Edinburgh, that is, and (thanks to a ridiculously cheap set of train tickets that it would have been rude to say no to) by way of London – yay! There are some who would say that it was difficult to tell I was back at all and it’s with huge apologies to everybody who has tried for short notice appointments this last few weeks and not been able to get them, and also to those who did get them and found me to be a touch on the painty side, if as amenable as ever thanks largely to my favourite festival of the year and far too much Nando’s for one weekend.
One walkout, which is unusual for DBD – not because I haven’t wanted to leave mid-film precisely once a year every year (the one dropped ball is the annual get-back for the rest all being so consistently wonderful) but because normally the film I loathe is also the one lots of people like and as a result I feel bad about disturbing a whole row. This time fortune was on my side; only three people between me and the door and whilst it took me half an hour of agonising finding a suitable point to do so, some 45 minutes into Men and Chicken I made like a tree, and fucked off.
Dead By Dawn is the most well behaved trip to the pictures I know, at least in part (I’m sure) because bad behaviour will get you chucked out sans refund. Without wanting to sound like the most pious, self righteous arse in cinemagoing, I don’t annoy people either in my immediate vicinity or in the rest of the screen (or at least if I do I can’t imagine how unless it’s just by existing at all which some people are more than capable of doing, so not completely implausible); I tuck my elbows, use the appropriate drinks holder if there is one and keep my stuff in my own seat and adjoining little bit of floor rather than let my coat sleeves sprawl into anybody’s lap or have my bag trip anyone up. So I’d rather they didn’t do it to me, least of all at £75 per ticket plus the cost of travel to Scotland and four nights in an Edinburgh city centre hotel.
I don’t eat crisps, wrapped sweeties or otherwise noisy, rustly or smelly food but occasionally I drink coffee, which is smelly if you take the lid off. I once – at FrightFest in the Leicester Square Empire days – sat two seats along from a man who brought in and ate a Burger King carryout that would have fed a family of four, and stank the whole room out with it for the best part of an hour until the air conditioning (which anybody who ever sat in the original Empire One when it wasn’t that full and wound up wishing they’d brought a flask, hot water bottle and a blanket will remember well) finally dealt with it. Then again, that was also the year that a couple of gents at the back got bored during Hammer Of The Gods and decided to crack one off instead, and that somebody else decided it would be a good idea to show Tulpa, presumably as there wasn’t enough comedy on the bill.
Big hit of the weekend’s otherwise thoroughly dystopian theme was We Go On, which I can enthusiastically recommend as it’s in English and therefore there’s a chance it might pop up somewhere – fingers crossed! The Disappearance Of Willie Bingham took my vote for Best Short although not the audience one, and whilst I’d love to post it here so that every else can see how the US penal system will likely end up if enough people are stupid enough to vote for Donald Trump, I can’t find it in full anywhere so we’ll have to make do with Steve Desmond’s Monsters for this years’ DBD clip. Fab (and completely gore free) stuff.
A 7am ride on the tram and a few hours on the East Coast line later started a trip to London, which bizarrely was at least ten degrees colder than Edinburgh although everything was roughly the same price. A brief pit stop on the South Bank and then home, where I have been industriously plugging away at the DIY ever since – advance bookings (or an hour in advance, anyway) have been the order of the day for a change and worst of it is still to come but I’ve promised myself to make a bit more of an effort for the rest of the month, not least because my back hurts and I’m sick of the sight of paint.
Once the place is looking summat-like, new photos! I don’t look any different bar a touch more Nando’s, but an overhaul never does any harm. The football will be upon us in less than a month and I’ll update on availability once I’ve been to WH Smiths, as the latest When Saturday Comes with wall chart included hit the shelves yesterday and I haven’t got one yet.
More soon, definitely! In the meantime if anybody has any tips on self levelling screed I’d be happy to hear them (I’m not kidding).
To Edinburgh that is, and in just shy of an hours’ time – woohoo!
Since I missed Glasgow FrightFest earlier this year, Dead By Dawn is my first festival of 2016 as well as my enduring favourite, not least because I get to stay in my favourite budget pod-cave, eat chips every day if I want to (always with salt and sauce and sometimes with white pudding) and potter around the Filmhouse lobby shop looking at DVDs; I’m not even sure anywhere in Scarborough bar the supermarkets still sells new DVDs, and definitely not the Tartan Asia Collector’s Editions, plus they have postcards! Oh, and consistently the best film programme of the lot.
All this means that my work phone will categorically not be on until Monday lunchtime; anybody peering in from London, please email! Or by all means text, provided you don’t mind that it may well be a few hours or the next day before I can reply – DBD is a phone free zone for anybody who doesn’t want chucked out and their pass confiscated, and rightly so. Manchester’s Grimmfest (where sitting anywhere other than the front row is like fucking Diwali right up to the point until a foreign language film comes on, all the people with one eye on the screen and the other on Twatter realise they need to read the subtitles and put them away for ninety minutes, and incredibly nobody asks them to stop) could learn a thing or two.
A longish train ride straight to a couple of days in Waterloo is next; it’s a flying visit, but plenty of fun will be had and a proper trip follows in June after I managed to snag three Hidden London tickets in yesterdays presale – yay! There should be some left, but after the meltdown on the London Transport Museum site at the start, possibly not many and the general sale started yesterday morning. Who knew so many people would want to pay handsomely to get to creep around abandoned Tube tunnels in the dark? I get to see the disused bits of Euston tube station (and wear a hi-vis and hard hat), Down Street in Mayfair and also a whizz around London’s first skyscraper 55 Broadway, an obscenity in it’s day and where one of my best pals once got the sack from London Underground. Happy days.
Just a quick update then – back in Scarborough next week, possibly Thursday but definitely Friday. Londoners – will see you soon!
Carnage first. And that’s just getting down the Lothian Road on a weekend night.
And the days are still flying by! Another day, another month, another tax year – slightly over four weeks ago I was on the plane home from New York after a big lunch at a Korean food-by-weight buffet, a (standing all the way) LIRR ride and a $30 excess baggage fee thanks entirely to the weight of grape jelly in my suitcase. Oops.
My New York trips have always wound up a struggle between work-time and holiday-time, and despite having the best intentions (and some seriously expensive advertising) the latter normally wins by default and rightly so – the November trip was the only one where it didn’t and the stay was definitely a poorer one as a result, despite some extremely pleasant company. And sitting around in a hotel room all day after flying thousands of miles to one of the world’s great cities is something that should only be done in the event of serious food poisoning or other incapacitation; doing so because you’re waiting for other people to organise themselves is the road to madness when emails can be carried in a pocket and an international SIM card costs pence. So I didn’t.
It’s a good few weeks ago now, but neither the One World Trade Centre Observatory, the Tenement Museum (recommended especially for anybody who, like me, has never spent a lot of time poking around the Lower East Side) nor the American Museum of Natural History, all highlights of my trip, are going anywhere fast. The latter saved my bacon after the usual There’s Always One (or more usually, two) numpty-a-thon and having decided on a whim to go for a look for comparison purposes and some light dinosaur spotting, I wound up spending the entire day learning about pretty much everything (well maybe not quite everything, but I looked at a lot of ancient tools, jewellery and weapons, compared crystals, ores (ha) and geodes in the jaw-dropping Hall of Minerals and carefully read all the labels on the cephalopods).
But even after all that, the dinosaurs are always the best part. After catching sight of him in Time Out I particularly wanted to see the newly exhibited and as yet unnamed Titanosaur; so huge at one hundred and twenty two feet that he doesn’t fit into the gallery properly and subsequently has his head sticking out through a doorway whilst anybody wanting to sit and watch the video clips at the far end is sharing space with his tail. Having once had the ill fortune to spend a night at the EasyHotel in South Kensington following an evening visit to the V&A, I know how he feels.
Sometimes the well-worn tourist paths are my go to choice, sometimes not – the huge signposts, coloured arrows and welcoming, idiot-proof entry processes help a lot when it’s 9.30am, you’ve already been awake for five hours and have just had two fried egg and cheese rolls. Another new discovery for me, the WTC has sprung up fairly quickly considering it’s (at the time of writing, at least) the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and in a part of town I don’t pretend to know, but after a recommendation from a helpful punter and a look on TripAdvisor my fondness for skyscrapers got the better of me. Its proximity to the new PATH rail terminal, to which I plan a return so I can pretend I’m in 2001: A Space Odyssey even more once it’s finished, didn’t hurt either.
As the middle photo suggests, the high floors (to one hundred and four, total) and observation deck on can’t be seen from the ground at all, but fortunately for me it was a nice day and the ground right to the north point of Manhattan island (despite my atrocious eyesight I picked out New York Life, the Chrysler Building and Trump Tower) could definitely be seen from the 360 degree windows. The lift ride is also better than the one in the Shard, but the toilets are ordinary and disappointingly window-free. Boooo.
I can heartily recommend this for anybody who might be interested in finding out more about skyscrapers, but then I’m always interested in skyscrapers. Unfortunately the time came to leave them all behind and return home, losing en route my padlock, cut off by the TSA who decided to have a rifle through my bag on the way home (presumably because they couldn’t believe that the large rectangular objects were really, truly just packs of saltines and not a cover for something far more interesting), although as they did put the padlock back in the case with a note it’s not strictly lost, just unusable. Thankfully both crackers and grape jelly survived the ordeal, as did I. No prizes for guessing which among us is still here unscathed a month later.
Back to the present! The school holidays are finally done (to the best of my knowledge anyway; these ones seemed to go on forever?) and whilst the home improvements are continuing with a vengeance – even more so the clocks have gone forward and we have daylight until at least midway through the Channel 4 news – availability for the next ten days or so is back where it should be and all is well. Dead By Dawn in Edinburgh follows from Thursday week, and as if by magic, London Waterloo the week after that – yay!
More soon. This isn’t getting any skirting boards caulked.