The Big Man Restless

Sunday, October 24, 2004
I'm getting more excited, and at the same time more nervous about the new Windypops club night. I'm slightly disappointed to be given the 8 to 9.30 slot on the opening night (will anyone be there then?) but if it is quiet at least I won't have a lot of people complaining if they don't like it. Of course it's a great shame that they'll miss out on my well planned 6 record run of absolute guaranteed floor fillers but there you go.

This is now the publicity currently reads:

Windypops! - Super Dooper Launch Night
Monday, 8th November - 8pm til 2am
Brand new and exclusive to the area, Windypops is the East End's ONLY alternative club night, with an emphasis on fun and frivolity over cool and an absence of jollity.
The music policy is fun and funky, indie and pop from PJ Harvey to PJ and Duncan and everything in between - if you can dance to it; we'll play it.
Human League, Pulp, Soft Cell, Le Tigre, Tina Turner, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Beatles, Kate Bush, Shampoo, Voice Of The Beehive, Bowie, Radiohead, Kylie, The Jackson Five, Chicks On Speed and lots, lots more. Strictly no Travis, Muse or Coldplay.
Every week we'll be delving into a range of DJ's record bags and coming up with some of the funkiest, funniest frolics possible. This club is for people that enjoy good music and cheap booze without the hassle of having to visit the West End on a Monday night.
Anyone and everyone is welcome... you needn't know your A-has from your Elbows.
Playing the music that you'll be jumpin' and guzzlin' to, will be regulars Telco (aka RockJohn; Marvellous, Rocktronica), IanH (Retro Bar) (ooh that's me!) and JunkLady, along with other guests.

Sunday, October 17, 2004
I really think a corner has been turned. Things are looking up - let us hope that these floating ideas become solid reality, although the fact that mere opportunities have cheered me up so much has to be a good sign. On Friday I came home to the idea / offer of a new club night starting of which I may be one of the DJs, I sent the organisers a set list of the sort of things I'd like to play, and they said it was perfect, aside from "Pop Muzik" which I am sure is just their little joke. How could I do a DJ set without it? My fan would be disappointed for one.

I also had an offer to start a regular review column in a magazine, which was excellent news. I've again sent a requested piece in and I'll see what happens.

I also won the lottery. What more could a man want?

Monday, September 20, 2004
I always said I would never been seen dead in a gym. Or alive. But now, I've done something I've never done before. I have purchased some sports gear, not for wearing at weird kit fetish nights, but for sporting use. Whatever next? Being lazy and easily bored I have still resisted joining a gym so I've gone for swimming. So off I went to buy some trunks and goggles (and nose clip - being a delicate soul I can't stand water up my nose). I also emailed a gay swimming group as I don't really know anything about leisure centres these days. I will probably pop along to one of their sessions. I try and visit them even less frequently than the dentist. I looked online and there seemed to be bizarre timetables of when one was allowed in the pool. Being extremely out of condition I just wanted something nice and simple to ease myself back in, maybe one of the pensioners sessions would suit me. And I'm worried about being laughed at of course. Still - given time I may get a flatter stomach and not feel so self-conscious. Could this me a new me..?

Saturday, September 18, 2004
I have volunteered to attend an NHS Expert Patients programme. This is set up for people with chronic health conditions as a way to help them manage their lives better. For some reason it always slips my mind when faced with collections of "the public" how stupid a lot of them are. The first task to flummux some was arriving - the programme kicked off at 2pm and some wandered in at 3.30 . The second was name badge writing. A sheet of address labels was circulated with which to write our names on and to stick them to our clothing. "Which side do I write on?" asked the first idiot. Another tried to write his name in the space where someone had already moved a sticker and spent a frustrating (for him, amusing for me) few minutes trying to peel his "badge" off.

I didn't learn much, it only re-inforced my misanthropy, but at least it got me out of bloody work for a Friday afternoon - and for the next 5 to come.

Sunday, September 12, 2004
Anyone who can recall my early blogs will know how I hate buses, especially the crappy service provided by the 225 in South-East London. However yesterday I was forced onto the damn things as I wanted to go to the record fair at Olympia and the District and Circle lines were shut because of engineering works.

Travelling in London by bus is actually one of the best ways to get to know the city. My geographical knowledge of it is rather limited. I can tell you where most of the record shops are, but have little idea of how close Reckless in Islington is to Reckless in Camden Town. So, through no choice of my own it has to be said, I decided to spend all of Saturday travelling by bus.

There is so much I never knew about - some of it awful. As the number 9 approached Knightsbridge station I saw in huge letters the words to turn any aesthete's stomach. No not Timothy Spall (who's face makes me feel ill) but Burberry. There was a huge Burberry superstore. In Knightsbridge of all places. Of course I did not go in, I did not want to risk the nauseau, but I found the outside most peculiar. Instead of pictures of chavs there were the usual windswept models one would find on any respectable store, half-wearng clothes that I would never associate with the revolting brand. Needless to say I did not notice any windows (though I may have still been reeling from the shock of the existence of this disgusting place), one could not actually see into the shop. I feel a weird compulsion to go back there (albeit prepared) - and write up a more thorough investigation - watch this space.

The fair itself was lacklustre, although I was pleased the woman with the £5 Beatles bootlegs was back. I wish I'd known who had chosen the awful music music that was on a loop in there. There is a strange phenomenon with music in shops. Away from the megastores of course and into the dark side of the second hand shops one could be forgiven for thinking the most popular band in Britain are The Fall followed by Captain Beefheart. Now I don't mind either of them in small doses, but a life without melody must be a very odd life indeed. I wonder if these people secretly harbour tuneful music at home yet only bring into work things that will (a)impress their colleagues and (b) annoy their casual customers?

Monday, September 06, 2004
I needed to buy a new mobile phone. I never wanted one to begin with, but my
mother got a buy one get one free offer and I ended up with one. Now the
battery no longer holds it's charge, it conks out if I try to call someone
and it's useless if I needed to use it in an emergency.

I must have been asleep when the world decided that a mobile phone is not a
communications device for talking to people on. It's now a "lifestyle" item
and does many, many things that no one ever wanted or needed their regular
house phone to do.

If I want to take photographs I will use a camera. If I want to listen to
the radio I will use a radio. I'm not upset that I can not make telephone
calls on my watch or text message my friends with a torch. Yet when looking
at phones I was offered MP3s, torches, radios, games, internet access, video
texting ("Such fun!" apparently) and colour monitors. Not once was I told
how clear reception would be, what volume calls would be received at or
anything much at all related to actual telephonic communication.
People have laughed at my current mobile. Did this happen in the 1970s? Did
phone snobs visit friends who did not have trim phones and laugh at them (or
vice versa perhaps)?
My one concession to mobile technology is text messaging, mainly because
it's often cheaper to convey a simple "I'll be home in 30 min." message this
way. I feel no need to embroider such messages with a quick video clip of
myself, "humorous" sound effects or a polyphonic bloody ring tone (though if
one exists for Pop Muzik I will of course eat my words and annoy everyone
with the introduction to it every time I get a call).

Sunday, September 05, 2004
I don't know what really caused it. Maybe it's a (hopefully premature) mid-life crisis. But for every Saturday in September I've decided to do something I've never done before. Last night I went to a sex club - The Hoist. I knew the only way I'd actually go to it and not talk myself into yet another Saturday night of looking at eBay for Brad Davis memorabilia was to go with someone else, so I am very grateful to my friend Marc for agreeing to go with me and metaphorically hold my hand.

I'm not really sure what I expected but it certainly was not what I found. It all seemed so dated, the first Saturday of every month is "skinhead" night - which, in 2004, sounds quite quaint. "Scally" is the new "skinhead" on the gay scene (as far as I can tell), which is a shame as a Fred Perry will always look nicer than the disgusting patterns of Burberry and and nasty sovereign rings. The cult of appearing downwardly mobile on the gay scene is a very strange one - and obviously full of self-loathing and lusting for the unobtainable (i.e. straight men) something I've never really bought into, although I can understand it up to a point. The Hoist was very dark. Perhaps no surprise there. What did surprise me was the smell. It wasn't a sexy testosterone filled smell but one of cigars and leather. Another blast from the gay past, or rather one that has never really died off. I had never seen (well half seen as it was so dark) so many Muir caps and chaps. But then I am a virgin when it comes to these places. So the evening went on. I felt more and more inadequate seeing half naked torsos, flat stomachs and defined chests. I kept my top resolutely on. There seemed to be 3 sets of dress - leather, skinhead and a smattering of uniforms. I'd tried to keep a foot in two camps (no pun intended) by wearing half army gear and half skinhead gear. I was not alone in this of course, so I had no unique "selling point". No one paid me any attention - after all there was bound to be someone more attractive around the next corner. Not having been on the "cruisy" scene for years I'd forgotten the attitude problems. No one smiled. No one apologised if they bumped into you (well I did if I did it, no one did to me). And if I dared to glance at someone they would turn their head away so quickly I thought they would get whiplash.

Needless to say the music was diabolical. I heard a thumpy thumpy dance track and spent about half an hour trying to remember what it was. It turned out to be a cover of Land Of Confusion by Genesis. The night went on and I felt more and more uncomfortable, displaced and miserable. I left at 1.30AM (it went on until 4) and (perhaps inevitably) got chatted up by a man who left at the same time as me. I told him of my misgivings and he told me to "love myself because [I was] beautiful". So thank you Cliff (no not that one) for a least bringing a smile to me face.

Roll on next Saturday - I'm not sure what I will do or where I will go. It certainly will not be to the Hoist.