This has happened twice in about two weeks, and frankly it pisses me off.
Two people have called me Jerry.
At work, I use my proper name, which isn’t Jez, but if you ever watched Peep Show, you can work it out.
So here’s the deal: friends call me Jez, family call me Jem, people I come into contact with on a professional basis, who are neither friends nor family, call me by my actual name. Because that’s what I tell them my name is.
I let the first one slide, because it was a phone call and I couldn’t rule out that the person on the other end of the phone hadn’t misheard me.
But the second time was replying to an email I had sent – which had my name in it. And yet they still thought it appropriate to respond with the opening line “Hi Jerry”.
Never have I felt more affinity with The Ting Tings:
Prompted by a tweet from Swiss Adam (auteur of all things Bagging Area-esque) on Friday, this, which is just gorgeous.
Follow Stipe’s lead vocal if you like – and why would you not want to, for it croaks and soars in equal measure – but the key to how beautifully brilliant this record is, I think, Berry and Mills’ sturdy, faithful backing vocals, which weave and wrap around Stipe’s lead like nothing I’ve heard before or since:
I’ve always loved New Year’s Eve more than I loved Christmas.
For me, the two events are very different beasts: Christmas is a time for family, New Year is a time for friends.
Over the past few years, going out on New Year’s Eve has happened less and less frequently, to the point where I know that tonight I will be home alone, having a wee drink or seven, and trying to avoid watching the bloody Hootenanny (which I’m sure is very entertaining, but – recorded in October – it’s the last bastion for lonely folks as the year ends, not something I care to admit to: I’m alone but not lonely, thanks very much).
I’m perfectly happy with this, by the way. I’m in my 50s now, but for much of my 40s I really couldn’t be arsed with going out on New Year’s Eve anymore anyway: it’s too expensive, you have to wait an age to get served at the bar, and generally there’s nowhere to sit (fellow over 40s will appreciate this more than anything else), all the good seats having been snaffled up hours ago by those annoyingly young people and their seemingly unlimited disposable income.
Since I moved to That London just over eleven years ago now, my NYE nights have been predominantly spent alone – one night out in Camden in my ‘Freshers’ year (really enjoyable, but bloody rammed), a couple of nights at friend’s house parties, a house party that Hel and I threw which I wrote about here and indeed here (which, Hel tells me, was ten years ago tonight, which it must be, as Hel is wrong even less frequently than me, if such a thing is possible).
Being at home alone on New Year’s Eve means there’s no peer pressure: I can go to bed whenever I want, drink as much or as little (yeah, right) as I want, and I don’t have to pretend to be impressed or excited by fireworks. Tonight, for example, I will be continuing to unpack following my recent decanting from my flat. (Yes, I have been back almost a month. No, I haven’t finished yet. I’ve had a bad back. And a cold. Not forgetting I am, essentially, a lazy sod.)
What I’m trying to say is that I quite like being at home on New Year’s Eve, and if you are too, then welcome. You’re really not alone.
Of course things were different when I was younger, and I would often be met with bemused looks from friends when I announced that I preferred going out on New Year’s Eve to going out at Christmas.
There’s a few reasons for that; firstly, New Year’s Eve is unburdened by any religious connotations. Secondly, many will have been lounging arojnd at home for a few days, and will emerge, batteries recharged, and frankly desperate to get away from their families. And thirdly, back then there was the promise of a midnight snog.
The occasions where I didn’t get lucky far outweighed those when I did, of course.
I hope this doesn’t come across as creepy or spark a #MeToo movement against my blog, for I was (I hope) always a perfect gentleman – but this song pretty much sums things up:
There aren’t many Christmas tunes about getting a train back to your family, so, since that is my preferred method of transport today (with a replacement bus or two tossed in for good measure) I’ll have to make do with this, glorious and kitsch as one would expect:
When I last posted something by this morning’s artiste, I was less than complimentary about the film to which he had provided the title track.
Until that point, I had never heard of Sturgill Simpson, and if I’m honest, I had assumed he wasn’t a real Country performer. Rather, because I was so disappointed by the film in question, I thought he was some made-up dude, an extension of a joke the film director was making that I really didn’t understand.
The other day on Twitter, somebody that I follow (I can’t remember who, or I’d give credit) mentioned how great his new album Sound & Fury is. So I investigated, and it really, really is.
This isn’t from that album, it’s from 2016’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, and it’s a cover version, but bloody hell it’s good:
My one great regret about writing this blog is that I no longer seem to be able to keep up with reading all that my blogging peers have written recently.
People I have shared flats with will testify that it used to be the case that once I got home from work, the first thing I would do would be to fire up my laptop (or PC as it was at the time), and check in on all my favourite folk, see what they’ve been up to and what they’ve been listening to.
But for the last couple of years, this routine has fallen by the wayside. Instead, every month or so – and often, not even that frequently – I’ll swoop by all those that I know, or who have commented here, or who contributed to The Chain back in the day, to catch up with what’s being going on with them. And hopefully pick up a few tips about tunes I don’t know about.
Over the last week, I’ve tried to rectify that, and found that many of my blogging buddies have been going through some hard times of late, and I feel terrible that until now I’ve not provided the same kind of support as they did to me, when I was taken ill last year, and then when I lost my best friend earlier this year.
Back before I started blogging, I didn’t realise the importance of leaving Comments on blogs I read, so I never left one. Not one.
But having been through some hard times myself and received such kind messages, I can tell you how much it means to know there are people out there – that I’ve never met and probably never will – who are decent, respectful and supportive. As one of my greatest allys has found recently, it’s so easy to forget in this world of online existence, where trolling and unpleasantness is often the norm, that there are far more nice, honourable people out there than there is the opposite.
This isn’t a pathetic plea for more comments here, this is an apology to all those who have commented and to whom I’ve not reciprocated until recently, when it’s way too late.
I wish I knew how to end this post. I’d love it to be something inspiring and uplifting, but I fear whatever I do will just come across as glib.
So I figured I’d embrace that. So here, by way of a truly shonky bit of clippage recorded so long ago that Tim Lovejoy still had hair (but was still an irritating twonk), is Alan Shearer doing what he does best: singing Labi Siffrie songs:
Hopefully ths won’t come across as pompous or self-important, but maybe it’s better way to sign off with a tune:
You can insert your own joke about that being a better score than most of the England Cricket Team managed over the summer here, if you like, but I’m not going there.
For when I was a young man at college, so monumental was my nicotine and Snakebite consumption, a fellow student bet me that I would be dead by the age of 30.
Well, open up your wallet Paul, wherever you are, and cough up some dosh, for I’ve only gone and smashed that. For today I reach the grand old age of 50.
And what am I doing to mark this momentous occasion? Well, celebrations began last Saturday when my old mate Richie and I went to a gig together – more of this later.
Tomorrow, I’ll be heading off to Destination Unknown to a holiday home booked by some of my chums for a long weekend of…well, drinking, probably. I know nothing about what lies in store for me – I only had the town revealed to me last weekend – but I have received some texts making subtle enquiries such as “What’s your favourite type of crisp?”, and “If you could only drink one kind of cider, what would it be?” and, perhaps most worryingly, “In your opinion, what are the best Status Quo/Chas’n’Dave songs to sing-a-long to?”
I know I’ve made that sound like I’m not looking forward to it, but I really am. I don’t get to see my bunch of buddies anywhere near as often as I like, and I know they’ll be pulling out all the stops to make sure the weekend goes with a bang.
As for the big day itself, well, I’ll be going to work and trying to cover up as many of the corners I’ve cut recently and hope that nobody notices or complains before I’m back in work next week.
I’m writing this on Thursday night, but I’m pretty sure that my transition from late-40s to early-50s will go pretty much like this:
Heck, that’s how I feel most Monday mornings.
I’m sure you don’t need telling that clip is from 1981’s still-brilliant-after-all-these-years An American Werewolf in London. I mean, even if you’ve never seen the film you could probably work it out because it’s written right there for you.
But don’t trust your eyes too much, because it also claims that the legendary first transformation scene is soundtracked by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising, which it isn’t.
Regular readers will know that particular song has a special meaning for me, because that was the record that UK Pop Picers put at No 1 in the Hit Parade on the day I was born, 50 years ago today. And they will know this, because I’ve posted it pretty much every year on this day since I started writing this blog.
By the way, I’ve never really decided whether I should consider it ironic or prophetic that was the best selling single in the UK on the day I made my first appearance. Perhaps it’s not for me to comment.
Anyway, as I’ll be away this weekend, there probably won’t be much in the way of activity on here until I get home, unless I manage to get my shizz together and write some things in advance. Don’t hold your breath though.