Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Backstreet Picasso

Brain in a fog first thing, but this soon dispelled. Had talked to Toby about Equador and other things the night before, and had a curiously bad night and woke up having had a vivid dream about doing parkour down over a series of tiered gardens, and ending up talking to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, about transport. I told him that transport should be free in our capital.

Anyway, a very good day. Zoomed through my list of must-dos. Solved I hope the Gracenote problem (the similar track names confused them), completed the agreement to sell CDs online and via iTunes, dropped posters off at the Sussex Beacon shops, posted sample CDs, talked to Cem who may be able to swing some coverage in the Brighton Argus, sent more invites, talked to Matt, went to the bank, lurked briefly by the sea in the cold in one or two fine motes of snow and agreed to do some copywriting on Thursday.

Cooked a turkey curry and forked it down happily with Lorraine, who has a bad throat and a cold. She then worked on the sofa till ten, and I read Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks and looked at pictures by Roger Dean before it was time for football on TV. Another lamentable performance by Chelsea.

Below the pier looking rather forlorn in the grey. Particularly like this poster of Picasso down an unappetising backstreet.



Monday, January 30, 2012

Beetling about

Another bitty beetling about day. Had a much needed haircut, from my excellent new barbers, a distinct improvement on the previous walrus-faced one. Pleasantly chatty and intelligent. The one cutting my hair was a school Governor, with a passion for photography and geography.

After this, dropped some posters off with Marion at the Unitarian Church discussing the prospect of snow on the 11th Feb. This is an idea that Matt put into my head when we spoke today, but you can only worry about things you can control.

Watched the last of my Larry Sanders episodes after the gym, while eating beans on toast. Such a great series, way ahead of its time comedically, and great performances. Perhaps I will have to get on with my work now.

Lorraine coughing and feeling a bit rough today when she got home. We watched the second half of Birdsong on TV which was splendid.

Dreary IT struggles dept: trying to upload the track names to Gracenote, so that when people put the CD into their iTunes the track names come up instantly. There is a simple procedure which I followed to the letter. Naturally this hasn't worked and am now emailing gracenote. I am beginning to wonder if it is me. Sometimes I think the whole IT revolution is a way of multiplying the forms that need to be filled in.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shakey in the evening

A pleasant day. Felt cheery just walking off to Arkwrights this morning to buy some bacon and eggs. Meditating on how happiness can be found in small things, such as a walk to nearby shops on a Sunday morning. Nothing happened of any consequence, and the short walk is not a lovely one.

Breakfast with Betty. She makes Lorraine laugh lots, which is nice to see. Beth trying to think of a new stage name, and saying that she didn't like Beth much. Lorraine disagreed, naturally, having chosen it for her. The three of us out shopping and then Betty went off to see her dad, and Lorraine and I did some deskwork, before she cooking a delicious Sunday roast.

In the evening off to support The Shakespeare Trio who were playing a few hundred yards away in The World's End pub. Betty came too for a while before having to scoot off back to college. A long set from Dipak and Richard, but in a poorly lit corner of the pub where it was hard to see them without craning your neck.

Dipak looks increasingly relaxed on stage, which was good to see. Chatted to Maria Grazia, Richard's guitarist wife, also a bit to Pemma who runs the London Unity Wednesday nighters.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A night with the Kyngs

Lorraine up to Kingston on a trip with Beth and Rosie to do some shopping. I however was feeling a little coldy so took the opportunity to lie low watching football and having a Larry Sanders fest. I have not almost viewed the whole thing, and I really like it.

In the evening off to see The Sumerian Kyngs at a boozer called The Horse and Groom. As Brighton's leading proponents of psychedelic swamp groove they did their thing with great aplomb. An enjoyable night, and some folks dancing. Odd juxtaposition of traditional boozer with exploratory, free form music. One thing I did notice however was the smell of sweat. It is quite a while since I went somewhere where there was uninhibited dancing, and in those days the cigarette smell masked everything. I think I prefered the cigarettes.

Wandered home afterwards to find Lorraine, with Beth and Kayleigh sipping win and chatting. Very nice to see Betty again and Kayleigh too.

Below a few snaps of the Kyngs, who include my pal Steve Cartwright who was enjoying himself immensely wielding a saxophone and doing his German bit in the Kyng's epic "The Russians are Coming" (bottom picture).




Friday, January 27, 2012

Nipping about

Nipping about town with purpose sending concert invites, a few CDs, picking up posters, dropping in on Anna to leave a present for Klaudia, leaving the CD for Alison Fearns at the local BBC, and generally being about my business.

Anna's house covered in scaffolding and the roof being removed, Anna apprehensive about the forecasted cold snap sans roof. Nice to have a chat with her.

Lorraine back early today, and we watched Melancholia the Lars Van Trier movie as we tucked into a takeaway.. Splendid intelligent movie about depression and the end of the world. Read all kinds of reviews of this film, but it is well worth a look, if a bit terrifying. Would have liked to have seen it in a cinema.

Matt has now chosen a third poem, to put into a sequence called Three Pieces for Poet and Piano, which will be unleashed on an unsuspecting public next month. They are Minotaur, Ophelia and Kafka and work well. Kafka will be good too I think, as it is a bit of a throwaway poem that can be made very funny in performance.

Below a detail from a frame from Melancholia.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hail and hearty

Buzzing around town today. Beautiful blue skied day after the morning rain stopped, interrupted by hail from a single humongous cloud. Had a long chat with Sophie.

Into Resident Records to discuss them taking CDs (unlikely I'd say) got my specs fixed after I squished them carrying in boxes of CDs the other day, then met Dipak for coffee in the Marwood to discuss music in a sagacious fashion. Heard some of the new material he and Richard and working on, and it sounded amazing. Then off to see Di and Adrian for a cup of tea and give them two CDs as Adrian photographed Matt I and the musicians, then off to Simon Scardanelli to give him a couple of samples.

Thanks to Adam Bushell the PA is all sorted for the concert. Things are taking shape, now I just hope some folks show up for it. Otherwise we're going to look a bit sheepish.

Heard from the French Bloke this evening. Turns out they won the eyeball pitch I worked on with Keith at the beginning of the month. Nice of the FB to call and thank me. Left me feeling rather cheery, knowing that I can still come up with advertising goods when called upon and my stock with the agency still good.

Lorraine home late from work.

Below a beautiful day with the exception of a sudden hailstorm. I dove for cover in the unlovely London Road as it struck.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lost in tweaking

Low key day spent tweaking a poster for the launch concert. I can get happily lost in design work, look up from the screen and discover that hours have flown by. Though spoke to Mum a couple of times. Mason has a throaty infection and is on antibiotics which space him out.

Gym again. A bad day for communication. Attempts to contact people failed.

Lorraine home early today, and we had a happy time. She cooked a turkey pie, which was delicious. Sat about reading companionably on the gold sofa in the evening: I started Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks; Lorraine read the Times Educational Supplement.

Matt texted me to say he had finished the music for Ophelia, and did I have another character to make it a group of three poems done with spoken word and musical backing (along with Minotaur, which is on the album).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What a difference a day makes

Rain gouting from the sky I, however, was cheery. In the morning a thundering on the door heralded the arrival of a pallet of CDs. And not just any CD, my CD. They look as well as I could have hoped, and sound great. Matt called around in the afternoon for coffee and to take some. Both feeling quietly proud.

Also I have been in touch with The Sussex Beacon an aids care charity, who will be doing a bucket shake at our concert. It is good to have an ethical dimension to things, and The Beacon took good care of my old pal Tim Gallagher in his last year or so, and I have never forgotten this.

Lorraine home early, and after I had cooked, she drove me off to listen to the choir rehearsing at Matt's, and Lorraine popped in to see Rosie. There were a couple of new faces including a promising Polish singer called Peter, and Adam Swayne who fancied helping and singing. Adam, Matt and I went off to meet Wayne at The Brunswick where there was their regular Jazz evening. Lots of good jazz for free. Bargain. Basically people just sitting in and swapping around. Some amazing playing and some pedestrian playing. All very democratic. One young guy who must have been no older than 18 an amazing Bebop whizz on piano, although he only had one way of playing, which was full throttle. Exhilarating though.

Home late.

Below: a glimpse at the Clameur CD, and a glimpse at the Brunswick's jazz night.



Monday, January 23, 2012

Looking for perspective

Getting things out of proportion today. The image of a chess player kept coming to mind. I felt I have been stroking my chin considering my next move against an enigmatic opponent. The gym helps a great deal. Otherwise all my doings seem like a hill of beans. All quiet on on the copywriting front despite the Taxman required necessity to keep busy. Unable to concentrate on my own work in the meantime, and my confidence is low when I should be tooting my trumpet to publicise the CD launch.

Listening to old podcasts, Yann Martel talking about The Life of Pi, and John Irving talking about A Prayer for Owen Meany. I found Life of Pi hard to love, but Martel an interesting man, who came from a secular background to become fascinated with religions while living in India. John Irving, as I supsected was just great. I learned that he always starts writing his books by writing the last line first.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Slow Sunday

A slow breakfast, juicer out and a foamy sort of celery, carrot and apple drink. I had sardines on toast, which Lorraine erroneously maintains is not a breakfast food at all.

Lorraine working hard most of the day. I had the luxury of getting my poetry files into focus. I had duplicated files, and files with different versions and it had all got out of control and took hours to sort out. If in doubt, tidy up, and I feel the threads I need to pick up are at least discernible.

Larry Sanders fest today, then cooked a mash of carrot, butternut squash and potato, with a modicum of butter and some grated Parmesan and black pepper. Simple but nice, especially if you leave it a little lumpy and serve with gravy, greens and a turkey steak.

Lorraine and I bumped into Reuben and his son Serge. Later watched a beautifully shot adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' novel Birdsong. Amazing cinematography, and beautiful people staring at each other with longing, interspersed with ghastly trench warfare.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

No drag

Lorraine off to get a haircut in Hove. I walked with her and found a cafe and sat happily tinkering with a poem for an hour or so with a big mug of coffee. First time I have done anything like this for ages. Thought about Toby sitting in Creama cafe Toronto.

Later Lorraine arrived with excellent hair, and we shot off to buy a present for Klaudia whose 8th birthday is imminent. Also L and I bought ping pong bats and balls for ourselves, reasoning that if we play frenzied ping pong every now and then this may be a good thing. Lorraine adding with a dark look that it would be good to do something competitive.

In the evening off out for a few cheeky beers in The Basketmakers, with Matt and Wayne. Wayne now growing his hair which is proving remarkably curly. I was trying to get opinions about what to wear for the concert, deciding against cummerbund, top hat etc. this time. Little forthcoming, but I rejected suggestions of doing it in drag.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The cringe before the storm

Sending off listings and press releases for our launch concert. All beginning to happen now, the introverted sub-personality hidden inside me is cringing already about the preening and prancing about I will be subjecting it to.

To the gym for more manful striving.

In the evening to The Dyke Tavern, which used to be an unwelcoming hole best avoided, but is now quite pleasant. Met Lorraine and Dawn there, and some of Lorraine's ex-neighbours, including JD and Sarah, Angie and Patrick, Nicky and David, James, Dan and Steve Geliot. Steve and JD collaborated on the large inflatable spaceship featured in this blog in 2010. Otherwise, Lorraine and I had much fun giggling with Dawn.

Lorraine and I treated ourselves to a hot curry, and my favourite waiter told us that he had encountered my blog.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slices

A bitty start to the day with my work Porlocked by Brian savaging Basil for no good reason, the cleaner Sonia sternly going about her business, and loquacious men from the YMCA coming to collect an old wardrobe, bookcase and an enormous CD rack abberation I bought a few years ago. Lorraine came home for a turkey soup lunch, and we left together to walk into town. L for a coaching session, and me to conduct some guerrilla filming with my wee Flip camera. Wandered about peering into shop windows at shop dummies and reflections and, inevitably, wandered down to the sea.

I was walking up past St Nicholas church and encountered Anna and Klaudia. Anna is dreading having to be Baby Spice for charity, and sing and dance on stage as she said she can't dance or sing. I pointed out that, in fairness, neither could Baby Spice. Klaudia straining at the leash to go shopping.

Off then to see Janet and Ken. Janet's arm healing well according to the mountebanks at the hospital who are surprised and pleased at her healing progress. Shot the breeze with them for a while, while scoffing a plate of biscuits and sipping early grey tea. Ken working on a collection of children's tales starring a character called Timmy. Janet talking about going for an 'experimental drive' soon. Sounded unsettling.

Home again where Lorraine had returned, prior to going out to train some governors at a school. I meanwhile sat on the Gold Sofa happily watching four episodes of Larry Sanders back to back, ingesting pizza slices and sipping a rum and coke before Lorraine returned.

Below: taking flight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jobs at hand

Cheerier despite the grey rain outside, and I felt lucky to be doing websites, a press release, and emailing the CD production company indoors rather than standing on some God forsaken train platform. Also thinking about a new short piece of poetry and music with Matt.

Decided it pays not to listen to the news. It is a wall-to-wall gloomfest, no wonder they call it a depression. Instead I am taking a Buddhist approach by focusing on doing the job at hand, whatever it is, as best I can.

Did a water change in the aquarium helped by Calliope and the problematic Basil who dipped her paw into the water. Lorraine back from work early, but simply so tired she boofed out on the sofa, after I served her a bowl of turkey surprise soup, and we sipped freshly made carrot, celery and apple juice. Compensated for all this by polishing off the absolute bloody final piece of a Christmas Pudding we discovered recently.

Gave up watching television and read some difficult Hungarian poetry in translation. Gave this up in favour of watching Larry Sanders, which seems to suit my mood perfectly. Especially the swearing. Then bed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bears and cats

Felt nervy this morning. I woke from a dream about being in a bleak land of huge clawing bears. Signed off the artwork for 'Clameur' and signed a confidentiality agreement for the new people I may be working with, plus attended to several less glamorous chores. Took myself to the gym, which helped a great deal.

L and I have taken to putting Basil outside to lose some weight as it is too fat for the catflap. In reality she sits outside the door peering in pleadingly. I popped around the corner to take some clothes to be recycled this afternoon and left a torn paper bag behind me. When I returned home I picked the bag up to throw it away to find that Basil who had stolen back in as I opened the door to leave had thoughtfully urinated in it. I slung her outside in punishment, but after mopping cat wee up, ten minutes later our neighbour Mark, who has our keys, let it back in thinking I was out. It was giving a convincing portrayal of starving and homeless.

Home and fiddled about with more bits of marketing for the CD and then a black gloom settled on me. Cooked some pasta and left Lorraine and a pal downstairs while I retreated upstairs to listen to Vaughan Williams and Michael Tippett and fiddle with and idea for another video for Clameur, while Calliope sat on my desk playing with my pens.

Below the camera must have steamed up when I shot this, as it is quite blurry, but this splash of colour really brightened my day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Unified

Found myself having to write a CV for the first time in ages to send off to my new potential client. Also chatted to mum who had had a medical test on her bones, but all was well.

In the afternoon off to the Unitarian Church to meet Matt and have a squint around as we are going to launch our CD there. It is bang in the centre of Brighton near the theatre royal, and across the road from the Dome, so it feels like a prestigious enough venue. Dipak joined us for the tour by Alison who works there. Alison returned to her office and Richard walked in from the street stamping and whistling to get the acoustic and sitting down at the piano to play The Goldberg Variations surprisingly well on the piano.

Richard asked why the Unitarians as they have no crosses, and Alison told us that Unitarians welcomed people of all faiths.

Matt and I left the Shakeys outside and went to the cheery Basketmakers to have a planning session over a beer. Nice to have some time to talk business and brainstorm. Made plans for the launch, and also discussed our next project. A regular called John, who is frequently in the Middle east wished us 'may your camel walk a thousand miles' as he left.

Home and after supper, Lorraine introducing me to the delights of SuperMario on the Wii before bed.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Gobble

Lorraine finally sent off her application and self assessment materials that will form the basis for her head teacher final interview. Now it's just getting herself organised for the interview board next month. I am looking forward to time when she is not working continuously.

Off to the gym to celebrate. Lorraine's first time for a while. She had a swim and a cross trainer session. I pushed myself hard, and felt butch afterwards. Later we undid some of the good work by gobbling a frozen turkey I had spotted with my recession busting eye being sold half price on Friday in the supermarket. Made a thick soup stock which will form the basis of meals until August.

A happy afternoon, snoozing and allowing myself to relax. Lorraine working more in the evening, while I started to redo my CV (resume) for my potential new client as my old one perished in the great computer and hard drive crash of last summer. Haven't had to show anyone a CV for about 20 years.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy house day

Finally Lorraine and I had time to do house things and hang pictures and going about the important business of moving a picture a foot to the left, and hanging some others. We had a great mess cull too. All this immensely satisfying. We went shopping for fish food flakes and on the way home up a couple of hundred yards away from where we live, and found the exact bookcase/storage unit we had been admiring online for half the price. In the same shop we also found a coatstand, which replaces the huge ancient and badly designed wardrobe in our hall. We simply bought them.

The owner agreed to drive it round the corner for us, and he and I lifted the immensely heavy thing indoors from the back of his big van. Much grunting and straining of back from me, and effortless lifting from the stringy little man in the shop. However we have a new hallway and the house much improved.

Cath who had come around for the evening, and we ate roasted vegetables and couscous dribbled with a delcious 'harrisa-style' sauce Lorraine had made. Cath back teaching and seeming to really enjoy it, and being stern with Lorraine about work things.

Watched Chelsea scrape a win on Match of the Day before heading tired, but satisfied, to bed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Taxed

Greatly enjoyed not zooming up to London today, but up early nevertheless. The day shadowed by the realisation that I had made a stuid error and completely misread my tax position sent me by my accountant a few months ago. I realised my bill is much larger than I had anticipated. The reason being I am paying last year's tax in arrears, but tax for this year is being paid currently in two lumps, so two lots of tax rather than one. Luckily I have had plenty of work lately or this revelation might have completely sunk me. As it is, I have a couple of uncomfortable months ahead but should experience no lasting harm.

In other news I went to the gym. Otherwise wan and tired, and after I had completed bits of billing and other admin for the CD and my business this afternoon, I snoozed on the sofa after watching a few episodes of Larry Sanders.

Met Lorraine for a spot of food shopping and we had a quiet night indoors. I watched a documentary, not a particularly good one, on the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. I am a big fan these days I love Lark Ascending of course but also Fanstasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis has become one of my favourite pieces of music. I discovered that RVW and I have the same birthday. Apparently he looked like a sack of potatoes but was very attractive to women even as a man in his 80s. The documentary billed it self as a psychological insight into RVW revealing the amazing fact that RVW liked women, but offered no insight when it came to the fact that the composer burnt his wife's chair and photos after her death, before hastily remarrying.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life resumes

Up and off again. A day of finishing off the pitch work, a line here, a line there. Most of the work done by 2 o'clock and I went with First Matie (who was pleased to return to the normality of work after going to her grandfather's funeral) Karam and Keith out to lunch in a pub. Karam and I chatting about India on the way home, as he'd only recently returned. Had showed me some photos of the Punjab and the Golden Temple at Amritsar. Some absolutely excellent. His father's family are Punjabi, and he had some amazing shots of people, especially one of a hawkish firelit man in profile.

Also had the opportunity in between jobs to chase the CD manufacturing people, delivery in two weeks apparently, which is not exactly speedy but early enough.

All the pitch work done and out the door by the end of the day. Paused briefly to hoover up a couple of free drinks before coming home to Lorraine. We went out to celebrate in the local curry house. No work tomorrow for me and my extensive plans include sleeping, and going to the gym.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pitch blur

All about the work again today. I quite enjoyed being back in a full blown pitch frenzy, and working with Keith especially, but all the other folks too. Designers hunched over their Macs producing a huge amount of work based on our overarching concepts: iPod aps, adverts, brochures, mocked up websites and so on, which meant writing copy lines for them. Home after 10 again, which was earlier than I had planned for.

Sat on my sofa eating pizza and allowed myself a can of beer and chatting to Lorraine.

Below a small snap of the very lively Keith.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pitching in

Off to London at 7 and worked hard on the pitch all day. This meant finalising concepts, writing lots of bits and pieces for various executions of the concepts Keith and I had. Snuck off at lunch to buy a pot of wild rice and Thai curry for lunch. Listening to several Andrew Marr Start the Week podcasts on the train. Arrived home at 10:00 and ate some pasta, rather tired. Lorraine tired too. And so to bed.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

A long return

Up and feeling fairly fresh. Went downstairs to watch some of the original Scooby doo from 1969 with Oskar and Anton and later Klaudia, the story exactly the same in each episode, but none the worse for that. Once everyone was up, we sloped back down to The Coast for a huge breakfast. Sat drinking coffee afterwards and David showed Lorraine and I photos of his recent art exhibition. Lorretta and her baby daughter and partner arrived for breakfast too. Not seen Loretta since Anton’s wedding getting on for nine years ago.

Then after many fond farewells, Anna, Anton, the bairns Lorraine and I got the Red Jet back to Southampton. Easy ride on sea flat as a millpond. Slinking in past a grey stealth warship and a huge castle like liner. Got to Southampton railway station, but then things became somewhat difficult and it took us well over four hours to get to Brighton, some 80 miles away. Trains cancelled, line works and bus replacements turned it all into a bit of a nightmare. But the children were well behaved and I played lots of chess with Klaudia, who is surprisingly good.

Home and pleased to find the cats hadn’t eaten each other’s faces off. Both Lorraine and I had urgent bits to sort out, which we duly did, while intermittently watching Sherlock Holmes.

Our own bed feeling fantastic.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Folly by water

Quite refreshed this morning. To The Coast for 11, after a leisurely breakfast with everyone. Suddenly found myself buying lots of new clothes in a sudden spending spree, but actually getting real bargains and enjoying the experience as I have been feeling a bit raggedy.

Met up with Anna's clan and we all went to the harbour, in an event organised by Luke we all climbed aboard two boats, drank sparkling wine and were gently puttered down the Medina side by side until we reached a restaurant and pub called The Folly. Had a pleasant lunch there, before taking the return trip. Just really great fun to be scooting about on the water with everyone. One of the boatmen let Oskar drive for a while, which was splendid for him.

Back to Cowes, then even more shopping for me, and I bought Lorraine a handbag and wallet and we gossiped with the owner of the shop lengthily. She was from London and was really enjoying life on the Isle of Wight.

After a judicious snooze, all back to The Coast for a large and excellent meal (my main course lobster ravioli). An excellent musician, singing and dancing. Anna, among others dancing on top of the bar late at night. Luke and Lewis working really hard to make sure everything was great for us all. Really good night, and the coast's clientele varied and maverick.

Anton and I carried the children downstairs. I was paranoid about dropping Klaudia going downstairs. And the walk home seemed to go on for ages as my arms felt like they were pulling out of their sockets. Klaudia not a wee thing any more.

Below Gemma, Joe, Lorraine Mark, Anton and Stephanie; David, Anna and Anton, Oskar, Klaudia and a puppy, Anna with her brother Luke and sister Gemma in the background.





Friday, January 06, 2012

Red Jet over dark water

After rushing away from work – a day I found quite demanding – tubed down to Waterloo, from where I caught a fast train to Southampton where I met Lorraine. Finished reading Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller while I was at it. Interesting play.

We got the Red Jet catamaran over to Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Felt great to be speeding across the Solent sipping a bottle cold of Amstel beer and looking out at the lights of the coast. At the Cowes harbour we were met by Anton. And we walked straight to The Coast bar, a rather splendid restaurant and bar owned by Anna’s brother Luke and his partner Lewis. We arrived and strode through the bar upstairs to Luke's apartment where there was a lovely supper waiting with sliced pork and cheeses. After this was consumed and general greetings made, we all went for some drinks in their bar afterwards. It was a gathering of Anna's family, so as well as Luke and Lewis, there was Anton and the children, Anna’s sister Gemma and her partner Joe, Anna’s parents Stephanie and David, and Brian. Next day Mark, Anna's other brother flew in from Dublin.

I felt rather tired, and after eleven I went to the house five minutes away that we all had rented. Anton and I put the children to bed, and I boofed out as Anton returned to the bar. Klaudia excited, and creeping about the house. Eventually she slept, and Lorraine returned top hat slightly askew, along with Anton, Anna and Brian.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Juggling spiders

Up to London, feeling twitchy. Had woke in the night feeling anxious too. Made it to work without incident however. Lunch with Keith and Matty boy. In the evening off to Mum and Mason's. Treacherous burst of rain just before I reached them. Ben there too, which was nice. And it was good to dry my trousers by the fire. Cheery glasses of wine with Mum, Mas and Ben. A spider let itself down from the ceiling just behind Mason, and Ben and Mum doing elaborate spider juggling for some time.

Enjoyed a turkey supper and, yippee! more Christmas pudding.

In the wake of the James Ellroy stuff I am reading, got Mason to talk about life in LA in the fifties and sixties. He told me about taxi dancing, which was renting someone to dance with in certain bars. Fairly early night, sent to bed with two hot water bottles, and slept like a large baby after calling Lorraine and reading a bit more about violent murder.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Dark start

Up to London. Archetypal start to the year. As I always say, January is the Monday of the year, and it was raining and dark when I left home, becoming grey with glum-looking commuters shuttling up to London. Reading the Guardian and looking out of the window noticing how much the Shard has moved on, rearing up and piercing the sky near completion. Work surprisingly enjoyable, doing concept work with Keith and chatting to Matty boy and Katie. More sadly, First Matie lost her grandfather just before Christmas, and Nicola is burying her father this week.

After 18 years of fighting for justice, two of the murderers of Stephen Lawrence were finally found guilty. Lawrence was 18 when he was killed, and it is sobering to think that it took slightly longer than he was alive for justice to finally be done thanks to the tireless campaigning of his parents. On a murder note still reading My Dark Place Places by James Ellroy - which is incredibly raw and fascinating about his mother's murder when he was a child, and the havoc this wrought in his life.

Home again in reasonable time. Lorraine still working when I got in. We ate the last of the Christmas pudding tonight. Though there is an unopened one which I find my eyes drawn to often. Carl called, and it was great to hear from him. He says Ellie is very artistic, and bought a big book of portraits with the token I sent her. He has also been dodging hospitals lately and is in good health.

Lorraine and I watched the first episode of the new and rather splendid BBC adaptation of Great Expectations. Magwitch in the Marshes rather splendid.

Below a red bus on the rainwashed streets.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Work and leisure

Beautiful sunny morning, out and about briefly in Brighton first thing, and then spent much of the day working on this kind of thing in preparation for the album launch in Feb. Lorraine working on another thing to do with her headship. L and I seem to have worked hard all through the holiday.

Betty went back to Kingston today, and Lorraine drove her up in the afternoon and returned home late. Good to see her so cheery and looking forward to getting on with her University life. A boy has also caught her eye lately, which is nice. Found myself handing out advice, and stopped. Sam also decided to return to Leeds today, and Lorraine legged off to the station to say goodbye.

In between doing the site I had a happy hour watching Larry Saunders and later Match of the Day. Lorraine back late in time to see Chelsea score their late winner.

Up to the smoke to do another stint in London. Lorraine and I going to bed late as the rain started thundering on the old church hall roof. Another week off would have been nice, but good to have some doubloons coming in right away as what with tax bills, christmas, CDs and the general rise in prices I seem to be spending cash as fast as I earning it.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The joy of rats and rain

And on the first day the rain came. Mostly unrelenting rain, and a perfect day to stay indoors nursing a slight hangover and watching old movies, which is precisely what Lorraine and I did. A gentle pause before the onslaught of the year.

I learned to play What becomes of the broken hearted on my guitar. Lorraine cooked a gorgeous roast pork, and I slumped on my butt for the whole day. Bliss.

Particularly enjoyed the animated movie Ratatouille which Lorraine, Beth and I watched. Lorraine refusing to believe the well-known fact that rats can laugh, even when I showed her the evidence on a BBC site.