From The Archives: Bathstravaganza!

Went to Bath this weekend and saw mates i havent seen in months!
fun was had.
i didnt take nearly enough pictures but heres a few:
lets start with something beautiful
Three things beautiful.
Eloisa, Sara and Hannah. *weak at the knees*

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We had a meal because were grown ups
so grown up in fact,
that Terry and Jonner had a CAKE EATING SPEED CHALLENGE!!! …..

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… and showed everyone vile porn on his phone.

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We then went out and got absolutely smashed.
Sunglasses were passed around
to make Terry into Bono

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and even though Jonner is in a band and usually looks efforletlessly cool.
he told us sunglasses always make him look silly.
he showed us:

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I took photos but most were frighteningly unflattering.
Some of those were a very good thing 😀

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Heeeellllll fiiiinnd youuuuuuu :fear:
Best of all though was Neil, who I,
whilst trying to capture the full extent of his Neil! at the Disco haircut
ended up taking this shocker!!
it made me realise he’s possibly a sex offender

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“ello, this is ruby… shes on her easter holidays” *slavers*
oddly, hes very handsome… not so here though… very much not so.
The next morning everyone was looking absolutely gorgeous

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I went to do some Shopping with Sara (hannah had gone home :crying:)
while the men recovered and played Halo.
Im so very proud of terry, he started drinking again as soon as he got up :first:
I promised Hannah (forumHannah) id take some scenic stuff:
heres an arch isnt it pretty

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and this is the crescent

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Me and Sara saw the city’s best busker.
After three years of uni we were allowed to be tourists so we said hello to him, took pictures and gave him money

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poor girl was terrifed. He made her throw the flaming torch to him bless her.
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Then we drank in the park like tramps,
The weather was gorgeous.
And despite the frequency of it happenning,
it was the frst time id actually seen them inflate a hot air balloon there.

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WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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we shouted things at them they were lovely.
Joe brought his Poi stuff with him.
Im really proud of my pics of Joe
Joe and Jonner had a Poifight. Joe is good at Poi

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Jonner… er
Jonner is not

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So Lots of Fun was had
we then went to the pub (again) and on to an aftershow party or… something.
oh and someones birthday. Jon pretended to be birthday boy bernard so we sang him happy birthday.
Then the real Bernard shouted oi and we were sad.
Then he gave us Birthday cake.
and we had an orgy

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Sunday, People were hungover again and i was fine
Terry drank straight away again. heehee. so very proud
i lost at Halo again 😦
Then as the lads were watching crap teams play football i saw off Sara.
She was happy as she bought a music box thing and said shed pull this face and play it on the train so she didnt have to sit next to anyone.

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Best pictures?
Terry falling through a Deck Chair

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And this one really surprised me.
if only i could take pics this good all the time

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i hope ive entertained you.

From The Archives: Loss In 2006 Part 2

This is taken from the ancient and defunct MSN Spaces blogs of yore, and concerns the none too cheery subject of the horrible 2006 that included the death of my father’s best friend and the death of my grandmother.

This part is centred around the death of my grandmother, and the mildly harrowing process of the aftermath of emptying her house.

Needless to say, it’s not cheerful reading.

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20 March

monday

How do you buy a birthday card for a dying woman?

This puzzle ruined what was a good day for me.

My mother and grandmother share a birthday on the 22nd, this Wednesday.

What do you get a woman who is lucky to have seen this birthday,

and likely wont see another month?

What kind of card do I get my mother, who’s at my grans bedside each day and hardly in the mood for celebrating?

Needless to say, almost every card included heart-warming messages such as “Hoping all your wishes come true” and “All the best for a wonderful year.”

I wasn’t anywhere near prepared for something like this being so uncomfortable.

I did get a card though.

And it’s beautiful.

I just hope she’s able to read it.

 

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From the Archives: End of Trade

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Not really.

My last day as a Stones salesman was on Friday, a nice surreal blast of customers still walking past the many ‘closing down’ signs to ask us if were closing down.  None better than the gent who got a little angry when he asked trish if the store was closing, “you could have given some warning”.  They stood directly under a large closing down sign. Bless.

A few drinks after closing, then a few of us went for a few beers. Is was almost like having a social life again 😀

Ive been there over six months now, and im going to miss it.  I may not really fit in, but it was good.  I adore the people I work with, and ill miss them.

So now I go to look for new work; and with Cardiff being such a well readeded place innit theres no more bookstores to work in.  Perhaps Spillers will take me in its independent embrace, but will it accept me when I actually like commercial music as well as the independent and the DIY?

Worth a try.

I could do HMV, but it’s a bigger retail machine.  Blair Britain Gold, can I make sales figures and still get customer satisfaction?

More importantly. Could I last without lashing out at James Blunt fans?

Music is looking up

Oceansize Tuesday

In Flames Thursday.

Itll be a busy week, and I didn’t ring grassroots to see if I could hire a digital SLR as I wont be moshing. Darnation nation.

Heroworship wise, Frank will be releasing an ep soon with none other than Jonah Matranga, so fingers crossed for even more recognition.

Ive been waiting on the guys from Banquet to get back to me, but it doesn’t look like ill get my signed Hundred Reasons album. Damn London and its distance!


From The Archives: Loss In 2006 Part 1

These blogs are taken from my defunct MSN Spaces blog.

This two-part piece concerns 2006, and how it was a very tough year for my parents, who lost two of the most important figures in their lives. It’s not cheerful reading.

Part One is about my father’s best friend, Kevin.

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28 February

Reasons I Know I Can Still Act.

Well I did have lots to write, over the last few days I’ve scribbled down a large array of blogs on various subjects.

But other things have taken precedence.  Unfortunately, these things are a little morbid and more than a little depressing, so if you’re don’t take kindly to another po-faced blog of misery I’d click a link.  Id recommend http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com

I’m hoping that old adage of ‘bad things come in threes’ doesn’t come into effect, or at least that the third thing is something as mundane as Wales losing to Ireland.

That was how my Sunday started, it proved a good lesson in how to put things in perspective.

Fathers are superheroes, right?  Whether your 5 or 25 they remain invincimable.  Hearing them cry isn’t something you expect.

Yesterday, his best friend died.  Though he had been ill, at under forty it makes it more sudden.

Whats more, my father had to deal with seeing him in a close-to state.  He had to turn him over before the paramedics arrived, but couldn’t until neighbours assisted.

On those facts, along with how much he is and will be doing for the family, the fact a sob escaped him when he called me not only humanises him, at the same time its made him more of a superhero to me than hes ever been.

Then came the second of the day’s ‘double whammy’.  If you’ve seen my previous blogs, youll know that my gran was diagnosed with cancer around Christmas time.  A week ago my mum travelled to be with her in Cambridge as she was hospitalised

Last night once I got home my dad had to shoot back up to the house while I waited for a call from one of their relatives.  Instead I got a call from my mother.  She had just returned, only to have to turn back around and head back up there as shed taken a turn from the worse and would doubtful last the next few days.

This has left me in an odd state of mind.  Im not so much distraught as I am relieved.  Heartless much?  Maybe, maybe not.  Of course id rather her last, but she developed the cancer around Christmas time.  Id rather see her pass away than know she’s deteriorating painfully while only medication prolongs the inevitable.

So not really cheerful stuff, sorry, but I did warn you 😀

Its not me that’s feeling so terrible though.  For once im not succumbing my usual pathetic bouts of self pity.  Im worried for my parents.  My father has lost his closest friend.  My mother is facing a world without parents.  Im upset about both losses, I had more respect than many for the man that was so good to my father, and im losing the only grandparent I’ve ever really known.  But im more worried I won’t be able to help my parents through their grief.

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13 March

Funeral for a friend

Not the Band I’m afraid.  Literally.  As some of you know the crapness of having a gran wasting away in a hospice bed because of cancer was added to by a family friend passing away quite suddenly just over a fortnight ago.

Yes, this is about that, so don’t read if another depressing blog will make you want to gouge your brains out your ears.

I’ve never been to a funeral that’s had an effect on me; I was too young at my grandfather’s.  I can’t quite describe the feeling, but it’s left me feeling really drained and I’m thankful for the weekend and the laughs it brought.  But Thursday’s funeral was something new to me, because something so tragic was dealt with so wonderfully.

As he was ex-RAF, he was allowed a Union Jack draped across his coffin, and we organized for a bugler to play the last post.

Up at the house before we left was terrifying.  I can’t even comprehend how that could have felt for his widowed partner.  My father was great throughout the funeral, it was only here that I could see how scared he was, his hand shaking as he disposed of a glass of wine for courage more than thirst.  The arrival of the hearse caused distress for some, but when all the close friends were walked out to the bar room where another close friend said some words that, although they wrung the first tears out of me, steeled us to what I had been saying that morning, that not only does the age old adage of the deceased ‘wouldn’t want us upset’, but that this particular deceased would be pissed off and telling us to get the fuck on with it and get down to the pub.

The service was something else.  It was at our local church, which is tiny.  My father had sorted out earlier in the week so we had a handful of policemen to direct traffic as our procession reached the church.  The Building was packed.  I’ve never seen it so full.  Guests stretched down through the choir area to the altar.  This was the first time I’ve been in a church in a long time (religious upbringing, see), and though the usual hymns such as ‘all things bright and beautiful’ were reeled out, but the poem that was read stunned me so much I photocopied it when I saw it the previous morning:

Footprints

One night a man had a dream

He dreamed he was walking along a beach with the lord

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life

For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;

One belonged to him, and the other to the lord

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,

He looked back at the footprints in the sand

He noticed that many times along the path in his life

There was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest

And saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the lord about it

‘Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,

You’d walk with me all the way.

But I have noticed that during the most

Troublesome times in my life,

There is only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why when I needed you

Most you would leave me.”

The lord replied “my precious, precious child,

I love you and I would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering,

When you only see one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you.”

The coffin was buried in the cemetery in the village, and I was a little put out that I was called away before I got the chance to throw earth on the coffin, but at some point I think ill be going in there to put a can of Guinness by the gravestone.  A classy Guinness shaped wreath was among the flowers.  A parent should never have to witness the burial of her son, and my heart bled for the old woman that had to be helped away once those overly powerful notes from the bugle made every pair of eyes well.  Incredibly sad, very moving, but it feels good that the whole thing was so well done.

Something not nice, but nice.

Rest in Peace.


From the Archives: The comic strip presents – Freedom of Speech

From my ancient MSN Spaces blog.
It’s been interesting re-reading how I thought a few years ago, and the unsettling feeling of ‘the more things change’.

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Welcome to a mountain.  Whether it’s a giant mass dividing the masses, or something built from a molehill, is up to you.  Though intrinsic factors have grand implications, to me it’s… well it’s all a bit silly, really.

Yet again it comes down to people’s view of things being black and white.  And I’m not talking about skin colour.  On one hand, the reaction to the cartoons is a surprising lack of a sense of humour.  On the other, the prophet of a religion has been lampooned.

No sense of humour.

They’re cartoons for fuck’s sake.  The pictures are likely in poor taste, but these are not the in depth assault by a renowned intellectual to open the eyes of non-Muslims worldwide.  They’re a sketch for a few sniggers before breakfast and to keep food on an artist’s plate.

The violent reaction is appalling, it would be pathetic were it not for the frightening scale with which it has spiralled out of control.  What began with pelting eggs went to burning a flag, went to sacking an embassy building, racism towards entire nations as produce is cleared from retail shelves and threats are made against Europe, to death.  People have now died in clashes over this.  I can understand the offence in question

The reaction is as pathetically attention seeking as the ‘controversial’ cartoons themselves, but with a horrifyingly more gruesome outcome as each pathetic, arrogant human attempts to prove they are the best, the most outraged, the most important voice that should be listened to. Over a cartoon.  Buildings have been set on fire and protesters have been shot dead.  For a cartoon.

If it is that wrong, how about rising above this kind of humour? How about Letting the blinkered have their sniggers and working for equality?  No, instead, let’s play into the hands of those pricks that would brand all Muslims war-mongers.

Christianity is lampooned often; I have such a cartoon on my wall.  After a bishop claimed melodramatically that Christianity was defeated, the picture has an elderly vicar leaving a church with suitcases, and a proud new vicar standing at the gates next to an ‘under new management’ sign.  The new vicar is Satan.  Is this kind of lampooning any less offensive than some of these pictures?

Other situations have arisen within western religious culture.  The Jerry Springer Opera, for instance.

A religion insulted

The pictures themselves are pretty shit really, the ones I’ve seen aren’t very funny at all, and the much maligned picture depicting Mohamed with a turban as a bomb is too far, a poorly thought of racist portrayal of the Muslim faith as a terrorist insurgency.

Muslims live their faith, whereas in the west, especially here in Britain, the following of faith is not always as strictly adhered to. (Henry VIII, anyone?)  Religion is still and will for a long time be very important, but it hasn’t stopped these and similar rows being described as ‘the West vs. Islam’ rather than ‘Christianity vs. Islam’.

Media reaction is unsurprisingly biased towards free speech.  The mere mention that journalism has stepped over the line in regards to free speech will bring them rallying together.  And rightly so?  Possibly.  To compare, it is like that friend you know – we all know at least one – that proclaims to all the world that they say it how it is.  This person comes across as blunt but honest.  But that person can also be a bit of a prick.  Insulting people when s/he didn’t really need to.  If that person is saying all Muslims are bomb wielding monsters, it might be tolerably tongue in cheek, but on repetition it also makes him/her a racist.

Much like the comment about Jerry Springer, the feathers of Western Religions can be just as easily ruffled.  Robert Fisk’s fantastic comment points out that had the bomb/turban picture been of a rabbi, the papers would have been condemned as anti-Semitic.

Misguiding the people

I had intended this blog to be as even sided as possible.  But its coming across a little one sided.  If so that’s not how its intended.  I find the scale of the reaction ridiculous, but do not scoff in the face of those whose religion has been offended.  I can see perfectly well why many are offended by it, but it is not worth violence and bloodshed.  If any eye for an eye has to be made then surely the cartoonists and those who laugh at what really isn’t that funny should be ridiculed.  Not be fearing their lives may be taken by an extremist.

And that is what much of this is.  Yet again, the radical-aka-rabid minority stirring up anger in pretty much the same intention as cocks like Nick Griffin, aiming at the disgruntled masses (and lets face it, discontented people will never be a minority).  This in particular has been ideal for the more radical, in that it has been able to draw the anger of more central minded but still fervently religious Muslims into the web of hate through the offence taken.  What will be perceived as the majority of protesters will really be masterminded by more radical minded men who will rely on the mob rule that sucks in all humans regardless of their religion.

In addition: on the western front (heehee western front) the media is doing its thing and highlighting these appalling incidents and repeating them en masse.  Making what has largely been a non-violent reaction seem like the first step to the end of the world.  These incidents are few, but make no mistake about it, they’re as overdramatic as a bad drama student’s production of Hamlet.  When lives are endangered, what is pathetic becomes appalling.

Freedom of speech.

The over-reactions and generalisations we now have are that the media is attacking in a racial and anti-Islamic manner.  Whereas the Muslim world is now seen as being against freedom of speech.  Both = bullshit.

Freedom of speech should be allowed, but should also not be immune from repercussions.  You have a right to believe Islam is a force to destroy the world.  But you should also be prepared to be perceived as a blinkered racist.  I’m sure many are and don’t care, but far more are not.

I’m not saying the artists in question are the new Hitler, but should put more thought into how they portray their work.  Being controversial may get you a promotion or an erection for your ego, but haven’t put enough thought into the repercussions.  Because you don’t have a particularly strong view on religion doesn’t mean the rest of the world is the same.

Then, of course, on the other hand.  Just because a handful of cocky satirists have drawn the prophet, doesn’t mean the entire media world laughs and goads Islamic society.  It certainly doesn’t justify burning flags, or buildings, or people.

What really makes me laugh is some of the placards waved by protesters.  Freedom of speech can go to hell, and my personal favourite; “down with free speech”

Protester:  “DOWN WITH FREE SPEECH!”

Policeman: “Excuse me sir, you cannot protest here”

Protester:  “You cannot stop me! Im exercising my rights as an individual!”

Er. Yeah.

Prejudice

The sickening extremity of some of the reaction is appalling.  Embassies sacked, threats of beheadings and violent attacks.  The boycotting of produce I find smacks of a childish reaction to fight fire with fire.  Assuming that whole countries are united against Islam will justify blatant racism of clearing Danish produce from shelves and cutting off ties with embassies while protesters scream “death to Denmark”.

Apologies have been made… and unaccepted.

Hate the person who created the cartoons.  But an entire country? Racism.  The same prejudice that the protesters accuse the west of.

Whereas before, the blundering bull in a china shop of the Western military action played directly into the extremist’s hands, now the radicals are pushing more central Muslims directly into the hands of the racist quotient of the western world.  Offended Muslims angry at the lampooning of their religion are being penned into the blinkered but rising view of Islam as a religion with a ‘jihad’ against freedom itself.  It’s a pathetic way to breed hate, but it’s proved highly effective as this molehill rises ever higher.  If this is the reaction to a few cartoons of little wit and poor taste, then how easy a step will it be to have that molehill blot out the sun.

How’s that for melodrama?

Thoughts and feelings please!

John Simpson

The row Q&A

Aftermath in Lebanon

 


From The Archives: Musico Fantastico

Taken from my ancient MSN Spaces site:

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Its all about the music today it seems
Got the Eat Static Discography recently so ive been reaquainting myself with their Rave fall out genius.  Also got the Test Icicles album and though i like it i fail to see what all the fuss is about other than the witty-if-your-ten nameuenndo.
Making me all moist of late however, involves finding out that one of my favourite bands, Will Haven, are reforming!  So hopefully next year well have lots of “oh but theyre just shouting”, lyrical genius and walls of noise in wonderful quantities.
Secondly, the singer of my now defunct Favourite band Million Dead, messr Frank Turner, is having good things head in his direction:
Hes touring further, so ill actually get to hear his new Folk leaning acoustic genius in Ifor Bach next year.
He has a song (the one thats not on my demo CD) on an upcoming Rocksound CD
And best of all for him, hell be having a split EP with his good mates Reuben in the new year.
I still want his babies.
Go listen on his pretentious-photo-free Myspace site and you will too.

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From The Archives: Ouch

This entry is taken from my ancient and defunct MSN Spaces blog.
Afterwards I got a purple cast on it, I remember hobbling down Queen Street on crutches and being approached by a canvasser: “Have you had an accident recently, sir?” “No,” I replied “No, I’ve always been like this.”

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13th Nov

Very good night last night. not so good an ending.  for future reference, id reccomend not landing on bottles whilst dancing.

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15 Nov

damn.
doubledamn. thought it was just a sprain. its actually fractured. no work for a week at LEAST. problem is im still only temp – will they ‘let me go’ damnit. awkward clumsy and cumbersome. and now i have a bloody cast HAHAHAHAHAAaaa… *tears*

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From the Archives: The Relevance of Remembrance

Here’s another rantoid from my ancient MSN Spaces account.
They’re being removed in 2011 so I’m transferring them, but don’t want them linked to my msn account for the moment.

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Remembrance + Wars
I am anti-war. I loathe it with most of my being, I would not ever want to kill and my heart sinks at every outbreak. Most never need to be fought at all, the cost of ego and pride. But that would never put me off my passionate backing of Remembrance Day.

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From The Archives: Million Dead

This blog is taken from my ancient and defunct MSN Spaces blog from way back in 2005. I wanted it preserved, because despite the appalling writing, it documents what is still one of the greatest days of my life, centred around the most important band of my life so far.

I followed Frank’s progress, and struggle not to be smug about the amount of people who would scoff at the prospect of ever hearing him again.  As I update this it’s 2011 and I’ve seen him go from playing a pub with only a handful of people listening to packing out tents at festivals and selling out shows in Brixton Academy.  Julia recently joined another of my favourite acts, Future Of The Left, and I cannot wait to see what she brings to an already fantastic act.

Moreover, this blog is important to me, because I am a man who never takes enough risks.  The prospect of going to a city I didn’t know with no definite way home and no ticket to get me in to the place I was going was madness, but despite the quite plausible thought of failing to get in and having to sleep rough in a Bristol alleyway, I went for it anyway.

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From The Archives: The Million Dead Adventure

Taken from my ancient MSN Spaces blog, this covers the end of my favourite band, and how I tried to see them live before they went their separate ways.

While I did laugh hard reading the over-dramatic lines I put in here, do forgive the first entry’s title, it’s derived from a lyric, I promise.

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14 September
Struggling to mend the splinters of a broken heart

I intended to put a minimal blog here to simply say hurrah that im going to see the Magic Numbers, and then spend the day formulating a plan for my writing.
Then i discovered something tragic that shook my chest with the force of a cluster bomb.  My favourite band, my most annoyingly overhyped (even more than bloc party and dredg) musicians, Million Dead, are splitting up at the end of their tour.
are they coming to wales? no chance.  The best they can do is bristol.
So for the last hour or so ive searched websites, searched through pages of message forums, contacted First bus services, called the venue the Louisiana, called Bristol Ticket shop and offered bribes to friends to drive me there.

  • The gig is friday. So i cant get my ticket sent to me.
  • I would have to pick it up from the ticket agency, but it shuts at 6
  • i have to get there from work at 4
  • The agency says theyve only sold 80 out of 300 tickets
  • The agency said tickets are often available on the door. But though Million Dead are a small band, they have a passionate little following of fans, plus theyre splitting up so demand will be higher.
  • The last train to cardiff is 11.17
  • Louisiana says gig cerfew is 11 – but will a splitting up band be offered slightly longer? plus i want to get to speak to my heroes again one last time. (which would make twice tsss)
  • The agency said ring back tomorrow to see how many more have sold.
So after frantic thinking from a mind that has severe Logic problems, the plan is:
  • Tomorrow ask boss Kim (appealing to the fact shes a bristolian) that i need to get to bristol so if i can work earlier.
  • On break ring the line and book a ticket.
  • get to bristol and follow printed map to the agency.
  • if i dont get there in time fuck it
  • go to gig an camp outside till it opens
  • adore my heroes
  • run to station for last train back
  • if i miss it bus to bath at midnight and hope Jonner or niel will let me sleep at their house.

‘every note that made me lose my reasoning
every chord that made my conscience ache
every sound a memory
its all ill ever need
ill always have this song inside my head’

million dead – living the dream

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15 September
One last chance

Following on from yesterdays frantic panic – my chances for getting a ticket for the louisiana are very slim. the tiocket shop had ONE ticket left, i rang the louisiana back and the guy mentioned some record stores that might have tickets. i got hold of one but he was locking up and didnt know. ill ring them back in the morning. Other than that the guy at the louisiana said turn up at the door and see if i can get a ticket at the door. Ive left a comment on the bands message forum but it may simply be too late 😦
Not that ill give up – Niel said he may get me a lift back!!!!!!

‘I am the smalltown linesman,and youll find me out here on the line
searching ceaselessly to simply, find a place to call mine,
every corner of this country criss-crossed out with coloured lines,
A city lies before me
Another city sprawling out behind.’

Million Dead – After the Rush Hour

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16 September
million dead – the quest!!!!!

this is it. i got everything i think i need.
two more numbers to ring.
wether they have tickets or not i go to bristol on my tod and wait and see if there’s tickets.
it’s highly unlikely there will be.
But id rather try than give up on my last chance to see the most important band of my life.
See you after saturday with ecstatic or tearful comments
:-\

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