I’m planning a trip abroad. A long weekend somewhere in Europe, with a friend. It could be anywhere. I like going to cities, I prefer it to my trips to the country. I don’t like the loneliness of the country, I need the cling and clang, the sounds and smells of the city. They make me feel at home away from home, or at least most of them do.

Paris is not my city. Paris is a stand offish tart of a town, with hordes of uncouth men between her stockinged legs. Men that smack their lips at you, clack their teeth and sniff at you, hissing and whistling and staring. Paris doesn’t invite you in, Paris leaves you outside looking in. Paris makes you feel small. She can’t cook either – her food is downright disappointing. Paris definitely is a woman… and she and I don’t get along.

I love London. London’s a long lost friend. London’s a warm hug of a town, swilling with beer and a slap on the back. London is old world hospitality… the charm of the Irish with a touch of exotic, the ochres and purples of India, sexy businessmen sipping capucinos in the street at midnight. London’s got a wink in it’s eye, it’s a lad in a cap, a cat in a hat, a surprise of a town.

Cities in Belgium are like my relatives, so familiar and yet so different. There’s Brussels, your great great grandmother, and Antwerp – your little brother, the black sheep. Bruges, your uncle who chose the cloth and Dinant, your bohemian cousin. Gent’s your alcoholic sister-in-law, you gotta see her at least once a year.

Dublin’s my ex husband. I can’t stand the little fuck. Screw him and his family. His father was a prick and his grandfather before him. If I could, I’d forget about Dublin all together. I’d forget about the good times. The nights we went out on the piss. The afternoons walking down Exchequer Street, me with my head in the clouds and Dublin with the sign of the cross on its weathered face. Past Molly ‘how’s yer tits’ Malone, up to the Trinity Gates, down the dribbling Liffey to the Docks, I took the ferry back to Holyhead, head up high but leaving part of me with Dublin, last time I said goodbye. He’s welcome to it, I don’t want it. I’m not bitter about Dublin. I took part of him with me. I’m sure he doesn’t even realise.

On my stereo:
Page & Plant –
No Quarter

Dead pledge

There’s something stressful about going into your bank and talking ‘money’. You sort of dress up a bit to look trustworthy and hope you don’t look stupid.

So there I was, sweating in my jacket. Of course the weather gods decided today was a good day to start summer. When I arrived there was a note on the door saying the computers were down and they couldn’t help us until they were fixed. I went for a stroll around the block.

I found found myself going by the Royal Carre Theater, and the little theatre cafe opposite the back stage entrance. It put a smile on my face, as this is where – nine years ago – I had my first ever argument with G.. I’d never been back to that cafe. It still looked the same.

When I got back to the bank, the computers were partly fixed but the inside of the bank looked like Beirut and my account manager hadn’t had his phone connected yet so someone had to go see if he could see me.

‘Mortgage’ is a weird word. ‘Mort’ obviously comes from Latin mortuus, which means ‘dead’. ‘Gage’ is ‘pledge’. I wonder whether this has anything to do with the feeling that you are sticking your neck in a noose when you’re getting one.

Well, I knew nothing about them and now I do. Mr Bank Manager smiled, was friendly, poured coffee and spoke the same language I do (always a plus). He gave plenty of examples to make things easy to understand. Everything seemed attractive and rosy and no problem at all. My ‘free lance’ status didn’t bother them at all.

What bothers me is that now that the bank has caught a whiff of my desire to become their slave they will probably be on my case very very soon with other appoinments, more smiling faces and a dotted line to sign.

‘Do you make decisions logically or emotionally,’ I asked a friend on IRC earlier today. ‘Emotionally,’ he said. So do I. I choose emotionally between different colour sweaters and always end up with the wrong one. Imagine a 250000 guilder sweater.

So it’s ‘danger de mort’ – so many choices, so hard to choose… and my flat mate tells me, like she does all the bloody time, it’s my turn to clean the kitchen. F.O.A.D.

Poor lads

There was an article in the papers about U2 not making much money over the last ten years. Investing in a bowling alley project in Germany proved to be fatal because they never were granted permission to build the things. Their lawyer/financial advisor Ossie Kilkenny III was sacked over it.

I find this all very amusing. ‘U2 so busy making music they forget to make money.’

I think it’s endearing.

Over the fence is out

I heard a story today when I visited an old school friend, about one of our PT teachers at the time. Apparently he’s been accused of sexual harassment.

We both remember him walking through the girls’ locker room when there was no need for it. But although some girls seemed to object to it at the time, we didn’t have a problem with it. In those days you wouldn’t get done for sexual harassment on those grounds.

Times have changed a lot. People are more prudish, more aware, more vocal and more paranoid. Back then we were more relaxed and more naive.

I liked that teacher. When he helped us during gymnastics I wouldn’t be afraid of falling.

On the train, in the carriage next to me, 5 spotty teenagers were being loud and obnoxious. They were blowing shrill little bird whistles. Everybody was annoyed, but nobody said anything. We’re all afraid to say something.

Why don’t they get done?

Great deal

I have a great deal with a friend. I help him with computer stuff (install software on his laptop) and he cooks me dinner.

It would be a lousy deal if he were a bad cook, but he’s not. In fact he’s probably the best amateur – and I mean that in the best sense of the word – cook I know.

So that’s where I was today… installing IE4. First I brought the wrong cd-rom so I decided to download it. After an hour and 15 minutes of downloading the connection was broken… so I jumped on my bike to get the cd-rom after all.

There wasn’t any sushi at the shops so i got… salmon for starters, lamb for main course, tiramisu for a sweet.

All that and good conversation cheered me up no end. Now does anyone have a room for rent in Amsterdam?

I ask myself:
Why aren’t warez sites about warez anymore??

Dark are the days

There was a great band from Ireland featuring Donal Lunny’s son. They were called Marxman & they had a small hit with ‘All About Eve’. Perhaps they’re better known for their single with Sinead O’Connor: ‘Ship Ahoy’.

Well, one of their songs was called Dark are the Days. They are. Yes, it’s still raining. Outside and in my head.

I called off the house deal – it was doing my head in – I’m not going to buy, I’m just going to rent a room. What I need is freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want. If I want to shop in London, I want to be able to do that. I want to eat good food, buy books, CDs… whatever. My pleasure comes from these things – not from the place I live in. I don’t make enough money to have both and I choose my freedom. The way I’m reacting to this all, I’m definitely not ready to be a house owner.

I hope the decision will lift my spirits. Maybe the sushi I’ll be having tomorrow will help. ;-)

A very good friend from Ireland called, we’re probably going to the wild west Cork in September. Check out the place we’re going. Ignore the hippy shite – we’re going to see Nick Cave and talk about literatjoooooore.

Funny… my Irish friend has started keeping a diary as well.

December’s here again:

Well you can tell….

I suppose I’m late to tag on to the 70’s disco revival. I guess it was Hot Chocolate’s re-release of ‘Sexy thing’ on the Full Monty soundtrack that really got me going. Suddenly I’m scrounging the net for groovy empeethrees, downloading a massive 400 mb of tunes – mostly hip & trip hop, some alternative, spiced with those great tunes I used to love to hate. Beegees, Abba, Patti LaBelle, Carl Douglas sit nicely next to Air’s post-postmodern-neo-dance-chill-out grooves.

I’m so tired of the Radioheads, the Pearl Jams, all the guitar-angst-wank-rockers in this world.

And what the hell does Bob Dylan’s spawn think they are doing murdering the holy Bowie’s Heroes? I think it’s time for yankee rockers to get out of the garage and into the closet.

Ah ah ah ah staying aliiiiiiiiiiiive… that’s where it’s at.

PS. I think I’ll just rent. The vote tells me so.

Link of the Day:
iMusic have started a great soundtrack site.

On TV:
Space 1999