Sunday, 31 May 2009

Pomp and Celerymony

Well, we had a fabulous day at the races - the unexpected result is that I feel like I've discharged my best man duties amply enough.

In appropriately manly fashion, we gloried in just enough pomp to make it an occasion. Just enough pennies were won [none by me] to prompt a few short-lived chest beatings. And just enough pints [Guinness] were partaken of to make it merry, merry, merry.

None the less - grrr! Silver Adonis (13-2) and James Pine (100-1), you should be ashamed of yourselves. But at least neither of you ran the wrong way [chortle].

Now it's back to homelier pastures and earthier pleasures.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Madness to the Method

(Photo - P.E.S.H.)

This weekend I make my second ever trip to the races, with access to the enclosures and all that general hanging about. It's a stag do - to boot, one of my instigation - though probably not an excessive example of that heady genre.

I hope they have real ale, while recognising that constant Creamflow would help to prolong the relative sobriety. I've also done my pissing best with half-hearted rumours of bandstands, gaffer tape and nudity - but it turns out I needn't have bothered since some low-rent local wit has already done the hard work for me...

Here are my tips - an update regarding this folly will almost certainly follow in time. I include the names of the races because they warm my cockles as do the names of GM Vauxhall Conference official matchball sponsors. Glamour ensues:

No. 8 Fairyland in the 5:40 - Experience Ownership For £59 Handicap Hurdle (Clairefontaine Trophy) Cl3 2m110y
No. 11 Dynamic Rhythm in the 6:10 Happy 80th Birthday Joe Furlong Amateur Riders´ Handicap Hurdle Cl4 2m3f
No. 4 Dishdasha in the 6:40 Jon Pinfold Industrial Cleaners Handicap Chase Cl3 2m1f110y
No. 12 James Pine in the 7:15 W + S Recycling Stratford Foxhunters Champion Hunters´ Chase (51st Running) Cl2 3m4f
No. 1 Mr Boo in the 7:45 Llewellyn Humphreys Handicap Chase (In Memory of George Jones, for the Gambling Prince Trophy) Cl2 2m5f110y
No. 13 Nobody Tells Me in the 8:20 Interbrands (Europe) Ladies´ Hunters´ Chase (for the Stratford Millennium Rose Bowl) Cl5 2m7f
No. 30 Aintnonancy in the 8:50 Di Runs The Stable Lads Canteen Novices´ Handicap Hurdle Cl4 2m110y

Still, I have no idea what any of this shit means.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Night rider

Last Tuesday night, I trudged through the drizzle from the station to Hanley following another giddy evening of teenage rampage.

It's a forty-five minute wait for the Glorious XXI at that time of night and it makes as much sense to walk up to the bus station via the Coachmakers: "we've got a visitor," riffed the couple at the bar as I necked a swift half.

In damply pixelated daydreams the waiting area at Hanley Bus Station is easily transformed into a 1980s platform game - one has to vault the onrushing "spare a smoke" folk and splat several randomised drunks, all whilst dodging some half-programmed fist-shakers from the Street Fighter auditions.

While I counted my golden pennies, a senior gent breezed out of nowhere, enquired keenly about which bus I was awaiting, and seemed delighted to inform me that, "you'll have no trouble with that one, duck - Pawel's on tonight." Producing a dazzling golden pocket watch from within, he was able to add that I'd only be waiting three and a half minutes (precisely).

He was absolutely correct. Acknowledgments duly exchanged, we both took separate seats on the bus, me surrendering £1.70, he twitching his cap and bus-pass.

On passing Cheque & Pawn (auspicious), an appreciative rumble broke out amongst the kindly old fella and three of his peers - a spontaneous outbreak of positivity that I guessed could add years to their lives, though I've no idea what prompted it.

I inferred that all were ex-PMT workers who had never stopped riding the buses, keeping time, or doing that thing that bus drivers do when they pass one another - even when sat in the very same saloon and deprived of their drives.

I'm not sure why, but I love those moments.

Meanwhile, the boy awakens...

Monday, 11 May 2009

Dub steps

We have new neighbours, an older woman and a thirty-something man.

The latter loves to languish with his mates on the front step. Feet up, smoking, swearing and drinking, mostly. Basing my general foreboding on the family a few doors up (high incidence of Team England official sportswear) I was bracing myself for wall-to-wall Ayia Napa compilations cranked up on repeat.

And I would ask him to turn it down (especially at 3am - Victorian bricks weren't designed for bass) except that, instead, he appears to have a penchant for Johnny Osbourne and King Tubby.

We were so not going to get on - but this, this might be the saving grace...

Flanning and flailing

Today is a day off, from both of my employers. For some unexplored reason, I have a head full of Morrissey. Some dizzy whore, eighteen hundred and four in particular.

I had intended to spend it flanning about productively - or at least in a meaningfully non-productive way. I guess the latter is what the twenty-first century flaneur should be all about, isn't it?

But here I am, not really having got started. And so, I'm off to buy a nematode colony. Really they're for the brassicas. But this month I could really do with some newfangled intracranial ones, ideally swimmable in something tasty like chinotto.