Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hello Pilgrim

Big changes going on, I've moved out of the flat in London. Or at least I will have fully moved out on the 10th when I return to pick up the rest of my stuff. It was overdue and I'll be glad to go out.

I'm not sure if I should forewarn the chap who is going to move in to replace me about the curfew. I should but I can't think of a way of doing it that doesn't sound, well a bit petty. I suppose the best thing to do is just leave it be.

So I'm back in Devon at the moment, I'm going to move all my stuff down here - and I do have an awful lot of stuff and plot the next move. I may live out of a suitcase for a bit - it's amazing how infrequently a chap needs a third pair of brogues for emergencies so it's quite possible to do this.

I've work to do at the moment which is thankfully not London centric but I'm reminded how living in the wilderness requires transport. It's not even optional here, but at least moving back into my old place for a month or so means that cash that would normally be spent on rent can be invested in a motorbike. Or at least that is the plan.

I'm not sure what the next step will be for me, I'm open to options. I could just move back to London once I'm armed with a motorbike but that seems like the easy route out, perhaps it's time for a new adventure?

Maybe I should just get out an atlas and start having some serious thoughts. I mean, I can be a struggling writer anywhere really so it's quite a flexible career.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Close encounters of the hairy kind

I paid a visit to my old neighbour on Friday. A chum was visiting from Dubai and so we were all out for drinks and things to celebrating seeing him again. It was delightful, the old gang together again talking nonsense and playing Wii tennis.

The only slightly risky thing about the party was that as it was my old neighbour it was directly above my old flat which is still occupied by the ex. Luckily I didn't have an encounter with her, and even if I had I doubt she would have recognised me - I walked past the flatmate today in the street and didn't realise it was me. Ho ho ho.

At about 4am I was ruined and my friends bundled me into a cab. Even with a cab I only just about made my way home. I say just about as I couldn't remember my exact address and so had to guide the very grumpy taxi man street by street. I didn't make any mistakes or anything like that but he was furious by the time we arrived home. He was visibly prickling with rage, maybe my new haircut makes men angry.

Since it was so late/early I elected to sleep in the library (instead of enraging the flatmate) until it was a reasonable hour. It was actually quite comfortable. I selected a book, sprawled out on the sofa and in seconds was fast asleep. Even in my drunken state I made sure I arrayed things around me so it looked like I had just fallen asleep while working rather than being a semi-homeless bum waiting out the time until I can go home.

At about 9ish I went up to the flat and went to sleep in my bed which was far more comfortable but less exciting.

I'm still undecided about the new haircut, which is silly as it's done and so it's not as if it can be undone any time soon. It's entertaining being completely invisible in the presence of friends, although I'm sure that will wear off eventually but I do slightly miss having distinctively long hair.

On the plus side the new look seems to be a hit with the girls, post-comedy gig a friend of a friend (who was also performing) made some not terribly subtle enquiries about my relationship status and then on Friday night another friend of a friend loudly declared to the pub that she had taken a shine to me.

We had been drinking so it wasn't entirely out of place but it still caught me off guard. So it appears that my old long hair while pleasantly roguish was perhaps a bit of a poor choice when it comes to the ladies. Only time will tell I suppose.

Poor Pig

There is a butcher's shop near me that has a lovely fibreglass pig outside.

Some horrible person has snapped off one of it's ears but the enterprising owner has turned this into a feature.

Bless. I hope it grows back soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Army Hair

I'm not entirely sure about my new haircut. I think is because it's so shockingly different. It's short, very short, could join the army short.

Almost since I moved to London I've been growing my hair. First in a office appropriate way and then once I left the dull job and joined the fun one in a roguish way. So I've had big hair for ages, and now it's gone.

I don't even look particularly foppish anymore, I mean, unless I'm wearing a cravat and a waistcoat. Good friends don't recognise me, even at close range - I can stand right next to an old chum and they still won't know who I am. One friend last night thought that I was trying to start a fight with him until I spoke and he realised I was just trying to say hello. Men don't do direct, prolonged eye contact with strangers.

The gig last night was fun, blisteringly hot but good. Stephen Merchant is very nice and extremely tall. Not much else to report really.

Right I'm off to see if my hat collection still fits.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The meaning of yes

Yes is a strange word. I think of it as more absolute, but to some people it is relative. I say this because when I think about the last six months or so and how many times the possibility of life-changingly good news has being dangled in front of me and then snatched away.

Some of these events have got to now what I call the 'unofficial yes' or 'faux-affirmative' stage where someone who could make your life loads better has said 'yes' but what they really mean is 'no, but I won't let you know this for a couple of months - ho ho ho'.

As you can imagine this can make a chap a bit miffed, but I shall not give up!

No. I shall get a haircut. My flowing, Spinal Tap-like curls which are now below shoulder height are going to get a serious trim. I may even look like a grown-up soon, it is a mathematical possibility at least.

Oh and I've got another stand-up show tonight. it's in Islington and get this, it's completely sold out. Although this is probably due to the fact that Stephen Merchant, who is a proper famous is also on the bill rather than the lure of my freshly shorn locks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fighting news

Well the cage fighting plan is rattling along, even though one TV person was a bit stand-offish about it a publisher is being told about it right now by my agent. So fingers crossed I suppose.

The cage fighting organisers still really want me to do it and they want me to appear on their weekly program (sort of Match of the Day but involving more punching) and report in on my progress so that is good.

So with trainers, fitness specialists and varous other helpful types just waiting to start all I'm really waiting for is the nod so the fun can begin.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Louche's Dictionary of Journalism, part 2

A month or so ago I started work on Louche's Dictionary of Journalism well I've got a few more entries for it now.

Angle - The spin put on a story to make it more exciting, for example only pretty girls ever get A-level results.

Aspirational - A magazine designed to be read by people who could never afford anything in it. Typically set up by people who want to spend time 'reviewing' Bentleys and yachts but who couldn't actually afford one. You can tell if a magazine is aspirational if it has ever had a special issue just on pointlessly expensive watches because no normal publication would be so dull.

Assignment - Something you'd only do because you are getting paid to do it.

Branding - A type of advert, typically seen in upmarket titles where the person booking the advert doesn't actually expect a response but just wants to impress their mates that they have got something going in a flash magazine. These adverts normally feature a black background with white text.

Contributing Editor - A special sort of freelancer who gets regular pay in exchange for writing something regularly. The contracts for this have to be made out of unicorn dust which explains why they are so rare.

Content - King, apparently. People who don't actually read like to say this a lot.

Ebook - The worst idea ever, books are even easier to swap electronically than music and so Ebooks will mean the end of days of publishing, at least as we know it.

House Style - the way an article has to be presented to fit in with the rest of the newspaper. Typically this means some words are banned like 'feisty' which immediately makes you want to use it as much as possible. Of course editors and columnists can ignore the house style because they are too important (and feisty) to follow it.

Intern AKA Work Experience - Student helper works for nothing. Depending on where they work they will either spend the whole time making cups of tea or seducing/being seduced by single members of staff.

Magazine - A special sort of newspaper that comes out infrequently, is mostly composed of advertising and very rarely contains any actual news. There is a direct relationship between how glamourous the adverts contained in a magazine are and how many people actually read it. The more glam the adverts the more likely the magazine is just brought to look nice on a coffee table.

Press Release - A special article composed by someone who doesn't want to write it, about a subject they don't really care about that is sent out to people who aren't interested in receiving it.

Topical - A story that in some way vaguely relates to a film/book/tv show currently in the public eye. Is no-longer enough to be a shocking bit of information that no-one has discovered yet, also known as a 'scoop'. Now it has to in some way tie-in with the latest Adam Sandler film. Strangely even newspapers do this, which is weird as surely they should be the ones who decide what is topical by reporting on it?

More will follow when I think of them.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cricket report

The cricket day out was excellent. Since I was a complete novice at the sport the other chaps in the team arranged a short training montage for me to learn the basics of how to hold a cricket racquet and so on before we started.

This went okay and so I was full of beans, and rather a lot of beer by the time we took the field. We were playing against a team of people involved in a wine shop who were opening batting. I was fielding, which involved standing about and concentrating on things in the distance. I only touched the ball once during the entire fielding experience but I managed to throw it back fast and in the right direction and thus I feel I contributed.

I was 9th in the batting order, and by about half way through our batting we realised that while it was mathematically possible for us to win the odds were astoundingly long. Still we bravely fought on, and I got to have one whole ball thrown at me while holding a bit of wood to hit it with before the game was over. Still strolling about in the padding was quite entertaining.

After this match there was the final which was played by the two teams who were taking it seriously while we drank more booze - moving onto the wine and tequila now and basked in the sun. There was a lot of reading of the Saturday papers while we experimented with different types of cocktail mixes. Smoothies go jolly well with vodka but you have to drink them fast.

With the final out of the way there was a play off for third place which some of the chaps insisted on playing in their underwear as they had offered to do this if people would donate more for charity, which they did.

We managed to win this game, although I didn't actually get to bat, or touch the ball so I don't feel that involved but a win is a win I suppose. So I don't think I'll be investing in a Cricket costume anytime soon but it was a smashing day out.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My wonky hat and I

I am up early on Saturday because it's time for a game of Cricket.

I've not played Cricket in, erm well I tried it when I was 10 and that's about it. I think the level of Cricket will be fairly low as the teams are composed of various Soho types who are taking part for charity.

I have dug out my hat that I picked up in Miami to wear while cricketing but it's seen better days, storage did not agree with it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Glass of poison anyone?

I don't have many limits of things I'll do for work, being a freelancer rather changes your perception of what you will do for cash because if you are too picky you don't eat.

Anyway, I was offered 'work' but this 'work' would involve drinking poison, yes actual poison. I didn't realise I had limits, but I do who would have thought eh?

The interview

I've got an interview today, an important one. Yikes!

It's big meeting and I've got almost no idea what to expect because this is an interview for something I've not done. Yes, I'm aware I'm not making much sense, I'll have another coffee and try again.

(A bit later on)

Yes, interview for some work, of a new type. I have some skills that are applicable but I'm going to be doing quite a bit of bluffing.

You know the sort of thing, 'Well I've never actually been an elephant but I have drawn pictures of goats and I think that will give me a head start when it comes to being an elephant for the first time.'

I think I should be okay. The chap I'll be meeting is mad about motorbikes and well, motorbike chaps are a better class of person. Fact. So once we get onto the subject of Classic British Motorcycles I'll be away.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Emo Art

The French Emo kid has left now, he was packed off early this morning without much of a ceremony. We discovered that all the other visiting French children were delightful but my mother had been assigned a troubled one, and his best mate was given to our neighbour.

There was a constant battle to get him to do anything, or even be polite there was even an incident involving a window being smashed. I suspect you may be able to guess that there will not be French exchange students visiting my mother's place again. They have always been trouble, there was the creepy one, Florian, who used to creep into my room and watch me while I slept. John-Paul and his friend who refused to wash - Emo boy had one reluctant bath during his 14 day visit.

We just have bad luck with French exchange students, I don't know why I rather like France. At least it is over now, and Emo boy made this piece of art for my mother. We don't really understand it, but it seems a bit wrong to have what appears to be a thank you note involve one of the characters swearing at the viewer.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How much would someone pay for your socks?

Yesterday we went for a lovely walk along the beach. It was a post lunch walk so everyone was wobbling under the weight of food and just one more cake for the road. It was a smashing day for strolling about, and my little brother played the now traditional game of silly questions as we walked.

The question that had him most stumped was one I came up with.

If you were stranded in a country where no-one spoke your language would you rather be lost with a) Your clothes but no wallet, phone or id or b)No clothes but your wallet and phone.

Debate raged over which option was better, but my brother decided that he thinks clothes and that his first move would be to sell his socks to someone and thus gain some start-up capital to begin the journey home.

I still don't know how much he thinks he would get for his socks.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A fete worse than death

I have escaped to Devon for a few days. On Friday I was blinded by a headache, actually blinded so it was quite exciting. I tried to carry on writing for a bit longer with my eyes closed but it still hurt so I decided to go to Devon for a bit of R&R.

The photo is taken from the local fete on Saturday night, a local band were playing (think Spinal Tap with a West Country burr) while local people drank local ale. It was very local.

The relaxing has been limited a bit because a French exchange student is visiting - He is Emo and rather unsuited for country life and also seems to be a bit of a berk. Is it Emo to not say please or thank you? Does the movement include tramping mud around the house on your shoes? Or perhaps that is just part of being an exchange student?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Skating Vs Cocktails

Skating is excellent. It should be adopted by the temperance movement. There were a selection of cocktails available at the bash last night and yet I only had two drinks because I was too busy on the rink.

My first steps (rolls?) on the skates were more than a little wobbly but after getting some basic tips from a girl in extremely tight shorts I rumbled onto the rink. The first few laps were a little 'troubled' as I got the hang of the movement and then tried to ape the style of the really experienced skaters. It seems that the better you get at skating the more bored you have to look by it all.

Moving wasn't an issue and I could even glide along on one skate for a while but braking caused problems. I couldn't really work out how to stop with grace and so had to just swerve when someone fell-over in front of me. The rink was packed so there were quite a few crashes going on, still crashing provided an excellent talking point and I made some new chums through them. That doesn't happen on bicycles or in cars.

Still after about thirty minutes of intense skating I was getting quite confident, and was swooshing around happily - if someone knocked me I'd throw my arms into the air and look decidedly uncool but the rest of the time I was doing okay. Even when various Z-listers ploughed into me.

A bit later and I was trying to do fast turns and spins, they were okay but I was getting decidedly thirsty and the bar was calling to me so after about an hour of skating I took off my boots and scampered to get last orders.

There was another bash I was supposed to go to but I didn't get a reply to my text message asking if it was still going until I was most of the way home so I got to have a surprisingly early night.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Drinking and rolling

I've got a roller skating party tonight. Some chaps are trying to bring it back, not that I ever remember it being 'in' but that is probably due to growing up in a rural area. Even at it's raging peak roller skating didn't impact much on my young life because there really wasn't much tarmac about to roll on.

It's going to be an 80s themed roller skating evening, so vintage wear is encouraged. This works rather well for me as I have a retro styled leather jacket for riding motorbikes that will definitely look the part and as an added benefit is armoured so it will provide some protection for when I fall.

Falling isn't really optional, I last wore skates in about '88, maybe a bit before then and I wasn't terribly impressed by them. The bash tonight is a launch thingy so there will be a free bar so I fear the combination of cocktails and roller skates might be a little dangerous. Perhaps I should wear the rest of my bike gear as well just to be safe.

Either way, tickets have been terribly hard to get hold of, which is always a good sign. Any party where the organisers say bring as many people as you like should set off little alarm bells. I mean organised parties, not house parties, they follow an entirely different set of rules.

I've been off the party circuit for a couple of weeks, and yet it feels like an age.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Custers last beard

The woes are still about but they may have been bested, for now. Things aren't great but their is hope in them thar hills.

Let us just say that the last week has been rather disappointing, apart from a couple of fun evenings - which admittedly happened before things turned nasty.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hassle and being hirsute

Still more woes. Slightly less woes than before, but still a bounty of woes.

Maybe I should take these plentiful problems and make them into an item of clothing, perhaps a woescoat.

Yes, even in these troubled times, I still can make awful puns.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

More problems, more beards

I'm having a spell of not terribly good luck. It seems the end is nigh, or at least it could be nigh if I don't jolly well pull my finger out.

Anyway, things have got a bit broken here and so I'm sorting them out. Normal service will resume on Friday, hopefully.

Just like Karl Marx, I'm taking care of business.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Transmission will resume shortly

We are sorry to announce that some stuff is going on that is going to delay everything for a few days.

Normal service will resume shortly, in the mean time have a look at this smashing beard. It's James Robertson Justice if you don't know.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The university of booze

How much should a chap know about vodka? Well I think a person should know enough any form of alcohol to hold his own in a pub quiz, but not enough to be a bore.

I would say my vodka knowledge is rather lacking in this respect. I know how one drinks it, and have a rough idea of the correct range of temperature to serve it at and if pushed I could probably name a few signature vodkas that one should try but that is about it.

That is going to change in a few hours as tonight I'm going to Vodka University. I had no idea there was such a place but they have invited me to attend and so in the name of investigation I must go.

I'm not sure I'm in much of a state to do any investigating, it was a friend's birthday party last night and I'm still a little broken. It was a great bash, she had managed to fill an entire pub with chums and so at every table there were people chatting away happily about all sorts of nonsense. I couldn't stay long due to the dreaded curfew but thanks to the warm weather and a bit of speed drinking I still managed to get quite broken.

So tired, hungover and mildly reluctant to learn anything? Gosh it will be just like being back at university.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mr Wells and the cats

Last night was a surprise. I had expected to spend an evening alone frantically working on new ideas to sell for money. Instead I got a call from a chum saying that there was some gallery opening in St James, and well things went a bit wrong.

Free booze was mentioned, so I pulled myself together, found a semi-decent shirt and set off. A short, rather warm tube journey later and I was sipping faux-champagne and looking at extremely expensive prints of cats by Andy Warhol. Honestly, some people do spend an awful lot on art when they could be buying motorcycles with their money.

The event was rather jolly, we met a photographer who attached himself to our group and then a strange Hungarian man called 'Mr Wells'. He just breezed up to us and introduced himself and then told us his entire family history. I liked the fact he asked for our first names but he was more formal and insisted on being called Mr Wells. After Mr Wells had revealed when his great-uncle had decided to come to London but failed we ran off to my chums club for drinks. Mr Wells didn't join us which was probably for the best as the blighter just wouldn't stop talking about distant relatives and their position on the globe.

We arrived with the photographer who had decided to join us. So we grabbed a table, drank rosé, ate artichokes and roared with laughter while talking about fingerless gloves and tinfoil parrots. I like going to that club but I fear, if I became a member I would go rather too much.

I'm all for becoming an old soak, but I just can't afford to do it just yet.