143624 total points (all time)
Oxford, United Kingdom
Last seen 1 hour 41 minutes ago
Joined 1:00 pm 10/10/2006
Put stuff here soon...
It is with a heavy, heavy heart after 10 or so years (and the rest I'd say), that I have to say that I am taking a major back seat from here; perhaps more. There has been too much in my life lately and too much riding on the ways of old for me that I just can't carry on being here.
A few family situations including my own with my therapy, my wife's and my mother in law's, plus taking the situation with Paul into account, means that this place has become too hard to come back to and take part in.
I have loved this place to the core. It has kick started my career, and helped me build up on it, and I have loved building this place. But I have to keep life very simple now. No more filling my brain with politics and news and ranting about this and that and posting quotes and proving your point and so on ad infinitum.
I have found a new love too - I want to just concentrate on writing music for the time being.
I now wish TEOTI the very best and thank you for your understanding.
Just finished my second latest demo, need to try it out with you lot. It's a more recent take on things - great to have music as such an outlet in my life again.
I want to re-record the vocals but thought I'd just put this out as the rough idea before I take it to work with session musicians in a studio so if anyone's interested in working on parts, I could do with a drummer, guitarist or bassist to work on this with.
I've been going through therapy the last 9 months as some of you may know, and have gone through a fair bit. One good outcome was realising depression had stopped me making music and making artwork, both of which I am working my way up to doing again - haven't done any of either for 9 years. This is a demo version, all done on Reason and I'm going to work on getting session musicians to replace the parts I made with real instruments, working up to getting a live act together. The vocals aren't perfect, and I haven't tweaked much, but I'm pretty happy that I am now more confident with music again.
Met up with Tricpe just now, had a great time chatting away, couple of beers, crappy British food
We went to the Bodleian library but they would only do guided tours to look around the place so we paid £1 each to walk in this hall and take a picture. What an incredible sight we have bestowed upon ourselves in said hall. It's where they did the hospital scene in harry potter, I kid ye not. No, it was a bag of shit and we could have got a half pint of Guinness for a more alluring atmosphere but hey.
I then forced him to walk past the Radcliffe camera, and great mirth was said and many a racist joke told. We mingled with the elite, pissed on a couple of homeless people and their mangy dog (might have been a child), then quaffed on the odd karaf of champers before we kicked in a few blacks who were simply asking us the time; the poor scum.
We went up St Michael's Church tower to see the city and the great spires. I shit a brick because it was so high up and the spiral staircase was enormously high and ridiculously narrow - this is where we were:
(That's a stock image of the tower behind that we were in)
We then went to the Eagle and child where the Oxford inklings would go; Tolkien, CS Lewis and Lewis Carroll, and had aa big grill and a couple of pints, talked about T9 and everyone on here and so on and what happened to stumpy or Allison or pvtpile or printf... Tricpe is a great guy and I think a great friend. It's amazing how well you get to know people here despite never meeting.
It's the start of my beer 'o clock UK tour! Sara bought me 12 of the best beers selected in as many parts of the uk for my birthday and I've just started on the Lancaster amber bitter - very smooth and malty and light. Letters and words might be dropped the further I travel through said tour, and there may well be varied high levels of emotion with each drink.
Onto the Stonehouse brewery station bitter! This one is nice and murky and rather more bitter than most. One may also use it to creosote one's fence.
The third...! Good times, BH by Williams Bros brewery. And this is a nice, strong, hoppy number. Almost as hoppy as the famed brewdogs. It makes me think of this one time I ate 2 burritos in one go and wasn't quite sure if I'd make it through the day, but was very happy at the time regardless with the pleasure of the fullness. I now strongly consider that as one of my greatest accomplishments.
I had another beer before here but it wasn't part of Sara's selection... Here in the picture you can see the Greene king east coast IPA cowering in the distance. Number 4 is the wagtail from Allendale, and this one just reminds me of that 5 year old Christmas pudding you thought you'd chance in case cakes actually ferment and age like a wine rather than go drastically old and poisonous like your old friends from school who spent more time worrying about their Ralf Lauren jackets than their future careers.
Number 5. No bubbles in this, nice and natural, cloudy, tastes like Lipton ice tea. In that you're saying you like cold tea for the first moment, but really you're wondering why with each sip you're keeping up with the pretence. The more I sip this, the more I think of people who think they're cool in Brighton rather than fogies like me and Paul (Paul is my friend's brother who is also drinking with me, but in Brighton, not Oxford) who actually know where it's at. And that is drinking ale at home on a Saturday night.
#6... Its okay. Nothing bold, nothing ambitious, it's middle of the road. Like a Jack Johnson album or listening to Philip Schofield. Nothing is going to hurt you here, but you keep wishing it would make the effort and stop turning up to your parties wearing a shirt and tie. The conversation with this beer wouldn't go beyond the weather; any attempts at politics and existentialism will just come back as "I don't know really" or "haven't thought about it long enough".
#7 Keel pale ale - this is a thing of beauty. It sits back with its 3.4% miniscule promise and yet delivers taste like you're unexpectedly standing too close to the rear end of a horse, bucked away with the mild yet not subdued whiff of flatulence emanating from a local meadow.
It's beer o' clock again - and this is number 8: Nutty & black. It's nutty. It's black. And it's a seriously nice beer. I would have expected this to taste like the swill clogged in the u-bend of a Marmite factory's urinal, but it really is surprisingly refreshing and less heavy than an IPA with a great taste. It reminds me of when I was in my smoking days at uni and I dropped a cigarette on the floor from about a foot away, only for it to land standing up straight with the lit part pointing up. At the time I thought this was one of the most amazing coincidences and that life itself must be tuned to these moments to trick us into realising that everything really isn't what it seems, and later sent me through a spiral of existential philosophy only to reach a null point. So in general the beer is like that; a bit nutty, and black.
Number 9! Upham stakes, and this one is straight from the afore mentioned Marmite factory; it's is very yeasty, and strong, and not great. There is no pleasure here. It is a slog. You might as well be forced to sit through the Britain's got talent live final whilst sat next to Richard Dawkins and Germain Greer tutting under the impression that it was your idea to watch this. It's that bad.
#10 - cheddar ale's Gorge Best, and this one isn't too bad at all. It's flavoured, but not offensive. Even an EDL member would have a hard time applying excrement laden typography to traffic signals in Bradford while intoxicated with this tipple.
#11 This one is fruity and rich without the bitter after taste. Because that is what it's all about isn't it? I... Oh gawd, how can I keep this up? There really is only so much you can day about beer before it all just becomes meaningless. Will anyone even listen to a f**king word I say? Do people actually listen to reviews or do you just have to be extra special? That's all you're going to get, Good Old Boy by West Berkshire Brewery; make the most of it. Yes, that's tiger bread with Philadelphia on it. F**k you.
#12… the old mill, and thank bejesus this bollocks is over. I can't believe you've actually spent the time to read this far to be honest. All I was doing was finding one adjective from a review to describe one drink and then going off on a ridiculous tangent. Surely you could see through that? Anyway, if you've got that far, well done, and apologies for the disappointment due to my inadequacy. Otherwise, read from the start and post hate mail as appropriate. Ale tastes okay though. The end.
We bought our first house last year - and got closure just 4 weeks after our second son, Jude was born. I had just started a new contract to pay for the work too! It was a stressful time, but really, really rewarding.
So this is what we started with... looks great from a distance
But there was no real bathroom upstairs - just this unplumbed steel bath left behind, and 3 bedrooms. No gas or radiators in the house, no kitchen.
And Dot Cotton's kitchen. Downstairs in the back of this is the wet room for the old bloke who lived here. He was a hoarder and stuffed the place with every old crap he could keep.
Apparently the upstairs was unreachable and he used to climb up the top of the house through the back window up a ladder
Anyway, got the keys, first day, first house of our own.
Dad met up with me first thing the next day to "have a look" and we had the idea that we were just going to remove the carpet tiles before he went to meet mum in town.
Left his tools in the front...
And we thought... "bollocks, let's remove this 70's fireplace with a whacking great bar"
He's pretty good at smashing stuff
This was all at about 10am - I was going to go home before 11am but then we thought... "bollocks, let's rip out the kitchen. Bye, Dot!"
These are the original Edwardian tiles under the fireplace
Cleared it up - looks alright so far
Ripped out the hardboard from the middle room wall aaand... Edwardian wallpaper..! Funny how they used to stick it with horsehair and other stuff
Front of the house is collecting up. Not bad for the first day...
That was Saturday... now Monday, let's knock this wetroom out.
Tadaa... got rid of the remains of the chimney breast too as it was pretty clear it wasn't doing anything to support the floor or anything else above
I got the vinyl wallpaper down... now we just need to steam off the paper underneath
We had worked out that there was a trapdoor in the middle room so a couple of days later we had a rummage in the tiny basement below... Joshua thought he'd have a look around too. We had to remove a massive length of lead pipe used for OUR WATER MAINS and replace it with sturdy plastic stuff.
By Friday... My Aunt Theresa got onto removing the wallpaper
Joshua checking out the electrics in the master bedroom
While dad got down to putting up plaster boards in the kitchen
And straight onto the plastering...
A week later, dad stuck the rads up in the middle room and pretty much the rest of the house other than the back rooms
And 3 days later Dad had the water pipes in place, the units and the flipping boiler! I helped him hold it in place and lift it of course.
Bit more pipework (copper), 4 days later, by Dad of course. Theresa put the units together too. Oh let's not forget the hardboard floor with insulation and rad on the right (out of view)
Next day, Theresa started on the painting
And Dad stuck together the work surface
"Bollocks, might as well plaster the fireplace today too (rendered it a couple of days ago).
2 days later, Joshua's room is painted by Theresa and myself (just the walls)
3 days on, Hob, oven (I ordered in), water's piped through (non-working) boiler, I went out and got a fridge, dad stuck the larder in the wrong place but I let that one go
Next day - bathroom. I smashed up the steel bath with a sledge hammer... christ, that was loud and the splinters go sodding everywhere
Next day, Joshua's tidying up dad's work surface joinery (day after)
2 days on... bathroom's pretty much plumbed up and all in.
Meanwhile... Jude is nearly a month old! And he was having a whale of a time staying up late!
4 days later, Dad started on the loft so we could move our stuff in. It needed re-insulating anyway and lofts are a godsend for just getting shit out of the way
It was scorching up here in June. Don't know how he does it!
Meanwhile, I stuck the doorknobs, doors, hinges and draws and all that IKEA bollocks on
Next day, Mum is pretending to be doing something while Theresa is still decorating. (She did paint the whole of the front room) not long before this.
And the day after that, dad got onto sanding and varnishing the floor in the hallway - race against time for him! This was 5 days from him and Mum going on holiday on the 20th! He was working 6-7 days a week on this and I'll never be more grateful.
Next day, dad cracks on with sanding the front and middle room.
Later that day, all done; Middle room: wow...
And 2 days before the holiday, the gas people arrive toinstall the gas!
Joshua's adding the finishing touches
And the carpets...
And we move in...
Here's a bit of the old Edwardian window. We were looking at it while Dad adjusted the weights... You can see the carpenter wrote the name of the street in pencil on the side of it. Not sure about the relevance of the Roman numerals?
A while after we'd moved, I found time to stick the floor down in the kitchen with some glue and beer
Front room again
I stuck some shelves up in the front room too, plus the opposite alcove and on the left in the middle room before we do the knock through
And now... happy boys.
I don't think I'll ever be able to repay or reward my dad for what he put in - 6 weeks that took him, working 6-7 days a week! Electrics, gas, water, mortar, plaster, wood, everything. I know he did all that for me and my family. We did pay him, but not what you would normally pay even a regular worker, so I will spend the next few years finding time to pay him back for being such a great part of my life. A lot of that was his ideas too - we mostly just picked stuff to put in the right places. Right now he's designing and building a restaurant in Oxford and I'm looking forward to seeing that too.
Completely stuck in oxford! Here's what it looks like, both end of my street right now.
One end is my only way out and our street is only one of four which aren't flooded! The other is the "park". I told the swan this and she just firmly remarked "Lake." I left it at that.
I have no wellies and I can't get to my car without them, they're recommending you don't drive out anyway of botley road AND there's 2 hours worth of traffic to get though to get out of Oxfordshire anyway.
I am stranded!
For years now (at least 6 years) I have been suffering from massive cranial pain from pressure on top of my head and sinusitis and neck pain, along with lower back pain especially in my coccyx and tension in my neck and shoulders.
I have been having dizzy spells, anxiety attacks, grind my jaws since 2000 and had serious tension for all this time. I guess it explains why I'm a bit uptight sometimes!
My wife, Sara, told me a few weeks ago that I should see her osteopath, so we arranged to do that this Saturday. I went through all the symptoms, told her (the osteopath) about numbness in my neck and face too and then we went through my medicals.
So the last thing I said was "I had meningitis when I was 17".
"*You* had meningitis?"
She said that this was all due to the meninges. All these problems. I had no idea! Neither did any GP I had seen since I left hospital. What the actual fuck. I didn't even know what the meninges was, to my shame... I just thought it was fluid in the spine but she explained it as a flesh that coats the spine and goes all the way around from the coccyx to the forehead and sinuses. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was emotional already to hear that someone knew what this was that had dragged me down for years.
She asked me to stand up, then move my neck. I couldn't get it around left or right more than a 45° angle and I couldn't touch my chest with my chin. I just thought this was normal! My reflexes were bad on my left side from my hands all the way to my legs. I lay on the bed on my back and explained that I was always tense. She said that when the meninges is swollen it makes all the nerves active and I was just tense all the time... Eventually your reflexes and and nerves become dull and unresponsive and she could tell all this through hammer checks on the knee and elbow.
So she did lots of things to my shoulder muscles and back which I can't really remember. She crunched my back like you would with knuckles and did a few things with my skull which I also had no idea. Lots of prodding and so on. She asked me to sit up, move my neck and...
It was fixed. My headache that I walked in with was gone. I thanked her, went home and I could feel when o got back all the nerve endings becoming active. All along my face, legs and hands especially down my left side. It has now been like it never happened! I keep turning my neck round to see if it still works! I'm now a changed man. I thought I was always going to have this anxiety and headaches. I had no idea it was because of meningitis. 14 years ago I had that. 7 years of pain up until now. Incredible.
I feel less anxious today, a little bit of a sinus headache but nothing on the scale that I was having plus she said she couldn't do everything in the first session (one session was pretty damn good though) so I'm just glad I can look to the future knowing that this wasn't just hypochondria and self inflicted anxiety and simply working too hard. There might have been some of that as a cause of the other but I feel that the road is going to be easier from here... I'm just looking forward to the difference it will make on our lives.
My 2 year old son, Joshua, was walking me around Heathrow airport when he wandered into a little fruit machine arcade. Swiftly and quite seriously we were warned by the warden that only 18s are allowed before he started gambling his life away, and I felt I had to explain the risks he was taking.
It was a great moment when our son Joshua twigged that it is in Sara's tummy. He keeps going up to her pocket and saying "get it out!"
We're off on holiday for a week so catch you soon