Monday, July 31, 2006

What I Did On My Summer Holidays by Khayem, Age 35 ½

Sat 15th
I attempted to paint a couple of coffee tables in my back garden, with primer that had the consistency of tar thanks to the excessive heat. Why do I ever decide to do these jobs? I’m crap at DIY!

Sun 16th
My sweetheart and I tried and failed to rent Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl – or anything else for that matter – on DVD. Spent an inordinate time in The Lounge café bar, getting drunk instead.

Mon 17th
Left England, entered Wales, left Wales, re-entered England. Arrived at Mallards Pike Lake, the Forest of Dean, to Go Ape in the treetops. Severe doubts about my judgement kicked in when I saw people thirty feet up flinging themselves onto cargo nets, balancing on precarious platforms and screaming as they descended the ‘zip slides’ (hey, we know they’re really called ‘death slides’!). A faltering start at the briefing session as I put the harness on inside out, but I was determined to show both the slew of hyperactive teens and the inconceivably elderly gent in our group that I had what it takes. I felt adrenalin hitting hitherto unexplored parts of my bloodsystem… as I travelled the ten-foot practice zip slide, a few feet above ground level. Three hours later, my love and I completed our final ‘death slide’ descent, pumped up and ready to take on the world! That said, it’s unlikely that next month I’ll be writing of rap jumping down the side of a skyscraper. Small steps, small steps... We stopped off at the appropriately named The Gr(ape) in Chepstow for a bite to eat. My loved one ordered feta and vine tomato salad, which was lovely despite the fact that the feta became brie, the vine tomatoes were clearly the common-or-garden variety and the salad was largely conspicuous by it’s absence. My choice – black pudding and chorizo on a bed of rocket – uncovered the AWOL vine tomatoes, though the rocket seemed to have launched into the stratosphere, in pursuit of my wife’s salad. However, the combination of meats was surprisingly effective, and ably assisted by full-bodied local beer The Reverend James.

Tue 18th
My beautiful wife and I joined our close friend Jason at the local mutiplex to see Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest A tad overlong, but great fun. If you’ve not seen the first film, no problem: as there’s no ‘plot’ to speak of, there’s no chance of feeling ill informed. Bill Nighy delivers a star turn, despite having an octopus for a head throughout; likewise, barnacles proved no obstacle to Geoffrey Rush’s sterling performance. It’s easy to understand that Johnny Depp has been likened to Keith Richards in this film, but I’ll admit to a slight disappointment that Depp didn’t fully realise this by taking a tumble from a coconut tree. We’re both looking forward to Pirates 3, and may even get around to seeing the first one someday…

Wed 19th
I received an outline of my pre-job interview assignment: to prepare briefing paper for a presentation/discussion with a panel. I successfully avoided soiling myself and dealt with my nervous anxiety by spending the day clothes shopping at Cribbs Causeway with the love of my life.

Thu 20th
A lazy day at The Relaxation Centre in Clifton, a first-time experience for the two of us. We sampled the outdoor hot tub, steam room, the indoor hot tub, sauna and floatation room and felt unbelievably great afterwards. I then blew it all that evening as my oldest friend Stu was in town (check out his film Outlaw in 2007). Mandatory ale quaffing in The Three Sugar Loaves and The White Lion ensued, including pints of the prophetically named Doom.

Fri 21st
The hangover from hell, accompanied by the obligatory depression and lack of motivation. We started watching a fascinating documentary on Blondie but I passed out before they’d even reached ‘The Tide Is High’ era.

Sat 22nd
I spent the morning sitting in Queens Square whilst my beloved was having her hair styled by either Toni or Guy, I’m not sure which. I wrote some prep notes for my interview briefing paper, some of them even forming coherent comments. And that was about it.

Sun 23rd
As it was a blazingly hot day, we put off going to the Ashton Court Festival until the last minute. I remember my earliest visits, when it was a sprawling, seemingly shambolic free community festival. Overflowing with pub bands, cheap lager, variations on goat curry and spicy noodles, and volunteers circulating with buckets to collect money for the following year’s event, the stumble out of the estate grounds in pitch blackness was a veritable rite of passage. How things have changed. Now, the entire event has been fenced in, lit up and corralled into submission. The £9.00 per day entry fee now offers you the likes of Simple Minds, The Go! Team and Dreadzone (though largely simultaneously), through pub bands still dominate. The latter two had headlined the previous day, so my loved one and I experienced the mighty Jim ‘Juan’ Kerr and co. I only recognised about half of Simple Minds’ songs and those that I did – ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’, a dire cover of Van Morrison’s ‘Gloria’ and the closing third encore (!) of ‘Alive And Kicking’ - were little more than extended karaoke tracks, with Kerr preferring the audience to do the work on the choruses. The sole redeeming moment was a rendition of ‘New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)’ seemingly inspired by Utah Saints’ rousing mid-1990s cover version. Apart from that, neither of us were sorry to see Simple Minds return to the ‘where are they now?’ file. Still, the walk home was fun, as we dove into the stream of human traffic heading south of the river. Along the way, pockets of inebriated, (arguably) pre-pubescent male violence broke out, causing the occasional log jam. Perhaps the festival is still a rites of passage for some, but my feelings towards Ashton Court were aptly personified by Jim Kerr: over priced, over the hill, out of touch and with an inflated sense of self-importance.

Holiday Reading:
Will Self ‘Feeding Frenzy’ (2002)
Chris Ware ‘Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid On Earth’ (2000)
Charles Burns ‘Black Hole’ (2005)
Karen Ellis ‘Planet Karen’ (2006)

Holiday Music:
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry + Dub Syndicate ‘Time Boom X De Devil Dread’ (1987)
The Go-Betweens ‘Live In London’ (2004)
David Bowie ‘Scary Monsters’ (expanded edition) (1980/1992)
The Times ‘Pure’ (1991)
The Magnetic Fields ‘69 Love Songs’ (1999)
Primal Scream ‘Riot City Blues’ (2006)
The Fall ‘The Infotainment Scan’ (expanded edition) (1993/2006)

Holiday TV:
Big Brother’s Big Mouth
Nathan Barley
Grumpy Old Holidays
Dog The Bounty Hunter


Post a Comment

<< Home