Right, this is getting silly. It’s February 2013 and I’ve only made it to writing about the end of August 2012. Being a completist, I MUST DOCUMENT THAT WHOLE GAP. Also, I worry that I’ll have no memory of anything when I’m old and senile, so this is really for my future grandchildren so they can learn the phrase “Cool story, bro.”
I’ll try to make it quick. I said try.
-The day Guardian Liberal Camp ended was Morven’s birthday, so my parents came down to Edinburgh and we all got to hang out, which was lovely.
-The next day Dave and I headed to Glasgow to see lovely lovely Jeff Lewis again. We were due to fly out to Berlin the next day so were staying in a Travelodge by the airport… in Paisley. Yikes.
The gig was so good, though. Possibly the best I’ve seen the whole band. Frustratingly, we had to leave early to catch the last train back to Paisley (we probably could have stayed later and caught a bus, but we didn’t think to research it). We were walking out as Jeff and a guy he’d been interviewed by earlier were onstage covering tracks from Little Shop Of Horrors. Great fun.
-In the morning we woke up early, trudged across the road to the airport and were on a plane by 8.30am. We got into Berlin at around lunchtime and found our hotel, which was just down from Checkpoint Charlie. The first day was spent walking around and then sitting with beers in Alexanderplatz. We weren’t there for long, but managed to get to several museums and drink many beers. We also got to the zoo, where the majority of my photos are from, and started a new picture-series called ‘Dave & Kirsten Pretend To Be Really Bored/Annoyed In Front Of Famous Landmarks’…
I wasn’t quite getting it, but I just love that Brandenburg Gate…
The Reichstag?Not so much.
Humboldt Box? More like HumBORED Box…
TV Tower-Schmeevee tower…
Dave ate all the currywurst all of the time. We also went to a bookshop called Another World. It was so bizarre. I think some of the books could only be loaned out and not bought. Upstairs was fiction and non-fiction, all in English. There was a toilet and a fridge full of bottles of beer for sale. There were more books to look at downstairs, which was essentially a room in someone’s house. There was a kitchen fridge and dining table and pan lids in odd places. It was just a flat but with books lining the walls. A guitar on the floor said “for use downstairs only” on it. Great place. Absolutely Black Books.
OH! We also saw BLOODY JAPANDROIDS! They played Glasgow a week before releasing Celebration Rock and we were all set to go, but it was coming up to deadline time for me, college-wise, so I couldn’t really justify it. It was one of my big gig no-show regrets, especially when the album came out and it was my favourite of 2012. So it was good to see them live, and in Berlin too. We pretty much planned going around the fact that they would be playing then.Can’t wait to see them again. Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
We loved the whole trip, though. I’d only been to Berlin once before, in 2007 and knew I liked it then, but I totally fell for it this time. We’ve been talking about how our dream is to move there. Dave was saying this before we even went, despite having never been, but he’s convinced now. To be living in Berlin by the end of 2013 is the goal. An unlikely one, but aim high – expect low.
-The day we left to Berlin was pretty hectic as we were hoping to catch two gigs in Aberdeen via Glasgow that night. What a ridiculous sentence that was. We got the U-Bahn to Tempelhof, then the S-Bahn to the airport, then a plane to Glasgow, a bus to Glasgow centre, then the Megabus to Aberdeen. I started to feel pretty ill in Glasgow, so spent most of the Megabus home trying to sleep to no avail. We got in pretty late, so had to head to our first gig soon after. The Unwinding Hours at the Tunnels. It was good for a number of reasons. Mainly, because my buddy Young Joe was supporting and he’d just come back to Aberdeen after living in Australia for a year, and all of my friends were at the gig. Euan provided some wonderful heckling for Joe to deal with. Good work, U-Win. After that gig was over, we went to see buds play as Das McManus at Drummonds. I would have loved to hang out with everyone, but a mixture of illness and sleepiness were getting to me, so I left Dave in town and caught yet another bus home.
-The following evening, Claire and Jan cooked me and Dave dinner, then Euan, Woods and Mike Blair came round. It was one of the most enjoyable evenings I had had in a long time and reiterated that these are the funniest guys I know. It hit home how much I missed all my buds when I was in Edinburgh, as at this point, I still didn’t really know anyone down south…
Great bunch of lads, all the best.
-I had a birthday back and once again travelled back to Aberdeen in order to spend it there. It was tinged with extreme sadness, though, as I found out on the way home that Aberdeen Music scene veteran and all-round lovely, friendly guy, David Mackay had passed away. This was especially difficult as there was due to be a gig put on by my friends that night, so pretty much everyone there knew David and was hurting. I thought that it might be cancelled, but music was everything to him, so I think that would have been a bad move and, as cliched as it sounds, he wouldn’t have wanted that. We partied for him, and despite the shadow hanging over the whole evening, it was a really lovely night.
-Again, my parents came down to Edinburgh. Well, my mum came down, my dad came up. He’d been away in London and Gateshead, following Dexys on tour. For as long as I can remember, they’ve been my dad’s favourite band. He is obsessed with them. Before this year, the last time they toured was 2003. He and a couple of friends followed them around on tour, which was ace because that’s exactly what I’d go on to do with bands a few years later despite not being able to venture as far as my old man. I can’t remember how many times he saw them that year, but I remember that he went down to Edinburgh to see them and asked my sister, who had recently moved there for uni, if she wanted to go. She did. They both had a fantastic time and so dad asked if she fancied going to see them the next evening in Newcastle too. I don’t think he had tickets, but knew someone with spares. He hadn’t intended on going himself, let alone bringing his 18 year old daughter with him. He made my sister phone my mum to tell her.
This year, they dropped the ‘Midnight Runners’ of their name and released their first album in 27 years. They toured and my dad dragged my mum to see them in Glasgow, Whitley Bay and London. Then they announced dates in September and he went to London, Gateshead and Edinburgh. We ended up going along to the Edinburgh show purely because one of his friends had free tickets. Dad has sort of befriended Big Jimmy Paterson, who plays trombone, as they grew up half an hour away from each other and knew a lot of the same people. He gifted Jimmy with a copy of the P&J and several butteries, but apparently the rest of the band snaffled them. I really like the idea of Kevin Rowland eating a rowie.
The whole gig was great and theatrical, but mainly it was just pretty nice to witness something that my dad is so enthusiastic about.
-As the time for me to move to Edinburgh drew closer, I started to get sentimental about Aberdeen. One instance of this came about after seeing Thomas Truax in the granite city for the third (I think) time in March 2012. It seems that he has a lot of adopted homes and Aberdeen is one of them. He always comes and usually has everybody’s pal Alan Cynic supporting him, which makes it even more fun and feels more like a party with your friends than a gig.
So, despite him announcing gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh, I decided that I’d catch a train up north to see him in the environment I’m used to. Then Dave, realised he wouldn’t be able to make it home for the Aberdeen gig, so we chose to go and see TT in Edinburgh as well, partly so that Dave was given the chance to see him, and also because it turned out to be free and at the new Forest Cafe. It was a weird one, though. Amongst the lovely crowd were two assholes. They needlessly heckled the first support act and later refused to pay the 65p corkage charge that was politely requested of them by a staff member. Then they went outside and started picking fights with people. They weren’t allowed back in.
THEN after Thomas’ first song, some aggressive grump from upstairs stormed in and squared up to TT, telling him to turn it down. He was visibly shaken by this and took a few seconds longer than normal to get into his next song, but he did it anyway. There’s no need for hostility like that. Especially to, as Truax described himself, the “hired help”. It turned out to be an excellent gig, though. What a guy.
Still, a couple of days later, I made the alarmingly familiar train journey back up north in order to see him on home turf. I met up with Claire and we walked to the venue together, where several people we knew were, so that was delightful. The gig was great. None of the on-edge feeling as everyone had had in Edinburgh. A bunch of us headed to the pub after the gig whilst Alan and Thomas went back to drop off his gear. We told them to join us but thought it was probably too late. They showed up at the pub fifteen minutes before closing. Excellent. We headed to the Tunnels for a party that was happening there. We sat around chatting and later we all ended up on the dance floor until closing. Surreal moments of life.
We headed back to Alan’s once The Tunnels closed at 3. I only intended going there to have somewhere warm to wait whilst waiting for a taxi, but there was whisky to be drunk and music to listen to, so we ended up staying until stupid o’clock and I managed to get one of the first buses home. I hadn’t done that in a very long time, and despite feeling very old afterward, it was a very fun evening with some great people.
-In October I got a temporary job with the Royal Mail. Hooray! The catch was that it didn’t start until the 3rd of December and only lasted three weeks. Fuuuuuuu!
-Gig! Salo/Battery Face/Dope Body in Glasgow. Good fun noise.
-I made a fancy dress costume for the first time in years. Lovely Jill in Glasgow had a Halloween party. For the first time in ages, I didn’t have anything booked and so could make it to one of her gatherings! The theme was Predator and Prey, so I went as a shark. I spent ages trying to source an outfit that wasn’t ridiculously expensive, but no such thing existed, so I made one out of a hoodie. Least threatening shark ever…
Dave didn’t think he was going to be able to attend until the day before so didn’t have time to come up with a costume. Instead, he stuck on a suit and went as famous predator Don Draper. Good work.
The party was ace and the next day Jill and I got to have a very hungover but enjoyable trip to a local greasy spoon for some bacon. Perfect cure.
-Gig! Adam Stearns/The Wellgreen/Euros Childs.
Ridiculously pleasant gig. All the bands were good and then everyone played together for Euros Childs. The highlight was probably an incredible and mesmerising version of First Time I Saw You.
Here they are doing it in London. So beautiful…
-Dave had a birthday. It coincided with the US elections, ideal for an American History nerd such as he. We ate too much food and Obama got re-elected. What a day to be alive!
-I met up with Twitter-pal Jon Ronson when he was in Edinburgh to promote his latest book and we went to the pub. He brought along Sarah from Belle & Sebastian, but I didn’t think to bring anything. Faux-pas. He is great and she is great. He went on to do a talk in front of a portrait of the queen to a room of adoring fans. He read from the last two books and a tiny bit of the first draft of the book he’s currently writing, which was fantastic and hilarious, as per usual.
-Gig! Halfrican/The Yawns/Ty Segall. Yas. So good.
-I went back up north to help out as a pre-production assistant for a short that’s being filmed in April. Over two days, we were responsible for looking after, signing in and answering questions of 70 people who were auditioning for various roles. It started as a stress, but we soon got into it and it was good fun.
-I have had to look after my little nephew at various points over the last year. It’s nice being in Edinburgh and able to do so. I took lots of photos of him, but this is my favourite for the hilarity value.
Fun competition: spot the real animal.
-I helped out on some pre-production for a film that’s due to go into production in March 2013. Filming took place on a landfill site. It was certainly an interesting couple of days…
-Gig! Adam Stafford/Jens Lekman!
We headed through to Glasgow early to meet up with Claire and Jan, then they went to see Dirty Three with Dave. Damn clashes! I think I made the right choice, though, as the gig was ace.I discovered Jens Lekman on the back of a vanity search of the word ‘Kirsten’ on Spotify. I just wondered if there were any songs about Kirstens, is that a crime? So I heard his song ‘Waiting For Kirsten’ and enjoyed it so listened to more. The next song I heard was ‘An Argument With Myself’, which reminded me of Jonathan Richman (especially ‘Monologue About Bermuda’) and led me to decide that I’d definitely like to marry Lekman at some point… just for a bit. Anyway, the gig was phenomenal. He’s so funny and the band were so tight. He played most of the new album as well as a few old ones. He was at the merch stand after the show and so I told him I was going to buy my mum a copy of his new record for Christmas. I didn’t really have much to say to him, but I did insist on a photo and he took it as he could work my phone better than me. TECHNOLOGY!
Look at what an excited red mess I am! Whereas, if Jens were a Brad Pitt film, he’d be Babel
-Gig! Casual Sex/Chain and the Gang!Dave was excited to speak to his hero Ian Svenonius and I took a photo of them. I didn’t realise the unnecessary flash was on in the first one, so I took a second, then Svenonius insisted on a third. Ace.
-D-Maczzz graduated for the second time. This was for his Masters, though. He and his buddy Ross decided as the only Scottish guys on their course, they should wear kilts. I do not normally approve of kilts, but they both looked LOVELY in theirs.
Here comes trouble…
-I began a temp job with the Royal Mail at one of the mail centres. Days were 2-10pm, Mon-Sat and consisted of either sorting letters into different pigeon holes by post-code or sorting parcels into bags. It was dull work, but allowed me to have money for Christmas and also meet some ace people. I decided to coincide my working there with re-reading Bukowski’s ‘Post Office’. I found that I wasn’t getting laid as a result of working in the mail centre nearly as much as he did. What a let down.
-As a result of working all the live-long day in December, I didn’t really get to do much else unless it was on a Sunday, which was my day off. That worked out well for…
-GIG! Let’s Talk About Space/Sebastien Tellier!
I’ve kind of been avoiding writing about this as I really don’t know how to explain what happened. The gist: It was the last night of Sebastien Tellier’s tour and we were in Glasgow. He had taken LSD before it and drank copious amounts of vodka throughout. I think he must have only played about eight songs, but he was so hilarious that it didn’t really matter. This review does a much better job of explaining than me. I know it’s a bit of a cop-out, but “you had to be there…” is probably the only phrase that is applicable. I wish someone was recording the whole thing.
Baffling and draining, but probably one of my favourite gigs I’ve ever been to. Well worth the four year wait.
-I had my final day at the Royal Mail in my oh-so-attractive attire.
As a reward, we went for a German beer at the Christmas market afterward. Rain pissed down and it was freezing, but it was the best thing I’d tasted in a long time, made even sweeter by the fact that I’d just spent the day arranging christmas cards into size order. Bleurgh.
-The next day we were supposed to have a stress-free train journey back up to Aberdeen for Christmas. It didn’t quite work out, though. We thought we were being really clever in booking a train back early and not on Christmas eve. We heard about bad weather up north, flooding and things, before we left, but had kept an eye on the train times and we weren’t going to be delayed so it was fine. We got on the 9.30am train at Waverley and had a pretty normal journey until crossing the Tay Bridge, when an announcement told us that due to landslides between Montrose and Stonehaven, the train would be terminating in Dundee and there would be no buses as all the roads into Aberdeen were closed due to flooding. Everyone got off and was told that our options were to wait around, get on the train we’d just been on and go home, or try to make our own way up north. Figuring we’d rather be stranded in Montrose than Dundee, we jumped on the next train heading there. The ride was pretty exciting as the tracks were completely flooded on approach to Montrose. It was crazy going through the water at a reasonable speed like intentionally speeding up on a bike to go through a puddle. Rain was still pissing down in Montrose and the roads to Aberdeen were beginning to open but there were still no buses from the station so we sat and tried to come up with a plan in the Tesco cafe. We were there for quite a while. We looked up bus times on my phone and saw that there was one going to Stonehaven next, so we made our way to the bus stop to catch it. It arrived and the driver told us there was no way they’d make it to Stonehaven as the flooding was worst there. He said there was an Aberdeen bus an hour and a half later but wasn’t sure if it would just bypass Stonehaven completely, or what.
So we did the only thing we know best – sat in the pub. De-lightful. I was shocked by how my mood was unaffected by this frustrating slow journey north. I was chipper, it was strange. Eventually we got on the bus to Aberdeen and eight hours after we left Edinburgh, we were finally home for Christmas.
That night we went out for the annual Festivus Gathering and told our tale. A Christmas miracle!
-The whole festive period was lovely. We were in Aberdeen for bloody ages and I think I managed to see nearly everyone for a catch-up. Success.
-Then it was 2013.
We’re nearly finished…
-GIG! Bonehouse/Smithsonians/the Shithawks/Fat Goth/Carson Wells!
Ace ace ace. Carson Wells are so good. Such a fun night. Buy their EP, they’re a lovely bunch of ladz.
-We returned to Edinburgh and found that one of the flats in our building had been broken into. Hooray! Paranoia!
Then we began our battles with the Council and the Job Centre. Too frustrating and boring to mention, but it certainly proved what a load of bollocks the right-wing press speak when they go on about how easy it is to get benefits.
-GIG! Daemons/Mark Rennie/The Kitchen Cynics Orchestra/[ ]
[ ] once again proving that they are one of the most exciting bands to watch in Aberdeen right now.
-I started learning to BLOODY DRIVE. Something I always said I’d never do. I don’t like it. I was awful at it, but after five lessons, I have progressed to “okay”. I don’t want to do it anymore.
-Buzz Aldrin walked past us at Waverley. SPACEMAN BUZZ ALDRIN. Incredible.
-One Up closed in Aberdeen after 30 years. Gutting. I still can’t quite believe that it’s true. We headed in for one final visit when we were up for a family-based weekend. I bought ‘Love This Giant’ by David Byrne and St Vincent and ‘Gloss Drop’ by Battles.
Aberdeen will be much poorer now due to the absence of our lovely independent record shop…
-My Granny turned 80 on the same week as my uncle turned 50, so we had a big family lunch to celebrate. 31 of us. Ooft. It was so good to see everyone and chase some excitable kids around. Here we are…
-I was in Aberdeen for pretty much every weekend in January. Last time we were up, we decided to go for lunch in one of my favourite places. Here, my four years of coming up with nicknames for regular customers at Waterstone’s came back to bite me, as in the restaurant, our waitress said, “You guys look really familiar, did you used to drink in the Howff?”
“I used to work there! I thought I recognised you when you came in. I was thinking ‘It’s Cool T-Shirt Lady!’.”
So I got a regular customer nickname too! Don’t like all this ‘lady’ lark as I’m not 60 year old, but I do own a number of ridiculous t-shirts… Funny funny.
-GIG! We Are The Physics/Desaparecidos!
It was so good. Really short, though. On the train home, I had to witness a depressing thing, but it doesn’t fit in with this blog title as it wasn’t a nice thing and so I’ll direct you to my complete account of it here.
-I paid a frustratingly brief trip to London for the first time since March 2010 (disregarding our five hour stay in December 2011) for a follow-up to Guardian Liberal Camp. It was lovely to see everyone again and get to catch-up, as well as getting the chance to speak to some talent managers and people in tv again.
And that’ll do for now.
I think I might try and do at least a blog a week again. I say that and know I won’t stick to it, but it’s a nice thought.