Sunday, September 21, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Raining In My Heart
That last post was a bit miserable. So here's a wonderful picture from Kate's flickr adventures...
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I was out for lunch with my work mates today. My friend C was telling us all about the 12 resolutions she'd set herself at the beginning of the year, and those she's yet to complete. Dinner at the Ivy, swimming outside, going to a new country. That sort of thing. Genuinely inspiring stuff, and the kind of thing I'm way too cynical to do at New Year. But perhaps my cynicism is starting to wane. I have my own goals I want to achieve. Primarily, learning to drive.
Yes, that's right. I can't drive.
Cue faux-stunned silence from my colleagues. "How can you not have learnt to drive?!" was the incredulous response from T, and it was precisely the kind of response I'd expected from him, so I brushed it off dismissively, and went on to say simply that it's one of my ambitions before I'm 30. Not that I'm the kind of person who thinks life ends at 30...
But how come I didn't learn at 17 like most others round the table? Well, several reasons. The main being that my family didn't have a car for me to learn on when I was 17. We didn't have a lot of money back then. My dad flat refused to let me touch his car. And they couldn't really afford lessons anyway, especially with my university expenses just around the corner. What little money I earnt from my Saturday job went on records and going out. And to be quite honest, having been involved in a very nasty motorway smash in my teens had rather put me off getting behind the wheel of a huge metallic death machine capable of killing anyone who decided to get in the way.
That's usually what I tell people. Along with a wry "...and some of us were born to be driven." But there is more. Those were fine excuses, but there was something deeper than that, something I rarely, if ever, talk about. And oddly enough, it was borne out of a lecture my school headmaster gave one assembly. As I have mentioned here, I never really got on with school, but I liked a lot of the teachers, and our head certainly commanded my considerable respect. The lecture was on global warning and the greenhouse effect. This must've been around 1996, when the scientific evidence was beginning show how human activity was affecting the environment, and the dire consequences that we're only now coming to terms with. And he said something that's stuck with me for over a decade.
If we want to stop global warning, then everyone single one of you in this room has to live without driving a car. It's as simple as that.
And perhaps it was an overly simplistic argument. But the central gist, that to stop global warming we have to make sacrifices, is bang on. So that is what I've tried to do. And up to now, I've managed ok. I try not to be smug about it, especially as I've been very fortunate. I've lived in Watford, Nottingham and London, all blessed with good public transport networks. I've had jobs that haven't required me to drive. I've had eternally patient friends, family and girlfriends who've helped me out. And I like walking. And as for the barbs, well, I don't really care too much what other people think. Especially not on something like that.
But as with so much in life, I've reached the crunch point between ideology and reality. I feel this is something I need to achieve and get out of the way. It is, as I've been told many times, a life skill. Something you need to be able to do. But part of me, the ideological teenager, is pissed off at myself for giving in. So I call it a compromise. I will learn, but I don't need a car in London. I can hire one for holidays, yeah, that's cool. And yet I know that if I leave the capital for the real world beyond the M25, I will almost certainly succumb. Because that's the way it is. Like everyone else, I'll have to drive to my job to earn money to put food on the table. And this to me seems symptomatic of the complete inability we have as a species to grasp this enormous impending disaster that'll put this week's money worries into perspective once the crops start to fail and we have nothing to eat.
Sorry for being depressing. It's a pretty depressing subject. I guess you could watch Top Gear. That's a bit more entertaining.
Business as usual.
1. REM - Drive
2. Radiohead - Airbag
3. Neon Neon - Dream Cars
4. Motorhead - Motorhead
5. DJ Shadow - Blood On The Motorway
6. Boards Of Canada - 84 Pontiac Dream
7. Kenickie - In Your Car
8. Blur - He Thought Of Cars
9. Death Cab For Cutie - Passenger Seat
10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Stop
Happy happy happy... I'll let you know how I get on.
Monday, September 15, 2008
The Modern Age
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Dream A Little Dream Of Me
I get cornered by a work mate. His tone is pretend serious. But I can tell there's a element of genuine annoyance under the irony.
"Hey, I finally got around to watching Requiem For A Dream the other night, after you recommended it to me."
"Oh, cool! It's such a great movie, isn't it?"
"Well, yeah, but you've could've warned me that it was so bloody depressing."
"Oh. Right. Yeah, I guess it is a bit. Did I not mention that?"
"No! You didn't! I went into it expecting just a normal movie. But it was so harrowing! Especially that bit where... and... and then where... (No spoilers. You'll have to watch it!)"
"But that's the best bit!"
"I can't believe you didn't at least give me a heads up! It's like the darkest movie I've ever seen."
"Ah. Sorry. Didn't really occur to me..."
Whoops. Anyway, dude, if you want to lighten the mood you should watch Audition. Luckily I only said that in my head.
But seriously. Requiem For A Dream is a modern day masterpiece. And if you haven't seen it, I thoroughly recommend you do. But yeah, it's not really a chuckleathon. Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connolly and Jared Leto are all superb. But it's even more distressing than having to listen to 30 Seconds To Mars.
Ooh cheap shot. You're just jealous cos Jared's pretty, and is having it better than you and your so called life.
Whatever, Subconcious. Just go back to messing with my thought processes, ok?
Nice reference though.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Wake Me Up When September Ends
I haven't been for over a decade. So how come going back to work in September still feels like going back to school?
1. Glasvegas - Flowers & Football Tops
2. Bow Wow Wow - Go Wild In The Country
3. The Specials - Blank Expression
4. The Subways - Girls & Boys
5. Radiohead - Meeting In The Aisle
6. Jesus and Mary Chain - Some Candy Talking
7. Sufjan Stevens - Supersexy Woman
8. Massive Attack - Protection
9. Steven Wright - Friends Of Mine Song
10. "The Award Winning" Elbow - One Day Like This (Yay!)
How are the leaves supposed to get all crunchy when it won't stop raining?
Labels: top 10's
Thursday, September 04, 2008
It's my last year at University. And I'm hanging out in my friend E's room. E was a year below me on my course, and one of those girls that all men adore and all women secretly hate. Absolutely cute as a button, yet still seemingly obtainable, and also sweet and kind and loyal. Sure, I fancied her a bit, too, but I already had one girlfriend confusing the hell out of me. I didn't need to complicate things further. She was always just a mate, and a good one too.
"Hey, check out my new T shirt," she says "Isn't it cool?"
She leaps out of the wardrobe in an olive girl skinny fit Tee. Emblazoned across her chest is Boba Fett, notorious bounty hunter from the Star Wars saga (at that point it was 2000, so we had but four Star Wars movies. How did we cope?). Yeah, it was cool. And, let's be frank, it looked even cooler on her frame. There are few things more divine than cute girls who dig sci-fi...
I was born in 1979, so I missed the movies in the cinemas, but I grew up in the world of Star Wars. I can't even really remember watching the movies for the first time. Like Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and colour TV, it had just always been there. A cultural constant. My mum and gran would come home from flea markets and car boot sales laden down with second hand Star Wars figures. My favourite toy was a rebel snow speeder from Empire Strikes Back I got for Christmas one year.
I went to see the Special Edition remasters at the cinema while I was at school, as I'd never had the chance to see the movies on the big screen. And I was excited by the Prequels, although they couldn't hope to live up to the hype... well, until Revenge Of The Sith kicked some 12 Rated arse. I've always loved Star Wars unconditionally, warts and all. I didn't have the fierce possesiveness of the generation before me (Hello Tim Bisley from Spaced.) I was grateful for my own Star Wars moment.
Back to the present then. I got to see the Clone Wars animation at a press screening recently. And whilst it wasn't up to the quality of the original movies, it had enough of the magic to get me hankering to see them all again. Having held out for ages, waiting for some grand six movie boxed set, I cracked a few days back and bought all the movies on double DVD. So I've been working through them in episodic order. Tonight, after the emotional rollercoaster of Revenge Of The Sith, I got to the original. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. And still, it never disappoints.
The ambition. The scale. The classic lines. The clunkiness. The bit where the Storm Trooper smacks his head on the door frame. It's just wonderful timeless entertainment. I still love Alec Guinness skipping around the Deathstar in devil may care fashion. I still love the interplay between R2D2 and C3PO. I still think Han is legendary and I'm still smitten with Princess Leia (I once started chatting up a girl, who I ended up going out with, partly because she reminded me a little of Carrie Fisher at her prime).
Anyway, I have my personal favourite, The Empire Strikes Back, and Leia dans gold bikini in Return Of The Jedi, left to enjoy. But in the meantime, time for Star Wars disco!
1. Ash - Cantina Band
2. Weird Al Yankovic - The Saga Begins
3. Together - Hardcore Uproar
4. UNKLE - Guns Blazing
5. Neon Neon - I Told Her On Alderaan
6. Mogwai - Star Wars
7. The Prodigy - Full Throttle
8. The Jedi Knights - Air Drums From Outer Bongolia
9. Blur - Strange News From Another Star
10. Fader Gladiator - Battle Of The Planets