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A belated weekend round-up

Feeling blunt. Pleasantly tired all week. I haven't done any work. Literally. But soon, it seems, the honeymoon period will end and I will actually be given something to do, which ironically will come as something of a relief. Not because I don't like sitting at my desk with nothing to do but surf all day: I wouldn't mind doing that for ever. No, it's the prospect of someone in management coming up to me and saying "So, what have you been doing for the last month?", or even "What project are you working on at the moment?", the answers to which I suspect would result in unpleasantness...

Busy weekend:

Friday

Jo's housewarming. The usual crowd turned up, plus Jo's mate Suz, who went to her college but now lives in London. She's cool, though I didn't actually talk to her that much, as she was busy gossiping with Jo. I drank too much. Swinging Penguin again, but this time made with Tesco's 'I Can't Believe It's Not Red Bull'. It's called 'Kick' or 'Kicker', tastes similar, costs a bit less and is available in 1 litre bottles. However, it is by no means as good as this might make it sound. In fact, I intend to blame it for my hang-over the next morning, as Swinging Penguin made as Goddess intended has never had such ruinous effects.

Saturday

Woke up feeling pretty good, but then made the mistake of getting up. I always feel fairly shit just after I've gotten up, but this time I felt dreadful. Met some of the others in a cafe, then sat and looked with vague horror at the burger I'd inexplicably ordered, a horror I saw reflected in the eyes of the poor unfortunates sharing the table with me. Ate a few chips, drank some grapefruit juice, went outside to try to clear my head. Failed. Ended up disappearing to catch the bus into London, leaving the burger untouched, and Jo to pick up the tab. I always find that the worst bit about hangovers is the realisation that it's all your fault. It was particularly galling after my decision not to get too pissed at such events. I didn't even have an excuse, surrounded as I was by my charming, witty and attractive friends. Bah.

So, went to London. Slept on the coach, after a quick contrite prayer for deliverance to Eris and the rearrangement of the letters on my velcro t-shirt (probably my favourite item of clothing: wear as many cryptic slogans as you can be arsed to) to 'IDDQD' (the cheat-code for 'God-mode' in first-person shoot-'em-up pioneer 'Doom' for you non-1337 readers). Woke up feeling significantly better, so at least one of these three tactics must have worked (unless it was the grapefruit juice. Bah.). Felt well enough to eat something (seemed wise, only snacks and a sandwich to eat the day before, and I hate it when I segue from feeling shit because I'm hung-over to feeling shit because I haven't eaten). Chose a burger. Irony. Got to my Dad's early, to the surprise of all. Mucked about on (12 year old half-brother) Oliver's computer and Dreamcast for a bit, then went with my Dad to a rave. No really. It was his idea as well. Earlier in the year we were going to go to a dance music festival called 'Monastery Of Sound', which Dad had found a reference to in the Guardian, I think, and invited me to accompany him to. It was to be a weekend-long gig set in a disused monastery in France. It was also canceled at the last minute. By way of replacement, sort of, the organisers were running a smallish rave-type party thing in a house in Kent about half-an-hours drive away from my Dad's house. So we went. Arrived at 6 in the evening, gig having been scheduled to start at 4. Paid a small child on the door £5 to get in. Found that there were people wandering around with extension leads, projectors and record boxes. Bloke organising(?) it suggested that we go down the pub down the road for a couple of hours, so we did. Pub is closed when we arrive, but after a couple of minutes the landlord opens up, and we are greet by him and his two disturbingly lupine dogs. We had to wait for another five minutes before the bloke who actually serves beer arrived, as the landlord was apparently unwilling or unable to do so himself. However, we managed to have some very nice beer and a wide ranging discussion about perception, drugs, laws, self-awareness, etc. i.e. the sort of conversation I have down the pub with my mates when we're all in the mood. I suspect I was babbling somewhat, perhaps as the hangover's last tatters dissolved, leaving me with only the tail end of the taurine high.

We wandered back to the party at about 8 to find that things were actually happening. We bought Stella from a girl of about 13 dressed in a very disturbing jail-bait style, who proceeded to smile at me whenever we met later on, and explored the venue. The house, it transpires, is owned by a couple of families, at least one of whom is involved with the Monastery of Sound. The children apparently forming the bulk of the party's administrative staff belonged to the families and hence lived in the house. They wandered round all night unchecked, but apparently quite cheerful. Bet they grow up liking boy-bands. Or opera. There were three music rooms, all lit solely by two or three projectors shining carousels of slides onto walls and ceiling:

- The main and biggest room was playing the most 'main-stream' stuff, nothing I'd ever heard of, mind, but not solely white-labels produced by the DJ or his mates. Some of it was pretty good. There wasn't anyone dancing. The music was a bit too experimental for that, and it was more a dope than an E party, so the prevailing mood was towards sitting in the corner watching the slide-shows and chatting. As the party progressed, this room filled up with people with laptops, minidisc players and gadget boxes, the light from their screens doubling the ambient brightness. Once they were hooked in, it was impossible to tell who was actually controlling the music at any given moment. Perhaps they all were together?

- The next room was in the bottom of the small but extravagantly gabled tower that the house boasted, and as such was almost completely circular. It only had one entrance, and I suspect that it was this lack of through-traffic that made it the unofficial smokers room. Just sitting in there for a few minutes was enough to get one light-headed, and there were some people in there utterly incapable of doing anything but grinning at the slides projected onto the ceiling. The music was very strange (I particularly remember one which seemed to consist entirely of samples from 'Eastenders', including the famous drum beats of course, and looped samples of "You bitch!", "You cow!"). The DJing seemed a bit more active here, as the guy on the decks would fade back and forth between tracks, dick around with the speeds and FX, actually scratch, and all that other DJ stuff. He cleverly managed to keep the mood appropriate to that of his audience by having generous tokes on anything being passed round, so the showcase of expertise gradually degenerated into him making the volume go up and down and grinning a lot. I would occasionally ask him what a particularly striking track was called, but he would inevitably say "something my mate Kevin knocked up the other night" or, later, "I dunno. Good though, isn't it?"

- The final music room was in the basement, accessible only via a narrow spiral staircase. As such, it seemed to gradually fill up with people who'd made it down the stairs, but were unable to negotiate back up again. This trap was baited with a live act, who consisted of two men and a woman sitting on the floor, armed with two electric-acoustic guitars and a mouth-organ. All of these (the instruments, not the musicians) were plugged into a suitcase that looked like something a stoned, poverty stricken and disorganised criminal mastermind might construct to take over the world: many boxes, many2 knobs and sliders, and a veritable crawling chaos of wires. The two with guitars just noodled away, occasionally sounding like they were just tuning up (though typically into a key unknown to mortal man). The other guy spent most of his time on the suitcase's controls, some of which must have been attached to a drum-machine or like apparatus which was providing a gently mutating back-beat; others altering the sounds of the guitars to tease entirely different meanings out of the spare, repeated twangs. When not engaged thusly, he would pick up the mouth-organ and add another layer to the sound, occasionally by muttering disturbing and only half-distinguishable phrases into it. I was pretty mellowed out by this point, so leant against the wall with my bottle of premixed Swinging Penguin and drifted into the sound. I am now unsure as to whether they were actually any good, but that doesn't matter because when, after their set, I asked the girl what they were called and whether there music was available anywhere, she seemed genuinely nonplussed. I assume they just did it for the love of it. Or perhaps I was completely incoherent. Who knows?

- There was one other room, intended for people to sleep in, I guess. It had no light or sound, except for that drifting in from the doorless opening into the main room, and the floor featured liberally scattered cushions. Unfortunately for the one person actually lying on them, it also, when I went in, featured two genially vague blokes with a tennis racquet and ball, inventing a game something like 'altered states squash in the dark.' It was ace. I had a go, but couldn't come close to the record of 10 successfully returns from bouncing the ball off the wall, surprisingly tricky thanks to our wonky states, combined with the darkness, cushions and aforementioned body. Attempts to improve visibility by having one of the non-players attempt to spot-light the ball with a torch ended in predictable failure.

I ended up being woken by my Dad at about 3:30 in the round room, having fallen asleep in a sloppy half-lotus position on top of a speaker. He suggested that we bail out, and though the party was scheduled to continue for another 8 1/2 hours, I concurred. Bloody good night though. And I felt fine in the morning, despite having spent my third night out of the previous four drinking tequila and Red Bull until at least 3 in the morning. I'm telling you, it's the party drink of choice...

Current screen-saver: Jû Lû Kü as a scrolling marquee. The concept is stolen from a poster in the background in one or two panels of one or two issues of a slightly obscure comic from the 90's: 'The Invisibles'. I have two computers here at work, but as I don't actually do anything except web-surf and write journal entries, I only use one. The other now sits there, scrolling this. I find it perversely comforting. It seems like something our Human Resources department would approve of.

Current site: The Forever Britney Network, found courtesy of Portal of Evil. Seriously, you must check this out. Britney and Christina Aguilera have apparently been kidnapped by the Taliban and replaced by men (possibly the same one). Particularly charming is the sex article, in which a Britney Spears fan-site writer with no actual first-hand* experience of sex attempts to explain in broken English why he(?) thinks people enjoy it. Quite amazing.

* no euphemism intended. Honest.

PS. The LJ spellchecker's last three suggestions for what I meant by 'Dreamcast' were 'Druggiest, Tracksuit, Remixed'. Which pleased me, anyway.

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