Saturday, May 28, 2005

After spending much of the last few months engrossed in the world of Japanese fiction, I wandered over the pacific to America, and to the world of the gentle humorist in particular.

Firstly I spent some time in the company of David Sedaris, by way of his book "Dress your family in corduroy and denim." Over recent years Sedaris has become a very popular figure in the states, though less well known over here. I'd listened to him reading a few pieces on the web and I think it helps to have the sound and tone of his voice in your head and you read in stories. The humour is gentle, and the slightly perplexed tone of his voice helps to set the mood, allowing these very personal stories to weave their magic.

Now I'm back in the company of an old friend, Wobegone Boy by Garrison Keillor is proving to be a real treat. I loved his early stuff, indeed Lake Wobegone days is still one of my favourite books. Whilst reading it, I would often stop to read passages to Orynthia. In fact when book reviews say that a certain book made them laugh out loud, I never quite trust them, mainly because I seldom laugh out loud whilst reading. To me the highest praise is to say that a book made me want to read out loud. It's got to be pretty good to that. Wobegone Boy does read as a more substantial book them some of his pieces, in fact it's reminding me of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen at the moment, surely the best American novel of recent years.

Today we are off for a brunch meet with some friends before taking a look at the Hope Centre market.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Last night we went to The Cube to see the wonderful Wes Anderson film "The Life Aquatic", loved it. So funny, so odd, so unexpectedly touching in places. A real joy. Managed to get the seats in the middle of the back row, for the extra leg room and it was free as it was our free loyalty card visit - how great is that!

Sunday was spent walking the streets of Southville, for the southbank arts festival. We walked in and out of many houses where local artists were showing their work, It was also an interesting trip down memory lane for Orynthia as she grew up in that part of town. A very interesting way to spend the day.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Laburnam in Spring


Laburnam in Spring
Originally uploaded by tomory.

Laburnam in Winter


Laburnam in Winter
Originally uploaded by tomory.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

THE CONVERSATION

“ Here we go, this is a great place.”

“Yep, can see it all from here.”

“Thank God, we got away from all those tall people, we never would have seen anything, stuck behind that lot.”

“You’d think that they would move aside, they must know that that people behind them can’t see.”

“ I love this one! It’s so gentle.”

“Yeah, I listen to it late at night, it’s almost like having a friend in the room with you”

“Spooky!”

“I know, but it is, it really is. It’s great when something really connects with you like that, not many bands can do it.”

“And have you listened to the words? I love the way the meaning can change depending on the mood that you are in. The other day I had a really bad row with Tony, and when I heard this again it said everything I wished I’d said.”

“But you didn’t?”

“No, you never do, do you. It’s only later that everything falls into place. I sometimes think that’s the reason people become writers.”

“What to make sure that they can win every argument?”

“In a way, wouldn’t it be strange if you had to argue like that. Right. stop! This is heading into a row - grab you pen and paper, go to separate rooms.”


“Could you do it via e-mail?’

“Oh no, that’s far too quick! The whole point of it, is that it gives you time to come up with brilliant, seemingly spontaneous, one-liners”

“Of course”

“Arguments could go on for days or weeks, but you wouldn’t be able to refer to them during normal daily life.”

“Brilliant”

“Yeah, so you don’t get any of that red faced, door slamming stuff”

“ I’m rubbish at that. One time the door just sort of went phhhwm. Useless! I wanted to rush back into the room and try again, loosing my big dramatic exit.”

“Sounds like you lost it anyway”

“I always do!”

“So under my new system, you could at least loose after a fair debate, not just because the other person throws more words at you.”

“That’s my other problem. I always end up using the same dumb words again and again. I know that each time I use them, they carry a little less weight, but I can’t think of anything new to say. I’m stuck in this ridiculous loop. In the end the other person doesn’t even have to say anything back, I whittle away at my own self confidence, seeing my reason and logic collapse around me.”

“Thesaurus!”

“What?”

“Thesaurus. You’ll be able to use all those words, you’d never dream of using in a normal row.”

“Of course.”

“Wow, I’ll sound so clever, no-one will dare to challenge me again”

“Shh - I’d like to hear the band, not you two nattering about rubbish”

(Quietly) “If only he knew. We could cut him down to size”

(Quietly) “As long as he gave us enough time to compose a suitable reply. I guess we would have to get his address, we’re posting our response to him - right?”

(Less quietly) “Someone would take care of that for us, a central database would take care of everything.”

(Not quiet at all) “ Genius, not only do we solve all arguments we create thousands of jobs as well. It’s...

“SHUT UP!!”

(Loudly) “Go and stand by the tall guys, they’ll give you all the peace and quiet you want! We’re coming up with a new way for the world to solve it’s problems.”

“Hey, not bad!”

“I’d still like to put it in writing!”
Must mention the splendid 2-3-2 cafe on Gloucester Road, Bristol. We spent last friday evening in this lovely relaxed cafe / restaurant. It’s one of those places where you can have cake and coffee or lovely 3 course meal, well worth a visit in you are in this part of Bristol.

During the course of the evening, we had a very interesting chat about planning for old age with our friends Pete & Maggie. After seeing the struggles which have afflicted our respective parents over recent years, we decided that we need to get together with all our friends and move into some sort of sheltered housing.

That’s right - get rid of the houses which as you get older become more of a curse than a blessing and use the money to get a nice flat. we could use the common room for punk rock disco’s, arrange outings to the cinema and have a fine old time. Not long to go!

At the other end of the spectrum, we went to a very wedding reception of Sunday evening as old BT friends Ceri and Simon celebrated their wedding in the idyllic setting of Priston Mill. It was a chance to catch up with a few old friends, some of whom I’d not seen since leaving BT in that previous life of mine.

Ceri and Simon are now taking a month long break firstly in Kong Kong before moving onto Australia. Back in 1990 we went to Australia for a month and had a brilliant time but...Coming back to work after a 4 week break was a nightmare.

I’m the sort of chap who needs to be retrained after a lunch break, so after a month I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, the trouble is that everyone else thinks that you still know what you knew before you went away. This resulted in lots of very painful conversations, featuring me desperately trying to bluff my way through situations. I could just about manage my name and shoe size, anything was like being asked to explain nuclear fusion, somehow my colleges put up with and coaxed me back into some sort human state. I guess that it was a test run for those confused days of old age which await us all.

Friday, May 13, 2005

When Orynthia nipped along to Replay to pick up the new Teenage Fanclub album, she also grabbed the latest album by another band who threatened to move into the mainstream without ever quite managing it - The Go-Betweens.

Back in the late 80's I remember seeing them appear on kids TV (not that I was a kid then, although it would be lovely to think that I was), it was one of those strange moments when you initially have a little burst of excitement because one of "your" bands is on TV. Remember that this was before the all pervasive spread of MTV and wall to wall music video coverage, so any glimpse of favoured band was a treat. I then started to wonder how the band would be feeling, playing these meticulously crafted songs, to group of excited 8 year olds. I'm sure that Robert Forster enjoyed the delicious irony of the moment. Of course, it made no difference in the end, the band never got beyond cult status, much loved as they were.

We had an interesting evening yesterday, one of Orynthia's colleges has started to do some sort of cranial therapy, which involves her picking up on the movements of your cranial fluids and from that getting a feeling of areas of your body which could be in need of attention. I don't fully understand what was going on, but I did have a very relaxing time.

In fact it was a little strange, as I drifted away my mind started to play tricks on me. The passing traffic on the road outside started to sound like rolling waves washing up on a beach. In my mind, I was lying on a beach in Malaysia whilst the waves of the South China sea lapped at the shore, very nice indeed. Orynthia went after me and found herself walking around the streets of Prague! It could be a cheap alternative holiday service for the future!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Last night was spent in the company of Teenage Fanclub, and what better way of spending an evening could there be.

When we first arrived there were worries about the gig going ahead, it was thought that the glare from the vast number of shiny headed middle aged males, could prove too distracting for the band. Luckily some younger people came in later, bringing the average hair follicle content up to EU approved gig levels.

As ever with the Fanclub, we got the normal mixture of classic songs and amiable bonhomie. I sometimes wonder what would have happened to the the band if the Grand Prix album had been as huge as it should have been. I sort of think that they would not be around to entertain us these days if they had been forced to go on the non stop touring treadmill. So although their bank managers may be upset, I think the rest of us should be pleased that the Fannies are still able to lighten up the darkest room.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A new short story by Haruki Murakami - "Where I'm Likely to Find It" was in the May 2nd issue of the New Yorker. You can find it here

Monday, May 09, 2005

Arcade Fire were wonderful last night. A rousing, exuberant, crash, bang, wallop of a gig. Boy was it good!!

It was just the album plus a couple of other songs, but that was fine. The packed house cheered and clapped along, to a band which many of us were seeing for the first time. They really seem to have captured the imagination of a lot of people, I’m not sure if they are playing the big festivals this year, but if they are they will go down a storm. Can’t wait to see them again.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Bryan Munich


Bryan Munich
Originally uploaded by tomory.
Well we managed a 5-0 win, so we ended the season in 2nd place in our division. We think that this means promotion!!
A busy day in prospect, this morning we have the final match of the season for Bryan Munich. A win or a draw (as long as it’s not 0-0, when things would get very complex!) should see us promoted. It’s our furthest trip of the season as we have to travel down to Weston-Super-Mare, it’s almost like playing for a proper team.

This evening Orynthia and I are off to see Arcade Fire. It’s a gig I am really looking forward to, I’ve read and heard so many great reports of their live shows. I love the slightly manic intensity of the album, from what I’ve heard this becomes a euphoric noise on stage - let’s hope so. Another gig coming up on Wednesday, when we see a long overdue return to Bristol of Teenage Fanclub!! One of our favourite bands, seeing them is just like having old friends round for a drink.

Yesterday we went to see the V.E. day 60th anniversary celebration in Bristol. Most striking was was watching film of the devastation of central Bristol following German bombing raids. Also heard several people telling their wartime memories on Radio Bristol in the morning, some of which hd me on the verge of tears.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Small people or big sofa


Small people or big sofa
Originally uploaded by tomory.
Are Orynthia & her mum small, or is this sofa which are looking after for some friends rather large?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Orynthia at Redland Fair


Orynthia at Redland Fair
Originally uploaded by tomory.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Lot’s of dashing around over the last few days. On Thursday, I had my second visit to the BBC following my invitation to be part of the listeners advisory council.

This was rather different to the other visits I’ll be making, as it the induction event for all new members of the various council’s in the area. As such, we were asked to comment of the first 15 minutes of the local tea time news show - Points West. Interestingly enough the lead item on the show was a hopeless non-story, which gave us plenty to get our teeth into.

As you would expect the people from the BBC took the criticism with good grace. We then had a quick tour of the studio’s and the presenters, who were charming and welcoming, they dealt with the gushing admiration of some of my colleges with supreme grace.

Then it a quick walk down to Gloucester Road to hook up with a few former work mates from my time at Oxfam. Liz came up with brilliant idea that in the future a real socialist government would set up a sort of “luxury item” bank. It would allow you to have access to one luxury item which you could never afford to own, in fact if you could afford to own it, it would imply that you were earning too much money, which in the socialist paradise, would obviously not happen.

Anyway, the luxury item which Liz had chosen was a top of the range Cello. The thinking went like this, when she wanted to use the cello, she would pop down to her local Cello bank / library, collect her instrument of choice at no cost, play it to her heart’s content, before returning it for other Cello lovers to use. Simple really.

When it came to thinking up an item which I would like, I must admit that I struggled. Eventually, I came up with something. The only trouble was that It would be a difficult thing to share. I decided that I would like to have a retractable roof our house. What could be finer that waking up on a glorious sunny saturday morning, reaching across to pick up the remote control unit, pressing the button and watch the roof peel back, exposing a clear blue skyline, with the sunshine filling the room. Quite how this could be shared with my comrades in the socialist paradise, I’m not really sure, but I do think that it would be a wonderful thing. If anyone invents it, we here at tomorysworld are willing to be your guinea pigs.

On Friday I meet up with Orynthia at Spike Island, for the start of the annual open weekend at this eclectic arts centre. As ever it was a fascinating chance to see what some of our local artists are doing, it’s also a very social place to be as lot’s of our friends were out and about. To put the icing on the cake, they provided lots of free nibbles and this year saw the welcome introduction of Pieminister Pies to the catering options. Fantastic!

Then it was off to The Bell to catch with a couple of friends from Madrid, who were in town for the weekend.

Saturday saw what should be the last home game of a disappointing season for Bristol City. How surprising then that it should be one of the best games we have seen over the past 9 months. Searching for a win to keep our play-off hopes alive, our incredibly young side launched everything at Doncaster Rovers. Somehow we ended up drawing 2-2 rather than getting the win we deserved.

Yet the skill, determination and persistence of the side packed with lads in their late teen’s and early twenties was a joy to watch. If results do go our way, we could still figure in the promotion shake up, I think I’d rather see these young lads grow as team at a level where they can hop to win games, rather than being on the back foot all the time.

Tomorrow it’s Redland Fair 50’s kitsch, old books and records, strange clothing and furniture, it’s what bank holidays are made for.