Thursday, 30 April 2009

"Right now I'm ready for the future"

Walking near Wall Street earlier today I saw someone sitting in a doorway looking sad with a cardboard sign and the following written on it:


These four words tell an awful lot about the failings of America. A matter of minutes from New York's financial centre, where (even now) billions of dollars are changing hands, simply to make more money, there is this sign. A centre of excess, where enough money would be made in a fraction of a second by a single banker to solve this problem once and for all. It almost brings me to tears.

It should be "WAS HUNGRY".

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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

"A rooftop where we played. Just you, me, a clear view of the trees"

I've been wondering how long it'll be before people start moving down subway carriages away from people who have just sneezed. I give it another day.

We went to see Les Paul last night. Despite being 93, he still plays two sets every Monday night in a jazz club on Broadway. We discovered he'd had to cancel the past couple of weeks because he'd been in hospital, so it made it seem all the more special. Given his age, and the fact that he's got arthritis in his left hand, his technical ability wasn't amazing, but that's not really the point. It's amazing to see someone who's been behind so many developments with the electric guitar, who can still play so many years after. Even if he does need to be lifted onto his seat on stage.

Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year, beating the previous record of... uh... Sunday. So we're going to Long Beach. I was hoping to see Mogwai tonight, but are bastards and won't consider the fact that someone with a credit card registered abroad might want to buy tickets. Oh, and "convenience charge"? Fuck off.

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Monday, 27 April 2009

"All the hurt I kept within, I blame myself for everything"

"The European Union has advised that you postpone all non essential travel to the United States and Mexico". Oops.

Maybe it's just because we're watching Fox News, but that's not good. CBS doesn't seem too scared (they're giving out information about Supermarkets that I thought was common knowledge).

The weather earlier was sponsored by Imodium. And they have adverts going into detail about (prescription) incontinence treatments. The British prudish nature is sometimes a bad thing, but before half past eight in the morning I can't help but miss it.

I must sound like all I'm doing is watching telly and reading the paper. Far from it, but that's far more interesting to write about than "we did this, then we did that".

Les Paul tonight. I can't wait.

Geolocate this post.

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"We speak only in memories"

I'm in Central Park, in the glorious sunshine. I suppose that makes a change from the usual things I write on this.


I think I may have tempted fate by saying that I needed a comfy bed. Arrival at the airport was fine, we had a perfectly fine taxi ride to the hotel, we checked in and then found the room only had one bed. We went down, assuming there had been a mixup, to then be told that was the only room they had available, so couldn't move us at all. So I slept on the floor. We were assured that we'd be okay for the next night, but when there's no other rooms available there's little you can really do.

This morning, after flicking through the telly channels and discovering that nobody in this country has the slightest interest in formula one, we also discovered that there wasn't even a kettle in the room. Anyone who has met me for even five minutes knows that I'm an utter bastard of a morning before I've had coffee, so this wasn't the best start I could have hoped for. But a diner was found to supply us with copious amounts of coffee and pancakes, before deciding to spend the day in Central Park. Since we were both so tired, and the weather was so beautiful, it was decided this was a better plan than attemping to force interest in a museum of some kind.

Plus I had the mountain that is the Sunday edition of the New York Times to devour.

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Saturday, 25 April 2009

"I want to leave it all, just for a while, I'll be satellite news"

Without wanting to sound like a raging Communist, it does seem to me rather depressing that after going through security at Leeds Bradford Airport you emerge in the deepest corner of the Duty Free shop. Someone clearly made the decision that too many people were just walking past the disgusting face of international capitalism dressed in the shiney perfume boxes, and that people had to be forced to walk past the bottles of vodka at eight in the morning. Not only that but, instead of the usual "wait at gate" that used to display on the departure boards before your flight is called, you are now invited to "Relax & Shop". Instead of being a facility to assist you in getting from A to B, airports now appear to exist to take money from you.

Perhaps it's always been like that. It's been so long since I've flown that, were I not sitting thousands of feet above the Atlantic Ocean as I type this, George Monbiot would be proud of me.

I think if I ever lived in Amsterdam I'd never get anything done. Even away from the drugs and prostitution, I'd just want to spend all the time exploring the canals. I'd have to live just on a canal, and be able to step right from my house onto my boat with a small outboard motor. Not sure of a name for the boat. Probably something very witty that my brain can't think of at the moment.

Anyway, I may update this a bit more on this holiday. I'm told the hotel has wifi so I may update with the goings on of my trip. All I want to do now is land, get the bloody green form into immigration and get to the hotel. By the time we get there I'll have been up for 24 hours, so I hope the bed is comfy. My back certainly needs it.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

"I am a lonely visitor, I came too late to cause a stir"

After a worryingly long time without having read any books, I've just finished two in really quick succession. I finally got round to reading Andrew Collings' rather excellent Where Did It All Go Right? (mostly in the bath. But don't try and read very much into that), and just this morning I finished his colleague Richard Herrin's first volume of his Warming Up blog (Bye Bye Balham), covering the first six months of entries.

One could question the logic behind spending £10 on a book that I could read online. But books are better. And there are footnotes giving more detail that he felt he wasn't able to discuss at the time, but with the passage of five years he felt able to be more public about some events. Like the operation on his penis.

It covers a fairly eventful time of his life. At the start he was in a fairly intense, fast moving relationship that he thought was perfect, he was moving into a new house partly so he could be closer to his girlfriend, then by the end when he'd moved in his relationship was over and, in his own words, "it meant my two main reasons for upping sticks were now no longer valid. I felt a bit displaced, and lonely".

I'll have to wait until volume two to see if the similarities continue. Or perhaps I could just read the blog online. I won't get the footnotes though.

Perhaps my life will continue as a mirror of Richard Herring's though. Perhaps our lives will continue in parallel, yet be different in subtle ways. Perhaps the current comedy stars of the day (Horne and Corden possibly. I should suggest this as an idea for them. They'll do any old rubbish) will make it into a film. Maybe it should be called The Life of Ian.

I do realise that this entry is filled with far more just to amuse myself (and perhaps other obsessive Richard Herring fans. But I don't think any of them read this. I don't think anybody at all reads this actually) than usual. But I don't care. I'm mostly writing this to waste time until I can justify making lunch.