I have made myself homeless a few times, because I am a berk. By homeless I usually mean forgetting keys or foolishly ending up in a situation where I have no where to sleep, or stay. I mention it because I managed this yesterday, while wearing shorts but I survived and TP only mocked me for a little while.
Confused? Let me list two classics.
I was watching it on the telly it seemed nice. Some friends phoned up and said they were there and that they had a spare ticket and asked me I want to come along. It was lovely weather and I was living only about 30 minutes away. So I hopped into a car and drove over. This is what I packed: a spare shirt, three apples half a bottle of mead. No tent, no warm clothes.
On the way over I stopped to pick up some hitch-hikers (It seemed the right thing to do on the way to Glastonbury). They were two chaps who revealed they had just got out of jail and they were going to sell drugs. Don’t worry they didn’t kill me.
My friends said were at ‘the gate’. There is no gate, there are eight. Also my chums hadn’t taken their mobiles along so they’d phone from a pay phone, give awful instructions and then I wouldn’t meet them. I managed to sneak in eventually by giving a man ten pounds.
The festival was fun but going there on my own was strange. I talked to some people, walked around for hours saw some strange acts. Ate a cookie and the eventually fell asleep for a bit in a field while watching Fight Club. I couldn’t stay awake for the ending so I had no idea about the twist for months.
After 36 hours of walking I was pretty tired, but I was too scared to sleep properly.
Eventually I did find my friends and it was aces. I was so glad to be able to sleep somewhere safe. While we slept someone robbed the tent.
Lesson learned: Tents aren’t secure but if you’re going to a festival you probably should pack one, sleeping bags are nice too.
I was living with a girl for a while (as chums). It started off okay and then strange things happened. One of which was she instigated a curfew. I had to be in bed and silent by 10.30. The flat was pretty far out of London so it took about an hour and a half to get to it from Soho. If I came home after then, there would be WORDS.
So this meant by a 8ish I had to decide if a night out was going to be a big one that would coast all the way through till 8am or end it there. It’s hard to tell. I got it wrong a few times and so ended up walking across London a few times just to kill time (if I stopped moving I got cold) I got very fit but sometimes my shoes cut my feet to ribbons and I’d have to wash blood out of my socks.
Lesson learned: There isn’t a lot to do in London between about 3am and 6am.
This is something of a ‘highlight reel’ to bring you up to date with the present situation. It’s been tricky to find time to post during may as I have had a lot of work stuff on (over weekends too) and have mostly been either knackered or seeing Jen. Since it’s probably a bad idea to write up posts whilst she’s visiting I’ve slipped rather far behind.
The first time I saw Jen as boyfriend and girlfriend I looked like I was covered in serious sex scratches. No, this wasn’t a repeat of my ill-fated date with Indy. I had been to a very moshy ragga-metal gig the night before.
She is an excellent ‘concerned girlfriend’, wincing over my wounds which meant I could nonchalantly parade my war scars and feel extra manly as she hung at my arm like a medieval maiden (minus the pointy hat, those things are dangerous with the height difference between us; she could have my eye out).
We got to spend most of the day lounging around in bed with absolutely nothing to do, it was amazing. It has struck me since that that’s the first time we’ve really had the time to do it because we’re usually bolting from one place to another.
The following Friday Toast and I were busy at the Dominatrix’s birthday. Jen wasn’t actually coming but there was a telling incident involving strangers’ boobs.
Somehow the conversation got round to fake boobs and out of the table of four of us, I was the only one who had never felt fake ones. The friendy dominatrix (is that an oxymoron?) at the table decided that it would be her mission to rectify this for me as there were plenty in attendance at the party.
Now, I did think about this as it’s the sort of thing that tends not to go down well with girlfriends. I reasoned I could easily do it and just never mention it but that 2 things stopped me:
1) I don’t want to start down that road of little deceits.
2) If there were any good stories then I wanted to share them with Jen so we could giggle together.
I politely thanked the dom but said it would be bad form as I had a girlfriend. Then I text Jen to tell the amusing tale of enhanced norks offerings. The reply I got from her says a lot about why she is an awesome girlfriend:
“I say go for it, for science. But you are not allowed to do sexy feeling, more perfunctory”
Sadly I didn’t get to follow through with the offer but it’s reassuring to know that, in an emergency, I would be able to grasp firmly onto pumped ladybumps. Maybe for floatation.
The following night I had made plans to join Jen in town with her friends on the Saturday. Although she’s hung around with my chums a few times this was the first big friend test for me. Although I’d already spent the night drinking with her chums in the town where she lives, it turns out most of them were only casual acquaintences. Tonight it was the real friends.
No pressure then.
I’m usually fine so I pretty much just had avoid developing sudden explosive tourettes or backing myself into a conversational cul-de-sac about the Hitler Youth. By the time I arrived in the first pub all the friends were assembled and clearly curious to see who it was that had snared their diminutive friend.
Everyone was very friendly and played the ‘new boy’ game with me for a bit of pretending that different people were in couples, which was made all the more confusing as there was one gay couple there too. In all there were 6 friends there so I refused to let anyone move seats until I had all the names down.
The chums then took it in turns to quiz me about various tidbits of information that they know, much to Jen’s cringing. It turned out that her most recent ex was universally disliked amongst her friends for being a cock.
So far so good!
The main event of the evening was Eurovision so we all grabbed a cab to another bar which had a whole floor dedicated to the fiesta of trash pop. As I wasn’t bothered about standing shoulder to shoulder craning at screens of bad music performances I chatted to the few of Jen’s friends who remained when the others ran upstairs to see how our entry was performing against the competitors.
Towards the end of the evening as everyone was leaving, one of the chums leant over, slightly drunkenly, and whispered in my ear “well done, you’ve passed stage 1”, then gave me a knowing wink.
Very early on we had been on a date to see a filthy electro rock band. This establised the very important precedent that Jen is an excellent gig partner. Immediately after this we booked tickets to see the king of gangsta rap: Snoop Dogg.
We arrived at the venue much later than intended as Jen had a journey worthy of Ulysses on our much delayed public transport network so I was expecting to walk straight in and have to weave through the crowd to a good spot. Instead, we were faced with a queue that ran the entire length of the building, around the corner and the same length AGAIN.
When faced with so much time to kill there is only one reasonable course of action. Jen volunteered herself to run to the shop to grab some beers. THAT is the mark of an awesome girlfriend!
The gig itself was great and once again confirmed what a compatible gig partner she is. Music is a really important part of my life and being able to share that with someone who might be a potential wife is really important.
The following Sunday we had one more gig planned. Toast was supposed to come too but couldn’t.In stark contrast to Snoop Dogg, This was a Balkan Brass Battle. We were late getting there (again) so necked a couple of drinks from the off licence on the way there. The bands were amazing (I thoroughly advise you to check out both of them) and we danced our way through most of the 2 hours.
The more we drank the more I was convinced I had authentic gypsy dancing down to a tee… in retrospect I probably just looked like a spaz waving his arms around and gyrating badly but we both had a euphoric time!
Towards the end Jen needed to pop upstairs the terrace for a quick fag so I joined her for a rest from the dancing. The next bit is, sadly, a little bit of a blur but it unfolded something along these lines.
We were sat roof lined by flower filled planters and I was just filled with the joy of being out with someone who has proven to be consistently awesome, funny, tolerant, exuberant and an absolute delight to spend time with. Because I’ve rushed into things in the past I’ve been trying really hard to be measured and slow about this but that evening I felt like a freshly shaken bottle of pop and was having to try hard to contain myself.
It’s strange opening up to someone again after being burned so badly by Cupcake but I really feel like I can trust Jen. I would lend her my lightsabers and everything.
I gave her a massive hug and, with a big grin on my face, I looked into her eyes and said “I do love you!”. She hugged me back and said, with palpable relief, “Oh I love you too. I’ve loved you for weeks.” I’ve even talked told my mum!”.
I told here that I knew (about how she felt, not about her mum… her mum asked her what was wrong with me since I hadn’t been married or had any kids by the age of 3… but she is from the north), I could tell and tell that she was holding it in. I said that I didn’t want to say anything when I had been drinking as I didn’t want her to think that it was just because of the booze.
We made our way back downstairs for the last of the band and eventually left the venue hand in hand, buoyed along by amorous bliss and alcoholic exuberance.
The following morning we both had the day off work to lounge around, have sexy times and generally be work-shy hedonists.
What actually happened is I was ill. Very ill. There were lots of visits to the toilet as my body punished me, somewhat unreasonably, for the relatively meagre amount of booze I had drunk.
Jen was just really concerned and kept asking if there was anything she could do to help. Grimly I professed that there was nothing she could do until I weathered the storm unless she wanted to sit and stroke my feet for hours as that’s the only thing that seems to ease the pain.
She was just really happy to be ably to do anything to help so sat at the far end of the sofa stroking the soles of my feet as I suffered behind a pair of sunglasses, occasionally softly weeping to myself that I didn’t want to be ill any more.
I love booze, but occasionally we fall out and I always come off worse.
Eventually I stopped planning my will and improved. Jen was amazing all day and still loved me when I looked like I was suffering with cholera. This is one of the many reasons why she is awesome and why I am keeping her.
Marriage percentage: 65%. She has no problem with me feeling boobs for science, grabs beers in an emergency and will play Florence Nigtingale if I’m ill. What more could I want?
So after the first meeting with the Theatre Producer I emailed her a few times and suggested another, longer drink to talk about plays and writing. You know, like a proper business meeting.
This however ended up a business meeting with a dress-code. For some reason, we ended up having a competition to see who could dress like the most tragic hipster. I spent hours working on my outfit.
I arrived a little early at a bar near Old Street. It was underground and was like a speak easy. It was a Sunday so that was almost empty. It was a very cool place. Not the sort of place to be wearing an outfit that would make people wish for colour-blindness.
The Theatre Producer arrived, she was wearing a cape. Yes an actual cape and irresponsibly short shorts. Her hair was in a bun on the top of her head and she was wearing proper hipster glasses. She did admit that the glasses were fairly normal for her, but that the cape only came out on special occasions. She looked rather silly, but also stunning. I just looked like a spaz.
The drinking begins
We sat down in the corner and had a couple of cocktails. We chatted about everything apart from plays and writing. Then we ordered some grog. It was grog for eight people served in a funny wooden barrel/jug. It was extremely tasty.
We talked more, and more and more. We laughed while discussing families, friends and all the catching up stuff you do when you are starting to get to know someone. The Theatre Producer has done a lot of really impressive stuff.
I love conversations where one of you can have a silly idea and the other person understands it and then takes it one step further. You take it a little further and with in minutes you are laughing so much you feel a bit sick. We had a lot of those.
We also drank all the grog.
It was an excellent business meeting.
We talked about plays for about 30 seconds at the end.
I had put my card behind the bar earlier so asked for it and the bill. The bill arrived first so I had to ask for my card again. In the time between me asking and the card arriving the Theatre Producer had settled a bill. That has never happened to me before, ever.
It was a good business meeting, although I have to admit I had been a bit distracted by having too much fun.
Thursday. It’s often the best night out, Fridays have their moments too but I’m a Thursday kinda guy. There is something pleasingly louche about going out in an evening when you know you have work the next day.
This Thursday I had a date with a singer/song-writer/actress. We started chatting on Twitter about, well nonsense. After a few weeks the the vague suggestion of a drink was mentioned. Thursday was the day when our calenders finally matched up.
I had a cocktail thing in one bar and then a lavish launch of a TV show for later. Perfect for a night out. The cocktail thing was through my chum and so I met up with him for a drink first and then we went to the cocktail bar. The bar was near Soho and a little bit flash.
The first cocktail
We were just being served our first round of cocktails when The singer/song-writer/actress turned up. Let’s call her Rebecca. She was tall, very tall. with dark hair with blonde highlights. She was wearing a short, slightly floaty purple dress with a black jacket. Her hair wasn’t as big as it was in her music videos but she was recognisable.
We said hello and then started chatting with the other people at the party. We talked about all sorts of stuff occasionally breaking away from the group to chat about career related things before rejoining the group to talk about cocktails or dogs.
I was given a cocktail that had a chili draped over the edge as a garnish so I decided to eat it. It wasn’t too hot, then pleasantly warm, then ‘oh blimes’, then ‘oh dear’, then ‘Just kill my mouth to end my suffering’ before settling into a background level of pain. I didn’t cry but my eyes did get moist.
I’d used my poker face skills to not give this away. I think it must have worked because all the other chaps in the party started munching down on their chilis too and then also battled against showing pain because pretty girls were there.
We men are such prats sometimes.
After a while the rest of the group when on to another thing and we sat down at the bar for a more in-depth chat. It was pleasant, interesting and unguarded. I like chats like that. So much communication is so inconsequential it’s nice when you really talk to someone. We finished our drinks and hopped in a cab to the second part of the evening which was in a music bar.
Two bars, one night
We arrived and the place was busy but there wasn’t a person on the door. There wasn’t a press area or any sign of anything going on. After a bit of hunting around I tracked down the organiser. She was all flustered and said there wasn’t a press area but a band was turning up.
It didn’t appear to be the lavish party I’d been promised and had promised to Rebecca. Oh dear.
We got some drinks and sat down on a table with some other people who’d also been invited to party and who were also confused as to what was going on. Bitching about the lack of canapés is surprisingly bonding.
There were more drinks, and then more. A band appeared. They played amazingly while appearing to be stupendously bored. It was quite entertaining, for the two songs they played before disappearing.
We drank more.
The organiser had told us that a man in a pork-pie hat was going to appear and look after us a bit. So we waited for him while drinking more gin. We still hadn’t eaten anything so at this point we were luxuriously drunk.
Almost instantly it was time to catch the last train home.
Rebecca and I said goodbye to our party friends and waltzed off into the night, pausing only to buy chips before we got on the tube.
We got on the wrong tube so our goodbye was slightly rushed because Rebecca suddenly had to change lines. She texted me when she got home thanking me for a lovely evening.
I’d had a nice time. She was entertaining, interestingly complex and pretty. There weren’t any dramatic moments or startling insights just a nice evening.
Marriage percentage: 20% If I had met her six months ago I’m sure it would be tripled, but I’ve met so many amazing women in the last few months I’ve had to adjust my scale. Also, even though Biscuit is romping ahead with Jen I’m trying not to jump into anything.
I don’t want a repeat of The Consultant.
Toast has told me off (repeatedly) for getting so far behind with my posts. It’s mostly been due to horrible amounts of work (which has mostly been my fault) so I’m now bringing everything up to date.
I had offered to cook for Toast and a small group of chums. We sort of take it in turns to cook occasional meals and I had been tasked with making something with saffron so had bought some organic lamb for the occasion.
I hadn’t previously been aware that lamb was being traded in lieu of gold. I assume that this was the case because I’m pretty sure I didn’t buy unicorn by accident, even though I was charged accordingly.
Since it was going to be such a lovely sunny day we decided to make an occasion of it and invited a few more friends to make it a small party.
I also invited Jen. I wasn’t too sure about doing this at first as I had seen her very recently and was still very protective over my free time. It might sound ridiculous but I didn’t want to see her too often in these early stages. I’ve been single for almost 2 years now and keep getting a little flighty at the prospect of ‘losing’ my free weekends (you know, the ones I currently spend on the Xbox with Toast).
The plan is to keep taking it SLOOOOOW so that I don’t have a little episode and spoil things.
Despite initial reticence I was really looking forward to her coming over. She is the only girl to date who I have invited to hang out with my friends and this was the second time I was doing it.
One thing that is great about Jen is that she is gregarious, exuberant and well equipped with social skills. When she turned up most others were already drinking in the garden whilst I was going for a record for the ‘longest time to cook a bit of lamb’ in the kitchen.
This meant that she would have to spend a fair bit of time holding her own until I was done faffing in the kitchen. After a kiss and a quick catchup she admirably ingratiated herself with the rest of the bunch.
The whole barbecue experience really was rather excellent and after several hours and gratuitous amounts of food and booze there was just Toast Jen and me crashed out in the front room. I was feeling pretty sleepy but Jen had other ideas so she quietly instructed me in no uncertain terms to take her upstairs.
It would have been very rude to refuse.
Marriage percentage: 59% – She’s impressively awesome and I know that I’ve still got at least 6 weeks before I’m allowed to consider anything ‘commitmenty’, so that allays any frets I might have had about things going too fast.
Penelope invited me over for a drink in a pub near her on Monday evening.
She lives in a satellite town to London and said we could go to a country pub which sounded like a lovely way to end the weekend.
She met me at the train station in a car. Which I was surprised by. This would mean no drinking, but country pubs don’t often have very good transport links so I suppose it made sense.
She started the car as we caught up and after about three turns we stopped. We weren’t in the countryside. We were on an street with houses. I couldn’t even see any green.
We were at a pub near to the station, like really near. We probably could have walked it in ten minutes.
It wasn’t really a country pub, more of a suburban pub. It was an old, slightly rough looking place with about dozen people in to who welcomed Penelope and eyed me up a bit strangely.
We got our drinks and sat down at a table. A man was performing loud Dire Straights covers with a guitar in the corner of the pub. It was so noisy it was hard to have a conversation.
We chatted about work stuff. She mentioned someone who is in her PhD group who is being a bit weird and we giggled about a few things. Most of these conversations happened in the pauses between songs because the singing man was offensively loud.
A few hours later it was time to get the last train home so we hopped into the car. The subject of previous relationships came up. I told her about the angry letter and how that went down.
She explained that she had broken up with her previous chap a month or so ago because it hadn’t been going anywhere, and that they had been going out for four years.
He had even worked in the pub we had just visited which explained why the locals were giving me weird looks. I suddenly felt a bit weird about the whole thing. Why did she decide to take me to that pub?
Even stranger she mentioned that she was meeting up with the ex the next day to make sure he understood it was over. Why wouldn’t he get that? I was suddenly a bit perplexed by the whole thing.
It had been a very strange weekend.
Marriage percentage: 20% – Couldn’t we have gone to a different pub?
One of the things that enjoyed most about living with Dragonforce was going to gigs and festivals and being able to get drunk, bounce around being punched by sweaty strangers and have an awesome time without the need to babysit anyone or feel bad for having fun. I’ve been to gigs with girlfriends before and it’s sapped my enjoyment if I can’t be where I want to be or feel guilty for being where I want to be and having to keep running back to check they’re ok.
When I last saw Jen we spent a lot of time swapping music recommendations and I invited her to join me at a filthy electro rock gig I had the following week. This was real make or break stuff. Seriously, had potential to be a bit moshy so it really could have been ‘break’!
Having spent the week with an ambivalent mix of excitement and trepidation she arrived at mine looking suitably attired for a gig: leather jacket, flats and some rather slinky jeans. Also her accidental Princess Diana haircut had now grown out to a fiery, slightly shaggy, rock chick cut. I was so proud that I wanted to take a photo to start an instructional “Dummies Guide to Gig Going” manual.
Because I had insisted on buying the tickets, she insisted on buying the booze. After the support band we settled into a comfortable spot in the crowd (after I’d finished mincing around, fretting that we’d not get where I wanted to).
When going to gigs with Dragonforce we used to use fluro wristbads to find eachother in a crowd. Her being about 5′ 10″ helped too. Despite being at a tiny venue with Jen, there was a not unreasonable chance of losing her as she is 5′ 3″.
As it turned out, she was brilliant. After the initial surge when the crowd sorted itself into ‘dancy’ and ‘non-dancy’ people, I slotted her into a space in front of me where she had a good view. We bounced around threw embarrassing spazzy shapes with abandon. She was gleefully absorbed in dancing whilst I would bound off for the odd song for tussle , then come back dripping with sweat to see her grinning at me. or whilst I fought off the bodies that would ricochet too near to us and I was worried about her getting hurt (I needn’t have been, she can look after herself)
She was even highly amused when, after kissing me, I unconsciously wiped my hand across my mouth because of sticky lipstick (hers, not mine… Wow, I’m really building myself up as a hot date)
I don’t think the night could have gone better. The more I date her, the more I feel like I’ve discovered a partner in crime. This is five dates now. FIVE! Look at me being a grown up and taking it slowly!
Marriage percentage: 57%
I would ordinarily add WAY more for that kind of excellent gig performance but she is already very high as it is. Is that a fair approach? If I had put on the 15% (at LEAST) that would otherwise be worth then we’ll be almost over the 70% and that leaves little headroom before we hit 100% and I have to propose.
I at least need to ask her more about her cat first.