my brief flirtation with musicmaking dead in the gutter then. Ah well. I expect I was ahead of my time anyway!
This of course leaves me with even more spare time on my hands. I seem to have been more or less roped into becoming Feedback's new poster designer so at least that's something to keep my creative juices leaking in some direction. I even put up some of my posters on gigposters.com which I found funny at the time but now feel mildly embarrassed about, as most of the posters on there are fucking amazing whereas mine are some ropey lackadaisical photoshop efforts I spent an afternoon on.
My old housemate Noel came up to visit this week, we spent Thursday night in some of the noisier pubs of Lancaster before ending up in the Sugarhouse. Jesus, it's been literally years since I've been in there, maybe five years? It seemed pretty much the same, except everyone looked horrifyingly young. Oh, and they seemed to have some sort of generic rock room now alongside the generic indie one. We ended up leaving after half an hour because Noel felt too old. I don't go to nightclubs that often anymore, when I do it seems to be ill-thought-out quests for more booze that end us up in shitty townie dives like Hustle. Of course being barred from half the places in Preston doesn't help. I guess if I got a job and had the money I might go to Manchester now and then, but I didn't used to when I had a job, so fuck knows. I guess most of my friends just aren't into the idea of clubbing anymore, and the appeal is fading for me now that I'm an old fart. Then again, once that fucking public smoking ban the health-nazis have brought in this week goes into effect next year I doubt I'll ever set foot in a nightclub again, so maybe this year is my last chance to squeeze out the last of the club-juice from my veins. Sian mentioned something last night actually about finally making Christian's dream of a trip to the Tache come true, maybe we should do that.
Er I thought I might start posting some mp3s on my blog as a way of making it less dull. Don't worry, I'm not trying to turn it into one of those music blogs, too many people already do it and I don't really have anything new or interesting to add. I just thought it might entertain the 3 and a half people who read mine. Of course it's also entirely illegal, I'm hoping I'll manage to avoid the wrath of the mighty Copyright Guild through sheer insignificance.
Here's the first one then, it's by Nebraskan newfolkwaveartnoiserock outfit Eagle*Seagull (terrible name, good band).
Eagle*Seagull - Your Beauty Is A Knife I Turn On My Throat
(I'll be uploading them using filesharing sites I think, rather than hosting them myself, so they should only be there for a week or two before expiring)
After you die...
Reincarnated as Yourself
After death, you will be reborn again as yourself. You will live the same life, unbeknownst to you. However, you will have vivid moments of déjà vu, as you probably have now.
Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com
Yeah so the other day I found out Fiery Furnaces and Herman Dune and the Microphones are all playing at ATP as well! Then a couple hours later I found out all the tickets had sold out... :(
I suppose it's just as well, I shouldn't really be trying to organise a trip to a £125 festival when I have trouble affording pasta at the moment. Still, it's bummed me out a bit. Oh well. I just hope Destroyer does more UK appearances later in the year.
I subscribed to last.fm recently, it only costs £1.50 a month so I thought I'd give it a trial run. You get various fairly disinteresting features from being subscribed, but the cool thing is being able to listen to a streamed radio channel made up of bands you like. Similar to that launch site I used to use (and probably like a million other sites by now). It's nice because you can listen to mp3s normally via winamp or whatever, and it notes what bands you like, then if you fancy some random stuff you can put their radio on and it'll play similar stuff. Plus of course you can listen to other people's radio stations. Coolest of all is that when you tag bands, you can then listen to the tag as a station. So like I've tagged all the bands I like with female singers as "ladynoise", and now if I click on the ladynoise station I just get those bands played to me.
Superkings are back at Feedback again tonight, I haven't been there in ages, quite looking forward to it. Have to be strong and avoid the Revolution black hole though.
Oh, speaking of gigs, I've put some of the posters and flyers I've made recently on Flickr. Dunno why really, just thought it might be interesting to have non-photo stuff there too.
So maybe you were wondering how cold it is? Well, let me tell you. It is too cold. That is how cold it is.
It's the second month of 2006 and, so far, no jetpacks. However, Lancaster now has an oriental-food-type place that is pretty cool. They sell Japanese sweeties! That is probably the most exciting news I have for the last thirty days. Never underestimate my excitement at cute stuff that is also edible!
Other exciting Japanese things - Studio Ghibli are doing an adaptation of the Earthsea stories. That should be nice. I loved the Earthsea books when I was a kid, it was almost physically painful to see what the Scifi Channel did in that TV version they did a couple of years ago. Fucking atrocious. Hopefully the Ghibli effort will be a bit more faithful (or at least try to avoid entirely changing the themes and characters like the Scifi one did). It seems to be being done by Miyazaki's son, which is interesting. Does that mean he's taking over now, or is Miyazaki Sr meanwhile working on something else? I thought his last film, Howl's Moving Castle, was good but not great. It had some really nice moments but overall felt too similar to Spirited Away, which was the better of the two. And despite all the background plot of war and intrigue it didn't have the same sense of excitement that Princess Mononoke did. Oh well, I'm sure the next one will be better.
I really want to go to All Tomorrow's Parties this year, it's got the most exciting lineup I've seen in quite a while. Destroyer, Joanna Newsom, New Pornographers, Shins, Decemberists, Lightning Bolt, Sleater-Kinney... there's loads of bands on I'd like to see. Unfortunately there's basically no fucking way I can go. I'm hoping Destroyer may come on a proper UK tour later in the year anyway. The new album's out soon, and he seems to have a load of other stuff going on too.
My sleep is all fucked up at the moment. Actually that's not true, it seems more normal the last few days. But the weeks before I was finding it harder and harder to get to sleep. I'd end up staying awake till like 6 in the morning and then waking up at 2 in the afternoon, which is obviously a mental way to live. But making myself wake up early in the day to try and force my body back into a normal pattern, I'd just end up feeling monged all day and then still get insomnia at night. The week before I ended up staying up the the whole night as I knew I had to get up early in the morning anyway for band practice. Then this weekend I ended up doing the same thing again on Friday as I had to be up early on Saturday to go do an interview for a radio show. Later on that day I then headed off with Paul, Sian and Tash to Bedworth to see John. We had a nice evening all told but I was fucking broken, I kept falling asleep every ten minutes. I felt like Karl at a birthday party. Curses!
Still, after a zombified Sunday I got to sleep at a normalish hour and have actually managed to be getting my eight hours in a fairly socially acceptable timeslot so far this week. Go me!
Er, that's about it for now I guess. Apart from this. Interesting things are afoot in Superkings land, we are now being managed by Will & Catriona from Feedback and February looks like a superbusy month with all these gigs coming up. And some new songs are filtering through to the set now which is cool, makes me feel like I've achieved something recently.
I don't know whether to be relieved or annoyed that I got a lower than average score
Ultimate Roleplaying Purity Score
Will kill for XP
|Sensitive Roleplaying||55.7% |
"But what's my motivation for this scene?"
|GM Experience||60.14% |
Ran a module once or twice
|Systems Knowledge||82.49% |
Played in a couple of campaigns
|Livin' La Vida Dorka||60.92%|
Goes nuts on the weekends
|You are 62.76% pure|
Average Score: 68.8%