Ian Thorp: Big Down Under

Its amazing how times flown and how many threats of violence by Patrick Kagoul I've received between reports, I didn't think I'd done very much apart from work recently out here in the third world, however there seems to be a lot more going on than I thought, so heres a quick update:

Went to an Australian No Rules Football game on the weekend - The Presidents lunch actually (I don't do prole class at sporting events in Australia - simple reason - the general public only get 'light' beer and what is sport without booze?). There was a vast number of B-Grade celebrities, news readers that sort of thing the only one that anyone outside of Australia may have heard of is Michael Gudinsky, then again maybe not - he's head of Mushroom records - or at least used to be - you know they get a mention on the end of the Neighbours credits.

Bought a BBQ - well I say bought, it was more thrust upon me as it was 'a bargain'- great, apart from the fact that we live in a flat, still, I supposed that's what balconies are for. It is truly an Aussie male magnet - especially as not only is it a BBQ but it is also a Eskey/Cooler - not the Steve McQueen kind - the type you keep beer in, http://www.salton.com.au/brands/fireice.html so held my first Aussie barbie, unfortunately we didn't have any shrimps on it, sausages and tofu - who bbqs tofu? Apparently we do!!!

Went to Moonah links - home of Australian Golf, didn't play, (was an extortionate amount and I'm no Tiger Woods), didn't even ride a golf cart - so a bit poor, did however get the notion of buying into a race horse - we as a group get to name it so any suggestions would be much appreciated - I'm thinking along the lines of 'Glue' or 'Pet Food' related names.

Saw Ash in a pub, playing not drinking; was brilliant full on metal mayhem - very happy with that

Went to Brisbane and watched Australia beat England at Rugby, no surprises looking at the team, good night all the same, very easy to confuse Australians with singing and particularly enjoyed the abuse from the aussies who didn't realise we don't really mind losing that much if there's still beer available.

Went home, saw The Mighty Golf Harris in concert, not one of their finest hours but that's what happens when yours-truly is on the desk. Was great to be home even for a week - stock up on all the stuff I miss being down here; penguins, pickled onion Monster Munch, Home and Away, chips and gravy and money that's worth more than Monopoly money. Went to a wedding, don't go to many weddings, but was novelty to go to someone's second wedding, having been best man at the first -this was a much better effort! Congratulation Mr and Mrs B!!!

On the plane home had possibly the worst series of movies to show on a plane that don't involve planes:

The Butterfly effect - death, death death, abuse, violence, mutilation, more death.

Into Thin Air - a nice pleasant little number after the previous.

House of Sand and Fog - I expected kitchen sink drama, more traumatic viewing thanks to Ben Kingsly!!

21 Grams - See Butterfly effect.

By the end of 24 hours in the air I was paralysed with fear and hoping for Alive or a September 11 documentary - I refuse to bow to Americanisms and say 9/11 as that's in November!

Completed the upgrade on my hi-fi, it's the best its ever sounded - its like being granted a whole new CD and record collection (For the record, Arcam CD82, Cyrus 8 amp with PSXR external power supply, PMC2 speakers, Ariston 8 turntable with Lynn BasikIV , Rega cart and some fancy cables and stuff).

Strange thought the other night - rather than have warnings on cigarette packets saying smoking kills and having adverts on the TV showing arteries full of gunk and lungs full of tar, they should play 'Something In The Way She Moves' and say if George Harrison hadn't smoked he'd still be alive and writing songs like that, although in all likely-hood more likely it'd be another Travelling Wilburies album. Must be others that could be put the packets too, er… "Smoking Killed Roy Castle." ? Maybe not then!!

Until next time, stay off the moors!

IT Aug 2004

Where else in the world can you drive or ride along a Grand Prix track on the way to work every day (well Monaco, Canada, er.. probably a few more too) but its great to go flying round the track at Albert Park with all the stands up and tyre walls, I feel like Michael Schumacher every day except he's going down the straight at 200MPH in a Ferrari and I'm doing 10 on the push-iron. Some claim that doing this is bad for the environment and spoils the park, it probably does but ask me, Daz or Kenny who have $600 tickets to the stand on the first corner if I really care! Two weeks to go and to quote a famous Australian cleaning product salesman - "I'm excited!"

Well it's my favourite time of the year here, when the drought of international music breaks and there is a sudden flood of talent pouring into the country for the 'Big Day Out' festival. Some claim that at 32 I'm far too old for this sort of thing, but I love it -this year promised to be a absolute scorcher and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

First up were all girl rock band from Sydney Skulker who made a decent racket and there's definitely something to be said about rock chicks with low-slung guitars.

Next up were Fear Factory who really are a proper metal band and certainly did their best to scare the kiddies.

From proper metal to… not sure how serious a band they really are but The Darkness certainly didn't disappoint, they pulled off a perfect show and they certainly have all the moves and I was impressed by Justin telling the crowd that his finest achievement was getting a song that includes a word I shall refer only to as '2868', played on Radio 1 (Get Your Hands Off My Woman). Strangely I came away a little under whelmed - I think maybe if it wasn't mid afternoon in the middle of a field they would've impressed more or maybe it was because I'd seen all the original Zep, Queen, Maiden. Will be very interesting to see where they go from here.

Next up were The Black Eyed Peas who, rather than struggling to follow The Darkness did an absolutely
champion job of getting the crowd up and dancing unfortunately the crowd consisted of an awful lot of Simply Red loving MOR types who other album purchase of the year was Nora Jones' album coz it won a billionGrammy's (speaking of Grammy's that bloke from Pop Idol won a lifetime achievement award - WTF for?), thankfully they seemed to all disappear quickly. Anyway they rocked; there were big velvet suits, break dancing and Justin Darknesscranking out a solo on Lets Get Retarded - comparisonsof Ed Van Halen with Jackson?

Went over to the dance tent and checked out the end of Salmonella Dub - who flatmate Karen has played round the house a lot and of whom I can't remember much about but they're a NZ dub/hip hop type thing- I liked it, after that were Audio Bullies - who seemed to be pretty much as annoying as that other London ejit 'The Streets'.

Saw a bit of Melbourne hip-hop trio 1200 Techniques who are definitely good value and who's album will definitely check out - oh and who was that stood at the side of the stage - several of the 'Peas and Wayne Coyne!

The Dandy Warhols - a band I feel I really should like but for some reason I just feel really indifferent towards them.

Muse followed them and absolutely blew me away, most definitely the loudest band of the day and really hit the spot, what with that funny Close Encounter's keyboard lighting thing. Really regret not getting ticket to their own gig, thought that seeing them at BDO would be enough, let me quote from local press review, "The crowd had just witnessed the best live band in the world put on the best show this reviewer has ever seen." Doh!

The Strokes just wanted to be somewhere else, Metallica did actually make me feel old as the average age was about 12 and Basement Jaxx were top and played a rendition of the White Stripes Seven Nation Army.

Ahhh, the Flaming Lips, whenever there's a Lips gig the sun shines a little brighter, saw them at the BDO (instead of most of Metallica - worried it might be a mistake, how wrong was I) and then again later in the week - giant balloons, confetti, a plethora of animal costumes, fake blood, video back drops, fish eye camera on the mike stand, glove puppets -a children's party for muso's and then the music, highlights for me were 'Yoshmi' and 'Do You Realise' - which alternately brings a smile or tear to the eye and then a rendition of White Christmas, Happy Birthday, their version of Seven Nation Army (complete with tales of replacing The White Stripes at T In The Park) and "Thank You Jack White For The Fibre-Optic Jesus." Awesome! Add to that a tribute to Elliot Smith, whom Drodz was a good mate of and the sound mixer was the engineer for and it truly was a great gig. But don't take my word for it read Kilphs tour diary at http://www.flaminglips.com/main.php

How do you top that? Not sure you can but last week I went to see to see The Pretenders, The Wailers (minus Bob) and Bryan Ferry at the Music and Blues festival and they were all actually a lot better than I expected, The Wailers just sounded like a decent covers band although they were definitely into the spirit of the thing - the bin bag of herb they (allegedly) had backstage may have helped as for Bryan Ferry - It was like a Tom Jones gig - I was surrounded by ecstatic 50 year old women - like Take That for old people, I feared I may be ripped to pieces or trampled in the stampede to get to Bryan with his fop hair and shiny suit. Give the man his dues it was a great show, he played all the classics and had a great band a bit MOR though.

Speaking of Middle of the road, could up for a week of it, so more from Melbourne next time (hopefully) and maybe even something unrelated to gigs…

Ian

Been a long time once again since my last report but if you spent your days chained to a computer spewing forth documents that make as much sense to the average person as the average Styx album (See here for interpretation … http://www.styxnet.com/styxlyrics/roboto.htm ), then the last thing you would want to do when you got home is write when there's so many better things to do like… well anything really!

For those that hadn't noticed Christmas has come and thankfully gone for another year. Apart from the fact I was very happy with the number of free Christmas booze ups I managed to attend, I shall say no more than that - its not that it went badly I just don't hold the level of excitement for Christmas that others do.

Pre-Crimbus went to Meredith music festival -one Pat Kagoul has previously graced with his presence, however he could not be coaxed to perform - he claimed it due to issue with visa however it was more likely due to his inability to stand - poor none the less as that has never phased Lemmy and he's 58!

Standard festival M.O. - field middle of nowhere alternate between rain, standard poor fodder, intoxicants of choice until all coherence is list. Highlights of the weekend Mcluskey -Irish apparently, The Cat Empire - Previously mentioned, came on at 3am after Radio birdman (see crap bits) and DJ Dexter - in tent by the time he made the stage at 4am. Tim Rogers - still great. Also one of our party battling with their own drug enhanced demons - Still waiting for my letter of apology!!

Crap bits - Apparent 'Oz legends Radio birdman', Sleepy Jackson -still shit, Bob Log III - http://www.boblog111.com the Frank Sidebottom of blues.

This weekend brings the long weekend - Australia Day - whatever that means - does anyone care? Not as long as they get to drink beer rather than work on Monday (see Queens Birthday holiday!) That means Big Day Out Festival - and with the weakening US dollar they can afford to get some good acts - my day looks thus… The Darkness, The Datsuns, Black Eyed Peas, 1200 Techniques, Muse, ACDC(Sorry I mean Jet), Kings of Leon, The Mars Volta, The Strokes, Metallica and then torn between Flaming Lips and Basement Jaxx - got tickets for Flaming lips later in the week anyway.

Talking of tickets - discovered I have an odd trait when it comes to buying tickets that I don't have a remotely relaxed attitude to ticket purchasing - I'm sat hitting the refresh key for about 10 minutes before the tickets go on sale and re-dialling the ticket agency in case there is a sudden influx of calls that crashes the computer system and the phone lines - it's a very tense moment for me - thus when the Radiohead tickets went on sale and it took me fifteen minutes to get through I was almost hysterical - however I generally have more success - thus I have ticket numbers three and four for The Flaming Lips (not that it matters as its general admission).

Dec 2003

Busier than Saddam Hussein's travel agent at the moment, doing the work of 4 people because of holidays, paternity leave and my

boss's absence- again! - Having only just come back from what was in effect a 3-week drinking tour of the Americas

(where for the record he spent more money in 1 night in Santiago on booze than we did in two weeks all up - Good work fella),

he has disappeared off to do the same thing in Africa.

Still, how can I wield a Peter Grant style cricket bat and the 'Harris if I can't sort my own affairs?

What can I say that hasn't already been said, this year I've seen Australia beaten by England twice on their home soil. I was up

in Sydney (or New Leeds as it has now been re-named) last week for the final and it was a case of 'spot the Australian' as we

had completely taken over the city.

Watched the game at a mates house - I was the only Englishman there, resplendent in my England top - me the least patriotic

man in the world - being on the opposite side of the world does funny things to you! Realised early on that most of the people

were Fed Police - all trained to use violence and weaponry - I was somewhat worried that it might get ugly and they might

employ some of that training on me, thankfully they refrained and only locked me out in the garden at the end of the game.

Best think about the whole event was the PM "Big" Johnny Howard sulking at the award ceremony …
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/11/23/1069522475543.html
http://members.optushome.com.au/thesquiz/s8letters.031124.htm

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2362150346&category=204

Kudos to Prince Harry - managed to pull one over on his old man - came over to here 'to work on a cattle station

.' However he seems to have managed to get to a lot of rugby games and be pictured mainly quaffing pints and

smoking tabs in Sydney all at the Australian taxpayers expense - hold on a moment that's me. The Bastard!

Supposed to be writing about the music scene down here so heres part 1:
If you want to get a recording contract claim to be from Melbourne ring the NME and bob's your uncle.

Quick guide to Australian bands seemingly "destined for world domination":

Jet - ACDC covers band - apparently saw them as support for The Vines - they were marginally better than

Vines who were poor - next Nirvana? Back to McDonalds with them both.
The Sleepy Jackson - Possibly worst live band I've ever seen.
You am I/ Tim Rogers - Very good
Avalanches - New album on the way
Ice Cream Hands - good, better live than on CD.
Rocket Science - apparently Supergrasses favourite band - top live.
The Cat Empire - bizarre but good check the web site: http://www.thecatempire.com.au/ce_stage_menu.html
Powederfinger - New album Vulture St rocks suitably hard
Guy Sebastian - Pop Idol winner probably on plane to London as you read this- born again Christian!

More as I think of them.

Having a music fest at the moment, got all the gear over from the UK so paying attention to the back catelog,

bought new CD player and speakers - is most excellent set gotta go -watching Live After Death on DVD - "Scream for me Longbeach!"

IT

Nov 2003

"You can take the boy put of Fleetwood, but you can't take Fleetwood
out of the boy," someone once said. It's nearly six years since I
took two taxis and got outta Dodge, but nothings changed, same old
shit just older and in a different city.

My birthday was last week, 32, celebrated in the traditional way by getting as drunk as is humanly possible.

Actually, I was by general agreement the most pissed man in Melbourne. Began with the intention of drinking

32 halves - made an excellent start - two fisted
drinking virtually from the start. However plans went astray very quickly -my fatal mistake of the night was

agreeing to drink whatever was put in front of me. After that my few recollections of night are; shot glasses,

something that tasted of Pernod and Whiskey
and something called a Cement Mixer (Baileys and Lemon Juice). I recall this one as I though it had cheese

or bread in it. Oh, and a vague memory of being a bit sick on a pavement somewhere.

From what I have been told since I was doing Father Jack impressions in an Irish pub. I sat next to someone

for half an hour that I have met several times and then turned to someone (who happened to be his girlfriend)

and asked "Who the fook was that?"
Bring on 33 I say.

Rugby fever here at the moment. Can't understand the rules that well, but the World Cup's on, England's

got the best chance - Ranked No 1 - when was the last time you can remember England ranked No. 1 in anything?

Went to see New Zealand v Canada. The Victorians (the state Melbourne is in - they have states rather than

counties - as they want to be American - more of that some other time), don't understand Rugby - they play

Australian Rules football, (www.afl.com.au -a silly game).
So it's easy to get tickets for the pool games and the majority of the crowd are ex-pats and tourists.

They don't usually serve 'full strength' beer at sporting events here, so the novelty value for the locals is

that they can buy real beer rather than the piss weak 'light'
or 'mid-strength' stuff which means that many of the locals who do go are absolutely wankered by half time.

Bizarre Australian Trait #1: Drive Through Off Licenses (or 'bottle shops' to use the local term). You are

unable to buy any kind of booze in a supermarket, however you can go to the drive through, and buy

12 bottles of vodka or a 'slab' of beer without even getting out of
your car. It is illegal to drink and drive but… surely this is more
of an encouragement than a deterrent?

Until next time . . . - IT

John Crewdson Esq. Part 4 – Sole Trader

Well, I may have taken many many years to get round to doing it, but I've finally grasped the capitalist dream by the scruff of the pants and gone and done it; "Dear Mr. Taxman, I am now self employed. Please take my money away".
After years of doing shitty jobs, and years of avoiding shitty jobs (being in a band, going to university, the Dole (ahh, remember the days when all you had to do was sign on and feign an interest in work?), I finally came to the conclusion that climbing the corporate ladder wasn't for me. Call it an 'independent spirit', or call it 'being immature' but having a boss telling what to do never sat well with me, and seeing perfectly sane people spout 'office new-speak' made me want to vomit with rage, (you know the shit people spout in meetings - if I heard one more person say "going forward", or "lets think outside the box here people", I think I would have flung myself at them, grabbed their throats and screamed "DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING? WHAT EXACTLY DOES THAT MEAN? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE IMPRESSING WITH THAT CORPORATE OFFICE CUNT SPEAK??"
So the only options I had left were,
A: To become a 'Homeless',
or B: To become a 'Self Employed'.
So, having abandoned drinking "mad white cider" years ago (see 'being on the Dole above'), I opted for plan B. But what to do? Paper-rounds don't pay well and not having a head for heights, being a window cleaner was out, so I decided to open a shop. I'd never worked in a shop before, unless you count 6 months on a Y.T.S. (those under 30: ask your parents), at a car parts shop in Fleetwood as experience, but I wasn't going to let that get in the way.

So first of all needed a name, so I asked my good friends from around the globe for suggestions. Here's what I got in return:


Crewdsons Unbelievably Naff Tatt
Vinyl Wallpaper
Wallop!
John's Not Mad
Snooper's Paradise 2
Albion Market
Brou-Ha-Ha
Truly Bazaar
Fools Gold
Alf's Mini Market
Pete's Pink Bicycle
Beard Of Satan
Bread Of Satan
Captain Jacket Shop
Kill All Tourists
Dr Johns House Of Bong
Clothing Down
The Eccles Cake Shop
Afleks Palace
Ben Afleks Palace
J-Low
Buy-Low
Aldi
Burtons
Woolworthless
J-Mart
Stanley Matthews Was Gay
The Stanley
The Palace
Yate's Wine Lodge
Blackpool Tower
6 For A Pound Yr Gas Lighter
Cabbage
Toast
Jam
Northern Fried Chicken
Can You Smell Onion?
Wheel Of Justice
Myxamtosis
Myxamt-Shirt
Cat Litter
Johns Old Tat You Don't Really Want But Will Buy Anyway

... my mum's suggestion was "A Mistake" - thanks mum.


So, as readers of this site may well know, the Pitch & Putt Shop was born (obvious really. I originally thought of opening either a book shop, a record shop, or a video shop, but, because I was in no position to compete with Waterstones or HMV, and I figured that there's no future in selling anything that can be downloaded on the internet, those options where out. So T-shirts was the thing, and, as anybody who lives in Blackpool knows, there's fuck all shops selling decent T's. Well not the kind of stuff I sell anyway.

I opened the doors to the public on the 3rd of July 2004, a Saturday, and the first thing I sold was "The horses neck", a book of Pete Townsend's poetry I got from a second hand shop years ago, I never finished reading it `cos it's absolute drivel, but a sales a sale, and to celebrate me and Paul Taylor cracked open the warm bottle of champagne he's graciously brought. I made a colossal £1.70 that day; thankfully it's got a lot better since.
Being situated on Blackpool's glorious Central Drive, (opposite "Andy's Tattoo's, Weed City and a few doors down from "Exxxxxtreme videos" (not to mention Blackpool's only Rangers FC bar 'The Union')), the shop does tend to attract weirdo's. in fact on the first day I got some cunt asking me to give HIM money! I've been offered everything from gold chains, pirate DVD's to a shopping bag, for 25p, from a Muslim fella. The other day a bloke appeared in the shop, crew cut, tatts, wearing a t-shirt bearing a bull-dog and a union jack. He said "have you got any union jack T-Shirts? I love owt patriotic me". Hmm.
Here's a list of the odder requests do far:


"Have you got a T-Shirt with……. On it?"


Will Young
Stephen Segal
Big Daddy
"A Lion"
"A Horse" (?)
Blue (not the band, just a Blue t-shirt)

…. Why do I even fucking bother…?


*******

Other news: having decided not to murder my neighbours just yet, as their own miserable lives is punishment enough, I was overjoyed to over hear a conversation between them and their landlord about the fact that they owe £400 on rent, and with any luck will be evicted sometime soon. I can only hope, and pray, that this will be the case. Please god, make it so.


The Harbinger part 4

Dear Danny,

Why have you forsaken me? I'm wearing your jock-strap taped high in to my inner thigh, rubbing into my manhole. You saw me I think, this morning. I saw the curtain twitch as I took off down the gravel drive and I slept under the old oak, where she used to kick her legs, tired from walking in the graveyard picking off the lichen to reveal ....old names!! And as I slept I dreamt I was a woman and you were my man. Here is my dream.....

"She got up. The sunlight cracked through the broken blinds, and she shuddered. A thin small line of urine, left in her tube these 18 hours of sleep, now seeped from her panties down her inner thigh.

"Christ!" she exclaimed. "Fucking Christ..." But her shrill cry just tailed off into a whimper.

The flannels still sat there, washed and ironed, where she had presented them. As commanded. But so much had happened since. So much of the usual, she thought to herseld as she ran one manicured nail over the crease in the cricket trousers. And, before she knew humanly what she was doing, she was tugging off her cerise pink teddie, tearing at her stockings and replacing them with the pressed cricket flannels. She was wearing his whites.

She vomited a small spew on the floor at sheer pleasure of feeling his trousers against her naked skin.

Awoken to the sheer power of her dress, topless, she made now for the old-fashioned 'jock-strap' he insisted on wearing. Something about "protecting the crown jewels for my little princess," he used to say to her, with one thick hand around her chin and Remy Martin breath all over her face. She picked up the contraption and used a stray piece of elastic to tie it to her upper inner thigh. Next she bounded from the house and away, down the gravel drive, enjoying the pain of the stone 'neath her feet. The jock-strap curiously gripped in to her with every stride, and soon she was coming with every 9 yards. Expiation is impossible, sin is endless, she thought....."

yours,
Roger.

Harbinger,
A telegram to my office? Are you mad, man? The typing pool is awash with rumour and I now have to undergo the ignominy of drinking from the automatic water fountain under the smirking gaze of a dozen bovine wittering females.
As to your question of abandonment, since Furbish-Jennings withered under my coruscating attack on his Commie leanings in the Union, I have discovered a new love, other than you and your myopic approach to living this life we are forced into. My debating society has provided me with a freshly discovered sense of pride in my own abilities and this, my dear Harbinger, has led me into the wanton meadows of onanism and self-exploration to the nth degree.
I no longer require your services, yet, touchingly, wish you all the best with your chosen career path in the work of cricketing merchandise retail.
Should you need to call upon me for anything, do call my manservant Adams and arrange a luncheon date forthwith.
I shall never forget our sun-soaked days on the Cam.
Yours,
D.H.

Patrick Kagoul Notes from the Frontline Part 8

D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

As Billy Connolly correctly spelt.

That's it were through, it's over, 10 years together but no more. I can't live like this, it's gone on too long.
Too many days of waking up head hurting, pain, remorse and long periods of self loathing, recriminations, doubts, large patches of my memory that I can't account for my actions. But it's not that easy to make a clean break is it? No, everywhere I look I see her, every time I go out to the pub, too bars, to clubs she's there and it's so tempting, it would be so easy just to go back, forget my strength, my resolve and to take her back for one last drink.

I was out in a bar with my friends when I was speaking to Mr. Si Timmings and he pointed it out to me first.
The problem.
Did I get really bad hangovers? - Yes.
Did I ever have nights when I couldn't remember much the next day? - Yes.
Did I drink Stella Artois? - Yes.

It was then that the realisation hit me, luckily as it was still early in the night and Stella had not seen off the other still functioning brain cells..
Say it wasn't so, somebody tell me that he was lying, but no, somewhere deep down I knew he was right. My friends had warned me, Jason had always referred to Stella as 'dirty Stella' but I never listened, I couldn't. I never wanted to face up to it, the possibility that this, my great comforter and tasty friends was indeed bad for me.

But it was and it is and for that reason I have tried to separate myself from it, to try to go with other beers but it's just not the same. I go out and what's on offer well it doesn't compare. Everything is weaker it's not as tasty it's not as appealing and on top of that there is the comforting habit that long relationships bring. The security of knowing where you are with the other, or where they are in the shop at least.

All of this I now need to find in my arms another beer. It's not been easy I admit the courtship process is great, no catches no ties just a quick word with the bar staff and that's that, but what about the long term? Well that's a different matter. There are a few contenders at this early stage but well I don't like to say, not while the hurt is still too raw.