‘Tis, apparently, the season to be jolly

Okay – it’s now October, a month which is represented in numerals as double-digits.  However – September was still a single-digit month.  And it was in September that I first noticed some disturbing signs.  Chook came home, claiming to have seen evidence of decorative lights being installed on streetside telegraph poles.  But – there was the possibility that these were for some local festival.  And then I go to our local supermarket – where they have on sale… jeebersmas puddings and advent calendars.  Okay – I have long been sick of the backlash against the backlash against the backlash against…. etc etc … against jeebersmas.  And the whole “they start putting up decorations earlier every year” – and all that.  But – I honestly believe I have never seen advent calendars for sale in bloody September before.  And that’s all I’ve got say on that subject – hopefully until next August.

So – it seems that once again I’ve neglected to “tell the world about the trivia in [my life]” for over a month, which should keep Geoff Boycott happy at least.  But for anybody who likes to pretend to be interested – it seems that when I last babbled, it was immediately prior to several events.

Firstly – dinner with Lyn Ward & beau at The Ivy, followed by Oliver.  Both of which were pretty good.  Food at The Ivy was pretty much what you’d expect – no more, no less.  Fairly good food, fairly expensive prices, fairly attentive staff.  So – a fairly pleasant experience overall.  And then Oliver.  It was my first show, despite having been in London for quite a while now – and I wasn’t disappointed.  I didn’t really know what to expect – but the singing, acting, dancing etc – pretty good.  But the set(s) – that was amazing.  I was impressed – and I very rarely admit to being impressed.  As soon as the underground set was somehow presented to us – wow.  Anyway – was rather tired by the end of the evening – and left Lyn & John with not much of a farewell, realising later that I probably wouldn’t see them again until I next visited NZ.

But I needed my sleep – as the next night was Secret Cinema.  A kind of immersive cinema experience.  Except that sounds remarkably wanky.  So – best way to describe it – is to describe my personal experience, I guess.  I knew the whole concept is to go somewhere and watch a movie – but you don’t know what the movie is beforehand.  We had been told only that we should arrive at Alexandra Palace dressed as bedouin, or arab, tribesmen.  Tribes-people.  So – we did.  And on the walk from the train station to the actual Palace complex – we passed camels, donkeys, soldiers hiding in the undergrowth, dancing girls, etc – and a general theme of tribesmen coming together for a war or some such.  At this point, I think all doubt that the movie would be the obvious choice – Lawrence of Arabia – had disappeared.  Then – we entered Ally Pally itself – and the initial foyers were set-up with desks, pool tables, etc – with dozens of people dressed in colonial english army uniforms – hustling about pretending to be busy.  I got pulled aside by somebody claiming to document the “new arrivals” – and had my photo taken.  And then some other ‘english officer’ turned his nose up at us, and loudly said that he was off to the officers mess, as there would be “better company”.  etc etc.  All quite well done.  Then – entered the first hall – which was more of the bedouin side of things – live music with belly dancers (some complete with snakes – why why why?) – backgammon boards, cushions, etc.  There was also a sideroom which had walls painted as the desert horizon, the floor had been covered with sand, and had a guy riding a camel around in it.  And eventually – we entered the main hall, where there was a little show put on of Lawrence arriving and speaking to the four tribal leaders – and then we watched the movie – lying down on cushions we’d liberated from the previous hall.  And a long, long time later – managed to catch the last train back into London.  Definitely keen for more Secret Cinema events, I think.  Here is the official footage of the one we went to – but there are plenty of others there too.

I think the next event after Secret Cinema was Modest Mouse – with a pair of Osbornes.  That was pretty good too.  Excellent live show, in fact.  I think some expectations had been lowered after Wu Tang – but with Modest Mouse, considering the music can be quite “noisy” even when produced and tweaked for an album – the live show was extraordinarily audible, or understandable, or something.  Where’s my vocabulary gone?  What’s the equivalent of ‘legible’ for audio?  Audibly legible?  Anyway – I could undertand lyrics, recognise songs – and both the light show and band’s theatrics were manically understated, fitting the music perfectly.  If that makes any sense.  If it does make sense to you – I suspect you might be crazy.

And then there was King Kapisi.  That was also rather good.  A very small venue – but a very energetic and chatty Kapisi.  Good, no-nonsense Aotearoa Hop-Hip show – followed by somehow being in the bar after closing time – and Kapisi walking into the toilet and having a urinal-chat with me.  Which somehow continued until we left the urinal – and I was standing uncomfortably in the middle of a near-deserted bar, while Kapisi gave me life advice.  Chris, as we dispensed with his royal title early on, did get me to admit that “I run that shit”.  He forced me to give myself big ups.  And eventually – I managed to sneak away, leaving the King Kaps to move on and spread his goodwill and cheer onto the next person needing an ego-boost.  Unfortunately, I squandered my newfound self-confidence extremely quickly – spending the next 24 hours tearing down all that nasty self-respect, and turning up at work on Monday in a sorry sorry state.

Which lasted all week – until Ben returned from Europe – and, quite accidentally, Friday night turned into a repeat of the previous Saturday.  But – I hade to pull myself together on Saturday – for Saturday night I went to Grinderman.  Which – I didn’t really know what to expect.  Partly because I was still so dopey from the previous night.  But – Nick Cave woke me the hell up.  Without a doubt, the best gig I’ve been to this year.  Read my comments on the Modest Mouse show above, but remove the ‘understated’.  The music, the band, the light set-up – all absolutely manic.  Pure, raw energy – with Nick Cave running around the stage, leaning into the crowd – and generally terrifying the poor guys who had to make sure that everything on stage was where it is supposed to be.  Because after Nick Cave ran through – nothing was where it used to be.  Every minute, somebody would be crawling out onto stage, to untangle the mic cord from where it had somehow been wound theree times around an amp; or retrieving a mic stand from where it had been thrown – or putting the keyboard back on it’s stand.  Absolute madness.  And once again, somehow ended up being in the midst of the after-party – which had warm beer.  Terrible terrible warm beer in plastic bottles.  But – hung around for a short time – and Jess got a hug from Nick , before I shook his hand and congratulated him on a fine performance.  And then bolted for the door before he could sneer at me, which I’m sure is what would have been next.  I can’t imagine Nick Cave convincing me that I actually run that shit.

And that’s been the last month.  Coming up – not much.  Probably heading to Egypt next week – so may be another month before I write.  But – I expect that anybody still reading this only check it monthly now anyway.

Oh – and I’m writing a technical whitepaper to be published soon.  Maybe I’ll post a copy of that up here too.  Just to prove that I can write something even more boring, if I put my mind to it.  I need some ideas for a title by the way.  It’s kind of about using Oracle RAC to accomplish server consolidation – rather than the usual de facto method of virtualisation.  Ideas?

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