Sunday, 31 December 2006

Wine Tasting Hangovers

I wish I knew about wine. I know enough to drink it of course, but that is not enough. Picking a bottle purely for the pretty label just doesn't cut it. I could spend 3 quid or 20, it doesn't matter, I am a wine heathen.

I certainly have the nose for it, a big hooter, with ample nostril space for fume inhalation. Years of picking have gifted me this fine protrusion, I have a nostril cavity volume of at least 0.4 cubic metres. But its not how big your nose is, it's how you use it of course.

I can't pick out the aromas of oak barrels, fields of lavendar, plums, saddle leather, burnt raisin, gooseberries, blackberries, cinnamon, spice, chocolate, dandelion, marine iguana, elk urine etc etc...

So I'm going to book myself on a course some day, when I'm feeling less lazy.

Last night we had a wine tasting in the village pub, which normally starts civilised but ends in me vomiting when I get home and falling asleep with just my pants on with my hair hanging lankly in the toilet bowl. I usually get "discovered" about 5am by my other half (who refuses to be named on myspace as she thinks some redneck from Idaho will read my blog, be offended, fly over and kill us while we sleep) and I strenouously deny being drunk and claim I was only "having a rest" whilst leaning against the shower curtain and then falling into the bath.

Last night I was very good, as I didn't have 3 pints of guinness to start. I do have a headache today, but I only mixed white, rose and red wines, followed by JD and coke. So not too bad really. No vomiting.

Saturday, 23 December 2006

The Dandy Highwayman

I asked my other half today whether I could have a highwayman costume for my birthday in March, I'd heard Adam Ant on the radio, and I really want to be a dandy highwayman.

The fog has inspired me this week, as I imagine myself with my handy musket and mask, big swooshing cape and dainty peaked cap, jumping out from behind a tree and scream "stand and deliver" to a merchant and his wife. She faints, half in fear, half in awe, half in love (three halves, yes, she's complicated) when she realises who she is dealing with, The dashing Phantom Melis, scourge of the Bedfordshire marshes. I would kiss her hand, pocket her wedding ring, then have a change of heart and pop it back on her finger with a wink.

She (my other half, not the mercants wife in my fantasy) said it wouldn't be worth it, she is not going to buy me a highwaymans outfit, not even the big swooshing cape on its own. I'd be so lazy my horse would die, because I would expect it to fend for itself, then be useless at committing crimes, expecting people to queue up at my door to be robbed and not actually making an effort to go outside as it would be too muddy/cold/windy/rainy/hot to wear a big swooshing cape.

She said I would be the only outlaw who wasn't wanted by the authorities as I hadn't committed any crimes. I still want a big cape and mask though, muahahahahahah.

Reality hurts.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Dick and Dom! And the Duke Spirit gig

Yesterday, had radio 6 on through the night, and when I woke I was greeted with This Mortal Coils cover of "Song to the Siren" originally by Tim Buckley. I hadn't heard it in ages, theres a melancholy and intensity to it. So beautiful, Liz Fraser's voice is amazing too. It set me up nicely for the day, left me feeling chilled, sad, but also full of hope. I just found it on someone's page on myspace, had the same effect again, going to not listen to it for a while now, to keep those moments in music special.

But anyway, I digress, we were on a work do and I got my photo taken with Dick and Dom in the ice bar! (the ice bar is gimmicky shit by the way). I'm feeling quite embarrased about it now, as I'd necked a few drinks, and we were plucking up courage to say hello, and even though I'm sure they'd wanted us to f*ck off and leave them alone they were totally professional, patient and we got our photo. Even when I shouted in their faces "I love you guys! I'd wake up early on saturdays to watch you!" spitting remenants of my last meal over them. The response was one of pity mixed with fear.... but ever so polite. "oh.. thankyou". I saw he was looking for the door, to plan an escape in case I was going to kill him. I could sense that in Dicks eyes, but f*ck it, its Dick and Dom man! They're the best!

So, onto the Duke Spirit, me and the bossman were there, right at the front, a gig we'd been looking forward to for some time.

The support band I have to say were excellent, The Congretation play honest blues, what a voice, you can't fake that sound they generated, I was impressed. here they are -

Next up the Duke Spirit! Here's the set list...

A lot of new songs so we didn't know what we'd end up with... but suffice to say it was superb, new songs, old, it didn't matter, they were magnificent. And the new touches with strings and brass hit the spot too.

The Duke Spirit are an amazing band, punk/blues and excellent songwriting and vocals. I hope 2007 will be their year, although selfishly it is great seeing them in small venues!

I cant wait till the new albums out.... we didn't ask for photos with the band who were in the bar after the gig.... dick and dom was too much celeb excitement for me in one day.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Curse You Fatso!

I've put on half a stone in little over two weeks. Just goes to show that that extra slice of pizza, that lazy skip of my gym fix, I'm hooked again, back on the junk..... my skinny fit t-shirts just look shit now. I wont wear them at the moment, in case I stretch tit marks into them. I need endorphines, I need them raging through me, I need to go for a run tomorrow, get the fitness vibe back into my lazy arse head. I *will* go for a run tomorrow, after my chocolate croissant...mmmmm! Nooooo!!!! Throw it in the bin, go for a run... yummy chocolate oozing out of puff pastry... aaggghhh

And why are work sending me to Munich next week? That means biscuits, stollen, massive sausages, pretzels and weissbier...mmmm delicious! Noooo! I feel like eating, Nooooooo!!!! Wear lederhosen! Do a happy slap dance in the town square with a large Bavarian gent and get fit!

Exercise! pull yourself together! Snap out of it. But what about the three christmas do's this week, and Duke Spirit playing on Wednesday night, your favourite band... surely you'll have a drink and maybe get hungry..... Ahhhh! Stop it! Stop it! This is torture. Why doesn't eating give you a six pack huh?

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Escape from Paris

For those of you that know me, I am socially inept outside of my comfort zone, for those of you that don't, well, you know now. If I'm with friends, I'm fine, if I'm not then I become utterly self conscious and turn into Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man. Even though I might be wearing an awesome ensemble of well chosen clothing, I imagine myself to be wearing a stained raincoat like Columbo, have slumped shoulders, a face tick and drool. My personal self image in times of crisis needs working on.

So when my flight from La Coruna to heathrow was turned away due to adverse weather conditions, and had to land in Paris, then realised my mate Bry was going to get a cab to try and catch a connecting flight to his meeting in Copenhagen, the idiot savant inside me swelled till I was overcome with uselessness.

They ushered us into an airport restaurant where they served us our prison nosh of a piece of meat and a dollop of mash. I plucked up my courage and asked three spanish people whether I could join their table for four, and they of course welcomed me, I wasn't the shambling monstrosity I imagined myself to be and they treated me like a human. Luckily, one of them was an English teacher, so I spoke to him and avoided the spanish dude opposite who had sideburns much more lush than mine, the bastard. He also had a stunning adidas retro zip up track top, black with orange stripes, the bastard. But I was happy with the fact he had a side parting and looked like a twat. But then I thought, what if his side parting was an ironic fashion statement? Maybe this was deliberate and not something his mum had brushed over for him? I tried to tackle this quandry in my mind. Oh, the shallowness of vanity, the teetering balance between success and failure in hair combing. I rarely comb mine, I tell people its because I want to look like a french film director, but my other half told me I looked like a tramp the other day....

I digress, so then on to the hotel they had booked for us overnight, I knew it would be an awful scrum to check in. I offered to carry an old spanish ladies heavy bag down the stairs, I think she thought I was mugging her as she yelled at her husband to chase me, oh the shame.

Then the mad rush into the bus, then the mad rush to check into our hotel. Human dignity, morality and philanthropy is spirited away at times like this, there are no niceities, survival of the fittest rules. I don't try and trample over my fellow man, so I waited politely as others rushed for their rooms. Although I could have let rage take me over (I'd have only thrown the oranges at reception at my fellow passengers like a demented bitch) i detached myself from it all, waited till I got my room, and then breathed a sigh of relief until 4am when we had to queue for the bus, at the airport, for the flight.... arrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!! Got back to heathrow late morning on Friday. Still exhausted, still haunted and feeling decidedley uncrissmassy.

The staff who were supposed to look after us in Paris were inconsitent, sometimes apathetic and avoided us with their long faces and shrugging demeanor. In preparation for this blog, one of my eminent relatives was encouraging me to be more disparaging about the whole experience, I think to satisfy her xenophobic blood lust. But I can't lower myself to do this, even if they were a bunch of smug frogs.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006


I´m over in Spain at the moment, the north west corner to be exact. The hotel I´m in obviously heard I was visiting so set up a laptop with internet access for me. Landed on Sunday, in wind and rainswept La Coruna. Had seafood meal there, love the octopus, have migrated to Santiago now. Its a wonderful little city, full of culture, narrow pedestrianised streets and a famous cathedral where many a good pilgrim had walked to from Rome.

Had more octopus, in fact, we spent a good few hours on a pub crawl eating tapas and drinking beer and white wine, it was Monday though, so clearly we were seen as English winos, had a sleep from 7pm till 10pm, then felt ill having eaten three loaves, two galician cod pies, several octopods, some squid, chorizo and a leg of ham, including the hoof. Oh and a pigs ear an alsation would have died for. All delicious. Stayed awake till 4am feeling full.

Today, me and Bry drive to Portugal, and tomorrow Arsenal play Porto, should be a giggle.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Arctic Exploration

I've always had a fascination with Arctic/Antarctic exploration. And when I visited Iceland recently I had a whole 3 hours of it and felt the chill in my soul as well as my bones, when I realised I was down to the last three hobnobs in my supplies, and the firm thighs of my fellow explorers looked appealing as I imagined them sizzling in seal blubber.

I felt like Shackleton, Scott, Peary, Ross, Nansen, and when my sunglasses (snow goggles for the day) flew off in the breeze, I bravely reached down and retrieved them from a crevasse that was at least 12 inches deep.