Thursday, February 27, 2003

We are on the verge of another weekend. We are heading out for a bit of dance on Friday evening, when we go to the Four Corners night at the croft. Then on Saturday, I’m off to see BCFC in action in the afternoon, before meeting up with some friends for some food and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs gig at The Anson rooms. Picked up a few CD’s this week, finally got round to picking up the new Calexico album, which is growing on me nicely. Also got a couple of EP’s The Black Rooster E.P. by American 2 piece The Kills which I like a lot and Holly Roller Novocaine by Kings of Leon which has it moments. It does look like the band have way too much hair though.

The main story in Bristol this week, has been the amazing news that a local pensioner had by detained in South Africa for a couple of weeks, after the FBI has decided that he was one of the top 10 most wanted men in the USA. Now anyone can make a mistake but this was a truly bizarre error. The poor chap was the victim of identity theft, but as soon as you heard him talk (let alone compared his picture with that of the wanted man) it should have become clear that this was not the sort of man who pinch a newspaper, let alone be involved in a major financial fraud.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

I’ve added a few more links to the site. A couple from overseas, Bailey’s Irish Cream Bar from Washington USA is a place where entertaining and thought provoking debate is the order of the day.. Never Alone is from Australia, enjoyable prose, a passion for music and a few recipes, make this an interesting site to check out.

I’ve also added a few blogs from this part of the world. I don’t know any of these folk but it’s interesting to see what other locals are using their blogs for.

Take a look at them and see what you think.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Thanks to Bill for sending me a list of recommended reading material.

Bill also reminded me that I had not written anything about our Friday night viewing the Lodger. It's a Hitchcock film from the 1930's, so obviously it's a silent film in glorious black & white. Joby Talbot (formerly of the Divine Comedy) wrote a new score which was played by a small orchestra situated in front of the screen. The whole thing was a real treat, music and film linked beautifully (after one false start) lots of humour and a surprisingly gripping and clever twist at the end of the film kept us entranced.
One thing that I need to resolve is the problem with my Archives. It either seems to show 9 months from last year or nothing at all. Any ideas on how to solve this are welcomed with open arms

Monday, February 24, 2003

Cor blimey, yesterday was an exhausting day. As mentioned in the comments on the previous entry, we played more games than expected and because of a few last minute dropouts, I played much more than anticipated. We did pretty well, eventually failing to qualify for the semi finals on goal difference. It has to be said that in the last couple of games we had lost our zip, so it came as a relief to go home. Then again we are back for more tonight. Could be a slow match!

Very rapid turn around, in order to get down to the Beth Gibbons gig, but it was well worth it. What a wonderfully intensive and fragile mood she can create, then as soon as the song is over, she nicking fags off the people in the front row and cackling away like a lunatic.

I’m at a bit of a loose end on the reading front. Anyone got any ideas?

Friday, February 21, 2003

Just found out that we are going to see THIS tonight. Should be interesting. I've never seen the film even though I'm a big fan of Hitchcock. Tomorrow, we have nothing to do and all day to it. I've got a feeling that we may end up trawling through the 2nd hand shops on Gloucester Road looking for clothes, books and records.

On Sunday, the Monday night footballers that I play with are taking part in a 5 a side competition. I guess that I'm one of the worst players in our happy band, so I may only see partial action. Suits me really as we are going to see Beth Gibbons in the evening, so I don't really welcome the prospect of running around like a mad man all afternoon. We don't really know anything about the teams that we will be playing against, so really have no idea if we will be run into the ground by super fit young gods or then again it could be a stroll in the park. Please, please let it be the later option!

Thursday, February 20, 2003

According to a recent survey our lovely home city was declared to be the friendliest place in the UK! It’s amusing as many Bristolians take great pleasure in being as grumpy as they can be. Certainly most of the city’s bus drivers will be devastated at the shock news.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Bit of a lively start to the day this morning. I arrived at Redland station at about 7:40 this morning, in readiness for the 7:45 train. The person in front of me had just pressed the information button, which cheerfully told us that the train would be 32 minutes late! Rather than wait in the freezing conditions most of us walked out of the station to the bus stop approx 150 yards away. After waiting for about 5 minutes we suddenly noticed that the train was heading into the station. Several of us decided to use this as our trial run for the British Olympic squad, and set off at full tilt. Despite the tricky nature of the track, a couple of hairpin turns included, about 4 of us managed to jump on the train before it pulled away. Cue much puffing and panting and we congratulated ourselves on our fleetness of foot. The Monday night football must be paying off.

Shocked but delighted to see that Massive Attack are at number 1 in the UK album charts. Must be the first time that a band from Bristol has ever managed to do this. I was chatting to a friend of mine who is a teacher on Friday evening. He subject is history and he was telling me about the fact that he often uses music in his class, either to illustrate a point or just to set a mood. He is convinced that Massive Attack have hit upon some sort of back to the womb heartbeat rhythm, as they are only band that can settle all the kids down. Once again with Massive Attack, the 1st play reveals very little, but the more you play it, the further you get dragged into the edgy, paranoid world which they inhabit. The mundane becomes soothing and then the changes suddenly become much more defined and noticeable then you would ever had imagined on 1st hearing.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Of course Teenage Fanclub were just great on Friday night. Very social evening, lots of our friends were out including my 15 year old nephew Craig, Who seemed to enjoy himself. Strange to think that the band has been around for longer than he has been alive. Makes you feel pretty old!
We had a very pleasant day in Sunny (but nippy) Devon yesterday. Had lunch in Honiton, which really does seem to be a thriving market town. Lots of interesting antique shops, great food shops and more café’s than you can imagine. Forget Paris or Vienna being the home of café society – Honiton is the place. They just need to get a few more writers and artists in town and who knows what could happen?

So it looks as though Orynthia’s dad is going to be confined to a wheelchair when he comes out of hospital (which won’t be for another month at least). Obviously this is sad news, but it comes as no real surprise. At least everyone can start planning for the future, which will probably include Orynthia’s parents moving to a house with better wheelchair access. Obviously, this is going to involve quite a lot of work for the whole family, so it looks as though it will be wise to put our Australia trip on hold for this year. It’s a shame as it would be really great to catch up with all the family down under (even though they would throw heaps of abuse at me for the recent sporting humiliation’s that the Aussies have inflicted on England this year, or any recent year come to think of it!) but we can always go next year. Hey we still have Paris in the spring and what could be better than that?

Friday, February 14, 2003

So whilst we were at the hospital last night we met up with Orynthia's cousin Petunia. The original plan was to go to the home of wonderful cheap, south east Asian food Sawadee's afterwards. However Petunia was needed in work, luckily for us she works at the splendid Riverstation. So the three of nipped across the river and Petunia feed us all manner of captivating foods from the downstairs deli bar which she helps to run. We worked our way through a vast array of delights whilst Petunia worked and chatted. We agreed that although the health problems besetting the family are quite traumatic, the positive thing is the way that it has brought the family together. Anyone that knows us, will be aware that we never pass up the chance of some nice food. This certainly was yum.

Talking of family tomorrow we are heading down to Devon to see my dad and step mum. Orynthia remembered that we have an adapter so that we can play CD's through our cassette player in the car. We seldom go on long journeys, so we tend to forget that we have it. The only tricky thing is working what to tack with us!

So tonight we have the first of little run of gigs to go to, Teenage Fanclub at the Anson rooms. Then over the next few weeks, we are going to see Beth Gibbons (of Portishead fame), The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Richard Hawley and then Radio 4.

I'm currently reading the excellent book that Shane Macgowan and his partner Victoria Mary Clarke put out a few years ago. Shane is such an amazing character, so intelligent and yet so destructive. Full of contradictions and brutally honest, it's gives a fascinating insight of his early life in Ireland, the early punk years in London and the rise and subsequent decline of the Pogues. My memories of the early Pogues gigs are still great memories, however I also remember how awful they were the last time that I saw them. Shane could barley stand, let alone sing. I'm constantly surprised (but delighted) that he is still alive.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Well the football last night was much better, but the reds still failed to win. The 0-0 draw was scant reward for a stirring 2nd half performance. Anyway at least we had enough excitement to get me leaping from my seat on a couple of occasions.

The result’s are back from the scan that Orynthia’s dad had. Afraid to say that it doesn’t look good. Major problems with his back, which will need further investigations. We went to the hospital as soon as we got home tonight, pausing only to pick up Orynthia’s mum on the way. Despite the gloomy news we managed to have a bit of a laugh in the hospital. The way that Don has kept his spirits up is really amazing.

Monday, February 10, 2003

It must have been the sunny weather, yesterday we had a mad blast of spring cleaning! Most unlike us, as any of you that know us will testify. We well remember the famous occasion when we ere playing some sort of word association game with Orynthia’s sister, Crescentia. I can’t remember what word we were trying to get her to say, but the clue was something like “you’ll find lots of this in Tom & Orynthia’s house”. I guess we were hoping for music or books or food, but no. As quick as a flash, she answered with the word DUST! We aren’t really that bad, we do what we need to do, but we are certainly not slaves to the house. Anyway, I always think that the key to this sort of work is to find the right sort of music to listen to whilst getting busy with the sponge and duster. As I set about our kitchen units with some gusto, I was helped on my way by the last 2 CD’s from the splendid Teenage Fanclub. Firstly Howdy and then Songs from Northern Britain helped me cut a swathe through the grime. Better still the Fanclub are in town on Friday. We will be there along with a pretty healthy percentage of our friends.

In the afternoon, we popped into to see Orynthia’s dad in hospital before heading over the river to Severnshed for a farewell drink with Janneke before she heads back home to Holland.

Just picked up a few CD’s on my home from work. Bought a couple of things that I don’t know too much about. “Kill The Moonlight” by Spoon and “Oh Inverted World” by The Shins. Also picked up “100th Window” by local lads Massive Attack. Only had a chance to play The Shins CD so far, and on first hearing it sound quite interesting, in a fairly gentle laid back sort of way.

Off to play football tonight. Looking forward to it after missing out last week as we were in Nice. Mind you being in a splendid city in the south of France, for our wedding anniversary with my lovely wife, can hardly be described as missing out. Tomorrow night it’s back to Ashton Gate for the BCFC’s latest attempt to stop the slump that 2003 has thrust us into. Saturday’s performance against Colchester was truly inept. Come on lads – even if we can’t win, at least entertain us a bit.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Well of course it rained in Pontypridd! Turned out to be a really nice visit, as the two sisters entertained me with old family stories, mainly about my Welsh grandmother, who died before I was old enough to know her.
Put a few of new links up. Lightningfield is mainly a photo blog of New York. Tim Biskup and Seonna Hong both do great kitsch graphics.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Lots going on tomorrow, Orynthia’s dad is having a scan to try to get to the bottom of his ongoing leg problems. So, hopefully, sometime next week we should have a better idea of what the future holds. Fingers crossed on that one.
On my side of the family, I am taking my mum over to Pontypridd in South Wales, to see her sister.
It’s going to be quite interesting as I have not been to Pontypridd for many, many years. When I was a child we used to drive over to see mums family every other week, and I must admit that I hated it. In those days Pontypridd was still a coal mining town (my grandfather had been a miner), and the dirt and dust from the coal seamed to cover the town. Everything was either grey or black, and even managed to feel dirty. To make matters worse, I have convinced myself that it was always raining. I know that can’t be true, but it just felt like the most miserable and desolate place. Of course Thatcher closed the mines, and I’ve been told that the dark brooding slag heaps that overlooked the town, are now all green and the feel of the place is completely different. It will be good to catch up with my Aunty Mair. It’s years since I’ve seen her. My side of the family are just useless when it comes to keeping in touch. It’s a complete contrast with Orynthia’s family, where I feel closer to relatives from Australia, than I do with members of my own who only live 50 miles away. In fact some of them live in the same town, yet we never see each other. Can’t really work out why our family has developed in that way.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Well we did make it across to Nice on Sunday and very nice it was. It was a shame that we missed out a day of our trip, but we made the most of our time in Bristol on Sunday. We went to look at the new Nissan Micra, very cute in a retro sort of way, and then went out for a very nice Sunday lunch at Le Monde. Although it's a French restaurant, we both opted for a traditional Sunday lunch, and it has to be said that the beef was fantastic.

The trip to Nice was mercifully straightforward. Whilst we were at the airport we bumped into a guy called Derek and his mate Ian. We have vaguely known Derek for many years, but this was probably the first time that we had sat down and had a proper chat with him. Bristol is such a small town that pretty soon we realised that shared loads of mutual friends. They were both good company in a pleasantly silly laid back sort of way.

Upon our arrival in Nice we manage to get the right bus into town and before we knew it we were at the apartment. Just had time for a quick scout around the neighbourhood including buying a very tasty kebab, before we went off to bed. The next day we walked all over Nice, new town, old town, sea front and hill tops, eating lots of local dishes before finally ending up in really nice restaurant called Le Lodge. Here, we rested our tired feet whilst drinking a splendid champagne cocktail and enjoying a gorgeous meal. With a nice bottle of claret.. The next day we had enough time to visit the magnificent Russian orthodox church, checked out the local food markets, before enjoying lunch in one of those bar/restaurants that the French specialise in. Lots of very tasty couscous, sent us back to Bristol with our stomachs full and our wallets not too severely stretched. We both think that we would like to return to Nice, hopefully for a bit longer, so that we could travel along the coast and also venture inland to those gorgeous snow capped mountains, which surround the city.

In the past few days, I finished reading The Earthquake Bird by Susana Jones and Nick Mcdonell's 12. Both were intriguing without being completely satisfying. Although I was disappointed with the "spectacular" ending of 12. It was in marked contrast to the preceding pages and seemed to somehow diminish the detached tone that had previously been set in the book. I enjoyed the Susana Jones book more, it has been marketed as a crime novel, but it seemed to me to much more about the way people on the edge of society connect and what they do when those connections are threatened.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

So, as I write this, we should be enjoying our first visit to the south of France. Well, our flight got cancelled, but only after we had left for the airport! Which was a tad annoying as they must have known several hours earlier. We checked the websites and called the help lines which all indicated that the flight was still on. So here we are back home instead! We are booked on the flight for tomorrow evening, will the plane turn up who knows? Certainly not those nice people at Easyjet. They really did not have a clue about what was going on today. Not much we could do, so we just came home and watched a mad old Orson Wells film called Journey into Evil, eating Pizza followed by cheesecake, all washed down with some fine Champagne. Life could be worse. Think of those poor people on the Columbia space shuttle and their families.

Lets see what tomorrow brings!