Thursday, September 28, 2006

17.12 On Time
"Ah bought some shoes at Skipton market yesterdy. Do Ah need licence for 'em?"

Our phones don't ring very often these days, so sometimes when they do, it can be disorientating. I'm wondering why on earth he might think a footwear licence would be required, or if it is actually some new money spinning scheme that's been introduced but that nobody bothered to tell me about, when the penny drops ...

"Oh, I see! You bought some ewes! I'm sorry, you've come through to Advice, you need Animal Movements, let me put you through..."

Also, I've got an interview for that job I don't want next Thursday.

Without You I'm Nothing - Placebo
The Big Guns - Jenny Lewis
He Lays In The Reins - Iron & Wine/Calexico
Running On Empty - Jackson Browne
Santa Rita - Grand Drive
You Wear It Well - Rod Stewart
Where's The Playgound Susie? - Glen Campbell
The King Of Rock & Roll - Prefab Sprout
Out Of Time - Blur


Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday 4th September - San Juan Island

At first you think, no - I'm imagining it. It's just a wave.

Then you see it again - the dark shape breaking the surface of the water - and you think well, it could be....

Then you see it again. And then there's another one. Oh, and, over there - another!

And this time you are 100% certain sure that you are standing on the deck outside your bedroom watching a pod of Orcas swimming by.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday 3rd September - Seattle

My only 'must see' act at Bumbershoot is Jose Gonzales.

To achieve this, it is necessary to stake a claim in the vicinity of the Jazz stage.
But it's OK. It's inoffensive jazz. The sun is shining.
And, thanks to the stringent 'no alcohol to be consumed outside of the white picket fence' regulations, I am in no danger from pissed up lads attempting to carry 10 plastic pints of lager at once, failing, and spilling it on me.

At the conclusion of the set by Seattle's premier jazz trumpeter (or something) we play our cards right and get seats in the third row.

Infront of us are some charming young people who are passing the time between sets by playing trivial pursuit. It's inevitable that we will be eavesdropping on the questions. I have that whole "am I going deaf?" experience again when I spend 10 minutes trying to work out the answer to "Which British lesbian brought Shakespeare to the massess?"

It turns out to be Kenneth Brannagh.


Anyway. Jose Gonzales was perfect for the time and the place. But his set was way too short.
Under no circumstances will I sit through Vashti Bunyan again. (Certainly)
Or eat Funnel Cake. (Probably)
Or drink a 'Lola Mary'. (Possibly)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Saturday 2nd September - Seattle

I'm sitting in the Crocodile Cafe setting about the serious business of breakfast.

Through the window, over the brow of Blanchard Street a cyclist hoves into view. It's already a very warm morning. That is a substantial hill. There's no wonder he's sweating a bit.

As he crosses over Second Avenue the rest of his load comes into view. On the back of the bike he has a trailer. On the trailer which must be, what, at least six feet long? he has what looks like the constituent parts of a market stall.

There's no wonder he's sweating a bit.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday 1st September - Seattle

The boy from the front desk is very apologetic, but short of donning a pinny and arming himself with a feather duster there doesn’t seem to be much more he can do to speed up the cleaning of our room.

We sit in the lobby.
Tim gets a bit agitated and I find myself in the unlikely position of being the calming influence.

The boy from the front desk returns. He apologises again and says he’ll send someone from the bar to take our drinks order (complimentary of course).

Tim mutters and frowns. I point him towards the beer menu and select a nice white for myself. This new 'stop stessing' persona I've somehow picked up between the Harbor and the hotel is curiously satisfying.

The boy from the front desk comes back and apologises some more. All this waiting really isn’t good enough, so he’s upgraded us to a suite.

It has a view of the Space Needle.

I’m getting a good feeling about Seattle.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday 31st August - Victoria

I love model villages. I love The Borrowers (books, not film). I loved “Miniature World”.

Kitsch? Maybe.
Sinister? Absolutely.
A skewed, anachronistic interpretation of history & geography? Well, duh.
Come on though, if you were going to spend months of your life painstakingly recreating scenes from (for instance) WWII in tiny detail you’d think you’d earned the right to chose which heroes to focus on, wouldn’t you?

D’you know, they didn’t even have a gift shop.

Later, got lost in a park.
Later still...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday 30th August - Victoria

Bastion Square
"I close my eyes, only for a moment and the moment's gone..."

I'm brought to a standstill - pint of something local (the name of which escapes me) in hand - by what I'm hearing.
'Ohmygod. "Dust in the Wind". It's "Dust in the Wind". By Kansas.' I add. As though there could be any confusion.

Tim's incomprehension is evident.

' "Dust in the Wind!". "Kansas!". Listen!'

"All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see"

'I've never heard this before in my life.'
The subtext is obvious: and if I ever hear this piece of nonsense again it will be too soon. How can she be so indiscriminate?

Canada's great.

Before the end of the holiday I will have heard Rupert Holmes' "Escape (the pina colada song)" twice and become reacquainted with "My Eyes Adored You" by Frankie Valli, once my second favourite song of all time.

What a country.


Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.


8.10 On Time
Bizarre goings on at Singer's Night.

We've had the Good, the Bad and the Downright Unlistenable but never the RacistJoker, the TrailerParkPrimaDonna and the 'Vic Reeves Does David Lynch' Cabaret Act.

A different night, but not altogether unenjoyable.

Lyin' Eyes
Tequila Sunrise
The Best Of My Love
Ol '55
Take It To The Limit
New Kid In Town
One Of These Nights

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday 29th August - Vancouver

All the books agree.
The one area of Vancouver you want to avoid is Downtown Eastside. Around Hastings and Main. It's not 'nice' and, come on - you're on your holidays, you want things to be 'nice' don't you?
Anyway, I made sure to mark it on the map, so we could be certain to give it a miss.

Inevitably, inexorably, where did we fetch up on Tuesday afternoon? Yup, glancing sideways at the impressive Carnegie Library knowing a wrong turn had been taken somewhere, but not quite certain where or how to rescue the situation.

Turn left, walk purposefully, keep your eyes fixed on the middle distance and nothing bad will happen.

Later, we ate at the Raincity Grill. Nice wine.
The evening would've been even better if they'd put a tiny bit more thought into the vegetarian options.



17.12 On Time
Rushed off our feet today. Majorly understaffed. Scarcely time to breathe or collect our thoughts.

Actually, I'm lying. Nothing at all happened. All afternoon.
No phones rang, and no one came in.
We played "What's the capital of....?" and debated issues like "Was Windy Miller made of plasticine?"

Until Lovely decided fun should be rationed and put a stop to it.

Out of Time - REM

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday 28th August - Vancouver

Had three anxiety dreams last night featuring:

1) Tim insisting on driving a hire car up Grouse Mountain in a blizzard.
2) Missing the Pacific Coach Lines bus and, consequently, the ferry to Victoria
3) Being driven somewhere in the Office car by Leanne; it getting slowly crushed by a cement mixing wagon; me ending up with a broken foot.

Didn’t sleep well.

Keeping to the schedule (because the BBC 'five day forecast' said tomorrow was going to be overcast) we did the 'Girlfriend in a Coma' tribute tour. Part of it any way. The full thing would’ve included Capilano Gorge, Cleveland Dam and visiting the Park Royal Mall, but I was getting peckish and we’ve got to leave something for next time.

Consumed a quantity of lovingly engineered cocktails and the minimum amount of wasabi nuts (thanks Moose!) in The Free House.

Finally felt relaxed.

Still no Mounties.


8.10 On Time
For the last two nights I’ve had the same dream.
My hair grew, miraculously, till it was long enough to sit on, and I was captivated by the shiny silkiness of it.

Woke up and discovered it was approximately half a millimetre longer than the day before.

Once I could understand, but to dream the exact same thing, and feel the exact same disappointment on waking up, two nights in a row?

Oh well. Lovely would’ve said it was inappropriate, at my age, anyway.
He’d’ve probably made me wear a hairnet for work.

(NB: Remember to tell Leanne about the Vancouver waitresses. Specifically the slender, discreetly tattooed and pierced one who looked like a Slayer and the smiley one who looked like Alan Smith. But petite.)

Such Great Heights – Iron & Wine
Shivering Sun - Lorien
It’s About Time- The Lemonheads
The Patience Of Angels – Boo Hewerdine
Luck – Style Council
Yours and Mine – Calexico
We Used To Be So – Stephen Duffy
Airborne - Cinerama
Enjoy The Silence - Susanna and the Magical Orchestra


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday 27th August - Vancouver

Vancouver : 30 hours and still no Mounties.

Walked round Stanley Park this morning. Saw impending disaster at every turn.
A man on skates pushing a baby in sports buggy. A woman on skates carrying a small dog in a baby sling. A man on skates propelling a toddler on a trike. Competent cyclists overtaking incompetent ones by a whisker and with no warning.

Accidents waiting to happen, all of them.

More relaxing afternoon on Granville Island.
Bought the earrings, but the red silk top and skirt combo seemed unjustifiable. Will regret this later.


Friday, September 15, 2006

17.12 On Time
I was brought up to have no expectations.

In the same way as I wasn't allowed pets because I'd be sad when they died, I wasn't encouraged to have aspirations, because I'd be disappointed when they came to nothing.
I'm sure it was unconsciously done from the best of motives but I do sometimes wish I'd had a bit more ... well ... pushing.

Although, had that been the case, my contrary nature would've reared up and my response would've been to move as quickly as possible in the opposite direction. So, about now, I would be bemoaning my pushy parents and laying my lack of ambition at their feet.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Yup. I've put in another half-assed application for another job I don't want.

Or, am pretending I don't want. To avoid disappointment.

Saturday Morning - Eels
Neighbourhood #4 - Arcade Fire
This Time Tomorrow - James Yorkeston
Letter To Bowie Knife - Calexico
Fighting In a Sack - The Shins
At My Most Beautiful - REM
Dreamer - Supertramp
Never Going Back Again - Fleetwood Mac

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

...last night I had that strange dream, where everything was exactly how it seemed

9.06 On Time
I sleep in!!!

I hate sleeping in.

By that I don’t mean I hate a lazy weekend lie-in or staying in bed till two just because you can (although I'm not over keen on them either). I mean a “Bugger! It’s twenty past eight and I’m meant to be up at quarter past seven” style crisis.

You wouldn’t have to be Anne Boleyn to count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve overslept. That’s how much I hate it. I’ll lie awake half the night with getting-up-on-time anxiety over something really important.

Sleeping in demonstrates a lack of control and it puts you on the back foot which is why, as I walk through the office door this morning, I will be pretending I that I meant to do it, actually, just because I fancied another late start. O.K?

Sleeping In – The Postal Service
Data Centre – Ellis Island Sound
Pete Standing Alone – Boards Of Canada
End – The Cure
Don’t Look Back And It Won’t Hurt – Richmond Fontaine
Baby Genius - Eels
Sleepy – Grand Drive


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

8.10 Cancelled
9.06 On Time
It's good to be able to rely on the unreliability of the train.

Only been away for two weeks and the OlderBoy has grown a beard, the team is in disarray and I've put on eight pounds.

On the other hand, Leanne says nothing's happened at work.

Veneer - Jose Gonzales


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