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Thursday, 27 November 2003

A Year Ago

Now Playing: noisy neighbours

Yes, but I've become increasingly belligerent since giving up drinking. I started this week (my second week of abstemiousness) in the right spirit by emailing Looby "an you can fuck off an all", which was less than polite. Tonight I got home from Dagenham (had to take the car to be repaired after its fourth burglary in a month) - (clue to would-be burglars - first steal the car, THEN fiddle with the odometer. Trying to rig the mileage before you get the steering wheel lock off is silly) to find a relatively reasonable email from the Wickedex asking about potential buyers viewing the flat. The time she chose coincided with the next journey to Dagenham (it's made two hours longer each time by the witlessness of always picking the wrong train and ending up in Upminster without a ticket), so I replied with an ill-advised un-proofed torrent of invective about how my life is rubbish and it's all her fault. Still...
So, to cheer myself up before I open the letter from the car insurers (that I know is about defaulting on the payments), I thought I'd look back at the calendar, which passed its year mark this autumn.

A year ago today, I was on strike. I recall watching Quincy and drinking coffee a lot. No picketing, because I disagreed politically with the strike, I was simply too lazy to not strike. My ears were probably still buzzing and slightly dulled after my first big stadium concert - the Foo Fighters at Wembley Arena, with a mate. (Wickedex had commented that I might as well start listening to Iron Maiden and refused to come.) The concert itself was technically, musically quite blah, as you could barely see the band. But the moral weight of a really large crowd simultaneously foot-stamping and chanting was scarythrilling, in the same way as that moment that the undercarriage lifts from the tarmac when a plane takes off, the plane banks steeply upwards, and you feel slightly pressed against your seat. Even as a calm fearless flyer, your palms grow a little moist clamminess.
The weekend after, I took the Eurostar for a night in Paris, to visit the lovely and talented Toulouse. Which is such a coincidence, just last night I booked tickets to go over there again. God, I must be predictable - Christmas ... Paris. Perhaps it looks better in the dark. Or more probably, I do.

I remember it being much much colder than this year has been - I'd nearly frozen to death under two coats and a thick scarf at London Zoo with my family earlier, and had to stuff myself silly with cabbage products and vodka at a Russian tearoom in Primrose Hill after. (mmmmm..... I picked up a dreadful pierogi habit when I was in Poland, that always has me jonesing for cabbage and dumpling in winter.)
That fortnight, I'd also gone clubbing in Birmingham with a load of people I knew from years of talking crap online, and we'd gotten utterly trashed after ritualistically eating raw meat and vomit. Well, it smelled like vomit, anyway.
I'd also driven 200 miles to Swindon and back in one evening, to see a Peter Kay show; the tickets had been for my sister's birthday, but it had turned out that she was the only one in the family who had no idea who Peter Kay is. I'd spotted my childhood English teacher in the row in front. He looked the same, except I wasn't this time sitting at crotch height, which weirdly figured in my teenage memories of him a lot. Wickedex didn't attend any of these things - oh except the Paris trip - and was away working in Yorkshire and Devon as usual for half the month. Hmmm, foreshadowing?

Not totally, we'd just come back from a holiday driving around Switzerland. We drove from the Alps (that's the Eiger behind me), to a sunny vineyard on the banks of Lake Geneve in the Valais, to a cheese infested dairy farm in the Emmental, having started off in a cloud.
The gigantic muffling grey groggy cloud was the reason I'd wanted to go to Switzerland - the (politically despised) Millennium Expo there was in its final weekend, and I wanted to visit one particular exhibit at Yverdon-les-Bains - a man-made cloud in the middle of a lake, centred around a pier. It was fantastic - everything you imagine when you stare out along the wing of the plane and look down at a cloud carpet. Most of all, I loved saying to people at work that I was going to Switzerland to sit in a cloud.
It was wet, white, steamy, cold, tasty, quiet (just a steady small hissing sound), and every twenty minutes they purposely let the cloud drop, so it would disperse and you'd see the contrast of a sunny clear lakeside, before the cloud would re-form. Gorgeous. A lake-wide rebirthing tank, almost.

Any parallels? I was keeping busy. Perhaps there's a lesson there.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:38 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 27 November 2003 10:29 PM GMT
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Thursday, 27 November 2003 - 11:57 PM GMT

Name: jatb

On strike (she said excitedly, with a knack for picking a minor and rather irrelevant detail out of a poignant reminicising entry), oh what I wouldn't give for a day or two on strike.

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 12:30 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Would you give ... union subs?

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 5:20 AM GMT

Name: ThePimpress
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a few things... i love that picture of you you look serene and fun at the same time. the man made cloud bit sounds sort of fun i like the way you put it "a lake-wide rebirthing tank". switzerland is an odd country though, not bad.. just odd. i was there when i was quite young (about 6 or 7) so i din't really get to appreciate it. lastly.. i can't pierogi's at least all the ones i've had are bland and tasteless, which as you can imagine has put me off pierogi's probably for life.

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 6:51 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Yeah, Switzerland is odd, and the Swiss are odd. I prefer Austria for sheer eccentricity - at least there they know they're not quite normal and don't care.
Pierogis in the States might be different - they're just dead filling and rich in Poland. Yum. Like stew with dumplings, or a big bowl of goulash when you're feeling ill. Mmmmm.

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 11:40 AM GMT

Name: jatb

Oh yes!
I'm currently paying union subs to a sodding useless snotty-titled union, I'd gladly change and pay subs to union which called everyone out on strike. And I'd pay extra for gratutious use of the word "comrade".

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 12:14 PM GMT

Name: lemonpillows
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Hmmmm.. cabbage.... disappearing clouds....
I could be very philosophical and read things into that, but I won't, because I'd end up sounding like a prat anyway (though that has never stopped me before...)

Cabbage can be good when you're ill- but only if there's nobody else within farting distance...

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 2:09 PM GMT

Name: sarah
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The man-made cloud sounds amazing, although can't you get teh same effect standing in some low-lying freezing fog? sorry.

yes, go out and do stuff. And then you can write and tell us about it.

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 2:19 PM GMT

Name: Pan
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mmmmmm - pierogi - mmmmmm. Sorry - so hungover that all fatty food sounds delicious. Best pierogi I ever had was somewhere in Siberia - sort of like a sweet doughnut with extra tangy mystery meat in the inside.

On the Union front, mant years ago I was a BECTU rep whilst at the BBC and did (once) really get to announce to the whole office "12 O'Clock - Down Tools Comrades!". As a head trip it didn't really make up for all the face-achingly dull meetings I had to go to but still . . . My finest hour :)

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 6:43 PM GMT

Name: Celainn
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Hmm despite all the great other things going on in that post, I pick up on the "Foo Fighters/heavy metal" thing. The Foos are about as heavy metal as my aunt Fanny (who, despite the name, isn't heavy). :>

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 8:21 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Mmm, it wasn't me who said it, I was the recipient of that particular comment. I think the general gist of it was: 'your preferred music is just so much loud noise to me.'
The Foos remind me of the Buzzcocks somehow. Kind of lyrical and over-cloying at times.

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 8:22 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I'm alright, Jack. ;-)

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 8:23 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

That's a really good description of pierogi, actually: boiled meat doughnut!

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 8:24 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

That sounds dangerously approaching a Mission. Anyway, I thought you were the honorary online community's Real World Spy? Surely I don't have to go out of the house as well as someone somewhere in Scotland?! :-O

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 8:26 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

There's not that much cabbage in Polish food, relatively - lots of meat though.
I didn't fart enough to disappear an entire Swiss jetty beneath the noxious cloud, no. You're just going to have to take my word for that. ;-)

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 8:31 PM GMT

Name: sarah
Home Page:

am I? How did that happen? Anyway, it's only because no-one online wants to be my friend. So I have to go and play outside. You should try it; it's great fun!

Unless you don't mean me, I wasn't aware that the border had moved again, but hooray! later licencing hours.

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 9:21 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I meant because you got yourself paid employment, nearly sorted out your job abroad next year, and were blogging less - sounds like a case of the Real Life to me. I'm expecting a really interesting Christmas blog when you get the chance to write down the annals of what you wanted to blog, but had to do some actual work instead....

Friday, 28 November 2003 - 11:38 PM GMT

Name: dave

Polish food? Mmmm.

If you fancy skiving work, er, I mean during the skuul holz, one day to come for lunch in the Daquise, gimme a shout! (Or the Polish Club (opposite my office, but I've never done the Daquise and it looks groovy).

Saturday, 29 November 2003 - 12:51 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Ooooh, good idea. Let's do Polish nosh soon. We can scout out some polish girls to bring to the ULL @#%$!-ups, too.

Saturday, 29 November 2003 - 8:02 PM GMT

Name: sarah
Home Page:

Oh, *that* stuff. You'll have to wait until after Christmas. Although I am pretty sure I get Christmas day off, the rest is a 6-day week until the end of january. Naturally, I foresee all days off to be spent entirely on the internet with a stinking hangover, stalking people.

Sunday, 30 November 2003 - 7:41 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Start as you mean to go on....

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