So because I've been so damn slack, but multiple attempts to get up to speed in the last week and a half have gone nowhere, here's the short, short version:
18th March – hooked up with Sean Ramsey-Hyphen-Bullshit-Moore and went to see Pete and Dud: Come Again – a play exploring the relationship between Peter Cook & Dudley Moore. Certainly not a bad play, and the actors have the mannerisms down to an *extremely* fine art. Something about the whole experience felt a bit hollow though… I guess it was because I didn't feel like I was learning anything new. Entertaining though.
20th March – rocked along to Shepherds Bush Empire with Catrin and Brian to see The Black Crowes. Bloody good gig, although my “not really listen to a band before seeing them” strategy didn't seem to pay off this time, as I felt a bit lost a few times. Apparently the set was primarily geared up for proper fans, rather than tourists like me. Needed more guitars though.
24th March (I'll stop writing March now, cos these are all in March) – Catrin, HC and I charged on down to the Hammersmith Apollo and saw Henry Rollins on his latest spoken word tour. Rollins is a god damn legend. He's an angry man with a lot to say, and anger's great because where there's anger there's drive and sometimes passion. And in this case, there's passion alright, which I gotta sya I find really inspiring. He talked about Bush, about touring Afghanistan with the USO, about being hit on by a gay Pakistani New York Cab driver, about spending a week on the Trans Siberian Express, how cool it was to be on the Big Day Out, and a whole load of other stuff. And afterwards Catrin & I went to a well awesome turkish place in West Kensington where I had skewered quails.
25th – went to the Walkabout at Shepherds Bush for Gaenor's birthday with Craig and Kate. Yes, I went to a Walkabout. Inside. And we ordered snakebites. So there's another experience off the list. Fascinating bit of social anthropology there though. Oh and they played Khe Sanh.
26th – Paul and I went to the Natural History Museum, and this time we *succeeded* in seeing the Giant Squid. WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!11! What a cool tour – they took us down into the Darwin Centre, which among other things is where the NHM stores their species jars, and there's just shelf upon shelf of jars with animals in them. And the guide showed us some that were actually preserved by Charles Darwin himself ! The main event though was the 8m long giant squid, and what an awesome sight it was. Slappity slappity slap, flappity flappity flap.
27th – Teen Cancer Trust fundraising comedy gig at Royal Albert Hall. We had 7 comedians to keep us busy – Lee Mack, Russell Brand, Robin Ince, Stewart Lee, Alan Carr, Sean Lock, and headlined by Ricky Gervais – and in summary the whole thing was bloody tedious and badly produced. From the word go there were cockups, as we weren't allowed to use half of the entrance doors (you try filling the Albert Hall using only half of the doors !), Russell Brand seemed to lack sparkle as a compere (even though I think he was the funniest comic on the night), there were sound cockups, and generally they seemed to be the wrong performers for the wrong room. Brand did a piece on pedophiles, Lee tapped learning difficulties as a topic, Mack spoke out in favour of drink driving, and Gervais took the piss out of Myalgic encephalomyelitis and said it wasn't a real disease. Far from being a wowser, I just thought it was a fairly second rate choice of material for a charity gig, and clearly so did the audience as there wasn't much noise being made overall. Having said that, I didn't think much of their taste anyway given that they really made all the other performers work for it, but they roared with laughter at almost everything Gervais said (at which point it was obvious who they were all there to see). Having said that, I'd definitely go and see Brand, Lock or Mack in another venue, however on the whole I just felt like I'd been milked of 50 quid for a second-rate gig.
29th – Brian & I trekked down to Hammersmith to see Sigur Ros, the Finnish hard-ambient band of whom I'd never heard any material. Absolutely top class gig. Music was varied enough not to seem repetetive (other than the high pitched keening vocal work that sounded like a humpback whale on helium, being strangled) but cohesive enough not to be disturbing with its variety. The lighting design was one of the best I've ever seen, and I really dug their use of scrim & projector plus backlighting. Also they had surround sound going on, which was kinda neat and very effective in places. I can't relay any song titles, because I had no idea what they were singing (any lyrics you can make out are in some kind of pseudo-Finnish made up language), but would be keen to get hold of their stuff to listen to in future.
31st – It was Kate's birthday, so she, Craig, Naomi, Kate and Flora from the Wales trip and I all hooked up at Rollerdisco near King's Cross, and had a rockin' time. I still maintain that on wheels is not my natural mode.
1st April – Paul & I braved the southern reaches of London (well, London Bridge, anyway) to go see Bill Bailey trying out some new material before his trip to the US. The gig had nowhere near the polish of Part Troll, but I still thought it was wild and cemented home that Bailey is one of the more original, intelligent & talented comedians out there today. And as for musically gifted… well, all except for getting the crowd to sing California Dreaming as his encore. Bloody hell I hate that dreary song.
2nd – spent the afternoon shopping for food in Chinatown with Emzo and Lord Science, followed by a big Chinese cookup at our place. Then I got an unexpected call from Jess and shot over to West Hampstead to have a go in her pub quiz with the ebullient Leanne. The weirdest bit of the night though was that when I was trying to find where the girls were sitting, I made eye contact with a girl who seemed incredibly familiar, and upon investigation it turned out to be Kerry who I used to work with at Suspect Computing in 2001, and hadn't seen since ! So random ?! The Adelaide Effect is indeed alive and well.
And of course in between that there's been all the usual kickboxing, tai chi, morris dancing, socialising, and pursuit of the ridiculous that takes place around here.
So there you go, that was the short version. Just in time too, cos things are just starting to get busy.