|Music The Captain Loves|
I’ve never been all that fond of groups of humans. I love individuals. That’s why although herds of people give me the willies, I’m happy to observe them. Just as long as I’m not thrown in the throng of the quivering masses, all is well. But as soon as I have to subject myself to being surrounded by them… not so good.
Which is why there was so much donkey-ball-sucking about this weekend.
Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day. Where the British celebrate thwarting the Gunpowder Treason by blowing shit up. How appropriate.
Tyran had the grand idea that we go watch the best display of fireworks from what was supposed to be the best vantage point in the city – Battersea Park. Idiotically, I agreed, never thinking that a bajillion other people in the city were planning the same thing.
The first part of the trip being balls was partially my fault. I assumed we were meeting at Clapham Junction. So I hop a busy train at London Bridge and cruise to Waterloo East. Bust through to Waterloo and… what a clusterfuck. So many trains are delayed, the station’s packed, and everyone is looking at the departure boards instead of where they are walking.
Fortunately there was one (already severely delayed) train going to Clapham Junction waiting at a platform. I haul ass to get myself on it as there was no way of knowing when it would depart. Well, it sat there for another 10 minutes while more and more people shoved their way on. Finally, when the train was busting at the seams, it left.
As soon as it started moving, a light bulb went off: There are a handful of stations that begin with “Clapham”. Was I sure, positively and 100% SURE, that I needed to go to Clapham Junction?
Turns out I’m retarded. We were meeting at Clapham Common, which isn’t the same thing as Clapham Junction at all. So I get off the sweaty, packed train at Vauxhall, and take the Victoria Line to Stockwell where I could catch the Northern Line going south just two sweaty stops to Clapham Common. Not as easy as getting on that same damned line directly at London Bridge, but doable.
Until I tried to get on the Northern Line.
The platform was so packed that people were backed up all the to the escalators. Instead of joining the queue I left the station and caught me a bus. So far, so good – the right bus came right away and I even got a seat. It was fabulous and I was feeling pretty smug about my decision. Until the bus started rolling.
Turns out I’m retarded. There was so much traffic – vehicles and people – that the bus crawled. Crrraaaaawwwwllled. It was painful. And because I wasn’t familiar with the burough I was in, I was reluctant to get out of the bus and walk. So I stuck with it.
To cut a long, whiny story short: By the time I got off the bus at Clapham Common I was beginning to daydream about an apocalyptic future where I was the only survivor. People were swarming about and getting in my way. There was no mobile signal as every twat in London was on their phone in a two square mile radius, so I couldn’t even contact my people to try and find them.
And while I was standing at the station, the fireworks started. I could see the odd little spark above the tree line, and that was about it. So with an audible “fuck this shit” I turned from the station and, upstream from the human turds all floating down towards the river to watch the fireworks, I headed as far from the crowds as I could get, angry and miserable.
But all is well that ends well, and Friday ended well. It ended in a quiet pub with lovely ales on tap and a great dinner with two of my friends. I swore I would never toss myself into a crowd like that again. Sadly, that was an oath I couldn’t keep.
I went with Tyran to Camden. The busiest tube line and station (or at least, it felt that way) to walk along the busiest street and into the busiest market. And it is full of tourists, which is even worse. But despite the crowds, we had a lot of fun (and I got a lampshade with pirates! WIN.)
Because I apparently can’t get enough of people (yarg) or the TFL (fuuuuu….) we headed back home for a brief reprise and then back out to go to a house party. This meant hauling ass across the entire city from southwest to northeast. Most of it was okay… except the bus. I never, ever want to ride a bus in northeast bloody London again. I swear I overheard the bus driver call another bus driver a “cunt”. Loudly. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out that he was armed. Never again.
The party was fun though and got to have some nice chats. We may have missed our bus stop on the way home but the trip – relatively sans people – was quiet and nice even though we got home late.
I thought I would be safe on Sunday.
Sure, I had a gig to go to… but gig-goers are more my kind of people. I mean: I am a gig-goer myself, and I’m (mostly) okay. So why wouldn’t they be? Fuck me.
The bus was another shit-show in a weekend of TFL shit-shows. We sat perfectly still in traffic for a good 30 minutes. Fucking awesome, TFL. Do that. Do exactly that. Despite the best efforts of the traffic of Hammersmith trying to fuck us over, we made it to the gig nearly on time – we just missed part of the opening act.
The crowd was the worst I’ve had in a long, long time. So bad. In front of us were two guys: one with eye-wateringly foul body order and the other one with some lower-intestinal gastric issue. Look asshole; just because I can’t hear your farts doesn’t mean I can’t smell them. Idiot.
To my left was the douchiest douche that ever douched. Seriously. While waiting for Rodrigo y Gabriela to take the stage, he was busy sexting. It wasn’t the sexting that put me off so fucking badly. It was that he was sexting three girls simultaneously. Way to go, Romeo. But he wasn’t so bad. Douchey, but at least he wasn’t stinky like Team Offensive Odour in front of us. No, no. What was AWESOME was when a very loud, very obnoxious and very, very drunk girl tried to pick him up. She stood beside him and very loudly expressed her views about how much the music sucked. I feel punchy a lot (anger issues, eh?) but that was the closest I’ve come to actually punching someone in the face at a gig.
Behind me was a mouth breather. Who was breathing on my neck. Sick.
To my right (thank goodness!) was Eva. Who is normal. And smells nice. And is considerate enough to not scream about how shite the music is throughout the concert. And is actually quite lovely, as she is the one who took me to the concert.
Sadly, to HER right were more idiots. A hobbit, an ugly woman in cat-eye frames and their two unbelievably annoying friends pushed in beside Eva and then proceeded to push everyone else into us who tried to push their way past them. Bad karma, dudes.
Good thing the music was fucking awesome.
So that was my weekend of transport woes and hatred of my fellow mankind. By the end, I just wanted to punch everyone in the cock. And I thought commuting all week was bad….
>One thing I *could* be doing is mentioning how much freaking fun I have at gigs on my poor old blog.
I went to Phoenix with Tyran. It was freaking fun.
Hudson Mohawke was the opening act. I dug what he did.
Phoenix were fantastic live. I really like their album Phoenix Amadeus Phoenix. They put on a good enough show that I’m thinking about picking up tickets to Field Day just to see them again (okay, okay… them and Caribou).
So, there are my crummy iPhone photos of the gig. And here is a video (just for you) of them playing my favourite song of theirs for BBC. Much more subdued than both the album and live versions, but a lovely version all the same.
I’ve also been to Midlake this year… but it was long enough ago I’m going to skip it this time. I may get to see them again this year. Anyhoo… Phoenix. Good live show, yo.
>On the way home tonight my music was all of a lovely instrumental variety that I wasn’t overly familiar with. I was listening to it and leaning next to the train doors, looking out the window and watching London slide by. And it was lovely. Because there were no words it felt like it was just ambient music for a film… adding just a wee bit of mood to give some colour to the journey home after a long day.
>Brendan was here last weekend to visit and watch Ricky Gervais with me in Oxford. Something happened on Sunday that accurately summarises our entire relationship. If you have ever had the dubious pleasure of hanging out with Brendan and I at the same time, you’ll understand this. If you haven’t had the pleasure… well, this is us:
We were walking from The Telegraph to The Green Man (both pubs, for those not in the know). Brendan was sick and sniffling. I was mildly sympathetic. We decided that we’d have just a half pint at The Green Man and then head home to watch a movie or something.
I turned to Brendan at this point and said, “You know, this is what I imagine being married to you would be like.”
He asked what I meant and I said, “Deciding at dinner time to have half a pint of ale at the local and then go home to fall asleep in front of the telly.”
“What would be wrong with that?” he asked and began to sing Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”.
The exchange, taken on it’s own, might seem sort of sweet. But because it is Brendan and I, it dissolved into an argument about who Joel wrote the song for (Brendan thought it was for Christie Brinkley and I said it was for his first wife) and in the end we had to look it up to find out who was right. (It was for his first wife but her name was Elizabeth, not Linda).
Yup. B and I. In a freaking nutshell. From the beer to the thinly veiled insult to the singing to the argument (that I, of course, won). All we needed was Brendan to make a ridiculous pun and for me to tell him off for it.
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore
I wouldn’t leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are
Thanks for coming to London, Brendan. As always, it was the bestest thing ever to see you.
I’m partially writing this post out of guilt. Even though, I must confess, that I’ve drank enough beer tonight that I can’t promise that this won’t be full of spelling mistakes and mis-directed ramblings.
Back to the guilt.
I spoke with my moms yesterday. Those who know me, know that my moms is the most important person in my life. Now, this is very uncool, but I don’t have a landline so my moms can’t call me. It is like Korea all over again, yo. But I’ve been cool about calling her. This week when I spoke with her she reminded me about something… I’ve not been blogging.
Apparently my mother, who used to be the coolest mother in the universe, has taken it upon herself to quit Facebook. I KNOW! Who does that? Only my moms. So she’s not privy to all the exciting stuff that has been working its way into my status updates (like my fight with the wardrobe, not to be missed on my Twitter posts).
So, I was talking to my moms last night and she said, “You’ve been neglecting the new blog lately, eh?”
I fear she is right. She’s a mother. The chances are… she is always right. Damn it!
I have been neglecting the blog. I want to update, but I don’t know how to. Life seems to be in limbo at the moment and that doesn’t lead to very exciting stories.
Tonight I went to a gig. Fairly middle of the road. I would have to say what made it most interesting was this: I went to see MONO… a Japanese ambient rock quartet in London as a Canadian with a South African friend. Strangeness.
Stranger still, we had a fairly important conversation (in my opinion) between sets. He mentioned that I have not been home, and that I should go home at some point because I would, at that point, see how things are different because of where I have gone. I may be paraphrasing.
I admitted to something that I don’t think I’ve told anyone else… but now that I’ve let it slip to one person I might as well tell (potentially) the entire world. You know why I haven’t been home? I’m afraid to go home.
Part of the reason for that is entirely shallow, the other is hard to pinpoint. Let’s start with the shallow bit before we tread deeper waters, shall we?
One reason why I’m not in a hurry to head home is this fear that no one will care that I *am* home. If I came home for a couple of weeks (say, for Pam’s wedding next winter), I worry that I’ll send out the word and no one will be able to shift appointments/work/whatever to see me for the limited time that I would be there. “Were you ever gone?” they’d yawn, even though I’d been missing for more than four years at that point.
I know. I KNOW. I know how shallow that is. I shouldn’t have to define who I am by how much I am/would be missed. But part of me can’t help it. I need to be missed. I need to know that I matter to people and that they would be sad if they found out that they could never see me again they would be absolutely devastated. And I’m scared that if I went home I would find out that wasn’t the case. So, yah. That’s the first bit.
The other part is… well. This part is different. Tyran mentioned (he would be my partner in crime during this school night out-and-about and the one who got me thinking about such things) that when you go home you notice that everyone just has continued in their lives, along the paths that you saw them on the last time you saw them. And that now you are someone different. (Or something along those lines…. a. I’m drunk b. I feel that I can take literary liberties when necessary to make my point.)
So, there lies my second fear. Yup. I stepped outside the path I was on. I fucked off to Korea on a whim and didn’t tell too many people. Ended up there for two years. After that, I decided that I needed to move on and instead of moving back to Canader (still the best country in the world, by far) I decide to live in London, England. Why? Because I could.
And am I better off? Am I really doing something else?
I don’t know.
I’m still just going to work in an office every day. I work anonymously in a big city where what I do doesn’t really make a difference. I may have changed here and there but not so much that I’ve rendered myself unrecognisable.
I work. I eat. I… whatever. Wherever you are… whoever you are reading this (if anyone is still reading this drivel), I’m sure your life isn’t all that much different than mine. In fact, you may be more fulfilled and whatever than I am. More… something. I dunno.
And I don’t know why, but this made me think of two very different people. Two girls that I have a lot of respect for. Because they kick ass. Because they helped me form who I am. Because they have both walked a different path than me even though at one point we were close enough that I even lived with each of them (although not at the same time). One, like me, moved far away from home. The other stayed in Canada. And… and I dunno. Again. I dunno. But tonight this train of thought let me to each of them and I want them to know it.
So, tonight I thought about two girls that have meant an awful lot to me (even though I may be shite about showing it). They meant a lot in the day, and whether they know it or not, they mean a lot now.
When I mentioned on Facebook that I was going to see Girl Talk, both of them commented. Obviously, both of them listen to this particular DJ. And I was thinking of them tonight… thinking about paths… and thinking about how it doesn’t matter where you are… because wherever you are… there you are.
My life in London is not more glamorous and exciting than anyone else’s life. Tonight I was once again surprised at how comfortable I was getting on the train from King’s Cross to Old Street, and then walking (music pumping on my iPhone “mug me” earphones) from Old Street to Hoxton Street (through N1, not London’s nicest borough). This is life. I live in London and it isn’t any better or worse than living anywhere else. It just is.
And because I want to give props to the girls I thought of tonight… Andrea…. I’m so freaking happy for you. I love your blog – it shows the extent of your wit and intelligence and I miss you more than I could ever say. And Heather… you were the only one who got the Radiohead lyric that I was feeling right, and you got it right way. I miss you too, and I can’t wait to see you in May.
Sometimes I feel very lonely here, even though I’ve made some absolutely kick-ass friends. Because it isn’t home. And although I miss home, I’m afraid to go there because I worry (hopefully unnecessarily) about how I may not be missed as much as I miss it sometimes. I think about Korea, and the amazing people I met there.
Where’s this entry going? Absolutely fucking nowhere. I just… I just don’t know. I’m so uncertain right now about where I am and where I might be going that I just… don’t know. But in the meantime, I hope to make the most of it and kick some ass. Because I have a funny feeling that in the end that is all we really have in life at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter where you are… all that matters is that you made the most out of what life handed to you.
>One of my new coworkers (I’ll post soon about my yummy new job) asked if everyone would send their top 10 tracks of all time.
Clearly, he’s a madman.
Who could pick only ten songs? I can hardly settle on ten bands. Ten genres… maybe. This ended up being a difficult exercise. I realised that I couldn’t pick my ten favourites, because some of the stuff I like is a bit inaccessible. The list would also only have four bands and I would probably cry apologetically as I made cuts to the list like a cruel beauty pageant judge when all the contestants are amazing.
After doing some hyperventilative breathing into a paperbag, I decided I would just have to go ahead and choose ten songs; never mind that it was causing me pain akin to sawing off limbs with a rusty ol’ saw. I mean, this guy was looking to expand his musical horizons and I support that.
With sincere apologies to every other amazing song in the universe for the whole of history… these were my top ten recommended tracks:
01. Radiohead – Pyramid Song*
02. Pearl Jam – Given to Fly
03. Sigur Ros – Staralfur
04. The National – Secret Meeting
05. The Tragically Hip – Bobcaygeon**
06. Fleet Foxes – Sun It Rises
07. The Beatles – Blackbird
08. Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark
09. Andrew Bird – Imitosis
10. Reindeer Section – You are my Joy***
That’s the list. And you know what? I did that last Sunday and I wouldn’t send the same list next weekend. There is just too much good music out there… I may have to provide the next ten if he says he likes any of these ones. Mmmmmm…. musiclious.
*I would have chosen “Talk Show Host”… but I wanted to avoid B-sides
**There HAD to be a Canadian track on the list, eh?
***When someone limits you to just ten picks, always include one that secretly hides at least a good dozen artists within the one Scottish super-band name.