July 2010


I have had a message from Bees Nees Media. They interviewed me at the Ginger Fest at Morley earlier this year. The are into final editing for the resulting documentary (for BBC Scotland) and wanted to buy a copy of The Wayne Jacobs Little Red head Book.

Me and Bev are getting to know each other a bit. She has told me that I was lazy like a cat. (which is remarkably astute). I was round her house on Thursday but persuaded her that she should go to W.I. I had plans of my own, and as soon as she left, I finished de-fleaing one of her cats, dressed up, and started getting really dirty.

Trouble was that she had a change of plan and came home early, to catch me read handed, dressed in her pinny, cleaning her cooker (the red hands came from using raw thick bleach and a paint scraper).

I slept the clock round last night. I needed it.
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Took the new iPie to Highgate and wore it, then to Charring Cross, then to East Croyden, where I packed it away.

Very good day, three disappointing things.

All details are now set for 13th Sept. Tickets for Pie & Priestley are £15 each, inc. food. Tickets are available from the Gatehouse.

The veggie option will be a pie. Avi, the manageress, said she would rather die than announce me, I told her I was shocked because I thought she could do everything, and persuaded her to do it.

I was there to be photographed but the official Wetherspoons photographer could not make it. Photos were taken, and I will post at least one, but it is always better to have it done by a professional. I did a lot of good things though that I could not have done without being there, including talking to John at the Upstairs at the Gatehouse theatre; who gave me lots of info, including the fact I had spelled Wetherspoons wrong on the leaflets (I also spelled words on the banner wrong, curse Jessica Fletcher!

I also got some very useful information from Dave in the Red Lion and Sun, including about the Whitestone Pond that will feature in the show.

The pie is absolutely brilliant for getting to talk to people, but it makes a very small number very angry because the do not understand it. The third disappointment was the attitude of one cockney wanker. On the other hand I got photographer with and by good looking young women on the train to East Croydon (whilst I was talking to Bev on my mobile, it was like being a well cool dude) and talked to scores, possibly hundreds, of others; including someone who lives at Priestley’s old house.

I also wrote a testimonial for a shop manager called Wayne, that I met in the Harp, Charring Cross, because I was so impressed with his attitude. It was to show his girlfriend.
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The last few days have given me a crop of flowers so far, and I need to record that incase the slugs get up my stems in the next few days.

Today I signwrote (if there is a trade of signwriter what they do must be signwrote) two cloth banners for the Priestley Night in the gatehouse, Highgate, on 13th Sept. I also created a new carrying tray for the new iPie from a tray I remembered from my childhood (and some cable ties I bought today, and straps). I also printed off tickets and posters, did vegetable shopping in Crawley for my parents (and I may have finally learnt how to spell vegetable), and made soup.

Strangely enough: my mother told me this morning that it you burn stuff in a saucepan, then coke (other brown, frizzy drinks available) boiled in the pan works better than vinegar. After I had spent and too long on my own work, and forgetting my parent’s soup, I had the chance to test that; and discovered she was right! And the very dark liquid that resulted is, compared to many sauces in bottles, not that offensive a taste.

I also got a phone enquiry about the hat throwing that is not happening on 1st August. I also went to the library to read the Haynes washing machine manual. It is nowhere near as well written as their car manuals, and all I could manage to learn was that the owner would have to buy the book, and a voltmeter, before I could do anything.

I also discovered that the iPad has no means of printing stuff!! That is not strictly true. It can send to a wi-fi printer (that I do not have) and print via a computer (so I would still need to carry my laptop to crawley and back!!). I am very unhappy about this. The iPad looked like an answer to my long felt needs, but without printing it is a tossy big iPhone (without a camera), as far as I can see at the minute,

I wrote the banners on the only big table in this house, which has also had the only telly. Ma was on her afternoon murder fest, and I blame Murder She Wrote for me painting …defided… in the phrase …a pie that defied Hitler. I have corrected it, but it took time.

I do not think I have watched any Top Gear today, which says something about how many times anyone can watch the same programme on Dave, or about my moving on, which I seem to remember links to the first sentence.

A quickly written blog in the middle of a busy and fruitful weekend, with a trip still to come!

Just a few notes to the end of last week: I have done a new iPie . It is a good looker, though with some worrying small cracks. I have not photographed it yet, but if it survives the journey it will be paraded at the will be paraded at the Gatehouse just after noon on Tuesday, and then around Highgate.

On Saturday I was taken to see ska band Natural Rhythm at Checkpoint, the now ancient West Indian community centre where I used to drink Cockspur rum. It may have been painted since I last went, but they still sell Cockspur.

I got really sweaty from dancing as I did when younger. It was a good night.

Sunday was relaxed. I helped put a tent up in Bev’s living room, and we sat in it and watched BBC 4’s Britain Goes Camping and drinking cheap aniseed liquor.
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Quick note on a very busy few days, in the time virgin media (are shit are actually allowing me on the internet.

I have received confirmation of licence to perform the J.B.Priestley material on the planned Pie & Priestley Nights. The only thing that can stop the London now is something happening to me. I still have no confirmation of a venue for a second show though. I will post about it when I have updated my websites.

I have done most of the work on the script, posters and tickets. I am now looking to invest a fair amount of money, for me, in things I need to do this show, and the ones that follow, with slides and maybe music, and can carry on my back.

Yesterday I went to Hi-tec to look at new and used macs, and ask about projectors. The advice was good, and I am falling for an iPad. It may be expensive for what it is, but it will do almost everything I use my laptop for, can be used with projectors, and is probably the lightest thing that can produce images good enough for a large projector.

The also have a very light projector. I bought a PRAM battery for my decade old iMac while I was there.

Afterwards I walked down and up the sides of Bradford Beck’s north valley. I ccalled in the Prospect of Bradford and discovered it could be theYorkshire best pie venue I have seen so far. It is being run by a Polish widow who knows what she is doing. The handpulled Tetley’s was also the best I have tasted for a long time.

Then walked through the Spinks Well nature trail . Less cherries than I remember, but an absolute mass of raspberries, including some of the finest I have ever seen.

Then to Orlando’s, where Bev treated me. The early bird special was very good, and it seems a really good place.

Then to Lister Park. We saw one of a pair of young asian men pick up one of the many ducks sat by the lake, and threw it up in the air! The duck lost feathers, but was in the middle of a moult, and dignity. Unfortunately I have only just thought of the phrase duck chucker. There was also a slim young redhead on the other side of the lake, seemingly arguing with the ducks. Only a coot seemed to answer back, which seemed fitting. A full range of park life.

I then did a tour of Cunliffe Terrace, where I used to live, and where a tramp was murdered two house down from me.

Today I acted as escort and support at the mamogram clinic, including reading out Wodehouse quietly in the waiting room. Thankfully all tests were clear.

Later I spent hours trying to replace the PRAM battery; rather than the 5 mins advertised on one of the help pages. Either I have done it wront, or it is the wrong battery, or the machine is beyond help.

Went to my GP to pick up a prescription, and discovered the doctor had not put the most important of my insulins on (Humalog). They did check, and it was his fault, but there are no doctors there now until Monday, which may make things difficult.
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It seems nice to be rushing to write a blog before the ethanol tsunami sweeps me away. It is just like the last time I tried it, and I am beggered if I have an means of finding out when that was.

My best work comes on the days I have a defined thing to create, and do. Those are the days of the Dilbert engineer’s dance. Almost as good are the days that I do loads of work, do not notice much, drink loads, and think Ouuuh! That was a good day,

Have done the tickets and the flyers for the Pie & Priestly Night on my 50th birthday, at the Gatehouse pub, Highgate, N6.

I then walked to Bradford to check A4 prices, buy a tankard for £1 for Morris happenings, and meet up with Joe to test small amps (with speakers, I think the correct name is combi, as if I cared). Joe has been telling me for years that I needed one. Today I fell in love with a box that weighed 0.5 kg less than a guitar practise amp, that took out all my sibilants without turning a knob! I did not buy ir, but I will.

We then went to the Shoulder of Mutton, and talked.

Afterwards we saw, and talked to, Scott of the City Vaults, and his young lad Harrison.

I then went to the local Weatherspoon’s to see if they would do what the one in Highbury, The Gatehouse, are doing for me. I just missed the manager; though was there long enough for the book haters that work at Bradford Central Library to come in on their nightly soak (there is a bit of background to that anger, including sex. but the last time I saw them in the place I may have been drunk, but hardly enough to warrant the words I got; especially from a woman who combines an impression of wanting to help. and an inability to find the last month’s FT’s within the hour.

Then to whatever The Delius pub is now called. Talked to Jay and Ryan, what remembered me; and Taff, what I remember. He has alopecia. I know that coz I asked, but did not then go on to say: So, if you’re going to cut your hair short enough to notice, don’t you shave yourhead!?

A customer came in and forced the barmaid (Jay) to put stuff from the Cancer Research shop in her bag. That”s where I bought my tankard (All bric-a-brac a pound! So I got mine out for a test. I had bought kitchen towels in Morisons (below the national average I got from the internet this morning) so I could clean it; and it holds a full pint!

I then set off to walk home, just as the real rain and lightening started. I bobbed into The Westleigh to get out of the rain. The one handpulled beer was good, but expensive, and the staff are ignorant,
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I arranged to meet Bev on the train to Ilkley yesterday. Ar Forster Square Station I met Graham, who I know from jazz at City Vaults, he was meeting his lass Pat on the same train; and when both girls got on at Baildon it turned out that they had been talking about going to Ilkley.

The two of us walked up to White Wells, stopping on the way to look at the Post Box top wildlife park. Some of the ladybird larvae have grown quite big, so they must be catching something, but we did not see it; even when a greenfly walk into one almost head on!

The rain was coming in cold, gusty showers, which added a sense of occassion and a new view of Wharfedale.

We had pie and peas at White Wells and a bit of a discussion with Mark and Joanne about hat throwing. We agreed it would be better to have one in October, rather than rush to do one on 1st Aug. They have had nothing, but promises, from Anne Hawksworth either; and the ‘programme’ for the day does not give a single time; making it worthless.

Wee ate lots of wild raspberries, and saw lots of different hover, and other, flies on the walk down; then went to see an arts fair where a friend of Bev’s was selling her own pottery animals. I went to the Bowling Club to as about doing a Priestley there. Nigel, ex-Riverside, is now steward; and they have a function room; but it is very old fashioned (I was asked to take my hat off when I went in) and has to be approved by committee.

After that we did some charity shop trawling and had a few beers. Vicki in the Midland remembered my name (I was found wanting). and Bev talked to everybody, and everybody said goodbye to her when we left. I hope this pub manages to stay open, and stay as it is. It is easily the best in town.

Today we went to a Big Lunch at Saltaire Church Allotments; organised by Christine of Rainbow Morris. It was lovely. People bought food and drink. Bev made scones and jam (while I was ordering the 17 tines of tomatoes, 9 tines of mushy peas, and 6 tins of custard. I did not mean to, but could not help it after being asked to look for chick peas).

I performed 3 poems A sack of salt, I told my love and Kipling’s Glory of the Garden. It went down very well. TC (who played at my Walburgas show) and a couple of other musicians played, and there was morris dancing.
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A pleasant few days of catching up, mostly with myself.

I was on http://www.bcbradio.co.uk/>BCB’s Roundtable show this afternoon. I argeed to do it a while back but made no note, and got ther reminder call very late in the morning. Things must be ok with me cash wise because I splashed out £3.50 for a taxi!

I arrived a bit flustered after the live show had started, and did not recognize my friend Martin the photographer was a fellow guest. To be fair I have only ever seen in in dim pubs, but even so I wonder if it is time to start writing my name on the front of my underpants, incase I forget it!

The show seemed to go well, but does not seem to be repeated; so I cannot really tell.

I finally managed to finish a reading list for the Pie & Priestley, which allowed me to apply for a licence to the copyright administrator.

I also spent some time at the Disability Support office talking to Joe, about me getting a very small sound system/p.a. for shows, and other stuff; and looking at Steve’s photos of Ramsgate.

I also bought a sleeping bag from Lidl for £15, for a possible trip to a morris fest in Shrewsbury.

The only downside of the day was the effects of the dirty kebab I got from the only stall in John St. market which did not have a queue of Asians. It took 6 hours for full throttle, but I was millimetres from a turbo strike.
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Briefly.

Ilkley (show chasing) – Shipley (meeting and chips) – Leeds and Huddersfield (changing trains) – Marsden (morris watching and getting wet) – home (Wodehouseing).

Broadly

Spent the morning writing and sending e-mails, mostly about shows but also about a request for ‘inspiring words’ for the little park I have been involved with. I sent a poem and had the woman from the quango mail me to say it was lovely, but there was a word limit of 5, or less! She was chasing funding to pay an engraver to do the words but had been too lazy, stupid, or arrogant to bother with the actual words. Waste of money is under 5 words, and is Meaningless and Project to fill my CV. I said none of that in my reply, but made some useful criticism (useful to me that is).

The Ilkley projects are not going well, unlike the Highgate one (where the manager has already done more work for the show than any of my friends have for the last few).

I wanted the hat throwing linked to the Ilkley Festival but have found it almost impossible to get any reply out of the Councillor who owns it since a set of one sentence e-mails last week; so no answer to whether I can get grant support or any costs covered, and seeing nobody is actually in charge it makes things very difficult. There is a programme out, but without a single time given for any event.

As for the Ilkley Pie & Priestley the venue I used last year is being really tardy in giving me a quote. If I had not had such good service at the last two events there I would already have written them off; as it is I have asked for a quote from another, potentially very good, venue.

I did buy lots of books from charity shops, including a Kipling collection with lots of short stories I do not have, and an Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, which I have started reading from the back.

Met Bev and some fish and chips in Shipley station, which was just what I needed. We then went to Marsden, where she was dancing with Wayzgoose at the Tunnel End Inn.

The Thieving Magpies and The Slbbing Billy’s (a team that dance in clogs with full irons) were also dancing; and it was outside, and the was a cold and piecing dizzle as well. As I said to the young Danish and Canadian women who had come to watch, doing daft things outside in the rain was a grand English tradition.

The smiling Geordie from Magpies thanked me for mentioning the team in my blog, and for pointing out she was looking for a spare man, at least in the public dance off. I thought she was called Allison, but Bev, who reads this, pointed out I had called her Chris here, and so it proved.

Thanks to an umbrella and beer the rain added to my sense of occasion, although I felt sorry for the swallow desperately looking for any insects around rain sodden trees. If it had been fine we might have been eaten my midges, but the swallow would have got many of them, and carried some human protein down to southern Africa.

I did better at the dance off and was complemented on my use of stick (officially sticking but twatting describes it better). The free sausages afterwards were really good, the pub dog was nice and the pub cat lovely; and I talked to a few people.

Walking back along the dark canal towpath we saw frogs. Marsden station was a sod, and we could easily have missed our train due to it being one of the worst I know. Totally inadequate signposting, no direct link between platforms, and dangerous steps down from the public road that serves the cheap way of not having a footbridge
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virgin (worst internet provider) media
Another hours internet downtime Monday. Phone unusable at same time.

I have been off-line for several days, but it was not broadband supplier’s fault this time.

Friday

A really low key, and pleasant, return ‘home’. Until the point I tried to go on-line, when I discovered my internet connection was not. I have no clue when you can read this.

At Three Bridges Station I offered information to a woman who had been enquiring. Turns out my subconscious was correct, We were both travelling via St Pancras, I I learnt about how Japan can run trains through earthquakes, the geography of Derbyshire; and the the better parts of Chesterfield. I may have told Alice things she did not know, including tip for not missing your train if travelling via First Capital (no) Connect (set off at least an hour earlier than they tell you).

I had two pints in the Betjemin, Beer was fine, and I talked to a few customers, but I did not know one of the staff, and it all seemed like the company’s chickens were looking to roost.
The Grand Central direct train to Bradford seemed much better than the one down, but was probably largely the same. I wrote an essay of comments to the company, especially about the dwell time between Doncaster and Bradford (and vis versa), and I think I talked to all of the train crew apart from the driver, including the bloke with the laptop trying to fix the train whilst it was moving.

I did most of the talking at the buffet which was selling Nick Stafford’s Hambledon Ale , until I drank it all.

I gave some late night hug therapy, which I enjoyed enormously.

Saturday

Went to Mike and Emily’s wedding at the Victoria Hotel. It was a really nice day, even though I had to do on my own. I did a short reading during the service; saw a good few old friends from Mike’s side; and met lots of Canadians from Emily’s side. I sat down to dinner with regular reader Mark, and Julie; and Glen, Becky and Maggie from Toronto.

pie and peas were on the menu, and I made the hotel go and get some mint sauce.

Sunday

Bev came round with some lamb chops, and I did a barbeque. I think a first fwhile I have lived here, and possibly the first I have done. It was good.

Did more Wodehouse to end the day.
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