Both Broni and I rushed past our days at work in excitement for our evening. A quick zip of the pans brought us nutrition and, once again, we hot-footed it up the mighty highway to our pals in Eastleigh.
Eastleigh’s Tory MP had been found dead on Monday wearing only stockings and a plastic bag on his head with a cord around his throat and this was the source of constant amusement throughout the evening. The media had been leading with this story every day and were going to town on the sex scandal – it didn’t seem so important that someone had died.
Rob drove us to the Joiners after Rich giving him much hassle for being on the phone so long. Not so patient, our Richard.
Got their about nine and got a beer and conversed with all our other friends. A band of locals took to the stage and pounded through some noisy songs. They had three young fans standing right in front of the stage, admiring their heroes and ritually mouthing the words to every song. I thought that was brilliant. I remember being like them (they helped the band take the equipment out too – dedication!). The band was called Ban Ylang or something similarly rhythmic.
I stood centrally to watch the second band while Bronwyn stood near the bar with ‘our’ crowd. During a break between songs I (and everyone else!) heard Selina shout out ‘It’s Bronwyn’s round’ to which the bass player said ‘Good on Bronwyn’. Fame for my baby comes in small doses. She is famous and fabulous in my eyes.
We’d been in the other bar playing bar billiards and getting smashed and bearing cheeky toothy grins. The second band, Skyscraper, had one good song that I heard and after that were fairly dull but alcohol made me too drunk to care.
We ate chips and the guys stuffed burgers with too much mustard relish. We eventually zipped our way across the midnight skies and were forced into slumber through stupor.
Rich woke us in the morning at 7.20 and after toast and coffee me and my baby and Rob hit the harder highway to hell to London. I drove while Bronwyn showed Rob our photos and then they played backgammon.
Broni, direction-finder general, took us straight to Islington where tonight’s gig was. I had a real quest for food but the guys wouldn’t let me cos we were in some kind of hurry! We had a lot to get through for sure. Broni stopped at every map and said ‘that’s where we are’ which didn’t tell us where we wanted to go!
First thing for us to do was go to Australia House in Aldwych. We caught the frenzy bus in the earth to some place near and hop skipped onto a double red decker missing what could have been the most amazing of food we were ever likely to find. On this bus, I started to love London and wanted to be closer to it. It brought to mind many Clash songs that would name drop London boroughs and famous places and reminded me why things are different in London. Australia House was a breeze. Broni filled in her forms and got them signed there and then.
After a food stop, not up to Broni’s requirements, we tippy-toed a few blocks to Covent Garden Market. Me and Broni reminisced as we walked past an American diner where we had nachos last time we came to Oz House. This time it was full of builders sawing wood and putting up walls for a refit.
We looked in every direction at the market not having any idea which way to go so we checked out some stalls of cheap crappy gothic jewellery and crummy clothes. Broni found a juggling stall and got a demonstration out of the guy there. He was pretty good and gave Broni some ideas for tricks. We had to pass on the clubs though, being out of our minimal price range.
After asking a couple more stall holders the way to Rough Trade we merrily sang up the street as the sun beat through the grimy atmosphere. Several stops and reverses later we found it – the doorstep up the alley occupied by the same person as last time I was there, smoking a fag and begging for money. I reckon he prays on the skaters who probably spend a fortune in Slam City Skates. Actually, I reckon he probably works there!
A quick glance through the Jap noise CD section, Broni denying me time to ponder purchase, we picked up three tickets for entry tonight. We checked out this great health food shop on the next corner too, spending another ten pounds on food and refreshments of exotic flavours.
We headed in any old direction for a tube – it seemed great that you could just about walk in any direction and you’d come across some form of transport that would help you on your way to where you may be headed. It made London seem a whole lot smaller.
Next quest was the British Natural History Museum. A tube or two later found us walking up a long subway, yellowy with paint and time, crammed with people, a girl I thought I recognised. I sometimes have the strange feeling of recognition. If I look at someone for a while then look away and return to them some minutes later I feel sure I’ve met them before. This happened at least twice today!
On this walk, Broni questioned our finances, running through where 75 pounds could have gone in just 24 hours. Another four pounds fifty each later saw us into the museum and here started four hours of exploration. First hour spent studying everything in detail, second spent eating some extortionately overpriced food and wandering around the room with a whale that made me say ‘fuck’ out loud. I also taped the noise of a dolphin saying ‘Hello shit for brains’ or something.
The third hour was spent looking for something more interesting to look at. The fourth spent whizzing around 60% of the rest of the museum with Broni moaning about her feet and how tired she was. We were all tired by now and I had information overload (head explode).
As darkness gradually crept into the outside world we took da tube frenzy rush hour time to Leicester Square in search of more sustenance, eventually settling on a ritzy kinda pizza place which was really a glamourous Pizza Hut. The waitress was kinda cute if she was a day over fifteen!
We left there disturbed at the cost of shoddy service and took the madness line again back to Islington for the evening’s soiree! (Must look that word up in the dictionary sometime). The tube stopped at Kings Cross and the guard poked his head in the door asking us very quietly to leave. We emptied reluctantly on the station wondering what exactly was going on. Next, we were told to go to the other end of the station. As we walked past the next carriage we saw a brown doctor’s bag, we guess, left unattended. Broni got very excited and upset at the same time, as the station was gradually emptied and section by section, shut off.
Up on the surface, a few thousand bemused underground goers searched out alternative arrangements. We hopped on a bus and got back on the trail of adventure and entertainment. After a little dilly and a dally, we exchanged our tickets for entrance into the club they call the Garage.
It was reasonably well packed early and a band was banging away enthusiastically onstage. Met my fellow Jap noise-loving friend Neil but talking was restricted due to the disturbing barrage the three guys on stage were making. They were called ‘Pig’ apparently, though Neil did suffix them with the word ‘shit’. They did lack something and the drummer had pre-recorded drums which he was playing along to, I’m sure.
The place started to pack a bit more and I got the feeling most people were here just to see one band. Next band was Jacob’s Mouse who were very loud and not very interesting – may sound OK on record but not here. As they finished I persuaded pretty Broni nearer the front. She wanted to stop about eight back but I took her to the second row and we waited patiently. None of us really knew what to expect from this freaky ensemble called Boredoms but we had several shapes of madness involved in our daydreamscapes.
On walked six small Japanese folk, picking up instruments on their way. A girl in the band stood on the rail that stops the crowd surging forward, she waited for a second til all the band were ready and proceeded to scream at the top of her voice. She jumped off the barricade as the rest of the band launched into a delirious song-orama! From here on it was total madness and chaos. Eye (singer one) sung several songs with a woolly hat pulled right over his face. The girl ran to the second drum kit, playing that and screaming, when she wasn’t playing trumpet. The guitarist was totally amazing keeping his plectrum in his third finger when picking notes with the other digits.
Both singers were going mad jumping about and during one song jumped against each other in rhythm with the song. A review in Flipside said they were the beginning and end of Rock ‘n’ Roll!
Everyone smiled and loved the band. Both drummers had huge grins most of the time. Eye went crowd surfing and also into a hypnotic chant. This is probably the most amazing band I’ve ever seen and ever likely to see. I wonder what they are like on home turf with all stage props etc.
We left the club with excited faces and excited words. ‘We are Boredom. Come from Japan. Hope you like.’ Yes indeedy.
Me and my baby navigated the way to Waterloo to drop young Rob off to catch the train to Southampton and I was feeling emotionally exhausted. The big bright lights of the city looked fantastic at midnight and I would’ve enjoyed just bumming around but for all the excitement my tiny brain had to endure I was in need of rest. Broni was too and we had several tiny arguments which culminated in me throwing a tantrum outside David and Louise’s.
After making up we woke up David, such a gentle giant, who let us in, made us coffee, we talked for a few minutes and then retired into a most beautiful slumber for the night. Our arrangement to be up at nine was broken by all of us!
We stirred out of our wrapped up slumber around ten and woke ourselves up with cold showers – not through choice I might add! Breakfast was made and we talked and ate as the most glorious sunshine poured into the kitchen and into our souls. Eventually, talk got around to our wedding and Broni’s mum and dad’s thought on the matter. I was very quiet through this as I did not want to upset anyone with my thoughts on religion. Louse and David gave us a few ideas for compromise.
We checked out photos for an hour before deciding to hit the road again. The raging red yellow ball of fire in the sky was still there yet I did not feel completely whole. As we exited London me and my baby talked about the wedding and could not come to an agreement. We both felt stuck. Her wanting to please her parents as well as me and me wanting not to upset anyone but not sacrifice my principles.
After some thought and more discussion, I told Bronwyn I’d marry her with a priest but not with any religious overtones. This seemed like a good possibility to put to her mum and dad.
Despite the sun, our disagreement clouded most of the rest of the journey, though we picked up considerably as we approached Bath.
It’s a strange time warp feeling entering Bath. As you descend the hill side from the north looking into the valley, time seems to go backwards and the light dims.
We drove round the Circle, Royal Crescent and Landsdown Crescent where we first held hands. Aah – how romantic. We found the old B+B we stayed in but alas, no vacancies. It seemed the same story everywhere else too.
After about an hour of traipsing around in car and on foot (and being rudely told to go away by one landlady), I ran into a pub bedecked with old wooden beams and wood fires. The landlord rang up a pal of his who had vacancies, so we took the car round the other side of town to this old bastard pub and got ourselves a huge sparse ugly room to crash for the night.
We crashed, washed, prepared and had a short run back into town, passed a zillion people queueing to go into some hall for something we couldn’t quite work out what. It could’ve explained why there was a lot of people in Bath and everywhere booked up.
We had a drink in the pub that I’d dashed into earlier, after walking upstream the raging murky river. There’s a wealth of hidden walkways in Bath and cafes stuck in the strangest of places, many below street level.
We paid tribute to India again at the Jamuna restaurant. Then, after a drunken search in the bottle shop for Australian port, we hijacked a possed off taxi driver, upset that we could’ve walked such a short distance, who sped off for the fastest taxi drive I’ve ever been on, all for one pound fifty. We opened up the port in our room and fell asleep with the TV on, watching the Winter Olympics.
It took us a great deal of time to get out of bed this morning as firstly the room’s inadequacies did not tempt us and each other’s bodies did. About an ecstasy hour later we went down and got some coffee and omelette that fortified us for the morning.
Back on the road again we navigated our way across beautiful moorland and down, once again, through the crag and crevice of Cheddar Gorge. Beauty is in nature and not very often handmade. Here we ran up and down the road, through the bitter wind taking photos as the sunshine hit the cliffs higher up.
We gave the caves a miss in favour of Wooky Hole just ten miles away. Last time I was here I wasn’t overly impressed but this time I reckon I must have more soul and fire in my heart as I found the caves absolutely thrilling and fascinating. You can’t get much closer to nature than this.
We took photos in the 100ft high chambers as we traversed the steely iron walkways some 30ft above the grey blue chilly waters below. After hearing all the stories about the caves we checked out the paper making in the mill – then through some fairground antiques and into the most amazing maze I’ve ever seen. It was maze of mirrors. You could literally take two steps forward and not be sure where you’d come from. Images of yourself would be reflected on six different mirrors and you could walk up to your own back or see yourself from the side. We were so fascinated we went in twice.
Outside, in reality, we high-tailed it to Glastonbury to check out the scrummy Blue Note Cafe. Glastonbury is a strange place – it’s very nice and relaxed but the hippy attitude seems kind of fake. The shops sell hippy culture junk and million books of all descriptions on how to find yourself. We did buy a CD of just percussion which seemed jolly interesting.
By this time we’d worn ourselves out and set off for home where relaxation was beckoning. After a quick, yet uneventful ride home through dusky paths of tarmac we sat down with coffees and enjoyed our new musical soundtrack of rhythms. I’d guess we fell asleep after that.
The next few days were spent working and writing all this. Monday brought the promise of snow and by late evening an inch had already fallen. The once grim terraced rows now transformed, as light reflected from every inch of crispy white. We took a slippery drive down to the park and took photos and threw a ball or two.
Next morning found us under five inches and Broni rightly took the bus to Upton to work. I arrived at my work some two and a half hours late and my day just whizzed by. I noticed with some irony the council workers clearing footpaths of snow that would’ve melted away in a few hours anyway!
Wednesday found me giving Broni a long slow massage which developed into squelchier things and we fell asleep in each other’s arms after a port or two. We woke in the morning and in love.
“Always I was running, always was running, running to throw switches, running in my sleep and running now – happy.” – Kerouac