Sunday, 25 March 2012

crowdsurfing is strictly prohibited

I had a dream the other night that I went to a zoo. Instead of being kept in cages and enclosures, each animal was contained within a wicker effigy of itself; and the animals could all speak, but only in the manner of their keepers. So all of the goats were trapped inside wicker goats, and had Polish accents.

I've checked this out with the Pixie; it definitely means I'm gay, apparently.

Meanwhile, in real life, manly stuff has been happening. A couple of weekends ago, we went to watch a game of live action subbuteo; AFC Wimbledon vs Bristol Rovers.

Despite this kind of being our home town, we were there to cheer (very quietly, as we managed to end up at the home end surrounded by Rovers fans) for AFC. And here's why.

Ten years ago, first division Wimbledon FC decided to up sticks and move 56 miles north to Milton Keynes - home to grid road systems and concrete cows. This was (quite understandably) unpopular with their fans; supporting Wimbledon was already a lot like being trapped in an abusive relationship, and having to make a round trip of over a hundred miles to watch a home game was taking the piss. So they decided to start their own club, holding open trials on Wimbledon Common for anyone that fancied trying out. A team of players was selected, and AFC Wimbledon went on to get spanked 4-0 in their first game.

AFC Wimbledon eventually finished third in their opening season in the lowest division of English football, and had a higher average attendance at their home games than Wimbledon FC (by this time referred to by fans as "The Franchise") who were still playing games 7 leagues above AFC.

Since then AFC have been promoted five times in the last nine years, hold the record for the longest unbeaten run in all senior English football, and are presently just one league below the old Wimbledon team (now the Milton Keynes Dons). They also lost 1-0 in the cold and rain-soaked match we went to see; but it was still a fun day, and we're looking forward to doing it again next year.

We had more fun a few days later, when we took the track slag out for a day of trying-not-to-crash around Castle Combe. We soon discovered that it was just a couple of weeks before the start of the racing season, and that the vast majority of track days up and down the country had been booked out by "proper" racers trying to get their machines fine-tuned; which meant that a) there were a lot of very cool modern and classic race-spec cars in attendance, and b) we spent most of our time trying to avoid them on the track.

We're continuing to tweak the slag after each run; since I drove it last the brakes have been modestly uprated, and the old steering wheel with its boring airbag has been replaced with a spiffy little steering wheel with a neat yellow stripe.

So now the car stops a bit better, and has more yellow stripes on it. Next on the list is tweaked suspension, to stop the car from wallowing about in the corners like a fifteen year old Bavarian executive coupe; and a few cosmetic issues, to stop us from looking like a bunch of chumps that don't really know what we're doing.

We made a start on this at the weekend; the now superfluous studs and brackets that the rear seats connected to were angle-grindered to oblivion, and made a start on removing the big black patches of tar-like sound deadening material with the aid of a Dan Dare style heat gun and a scrapey thing.

The heat ray was merciless.

Monday, 12 March 2012

muchos rock qualitat principal

The worst thing about the doubles tournament came at the end of the event, with the creeping realisation that we all had to go back to be being grown-ups the next day.

Thankfully I didn't have to play at being a grown-up for long, as at the end of the week there were gigs. Lots of gigs.

Decapitated, supported by Aborted and some other band I can't remember the name of. All very death metal. The band with the forgettable name favoured a guitar tone that sounded like white noise; but they did have a cool bastard of drummer who gave not a single fuck. Aborted sounded less dreadful, and Decapitated were amazing; but I don't remember much as by this point me and the guys from work that I went with were sufficiently full of beer and metal that dancing seemed like a good idea. And so it was that I spent the evening throwing down alongside a Cambridge graduate and a doctor of engineering. It was a good time, and the many many bruises are still fading.

Earth, supported by Ô Paon and Mount Eerie. Ô Paon was a delightful little Canadian one-girl band, with a million loop pedals and lots of pretty songs with French lyrics. Mount Eerie was also a one-man band, but to me he was more reminiscent of this guy. Earth were probably the weakest that I've ever seen them, but even an average Earth gig is pretty awesome. It's not that they played badly at all; I just prefer the stuff they were doing a few years back, when all the desolate country drone had more of a bitter doomy edge to it. The newer stuff just seems to slowly and repetitively build and build and stop without ever really getting anywhere...

Mark Lanegan Band, supported by Creature With The Atom Brain. CWTAB were kinda cool. They had the kind of songs that had a verse chorus bit at the start just to tick the box and act as a precursor to spiralling psychedelic desert blues jams. Nice. Mark Lanegan and his band pretty much just stood there and played their songs; but they're great songs, so that's fine.

Bastions, supported by The Break Out, BatsAboutBats and No Omega. One of those quality gigs in a dingy little venue where the bands play to a crowd consisting mostly of the other bands, one man and his dog. And each of them went out there, played like it was their last night on earth and totally fucking killed it.

The Acacia Strain, supported by TRC and Brutality Will Prevail. To be honest, my main excuse for turning up to this one was to see Metal Terry, my erstwhile and often flaky gig buddy. A good few years have passed since I last saw him, and it was nice to catch up. Meanwhile, the aforementioned bands played hardcore by numbers for kids with flailing arms and conspicuously clean trainers. The stench of testosterone hung heavy in the air, and there was much posturing and chest beating and commands for the crowd to go fucking crazy... it was all kinda gay.

Still, five gigs in five days is pretty good going - although I seem to be paying for it now, as my humours are all out of whack. Time to peruse the leeches aisle in the local supermarket, methinks.

Friday, 9 March 2012

the road to lull

And then we went to the doubles tournament.

It came as little surprise that Jeff "Ultimate Weapon" McDeath had failed to get all of his toys painted in time; and so we found ourselves sat around in the hotel bar at 2am drunkenly daubing brown ink onto his Blood Angels (subsequently referred to as Brown Angels). This theme of booze fuelled toy soldier chicanery persisted for the rest of the weekend.

From what I can recall, the RoboJew and I (team Master Cylinder) blundered our way to a magnificently average mid-table finish, and also managed to get nominated for the Best Army award too (although our toys weren't quite pretty enough to win it).

It was all very super indeed, and a good time was had by all.