31 March 2009

I'm on a Mexican Radio...I'm on a Mexican wo-oah radio...

Hola, muchachos!

This week finds me back on the hamster wheel, wondering if I ever really went on holidays as the memory fades from my mind faster than the tan from my pasty limbs. To put it succinctly: Mexico was flippin' awesome! I'd love to show you pics but unfortunately my camera got nicked. I shan't bore you with the full police report but suffice it to say that cocktails and inattention were involved in equal measure and a fair share of the blame rests with muggins here.

Theft aside, the rest of the holiday was bloody marvelous. We stayed in an eco-lodge in beach-side cabanas right in the middle of a sea turtle habitat. Wooden everything, palapa roof, compost toilets, solar- and wind- generated electricity, the fecund verdant jungle out our back door and the crystal azure ocean out the front. The sand was the consistency of creamed butter and sugar, and there were crews of Mexican dudes out at dawn each morning raking the beach and clearing away all the rubbish that washes up during the night (there's a lot) but surprisingly no sea shells at all.

We spent most of our time reading in the glorious sunshine, swimming in the sea, drinking cocktails as the sun went down, lovin' the heck out of each other and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean right outside our door. A typical day would entail rising with the sun (no clocks or calendars so you quickly lose all track of time), a walk along the beach to breakfast, a swim and a read for a few hours, happy hour and lunch at Playa Azul or Zebra, a quick shower then happy hour at Om or Zulum, walk along the beach at sunset to dinner at Zamas or Margarita. Salette speaks Spanish muy bien and was teaching me bits and pieces. My challenge for the holiday was to order dinner all by myself and I did it on, like, the third day or something: "Mi gustaria la tacos de pescado, por favor" AND I managed to order drinks while she was in the dunny: "Dos mas margaritas pronto, mi amigo! Arriba!"

I found out that there are words in Spanish which sound very similar but mean completely different things which makes for hilarious misunderstandings. Like when the waiter asked if we both spoke Spanish, Salette meant to refer to me (mi hombre) but instead said "mi hambre" which means "my hungry". Or when we went to an Italian place (Italian is big in Mexico for some reason) and she asked if there was much garlic ("ajo") in the sauce but instead said "ojos" which means eyes. Aye chihuahua! Still, you have to love a language which has about a thousand ways to say hello and goodbye depending on the time of day: ola, buenos dias, buenos tardes, buenos noches, vemos luego, hasta la vista, hasta manana.

On the whole the food was disappointing, but when it was good it was REALLY flippin' good. The place we spent most of our time is called Zamas and is run by a couple of ex-San Franciscans who really know their stuff. Not that it's hard to shine given the tourist-friendly garbage most of the restaurants are spewing up, but we were amazed at how little is made of the fresh local produce and Mexican traditional cooking. Thankfully Zamas came to the rescue with their amazing fish tacos and kick-arse margaritas, and the complimentary guacamole was divine. The place we stayed had a quaint little restaurant called Casa Banana, which wins the award for best name, but sadly their food was not that great. Although I will admit that their home-made bread was one of the best things on the beach and a staple for breakfast everyday with melted butter and coffee.

I'm as far from my next holiday as it's possible to get, but every day that passes brings me close and closer to the end of August when I meet up with Salette in Venice for the tail end of the Biannale, from where we will head off to Bologna for a week of gastronomic gloriousness.

The pain of losing Sweaty Betty is still fresh and raw, like emotional sushi. Many's the night I have laid awake tortured by nightmares of her treatment at the hands of the vicious sweaty ne'er-do-wells who abducted her, her innocence and beauty violated and subjugated by their every sordid villainous whim. In a desperate attempt to assuage my suffering I've done what any rational-minded individual would do...I bought another bike. Hooray for materialism! Luckily for me, my new work is part of the cycle to work scheme so I can salary sacrifice exactly the same bike I had before, Specialized Rockhopper, but this one (which I have named Lucy Goosey) is an '09 model and is 100 squid cheaper than the '08. I pick her up later this week, all going well.

The G20 summit is due to kick off this week as are the accompanying protests by the legions of hippy commie pinko lefty leso homos (as my dad would say) that are allegedly flooding into the city to disrupt the daily affairs of the polite folk and basically cause affront to all that's good and decent with their patchouli stinking work-shy shenanigans. Pretty much everyone has been warned to avoid coming in to the city, but those who must have been told to not wear a suit so as to avoid being made a target by blood-thirsty treehuggers. The police are on high alert for a violent confrontation and army vehicles have started appearing in side streets and back alleys close to where the action is supposed to kick off.

For fuck's sake! Just think, if the same level of repression and determination that goes into suppressing these protests was applied to the fucktards in the banks and governments that caused this whole financial mess in the first place, there wouldn't be any protests 'cos there wouldn't be any fucking mess.

It's supposed to be getting warmer now that Spring has sprung although you wouldn't know it with the amount of rain we've been getting. Still, now that Lucy Goosey has entered my life I'm feeling the yearning to get back out amongst the glory of nature and shred the fuck out of it. Look for me where ever dudes in sexy bike gear are found...

6 March 2009

Down St. Earl Street, Thursday night...In the city that sounds nice...Talking shit with my colleagues...Did we do the same degree?

All right? How's about ya? What are you like?

Prior to Xmas last year a Westfield shopping mall opened up in west London and people here went absolutely nuts about it. Me and NOAG (Number One American Girlflen) went to check it out and were all like, "What's the big deal, like, I mean, really?" There aren't any actual mall-type malls over here, Certainly not in London, so seeing the expressions of drooling awe at this shrine to materialism on people's slack-jawed mugs was reminiscent of the day when Belco Mall first opened it's doors...back in 19-flippin-78! Come on, people, this is not a revolution in shopping technology. It's just a collection of the same flashy trashy stores selling the same over-priced crap as they were before, only instead of being arranged horizontally at street level they've stacked them in a box. It was difficult to get zoning permission for such a monstrosity so it's in a pretty remote location in the North West. In fact, regardless of where you live in London, in order to get to the mall you have to travel past multiple instances of the exact same stores the mall has. Understandably, non-mall business owners are worried because people like shiny new gimmicks and the parking is free. Frankly, anything which draws the slavering hordes away from the places I go and into a convenient location easily identified by fighter planes from the air is fine by me.

What do you think popped up over Edison's head when he got the idea for the light bulb? Salette thinks it was a candle but I think it was some weird-arse prototype light bulb and he was all like, "Forsooth! What the fuck is that?"

How crazy were the Victorian bushfires? I fired up news.com.au for the first time in ages to catch up on what's going on back home and BAM! How horrifying and tragic for all those people. Thankfully Phil and the Gang, who live right in the middle of the fire zone, had the sense to get out when the going was good and ride out the firestorm in Melbourne. We all know bushfire season is part and parcel with living in a hot dry climate but 200 people dead? Come on! And you know who's to blame, don't you? No, not Baby Jeebus...it's smokers. Smokers and teenagers, what with their arson and their lung cancer and their ping pong machines.

There's a bunch of awesome music festivals coming up later this year, and I was super stoked to learn that Mastodon, Lamb of God and Machine Head will all be playing on the same bill at Sonisphere in August. Still reeling from that bombshell, I then learned that Faith No More are reforming to play at the Download festival in June. Are you flippin' kidding me? And as if that wasn't mind-blowing enough, I THEN found out that The Jesus Lizard are reforming and playing their first gig at the Forum in London! As Robin used to say, "Holy fucking shit, Batman!"

I got to go back to Dublin for a couple of days for a project with a new client. Just before I left I got an email from one of my flatmates informing me my bike got nicked Bastards! We live in a secure complex and it was chained to a metal drainpipe in our back yard which can only be accessed from inside the house...how the feck did they get in? Surveying the scene with my ultra-violet CSI semen light, I deduced that someone from the neighbouring block of flats (who have a clear view of our yard from their upper floors) jumped the shared fence, ripped the drainpipe off the wall and scarped back over the fence with Sweaty Betty in their evil clutches. As pissed off as I am about the whole thing, you've got to admire that kind of tenacity. No doubt poor Betty has been stripped down to her parts and flogged at Brick Lane along with the multitude of other stolen bikes. Can we all please have a moment of silence for the recently departed...Ave, Betty!

My plans for a visit to Oz have, alas, come to naught. There were too many timing conflicts and the NZ leg with Salette proved more expensive than we originally anticipated due to our offer of "free" accommodation ending up being for just a couple of nights and not the entire time as we first thought. So with our leave approved and our hopes of finding some sun fading faster than the advance for John Howard's memoirs, we spent three frantic weeks working on a backup Plan. It's been a really long time since either of us had to plan a trip with another person so it got off to a comical start, as we politely tried to accommodate each other's wants and needs. The comedy quickly turned to frustration, though, as the deadline approached and we still couldn't decide where we wanted to go, whence ensued a brief period of selfishness where we went only for things we knew each other would hate. In the end a happy medium was reached and on Sunday morning we jet off to Mexico for two weeks in an off the grid eco-hotel on the Yucatan Peninsula. Arriba! Our cabana is sandwiched between secluded beach and virgin jungle and there's no electricity other than what they generate through solar and wind. There's a biosphere nearby as well as Mayan ruins but the whole point of it is that there's nothing to do but sleep, swim, read books in the sun and shag your arse off, all punctuated with bouts of delicious Mexican food and killer margaritas. How ever will I cope? Maybe an occasional application of sand to the genital will take the edge off the bliss...

Jimbo was kind enough to send me a bunch of pics from back in the band days. Man, talk about a trip down memory lane. The fashion, the hairstyles, the hats! Check it out on my Facebook profile and try and control your envy at just how rockin' I was back then: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=67573&id=752123545. If you don't use Facebook then I'll post them on my Picasa site later.