Tuesday, November 29, 2005

musical interlude

I bought load of new music at the weekend. Kate Bush's new album, Aerial; Can's Inner Space/ Out of Reach; Some Call it Godcore by Half Man Half Biscuit; Wilco's 1998 album, Summerteeth; An early one by Husker Du, 'New Day Rising'; and I bought Simple Minds' "Sons and Fascination" again - I have it on tape but its starting to sound a bit ragged. S reckoned it had been quite influential during the rave era.

It'll take me a while to digest all this new stuff but already some of the Can stuff sounds fantastic, and Kate Bush's new album seems as good as just about anything she's done.

I got most of this stuff from Rat Records in Camberwell - for about £3 to £6. They were playing Kraftwerk's Europe Endless while I was in there - really put me in the mood for a bit of Germany's finest.

BTW - thanks for the comment - I've corrected the error. Must have been thinking about David Bowie's "Sound and Vision" when I wrote this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Regents Canal & Bastards in cars.

About 5 minutes after I set off from home on the bike there was a bloke in a shitty little Micra pushing over the give way line to join a queue of cars at a traffic light. He kept moving when he saw me, denying me my right of way, but he was forced to stop as I got close to him.

So I cycle towards the light and they change to green. A couple of cars in front of me are indicating left and I hold back to let them go first, then I pedal forward, and it’s the fuckwit in the Micra again, on my right, indicating left. He wants to go before me even though he was behind me. I don’t let him but he keeps turning left, awkwardly because I’m in the way. Eventually he’s in front of pointing at 90 degrees to where I was trying to go, but he’s on the wrong side of the road, and its taken him twice as long as it would have done if he had waited till I’d gone.

What makes this idiot think he has the right to do this? Was it revenge for having to give way to me seconds earlier? He used the mere fact that his car was heavier and more powerful than me to force through his perceived right of way. Where I was supposed to go – or what I was supposed to do is probably not his worry.

Anyway – where I ended up on the road meant that all the cars behind were held up till I could turn the bike round and head back in the direction I intended.

After that, apart from a some arsehole who didn’t indicate on a roundabout – leaving me guessing what his intentions were – I had a pretty good journey into work.

Its sunny, but cold.

I went for drink with my friend K. the other day. He’s been in Spain a year now and apparently had forgotten what winter is like here. He didn’t believe that in mid winter it gets dark at 3.30 pm, or that it is getting dark around 4.30 at the moment.

He does now, as he has a building job in Kent and has to cope with the fact that the light disappears so early.

I had a meeting at work yesterday which allowed me to cycle along the canal path from Hackney to Islington. Apart from marauding joggers it was very nice. I felt calm. It was all that water, greenery, cats and the smell of burning wood from the boats.

Not my pictures by the way - "borrowed" from other web sites.

London looks completely different from the canal. Not quite as shitty. You can’t see the traffic, nor the crappy identikit high streets, the filthy roads and pavements. What you see are small business, quirky pubs and cafes, other cyclists, boat people, joggers, and people dossing about on the canal paths. You also get to see the raggedy back sides of houses, flats and offices. They all look a little bit more human from the back end.

The only problem is that the canal path disappears at Angel, Islington (above) as the canal enters a long tunnel. Otherwise I’d have been able to follow the canal all the way to Paddington, where the meeting was. But I had to leave the path behind and join the road system. On the way into Kings Cross I nearly got run over as a road went off to the left. I wanted to go straight on and all the traffic wanted to go left. No-one indicated. No-one considered the fact that I might not want to turn left. I continued on and cars turned left in front of me until I realised they weren’t going to stop and I would probably be killed. So I stopped, turned to face the traffic and faced the fuckers down. The cars in front stopped and I carried on shouting at the top of my voice “I don’t want to turn left – I don’t have to you know” followed by “cunts”.

I calmed down again though.

www.mike-stevens.co.uk/.../ regents/regmap.htm

The meeting was Ok – two hours long and I had nothing to contribute. Then the ride home was the old route I use dto take when I worked at Paddington. Around Marble Arch roundabout. I managed to get aggro from two buses almost at once. One beeped me as I stopped just in front of the lights cos he thought I was going to pull out in front of him. So I shouted abuse at him. Then the bus behind me beeped cos the lights had changed, and I hadn’t noticed, so I shouted abuse at him, and gave him hand signals too. Then I realised that the first bus must have beeped cos he knew he was jumping the lights and therefore needed to let me know I had to stop. I was stopping anyway – I haven’t got a death wish. But that explains why I was taken by surprise when the lights changed so quickly after I stopped. I probably wouldn’t have had to stop if it wasn;t for the psycho bus driving cunt playing roulette with other peoples’ lives.

Then I went on the cycle path through Hyde Park, across Hyde Park Corner, nearly running over the inevitable idiot not looking before he crossed the cycle path.
I’m glad I don’t do that route any more – it was stressful. A lot of shouting involved as well as fighting to get into and stay into the right lane round Victoria way, and at Vauxhall Cross.

This morning I had another meeting. Nearly all the same people, same room, and I had nothing to contribute.
On the way I discovered a new
stink pipe, on the north side of Oval Cricket Ground. It’s a fairly dirty looking one. Now I need to arrange to get its picture taken.
After the meeting I got yet another nice ride along the tow path. There were no joggers today, but plenty of cyclists.

Friday, November 11, 2005


After what looked like a return to summer a couple of weeks ago, the weather has finally turned to winter. There are threats of an extremely cold winter this year - but the chances are pretty low. More likely the fuel companies are encouraging a panic, via the media, in order for them to justify whacking up gas and electricity price yet again.

We stuck our car in for a service. Its something I'm always nervous to do - for two reasons. The first, fear of a massive bill, the second, the staff in the service station making me feel like a salted slug for knowing fuck all about the insides of a car.

It ended up pretty badly. The bill came to over £1400 and the garage were particularly arsey about a couple of items of work we declined to have done. One of those jobs was the window - it had been blocked off for some time with a wooden block - would have cost over £200 to put right. I said we didn't need it fixed that badly so the fuckers put the window back without the block. The window dropped into the door and we were driving about London with a plastic bag selotaped over where the window used to be.

We've got it sorted now. But just before that my bike died too. So I was without a car or a bike for about a week. I ended up buying a new Giant for about £150. Its worth £180.

Me and S have been trying to broaden our horizons recently. We tried our hands at Thai green curry the other day. A trip to the Chinese supermarket for ingredients - and we found a jar of Hot Shito.

There was no shito in our curry - it was fantastic, and now I'm a convert to Thai cuisine.

We also had to buy a new cooker as our old one caught fire after the grill was left on too long. I won't lay the blame on anyone for this incident. So it was a relief to be the recipients of a brand new double oven cooker on Saturday.

I cooked pasties last night. I am from Devon don;t you know, so I believe pasties are in my blood. After research on several websites I settled on shortcrust pastry, with a filling of lamb, potatoes, swede and onion. The Swede was labelled "loose Swede" - made me laugh anyway.

The pasties were fantastic, although I didn't take a picture.

American pasties Cornish pasties extreme pasty fan

S has supplied me with a basil plant for adding to my lunch at work.

You've been warned

We went to see The Fall last week in Islington with a couple of friends. MES wasn't particularly keen to interact with the audience - the only thing I heard him say was something sarcastic about the venue selling Carling. It's called Carling Academy Islngton and had Carling logos all over the walls.

MES passed out after about 5 songs and the band carried on without him. Still, they were excellent.