Thursday, November 11, 2004

November 6 (Saturday): Goin’ On A Holiday. Asleep on the sofa in parents’ front room in Holland, at 6AM my fucking mobile phone beeps with a text message and wakes me up. Who on earth could/can be texting me at this time of the morning? It can only be one thing: trouble. Paranoid android.

Like an ostrich however, I bury my head in the sand and fall back to sleep where I proceed to have a curious dream where I am living in an absolute hovel in the centre of London with an old school friend called Melanie Wilson and her little son (this has to be a direct result of going on that fucking Friends Reunited website last week).

Eventually I wake up proper and it is a beautiful morning (wake up boo). I finally check my mobile phone for the text message from hell and it’s a poxy spam/junk text from Anus, the people who do ringtones. What on earth made them think that sending a text message at 6AM on a Sunday morning is/was a good idea?

Today is autumn perfection. I love coming home to my parents, I would probably happily move back home at the drop of a hat these days, compared to this home, my flat resembles a prison cell for me. That and the extension of a teenager’s bedroom. Coming down and visiting my parents at the seaside/coast of Holland is one of my few remaining relaxations and treats in life and I will really miss it when they move up to Colchester and Balkerne Heights.

Mother cooks me some beans on toast for breakfast and they taste so good, suddenly I find myself 28 years old going on 8 years old.

I watch some old Memphis wrestling (Jerry Lawler v Randy Savage) on Sky before heading out to get my haircut, leaving the olds to continue clearing the loft out.

When I arrive at Colin’s it is still pretty early and the place is empty except for himself, Dick and the other Dick. Today is the total weekend version of barber shop, no racism other than Colin accusing Dick of getting bummed at RAF Bentwaters for cash. These are my role models for growing old with disgrace.

I do the newspaper run and return home to discover the parents have completed the clear out of the loft and unearthed a ton of treasures which they have spread out all over their bedroom. I look at it and begin to hyperventilate, the majority of the stuff is mine and it is stuff I just know that I am going to have to sort out with view to trashing when really wanting to for a) being forced to trash my youth/past and b) there are probably plenty of items with value on Ebay here.

Reluctantly I step into the tat and find so (too) much eighties kitsch, it is painful. First of all, here are several boxes of football magazines and football programmes from the late eighties (1986 to 1989). The first issue of Shoot I come across is the one covering Wimbledon winning the 1988 FA Cup Final with Dave Beasent on the cover. I snap that up immediately, just knowing that Stevo will fucking love it.

Next are boxes of teams of Subbuteo teams. And they are all in danger of being crushed by my heavy handed parents who have no idea how flimsy these little fuckers are. I spend minutes looking to see if I have a Millwall team and then I find myself transported mentally to when I used to run Subbuteo leagues, playing myself and running and recording results and statistics. It seems I was always destined to work with numbers.

Next, out comes a box of old cassettes. There are some old rock tapes (Guns N’ Roses, Metallica) and plenty of albums that I record when copying CDs I borrowed from the local library. I do find some treasure when I come across some old Mark Radcliffe night show compilations I made but who knows when I will actually get the opportunity to listen to them as I separate them from all the other tapes, marking them as “special”. The only CD I come across in this whole box is an old Slayer CD single (Serenity In Murder) and suddenly I find myself heading back to teenage adolescence. I begin to hyperventilate and I have to sit down.

Ouch, it only becomes more painful when I arrive at a box from 1994 and come across old writings from my SEAX YT college/Fersina Vaughan YTS days and the post school wilderness period that I experienced. The writings are so horrible, the ramblings and rantings of someone really in a bad place and state of mind. I read a couple and quickly bag up items such as early journal entries, one page novel beginnings of a boy on the verge of suicide, early No Pictures articles and attempts at writing like William Burroughs. I quickly bag the writings up so that no one (ie my parents) will be able to accidentally happen upon them in the process of their great house clearout. Interestingly however, a lot of the stuff is actually dated, so I decide not to quite ditch it yet.

The final box turns out to be the great Gringo Records archive. Oh my, this is a treasure trove. We started the label in late 1996 and it peaked around 1999/2000 and here I come across most of my mementos from those years. Here I find an old contract with Che Records which each band member and Gringo person signed, an old Mogwai gig poster with Hirameka on the bill, tapes that are old interviews I made (Dave Pajo, Stuart Braithwaite, Charlie Harper and Bobby Conn), old newspaper articles (a Hirameka picture with Joe Russo posing as Chris Baldwin) and NMEs and Melody Makers with the occasional name drop of yours truly. And probably near to a million flyers and letters as well as old statements from distributors (from Shellshock to SRD and back again). Suddenly I look past the difficult years and look towards one of the best periods of my life.

I come away from the trip down memory thoroughly jaded, oh man I don’t want to address my past with its belongings/remnants/souvenirs.

I spend the remainder of the day hanging out at home with no real interest in anything. Relic Hunter comes on Sky and I watch it but don’t take it in, my love affair with that show really is now on the wane. I decide to spend the remainder of the afternoon at home because Channel Five is showing Blues Brothers 2000, which is a movie I have been meaning to rewatch for the longest time. About an hour into it, Dad joins me as we watch the car wreck of a sequel, which perverse I quite enjoy just knowing really that it gave a lot of work to a lot of has-beens out of work, so I indulge in a little bit of star spotting rather than actually get into the plot of the movie (which is ultimately an abomination).

Tonight I am supposed to accompanying Stevo to a meal that celebrates Steph’s birthday. Steph is the daughter of one of the receptionists and I am just invited along to be the straight man/person as she sets Stevo up with some munter she knows, a woman in her thirties that goes clubbing in Colchester’s Hippodrome. This does not bode well for the evening. If I’m honest, I really really do not want to go tonight, not least because I am not the one being set up. I however am obliging and willing and able to go, even if my heart is not in it. And this really shows/tells when mum offers to cook dinner at five and I accept wholeheartedly (what, am I going to be Jason Two Dinners this evening?).

Eventually, I leave home (my parents) and labour back to Colchester, listening to Radio 2 in the process. In listening to this shit, I discover this amazing singer called Millie Jackson. Fantastic.

As soon as I arrive back in the Hollytree car park, my phone beeps and it is a text message from Stevo saying “I’m going to be a bit late tonight, I’ll be there just after eight”. I saw that coming, if he’s going to go to Wimbledon today, he was always going to get stuck in traffic on the way back. I text back “let me know when you get to Colchester” and I slump inside, with no intention of heading out for the 7.30 of the meal at the luxurious Sloppy Joes on Colchester High Street. Basically my view is, I’m doing him the favour and he can’t even be bothered to arrive on time, I can’t be arsed to participate in a meal (and subsequent night out) that I can’t really afford. Instead, I stay in and masturbate to Kylie Minogue on the TV whilst awaiting the inevitable hassling phonecalls from people wondering where I am. Of which only receive two before it comes obvious where I stand. I guess Stevo’s prediction yesterday of “you’re not going to turn up” becomes true.

I spend the remainder of the evening taking in loser Saturday night TV before putting myself out of my misery by falling asleep. I am so antisocial it hurts (others).

np: Millie Jackson – The Rap


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