2013: half time report


So that’s it then, half of 2013 has already happened and yet it only seems like it was 5 minutes ago that we put the Christmas tree away, stuck a middle finger up to 2012 and opened up our new 2013 calendars with a sense of hope and eternal optimism. For me it’s been a whirlwind first 6 months of 2013 having had trips away to Amsterdam,Edinburgh and Paris as well as getting engaged to the very wonderful Cally Sims and seeing the mighty Iron Maiden a couple of times with 1 pending. One of these was my first trip to the download festival on the hallowed grounds of Donington. I have been there before many years ago when it was just a single day branded as the monsters of rock but never in the days since it became a festival so it was excellent to have had the chance to go. In the past 6months I’ve discovered a few bands that I hadn’t previously been that aware of and that I’m eager to see either again after seeing them at download or for the very first time on their own tours later in the year. I absolutely adore ‘Ungrateful’ the new album from escape the fate and ‘Temper Temper’ from Bullet for my valentine, the title track from which makes me want to drive fast and start a mosh pit as I go. I saw Zico chain a few months back supporting Steve Harris’ British lion and would recommend you check them out when they tour later in the year and if you want to see another great British rock band check out The Treatment whom I have been waxing lyrical about since the start of the year and have a new album out later in this year too and a support slot supporting Ac/Dc tribute act Aussie rockers Airbourne. This week coming I’ve agreed to accompany the future Mrs to Wembley so she can see one of her favourite singers which is only fair considering the ear assaulting bands I’ve taken her to see over the last couple of years.

Other than holidays and gigs the other big news this year from me is my engagement. I knew from day one that Cally was ‘the one’ that I wanted to be with forever and despite her doing everything possible to put me off asking her, it was with great pleasure that I was able to announce that she agreed to be my wife on her birthday back in April. I popped the question during a weekend break that we had planned a few months earlier when we went to Edinburgh to see Micky Flanagan on one of our trips away this year. And that’s kind of how our year has been really, we’ve decided against having a weeks or even a two week holiday choosing instead to spend some time seeing some bands we like and maybe turning each show into a mini break of its own. And that’s what I like about these kind of trips in so far as we get a few quick trips away and yet it feels like we always have something to look forward to, something to show for the hard work and effort we put in during our often Monday -Sunday weeks work. And we do work hard. For the first 15 months that we lived together we were working two jobs, getting up at 5am to clean a doctors surgery 5 miles away before coming home to drive to our day jobs which finish at 6pm. For a while we actually did another job after getting home at the end of the day, meaning that we regularly worked a 15 hour day, so when I get the ” you robbed a bank”? comments from certain quarters they should remember that I’ve/we’ve worked bloody hard to pay for some of these trips. Anyway, rant over and I digress! Parties have been another feature of the year so far. My good friend Mike had a very entertaining 70’s themed birthday party a month or two ago which was a blast, and Jill, our morning receptionist, invited all of us to a fish and chip supper at her house to celebrate her 60th birthday while Chris Newbury treated us all to a good hour of his free stand up routine while we were there. Also we’ve been to an engagement party, Cally’s grandparents 50th wedding anniversary party and just last night my old chum Scott and his wife Sarah invited us to their house to celebrate her 40th birthday and it was great to catch up with some old friends.So at the half way point in the year it’s really been all gigs,trips and parties. Happy days!

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And so that pretty much brings things up to date. I won’t lie though I’m pretty keen to see the back of June. When I put this up as my Facebook status on Thursday just gone, somebody quite rightly picked me up on it and said that given that I’d been to Paris and then to download all in the last 25 days,surely I was just being a bit ungrateful and a bit ‘ba humbug’ which, to be fair I probably was. But June is a crap month at the best of times and this one is no different. For the best part of three weeks in June I hardly managed to sell anything and half of the deals I did have blew out anyway. Cally had the same problem and between us we managed to lose the best part of a thousand pounds worth of income so it’s hardly been ideal. There have been times this month when I couldn’t have kept a deal in bed even if it came with a free cuddle and bedtime kiss from Mila Kunis and a giant mug of steamy hot chocolate. But by far and away the worst thing about June is the lack of anything going on. The football season has long since finished and the only soccer on tv is either a pointless under 21 tournament that we’re crap at or uninteresting tournaments on other continents that I have no interest in.It’s at this time of the year that I pretend that I have any knowledge about F1 racing simply to have sporting based conversation with people who know what they’re talking about. And in a final attempt to kick me in the gentlemen area, I’ve got another parking fine for having had the sheer cheek to not keep moving on a double yellow line.

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But worst of all, Wimbledon is here. If there is a sporting event anywhere in the world that is as pompous and twee as this one, I’ve not heard about it. I could come up with a hundred reasons for hating it but here are my top 3:

1) It’s elitist

Whilst you can buy a tennis bat and a few balls for not very much money, the chances of being able to play it somewhere that won’t cost a fortune or require you to own an Audi, are few and far between. And even if you can find a council run court that’s free,the chances are that it won’t have a net and the playing surface is contains more hypodermic needles than a junkies bin. Also this week we saw national hero and Olympic grinning champion Mo Farah being warmly greeted by the crowd as he entered the royal box – if you pardon the expression- only to be told off for taking a video on his phone to remember the occasion by. This years tournament is attracting so many posh people who are so used to being on the fast track to everywhere, that the lawn tennis association is handing out guides to them to help with queueing! Poor little lambs.

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2) We’re rubbish at it.

Given that only posh people can actually play the game, we have to wait for a well to do person to decide to not to be a doctor,lawyer or politician and actually give it a go and try to take on the world. Tim Henman was quite good but not good enough and we even bought Greg ” the chin” Rusedski from the Canadians in the hope that he might be quite good too but he wasn’t either. And now we have Andy Murray, a man so dull and so devoid of any personality that he could quite easily be sponsored by his local library, but even worse than that, he does actually seem to be quite good. We have waited a thousand years for a Brit to win Wimbledon and it’s more than likely going to be this monotone English hater, either this year or next. Also, why does the BBC have to ‘treat’ us to a view of his mother after every single winning shot?

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3) Strawberries

. The humble strawberry is pretty much the only fruit I really like partly because it takes no effort to eat (unlike an orange which is an utter bastard of a fruit) and its pretty affordable too. But for a fortnight in June/ July its turned into some kind of socially essential fashion accessory off the back of wimbledon and therefore the price doubles as the shops cash in.

The ashes is just around the corner though and no doubt we’ll be treated to television pictures of sleepy old men in their MCC regalia dozing through the first test at Lords, but at least we’re quite good at cricket so it’s something to look forward to until August when the football season arrives again.

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