Fall ’14

Fall 2014 – not much happening at all.  Wore my woolly hat for the first time today.

1 gig – Future of the Left.  Was good… the crowd banter didn’t sound particularly authentic, having seen them before.  But bass guitarist crowd-surfing was pretty sweet.

And that was pretty much it.  The only other events of note were actually not events, but confirmation/portents of events to come…

  • Got some tickets to the Rugby World Cup for next year, innit.  In fact, I was allocated all the tickets I applied for in the ballot, except the final.  Which may have been a blessing, I can’t remember how much that one was… but not cheap.  Anyway – I’ve got NZ vs Namibia (at the Olympic Stadium, so I get to watch a farce/thrashing and finally visit the Olympic village/stadium), NZ vs Argentina (at Wembley, will be first time at Wembley Stadium), the Quarter-Final that NZ should be in (at Millenium Stadium on a weekend, so will finally visit Cardiff), and the Semi-Final that NZ should be in (at Twickenham, so convenient).  And, I’m really hoping my ticket allocation isn’t some terrible omen of NZ’s progress (or lack thereof).
  • Gigs booked for next year, not many, just 2 so far: Ryan Adams, and Public Service Broadcasting.
  • I’m soon going to try my hand at being a teacher, or a presenter, or something.  Going to India, going to do some presentations on how people should do their job.  It’s not even teaching people to do my job… it’s actually teaching people how to do the job they already have.  A job that I don’t do.  All in all – should be interesting.
  • And, the cherry I requested before agreeing to do the above – a quick side-trip to New Zealand, while I’m in the area.  Booked some flights today, so unless things at work change (I’ve booked tickets based on unofficial confirmation that things are happening):
    • arrive in Auckland on afternoon of 14th December
    • leave Auckland in wee hours of 11th January (dinner in Auckland on the 10th, anybody?)
  • As soon as I’m in NZ, I think I’ll be paying off my student loan.  It was nice while it lasted, but it’s just one more piece of paperwork I’d be best rid of.
  • Very close to hitting the mark on the Adventurer, where half the miles on the odometer are ‘mine’.  There were only 11,000 miles on the clock when I bought it – over its 16 years of use.  In my 16 months or so… very very close to another 11,000 miles.  But, unless next weekend is clear (socially… I’m tempted to take it out even if wet to hit the milestone), doesn’t look like I’ll make it this year, dammit.

10 weeks of all-sorts

Right – it’s been a while, and a fair bit happened…

Nine Inch Nails – struggling to remember it, but I assume it was big and noisy.

New Zealand – went home, visited some people, missed out on visiting others.  Rode my new bike (photos below) – fell off it on the 2nd day… not particularly serious – but enough to require buying a new helmet and laptop screen, and feel rather sore for a few days, and bent a few bits and pieces on the bike.  Put about 3,500 km on it.  Spent some time with the niece & nephews – which was all good, even if half the time I was jetlagged, and just watching them.

Rarotonga – island time.  Riding a scooter around – didn’t fall off it.  Snorkelling.  Sun.  Just chilled.  Old Dog.  New Dog.  New New Dog.  Jigsaw puzzle.  Didn’t walk across the island.  Didn’t go fishin’.  Didn’t go divin’.  Still, it was good.

Jared & Jess got married.  My first beach wedding… everything I’d dreamed it would be.  I cut my hair short one one side, fashioned myself a good old side-to-side comb-over, complete with plenty of hair product, etc.  I was a little disappointed in the number of comments – mostly because it suggests people thought I was being serious.  Photos to come.  Oh, and next day – shaved my head… over a month later, I’m still not used to it, or happy about it.  But, it is what it is.

Back to England on the Monday – had two gigs scheduled for Thursday night.  The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, or Beth Orton.  I’d seen them both before – so I opted for Beth, as it was at the Barbican – super close, and seated – so I could easily doze off if I wanted.  Which I didn’t want, but I did anyway.  Beth, as always – pretty good.

BST festival at Hyde Park – Lucy RoseHalf Moon RunCaitlin RoseThe NationalNeil Young – the acts I managed to see… all of whom were rather good.  Although Half Moon Run seemed a lot more “bro-bro” than I would have expected.  And I drank a little more champagne in the sun than was probably good for me, and I watched most of Neil Young’s set from a nice relaxed spot where I could sit down and read my book.

And now, three weeks back – I’ve finally got “my UK bike” ready for some summer rides… battery was dead when I got back, and miscellaneous other upkeep bits to do – but hopefully this weekend, will get some miles on it, and see if my experience on “my NZ bike” has helped me get the knee down a bit lower.

2014-06-27 16.08.15
2014-06-06 11.49.09
2014-06-20 13.15.10

Bank Holiday Season

Lots of bank holidays recently/soon… and I’ve managed to make use of some, not of others.

But first up, recent gigs:

  • Augustines (formerly We Are Augustines) – at Koko.  I can’t figure out if these guys are a guilty pleasure, or genuinely good.  But in any case – another good gig.  They just seem so stoked to be playing.  Mandatory encore, acoustic song from balconyexcursion into crowd, cover of a ‘local’/semi-topical band/song.  Overall, good.  I’m going to take some of their optimism, and rescind my earlier predictions that they would become more and more annoyingly earnest.
  • John Butler Trio – at Brixton Academy.  Good.  Except, as soon as I reached the venue, I remembered… “there are going to be a lot of australians here”… and sure enough, the sheer volume of cheap shiny faux-leather, leopard-skin prints, and just general loudness – spectacular.  Although I started wondering, how different was this from a Black Seeds gig – with the “young-kiwi-in-london” crowd?  After some amateur postulation over mini-bottle after mini-bottle of Black Tower, I decided it boils down to aussies being full of self-confident naivete, while kiwis are self-aware naivete… or perhaps self-conscious naivete… can’t decide.  Anyway – John Butler Trio… good.  Very good, really enjoyed the gig.  Plenty of energetic songs done by the Trio, a few more extended classic John Butler solo efforts.  And, of course, some preachin’.
  • Devendra Banhart – at the Barbican.  Actually, Devendra was the 1st act, main act was Rokia Trao – and the show was the kickoff event for Nonesuch Records 50-year celebrations at the Barbican.  I’m considering grabbing tickets for more events.  But the one I did go to so far – it was obvious a very large proportion of the crowd was solely there to see Devendra Banhart – even though he was doing this solo/acoustic.  And as such, had nobody to rein in his completely random ramblings when he did start speaking between songs.  Or give him direction when he foolishly opened the floor for the crowd to start requesting songs.  But – when he did play, it was rather good.  I stayed around to check out Rokia Traore – and was glad I did.  Really good – I can’t find any videos of that particular gig, but one from recently, which looks rather similar.. or a video of a full concert from last year, which again looks very similar, excepting the setting – including when she really gets going at about the hour mark.  What is it about Mali, that generates so many spectacular musicians?
  • Nick Lowe – at the Union Chapel.  Always going to be good, and it was.  It was just last night, so no videos available on the youtube yet, but – rest assured, good.  About half the show, just him and his guitar.  Then for the second half, he had John Paul Jones (as in, Led Zeppelin) playing bass.

Bike rides:

  • Easter, meandered towards Wales, spent two days just criss-crossing every National Park I could find… the Black Mountains… awesome.  One amazing road, and several other just really really good ones.  The main danger, being nervous sheep – there were a couple which looked like they were going to jump right in my path, but luckily – no such thing happened.  Then on the Monday, meandered my way back towards London, picking random B-roads, ofttimes finding that I’d gone in a circle, or was heading away from London.  But all good… until a pheasant hit me.  Or rather, I should say, I hit a pheasant… at 70 mph.  Right in the centre of the chest, which was probably quite lucky – if it had hit an arm, handlebar, I’m guessing I could quite easily have dropped handlebar, and/or even swerved quite wildly.  But – nope, just a good solid kick to the chest, and the head must have hit my helmet – as I certainly took a little blow to the helmet/head somehow.  But, I stayed on, and stayed going… once I’d checked I was still in a straight line, and head was straight too… checked I wasn’t holding a dazed bird in my lap – but no such luck.  And with white-line-fever, I didn’t bother going back to see if it was dazed or dead on the road.  Regret that now…  somebody told me that it was illegal to ‘claim’ roadkill if you were the driver… but I believe that isn’t actually true.  In any case, probably would have been quite tricky hanging a pheasant in my apartment.
  • Last weekend – headed south.  Criss-crossed the South Downs national park several times, before finding a hotel at Bognor Regis to stay the night.  Turns out that the hotel was your stereotypical colonial-times hotel, with all the sorts of practices one reads about in Agatha Christie novels.  Designed for tour groups.  Dinner at a certain time, with your choice of meal made at breakfast.  A ballroom, the Garden Room, big lawns, bar open at very specific times, etc etc.  And the town – a typical “British seaside resort” town.  Pier, ‘amusement centres’, cheap restaurants, bad fish and chips, bad beach, rental deckchairs, and then Butlins… I’d never seen a Butlins, or similar, before – and even now – I just rode past it.  But it, and several other neighbouring similar entities – is apparently a ‘holiday camp’.  I think it’s just a hotel, and some sort of ‘so-called-fun park’ rolled into one?  I don’t really get it… it’s like they’ve found a place where it would be good to have a holiday, like the seaside… and then built this big complex there, designed such that you would never actually go visit/see/experience the reason for the location being a good holiday destination.  I just don’t get it.
    Anyway – next day, got up – keen to leave this place in my rearview mirror… discovered I didn’t have a clutch.  Realised this was most likely to my clutch fluid being effectively empty… couldn’t get the plate off to refill, neither could AA guy… settled in for a long van ride back to London – but recovery guy suggested he have a go, did so – got it off, sweet – refilled – I was off on my way.  Found myself in the Cotswald Water Park… and once again, I found myself confused.  Similar to Bognor Regis – it seemed like just dozens and dozens of ‘holiday camps’, based around, and encroaching on, a similar number of bad lakes… bad in that I couldn’t tell if they were natural, but ruined by the man-made nonsense going on around them… or artificial – and therefore just inherently bad, as man-made attempts at water features normally are.  Happy Land.  At one point, I discovered the tiny dirty country lane I was riding on, about to leave – was called “Happy Land”.  Not “Happy Land Lane”, or “Happy Land Row”, or “Happy Land Road”… just “Happy Land”.   Happy Land smelt quite a lot of the cowshit it was covered in.  After a day of randomly riding in circles, including through Avebury (home to Europe’s largest neolithic stone circle) several times, found a very nice road from Marlborough-Avebury… I need to remember and revisit… nice corners, hills, a big white horse on the hill, neolithic stones… everything – settled into a hotel in Marlborough… where it seems some family reunion or similar was in progress, with parents very drunk, and unsupervised children running around the hotel/pub – and it seems that at one point a food fight had taken place (parents or children – unknown).
    Monday – more meandering, before finally joining the A40, and making my way into the heart of London.  When, just as I am in the right-hand lane of what is effectively, if not officially, a motorway – heading up an overpass… my rear tyre goes.  Flat/burst/punctured – whatever… I’m in the middle of very very busy traffic, all impatiently driving home after the long weekend.  I pull over to the right of the right hand lane… hazard lights on… trying to make myself the smallest target/nuisance as possible… pull out the phone to dial somebody, anybody – maybe police? – just about to dial… phone switches itself off, no battery.  Awesome.  But, as it happens – I was right next to a police headquarters – they must have spotted me – sent a truck, which blocked traffic – I pushed my bike off the motorway to a nearby side-street, called roadside assistance from a payphone, and sat down to wait 2 hours to be picked up.
  • This weekend – picked up the bike, after having both tyres replaced, full service, MOT.  Should be safe again now – and I’m pretty sure the clutch fluid, and rear tyre going – were both my own fault… I hadn’t checked clutch fluid for a long time… and rear tyre, I had noticed was getting a little bald… just didn’t realise how bad it actually was.  In the future – much more diligent.  So, bike is as good as new now… rode it into town, did some shopping – mostly ridiculously overpriced clothing/accessories.  Then remembered that ridiculously overpriced places love to package their stuff in ridiculously over-sized packaging.  So, ended up riding home with a big luxury brand name shopping bag hanging from one handlebar, my mochila/backpack crammed full of other stuff – during a period when it seemed the rain had stopped (which it did, mostly)

So – sitting here now, with post-shopping regret… nearly every ridiculously over-priced item purchased was wrong for one reason or another.  Still, it was a nice day out.  Now – off to do more shopping, but today – cheap stuff, food, anything which will assist me in using up all the tinned foods I bought 2 years ago, as “ingredients for emergency meals” – but which I have never used, and will apparently expire next month.  I see some uninteresting meal options between now and flying to NZ.

Spring… ?

Haven’t updated much for a while, but then – haven’t done much for a while.

Just the 1 gig – Wye Oak… good, as always.  Although – just off the plane, it seems – and rather sick.  So – slightly shortened set, and obvious a “practice run” of new material, in a small venue, before their proper tour in June/July.  But I’m glad I went.  And the support act – Sylvan Esso… very good.  Terrible sound in this clip, but… a name I’ll definitely be watching out for.  Album out in about a month, hopefully.

The Adventurer – think I managed to get out in the countryside once in the last 6 weeks or so?  Got myself a new jacket though, for summer…. hoping on wearing that in over the next few weekends.

Bad day of work yesterday – so went online, did some “retail therapy”, as I believe the crazies call it.  Got myself a sweet sweet flight – Heathrow->Auckland.  Return, sadly – but, it’ll do for now.  So yeah, landing in Auckland on Sunday 31st May.  Flying out again on 29th June.  In between those dates, a flight to Rarotonga on the 7th.  No return flight for that yet, but will be there at least 1 week.  Probably not much more, as I think I might also be buying a bike.  So – hopefully that pans out, and I’ll be looking for excuses to travel far and wide around the countryside – and visiting people is a good excuse like that.  Although this will be a shorter visit overall, due to the Raro thing in the middle… who knows, hopefully I’ll even make it to Wellington this time?

Oh, and yeah – the subject.  Spring is here, maybe?  I think there was a sunny day last week.  And it’s not dark when I leave the office anymore.  And the temperature is in double digits… nearly throughout the day.  So – as soon as the sun does make an appearance, I’ll be off on a plane to winter.

Storms, flooding, gales, bog fires

Britain – stormy weather, flooding, bursts of wind pushing my bike over, and bog fires.  And Russell Brand doing his best Michael Moore impression (trying to argue for something which is worth arguing for… but in such a bad way that he looks like an idiot, and damages the argument in doing so).  I’m reconsidering my New Year’s Resolution of becoming British.  Speaking of which, an update on such Resolutions:

Becoming British: Mixed results… finished studying my “Life in the UK” book – telling me all about how “Britain is a fantastic place to live…”.  But haven’t done much about it since… need to book myself an exam I think, before I forget “the values and principles of the UK”.   Slightly related – have signed up to English Heritage  – with free entry to all sorts of castles, historic sites, etc, etc.

Eating one-handed: Mixed results… probably succeeding in this about as much as I normally do anyway.  Should have, could have, come up with a better worded/intended Resolution.

Drink water: Mixed results… generally doing quite well.  Drinking lots of water whenever I’m “in routine”… ie: at home, or at the London office.  But any deviation from routine – where I don’t have my water bottles reminding me… not so good.

Side-project resolutions: Mixed results… still on plan to get rid of all my hair, probably when next in NZ – allow niece/nephews to cut it off.  Or somewhere/sometime when there’s some sun, but not too much sun; North Korea is looking unlikely this year… trip to NZ might preclude a trip to NK soon thereafter; I’ve started back on the rowing maching, but not as religiously as in 2012… and running out of suitable TV material to watch while exercising.

All in all – a poor set of Resolutions, looking back.  I blame that on 2013… its effects linger on.


Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – all right.  That’s about it.

Phoenix – really good.  Quite enjoyed this one… a bit louder than I expected, as gigs often are.  More energy brought to the live set, or whatever.  But yeah – no one extra-special thing, just good music, decent energy, decent lighting… adding up to rather good.

Bill Callahan – good.  I was rather tired for this one… after Phoenix on Wednesday, and a team dinner/drinks in Kent on Thursday.  So – off the train back from Kent on Friday evening, head home, change, head to Royal Festival Hall.  Find I’ve got a very sweet seat, nice and civilised like.  So settle in for the gig… but the seat was a mixed blessing.  I think I dozed off near the end… but overall, a nice quiet evening.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – very, very good.  Opening act: Harper Simon, son of Paul.  At the end of his set, announced all his ‘merch’ was available for free.  Then the main act… just really, really good.  Straight away – it was obviously going to be good.  Just so much energy, stage presence (easy when there’s 10 of you I guess), with such original/varied songs… and then there was the crowd interaction.  Inviting members of the crowd to sing a verse (which worked amazingly well), or play harmonica; inviting crowd members onto stage to sing/dance/hug (which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before is nearly always a sign of a great gig… I don’t know how/why/which-direction the cause-effect is).  And of course, their hit song at the end – which annoyed me for some reason (I expected a more original setlist) – but they did it rather well.  And played, I believe – well past the official curfew.

The Adventurer… haven’t been out on it too often recently.  Storms, flooding, gales, and bog fires – you know.  But – did go out one weekend… before I realised there were storms, flooding, etc.  Had spent a few days in the Kent office… so took the opportunity to stay out there Friday night – meaning on Saturday… I was already in the countryside – and didn’t have the 1 hour journey each way through concrete – just to get in/out of London.  So – headed to Battle… and toured the site of the Battle of Hastings, 1066… where William became the Conqueror, Harold became dead, and England became a French province.  Headed onwards… in decidedly less sunny weather… and wondering about the terrible drainage of english roads… considering (what I thought to be) very little rain recently – there was a LOT of water just flowing over the roads.  But then I started noticing fields under water.  Apparently, a lot more rain had fallen recently than I thought.  And then I hit the coast, with thoughts of a nice scenic ride along the coast.  Stopped at one beach – stretch the legs… as I prepared to head off again, sleet, gusts of wind strong enough to make me very worried about me & bike being knocked over, and then the rain.  So – onwards to Dover, trying to figure if I should go faster so that I have momentum on my side, or slowly so that if a gust of wind really threw me – it’s not a 70mph collision with a curb.  Anyway – headed on, intending to tour the Dover castle and get some hot food… but that was closed.  Headed instead to Deal, and checked out the Deal castle very quickly.  Rather smaller than the Dover one.  Still drizzling, but not stormy… headed on to Margate, arriving at a hotel just in time to watch the 2nd half of England losing to France in the rugby (I stayed quiet about 1066).  Sunday – relatively scenic route back to London.

Future – a few gigs lined up.  Need to get some more momentum on the becoming British thing.  Hope to head to the Isle of Man sometime this year.  Looks like I’m visiting New Zealand in June… don’t have definite plans/dates yet, except a flight to Rarotonga on 7th June.  Which means I’ll be missing Arcade Fire.

Goodbye 2013

A mixed bag, 2013…  on the one hand: I fell off the “exercise more, drink less” wagon, and had a rather serious (looking back on it, didn’t seem like it at the time) motorbike accident; on the other: I visited 4 new countries, and gained independence/revenue by becoming a contractor.

Overall, I think I’m happy to see this particular New Year, as a fresh start (or re-attempt).  So – New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Eat one-handed
  • Drink water
  • Become British

And some probable side-projects:

  • Surrender to baldness… allow niece/nephews to shave my head?
  • North Korea – this year, hopefully, I’ll finally get around to my dream Trans-Mongolian, North Korea, Central Asia trip.
  • Get back on that hoss… the rowing machine hoss.

Enough looking forward… time to look back… Gigs…

  • Braids, at XOYO… a random gig, I saw it listed, at XOYO – so just around the corner – read a description of the band, figured it’d probably be alright.  And yeah, it was alright.  Except they’ve completely re-designed the layout of XOYO, so I was very very disoriented.  Yet the barmaid still asked if I wanted “my usual”… a little disconcerting.
  • Dave Dobbyn & Don McGlashan, at the Union Chapel.  You can’t really go wrong with those three ingredients.  Seeing Dave Dobbyn in London is kinda a kitsch right-of-passage thing for an ex-pat Kiwi… but I felt rather jealous of those who were doing it for the first time at this particular gig.  They alternated Dobbyn/McGlashan songs… mostly playing quite obscure stuff, until wheeling out the big guns at the end.
  • Sinéad O’Connor, at the Royal Festival Hall.  Caro had bought the tickets for this, and I went along.  I’ve only listened to Sinéad properly quite recently… she’s rather good, but her bat-shit insanity gets a little grating.  Turns out – her fans are the same!  But for a couple of hours – quite amusing.  Very enthusiastic fans… stuck in a fully seated venue.  Two girls in front of us couldn’t help themselves but dance terribly, sometimes seated, sometimes unable to resist standing and blocking other’s views.  But yeah, good gig
  • Terrible covers band, Fidelity Christmas Party.  So yeah, the festive season, work parties, etc, etc.  Fidelity party was at the Lingfield racegrounds, out in the country.  So I rode down on Wednesday morning, spent a couple of days brain-dumping my knowledge of my project to a few new guys, and stayed at the Marriott at the venue of the party for a couple of nights… planning on riding back to London on Friday evening.  Which meant a 30 minute ride from work on Wed evening to hotel… through ridiculous fog.  So… turned out to be a 50 minute ride of constant terror.  Left my bike at work on Thursday evening, caught bus to venue – got changed, partied, woke up, and caught taxi to work.  Somehow left phone in taxi.  Rode to East Grimstead or whatever to pick up phone on Friday evening, the driver still had it in his car, and had gone home.  So, found hotel to stay the night.  Opted out of cheap/cheerful Premium Inn in town… thinking I’d find a nice pub with rooms to spend the evening in the countryside.  Found a place – checked in, realised that it was actually just a hotel, with small run-down bar, no kitchen/food, and very dodgy overall.  But, had a very cheap, very cheerful restaurant a 5 minute walk up the road, so I coped.  Woke up the next day, went to taxi office, still no phone, waited an hour, eventually turned up.  Back to London…
  • to do some work, and then see Electric Six.  Which didn’t happen.  Well – the work did… I’d been afraid that I’d be too tired to see/enjoy Electric Six (a bit of a guilty pleasure gig… I keep seeing their name pop up, so figured I’d finally give in and go see them)… but as it turns out, the work stretched out into the evening, so I ended up being stuck in the office until much too late.  Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be… Electric Six probably needs to be seen at Heaven (refer previous post).
  • Placebo, Brixton Academy.  An ex-workmate told me that Placebo was one of his top 5 bands, which I didn’t understand – as he is quite smart… so I figured I’d give them another chance.  (It’s not that I dislike Placebo, but more… yeah – couple of nice-ish songs, but I wouldn’t ever consider them desert-island-disc type material).  So – went to the gig, first impression – wow, enthusiastic fans.  Some people really really like Placebo.  Second impression – I’m still not one of those people.
  • Following night: Katzenjammers – not a gig, another christmas-period event.  German bar, steins, sauerkraut, etc.  But a late night, with lots of drink, little sleep… by this point I was already tired of the ‘silly season’…
  • So Tricky, at the Electric Ballroom the following night, was always going to be a struggle.  I was very seriously considering flagging it… but I’d missed his gig a year ago – when he played the entire Maxinquaye album, to go to Iceland… so pulled myself together, and made it there… very tired, very hungover, and just holding it together.  And was pleased I did.  It was one of those gigs where you think “wow – I’d forgotten just how awesome this guy is”.  And that was with a gig where I don’t think Tricky himself was even on stage for the first 15 minutes, plus 2 pauses for “encores”… during which he really made the crowd demand it… probably a total of another 30 minutes off-stage, and then the last 30 minutes was him just repeating the same chorus over and over again (with a couple dozen crowd members on stage with him).  But yeah – really, really good.  This video sums it up quite nicely, despite poor quality… short clips of a few songs, Tricky covering Ace of Spades with a dozen crowd members in on stage, in such a way that when it is followed by what is probably his most famous song, it’s nearly a let-down; and the insane final half-hour.  I just watched the entire thing again, and got the shivers.  Tricky is going into my list of top gigs.
  • Jeebers’s Birthday – left work a little early on the 24th… had a few drinks – then headed home.  Stayed awake for as long as possible, to try and catch people in NZ coming online for Skype talks, but couldn’t stay awake for that long, and only caught Mum.  25th – slept in, and headed to Caro’n’Dom’s at about noon.  Too exhausted from the month to be particularly good company, but Malachy seemed to like my gift of a dancing/singing Baloo (although his grandma seemed to like it more..), and I received in turn a pair of sweet Incredible Hulk lounge pants, which I am wearing right now.  It’s a good look.  Good food, good drinks, good conversation (despite, or because of?, my inability to contribute much) – and then some whisky tasting, leading to my staying the night on the couch.
  • Boxing Day – stuck around, helped build a Duplo airport/heliport, and generally just lingered until Dom’s wider family started turning up.  More food, more drinks… but I forced myself to leave once the red wine started flowing… to get home for work the next day.
  • New Year’s Eve… left work early, headed to a bar for some drinks with the Programme Director from work (he doesn’t like being called a Project Manager).  After a couple of drinks in Islington, a plan was floated to perhaps drop off his stuff at his place, and head to the West End to find something/somewhere to do for the evening.  I opted out, suggesting a couple more drinks locally, before heading our separate ways… as I didn’t have the energy for a full-blown night out.  A couple more drinks locally somehow turned into the barman suggesting politely “the way you guys are going through those wines, wouldn’t it be sensible to order a bottle… save a few quid?”.  Well – he’s the expert.  Next thing I know, we’re discussing politics, love, (no sport that I can recall), chatting up random girls, etc.  I eventually headed home – well, to my local – to see in the New Year.  But, I’m not sure I made it… I think I realised I’d probably drunk a little more than was good for me, headed home – and I rather suspect that for the first time in abut 20 years worth of New Year’s Eves – went to bed before midnight.  New Year’s Eve in England… I don’t really get it.  It just doesn’t work.