Well, after a month or two of feeling like everything I touched turned to the brown stuff – I finally cracked and panicked… trying to use money to buy happiness.  Apparently “Money can’t buy happiness”.  Bollocks.  I went out (or rather – sat at my laptop) – spent a whole heap of money, and am now happy again.  I’m just going to avoid reading the automated weekly SMS’s regarding my bank balance on my brand new phone.

Anyway – back to chronological order… first up, the gig which I had to re-buy tickets for (which I must have been very lucky to do, buying another ticket on the day – when the gig ended up being sold-out).  Kill It Kid.  Who it turns out, are/were neighbours with a workmate of mine.  Met up with Jess beforehand – as she was also heading to the gig (I believe it was Jess who pointed the way for me to ‘discover’ these guys) – ate some cerviche and drank some cocktails – before heading to the gig.  And yeah, pretty good.  Two vocalists – a guy and a girl – both with amazing voices.  But possibly a fair bit of arrogance – but I guess that comes with a stupid amount of talent.  (I’ve heard.)  So yeah – rather good gig, and probably worth the purchase of 3 tickets to get myself in.

And while at the gig, Jess managed to convince me to finally head along to the blues jam night at one of her local haunts (the lead guitarist is working with her on her own songs).  So the following night, that’s just what I did.  Listened to a heap of random people get up on stage and play blues.  Including one harmonicist who was either very very nervous, or a cokehead.  Well actually – my strong suspicion is a mixture of the two.  Anyway – a good chilled night, with perhaps one or two cocktails more than was strictly necessary.  (I got an SMS the next morning from Jess claiming she was still drunk.  I had to head out to Reading to spend the day, along with the Managing Director of my company, at Oracle headquarters at a ‘workshop’ – but managed to bluff my way through the day.)

I then had about a week off – before Low at the Royal Festival Hall.  I was caught up at work until fairly late, and then had to head home to get my tickets – and was therefore running very late.  And I was worried, as I had suspicions that the venue would be of the type where you couldn’t enter partway through a ‘performance’.  But when I got to the venue, it was perfect timing really – between the support act and the main act – and it turns out the hall entrance policy was rather lenient in any case.  So I’d arrived with the makings of a stitch in my side for no good reason.  I stocked up on wine – and took my seat (this was another terribly civilised type gig).  And then the gig – very good.  It’s not a particularly internet-search friendly name – but I found at least one video – (don’t be put off by the noisy start – maybe skip to 0:50).

And then I went on some kind of spending rampage.  Got sick of my cellphone being so gutless that it couldn’t handle answering phone calls.  That’s your main purpose, cellphone!  I don’t care if I can look at my calendar on you, if you can’t handle the basics.  Bad phone.  So – I went online, and bought the most expensive newest technology that money can buy.  The first phone with Ice Cream Sandwich IN THE WORLD.  Which isn’t as tasty as it sounds.  Anyway – buying a stupidly overpriced phone paved the way.  I already felt a heap better about everything.  So I went ahead and fixed some of the problems arising from my emails apparently being deleted – and slightly backed off my angry emails to my hosting provider.  Then I went and committed to a week in Iceland with Jess.  I’d been holding off on that – as it will mean my missing 3 gigs I have tickets for – Gomez, the Magnetic Fields, and Tricky.  All of which I really rather wanted to see.  But – instead, I went and bought flights to Reykjavik.  So – I’m heading to Iceland for a week, hoping to see some Aurora Borealis, and maybe also some puffin(s?), reindeer, and whale(steak).  But as with gigs – I can’t just buy one ticket at a time.  So I went ahead and bought a flight to Cambodia also.  So, immediately proceeding Rough Beats – I’ll be heading to South-East Asia for three weeks, hoping to see some temple complex(es), some diving, and maybe some rentable heavy weaponry.

And then I went and hired a motorcycle.  18 months after doing the ‘Compulsory Basic Training’ – I finally followed through with the next step.  Which was a bad mistake – leaving it so long, I’d forgotten pretty much everything about how to ride a motorcycle.  But what better place and time to try and “get back on that bike” than London, in rush-hour?  I know – London, at rush-hour on the evening of Easter weekend.  So yeah – I went and picked up a motorbike from a fairly nearby hire place – on Thursday evening.  Very very nervous, hoping I wouldn’t embarass or kill myself in the first five minutes.  I managed to do neither – managed to ride the bike back to my place, without even stalling it once – and without crashing.  I got it home, parked it up – and left it there until everybody else had left London for the weekend.  I was pretty much pinning my hopes on this happening – Central London being deserted over the long weekend.  Friday – I went out, and discovered – Yes! – nobody about.  So, got back on that bike, and just started riding around town randomly.  Slowly got the confidence up – and decided the next day I’d try going to some specific places, to force myself to take turns/routes I wouldn’t by choice.  Saturday – went and bought up some ‘kit’ – kevlar jeans, a jacket, etc – and toured around London visiting every place I’ve ever lived.  Headed down to Oval & Balham – and then out to Stratford – checking on the Olympic Stadium.  Rode randomly around North London for a while, and eventually headed home – having started to rather enjoy the whole thing.  Sunday – I’d decided to make a slightly bigger trip – and get out of town.  I’d set my sights on Stonehenge, thinking it was out of London, but not too far out.  Which was incorrect – it is actually quite a long way out, and it turns out that a 125cc motorbike doesn’t go very fast on the open road.  And it’s cold.  But – I persisted, and checked out the rocks out in the middle of nowhere.  Fairly good rocks, some with hats on – showing a decent level of insanity.  But when you’ve seen the pure absolute incomprehensibility which is Easter Island – I mean… come on druids, is that all you’ve got?  Although – to be fair – Stonehenge also had a group of guys dressed up like hippies, playing music – with a poster explaining they needed donations to help raise funds for their project – which I believe was to raise the druids of old from the dead?  Or something.  So yeah – well done Stonehenge.  After Stonehenge, I spent another 3 hours in the cold, heading back to London.  Then headed down to the local pub for a big dinner they’d invited me to.  I struggled to be social, being rather exhausted – and probably came across as even more distant/aloof than normal.  Bought a bottle of champagne in an attempt to become a little more ‘bubbly’ myself – but with only limited success.  Eventually gave up, and headed home.  Monday – just a simple ride down to Balham to visit Chook.  Some lunch, a couple of pints, and a couple of games of pool – all in all a proper bloke’s day out.

And now it’s back to work.  I rode the bike into work this morning – feeling rather ridiculous in doing so, considering it’s a 25 minute walk.  But I need the practice, and gotta make the most of the bike while I’ve got it.  Speaking of which – I’m now going to research how to go about being allowed a bigger bike, which will allow me to go faster than 100km/h.  To enable me to spend even more money.

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