What more?

Yes more! Jenna is in the room, enjoying the Olympics. I like sport but I'm a net nerd at heart so here I am, back at the computer with a free beer.

Positano was superb. High cliffs with buildings hanging on, blue skies and a deep blue sea that seemed unaffected by tides. We arrived last Monday having been picked up by a stylish man driving a shiny black Mercedes. My previous holiday experiences usually involved interestingly new forms of public transport and plentiful supplies of guesswork before I ever arrived at my pokey two star digs.
We were brought to a hotel almost on the beach. Technically a five star but more like a four (according to Jenna - she's traveled with more class than I have). The staff were the perfect mix of efficient but not so fawning that you wanted to start a workers' revolution. Champagne was in the room and the balcony overlooked the beach and sea.
In the evening we dined at the hotel restaurant and found our driver playing the keyboard. Imagine a parody of an Italian resort and chose the most cliched music you can think of. That's what he played. Good to see some live music of course but did he have to play every grace note and choose the mandolin patch' so many times? Maybe he did.
Still, the first day was a good mix of travel and exploration. Positano has a lot of steep, narrow alleyways filled with, well, garish 'fashion' would be the only way of describing it.

Day one complete. No problem. It should be noted that I did resist logging on at the hotel internet point but I couldn't stop myself from picking up the latest William Gibson at every available opportunity.

This is really it for now. I'm going to polish off the free beer, surf for fun software and go back to the room. Maybe the UK will have won another bronze by now.


OK, I promised an update and here it is. Fuzziness gone as we have booked into the Gatwick hotel for the night, rather than come home. The original plan was to pick up the car and drive to Cornwall, or Devon, or the Lakes. However, overcome with the joys of the honeymoon, and possibly influenced by a lack of sleep, we're now booked onto a flight to Paris where a hotel room will be our home for a few days. It's not Cornwall but it should be fun.

I spent my 40th birthday in Paris this year. The first time Jenna and I had been there as a couple, besides which I love Paris anyway and been visiting the place since I was 17.

Tonight we can chill out here at Gatwick, free and convenient internet access meaning I can write this. Aforementioned lack of sleep meaning I'm not going to email anybody directly.

The Italian part of the honeymoon has been wonderful. Crazy bus journeys, a boat trip to Ischia that hit rough seas and sent us to Naples, me in a flowery shirt and other adventures to be published soon.

It's time to get back to the room, eat the comp chocs and rewire my body clock.

Current listening: Unidentified piece of Vivaldi on the hotel system.


Back at Gatwick, but where next? Both feeling fuzzy. More soon. xx


...the wedding

Just as I logged off I thought I should say something about the wedding.

But not today.

Too many mental snapshots to upload and too much to do justice in a blog entry. Maybe I'll post the edited highlights but not just yet.

Love to all.

The most unromantic man in the world?

It's OK. Today is our first full day of married life but I haven't slunk off to write this. Jenna and I are enjoyed some of the facilities at the hotel prior to flying out. It's a mad, self contained world that I haven't experienced much before. I've always loved the atmosphere of airports but never stayed at one. However, the fab, modern room and all the toys (like email at breakfast for example) are things I could easily get used to.

Off for a dip in the pool now.

Current listening: You do something to me - Paul Weller


One day

Tomorrow is my wedding day. Today, my last as a single man finds me
sneezing (an allergic reaction? To what? Dust? Weddings?) and not fully
awake. Jenna and I went on a date last night and found a pub only a few
miles away which I wish we had discovered years before. Good food, calm
atmosphere (without being dead) and a pleasantly nervous serving
person. Also, for this area, they had a seriously good selection of
veggy food.

So many things need to be done today. Packing, taking the cat to the
cattery, moving my basses to somewhere that won't be largely empty for
two weeks, making up the little packets of almonds, and something
hugely important that I've almost certainly blanked out.

The best man is coming over tonight to do a quick speech check. His
nervous voice on the phone set me off last night. But, as I write this
I'm feeling calm and ready to face the day... and the rest of my life.

The only other thing is what to write in the blog after the wedding
day. Later this year I start a new job, celebrate a ten year friendship
and, hopefully, go to and play a lot of gigs. Then there's the short
film, the novel and the PhD theme. There has to be something worth
reading in that.

So, assuming I won't be spending the honeymoon in web cafes, this is it
for two weeks or so.

N.B. In Richard Guitarist's studio the other day we discovered it is
possible to rap Public Enemy's 'Fight the Power' over the Beatles'
'Come Together'.


The Drug Squad

The Drug Squad
Originally uploaded by Roostar.
This is part of The Drug Squad. They were my Stag Night band, although only the drummer knew this. The horn section and vocalist are out of shot here but it's always good to see guitarist Steph in full flow.

Five days

A full day today. Jenna and I overslept. I was woken at four by the cat playing with a mouse. I got up to rescue and liberate (out the front door, no need to put it out of its misery this time) the mouse then had a fitful night with bad dreams. The positive side of bad dreams is that the waking world is a better place than where you have just been.

Anyway, we got up late and drove to Bicester Village, a retail, um, village with end of line stock. Some of it looks like a jumble sale, some is very classy. Shop assistants to match as well. The full range from likeable and human to machine like, snotty gits who make you question if they only took the job to look down on others.

We spent far too long there but Jenna managed to finally get some more clothes for the honeymoon and beyond. I bought a shirt.

All this was fine until we noticed the time. Today's plan was to shop in the morning then pick up my parents and meet Jenna's at a tea shop near where the marriage is going to take place. The plan fell apart when we noticed how late it was and that Jenna still needed to shop some more. Yes, needed to shop more! She is still working this week and this would be her last chance. All I could do was abandon her and drive off to pick up folks and make the meeting.

That part of the day well very well. We met up, talked, didn't exchange any embarrassing childhood stories (I love my folks) and then rushed off home in the rain. We rushed primarily because of the thought of Jenna taking a bus from the retail village to my parents' house in the quite astonishingly heavy rain. When we returned she wasn't there, so I got back in the car and drove to the bus stop she might arrive at. I got out of the car with a brolly just as she came around the corner, soaking and bedraggled. It all felt very romantic, rushing up to her in the rain and giving her somewhere dry to shelter. I've rarely been so glad to see someone.

We went back to mum and dad's to pick up the bags and for Jenna to borrow a tasty silk top from mum. Then, after drying off I went to Richard Guitarist's house to record vocals for one of our songs. very pleased with the results.

I got back to find a tiny frog in the outhouse and Jenna freshly back from the gym. Time to blog and sleep.


Six days

Three pints of Guiness, lame rapping and some energetic ska, not to mention the company of friends. That was the 'stag night'. The lame rapping wasn't me by the way, it was the support to the Drug Squad, who played original ska music until the early hours. The best man wasn't feeling well so he missed out. I very nearly missed out too after a long day's shopping in Oxford (very hot, so many people). I wish I'd had the camera with me during the day as town was buzzing with music, colour and every accent from around the world.

For anyone interested, I can't seem to make the 'Government Bans Smiling' link work. The story was about new regulations on British Passport photographs. No more smiling, it seems. Have you known anyone who did smile in their passport picture though?



Originally uploaded by Roostar.
Tonight saw Jenna's meal with her workmates. When she came home with a bridal headdress, slices of cake and a huge box of 'toys' I was pleasantly surprised.

And if that wasn't enough fun this was also the last night of Big Brother V. Pop psychologists all across the land will have to find something else to analyse. Notable on the last night was Jason's lack of eye contact.

Tomorrow, the 'stag night.'


Government bans smiling!

It's true. What next? No Christmas.

One week, one day, stags and hens.

What do stag nights mean to you? To me they mean trips to Dublin, waking up tied to lampposts, strippers, waaaaay too much alcohol and excuse for excessive sexism and then paintballing the next day. Very good friends, people I love and admire have done this but somehow gigs or previous appointments have kept me away from the paintballing. Shame.
The last stag night I went on was great. I spent hours in a pub discussing Art Deco architecture (I was bluffing, having just been to the Art Deco exhibition at the V&A) and drinking, maybe, at a push two whole pints. The next day was paintballing but I had to be back in Oxford for two gigs.
I've been invited to the paintballing party that is Dave (trombonist and sound wizard) from Soul Beaver's but, hey, look at that! I'll be in Italy.

A theme of this wedding is the last minute and, dare I say, half arsed nature of some of the celebrating. I blame only myself for this but the reality is that tomorrow my 'stag do' will take the form of meeting few friends to see a band, have a few drinks and then skulk home.

Jenna's hen night is yet to be sorted out.

Now, on a techy note - despite my strong allegiance to all things Apple, I am terrifically impressed by the Mozilla Firefox browser, which allows me to make the blogging experience much less stressful and complicated. It's not as slick looking as Safari but seems more web friendly by several leagues.

Expect pictures from the stag night? Hmmm.

Current listening: End of the Game - Sting


One week and two days

Time is speeding up, that's for sure.

Had a wonderful rehearsal with Soul Beaver on Tuesday night. We played through new ideas for the set list and throughout the hot and heavy evening played some Led Zep, Joss Stone and who ever did the original version of 'Tainted Love.'

Bridge Street (the other band) has completed its entry for the Radio Two songwriting competition. So listen out for 'In My Place' which we're all very proud of.

On the wedding front the pub have sent us a sample menu, which looks wonderful. This is what we're offered...

Crispy Duck Confit with Fig Compote & Crazy Salad
Asparagus Vinaigrette with Shaved parmesan
Brochette of Scallops with saffron & Tomato
Roasted Plum tomato Tatin with Melted Goats Cheese
& Avocado Salsa
Fillet of Scotch Beef with Rosti , Wild Mushrooms
& Two Sauces
Pastry Puff of Newlyn Fishes with Tomato Butter Sauce
Terrine of Summer puddings with Clotted Cream Ice Cream
A Fondant of Valrohna Chocolate with pistachio Ice Cream
Selection of Farmhouse cheeses
Coffee with Champagne Truffle

Current listening: You'll see glimpses - Ian Dury and the Blockheads



BBC - Proms - Prom Events by Day
Great Prom last night. So much emotion, especially in the Tchaikovsky. I was knocked out by Gidon Kremer's encore after the Shostakovich Violin Concerto. It was, apparently, 'Aurora' by Eugene Ysaye.