Well, it’s all coming up rather fast, isn’t it – much like the 15th pint of a stag-night binge… 🙂 I’m on tenterhooks, I gotta tell you – I’ve been waiting for this for almost a YEAR, and now that it’s here I don’t know what to do with myself! I’m just hoping that I won’t be disappointed when I get there… Nah, it’s not possible!

Christmas looks like it’s going to be spent with my good mates Adam, Alex & Kerrie in Camden, which should be a comprehensive giggle! Nothing like good food, good company and getting plastered to make Christmas Day complete, eh?! Just need to make sure not to get too plastered, as on Boxing Day I’ll be struggling home to pick up my gear, then back up to meet John & Gwyn and head to the airport…

It’s beginning to look as though busking in Oz will be my only viable option, as funds are rapidly running out. The bitchin’ thing of it is that when I come back in January, all my money worries will be solved! Not that that’s any good for my holiday spend, but what can you do? I’ll sleep on the beach if I have to – it’s a tough life, innit??? 😉

Anyway, during the course of the trip, we’ll be endeavouring to post photos online, so keep coming back. I’ve decided to set up a mailing list for us to let people know about the photos as they’re posted – click here to join the PIX mailing list, and we’ll keep you posted! Be warned – I won’t be mailing anyone not on the list…

Right now, I can’t be fagged doing anything else new or different to the website, but I’m hoping I’ll be inspired to add a few bits & pieces when I come back in the New Year. Then again, I might not, but who notices anyway?! 😉

The end is nigh! Be good, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t!!!

Peace and goodwill – and loads of shopping

Christmas is coming, the retailers are getting fat…

Christmas means a lot of things, but as time goes by, it seems to be more a case of retail frenzy than practically anything else. Now, traditionally it’s not my favourite time of year anyway, but I always groan inwardly when the first tacky advertising push starts in August/September. It’s a kind of a nudge in the ribs: “Look, Christmas isn’t that far away; you’d better start thinking about buying all this crap we’re advertising…” And it’s always the same; everyone waits till the last minute and the shops are a nightmare throughout December.

When did Christmas become this huge marketing free-for-all anyway?! Everybody’s under this tremendous pressure to top whatever it was they got last year, to spend more and load up their credit cards to buy all this crap. What about what Christmas is supposed to be about? Or have I lost the plot somewhere along the line, and it’s supposed to be this feeding frenzy that almost drives people to either a nervous breakdown or bankruptcy – or both???

Christmas, to me, is a time to be with your nearest and dearest – and it’s only fitting that gifts should play a part in it. Let’s face it – the three kings started the whole thing with presents, and expensive ones to boot. Maybe we should blame them… But there again, I’ve turned up at home empty-handed when I’ve been skint, and the welcome has always been just as warm, the celebrations just as riotous (Ireland – any excuse to party!), and the experience just as rewarding.

For the origins of Christmas, there are many good articles on the web, and if you’re the vaguest bit interested you could have a look at:

Some interesting stuff there – even if a little bible-bashing in places! The historical development of Christmas is the part I’m interested in anyway, and it’s quite a read.

I’m not going to go on about this, because clearly it’s a tired subject and everyone has an opinion – it’s enough to start a war, considering the minimal criteria that are usually employed for such endeavours. What I will do, though, is tell you what Christmas is to ME.

Christmas is, as I said before, a time to be with your nearest and dearest – if not in body, then at least in spirit. It’s a time to celebrate the days once more lengthening after the solstice; it’s a time to prepare for the New Year and all its possibilities. It’s a time to consider your fellow man; a time of fellowship and reflection. It’s a time to unwind from the stresses under which we place ourselves in this hectic day and age, and gain perspective on our lives, but at the same time to make merry and feel alive. A time of peace and goodwill to all men, women and children. And not necessarily a time for shopping!

The band goes, the car goes – when will it end?!

Ah well, all good things must come to an end, I suppose! I’ve decided to leave Quickstop, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don’t think my voice does justice to the material we were doing, and I was just going to end up wrecking my throat trying. Quite apart from that, looking forward to next year, I’m barely going to have time for things like food and sleep (see news!), let alone prancing about on a stage… The guys were OK about it; they’re recruiting for a bass player and another guitarist, so they’ll just advertise for a singer as well – they’ll be fine, and I for one will be going to see them perform when they’re ready to go…

Since Stu’s little accident with the Saab a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been and got an estimate from Doves Saab in Croydon for the repairs. The guy reckoned it would be in the region of £800, which makes it an uneconomical repair, doesn’t it?! So I’ll be carless again, but I should have the money in the New Year to get a slightly less knackered Saab, so watch this space for more Saab-related news…

Now it’s just a case of working my a*se off to make sure I’ve got heaps of spending cash for New Year – look out, Oz, here I come! 🙂

Far-flung friends (& more!)

Hm – that seems like a bit of a dramatic title for it! Basically, I took a bit of time out on the weekend, to drive down to deepest darkest Gloucestershire to see my mates Matt & Sarah, and their lovely baby daughter (and my god-daughter) Ella. Having battled fog and nutty west-of-England motorists, I got there to find all well and enjoying the ‘downshifted’ lifestyle.

I have to say, although I’m biased, that little Ella is gorgeous, and no doubt will be a heartbreaker when she grows up! Actually, isn’t that something they teach girls at school anyway?! Well, even if it is, no-one’s going to ADMIT to it! Anyway, it’s enough to get you broody, if you’re that way disposed. Me? Naaaaah….

Photos are on the gallery, if you’re moved to have a look!

And again, it came and went

Yep, another ‘milestone’ in the relentless passage of time, and as the weekend draws to a close, I’m nursing an over-partied body…

Friday night was a laugh; went to Bar Madrid and set about taking full advantage of Happy Hour! Jugs of cocktails were the order of the day, although to be honest, I don’t think that you can get very drunk on those jugs… Put it this way: by the end of the evening I was nicely merry, but nothing like as revolting as I’ve been known to get on previous birthdays. Getting old??? 🙂

Then for Saturday night it was a nice civilised soirée, in a place called Petit Auberge in Upper Street, Islington. This was in fact a nuttier evening, as we ended up playing a game of “on your head” in the RESTAURANT!!! For those who aren’t familiar with this game, it consists of writing the name of a famous person on a piece of sticky paper (in this case, Rizla papers!), sticking it to the forehead of the person next to you, then they have to guess who they are by asking yes/no questions. Each yes gets another question, each no moves play to the next person. The waitresses were somewhat bemused, never having seen anything like it!

In any case, it’s been a good weekend, and Gwyn & I are going to be planning something huge for her 30th, it two years’ time. Should be mental… Big thanx to the people who turned up, and hope to see you same time next year (but hopefully sooner!) 🙂

Birthday Bash!!!

Now, you’re all cordially invited to the celebration of the year – mine and Gwyn’s joint birthday bash (as has become enshrined in tradition!), this year it’s on Friday the 8th of November, in Bar Madrid, London W1.

Now the more alcoholic adventurers among you will be delighted to note that Happy Hour goes on till 9:30 in this joint, which means that the dedicated booze-hounds will be floored by 10 – excellent! A night of fun, frolicking and falling over – who can resist?

I’ll be posting news of the event afterwards, and possibly even photographic evidence – watch this space, as the man says, for further developments…

See ya there! 🙂

No rest for the wicked!

Agh! Too busy to even think about keeping the logs up to date…

Still an’ all, Synthetix should be hearing soon about the big deal for which we’ve been waiting for MONTHS now – when that happens, it’ll be time for celebration, I can tell ya!

The Saab is going pretty well (apart from a minor carburation glitch!), which is something of a breath of fresh air after the Scimitar – I do miss the old yellow beast, though…

Watch this space for rants about the Saab as they happen – I ain’t that lucky with cars…. 🙂

Vocal troubles

Ouch! Shredded my vocal chords in this week’s Quickstop rehearsal – that’s what I get for overdoing it after 3 weeks of no rehearsals…

Ah well, I’m sure I’ll be in shape for next week’s sesh… 🙂

Working holiday

Not the greatest travel adventure in the world – I flew to the West of Ireland for a few days, brought my laptop with me, and worked. Which worked out quite nicely, as my brother and his wife were working also – didn’t feel too antisocial…

The change of scenery was superb – I got heaps done. Now I know what they mean by “a change is as good as a rest”…

Didn’t really get time for any manic piss-ups, unfortunately, but I’m sure I’ll be back and making up for that before too long!

Saw my sister Kathy settling into university life in Galway – I reckon she’s set for a whale of a time, and frankly, I’m a little envious. Oh to live the student lifestyle, if only briefly – three years of it would probably drive me nuts!

psychic codswallop!

Oh ho ho, this is a good one: just got a mailing through from someone calling herself Raylene Van Worth, a psychic who claims to want to do good for people, and who wanted me to know that I have 72 days of good fortune coming to me, starting September 30th.

There is a condition, however, to this mailing. I need to send her £19.95 plus £2.00 for postage, so that she can send me my full reading, as well as an “energised Goldtone Key Charm”, engraved with ancient runes to protect me from bad luck…

Well, I’ve dealt with my bad luck in this particular instance – a quick search on the web turned up HEAPS on this little scam, which is going on around the world. Given that I must be on a million mailing lists, I’m amazed I didn’t get this before! Basically, it’s a load of old cobblers, but I shudder to think how many people thought “Oh goody!”, and raced for their chequebooks!

I guess the old adage is true: we make our own luck…