Yesterday, I was poking round my house trying semi-successfully to get some work done, but mainly failing, when my old pal Ben sent me an email. It turned out that his employers Channel 4 were celebrating the launch of their new digital radio show with a night of unsigned bands for the workers’ enjoyment. Did I want to come because he could get me a pass? I thought about another night of watching DVDs and making websites, grabbed up my coat and headed for the tube.
When I got there, I was impressed, firstly by the fact that I had seen the building before on the news and secondly that they had managed to turn the whole of the ground floor into a bar / gig environment. This guy called Tom Ravenscroft was up on stage talking about giving away some free digital radios. Something about his voice was familiar. Very familiar. Ahh, that’s right he’s John Peel’s son. He was going on about having sent his cv to channel 4 about a million times before they took him on. I was thinking, well you should have just got your dad to write a letter, but actually he was quite humorous so I decided to let him off.
Anyway, a few beers in, having met Ben’s pals and starting to settle into the vibe, I was jarred by the band that were playing. They were some crazy group of asian hipsters who concentrated a lot on what they were doing, nods of non-verbal earnest communication going on between them as they shifted keys, tempo and volumes at will. Still this seriousness didn’t really help because as far as I could make out, they were playing a discordant mess of noise, randomly plucking notes out of the air, throwing in some drum beats and an occasional ear splitting burst of oscillated synthesizer. It really was quite taxing and unlike others that stood there attempting to tap their feet and playing the latter day ‘emperor’s new clothes‘ card of ‘I don’t really like this, but I don’t want to diss it in case it’s cool’, I stood there lauging and popping off strange shoulder movements.
The other bands were alright, but I was glad when we could leave for Ben’s current haunt of Notting Hill and do some serious drinking, without jazz trumpet interfering with our anecdotes. You can have too much of a good thing and I was all media’d out by the end.
So, I spent four days running back and forth from the toilet, appalled by the pain of my increasing chafed flesh and sickened by my inability to turn innocent food into rounded nuggets of turdism, instead firing out liquid napalm which tested the strength of the enamel.
Times like these make you question whether the good lord, in his doubtful existence, is on your side. I was pretty much sure by day four that neither Krishna, Mohammed, Jehovah or Budha had my back. Still on the plus side, I was fairly confident that I could blind them with a mist of excrement before hobbling off cursing about cheap toilet paper and raging against the decline of moral standards in both their followers and wider society.
I am one of those annoying people that delight in telling other people that “I never really get ill”. I usually follow this with the time honoured ritual of touching wood, but essentially it’s true. I do not get sick. I refuse to let the little sniffles and minor headaches that push some of my comrades into bed, get me down. I soldier on through blocked nose, earache and sore throat, because that, in my belief is the best way forward. Refuse to acknowledge your human weakness, keep your mind steely and as if by magic, symptoms that seemed taxing, but an hour before, simply drift away in the higher business of pushing things forward. As such, it was a great surprise to me to get laid up in bed for four days this time. It made me think about a great many things. It made me contemplate the nature of age, the possibility of death. Most of all, it made me miss having someone around to give my manly ego sympathy and to supply me with fresh hot water bottles and bowls of steaming chicken soup.
I got ill because of a virilent little virus going around, but also I guess because I was over-working myself in the race to secure some big tenders in the run up to the big jump-off. Work, in and outside of the office has been manic of late and one too many, stay up late drinking cups of tea and proofing a proposal kind of evenings sent my immune system crashing down lower than I kept having to reach to plug in and unplug my usb key. There are lessons in that. Lessons to be learnt to stay well. Bran to be eaten to stay regular. Perhaps most significantly of all though, there are things I need to think about still further. Meditations from days of work-shirking, sofa shivering and toilet frequenting that need more pondering. I feel a shift in the mental firmament again, and that can only be an interesting thing.
I found this note folded up on a seat in the bus today. It may or may not be true:
Me name is Ronnie. Ronnie di fockin rasta innit.
Iâ€™m a big fucker â€“ six foot six in bare feet, plus a big wad of dreads that make me look nearly seven feet tall. Iâ€™m a musician but Iâ€™m not working much at the moment. Truth is Iâ€™m on the dole, I sell a bit of weed to gullible white student boys and I play bongos with a band on the weekends. Iâ€™m not actually very good, but thereâ€™s always a lot of free booze and young pussy gyrating their way towards my 36 year old body. Not that they know how old I am, or thankfully, who I am. Even with all the rum and skunk I chug through daily I still only just about look thirty. Ja be the way, bruv. I wish I really believed that indestructible optimistic shit, but Iâ€™m fairly sure that Iâ€™m on my way out.
It all started a few years ago back in London. I was an up and coming MC in the Brixton dance hall scene. Sorry if that sounds poncy, but thatâ€™s how the fuckin A n R men called it, and thatâ€™s how it was. Thing is I started on a little thing called Crack cocaine. Got really into it. Not quite enough into it to go out robbing old grannies and that, but my hunger for the filthy rock did eventually drive me to take a very dark road. A mate in the industry proppa offered me some TV work. It was good money; I burned it all up that very week in a bottle bong in Queenâ€™s Park. When I came round it gradually sunk in that I was to be known for the end of my days as A Cheap Rasta Cunt. I had sunk to the ultimate MCâ€™ing low â€“ a voice over for cheesestrings.
I though my mates would leave it alone after a couple of months, but wherever I was, whoever I was with, some fucker would always pipe up with the â€œCheap Rasta Cuntâ€ jibe, to the cheesstrings music. And everyone in the room would crack up. Even those on their way down would let loose a howl of jaundiced laughter. They were on a come down, but me, I was the lowest fucker ever born. Big up your cheesestrings, you cheap rasta cunt, they sang.
I was so embarrassed I got off the crack. Iâ€™ve moved town 6 times in 3 years. Doesnâ€™t matter though â€“ the disses seem to track me down in the end. Maybe thereâ€™s a website or somefing â€˜whereâ€™s Ronnieâ€™. Thatâ€™s why I just always seem to need one more swig of Plantersâ€™, one more bifta, and I know itâ€™s picklinâ€™ my innards. And thatâ€™s why Iâ€™ve recently decided to adopt a zero tolerance policy on all cheesestring jibes. So â€“ if youâ€™re out a party and you hear a geezer mimicking that bloody tune â€“ watch out â€˜cos if Iâ€™m there Iâ€™m going to fuckin stab some fuckers. Peace.
Well done to Mr Unholy for posting yesterday – others in the group may or may not know this, but Bolo is now one year old. Vive la bolo!
I intended to mark the event with some kind of epic wonder-post, celebrating the highs and lows of the year and outlining plans for the future (as per my usual efforts), but unfortunately on waking yesterday, I found I was stricken with horrible illness.
A few hours in the office taxed me to such a degree that I had to go home. Round about that time I realised I couldn’t walk fast. I was restricted to a leisurely jaunt. When I got home I went straight to bed. That was about two in the afternoon and I did not emerge again apart from for urination or the imbibing of liquids until today at nine in the morning. Today has been mainly spent watching DVDs, passing out and ignoring the calls of clients, who have all seen fit to leave voicemails demanding my most urgent attention. No way. I am sick and that is all there is to it.
Still, to come back to my original point, I am pleased to see that one year in and Bolo a) survives b) contains a now standard and all encompassing range of filth and degradation and c) promises much for the future. Write long and prosper muchachos.
There’s this bird at work, bit of a loon, but generally I used to think she was ok. The other day we had some confusion over whether or not she’d put something on my desk and after 5 minutes of circular discussion where she claimed not to have done, it transpired that I was right and she had.
I chuckled and called her a ‘crazy bastard’ in a genuinely affectionate sort of way, at which point she flew into some sort of super-razzy and stormed off. Despite being assured by anyone who knew me that I’d only said it because I considered her to be a mate, she refused point-blank to speak to me.
Today, the moronic bitch finally warmed a little, and as I stood in her corner of the office indulging in a bit of post-argument awkward chit-chat, she couldn’t resist dragging the whole thing back out.
‘But you don’t understand’ I pleaded, ‘It was said as banter, you know, if I really meant it I wouldn’t have said it.’ (There was logic in there somewhere).
‘You should never talk like that to a lady.’ she decreed in reply, and that was it, the classic ‘speak first, think later’ sub-routine was already executing itself –
‘Yeah of course, but you’re no lady.’
The ripple of stifled laughter in our vicinity was swiftly followed by a menacing glare and her purposeful exit from the room. Some things will never change.
I was on the tube this morning having battled my way through a veritable winter wonderland on the way down to the station. As ever, I passed out for most of the journey, my sleep on this occasion aided by the few pints I drunk last night and the kebab which I consumed which by the morning seemed to be eating me. Waking up, catching myself snoring as the doors opened for Farringdon, I heard one bloke – a design type, remark to an asian guy with a Craig David hat, a stream of advice as he headed for the exit:
“You’ve got some good ideas man, you should go for it. You’ve got the right attitude to make it work, so just do it man.”
I remember thinking ‘good stuff’ at the time. A good thing to support other people and to get fired up by a stranger’s ideas. A good thing to recognise something of yourself in someone else and want to see them realise something that maybe you realised a long time ago.
Then I spent the day in a dreadful funk. My public-sector work is particularly taxing at the moment and I feel the weight of responsibility on my narrow shoulders. The much maligned tightness in the chest from fear of failure and anxiety about my ability to make good on my newest ‘pull rabbit out of hat’ challenge. It’s ridiculous, because today I kept thinking, ‘well fuck it’, you don’t need this. There are other options open to me right now and maybe I need to make some kind of definitive action to stop the consideration and begin the action. Blot my copybook so badly that I can’t go back and am forced to press forward into the unknown.
The best way I could think to do it today, was to stand up, pull my old-style CRT monitor off the desk and throw it through the fairly thin glass of the window to my left, watch it sail down ricocheting off the walls of the central courtyard of my art-deco office block, down the couple of floors to smash in a million pieces, alarming the PAs out for a sneaky cigarette. But no, that’s not a good plan, and I thought hard about rent cheques, not burning bridges and not being seen to have gone mad in front of some people I count as friends. I quelled the urge.
Still, I think it’s probably pretty strong evidence that I should be well on the way onto something different – for better or for worse. Compulsions and bad moods like today and the recurrence of certain dreams, all point in the same direction and only a fool would argue with signs like that. Yes, it’s time to take a few risks. Time to get away from the inertia and time to move forward towards full time design work terror. The final frontier of the big jump off. As the dude on the train said: “you’ve got the right attitude to make it work, so just do it man”.
Having recently been overcome by my annual post-Christmas wallowing, I’ve found myself to be mainly devoid of anything worth sharing and, on the few occasions that I have been blessed with some thought more interesting than ‘Can I get away with not shaving for work again tomorrow?’, I’ve severely lacked the tiniest amount of motivation required to drag it out of me.
But today is different, today something happened to spur me into action – and as you’ve probably already guessed, the event in question was not something to send my soul cartwheeling out of its self-pitying attitude.
Now, I have been a member of Blockbuster video, on and off, in various parts of the country since I was 18. That’s nearly 9 years of video, DVD and computer game rentals, as well as the obligatory over-priced confectionery that prevents easy access to any given Blockbuster front desk. Also, due to my ridiculous temper that only seems to rear its deformed little head when I lose at computer games, I have been responsible for a large proportion of Blockbuster’s sales of Playstation & Playstation 2 controllers (Bennie & Soapbox especially can vouch for that).
During that time I’ve had a fair few fines, all of which have been paid the next time I venture in there. But hey, that’s part and parcel of DVD rental if you’re as laid back about that sort of thing as I am. About 2 weeks ago we had 3 films out for 2 nights, 3 being more than we’d usually rent at once, but I think we got talked into ‘taking advantage’ some kind of promotion by the twat behind the counter. As usual, they were returned a day late, but as usual I just assumed they’d sting me for it the next time I went in there.
However, this morning a letter arrived from Blockbuster head office. At first the tone was fairly polite and it lulled me into a false sense of security as I assumed that they were probably about to offer me some other kind of rental promotion. The letter went on to draw my attention to the fact that I had fines of Â£5.85 outstanding on my account from as long ago as 15 January 2007, and requested that I pay up. No real problem there, though I do find it a little forthright, especially given the size of the debt, the length of time it had been outstanding and my previous account history. But what came next did truly fuck me off.
The final paragraph basically said, ‘If you don’t pay us within 21 days we’re going to employ debt collection agents to stick jagged edged DVD cases up your cunting jap’s eye until you do.’.
Let me get this straight. I’ve been a relatively good customer of yours for some time, I’ve always paid fines in the past, and you’re threatening me with fucking debt collectors for a fucking debt of 5 fucking quid that’s been outstanding for 3 fucking weeks?
Well they can just fuck off, that’s what I say. I’ve paid the twatting fine but that’s the last ounce of cash they’ll get out of my belligerant Northern money sac. Blockbuster are a bunch of gaping arseholes, cream-pied gaping arseholes. I’m never going there again and I hope that, in a show of outraged consumer solidarity you choose to do the same.
For my own amusement and personal satisfaction, I’ve cut my card into many many tiny pieces that are currently atop my cistern. When the time comes at around 8-8:30 tomorrow morning I’ll sprinkle them gayly in the pan, before physically shitting all over them. Cunts.
This must be a record short interval between posts for me on the good site, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to reassure the public of my continued good health (and naturally now I’ve done so, my impending tropical fever).
At present, I am sitting at the only computer outside of the range of a ceiling fan, in undoubtedly the sweatiest place I have ever been: Cochin, Kerala. Honestly, it’s torrents from every pore: like a comedy cartoon character that’s just been shot full of holes and then given a gallon of water to drink.
The other notable feature of Kerala is the population of mosquitoes – quite the most voracious cloud of cunts to have ever buzzed. Despite coating myself in poison nightly, I still manage to accumulate a good dotting of (presumably kamikaze mozzie) bites: one of which recently decided to go all tropical and turn into a two-inch pus-filled grape on my ankle. And then burst, soaking my sock and sending me into a flurry of sterile dressing and crepe bandage in true hypochondriac traveller style.
As for the rest of what I’ve seen of the South, that has no place on this site – it being friendly and beautiful and so on – far too many positives. Some time later I may rant about the Aussie moron complaining to her Mum back home about rickshaw prices, and so creating buzzing in my ear like one of those bastard insects, only with upturned sentences, y’know? But not now! Laters…
Despite years of trying to find a third way – a path to enlightenment beyond controlled use of semi-controlled substances – I’ve yet to manage it. Perhaps love or the feeling of love comes close, but this in itself is pretty hard to find, very difficult to maintain and I think like good books, best left unanalysed. Either way, five to nine on a Sunday night when too much takeaway food keeps forcing me to leave the keyboard, to spend ten minutes on the ceramic throne screaming as a variety of semi-liquid matter vacates the premises, so to speak, before coming back again with the ring of fire, is no time for this level of philosophy.
What I actually wanted to say was that in the absence of the herbal remedies, I have regained a love of the beverages and have had a most excellent weekend testing my intestinal fortitude, shouting in people’s ears, and laughing a good deal. Alcohol is back in my life and like an old friend has quickly forgiven me for my lack of contact and is setting up a range of amusing encounters to add to my collection of comedy stories. Lots to say about Russian mafia heiresses, twisted lesbians, champagne curry adventures, old Blur cds on the stereo at high volume and pouring salt over wine-stained carpets, but all that is going to have to wait for another time, cos Prov is calling me to start the DVD (the most effective form of Sunday recovery) and I need to pop to the toilet again beforehand.