Thursday, September 30, 2004

Little girls grow up so fast. Danielle is heading with her pal on a train journey to Warrington tomorrow to see a gig. Seems like only the other day that she couldn't walk without the aid of a ladybird-decorated baby walker. And now here she is, changing at Manchester and watching live music at the Apollo. Hurrah. The little lady's doing me proud. Talking of people that can't walk - I see the other love of my life, Pete Doherty, hasn't managed stairs yet. Perhaps this is why he's rumoured to be heading into the next Celebrity Big Brother house - they don't have stairs in there, do they? I fear he might drown in the hot tub.

One of Ronald's finest refused to accept our free McDonald's vouchers on the grounds that we could only use one per visit 'til I pointed out it was one per person per visit. "Ooh, I never knew that," she laughed. No, she wouldn't, because she'd never read the back of the voucher before - which is a shame as Ronald's 30 years in business giveaway ends tomorrow so she'll have turned dozens of voucher-wielding punters away. Despite all the bad things I read about Macs, my revulsion over their globalisation tactics (apparently, France is the biggest growth area for McDonald's 'restaurants' - which is odd given that the French reputedly hate Americans) and Morgan Spurlock's recent statement of the obvious, I still find myself drawn to a Big Mac more than I should be. Help!

posted by dave - 3:44 pm

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
The more I meander aimlessly around Waterstones, the more I realise that there are only two types of book you can buy at the moment. You can either get the one with the picture of a dog on it, or the one with half the face of an Asian woman. A woman (with a full face) was in there asking if Terry Pratchett would sign a book "To Shiela..." if Shiela herself didn't make the effort to go to his up 'n' coming book signing. Member of staff was trying to let Shiela (I'm assuming it was her) down gently by telling her that Terry won't sign any books "To Shiela..." unless Shiela stands in a queue for an hour herself. He will, staff member added, sign a few "Terry Pratchett" and these will go on general sale after he's headed back to Discworld. "But me legs," Shiela said. He advised Shiela to get herself there good and early and they can pop her on a chair to save her legs. "And I have an old, tatty copy of The Colour of Magic. Will he sign that 'To Shiela...' too?" she added. And, lo and behold, the conversation went round and round in circles as I meandered around aimlessly tutting at the lack of diversity when it comes to cover art.

Bonkers artists are running amok not far from the office - so I nipped in to see an exhibition, only to be met with the opportunity to plant an acorn and watch paper fly around a room. But is it art? I should say so. It certainly took my mind off an experience at the speedbank, when I suffered the Mike Skinneresque "insufficient funds" warning. How'd that happen? I only got paid less than a week ago. I shall have to walk the 52 mile trip to and from work methinks.

posted by dave - 1:59 pm

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Should Richard Herring ever call by while doing a bit of website admin checking up who links to his site, he'll be pleased to know that I dreamt about him last night. He did an intimate gig for myself and M in a classroom. Ticket sales were poor, which was tricky for Rich as his show's success relied on being able to recreate a classroom in action. Sadly, he was left trying to prompt empty chairs to converse with him. A few minutes in I laughed out loud, only to be shushed by M, who insisted that Herring pretending to be a headmaster while wearing a cod piece from a previous show just wasn't funny. A few other people turned up but refused to enter the room, preferring instead to stand in the doorway talking loudly. Well done, Rich, in dreamland you don't falter once you've hit your stride, nor hurl abuse at the covert hecklers. It was no Edinburgh Festival but at least the tickets were free. Other people squeeze balls when they're stressed out. I dream of Richard Herring. Which is worse?

Book: Erica Jong - Fear of Flying

posted by dave - 3:29 pm

Monday, September 27, 2004
In the fast-paced world of newspapers, nobody is available to talk to me about recent developments. Too busy, they say. As if I'm not busy. Ah well, tomorrow perhaps.

Lou Reed once said...I'm feeling good, you know I'm gonna work it on out, I'm feeling good, I'm feeling oh so fine, Until tomorrow, but that's just some other time, I'm waiting for my man

posted by dave - 8:21 pm

Sunday, September 26, 2004
We turned down the chance to go and work in Japan, did I tell you? And then there was the job in Portugal. And a half-hearted attempt at moving to the capital city. Amazing places, all three. But they lost out because it's not where I'm at, because there are bigger fish about to be fried and three little fish that still need directing towards the ocean. I'm sure as hell not gonna go and work in fucking Bridlington (although, with all that talk of fish, I had myself worried there for a minute)! Tomorrow could be an interesting old day at work. I do hope the fans are in place.

Buckley to the rescue: Did you say "no, this can't happen to me," and did you rush to the phone to call? Was there a voice unkind in the back of your mind saying, "maybe... you didn't know him at all."

posted by dave - 10:15 pm

Saturday, September 25, 2004
Sleepless night. Cold sweat. Panic. Stress. Backed into a corner. I've been here before. I won't let it happen again. I'm not some commodity that can just be shoved around at someone else's will. Oh no.

Usual lyrical gangsta: Don't look back into the sun, Now you know that the time has come, And they said it would never come for you

posted by dave - 10:08 pm

Friday, September 24, 2004
See what happens when you complain about the lack of car parking? Not only do you get told that you can't park on the car park, they send you 30 miles away to work in another office with its own car park. I have been asked (well, I say asked, it's spelt t-o-l-d) to go and work in an office on the Yorkshire coast. Such is the logic of a local newspaper. My current boss congratulated me on my new car parking space, shaking my hand as he washed his of me. It's been a funny old week. Well, when I say funny...

posted by dave - 4:46 pm

Thursday, September 23, 2004
Sam - and this will come as no surprise to him - is 9 today (Cue fanfare, applause and Happy Birthday on repeat play). He's turning into a very funny young fella and I'm looking forward to dining with him later enormously, even though he'll be mocking me again due to my inability to grasp the rather simple (to smart arse 9-year-olds) pronunciation of Yu-Gi-Oh. But, he added in a moment of self pity, their birthdays aren't always the easiest days for me.

Doherty of the day (reprise): Cornered, the boy kicked out at the world. The world kicked back a lot f**king harder

posted by dave - 10:37 am

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Well, me and the security guard patched things up. I complimented him on his fine dress sense, he told me never to darken his car park again. I feel like we've come so far in such a short time. I don't find him attractive, nor will I have his children. But we're as close as it's possible for two burly, hairy men to get, that's for sure.

Poor Yusuf Islam. He gets all the way to the States, carried away on a veritable Moon Shadow, and he's immediately forced to get on a plane back to dear old blighty. As if one long haul flight isn't enough. That'll teach him for changing his name back in 1977. A security risk, they reckon. What was he going to do? Bore the western world to death singing Morning Has Broken and Peace Train? Surely the US government are just afraid of his surname. I can see the list now. The word Islam highlighted and underlined in red. Yet, as one door closes for the former-Cat Stevens, another one opens up for the bullshitters that work in the amazing world of PR. Marillion - who were travelling on the same flight (what was it, a chartered plane for faded recording artists?) - must be feeling rather proud that they employ Republic Media, who swiftly swung into action to milk this golden opportunity to remind an uninterested public that the band "spent the night sleeping on the carpets and plastic chairs in the airport" as they'd missed their connection. Aw, poor Marillion. Fish must be overjoyed he left them years ago. Great consolation for Yusuf, however, came in the words of lead singer Steve Hogarth, who isn't afraid to sound anal when describing events in full detail... "We flew today on United Flight 919 to Washington Dulles. As the plane touched down, an announcement was made that we were not landing in Washington State because of bad weather. But after about 10 minutes, the captain made another announcement saying it was, in fact, an FBI security alert. We all had to get off the plane. I then met a security guard who said the two people escorted off were Cat Stevens and his daughter. I was stunned. He is a pacifist and a great songwriter." Now, those words of wisdom are almost as exciting as a song by, oh, I don't know, Marillion. Yeah! Rock and roll!

posted by dave - 3:31 pm

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Security guards are grim, grim people, aren't they? You'd think that being in a bad, low-paid job would be punishment enough without having to go through each day as if you had a wooly mammoth's tusks jammed up your arse. But, no, the security guard we have to deal with is misery personified. So today, after being reprimanded for daring to drive through the company car park (I'm not allowed, I don't have the correct pass) I took great pleasure in pointing out to the man in question what a miserable twat he is. I shouldn't think it will make any difference to his life, just as his shouts of "well, you've parked on the car park using someone else's pass" were shrugged off by me. But I take solace in the fact that a colleague of mine got a cheery "good morning" off the same fella just moments after. This momentous event comes around about as often as Halles Comet. Despite the feelings of a job well done I am now reflecting on having completely scuppered any chances I had of getting a pass for the over-subscribed car park, which doesn't, it seems, need another Toyota Yaris nestling amongst the Jags, BMWs and silver Ford Mondeos. Here's to driving around the streets of Hull trying to find a free city centre parking space for the remainder of my Hull Dreary Mail tenure.

Honorary c**t of the day: Will Milner

posted by dave - 12:19 pm

Monday, September 20, 2004
Why can't I walk into Music Zone and walk out empty handed (today it was The Smiths' Meat is Murder (£5.79 - who could resist (yet more pointless parenthesis)?) and the new Green Day CD)? Why can't I stop eating two packets of Wrigley's Extra a day? Why am I contemplating joining a gym, dieting and indulging in more yoga? Why oh why oh why oh why? But nevermind all that. Thanks are due to npower who not only stopped me from paying them £78 after sending me a threatening letter that promised to lead to the installation of a pay meter (great news, I'm sure, to the current residents of the property the letter was sent to) but told me they owed my £25 and would be sending out a cheque. Is this a sign of an upturn in the disaster that is my finances? I shouldn't think so. But a rare gem of a moment in an otherwise painful return to a desk which has, in my absence, been occupied by a man who has left a dirty, mouldy soup-stained spoon atop my PC case. I shall make the effort to come in early tomorrow (a rare, and probably impossible, feat for me) to shit on his desk. Two hours passed without any phone calls before I realised that the same spoon-leaving culprit had managed to yank the cables out of my telephone during his temporary residence. I work much better without a telephone, I realised. Or, rather, I read and write emails and generally arse around on the internet. Why, it's an essential tool for a journalist.

posted by dave - 4:00 pm

Had a nice little chat about music with Danielle last night. Nothing special, you might think. But, despite not having much of a clue about what this daughter of mine was going on about (it was all Good Charlotte this, New Found Glory that), it was great to hear a little 'un getting passionate about bands and letting me be a part of it.

Groan. Nothing much changes at work, does it? Same old same old. Take me back, eastern Europe, take me back.

Quality books munched on hols: Natsuo Kirino's Out and Steve Martin's damn perfect The Pleasure of my Company. Latest addition to CD shelf: Kasabian's self-titled debut. The low prices of a supermarket snared me again!

posted by dave - 10:25 am

Sunday, September 19, 2004
Well, we made it. There and back. 3,200 miles later and we've savoured Berlin, Wraclow, Krakow, Budapest, Prague, as well as lots of other places along the way, some decent food and quite a few beers. Along the way we've stood alongside what's left of the Berlin wall, been humbled and moved by Auschwitz and Birkenau, picked up a few handy Polish, Hungarian and Czech phrases and have realised that Brits you meet abroad are amongst the most ignorant, arrogant and xenophobic people in the world.
Eastern Europe rocked, folks, and we both want to taste more. Well, we both want more worldwide travel. But Moscow is high on the list and we'd love to see more of the beauty that Poland has to offer. Feelings of returning to work nausea are already taking effect and we're both extremely tired (a packed itinerary left little time to relax). Still, I should be able to catch up on sleep back at my desk.

posted by dave - 12:36 pm

Saturday, September 4, 2004
En vacance! (also translate into German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovakian and Czech)

posted by dave - 12:14 am

Friday, September 3, 2004
Today I said farewell to somebody I've worked with for a couple of years. We're a generation apart but I think we got on rather well. Well enough for the final piece of abuse we hurled at each other to signify and recognise that we had a laugh while it lasted. My last words were 'fuck off' but they really meant 'good luck, you'll be okay in the new job, I hope we manage to keep in touch'. S'funny how many times we say 'yeah, we'll keep in touch' to people but never quite manage it. At my age, that amounts to a whole string of lapsed friendships. As the months, then the years, go by without any contact it gets increasingly harder to pick up the pieces, to find anything in common, to talk about anything that matters. Wouldn't it be great if we could get all the people we've loved and befriended over the years in one big room together and that they all somehow made a connection? And that when we said we'll keep in touch it actually happened? And that we had the time to keep all these loose strands and ever-shredding threads of life together? Goodbyes suck, and I really can't take too many more of them.

posted by dave - 11:59 pm

Ooh, someone likes what I write and not only that it helps them get through the day. How exciting and heart warming to get an email like this...

"I am simply having one the worst days today, as I am sure you will know working in the heart of media, chronic deadlines, lack of food and early mornings, I have just read your piece in todays mail, and it amused me no end."

Or...are they laughing at me?

posted by dave - 4:34 pm

So, the out of office assistant set to deflect the public, how does a man start his holiday? Relaxing with a beer? Chilling with his girl? Ironing old man's creases into his new shorts? Oh, no, not this boy. He starts by doing a freelance gig. Ah, yes, another night down the theatre. I had a ruck in Savers today with an old woman who pushed into the queue, despite the 20 people ahead of her. "Oi," I aggresively, "what do you think you're doing?" "Oh," she sighed, "They (meaning the staff) know what I'm up to. I've been here for ages and I picked up all the wrong products. Now I've found what I'm looking for it's my turn to be served." Yeah, right. Bloody old people just do as they like. No respect. To think I fought in two world wars for this. Hang on, what's happening? The daft old bat laughed and said, "Oooh, I thought you were going to hit me." But she didn't apologise for ruining what makes this island such a great place to live - orderly, logical queues. Another daft old bat suggested that myself and a colleague were members of staff in a shop, earlier, because we appeared to exhibit an in depth knowledge of suitcases (we were debating what makes a medium suitcase medium rather than large or small, concluding, eventually, that it's all relative to the set the suitcase belongs to, although it is possible to get small medium suitcases and large medium suitcases). We said, no, madam, we do not work here, suitcase size is a mere hobby. "Ah, that's ok then. It it's a hobby that's fine, otherwise it would be a bit sad." Old people are such sarcastic bastards, these days, don't you think?

posted by dave - 3:47 pm

"Oh, she's not in the press office. She's in the marketing department," went the response from the receptionist picking up my call. Well, excuse me for not being able to tell one bunch of bullshitting bastards from the next. Ah well, holiday's nearly upon us. Just at the right time methinks, as I'm on the verge of insanity. And have the free things dried up? I had to buy two tickets for the theatre yesterday. That's not right, surely? All together now: eastern Europe, here I come!

posted by dave - 11:17 am

Thursday, September 2, 2004
Never trust a writer nor a book publisher, I say, that spells McDonalds 'MacDonalds'. It's not that hard to check it, surely, there are enough of the fucking places in the world. I'd expect better than this from Transworld but, heck, they're busy cashing in on trends by pushing out mock guidebooks about the underclass. May the authentic Burberry and Von Dutch brigade get the bastards.

posted by dave - 4:37 pm

Max's outfit were rather good in the rank 'n' damp surroundings of the Adelphi, though a lot of the tunefulness of Beats For Beginners was lost due to the daft levels of amplification and a fat bloke taking loads of pictures. They were a surprisingly good live act, given that the CD is very, very easy on the ears and didn't sound like it would lend itself to even a half-decent gig. But it did. And, ooh, I know the bass player, did I mention that? Before that we were Truckside for a low down on the writing fest back in June, which was so long ago now it's hard to remember. I have absolutely no complaints about the event, nor anything else, so it was hard to contribute too much and, like a lemon content to sit there and listen to the juice squeezed out of melons....I, erm, don't really know what I'm on about and think I'll leave it there...

Just who is reading this blog at work? I'm not sure who it's safe to slag off anymore. So, I may as well just call everyone here cunts now and have done with it :-)

posted by dave - 12:17 pm

Wednesday, September 1, 2004
How hard can it be to serve fast food? And don't all these people have degrees and/or are working towards a PhD? You ask people what they want, you enter the order into your fancy till, the order goes through to the people at the back, the customer waits a while, there's an exchange of monies, the fast food is passed over the counter, everyone's happy. But not at McDonalds in Hull, where they pass you someone else's order just seconds after the person in front has said, "no, no, I didn't order any of this" and then, when they finally pass you what you think is your order and you fight through the crowds to take a seat with your two sons upstairs you realise that the various bags and boxes and drink holders on the table in front of you contain all the wrong items and you have to head down stairs to get them to give you the right food, pushing your way to the front of the queue to do so much to the disgust of all the gold-earring wearing scum single mothers from Kingswood as we now refer to Bransholme and, begrudgingly, they swap it and laugh as they do so and mumble "I'm sorry. I don't know how that happened." I do. You're incredibly shit at a very simple job. So, let's recap. McDonalds, Hull city centre. Not very good. Hours later I found myself at a 'lock in' in Burger King. Since when did city centre fast food joints close at 7pm? And lock the customers eating inside? And should BK be made aware that the young chap who finally did let me out laughed, "Ha, I hope no one else comes in tonight," surely missing the point of being involved in the hot food sector, an industry that relies on doors that open to facilitate a steady stream of customers at the counter. If this carries on we shall have to start cooking at home.

posted by dave - 12:31 pm

A new month? How did that happen? Just four days away from eastern Europe now, and if I wasn't so congested and drained and feeling soooo physically sick (must be all the lager, honey & lemon and chicken soup) I'd be jumping for joy. A young chap has written to the paper, complaining that I "know very little about both the fans and the bands that they admire so much" after the bloody miserable black-clad British Sea Power fan read my highly optimisic Hives-lovin' review of the Carling Leeds shindig. This letter has filled me with a very warm glow as it's reminded me how great I am. Off to the Adelphi tonight to watch Max's band Beats For Beginners. I'm looking forward to seeing the lanky lemon doing his four-fingered thing. The last time I was in the Adelphi - too long ago, really, to remember clearly - I was watching some tedious jazz band playing two hour long guitar solos, with some misguided bloke shouting in my ear that blues and jazz are the same but in no fit state to negotiate my way out of the place. It will surely be better than that, even if it's a two hour bass solo from the boy himself.

You've got to love....Music When The Lights Go Out

posted by dave - 11:20 am