In the evening, drink.
The continuing journals of Everett True.

Thursday June 1 2000

At midday, interview Simon Fowler from Ocean Colour Scene on the phone. Nice bloke. Now I feel bad about slagging his single off a few weeks ago... or at least not telling him that I have.

In the evening, drink. It seems like the only reasonable thing to do, in the circumstances. (You know you're in trouble when you need to start checking three different places to see what day it is.) Jon and I play some tunes at the Free Butt (soul and hard rock) - on which, a whole book could be written. It would be boring, though. Doubtless, I mailed more editors and they all ignored. Doubtless, I thought about reviewing some CDs and didn't bother. Doubtless, I sat and chatted with Jon and became depressed. Later, the six of us race around a pool table to the sounds of Cliff Bennett - and Jon and I chat about more stuff into the wee hours, until C comes downstairs, annoyed at the fact we could be having fun when she has to work tomorrow. Jon tells me a couple of secrets and I feel so oppressed by the idea I could have been enjoying myself that I don't venture outside the house for the next six days. Aside from the odd shopping expedition.

Friday June 2

Day one. Scrabble around chasing work at The Times. Speak to someone who's heard from someone else that there might be a rumour that someone else thinks I'm employable. Play another 20 hours of Dr Mario on the Gameboy. Wonder again why The Age hasn't contacted me. Bring a couple of videos downstairs. Look at the weeds in the back garden. Oh, for a fragment of suspicion, of mystery about my life. Resolve to never give up glamour again. Receive e-mail from Edie Mullen, now working in some capacity at GQ - apparently because she said she knew me - and doubly resolve to never give up glamour again. Life is bloody depressing sometimes.

Saturday June 3

Day two. Charlotte's here - so at least there's someone to talk to that isn't Jon. We shop. We enter receipts on my tax chart. We buy a shoe rack, and many different fruits. We discuss my depression. We have a disturbing talk in the evening during which I tell her about everything - what little there was - that was going on shortly before we last moved out of this damn Hillcrest house. Disturbing, because there should have been a knock-on effect, but wasn't. We clean some of this damn Hillcrest. We eat fish.

Sunday June 4

Day three. I write any number of CD reviews for web sites as I've finally realised it's no good being commissioned to write stuff if I don't write it. Slap! We watch a film about a lady pirate that is more than faintly ridiculous. At the last possible moment, we discuss different ideas for Loaded - the only memorable one of which entails me throwing FHM across the room, and shouting "we'll look at that after our ideas, not before". Agree lad is out and new Mod is in. It needs to be stylish, funny, and sharp. Oh, and British of course. Think that the women on the cover should wrap up warm (surely they have a chill by now) and that every issue should include tips on How To Talk To A Girl. Or whatever. We like agony columns.

Monday June 5

Day four. Write a tedious news/gossip item for The Times Metro section. Which is nowhere near as exciting as it sounds. Write more tedious CD reviews, although I'm not denying some of my editors are very nice. Speak to a variety of people on the phone - or perhaps none at all. Who can say? In the evening, half-heartedly attempt to formulate SWOT analysis for Loaded, give up. I'm only going to be speaking to Robert Tame for five bloody minutes. Write a couple of tedious interviews as well - and resolve one day to find a job that merits my skills. Like pasting wallpaper.

Tuesday June 6

Day five. The morning is exciting. Speak to Robert who covers his own arse, as always - and informs me that I'm an outside candidate because (a) I'm too old and (b) I don't have enough experience working on men's magazines. He's nice enough to tell me how much IPC liked VOX, though - which must be why (a) they shut it down and (b) made me redundant. Speak to Brett Lewis, ace designer and yachtsman, about the possibility of creating a little mischief somewhere. Speak to Andrew Mueller and my heads spins. He offers himself for the post of foreign correspondent, should the need ever arise. Speak to Martin James, who has a new baby to look after. Speak to my ex-girlfriend Melanie - you know, the one who left me on a railway station platform in Germany for someone she'd met the day before - who has a new absent boyfriend to look after. Speak to Charlotte and we watch a triumphalist program about British football together. E-mail James Brown and suggest he may well be looking for people with ideas. C works out how much money I have. It could last me for three years. It could well have to.

Wednesday June 7

Day six. Nothing happens today. That much is apparent by the number of replies I receive to an e-mail that says I'M BORED large and clear. Perhaps I write a couple of CD reviews. Perhaps I don't. Waste money (60) gambling in late afternoon, which is depressing - especially after I'd spent a pleasant coffee with Will. Damn.

Thursday June 8

Martin James promises to come over during the day, but his car breaks down on the way. Interview the singer from Travis on the phone, cos it helps pass the time. Time to go outside once more. DJ in the evening. It starts off extremely slowly: two bands soundcheck, one of which all have the same haircut as my flatmate but are half his age, neither of which is particularly pleasant. Soon, however, Pete Bagge's penpal Lorna and partner Chris show up with their impenetrable Glaswegian accents and tales of rain and alcohol and comics, and make me feel better. Even if I do bend their ears with my tales of nothing. Play "Sitting On The Dock of The Bay" twice in a row (Otis Redding, Staple Singers). Last time I went round Kurt's house in LA, he had a Mavis Staples album at the front of his record collection... actually, that probably wasn't the last time. Yes it was. The other times were in Seattle. Play "Harlem Shuffle" and "Stoned Out Of My Mind" four times. Play pool abysmally once more, and the Northern barkeep becomes a fraction more irritating with every meeting. Female barkeep is impressed by the fact I once shared an escapade with Kat Bjelland. Which there were more like her out there.

On the way down to the Free Butt, meet another ex-girlfriend Sarah Kestle. She seems lonely, and saddened by the knowledge that she is.

Friday June 9

Our slumber is interrupted by the sound of a fly buzzing trapped underneath those damn blinds. (Still not cleaned.) This has a major effect on both our days - especially after I'd come back a fraction tipsy and late, and has only slept for a couple of hours. So I go downstairs to find a can of fly spray at 4 am, blinded by the brilliance of the sunlight. In particular, it means that I still haven't written the Ed Kuepper biography promised so long ago. (C annoyed at previous evening's phone call from Lisa Paulon who says she wants to rescue me from my depression.) Exciting news just before I leave to go up to Essex with C in the hired car, so we can pick up a computer. The Times Metro wants to run large(ish) with my Sacco suggestion. Send off a flurry of excited e-mails to my very dear friend Eric Reynolds - press agent for Sacco's book at Fantagraphics - mentioning same. We play 1985 compilation tape on the way to Essex. Much to C's disgust, it features Sonic Youth, The Ex, Nightingales, Bogshed and The Legend! among more palatable cutie acts like The Wedding Present, Pastels and Mary Chain. Eat pub meal in Essex. Drive back in time to see the very poised Storm And Stress at the rather wonderful Hanover community centre. This is doubtless a very good thing indeed, because it means I get to exercise my opinion on strange experimental music once more. And watch a man imitate a table dancing.

Saturday June 10

Too much sleep, as Bongwater once sang. Suddenly, I'm like an uncaged panther - a black one, on the prowl, straining at the leash, eager to be out the door and away. This, at 1 pm. Sigh. Another day out! Must stop, must stop... moving. Too late. We buy a steamer and some paint, a load of food and some idiotic battling tops-type tops that fortunately we are allowed to return the next day. What excitement. We visit a Ford showroom, while I wait in the car. We run naked through the streets and smear hot butter over our genitals. All right. That last part could have been made up.

In the evening I talk to the very nice political and humanist cartoonist Joe Sacco on the phone to New York for nearly an hour. (My phone bill.)

Sunday June 11

Visit one house in the morning - nr Poet's Corner, they're charging what I've been quoted for Hillcrest (160,000) and the house is smaller and terraced - and one in the evening. That is much more expensive, but is in a lovely situation. Apparently. And is bigger. And owned by a Christian. In between these surveys, we watch Simpsons videos and wander round to our next door neighbours (Paul and Jane) who are having a barbecue to celebrate the fact it's another grey day in England. Some bloke from across the street who I've never seen before indicates that he's never seen before. I've lived here for 10 years now, him at his place opposite for 12. A couple of folk mention "you must know all about BBQs, having lived in Melbourne". Paul's sister and a couple of other women sit round later and listen to me holding court. About London and the life of a deadbeat. We eat much meat and don't even feel too sick. Later, we listen to the sounds of revelry.

Monday June 12

Write Times article on Sacco. Not very good. Later on, I am asked to change a few paragraphs around. More than delighted. Jon and I write two True Facts, one extremely funny on "wrong" band names. Waste money two ways today. First, by buying a Nintendo 64 with a load of add-ons for 100 quid (which is actually 60 pounds less than I got for my last one second-hand). Second, by spending time in the amusement arcade once more (lost 6). Fortunately, C is giving blood so I get back before she has time to notice my absence. The three of us watch England throw away a two-goal lead against Portugal on telly before grudgingly catching a taxi to the Concorde 2 to see Dandy Warhols. To our surprise, we all get in free - and are given a beer - which puts us in a right good mood. As you can imagine. The place is superb, also. It's the first purpose-built venue of its size that I can recall Brighton ever having. Whoa. There's a bar where you can escape the support - and seats! A couple of people come up and start speaking to me, which really throws me. Not being used to it. Jon stays and parties on down. We don't.

It occurs to me that the only reason I've been able to write this diary every day so far, is because I have nothing to report.

Tuesday June 13

Day wasted. Three reviews (two Storm And Stress, one Dandy Warhols) written in 20 minutes at around six o'clock, which at least pays for the sunshine. Play Nintendo, watch Simpsons cartoons. Write journal, play piano (Beatles, of course). Stroke my beautiful girlfriend's hair. Use food steamer for the first time. Er, that's it.

Wednesday June 14

Where are my dreams gone? I know what I want. To be out of here. To be out of the grey. To be out of the crowds. To be out of the continual competition. Every now and then I speak to someone new, and for want of something better to ask, they wonder aloud why I'm back in England if I hate it so much here. That's a good question. Probably because I feel I still need to pay penance for being so damn good at my job. Weeks drift by. Soon it will be a lifetime. Two days after we got back to Brighton, we looked out the kitchen window and saw a fox on the wall, large. I should have taken it as a sign, but didn't. There is absolutely no motivation in my life right now... maybe my problem is that I feel I need one. I know what I want. To write whatever I want for a local paper in a reasonable sized city, Melbourne or Seattle, say, not just music. To go out two or three nights a week: not to be drunk. And to have six or seven reasonable friends I can have coffee with during the day. Right now, clearly I should be taking advantage of all this free time to write my book, write ideas, write my International Pop Underground series. I can't do that while I'm feeling joyless. Every day, it feels like I'm breathing less and less air.

I have no idea what I did during this day... maybe gambled? Maybe played Nintendo for hours? Maybe GameBoy? Maybe wrote some reviews? Maybe none and all of the above. In the evening, I sat around and waited for Modest Mouse to show themselves at the other end of the Atlantic. Managed it, spoke to Isaac, that was cool. He sounded like he was keeping busy, always a good way to tackle life. Mum called about Carla (my cat), upset because she had to be given an operation without pain-killers cos her thyroid problem is so bad. We caught a taxi out to the Concorde 2 to watch 30 seconds of Moloko so I could write about it for someone or other and prolong this existence just a few more days. They were OK. The bass was so loud it rattled our larynxes, but that ain't such a bad thing. The singer dressed like an 80s reject. People seemed to be enjoying themselves, and we didn't need to stay too long.

Thursday June 15

Spoke to some very nice fellow over the phone, name of Darren Gough (I think). He's the main feller in Badly Drawn Boy - a band I've only heard one song by, and that I slagged - but he seems to have plenty of imagination and he, too, keeps himself busy. Other than that, the day was notable only for its length. I've given up reporting on the fact I can't make headway with the broadsheets and that no editors reply or friends phone or anyone has contacted me from The Age, because it's a given right now.

Rare fun in the evening, partly because it's (a) unexpected, (b) drunken (a tad), (c) at the Free Butt and (d) I feel let off the hook. Les Savy Fav - another bloody American band who sound a little like Pavement, a little like Girls Against Boys, a little like The Ex - played... and they were fine. Really. The singer made an effort, ran around politely examining objects and people and doors. That is all it takes for a crowd to enjoy themselves, especially a small crowd - someone making an effort. Me and Jon stood there and shook with silent laughter. They were nice and abrasive, too - something which would have counted against them if it hadn't been for the above. They didn't go on too long. Afterwards, they gave me five quid (+2 for p&p) and asked me to send them a mix tape of my DJ set cos they all enjoyed it so much. I'm sure they had no idea I used to be someone, however minor, because I didn't... did I? As if by massive coincidence, arriving home after a prolonged pool session I found a forwarded e-mail that detailed Courtney's stance against the music industry. So I e-mailed her and told her how nice it must be able to afford to have a conscience now she's rich. I believe I may also have said Fuck You several times, but my drunken self deleted the e-mail in an attempt to fool my sober self the next day.

She did reply. A few lines about her child.

Friday June 16

Met Mary Lorson and Wyndham Wallace in Camden Town. I'll tell you why this is depressing. I love to spin webs, tell stories and illuminate people's lives with the purple flourish of my prose. When I meet old chums and they're all excited and naturally want to know what I've been up to, and they're all busy and contented themselves, well... you can guess the rest. I hate to lie, but I love to lie as well - as long as it's convincing and not too made up. I have no news to tell. I don't want to be here. My drinking has probably affected my life more than I realise. I hate what I'm writing. I am not adding a little magic to people's lives, I'm contributing to the general grey mess. I do not deserve to be fucking alive if this is what I'm making of it. A few days later I tell Jon my plans for a book based round a general breakdown, which details the breakdown while it's being written... and also appears after the massive FUCK YOU bitter opus I'm planning. In it, I would juxtapose my supposed fame with my supposed lack of it now, and make myself out to be even more pathetic than I am by relating stories that only have validity if a famous name is involved. Famous names will be, but randomly, no sorting switch. This book will not be published, but maybe the journals detailing the plans will be. I have already forgotten how to write, after just five short weeks. Short, I say. Ha!

Don't get me wrong. It was marvellous to see Mary and Wyndham again. We discussed life, and I couldn't sleep for two days afterwards... although that could have been Thursday night's alcohol intake. Afterwards, I interviewed Coldplay (the new Radiohead, sigh). It was unfair on them and me. They were both defensive and dull. Seemed like nice lads, nonetheless... which I suspect is most of the problem. They have no reason to be on stage, creating music, despite what they think. Afterwards, I ate unbelievably expensive food at WH Smith's on the way back to Brighton.

Saturday June 17

Post-alcohol, still feeling awful. The Times prints my Sacco piece - smaller than expected, in black and white and with an extraneous (wrong) fact added. I think me and Mr Connolly are shortly about to fall out... C and I venture downtown, long enough to visit a couple of shops around Churchill Square and visit the supermarket. Sigh. I'm not exactly filling C's life with sparkle and life right now. SS still hasn't called. Bastard best man mate. Nor has anyone else. A couple of days earlier, received an e-mail from Jamie Sellers (old house-mate of several years standing) - put on to me by Hot Records, whom I was writing an (appalling) Ed Kuepper biography for. Wrote back to both, neither have replied a week later. Sigh. In the evening, something glorious happened - however trivial. England finally beat Germany 1-0 after 34 years. There was a great end-of-program shot of Gary Lineker leaping out of his seat when Shearer's ball went in the net. Fireworks explode, the whole country starts celebrating... of course, it doesn't. Being England and everything. Instead, all the tabloids complaining about the sub-breed they created, the hooligans.

Sunday June 18

A day spent answering e-mails, writing album reviews. I feel really bad about Charlotte having to deal with my moods right now.

Monday June 19

Another day wasted. Can't motivate myself when C's not here - spend the whole day playing Zelda (which of course was a mistake to buy, considering how addicted I was to the previous game) and laying on the sitting room floor. Oh, I did write two reviews for in the morning. Two-and-a-half hours on the train up to London, check into swanky hotel, meet up with Edie Mullen in the West End. Her, a picture editor at GQ. Her, now dating Lee - who looks just like, but even older than, Iggy Pop nowadays, to judge by the photos. She talks, sounds a little cynical about life. Then, she always did. I drink herbal tea and wonder if I'm going down with 'flu, then realise it's probably this damn hay fever England infects me with. The Mary Lorson show at the Borderline I manage to lose myself within for a few numbers, although when she starts imitating Joni Mitchell on the piano, it's all over for me. We leave to discover London's bus system and pretend to be interested watching Coldplay play an extremely mediocre set at the Scala. Like Ride 10 years ago, they do nothing except look smug and middle class. Nice lads, though. The after-show is notable only for our connivance in obtaining several free beers during the five minute window, and the fact Matt from Gene still hasn't left the building. Meet several young Maker types, all of whom appear to have slept with Taylor Parkes. Some things remain the same.

Tuesday June 20

Well-placed hotel, though. Right between King's Cross Station (where The Scala is situated) and Euston (where I go to catch a train to Birmingham from). Uneventful day. Ocean Colour Scene are perfectly affable and slightly laddish. They rib me for asking Simon if he was married a couple of weeks ago. (He's famously gay, having been outed in The Sun a couple of years ago.) I drink coke, tea and fulfil my duties. Watch them rehearsing and think that I'm rather fond of this band after all. Back in time to see England lose to Romania through a last-minute mistake by Gary Neville. As Gary Lineker said, with the longest face I think I've ever seen on a sports presenter, "At the end of the day, it gets dark". This man - if he wasn't already - should be a national icon.

Instead of working later, play Zelda.

Wednesday June 21

Another day passes. Transcribe a couple of tapes (Coldplay, Ocean Colour Scene). Play Zelda on the television - give up, and resolve to purchase solution book instead. Receive a curt e-mail from the bloke at The Times. Send him a snotty one back. Christ, I hate this country sometimes.

Thursday June 22

At last! An e-mail from Ken at The Age. Okay, he details that the situation back there has deteriorated somewhat, certain people getting cold feet, but at least it's some words on paper (electronic, or otherwise). The tone is friendly, and he says he still wants to try to sort something out. Sigh. That's another person he's talking about, isn't it? Run my ideas for my books past Jon, he can see it. Write the Ocean Colour Scene article, which is surprisingly chipper. Play Zelda. Stephen Pastel phones, and that cheers me momentarily because he seems somewhat motivated and still obviously thinks I have validity, and that's nice. Real nice. How can I go up and visit him? That's what someone else would do - right? Not me. I don't exist


(Proof of this came later, when my weekly DJ stint is cancelled because everyone else is at Glastonbury.)

Friday June 23

Promised a copy of the new Go-Betweens album, which should excite me. But doesn't. I know damn well that if I do receive one I'll spend the next two days trying to chase work around it. Plus, I'll probably listen to it three times without actually listening to it so I can write about it in tones bland enough to satisfy even the dullest of web editors and Melody Maker readers, then not want to hear it ever again. No matter how good it is. (Why listen to music? What's the point? Does it uplift? Guess so: I'm glad I don't write about Sixties soul and gospel for a living. Otherwise, I couldn't DJ either.) Spend the day writing the Graham Coxon interview for Guitar Magazine - at least the damn thing is long enough that it keeps my interest for a few hours - and the evening watching The Simpsons (special night tonight). Which doesn't make a change at all, does it?

Addenda 27/7/00: that never happened with the Go-Betweens album. I was too cynical or down or something. It's a wonderful record that I have listened to often since being sent it, and it enriches my world.

Saturday June 24

It's the weekend, so it must be time to catch up on all the work I didn't actually do during the week. Anything rather than have to think up something to do with C, or talk. Halfway through playing some Beatles songs on piano (I think I was just about to start "Strawberry Fields Forever") it occurs to me that I should call my father. So I do. Weirdly (perhaps because we haven't spoken in over a year) he wants to hear my news and is clearly dead chuffed that we got to see mum's sister Ann and his old mate, her husband Bill, in Perth. He sounds a little sorry for himself - don't we all nowadays? - and grumbles on about his leg ulcers for quite a while, but bless him. It's good to speak to the old sot again. Arrange to see him later the following week.

In the evening, am energised enough to start recording tape for Les Savy Fav while C is still downtown. She, of course, returns about 10 minutes after I start and is immediately angered because I'm not paying her enough attention. Which is fair enough. Continue recording it, though, because I know that if I don't get it done now I never will. I do, and it sounds great. Dexys, Rachel Sweet and Ramones spliced into the middle of the Stax and Kent stuff.

ADDENDA: I have omitted telling the story of how I tried to contact the editor of The Argus with view to perhaps writing a couple of reviews for our fine (hem hem) local paper's entertainment section (with view to getting in free to a couple of theatre shows, etc). I wrote the letter, enclosed credentials and reasons. I didn't bank on the guy being a moron. He wrote back stating that he felt "the paper had several very capable entertainment reporters already". (Clearly he must be editing a different paper to the one I occasionally see.) He also addressed the letter to "Jake". I wrote back, pointing out that perhaps he could have bothered to get one of my two names correct... and then, as an after-thought, pointed out that perhaps the reputation of local journalism is well-deserved.


Sunday June 25

Now here's a thing. It's a Sunday. So we rise late and poke our heads into Preston Park for a few minutes to stare aghast at the grey skies and Party In The Park. Of course, festering humanity is present in droves to witness a couple of over-hyped chart acts gurn and lip-sync their way through dull, meaningless, frothy tunes with no melodies. At least it was free. I'm just bitter I missed Billie Piper. We then catch a (much-delayed) bus into town, where we look at various items of furniture. (We need a table. Fast. And a new computer desk. And one of those swirling whirly-chairs that leave grooves in the carpet after only a few minutes use.) In the evening, the three of us are probably closer than we've been since our return, attempting to follow instructions in Swahili from Argos Stores, gluing random dowelling and legs and screw covers together in an attempt to impose order on this chaos. This, despite J's condition - who seems to be currently emulating my life circa '96 (or perhaps '93, if I don't want to be too unkind), drink, teenage girls, no sleep, FUN... the bastard.

Monday June 26

Y'see, I think I underestimate Jon sometimes... walking around Brighton's North Lanes (had to take computer in for repairs via taxi) with him, I found myself actually enjoying being in this miserable, misbegotten, pretentious little 'burb for the first time since our return. We wandered through the sunshine. We talked to a writer by name of Jack Seargant who suggested that Shellac was a good band for the Free Butt and that Peter Pavement is a good contact for comic book style work and that Cathi Unsworth commissions people now at Bizarre. We sold a few CDs to those nice folk at Across The Tracks who paid me too much in the probably vain hope that the next lot can only be better. We stopped by J's mate Lee's shop for a cup of tea and a biscuit. I almost felt like part of the community.

The whole day was like that, though. During the day I chatted with a couple of old Maker types - Paul Lester, the man I sat next to for seven long years, and Steve Sutherland, the man I sat next to (same desk, other side) for three years before that. Both were as enthusiastic as they're supposed to be, despite the fact they must have aged exactly the same number of years as me. Must be on a better diet, right? Lester even came through with some miserly Uncut work later in the week, while Steve invited me up to The City I Know Refuse To Name In The Hope It Will Crumble And Fade Away Like So Many Other Historical Bacchanalian Atrocities for the following week. Both put a smile on my face, nonetheless.

The day was rounded out by a good old chinwag with Stephen Sweet, the only man alive more unsuccessful than me... and still happy, bless him. I'll miss him when he moves over to Melbourne (which he surely must soon).

Tuesday June 27

Again. Again. I may have risen far too late - hey, I had virtually no work on this week - but by the time I'd spoken to.... Martin James (doing outrageously well now after a real bad period, good on him, managing editor of four titles apparently, hmm, think I need some of that action)... Nick at (he wants me to write a couple of behind the scenes pieces on the music industry - for example, one on how to be a failure as a music journalist would be groovy, also maybe one on friends who are also tour managers)... left a message for Ian Gittins (worrying him unduly about my book, hmm, perhaps it isn't undue)... Lorna Miller (crazed Scots chick who writes and draws comics and is very fiercely motivated, see, told you she must be crazed)... Michael Bonner (bless him, he sent me through a list of forthcoming film releases later in the week, it's always good to speak to someone who still thinks you're someone, however erroneous they are)... the feller at (wanting me to review the new Richard Ashcroft album, hah, say I, do I have it, what do you think?)... Nick at (who is very up and energetic and seemingly full of semi-decent ideas for his website, which seems to actually want to write about MUSIC, heavens, what is the world coming to?)... Guitar Magazine... and played the piano... I felt like I might finally be pulling myself back on track. I think I may have even tried to get hold of those sorts at The Age (to no avail, unfortunately).

ADDENDA Five days later, and of course I feel nothing of the sort. That's the trouble with (a) being a freelance, and (b) these weekends where we do absolutely nothing at all. Especially these English grey summer Sundays. Sigh.

Wednesday June 28

Continuing my fine streak of optimism, I call up a couple of Brighton PRs - one at Komedia and one at the Theatre Royal - and manage to get us on a couple of lists for a couple of shows which aren't anything to do with music. (OK, one is. A musical production celebrating the life of Dusty Springfield. My point is, though, it's the theatre.) This cheers me up no end, and it also means that I have no objection to spending the day with those very interesting lads from Coldplay, writing their interview up in such a way that they don't appear total dorks.

(I have a feeling that I fail. Also, dork isn't a pejorative where I come from. I apologise to any girls I may have wooed using - or sung songs to containing - that insult in the past, OK?)

Thursday June 29

A strange day. Catch the train up to London, and on to Chelmsford - which is strange in itself. Chelmsford hasn't moved on since the late 70s, despite the plethora of new buildings that would have sprung up every time I returned home from college in the early 80s. (Oh, and of course the railway station has no personality or charm any more, following BR's completely offensive offensive to homogenise all railway stations in the 80s under Thatcher.) The town centre, particularly the roundabout near Ali and Andy's, makes me feel like I'm 10 feet tall, striding through dream-land like I always wanted to. Impervious from harm, no basis in reality. A surreal child-giant, traversing through the freeways and office buildings of his youth. The bus station where I once stood outside a cafe and listened to a couple of youths discuss whether to shop me into the fellow inside, who I'd turned up to court to testify against a few days earlier, is even more decrepit. The park is tiny, ridiculously so. It feels like you could walk through Chelmsford centre in under two minutes. Dad is still dad - albeit not as smelly and more complaining than before. We had a fair chat at the council offices, before... well, this is where it gets really surreal. Until we went over to Woodcroft Nursery School up in Great Baddow (I think), to help with the stalls. It being a continuation of my old school. It being filled with kids, of course, and mums - some looking far more desperate than others.

I have little to say about this, really.

In the evening, turn up at the Free Butt only to discover some prat with a loud mouth and a hankering to screw some girl he met at Glastonbury last week is DJ-ing in my stead. With all that crap Andre Williams/Demolition Doll Rods/post-Cramps/Fat Possum stuff the white kids pretend to like instead of having to listen to real black music. Fucking Jon Spencer has a lot to answer for. Rich white kid jerk. By the time I eventually got on, it was fine - a mediocre Belle & Sebastian tribute band filling in the time while I chatted w/C and C's brother and paranoid girlfriend, and C's mates Fat Ian and Sharon. Ian in sparkling form.

Afterwards, a little pool - and fried black pudding and egg. Yum.

Friday June 30

One of those days... a Friday. Rose late, watched Simpsons, spoke to a couple of editors, did no work whatsoever. Crap. Probably watched some tennis (Wimbledon), too.