Friday – at fucking last

Trouble with wind

Has someone on the news got mixed up with their “before” and “after” pictures after Birmingham’s cyclone (or whatever it was classed as)? I’m seeing areas with broken windows, knocked down walls, damaged doors and so on.

Basically, just like every council estate I’ve ever seen in Birmingham or anywhere else. The news reporter was going on about cars being moved. Has he never heard of joyriders? Cars in walls? Ramraiders.

The effects of this wind are a bit like someone throwing a mass panic because there’s been a sudden spate of hubcap thefts on Merseyside. In other words, business as usual.

Yay, let’s all start trusting terrorists

Happy news. The IRA are all going to hand their guns over and fight with words instead. I for one am overjoyed and gullibly going to believe every single word, because we’re only dealing with “people” who murder innocents, including all those children the day before Mother’s Day all those years ago.

Like fuck, do I believe them.

The IRA is split into so many parts that they don’t know what each other are doing. Regardless what the big guy at the supposed head says, there’ll be some nutjob elsewhere who’ll keep a cellar-full of explosives and weaponry to use when he thinks he can get away with it in typically cowardly fashion.

Don’t get me wrong, I really hope this is the end of all the shit. But let’s face it – it’s still a big religious and territorial thing and that hasn’t really changed. You can’t just tell psychpaths (for that’s what they are – cowardly, pathetic, sick psychopaths) to stop.

Listening to 5Live this morning, the government minister in charge of the Ireland situation was trying to defend his decision to release a man who’d killed more than any of the 7th July bombers. I’m sorry, but you can’t. They both killed innocent people. The Irish one got caught and has been let go for political reasons. By releasing him, Good Friday Agreement or not, is to capitulate to terrorism. He should have been flayed, hung, drawn and quartered. Instead, he gets an early release and treated like a hero.

Fucking sick. But, hey, that’s our world these days.

Holidays

Allen from work is off on his jolly’s tomorrow for a whole month. Concentrating mainly on Australia, I believe. His wife had a list of things to take ready in June last year. Talk about being over-prepared.

Oz is a weird country. The whole place is like one big foot and mouth exclusion zone. If you want to try and smuggle in a salad sandwich, you have to wrap it in Semtex so they sniffer dogs don’t find it. They’re more worried about a rogue spud creeping over the borders than a 10 megaton thermonuclear device.

I’d have thought a country founded on criminals would have been more concerned about people nicking things.

Natural predator

It’s fairly well known that as you go up the food chain, every animal has its own natural predator – a creature that more often then not is the one that kills and eats the species beneath it. Usually, we’re up the top somewhere hacking and slashing and killing anything, squishing it into patties and selling it in Scottishly-monickered burger joints.

I have spotted one of these forces of nature at work over the weekend. Spiders. Now – they eat flies and stuff, but what is a spider’s natural predator? The more televisually-educated of you may assume it’s birds. Well, outside of Bill Oddie’s rather unfunny programmes (sorry, but I was raised on The Goodies and he was a lot funnier then), when did you last actually see a bird eat a spider? Exactly. So if you did, it’s a fluke.

No, nature’s natural spider predator is currently sat stretched out on my bed purring. It’s my cat. Just this afternoon I’ve seen her devour four of them, including this huge bulbous beast in Kim’s shed. At one point, I thought the spider had an eye on my cat, but KK fought bravely and crunched it down. In fact, I swear I heard the crunching.

I suppose spiders are ideal for a family dinner. Even with guests, everyone can have a leg.

Printer problems

As mentioned, tonight’s one of those “rush” days cos of coursework and stuff. I’ve driven to London and back to fix a printer. This involved the most basic of technical terms:

RTFM.

Page 24 of the Dell 3000cn’s, to be precise. The one that tells you exactly how to do it and which I did in 15 minutes. 4 hours 15 minutes to drive there, 4 hours to drive back. One hour on site, and most of that sat waiting for the guy I was visiting to come out of a meeting.

We’re having some major issues with printers across a lot of sites at the moment. Some niggly things, some utter mysteries, some sorted by wiggling cables. They’re taking up a lot of our time, though.

We had a bit of a brainstorm and reckon we could have some solutions.

Idea one – supply each site with an infinite number of monkeys. This way, they’ll have all the documents they’ll ever need before they even need them. Downsides include having to soft through them all to find the one they want, having to sustain an infinitely large paper bill and finding a cupboard big enough to store the monkeys.

Idea two – pre-schoolers, or alternatively graduates who can just copy stuff out for them. Of course, there’s then a debate as to which one will have the better handwriting and grammar.

Idea three – replace each printer with a monk. They can sit cross-legged on a desk, so only take up about the same amount of space as the original printer. They’re quiet (the *scratch* of a quill is hardly disturbing), and one week in four they’ll be fasting so you won’t even have to feed them. The only downside is that each policy certificate could take up to a year to produce, but at least it would be really good quality.

Yee-haw

Another night watching a bunch of inbred yokels rattle their way through bluegrass country and heavy metal covers while drinking beer. Class!

Although before I go on about Hayseed Dixie, a word about the opening act. We got there quite early as Mike knackered his ankle a while ago and is on crutched. The Cockpit is quite a small venue, so it you get near the front you can lean against a wall and still see the stage.

After an hour or so, a young lady took to the stage and started tinkering with wires and a guitar. Now, at first I just thought she was the most stunningly beautiful guitar tech the world has ever seen. After 5 songs and a crowd cheering her, it was obvious she was actually the most stunningly beautiful support act I’d ever seen. My bad.

The young lady in question is Bex Marshall. And she’s good. Damn good. Bex was one of those rarities. Even excepting her astounding good looks, she was a support act that you wanted to keep going just a bit longer. Great songs (including a cover of Pinball Wizard) and a wicked sense of humour that got a still-sober crowd “yee-haw”ing like they were born to do it and nicely set up for the main act.

She was signing CDs after the gig – Sharon picked one up – and signed them (and Mike’s cast) “All the breast”. She really is a cracking musician with a rare ability to get a crowd going, even though they don’t know her stuff. And she’s bloody gorgeous. The photos on her web site do not do her justice. I cannot recommend seeing her live highly enough. And on the off-chance she reads this: “Please call me. I’m sure we’re not related so it could work out. I am not mad”

Hey, give me some credit for trying. Looks and sings like an angel, but you can tell she’s got the mind of a little devil. I really hope she goes far!

Hayseed Dixie did just under two hours in their set, playing a fair bit of new stuff. The lead singer/guitarist bust one of his strings near the end, but still managed to play Duelling Banjos. As far as I could tell, he even avoided the missing string and played around it without missing a note. These guys are good. I don’t think they got the “Rock on, Tommy” references being shouted at the mandolin player, though. Older folks on here will remember Cannon & Ball, a crap 70’s/80’s “comedy” duo. Well, this chap is the spit of Bobby Ball – moustache, braces, the lot.

The gig ended with a rousing boo – but for the right reason. Everyone wanted more! When the lights came on after the 2-hour set it was a huge disappointment simply because the place was bopping and everyone wanted it to go on all night.

I’ve raved before, but if you’ve not seen this band live – GO. They play enough gigs and they’re cheap enough. Get a ticket.

They’re a superb “first date” band as well. If you take someone and they don’t like at least 75% of the material, dump them. They have no taste and you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Hayseed Dixie are music at its best – live, uplifting and fun.

Although they’re not as fit as their support act.

Back for a bit

I’m approaching a coursework deadline and am busy for a few nights over the next week or two, so I’ll likely be missing a couple of days on here. I’ll try and post some of the back-dated archive crap I’ve been storing away, though.

One Wedding…

This weekend past I have mostly been getting pissed, recovering and having a good time. Two good friends of mine (Elaine (Riff) and Colin) got married in Newcastle on Friday, and they had a cracking do. I got to the Assembly Rooms just in time, after being annoyingly stuck in traffic less than 50 yards away courtesy of a bunch of idiot builders who decided to block an entire road for 10-15 minutes offloading their lorry shortly after rush hour.

The ceremony – a civil one, none of this religious crap – was short and sweet. The bride wore white (including her Doc Martens), the bridesmaid purple (including her Docs), and the groom a jacket and frilly shirt. The Wedding March by what sounded like Brian May greeted Riff as her dad walked her down the aisle, and after vows were exchanged, Pink Floyd was played while they did the signings and stuff. About 90 minutes of photographs later and everyone headed for the Three Tuns on Old Durham Road.

We had half the pub and the beer garden. Beer was exceptionally cheap, partly due to one of the lads on the bar not being able to add more than two prices together, and the buffet plentiful. As usual at weddings, I ended up pissed and playing with someone else’s kids. In this instance, Dean and Gill’s eldest who’s about 6 and full of more energy than I swear the laws of physics allow in a structure that size.

A brief respite, and the discovery of a sweet shop selling Midget Gems with liquorice ones in, was had courtesy of Louise who let me get changed at hers before the evening do. I was, by this stage, pissed. But it was Louise who managed to spill beer on her carpet. I kindly mopped it up with my shirt. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but my gym bag stank when I emptied it out on Sunday night. Oops.

Her folks picked us up in a taxi later on and we headed for Pelaw social club for the evening do. Joy, another place selling Brown Ale. And a certain youngster was there demanding more piggy backs. Cue me running round the venue like a loon with a small child on my back narrowly avoiding people with trays of drinks.

Actually, at one point I had a Tom on my back. This was not such a good idea as Tom is a good foot taller than me and weighs a fair amount more. But I had the power of beer! I could do anything! For a few seconds before dropping him. Sorry, fella.

I also seem to recall trying to replicate something I used to (be able to) do about 15 years ago. Slide along the dancefloor on my knees while bending backwards, my head touching the floor while air-guitaring the solo to Living On A Prayer.

This would have been spectacular and had me crawling with fit ladies asking to bear my children but for the fact that someone else had much the same idea as me. This resulted in a tangle of limbs and two embarassed-looking elderly rockers climbing gingerly to their feet, looking sheepish. Net gain: no offers of marriage, two bruised kneecaps.

Small person exited with his grandparent shortly after and I was treated to drinkies by his mum and dad to help replace the fluid I had lost due to sweating bucketloads. A drink always tastes better when you’ve earned it. And someone else is paying.

The knees-up wound down around 11:00 and we said our goodbyes to the new Mr and Mrs Riff (Colin knows his place) who by now should be in Canada. I popped via Louise’s to get my stuff and head up to see John, who’d offered to put me up for the night. Luckily, he’s literally a 5-minute walk (10-minute drunken stagger) uphill from Louise’s. When I got there he very kindly offered me whisky. D’oh.

I think I collapsed not long after I got there. Slept well, funnily enough.

…two goals…

Bumped into John’s other half in the morning. Woah. Lucky man… I finally left his around midday and met the bride and groom on the way to Louise’s. A good job as I was so pissed the night before I’d left my camera at the club… Camera in hand, I picked the car up and trailed into Newcastle for the Intertoto match.

I met my dentist (seriously) and his brother around quarter past three. Which is a shame as the game kicked off at 3:00. Ah well – his daughter had fallen ill just as he was originally intending to leave and these things take priority (7-month old daughters, not footy games). We didn’t miss any goals, though. They came in the second half – two from Shearer to get us into the semi’s where we’ll be nicely hammered by Deportivo.

Went out with some friends from Durham on the Saturday night, and got to be exceedingly tired around 4am.

…and some sore legs

Home via Sharon’s on Sunday. A nice bike ride to end the weekend off, which my legs are currently telling me wasn’t such a good idea. Though that could be the piggy-backing and floor-sliding on Friday.

I then spent three hours catching up on video while trying to stay awake and noting down all the times the little shit next door had his stereo on loud (like from when I got back till 8pm yesterday) on the nice council log book I’ve got.

Then to bed with my little KitKat keeping my tootsies warm by scratching them till blood dripped down. How nice of her.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off out to see Hayseed Dixie.