Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Cult of Personality

The first in an irregular series of posts illustrating my capacity for being a bell-end.

My trainspotter-ish collection of concert tickets tells me that this happened on the 11th of October 1990, but to tell the whole story we need to rewind just a little further.

Sometime earlier that year, I'm going to guess in August, I read in the NME that Living Colour were due to play at the Marquee Club in London. There were no tickets available in advance from the box office so me and my gig buddy Mike decided to turn up anyway and see if we could pick up tickets outside. As we emerged from Tottenham Court Road tube, we spotted a girl from work that we recognised but didn't know. Yes she was also on her way to the Marquee Club, and no, she didn't have a ticket either. Her name was Ruth. All three of us completely failed to get into the gig, shared a pizza and caught the train back home. I got the feeling that she liked me.

When more Living Colour tour dates were announced a month or two later, I asked Ruth if she wanted to go. She said she did. I said that me, Mike and a couple of others were going to drive up to the gig and there was room for her if she wanted a lift. She said she'd make her own way there but a lift home would be great because it was a bit hit and miss as to whether you could make the last train back to Hastings without leaving the gig early. We arranged to meet out front after the show. Come the evening of the gig, strong drink was taken and we had a rare old time, but no sign of Ruth. After about three minutes of waiting around out front after the show, I slurred 'forget it, lets get going'. Simon, the driver, asked if I was sure and I said that there was plenty of time for Ruth to get the last train and we made for home. It's decisions like this that resulted in mobile telephones being invented.

At work the following morning, I had an horrific hangover and at about 9.30 Ruth rang me. She didn't care that I was hungover and feeling delicate. She was considerably more concerned about having had to spend the night freezing her arse off sleeping rough in Charing Cross station before catching the 5.30am train to Hastings. I apologised but of course she was having none of it - and quite right too. I got the feeling she didn't like me any more.

I never spoke to Ruth again and I still feel bad about my shoddy treatment of her. Living Colour were excellent though.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Reeling in the years

Last night I met up with my buddy Toby for the first time in about seven or eight years. When we first met at work in about 1990 we were both long of hair and tight of trouser and bonded over a shared love of loud music and the ability to make each other laugh. We even had a part time gig selling rare and collectible rock records and CDs for a few years, but that's a story for another time.

Twenty years later and we're a bit saggier and the hair is shorter and greyer (alright, that's mostly me) but not only are the original shared interests still there but it turns out that Toby has developed a passion for photography in the intervening years. And he's good. Really good. Check him out at http://www.tobyh.myzen.co.uk/

Monday, 12 July 2010


Like you, I have done some things that come back to haunt me in the rare moments my brain chatter pauses for breath. In South Africa the truth and reconciliation commission have shown us that coming clean can help all parties move on by providing a clean slate. To be clear, I haven't beaten, killed or oppressed anyone but nevertheless I'm not proud of some of the things I've done. To be doubly clear, nor am I ashamed either and I care not a jot for your opinion of my behaviour. I know I've been an idiot. As Doug Stanhope said 'I don't need your good opinion or any new friends, so fuck you'.

I have no faith, religious, spiritual or other - although I did record my religion as Jedi on the 2001 national census. Nevertheless I am intrigued by the religious notion of forgiveness, which seems to work along the lines of 'whatever you did, come clean and we'll say no more about it'. As someone who would doubtless be considered a sinner by those that like to judge, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal but there doesn't appear to be any sense of scale. What's that? you had an impure thought? Say three Hail Marys and keep your hands above the sheets. What's that? You bummed an altar boy? Twice a week for six years? Say four Hail Marys and go and work in another parish. It's the ultimate get out of jail free card. The glory of life everafter on the right hand of your chosen deity can be yours if you say sorry and really really mean it.

So, all things considered, seeking forgiveness is not for me and instead I will display my moments of pain, embarrassment and hubris for your entertainment. Perhaps you will learn from my mistakes or just get a laugh at my expense. Whatever, fill your boots.