Archive for the 'real life' Category

Solstice, Stonehenge

Friday 22 June (2007)

stonehenge 

The summer solstice at Stonehenge is one of those really cool things that we all know about, and actually going there and experiencing it is a surreal, magical experience. I have no druidic beliefs and I don’t see Stonehenge as a place of worship, but man… it’s a hell of a good place for a party.

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On Holiday

Saturday 7 April (2007)

Just a quick note to say: I’m off for a week. Hooray!

Drawing pictures (on acid)

Tuesday 3 April (2007)

LSD drawing

 Tidying my room a little yesterday, I found an old notepad filled with strange scribbles and drawings. I soon remembered what I was looking at – mementos from my very first LSD experience. It was September 2004, in Manchester (where else?) and I had finally managed to track down the elusive drug I so desired. Unfortunately, it wasn’t particularly strong stuff, and that first experience wasn’t my ‘break-through’ experience. Nevertheless, it affected me so much that I couldn’t walk down the metal staircase leading out of our crummy flat (it was, for all intents and purposes, not connected to the ground), and my co-trippers Alan and JT weren’t handling it so well (although, JT had been up almost twenty-four hours when we dropped, and he’d probably been on pills the night before) so I did the only thing availble to do – I drew some drug-induced pictures.

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The religion thing

Wednesday 28 March (2007)

This has been bugging me for a while now. People all over the internet talking about how ‘religion is bad’ and that we shouldn’t be Muslim or Christian or whatever because it creates barriers and makes people kill each other. ‘Love is the only religion we need,’ they say.

And of course, there’s only one alternative to all of this, and that’s atheism. The incredibly dull concept that this is really all there is; there are no forces at work beyond the ones we have observed for ourselves, like gravity, and when we die that’s it. Apparantly atheism is a better way to live because you adhere to a moral code, and not some prescribed text. Ideas like ‘don’t murder people’ and ‘stealing is bad’ (which are coincidentally found in books like the Bible.)

Bullshit. If I honestly thought that this was it – when I die, I die, and I’ll never be judged for my actions – then I wouldn’t need a moral code. Why pay for something when you can take it for free? I mean, what’s the harm? Life would be pointless in my eyes, and also the only experience I would ever know. Why shouldn’t I make it as fun as possible? Hedonists – now there are some good atheists. Rapists, they’ve got it down too – oh I mean sure, they might cause pain to whoever they molest, but at the end of the day that pain is really just a series of chemical processes, right? It doesn’t mean anything. Who cares if someone elses chemical processes make them feel bad when mine are giving me orgasms?

I don’t buy any of this. Read on if you want to see my rant.

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The Sunday Review: St. Patrick’s Day 2007

Monday 19 March (2007)

guinness

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Man, these people suck

Tuesday 27 February (2007)

So, we go to this pub called the parrot because all drinks are £1.50 on a Monday. And fucking Numa Numa comes on, and people go wild. Like Ozzy Osbourne has just walked into the building wild. And I find myself thinking… ‘are people really this shit?’

They played M.C. Hammer too, to incredible reception. In fact the whole night through there was only really two half-decent songs – Smells Like Teen Spirit (clearly so commercial that the M.C. Hammer crowd can enjoy) and some old trance track by Alice DJ that I only really like because I used to listen to it in Jillys (dance hour) when I was on pills.

Are people really this shit? The sad answer is yes. Half-drunken moan, over and out.

On the pleasures of chili oil

Friday 27 October (2006)

some chili oil
this isn’t the actual oil I have, but it looks the same

I have always enjoyed a good pizza, but I’ve only ever really eaten supermarket or brand-name frozen ones. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, but when you find yourself in an Italian restaurant (with a bona fide Italian maître d’ and waitress) and you order one, you know it’s going to be something special. It certainly was, but what intrigued me was the large bottle the waiter left behind with the pizza: it looked like olive oil, but it was a deep red colour and had chili peppers suspended in it. My friend Ryan had been going on at me about pouring olive oil over his pizzas, making them ‘superb’ – perhaps this is what he was talking about? So, ever one for indulgence, I poured some of this oil over the pizza. And my God…

It became apparant when I spoke to Ryan that he poured the olive oil over his pizza before he cooked it, not after, so I was confused. But that was one fucking great pizza I ate in that restaurant – so I went to Tesco and bought some of their ‘chili infused olive oil’ for £2.50. That evening I experimented – I poured some oil over a pizza before cooking it, and then also after. And fuck me, if it wasn’t amazingly tasty.

I mean, olive oil on its own isn’t a substance I really use in my cooking – if I ever fry something I always use vegetable or sunflower oil, and I don’t really go for it with salads or pasta. But this chili oil is different. I have no doubt that it’s supposed to be used as any other oil is in cooking, but with a touch of heat for connoisseurs of spicy food (like me.) The thing is, I’ve been using it differently – in a word; cheese.

Pizzas are covered in cheese and this stuff browns it nicely, and also spices it up. So when I made a pasta bake just now, which I literally covered with grated highland cheddar (I’ve gotten over my parmesan fetish, thank God,) I poured some of my magical oil over it. Good Holy God! It makes any meal with cheese (and possibly tomatoes, in one form or another) become transcendent.

Buy some.

And on a side note: no Sunday Review this week; I’ll be away on holiday 😀

Ralph Steadman talks about Hunter S. Thompson

Saturday 14 October (2006)

ralph steadman

I went to another event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival today: Will Self interviewing Ralph Steadman about his new book, The Joke’s Over, which is about his late friend and collaborator, Hunter S. Thompson. I’m obviously a huge fan of Thompson, and he’s something of a hero of mine so I was pleased when I talked Sally into joining me for this one. Unfortunately, she insisted we go to the pub first, and I spent the entire seventy-five minutes with crossed legs trying not to think about the sound of running water or metaphorical releases of tension.

The interview took place in a large marquee outside the town hall, and we arrived early enough to get seats on the front row (next to what Sally described as a ‘stunningly beautiful’ girl who apparantly fancied me – I don’t know how girls know these things) which was lucky, because the room soon filled up with well over a hundred people. Soon enough, Steadman entered the stage and the interview began.

It was very interesting to hear some of his memoirs – he described the first time he and Thompson met, where Thompson kind of put him through a trial-by-fire. After consuming a lot of alcohol and suffering a lot of abuse, Steadman was still holding his own, which won him the respect of Thompson and forged their friendship. He also read from some letters from Thompson, where it was revealed that a lot of the time Thompson needed to see Steadman’s drawings before he could write something, it being too ‘hideous’ in his own memory and the images serving as an alternate version.

Steadman, donning one of Thompson’s hats and some of his tinted shades, with a cigarette in a filter in his mouth, related the one time he got high with Hunter. They were on a boat, and Thompson was eating drugs at a voracious rate, and Steadman (who was feeling sea-sick) noticed that he didn’t seem to be bothered by the motion of the boat at all. So, he asked Thompson to dose him with some psilocybin. It was without a doubt a bad trip, but as he told us about what happened all these years later it sounded like a fond memory. He and Thompson had rowed over to an expensive yacht to write ‘fuck the pope’ on the side, but they were caught before they had chance. “We must flee!” he hissed in a perfect imitation of his old friend, with a smile on his face.

And then of course, things took a turn for the sentimental, and it was quite moving. He read from his book; a letter he had written to Thompson after he had killed himself, which perfectly captured the lack of understanding most of us had towards his suicidal tendencies. All in, it was a very entertaining and enjoyable experience, and I’m pleased to have spent some time in the same room as the man who illustrated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

fear and loathing in las vegas

Terry Jones talks about barbarians

Tuesday 10 October (2006)

terry jones

It’s the Cheltenham Literature Festival at the moment, and when I saw that my favourite member of Monty Python, the erstwhile Terry Jones, was giving a lecture based on his new book and television series Barbarians, I had to go. Luckily the ticket was only £3.50! And the evening was complimented by a surprise visit from Sally’s brother Scott, and his girlfriend Lisa.

Anyway we took our seats in the Everyman Theatre and awaited the arrival of Mr. Jones. Soon enough he arrived, and immediately embarked on a very interesting lecture. The word ‘barbarian’ for example – did you know that it was a word used by the Greeks to describe anyone who couldn’t speak Greek? Because those people didn’t speak, they just went bar-bar-bar-bar-bar and thus they were barbarians. The Romans then took the word and used it themselves, in a kind of linguistical coup d’etat, and eventually it came to mean any persons who were, basically, uncivilised.

The really interesting thing about it all is that I have assumed, like many, that the Romans were the civilised people and the nations they invaded were the lands of barbarians, who really, in the long run, benefitted from the invasion. Jones paints a quite different picture however, as he tells us that the Persians and the Germans (the only two regions of the known world which resisted Roman invasion) were actually far more civilised people. Even the Celts were credited with laying the foundations of the famous Roman roads.

Perhaps his most interesting conclusion was that, contrary to popular belief, the Romans and their invasions across Europe didn’t advance civilisation and technology but rather set them back, by as much as a thousand years. It’s really quite an interesting view of classical European history, and as Jones delivers his points so passionately and entertainingly, it’s hard not to believe every single word he says.

I thoroughly enjoyed his Medieval Lives series for the BBC, and I now intend to find some episodes of Barbarians on UKTV History. I might even pick up his book sometime, although my studies are quite intensive at the moment and I wouldn’t have the time to read it for a while. Still, extremely interesting! If you’re into your Romans, check it out.

Rafi Levy is a nice guy

Wednesday 4 October (2006)

This is just a short post to tell you how cool Rafi Levy is. After I wrote a review of his CD, he decided to send me a free copy 🙂

I’ve already waxed lyrical about how good this thing is, so I urge you to check it out and maybe buy a copy – hey, Huz already did – so what are you waiting for?

Thanks Rafi!