Monday, January 31, 2011

Danger, Warning Sign.

There I was a few weeks ago, sitting in the Barefoot Cafe with C, mellowing and enjoying that unique atmosphere we all know so well. I'd had a Malaysian beef curry, not one of my wisest choices it must be said, particularly when its only competitor had been the devilled prawns, those huge big gorgeous things that taste of gorgeousness. And prawn.

One has to try these new dishes to establish the liking for the older ones, living and learning and putting it down to experience. C was on her seventh or eighth glass or wine, she was taking it easy that afternoon, and I was hitting my third Diet Coke. Life doesn't get much more relaxed and balmy. In short, all was good.

The smooth sounds of something jazzy wafted their way over the Bose speakers as I watched tables of random NGOs schmoozing, groups of returning for the holiday Lankans laughing and sharing food and odd smatterings of lobster coloured tourists laden with Barefoot carrier bags take pictures of their surroundings.

Somewhere on the distant edges of the aural spectrum, if such a thing exists, was the faint rumble of traffic on the Galle Road. It's one of the things that fascinates me about the garden there. You know that it's only a stone's throw from the sheer chaos, smokiness, dustiness and madness of Galle Road, but that much pictured door at the front of the shop is in reality the door to another world, one of tranquility and calm.

It's why it's one of my all time favourite places in the world to hang, though I can't say that I've been to every place in the world, probably not even ninety per cent of them.

In the sort of passageway, the path bit that leads from the shop though the cafe to that archway into the car park, there had been a bit of a puddle so someone had placed one of those bright orange warning signs. You know the signs, they're like a triangle with one side missing and they say things like "Danger - Wet floor", that kind of thing.

As I sat and enjoyed the atmosphere a group from one of the tables started to get their act together to leave. They paid their bill, gathered their carrier bags and made to leave. They were white and European looking, I suspected German but didn't want to make a fuss.

One of the people, a twenty something woman, got up and walked back from her chair. Then BANG! She promptly walked into and tripped over the sign, that one that said "Danger" on it and warned people not to trip over.

I have to tell you, I found this so funny, even as I type this, at 7.25 on Sunday night, I'm actually laughing out aloud as I recall it. It's got to be irony hasn't it? A woman tripping over a warning sign. Again, though I mentioned the concept in my last post, Alanis should take notice.

The woman was okay, getting up and getting on her way. She hadn't noticed me laughing like a kid and C scowling at me like, well, a woman. She's probably forgotten the whole incident whereas I, being me, have devoted quite a dollop of thought to it.

I know Sri Lanka's not a very litigious society in the way the US is and the UK is becoming. You have a system where people fall down holes in the road, get electrocuted by bare wires and killed by drivers on zebra crossings and they're often classed as just things that happen and life goes on, though not for the people they happen to.

The UK is getting to be as bad as the US, with ambulance chasers and partly qualified solicitors making money out of things that really should be classed as everyday accidents. And in the meantime the US continues to lead us all by example, with fat people suing everyone because they won't stop eating and don't know where Europe is.

But, in a society that was a little bit more litigious than the motherland, what would happen if someone tripped over a warning sign?

Could they sue? Could they bring a case that there should have been a warning sign to warn of the warning sign? Then what if someone tripped over that sign? Imagine the madness that could ensue.

I wonder about this stuff. That's why I was laughing so much, not just because it was funny to watch.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mapping The RD Life

Allow me to set my stall out. I'm a great fan of mindmaps. It's not that I've got all their albums, have seen them live a million times and fantasise about them doing things to me in the night. No, that's Thin Lizzy, Thin Lizzy and Jennifer Aniston and Britney (from her great Slave 4u days of course) respectively.

Though, truth be told, I'm getting increasingly worried about our Jen's looks as she moves into her forties. Some people are like wine and leather and age well, with the advancing years giving them a worn in and glamorous rugged look. I like to think of myself like that, it's such a shame other people don't.

Other people get older and we find their features that used to be cute and sexy becoming ugly and prominent. I worry about MR's moustache in this context and I fear for Jen, whose chin is taking on the proportions of a small continent, perhaps a large country. She's still one of the few women to hold a position high enough in the RD ranking to still have her own tag in my sexy moving tag cloud, so all is not lost.

In fact, having looked at the details, I can tell you that the only other women to currently have their own tag are T, (though it's called Dance in a Triangle), Darwin, G12, Lady Divine, The Missing Sandwich and the much missed Soixante neuf. Oh and of course Dinidu de Alwis has her own one too! There's a tag called "girls", not for random girls but specifically for A and K.

I reckon that I should probably create one for C, certainly after writing this I should. And Naz Sansoni deserves one for sheer number of mentions.

So I was telling you earlier about my love of mindmaps, which probably deserve a tag as well. I'm never going to be a world champion mindmapper, for I don't follow the strict rules as outlined by the esteemed Mr Buzan. I don't use colours, I don't use symbols, though being a drummer I do use cymbals (badoomtish!) and I put circles around each thing I write.

But then again the rules for mindmapping also tell us to develop our own style, so perhaps I'm following the rules to the letter.

I've used them for a few years now and in the past it was mostly as an approach to a project or a way of trying to squeeze a drop of creativity out of me. They're a brilliant way in which to kick something off when I have a load of facts swimming around in my head and don't know where to start or which thing to look at first, as they eliminate the need to think logically and progressively. You can chuck stuff out in whatever order it comes to mind, then order it later.

In parallel to that I've written journals of sorts for the also five or six years. At times they've been proper diaries, when I've spent big chunky KFC large Buiriyani size portions of time writing down my innermost thoughts and emotions, analysing everything to the, sometimes second degree, pretty deep for a man I think you'll agree.

At other times I've not written anything for weeks or months, breaking the diary silence with a quick entry then leaving it for another long spell. There's a certain cruel irony in the whole diary writing scenario that no one talks about; the fact that the more that goes on in your life the more there is to write about. But also, the more that goes on in your life the less time you have to write about it. Alanis could have used lines like that, instead of that shit about being late for your wedding.

Then, when things are quiet, we have loads of time to record our innermost thoughts and actions, we just don't have many.

This lack of time issue prompted me to begin drawing up quick little informative diary type mindmaps each time I visited the motherland. I'd take five or ten minutes to make a quick record of the things I'd done each day. Sometimes, when I was feeling rebellious, I'd leave it for a few days and do a mindmap to cover those few days. Easy peasy.

That new Arcade Fire song is on the radio, I think I'm going to buy the album, just thought I'd share that with you.

Now my latest idea is to do a quick mindmap of every day of my life. What I've been doing is taking a few minutes each morning to record the events of the previous day. The format of a mindmap allows me to go into as much or as little detail about each specific thing as I want to.

C, she who has not got her own tag, says that maybe this will split things down into too much details for me. She might be right. But, a couple of weeks into the venture, it seems to be giving me a slightly positively different view on life, undoubtedly a good thing.

Sometimes it empties my head. Yes, yes, I know there's not a lot to be emptied. But sometimes it's a way of getting negative things out of my head and onto paper, something that I also found happened with a longhand diary. It's also seems to be making me appreciate things more, I guess the act of writing something down makes this happen.

Also it's a nifty way in which I can look back and recall things that otherwise would have been forgotten. Like all bloggers I go through life thinking, often saying to fellows that I "must write a blog post about that", then promptly forgetting about it until the next time the situation crops up. Now I can look back on things and memories are triggered much more easily.

It's an experiment. I'll let you know how things progress and who knows, one day when I'm highly famous and dead, someone might find volumes of spidery RD mindmaps and make sense of the absolute piffle and tosh that goes on in my head. I'm serious there, I was glancing at from a few days ago and I'd written on it that I might be getting tired of Superdry stuff and moving over to Paul Smith. I'd be worried about me if I was a friend of mine.

Enjoy the GLF if you're there.

I'm not jealous, not one bit.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fare Ye Well G12

Firstly I must apologise for what I reckon is going to be a bit of a girly sounding post.

Since I started writing this blog my relationship with Sri Lanka has grown and developed and I've become the proud owner of a huge pile of useful and useless knowledge. Change, the only thing that never changes, has taken place in ways I never imagined.

The best thing about this blogging thing? Friends. Not the series with Ross and Rachel and them, I mean the real thing. I've made some friendships that I hope will last for, well at least another week or two.

Blogging is quite a younger person's thing isn't it. The result of that is that I've met a lot of people, connected through blogging, who are a good deal younger than me. In fact we're talking about people whose parents are closer to my age than they are themselves.

It's a funny old thing, you connect through the medium of the net and the gap in age isn't necessarily apparent, certainly not a barrier. Meet a person like that in a bar or any other face to face environment and things are different.

One such example is G12. You might know her by her pen name; the Bohemian Gypsy. I first came across her penmanship a couple of years ago. I saw her blog and to be honest thought it was another one of those young twenty something ones, all edgy angsty writing and library pictures of girls in fields taken by a camera with vaseline smeared all over the lens.

But, like just about everyone, I got captured by the words. Yes, there are pictures of girls, babies, hearts and stars, just on the first page actually, but the writing is something else. If I wasn't dashing this post off in a hurry, if I were a proper writer, one who took time over their words, like G12 herself, then I'd trawl through her blog and link to her posts showing you the ones to read.

I'm lazy and I've got my tax return to sign and send off, so I just tell you to go through her blog if you have a spare few minutes. It's nice.

Where was I?

Oh yes. This G12 bird. Well over some time we got to know each other. It was the usual story; girl writes blog, old but intelligent and good looking bloke writes other blog. They comment on each others blogs, get friendly, meet and bloke has to tell girl that he won't sleep with her no matter what, that sort of thing.

But the Gyppo has honestly and seriously become one of my closest friends. I'm not really sure how or why, it's just happened. I see her every time I come to the motherland and I like it.

Then, some time ago she announced to the world that she was planning to leave Sri Lanka for that place, the one where they keep criminals and have barbecues.

Tomorrow she flies.

I feel happy and sad.

Sad because I'm one of the throng of people who'll miss her in Sri Lanka. It'll be a struggle but I reckon I'll still manage to have a good time there, just that there'll be something, or someone missing.

Happy because I admire G12 for what she's doing. It takes courage and balls to do a thing like this and I respect her for it. And I understand.

I value our friendship, I wish her the best of British luck and hope to see her soon in whichever part of the world we're in.

The best way to say bon voyage is to quote her own words, from her "about" page.

".....has only one ambition - which is to be happy for as much of her life as she possibly can. What's the point otherwise?....."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Most Dangerous Place In The World

The internet's quite useful. It gives us access to oodles of information, brazilians of things that we'd otherwise have to go to a library or ask an intelligent person about. Yet sometimes, just now and again, we all like a bit of the old fashioned stuff, a bit of paper and ink, a touch of tactileness and a smatter of tangibility.

Which is why I often find myself reading a newspaper, a proper hard one, made from newspaper. One without clickable links, without a place where I can leave a comment and with proper adverts for the most dodgy of things, like husbands. And one of my occasional pleasures is to glance through one of the English language Sri Lankan dailies, most commonly while taking a poo. I don't meant stealing one, I mean doing one.

The Lankan papers are different to the British dailies, which are I'm sure different to all other ones too. The joys of Singlish ring out loudly from any English language Lankan daily and I love to read and listen to my brain saying the words in a Sri Lankan accent. The blogs, the Lankanosphere, Facebook and the virtual Sri Lankan press keep me informed in a what's the word on the street sort of way and the hard copy newspapers also keep me informed, just in a strangely different, what's the smell on the street sort of way.

It was a couple of weeks ago. C had gone off to Taiwan on a shoot and I pottered around Colombo doing my thing. At breakfast, over a quiet string hopper with chicken curry and parippu, I opened The Island. I perused the articles and poured through the first fifteen or so pages on how great the government is and how evil the west is. Then I came to a page called "Provincial News" and glanced at a picture.

This wasn't just any picture. No, it was a crap one, one of those that you peer at through squinting eyes, to try to figure out what the hell it's all about. So I did exactly that, I peered and tried to figure out what the hell it was all about. It seemed to show a road. There was a clock tower in the background, some random pedestrians and some even more random vehicles.

I like the way many Lankan newspapers practice the art of placing a caption so that it's hard to spot, it makes browsing a paper far more adventurous and exciting than in other parts of the world. When I found one it told me that it was a road in Horana and that the locals are clamouring to get their zebra crossing, the one that had disappeared from the aforementioned point in the road, to be reinstated. Apparently the lack of crossing was making the act of crossing the road a dangerous one. I smirked, even though I'd given up smirking a long time ago.

Above this was another small article, this time telling the sad story of a driver appearing in court after killing a person on a zebra crossing. The driver's defence was that he had been approaching the crossing and, on seeing a pedestrian in front of him on the crossing, had panicked and pressed the accelerator instead of the brake, killing the poor pedestrian.

Now the way it works in the UK and in many other countries is that a zebra crossing is sacresant. If a person is on one then they have right of way, but more than that, if a person is waiting to cross it's usually considered bad form if a driver doesn't stop and let them go. It's so extreme here in England that, should a person be on one and a car coming in the other direction fails to stop, there might even be a raised voice or an angry shrug, serious stuff for Brits.

If a war broke out within the UK people could flee to safety in churches and other holy places but they could also camp out on zebra crossings with the knowledge that they're safe as can be. Unless of course the war was against Sri Lanka.

I read and reread the article. Yes it did say what I thought it said; that a driver had got flustered and confused and hit the wrong pedal. Perhaps it's the yellow stripes that causes this. Whoever heard of a yellow and black zebra anyway?

I remember back in the day when I was married. I used to have nightmares about the girls and their mother attempting to cross on a Lankan zebra crossing and expecting the traffic to stop for them, perhaps making the potentially fatal mistake of expecting one car to slow down while it was overtaking another car on a crossing, just in case there was someone attempting to make their way across the road.

I think I used the word "cross" or "crossing" way too many times in that sentence. These things make me very cross. And predictable.

And something that never ceases to amaze me is the code of conduct on a Lankan pedestrian crossing. People tread precariously, there's no marching with confidence and the knowledge that vehicles are going to stop as if you're Superman pointing a laser beam at them. That dance takes place, the one we're all familiar with. There's posturing and posing and all sorts of footwork that's only usually seen in the dancing at Jazz Unlimited when that Speldewinde fellow's doing his thing.

Then, when all else fails, when there's no way left to solve the situation, there's a last resort, a definitive way in which to get the vehicle to stop. It's when the pedestrian puts his or her hand out. You know the thing; the arm at waist height with the hand stuck out at about ninety degrees and the very slightest and most imperceptible to all but a Sri Lankan eye of finger movements. That, my friends, makes any traffic stop immediately. Unless the driver gets flustered.

I glanced again at the article about the residents of Horana wanting their crossing back, then at the piece about the driver pressing the wrong pedal. Yes, I thought. They're mad.

A Sri Lankan zebra crossing has to be the most dangerous place in the world.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Sometimes I do things. And I do them impulsively. I think I'm manly in that way. I like shopping, I admit. But I shop like a man, contrary to what C reckons.

Mens' shopping is simple and uncomplicated. Women would probably say that that is like men, but we know the truth. We may seem simple and uncomplicated on the surface but, delve a bit deeper than that, and you'll find that worrying about how to adjust your balls is actually pretty taxing.

There are two types of men; those who get caught ogling womens' breasts and get a pervy reputation and those who don't get caught. Any man will tell you that it's not easy to keep oneself in the second group, let alone to work your way into it in the first place.

But, to go back to the shopping thing, we men look at a thing in a shop, perhaps even trying it on. Then we have some very basic tick boxes to decide if we buy it.

Does it fit? Yes or no. Does it look good? Yes or no. Does it make me hold my stomach in or can I relax in it? Yes or no.

And then, depending on which boxes we have ticked, we buy or don't buy. It really is that simple. Some fellows, I'm told, go further and ask themselves whether they need the thing or not. I don't really subscribe to that mindset. Unless I really need something of course.

Womens' shopping is an entirely different matter. Tick boxes, my arse. There are thousands of tick boxes to be applied before a decision is made, but then they move onto feelings and random fuzzy logic things that are wholly alien to the male psyche. I suppose, when I say "tick boxes, my arse" it's actually quite appropriate, for the "does my bum look big in this?" issue always looms large.

I kid you not here, I was with C the other day in Paradise Road and she was looking at sarongs. She was leaving for Taiwan that evening and wanted to buy a sarong as a present for the cameraman, or director of photography as they're called, on her crew. She held it up to examine the thing and within about two nanoseconds I'd decided that I'd buy it for myself, let alone for someone else.

I had to hold it against me, as apparently he was about similar size, I had to twirl, then she asked if I thought the colours would match his complexion. It was a sarong for fuck's sake, we men don't do complexions, we just buy things in colours we like. Eventually she bought it, after taking about five minutes, roughly thirty times the time a man would take, to make the decision.

At one point I thought, in my naivety, that she was actually buying a surprise birthday present for me and that was why it took so long. I was wrong. It really was a present for the cameraman.

Enough about that, there was something else I wanted to tell you about.

There I was on Friday, thinking that I probably should join a gym of some sort. Most people probably don't think about this stuff at this time of the year but I'm different to the herd. I did a little bit of googling, looked at a couple of gyms and then, before you could say "does my bum look big in this?" I was typing in my bank card details to enrol for six weeks trial membership (inc three personal training sessions!) at a local place.

Then there was a wait involved. It was the wait for one of the team to call me to arrange my first personal training session.

Now I know you, who may well know me in person, will be a bit surprised at this gym thing. My reputation as a fellow with a toned and rather chiselled physique goes before me. But, underneath this shallow exterior of good looks and muscular manliness, lurks a body just like any other man's, perhaps even as bad as David Blacker's, and I want to tone it up a tad.

I was impatient. The online thing told me that I'd get a call within forty eight hours, so naturally when I hadn't received one within about an hour I called them myself. A very friendly chap called Dominic talked to me quite nicely.

Men will back me on this. When you're faced with a chat with a fellow about going to the gym and things, you have to pretend that your level of knowledge is quite high. I don't know why, it doesn't help us in any way, but to show ignorance, to confess to the bloke that the last time I went to a gym was probably before he was born, is not good.

So we went through the conversation with me doing my best to sound as blase as I could, as though I more or less lived in a gym and was merely trying out a new one, until it got to the point when he asked me what I want to achieve.

"Well, you know, just to tone up a bit and lose a bit of body fat I guess". I responded. It was probably an answer he'd never heard before.

"Okay, that's fine, I'll send you a text confirming the appointment and the fitness consultant will see you then."

"Dominic that's great thanks, but can I ask you something?" said I.

"Erm what exactly should I wear to this appointment?"

This totally blew my cover as an experienced gym user, but it was necessary. You see I knew that this was going to be some kind of session where a chap, probably blonde and looking like he's just narrowly failed an audition for a boy band, measures me, weighs me, makes me try to do a sit up and tries to find out how flexible I am. At that point I'll be sorely tempted to crack my joke about not being able to make Wednesdays, but am unsure if I would.

But I really didn't know if I should turn up in civvies, risking the shame of being asked to change into kit I don't have, or whether I arrive in shorts and lycra, only to be laughed at as I wouldn't actually be doing anything physical that time.

Dominic was good though.

"Oh just wear your normal gym kit." he responded, with a total lack of understanding about how confusing those words actually were.

"Sure" I said, chuckling with him at my stupidity.

"Normal gym kit, normal fucking gym kit!!?" I thought to myself. What the hell is that?

My mind started at floor level. Trainers? Okay, I own more pairs of trainers than the average kid who loves Blink 41 or Sum 182, but none of those are meant for physical exercise. I'd have to see if I could get away with one pair, or buy a new pair at the weekend. But I didn't want to run the risk of looking like Keith Richards doing his first gym session and being surprised that he wasn't allowed to smoke.

Socks? Ah yes. Somewhere I have a pair of white sporty looking socks, on that front I'd be okay.

Shorts? Again I own a pair of proper Adidas sports shorts. Finding them, figuring out if they still fit and dealing with the fact that they're older than some of the younger Greek Gods would be another matter.

And the rest. What T shirt do I wear? I don't know if I should go for a trendy one or perhaps an old and knackered one, what's the procedure here?

The most important question is about the bag. What sort of thing shall I take?

I figure that I'll have to buy one of those trendy retro style sports bags very soon. You know the ones that are remakes of the type we used to use for school, made from the cheapest nylon and so small that you can't get much in them. Well they're all the rage in these parts at the moment.

But what to use for the first few sessions?

I don't think a manbag will be suitable. The only options I have are a hefty looking rucksack with more compartments and pockets than a train full of clothing salesmen or a dodgy looking flimsy thing that I bought some time ago to carry my swimming trunks in.

I'll probably use the swimming trunk bag, if it doesn't smell too much.

Either way, this evening at seven of the clock I'll be going through my first personal fitness review. Wish me luck, I have a feeling I'll need it.

Happy Monday all.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Keep Calm And Carry On

So I'm back and this post comes to you from the familiar environs of my desk and my office. Familiar to me that is, not you.

I got in early yesterday morning and had most of Sunday to unpack and get settled, ready for another Monday, another week and another month. My Barefoot journal is full to the brim, not that journals actually have brims, with mind maps of my adventures, my thoughts and my experiences in the motherland in the last two weeks. From meeting a particular person who was just the most amazing dancer to getting thoroughly pissed off by the way in which I feel much of the Lankan tourism industry is shamelessly raping the average tourist, it's all there.

Some of it I'll share with you in the days and weeks to come, some I'll keep to myself and only talk to friends about, for fear of the old "he's not a true Sri Lankan if he's that critical" thing that we know and love.

Of course I'm not a one hundred per cent true Sri Lankan either. I live here in London and I want to. Coming back here this time I felt as if I was leaving one home; the one of madness, chaos, corruption and knowing someone and arriving at another home; the one of order, systems, predictability and middleness.

What do I mean by "middleness"? I mean that in Sri Lanka, if you know the right person or have the right connections, you can get things done, often very quickly, more quickly than here in the UK. But, if you don't have the connections, you join the queue. And it's a very slow and cumbersome queue.

Here in Blighty knowing a person rarely makes a difference. Most of us get a middleness in the service we receive regardless of who we are. We get worse than the man in Lanka who knows someone but, as a default, we also get better than that chap in the queue.

This time I quite liked returning to that middleness, feeling a bit worn down by some of the ways in which I was treated by my hotel and surroundings in Sri Lanka. Such is life and I also feel immensely privileged that I'm one of the many with my heritage in Serendib and that I'm increasingly at home there.

It's also funny to see people complaining about the weather there. Here I sit and it's two and a half degrees outside. I'm quite lucky in that my body is doing that thing, you know the thing where being in a tropical country is like having a hot bath and your body retains the heat, so I'm feeling okay. But it's cold and I'd swap some of this dreary West London coldness for some of your much better quality Colombo coldness at the drop of a hat. Or a scarf even.

SL2G? Did I tell you about that?

We've got a really great photo exhibition thing, called "Talking Pictures - Connecting With Sri Lanka". It's on the 8th February at the East Gallery in Brick Lane and it promises to be a lively and rather brilliant evening of stimulating discussion around a set of photographs centred around our connections with Sri Lanka. Get in touch if you'd like to know more, or find SL2G on Facebook.

I must go now. I've got songs to learn, a new chap starting today and jetlag to be getting on with too.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another Year Older

I write this at 9.15 AM, with an open window and the Colombo heat only feet away. Why am I up at this ungodly hour when I'm on holiday, I hear you ask.

Well C's gone off to Taiwan on a shoot so I'm left here to mooch around on my own, well as much as a man can be alone in this city, and I'm determined that I squeeze the maximum enjoyment out of the remaining three days of my time here.

I'm also slightly hungover, something I blame entirely on Dominic Sansoni. Again.

I strolled over to the Colombo pub quiz last night and found not many people that I know. So, you know me, quiet and unassuming as ever, I took a pew and began to watch the proceedings quietly. One beer later I found myself in a van being driven by the famous photographer and heading to the DBU. The rest I promise to tell you about in another post.

There are several things I want to get done in the coming days, things that C would probably scowl at if she were here (she scowls a lot, particularly when she's with me for some reason) and it's also, though please keep it quiet, my birthday.

I can't quite believe it, not the "it's my birthday" part, for that seems to happen just about every year these days, but the fact that I've hit the grand old age of forty five. It just doesn't seem right.

Besides I spent about ten months thinking I was actually forty three, until C told me that I'd passed that one last January. That was a major bummer, it's only old people who forget how old they are, so how could it happen to me?

Forty fucking five!!! But I wear trendy clothes and play in bands. I use hair product, though I seem to be getting through less of it each month. I listen to Muse, though am yet to get into Arcade Fire. I've got a phone that does far more than just call and text, though I have to get my kids to explain most of it. I wear Converse (s) and Paul Smith and I know the difference between Superdry clothing and the generic fake retro Japanese things that all the shops are churning out these days.

Yet the fact remains. My passport tells me I'm forty five. My kids refuse to listen to or watch the bands I'm in. I still can't figure out how to use most of the things on my phone and I can do mental arithmetic. I must be forty five.

I guess I should embrace it. I'll be off to meet a cousin for lunch today, then might have some beers this evening. If you want to come feel free to join.