Wednesday, September 15, 2004

August 7 (Saturday): Tool And Die. No dreams, I wake up this morning feeling optimistic about the future (chipper, happy, excited). I’m not really sure why but outside it is a beautiful summers day and it makes me feel young again. I’m listening to The Weekend Never Starts Here by Arab Strap and it reminds me of “better� times. My god, today would be a great day to take somebody out in London or to go see Millwall play.

I get started with the day properly, I got into town to do the newspaper run and get Ross a birthday present. Not really quite aware as to what to get him, by luck I come across what I feel is the perfect gift: the book Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azzerard which is now out in paperback. Back of the net! I also manage to luck out and get a pretty good birthday card also although it isn’t one of the noise/sound cards featuring Bo Selecta characters (“happy birthday you shat pank!�).

When I return home to the flat dad has turned up and is mad away plugging into mending my toilet (again!). And he doesn’t appear to be making a very good job of it. I don’t wish to be looking ungrateful and looking a gift horse in the mouth, as it Dad is doing me a great favour but I really do need to get on doing things before I leave to party, the main thing of which is have a bath. And that is a pretty difficult concept when half your toilet appears to be currently sat in your bath.

I put dad under the cosh, I feel bad for doing this but also I really want to do my own thing. Additionally in the meantime I find myself feeling like a complete tool as I am unable to help him, all I can do is stand over him useless and offer moral support (yeah right). As time spins on I begin to feel further inconvenienced but unable to ask Dad to budge. I begin to hyperventilate and get the usual psychosomatic reaction to either of my parents being in my flat, invading my space. It seems my parents, as good as their intentions are, cannot just come around my flat and be, they have to fidget, adjust and make suggestions as to how I should change/improve my home. It is MY home. And any reaction on my part other than being passive feels as if I am being ungrateful.

Poor old Dad leaves around 3pm with me seething apologetically but seething all the same. As I said above, there is something horribly psychosomatic applied to my parents being in/around my flat, pissing on my patch. As soon as he’s gone I have a childish paddy/strop, smashing shit in my flat. With the toilet not being repaired I have been told to turn off the water at the mains, meaning I can’t even flush my toilet (have a piss) let alone have a bath. This is too much for me, I throw the plastic jug we have been using into the toilet bowl and it snaps in two and it splashes piss all over my face. If anyone saw me, they would think I was insane. In order to relax/calm down I watch the Sopranos, which really isn’t on the chillout session tracklisting.

Eventually I calm down and get a move on, leaving my flat and Colchester at 5pm, two hours later than originally planned and roughly the time I was hoping to be getting to Cambridgeshire. The origin plan was to have a nice relaxing drive to March, to get some headspace and relax. Instead I find myself tearing up the A14, racing against the clock passing 115 mph in my Focus on the way to speeding at 120 mph. Fortunately though, common sense does prevail but were it not for the many speed cameras on the A14, I would probably have averaged 100 mph all the way.

Today is the first day of the football season and it turns out that Millwall can only manage a 0-0 away to Plymouth. That hardly fills me with confidence for the upcoming season but at least they didn’t lose and they did keep a clean sheet. Bad bad news though, Paul Ifill was taken off early with a pretty serious injury it sounds.

I suspect I do make good time getting to Cambridgeshire and March but the journey does feel never ending. I arrive in March at around 6.30 and make a lucky find, discovering Ross’s road first time.

I was not prepared for his new homestead, it is enormous, almost a mansion! It turns out that it doubles up as a surgery for Sarah Jane. When I arrive I am amazed when I stroll up and her brother (Justin) remembers me from Ross’s birthday two years ago. I hook up with the Rosster and catch up briefly but he is centre stage and in demand. I give him his gift (the perfect gift book) and it turns out he already has it. Fuck it.

The party is hard work, I know nobody at it other than Ross and some of his family. I immediately get introduced (paired off) with some posh guy from Chelmsford who is heavily involved in politics whose job is to put a legitimate anti-stance on the Euro (vs the pound). He is pretty much from a different world to me with an office in Whitehall and a hell of a lot of responsibility that I envy him. Ross introduces me as a mob figure from Colchester, maybe I can pull that impression off, until I open my mouth that is. The guy is a bit geeky and not a lot of fun. I find myself soon asking Ross if he has any pot before digging into someone’s stash of booze. I think the guy’s name is Matthew and we get talking further and it turns out he is a Norwich fan in the vein of how Dave (Mitchell) used to be an Ipswich fan. The inevitable comes out that I am a Millwall fan and that rarely goes down well.

I talk to the guy forever until two more lefties (ladies) turn up who all know each other. Imagine Mutya from the Sugababes, Caucasian, fat and with facial hair. One of them is from Clacton and went to school in Colchester, so surely I should be able to spark up some conversation there? I do for a bit but soon they go off into their little political world and get talking shop, boy sometimes I regret being so ill-educated. I begin to feel left out, so I drink. Two more of their friends then turn up, one of which went to Essex Uni and again I fail to spark up a conversation about that. Grief, I thought my social skills were getting better.

Fortunately I eventually find someone interested in music and I get going with him, not least because he used to go to school with Chris Reynolds (I think). We wind up talking shit though; this guy plays in cover bands I believe. Never talk about music to people who play in cover bands.

The prize moment of the evening for me occurs when Justin, Ross’s future brother-in-law (ho ho), does the greatest Marlon Brando/Don Corleone/Godfather impression I have ever seen/heard in my life. And it is just in order to tell Ross that he has enjoyed his birthday party and is now off to go clubbing and pull some birds. I only wish my impression skills were so money.

By now bear is off the menu and we are all tearing into minging cocktails/concoctions involving Cuban or Columbian rum and salt, sugar, mixer and mint leaves. I down the fucker quickly, if only to get the horrible taste sensation out of the way. No wonder communists are so miserable if this is what they enjoy drinking.

Over the kitchen table I observe (but don’t participate in) conversation. These people are very opinionated and very extreme. They discuss an old Neanderthal friend of Ross’s who was very offensive and I just know that that is a mantel waiting for me to take if I make the mistake of opening my mouth. Miss Mutya is Little Miss Women’s Lib and very strict and harsh about her beliefs and other people’s attitudes. To me though, it just feels like a way/tool for her to judge people and shut them out. Maybe it has something to do with her moustache. I’m not sure who it was (maybe me) but Kitten from Big Brother gets brought up. It’s a hoot. I don’t know, this evening has no right balance for me, in my opinion they are overeducated and I am undereducated. So there is only one route left for me……

We regroup outside at the black end of a beautiful summer’s evening/night. The party does appear to have splintered into two groups: the politicals and the adults. When there are only a few of us left over, we all finally become one group. At this point Miss Mutya is going on about Nationality and identity, about not wishing to be labelled English as she is part Dutch. It also turns out she is Catholic. Personally I feel she is going off on one whilst her friend is attempting to hit on the Norwich fan on her behalf. Why? Eventually the argument reaches absurd proportions (in my opinion) and when it gets heavy on the Catholicism I find myself saying “all nuns are scrubbers and priests fuck little boys�. The old argumentative in me has come out again it seems.

Slowly, gradually people filter home. Justin and his mates return home from clubbing and his is fucking pissed and totally on form. Earlier on his was running/doing the barbecue and burning so much stuff, mainly the 26 black sausages that no one touched. He returns home from clubbing with an appetite and when it turns out that his sausages have been thrown out, he is on the verge of comedy tears. And I can share in his pain.

The night ends with myself, Ross and Norwich watching Alan Partridge series one DVDs and falling asleep.

np: The Vines – Get Free

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