Monday, October 27, 2008
"...do you still love me?"
Liverpool - no matter which direction you come at it from (and we seem to find a new approach on every trip) it's dismal as fuck.
Rows of once grand terraced houses neglected, shuttered and seemingly beyond repair, empty industrial units, abandoned pubs, the kind of shop that took its most recent delivery in 1975 but is still selling stuff off, guaranteed sightings of at least three decaying floral tributes fixed ominously to fences and lampposts. If David Simon were English ‘The Wire’ would’ve been set in Liverpool.
Anyhow, not being one to allow unremitting grimness to spoil the fun, the scene was set for a cracking night out. An early meal at Delifonseca (plenty of choice, amenable staff, decent sized portions - but not so much that you were in danger of not being able to manage a pudding) followed by the long awaited Evening with Dean Friedman.
‘The Cavern Club’ was a dreadful venue. Each time the door opened we were treated to a blast of whatever was playing in the front room; and the set gained some unexpected percussion from the bar staff chucking empties into a skip tucked away in the corner. However, true professional that he is, Dean rose above it gave us what we wanted – plenty of the old stuff!
If Charlie & Perfect thought I was kidding when I told them ‘Well Well Said The Rocking Chair’ was a big album back in the day, the sound of a crowd of thick-set 40-something blokes word perfect on 'Lydia' surely sowed the seeds of doubt – improbable as it seemed maybe I was telling the truth after all….?
It’s a shame he didn’t respond to shouts for ‘The Deli Song’ (“Hey Louie, there’s a weirdo at table four in back – he’s singing…”) as I’m convinced we could’ve pulled it off. But of course it is Lucky Stars that ratchets up audience participation to a whole new level.
On the way back I betrayed a considerable lack of sophistication by being astounded at the sight of a young woman standing outside a club wearing just a bra and pants beneath her umbrella. Apparently this is quite normal for Liverpool.
Quiet Coach (and no book today)
Friday, October 24, 2008
"...are we having the time of our lives?"
I'm not saying I'd never have come back round to them but at the time I'd been scared by the video for 'Powder Blue', thought 'Newborn' went on a bit and not really 'got' the rest of 'Asleep In The Back'.
It was one evening when he was deputising in the Radio 2 teatime slot. He had Elbow in playing live to promote 'Cast Of Thousands'. I heard the first seconds of 'Fugitive Motel' and was transfixed. By the time they'd finished 'Switching Off' I was in a heap on the kitchen floor.
I bought the album the next day. I've never stopped loving them since.
Last night was....well... by the time the glitter went up and the balloons came down (yes, of course it was during 'One Day Like This') my face hurt from smiling. I sympathised with the bloke who was shouting "Do some old songs!" but "The Fix" apart, I don't know what I would've wanted them to leave out. I got carried away and took lots of really blurry photos.
When Guy Garvey walked half way across the front row shaking hands with the audience I was disappointed that he didn't make it to where we were standing. That was was very weird. I've never wanted to touch a singer before. Well, not since I've been a grown-up anyway. The woman next to me had spotted him outside the Apollo before the show, and had a chat. She was even more smitten than me ("He's lovely. So approachable."). When the lights went up she said :"His lyrics are so romantic. If only my husband could even think things like that..."
"Are we coming across clear?" Oh yes, I think so.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Which Adviser Are You?
a) Our lifeblood and a constant source of joy & delight
b) Just the same as Us
c) Fucking Losers
Do you regard your phone as:
a) an essential tool of the job
b) the enemy
c) an unwelcome distraction from your social life
d) a scary piece of technology which you haven’t quite mastered yet
When asked "well, what DO you do then?" do you:
a) send out a policy leaflet
b) apologise for the inadequacies of the service and explain, at great length, the extent, remit and limitations of our powers & resources
c) take it personally and sulk for the rest of the day
d) shrug your shoulders and say "beats me"
Do you treat callers with:
a) respect & courtesy (to their faces)
b) respect & courtesy (at all times)
c) You get what you give, so ‘Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby’ is your credo
d) Obsequiousness tinged with contempt
When you receive a thank you card or gift do you:
a) stick it with all the rest
b) don’t know, it’s never happened
c) feel unworthy, it’s just your job after all, and it’s not as if you even do it that well
d) moan about the quality, (unless it’s alcohol)
During meetings do you
a) make notes diligently
b) doodle diligently
c) use any opportunity you can to play your line manager like a cat with a mouse
d) fiddle with yourself under the table
How do you behave on works nights out?
a) associate with these people in my free time? I don’t think so!
b) I can’t remember
d) I methodically alienate all my workmates, then get started on the rest of the pub.
8) When speaking to consumers on the phone do you:
a) not speak to consumers on the phone as your phone is never switched on;
b) adopt a ‘Uriah Heep’ persona and repeat their name at least twice per sentence;
c) talk to them as though they are idiots to distract attention from the possibility that you are the idiot;
d) press the mute button, join in the conversations of colleagues until they've finished speaking, then pick up where you think they left off. They're idiots, they'll never notice.
I can't begin to imagine where it came from; but I'm sure I've worked with a's, b's c's and d's.
Secret Someones - Laura Veirs
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
All-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet at lunchtime = unproductive afternoon.
All U Can Eat - Ben Folds
Leave The Light On - Johnathan Rice
Eat For Two - 10,000 Maniacs
Tom's Diner - Suzanne Vega
Friday, October 17, 2008
Sometimes working more closely with someone can make you reassess your opinion of them. Make it harder to overlook their shortcomings. Make you less inclined to think the best and make excuses. Make you realise how difficult it is to be honest when the truth you want to tell isn't the truth someone else wants to hear.
Woman Of Mine - Dean Friedman
Sunshine - Ryan Bingham
Distant Sun - Crowded House
Stockholm Syndrome - Muse
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
"...gonna go in my room, gonna turn of all the lights and crawl in bed
Meant to leave early today, but too tired and tetchy.
CanoeingInstructor asked me if I'd like a Minstrel and my hand was in the bag before she'd got the words out.
"Is it OK if I have a handful?" (Too late, 'cos if it isn't, it's not like you're going to want me to put them back is it?)
Back hurts. Can't think. Everything is muzzy. Ravenously hungry for proper, crispy-skinned baked potatoes with fluffy mashed-with-butter insides and spam, oh, and chocolate pudding.
If anyone sits next to me I'll probably just cry.
Woman Of Mine - Dean Friedman
Running Up That Hill - Kate Bush
O Superman - Lori Anderson
Labels: real life
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
8.29 On Time
There was a fight this morning. In the Quiet Coach!
Two sisters, going at each other over and under the arm of the seat with nails and feet, out to draw blood or at least severely bruise. Moments earlier they'd been collaborating on a crossword, all sugar and spice, sharing a comic ever so nicely. Then the Nintendos came out and within seconds it was a pink and blond blur of no-holds-barred violence.
The speed with which their mother was onto them suggested it wasn't the first time something like this had happened. She pulled them apart and segregated them hissing:" We've got twelve more hours of this" in a very no nonsense 'if-you-don't-stop-right-now-you'll-be-sorry-and-I-mean-it' tone. Without raising her voice she gave them each a stiff dressing down.
There was some residual whimpering and a few 'it's not fair's but it all petered out pretty quickly.
I only hope someone's waiting for her, at the end of that twelve hour journey, with a large glass of something cold - she's going to deserve it.
(Quiet Coach) When You Are Engulfed In Flames - David Sedaris
Monday, October 13, 2008
There was some initial resistance but I got drawn into BBC 4’s 'Guitar Night' on Friday.
It brought back an afternoon, doing my homework at the kitchen table while my Mum was making the tea, when - as seemed to happen regularly in those days - Stephane Grappelli and the Diz Disley Trio came on the radio and my Mum said:
“I was at school with Diz Disley”
Sadly, rest of my Mum’s anecdote is lost to me - I think it it contained the information that his sister had been a teacher ... or maybe his mother..? I don't know, there was something about "Miss Disley" anyway, and that it was surprising he’d ever amounted to anything much; but I might be making that up.
In fact, even though I can remember remembering the story on previous occasions, I did begin to wonder if I was making it all up.
The most cursory of checks would seem to indicate that the first fragment at least was true.
(Quiet Coach) When You Are Engulfed In Flames - David Sedaris
Thursday, October 09, 2008
"...Theres a new wind blowing they say, its gonna be a cold, cold one"
Rumours sprung from nowhere (i.e. the BBC web site, just like any other day) and blew through the office picking up litter and momentum as they grew into a preposterous whirlwind of ridiculous speculation:
"there'll be no more overtime"
"the parking permits will be withdrawn"
"all new posts across the county have been frozen"
"they're going to sack us for a week and then give us our jobs back"
"they'll make us work till we're eighty"
"they'll have to cancel the AwayDay"
It Takes You There - Rickie Lee Jones
Small Blue Thing - Suzanne Vega
Trouble In The Fields - Nanci Griffith
Dust Bowl - 10,000 Maniacs
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I Blame Robert Peston
My dander was up and I really, really wanted to have the conversation concerning that duplicitous little shit ... but you were engaged all afternoon and, by tomorrow, I’ll have calmed down a bit and I probably won’t tell you that I think you should sue the pants off his lying ass.
Baltimore - Randy Newman
House Carpenter - Kelly Joe Phelps
Run Devil Run - Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins
Hickory Wind (Outro) - Johnathan Rice
Monday, October 06, 2008
Today was horrible.
After a whole week at home doing all the stuff you always say you'd do more of, if only work didn't get in the way, I had to go back.
It was horrible.
Lovely's tale of how an invitation to a City Of Culture event with a flirtatious waiter and a free bar led to him being ejected, politely but firmly, from TESCO at 2'O'clock in the morning cheered me momentarily.
But, once he'd scampered away downstairs again, I only missed the old days all the more.
Way Down In the Hole - Steve Earle
Way Down In The Hole - Tom Waits
Way Down In The Hole - Blind Boys Of Alabama