Friday, July 30, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen Machan

Tonight I'll be Serendib bound. That is assuming I manage to get the girls on time, with their baggage, emotional and physical, both of which teenage girls have bagfuls of.

So, in the next couple of weeks, if you see a middle aged sort of bloke dressed in clothes he shouldn't be wearing being bullied and humiliated by two teenage girls then you've either borrowed one of those dodgy films that DD watches or bumped into us. Please say hello, buy me a drink and pretend you like and/or respect me. My daughters might just be impressed.

I expect LLD will go quiet for a couple of weeks, but one never knows. I just might have plenty of time to sit and write meaningless bits and pieces.

We'll see

Out for now.


Thursday, July 29, 2010


I read something earlier that made me think. I'd like to ask you, my esteemed reader, what you think of it. Your opinion will be valued.

"only take advice from people with lives you like"

I'm not sure about it, as I think we often learn from other people's mistakes.

Or do we?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gaydar, Drums and Sri Lankan Mothers

This is a slightly awkward but necessary thing to confess. You might know me and think I'm talking rubbish, you might not know me and think that I'm being boastful or you might just think I'm talking a load of tosh.

The fact is that, since I was about sixteen, I've often found that gay chaps like me. And by "like" I mean "like" not just 'like'. I don't know why this is. Perhaps they like the cute little Asian boy thing, maybe I flirt when I talk or it might be my collection of George Michael T shirts and penchant for dressing up like a fireman when I go to nightclubs.

The details aren't important. What matters is that this is the case and some time ago I accepted the baton and now carry it with the responsibility it deserves. I've found myself wishing I were gay sometimes too, purely for the way in which gay chaps can befriend women and make them want to spend all their time with them.

All women want a gay best friend, the negative also being the positive; that said fellow won't be trying to jump the woman at every available opportunity and so the woman can relax without feeling threatened. My knowledge of women is limited, I'm a man after all, but I suspect that all of them secretly harbour a desire to be the one to convert their gay friend, to make him finally realise that women are the real thing.

Often though I've found myself being chatted up by a bloke, something that, truth be told, I quite like. Thinking about it, it's probably because I never get chatted up by women. But, when the man chat starts I tend to go along with it for a while before revealing that I'm almost entirely heterosexual. It's fun and harmless and I reckon my gaydar is fairly well tuned and able to spot the difference between casual chat between hetero men and a chat up scenario from a good distance.

As far as sexuality is concerned I think I'd be classed as anti homophobic. I must stress that to you now.

Last Sunday I went to a local pub where I'd agreed to meet my parents. It's a fantastic riverside pub that, on a Sunday evening, has truly world class musicians playing a relatively low key jazz session. I go fairly often as it gives me the opportunity to watch some of the best drummers in the country if not the world (really I'm not exaggerating there) in a close setting.

This week I saw Ian Thomas play. Unless you're a drummer you probably haven't heard of him but he's one of the first call guys that many big name artistes use all the time. I've seen him play on TV with Eric Clapton more times than I can recall, with Tom Jones and with just about everyone you can think of, so to watch him close up, to chat about drum stuff with him and see his every move is truly a privilege.

My 'rents, who go to this jazz session almost every week, have built up a little circle of likeminded friends there. Oldish people who like music and all look like trainspotters (retired).

There we were on Sunday. The band had finished the first set and I was enduring another round of a game me and my Mum play. The game is called "name the drums" and involves her asking me what the various drums in a drum kit are called. It always starts the same way

"Rhythmic, tell me one more time, what's the drum to his right called again?"

"That's the floor tom, Mum."

"Right, got it, and what are those ones in front of him?"

"Well those are toms too, but not called floor toms as they're usually mounted from a rack."

"What's a rack?"

I then explain that.

"But I can't see one"

"Well there isn't one, but they're still called rack toms, or mounted toms"

"So which are the tom toms then?"

"Those are" say I pointing to the toms.

"But you said they're toms"

"They are, the full name is tom toms but we usually just say toms"

"Right, got it."

We play this game every time me, my Mum and a drum kit are in the same room. As you can imagine, what with my love of all things drummy and the fact that my mother is of the Sri Lankan variety, which fundamentally means that she stalks her children and rarely listens to them, that also means we play the game a hell of a lot.

I wouldn't mind if we had the conversation once or twice but it gets taxing after a certain point, particularly when I know that if the specific drum kit had been dressed in a Liverpool football kit then she would have remembered every last detail about it. The worst thing a chap can do, faced with one of these situations, is to confront the Lankan mother. That's stupid, pointless and akin to taking on a herd of wild elephants protecting a baby when you're armed with only a flimsy bikini and a Dairylea triangle.

I confronted her.

"Mum who plays left back for Liverpo...?"

Before I could finish the sentence she'd answered and told me the name of the bloke before.

"So why is it that you can remember things like that, but not details about drum kits?"

I'd prehandled her usual response; that with getting older she has trouble remembering things and I shouldn't get angry with her for it. I was on the verge of a resounding victory, by using a tactic I'd never used before. Things were looking good. She was stumped but couldn't resist trying to win.

"If you asked me a question about ----------(insert medical term here) would you remember the answer?" she responded.

"Well yes, if I was interested enough to ask you I think I would actually." I returned with confidence.

I looked at her and saw the glint of a tear in her eye. Oh shit I thought, she's going to do the half crying emotional blackmail thing again. There is no way to beat that, it's like playing Civil Aircraft Top Trumps when I was a kid and having the 747. You just say "490 passengers and you've won". These days I guess the A380 would beat that but that's another story.

Everyone knows it, once a Sri Lankan mother turns on the tears you've lost. And it's a loss without honour.

Then, as victory was about to be declared, which usually involves my Dad wondering why my Mum is crying and what I've done to upset her, a bloke who looked like he was Freddie Mercury trying to act a bit camp dressed in cycling gear strolled flounced into the picture. It was apparent that the chap was not only a friend of Dorothy but also a friend of my Mum.

They chatted for a bit, then she introduced him to me.

"T, this is my son Rhythmic. Rhythmic this is T" said she. The tears had entirely disappeared.

T and I shook hands. I swear I caught him lick his lips, just for a split second. He glanced at my left hand and I clocked him as he clocked the lack of ring on it. We conversed for a while. T was as camp as a good few rows of tents. I know that campness doesn't necessarily equal gayness but I'd have bet large amounts of money on this one.

I suppose I was a little bit flirty with him, exchanging stories of where we live, when I was going on holiday, my favourite Scissor Sisters costume, the usual stuff. I deliberately didn't mention that I have a girlfriend or even my kids, just for a bit of a laugh. Then, some way into the conversation, I got cold feet. Then I quickly said something like

"I'mgoingwithmykidsandmygirlfriendwillbetheretooandIlikewomen" to make sure he got the message. Confidence and strength are all well and good but, when you break you break. A chap can hold out without peeing for so long but once he's passed the tipping point there's no turning back. And I'd tipped. Or turned. I hadn't peed though.

He ambled off into the distance as he lost interest in me quicker than my lead guitarist did the last time I tried to tell him about the wood that my snare drum is made of. He'd made some utterings about it being nice to meet me but I could sense his disappointment and felt a little bit bad for him.

My Mum turned to me and whispered. She whispered in that voice that people only use when they talk about other people having cancer, that strange very open mouthed whisper that that can be both lip read and heard from about half a mile.

"I think he's gay you know. I was trying to warn you, I was trying to send you ESP messages to let you know. I think he was trying to chat you up."

I looked at her, I felt a bit guilty about the drum thing and the tears.

Yes. I know Mum. I was just having some fun.

Secretly I tutted and rolled my eyes. The second set was fabulous.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Crap Shoot

It was Thursday, the day that Perestroika, my East European cleaner, the one I introduced you to here, does her thing. Her name's not really Perestroika but C came up with it and it's stuck. She is, after all, East European and her real name begins with P so what could be better? These people with foreign names deserve it anyhow.

I drove home as I usually do on nights when I go home, which is pretty much every one. The car cruised into the underground car park and I cleverly manoeuvred into my parking space. Why is it that Sri Lankan drivers just don't do reversing? Here we do it all the time, parallel parking, reversing into diagonal spaces, down narrow lanes and all sorts. You guys just don't. It's as if you don't believe in it, like it's only something to be done when absolutely every other possibility involving forward gears has been exhausted.

On the rare occasions when you do reverse, it's always with a random bloke in a dodgy ill fitting uniform warning the approaching traffic and directing you with those special Sri Lankan hand signals, the ones that involve only the tiniest of imperceptible hand movements, or finger movements to be precise.

I like entering my apartment, it feels, well kind of homely. So I went in and did what I always have to do on a Thursday evening; rearrange the furniture. It's a mystery to me how it happened but I managed to employ the only cleaner in the world who fails to understand the principle of putting furniture and objects back in the place they were in to start with.

You may well think it sounds a bit obsessive when I tell you this but you're wrong. Frankly. It's not that I'm one of those fellows who measures the position of his furniture to the nearest millimeter and demands that things are placed accordingly. No, but I like the glass coffee table to be positioned parallel to the TV, which is always in the same place, and I like the settee to be parallel to the coffee table. Think of it as simple and rough alignment and you'll be on the right lines, as long as they're parallel ones.

Perestroika appears to either disagree with me or disregard me with the result being that every Thursday I spend a couple of minutes, for that's all it takes with a wooden floor and easily move aroundable furniture, rearranging things to my liking. One day I'll tell her about it instead of writing about it, but then might be faced with one less thing to write about.

Anyhow, I did the rearranging, grabbed a Cadbury's Flake out of the newly designated RD Towers chocolate drawer, which doesn't mean a drawer made out of chocolate, and bumbled around for a few minutes eating the Flake. After the Flake feast I put away some sheets in the bedroom drawers, mooched around a bit then finally sat down on the sofa.

Rather I went to sit down but noticed something on the floor; a little patch of mud. I rolled my eyes. By that I don't mean that I took them out of their sockets and bowled them underarm across the floor, that would be stupid and how would I aim in the right direction anyhow? I mean I did that eye rolling thing, the one women do when a man makes a funny and smart comment that mysteriously only he thinks is smart and funny.

The last thing Perestroika does is to mop the wooden floor and, as this patch of mud was just under the settee, I'd eye rolled because it was an indication that she hadn't bothered to do the mopping thoroughly. I made a half stride in the direction of the kitchen to get a wet wipe to get rid of the offending murk, then noticed another smaller mud patch nearby. Weird, I thought. Even Perestroika would have mopped that bit.

I know what you're thinking, it's just that I wasn't thinking it at the time, which was part of the problem.

I put my finger in the "mud", which can now take its rightful place between some inverted commas. I raised my finger to my nose and inhaled.

It smelled of dog shit.

Several things hit my mind, but it's fair to say they all pissed me off. First there was the fact that Perestroika had managed to bring dog shit into the apartment. Next was the fact that she hadn't cleaned properly, followed by the one that I'd just put my finger in it. It had seemed like a good plan, you know, check that the mud really was mud by smelling it, but I hadn't thought it through.

David Blacker would probably have shot and killed the thing, Dominic Sansoni would have photographed it in a colourful but arty and tasteful manner, Pradeep Jeganathan would no doubt have made a aromatic and delicious starter out of it with red wine and beef stock and Cerno would have written a post involving google maps and LOITDMM (lots of initials that don't mean much).

As you now know I chose option five; the stick your finger in it and see if it's mud or shit one. It wasn't one of my better choices. I like to find the positives in life and I did find one here; the fact that I hadn't actually tasted it. A fact that I suspect won't make its way into the book of the ten thousand best positive facts of all time.

How useless is a cleaner who manages to bring dog shit into the apartment and then clean the floor without noticing it? That was the question going through my mind when the answer hit me; more useless than is humanly possible. Therefore it couldn't have been her and the only person to have been there since she left

I looked down, in the general direction of my designer trainers, the ones I'd bought in Barcelona. Alarm bells started going off everywhere. I went and turned them off so I could carry on thinking. I looked at the bottom of one trainer to find nothing. The other trainer, the right one, told a different story, a pretty shitty one.

It wasn't covered in dog shit, for that might have been good news, suggesting that it was mostly still on the trainer. It just had a bit of poo present and that meant one of two things; that I'd only trod in a little bit or that that I'd trod in a lot and then deposited it everywhere. The latter proved to be the case.

Mentally I retraced my steps. It hurt as the realisation hit me that I'd been all around the apartment, that the presence of the underground car park meant that I must have picked up my passenger much earlier in the day and it must be all over the pedals in my car and underneath my desk, the one I sit at now as I tell you this painful story.

I took off the offending trainer and stomped sulkily round the apartment assessing the damage. There was dog poo in about three places in the front room, in about another three or four places on the bedroom carpet and a few scatterings in the kitchen. I winced, and still do, when I think of the fact that I ate a bar of chocolate with the dog shit germs wafting up from my trainer, probably hitting the Cadbury's Flake too. I was concerned that it would harm my lifelong relationship with Cadbury's milk chocolate but evidence since then has proved this to be untrue. I'm sure you can understand my worry though.

In an ideal world, one in which I have pots and pots of money, I'd have walked out of my apartment, locked the door and moved into another one after destroying all the clothes that had been involved in the episode. Well, come to think of it in an ideal world I'd never have trod in the stuff in the first place. The world is far from ideal, as we know.

If I'd been wearing some old trainers I'd have just thrown them away, but these were my cool Barcelona ones so they had to be saved, something I chose to do that early. I took them into the girls' bathroom and showered the guilty trainer with steaming hot water to within an inch of its life. It was the least it deserved. Then it was left out to dry and I told it to think carefully about exactly what it had done. It said nothing whatsoever. I knew it felt bad.

Next was the easy part, cleaning the wooden floor. Wet wipes and some water did the job and I felt reassured to know that Perestroika would do her mopping thing in a week to finish things off properly. Realigning the furniture was a small price to pay, as was twelve of the Queen's English pounds per hour.

The bedroom, with its light brown carpet and sporadic splatterings of excrement, was an entirely different matter, one that makes me feel a bit dodgy to think about. I went at it with the enthusiasm and fervour of a UN inspector being told to go and find those weapons of mass destruction in Baghdad and then after that to go and see if there were any war crimes or human rights violations committed in that small island near India.

I've tried to block out the memory but I know there was water, a washing up scouring pad, wet wipes and kitchen roll involved. I recall feeling that I was merely getting rid of the crap from the surface and actually rubbing it more deeply into the carpet, which I was. It was a pretty shitty situation all round.

The end result was a bedroom carpet with stains, stains caused by dog turd. It wasn't my ideal outcome but I couldn't think what else to do at the time. Plus I was hungry and, for obvious reasons, didn't feel like eating. I put away my equipment. Fortunately the washing up scouring thing was quite new, meaning that it did a good job on the poo and also that I could get another few weeks of use out of it on the pots and pans, proving yet again that there are positives everywhere if you look for them.

I strolled off to the local Indian, got myself a curry and brought it home to be eaten with trepidation, feeling like a chap who's just had a car accident and needs to get back into the driving seat as soon as possible to avoid losing his confidence altogether.

As the days wore on the pain eased. It's now a couple of weeks after the incident and I can say with some confidence that not only am I over it but also that the place is cleaner than before it happened, even in the bedroom.

You see I felt the need to buy some proper carpet cleaning stuff and gave all the affected areas a good going over with it. I now have some patches that, in the light, are actually whiter than the rest of the carpet, showing that they're even cleaner than the darker areas. On top of that Perestroika had mopped and hoovered in the bedroom a few times since then.

The Barcelona trainer? I hear you ask. Well it dried off, resumed duties and is back in normal service, even playing two gigs and doing a fine job on the bass drum.

Things are looking better, though I shall forgive but never forget.

PS - Just in case you're ever invited round here, or perhaps you're thinking about coming, I was only joking about getting another few weeks of use from the washing up scouring pad. No, I reckon at the most I'll only get a few days before it'll have to go!

Friday, July 23, 2010

uǝɯ ɹoɟ uoıʇsǝnb ɐ

In recent months I've noticed something.

It's about belts, the ones we wear on our trousers, or on a trouser, for the Sri Lankans among you. I'm right handed, one of the eighty five to ninety two per cent of people according the Wikipedia.

The way I prefer to wear a belt, actually the way I must wear one, is to have the long piece on the left side of my body, my left that is, and the buckle or fastener piece on my right side. Sadly I thought about this for some time before writing this post and figured out why this is.

It's because the easier skill involved in doing up a belt is to grasp hold of the long bit, while the more complicated part of the process is to hold the buckle, putting the pin through the hole and what have you, not that it's up there as a particularly complex set of skills of course.

But whenever I buy a belt, one with a logo or some writing on it, I find that it's made the "wrong" way round. The result of this is that I have to wear the thing with the writing upside down, which somewhat negates the point of a logo, or face a big struggle to do up the thing each time, making both my hands do things that each of them thinks the other one ought to be doing.

As an example right now I'm wearing a nice brown leather Ted Baker belt. On the straight bit it's got "Ted Baker" embossed in the leather. It's quite subtle and tasteful in my opinion, as branding should be.

However, it you were standing in front of me you'd actually see "ɹǝʞɐq pǝʇ" on my belt as I have to wear it upside down.

So I want to know if this is a problem that affects all of us men or if the rest of you are more dexterous with the left hand than myself. I want to know if it's only me that's noticed this, or if the beltmakers are conspiring against right handed people.

Why have I addressed the question to men?

Simple. Because only men will understand the importance of issues like this. Women just won't care.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spitting Games

As the founder member of the We hate Snow Patrol apart from Spitting Games club I feel that the title is entirely appropriate. Though I quite like that other one, Take Back the City, as well.

Picture the scene. I was out on a pleasant dinner last week. There was me, kind of obvious really, there was the Auf, rather The Auf and there was a friend of his who I'd met a couple of times before as well as her twin sister.

Things could get confusing here as both of the twins have similar names and they begin with the letter C. If I was to go off on a coded name thing, as first invented and utilised by Darwin back in the day, chaos may well ensue, what with C being the original C, that one that, well, you know, the one that is my, well, you know, ahem, girlfriend.

So I figure it's best to refer to the twins as T1 and T2. T1 is the one that The Auf knew first, T2 is the newer one, who's also the older one, albeit by only two minutes. I must tell you that I found it most amusing that T1 calls T2 Akki when there's only two minutes between them. They just looked at me weirdly and laughed in that "he's a bit creepy but let's be polite" way when I mentioned this though.

We were in a restaurant in the heart of the West End, it was a gorgeous sunny summer evening and I was excited to be meeting new diasporic Sri Lankans. If you imagine our table to be a rectangle, which most tables apart from the non rectangular ones are, then I was sitting in the bottom right segment of the rectangle.

The Auf was occupying territory in his majestic way in the top right, T1 was in the bottom left and T2 was in the top left. That just about sets the scene for you. Oh, and the tablecloth was white.

It's an interesting thing when you go for a meal with people you don't know very well n'est-ce pas? When I'm familiar with them there's rarely any awkwardness about bill paying. It's either split equally between all parties or someone picks up the tab knowing that another fellow will pick it up next time, but not really being bothered about it anyhow.

Were I alone with The Auf I'd have had no hesitation in buying dinner or letting him buy me dinner, feeling quite fluid about it, but this was a new group and things were different. As we perused the menu I found myself going through that mental stuff, wondering what people would order, if we'd split the bill equally and therefore if it would be bad if I ordered more than the others and all those permutational things.

I'm not sure if other people have all of these complicated issues going through their mind or if they just read the menu and order what they want. How can I know this stuff when I rarely understand what's going on in my head alone?

I did a bit of asking around and established that everyone was going for a noodle type of dish, perhaps each person was waiting for someone to say the words on the tip of my tongue:

"I think I'll have the spicy lamb curry, the mixed fried rice and just some vegetables. Oh and a small salad as I like to be healthy."

I didn't. The words remained on the tongue and I held back and ordered pad thai. I followed the lead of T2 and asked for some extra chilli.

We carried on with our chat and the food arrived. And this is where it gets interesting.

I did that thing of mixing chilli sauce and peanuts and all sorts of random crap into the pad thai to make it taste better and commenced on the eating, interspersed with nuggets of good quality conversation.

You know when you're with someone, happily chatting away and enjoying things with not a care in the world and then inadvertently something solid comes flying out of their mouth and lands nearby? Something like a chewed up bit of food and it always lands in the most awkward of places like in an eye, on your face or in your food.

Well that's exactly what happened. I turned to T1 and saw the object out of the corner of my eye as it exited the mouth at the same time as a word. I'm sorry but I can't recall the precise word. The missile landed about an inch from T1's plate of uneaten food.

Ever the gent, I continued the conversation as if nothing had happened. The little lump of chewed food sat next to the plate looking totally massive but doing nothing whatsoever. I'm pretty sure The Auf and T2 had also spotted the episode but no one said a word. It was all very British as we deliberately ignored the incident and carried on as if nothing had happened, ironic considering not one of us had an ounce of British blood running through our veins.

The worst thing was that I'd caught it in my peripheral vision as it was launched. I knew exactly who'd been the spitter and where it landed and I so didn't want to be the culprit.

But I was.

That's how I remember that the tablecloth was white. For I spent every available second glancing at the remnant hoping that it would evaporate or dissolve. It didn't. It just sat there looking like a Maldivian atoll in that bright blue water. I felt sorry for T1 but what's a chap supposed to do in these situations?

I couldn't be sure that anyone else had seen it happen so a confession followed by a quick wipe might well have seen me confess to a crime that no one knew had taken place. We weren't familiar enough with each other for one person to go

"Euurrrgh look what he did" and make a joke.

T1, had she seen it, which I'm sure she did, probably didn't feel comfortable to wipe the thing away, risking embarrassing me.

We carried on eating but I'd been so put off my stride that I couldn't finish my food. I had to go to make a phone call and, when I returned, T1 had placed her napkin on the table covering the offending object. I don't know if it was deliberate or just because she'd finished her meal but I cared not, the thing was concealed, that was the important issue.

When the bill came I resisted the urge to ask to pay less as I'd spat so much of my food out and we split it four ways. The maths was complicated but when you hang with The Auf you know there's a chap present with the brain to handle it.

What was it my Mum used to say about not talking with your mouth full?

And T1 occasionally reads my blog I believe. So if she didn't spot it happen at the time she probably knows now.

Apart from all of that it was a damn fine evening. At least no one spat at me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Sandwich Is Missing, Long Live The Queen

Remember that Sandwich lady, the one who we all read? The one who won prestigious awards and was a bit mad?

Well she stopped blogging and I'm one of the many who've missed her and her random ramblings. Apparently she's been off discovering new avenues and rebranding herself, doing paradigm shifts and other specialised gear changing techniques.

Why am I telling you all of this?

No reason really, but I discovered a new blog yesterday. It's called "In the Lost Queen's Eyes" and it has a warming familiar and comfortable ring to it, a bit like a favourite old mobile phone that's been left in an airing cupboard a bit too long.

Check it out. There's a link on the left too, one of those ones reserved for special people with special blogs.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Swans And Giraffes

Since I moved to RD Towers I've spent many of my spare hours observing the river life as it passes by my window. You, as a reader here, will no doubt have shared an image or a word or two as I've gaggled on about geese or battered you with tails of fish. Did you see what I did there?

Swans are another of the species that frequent these parts of the river. Some months ago I was startled to see a fleet of more than twenty five of them float majestically into the marina here. They just drifted in off the main river, had a look around, decided they weren't that interested and drifted out again.

They're both evil and beautiful looking these swans. If they were in a pantomime they'd always be cast as the wicked but incredibly sexy looking stepmother, you're never entirely sure what you're going to get.

As other swans do their thing up and down the river here I watch them with their elegance and their attitude and have been puzzled by one aspect; exactly why they have such long and slender necks.

Everyone knows why giraffes have such long necks, for grabbing the foliage out of trees and keeping their heads attached. But swans don't get involved with tall trees and, as I've watched them, I've concluded that they'd be better off without the long neck. There'd be a dumpiness to them but they'd definitely make more sense.

For the past few months each time I've seen a swan I've felt sorry for him. Us men have nipples and appendixes, or should that be appendices, as useless remnants that nature has given us, women have men and swans have long necks.

Or so I thought until I saw it last week. "It" was a swan, one with no neck and actually no head. It was there, in the water but there was just a big body. I was with the girls when it turned up, so I summoned them and they expressed predictably high levels of total disinterest. I lost interest too.

Days later I saw another of these neckless and headless birds. There it was swimming along, just the body. I knew I was onto something. After some minutes a head popped up out of the water, followed by a long neck. There was some stuff in its mouth and a chewing motion going on.

Since then I've seen lots of the chaps doing the same thing. They stick their heads under the water to fish around and I assume the long neck is nature's way of giving them as long a reach as possible. It has all become clear.

Of course I've now figured out that giraffes must have originally been deep water creatures as well. Back in olden times, perhaps the 1950s, they must have swum around in deepish water and done the whole swan thing, sticking their head and long neck down as deep as possible to forage for food. Over the last fifty or so years they've evolved into the land dwellers that we know and love and can now grab stuff from tall trees.

I just thought I'd pass that on to you, you know how I like to impart knowledge.

Happy Monday out there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Boy's World - Mine

With thanks to the good Lady D for the inspiration

Things that make me happy

Feeling inspired
Feeling that I've inspired someone
Laughing from the inside
doing nothing with the people I love the most
doing something with the people I love the most
when it's the ad break in a programme and I change channel and switch back just as the programme is restarting.
London, Lanka and drums
Repeating things
Repeating things
Rice and curry
learning new things
hot weather

Open tag anyone?

Merry weekending all


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some Random Thoughts.

Ephemeral ruminations you might call them.

This week it's all a bit mad and then it goes a bit calm, in terms of evening engagements for the next couple of weeks until I hit the motherland avec le petite enfants.

On Friday night I have my second gig with Solskala. It's going to be top night, I feel it and sense it with every whatsername in my body. Testicles, that's it, like Paul the Octopus has.

The night before I'm going to be hitting the town with the man that is the legendary Aufidius and a friend of his. I like the Auf, if I had a son I'd like him to be a bit like the Auf, only with my looks of course.

I thought slightly sad thoughts the other day along the lines of the fact that this will quite likely be my last holiday with the girls, perhaps there's one more with K, but A, at sixteen, is probably going to start going off with her friends soon. I suppose there'll be a gap of about ten years and then we might reconvene.

It's a bit sad but also it's life no?

From the time they were born I desperately wanted them to experience Sri Lanka, to learn about the country and grow up with that passion for the motherland that so many of us feel. I felt, still do, that it was my responsibility to show them what I could, then they'd make their own choices as they got older.

Have they got the passion and the feelings?

I honestly don't know but time will tell. The seeds look to be there, it's now the time to wait and see. I feel that they know Lanka a damn sight better than I did at their age, which is a start.

And, on the random tangential line, here's a question for you:

Do you think all kids want to do better than their parents?

Do you think all parents want their kids to do better than they've done?

How do we judge what "better" is anyhow?

Okay I lied, that was three questions, but I'd genuinely be interested in your answers. It's a thought provoking discussion I've been having with C recently.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Run It Up The Flagpole And See If It Floats

But which flagpole and which flag?

It's Sunday afternoon as I sit quietly and put pen to laptop. Yes, yes it's been a while I know. I'm sorry about that but a serious lack of staff at work has meant that I've been involved lately in doing things that I usually don't have to do.

This has meant being out and about in my car, driving around and collecting from customers. It's been quite enjoyable, what with the gorgeous weather we've been having here, the fact that I've had a good few songs to learn and so have been able to listen to them whilst driving and the fact that my car is one of those that even David Blacker might just approve of.

As I've been driving things have popped into my head on a regular basis, things that I should write a post or two about. Have I remembered these things? Did I make a note of them to come back to?

No, like fuck did I. But I have a few things lurking in the murkiest depths of my sharp as a blancmange mind. One is about someone close to me who came out the other day. Well, I mean came out to me as I was last on the list of people to be told. It feels like coming first at the worst drummer in my band competition, something I don't actually know much about as I did in fact come third in that for the last two years in a row.

The other is about my quandary about deciding which team to support in tonight's world cup final.

Sadly for you, whose smutty and gossipy mind wants to know all about the coming out story, I've chosen the second item on the agenda.

You see this football thing is weird over here. Many of us have been brought up on football. We've played it as kids, perhaps as adults and have followed a club and our national team with that mix of pride, continual disappointment and eternal hope (in the case of England supporters). Perhaps it's like being a cricket fan in Lanka in that you don't feel as if you've chosen a team, the team chooses you, it just happens, that's the way it is.

One of the things I've observed during this world cup is how many Lankans have followed it and how they (or you) have chosen their allegiances. As far as football is concerned I'm English, except in the rare event that England would ever play Sri Lanka, in which case I'd be as Lankan as a fellow going on one of those three hour hunger strikes.

I've been in contact with people (girls mostly, who of course shouldn't really be watching football at all) who've told me in some detail why they're supporting a team in a particular match. In Germany against Uruguay it's Uruguay because the person like Diego Forlan's hair.

In Germany vs England it's Germany because of the fact that Wayne Rooney's a wanker. Well current opinion, unless you're a Man United supporter or Scottish, is that he is, but that doesn't mean we stop supporting England, nor does it mean we'll think the same of him when he next plays well for the national team.

For many people there are valid reasons for their choice of team in any one match, and I mean valid reasons that are true to the person's national allegiances. For example most England supporters will rarely be fans of Germany, a sad fact. Most Danish fans will want Sweden to lose and just about everyone in the world except those from Uruguay wanted Ghana to beat them. I doubt that there's a Kiwi or an Aussie who wanted the other team to prosper and everyone wanted Brazil to win after their home nation.

As we get to the final, with about forty minutes before kick off, I've struggled to choose a team to be blessed with the honour of my support, something I'm sure both managers will be keen on. As football teams go both of them have my respect, with a clear intention to play football as most fans want it to be played. A commentator here said the other day that the final will be "total football against, well, total football".

I have no blood line to either nation. There's no Spanish blood that I know of in the RD genes, though Academic bro's girlfriend is Spanish, so there's a slight connection there. Neither is there any blood from the Dutch side, though my passion for lamprais suggests that there might be.

I don't have any anti feelings either. Neither team knocked England out as a result of a foul, a dodgy decision or bit of cheating and, as far as I know, the Brits or the Lankans have never had any war with one of them.

Why would I go for Holland?

Well the main reason is that Dutch accents are just wicked. There's something to a Dutch accent that's funny and friendly. As soon as I hear one I want to laugh and be a mate of the speaker. And there's the lamprais connection, a tenuous one but one that exists nevertheless. That is, however, it. I can't cite any Dutch music as being influential on me, though I quite like Van Halen, and windmills and tulips aren't my thing.

What about Spain, I hear you ask.

There's the food overall. I'm not a huge fan of Spanish food, which is not to say I don't like it. I do, but it's just not up there with my favourite cuisines. But it's good and a damn sight better than Gouda and whatever other Dutch food there may be.

Then there's music. I like a bit of Spanish music and of course the debut to my expected long dance career took place in Barcelona itself. Solskala, the funky trippy Latin thing I'm in, is heavily influenced by Spanish rhythms and grooves. Incidentally we have a gig on Friday in central London if anyone wants to come.

That's about it. A finely balanced situation that could easily have gone any way.

The Spaniards have just edged it for me. As we approach the kick off I've decided to give them my backing, to shout, scream and will them to win. It might just make the difference. For I believe in these tipping point things, the principle that one small action might be the very one that breaks the camel's back.

By the time you read this you'll know whether I was right or wrong. We'll all know if the game has lived up to the promise, if it will be one of total football or if each team will cancel the other one out.

Happy Monday all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tomorrow Night's Set

Goes like this,

  1. Golden Touch
  2. Take me out
  3. Teenage kicks
  4. Don't believe a word
  5. Pump it up
  6. Sunflower
  7. Are you gonn go my way
  8. Stay with me
  9. Suffragette city
  10. Molly's Chambers
  11. Rebel Yell

  1. Country House
  2. Town called Malice
  3. Girls and Boys
  4. Always where I need to be
  5. When you were young
  6. Mr Brightside
  7. Uprising
  8. Common People
  9. Poker Face
  10. Dakota
  11. Sex on Fire
  12. Chelsea
  13. I predict a riot
  14. She sells sanctuary

Encore - Superstition, Play that funky music, Brown Sugar.

You'll have noticed a few new ones in there. Poker Face is going down well every time, it's our version of the You Me at Six version, Pseudorandom will probably know it. We'll be debuting Girls and Boys which I'm rather excited about and Uprising is a kickarse song that's even more kickarse to play.

It's the first time out too for Stay with me, I hope that will be fun.

All in all a good time should be had by all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cool Dad!

Remember how I told you about the boy and the Dad, the one who's in a band?

Well I received a text from A the other day. It said

"Dad, just out of interest when's your next gig?

I read it and smiled, perhaps it was more of a smirk. Clearly the whole cool Dad thing, that cool Dad that I used to be, before I became uncool, was coming back into demand as A embarks on a journey of trying to impress a boy, one whose Dad's in a band.

I realised that A wanted to come to the next gig with the mystery boy to show him that I'm down with the kids, that I'm trendy, cool and use product in my hair, except on the bald spot of course.

I reckoned it would be best not to reply to A straight away, to leave it a little so that I didn't sound too chuffed (English for pleased) about her interest, so I relaxed and thought about the set list at our next gig. Was it "young" enough or would I have to try and persuade the others that we'd have to drop a few of the older songs?

Should I try to play the songs without gurning too much when I really get into them? Something virtually every drummer does, but we really shouldn't, particularly when we wonder why the singer gets all the girls.

Would my band be better than mystery boy's Dad's band? Would I be better than the drummer in mystery boy's Dad's band? Or, if mystery boy's Dad is the drummer what would be the best result?

Perhaps I should play a bit flashy to show off for the mystery kid, not a good thing musically but sometimes needed for impressing people who don't know about music.

All these things floated through my mind for a pleasant half hour. If I were a fighting man, an American or a German football fan the air would have been punched with delight. But I'm not. So I didn't.

I imagined the gig. I could see A standing there with the boy, telling him about my bands, my influences and the music I like, that sort of thing.

When all was done I sent my reply to A:

"Next gig is on Friday week. Why do you ask?"

She replied immediately, confirming all my suspicions, as she usually takes about a month to respond to me.

"Oh cool, you mean next Friday?"

"Yes, next Friday" said I

The reply came.

"Great, can I have some friends round to your flat that night when you're out then?"

Oh bollocks, I thought.

So close yet so far.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some Friday Thoughts

How is it that we managed to put a man on the moon before figuring out that it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings then pay money to look through binoculars to see things on the ground?

Happy weekending all.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

How To Win An Argument With A Sri Lankan Mother

I'm forty four these days, depending on exactly when you're reading this. I feel that I've learned some things over the years and, prompted by a comment from Magerata, I've decided I should share my extensive list of foolproof methods of winning an argument with a Sri Lankan Mother.

Here you are: