Ah, the joys of impulse buying.

I pick up a registered letter that arrived on Thursday morning while I was in the shower – it’s my tickets for Argentina. Hurrah!

Then I go to the charity shops on the Walworth Road to buy a very cheap pair of jeans with a 32″ waist to see if they can be described as fitting (answer when I return home: yes, in a very tight sort of way. Levi 501s with a button fly, for those days when I want to stay home and relive the 1980s).

Then I go to a kitchenware shop to buy a teapot and get one. And two bowls. And a mirror. And a microwave rice cooker. And some coathooks. Ah, the joys of impulse buying.

a particularly soppy seven-year-old girl

I’ve realised that in order to get all the work done, I’m going to have to work longer hours, so that’s what I do. Which makes for a dull diary entry. People keep coming up to me and asking me how I managed to lose so much weight and I tell them “by eating less food”, which is true (although more complicated when it comes to the weight that dropped off at San Cugat), but sadly this usually happens when I’m stuffing my face, so it looks like I have a magic weight-loss formula after all. Today it’s a leaving do, so there’s cake and chocolate and crisps. Which have to do for dinner, I suppose.

When I get home I learn a couple more bits of the form on my Tai Chi DVD, increasingly convinced that when I’ve learned it all (which will take a while, I realise) and do it fast, I’ll look like a particularly soppy seven-year-old girl, skipping.

something that everybody else would call a “dance routine”

Ooh, bank Holiday, a chance to actually do those things that I promised myself I’d do over the weekend. And do I? Well, some success – the living room floor is cleared, somewhat, I finish (I think) a font for OUP, I do over an hour of NST practise and I try out the first three moves of the Form on that Tai Chi DVD. I am beginning to think that perhaps when they say “form” they are referring to something that everybody else would call a “dance routine”, but I’m sure it’s all very healthful. I don’t think I’ll be doing “Stroking the Birds Tail” in public for a while though.

The jam is more subdued this week – Mike, who replaced me while I was in Barcelona and may well be doing so on a more regular basis, is playing bass and I take along my Godin nylon string and amp and play guitar. Grooviness ensues and I enjoy myself hugely, so much so that I’ve promised to go back after the Tinderbox gig next week.

It appears that I will not, contrary to what certain parties thought, need to have a breakneck trip through Buenos Aires in the last leg of my Argentine Adventure, which is a huge relief to me.

the sort of thing that pushes my panic buttons

  • Getting out of bed (at usual hour)
  • Supermarket
  • Gym
  • Watching Jam again.
  • Watching the Tai Chi DVD for a while. Very relaxing, even more so if you don’t actually have to do any of it and just watch a chubby American gentleman skipping around by himself in a makeshift TV studio. Very informative, though. WARNING: it does contain “relaxing” “new age” synth music, as many such videos do, the sort of thing that pushes my panic buttons.
  • Watch The Addams Family and Delicatessen on scratched up video. They both stand up very well in their own ways, Delicatessen mores so of course, but nonetheless any ten-year-old film makes any contemporary film look like Citizen Kane by comparison, it’s one of Nature’s laws.
  • Um.
  • Bed, actually

followed by a lengthy dither

I come to a crashing stop, it being a weekend and everything. I ignore the alarm clock and end up getting out of bed at ten to ten (almost the afternoon by my current standards) followed by a lengthy dither. Achievements of the day:

  • Getting out of bed
  • Finding out where the new 485 (I think) bus goes to, by absentmindedly getting on board (Shepherd’s Bush via Victoria and Marble Arch, where I get off)
  • Going to Tower and buying a Tai Chi DVD (if I’m not going to find any decent lessons, the least I can do is watch a patronising American show me the moves). In addition, buying Lost Highway and Jam.
  • Watching a lot of Jam and all of Lost Highway, which doesn’t grab me as firmly as Mulholland Drive did, but that’s not knocking it.
  • Going to bed.

Anyway, Enfield.


I have my bass with me, so am able to trek up to Enfield directly. Yes, I know, you’re asking me “But why would you want to trek up to Enfield, John?”

Good question.

This is the current location of Mr Quillin, in whose band I’m technically not. But it appears that I am. I take with my my copy of El Aleph, my Spanish-English dictionary and Simple Spanish Grammar. I don’t know if it’s helping – as I find out more, the more complicated it gets. Verbs in particular now seem impossibly difficult. But I struggle on, and I can sort of understand what paragraphs mean, even if I have a problem with individual words.

Anyway, Enfield.

I arrive at Enfield Town station and start to walk up to the venue or “pub” as it’s technically known, one of those big old things with a proper stage and a layer of grime and thankfully untouched so far by the brewery in their search to convert every drinking hole in the country to a Wetherspoons clone. There is a problem with the PA (that is to say that it doesn’t work) but as we’re nearing onstage-time Joe begins to struggle with it, eventually getting something like a vocal sound out of it, albeit a distorted, 21st Century Schizoid Man style vocal sound. Somewhere the PA is replaced mid-song.

So a vaguely chaotic – no, not even vaguely – gig, but I’m struck very strongly by how good a group it is – very powerful stuff. I had wanted to stop altogether, but now… I don’t know, I think I’ll just try to avoid the most bizarre gigs (the one at the firework party in November is a definite no-no!) and learn the new songs.

It doesn’t take as long as I’d feared to get home, but I’m still pretty tired when I do.

Sorry, general public.

This is where it gets Dullsville U.S.A. of course. Dadd-i-o.

In a nutshell: Work, home, bed.

The slightly expanded version: Lots of cake at work, perhaps more cake than I’d like. Worry about newly contracted waistline expanding to Orson Wellesian proportions. It appears once again that I’m really Bridget Jones; when I get home I dither for a while and then put on Powasqqatsi while I get a page together for those people who were at San Cugat to see photographs of themselves getting drunk on the last night. These will not be available to the general public. Sorry, general public.

I ought to have been listening to the CD that Joe Q sent of new tracks, but I was too tired. Indeed I expect I’ll be too tired tomorrow when I’m supposed to be playing them. Sad, but true.

Bed is just bed, of course.

things of a healthful nature

I let myself lie in for a bit this morning – I get up, missing my usual tai chi (in the loosest sense) and sitting and also (because I’ve run out of muesli) breakfast. Despite this I don’t get into Walker’s until late. My copies of The Art of Craft, The Act of Music and the Aphorisms (as well as An Introduction to Guitar Craft in Spanish) arrive from Hernan.

Then Maisying until the evening.

I go to the gym, taking myself by surprise. I feel improved and almost virtuous, especially after I go to the supermarket and buy vegetables and things of a healthful nature.

I watch Koyannisqatsi, which has lost none of its power to startle, or at least to startle me. It doesn’t seem dated in the least, but perhaps that’s my mind trapped in the early 1980s. I originally intend to put it on as background for a few minutes, but find myself gripped throughout.

Beneath the surface of the everyday world lie riches indeed.

don’t get overexcited

So the morning is spent in Walker’s and I come home at lunchtime to prepare for this evening. There is font stuff to catch up on, though. The problem with being full-time all the time is that it tends to push everything else to the edges, including the little bits of freelance stuff.

I run through various songs and establish that my fingers are still working, which they seem to be, and that my voice is also, which is anyone’s guess. I am going to take the Stage Clothes (the jacket and trousers I bought in Barcelona for this very purpose and a white shirt, don’t get overexcited, no Spndex, no Lycra and no Fumihito Super-shirt) in a bag and end up just wearing them. This preparing to perform lark is something I’m going to have to work on. In particular, I’m used to the notion that there’s not supposed to be any division between real-everyday-self and performing-self, but one look at my living room would tell you that that’s just asking for trouble, although perhaps if I can institute good practise on the performing front it might drag good behaviour out of what I must reluctantly consider to be The Real Me.

Off to the venue, then…

(see here for description of what follows)

…and back very late. Bed at one. Tired boy.

Sad note: I lose my clip-on tuner. But then I really want another TU-12 anyway, everything else is second best. Do you think if I let Roland quote that they’ll give me one? No, I don’t either.

kin to the Yeti and the Fairies

It appears that I will be needed until about the 9th of October, so the Mendoza-fest will have to be reconsidered – just as I was consulting travel agents, too – I spoke to a very nice young lady called Britney this morning, who was able to break it to me gently that the prices they offer on the Internet are kin to the Yeti and the Fairies, and quoted me the rather more robust prices that lurk in the Real World. The upside is with all that extra work I might be able to afford to go. Perhaps if I can coincide my arrival with the end of the Intro course.

I wonder if I’ll need to learn Spanish – I’d probably be the only non-Spanish speaker there. This could be very interesting.

More mad or drunk people at the Jam. I’m surprised at my level of intolerance of drunks, particularly career drunks. I’m not lending out the bass any more. Typically late to bed.