Friday, February 27, 2004

I feel really on top of things at the moment. That's probably because Helen is keeping all the intricacies of the wedding preparations secret from me. I just have to get the gift list sorted out and I'll be happy. Discussions have ranged from "Why don't we just ask them to give us money?" to "Well, we could insist they make a donation to charity instead. I will not be happy until I have a large wide-screen television.

My bus pass expired yesterday, which made today officially the first day of spring. So last night I checked by tyre pressures, packed my panniers, and got my bike ready for the first ride out to work at Queensferry. I got up early and the ride went well, in cold but sunny conditions, and I was almost whistling with smug satisfaction as I arrived at my desk. Three hours later, it was snowing.

I've just kearned the songs that Yes are considering playing on their tour this Summer. If they play a fraction of them I will be very happy. There are some I haven't heard them play for 24 years, some I've never heard them play, and some that clearly involved a lot of bargaining between the musicians, as they'll each be playing on material that they had no original input into. I think they've started to acknowledge that the band is bigger than all of them. Bravo!

Upcoming gigs this year include Fish, Steve Howe, Marillion, Yes, Peter Gabriel, and Rush. It's as though the last two decades never happened! That would make me someone who was waiting to have his first legal pint in a little over a month.

I'm looking forward to this weekend with Helen. For all her considerable faults (too numerous to list here without exceeding the blog server's capacity, as you can imagine) she is a deeply wonderful person, and I am all adrift when I am not with her as I was last weekend. So I shall revel in cooking us a meal tonight, choosing wedding presents over the weekend, and going to hear her sing with her choir on Sunday night.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Helen is away again. There is more on telly tonight that I like than I deserev - Casualty, Jonathan Creek, Top Ten Sitcoms - Porridge, It'll Be Alright on the Night, and Ross Noble - Unrealtime. Praise be to Sky+

I had a haircut today. [Added 27/4] And a skinful by the look of things.

Friday, February 13, 2004

I feel fantastic. I think it must have been all the endorphin-promoting chillies in last night's chilli con carne (healthy, mind - made with low fat turkey mince). I watched a documentary about Tetris on BBC4 while eating it, that was so boring I fell asleep. It was far more about the intellectual ownership of the game than the addictive qualities it has. I have a Tetris brain - I love stacking things neatly, killing two birds with one stone, and fighting the tide of Things To Do. The house was far tidier when I went to bed last night than when I got home, which felt like a win. After the housework I rewarded myself with an hour of Marillion on DVD. This is the first time I have sat down alone in front of the telly this year.

I read the first couple of chapters of Hugh Walters' Passage To Pluto in bed. I loved his books as a boy. They're naively optimistic tales of an international space programmme, and specifically four young astronauts who explore the solar system. I stumbled on Walters by accident in the library when my Mum was directing me to Jules Verne, alphabetically adjacent to Walters. I think Pluto was the first one I read. Knowing the way my mind worked, I probably assumed that as Pluto was the furthest planet, it would be the most exciting book.

Slept blissfully, save for a horrific nightmare. My fiction editor had rejected my latest pitch (which I'm sure he's going to do in a week or so, anyway). Worse, there had been a heavy rainstorm at home, and water was leaking through my attic study's sloped ceiling on to my desk and computers. The wallpaper developed bumps, one of which opened, due to the wet, and disgorged a swarm of wet and angry wasps. I realised the other bumps were also full of wasps. I don't know what was more traumatising; the inevitability of being stung, or the possible loss of data.

This weekend, we'll finally send the wedding invitations out, and I'll be choosing a suit. Quite appropriate for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

A biblically long day. Up at 5:15 to get in early. Some hot IT action today, which gave me some good experience for next time I'm on call. Quite exciting, really. I still want to be a carpenter or an electrician. When I expressed the wish to do a more honest job last night, Helen observed that it would bring me into contact with the public and I wouldn't like that. She has a point. It's quite safe in here with the other geeks and weirdos.

I would have knocked off by now but I'm in an excruciatingly unengaging telephone conference now. I will be so happy to leave and read Eats, Shoots and Leaves on the train home and then go for a swim.

Tonight's project, I have decided, will be to tidy and clean the freezer. There may be a lot of ice I have to use up in a hurry as a result. It would be a shame to let it go to waste. And I am a Friend of Gordon's, after all.

I started feeling very sorry for myself during an Olympian ironing session last night. I normally love ironing but I was watching an episode of The Prisoner (A, B & C) which was not as thrilling as others have been. I'm feeling really tired a lot of the time.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Bit into a Polo mint on Sunday and lost a large chunk of tooth.

Went to dentist yesterday and lost a large chunk of next month's salary.

I've been having an amusing few exchanges with internet nutters. One of them described the Radio Times as "hersute" (sic). If he really means hirsute, then it must be an oddly-bound edition in his TV region.

I feel utterly misanthropic. I hope a good sesh down the gym tonight will mellow me. The 6 Gin and Tonics and Large Curry I'm planned later ought to help, too.

Monday, February 09, 2004

We had a very mixed weekend. Friday night was relaxing, involving having dinner cooked for me and then watching some television that was actually on that night. The Sky+ box is transforming life at home. I suspect we both had slight hangovers on Saturday. I kept postponing a trip to the gym until I decided not to go at all. I did, however, fill two enormous black polythene bin liners with audio cassettes which are now destined for landfill. I do like being cruel to be kind like this. There are now only two boxes of cassettes. One contained my 147 barely-distinguishable live versions of Roundabout and the other contains actual albums. They will become CDs somehow. For the live recordings, I'd be happy if they went to a good home. I may revisit them however and do something quite surgical and bold. For example, the mono recording of a 1996 John Wetton concert I made and have subsequently never listened to fulfils perfectly Dawna Walters' criteria for lobbing out. Once I've done the music, it's books next.

I had a bitty and unfulfilling afternoon, during which Helen spurned me on mavour of the content of the latest issue of "Weddings and Pastel Colours, Lace and Soft Focus, Nuptia, Your Special Day, and Weddings" magazine. I attempted (and failed) to fix my laser printer, which will become landfill. Resorting to my Inkjet, I had to replace the cartridge. It menstruated indelible blue ink all over my hands (and foot), and I look like an apprentice octopus-wrangler as a result. Yes, I said menstruated. I have seen the pantie-liner commercials and know that it's just an odourless-looking light blue liquid. I don't know why women make such a fuss over it. Tsk.

I went to see Forgotten Sons, a Marillion tribute act in the evening, while Helen stayed in and watched a film on antique VHS she had rented from a retro place round the corner. Satirical observers may be able to say we were both enjoying superceded forms of entertainment. The Sons (as I shall now call them), were excellent and played a fair approximation of the Marillion sets that kept be ebtertained in the eighties. However, as there were three men and a dog in attendance, I can only conclude that there was a genuine Marillion/Fish reunion concert somewhere else in Edinburgh that night. It's the only possible explanation. I spoke to the singer - imagine David Brent in Harlequin pants - after the show and apologised on behalf of Edinburgh. That's technically the Lord Provost's job, but I thought I was up to it. Drink had been taken.

On Sunday, we went for a walk in the Borders, near Abbey St Bathans. The wind-chill factor was intense. In fact as Hurree Jamset Ram Singh would have said, the intensefulness was terrific. About half way though the walk, I stopped being a grumpy neglected old git and began to regale my lovely wife-to-be with anecdotes from my youth. We shopped at Sainsbury's on the way home and partook of the cafeteria's delightful Thai Vegetable Soup. Damn fine.

Approximately five months after moving in to our house, we finally put our pictures up this weekend. It makes me feel much better.