24 June 2006

music and frisbees

The last several weeks have been a bit hermit-like. Self-imposed exile is tedious and, while the reasons for that exile still exist, my recent escapes into the wide world of London have bolstered spirits. I've been out more in the last 3 days than in the last 3 weeks. It's amazing to see the world again. Especially with brilliant friends.

Last night saw myself and Ru venturing into the wilds of North Kensington, past Ladbroke Grove and above the Regent's Canal to find a pub named Paradise By Way of Kensal Green. That's a pub name to make you wiggle your toes with glee. It turned out there was a great deal of glee to be had, whether it was toe wiggling or not was up to personal preference. We'd braved the wild North Ken for Kate's birthday. Neither of us knew what to expect - she's a successful musician and it could well have been some glitzy, diamond-studded, Cristal-popping affair with papparazzi and wannabes lingering at the entrance. But then she wouldn't have been Kate and the party certainly wouldn't have been in a pub on Kilburn Lane.

First of all, the pub was wicked. Chilled out, comfy decor with cozy old couches but lots of natural light. They had Spitfire and Red Stripe on tap. Red Stripe on tap is cool, and very rock and roll. I base that on the fact that the only other rock star I know drinks Red Stripe. Anyway, the private room upstairs was also funky, but in the sort of bar at a brothel kind of funky. The cool, relaxed tones of downstairs replaced by hot reds and sinful purple.

Second of all, Kate's a genius and had the best idea for a party ever. As loads of her mates are professional and very talented musicians, why not mix them all up and have them just rock out some awesome covers? Which is what happened. It was so cool - the 9 year-old daughter of one of her mates got up and did a heart-rending rendition of Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, the drummer and keyboardist from Kate's band paid homage to Van Halen's Jump with some bassist I didn't know who kicked pretty serious arse. Everyone went nuts at Jump - it was pure musical crack. All this while chucking down Red Stripes, jumping around, grinning and laughing like a moron and just getting goofy excited when the next bunch took the stage to sing a classic. Then Arnie, Kate's awesome bassist with incredible dress sense, sang the cover I've been waiting for for so long. It was the perfect Rock Me Amadeus. I'm not kidding. It was awesome and brought the house down. If they released it as a single, I'd buy it.

Third of all, I got a chance to catch up with Kate. She's ace.

Then Ru and I drunkenly staggered to the world's most dreadful, ghetto, filthy fast food chicken place and pigged out before finding a cab driver who knew where Chiswick was.

Today it took me over 2 hours to get to Regents Park for a picnic that I was, yup, over two hours late for. Beer, football, frisbee, sun, food and some nice new people and the afternoon went too quickly. Walking back to the station through the park a tremendous sense of well-being hit me and the glow still resonates. Though that may be sunburn.

And the Red Sox just won their 8th in a row.

And the other day, on my run, a pretty girl gave me a nice smile. She was running too, the other way but the same route. So when we crossed eachother's paths again (the route's a loop), she gave me an even bigger smile. I've yet to see her again. The warm smile of a woman can be haunting.

odd inheritance

The other day and lacking the confines of context, my mother informed me that I had my grandfather's fingernails. My grandfather, long since passed away, was a general in the US Marine Corps and, from what I understand and remember of him, a brilliant strategist and quite a remarkable individual. That the miracle of genetics allows any of that to be passed on is remarkable, though I feel somewhat shortchanged that it's only fingernails. Ah well.

23 June 2006

hay hay hay

The lawn is no longer green. Well, there's some green left, but it's not in the majority. The majority is now a sickly hay colour. Patches of green hold out here and there, but their numbers dwindle and every one lost is another in the ranks of the sickly hay. This isn't a permanent condition - rain will eventually bring the green back. Not in time for my folks and I to appreciate it, but perhaps that's for the best. It's easy to project meaning into the decline of the lawn, toy with the idea that it's mourning the loss of such fantastic caretakers. But anthropomorphising grass is silly, and its decline is due to drought and the hosepipe ban.

Hyde Park's grass is not fairing much better, and I'm sure that it's not mourning anything. Of course, with the partygoers of the O2 Wireless festival trampling it, it may be a case of self-pity. I wouldn't begrudge it a bit of self-pity. I've indulged in self-pity myself and while it lead to dehydration I never changed colour. Unless it was to turn a little green.

Yesterday was a cocktail of beer, music, food, more beer, pubs, festivals and surprises. I played my part in punishing the grass at Hyde Park. Ru, academic son and music raconteur, provided several comp passes to the 'chill out' day of the Wireless Festival. Which was wicked. Many people took a half-day and we all met at the Star in Belgravia to drink beer before, and this is a technical term, "rocking out".

Moments of pure adrenaline-laced joy spiked a general, sustained note of well-being throughout the day. Seeing Kate jam brilliantly on a massive stage to a loving crowd of 30,000, then - and I had no idea they were there - going to see The Fun Lovin' Criminals and bouncing like a lunatic to Scooby Snacks and realising that Huey really is the most incredibly cool individual ever. Except for Indiana Jones. Then we went on a crazy carny ride and managed not to be sick and, had it not been for a lack of cash, would have gone right back on again. We also drank lots of beer. And Ru's mate played some chilled out tunes that I almost heard over the roar coming from the Fun Lovin' Criminals' tent.

So it was all quite groovy really. I paused to pity the grass once. But then I thought of all the free beer that was getting spilled on it. Lucky, lucky grass - no pity for you.

It was such a good party that alien robots came to see what all the fuss was aboutHuey, the Fun Lovin' Criminal
Kate, looking tiny on the big stage
Kate, looking enormous on the big screen
Academic daddy with his boys. My, they've grown.

21 June 2006

shadow puppets

Sometimes while typing I just pause, maybe even mid-word, and gaze around the Belfry. There's no view to speak of. But today the sun poured through the skylight, bounced off a messy glass table and threw some groovy shadows against the wall. It's not quite stopping to smell the roses, but it's close. Look up from the desk every once in awhile.