Monday, 17 December 2007

Hurtling towards year end

Despite the very heavy weekend that formed the subject of the previous post, lessons were resolutely not learned last week. Out on Thursday with mate Phil to see Maximo Park at the newly re-opened Oxford Carling Academy <spits contemptuously in memory of The Zodiac> I was planning to get home early before the gig, line my stomach and not drink much. But an hour of crawling home in dense traffic from Didcot put paid to the first two ideas, and so I reverted to my post-university days of drinking cider and eating crisps to fill me up. Hmmm. Actually maybe it was a good job that there was a jam, as it prevented me from going above 50mph on my spare tyre. Who checks their tyres before they set off on a journey? Not me, especially in the pitch dark and freezing temperatures of Didcot Parkway station on Wednesday night. So it was only after going 100 yards or so and realising something was very wrong indeed that I got out and realised I'd been driving on a flat and hence buggering the inside of the tyre, meaning it needed to be replaced even if all that had happened was that some little sh!te had let it down during the day. You certainly couldn't see a puncture anywhere. So now, I owe Ali some serious ironing time on his shirts, after an emergency damsel in distress call. I don't know how I would have got those wheel nuts off by myself but I'm bloody glad I didn't have to attempt it.

So anyway, Maximo Park. After our ill-fated attempt at seeing them earlier in the year, I was really looking forward to seeing if they'd be better, edgier than Dan's lukewarm review made out. And... they were about what I'd expected actually, not one of those transcendent gigs, just really enjoyable - very bouncy bouncy, all the right tunes in the right order, stonking versions of Limassol and Our Velocity, and a venue small enough to see them properly. Most folk there seemed real MP fans as well, and dead excited to be seeing them in Oxford. The one slightly jarring note was Paul Smith's comment "You might know that we're playing a big arena in Newcastle in 2 days time; well, we want you to know THIS IS NOT A WARM UP GIG - we don't do 'warm ups'". Okayyyy then, right you are mate... We were right at the back (the front seemed to be full of members of the local basketball team, or, as I overheard one girl say, 'they breed them big round here') and I could still see. We did admit that the Carling folk hadn't done a bad job at all with the Zodiac - the downstairs space is now the main venue for bands - a lot bigger than before and screens everywhere. Being new I guess it also hasn't got the residue of years of nicotine, tar, sweat, stale booze and general wear and tear - so it felt very clean. The best thing about it though, is that the promoters are obviously getting bigger bands to play there with no trouble - we're already planning Hot Chip and Elbow outings next year - thus avoiding travelling into the big smoke on a school night. Hurrah!

I had a day off on Friday, but not so's you'd notice. Spent it getting the tyre fixed; running errands; doing chores; and packing for the weekend, at the same time checking work email on my smartphone. Humbug. Still, it was the pre-cursor to a fantastic weekend with Stuart and Alison in Manchester, during which I did my traditional clothes overspend with Alison on Saturday in town, much booze was consumed at lunch and a great meal out on Saturday night was had by all. Hangover on Sunday was a mini version of last week's. Hoh well.

We did buy the Christmas tree when we got home though, which I duly decorated with glee, though becoming mildly crestfallen when one set of fairy lights went on the blink due to a missing bulb which OF COURSE we didn't have a replacement for. The now-routine SCD marathon ensued, all very wonderful as always except for the frankly inexplicable perfect 40 for Matt and Flavia's waltz and the fact that the judges had several screws loose and voted to kick Gorgeous Gethin out. Sob. Matt will go to pieces next week, Alesha will rightly win, but the show won't be the same without a re-run of the salsa of week 9.

And so back to work today, with a load of stuff to do and no pre-Christmas feeling at all, just a slight sense of panic. But! Ali has just texted me with the news that the plumber has magically fixed our underfloor heating, which it seems has never worked properly since it was installed 18 months ago. We may even have a warm kitchen for Christmas! And I've just found a replacement bulb for the fairy lights! Ho ho ho!

1 comment:

howsoonisnow said...

Glad the MP gig went well, when they're good they're veryverygood, aren't they? I think when I saw them last I was still grumpy from my unprovoked fruit attack at the hands of Satay, so possibly a bit unfair.

Merry Christmas one and all...