Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A flat full of women

"Is it not about time you had y'er flat invaded by that bunch of women again?" DVD Andy asked me this over lunch yesterday and I groaned inwardly. He'd been looking in his crystal ball again. Most men would be excited by the prospect of a flat full of women.
Ka's friends from work were all coming round for dinner last night and by the time I got home they'd all be in full swing, talking to each other, over one another and probably around one another. Not really the best thing to greet you after coming home from a twelve hour shift but I suppose I shouldn't be so miserable. Ka has to have her life too and it certainly doesn't stop when I go to work.
The only member of the group that seemed to look in my direction upon entering my living room was Claire's wee one, Olivia, from behind her Mum's legs to which she'd retreated after I managed to frighten the living daylights out of her in the hallway.
As I had shut the front door behind me I'd heard Ka asking the youngster "who was at the door?". Who could it be, was it Michael and telling Olivia to help her go and see (at least I presumed it was Olivia and not one of her pals being overly curious). So as Ka entered the hallway with wee Olivia, I playfully gave them a big "boo!". The tot nearly collapsed in fright, all wide eyes and quivering mouth. Fortunately for me she stopped herself from bursting into tears as Ka was there to ease the sheer terror of seeing me.
Children, and babies in general, never seem to like me anyway and I've now grown accustomed to it. They either spontaneously burst into tears upon seeing me or regard me with deep suspicion in their eyes, hiding behind the leg of a passing adult - an adult with a prosthetic leg would be particularly helpful as the child could then freely move around the room, though the one legged adult would presumably have some difficulty getting back up off the floor.
Joshua, the latest addition to the Leckie family, for instance, starts crying as soon as I pick him up. He has probably spent the past hour or so happy, smiling, laughing and gurgling away pleasantly to himself but as soon as Uncle Michael picks him up for a chat he suddenly gets very uncomfortable, looking around wildly for help (or maybe a leg?) and eventually objects rather loudly.
Still, at least Olivia noticed me. As I entered the living room the women barely looked up with a hello as they gabbed on. I'm only the man of the house afterall. Saying hello would interupt the conversational flow and the vastly important things they have to say to one another. Things probably too vast and important for me to even comprehend. The ability for these women to talk is incomprehensible in itself. A nuclear bomb could have went off in Long Calderwood outside. A cloud and blast of fire, wind and orange dust sweeping through our large living room window, powering through exploding cracks in the wall, as the room is showered in shards of glass, brick and mortar. I'd be clinging on to a metal fence, watching the city collapse around me, screaming as my flesh turned to dust. Yet they'd still be sitting, going on about transitions, mismanagement and how big 'wee Jake' is now.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Jelly good fellows

March, and springtime in general, is birthday time with the Reids. Both my brother, Kenny, and Mum have their birthdays in March almost within the same week. As a result there have bee a few present buying expeditions recently and, in true Mad Hatter traditions, a few tea parties.
The first was Kenny's last week where Lynsey Ann, Dad, Mum, Ka and myself descended upon his new abode inadvertantly cancelling his five-a-sides for a family tea party gaining him another slagging from mates over the phone. Mum had been working hard through the day making one of her fantastic buffets complete with fish fingers and sticky pork kebabs all topped off with a birthday carrot cake and a couple of games of Fifa on the PS3. This was the first time I'd ever played a PS3 before so I got a little excited expecting it to be the opening of a whole new world. It turned out to just be another playstation with slightly clearer graphics but maybe that's my ignorance to the whole games console world showing. I've still got a mere PS2 and very rarely play it. I only ever owned about eight games for it and only completed three of them. Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers, (a belter) King Kong (okay, but the scorpians in the grass were right little b**tar*s) and The Sims (addictive... very addictive). Don't get me wrong these games and consoles are great for the finger muscles but not much else other than frustration and the swear box.
Unfortunately, I got beaten in both my Fifa matches but I blame the fact I was still coming to terms with the fact the joysticks (or controllers as Kenny corrected me) had no wire attached to the console. Amazing...
On Wednesday night it was Mum's turn and we trooped up to Chapelton with her various pressies. Unfortunately one of those pressies, thanks to Kenny, was the ever popular John Barrowman's latest album which Mum immediately placed into her CD player. Kenny said it was his most embarassing purchase since buying the Westlife album for Lynsey Ann a while back. Let's hope it wasn't the same shop assistant that served him. So as John started belting out a Barbara Streisand hit from the Cats musical I helped myself to doritos as we awaited a mexican meal from Dad, working feverishly in the kitchen. When he finally announced that dinner was served and that we could now move through to the dining room our feet barely touched the ground as John started Copacabanaing behind us.
For pudding Dad had made some trademark fruit filled jelly with ice cream, a true birthday dish of old. As far as I can remember Dad's jelly has been present at every birthday through the years. As traditional as the birthday cake itself or Aunt Linda's trifle at the Christmas buffet. The jelly was followed by the usual rundown of Happy Birthday. It's always sung with some embarassment these days in pretend bored, monotone voices, espeically now that most of us are 30 and over so I always try and urge the vocals up a bit, unembarrassed to sing happily and loudly and show my wholehearted best wishes for the birthday person in question. And why not? What's so embarrassing about singing Happy Birthday? And you've got to go on and sing 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow!" . Though that's not done so much these days. I remember going on and singing a loud 'Jolly Good Fellow' alone at an office birthday party once. Everyone stopped and looked at me as if I'd just stepped from a flying saucer. Of course, the birthday person in question was a woman but I didn't think people would mind the obvious inaccuracy. Perhaps my over eagerness was due to the E's in the jelly. E's being the food colourings of course. I didn't work with The Shamen.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Through the looking glasses

Pot smoking caterpillars that sound like Alan Rickman and a large grinning purple cat who belongs on QI. Weird and wonderful. Ka and myself were at the flicks again today and once again donned our Blues Brothers style 3D glasses to see Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland'.
I miss the old 3D glasses. You know? The simple card ones with the green and red lens for each eye (can't remember which was which). You'd think these new black ones would look a bit cooler but when you've got to wear glasses to see the screen in the first place, walking around with two pairs of glasses on simultaneously could never be seen as cool. I think I was halfway down the escalators on my way out before I twigged I still had my two pairs on.
Anyway, Burton has did it again, creating another visually fantastic fantasy, bursting with detail, vibrant colour, visual gags, fantastic characters and artistic flair complete with his usual dark edging and quirky frames. What the movie lacks in plot it more than makes up for in effects and visual brilliance making all the scenes that you know are coming more than great fun to watch. Mia Wasikowska was fairly good as Alice, playing the part a little older and wiser to the Alice we remember from Disney's old cartoon. Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter is brilliant with Depp once more going haywire with glee, really getting his teeth into the part. Not to mention his tongue as he hits out with around four or five different accents throughout the movie. Bonham Carter, as the Queen of Hearts, is equally as good alongside the many computer animated and readjusted characters. Crispin Glover, for instance, (whom we all remember as George McFly in Back to the Future) is stretched by some kind of computer wizardry whilst Bonham Carter's head is enlarged to three times the size for some insanely brilliant Burtonesque reason. Michael Gough and Christopher Lee's voices also cropped up?! KA and myself played a vague 'whose voice was that?' game afterwards which she probably won by recognising Timothy Spall as the voice of the hound. If only Steve Whitmire had done the frogs... then again, maybe we should just be thankful it wasn't Paul (£90 a ticket?!!) McCartney.
The movie drags a little in some places and the plot is pretty simple, presumably for the kiddies sake, though I'm not sure how closely matched it is to the original book so that could perhaps be Carroll's fault. In all, the movie was great fun, especially in 3D but like 'Avatar', which we seen a few weeks ago, I suspect it won't hold the same 'fantastics' for me on DVD in the living room. That is, of course, unless I suddenly appropriate a giant screen TV from somewhere in the near future. Apparently 3D is the future at the movies and according to some also the future of home entertainment... Total Wipeout in 3D... wow, that wall of boxing gloves would look a hell of a lot scarier!?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Editors at the Academy

In a growing barrage of white noise and static four figures emerged from the shadows of the Academy stage. One, a small, long haired female in diamond patterned tights, another, a short, moody looking bloke in black and the third could hardly be seen as he took his place behind a set of drums. The fourth, a tall bowl haired gent in a large anorak strode up to the front as took his places at the keyboards and mike as a deafening loud beat of the bass drum started. Cold Cave had took to the stage playing as support to Editors in the 02 Academy on Wednesday night.
Cold Cave pummelled the Academy for half and hour with their dark synth industrial electronica to little reaction from the Glasgow crowd but still left a vague sense in the air of having impressed (nobody shouted anything at the end of their set anyway).
Editors then took to the stage in a cloud of coloured light beams led by lead singer Tom Smith, kicking things off with the dark growling 'In this light and on this evening', the latest, third, album's title track. They then went on to play a great selection of tracks including the majority of, if not all, the new album which, with the help pf Producer 'Flood' has a much more electric, snythesized feel than the previous two albums. It seems to be the growing trend at the moment to varying results but it really seems to suit Editors and their style of music. Moody and exciting. They have been called the new Joy Division in the past and that in itself must be a compliment.
Flood, Sunday name Mark Ellis, also worked with a few of my other favourite bands including U2, The Killers, PJ Harvey and Sigur Ros to name but a few, helping them achieve similar results with their sounds, driving them into terrotory they may have not previously ventured. U2 went all electro pop with the, funnily enough, Pop album for instance and that has proven, at least in my book, to be one of their most underrated albums. It is probably too soon to say if 'In this light and on this evening' will prove to be 'underrated' but it's definately one of my favourites at the moment especially after their blistering performance in the Academy.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

John Barrowman and the profiteroles

Auntie Sydney was in Uddingston on Saturday for a visit so that was sufficient reason enough for a visit to the McGarvas.
What we thought was going to be a late lunch turned out to be dinner with Dougie's homemade soup, followed by roast beef, potatoes and gravy and a fantastic sticky toffee pudding for dessert, hot and made complete with a dollop of ice cream. Conversations ranged from Lost, John Barrowman and Dirty dancing to Carte Dor and how profiteroles look like boobs. Well, the latter was not really a conversation, as such, it was a fact whispered by Jillian to Colin who then blurted it out, for all the hear, much to his girlfriend's embarrassment. As she complained about Colin's big mouth we told her not to be silly. Jillian was among family. It's okay to say these things. It's perfectly normal to consider the visual similarities between breasts and choclate covered cream puffs... So we progressed through the remainder of pudding until all the food was gone and as our bellies started digesting the conversation descended into silence which was swiftly broken after only a couple of moments by Dougie's "Any boobs left?".
We then retired to the lounge where we all lay around in various states of fullness watching Harry Hill taking the mickey out of the week's television.
Ka became insanely jealous upon hearing the revelation that Jillian and Colin are going to see John Barrowman in the Royal Concert Hall in October. Yep, you read right. John Barrowman. The crazy stage and screen star with the giant grin who, for a time there, seemed to appear on every tv programme bar crimewatch (though that's probably just a matter of time!).
So Ka has decided she must have tickets for John Barrowman as her birthday gift. I suggested Jillian and Ka just go together and I take Colin to the pub, but her brother seemed, rather oddly, a little reluctant to give up his ticket. Which is fine. I'm sure John Barrowman is perfectly entertaining live and loud, rather like a gay Brian Blessed. You'd hear him before you seen him.
In true John Barrowman style Colin then proceeded a Karaoke attempt. 'Bed of Roses' was his chosen track after finding no John Barrowman songs available for karaoke. Unfortunately Colin was forced to switch it off halfway through due to Ka and Jillian's refusal to stop talking and listen to his fabulous singing voice. They obviously had no idea what they were missing. I'm sure Colin will get the chance to sing with John in the Concert Hall in October though... something I'm going to have to talk Ka into missing.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

LaRoux at 90

It feels like ages since I've written anything on this here blog. It's been over a week at least. The night after the last entry the neighbour upstairs was once more up all night long singing Sinead O'Conner and Chris De Burgh. No Lionel Ritchie. Ka and myself only got around three hours sleep. Ka has since discovered he is a postman and I encountered him in the close during the week and gruffly asked him if there would be any karaoke in the near future. He chuckled embarrassed and mumbled something about 'not for some time' to which I grunted in reply trying to look as unimpressed as I could possibly be. An impression of Simon Cowell, in a very bad mood, I had been practising for some time, only I was too chicken to tell the neighbour how f***ing awful his singing voice actually is.
Talking of unimpressed, Ka and myself took a trip to the flicks last week to see 'The Lovely Bones' the rather depressing tale of a depressed family dealing with the rape and murder of their child. The depressed murdered girl herself acts as narrator from a Daliesque inbetween world as she stubbornly refuses to move on to heaven and from here watches her family from afar. Though I suppose if she had agreed to mosey on up to heaven to hang out with the angels that wouldn't have made as interesting or as visual a movie. Peter Jackson really comes up trumps with the visual 'inbetween' world with some fantastic effects and landscapes and along with the brilliant performances from all the actors involved made the movie more than watchable. Like i said though, I left the movie depressed, musing over death and dying, and drove home to snowy East Kilbride, through the dark in the rain.
It was this night in question we were kept up, wishing death upon our drunken, singing neighbour upstairs and the rest of his Sinead O'Conner fan club. When Ka and myself eventually gave up at around 7am and crawled out of bed to start the rest of the decorating in the bedroom, him and his drunken mates were still at it. So, being the imbecile that I am, I turned on my stereo and cranked it up real loud. LaRoux at 90 decibels. Battle did commence with every break in the LaRoux album being interupted by the bawling voices upstairs trying to sing over my stereos bass beats. Once we finished the painting Ka and myself escaped to the gym and upon our return I smiled seeing the blinds down upstairs. They must have collapsed of exhaustion while we had been out. Silence had finally fallen. So I immediately took the opportunity and turned my stereo on and up. Needless to say on the Saturday evening the mates retreated to the relative quiet of their own houses and as I prepared to settle down to a night infront of the tv, while Ka was out at Sara's birthday party, Chaz phoned up requesting my presence at the Byre. So it was a few beers down the pub which eventually enabled me to fall into an unconscious state on the couch upon Ka's return home from her party. A party at which all the girls were seemingly crying at one point or another, taking their turns throughout the whole night to have 'a moment'. What a wonderfully depressing party that must have been. I'm glad I went to the Byre with Chaz, even though he was slightly depressed about his current work situation. We met up with Jim and David (Jim's pal... at least I think his name was David... he was a bit depressed too) and drank a few Budvar ending the night with an escape before Chaz headed off to Downtown, EK's most popular den for nightlife.
Woke up the next morning with a headache, caused, of course, by the stench of drying paint around me. The bedroom looked beautiful though and the neighbour upstairs was obviously still dead to the world after his 50 hour karaoke session. Things were looking up.