Monday, September 30, 2002

We went to Bath on Saturday evening with our old friends Ian & Maria. Sad to say that we had a rather disappointing meal in the Bistro Papilion. The food was ok, no more no less, but truly miserly portions left a rather bad taste in the mouth, if you’ll pardon the pun. I’ve known Ian for almost as long as I have been alive, back to pre school days in fact. Back at their house Ian delighted Orynthia by producing an old school photo of us, taken when we were about 8 or 9 I guess. I was wearing a rather fetching skiing jumper, which Orynthia loved. I guess the winters must have been colder back then after all.

On Sunday afternoon, we went to a house warming party. Now the gathering and people were all lovely, but for me the highlight of the day were the bizarre noises emanating from the just behind the garden wall! Let me explain, the house is located virtually next door to the stadium that Bristol rugby club and some other football team use. On Sunday afternoon Bristol were taking on Leicester, in what turned out to be a very keenly contested rugby match. So as we were sitting in the back garden our conversations, would suddenly be taken over by the noise of about 6,000 people getting quite excited. Whereas football crowds tend to have general noise and then a sudden roar as the ball is smacked into the net, the nature of the excitement in rugby is the long build up towards the final crescendo, as the crowd cheer their man or team on the 40 yard push to the line. This all leads to a strange sort of elongated growling noise, in place of the short, sharp, shout that I have been used to being part of at football matches. It was all rather strange and I must confess I found most enjoyable.

After the party, we went off to see The Divine Comedy in action, supported by Ben Folds. Here was another chance to study differing styles of showing appreciation by making noise. I’m not sure if Ben Folds had bought many Americans along with him, but it was really noticeable that his fans (and there were many) did a whole lot of whopping and hollering. Whilst the Divine Comedy audience, were much more in the fevered but polite applause, school of approval.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Actually managed to have a fairly quiet week this week, although we find ourselves going out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening’s.

Last night we went to the surprisingly lovely Seymour’s club in that most hidden away and splendidly named part of Bristol "The Dings". I wonder what happened to "The Dongs"? We went to see our friends in Munter once again; they were playing as part of a night of entertainment provided by Black Heart Studios. Munter were their usual brooding and magnificent self. Then the real fun started, the next band up, were the oddly named John E. Vistic. A strange country rock sort of band, fronted by an pointlessly tall bearded man in a slightly dodgy 3 piece suit, topped off with an oversized trilby hat. This man (who may well be called Marcus) entertained us with some high quality between songs patter, delivered in a fine American southern drawl. Odd, given the fact that at all other times during the evening, I would have guessed that Severn Beach was about as far west as his birthplace could have been.

Anyway, for glorious contradictions, they were knocked firmly in 2nd place by the final band of the evening "Zen Hussies" Dressed like Django Rhienhards’s Hot Club combo from the 1940’s they amused, bemused and confounded in equal measures. At times sounding like Jazz version of the Bonzo dog do dah band, singing songs about bouffant hair styles one minute, Battenberg cake and Arctic Roll the next. For 25 minutes they were sublime, then it did become a tad predictable. Most entertaining never the less.
The between band entertainment was provided by some of Orynthia’s work colleagues. The self-styled Grumpy Man playing the sort of music that is normally the domain of those who prefer to wallow in the music from the windswept, lonely side of the street. You know the sort of thing, Nick Cave, Tom Waites and the like. The only problem with them, was that that their wildly grinning, excited faces, in no way matched their Nom De Plume, as they joyfully stormed their way through every record in the male menopause collection

Sunday, September 22, 2002

This evening we had one of the first signs of the impending autumn. It came in the form of a smell. Not a bonfire or the rich aroma of damp leaves slowly rotting on the grass. No, this was the true indication of chillier nights on the way, the smell of dust burning on a heater that has not been used for the past 6 months. Now anyone that knows us, will be aware of our fastidious approach to housework. We do make sure that it is done at least twice a year!

A strange coincidence occurred last week. I heard of two people who suffered from burglars breaking into their houses. Now this is both unfortunate and distressing, the strange thing is that in both cases the women of the house are pregnant. It makes me wonder if gangs of cat thief’s (on both occasions, the entry to the house was through a small window) are hanging around outside pre-natal clinics, waiting to follow the expectant mum’s to be, back to the home, in the hope that they will forget to shut a door or window due to hormonal changes taking place within their bodies. Forget stock market fraud, this is the true face of sophisticated crime. Then again, as I said at the start, I’m sure that it is just coincidence.

On Friday evening, we took our first trip for about a month down to The Croft to see John, Ian and Phil whipping up a storm at the latest Four Corner’s evening. Consequently, had a bit of a late night, so enjoyed a nice lie in on Saturday morning. Got up with just enough time left to have breakfast before heading off to Ashton Gate to see the reds in action against QPR. An exhilarating first half ended all square at 1-1. Tellingly we missed two very, very simple chances and lost both of strikers through injury in the later stages of the half. QPR started the second half in very determined mood, and with more than a little help from our unbalanced side, they stormed into a 3-1 lead. We never really got back in contention after that, so our 100% home record has gone. After 10 games we have won 5 and lost 5, looks like we could have another season when we are unable to take points from the top teams in the division.

Saturday evening, Ashton came over, then the 3 of us went into town to meet up with Mark and Bab’s for a quick drink and bit to eat. Then onto that most intimate of venues The Folk House, to see The latest version of Fuzz against Junk, a country band from London called Redlands Palomino Co and McDowell in action. All were enjoyable in different ways.

Whilst Ashton was here, we were able to show him our latest digital gadgets. Along with our Digital TV. converter, we recently picked up one of the first portable digital radios. It’s great, as well as being able to pick the often excellent BBC Radio 6, we can now pick up XFM the London based Indie station and BBC world service, plus a plethora of other stations which I have not really got my head around yet. Anyway, we got a call from Ashton to say that he went this afternoon and bought one of the Digital TV box’s. We should be on commission!

Friday, September 20, 2002

Another busy week draws to end, and here we are heading into late September and still having lovely summer days. Forgot to say in my last entry that we spent part of last Saturday doing a few f the buildings that were open as part of the open doors day. For those of you that don’t know what that is, I’ll tell you. Basically a lot of interesting buildings that you can only access if you work in (sometimes, live in) are open to the public. It’s a good chance to have a nose around all sorts of interesting places. It’s been going in Bristol for quite a few years, so we have seen most of the places that we want to. This year we limited ourselves to just 4 places, Royal Fort House, nice Georgian house, with crazy plasterwork and fantastic grounds. The Old Baptist College, only a small part of this Elizabethan style building was open, but they had some fantastic stained glass windows. Bristol Grammar school, mainly to see the imposing gothic great hall, as Orynthia pointed out "very Harry Potter / Hogwarts (is that right?) sort of hall. Then finally, The Georgian house, which is open all year round, but have not visited for many years.

This week we met up with our friend Jon Collins for another trip to the Cube. This time we saw a rather odd film called Christie Malry’s own double entry. We went mainly because the film is based on a story by B S Johnson , an experimental British writer that Jon bought to our attention a couple of weeks ago. The film had some interesting moments and Orynthia loved the soundtrack, which was written and performed by Luke Haines. It was a shame that we did not go last Friday as Mr Haines was performing some of the songs live as part of the evening’s entertainment.

On Wednesday, it was down to The Prom (after having some fine food from Burma and Laos in a new restaurant) to see the lovely Munter in action. It’s been over a year since we last saw them play and although the vocals got a bit lost at times, they are still a band that show real potential for great things. They play again in a couple of weeks, when a trumpeter will join them as well. Strangely at that gig, the DJ support is being provided by some guys that work in Orynthia’s office. More proof that everyone in Bristol knows everyone else. It really is just one big village.

By the way the Banana Yoshimoto book Goodbye Tsugumi was fab. If you don’t know her stuff, you should!

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Well, the Elvis gig was great. He played for 2 1/4 hours , hardly pausing to draw breath between songs. Loads of the old hits, coupled with a healthy chunk of newer stuff, it all came to an end with a haunting and compelling version of "I want you". The gathered collection of balding heads and old bones, managed to last the pace surprisingly well.

Last night we had a very strange evening! Over the past few years we have developed a liking for that strangest of musical forms "Northern Soul". You know the thing great old soul records from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, which can only be classed as Northern Soul, if they completely failed to sell any copies at the time. Anyway last night we went down to the splendid Grand Atlantic Hotel in Weston Super Mare for our first full on Northern Soul night out. One of the other distinctive things about the scene is the highly individual dancing style that has grown up alongside the music. In it’s earlier years when most of the following were of younger years than they are now, this would include lots of spins, high kicks and splits. Sadly Most of the crowd that were out last night have left those days far behind, we did catch a few whirling dervish type spins and I did see one high kick out of the corner of my eye. In the main it was mainly lots of sliding rather than stepping, the speed and fluidity of which is greatly enhanced by the copious amounts of Talcum powder spread across the floor. A lot people turned up in regulation "60’s Mod type gear, I can’t recall the last time I saw so many people wearing suits whilst not being in work. The other odd thing is that people don’t really dance together, they are all off in their own little world as they wizz around the floor. The next one of these events is in December, I guess that we will be back for more having brushed up on our technique.

The Red’s continue to go from strength to strength, yesterday we manage to record our first goals and points away from home this season. A 3-2 win at Cheltenham Town, has taken us up to 2nd place in the league

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Well, tonight we get a chance to see how the knees of our generation are getting on. Elvis Costello is in town, and for the first time in many years he is playing in a “standing” venue. Will the 30 and 40 something’s be able to last the pace or will we need to be rushed off to emergency seating half way through “Pump it up”?

Played football last night in the midst of a tropical downpour, some excuse for my shoddy performance, I haven’t played for a couple of weeks and have been trying to shake off a cold. Then again it could be that my body rejected the appalling colour combination of green football shirt under orange T-shirt, with a red training top finishing “The Look” quite nicely.

I’ve finished reading “About the author” and it’s the sort of book that could make a pretty good film. The problem with reading it as a book is that you have too much time to wonder why our protagonist keeps making such monumentally stupid decisions. I’ve now moved onto another favourite author of mine, Japanese cult writer Banana Yoshimoto and her latest UK release “Goodbye Tsugumi” Less intense than the writings of Haruki Murakami, her books contain a dream like quality which I find compelling.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Last night we went to the newly re-opened Cube cinema , and the good news is that, it is fantastic. The new entrance means that they now have a beautiful little garden area where you can relax with a drink or piece of home made cake! Better still, you get a nice view of one of those New York style external iron fire escapes. You know the sort of thing, the good guy would jump out of the window onto to slatted iron balcony, before dashing to the drop down ladder at the end, to get to the next level, and so on for the next 7 or 8 floors until he hot foots it down the rubbish strewn back alley before the bad guys can catch him. I fully expect an interactive season of '70's cop films with the audience having to leg it as gunfire ring's out through the auditorium!

I have really missed the Cube during it's enforced absence, the breadth of it's programming its quite extraordinary. And the news that they are selling cake's as well just tops it off. When we were in New York at Xmas, I spent my 40th birthday in the splendid New York Film Forum , which is much bigger version of the Cube (but without the quirky music gigs), whilst there we able to enjoy the interesting home made cakes and drinks that they sold, which include that classic old New York treat of a chocolate Egg Cream . It's is very strangely named as it contains no Egg or Cream! Still it all helped to make the viewing of Dial M for Murder in 3D an even more memorable event. One of the great joys of New York to me, is the fact that you can see films from any era, in the way they were meant to seen rather than on video or DVD. If any of you are ever in New York (and as sensible intelligent people I'm sure that you all intend to be at some time), I really would recommend a visit the American Museum Of the Moving Image , I know its in Queens and that looks like it's a long way out of Manhattan, but the subway takes you real close! As well as being a fascinating museum it also shows an astounding array of old movies. When we were there we saw a bizarre version of Alice In wonderland from 1933 which featured Cary Grant as the Mock turtle, W C Fields as Humpty Dumpty and a hilarious Gary cooper as the White Knight. Guess what, they also have a nice cafe. It all comes back to food in the end!

Monday, September 02, 2002

I'm spending today at home as we are having a new boiler installed, any excuse to have a day off work! Due to impending boiler work, we had to clear the kitchen, consequently we have had to a bit of eating out. Friday night, we went out for a drink with a few of my work colleagues for a drink, on the way to the pub we walked through Queens Square which having one of a series on Friday jazz gigs. Well the music sounded quite nice and we were tempted by the food that available. Some nice looking Sushi and various food cooked on a grill by the people from Mud Dock. Typically, in the midst of an otherwise splendid summer the sight of an outdoor music event in Bristol brought the rain. In fact by the time we reached the food stall the rain was heavy for us to consider eating outside. So we went off to the Spyglass, a newish restaurant which is based around the idea of having a your food cooked on a barbecue. The restaurant is split 50-50 between a boat and the harbourside. I think that if the weather is fine you can sit in the open air whilst enjoying fairly cheep and cheerful dishes. However as the rain was pouring down the awnings were up and the gas heaters were on.

On Saturday, I went to see City in action. We managed to keep our run of home wins going with a 2-0 win over a dour Tranmere side. A deserved win, even if the penalty which broke the deadlock was more than a little contentious. After the match I met up with Orynthia at the Arnolfini before to going to watch the excellent Argentinean film Nine Queens . Full of twists and turns, it kept you guessing right to the end. We did sound real bargain eating before the film. Using a couple of the take away food stalls on the centre, we has some delicious Falafel’s followed Banana and chocolate Crepe’s - total cost of £10 for the two of us.

Sunday was a bit of a family day, catching up with people on both sides of the family then ending up at Orynthia’s Mum and Dad’s

After the thrill of reading The Chosen, I quickly read through a easy reading, wise cracking crime caper called The Burglar In The Closet by Lawrence Block – OK but nothing special. Now I am engrossed in a book called About The Author by John Colapinto. An interesting read, we follow our hapless narrator after telling a big lie in order to make it as an author, I don’t know how things are going to end, but I feel that it won’t be too good for our man.