Sunday, December 19, 2004


(0 more posts)

"...My farewell e-mail reads:
Farewell to thee
I'll pass through your world with ease
Like wind blowing through the leaves

My head they tried to wreck
And i just laughed and said:
Guess who lost the go in the go for it..."


This party's over. I'm going home. 

(1 more post before shutdown)

So this is it. The end of the line. All change. After nine months of posting, it's time to go.

I'm going to post this, post the final post, turn off the computer and kill another drink? for good.

I hate goodbyes. They make me feel sick. And besides - I'm off out to the pub one last time with the lads in a bit, and there'll be enough real goodbyes there to break my heart without having to go through it all here with you.

I will say this though. I hope you've enjoyed reading. I hope you've been informed, educated, and most of all entertained. I hope everything works out; I hope things just keep getting better. Take care. And always remember: dreams never end. The sun also rises.



(2 more posts before shutdown)

I want to cry. I want a drink.


I've just realised something... 

(3 more posts before shutdown)

...Nobody blogs at the weekend. Here I am on an inescapable deadline (sometime this afternoon the computer will be turned off, the leads unplugged, the monitor and tower thing and keyboard and speakers and printer packed into boxes), here I am on my last day of blogging, my last day in London, my last day of living alone... here I am with three more posts to go EVER: and nobody's there.

After today I won't even be able to read your comments or access my email for a couple of weeks. It takes that long to transfer a broadband account at Christmas, apparently.

So that leaves me here, alone, talking to people who can't listen. I'm a voice in the wilderness; I'm the man behind the soundproof glass; I'm... I'm that guy you walk past in the street, slumped against a doorway in the rain with an upturned hat on the floor and a dog on a string, shouting at you, desperately trying to make you understand, furiously trying to tell you something. And nobody's listening. Walk on by, baby. Don't look back.


There's always a price 

(4 more posts before shutdown)

Endings, beginnings. They're inseparable, they're yin and yang, two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other. They're... symbiotic.

Of course I'm excited about Oxford. Of course the idea of spending the rest of my life with The One has me looking forward to every single moment of it. Of course I want to get out of my flat in North London and into the House of Laughter and Forgetting on the banks of the Isis... but I'm still sad about leaving London. I've got advanced nostalgia for it already. I'm sad about the fact that my spontaneous drinking with P and S and N and M and Ourkid simply won't happen again. I'm sad that we're not going to win another quiz night in the pub together; I'm sad about the fact that our Wednesday night European football sessions won't happen again. I'm sad that S won't be popping in for a cup of tea or a bottle of wine at random times of the day or night again. I'm happy as a boy can be that I'm moving in with The One... but I'm sad that there's a price to pay for it. And there is a price. There's always a price.

Endings are the price we pay for beginnings. Sadness is the price we pay for being happy. You can't start a new life without leaving an old life behind.


London Bridge to Highbury Corner 

(5 more posts before shutdown)

I came back from The One's for the last time just now. London was beautiful. On the 43 bus from London Bridge... the pale winter sun dancing silver and gold off the Thames - east all the way to the mini-Manhattan of Canary Wharf, past the clumsy stateliness of Tower Bridge and about 2,000 years of history; west towards the Tate Modern and St Pauls, the crucifix on top of the dome golden and too bright too look at, and beyond to Blackfriars, the South Bank, Waterloo, Parliament, with the Millennium Wheel just visible in the background... and then on through the city and Moorgate, past the weird mix of imposing ancient and brash chrome-and-glass modern... even the lopsided jumble of Old Street, the faded grandeur of The Angel Islington and the flotsam and jetsam of Upper Street on a Sunday morning looked kind of beautiful.

London looked like it looked the first time I ever saw it.


Friday, December 17, 2004

My flat 

(6 more posts before shutdown)

I'm having a Friday night in. Woohoo! Jingle bells! etc

On the other hand, however, I'm also in rather a reflective mood. This will be my last night in alone EVER in my flat. I moved here in 1999, just as things went horribly awry with The Anti-One, and if my first few months here were horribly unhappy and my last year-and-a-bit here really very happy indeed, the time inbetween has been... a state of some ambivalence.

I work here too, of course. This is my home and my office (my home office). There have been times - whole weeks nearly - when, thanks to a surfeit of Duty Free cigarettes and alcohol, I've not so much as stepped outside for days on end. There have been other times when I've hardly been at home at all. I've thrown up and had sex in every room in this flat. I've fallen asleep or passed out in every room in this flat. And one time on the stairs outside. I can direct taxi drivers to this flat from central London - in my sleep. My postman, the square caretaker, the newsagent, corner shop owner, post office man, Chinese takeaway lady, the bloke in the chipshop and two greengrocers all say hello when they see me. My insane turkish barber once bought me a pint in the local pub.

My most promiscuous and most lonely years were spent fucking or not fucking people in this flat. I've fucked strangers, work colleagues, friends and one chick whose name I didn't even know here. (She spent precisely 58 minutes in my flat - I know that because I put a Faithless album on when we arrived and it finished just as she left.) I've fucked a lot of people I didn't really care about or even liked that much here. But I've spent more time wishing I was fucking here than actually fucking here.

I've spent more hungover days in this flat than anywhere else I've lived - and I've drunk more here by myself than anywhere else I've lived. I learned how to drink alone here... roughly at the same time as I learned how to work alone. (I should have written something about the pleasures of drinking alone. I probably won't now - or if I do, you'll have to pay to read it, like everyone else.)

And this is my last night here alone. I've got the bottle of red, naturally, and there is a little vodka to finish off if required. By rights I should be in a pair of shorts playing Grand Theft Auto and eating a bargain bucket of fried chicken and either fucking or not fucking someone I don't really like that much, too. Or passed out in the kitchen. Or some sordidly enticing combination of all the above.

Instead... instead of that I've wrapped some christmas presents, packed some boxes with essential reference books (The Guinness Book of Hit Singles, the Virgin Encyclopedia of Pop, a Stone Roses biography, a thesaurus), made myself a curry and put a last load of washing in. Of course, it is only half ten, the night is young, there's still time for all that... but if I'm being honest (I'm always honest - it's my saving grace, my heroic flaw) the night won't end in one last goodbye-to-the-flat blowout. Apart from anything else I don't want to fuck anyone other than The One ever again. I'd rather eat roasted vegetables with her than fried chicken on my own. I'd rather wake up next to her than on the sofa, or the floor, or the stairs. She doesn't really get PlayStation, obviously, and I'm not about to say goodbye to drinking too much yet, but then you can't have everything. The point is: I'm ready. I'm ready to say goodbye to my flat. I'm ready for the next place.


Guns of Brixton 

(7 more posts before shutdown)

Last night contained two firsts.

We went to see The Charlatans at Brixton, courtesy of a friend who sorted us with free tickets and aftershow passes; and after the gig, as we hung around by the VIP bit waiting to flash our laminates and get shown through, I met my first groupie. (I say "first" here as in "the first I've met", not as in "the first of many I will meet", natch.)

She was, admittedly, gorgeous. Blonde, willowy, shitfaced... everything a boy could ask for. She grabbed me round the waist and whispered into my ear: "what does a girl have to do to get backstage round here?". I was too taken aback to think of anything clever to say in reply, and besides, The One was stood right next to me, looking murderous. "Umm, you need a pass," was about the best I could manage.

Brilliantly, she then turned to The One herself: "You're a girl," she said, "you know what it's like - can you get me backstage?"

The One told her in no uncertain terms to go fuck herself. The groupie's comeback was perfect. "Looks like I'm going to have to at this rate..."

As if all that wasn't enough excitement for one night, as we finally reeled out of the party at 1-30 or so and into the nearest minicab office we nearly got shot. All seemed fine - the old geezer behind the counter stated a price, we agreed, he pointed to a row of cars outside and indicated we should get in one. We did. The owner of the car went ballistic.

It turned out that the one car we picked, casually letting ourselves in and telling the driver "Blackheath please mate - and can you turn up the radio?", wasn't actually one of the waiting minicabs at all, but just some bloke. His door shot open, our doors were flung open... "get out my fuckin' car you cunts!" he yelled. As we stumbled out, the real minicab driver appeared and pushed the man back against his own bonnet.

"Don't you call my customers cunts!"

"Your customers got in my fuckin' car, you cunt!"

"Who you calling a cunt?"

Meanwhile a third minicab driver told us to get in his car and hurry up about it. We did. As we drove off we saw the first man indicate a shooter in his waistband.

Groupies and guns and rock 'n' roll all in one night. This, children, is what you get when you go south of the River.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Neither fast nor furious 

(8 more posts before shutdown)

By the way, can I just say that it's rather difficult to concentrate on writing a profile of Britain's most successful post-ironic punk-pop girlband when the gayest film in the world ever is on in the background. Vin Diesel - I mean, really. Stop kidding yourself! Get out of your muscle car and kiss him, you fool!


Indian summer 

(9 more posts before shutdown)

Another bottle of wine tonight. (Chilean white - I am nothing if not democratic in my drinking; global even - and I feel guilty visiting vineyards from the same continent two nights running. I guess in that sense I'm like some kind of hoary Rolling Stones world tour: if it's Wednesday, it must be South America - "helloooo Santiago!")

I keep meaning to have a night off the sauce - and then something keeps happening to send me back to the pub and the off-license, to revisit the corkscrew and the glass. Last night it was S and his following of the star to my flat (I bring Gold, Frankincense and... Booze!); tonight it was getting a phone call asking for 1,600 words on Girls Aloud by tomorrow afternoon.

Trust me bambini, that kind of shit can't be written sober; that kind of deadline can't be met clearheaded.

My nightly insobriety is nothing new, of course; I've been drunk just about every night since I turned 18, but of late I've increasingly come to realise that I'm no longer the most together person of all the people I'm drinking with. In fact, these days I always seem to be the most drunk.

On Sunday P, N, S, P's mate S2 and I met in a pub in London's fashionable East London for a few beers and the top-of-the-table Arsenal Chelsea match. Naturally the tension of the occasion demanded the drinking pace be quite, well, demanding; and of course as the match progressed and tensions rose, the pace increased. After final whistle we decamped to another pub (one where people weren't actually fighting) and had a few more. And by the time last orders came around I was shitfaced. I mean - arseholed. Mullered. Banjaxed. Off my fucking tits.

Everyone else seemed ok. Everyone else, in fact, was amused by just how pissed I was. And it didn't make any sense. I couldn't understand it. The whole thing was quite... confusing.

Time was when even as all hell broke loose around me I'd still have enough shit about me to find a taxi, to order the right kind of kebab, to wake up (most of the time) with the right person and in roughly the right environs. Time was it was always someone else who fell over first, someone else who threw up first, someone else who had to be shown the door or escorted home. These days... these days that person has been me an awful lot.

You'd think one would build up a tolerance, not have that tolerance eroded over time. You'd think that after years of practising, I'd be able to drink for real by now, keep it together for longer. In the logical course of events you'd think I'd start as the pissed friend and end up as the together friend, not the other way around, surely?

Not that I'm concerned of course. Not concerned in any "we're concerned about you" way. I mean, it's a bit embarrassing being the most pissed and all, but hey, whatever. In fact, I'm considering it a last blowout. As from five days time my life will be all vegetables and country air and quiet nights in by the log fire and shit anyway. These are... my salad days. My dog days. This is my Indian Summer.


another list? 

(10 more posts before shutdown)

In the absence of anything new or interesting to tell you about, and in the interests of letting the death scene milk itself for a while, I'm going to follow the time-honoured tradition of making a list rather than actually doing anything. This post will teach you nothing; it will enrich your lives in almost no way whatsoever; it probably won't even hold your interest to the end... but it will give you an insight into my day. You lucky things.

So. Things I did today.

1. Made a list of things to do today.
2. Watched Tony Blair on This Morning, followed by Darius on This Morning. That's right - our Prime Minister appeared with Philip and Fern (just after an item on preparing roast potatoes). And he wasn't even top billing.
3. Started to sort through the contents of the sideboardy thing I keep my decks on top of. Filled three bin bags full of rubbish, including utility bills from 1999 and no less than four incomplete decks of cards.
4. Took a break from that to furiously smoke cigarettes, drink about a litre of coffee and try not to cry after coming across a bundle of letters from The Anti-One... including her final letter in which she apologised for ruining my life.
5. Came very close to keeping the letters. Then burned them.
6. Went out and bought more fags. Wore biggest coat and woolly hat to disguise the fact that I hadn't actually had a shower today. Or bothered to really look in the mirror in any significant manner.
7. Took a phone call - from a magazine I've not written for before - asking me if I would be a laddish agony uncle for them. Pointed out that I'm already exactly that for another magazine. They said it wasn't a problem. Told them - in that case, I'm listening...
8. Filled a binbag with clothes for the Charity Shop.
9. Filled another binbag with old trainers.
10. Had an enormously frustrating conversation with a simpleton in a call centre in Newcastle about transferring my broadband connection on Monday when I move. Managed to stop myself using the phrase "Shut up and just listen, you Geordie bitch..." but only just.
11. Printed off all outstanding invoices.
12. Took them to the post office, along with 22 Christmas cards for commissioning editors - frankly I couldn't care less just how merry their Christmas is, as long as they remember to commission me again afterwards. (And the cards, postage etc are tax-deductable.)
13. Wrapped The One's present.
14. Gave up on doing anything constructive, noted it was 6pm, watched The Simpsons.
15. Took a call from S - he was at the bottom of my road with two bottles of Australian white. Hurrah!
16. Drank two bottles of Australian white with S whilst taking the piss out of CSI Miami.
17. Watched Fistful of Dollars and finished off my last bottle of Baileys.
18. Idly surfed for porn for a while... but my heart wasn't in it. Will there be porn after The Move, I wonder? Considered finishing off my last bottle of vodka - and then looked at the time and thought better of it.
19. Sat and made a list of things I did today.
20. Err, there is no 20.


Monday, December 13, 2004

Everything's going to be as beautiful as I feel it will be 

(11 more posts before shutdown)

And now we enter our last week. Despite the pessimism of some it seems that exactly one week from now The One and I will be drinking champagne and eating fish and chips in the House of Laughter and Forgetting on the banks of the Isis in the City of Dreaming Spires.

"Our" last week. That's "our" as in - my last week in London. My last week blogging. Your last week reading anything (new) on here. Our last week together. You and me - we're on a deadline, baby, we've got one eye on each other and the other on the clock. After next Sunday... well, it's all new for me, and all old for you. The woods decay, the woods decay and fall. The sky bruises - and we must be gone!

Let us sit upon the floor, and tell sad tales of the death of Kings...

So, will I miss you? Of course I'll miss you. I'll read you, naturally, but (for me at least) reading is nothing compared to... being read. Your comment book, your email, it's ok - but it's nothing compared to... being read by you. I'll miss pissing you off (hunny), I'll miss provoking you (kitzi, raspberry), I'll miss making the same cultural references (newly). I'll miss making you wish you were more pissed, more hungover, more arsey and obnoxious and arrogant (everyone). I'll miss wondering if in different circumstances I could pull you (everyone else). Which is not to say I won't still wonder what it would be like to have sex with any of you (I wonder what it would be like to have sex with almost everyone I meet, read, see, listen to, or hear about)... just that I won't wonder so specifically.

When I started this The One and I had been an item for about five months. And about nine months later we're moving in and my whole life has changed. When I started this I called her The One from the start - and in retrospect it's obvious why. I obviously knew. I was obviously, well, right. It's interesting though - the first other blogs I read were Si and Newly - and both were attempts to chronicle the aftermath of a breakup. Si quit his after he got over his breakup; Newly recently talked of doing the same. In nine months everything changed for them. The next blog I started reading was Tamara and Allie. Allie doesn't even post anymore; and Tamara has fallen in love. Nine months - everything changed. I've wondered a few times exactly what the purpose of these online journals are and it seems to me they're (the interesting ones at least) chronicles of change. They're snippets of lives in flux, is what they are. Even if at the time of starting, the change isn't planned, comprehended or anticipated. All good blogs are about change. And once that change is achieved... well then the blogs decay, the blogs decay and fall.

I'll say this though... and then I won't dwell on endings until the end: everything I've said is true. And everything I've said I've meant. And I miss Allie. And I'll miss talking to you. And I've been drunk for, ooh, 70 per cent of my posts. And I'm banjaxed now. And I hope everything's going to be as beautiful as I feel it will be. And I know everything's going to be as beautiful as I feel it will be.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Good Life 

(12 more posts before shutdown)

So then! Finally... The One and I have exchanged contracts on our Dream Home in Oxford - the House of Laughter and Forgetting, as I've now dubbed it. We pack up her two cats and Terminator X the goldfish and wave two fingers at London for the last time on December 20th. From then on it's Tom and Barbara all the way...

On the way to a tres swanky magazine's Christmas party last night we stopped in at John Lewis to look at kitchens. The fridges and ovens, sinks and worktops - they were easily far more exciting than the free cocktails and all-you-can-eat canapes that followed. What does this say about me? That I'm old enough to get more excited about a Smeg fridge than I am about gratis alcohol? Or that my familiarity with free caparinhas has finally bred contempt for them?

Today I've given up on doing any actual work. So we've got a whole shitload of fees and expenses and bills and mortgage payments to make... whatever. I'm surfing for fitted bathroom designs!

(BTW - I move in 11 days; there are (after this) 11 more posts before shutdown. Anyone else think sometimes there is harmony in the Universe after all?)


Dude! Sweet! 

(13 more posts before shutdown)

I'm not normally one to post things I've read elsewhere... but I couldn't resist this. From this week's popbitch:

>> Celebrity California Stupids <<
Gwen is, like, oh my god, dude...

Gwen Stefani on songwriting:

"Tony called me and I was like, 'Dude, I suck.' And he was like, 'Dude, come over.' So I went to his house and a bunch of our friends there were playing these tracks that Tony was doing that were, like, stupid. I was like, "You did not do these." And he's like, 'Yep, you wanna hear your tracks?' And I was like, 'Nuh-uh, you did not.' So he pulls out this one and I'm like, 'Oh my God, that's my song.' "

Thanks, Gwen...


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The end of Harry Potter 

(14 more posts before shutdown)

Jesus. You people. Methinks the ladies doth protest too much?

The last thing I'm going to say on the subject is this: my main objection to little Harry, the thing I say about how immersing yourself in pretend, simpleton worlds stops adults thinking properly, stops them thinking for themselves... the blustering indignance, the frantic naysaying, the kneejerk agression of your responses all go to prove exactly my point.

And that will be the very last rant on this blog. Admit it - you love it, you dirty cows.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Sucking Robbie Williams' cock 

(15 more posts before shutdown)

Over heard on the bus today, around 3-30pm, as we passed a billboard advertising Robbie Williams' Greatest Hits album:

First 13-year-old schoolgirl (SG1): Robbie! He's well fit! I love Robbie!
Second... etc (SG2): I love him more! I love you Robbie!
SG1: I love you Robbie! You fit motherfucker!
SG2: I'd fuck him!
SG1: Ewww! I wouldn't fuck him. He's a slag innit. I'd suck his cock though.
SG2: I'd suck his cock and then fuck him.
SG1: Would not.
SG2: I fuckin' would.
SG1: Not if I sucked his cock first.
SG2: Slag.
SG1: Bitch.
SG2: Fuck off slag.
SG1: You fuck off bitch.

...and so on, for the length of Upper Street in Islington (a good 10 minutes at that time in the afternoon).

I was the only one on the bus laughing.



(16 more posts before shutdown)

*Why People Who Read Harry Potter Are Dangerous Social Inadequates And Are Probably Responsible In No Small Way For How Fucked Up Things Are Getting Globally.

Okay, so the last rant wasn't the very last rant after all. It never is though, is it? Like the last dance, the last fuck, the last drink... there's always an encore, always one for the road. Well, blame a certain Raspberry for this one. She, literally, asked for it.

I hate Harry Potter. I mean, I don't hate anything, really, but I hate that little four-eyed shit. I hate the people who read him, anyway. The adults who read him.

It's not a religion thing - worship who the fuck you want, kids - it's a... social adequacy thing. What I hate is the fact that adults, grown-ups, decision-makers, family-raisers, voters, the people who are supposed to be running things, read Harry Potter and think it's simply marvellous. It's a children's book. It's a book for children. And I don't care how well they're written, children's books are children's books for a good goddamn reason.

In the world of Harry and chums, things are very simple - there's yer good guys; and there's yer bad guys. There's left and right, right and wrong, black and white. The good guys always win. The bad guys always get their comeuppance. It's Scooby Doo, basically. (If it wasn't for those meddlin' kids...) It's a simplified, childish view of reality. It's not reality at all. It's a make-believe world.

In the real world, the world adults have to deal with, have to create and form and make better for their children, things don't work like that. The good guys aren't all good, the bad guys aren't all bad. Right and wrong are often matters of opinion, or geography, or religion, or upbringing, or luck. There are no black or white decisions - only varying shades of grey. And those trying to do the right thing don't always succeed. And those doing the wrong thing don't always get their comeuppance. Sometimes... bad things happen to good people, and the beautiful die young, and the innocent get fucked and the devil takes the last bow. Sometimes shit ain't fair, kids, and that's the world.

Dealing with that, understanding that, is what being an adult is all about.

Adults who read Harry Potter, however, kidults, to use a particularly tabloid phrase, they don't want to believe in the real world. They read children's books because they want things to be black-and-white again, they want the world to be clear-cut and obvious, with clearly defined good guys and clearly defined bad guys. They want to know (for example) that every Iraqi is a terrorist (hey - guess what? NO Iraqis are terrorists! No Iraqi has ever perpetrated a violent act against the United States unless in self defence! None! Ever!); they want to know (for example) that their Western, relatively modern (in theological terms) religious belief system is superior and more correct than any others and that that knowledge gives them the right to forcibly impose that religious belief system upon everyone else; they want to know (for example) that the use of Napalm against civilians in Fallujah is justified because of... because of all of the above. Because we're nice democratic Western Christians and they're a bunch of raghead heathen bastards. Because we're the good guys and anyone who isn't us is a bad guy.

Adults who immerse themselves in children's books so much as has happened with Harry Potter are blindly groping towards a childish view of things, they're running away from all the grey areas that make up the real world. They're trying to escape having to deal with reality - in all its difficult, morally-complicated, brain-hurting, conscience-examining, thought-provoking forms. They're trying to escape having to THINK.

And that's why I hate the little fucker. He's stopping adults from thinking properly, from thinking for themselves.

(It's not just young Harry of course - but he started it. Flick through your last few years' cinema listings... what do you see? Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo 2, Spiderman, Spiderman 2, X Men, X Men 2, The Hulk, Godzilla, Lord Of The Rings... I can't be bothered going on. But this kidultness, this childlike moral stance for adults, it's dangerous. It gets Last Action Heroes elected in California, it gets simpleton genocidal maniacs second terms in the White House, it gets innocent people killed.)

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