My travel woes have eased somewhat this week. I have started renting a room in a house in Exeter, a mere ten minutes walk from my workplace. The house belongs to a sinister foreigner called Marco, a fastidious and quite particular - no, make that completely anal - Italian that used to be the reliability engineer in our office.
There are a number of ways in which Marco's anality manifests itself.
One is his insistence on cleanliness, which is perfectly reasonable.
Another is his insistence on locking the living room door when he goes away... which seems somehow less reasonable.
I am not sure why he does this; perhaps he has a stack of incriminating evidence linking him to mafia activity stashed away in there. Y'know, phone numbers for hitmen, suitcases full of money, a load of spare horses heads... that sort of thing. Whatever the reason may be, the fact is that he is away from Monday to Friday, the exact same time that I am there (I still come back to Bristol on the weekends to lead my exciting double life as a Big Gay Department Store minion); and the upshot of all this is that I have had very little to this week but read and drink.
Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
It's a thing.
In my absence, I have assigned Sam to Operation: Don't Let My Mice Die Whilst I Am Away In Exeter. I have specifically requested that he does not try to teach them how to smoke pipes, nor dress them in tiny military uniforms.
The Friday before I embarked on my epic week of boredom/alcoholism, I journeyed to The Croft with The Boy for yet another night of awesome giggage. No support bands on this night, just two awesome co-headliners.
I was quite eager to see the first of the two bands; I've heard little of Torche's music, but know of them by reputation as a splendid quartet of stoners that sound like they fell into a tar pit towards the end of the seventies. The roadies, unable to free them from their viscous black tomb, chose instead to hook the pit up to a wall of Orange amplifiers via a dizzying array of distortion pedals...
True story. Well, semi-true; there are such things as roadies. The point is, Torche were pretty good, especially when they broke out their patented "bomb string" for the last song of their set and spent five minutes wringing the sound of collapsing buildings out of their instruments.
Pelican's colossal post-rock instrumentals were as fantastic as ever; heavy, expansive and uplifting all at once. With no new record to promote, their set had a "greatest hits" sort of feel to it, featuring as it did songs from their eponymous 2001 debut ep, right up to the most recent album 'City of Echoes'. We even got treated to a new song, which seemed to recall some of the claustrophobia and intensity of earlier efforts. Good stuff.