Summer Burn CDs

30 08 2008

I am going to start with a quote from Nick Hornby, courtesy of the brilliant book High Fidelity:

Rob: “To me, making a tape is like writing a letter. There’s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with “Got to Get You Off My Mind,” but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can’t have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs and…oh, there are loads of rules.”

So here we are, earlier in the year Mack had asked via the power of Facebook for people to make up a CD full of Songs that they like to hear in Summer. Then to send 2 copies to him where he would distribute them amongst the people that were doing it and you would get 2 different CDs back. I did mine and thought it was quite good. One of the others that I got back was excellent, it had Bands like Dashboard Confessional and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly! on it.

Rob: Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.

The second that I got back was a nightmare in terms of a mix CD. Firstly there was 2 songs by The Beautiful South as track 1 and 2, then there was a whole section from the Now Thats what I call Music! CDs from the mid nineties.

The Outhere Brothers- Boom Boom Boom


Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Boom Shake The Room


Jimmy Nail- Shes Lying

There was some good stuff on there too, like The La’s and The Wonderstuff, but all in all not great.  Maybe however these are that persons favourite songs for summer, but my guess would be that they found a Now CD from when they were young and remembered a care free summer.  To he honest it should have had PJ and Duncan on there…Mind you, mine did have 99 Red Balloons.


Smoking Kids and No Cake

28 08 2008

I had a crazy mad weekend for this bank holiday.  On Friday I took my leave from the Independent Isle and headed up to Worcester.  I had dinner at Bimbo and Fatbobs place (minus Fat Bob as he was combine harvesting a field for some reason or another) where we ate and then headed to the Dragon in town for more than one pint of local brew.  KP and Dev met us theer, shortly followed by the Fat one who had finished harvesting due to it being dark.  We had a few more, and it was a cracking night.  On the way home we had some chips from the kebab shop, laughing at the fact that Brian Harvey was playing a gig in Tramps (one of the worst clubs in the world).

The next morning we watched the Taekwondo at the Olympics and witnessed the drama as the British girl was out then back in, then out and  finally back in, before retiring injured.  After that I went out on the bike with Neil as a first preperatory ride for our JoGLE trip.  We plan to do this  at some point next year, but I am sure there will be more on this soon.

We met up with another of Devs uni friends, G and went out for some food and then a pint.  We had to walk across a field that was being Combine Harvested (Not by Fat Bob) and down a road that none of us had any idea where it went.  It turned out that it was the one that ended at the pub we were going to.  The Royal Oak in Hallow is quite nice, and you can get Kronenbourg there which is always a bonus.  But then something that completely shocked us happened.  We were sat outside as it was a nice night when 4 kids (aged between about 12 and 16) came out and started smoking.  What was worse was that they were the Landladys kids and she was letting them do it.  A conversation went like this.

Landlady “When do you want Pizza”

Kid (age about 14) “When we have finished these!” (holding up cigarette).

OK, kids smoke, I am sure they know that its bad for them, but will they ever stop if their parents blatently let them.  This could turn into a rant, but it won’t.

The next day we said bye to G and 5 of us went to the cricket at New Road to watch Worcester lose heavily to Durham.  During the match we saw loads of people walking past with plates of Tea and Cake.  With myself and Dev being bakery conniseurs we sent KP off to try and find the source of the cake and purchase some.  She failed miserably as it was only members who were allowed to have cake.  I think that is quite a rum old do as there are other people who like cake, not just members.  The members got a good old sledging from us I can tell you. 

As it was bank holiday and I didn’t have to run off early I stayed until the Monday when I went down to see Mack and Spanner in Fairford.  They are living at Spanners parents place as her Dad is very ill.  I am sure it made their day to have me turn up, but they were very polite and we had a nice lunch out.  They offered me cake.  Unlike the womans pavillion at the cricket.

I then went home and went to Fratton Park (for the first time in a few years) to watch Man U beat Portsmouth (Boo).  The game was actually quite good, and I did enjoy chanting “We Support our local team”.

There you go, busy Bank holiday weekend.  Its the way forward.

Songs That Changed My Life

21 08 2008

You may or may not know that on Jo Whileys Radio 1 show they have a section called changing tracks, that listeners write in and tell about the one song that has changed their life.  The stories that go with it are normally quite good and have a happy ending, and the song has some personal message to the listener.

Anyway…  I thought that I would write about mine, its somthing that I have been meaning to do for a while (there are lots of things that I have meant to do, like write blogs about the Pompey summer signings, my new job etc, etc.  but I have just been lazy.

Float On by Modest Mouse.

When this came out  I was working for homebase, and living in Winchester with my girlfriend, I can’t say that I was overly happy with my life, because I wasn’t, I was bored and couldn’t see where things were going.  This song helped me to change direction in my life, I think that it was listening to this that made me quit my job and start taking a few risks in life, hence buying a campervan and travelling around europe with the girlfriend at the time. 

This song still makes me feel good and happy whenever I listen to it, and always gives a sense that whatever crap happens to you its going to turn out alright.  This is why seeing Modest Mouse live is one of the highlights of my gig going career.

Alone, Jealous and Stoned by The Secret Machines

Ill set the scene…Its a cold January, and I have a chest infection.  I have been back from travelling Europe since November, it has been a hard time, myself and the girlfriend of the time had  broken up 2 days after we had got back after too many arguements.  I didnt have a job and no recruitment consultants could find me work either.  Late one night I decided that I would go to Asda and buy an album to cheer myself up by spending money that I didnt have.  I came back with 10 Silver Drops by a band that I had never heard of called The Secret Machines.  Track one, Alone, Jealous and Stoned blew me away, the lyrics hit the right spot, the psychadelic guitar solo took me to a much better place, and for the first time in a while I was enjoying myself even though I was sat in a freezing wet car on a wet January evening in Asda’s carpark.  I sat there for the near seven minutes of the song and loved every second of it. 

This song reminds me of how close I could get to being rock bottom in my life and still manage to get out of it.  Shortly after this I got my first temping job so that I could afford to start going out again, I began to start seeing my friends and shortly afterwards I started getting interviews.  Life got good for a while….

The Magicians Assistant by Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip

About January time my job changed and it went rapidly downhill.  By May I hated it every time I had to go into the office, I was getting more and more fed up, I was tired as I had barely slept in a month.  I had also made myself ill.  I was angry with myself, my family, my colleagues and friends.  I was more arguementative than I should have ever been, and I apologise now if anyone is reading this.

For my birthday I got this album, but didnt get a chance to listen to it for a few days.  On the morning that I eventually did, I was driving into the office thinking how easy it would be to just drift into the barriers in the middle of the road, just to get a few days off work.  The Magicians Assistant came on the CD player with its anti-suicide message and it just snapped me out of it.  The week after I decided that I would quit my job, and things have looked better since then.

Its strange the way that songs affect people, not just me but the hundreds of people that listen to Jo Whiley, my friends, the general public.  Its just that moment in time that gets you where you need it.

Tour Guide

17 08 2008

Strongy the Aussie has been down visiting me and the housemate and I have been acting as an unofficial tour guide.  As he wanted to go to some of the places off the normal tourist trail I had to have a serious think about what to do.

We have been to see quite a lot over the last few days and done some seriously heavy drinking, so I thought that I would give you a bit of a run through of what went on. 

On Thursday night we headed up to the George for a few drinks and introduced Strongy to real ale and fruit machines.  The cultural aspects of this tour are not based on these two things I hasten to add.  Anyway, the next morning we headed off to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door as the weather was so nice. 

Durdle Door

Durdle Door

We had a look around Lulworth cove and then walked up the hill and across the cliff at the top of Man ‘o War Bay and on to Durdle Door, where we sat on the beach and had a chat for about half an hour, and then did what most males do when they go to a beach and tried skimming stones.  The whole area of this coastline is a World Heritage site and has some stunning scenery.


After this the magical mystery tour went to Cerne Abbas where there is the chalk

The Cerne Abbas Giant, sadly ungrazed.

The Cerne Abbas Giant, sadly ungrazed.

giant on the hill, which shows up well against the grass on the hill.  Unfortunately there is the small matter of the lack of sheep that normally graze the area.  This means that the chalk is all grassy so you can’t actually see the whole image properly.  Its a bit of a dissappointment but there you go. 

It dates back to B.C and was probably made by those crazy guys the druids.  This area also has one of the horses made in the same way, and it is believed that at one point there were dozens of them on the chalk downs. 


As we were about half an hour away I decided to take Strongy to Stourhead

Stourhead Gardens

Stourhead Gardens

House gardens, which are part of the National Trust.  As I have been there before I knew that you could get into the gardens for free instead of paying the extortionate fee if you just walked around through the back gate.  These gardens are pretty spectacular and was the location used in the recent version of Pride and Predjudice starring Keira Knightly apparantly, we had a walk around the lake and went through the Grotto.  Once we had finished we then sauntered out through the front gate without a second thought.


Next on the list was Stonehenge as it was on the way home, but as Strongy wanted to go with his girlfriend when she comes over at Christmas we just had a drive by viewing.  I had already told him not to get too excited as it wasn’t very big but he liked it none the less.  We got some Fish and Chips on the way home to give him his first taste of traditional British food.

Strongy at the home of Cricket

Strongy at the home of Cricket

On Saturday we had another busy day of seeing stuff, I took the cricket mad Aussie to Hambledon Cricket Club at Broadhalfpenny Down, which is the oldest Cricket club in the world, and has a statue being the official home of cricket.  As luck would have it this is only about 5 miles from where I live.  Soon after this we went and had a knock about in the nets but as I had hurt my back on Thursday, Strongy was by far the better player, that and the fact that I have barely played for 12 years.  Still it was good fun.

In the afternoon we went to Southsea and Gunwharf and saw the Warrior and the Victory in the historic dock yard.  HMS Warrior is the world’s first Iron Clad Warship , while HMS Victory was the ship on which Admiral Lord Nelson was shot during the battle of Trafalgar.

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

The walk though Southsea was nice, if  little breezy and set us up nicely to watch the Sunderland Liverpool game.  It turns out that Strongy from Newcastle in Aus has decided that he will become a Newcastle fan in the UK, and is a bit of a football nut.  He has already joined our fantasy football league, although isn’t really sure of all of the players just yet.

In the evening we headed out for the housemates  Birthday which turned into a messy night.  It was fun and a good time was had by all.

As we had such a mad night we have pretty much stayed in all day today, watching the Olympics (Team GB, congratulations, not only are you doing incredibly but in winning more golds than Australia, pissing off a whole nation).

Tomorrow Strongy is off to York for an interview but is hanging around the UK for a good while yet. I think we will try and meet up again as its been excellent having him here.

Gainful Employment

13 08 2008

Since I posted this morning I had an interview for a job that I was unsure of.  I got it.  So I start work on Monday at Portsmouth University.  There are some great perks with this in that I get an NUS card and 30 days holiday.


Anyway off to the pub for some celebrations.

Another Update Of An Old Blog

13 08 2008

This first part was written on 16th of Feb 2007, so another 18 months have gone past.


For some reason I was thinking what I was doing a decade ago:

I was at college studying English Language, P.E. and Law.

I had a part time job at Homebase

I was listening to Radiohead OK Computer, Blur by Blur, the Fat of the Land by the Prodigy.

I learnt to drive and had a brown Mini, with a tape player that I used to make tapes for

I rode my mountain bike, that summer I was doing 200 miles a week

I used to play roller hockey with my mates Lee and Nick

I first went to the pub

I got mugged

I  lived with my parents

 A Decade later

A decade has gone by now and what the hell has changed in my life.  I finished College with 2E’s and an N.  I lost all faith in the english legal system as a result.  I went to university and started studying forestry, which I then changed to get a 2:2 in Geography.

I work for a charity called the Tropical Forest Trust, having left Homebase after 8 years.

I have actually just listend to tracks off of all of those albums on my mp3 player

I still have no claims and now drive a Ford Fiesta, I long for the day that I can afford to buy a mini as a 2nd car

My mountain bike hasnt been out of the shed for 3 years

I had to get rid of my blades, and Lee and Nick are both married.  Lee lives in Chichester and Nick lives in Aberdeen.

I still enjoy going to the pub

Havnt been mugged since

Due to a series of unfortunate incedents I am back living with my parents

So have I developed as a person in 10 years, I really hope so.  Who knows!  Am I better off?  Yes, but i’m buying a flat, so thats going out of the window.  Im certainly more world wise, I know that.

So why am I thinking all of this?  I have no idea, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.  That and the fact that im sat at home on a friday night alone is also a kickback to 10 years ago.,

18 Months Later

After problems at work, and my role changing I have left the TFT, and am currently temping in a metal factory.  I have an interview today for a job that I don’t really want and am not that confident of getting anyway.

I havn’t bought any music since May, which is really sad, and its probably been that longsince I went to a gig too.

I still have no claims and now drive a Ford Fiesta, I long for the day that I can afford to buy a mini as a 2nd car.  My car is however gradually falling apart.

My mountain bike is on the landing, and I ride it regularly.  I am in the early stages of training to ride from Lands End to John O’Groats (or the other way around.

I had to get rid of my blades, and Lee and Nick are both married.  Lee lives in Chichester and has a Kid called Evelyn Louise, and Nick lives in Aberdeen.

I still enjoy going to the pub but havn’t been for a while.

I own my own flat with the housemate, although depending on finances in a few months I may have to move back in with the parents and rent out my room.

So there you go, just a quick update, not sure what will happen in another 18 months time.  I will keep you informed.

Things To Do Before I Die (Updated)

1 08 2008

I wrote this about 2 years ago one night when I had just come back from the pub. This was on my myspace page, but I thought that I would update this and repost it here.

Things to do before I die

Walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Climb to Everest Base Camp

Go to Tibet

climb Kilimanjiro

Go to Easter Island

Drive the Nurberg Ring

Go to the Galapogos Islands

See The Scream by Munch

Drive Italy in a Ferrari

The Trans Mongolian Railway from Moscow to Shanghai

Visit the Great Wall Of China

See Red Square (Moscow)

See Victoria Falls

Learn to Fly

Become Fluent in another Language

Learn an Instrument

Go to New Zealand

have a tea ceremony in a Japanese Teagarden in Tokyo

See the Terracotta Warriors

party at the Rio Carnival

Either drive or cycle from Lands End to John o Groats

Visit every Country in Europe

Visit every Continent

Build my own house

Get a Masters

Live for a Year in Paris

Cycle to the mediterranean

Go to Ankor Wat

See the Northern Lights

Stay in an Ice Hotel

Party at an Embassy

Be evacuated from a warzone

Go to the Vatican and see the Sistine chapel

So far in my life ive done some cool things, here are my favourites:

Seen the sun come up over the rain forest from the top of a Mayan Temple

Eaten a Conch as soon as it had been caught

Been amazed at the sound of a Hummingbird

Had a bizzarre experience on a ferry in Fiji

Driven round Europe in a Campervan

Seen Michalangelos David

Been to Monets Garden at Giverney

Whatched the sun set over the pacific

Seen a Tornado form and Hit land

Walked on a glacier

Showered under a waterfall

Been on a hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings

Taken part in the Pamplona Bull Run

Ok, I know that most of my choices involve travelling (Infact all of them do as my house is boring), and some people would probably criticse me for not putting have a family or get married on the things to do list. This may happen, it may not, Im 28, and its not happened so far, its not even on the cards so im not overly expectant in the next few years of having a sprog. Anyway im digressing, on the list of things to do, nothing is unachievable, expensive yes, but not entirely unrealistic. I dont see the point in not wanting to travel in my humble (drunk) opinion, a global sense of place is much more of a desirable trait in people than never having been out of the country but having a sprog. I like the fact that I have more in common with an Australian than I do with my niece who has never had a job, but has 3 kids.

To be fair, im not entirely sure of the point that im trying to make, im sure there is one. I like my life and I like the fact that I can go anywhere, any when and not answer to anyone. However I wouldnt change the fact that I know how a hummingbird sounds for anything, even if someone may find this dull.