Saturday, January 24, 2004
The 11-minute "Ben Haadh Ramza Dhasdha" by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was just segued into Madonna's "Into The Groove" by iTunes. Magnificent.
1/24/2004 10:44:00 p.m.
During my second year in Northampton I lived behind the police station and swimming baths, in a cul-de sac called Connaught Street, which is part of an area called The Mounts. Historically The Mounts was an area of housing for the town’s many factory workers – on the corner between the police station and the Chronicle & Echo building is The Charles Bradlaugh, a pub named after Northampton’s most infamous politician (thrown down the steps of the Houses of Parliament for refusing to swear allegiance to the queen or god or something; I forget, but he was vaguely insurrectionary according to my lawyer friend James) and which used to be a shoe factory (hence Northampton Town being nicknamed The Cobblers, as if you didn’t know). The Mounts, by the time I lived there (1999-2000) was largely populated by students and Asians; anyone, in effect, who didn’t object to being squeezed into tiny houses which had piss-all garden and offered views of nothing more attractive than kitchen work top manufacturers (there was an Asian supermarket/cash & carry round the corner which sold the most amazing bananas, spices and ghee – we learnt to cook that year). A couple of times, walking back from campus or a pub or wherever, the local kids would shout “Hey white man!” at me, which, as I was generally pissed and listening to my walkman, would take on a seriously surreal edge.
One evening, James, Olly and I were watching a film in our living room (which was the ‘master bedroom’ – as it was the largest room in the house we decreed it would be unfair for anyone to have it as a bedroom and thus used it as communal space: for the first two months we had a mattress in there but no sofa; many happy hours were spent lazed across the mattress, with two lamps on in the corners, some techno or postrock laying, and numerous spliffs being imbibed whilst we discussed whatever pointless shit it is that underachieving students discuss) and the neighbourhood kids decided to take action against our 50/60-something white, male neighbour. Action? These kids, who were none of them older than 12 (at the very most), decided to light fireworks and throw them at this chap’s house. Overly dramatic? I’m not sure. The kids were shouting ‘racist!’ as they were chucking the fireworks, and accusing him of trying to run them over with his Lada. Over the previous month or so this chap had seemingly piled all his belongings into the back of his car, and also his caravan, until they were both full-to-bursting, and then shipped them all off to boot-sales and the like. We asked him about it one morning as he was loading his crockery into the passenger seat, and he claimed he’d made £3,000 out of selling his stuff. I can’t remember if he was planning on leaving the country or buying a new house or whether he was just a lunatic. I tend to favour the latter. The idea that he might have been trying to murder the local Asian toddlers with his Russian automobile is not that far-fetched though. At one point his car was full of hubcaps and sink units. And of course, the next day they were gone.
Please remember that this was when we lived behind the police station. You could have thrown a stone from our front door and it would have landed in the station car park next to the panda cars. It was barely 40 yards away. And these kids were throwing fireworks at a guy’s house. And we cheered them on, frankly, because our neighbour was a lunatic. Over the course of the next month or so he slowly took apart his caravan too, presumably to sell the constituent parts, until all that was left was a 7” by 15” piece of plywood with an axel. And he wasn’t even our immediate neighbour; they were much worse.
Initially we thought their back bedroom was a factory of some kind, because of the amount of unpleasant 18th century industrial crap in there; paint pots, piles of lumber, axes, old vertical drills, lathes, boxes of undefined stuff stacked up to head-height and above, filling every available inch, the windows grimy and thick with filth. But this was the residence of a married couple and their teenage daughter, not some Dickensian workhouse. The garden, such as it was, was piled high with rotting planks of wood, sodden barrels, two rusted tin baths, a proper old wooden washbasin (David Dickinson would have swooned to see such potential antique riches) and various other assorted bits of nauseous crap. One day we decided to try and see if the inside of their house was as bad as the garden and back bedroom, and so Olly leant out of the bathroom window at a precarious angle in order to facilitate a view of their dining room. At first we thought it was normal; the walls above shoulder-height were common-or-garden dining room walls; a couple of framed photographs, magnolia paintjob, nothing exceptional. Then Olly leant a bit further so he could see the lower half of the room, including the dining table. And the room was rammed full of shit. Stacks of newspapers, old fruit boxes, piles of unwashed crockery, god only knows what else, crammed into corners, dumped on top of tables, balanced on chairs, seemingly thrown on the floor. At first we thought maybe they were due a tidy up, but after weeks and then months had passed, after we’d pressed our noses to their grimy (Dizzee has nothing on these people) kitchen window and seen the bowls of rotting fruit and unwashed saucepans and filth-encrusted butter knives and pools of rotting potato peel, we realised that this was how they chose to live. We were students; four blokes living together, drinking, taking drugs, fixing oily bicycles in the kitchen, failing to wash up, cooking elaborate things that required numerous saucepans and various utensils, and this supposedly normal family next door made us look like puritan germ-killing fetishists.
University was a wonderful time.
1/24/2004 10:38:00 p.m.
My Mum Is A Special Needs Teacher
No one reads the headings anyway.
If you go round accusing people who aren't fascists of being fascists simply because they disagree with you, then it's quite possible that you're failing to notice actual real nasty people who are happily going about their shitty business.
1/24/2004 10:27:00 p.m.
Friday, January 23, 2004
Great New World
Is the alternate future presented in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World necessarily a bad thing?
1/23/2004 08:36:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells
Five hours later, my leg is still leaking plasma. I did, at least, score a hat-trick. Astroturf is evil stuff.
1/22/2004 11:25:00 p.m.
I should write those other fucking fifty sentences, shouldn't I?
Only thing is, I can see the list (as is already written and submitted) being torn asunder by my fickle mind.
1/22/2004 01:34:00 p.m.
Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs
Calvin had to wait 28 days for his beanie hat, and this was after eating four boxes of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs in order to secure the tokens.
The iPod has not arrive yet. It is imminent. It is immanent in my thoughts. Just now I went and checked the post to be confronted by a Jiffy bag with my name on it. Uergh. Thank you muchly, Goldsmiths College arts librarian, for copying the Turner Prize footage for me but where the fuck is my iPod?!
Apple, take note of all this free advertising and endorsement.
1/22/2004 10:31:00 a.m.
Listen to anything on Warp from about 1993-1995 - Calvin is dancing in time.
1/22/2004 12:03:00 a.m.
Stepping Out Of The Bubble
Tomorrow (which may well be today) I shall play football with the modern languages staff. Having run to catch the train tonight, and having played football against *gasp* strangers last night, I am exhausted. Even though I probably ran less than I usually do (which is not a great deal of running in the first place, it must be said – it worked for Cantona, it can work for me) the physical exertion was greater. Not sure why. I had a ‘mare in front of goal; set up four or five with some sweet passing, delicate through-balls, but couldn’t hit the target myself for toffee, despite nearly taking the keeper’s head off at one point when the traction engine that is my right foot actually fired properly.
It heartens me to see Olly and James both posting to their blogs (look left and down people, see the links), reassures me that they’re both alive. I’m so bad at keeping in touch. But anyone who knows me knows that. Guys, when you’re finished doing what you’re doing, come and live in Exeter. We’ll get a house, we’ll have jobs, we’ll talk shit and watch tiny Asian kids throw fireworks at strange gypsy men (maybe not), it’ll be just like old times. Maybe not. But come and visit / live. Definitely.
Cozen – I am not that vast.
Sam says his blog gets 700 hits a day; I wonder how many I’m getting. If you read, just pop me an email to say ‘hi’ – firstname.lastname@example.org - there needn’t be any other words. It must be six months since I last asked. The chap at the Moleskinerie said he was in awe of my audience, that Auspicious Fish was lighting up his blog (which is, I say again, great), and it occurred to me that I have no idea how many hits I get here. I know how many Stylus gets (lots more than it used to, lots and lots more…) but… who the fuck wants to read this? Eh?
I’m glad I never did drink coffee. The smell did nought for me, and the two times I tried it the taste was just eurgh. But then again I never smoked, never touched pills or powders, haven’t touched weed since five months after the turn of the millennium and probably never will again, Class C or not. And I know I have a reputation for being a soak (Dom Passantino starting an MSN conversation just now = “Are you sober? Can I ask you a question?” – hit me up on MSN via email@example.com, or AIM [strictly out of work hours] at NickJSouthall, or via SLSK and the name of this blog [no spaces]) but I haven’t had a drink since a lone pint of Guinness on Saturday night, and this is not just down to having bought a widescreen TV and an iPod this month on my credit card and feeling stupid about it (incidentally, my credit limit across the two cards I have is now standing at more than a couple of grand, Olly – they love it if you use it lots and then pay it off in BIG CHUNKS so don’t ever ever ever ever fucking do that [that being USE THEM]; road to ruin, obviously). But yeah, coffee aside, the world isn’t a bad place, and I’m not sure it ever really was, not here, not for me. And I may have just applied for a job in London, but if I go there then here will be there and me will still be me.
Talking to John Sealey and Bridget yesterday about the imminent arrival of the iPod, and John elicited panic in himself lest his PC should ever totally crash, lest the music ever all be wiped out (he’s a DJ so obviously vinyl is his preferred medium, but he’s a fan of digital too). It’d be all too easy to lose your PC’s hard disk, to drop your iPod and see it disintegrate on frozen ground. But it would be near-as-damnit as easy to have your record collection nicked or burnt to cinders or soaked in vagrant’s piss or scratched to shit by spurned lovers or lost in transit (Lost In Translation being a film I very much enjoyed on Monday night) when moving or whatever. I like to think that were any of these things to befall me I’d say “fuck it” and take up fishing, buy 12 CDs a year, start writing about trout coursing instead, and be done with the whole kit and kaboodle and nonsense of this music fan lark. It’s just what I do now, it’s not me. You couldn’t replace them all; and if you could, what would be the point? Why go back? Why not use it as an excuse to do summat else? Says the man who has a database of his record collection… Just in case. I’d need to get money for bait and tackle from somewhere.
But yeah, no more coffee. Good man. It’s nice to be awake.
1/22/2004 12:02:00 a.m.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
The Increasing(ly beautiful) Insanity Of The Outside World
Some time ago I made reference on here to the fact that I use a Moleskine notebook, the type favoured by Henry VIII and Hemmingway and Attila The Hun amongst various other note-taking luminaries; I can't remember precisely when, but it was probably about 6 months ago, if not more. Now these notebooks are delicious: , and I always wish I could find excuse to use it more, but my faintly forgetful demeanour and, frankly, fucking illegible handwriting (here is said handwriting in said notebook - - see?) means that I tend to forget. I've considered buying one of those palm computers, but can't see the point. There's something so much nicer about the Moleskine, even if I have had it two years and only managed to 1/3 fill it.
This morning I received an email asking me if I wanted to visit the , entirely due to this incidental reference I made to having one of these. This is fascinating on two counts; one, that the internet is that mad a place that these people have tracked me down, and two; that these notebooks are quite so interesting and loaded with historical essence.
The collective memory of Moleskine notebooks must be incredible...
1/21/2004 09:41:00 a.m.