2 Dec 2012

Post 368: Same sh*t, different day!

Not the most inspiring title, I realise but when I started writing this blogspot (I believe that’s the accurate title you give these things), it was to write mostly about the concerts I went to and to publicly say thankyou to the people who have helped me and very occasionally to rant and rave about something, I think I’ve been ok at the latter two and have tended to mention gigs in passing lately. This is a tricky one because I have always taken the view that I never want anyone to find this dull and I remember getting the distinct impression that some people were getting bored/irritated by my gig going and me talking about it. I should have just ignored it but I have by necessity become a bit more porous to criticism than I used to be when I was Dom mark 1 (you know with a decent future) I wouldn’t have cared. I’m now Dom mark 2 (ruined forever by a poxy rush of blood to the head that would represent a minor cut) and I have tried to recover, we (the Trust and I) have spent almost all the money people kindly donated to the trust on rehab, training or specialist equipment and it was probably the right thing to do at the time, although if you're ever feeling like giving to a needy cause... I now have to toe the line to an exercise and diet regime that often does reduce this grown man to tears. I do this walking on my treadmill 2/3 times a week for a total of 10 minutes each time and it kills me
I don’t understand why it’s so hard, people have helpfully told me ‘well, you’ve had a stroke’! In the rest of my conscious life I try like hell to do meaningful things. I was once hopeful that someone I knew/knew vaguely or hadn’t met might decide to come and be my partner (well more a partner in crime, someone to giggle with) –ie decide that they might become a regular feature in my life, maybe find a way to live here or nearby with my help, share in my income, look for gigs to go to and things to do with me while getting on with their life, but it’s almost been five years of nothing so the idea that that may happen is a mere flicker of a figment of a dream, and the more I look at myself, the more I just think ‘nah’. I suppose finding Gwen and Gary to be my housekeepers is enough miracles to add to the fact I’m alive, am not a vegetable, am solvent and not a financial burden on anyone (even the state/especially not the state or my parents), but that’s my lot! What’s that, happiness, contentment, a life that’s consistent with my peers? That can get f*cked. Well, that’s not bloody good enough. And no, I’m not just thinking I have some magic entitlement to it!
Bollocks to that depressing sh*t! Like I said at the beginning I want to focus more on the good stuff I do and how grateful I am to the people who help me do them. This week has, as usual been stupid. I aim to go to two things a week but when booking a year to six months in advance, you suddenly find that you appear to have four things to go to. Now as my friend Chey lives nearby and is lovely to go to things with, she was supposed to be taking me to a couple of things this week but her grandfather is quite seriously unwell back in South Africa so she’s flown back to see him. I told her the story of how my Dad visiting his ailing best mate in France a few years ago seemed to cause a miracle turnaround in his mate. It had looked pretty bad, he’s now back to rude health. I have told Chey this, let’s hope it’s the same for her. In my experience, the boost you get from seeing someone (particularly when you’re in hospital) is nothing short of magic – you can actually feel your spirits lift! Especially if you feel that person has really made an effort – hence my Dad travelling to France or Chey going to S.Africa being a big deal. Fingers Crossed.
OK, finding transport for the gigs was no problem thanks to old mate Ched

who lives fairly close taking me to see Ross Noble at the Hammersmith Apollo on Thursday and Keane at the Dome on Friday. Ched’s wife is away on business so this worked pretty well. I was also supposed to be going to see Elbow at the Dome with Chey today but that is ‘gig too far’ territory. So starting with Keane on Friday at the Dome. I first saw them at the Dome in Feb 2009 - my recollection of that gig was that they had been good but were a bit determined to play their newer stuff. This time they were unashamedly crowd pleasing, they encored with the awesome bedshaped
and both Ched and I thought Tom’s voice was unbelievably brilliant. I think the US air cavalary are unlikely to swap their Wagner
for the dulcet ballad-heavy repertoire of Keane but nobody cares. Keane are not rockstars, they’re nice lads getting on with the job of creating melancholy genius and I have seen a lot of crowds sing in the last few years but none who knew the words and sung as in-time as the crowd on Friday. It was astonishing. I went to school with Tim (pianist, year above) and Tom (singer, year below) and I say ‘well done lads’, I think they’ve done brilliantly. It may be MOR pop but I like it and so do a massive cross-section of the world, it sounds nice and it’s obvious how grateful they are to have been given this chance to have gotten to where they are. So often it seems to be how people who have experienced good things have forgotten their humility and the humanity that got them there in the first place. I try not to forget this in almost everything I do. Speaking of humanity, I remember being a bit surprised many months ago when I saw a gig announced at the Albert Hall by the Human League and thought ‘that’s gotta be done’ and it turned out to be pretty good, and not just ironically, although Irony was a big feature that night!
Sorry if the sound is a bit distorted, we were quite close to the hanging speakers.

What was unambiguously obvious was how unforgivably sh*t the Support band were
not only was it bad enough going to see a band from an era that thought it was ok to ever allow their lead singer to have had a haircut like this.

In the 80s the invention of the Synthesizer was clearly as significant to bands like the Human League as the invention of the wheel was to mankind, I wish the ‘off’ button had been as significant to their warm-up act. There was even an old bloke doing some ‘dad dancing’ – I’ve christened him ‘uncle knobhead’ Unfortunately this video of him is a bit dark but you get the idea – the concentration he put into it was mindblowing! I’m sure he threw in some high kicks and a bit of hand-tumbling!
So, that was Monday, big thanks to ‘child of the 80s’ Graham

for taking me. On Tuesday it was off to the Hammersmith Apollo to see psychotic ‘Inbetweeners Head of Sixth’ Greg Davies
do his stand-up ‘the back of my mums head’ tour

so-called not because of some disgusting Freudian nightmare but because he would always see the back of his Mum’s head when she’d storm out uttering the phrase ‘it’s not normal love’ –he clearly had quite an interesting upbringing and his formative years were filled with him doing stupid things. It was funny stuff for a Tuesday which is the desired effect. Thanks to Movember Michael for taking me.

Now, it is very rare that I go to a comedy show that I get exhausted from laughing. The last time it happened was going to see Steve Hughes a few weeks ago .
This time it was Ross Noble’s turn at the Apollo with Ched on Thursday

so I feel rather privileged it’s happened twice quite recently. This isn’t a recovery anymore, it’s about finding a way through however long the rest of my life is. Ross Noble is a funny looking fella but it is amazing to see a comedian stand in front of 3000 people and have the confidence in his brain to just make up funny shit, he’s obviously got one or two absolute dead-cert banker gags but there are fewer things funnier in life than seeing a Geordie doing an impression of scouser psychic medium Derek Acora channelling Jimmy Saville or his assertion that the next scandal is bound to be caused by someone who’ has done lots of charity work. Look out David Walliams (if you ask me he’s a sex scandal waiting to happen), Eddie Izzard or John Bishop! As you can no doubt tell, I prefer innuendo to ACTUAL evidence! It was properly hilarious. His story about the lady who shat herself at one of his gigs was also hysterical along with the line ‘sounds strange, but that is the biggest compliment you can pay a comedian. Had she been a supermodel and not a ‘hull lass’ I can think of a few more compliments. Noteworthy was the awfulness of the Oompah band who warmed up for Ross.

They must have been playing in the wings before showing themselves so I just assumed the Apollo were playing a CD. I fail to imagine they can have missed me shouting ‘CAN YOU TURN THIS SH*T OFF’ during an appaling Oompah version of ‘ Smells like Teen Spirit’. Lines need to be drawn.

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