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Someone Singing In The Shower

Another year, another Simple Minds gig. They do tour a lot, and for this I am glad.

GIGTASTIC GOODNESS behind the cutCollapse )

Oops.

I suck at posting LJ entries. I shall seek to address this over the Christmas break. I need to chronicle some of my US Holiday for posterity, and posteriors.

In the meantime, if you haven't already seen it, go read my write-up of my time at New York Comic Con.

Oh, and you could also go buy the actual real proper honest-to-goodness ISBN'ed Anthology that my local Writers' Group published, and that I have a story in. <-- Surrealest Thing EVAR!

Identity Theft?

Picture it... I'm standing in the bedroom naked (calm yourself, ladies... yes, ok and the guys too) and there's a knock on the door. To make matters even more awkward in terms of answering the door I also had a mouthful of food (look, don't ask, this is just how it happened, kay?).

Fling dressing gown around self, grab keys and attempt to masticate a bit quicker.

(Yes, I do know masticate sounds a bit like masturbate. Funny that)

Fumble with keys, find that I didn't actually lock up last night, then open door, still with half a mouthful of food.

"Gareth?" There's an oldish bloke... late 50s early 60s perhaps. A younger bloke who I assume is his son is standing by the car at the kerb.
"Ymmmmmmmh" I say (still eating).
"2CV Wing?" the bloke asks.
Gulp. That's better. "Ummmm?"
"You are Gareth?"
"Yes."
"Well in that case someone's been using your name and address to sell stuff on eBay."
"Oh Great."

Old bloke calls back to his son to get the details out of the car. I stand there in dressing gown trying to work out why someone would actually do that... what they'd gain from it, etc.

So, let me actually think this through and try and make sense of it. Someone's been advertising stuff in my name, and selling it, and then sending buyers to my house to collect stuff? Odd.

Why would you do that? I mean, why? Really?

Son hands over a couple of printouts to dad, and dad looks at them, then shows me. He points at the name.

"Well, that's not my surname," I say. But looking at the other details on the paper, the location is right. It's my road, my postcode. Strange.

"But you are Gareth?"

"Oh yes," I say. Then I notice the scribbled address at the bottom of the page, and point to it.

Son and dad look. Son turns to dad and says "YOU ABSOLUTE MUPPET!" laughing. He then turns to me and says "I'm really sorry about this."

Right street, right postcode, freakily right first name too, but wrong house number. I can sort of understand how it got confused, but all the same. Freaky. Someone a few doors down is also Gareth.

So, as far as I know, my identity hasn't been stolen, but a very freaky coincidence caused a lot of confusion. I was highly amused. HIGHLY. Some might even call the whole thing "Totes Hilair", but I am not one of those people.

Once Is Not Enough

I wrote half this entry once before... but the wonder that is the blue screen of death decided that what I'd written wasn't good enough, so here I go again.

Cut for size - I'm far too good to you ;)Collapse )

An Act Of Love Is A Luxury

In keeping with my habit of writing up gigs I've been to long after the fact, it is now more than two weeks since I went to see Simple Minds in Sherwood Forest.

Of course, everyone associates Sherwood Forest with Nottingham. Nuh-uh. Fucking Mansfield! Not that I have anything against Mansfield other than it being further away than Nottingham, and much much less reasonable as a gig venue to travel to from Warwick.

DUN DU-DUN DU-DUN DU-DUN DU-DUN DU-DUN DU-DUN DU-DUN DU-DUN DU-DUN DU-DUNCollapse )

Dischordant Rhyme

So, here is where I attempt to write a gig review for a gig that:
a) Was more than a week ago,
b) Was mostly songs that I knew but didn't know the names of, and
c) I don't have a full setlist for.

Last Saturday, April 9th, I saw Tom McRae live for the first time. I've known about Tom for some time, but it was only when asking for album recommendations last year to spend birthday iTunes money and mrhig and rougeforever suggested Alphabet of Hurricanes that I actually gave him a proper listen. And for most of the past year, that was really all I'd listened to. Then when the prospect of gigs came up in the New Year and I said "YES PLEASE!" I figured I ought to get hold of some more of his stuff.

Anyway, I digress, as I always do. I'm quite good at it.

This was not your ordinary Tom McRae gig. This was a bit different. It was Tom and a string quartet... in a church. In the company I was with I was something of a sore thumb - everyone else had attended (or was attending) at least one other gig on the mini-tour, and I was just there for the one night.

rougeforever had been a bit ambivalent about the previous night earlier when I'd asked her, so I really didn't know what to expect. However, there was a slight change which meant that things might turn out a little better. The cellist in the quartet (who by the sound of it was the one that held it together) had been unable to play the previous night due to injury - he'd been knocked off his bike a week or so before. However, he had decided he could play this evening (whether this was due to miraculous recovery, bribery, or threats, we have no idea).

The gig opened with You Cut Her Hair. Possibly the first Tom song I ever heard. It was a nice opener, but it's really not a big song for me.

And this is where it gets hazy. I've no idea what the next song was, but I'm pretty sure Karaoke Soul was after that. And Karaoke Soul was ace. It demonstrated that in a small church with good acoustics that a string quartet was all you needed. It also demonstrated that the small church did indeed have good acoustics.

I can really only talk about the highlights for me from this point on, and they're in no particular order because I have NO idea of the order:

2nd law unaccompanied, just Tom on a keyboard.

A lengthy talk from Tom about exploring the folkish roots of his music and going back to older more traditional songs and experimenting with them, complete with very traditional sounding intro from the quartet... then launching into a cover of Duran Duran's Hungry Like The Wolf.

Some kind of nasty sounding technical problem (there were pops and crackles and EVVYFINK) leading an unaccompanied version of Bloodless to be brought forward... with a rousing singalong from the audience (I love singalong bits), AND Tom climbing the stairs to the pulpit to do the last verse.

A new song... some drunkard in the audience shouted "WOO!" as Tom started playing it, and got the reply "What do you know?" Said drunkard then shouted "NEW SONG!" Said drunkard is almost certainly either cringing or laughing or both while reading this. Not mentioning any names but it was someone already mentioned in this write-up and it wasn't mrhig.

Tom making a show of looking up nervously at the beginning of Ain't Scared of Lightning.

One Mississippi as the end to the main set, complete with singalong moment.

The Boy with the Bubble Gun being just perfect.

All in all, I loved it. I am now very keen to see Tom do a more conventional gig. I would have gone along to the Alphabet of Hurricane gigs had a taken an interest a bit quicker, but hey-ho.

Yes. More please.

Round Round Get Around I Get Around...

Last weekend was the most hectic and travelled I've had for quite some time. And it was great! And this is going to be one of those long posts I stubbornly refuse to put behind a cut. Thrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpt!

Sheepishly hidden behind a cut now #peerpressure ;)Collapse )

I've had two nights back in my own bed and I'm slowly starting to feel human again, but it's a gradual process.

All in all, it was awesome, and I'd like to thank everyone who helped make it so.

Fear and Intimidation

I have two major political bugbears at the moment. One is the out-dated mess that is the First Past The Post electoral system in this country, the other is about the current policy of implementing huge and devastating cuts in public services rather than holding the banks to account for the financial crisis, etc. So, in addition to being a supporter of YesToAV, I'm also a supporter of #ukuncut.

There is a big #ukuncut demo up in London on March 26th, and I find myself wanting to stand up and be counted. However, there is a big problem with this. I can't do crowds. Well, I can up to a point, but it's very difficult for me these days. If I don't have a way out I get trapped and panicky. Not nice.

I was getting to a place where I was prepared to face this and go anyway, and then a flippant remark to a friend reminded me of something else. Kettling. The past few major demos in London have been kettled by Police, or in one case boxed in entirely. If this happened to me I would definitely freak out. If on top of that there was actually crowd trouble too (whether this was the cause of the kettling, or caused by it) that would make it worse.

So I find myself in a place where I'm being intimidated from joining in a legitimate protest by the possible Police reaction (or over-reaction, depending on circumstances). This is wrong, though I can't yet decide if the fault is with me, or with the world.

Writer's Block: Copy and paste

How would you react if you found out someone plagiarized your work and published it?
I'd introduce them to sentience and then leave her to it.

Compassion? What's That?

Today a FaceBook friend was bemoaning the cost of petrol in Canada. This is not entirely unusual, and I left a little sarcastic surprise at the fact that over there they're paying a whole $1.07 per litre, after it went up 4 cents overnight.

And then someone I don't know said the following:
All because people over seas start riots and burn or blow up oil wells over there or they have to shut rigs down because they are being threatened by all those crazy mad people.. So we are left to make up for it and pay the price ...

Um, yeah. Not the sort of comment I'm gonna just ignore. I called them out on it. And I found myself drawn in (yeah, really clever right?) and it seems that for the most part, people care more about the price of fuel than the idea that other people may be fighting to throw off the shackles of oppression. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Where is the compassion in the world? I'm not saying Canada is full of heartless bastards, I'm saying the Western World is full of heartless bastards.

Another comment (or an excerpt thereof):
It's not our fault their government is fucked...

It isn't? We're very happy in our little Western bubbles forgeting about the shit we've imposed on the rest of the world, aren't we? As long as we don't have to pay too much for our oil, who gives a fuck, right? We've built our economies around oil, going to the trouble of propping up corrupt regimes in foreign climes in order to safeguard that oil, and now it's all coming back to bite us in the arse.

I know that up to a point this is me getting angry because I'm comfortable enough financially that the price of fuel isn't a big issue. Although the main reason I'm that comfortable right now is that I've moved to rail commuting for work, and hence the price of fuel doesn't have as big an impact on my finances anyway. But, I hope, that even if I was having real problems making ends meet, I'd not go so far as to say what amounts to "fuck 'em, I want cheap gas". In fact, someone pretty much said that.

the funny thing is I don't care who's rioting or why. I don't care why their life is shitty quite simply because a. It's none of my business b. They don't care about me.
I just want cheap gas


"None of my business". Argh.

Maybe all this rage about the issue is just middle class first world guilt on my part, but the issue *is* fucked up. There needs to be a little more compassion in the world, and a little less exploitation. I know it's not that easy, not that simple, but it's a good starting point.

A bit more investing in alternative energy and electric cars and other such shizzle that breaks the hold oil has over us would help too. But that's a whole 'nother rant for another day.

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