Sunday, December 31, 2006
My head is brimming with half baked resolutions for 2007, from vague thoughts about buying a flat in Colombo to pretty firm ideas on a new drum kit. There are some tentative seedlings about the ways and means in which I deal with some people and firm deeply rooted plans about making more of the time I get with my kids. If only I could fit inside a TV that last one would me immeasurably easier!
I read a little thing some time back that stayed with me. It was a chap's explanation of why the years fly by with increasing speed as we get older. How many times this year have you said, or heard someone say?
"I can't believe it's the end of the year already, it's just flown"
Well this cove's theory is that, as we get older, one calendar year becomes a smaller fraction of the time we have already been alive for. So, for a four year old child, another year represents twenty five per cent of their life span so far, whereas for a forty year old one more year is merely two and a half per cent of their life.
It all makes perfect sense to me. All along the lines of today's chaos being tomorrow's normality so there's little point in yearning for the calm of yesterday, you know that one don't you? The management consultants out there probably will know what I'm trying to say.
What else? Oh yes. There's a little seedling of a plan to form some kind of alliance of bloggers. I won't say now what the common characteristic will be, partly because I haven't decided and partly because, if I tell you what little I have decided, then all sorts of people will complain that they can't join because they don't fulfil the criteria. Naz, if you read this it's the one I mentioned to you, which you have probably forgotten about by now!
The one firm and "set in stone" resolution I have made, the "SMART" one (specific, measurable etc..) is to learn and master one new drum fill every week during 2007. Doing this will give me 52 new fills this year ( yes, we're home to Captain Obvious!) and, as long as I can recall them on command, it will improve my musical vocabulary no end. It may sound trivial to you but it's a little thing I'm very excited about.
Have a good one.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
On other fronts, I spent much of yesterday driving a Mini Cooper whilst my own car was having something fixed. Damn I loved it.
If you imagine all the sexiness of the design of an iPod, the quirkiness of The Italian Job, the handling and feel of a Go Kart then you might have some idea of what these beauties are like.
For the relatively low price there are only two negatives that I can see. First is the fact that every person in the UK, apart form me, owns one. Second is the massive design flaw that I spotted immediately. It's one of the first specific requirements in any car and it's surprising and rather disappointing that the designers missed it. It's the plain fact that a drum kit won't fit inside it. No way Jose. Until I master my minimalist approach to playing the drums, a la Shiraaz Nooramith, I'll never be able to get my instrument of choice in one.
I think I'll continue to peruse and, if you're around these parts during 2007, expect to see one parked on Rhythmic Towers' drive.
New Year's celebrations here will be like myself, quiet, unassuming and rather dashing. January looks to an eventful month and I'm excited about many things; there'll be my biggest ever gig (if anyone here in London wants tickets please get in touch), my birthday, some band practices with my new favourite blog reader, all of which will lead up to my sojourn to Colombo.
I wish you well and Happy New Year!!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I'll no doubt jot down some details and half truths about my Xmas festivities at some point but for now I have a cunning plan. It involves me sitting here and writing whatever comes into my head, seeing what tangents turn up and where they take me. You can come too, it might work or it might not work.
I've got three days at work during which all will be quiet and I can do some organising and planning for 2007. The wife gave me a new briefcase for Xmas, one of these highly trendy brown leather "satchel" types. So I finally got rid of the old black one which I've had since 1989. This meant some clearing out had to be done and I have been standing at the office shredder for some minutes feeding a steady stream of old bank statements and unwanted junk mail into it.
I have noticed one small negative about this new bit of craftmanship, it's actually a negative to do with the "satchel" case rather than just this one specifically. I can't leave it open and just peruse the contents casually, browsing is a bit harder to do. No big deal and it means that I'll keep it tidier than I did the old one, I had a tendency to chuck stuff into it and just leave it there.
Boxing day was spent at my parents' house. Copious volumes of rice and curry were consumed by all, a welcome spicy treat after the traditional Roast turkey on Christmas Day and the traditional Polish Christmas meal on the Eve. I like them both but my Dad's mutton curry is legendary.
Strangely my Carrom form has suffered since I had my eyes lasered. It's eight months now since the op and, during that time, I have been whipped at Carrom by both my brothers. This is unusual. One brother, the academic one, who wasn't with us yesterday, will normally give me a good game and the results can go either way. The other brother gets his sorry arse whipped by me every time. Some weeks ago I got my sorry arse whipped by that bro. It was then that I knew for sure that there was something badly wrong. I checked the small print from the eye people and couldn't see anything that mentions Carrom playing. I thought there may have been some kind of guarantee but there was nothing. I really didn't know where to go with this one other than to try to play my way through the nightmare.
But yesterday we had a doubles match. There was Bro 1, my Dad, the usual Sri Lankan stray a bloody nice chap called R and me. I definitely saw signs of my old form returning. As with most games confidence is the key to playing good Carrom. When mine is low I think too much and hesitate before shots, I place the disk on the lines and stare at it for just a bit too long. Then I play the shot and fuck up all over the place. When I'm on top of the game, well you know how it is don't you? The Queen is on the centre spot and you can slice it into the pocket every time, you don't have to think about it. You can pot those shots when the seed is jammed right up against the edge. All is sweet and you have no hesitation and championship confidence.
Yesterday I felt that just a bit of the old magic was returning. I don't want to get too excited, I know that I'll have to work hard to regain my ranking in my family, but I'll put the effort in and do it for my fans.
Other miscellany; A conversation with my good, but sometimes a couple of cans short of a two pack, mate went like this:
Him: "I heard Sam Brown died this morning"
Me: "No, you mean James Brown"
Him: "Ah yes, sorry mate, what was I thinking of?" (he is from New Zealand, so do the accent in your head) "Sam Brown's the one who did "Under the Boardwalk" isn't he".
Me: (feeling vastly superior because of my clearly advanced knowledge of modern music)
" No mate, Sam Brown's that white girl, Joe Brown's daughter, (who I've fancied for years (Sam, not Joe)), she had a number one with "Stop" a few years ago. Sam Cooke's the one who did "under the boardwalk".
Him: Ah yes, I've got it now.
I'm off to tidy my desk now.
Oh yes, did I tell you that I booked a ticket to nip over to the Motherland for a week? I'll be there in Feb, I can't wait.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
First I present to you the specialist categories:
Best Photo blog (sponsored by Barefoot)
My halflife: on photography and also cooking
The Judge said: Stunning photography and a mixture of people, places and regular updates makes this colourful photoblog this year's runaway winner.
Married with kids
The winner is:
Married with kids.
The judge, jury and hangman said: Indyana only arrived on the scene a few months ago and has made us smile and laugh with her anecdotes on everyday life that every parent can relate to. We like.
Shortest living blog with the longest title
There could only be one candidate for this prestigious award:
Dutch Sri Lankan entrepreneur living in Melbourne whose soul remains in Colombo
I say: It all started so promisingly then, after three nicely written posts, just died. I hope he didn't.
One nominee, one winner:
The one and only 1truecoolguy with this beauty. Well it cracked me up anyway, the one called "scaring pedestrians".
Best overseas blog
Of course, this is overseas if you live in Sri Lanka. You know, blogs written by people who live outside Sri Lanka. It would have been silly any other way really.
The esteemed and worthy nominees are:
The Life and Times of Mr Selvarajah
Tiny Little Fractures
Lady Luck Speaks
The Darwin Awards
The winner is:
Tiny Little Fractures
I say: A nicely written blog that has a mix of photographic treasures and good words. The only big negative is Cof25's liking for Snow Patrol. Actually I couldn't decide between them but Cof25, who is probably more like Manof38 by now, was one of my very first readers as well as the first person to link to my blog from his. And he's got rid of his beard now too. Unlike Lady Luck and Darwin.
Best regular commenter who doesn't have their own blog
Mala - Because she's nice. So are the other two actually. Her comments are always carefully thought out and elegantly worded. Get well soon T.
The "Nice blog but I wish you'd write it in proper English" award
Guest judge Sylvester Stallone said: "Frankly Mr Evil was just making up the numbers in this category. He uses too many real words and constructs too many proper sentences to be a real contender. I like his blog though, me and my Mum often read it."
Chathuranga can't be with us tonight, as he is on location in a place called "Txtspk" He asked to pass on these words:
"dats wikd guys. wtf did i do 2 win da dam ting? ma bad ass is plsd wid dis. tks n respek ma bitchin frnds"
Best written blog
One of the highly coveted awards, previous winners include George Bernard Shaw, Kylie Mynogue and Borat Sagdiyev. The nominees are:
The Darwin Awards
Lady Luck Speaks
One One Things
The joint winners are:
Lady Luck Speaks
Guest judge Princess Stephanie of Monaco said: "In an unprecedented move we decided to award the title to two blogs this year. They are both eloquently written with nice long sentences and lots of interesting words and concepts. They should both be very proud. Ephemeral Ruminations deserves special mention just for the great title."
The Shitloads of comments whenever they post award
The winner is:
There was only ever going to be one winner here. The Queen of the Sri Lankan blogosphere, she can write a seemingly innocent post and get over 50 comments. Statistics have shown that Naz's average comment per post ratio is currently running at 48.63, a commendable figure indeed. On one occasion earlier in July she posted one word by accident and got 81 comments. Indi and Electra are catching up fast but they're just not there yet.
As we conclude the "specialist" section and move on to the main event we ask you to take a moment to remember one of the older and more interesting blogs that sadly passed away this year. One which many looked to as a point of reference and a shining example. Sadly, old age, or just plain "better things to do" got the better of In search of Utopia and it passed away peacefully.
We should also give a thought to Hot Chocolate. It appears to be suffering a terminal illness. There was a brief respite during November but it looks to have relapsed. We hope it can pull through and return to its former glories.
The Big One
Blog of the Year 2006
This is the one that you have all been waiting for. Previous winners include Ranil Wickremasinghe, Gunther from Friends and Dave Grohl. This is the best overall blog and is judged on a combination of literary content, humour, use of images and use of rude words, only in the right fucking context though.
The nominees are:
Lady Luck Speaks
The Darwin Awards
One One Things
The Life and Times of Mr Selvarajah
The winner is:
Our guest judge Professor Stephen Hawkins said:
"A few of the nominees fell at the first hurdle because of little, or even no, bad language. Darwin has impressed this year with her humour, her vocabulary and her liberal, though never gratuitous, use of swear words. I was particularly impressed with her post on Britney Spears' vajayjay and now try to use the word whenever possible. She can swear, she can be imaginative and she can be intelligent and write about God and machinery and stuff. I liked her one about cockpunching too."That concludes this year's awards brought to you from London. If you're one of the winners then an acceptance speech would be nice, just a few paragraphs, preferably with some tears.
A very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone who has read my blog this year. And to everyone else too!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
How did this happen? Where the hell did this come from?
I don't like the song, I don't much care for Tina Turner, as nice a person as I'm sure she is.
There's only one logical conclusion.
Someone must have sneaked into my house and played the song while I was sleeping.
If you are the guilty person I'd like to ask you a favour. Next time would you play some real old greasy funk? Something like The Meters or similar would be great.
It's half a degree outside and I've just driven through darkness and freezing fog. It's Christmas weather here in London, maybe snow is on its way.
"I'm a private dancer
I dance something for money
Blah Blah Blah Blah
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Then realised that things as they used to be wouldn't be that good now, because of what you know and what you have learnt.
So time travel is no use then. The only way to make things good is to look to the future and make things happen.
Last week I went to a hairdresser's, a proper poncy men's hairdresser with music, tea and coffee, soft drinks, Mazda MX5s parked outside and an interior that looked as if it had been designed by Tracy Emin when she was having one of her more eccentric days.
This was my first visit to a hairdresser's for a long time. For the last few years I have nipped into my local barber's and had my hair clippered to a grade zero, an in and out job that takes about 10 minutes.
There I was, sitting in the chair having my hair washed by the stunning looking blonde. After the wash bit she asked me if I'd like conditioner in my hair. This is a question that has always puzzled me. I don't know any men that would admit to putting this conditioner stuff in their hair ever. But no man, faced with the prospect of conditioner and a damn good head massage, is ever going to say no to it.
I discovered that head massage place in Crescat a couple of months ago and I was fortunate that it was towards the end of my week in Colombo. Had I discovered it at the beginning of my sojourn I would have gone there every day, probably never would have met Indi and Electra and them, probably wouldn't have seen the drum hero that is Shiraaz Nooramith play and certainly wouldn't have bought the dodgy shirts from House of Fashion that I'll never wear. I'd recommend the place wholeheartedly, I think it's called "Head Massage" or some other type of name that says what it does. Can't remember that term but something like palindrome. I know it isn't a palindrome though, that's another term for a rotavator.
Wash, massage and drying over I headed off to the chair. Frankly I would have happily paid my £30 and left at that stage but I felt that I should get the grown out mess tidied up and styled slightly.
"What would you like done today Sir?", said Akheem, the trendy fellow who had been assigned the old bloke with the mess on his head.
"I don't really know", I said, then explained to him the history of my hair and how I wanted something that would make me look like some sort of music God, that was easy to look after and that looked a bit rough at the back. And in the daytime it has to look reasonably respectable and tidy for work. I thought that it was probably one of his more easy assignments.
He started work. They do all those movements don't they, when they lift your hair with their fingertips and hold it out while they look at you in the mirror. Lots of cutting, blowdrying and shaping went on, some of it on my head even. I was offered more coffee or tea and made to feel as if I was a customer, which is nice but unusual in these parts.
Then, when he was about half way done, he was finished. I mean, I thought he was about half way done, but he had actually finished. My hair just looked a bit different but he had failed abysmally on the "Music God" look. I was hugely disappointed, particularly as he had so much in the way of raw material to work on.
"I'll just go and get some product", said Akheem.
This term "product" never ever ceases to make me smile when it is used in the context of hair. Product used to be something made in a factory, like widgets or staples. Container loads of it were shipped all over the world and economies were based on it. Unions striked over it, towns, schools and whole communities were built around the factories that made the product and most things were in black and white.
Alas those days are gone. Now "product" is a catch all term for something people put in their hair. No longer do hairdressers talk about hair wax or gel or mousse, it's just "product". Recently I was out with my best mate for a few beers (I've blogged about it already) and during the course of the evening I asked him about his hair. We had a slightly stilted and uncomfortable men's conversation about hair and he mentioned that he puts some "product" in it every day. Then we went back to talking about women, cars and gadgets. We spent about 5 minutes talking very loudly about these things to ensure that any eavesdroppers didn't question our masculinity.
I've digressed. So Akheem came back with some kind of stuff in his hands and started to put it in my hair. I don't really know what it was but he seemed like a nice trustworthy fellow so I felt at ease. However, if you go to a hairdresser and the chap is from Kazakhstan and called Borat, when he offers you some "product" then disappears and comes back after a few minutes, I would be very, very wary, particularly if he is slightly out of breath.
He worked wonders with the stuff. Within seconds I took on the appearance of the funky sexy drumming stylish musical overlord that frankly I am not. He did the thing with the mirror and showed me the back of my head, he told me how to look after it and replicate the look each morning and then he sent me off into the crowds and busyness of Kingston town centre. I wandered around for a while, glancing in mirrors at every opportunity and trying to look casual and nonchalent about it. Go on admit it, you do that too don't you?
Then I went home to present my new look to the wimmin'. I thought I'd be coy and wait for one of them to say something.
After about an hour I got impatient and told them that I'd had my hair cut. They looked at me and laughed. In unison. The 10 year old said that she thought I had not washed my hair that morning and that was why it looked "messy". Words of scorn about wasting money, did the shop have big windows, those kind of statements all followed.
Still, I don't care. I don't have to wear a hat to keep my head warm and I look a bit different to last year's look. On the other hand I can't shower and dry my head with one swoop of the towel and I have to allow an extra few minutes in the morning to put "product" in my hair. I can only mange two styles, totally messy and totally spikey and I can't actually predict which one is going to come out on any given morning.
Some people say that the "haired" look suits me. I'm still undecided. If I was a brave and sterling type I'd put some pictures up and ask what you think.
I'm not. So I won't.
Monday, December 18, 2006
If you're someone who is interested in all that stuff then good luck to you, it's just not a motivator for me. As bloggers we all like to know whether we have a readership but I get all the feedback I need to know from comments, links and emails.
But, there are two tools I glance at now and again which do interest me. The Technorati thing, which frankly I still don't understand, and the "referrals" category on my sitemeter.
Here I must explain, I understand how Technorati works, it's all to do with how many other blogs have links to your own. The bit that perplexes me is why I regularly see my own ranking jump about 150,000 places on a day to day basis. I swear to you I have seen it go from 366,000 on one day to 225,000 or so the next and then back to the 300,000s the following day. If it were steadily increasing or decreasing I could understand but this flummoxes me. (Sach - are there 2 "m"s in "flummox"?)
"Referrals" is the way in which people have accessed London, Lanka and drums and shows whether you have searched for something or come via a link. The links are usually kottu or zSri and also there are a few where people have arrived via other people's blogs. If you're one of the bloggers who have linked to me then you have my thanks and promises of eternal indebtness and drum solos dedicated to you for as long as you want etc.
The aspect that fascinates, intrigues, amuses and continually amazes me is looking at the words or phrases people have searched for, usually on google, to get here. Many make me smile, often with a little bit of self satisfaction, but often with a scrunched up face asking "Why?" Here are some of them:
Panda prostitute joke eats shoots leaves
Sushi for kids
Familiarity breeds acceptance
Describe Southall area in Londonstani
Beheaded in accident
Lankan pride Spongebob
Come with me and I'll talk you through the emotions here.
There's a small bit of pride that someone might have been looking for the Panda joke and has used my blog as a source of reference, there's a bewilderment that "sexy gorgeous" led anyone here, inquisitiveness as to why anyone would be looking for "Sushi for kids".
Then with "Familiarity breeds acceptance" there's a nagging feeling. I have a vague recollection of typing that somewhere but can't remember the details and frankly can't be bothered to search for it. "Describe Southall area in Londonstani" gives me a dichotomy of feelings of pride and fear and sheer "What the fuckishness?" Pride that this blog has been used as a source for such information, fear that some poor chap (probably an American) may have believed something I had written, and "What the fuckishness? for the same reasons.
"Beheaded in accident" just worries me. The internet is a wild thing but I am disappointed someone has searched for that phrase and it has brought them here.
"Lankan pride spongebob" fills me with trepidation. I cannot think of any use of the word "Spongebob" other than in relation to Mr Squarepants himself, so the logical conclusion is that someone is thinking of launching a gay (hence the pride) Sri Lankan cartoon character who lives under the sea and is a talking sponge. I reckon it would be a massive success and could be a shining symbol for equal rights for sponges.
But they're nothing. The real gems are to come. There are the some that make me really feel proud, angry, seriously puzzled and perplexed or very amused. I'm going to leave you wanting more and save these for another post.
Here's a starter for you:
Men opening trousers to pee in urinal
Honestly, I ask you!
Friday, December 15, 2006
Sadly, on the first attempt the nurse failed to show up. I waited half an hour and watched a bit of breakfast TV. This cost me £40. Simply because the programme had a feature on cashmere jumpers and watching it made me buy one.
As I hadn't been proactive enough to take the nurse's phone number with me I had to travel back to my office to call her and shout. She was full of apologies and said she had got caught with her previous patient. I accepted her apology, though wondered exactly why she couldn't have called me to explain, then rescheduled the appointment for a second attempt. I even felt a bit guilty as she sounded extremely sorry and sheepish, a bit like a grovelling sheep.
On the day I came into work in the morning as usual then went home at about 10AM for the medical at 11. At 10.30 there I was, sitting absent mindedly in the empty house when my mobile rang, it was a number I didn't recognise. For that split second before I heard the voice I thought "please, please don't postpone this again". She didn't, but it was her on the phone:
"Ah Mr Diaspora" she said.
"It's D, the nurse here."
"Hello" said I, just waiting for the excuse.
"Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I am sitting in my car on your driveway at the moment" she said.
"Oh well I'll just open the door then". I responded rather cleverly, but wondered why the hell she hadn't just rung the doorbell like any normal person would have done.
"No, that's ok, the appointment's not until 11" she said.
What the bloody hell? I thought to myself. If you're early but don't want to come in then why have you rung me to tell me this? Maybe she expected me to take a cup of coffee out to her while she was waiting. Or tea even.
So I let her in, telling her that it was ok a bit early as I had come home especially for this.
After some formalities, name, date of birth, have you had any operations today, that kind of thing battle commenced. She was puzzled why I'd want to know her date of birth and what operations she had but I explained that I was just naturally curious and we got on with things.
Now the first thing she did was to open a lollipop sort of thing. A plastic stick with a rectangular plastic end. It was to take a saliva sample for an HIV test.
"Could you put this under your tongue for a couple of minutes, as if it's a thermometer?" she asked.
I did as instructed. It was easy. You'll possibly remember that I'm a drummer, I consider that my ability to multi task is quite good, even for a bloke. As a drummer I often have to try to get each of my 4 limbs to do different things, but the next bit phased me somewhat. She gave me a plastic cup and said:
"While you're doing that would you go and fill this cup for me?"
"Of course" I said and headed towards the tap.
"No, with urine" said Nursey.
"What, pee in it?"
"While I've got this thing in my mouth?", I asked.
"Yes", she said.
"Fucking hell", I thought to myself.
"Of course", I said to her.
Off I went to a bathroom.
Multi tasking, playing the drums, driving a manual car, dealing with employees and even handling my Sri Lankan Mother are all easy peasy lemon squeezy compared to peeing into a cup while trying to hold a piece of plastic under your tongue. There I was, trying to balance over the toilet fearing that my cup would overfloweth and breathing uncomfortably through my nose.
I don't know if any of you have ever had to pee into a cup before but it was my first time, some would say I should live a bit, but I'm ok with that. The thing that bewildered me was the volume issue. Would my average amount of wee be far more than one cup's worth or would I struggle to register on the scale, so to speak? Then what would happen if and when I filled the cup? Would my muscle control be good enough to enable me to stop and move the cup away, change my aim to the toilet and resume? Or would I make a mess everywhere and have to clear it up with the plastic thing still in my mouth, risking all kinds of health and safety issues.
The other potential problem was that I might get stage fright. I had drunk lots of fluid and not peed for an hour before but there was some serious pressure going on here and anything could happen.
Maybe other chaps would have just got on with it without a second thought but I had all these mixed up crazy thoughts going through my mind. I continued with the job in hand, somewhat literally. It was a fascinating journey.
The first hurdle to jump was that of how to actually do this operation. Do you (from a man's angle) insert willy into the cup and open the tap as such, moving the cup downwards as it fills up? Or should you just hold the cup below the organ and go for it, risking splashback and the like.
I went for option 2, my aim was true and the target was obliterated. After all the mental trauma it was actually quite easy. The potential disaster that could have occurred when the cup got filled to the maximum was neatly avoided because I ran out of ammunition at about the three quarters of a cup line. This surprised me. Like most men I am more than capable of standing at a urinal and peeing and wondering if I'll ever stop. Often it is as if someone has bunged another bladder inside me and filled that one too, all cunningly done without my knowledge. When we, as men, are standing there and time is ticking away it feels as it there are bucketloads of the stuff coming out. We think in terms of pints, not little plastic cups. But this time fortune favoured me and there was no Exxon Valdiz type of scenario.
At this point I realised that a more proactive approach would have been particularly beneficial here. I might be giving you information which you'll use to laugh at me in a cruel and vicious manner with but I'm going to do it anyhow. Just promise me that, if I bump into you in Colombo, London or anywhere really, you won't mention it.
You see, I was in my own home, in a dangerous and precarious situation, so I had decided to pee with my trousers down. It had seemed like a great idea to help gain easy access and range of movement. When I was standing there holding a cup of golden nectar, with a thing under my tongue and I had to dress myself, the idea wasn't so hot. After several acts of contortionism, which Bill Clinton himself would have been proud of, I got my jeans up and hadn't spilled a drop. Rhythmic Towers has a few bathrooms and this one has only one flat surface, called the floor. I now had to do up the button fly on my jeans with just one hand. Eventually I got there, only to be faced with the daunting task of having to wash my hands.
Some may say that my washing hands was wholly unnecessary, considering the fact that I was going to exit the bathroom carrying a cup of pee. If you're one of those then I would probably agree with you, it just didn't occur to me at the time. So a load more manoeuvering was done to get my hands washed and dried until I was ready to face the world.
I walked out of the bathroom and proudly presented Nursey with a lukewarm cup of pee and the swab thing from under my tongue. She took it and muttered a half hearted thank you. There was no "well done, are you a drummer?" or no "blimey most people don't manage that easily."
She dabbed a litmus paper thingy in the cup, looked at it for about half a second then said it was fine and gave the cup back to me. The cold hearted bitch! The very least I expected was a lollipop and some understanding words. Still, I resisted all temptation to keep it in the fridge and went off and emptied it.
The rest of the medical was easy. She weighed me, measured me and asked me about my knee ligament. She asked me how much exercise I do. I lied. That was it really.
About a week later I got a letter through to say all is fine and I'm insured for several squillion pounds. These things are good to know. At least that's what the wife said as she kindly fixed the brakes on my car for me.
So take it from me as a word of warning. If one of these nurse types knocks on your door to do a medical, be prepared for some serious coordination stuff.
Things could have been a lot worse. My brother pointed out I could so easily have misunderstood her and come back with a sperm sample.
Now that really would have been embarrassing.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
"No, that didn't really work out because he didn't smell right", my learned friend said.
As the suave and sophisticated "take things in my stride" sort of bloke that you all know I am, I just carried on listening, thinking that she meant things didn't "feel" right with the sad, dumped fellow. Maybe the chemistry wasn't there or he liked Coronation St and she liked Eastenders, or any number of things.
"No I mean he really didn't smell right" she said.
"BO" I thought, and said.
"No he just didn't smell right, not BO or anything, I just didn't get on with his smell". The good Dr said.
In her capacity as my new medical mentor she then went on to explain to me, her new favourite Uncle, how this smell thing can influence her choice of partner. I was, in fact I am, rather flabbergasted by this whole concept.
As far as I'm concerned women smell of perfume and stuff. The junior ones in my house tend to smell of grubby schools and soil mixed with half a can of "My First deodorant", a dangerous bouquet at times!
Men, if they're like me, smell of deodorant and men's stuff, like the wood that your drumsticks are made from. (no pun intended, but I wish I could think of a good "wood" line there).
Suddenly, at an age when I could do without this sort of thing, I've got a whole new viewpoint to consider. If you want to know the proper scientific girl's angle on this check it out here.
Just don't get me started on this other Polyfilla thing
I'm off for a band practice and a lie down now..........
Monday, December 11, 2006
Has anyone got any idea exactly how long it's been there?
I'm particularly fond of it. It's one of those peculiar Colombo things that makes me feel good.
I remember that it was there in the mid 70s, it was an important landmark for me as it indicated exactly where my Dad would turn right off the Galle Road as we were heading back towards the place we were staying from my Aunt's house in Mount Lavinia.
I've seen it get gradually covered up over the years as the street peddlars have started to use it as part of their merchandising, but it's still there, underneath everything. I'll tell you what, if someone could nick one of the sparkling things and pop it in the post to me I'd be eternally grateful.
But, does anyone know the year it first appeared?
It bugs me.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
So, as she has already mentioned, we finally managed to come up with a time when we were on the same continent and both free. Yes folks I finally met the legend that is Lady Luck.
I'm quite chuffed that, since beginning my attempt at a blog, I've managed to make some great and interesting new friends. I met up with some of the bloggers in Colombo and now I've met with one here. Lady Luck is one of the most confident people I have ever met and I mean that to be a compliment of the highest order.
We had a great couple of hours of rather sparkling conversation and, as she has said too, there were none of those awkward moments when the chat dried up and we looked around uncomfortably. I learnt some stuff too, about Polly someone, who is all the rage with Lady Luck's friends. If you ask her nicely she'll tell you, I'm sure.
Plenty of talk about the Motherland was done, as was a shed load about you bloggers. It's quite funny how none of us really know each other yet we interact so frequently. I bet you're itching to know whether we talked about you specifically and, if you're reading this, then we probably did!
Then I left her, she was desolate and heartbroken but didn't let it show one bit. No, not one bit at all actually. I went back to work, as did she. Her work, not mine that is. Well I went to mine and she went to her own, you know.
But I got to my office and proceeded to mess up my back. I don't know how really but I've spent all of today waddling around like some sort of twat. I've got new heads to put on my bass drum and can't do it because it will probably just make the back worse. Practicing earlier today was abandoned for the pain and if I can't practice then it must be bad.
So there you have it. Friday was fun and interesting and exciting. Today was just a day of self pity and pain.
Friday, December 8, 2006
Borat has been around in the UK for the last few years. At first the character was hilarious, in a cringing sort of way. But, as he has developed, we in the UK have got used to him. He presented one of the many MTV awards ceremony things, he has had weekly appearances on many TV shows and now, with his film out, he is on every chat show and every PR boosting event you can think of.
He's not a brilliantly quick and highly inventive comedy character in the way that someone portrayed by Paul Whitehouse or Stephen Fry can be. It appears that Sacha Baron Cohen has a certain quantity of, admittedly very funny, jokes that he works in to almost any number of situations that can occur. I haven't met him but I can imagine that a conversation with Jonathan Ross would have me laughing continually, providing Mr Ross was in a humorous mood of course. Every time I see him on TV his humour comes across as smart and "off the cuff", not preplanned and rehearsed, like Borat's lines.
If it's a conversation in which a wife is mentioned or his home life crops up then he can chuck in the line about the wife and how she used to be young and fit and could plough the field but, now that she is 15 her "vagine" is loose and hangs like lizard skin. Let's face it most conversations can be steered to mention a wife or a home life.
Or he can take the route of pretending to be a sympathiser with someone who holds what would usually be deemed as "extreme" views. Join up with a bunch of racists, sexists or homophobics and pretend that he agrees with them. That way we can all laugh at their views and how they are so stupid to be taken in by Borat or Sacha. And of course it's ok to laugh at them because they're racists or sexists or homophobics.
I have read reviews of the film and I have heard people talk about it and most have thought it hilarious, outrageous and the work of a true genius. Sure, there were some moments in the film when I was on the verge of dying from laughter. When he was at that "etiquette" dinner party and came back to the table after going to the toilet for example. I could ruin it for you by telling you that he came back with a bag of shit and asked what he should do with it, but I won't.
On the whole I was bored. I had seen virtually all the jokes before. There were too many times when I thought "oh, that's what he said to Jonathan Ross last week". I felt as if I had seen the whole film already, from adverts, chatshows, other people and the TV series.
I was chatting with a friend of mine the other night, a bloke who is an actor, married to an actress. They are people whose opinion on acting related stuff I value, both being trained at RADA and fairly successful. He thinks that Sacha Baron Cohen / Borat is brilliant and great improvisational comedy. I couldn't agree with him. I just see someone who has found a formula that works and is now working that formula into everything to make a large bank full of money.
Who am I to know? It's a bit like the Coldplay question for me. As far as I am concerned they have found a formula and used that to great success. There's nothing wrong with it and millions of people all over the world love their music and would disagree with me.
I prefer to see something with more soul and feeling to it. Whether that's James Brown or Phil Silvers. If Borat gets some new material and looks more spontaneous I'll be the first in the queue for the next film.
If not, then I'm sorry Mr Sagdiyev but you're just not my bag of shite.
Thursday, December 7, 2006
On Monday morning I was driving into work and the news on the radio had a small article about it in which a local resident was interviewed. He said:
"There were loads of fireworks, it was massive, like a huge fireworks display, only about 100 times bigger."
I continued my journey, thinking to no one in particular.
Of course it was, it was a fucking fireworks warehouse, it was on fire. What did they expect? Tins of corned beef to come flying out of the place, or perhaps some of those bags that people use to carry their laptops in. That would have been unexpected, but fireworks exploding all weekend was probably pretty high up on the list of possibilities in the event of the average fireworks factory catching alight.
These things bemuse me.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Well I do a lot if it, thinking of stuff and trying to look at it from an unconventional viewpoint. It's fun and it's good, rarely productive but fun nevertheless.
I was looking at Pradeep Jeganathan's photo of an egg the other day. My mind wandered, I turned left, I swerved. I ended up with the following question in my head:
"That Pradeep fellow - Is he really, really thin?"
Because he must spend so much time taking the rather excellent photographs of food that surely it has all gone cold and inedible by the time he has finished. Either that or he's a big fat bloke because he makes piles and piles of food and eats it all after he has taken the pictures.
Maybe he's got Canonexia Nervosa.
Yep, that's it.
He's a Canonexic.
There you have it, a new ailment, Canonexia Nervosa. Its classic symptons include taking lots of photographs of food and not having the time to eat the stuff.
He really does take the best food pictures I've seen, if you can stand the temptation take a look at his string hopper pictures. At 8 AM in cold and grey West London I could do with a plateful right now!
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
The eldest was reading out her homework to me last night. She had to write an estate agent's type of advert for Hampton Court, a local former Royal Palace over 500 years old. For the benefit of any Americans I'll explain that an estate agent is a realtor and a Royal Palace is a place of residence of a member of the Royal Family. And yes, all of us in England know each member of the Royal Family personally, apart from Caroline Aherne, who I've only seen on TV.
She started reading:
"It could be used as a theme park, a multiplex cinema complex (my ideas, of which I am rather proud), a hotel or a hospital."
Generally I'm not much use as far as homework is concerned. I'm ok with music stuff and I would imagine that, as Dad's go, I'm pretty useful to have around when you have to do drum practice and drum related stuff, which happens relatively often. I'm not one to blow my own trumpet though, as my strengths lie more on the percussive side of things.
But this time I spotted something that I thought might benefit from my advice. I proceeded to point out one of those idiosyncrasies of the English language that we all know and love.
"Did you know that it should actually be "an hotel" not " a hotel"?" I said. (I hope you liked my rather excessive, but wholly correct, use of quotation marks there).
"No, why's that Dad?"
"I don't know really, but it just is. Even though most of us say "a hotel" it should actually be "an hotel, especially in writing". I said.
"OK I'll change it. So should it be "an hospital" too?" she asked.
Ah, I thought. She had me stumped.
"Errm I think so. Errm actually I'm not sure about that. Errm actually I don't think so." I replied, with considerably less certainty than I may have implied.
So you linguistic types out there. Does anyone know for sure? Should it be "an hospital", "an horse", and so on, for anything beginning with an aitch, or does this rule only apply to hotels.
What's the official ruling on this?
After all I don't want to be the one who is known to discriminate against horses or hospitals.
Or even hoppers for that matter.
Thanks in advance.
Monday, December 4, 2006
There I was, standing at the sink doing the washing up. We have our after dinner routine. Me and the two girls wash and clear up and usually listen to music or mess around a bit. The wife buggers off upstairs and does stuff, God knows what.
This time, for whatever reason we weren't listening to music, but I became aware of the 10 year old singing a song. I listened and the full horror of the situation dawned upon me. In the voice that only a scruffy 10 year old girl could conjure up I could just about make out the words. Come to think of it I could just about make out the tune:
"'Cos my heaaaaart will go oonnnn"
"What on earth are you singing?" I asked.
"That song from Titanic by Celine Dion" she said.
"You know the rules. Never , ever sing that song again, do you understand?" I commanded.
"Yeah, sure Dad, whatever you say", she sort of snarled at me.
This was the evening of the day I had posted up my answers to Theena's music quiz.
Just have a look at question number 6 and my answer to it.
Can I give her one more chance or is that just too lenient for such a ghastly crime?
Anyone know a good plastic surgeon?
Saturday, December 2, 2006
I dropped my eldest at a drum lesson and had to wait for her. I took my iPod and sat and waited for her while she was in the studio with Alun, her teacher and my first teacher.
I know tht some of the music purists say that the quality of MP3s is not as good as MP27s or whatever but I really can't hear the difference and I'm quite happy with a decent pair of headphones and a white box full of MP3s. So I sat there and I listened to a variety of songs.
I listened to some old Squeeze songs. An English band that never got the success I and many others think they deserved. They did one album, called "Some Fantastic Place" with Pete Thomas, Elvis Costello's regular drummer. If you like drummers who play for the song then Pete Thomas is one of your chaps. He's a top session guy and has played for many others too.
I listened to "Wishlist" by Pearl Jam, a song that has the most orgasmic guitar solo ever. I probably should have cited the solo as the one piece of music that comes close to moving me to tears in Theena's music quiz. Then I had a quick listen to "Learn to Fly" by the Foo Fighters. It's easily my favourite of their songs, mostly because I used to play it in the best covers band I've played in, and probably ever will play in. It's just a kicking song and, every time we played it, I became a certain Mr Hawkins.
Then it was "Heart Shaped Box", one of Kurt's less well known songs and then I moved on to Soulwax's album "Much against everyone's advice". Check this CD out, it's so good that those youth would probably call it bad. The same covers band that did "Learn to Fly" also used to do "Too many DJs", Aah I'm getting all nostalgic now. Come back MLC.
After that the 12 year old came out triumphant form her lesson.
"How was it?"
"Ah usual, easy really", she answered. Despite hardly any practice, pah! is all I can say on it.
It struck me though that I don't get or make the time to really and properly listen to music and this was the first occasion when I have done it for a while. I have music as a permanent feature in my life but I rarely sit down and listen for pleasure. It might be in the car, when it's background to me driving. It's on at work all day but again it's lurking in the background. If it's music that I'm playing drums to then I enjoy it immensely, but in a much more participative way than just listening. If I'm learning a song then I'm listening in a more concentrated and probably less enjoyable manner.
All in all I'm sure that music is a bigger element in my life than it is in many other people's life. But I need to "listen" to it more. I need to make that time to sit down and clear my head of shit, stop work, not be driving and not worry about the phone ringing and just listen to the food of love for the pure pleasure of it.
That's my latest thing. What's your?
Friday, December 1, 2006
Something dawned on me lately. It's the fact that the act of reversing onto a drive is a peculiarly male act. Like flicking channels continually or saying "Yes, yes, yes, I'll do it" women just don't do it, do they?
Why is this? Am I wrong? Shall I ask some more questions? Why not?
Most men would agree with me that it's a practical and timesaving thing to do. It means that, when leaving, we gain a few extra seconds and do it with a bit more ease. These seconds are not life improving or in any way important. What do I do with mine? Bugger all really. I just get a feeling of satisfaction knowing that I have been so smart and forward thinking.
I cannot think of a single woman I know that I have seen or I think I would ever see reversing into their own or any other driveway. In fact I can't even think of a married woman that would do it. I have to plead my defence here just in case I get attacked. I don't mean to be sexist. It's not something I feel is a negative generalisation, just a generalisation, which may be wrong anyway.
Maybe you ladies are not as hot on spatial intelligence as us men. Maybe you just aren't bothered or are not as proactive and as forward thinking as men. Maybe you think men who reverse into drives are sad specimens who should worry about bigger and better things (incredibly unlikely I know!).
The most likely answer is that you ladies just don't care.
What do you think. Or are you a woman who reverses?
STOP PRESS - Yesterday I saw a lady reversing into a parking space in a car park. To be honest she looked rather bewildered, like a rabbit caught in headlights. Arms were flapping all over the place and she didn't even put her left arm on the top of the passenger seat while reversing. Just thought I'd share that.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
1. CD or vinyl - CD. Easy peasy. Vinyl and hiss and scratches - no way.
2. An album you've been meaning to listen to - The last Foo Fighters one, the double album, I can't remember what it's called but I need to listen properly to it.
3. Grammys - Important or a load of bollocks - Bollocks - I refer you to Theena's Nickelback statement QED
4. Your favourite album is - variable all the time, currently "Love" by the Beatles or "Live and Dangerous" by Thin Lizzy
5. Invite 10 Music people for dinner. Who will it be? John Bonham, Buddy Rich, Bernard Purdie, Ringo Starr, Phil Lynott, John and Paul and Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze. Lastly there would be Theena.
6. Appropriate punishment for those who play Celine Dion's "My heart will go on" while pretending that it's still 1998 - Plastic surgery to make them look like her.
7. Choose your favourite instrument and its best player from your point of view. After much deliberation I'll go for drums and Bernard Purdie
8. The one piece of music that can move you to tears - Nothing has so far but "Funky Gibbon" by the Goodies comes close.
9. You are an executive at a major label and have the power to green light one album a year. What would you do? - I'd sign Mimosa.
I'll tag Childof25, Ian and Savi.
1. Popcorn or Candy - Salted Popcorn
2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever - The Usual Suspects.
3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar: who loses theirs and to whom - Michael Douglas loses his for Wall Street and Ben Kingsley gets one for Sexy Beast.
4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. Which will it be? - John Travolta's white suit from Sat Night Fever.
5. Invite 5 movie people over for dinner, who are they? What would you feed them? - Jennifer Aniston, I think you know why! Peter Sellers, I think he would have been funny and fascinating. Barbara Windsor, a living legend who I'd love to meet. Phil Silvers (Sgt Bilko) - not known for it but he did act in a few films too and one of my all time heroes. Stephen Fry, not strictly a movie person but always seems fascinatingly funny.
I'd cook them a rice and curry as it's the only thing I can cook almost well!
6. Your favourite film franchise is: James Bond
7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cell phones in the movie theatre? - An interesting one as here in England they'd probably get thrown out anyway, which is fine by me.
8. Choose a female bodyguard - Uma Thurman. No doubt, no hesitation.
9. What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a movie? - I can't think of one scary thing that stands out in my mind. One of the most memorable is the ending of The Italian Job. I still puzzle over what the "great idea" was.
10. Your favourite genre (excluding comedy and drama) - God knows, it would have been comedy. I'll pick car films, if the genre exists.
11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power? - An easy one. I would spend the year giving the go ahead to the corniest films I see. Ones like Top Gun and Under Siege. Sheer class. Don't tell me that the scene in Top Gun when Maverick walks through the throng of people on the aircraft carrier and Ice tells him he can be his wingman any time doesn't make you very emotional. Or when Erika Eleniak pops out of the cake, acting doesn't get much better than that and needs to be encouraged.
12. Bonnie or Clyde - Haven't the faintest idea which is which. I'll choose Clyde as that was the name of one of James Brown's drummers.
Those are my answers. I'll tag Naz and Darwin.
It went like this:
"Test - did you get this?"
There was only one possible answer from someone with my maturity, level headedness and vast personal and business responsibilities, I replied:
"It must be fucked then"
It's one of those incidents that just makes me smile. I'm easily pleased though!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
You know when you write the title of a post or someone's name and, if the reader clicks on that bit of text, the link is contained within the text. Yeah, that thing, how does one do it?
Don't tell anyone I asked, I don't want anyone thinking I'm an idiot or something, particularly any other bloggers.
It's about 2 o'clock in the morning and things are quieting down in the bar. There's a Panda bear and a prostitute sitting together, and the woman asks if he would like to go home with her.. the Panda bear looks her over and says yes.
They go to her place. first they have something to eat, a nice meal of rice and prawn curry. (feel free to use whatever meal you like here)
After some small talk they have some seriously passionate and dirty sex. They finish and the Panda lies in bed smoking a cigarette. He finishes that and gets out of bed and gets dressed, presumably in a black and white suit.
The bear gets up to leave, when the prostitute yells ,"where do you think you're going?"
Mr Panda bear answers that he is going home. The woman then explains that she is a prostitute and must be paid for her services. The bear says that he knows that but he is a Panda bear and doesn't have to pay. They can't see eye to eye on it so they decide that the only way to settle the argument is to look up their respective names in the dictionary. They look up prostitute and the book says:
"a woman that gets paid for sexual favours",
"See, you can't go before you pay me the money", says the brass.
"Ok, and now look up Panda bear", says Panda.
She reads the following:
"Panda - A black and white bear. Eats, shoots and leaves."
There you go. It's all in the punctuation.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Here's a small competition. There's no prize apart from the huge amount of satisfaction you'll get from knowing that you were not beaten by my challenge.
To some people this number represents genius, some pure unadulterated bliss. I am one of those people.
The number again is:
Can you tell me what it means?
Try not to google it, you'd only be cheating yourself now!
Monday, November 27, 2006
"I've got a joke"
"OK, let's hear it then", said I, only slightly worried. Twelve year old girls are dangerous, as are girls of all ages.
"OK, a Panda bear walks into a pub."
"A ha" we replied.
"So it eats, shoots and leaves". She said.
I laughed, trying not to sound too enthusiastic but also keen to make it sound genuine and thus avoid any type of inquisition. My knowledge of that joke involves prostitutes, bears, cigarettes, dictionaries and sex. I didn't really want to know whether my daughter actually knew what the joke means. I sure as hell didn't want to have to explain it.
In times and situations like this a smaller sibling can be relied upon to come out with something unexpected. She did.
"I don't get it"
I contemplated jumping out of the window but opted not to. I like to confront and face any challenging situations like the alpha male that I am.
So I kept dead quiet.
Twelve year old said,
"You don't get it?"
"No" says younger sis.
"Well a Panda bear eats shoots and leaves doesn't it?"
"Oh no" I'm now thinking.
"Yes it does" says younger sis.
"So the Panda goes into a pub right?" says twelve yo.
"Yes" replies younger sis
"And it eats, shoots and then leaves."
The smaller, but more menacing sister still looked confused. I was thinking that either myself or the elder daughter would have to explain "shoots". I didn't want this to happen. But it did.
Elder sister said to the younger one,
"You know, the panda's got a gun. It goes into a pub and eats, shoots (she makes a firing gun action with her hand) and then leaves the pub."
"Oh I get it. Yeah good one" said ten year old.
We carried on watching TV.
I breathed a loud sigh of relief.
Friday, November 24, 2006
I was heading to a rehearsal studio that I hadn't been to before, not far and in theory it was about half an hour from work. Everyone knows that studios have the worst drum kits in the world, it's one of the laws of music, a bit like the one about singers being late. Drummers will also jump at the chance to not have to lug our drumkit around and we usually will use a studio kit if it exists. I'm no exception and went armed with just a snare, a load of cymbals, a bag full of sticks, my double bass pedal and some refreshments. You know, just the basics.
While strolling around Tesco at lunchtime I had bought myself a copy of the new Beatles' album "Love". Apparently it's an album of their songs that have been remixed by George Martin and his son for some special performance of Cirque du Soleil. I read that Ringo and Paul had given George Martin their blessing to do whatever he desired with their songs.
Now I've always struggled with the Beatles to be honest. I'm not one who slags them off and disagrees with the huge impact they had on modern music by any means. I think they wrote some of the best songs of all time both lyrically and musically. I also think Ringo Starr is one of the best drummers of all time. He gets a very unfair press does old Ringo. He is held in almost God like status by most drummers and that is because he was the perfect drummer for those songs.
Never complicating matters to show off, he always played for the song. Think of "Come Together" and the way his drum part compliments the melody, think of his fills on "Help". If any drummer ever wants to know how to play for a song all they need to do is listen to a Beatles album.
My problem with the Beatles is that I've always found that sixties sound very hard to listen to. Lost of treble and mid range frequencies are just not that pleasing to my ears.
Well this album is a different matter. It's a masterpiece. Every song has been remixed and brought up to date yet they all retain that classic feel. There are bits cut from one song and pasted into others but it's all the original stuff, with a fresh feel. I'm sure there are purists who will hate this body of music but that's life. I love it. It will be in my car for a long while before I change that CD.
So John, Paul, Ringo, George and BMW satellite navigation were factors in a rather enjoyable half hour to find this studio. I got to the road in question seamlessly, then promptly got lost. It was a country road packed with very expensive houses. I turned off it at one point and followed what turned out to be a dirt track. It was raining and muddy and the track was full of potholes. It was a little bit unnerving as my 5 series, with its lowered sports suspension and low profile wheels, is not exactly built for these conditions. Let's face it a BMW X5 isn't built for these things, let alone a normal 5.
All of a sudden I found myself outside a farmhouse. There were two farmhouse looking women standing in front of it with a pack of about ten thousand dogs. It was only about half an hour outside London but I felt as if I had entered a different rural zone completely. I had no choice but to get out and ask these rather scary looking women if they knew where the studio was. The darkness was both good and bad for me.
Bad because I wasn't sure exactly where they were hiding the shotguns on their person. It's a known fact that all farmer's wife types carry shotguns to shoot strangers with. Good, because at first glance they couldn't tell that I was dark skinned, which would obviously have got me shot, then they would have asked the questions.
I got out of the car and walked towards them. I was careful to avoid trampling on the dogs. They came at me from all directions. One of the women said something like "Don't mind the dogs". Yeah right, that's what they do to lull you into a false sense of security. I headed purposefully towards the women, knowing that confidence is the key to not getting shot in these situations. I think I saw a couple of the dogs caught in my wheels, I must have run them over as I pulled in, no big deal.
"Excuse me" I said in my most polite butter wouldn't melt in my mouth voice.
"Do you know where this music studio is?"
I was close enough for her to see my non white status, I had asked about a music studio, I had a London accent. I just knew my time was up. Surely the gun would be brought out, I'd see a flash of light and that would be it.
"No, I don't know of a studio around here". She replied. Her voice was so upper class that the Queen would have probably heard it and gone straight off to get some elocution lessons. She was rather polite too. She turned to her friend and they had little chinwag only to conclude that they didn't know of one around these parts.
We all had a chat and a laugh, I thanked them and turned back around and headed back to where I had started. They were, in fact, rather nice and rather polite. I am fairly sure that, at some point, after a bit of recalculation, my mind contemplated how things would have been if they had kidnapped me and used me as some kind of sex slave. I would have missed the rehearsal though, unless I could have arranged that they would wait to kidnap me after it.
You'll be surprised but there was no kidnap attempt so I drove off. Not without some effort I finally found the studio tucked between two houses, each of which was one of those supermassive English country house things, worth more than the Sultan of Brunei's toothpick collection.
These "first dates" are strange things. Various permutations of the musicians present had already played together but it was our first time as a group and we had a large list of "possible" songs but no "definites". There was the usual messing about; guitarist trying to sort his levels out, me hitting things loudly, the singer whacking out some arpeggios and the keyboardist boogie woogieing.
Once we got started it was blindingly good. I think it's safe to say that it was resounding success all round. They were a nice bunch of people and we made some sweet music. A lot of Basement Jaxx, some Mas Que Nada, some Scissor Sisters and some brilliantly mellow reggae songs like "No, no, no". Good things will come from this I am sure. We've got a gig lined up in January, a fairly high profile affair, and things look rosy.
The thing is, I just love to play. Whether it's with idiots or nice people who are good players, like last night, I just enjoy it.
Have good weekend all!
Ideally the jeans should be slightly faded and the boots should be leather and a light tan. Nice plain ones, a bit like cowboy boots but without the pointy toes and patterns.
It's not a look that's highly fashionable nor is it everyone's cup of tea, but give me a woman in that outfit and I melt. It's a timeless, elegant and stylish one and it's just damn sexy.
What look in a man or woman does it for you?
PS - Kottu looks a bit weird at the moment, what's occurring there then?
Update - Kottu seems back to normal now. Did anyone else see it or was it just me?
Thursday, November 23, 2006
The little covers band has imploded. These things happen and life goes on but it's still frustrating. The bassist is a nice guy and one of the best I have ever played with, but the other two were frankly a couple of cans short of a two pack. The guitarist, who was the kind of owner of the band had some kind of strop and decided, as he said "to call time on the band". He was one of those types who would say that it was a democracy and we should all have a say on stuff. This only applied as long as the majority agreed with him. When I was younger I'd be bothered about these things, now I just chuckle patronisingly. Some people just don't know the definition af an autocrat.
The dilemna for me was the fact that I was really into some of the music that they did, even badly. Smooth Criminal and the heavier rocky stuff were good to learn but not that much up my alley, but the Chili Peppers songs, Golden Years and the funkier ones were great songs, fun to play and challenging to learn.
I did about 4 or 5 gigs with them and the audience reaction had been enthusiastic all the time. It's hardly a benchmark by which one can judge the quality of a pub covers band but it's still a good feeling when a crowd likes you. I realised some time ago that the standards used by the average non muso pissed up pub punter to judge a covers band are very different from the standards used by us musos.
We tend to look at things like individual musicianship and tightness as a unit but Mr P Punter doesn't analyse that deeply. It's more about whether he likes the songs and whether he can dance or singalong to them. How well or how badly they are played rarely figures in his mental calculations, nor whether the drummer can do a paradiddle whilst scratching his arse. ( for your info I can do both, just not at the same time).
Of course the most important criterion by which any band at any level can be judged is whether the guitarist, or guitarists if numbers permit, can put one foot up on a monitor, play a solo and chat to each other and laugh all at the same time.
Playing originals, as I do in Mimosa, is a different ball game. The music, as much as I adore it, is more mellow than rocky and kicking and the satisfaction is of a different variety. The joy of knowing that people are appreciating music that I have had a hand in writing is rather exciting, as is witnessing us develop and gel as a band. The standard of musicianship is higher than anything I have ever been involved in and it's a continual learning experience for me.
Before long I'll start to miss the sheer fun and laughter of rocking out to some covers and I'll be back down your local on a Saturday night. Not your local if you're a Colomboite, more if you're in the South West London neck of the woods mind.
I've got my first rehearsal tonight with someone who is putting something new together. I tried to be cool and calm and collected about it but it's no use and I must tell you I am so, so excited about it. It's new and exciting with some great covers to play. It might lead to nothing, I might not be up to it, we all might not get on or we may do one gig and implode, but it's got potential. I'll keep you posted.
Many people frequently ask me if I would have liked to have done the drumming thing professionally. It's a weird mindset to be in. I would be delighted if I was good enough to play at that level but, as a professional musician, the pressures are very different. I would be continually trying to make enough money to support my standard of living. That would mean that I would often have to "prostitute" myself just for the money. As things stand now I never have to do that. Sure there are occasions when I have to play a song I don't like but that's no big deal. The way things are I can pick and choose who I play with and, as long as they want me, we are all happy. I can more than happily live with that and it means that my passion stays exactly that, never becoming a chore.
Having said all that, if Dave Grohl rings me up this afternoon because Taylor has retired and joined a local funk band and the Foos need a replacement, I'll be off before you can say "Should I pack a sarong?"
That's my thinking aloud done for today.
What's your passion then?
I spent the much of yesterday bopping to "help me make it through the night".
And my oh my, what a bloody great brilliant piece of genius music. I've just discovered that it was written by Kris Kristofferson, covered by Gladys Knight and also by Elvis. I knew none of that until 5 minutes ago, all I knew was that it had been performed by John Holt as a reggaeish song.
It's one of those "brings back memories" songs for me. I can remember my parents and their great friends, Uncle A and Aunty A, all dancing to it, when I was a kid in our front room. I must have been about 8 or 10 at the time. It's one of those few songs that I can't imagine anyone not liking. I know music is supposed to be subjective and all about taste and all that stuff, but when a song is as good as this, you'd have to be some kind of mad fool not to like it.
I don't care who's right or wrong.
Check it out, it's a great little choon. If music be the food of love and all that........
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I've mentioned it in my blog before but, for those who didn't read it, let me refresh your memory. When David Beckham got all that publicity a few years ago for going out in the evening, I believe to a restaurant in France, I was delighted.
Simple. Because I thought it might herald the dawn of an era of "sarong acceptance" in the UK. Actually I don't mean acceptance, more fashion and haute couture. I have always wanted sarongs (on men) to become the latest trend, the thing that the stylish man around London is wearing. For a brief moment those couple of years ago I really thought Becks was the man to do the job. I was wrong, he wasn't up to it, just like he wasn't up to leading England in the last World Cup.
I have worn a sarong since I was a small child. Not the same one mind you. As a child who was brought up here in the UK sarong wearing was always a delicate subject that had to be approached with caution. I never wanted my British friends to witness the spectacle of me, their mate, wearing what they would see as some kind of skirt but, even at the tender age of about 10, I had the wisdom and superior intellect, coupled with my immense charm, to realise that there was no better type of nightwear. So, on occasions where a friend might have seen me in my bedclothes I'd make damn sure I was wearing pyjamas. To be honest the immense charm has nothing to do with anything, I just felt like adding it in there. The wisdom and superior intellect are somewhat questionable too, unless you're my Mother.
As I grew older I struggled with the concept of wearing pyjamas even more. They really are strange things and I can't figure out how people sleep in them. There's just too much restriction and bollocks must get caught and trapped all over the show. Even now, on rare mornings when I might wander around the house in a sarong, if the doorbell rings, I'm always a bit wary of getting caught by a Sudda and I'll try to bung some jeans on or something. I suppose the proactive way to handle such occurences would be to have a pair of trousers hidden near the front door just in case.
Sarongs have to be worn with the right attitude. They can be the nightwear type, the working men's type or the smart "national dress worn with pride" type and they all look good.
Some years ago I was staying at the Triton with some good Sri Lankan friends. When we met up to go for dinner one of our party, a bloke who is normally seen wearing jeans and very traditional western attire, had chosen to wear a sarong. I swear to you that it is a memory etched into my mind. Although something that is "etched into my mind" is more than likely to be the actual definition of a memory I think you know what I mean.
He had on a pristine and freshly ironed designer sarong, smart leather slippers and a tidy and pressed shirt. He genuinely looked the dog's. I think of him and cannot believe that sarongs haven't crossed over into western men's accepted dress at all.
The nightwear application of a sarong makes perfect sense. All of us Sri Lankans know that sleeping is easier and more comfortable in one. You put it on, go to bed and immediately undo the knot to let everything breathe and hang freely. Women don't understand the concept, it's not surprising as they have so little to adjust down there. They think they've got a raw deal with childbirth and periods and stuff but they've never had to deal with adjusting balls and talking to large breasted women without being caught staring. Except lesbians.
As I've got older I've become more blase about who sees me in a sarong. Most of my close friends know that I wear one in bed. Both my business partners, who I have spent many nights in hotels with, have got used to seeing me in one.
A while ago me and my 2 daughters held a competition to see if I could wear the same sarong every night for a year without my wife realising that it needed washing. To succeed in this mammoth task meant that I had to hide it every morning before I went to work to stop her spotting it and deciding it needed a wash. The smell of a good used sarong is great isn't it. Obviously it has to be one's own smell and one's own sarong but it's strangely comforting and reassuringly Sri Lankan. We got to six months in the "long wearing sarong" competition but then the wife found out and cruelly washed it.
It was a Barefoot one, of which I have many, I must apologise to all the Sansonis for the cruel mistreatment of their ware. I just couldn't bear the thought of wearing a sarong that I didn't like for near on a year. House of Fashion and all those places are ok for "working" sarongs but you can't get better than one of Barefoot's finest. I'm not the only one who thinks so either:
It's a strange thing this blogging and writing. Often I set out on a particular road, with a firm idea of where I want to go and what route I want to take, then I get distracted and digress, go off on tangent and babble. If I was one of those really creative types who write books and do very arty stuff I'd more than likely be in touch with that side of me and welcome and embrace the diversions. As it is I tend to feel rather guilty and embarassed that I have led you, the reader, astray.
Let me take you by the hand and guide you back to the path then.
Sarongs are great, just not accepted menswear in the UK yet. David Beckham couldn't do the trick. I have a feeling that James Bond is about the only man who could do it.
This lot certainly can't :
There are a couple of blokes here who have even got the things on their head! Fair play to them, whoever came up with the idea of a website full of pictures of scientists proving theories whilst wearing a sarong has got my vote every time.
I've got nothing against western blokes wearing them, but it has to be in the correct setting and done with the right attitude. I've seen many a tourist wearing one in Sri Lanka and look almost ok about it, but stick the same chap on a plane back to London and let him go out in a sarong, which they often want to do, and the fellow just looks like a twat. One who went to Sri Lanka once and bought a sarong.
The minute sarongs become trendy or acceptable here in England I'll be one of the first blokes out in the street with one on. Until then, I'll have to make do with jeans and k swiss trainers. I've written to the makers of the James Bond films just to let them know that I might be available for the next one if they need me.
They haven't responded yet, must be playing hard to get.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Fact 2: They are a nightmare.
Fact 3: I had to take two of them shopping yesterday.
Let me tell you about it:
I have two daughters aged ten and twelve. The parents among you have probably heard enough already, you know the gist of what's coming. Those of you who are parents of girls know what it's like. We love 'em to bits but it's a hellish existence for a Father. Even more so when their Mother is mad. My house is bulging at the seams with female hormones, they lurk in every room and every cupboard and jump out at me when I least expect it.
Thank God I have a drum room and some bathrooms where refuge and sanctuary can be sought in times of need. Even they are not as safe as they used to be. I can be happily grooving away to the latest song from Lily Allen one second only to find my headphones snapped off my head and myself caught in the latest argument about some girl related stuff the next.
Therefore, when I was dispatched to Kingston yesterday with the two daughters and instructions to buy each of them a pair of boots and a pair of trainers for one, it was with trepidation, apprehension and a feeling of doom for my wallet. I listened very, very carefully and concentrated hard on the wife's sergeant majorly instructions:
"Kingston..........boots..........mmmmmmmmmmm.......black (or was it brown?).....blah, blah.....buckles....."
Off we went, with a trumpety trump. Trump trump trump.
If you know Kingston you'll know that it's rather full of shops. In late November, on a Sunday, it's also full of people and not easy to stroll around with two kids while browsing for things like boots. Particularly when, between the three of you, no one has the slightest idea what they are looking for. Kingston has about ten thousand shoe shops and we went into each of them. In my experience women possess a strange and fuzzy kind of logic and it's not often used, but ten years old ones possess it in abundance.
I am a rare type of man. I like shopping. Yet I still shop in the man's way. You know how it works for us men; see it, maybe try it on, then decide within 2 seconds whether or not to buy it.
As simple as that. No looking at the price, no "will it match that shirt I wore last Saturday?", no "shall I buy that other one I tried on instead?" (we just buy both) and definitely no "What do you think dear?"
A few months ago I was standing in the checkout at M+ S, in the food section. I had some chicken and various stuff in my basket and the woman in front of me in the queue turned to me, pointing at my basket and said:
"Excuse me, do you know how much that chicken costs?"
I looked startled and blank and gave her the only correct reply:
"I'm sorry I haven't got a clue. I'm a man. We don't look at prices."
She nodded knowingly and apologised. Clearly, in a momentary lapse of concentration, she had forgotten the basics. Or she was chatting me up, but that is very unlikely.
We continued our browsing. Some pairs of boots were tried on, most were rejected at first sight for strange and illogical reasons. For the ten year old the most important thing was that the boots had buckles and any without such metallic adornments weren't even considered. I didn't understand why but I went along with it, remembering that the wife had said something about buckles too.
Finally we found a pair. It was in a shop staffed by halfwit students. The type who are more interested in chatting to each other about what they did last night than anything else. I felt rude and guilty but I managed to interrupt one such conversation to get served. After some trying on, some walking up and down the shop and some discussion with the 12 year old sister, the boots were finally approved. Phew. One down and two to go I thought.
The older sister then announced that she liked the boots in the very first shop we had gone into. So we traipsed back there, tried on boots, had the usual conflab and bought them. It was quicker and less painful than I had envisaged but it did involve walking the length of Kingston to get to the shop we had started in.
By now the girls were hungry so, being the health conscious type of Father, I bought them each a massive ice cream sundae and a Diet Coke. They ate happily while I looked in a shoe shop. I was talking to someone last week about how, as we get older, many of us get a far better idea of exactly what we like and dislike. For the last year I have been looking for a very specific pair of boots for myself and yesterday I found them. I tried them on, bought them, left the shop, all in about five minutes. Ok, I had spent a year looking for them but that's just detail.
That was it, job done. We decided to forget about the trainers and headed home. Me, my two girls, many large bags of shopping and a wallet that was a few hundred quid lighter than it was earlier. All was sweet.
Until we got home and their purchases were shown to their Mother.
"I told you NOT to get buckles, she's not allowed them at school." she bellowed in my general direction.
"Umm, I thought you said to get buckles and she was looking everywhere for some WITH buckles." I said, feebly.
No use, she wasn't convinced. Of course it wasn't my daughter's fault, it was all mine. Something about not listening or some other rubbish. Now we have to buy some more boots without buckles for her to wear to school or risk the wrath of her teacher.
Wimmin eh - can't live with 'em and can't live with 'em.
And that was my Sunday.
Kids eh - love them to bits.
Wimmin' - A different matter altogether!
In my more recent years I've started to appreciate Jazz. I still don't really understand it and I can't play it for love or money but I can see that some of these guys just ooze musicianship.
To see and hear great musicians in action never ceases to inspire and motivate me to sit at my kit and practice until I'm brown in the face. Great players make it look easy but I know the effort they have put in to get to that level.
We're lucky here in London, we have almost any kind of live music available at the drop of a hat, except Baila, you guys in Colombo have the edge on that!
Domestic chores are calling me, the dishwasher needs to be emptied so I shall wish you all the best for the week and will talk later.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
The little covers band imploded and the guitarist threw his toys out of the pram (I'll tell you about it another time).
I had a band practice with Mimosa and played like an idiot. Speeding up and slowing down like Meg White and with about as much groove too. These things happen and it was my first bad one for a while but I'd been looking forward to a good jam to take my mind off stuff.
I had a customer problem hanging over my head which I wasn't sure how to handle. It looks to be sorted now but these things often play on my mind until they are dealt with.
Then I found this:
It made me smile and laugh. Theena, I am a million per cent sure you'll love this.
Music is a great thing isn't it
Life's damn good really.
Have a good weekend all! What's left of it.
Friday, November 17, 2006
We all do them, just some people don't like to admit to it. I bet they're the worst ones. In a quiet room, all alone with no chance of being caught, they'll be the one dropping the loudest and smelliest ones and revelling in the solitary glory.
The rest of us are content to gloat, only in the appropriate company of course, about particularly memorable ones, whether that's because of noise or smell, or the ideal combination of both.
Familiarity breeds contempt they say. It also breeds acceptance of other people's bottom emissions and I'm all for that. A friend is someone you can fart in front of. A great friend is someone who appreciates your farts as if they are his own. My use of the word "his" was very deliberate there.
In my whole office the computer room is probably the worst place in which to get the urge. It's small and hot and noise and smell are amplified by its natural characteristics. It's the perfect place to fart and run out of, leaving your enemy or little brother or business partner in there to suffer. It's about the worst place in the world in which to fart and try to conceal the matter.
That traditional man's dilemna of whether to escape quickly and risk taking the smell with you or to stay in the room thereby risking the very real chance that someone will walk in and realise your crime and your guilt. Does anyone have a policy on this?
I asked my brother about this and he thinks that it takes roughly 4.63 seconds for the smell to dissipate from your trousers before you can leave the room, safe in the knowledge that the smell won't travel with you. The worst thing to do is to make an exit from the room in less than 4.63 seconds, this will result in the odour travelling with you for all to smell. My brother is very intelligent and I can safely assume that he knows scientists or brainy coves who have done experiments at huge cost to the taxpayer on this. I can see it now. Men in white coats with stopwatches and farts. Who said academics are boring?
So there I was, in the computer room and I slipped one out. First let me tell you that I didn't get caught, so panic ye not. What did happen was that I uttered a Sri Lankanism. It's another phrase or word that I have not heard used by any other nation. My earliest memory of it is my maternal grandmother using it when dealing with mess, usually caused by grandchildren.
A few years ago I saw it used as part of an ad campaign in Sri Lanka. I wish I could remember which Company it was but my only recollection is that it was a retailer. I'm certain I saw it as part of a window sign on a shop in Majestic City.
One of my more recent but suprising hearings of it was when I proudly showed my newish tattoo to a good friend while in SL a few months ago. I had expected her to gasp with wonder at my daring and my artistic flair, swoon a bit and generally admire me. Instead she just looked at me, screwed up her nose and mouth and said, or more growled: