Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Ben’s day job has gone ballistic and is taking all his energy right now, so I’m back, once again, immersed in venue management issues on top of everything else.
Oh the joys of every spare waking hour being spent pouring through emails and spreadsheets, trying to resolve issues, attempting to fix Venue Managers and teams for 50 plus venues, updating guides and risk assessment compilers, worrying about secure webspace and FAQs, checking we have everything covered, reconciling competing egos, looking to give everyone the role that suits them best, trying to claw back some time…
Just occasionally though a bit of sunshine breaks through. Like hearing from R out of the blue (R being the person who passed me his new contact details at the London 'Brainstorming' evening back in January and said "I'm up for doing something again this year").
Now I know I put his card somewhere safe, but well that 'somewhere' has since proved very elusive (and no, before you ask, it seems the office only have his old details too…). So how relieved am I that he follows up today with a text? Ringing him back, not only is he forgiving, but he also agrees to take on a really key role that I just know will come alive under his care. Fabulous!
It seems very appropriate that playing on my iPod right now is Jeff Buckley’s version of the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah.
(of course there's still the small matter of there having been two business cards that I put "somewhere" safe that fateful night in January...and I can't even remember whose the second one was. On the off chance you're that person and you're reading this...)
Sunday, June 19, 2005
After yesterday's severe migraine, my head is actually OK today. Well when I say OK, I still have that 'storm alert' feeling in my skull, but it's not crossing over into migraine territory.
It's a beautiful sunny day and after a brunch of bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese in her garden, S and I head out on a shopping and recyling mission, ahead of a planned barbeque this evening.
Along the way S shells out for a cast iron chiminea (amazing how having access to a car for a shopping trip can help along such decisions!), we stock up on tuna steaks and salad and manage to find plastic bottle recycling but not cardboard facilities.
Come mid-afternoon however, my weather-forecasting head is vindicated and the heavens open. Thunder, lightening and unbelievably quantities of rain.
We use the hours to complete our chores, for me a few hours of Greenbelt work, for S a mad scramble to tidy up the rectory before tomorrow's quinquennial inspection by the diocese (a bit like having to tidy up when your mum comes to stay, but 100 times worse!).
By evening the rain has ceased, but the outside world is decidedly soggy. Suddenly shoving the tuna on the George Foreman grill in my kitchen and enabling P and S to catch up with Dr Who seems like a better plan for the evening.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Part of me loves this time of year – enough sun to give glorious days of blue sky and bright light, enough storms to keep things just about lush and green.
However what my eyes may revel in, my head does not. Stormy weather equals migraine conditions.
It’s something to do with the atmospheric pressure my neurologist tells me (apparently is a fairly common trigger and I’m not a complete freak of nature – well not in this regard at least). The upshot this year has been over a month of at least one day out every week due to a migraine attack. Usually, but not limited to weekends.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Sad to say that this evening’s REM gig at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, did nothing to improve my feelings about large soulless stadium concerts.
Still it was almost worth it simply for the experience of standing beside a group at the tram station who were discussing the band behind this week’s other big gig in Manchester, U2. They discussed the band’s success observing that: “it’s just a shame they never really went any further”.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
On the last train back to Manchester on Monday night, I take a break from the spreadsheets and emails on the laptop, to flick through Virgin Train's Hotline Magazine.
Outside of listening guides for the audio channels and prices for the sandwiches I never expect to find too much of value in this publication. Occasionally however you stumble upon a pleasant surprise.
This time an article on The Caravan Gallery catches my eye.
It's a very British sort of project this; an art gallery contained in a touring caravan, on a mission to record the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of life in 21st century Britain.
A quick flick through of some of the postcards they have created to reflect the places they have visited, give you a flavour of what they're about.
As do the results from the surveys they ask visitors to the caravan to complete:
99% of people surveyed would rather die than arrange a pre-paid funeral.Hang on....17% of people surveyed have won meat in a raffle?!?!? WTF?
17% of people surveyed have won meat in a raffle.
30% of people surveyed have seen their parents naked.
18% of people surveyed avoid their neighbours when out shopping.
57% of people surveyed manage to kill houseplants without even trying.
Alan Titchmarsh is loved and loathed in equal measure.
Their touring calendar is here - check them out if they're coming to your neck of the woods soon. If you're not to busy winning pork chops that is...
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Those that know me well will know my liking for lava lamps.
So it goes without saying that I'm going to love a 'virtual lava lamp' that lets you write your prayer in a wax bubble and then return it to the merry throng so you can watch it float its way upwards.
Personally I'd rather see my words still in the bubble as it ascends, but hey this is mighty fine as is.
I think my first prayer will be for Caroline and that she becomes a nicer "young lady" - I know she'll thank me.
Friday, June 10, 2005
Hmmmm.. not sure what to make of that. Some hits the mark, but the bit about feeling alienated from old forms of church is less accurate (as supported by my second place theology...).
Still the 4% fundamentalist is encouraging I guess ;-)
What's your theological worldview?
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Phil and I went to see The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse tonight. Suitably enough in a ‘local’ cinema, where 7 others join us in a auditorium that could take 250+.
It is surely the oddest film I’ve seen for a long time.
Parts of it don’t entirely work, parts of it are genius. Several stunning one-liners and moments of pure comedy absurdity forgive any less successful parts however and I'm grinning through 90% of it (though of course the stomach churning revulsion caused in 1% by some rather grime toenails shouldn't be underestimated!).
Phil sums it up pretty well when he says “it might not be a masterpiece, but it’s certainly a phenomena!”.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
“Did you explain what that meant?” I enquire.
“Nah” she replies.
Talk about getting Sarah a T’shirt with said job title on raises its head again.
My concern that the differentiation between job title and statement is a little woolly doesn’t seem to garner much sympathy. But hey, if this is the price for having someone maintain my sanity through the latter part of August then I guess it’s a fair deal.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Of course you can then discover that said pen doesn’t work.
Panic can then start to well up, when the only other pen that seems to be in your bag is one like this:
All the preparation, skill, knowledge and experience in the world isn’t going to stand in the way of that ever so possibly undermining your credibility.
Search, search, search. Rummage, rummage, rummage.
Oh thank God…a biro.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Another quiet day at the festival. The most exciting point being responding to a call that suggested that the lovely MD of the racecourse was on his own dealing with a bunch of skater lads that had gained entry and were, it appeared, possibly stoning him.
Having screamed across site in the Hi-Lux, with Stuart coming close to losing the back end as we cornered rather tightly, I was somewhat glad to see the MD fine and dandy and discover that the subject of the stoning had in fact been a car.
Ah well…it broke up the day.
I hang on to see the start of the Alabama 3 set, which was cracking. Knowledge of a meeting tomorrow morning with the client forces me to be sensible though and head off long before curfew.
I arrive back in Manchester just after midnight, strangely not exhausted and wiped out. This really isn’t like going to a certain other festival…
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Today I was back to trying to find things to do to help out, the odd errand, the odd bit of helping out with this or that, the odd diplomatic mission, but outside of that (and a small migraine attack early afternoon) I actually got to see some acts and generally potter around the festival a bit. Just doing a sensible amount of work feels wrong somehow.
It’s something of a novel experience.
I have to say I’m enjoying the “not my problem” aspect to it all.
The festival has a really nice vibe to it. Laid back, friendly, easy, no trouble. There’s a good range of acts and a lively workshop programme that spills out from the various marquees.
I’m not what one would call a “joiner”, but even so wandering past a Bhamgra dance class in full swing, watching the development of a drumming workshop, or seeing kids pick up a diablo for the first time, makes for good spectator sport
Having my ‘buddy’ Stuart and assorted other friends to hang out with also adds to the pleasure of the proceedings. I don’t think any of us are used to having such a stress-free life at a festival. It’s small and easy going, with no major traumas…it could all be a little dull really.
But even when the chores are all completed and the going is slow there are worse things in life than hanging out in the Tiny Tea Tent with good friends.
I could get used to this!
Friday, June 03, 2005
So it turned out Pete was right and I did find a way to be useful today.
The awesome Gaynor is running the Artist’s Liaison and Backstage Hospitality and for today only, has no deputy to share the load with.
I attempt to learn as fast as I can...
Solving the logistical problems, getting stuff delivered, fixed and commissioned, running stuff off on the computer, even applying structural engineering principals to a huge stack of bottled water to make it stable is all stuff I can handle. The being unswervingly nice to some of the more pampered professionals on this planet takes a little more work.
I always knew Gaynor was amazing, but how she manages to keep the smiles going is a true wonder.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Over dinner at the Turkish restaurant, I broach the subject, “errr Pete, what is it you want me to do at Wychwood?”. He vaguely reassures me that it will work itself out and I will find a way to be useful as things develop, but the nagging doubts aren’t entirely subdued, I’m used to knowing how I will earn my keep.
Stuart and I are staying at Pete’s for the duration of the festival (and I got in first so baggsied the spare bedroom, with the world’s most comfy bed– yay!). Taking one day off work is all I can afford and if I’m going to be bright and breezy for my meeting on Monday morning, some decent sleep over the weekend is a must.
Over a late night cuppa we sit in Pete’s kitchen as he checks his emails for the day (oh the joys of a wireless broadband house!).
Pete starts chuckling, “I just started replying to Sarah D, telling her that I didn’t have the Greenbelt info she needed for Saturday’s Planning Group meeting and she would need to contact you. It’s just occurred to me that I should really know that you’re not going to be on your computer between now and then!”.
It transpires the data she’s after is actually a file of nearly 4Mb so even at home I wouldn’t be sending that over a dial-up connection.
But of course I’m not my home am I and I just happen to have that very file on my iShuffle in my pocket…
As George would say, don’t you just love it when a plan comes together.
I have to thank Steve L for this fantastically savage Guardian Review of Celebrity Love Island.
A quick snippet to whet your appetite:
Rebecca Loos, the woodpecker-faced Posh-botherer who was presumably hired on the understanding that anyone who's previously masturbated a pig on television might be prepared to stoop slightly lower and perform the same act on ex-Hollyoaks actor Paul Danan.
Sob for Danan, who is a bell end of considerable magnitude, and the ugliest person on the island - ugly in a unique fashion, like a man whose face was heading toward "handsome", but took a wrong turn at the last minute. He looks like Jude Law crossed with the Crazy Frog, and he's an absolute aching backside. The only way the producers could possibly justify his presence would be to spike his cocktails till he goes mad and has sex with a melon or something.
Sadly for Chrlie Brooker, I fear his review of car-crash telly is just so good it kind of makes me want to tune in again...
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