// December 2008
Well, the final quiz (or at least the final one with Rob and I in charge) went off on Tuesday and much fun it was too.
Surprisingly the place was absolutely packed which we really hadn’t expected. You’d have thought that what with people going away for Christmas and so on it’d have been a bit subdued, but no… whilst we didn’t push past our best ever number of teams, we were only one away from it.
And the booze flowed rather freely it must be said. Thank you to all those who bought us drink – even if I was struggling to drink it towards the end.
But what was most touching was that our most seasoned regulars – Team Nick Chips – who have been represented at pretty much every single one for the last 100 weeks got us presents. Which we then had to apportion out between us in a lucky-dip stylee. Thankfully I was too drunk to get too emotional but I find myself smiling in a sentimental way by it even now.
Although maybe I shouldn’t have put the prize Thong round my neck. I completely forgot about it and didn’t rediscover it until I got home.
Sadly this means that the fit guy on the tube wasn’t actually staring at me in a “cor, I’d like some of that” way after all. It was clearly a more “cor, look at that drunken idiot with the thong round his neck” kind of stare.
Never mind, eh?
And what will I be doing with my time now? Well… for one thing I’m discovering the joys of sleeping in a bit of a weekend. And for another my creative juices are being once more turned towards writing. 2009 is going to be the year Daniel and I get ourselves out there, I swear!
Those who know me well will be aware (with a due sense of resignation) of my love of extended mixes – specifically those from the PWL stable – which, when done properly, enhance my appreciation of the original track no end.
A good mix, in my opinion, builds up the track part by part, allowing you to see how intricately it was constructed, throws the song at you, then de-constructs it again. The golden age for such mixes was the late 80s and early 90s before mixes started having bugger all to do with the actual song (many of the Pet Shop Boys mixes of the mid-to-late 90s show off this problem in all its gory glory).
Which brings me to J. Donovan Esq’s 1990 single “When You Come Back To Me“. The extended mix of this is, I think, pretty much perfect – second only to the 12″ version of Betty Boo’s “Doin’ the Do”.
Part of it is the song, pretty much one of the best Mike Stock wrote, and one that actually evokes some Christmassy feelings in jaded old me for a change. And it’s a nice lyric too. (No “I Should Be So Lucky”, I’ll grant you but I believe I’m alone in loving that song too.)
But the extended mix just makes me appreciate it so much more. The thunderbirds-esque kettle drums, the dropped spanners (or chimes, probably), the soft pippy synths, the gentle stabby keyboards, the warm brass noises. But it’s the sheer amount of harmony that’s boggling. I’m no musical expert, clearly, but it’s awash with harmonics from the strings to the backing vocalists – the latter being a team of people (including Stock himself) who never got enough credit.
In many respects it’s the perfect culmination of the sound that SAW used for him. It’s not the standard Eurodisco of Kylies stuff, not the spiky cold feel of Sonia’s material, say, but a warm-sounding filled-out production with a walking-pace style song.
Frankly I love it to bits. The fact it’s also got a key change makes me almost cream.
(And it’s not just me that wanted that coat is it? It’s certainly a bit Doctory…)
Only two weeks of the quiz left to do and, after about two months where creating one single round was like pulling teeth, suddenly I find I’m having trouble stopping.
I’ve written four rounds this weekend. I only needed two.
One of them’s a music round. I suddenly realised it was my last chance.
I had thought, on my way home tonight, to call in at the Brixton branch of Woolworths since the chances are I may ne’er set foot in one again, otherwise. It has held many a fond memory for me (well, fond-ish) since it is possibly the only Woolworths store in London – nay possibly even the whole country – which I could actually say is any good.
I mean… for comparison you should have seen the Clapham one. My God it was shite!
But alas my visit was not to be. As I neared the threshold I saw with a slight tug in my heart that the queue for the tills looped back and forth twice and vanished in the back of the store.
My fellow man’s appetite for cheap tat really does surprise me sometimes.
Now, I must admit that correspondence from my credit card providers always makes me feel a bit nervy. The monthly statements are bad enough, but when they send me something else out of the blue I always imagine that on opening it I’ll find a letter stating something along the lines of “you’re a fraud, we’ve found you out and you owe us mister. Oh yes, you owe us…”
So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I peeled open an envelope from Barclaycard last night, fully expecting – based on the previous horrors of my day – that judgement day had finally come and my savings were about to be shot away.
What I found instead was that they’d decided to double my credit card limit.
I must say this irks me somewhat. Considering the current economic crisis it strikes me as being hugely irresponsible to be increasing anyone’s opportunities for getting into debt, especially mine.
But there seems to be an odd attitude abroad at the moment. Everything seems to be geared towards making people more comfortable with spending their money to keep the economy going, and penalising those people who have, you know, not overstretched their mortgages, tried to regularly save and so on.
So please please please can someone explain precisely why spending your way out of debt actually works as a concept? Because at the moment it seems utterly nonsensical to me and I’m worried that by slowly paying off and closing down my credit cards I’m in some way ruining the social fabric of our country…
Today the Personal Sadist grabbed me before I’d even stepped on a cross-trainer and hustled me into an anteroom (which is increasingly looking like a junkyard) and began taking measurements to compare back to a few weeks ago.
I wasn’t keen to be honest. I was feeling uncomfortably bloated as it was (well done, coffee) and didn’t think this was a good time, but there we had it. (He seems to have learned that taking me by surprise is the way to stop me protesting as much as normal.)
But I was somewhat surprised – not to mention thrilled – to learn that in I’ve dropped 3 centimetres from both my waist and my hips over the last few weeks, most of which we can attribute to fat loss (since my saddlebags are pretty much where I store it).
I’d kind of noticed I was reducing a bit but to see it in that sort of figure really thrilled me.
Sadly my suggestion that he should be made to pay for the new jeans I’ll need in a month or so met with outright refusal.
Oh well… can’t have it all I suppose…
I had occasion to pop into the Apple Store on Regent Street yesterday, which is always a distressing experience given the place is always thronged about with ghastly tourists fully taking advantage of the free internet on the pretty laptops.
My reason was to purchase a new keyboard. Due to a distressing accident with a bottle of cola the other week the existing one had become practically unusable. With a tendency to force-capitalise everything.
But anyway, while I was there I noticed that the staff had new t-shirts, seasonally themed this time: “Santa has his elves,” they proclaimed. “You have me.”
And aside from the fact that I thought the message was kind of cute, there was also a bit of me which, on noticing how well one of the swarthier guys was filling his shirt, couldn’t help but go “oh, all right then”.
It’s unusual for me to fall in love with the staff in that place, I must admit. The products yes, but the staff rarely.
That said, I’m so over him now.