« October 2003 | Main | December 2003 »

Big Bloggers Bash

Well, as threatened, S and I did manage to make it to the Big Bloggers Bash after the Thunder Gig.

Unfortrunately, a fair few people had left already, and some of those left were, well, far less sober than I was and so disappeared shortly after I arrived.

It was lovely to talk to (in order of speaking to - well, as far as my memory will carry me) Pete & Karen, Stuart, Tom, Mo, Matt, Cal, Sir Hg, Julius, Darren, Gert, Jackie and Adrian.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to talk to Annie, Robin, Katie, Tom and a whole bunch of other people I saw and wasn't able to get round to speaking to.

I always feel terribly guilty when I go to these events and don't manage to get to talk to everyone - but in my defence, I was knackered after the concert, and my voice was strongly threatening to disappear in high dudgeon at being overworked.

All in all a great night - someone will have to organise another one soon and this time I'll do my best to get there at a reasonable hour so I can be properly sociable.

November 30, 2003 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

All change for chat...

For reasons I can't quite figure, it seems that in recent days there has been something funny going on with my aim name. Whenever I sign on it seems to sign me on in two places, and so I've decided to retire it and get a new one.

So, out with the old, in with pixeldivauk, now on all the networks - AIM, Yahoo and MSN.

If we've talked to me before, please change your respective contact lists - if you haven't - what are you waiting for? I don't bite (unless asked very nicely) and I can't give you the lurgie online.

Also, I'm very, very bored after having spent a week indoors, so do feel free to say hi. Please?

November 28, 2003 in Me, me, me | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Influenz-aaaaaatchoo!

I'm not dead, I have the flu.

Not a pansy-ass head cold, or a wee bit of a sore throat, or a tickly cough.

Honest to god, run-over-by-a-truck-feeling, barf-up-a-lung-coughing, snotty-nose-oozing, Darth Vader sound-alike shitty old flu.

I feel absolutely exhausted and haven't been further than the bin-chute room at the end of the corridor since Monday.

I do however feel that as a result of the unprecedented exposure to daytime tv, and purely by the process of osmosis, I can now confidently cook a gourmet meal while building american shaker-style furniture, redecorating the flat cheaply in a new and funky way, completely redesigning the terrace (with obligatory water feature), becoming a successful and profitable property developer and for no reason I can adequately fathom, have the urge to shake my boot-ay, girlfren'.

Oh god, I really need to go back to work and soon.

November 27, 2003 in Me, me, me | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Friday Five Things You May or May Not Know About Me

I can never be bothered with the actual Friday Five and I don't know if I can think up 100 things that people may or may not know about me, so for today, I've decided to mangle the two ideas together and present a little quizlet.

The idea is simple - I ask five questions, the answers to which you may or may not know and you post your answers in the comments. Guesswork is encouraged and there will be two prizes - one prize for if you get all the answers correct, and one for the most creative wrong answer (or really, the one that makes me laugh the most). Prize to be decided by me, judge's decision is final, all the usual caveats apply.

1. I have 6 piercings. Where are they? A point for each correct answer.
2. I've started and stopped blogging several times in several locations. How many blog urls have I had? Bonus points if you can name more than 3 of them.
3. How many different hair colours have I had in the last 18 months? Bonus points for being able to name more than 3.
4. I am the world's worst (most pathetic) rebel. Why is this?
5. I have several little "foibles". What are these? One point for each correct one.

The answers to most of these can be found in the archives, so those who've been (un)lucky enough to meet me in person don't have a hugely unfair advantage.

So have at it... give it your best shot. Answers will be posted sometime next week.

November 21, 2003 in Me, me, me | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Reaching for the Lights

It started, as these things do, with the anticipation - the fleeting flutters of excitement, butterflies in my stomach. A quick check of the time - a few hours to go. A light sigh and back to work.

Work over, time to prepare. Flutters of excitement not so fleeting. Wobbly hands, eyeliner a bit more smoky than originally intended - no matter. The day to day cocoon shed.

Another time check - an hour to go. Arrive and wait, the anticipation building. Shifting weight from one foot to the other, time seems to stretch forever.

Movement ahead. It is time - of a sort. Enter and shed the outer layers and baggage. It's important to be able to move freely.

Inside, eyes adjusting to the gloom. More waiting. Positions are being chosen. Like the gold rush, the first settlers have picked their plots and staked their claim. Everyone suddenly has elbows and takes up a lot more space than they will later.

More bodies pour into the room and the anticipation builds further. Hundreds of voices combine to form a dull roar. A scan of the room reveals familiar faces, triggering memories of events past. Pleasantries are exchanged with those nearby, compliments on my t-shirt are accepted with thanks and a grin.

A voice booms out, silencing the roar momentarily before it's back in fuller throat. Sound explodes all around, lights flash and suddenly there's movement. Hundreds of bodies, moving together, ripples going through the crowd pushing people this way and that, like reeds in a strong current. Arms raised, fists punching the air, bodies stretched towards the bright lights. Aches form and are forgotten just as quickly. All too soon the music's over. This was just the initial tease, eyes are bright, blood pulsing through veins, faces around me starting to glow.

The excitement around me is palpable.

Waiting. Breathing. Stretching.

The lights go down and there is a moment of silence as figures bound onto the stage. The crowd surges forward, but it's another tease. They play with us for half an hour, before letting us rest and breathe again.

The crowd are restless, bodies jockey for position, elbows are deployed in controlled bursts. The crowd goes silent one last time before exploding once more. The foreplay is over - this is what we've all been waiting for.

The music reverberates through my bones, filling my head and spilling over into the rest of me. My body, less substantial than it once was is pushed this way and that at the whims of the crowd. Everyone stretches for the light ahead, bodies moving in time. My feet are no longer touching the ground. I cling to the barrier in front of me for dear life, my arm crushed between two bodies. I'm pressed against someone's back and bodies are pushing into me from all sides. Hands are around me, over me, on me - some accidental, some less so and are swiftly dealt with. I strain upwards to gasp for fresh air, lungs bursting, chest constricted by those pushing against me.

I lose track of time, there is only light, music and other people. Hair is everywhere - it gets in my face and gets tangled in my hands. I'm pushed forward and touch bare skin - one of the guys in front has taken off his shirt and I'm pressed against his naked back, his long hair soaked with sweat and as he throws his hair back it blinds me momentarily.

The crowd behind pulls back for a moment, enough for me to see something stuck to his back. I grab it quickly, much to the disgust of the guy next to me who wanted my prize for himself. For a moment I struggle for a safe place to keep it before the solution presents itself.

The crowd reaches fever pitch, the heat is intense and I can't breathe. Those behind push forward, desperate to touch the light, time running out.

Suddenly, and too soon, it's over. The lights are turned up and we're left shaking, breathless and soaked with the sweat of countless unknown bodies. Scavengers hunt around the floor, kicking aside beer cans, eyes searching. Bodies jack-knife, hands reach then slacken. Damn. Chewing gum.

As we climb the stairs, the cool air tastes like heaven. Belongings are collected then it's out into the bright lights and cool night air. The sound of the city is muted by the ringing in our ears and there are few words which need to be said. There is a recognition amongst those waiting for buses home - the same joyous exhaustion etched on their faces.

...

It's the morning after and my body still aches - the memory of last night written large in every aching muscle and flowering bruise. The world is still muted, but less so. Damn, but Skid Row rocked. Hurricane Party and The Ga Ga's did too.

November 20, 2003 in Music | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A third queue tale...

You know you're in a bad way when youre standing in an alleyway waiting to get into a gig and you can't decide whats worse - the smell of piss or the smell of burgers.

November 19, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hitting the Skids

S and I are in full rock-chick mode again. We're off to see Skid Row tonight at Mean Fiddler in London.

With any luck, we won't have concussion in the morning like we did last time we were there.

November 19, 2003 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Tale of Two Queues

As comedians are so very fond of pointing out, there is something of a culture of queueing in the UK.

To paraphrase some televisual wag from the other night - it's not worth anything if we haven't queued for it.

I mostly think this is an English thing, but I'm going to do my level best to avoid a Scotland v England bunfight and instead get to the story.

Over the weekend I had the (mis)fortune to be in two queues.

Queue 1

On Friday night, D and I went to an event organised by Foyles. They'd organised a reading/interview/signing event hosted by Jonathan Ross where Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean were the guests of honour.

I've seen Neil many times, and Dave McKean only once, two years ago, and I was really looking forward to seeing both of them and getting some more stuff signed.

At the end of the reading/interview bit of the night, there was the inevitable rush to get in the queue for signing. Eventually, they cut off the queue behind D and I and sent everyone else to sit in chairs, so they wouldn't pass out or whatever with the long wait. Everyone that is, except one couple, who managed to wheedle their way into being allowed to stay at the end of the standing queue, skipping about 40 people in the process.

If this wasn't irritating enough, they then proceeded to be airheaded (her) and hugely patronising (him) and generally whinge and complain at the fact that they had to actually (gasp!) wait in line.

I was already struggling to repress the urge to beat them to death with my hardback copy of The Wolves in the Walls when his phone rang. After exchanging initial pleasantries I heard the words "Yeah, I'm at this singing for Neil Gaiman and I'm waiting to get something signed, only there's about a million fanboys in front of me" at which point, dear readers, I saw red.

It was only the prospect of being thrown out of the hall that stopped me grabbing the phone and shoving it down his throat, as he continued to waffle on in a hugely patronising tone.

Y'see, I tend to think that if you're at the event, standing in line to get something signed, that makes you a fanboy too. You don't get to be all superior when you're still in the bloody queue!

Anyway, eventually they got bored and left, at which point the queue moved forward and within 15 minutes we had made it to the front and were leaving with books appropriately scribbled on. It was as if they were some sort of cosmic gravity sink, sucking the back half of the queue towards them and only when they left were we free to move forward.

Queue 2

We woke up on Sunday morning with the realisation that the cupboards were beginning to look fairly bare and grocery shopping for the coming week would need to be done. After some discussion, it was decided that we would forego the luxury of shopping at Waitrose for the cost saving that comes with shopping at Safeway. Of course, all bargains come at a price, and that price is other people. Lots of them. With the same idea, albeit executed with less purpose.

So, we checked the time and decided that if we were going to do Safeway, we had to go now, to have a chance of getting in while it was still relatively quiet - and by quiet I mean only 5 deep at each checkout, not 10.

The scene when we arrived was enough to make me laugh out loud.

The atrium outside the store was full of peope with trolleys, poised like lemmings looking for a cliff, waiting for the shutters to be rolled up.

You see, what I hadn't realised was that this particular Safeway doesn't open until 11 am on Sundays, and we had arrived with just a few minutes to go.

Grinning to ourselves, we chose a trolley and joined the back of the queue. My memory fails me now, but I think there may have been a tiny cheer as the shutters rolled up and the crowd surged forward, ducking under the shutter, each desperate to be the first to the fruit and veg.

D and I quickly realised that a bottleneck was forming in the fruit and veg section, executed a smart left turn and headed for the far end of the store, and started from there.

All in all a relatively painless shopping trip, and not a zombie in sight.

November 18, 2003 in Randomness | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Zen and the art of Sand

I don't know where this came from, it got to me via a fairly obscure route... but I'm really glad it did.

Beautiful and hypnotic.

November 14, 2003 in Randomness | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Two Little Words

Some recent events have conspired to throw up some issues I thought I'd dealt with... and by "dealt with" I mean "ignored and stuffed into the back of my mind, like that box of stuff you keep in the back of the attic and never open".

Between that and the inevitable carnage caused by having been out of the office for the equivalent of a week and a half in the last month, I haven't been quite myself for the last few days. So much so that I had a major migraine attack on Tuesday. The first one of that magnitude in over two years. So long in fact that the medication I have for such emergencies had actually expired.

In the aftermath of these, I usually feel pretty grim and yesterday was no exception. I probably should have stayed at home and really given myself a chance to recover, but the knowledge of the additional carnage that would result in my inbox if I did was enough to propel me out of the door.

I struggled through the day, managing not to pass out at my desk, trying to get as much done as I could and wondering how long I could hold out before I just had to go home. Then, at about ten past five, when I'd about reached my limit and was getting ready to shut down for the night, something happened which made me feel a whole lot better.

Two little words. Nothing particularly special, but certainly ones that are used far more sparingly than they really should be. They're not magic, and they haven't cured all that ails me, but this morning, despite the fact that I was only able to make a moderate dent in my "To Do" list yesterday, I feel a bit more positive and don't just want to crawl under my desk and hide.

What were the two little words?

Thank you.

November 13, 2003 in Randomness | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack