There is a wasp at the window; what am I going to do? It's not knocking on the outside, trying to get my attention, desirous to be allowed in. It Is hiding behind the curtains which I have yet to open, mostly waiting silently, but occasionally generating a buzz with a calm rising inflection. The sudden heat(wave) has meant that the window must be kept open at night, despite the fact that the Britannia Hotel (Portland Street, Manchester) already has a Christmas tree erected in the lobby. I know this not because I go to hotels, but because my fiancée went there a couple of days ago for her Zumba workout. There is something strange in here; something not quite right Oh, it's the winter festival three months hence, already being celebrated, despite the heat still gripping this small Northern Hemispheric isle.
None of this has occurred to the wasp, I presume to know; it merely struggles to find freedom. To break away from the endless flat force field keeping it from moving forward. It is trapped and its few tiny synapses do not contain power or appropriate context necessary to formulate an escape plan, or even comprehend its predicament. On Sunday I killed a wasp in the Tollgate pub, armed with a beer mat and a pool cue. Yes, it was armed with a pool cue, and I still bested it in mortal combat. It was so small and weak it might as well have been an insect.
I am a benevolent ruler, and have decided to grant it freedom. With Fred Hoyle's The Black Cloud I will bat the stripy interloper out of the open window, and from that point on it is left to its own devices. Freedom to fall a storey to the gravel below, or take to the skies to find wood pulp or pollen to take home to its brood. Be gone, buzzy one.
OK, that's strange: I see no sign of it. I lifted aside the curtains but found no wasp, not walking the windowpane or hiding within the rippling surface of the curtain cloth. I pushed open the window more to widen the gap, and let the curtains fall back into place. Another buzz signalled the continued presence of the wasp; or did it signal the freedom which the wasp had taken for itself? I cannot see it, so until evidence says otherwise I shall assume it has escaped my jurisdiction.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Is anyone paying enough attention to have noticed the recently emerging theme in this blog-thing I've been working on for the past thousand-or-so years? There has been a tiny amount of negativity; a wee swipe of moaning aimed at targets like Solomon Grundy, Blackpool Tower, and Teapot (deservedly so, especially in the case of Teapot). Today I'm going to take a new direction; one of blind sycophantic positivity. And by the power vested in me (when giving my details to blogger to create this online repository of my every waking thought) I declare Manchester Arndale Market's food court to be the greatest place in Manchester city centre.
|a picture from someone else's flickr; not mine|
Let's be clear: I'm not talking about the Arndale food court, which is all Subway, KFC, McDonald's, massive groups of teenagers laden with shopping bags, filthy tables left uncleared by an apathetic mob unable to use the bins provided. I'm talking about the smaller, more perfect food court in the Arndale Market, situated between the butchers/fishmonger, and the stalls selling high-heels, clutch bags and mobile phone unlocking. Desperate for a cuppa, but unwilling to pay the insane prices at Costa (or whatever; I've yet to bother noticing the difference between chain coffee shops), we went to the Market and discovered Parched.
Parched is a coffee and tea shop, which also does cakes and bagels at extremely reasonable prices. We got a tea, a coffee and an apple pie for less than the cost of a single crisp at Nero's or Costa (you know, if they sold single crisps pick n mix style). The service was swift and friendly, the coffee I had was delicious, and the counter was host to a framed photograph of Elvis Presley. Compared to a chain coffee shop (and just in general, without the comparison) the Market food court is relaxing and interesting, and at the time I was there there was none of the insane clamour for tables. In my experience Costa is always full of people sitting alone at a table without a drink, because they have captured the table while their friend or partner is in the queue buying the drinks. This is wrong: the queue is for the table as well as the drinks, no table hogging should be tolerated by the management. But I digress.
I glanced around the Market food court to see a much more appealing and appetising selection: Ethnic Bites (curry), The Market Plaice (fish n chips), Munch Pancake House, Milk Shake (you make, we shake), Pancho's Burritos (hottest food in town), Zorba's (Greek & Cypriot food), as well as many more not directly surrounding the seating area. Cheekily there is a Wing's (wok n go and sushi pick n mix) which also has a branch in the big Arndale food court upstairs, but the food here is the least appetising-looking of all the Market retailers. Unlike the main food court upstairs, in the Market's food court it is almost impossible to chose. Upstairs you already know what you are going to get, because you have already got it thousands of times before, the world over. But downstairs there is a much more massive range, tucked into a comparatively tiny space, and it all smells so delicious. Diverse, interesting, delicious, independent.
And most importantly, I've just realised it is two minutes walk from my day job (this calls for an exclamation mark)! What good have I done in a previous life to deserve such a wealth of reward; what has Manchester done to deserve this, you know, besides being great and all that?
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Observations about Solomon Grundy, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester, UK, Europe, The World.
Here is my experience today, and the judgements I have made as a result. I was desirous of a quick pint, and a place to sit and read, while waiting for someone. So I entered the establishment walked up to the bar and waited for service. I had my heart set upon a pint of Hoegaarden, and having frequented pubs now for many years was well versed in beer-buying tactics, methods and etiquette. For that reason I was surprised when someone stood next to me, not behind the bar like you would expect, asked me what I wanted. Looking at him I decided he worked there (he had that I'm at work look, and to illustrate his position was holding a tray), so I stated my case: I just want to order a pint of Hoegaarden.
No problem, he said. Just find a seat and I'll bring it over. I did so, took out my book, and between sentences I glanced around. Two waitresses separately asked are you ready to order and are you ok, can I help you. I said it was OK as he was bring my drink over. Eventually he stepped over with my drink. I enjoyed it and my book, and then packed up my paraphernalia and headed to the bar to pay on the way out. Can I help you, said the someone at the bar. I just want to pay for my drink. He looked over at a waitress using the till, then looking back at me asked for my table number. Remember this wasn't Wetherspoon's and I wasn't ordering food; I was paying for one (1) pint of beer.
I hadn't looked for a table number, but must have noticed it as the number eight (8) confidently popped into my head. After a brief err? I stated it and he asked the little one over there. I confirmed this. He turned to the girl by the till and said can I have the bill for table eight? After tapping on the screen and printing a piece of paper, he handed me the bill for one pint of beer on a saucer. I tried to hand over my money, but he was busying himself by fiddling with pumps and stuff and managed to ignore my payment until I had placed it on the saucer. He took the saucer and handed it back to me with the bill (presumably for my records) and my change.
I'd like now to restate the fact that all of this red-tape and rigmarole was so I could imbibe one pint of beer. If anyone from the Solomon Grundy's management has googled themselves and somehow stumbled upon this blog, can you please leave a comment explaining the reason (if any) for such stuff and nonsense. Does it make you feel important? In future would you like me to fill out a form stating my order, purpose of visit, and bra size. Will I need to book a table in advance? In the past I have visited Solomon Grundy – a pub – and been able to order a drink at the bar like you do in a pub. Is Solomon Grundy not a pub anymore? If not what the hell is it, cos it certainly looks like a pub, and serves the purpose of a pub. I just don't get it. We have a way of doing things, and if you want to flout that and come up with your own, you need a damn good reason. I hypothesise that Solomon Grundy lacks a reason.
One more thing: Anyone walking across the uneven tiled floor is likely to produce shoe-squeaks at a rate of approximately one every three-and-a-half steps. Once you notice this it is impossible to unnotice. It's like when you pick up on the sound of a particularly ravenous, open-mouthed eater lacking in self-awareness and public decency. However the squeaky shoe/floor is entirely due to an inanimate object , and has nothing to do with a person's level of consideration. As a result there were three very considerate waitresses and one considerate waiter (who should really have been barmaids/men) squeaking about all over the place.
Solomon Grundy's is a weird squeaky pub/non-pub thing. Oh, and it's overpriced.
P.S. It has on the wall, and has had for a very long time, the single worst painting I have ever seen. It is a disgusting sort of orange-swirly nightmare, with two hand prints in the centre made out of stuck-on shards of mirror. It has no redeeming features at all. It is the pseudo-arty-pretensions of a talentless crap-artist who clearly has no idea about art, aesthetics or concept. If my own child had made it I would need to work hard to grit my teeth, hold my tongue, grin and give them encouragement in the hope that one day they might get good. Tip: tip it.
As soon as I barged in through the front door, after work today, I caffled forward into a heavy coma brought on by an indescribable demon, forcefully tea-bagging me and excreting pure goopy confusion into my sleeping head. I felt fine all through the day – larking around with shoes; showing customers where to find the men's socks; chatting about food, weekends, parenting, shoes, films, tinkers, tailors, soldiers, spies, etc; reading the papers, walking about and moving stuff around, generally being awake – but as soon as I re-entered the comfortable quiet shell of home, sleep dropped hard and sudden like blitzkrieg. Half way through my coma-cycle I was shook half-awake by my fiancee urgently saying something about something. There was probably no fire, so the coma took me back into its lair. I am awake now, so it's fairly safe to assume that at some point I woke up.
What is sleep anyway? An excuse to climb into a warm comfy pit for a few hours a day, or a factory for producing bizarre but tedious stories set in your imagination which you can later use to bore co-workers with? What's with all the questions; just shut up and go to sleep. My hobby is sleeping; I practice every day, I thoroughly enjoy it, and I'm improving constantly. I really do enjoy it; I lie there with a big wet dribbly grin on my face, cooing and gurgling like a baby drunk on boob-juice. I wake up ready to face the day, but gosh darn golly I do like the day to end and for bed time to coax me into its welcoming folds. Sometimes I can't even wait to get back home, and on the bus back from work, while trying to read whatever exciting tome is enterteaching (or edutaining) me, I doze and dream my head into the window, bump. Or the shoulder of some lucky stranger sitting beside me.
Have you ever done a sleep before? If not, I highly recommend it. Maybe not now, but when you are ready: put it on you bucket list, your amazin' Amazon wish list. It can be done almost anywhere with the most basic of equipment. You know that room in your house; the bed room? Ever wondered why it's called a bed room? Let me tell you. A bed is a popular sleep-related piece of paraphernalia (although it can be used for other activities; a nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat). You may even have a bed; check in the bed room right now and see. It is a large, comfortable, square or rectangular surface covered in a padded sheet with small rectangular cushioned objects placed at one end. All you need do is climb or fall onto the bed. If you intend only to sleep for a very short time (this is often called a nap) it is acceptable to keep your day clothes (but not shoes) on and to remain above the padded sheet (known as a quilt or duvet); for longer sleeps I recommend disrobing and climbing under the sheet. Hope it goes well; good luck, and good night. Don't let the bedbugs bite.
"Bedbugs? What bedbugs?"
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Who's reading blogs anyway? By which I of course mean, who's reading this blog? I'm not; are you? Occasionally, if the subject of blogs pops up (as it sometimes does when I'm in the room) someone may say I read yours and a couple of others, or they might say I sometimes read yours if it's something interesting and there's nothing real to read. More likely, following the example set by my dad, they'll say no, I don't read blogs. Not yours, no. Actually my dad was kind enough to qualify his dismissal of my efforts by saying I would have read it if you'd written one when you lived in Japan. Which is clearly to be interpreted as I'm not really interested in the day to day drudgery of your work and/or social life, or your thoughts on anything and everything, unless of course they are taking place thousands of miles away.
I could have written a blog in 2007 when I lived in Japan from February until September, teaching English to Japanese students of all ages; I had all the tools (fingers, this very laptop, eyes and a brain), I just didn't know what a blog was. The only place I had ever seen the word (probably, I don't really remember, just pretending for the sake of it) was on MySpace, which was still the done thing at the time. Obviously being on MySpace (ha ha, remember MySpace? I don't cos it was like five years ago.) it was a dreadful fiddly little function that no one ever used. I think I used it once, to write a sort-of haiku series of stanzas about some terrapins living in the pond of Osaka's shitenoji (it's a Buddhist temple). Even if I did 'get' the whole blog thing, it still probably wouldn't have occurred to me to get off my arse, kneel before my laptop and actually do some work.
Had I begun the blog in Japan most days would have consisted of observations about how different everything was, but conversely how similar. In fact, I massively regret not having done that; what a wasted resource and squandered opportunity. The West (you know the west... here) is full of people who want a piece of Japan, that mystical technological mass of people and tradition and funny little doings. If I am successful in my plan to write this blog until the day I shuffle off the stage there will hopefully be further opportunities for adventure and observation. Honeymoon in Tanzania and Zanzibar? Working weekend on Moonbase-Alpha5? Riding like the one-eyed jack of diamonds with the devil close behind?
Instead of drinking whiskey and wearing a cardigan, I could have been blogging in a kimono drinking a sake one-cup, slurping ramen all over my tie like it was the most normal thing ever instead of an amplification of the vile sound of a person eating. I used to just wander around Osaka by myself looking at stuff and taking pictures and finding little places to eat things chosen pot-luck from a picture menu. On a few occasions I had to beckon waitress out of the front door in order to point at the fake plastic food in the window that vaguely resembled something looking like what I wanted to eat. Other times I ate with people more familiar to the country, people Japanese or otherwise, who could help me single out the delicious and the different. What I could have written! I've been meaning to write a post about the hot dog van on the corner of Piccadilly Gardens; that's pretty special.
All of my posts that get the most hits do so because of the pictures embedded or linked to. The two most popular for this reason are one about Ernst Haeckel, the Victorian biologist most well-known for his incredible illustrations, and one inexplicably featuring a picture of some semi-clad girls from Hollyoaks (for my American readers, Hollyoaks is a soap opera so nonsensical, hammy and unrealistic it could almost be American). Recently I've been experimenting with posts free from the clutter and distraction of pictures, in order to see my hit rate trail to nothingness. I might give up on paragraph breaks and full stops too
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I'm lounging in my library wearing a casual grey shirt (no t-shirts for me), and my new navy cardigan with leather elbow pads, reading my way through Ian Fleming's colonial and casually-racist oeuvre of Bond novels. None of this was conceived with ideas of writing about it; I'm not doing this to be cool. Case in point: I'm not writing on a Mac, I'm not drinking coffee, or smoking anything of any sort, type, brand or class. And from that description I have convinced myself (if not you, whoever the hell you are) that my cardigan is not an affectation. Objectors be damned, the geography teacher-look seems to suit me. So that's all the news in me; how are you doing? Yeah, that's great, fantastic; right I'm off to polish my shoes.
My friend is upping and leaving to Tanzania, taking his wife and son (my godson), stuffed inside a shipping container with only a car and a washing machine for company and sustenance, setting up home and shop in Dar es Salaam, and only returning for my wedding, and in the event of catastrophic collision of ambition and achievement. I would like them to come back, but I don't particularly want them to fail miserably; I have cognitive dissonance. I wish them well, but if you want to know what happens on their big adventure, you'll just have to petition him to write his own damn blog. Until then: honeymoon in Tanzania and Zanzibar?
In the meantime I'll be right here reading the rest of Ian Fleming's From Russia With Love. The first five chapters which I have so far read (except for the first, which has a bit too much description of a man's sweaty back) are intense. Back story tells of a young man growing up in Ireland who felt the need to kill. As a boy he slaughtered cats and cows, eventually upgrading to tramps and young women in his mid-teens. He travels around on his bicycle every full moon hunting for victims. Eventually he takes up boxing, then joins the army.
The army isn't vicious enough for him, so when he is posted in British West Berlin, he escapes to East Berlin and offers his services to the Soviet killing machine as an enthusiastic and ambitious spectre of death. He is one scary guy, rising up the ranks. They give him complex assassination missions, and his reward for their success is to be allowed free reign to kill prisoners in whichever way takes his fancy. I think Bond has finally met his match. Bond too is a cold blooded killing machine; but is forever distracted by nubile breasts and the like. Our Russian Irish killer is asexual and apolitical and lives to kill. I really don't think Bond has a chance – he hasn't even had a mention yet. Goodbye Bond, you beautiful, barbarous, gentleman racist and misogynist. You served Queen and country well.
It's a good book, and time spent writing is time unspent reading. Which is more important? Goodbye.
Here, have a bus related anecdote, it's proper interesting n that:
The race is on, fully, constantly, and forever -as long as there are buses, public transport and kids with active imaginations, the race is on. A brother and sister, too young to be in school, sat upstairs on the bus, in the front in the prime position above the driver's head. Every bus in front of, beside us, or behind us - as we pulled out from Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens heading south towards Old Trafford, Stretford, then probably in the general direction of Altrincham – was involved in this breathtaking race. As we moved away from the pavement and pulled around a stationery bus into traffic, the kids yelped and screamed and fell about joyously – yes, yes, yes, we're winning. Oh no, they realised upon seeing further buses up ahead, they are beating us.
We stopped at the lights, and a bus turns right at the junction in front of us. It sets off starting despairing cries, oh no, that bus is beating us. I thought we were going to win. It's ok, we are still winning that one over there. Eventually there may be overall final winners or, like football, it may continue indefinitely repeating the same tedious cycle with subtle variation from now until the inevitable disastrous end of days. My money is on the 256 to Redditch.
Another bus related anecdote follows when you are ready:
Bright and early one morning, on the way to the bus stop, a school girl in blazer and trousers, left her house wearing a headscarf indicating the likelihood that she (or at the very least, her parents) identifies with the Muslim faith. We walked in the same direction for a time, her being a few steps ahead of me. Just before reaching the bus stop she ducked behind a multi-storey car park while I continued walking. I went through the motions of waiting for a bus: checking my watch, leaning a bit, pacing for no good reason, staring blankly at all the numbers of the timetable; checking my watch again, nodding to a stranger.
After a couple of minutes had passed the school girl arrived at the bus stop. Her head scarf was gone, tucked away in her school bag, and she was fixing her long dark hair in the reflective surface of her mobile phone. I thought to myself: the revolution begins here. The simple human act of natural vanity overcomes cultural, religious and parental oppression – maybe only making a minor impact, almost unnoticeable, but I felt nothing but respect for that rebellious little school girl.
And so ends my two little bus related anecdotes; observations if you will, true too. When each weekday bus ride presents you with another free Metro, it's hard to see the little things that people do, the big events in their little lives, and the little events in their big lives. People do stuff; it matters to them, and it's interesting to see. But it's also much easier to stare inwards at the daily crap that gets in the Metro. I don't think I would miss it if it was gone.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I have an automatic aversion to starting these blog posts with the word 'I'. I feel that it automatically labels me as self-obsessed, and excludes the reader (who probably doesn't care about me to be honest). Any that start with an 'I' I usually try to rephrase into a generalised statement that might be more relatable. I've been thinking this might be wasted effort. I should be writing this blog as quickly as possible, before publishing; I remind myself this is an exercise in the act of writing more so than it is an exercise in the content of writing. I ought to be reserving the content for the stories, and articles that I one-day hope to be my bread-and-butter. See, I'm writing v quickly and have allowed a cliche bread-and-butter to get through the edit. I should be embarrassed but I haven't got time.
I had the idea that this post here would be an exercise in overusing the word 'I'; Saying I, I and I many times over and over creating a sickening unreadable mush of I, I, aye-aye, I. It could be a way to purge my system and I think I need that. 'I' is often followed by 'think', and starting any statement with 'I think' is a concession for no good reason. I think it's better to start statements without that concession; to simple state the statement with no thinking, just a statement of fact. If I can stop worrying about the pointless little details (which are important when redrafting/rewriting, but not so much here) then perhaps I can stop missing days. I missed four days in a row, due to apathy, and planned to spend Sunday doing loads of writing.
Instead I spent Sunday playing Telltale's Back to the Future: The Game, an episodic point-and-click puzzle solving adventure game. I love Telltale: they brought back two of my favourite 90's point-and-clicks – Sam and Max, and Monkey Island. I would be giddy as a schoolgirl if they brought back Day of the Tentacle. In November they are releasing episode one of a new series: Jurassic Park. I am excited. Now TV is extinct, I need a new way to distract me from work (by that I mean writing). Quotes4Writers on twitter had one the other day (can't remember the attribution) saying "writing is the only activity that when I'm doing, I don't feel like I should be doing something else". This is perfectly true for me, yet I still would often rather be wasting time moving an animated character around a puzzle-filled pixel-landscape.
If I had a more exciting life – like if I was an astronaut, comedian, heroin addict rock star, or ice cream taster – I could happily write in the first person all day. I'm not very interesting so I don't feel comfortable babbling on about one. Anyway, time to go to work.
Inside Nature's Giants is the best thing on telly: big animals, evolution, it's great. Each episode features an autopsy of one of nature's giants, enabling us to see the creature's unique features, how it is evolved to survive in its environment. The last episode was about sea turtles. A giant leatherback was tragically killed when a boat's propeller tore off a front limb and cut deep into its side, rupturing the oesophagus and a lung; this poor giant formed the subject of the episodes autopsy.
The show was sponsored by Honda, who chose to advertise their product with vignettes of a propeller in the water, a speed boat cutting through the surf in the dark. Yes, Honda decided the best way to advertise their wares (cars or boats?) to the nature lovers that make up Inside Nature's Giants' audience, is with stylised footage of the weapon which ended the life of that beautiful ancient leatherback. Next week, Honda sponsors a documentary about children killed on the road with footage of drag racing past a primary school.
I don't ever remember them investigating the insides of a bear yet, but that sounds fascinating. They are running out of giants to look at: whales, sharks, squid, camel, elephant, giraffe, sea turtles; what else? I've just looked on Channel 4's website and there are episodes I have missed. Forget going to work today; I have to sit here for the next few hours and watch The Polar Bear, The Sperm Whale, and The Dinosaur Bird (Cassowary).
Shows how unwatched TV has become: it's my favourite show on telly currently by a long stretch, and yet I'm incapable of remembering to watch it on a weekly basis. TV is deader than the dinosaur bird (which are pretty rare, but not extinct), it just doesn't know it yet. Right now I wish TV was dead, because it's over there on the other side of the room shouting nonsense at me, distracting me, wiping my memory of whatever the previous sentence was about, so making it next to impossible to keep forging forward, one word after the other.
As much as I would like to, for some reason it's not a good idea to sit inside watching telly with the curtains closed instead of working. Muting the TV and turning my back to it might enable me to write some more. It is unbelievable how destructive TV is to the mind. TV is bad for you; kills conversation, distracts from all the important and difficult things in life. How do people in TV ever get anything done; their job is watching, knowing about and making television, the very obstacle which prevents people from getting anything done. Maybe it's just me. Anyway: Inside Nature's Giants, woohoo – my favourite excuse.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Whoah dude, the four-hundredth blog post is upon us. I wish I could still honestly claim this was daily, but I have let slip slightly. I'm still on track for one post for every day, although excuses of this and the other permit me to relax my strict every day rule. (Just read those last two sentences back and they barely make any sense.) Chiefly among the excuses I think is that I am nervous about setting the bar to high (unlikely) and then ruining it with a dreadful late night post about being tired. Other reasons I have missed the odd day or few (and then caught up) include (but are not limited to) doing over time in the day job, trying to write a novel and short stories (which this blog was originally suposed to empower me to do), and just being a bit shit, tired and wishy-washy. These things happen.
Now I hope that has cleared the air and I can get back to what ever it is I'm supposed to be doing. I still have two BLANKSPACE exhibitions to write up, but that means embedding photos, planning what I'm going to write, worrying about offending people by accident, putting links to all the artists websites. I also have some book covers and post cards from Blackpool I want to put here, but the office is a mess since I had to read the gas meter and now I can't get to the scanner without spending about five minutes tidying first. I'm sorry, but that is just too much to ask.
Note to self: must remember this blog is not supposed to be some fantastic online source of well written opinion pieces and proper articles about art exhibitions, music, politics and science. I know nothing about anything, or at least as much as can be gleaned from two minutes on a wikipedia page. This blog was, is and should still will be a repositary of my own nonsense. It's less than a dieary, because there are things that I can't or don't want to put in here. For instance I actually have a day job, that although pretty menial and a million miles from where I want to be, treats me very well and I thoroughly enjoy (not like that last hell-hole I work, right guys). But, I'm not allowed to talk about it in any detail – people in this crazy modern world get sacked for expressing their well-earned birthright to speak freely. It doesn't really matter as I've not got a burning desire to talk about my day job; but the point is, I guess, if I was a professional writer I could probably blog about what the hell I like.
I'm going to get myself back into the daily blogging thing, even if it means an increase in the frequency of blogs about nothing. What it should mean, however, is that I take a few moments during my working day to think of an intersting theme or idea to blog about, and then get it done as soon as I get home in the evening. If that happens I will heartily congratulate myself, yee-hah! Ideally writing here will just be an exercise; a catalyst to sit down to an hour or two of proper creative writing. And that's exactly what I am going to do now.
|Authorised King James Version - one of the masterpieces of English literature, is 400 this year!|
|random google image, search "400th Birthday" - my initials on the cake, spooky|
|Happy four-hundred-and-second birthday|
I know this is old news, and we bloggers are supposed to be cutting edge reporting on the scene of riots and revolutions, but instead I'm going to talk about a YouTube video that is over a year old. I want to talk about the timeless magnificence that is Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind). Here it is (don't read me, just watch it):
It's a parody of the not nearly (but almost) as wonderful Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. If you don't know it skip to the end of this post to watch it. They are both glorious lyrical, visual and musical invocations of a particular time and place. Jay-Z raps with his trademark conversational swagger, referencing musical and architectural landmarks of New York, as he attempts to invoke the magic that is New York City. A city envied the world over for its culture and heritage, a real honest-to-goodness fairy tale land. Like most of his verses however he soon descends into arrogant boasts about his own wealth, power and importance (on Kanye West's magnificent Diamonds (From Sierra Leone) he follows Kanye's verse, about the shame and guilt of blood diamonds, with an horrendous inappropriate and un-ironic verse about his own wealth). Empire..., a song which could have been about the entirely universal desire to succeed – to reach out and touch the greener grass – is almost pulled down by Jay-Z's crass self-obsession.
The reason why Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind) is so superior is it manages to turn the small and trivial into the glorious and grand (kind of the opposite of what Jay-Z managed). Descriptions of Newport's shopping centre, its night life and tongue-in-cheek boasts about its minor celebrities invoke love and pride in one's own insignificant corner of the world. I have never been to Newport, but Newport immediately gets me thinking about all the little cities and towns that have played a part in my life: Morecambe, Lancaster, Heysham, Sale, Seascale, even Manchester. Newport succeeds in the same fashion as many classic works of literature: the everyday and the mundane is elevated to the level of epic.
Alicia Keys' chorus and final verse achieve spectacularly where Jay-Z's two verses fail. She invokes the desire any right-thinking human has to visit New York, and the righteous pride any New York deserves to feel. I'm being too hard on Jay-Z; he only occasionally undermines his point (but you'd think a professional would be able to iron out such imperfections). The second verse references Afrika Bambaataa, home of the hip hop ; love it – that's one of the many wonderful things that comes to mind when I think of New York. (Course Jay-Z has to have a stab at ruining it; what he actually raps is Afrika Bambaataa shit, home of the hip hop – I just don't get it.)
Point is Empire/Ymerodraeth is a brilliant hip hop song combining rapping and beats (obviously) with two of the rarest finds in hip hop music: a decent chorus, and a singer who know what a tune is. Newport (Ymerodraeth State of Mind) is far superior because it better achieves artistically what it sets out to do, and creates a much more universal experience. Of course you'll disagree if you happen to live in New York, or perhaps any other massive city (you know, like London and that).
Despite loving the old Harrison Ford movies Star Wars and Indiana Jones, loving science-fiction and post-apocalyptic stuff like RoboCop and Total Recall, loving Ridley Scott's Alien (Gladiator and Legend are pretty good too), I have somehow never seen Blade Runner. I've even read the book it's based on a couple of times: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. I have watching it now (I'm taking a break about half way through) I have been missing out of a very good film. (I'm trying this new thing where I stop using words like fantastic, amazing, marvellous, wonderful, etc. Good, quite good and very good will suffice.)
The scale is huge, the tone is grim, and the lighting is dark. It's a terrible future where most of humanity has left Earth for space colonies built by genetically manufactured androids. Earth is crumbling and poisonous; the scorched surface and choking atmosphere is hostile to animal life, and artificial animals are kept as pets. Occasionally an android goes haywire and kills; sometimes they return to Earth, and when they do it is up to the Blade Runner to hunt them and retire them. All this is done against a backdrop of towering castles of alloy and shooting columns of flame, inspire apparently by Scott's South Shields upbringing (I never knew Ridley Scott was a Geordie, thank you wikipedia).
Yeah it's different from the book. It starts with the title and moves along swiftly. But that's not a problem – different media and all – and the book is sort of a let down to be honest. You start of reading it sensing that it might be along the lines of Nineteen Eighty-Four or Brave New World, but never reaches such heights; it has a couple of dead ends, a weird hallucination and then it just ends. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? isn't hugely memorable; on the other hand I've yet to forget Blade Runner (although I haven't watched it all yet – such is the difficulty with doing everything on the same bit of hardware). How about I finish watching it.
Well, the action between Deckard and the terrifying (but pathetically Last of the Summer Wine named) Roy Baty is proper good (I've given up trying to write well) and all 'round good film. Fin. (Crappy ending to the blog post, but the ending to the film was so good I didn't think I could do it justice. Plus it's night and there are Blade Runners on the prowl and I can't prove I'm not a replicant.)
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Ten years ago today (as half-a-billion other blog posts will open with) I was sitting in my tiny box-bedroom at my parents old house. I was on the computer - an old desktop thing, probably with an Intel Celeron processor – messing around on Cakewalk. My sister, just back home from school making it about 3.30 or 4pm (UK time), knocked on my door and came in. What are you doing she asked. Odd I thought - Why? Oh, there's nothing on TV she replied – just news on every channel. Sensing this was important, more important than a little sister can properly convey, I asked what was going on. I don't know, something about planes falling out of the sky in America. To this day I still cannot figure out the thinking there. I ran down stairs to the TV, and remained there for the next 150 hours.
Now is as good a time as ever to revisit the history of the Crusades, or the sorry history of partition in Kashmir, or the woes of the Chechens and Kosovars. But the bombers of Manhattan represent fascism with an Islamic face, and there's no point in any euphemism about it. What they abominate about "the West", to put it in a phrase, is not what Western liberals don't like and can't defend about their own system, but what they do like about it and must defend: it's emancipation of women, its scientific inquiry, its separation of religion from the state. Loose talk about chickens coming home to roost is the moral equivalent of the hateful garbage emitted by Falwell and Robertson, and exhibits about the same intellectual content. Indiscriminate murder is not a judgement, even obliquely, on the victims or their way of life, or ours. Any decent and concerned reader of this magazine could have been on one of those planes, or in one of those buildings – yes, even in the Pentagon.
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation, September 20, 2001
Many people like me (self-obsessed, politically-micromotivated, liberal but pissed off, unable to make sense of the world, aspirations of intellectualism and writerliness) have attempted to "come to terms" with the 11th Sept 2001 attack on liberalism and modernity that caused the death of thousands of innocent people. I even went through a flippant phase (I was a student, and a dick head) of wondering if bin Laden and his flock were freedom fighters, a la Che Guevara or even Nelson Mandela. Admittedly I was trying to be contentious, but more importantly I was being an idiot. Like many confused liberals I bought into the idea that America was somehow intrinsically evil, and any opposition to it was justified. Sorry if you still believe that, but it is a truly cretinous and intellectually embarrassing belief.
Having said that I still don't know what "coming to terms" with this could possibly mean: why should I; how should I; should I; do I have a need to, or even a right to? I don't believe there are answers to any of these questions. I do believe that we, "the West" if you want to call the Modern world that (Japan is not in the West, but it is in "the West"), have a right and a duty to battle fascist ideals, overthrow tyrants, and aim towards a world united by Universal Human Rights. Perhaps 11th Sept 2001 was a terrible, tragic wake up call; a reminder that the democracies and rights our parents and grandparents (etc) fought for continue to need protecting. A reminder that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are still denied to billions of people across the world, and that oppressors are prepared to use extreme violence to propagate their evil ideas.
Just to clarify, I am not talking about peaceful Muslims the world over. I am talking about the Islamic fascists that rule many countries, the mullahs beating down the rights of men and women. As terrible as the attacks on New York (London, Madrid, etc) were we should remember that Muslims living in Islamic countries are sadly the biggest victims of fascism and brutal ancient dogma. What have we learned? I don't know. What have I learned? I don't know. I do know that I prefer liberal democracy to religious fascism. I shouldn't have to explicitly state that, but sometimes it seems I need to.
|Oxfam Books Chorlton|
Chorlton (like Withington and Sale) is fantastic for charity shops. Unlike Withington and Sale it has a fishmonger, and no ordinary fishmonger at that! This one sells fresh octopus and scallops, and does sashimi-grade tuna. This weekend however I am cooking a pasta bake with saduk on Saturday, and a lamb meat loaf on Sunday. So no need for fresh fish, but there is always a need for old books. Step in Chorlton's charity shops. I got two none-Jeeves novels by PG Wodehouse, three James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, Brideshead Revisted by Evelyn Waugh, and a collection of Will Self's short stories. Damn good haul; damn, damn good haul.
So now I'm reading Dr. No by Ian Fleming. It's the first Bond novel I've ever read, and is the second time I have followed the advice of Stephen Fry and picked up the work by an author I might never have gone near otherwise. The first was, of course, the great PG Wodehouse – and thankfully I still have a staggering amount of his stories to get through. The casual old-fashioned colonial arrogance and racism displayed in Dr. No is more amusing than offensive – he uses the word Chigroes, meaning Chinese Negroes, and occasionally refers to people as being "a Chinese" instead of "Chinese". It's weird. Bond has a Jamaican assistant who, when asked if he has had his breakfast, replies "Yes, tank you, cap'n. Salt fish 'an ackee an' a tot of rum. Mos' refreshin'". Earlier, speaking about the proprietor of a bar, he says "Him owns de joint. De calls him 'Pus-Feller' seein' how him once fought wit' a big hoctopus".
Despite all this, or maybe because of it (I don't know myself that well!), I am loving reading Fleming so far. The writing is playful and creative, the intrigue is building, and Bond is just so damn cool. I'd love to see some cross-over fiction where he is pitted against Vito Corleone – that would be exciting. Gangsters seem to be into things like garbage disposal, and in Dr. No Bond is doing battle with a man making his millions by the production and export of bird shit. I think Bond and Corleone would find each other to be worthy opponents, mutually respectful despite their hatred; not too different from Holmes and Moriarty.
Thing is, writing this now is keeping me from reading so
|1962 film tie-in edition by Pan Books. The edition I bought.|
|Utterly incredible 1st edition cover.|
Teacup in Manchester's Northern Quarter is dreadful. Last year my fiancee and I went in for a cup of tea and a cake. We stood, the only people in the queue, at the counter for five minutes, while four members of staff the other side of the counter messed about and ignored us. Then we stormed out and I swore never to return. But I went back yesterday with a friend. We went up to the counter and were told we would be served at a table, and he'd be right over. We told him where we would be sat and took our seats. We waited about ten minutes until someone tried to deliver us someone else's cupcakes: are these yours? No, but we would like to order. My friend ordered a black coffee, and a glass full of ice (he enjoys a nice iced coffee), and I ordered an assam tea.
A sandwich board outside reads S'ils n'ont plus de pain, qu’ils mangent de la brioche which might as well be French for stay away from this pretentious dump. If you care what it means (If they have no bread, let them eat cake) you shouldn't: the correct reaction to a menu written in French in England is just to walk away. A good rule of thumb, especially anywhere you see custard referred to as creme anglaise.
My tea came with two pots and a weird triple egg-timer thing. It was explained to me, slightly apologetically, that it wasn't as complicated as it looked. I was to wait until the middle egg-timer had run through, then pour the water from the first pot through the strainer and into the empty second pot. From the second pot I was then allowed to pour directly into my cup. Why not just pour through the strainer directly into the cup, I know you are thinking. Exactly. Pretentious for pretension's sake. On top of that the tea was served with more than enough milk for ten cups of tea, no sugar, and both the teapots were greasy.
Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity, so says Occam's Razor. Or translated for the staff at Teacup, entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. (Although that's Latin not French, but you get the idea.)
My friend's coffee arrived without his glass of ice. He asked again for the ice, but none came. Later he asked again for a glass full of ice cubes and a minute later the waitress arrived with a glass of tap water with about three tiny ice cubes floating at the top. Eventually the oh so complicated order of a glass of ice cubes was completed successfully – Huzzah!
Teacup seems to be of the impression that because it sells expensive designer cupcakes instead of homemade fairy cakes, and is frequented by people desperate to be hip, they can charge whatever they like, add loads of meaningless extras to the simple process of pouring a cup of tea, and offer the laziest and most ignorant service in Manchester. Better service is available in any random McDonald's you care to choose.
My first experience at Teacup was a lesson in fuck off we don't want your custom, and my second experience was didn't you learn your lesson the first time? Very well, we will serve you but we don't want to. I don't need to be told a third time: I am staying well away from Teacup from now until the world is consumed by an expanding sun.
|Blackpool Night Life|
Last Saturday: my first time ever on a night out, club pub or otherwise, in a sober state of mind. Upon arriving at Blackpool's Sanuk 'sober' was the word: I felt bloated, confused, scared. Slutty couples frugging viciously against one another on the dance floor – welcome to Blackpool, baby! - face on tit, hand up skirt; bird giving it Beyonce-promo – legs open, crouch ass to the ground; shaven-headed Ben Sherman thinks he is the king pimpdaddy.
Blackpool's predatory males have – by necessity, in battling against the visual feast of hen and stag costumes – taken peacocking to an absurd level. A man about town, with the sweet scent of hot young lady in his vibrating nostrils, must dress in full combat fatigues or a fireman costume. He approaches a target knowing she will want to try on his hat; this is his substitute for genuine charm, personality, wit or likeability. Peacocking.
Being in a night club with just a glass of water in my hand, and clarity in my mind and eyes, is seriously strange. The place seemed lighter than expected. Everyone's behaviour, speech, movements, everything was too ludicrous for words. Despite feeling hugely self-conscious I needed to dance; every time I stopped for a moment I realised how dreadful the environment was.
Desperately disgusting and annoying people clawing and climbing over one another; absurdly unsexy posturing at the end of every eye-line. That bizarre duck-face pout that women seem to have adopted en masse as being a desirable look. For some time I was able to forget myself and step away from my tedious I'm-better-than-all-you onlooker status, and get lost in an extended mix of old school hip-hop and early-90's pop rave.
Sanuk seemed to have all the properties of a good nightclub: three rooms (one playing rock, pop and hip hop classics, one urban, and the third was Hed Kandi. It was not bad. There was also an outdoor terrace with sheltered seating, a bar, and a kitchen selling bacon butties – fantastic! All they need is a metal night, and for me to be ten years younger, and I'd be a regular. Anyhoo, I fancy I may not be the target audience for a place like this, so it's just one of those things where I'll have to come to terms with the fact that my opinion on the subject is of no value. Good night :)
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Larry David is a hero; he speaks his mind, puts to right all that he perceives as unjust and bullshit, fights for his position, and doesn't care a hoot or two about the consequences. His social standing wavers in and out of favour and he cares not; onward he battles firm in his convictions. The world around him is one of his own construction, one well earned and I don't think there is a man alive who wouldn't envy and admire him. He is without prejudice of colour, creed or sexuality – his battles are against laziness, ignorance, hypocrisy, and stupidity. He is right. Forget Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Barack Obama, David Beckham or Steven Gerrard: Larry David is the masculine ideal, the Vitruvian Man, the alpha, Hercules and Odysseus.
Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is supposedly antagonised by Larry's faux pas, is actually about Larry's stubborn reactions to the arseholes he encounters. His response to idiots and aggressors is to square up, expose their wrongness, let nothing slide; he is honest, open and regrets nothing. As someone committed to the Sisyphean task of writing this blog – the dictates of which increasingly require opinion on contentious issues, interpersonal relations, and occasionally spills over into my private "real" life – I both empathise with Larry and strongly admire him. Yes, Larry 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' David is a fictionalised version of Larry David, but equally Kevin 'I Blog Every Day' Bradshaw is me but not.
Sometimes less me and sometimes more; always me but not quite, you know what I mean. I can say things here that I wouldn't in real life. Admittedly the main reason for that is it doesn't matter if no one reads it – I'll write it anyway – but only an idiot or an extroverted narcissist would talk this much with no one listening. A narcissist I may be, but it's pointing inwards not out. Larry is very much an extrovert in his narcissism: he talks and talks, he is told to shut up, and he just brushes it away and carries on asking questions and thinking out loud.
His behaviour is a filter removing the wastrels from his social circle, condemning them to the circle of hell that is a life outside of his awesome presence. He is arrogant, self-serving, and verging on solipsistic in his attitude towards his own perception of social norms. But isn't that the dream; to be able to act like that free from any real guilt or lasting repercussions. The credits roll and all is back to norm. (To top it all off he is a huge success, financially and critically.) Every day is an episode, every blog post is an opportunity to deconstruct a waiters failings to his face before ordering food, ask an inappropriately personal question to a girl guide, or call a disabled person a cunt. And then when I have google-imaged some slightly relevant pictures and clicked 'post', let the credits roll. Most will be forgotten, yet some will carry over into the next day forming a story arc lasting a few episodes or a series at most. Credits.
SO yesterday, I sounded like an old man going on about this is a disgrace, but on the other hand one finds this marvellous when I should have had better things to do. The next stage of my downfall is contacting the Points of View television programme to put this and that to rights. The first thing I would like to complain about is the incorrect use of the of the term 4d to describe cinema experiences that as well as including 3d glasses also include smells, spraying water and other silliness. As everyone knows the 4th dimension is time; as far as I'm aware there has never been a film without this element. That's what seperates moving pictures from photographs. It's not important; I'm just saying.
On Central Pier, an elderly couple sat on the decrepit wooden benches framed with rusty cast iron that form the outer boundary much of the way around. I told you we shouldn't have come to this pier, she said. It's all the same, it doesn't matter, he replied. That's you two, my sis'-in-law said to my fiancee and I. On the glass floor at the top of Blackpool Tower I found myself picturing falling and smashing, dying in an explosive puddle of gore; not afraid of heights, but an overactive imagination inducing vertigo. In the lift to the top I looked out through the windows and observed endless metres of heavily rusted iron (or steel, or whatever), almost fully eaten through at some points. The glass floor at the top is robust and powerful, but the tower itself is likely to snap in a high wind.
Today I got off the bus near work and all around me seemed to be comedy chaos; a sudden surge of unlikely unlucky mishaps. Firstly a gentleman in front of me received his Metro from the hand of a Metro-person; he was perhaps too eagre to stick his nose in the day's news, and neglected to look where he was going. He crashed knees first into an item of street furniture (some box containing telephone or electric junctions) outside Dawsons. Almost flying over the top, like a wrestler sent crashing into the steel steps with an Irish whip, he clutched his legs. I suspect the shock and embarrassment was worse than the pain, but he stumbled and limped, and thanked me for my concern in a please leave me alone to deal with this kind of way.
Upon turning the corner I saw two glaziers working on fitting a massive new window into the space left by the rioting mindless. The window was clearly an expensive custom job; incredibly thick and upward of fifteen-feet tall. They used their little gaziers vacuum-cup handles to hold the pane vertical about a foot from its destination. They shared a look of panic as they discussed the huge crack running horizontally from one side to the other about two foot from the ground: shit, what are we going to do? I don't know. This is the last thing we need... They had obeyed the first rule of being a glazier: always park the van on the same side of the road as the job, but still they had been unable to prevent comedy smashage. Poor bastards. Back to the tin bath and lehr kiln.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
Had a really good weekend, celebrating two birthdays of two great people. As a result I am exhausted. Today's blog post will therefore consist of a slightly edited copy of an email I sent to Blackpool Tower via their contact-us form. It's miserable old man complainy, cos I was grumpy, hungry and tired when I got in. At some point soon I'll redress the balance, because there is a lot of fun to be had at Blackpool:
After leaving the Tower Eye we were asked to use the "tell us what you think" survey machine to offer feedback (as it has just re-opened after the Council bought and renovated it). My first feedback would be that the touch screen on the machine was next to unusable, so I was unable to type my comments. I'd tap R and nothing; repeatedly tap R and then eventually a 4 would pop up on the screen. I gave the whole affair up as pointless, assuming the same survey would be available on the website. If it is there, it's well hidden.
The comments I wanted to make are as follows:
The cost of £12 per adult was extortionate, and actually reaching the top of the tower required standing in seven or eight queues (lift to 5th floor, queue to buy ticket, queue to hand over ticket, queue to sit on a girder (compulsory!), queue to get into a holding pen, queue in the holding pen, and finally queue to get up the last lift).
The holding pen (waiting room to get into the 4D cinema) was an offence to human dignity. There were no seats or toilets (children audibly worrying to their parents about their inability to hold it in, and elderly people in need of a rest. Some people even made jokes about Zyklon-B gas being pumped into the room - that's how much of a nasty surprise the holding pen was!).
There was nothing to do in this room save stare at the TVs mostly showing thinly-veiled adverts for Blackpool attractions. There is plenty of boasting about the rich history of the tower (lots of facts, figures, photos, and film) yet no actual artefacts. The holding pen would have been an ideal space for a mini-museum with display cabinets showing interesting Blackpool or Tower-related memorabilia.
By the time we were let out of the holding pen we were primed for the 4D experience to be dreadful. Fortunately it was not; the 3D was exciting and the extra 4th D was a surprise. However ; must one be subjected to that annoying kid in the helmet every time one wants to enjoy the beautiful view? I fail to see the logical connection. £2-3 seems like a reasonable price to go directly to the top, without the rest of the nonsense. Essentially the film was a compulsory advert for the Towers' other attractions, badly disguised as an "experience".
Finally the £6 cost of the keyrings and magnets (featuring the photos of us sat on the girder) is disgraceful. The cost of these novelty items at privately-owned theme parks is bad enough, but at an attraction owned by the Council it is a disgrace. I have never understand why one cannot pay a couple of pounds to have the picture emailed (or I could apply for it under freedom of information!).
On a positive note, the renovation of the Top of the Tower (the Walk of Faith) is marvellous, and were it not for the cost and the subjection to the 4D cinema, I would be a regular visitor.
Saturday, September 03, 2011
I'm not a massive Ramones fan (although as I age they seem to get better and better), but I am a massive one with regards to Tom Waits. The Tom Waits original I Don't Want to Grow Up is a spectacular call for the creatives, outsiders and childlike to remain untroubled by the tedious fusses and futters of adult life. It is a song among songs, a song to end all songs. The lyrics we'll speak of shortly, but first the music: distorted vocals, acoustic guitar, pseudo-badly recorded, it just simmers along with pent up energy, never allowing that release. It's perfect. I just discovered the Ramones covered it, and made a music video animated by Daniel Clowes (Ghost World, Eightball). Perhaps it's the shock of the new, but the Ramones version seems somehow better. I can't explain it, and I'm not going to try. It doesn't matter; point is it's an amazing song, with lyrics I can't even explain how good:
I don't wanna grow up
Open up the medicine chest
I don't wanna grow up
I don't wanna have to shout it out
I don't want my hair to fall out
I don't wanna be filled with doubt
I don't wanna be a good boy scout
I don't wanna have to learn to count
I don't wanna have the biggest amount
I don't want to grow up
When I'm lyin' in my bed at night
I don't wanna grow up
Nothing ever seems to turn out right
I don't wanna grow up
How do you move in a world of fog that's
always changing things
Makes wish that I could be a dog
When I see the price that you pay
I don't wanna grow up
I don't ever want to be that way
I don't wanna grow up
Seems that folks turn into thingsI'm gonna put a hole in my TV set
that they never want
The only thing to live for is today...
I don't wanna grow up
Open up the medicine chest
I don't wanna grow up
I don't wanna have to shout it out
I don't want my hair to fall out
I don't wanna be filled with doubt
I don't wanna be a good boy scout
I don't wanna have to learn to count
I don't wanna have the biggest amount
I don't want to grow up
Well when I see my parents fight
I don't wanna grow up
They all go out and drinkin' all night
I don't wanna grow up
I'd rather stay here in my room
Nothin' out there but sad and gloom
I don't wanna live in a big old tomb on Grand Street
When I see the 5 o'clock news
I don't wanna grow up
Comb their hair and shine their shoes
I don't wanna grow up
Stay around in my old hometown
I don't wanna put no money down
I don't wanna get a big old loan
Work them fingers to the bone
I don't wanna float on a broomFall in love, get married then boom
How the hell did it get here so soonI don't want to grow up
-Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan
What more can I say? Is there anyone who doesn't feel like that. By the way, I'm not having a pre-30 crisis. I don't have a problem with getting older; I just don't want to grow up. I love robots, and rockets, and space, and dinosaurs, and drawing, painting and writing stories. I collect toy octopuses; have shoe boxes full of postcards. I hate getting my hair cut. I love science and science fiction. I love Viz. I love swearing, but not too much. I love colours, shapes and lights. I get excited looking at a map of the world. I love wrestling, and lego, sometimes at the same time. I don't want to grow up.