"for the happy, the sad, I don't want to be, another page in your diary"

Tuesday 31 December 2013

Many Moons Ago

To say that our Visa applications for our trip to Russia for the Sochi Olympics are proving a headache would be an understatement. They want full education details since school, details of your last three employers, even though I haven’t moved jobs in 18 years. Along with details of your parents and in L’s case of her ex-husband, who she divorced approximately 100 years ago. Bizarre. It’s enough to put you off going and I guess it normally does but are they likely to turn anyone down for the Olympics? Doubt it, as long as we don’t mention that bank job we did.

We also need new photos for it and L goes out to get hers in the howling gale that seems to have been forever and that has prevented me cycling at all over Christmas. Her photos will therefore be a bit windswept but I’m all for that.

We've had the usual debate about where to spend New Year’s Eve which we usually spend having a meal with my parents. After a few failed enquiries we settle on a place in Sandiacre that we went to many moons ago when Daughter had a thing about one of her infant school teachers. Yes it was a while ago. It’s had two name changes since then and has now metamorphasised from a Chinese into a Thai or should I say upgraded.

We go there via the Horse and Jockey in Stapleford. I head there straight from work and meet L there. It is packed. After probably too many pints but not actually an outstanding one, we wobble up the road to the Thai Legend where we meet my parents.

After an excellent meal, more beer/wine and a complementary liquor coffee we wobble out again, flag down one of the rare buses and head home to see in midnight with the dogs and a Sandemans port.

(Tuesday 31st December)

Fantasy Shuffle Selection: Twenty Odd Tracks From 2013...

Finally to round off my review of the year, my 'fantasy shuffle' selection of twenty odd tracks that were released during 2013.

In no particular order :-

Glue Me - Los Campesinos!
Only Tomorrow - My Bloody Valentine
She Will - Savages
Letter To Yesterday - Money
Don't Swallow The Cap - The National
Pure & Apart - Tyrannosaurus Dead
The Sun Never Sets Around Here - The Electric Soft Parade
No. 1 Party Anthem - Arctic Monkeys
I Don't Know What To Do With My Hands - Minor Alps
Sugar Crush - Joanna Gruesome
Tell Tale Signs - Frank Turner
Late Night - Foals
The Faster You Spin - Sparrow and the Workshop
Sugar - Editors
Sex - The 1975
The Cameraman - The Spook School
Soothe My Soul - Depeche Mode
The Girl in a Fur Skin Rug - The Mission
Indie Cindy - Pixies
Jubilee Street - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Barriers - Suede

Monday 30 December 2013

Total Bedlam

All these people should not be allowed holiday at the same time, they should have to submit a detailed plan of what they intend to do on their Christmas break first and then get it approved by the rest of us before they are allowed to have extended time off.

I say this because as I head to Sainsbury’s, as I do every Monday lunchtime, it’s still total bedlam on the retail park. I’m sure people are just driving round aimlessly because they are bored. The two shops I go in, Sainsbury’s and Homebase, are both no more busy than usual yet the car parks and roads are chocka. Perhaps they’ve been stuck there since Friday, who knows. Please everyone, just hurry up and s*d off back to work so that we can get back to normal.

My diary for the months ahead looks very bleak. I intend taking the majority, if not all, of January off running so there are no runs in my diary but also no dog shows, no gigs, no sportives, not even an open water swim just a few football matches. L says look on the bright side as this leaves more time to practice my swimming. Oh the joy. Although that is actually how I spend half an hour this evening, in the pool.
I do tentatively pencil in the Alsager 5 in my diary on Sunday 2nd February as an appropriate place to make my running comeback. L describes it as 'that desolate thing we did last year with the crap t-shirt' but this is how low I have sunk. 

(Monday 30th December)

Favourite Albums Of 2013

This is the third part of my review of the year, the albums I've been buying this year.

Last year I said I thought this list was getting redundant. Lot of bands weren't even bothering with albums. Some that were, just has them on download. I didn't even do a top ten. Not so this year.

Here it is.

10. The Brightest Light - The Mission

My 80's Goth friends make a come back and shock horror, it's not bad at all.

9. mbv - My Bloody Valentine

Ditto. 80's 'showgazers' make a come back and shock horror, it's also pretty good.

8. Tape Deck Heart - Frank Turner

Perhaps not one of Frank's bests and not particularly instant either but still very enjoyable.

7. 180 - Palma Violets

A decent debut that I feel was rushed out a little too soon. Good but probably not as good as it could have been.

6. Pedestrian Verse - Frightened Rabbit

A polished effort from FR but perhaps with a bit too much polish.

5. Trouble Will Find Me - The National

Just how do you follow albums as good as Alligator, Boxer and High Violet? Trouble Will Find Me is good but sadly not that good.

4. Silence Yourself - Savages

A raw bone rattling debut album with more than a nod to Siouxsie and the Banshees. Exactly what my CD player needed.

3. No Blues - Los Campesinos!

I am totally biased about Los Campesinos!. Can't wait to hear this stuff live.

2. AM - Arctic Monkeys

Each Arctic Monkeys album has been very different, yet they all seem to make my top tens for some reason..

1. Dress Up - The Spook School

Find of the year, well of last year actually but they've only just got around to making an album.A wonderful collection of vibrant indie pop of the sort I thought nobody was making any more. Clearly everyone else is over complicating things.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Basking In The Glory

In light of yesterday's victory for MD at the dog show I decide to not enter him in any more shows for a while, so then we can bask in the glory for a lot longer.

L’s unread book count has now topped 170 plus the 40+ on her kindle. They are all now on shelves awaiting reading. If she halves that total my next December perhaps she’ll be allowed to put a book on next year’s Christmas list.

Later I pick her up from John Carroll Leisure Centre even though she’s at the Tennis Centre. Damn wrong way. I knew I’d do that.

Then we meet my brother and his family for a late lunch at his house and then at the White Hart in Duffield where he now lives.

We drop in at L’s parents on the way home, collecting more presents, this time sent up by L’s sister. I get even more bottles of beer, so I’m very well stocked now. It’ll be a trawl to get through it but I’m sure I’ll cope.

(Sunday 29th December)

Favourite Gigs Of 2013

This is the second part of my review of the year, my favourite gigs of the past year.

Oh dear, the number of gigs continues to decline. Only eight this year and one of those was Nottingham's Splendour Festival which did, to be fair, contain outstanding performances from Peter Hook and The Light and Maximo Park. Two of the others were British Sea Power and a third saw British Sea Power supporting.

So... gig of the year...

British Sea Power, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Still unconventional, still under appreciated, still brilliant..

Read My Review

Honourable mentions to...

The Boomtown Rats, Rock City, Nottingham

We are the Boomtown Rats’.
We are magnificent’.
We are old’.

Read My Review

Frightened Rabbit, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

Still excellent but not as excellent as when they seemed to just make it up as they went along.

Read My Review

Sigur Rós, The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton

I always swore I would not allow anything with a name like ‘Hoppípolla’ inside my head. Failed.

Read My Review

Saturday 28 December 2013

I Don’t Know How That Happened

I’m at an indoor dog show today and the morning goes pretty much as you’d expect e.g. MD gets eliminated and Doggo nonchalantly clocks a perfect clear. So everything normal.

Meanwhile L is at home sorting out her life aka her books. She reports that she has 120 unread books with one box still to go through and 44 on her Kindle. I don’t know how that happened she says. I do. The firing squad is booked for later. No blindfold.

Things get better slowly during the afternoon at the dog show. MD improves to a five faults and then we pull off a really really ugly clear round, which lands us a rosette for 7th. Then he does the most amazing run in the Jumping Cup Qualifier, clear and pretty fast. I don’t know how that happened.

With Doggo slotting in another fab clear we’re all done by 3pm but now we’re hanging on for the results of the Jumping Cup. It was the Jumping Cup we qualified for last year and came 6th in the final.

Clearly that particular event must agree with him because when all the dogs have run MD is top of the pile and we’ve won by half a second. I still don’t know how that happened. I guess we’ll be on speaking terms tonight, for once.

Unfortunately this still doesn’t promote us. He needs three jumping wins and that’s his second, two and half years after the first one.

Then it continues raining rosettes as Doggo gets one for 5th in the Old Gits Agility. We head home, that is once I’ve managed to get MD’s head into the car.

Back home it’s time for Daughter to head back to Sheffield. I can’t believe she’s been home a week. All four of us accompany her to the station. Then we stay in, we’ve given the pubs enough trade this Christmas already.

(Saturday 28th December)