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I Have Never...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

There goes the neighbourhood...

"I Have Never suspected my home town of being a hotbed of terrorist activity."

It had been such a good day. The heat wave showed no signs of abating, and I'd had an invite for my best mate's 30th birthday in Glasgow.

I'd spent the morning out of the office at a meeting. It was at The Royal Armouries, and had been organised to discuss the government's spending proposals for the North of England. I'd barely registered the bag check on the way in...

I did my networking thing. Got and gave out business cards. Didn't give last Thursday a second thought. Neither did anyone else. Bar a brief mention at the start of the first presentation, designed to excuse the bag check, not a single person mentioned it in conversation.

I was jubilant. Only my second networking event, but I was seeming to get the hang of it.

After the buffet lunch I headed back to the office.

Parked the car and stepped out onto the baking tarmac.

I heard a whirring noise.

You always wonder why a police helicopter is about. This one seemed remarkably close, virtually directly above me.

I wondered if it was anything to do with the armed robbery at the end of my road. By sheer coincidence (?), while everyone's attention had been focussed on London, the Headingley branch of HSBC had been attacked by men wielding a hammer and an axe. All this as well as the cricket match between England and Australia on the same day.


It didn't prove to be the reason for the helicopter. On getting into the office, my work colleagues mentioned the news. Checking out the BBC website, I discovered the awful truth.

Three men from the Leeds area were suspected of perpetrating the first suicide bomb campaign to have ever occurred in Western Europe. A house had been raided in the Hyde Park area, the area I usually walk through to work. A controlled explosion had been carried out.

I was stunned.

Sure, last week had shocked me. Hadn't it shocked us all? The images of that bus torn in two. The walking wounded. Relatives, searching for their loved ones, making heart rending pleas on the TV news.

One thing.

It was down South.

Same country, but a couple of hundred miles away.

I'd never thought that those responsible would have come from my county, my city, my home.

Now, I have to face that reality. I could have walked past any one of these three people in the last 7 years. Thought nothing of it. Just another local resident in a modern multiracial city...

Later, on TV at home, I recognise the locations where the different news teams have chosen to pitch themselves. The fact that certain roads have been cordoned off serves to explain why my journey home had been so quiet. Normally, at rush hour, Cardigan Lane is jam packed. Not tonight.

I get a text from a mate. He asks me if I've been allowed home. Fortunately, I'm just outside the exclusion area. I reply to him, explaining that I don't know what to think.

The sky has become overcast. There are rumbles of thunder. Our summer may be reaching an abrupt end...

Hard-Fi:Stars of CCTV - New album, the only one I've purchased in the last week. Now seems strangely inappropriate...
Highlight - Hard To Beat

Friday, July 08, 2005

Text Happiness (20 Days...)

"I Have Never had my day transformed by a text message."

I've been pretty out of sorts over the last few days.
Even before yesterday's atrocities I was behaving like a bear with a sore head.
Snapping at people at work.
Ignoring my mates' emails.
Crawling inside my own little world of sulking.

I could try to justify this. However, it would only sound like a string of excuses.

Instead, I'll tell you what's got me out of it and left me bright eyed and bushy tailed...

Irish Ruth sent me a text. I've not seen her since summer 2003. She is just the coolest.

The text went as follows:-

'Hi Ric, just thought i'd let you know that i'm really looking forward to hanging out with you in edinburgh. i booked my flight last week. Which weeks r u going?'

Just over thirty words of pure unadulterated joy. It's made me think I should get in touch with other people I've not seen in a while. Send them a message to brighten up their days. Why not give it a go yourself?

Question is, How should I respond?

Daft Punk:Human After All - I seem to keep saying this about various bands... but their latest just isn't as good as Homework or Discovery. Sure, the single's OK, and the track that's on the ipod ad passes muster, but they used to be the best.
Highlight - Technologic

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Normal Service Postponed

"I Have Never known the country to have been plunged from such a high to such a low."

In seven years time we will be hosting the greatest sporting spectacle the human race knows.

The seventh day of the seventh month.
Four bombs tear apart our capital's transport system at the height of the rush hour.

My thoughts are with those involved...

Just got this on email, and it seems like such a common sense idea I thought I'd pass it on...

East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched an 'In Case of Emergency' campaign.

The idea is that you store the word ICE in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want contacted 'In Case Of Emergency'. Ambulance and hospital staff would then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin were...

I've done it already.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A little treat... (23 Days)

Connie 1, originally uploaded by dickdnile.

"I Have Never posted a pic of me on stage before."

Here I am back in February. The best part of a bag of flour in my hair. As compere 'Ayrton Lingus' for the cabaret 'Good Grief Connie, It's Amazing.' I was supposed to be Connie's husband.

Yes, I know. Atrocious pun.

Why Ayrton? Well, I thought it could be abbreviated to Ayr.

Yes, another atrocious pun.

I may post a few more if you like this one... just let me know


The Shins:Oh, Inverted World - I returned to this rather beautiful album, following my experience of the rather beautiful film Garden State. Their latest 'Chutes Too Narrow' is pretty good, too.

Highlight:Caring is Creepy

Monday, July 04, 2005

24 Days...

Weekend Catch Up...

Friday 1st "I Have Never introduced myself to a new neighbour so rudely."

I think it was something along the lines of...

"F*** F*** F***."

I repeated this two or three times.
Not in his general direction, I might add.
Let's just say it had been a long day.

To have got home and discovered no parking spaces in the car park outside the flat had been the final straw. He got the brunt due to the fact that he was unloading his car at the time, and just happened to say 'Hello'.

I made a mental note, and apologised yesterday. After all, I can't stay mad at the fellow - he's painted his front door a normal colour again after his predecessor had coloured it a ghastly bright green...

Saturday 2nd "I Have Never been so ashamed of vomiting after drinking too much."


Three bottles of wine and four bottles of Stella to be shared between my female accomplice and me in front of the telly.

Precious little in the way of nibbles.

Drinking commences about 3pm (or should I say 'after the best bits'). I proceed to polish of the lion's share of the wine over the proceeding 4 or 5 hours. Let's say, approximately two of the three bottles.

Start on the Stella. Couple of bottles in, starting to zone in and out. Probably around Velvet Revolver.

Finally have to retreat to the toilet during Pink Floyd, leaving my companion somewhat nonplussed. At my age, I should be made of sterner stuff. It just goes to show how little I binge drink these days...

Then, having said goodbye to the contents of my stomach backwards, I decide now's a good time to shave!!! I thought I'd learnt that wasn't a great idea when I was 21... Still, somehow pull it off and return to the lounge for the Finale.

What on earth are the Kaiser Chiefs doing playing Philly?

With this conundrum in my head, I retreat to the joys of 24 Hour Party People on DVD. My friend drifts off to bed, and I doze on the couch for a bit.

Sunday 3rd "I Have Never been faced with such good and bad customer service on the same day."

The perils of purchasing a new kitchen appliance.

NEGATIVE - A reknowned Electric Store who shall remain nameless... (think Korma or Madras).
The assistant tells us he'll serve us in a minute, then wanders off.
Comes back past us two minutes later - 'I'll be right with you!'
Finally serves us after 5 inutes of toe tapping.
Looks at appliance. 'You want that one?' as if he has just spotted dog do on his shoe.
'I'm afraid you can't have it for another month. It's part of the display you see, nothing to do with me.'
When asked how much installation would be - '£119'. NOT including the appliance! 'Well that's the cost of getting British Gas', he says.

One customer totally switched off.

POSITIVE - Go to the source, and the British Gas own store. The place is quiet, but well laid out. I am faced with three possible options.
The assistant recognises which is my favourite immediately, and explains the drawbacks of the other models DESPITE the fact that they would have been a larger purchase.
Relaxed and interested.
When asked about delivery - 'We could get it out and fitted tomorrow if you like.'
Installation Price? - '£69' a massive £50 saving!

Needless to say, one customer walking away with the deal having been done.

So that's the present from my parents purchased.

What was it?

Monday 4th "I Have Never pimped my hob."

Gone is the tatty old oven top. Only one of the rings actually worked. This had led to a diet of stir frys and an over reliance on microwaves.

Now there it resides in all it's glory...

No longer the old mucky off white... but GLEAMING CHROME.

I think it's time to go and make my inaugural meal on it. I'll be able to cook four things simultaneously!

Aaaahh, such extravagance.

Razorlight:Up All Night - One of last year's biggest treats. Worth a revisit following Jonnhy Borrell's sterling performances at Glasto and Live8. When The Strokes return, they'll have competition.
Highlight - Stumble And Fall

Thursday, June 30, 2005

28 Days

"I Have Never analysed a decade."

On a more positive note than yesterday (sort of):-

Things I HAVE done in my 20s

1) Purchased a flat on my own. Only 17 years to go on the mortgage...
2) Owned a BMW. Was that really 3 years ago?
3) Attended the Edinburgh Festival. 4 years in a row, with fifth fast approaching.
4) Drunk a bottle of vodka for breakfast. Maybe not the best way to celebrate completing my degree exams. Lesson learnt - don't shave when drunk.
5) Mixed business with pleasure, and had an affair with the boss's secretary. 3 months of fun.
6) Resigned from same job. 2 years down the line from the affair going sour.
7) Singularly failed at a one night stand. It really should have been just that one night in Bristol.
8) Executive Directed a 3 month season of new writing to minor acclaim.
9) Devised a theatrical flop. It will return...
10) Experimented with hair. By which I mean growing a moustache for one show, then shaving my head a couple of months later for another performance.
11) Mate's Stag Do 1. Been assaulted by a tramp in Barcelona while alone on La Ramblas at 3am.
12) Mate's Stag Do 2. Spent a night in Edinburgh dressed in drag. Lessons learnt -
a) No pockets!
b) Eating with lipstick! Yuck.
c) People get very tactile...
13) Flown out to Istanbul to try and rescue a relationship. Failed, but did see the Spice Girls live.
14) Sung the Millenium in with thousands. Guess where? Edinburgh.
15) Spent six months on 'Gardening leave'. Love that euphemism.
16) Been made redundant the day before pay day due to the company folding. Then a week later secure the same job in the same place for £2,000 more salary.
17) Appeared in Panto. As a randy sultan in Dick Whittington.
18) Get into managing people. Both at work and in my private life with the theatre.
19) Spent a night drinking with The Buzzcocks. Drinking their rider I might add.
20) Started blogging!

What a snapshot.

The Pixies:Bossanova - Part of me wants to see one of their shows now they've reformed. That said, I saw Frank Black solo last year. He was just, y'know, OK. This is a lesser favoured gem.
Highlight - Hang Wire

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

29 Days

"I Have Never started counting down to my birthday."

It started yesterday.

30 Days to my 30th birthday.

20 Things I said I'd do in my twenties and haven't (yet):

1) Go to Glastonbury Festival. Now, I'll be nearly 32 before the next time it's on.
2) Bungee Jump. Hmmm, perhaps a bit too heavy for that at the mo'.
3) See the Grand Canyon. I can do that in my thirties, I guess.
4) Run a marathon. A very short passing fad.
5) Form a band. The time has definitely passed on this one. You can't form a band in your thirties.
6) Apply for Big Brother. No interest in being the 'parent' figure in the house.
7) Spend a weekend in Amsterdam. No, not for the tulips and clogs...
8) Write a novel. What about?
9) Lose 5 stone. Not even close.
10) Skinny dip. Erm... I don't know why.
11) Have a critical and commercial directorial success. Still learning.
12) Give Esko his theatre books back. Small, but important. (They're good books!)
13) Complete the revamp of my flat. I want all the different rooms to be different colours of the rainbow - the kitchen needs to be accessorised in red, and the bathroom in blue.
14) Run a record shop. Retail aspirations have fallen by the wayside with the advent of the internet.
15) Write for a music magazine. I sent off letters to NME and Melody Maker but no dice - now one is defunct, and the other seems childish (even though I still buy it every week).
16) See the Northern Lights. While in an Icelandic spa.
17) Meet 'the one'.
18) Discover my purpose in life. What was I put here to do?
19) Get married. 5 years behind schedule on this...
20) Become a dad. Can't do this without (19) - very old fashioned, I know.

Maybe I could do (12)...

Kings Of Convenience:Quiet Is The New Loud - When I was down about a break up, this album pulled me through. I just love the sound of acoustic guitars chiming together.
Highlight - I Don't Know What I Can Save You From