- I became 19. This happened so long ago that I don't even properly remember it (April 22nd). I remember mixing ginger wine and Disaronno to make a cocktail we referred to as the 'Jamaican Ginger Cake' - that's kind of what it tasted like. We watched Jesus Christ Superstar and and old video of me at the age of about 8 or something being interviewed by Zig and Zag. Anya got me a picture of a clown that stares at me menacingly while I sleep, but for whatever reason I'm having serious trouble remembering most of my other presents were. INTENSE GUILT. I remember there was a plan for my Dad to get me a holiday to Berlin, but that turned out to be too expensive so I got... something else. Wait, it was a fair amount of money and a selection of cheeses! I remember. And my Mum... uh... never mind.
- My uncle Rob died. Really rather upsetting. He had moved out to live somewhere in Granada, and while driving home clipped the back of his car on something and went flying off into a ravine. That really fucked up my Dad's side of the family for a while. Rob's personality consisted of a very careful balance of caring and completely fucking mental. At his funeral we talked about loads of stories about him - apparently once when he was younger, some people from the National Front posted some leaflets through the door, and he immediately charged out there and chased down three skinheads who were each about twice his size. I remember him coming to one of my gigs once, which was a battle of the bands. He hugged me, obviously drunk out of his mind, and started going on about how he liked my music and everything, before turning to the band currently on stage and yelling "...an' at least you weren't playing FAAKIN' NEW ORDER COVERS". My Dad would always tell me stories about him and Rob travelling around Europe when I was younger, which were all oddly like moral fables there to confer valuable life lessons. Rob always seemed to be the one who got things wrong or got them in trouble, but also the one who would occasionally perform bizarre feats of wit and generally make things more interesting (even if it did mean putting the pair of them on the wrong side of a sub-machine gun and large knife, at seperate times). After that, he was in prison for an absolute age because of drugs of some sort. For a man who was almost certainly pretty intelligent he really did stupid things - always on purpose though, so I suppose that makes sense. After winding up in so many life-threatening situations they'd pretty much stopped being a big deal (he had a glass eye and was missing most of his teeth) I'd come to think of Rob as being pretty much invincible, but there you go. I'll miss him. Also, a note on the funeral: it was suprisingly enjoyable and very satisfyingly conclusive, which is odd for funerals. It was non-religious and non-hippy, so altogether totally non-spiritual, with my Dad filling the role of vicar and most of the time spent listening to music and having friends and family give short speeches. If you have the misfortune of having a funeral to plan, may I suggest you do something similar; have someone who knew the deceased leading the ceremony, and make sure everyone gets a chance to say whatever they want to say without having to sugar-coat it. It needs to be truly personal and a genuine celebration of a life - well, that's just my opinion. Here's a song from the funeral:
- My second year at BIMM drew to close. I drove myself mad by leaving everything to the last minute and doing crazy all-nighters. I even started hallucinating after I finished my 3000 word essay on Robert Johnson - my spiral-pattern carpet looked like it was spinning really quickly, and it made all this yellow light that turned into puppets and stuff. It was messed up. The point is though, that even though everything seemed to be going wrong all the time (forgetting to attach appendices in essay hand ins, people refusing to cooperate with me when I was relying on them, things like deaths in the family preoccupying me, etc) I did finish it all and it seems like I actually got high enough grades to progress next year, and a degree classification of a 2:1 for the year. As an interesting side note, while I did need to get a 2:1 to get to next year, next year will count as 100% of my overall degree grade, meaning if I get a first it wont be dragged down at all by this years slightly shoddy performance. Which is nice. Dunno if I'll actually get a first though, they're extreme effort and I don't do effort very well. i can try though... if that makes sense. Also, apparently my old songwriting tutor really liked my lyrics. That's odd, because I was pretty sure they were shit.
- I went on a lovely holiday to Oslo with Anya. About two weeks before the massacre, if you're interested. We saw lots of nice museums and lovely helpful civilised people who spoke tons of languages fluently, in an incredibly clean city covered in art. We also counted several hundred Iron Maiden t-shirts, lol'd at small chocolate bars costing about £2.50 and burgers costing about £10, and felt like a pair of poorly educated peasants. It was better than it sounds, but I was hoping for a lot more in the way of Norse mythology. When we got back and heard about the massacres it was really creepy - we'd actually sailed past those islands on our way to a museum while there.
- My little brother Billy had a fuck off teratoma pulled out of his chest. This one's kind of ongoing. A few weeks ago, Billy had a pretty bad cold and a cough. It got to the point where it seemed like he really should see a doctor about it. Now, the doctor said that he definitely had asthma and may also have pneumonia, which was not good to hear, and he had to be taken to the Royal Alexandria children's hospital immediately. Now, after they'd checked him out, they said that his right lung was full of fluid and they'd have to drain it with keyhole surgery. However, the lung had already started to try and heal itself and all the fluid was in little seperated pockets, which made things difficult. This was concerning to hear. Then they said that they couldn't do that yet, because there was a big blotch showing up on the x-ray and they had to find out what it was. They did plenty of tests, and concluded that it was a MOTHERFUCKING TERATOMA ABOUT THE SIZE OF A SMALL MELON which was CRUSHING HIS LUNG AND PUSHING HIS HEART A LITTLE. I mean, fucking hell, what?!? Apparently it had been growing since Christmas. He got rushed up to Great Ormond Street, the best children's hospital in the country. They spent ages planning out how they were going to do it, and took 6000 x-ray scans of his chest, and in the end decided to make a cut pretty much FROM ONE SIDE OF HIS BODY RIGHT OVER TO THE OTHER, just under his ribcage, so they could REACH UP IN AND PULL IT OUT. Now, we were all quite worried about him losing a bit of (or the entirety of) his lung, but luckily that didn't happen and he will now have full use of both lungs. Yay! But yeah, they had to cut a vein to get it out, and he lost about 4 LITRES OF BLOOD - it is now I will mention that he is 12 and likely has no more than 4.5 litres in his body at any one time. They were putting blood in him at the same time, of course. But yeah, after he was out and everything was fine, it turned out he was bleeding quite heavily from that vein and they had to operate on him a second time to try and seal it up again. That was less than ideal, but not too bad, I suppose. Then he was bleeding again and they weren't quite sure why, so he was operated on for a THIRD TIME. I don't even know what happened here, but I think he had a graze and they did something to it and then everything was okay. Of course, then he'd been on morphene for so long he'd gained an addiction, but that's somehow been sorted out so I wont get into that. He's being moved back to Brighton tonight to go back into the Royal Alexandria, but apparently he's still in a bit of a drug-induced daze. First of all, I would like to say how proud I am of Billy - all the nurses have said he's very eloquent and clever and has been dealing with the pain and worry very well. I really need to get him a present or something. I would also like to say how wonderful it is that the NHS exists, and how sad and angry it makes me that it might not be long before it doesn't exist.
- My band recorded an E.P. It was hilarious japes and shenanigans and I'm fairly pleased with the result. Really glad that we have a good set of proper recordings with Eva to give to venues and fans and friends and family and upload onto the internet and the like. I'll post something here when we've gotten it all copyrighted and stuff (Dave's a very careful man). We also had a mini interview on local radio, which was interesting, followed by a 'private gig' in a rehearsal room for Mikey's family and their Czech friends, which was an adrenaline fuelled mass of superfast jams and insults. There was an attempt at a DVD made of that 'private gig' (which I still can't take seriously), but the camera seems to cut out when light/noise levels get bad, so it seems to most be a DVD of us all shouting at each other and throwing things and asking what song to do next. Apparently the photos taken turned out better, but I've not seen those properly yet.
I will say though that I am very worried about my country. What I am most worried about is the fear and the hate of the masses. I have heard so many people suddenly express views like being in favour of the death sentence, and wanting far more harsh and severe police control of places like Tottenham. It's all going to result in extreme conservative values and a dramatically widening class divide, as if the massive increase in the cost of higher education and the destroying of things like the NHS weren't bad enough. GAH.
I'm sure I had other things to write about, but there's too much here already. I'll probably get back on posting semi-regularly. WONT THAT BE NICE?