Doing battle with daily dragons

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Monster Holiday Fun Blog

I am beginning to believe that too much downtime can be decidedly detrimental to most human processes. 11 hours of sleep may look mighty palatable on paper, but after doing it for nearly a week and a half, one starts to feel less than fluffy. While I can make the excuse of retiring at 6am New Years Day, I think I’m feeling a little more exhausted than is necessary and now that I’m back at work, I’m kinda glad I am.

Christmas in the extended Pota-household was merry enough. Lots of lovely food (the traditional smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and champagne for breakfast) drink (I don’t believe that a day’s gone by since the 24th when I wasn’t astonished to find a glass of bubbly in my hand) and company. The Rock Star is often unsure of what to buy me for Christmas (although I’m fairly sure I’ve never given him reason to be short of ideas!) but came up trumps when I unwrapped my new bread maker. Perhaps wishing to take the sting out of my shoo-fly defeat, he got me something that will make us lovely, warm bread and all that it asks of me to perform this function is that I put in the right ingredients. It demands no careful watching, no American ingredient imports and no unbelievably sticky aftermath. But I’m sure I’ll find a way to screw up the finished product with a little careful imagination. (I know someone who forgot to put the mixing paddle back in the machine after cleaning and ended up with a very hard lump of yuck topped by an accusatory egg yoke staring banefully up at her through the glass window.) Also under my tree were a goodly amount of DVD’s from both The Rock Star and BoyRacer, some lovely bits from LawGirl and Virginia and snow vouchers for the MK Xscape slope from Moot and PPD. A very generous helping of Christmas goodness.

The most surprising gift came from my mother, who bought me a copy of a book that I was hugely fond of as a child called The Thing in Dolores’ Piano. For some ungodly reason the works of the author, Robert Tallon, are highly collectable and this particular book is as hard to lay your hands on as naked pictures of the Pope. Having found it on ebay being sold to benefit a library, mom bought it for me and upon examining it for the first time in about 25 years, wondered why the hell it was that I had such a thing for it. Being a rather sensitive child with a highly overactive imagination, it didn’t take much to scare me, but yet this book that I cherished looked as if it had been illustrated by Timothy Leary during a particularly vicious freak out. Insane, sinister, drug fuelled monstrosities lived inside Delores’ piano and I COULDN’T GET ENOUGH. Bring that little girl a whole heapin’ helpin’ of electric kool-aid! All that said, I was enormously chuffed to have a copy back in my possession and hope one day to pass on the paranoia to my own children.

The rest of the Christmas break passed in a haze of eating and drinking until The Rock Star’s Mis-Spelled Band commitments required us to spend New Year’s Eve in Swindon.

Our evening began in less than glamorous fashion. Due to Captain Hairy spending New Year’s Eve on the Isle of Wight, The Rock Star inherited the unenviable task of collecting The Super Slug; the large, white transit van that the band uses to haul gear to and from gigs, named for its top speed on a straight-away, which is about 55 mph. As I was expecting to make the trip in our own comfy Seat Altea, knowing that I was going to be forced to spend an hour and a half in a van that looked and smelled as if a family of hygienically challenged weasels had been living in it for the last 4 months wasn't exactly making my day. I’ll say it just once; boys can be really quite revolting if they think no one’s paying attention.

6 items fell out of the van upon my opening the passenger side door:

- A half eaten pack of Bassett’s Milky Babies
- A fairly expensive piece of lighting kit, hopefully broken
- An empty petrol can
- A large bottle of water
- A sweater belonging to The Idiot
- A pair of underpants HOPEFULLY belonging to The Idiot. If they DIDN’T belong to him, the unsavoury thought that strange men have been leaving underpants in the band van scarcely bears thinking about.

I picked these distasteful items out of the mud and crammed them into any available corner that wasn’t already full of McDonald’s cups or random scraps of paper and climbed in, trying to avoid touching anything except the water bottle, which I purloined due to the fact that a) I was thirsty and b) it was unopened. In this state of huddled non-touchingness I remained until The Rock Star urged me to find a music station and I was forced to put my fingers on the dials of the radio. Our usual car favourite, Classic FM, was staging some laborious opera recital, so we decided that silence was probably better than The Pussycat Dolls, which every other station seemed to be broadcasting non-stop.

The Rock Star and I, along with BoyRacer, his girlfriend, The Holiday Romance, and The Ginger Man-Tart had all rented hotel rooms at the Holiday Inn 3 miles outside of town as we were fairly certain that the evening’s festivities, including the band packing down, would probably draw out until fairly late. As The Slug finally laboured into the alley behind the unusually named “Big Fish” pub, we discovered, in a head-slapping, Homer Simpson “D’oh!” moment, that there was a second Holiday Inn in Swindon…directly behind the pub. We exchanged withering looks across the mountain of festering band detritus between us.

The Big Fish is owned by the previous landlord of The Mis-Spelled Band’s home pub, The Hoghead in Aylesbury. He was moved on to build up this new pub in the heart of Swindon, hence the gig. As The Rock Star set up, the rest of us went in search of edible food which was in curiously short supply in Swindon’s pub district. (If you didn’t want a case of diphtheria, that is.) After consuming a Subway (which we stood in line for nearly 25 minutes to have the privilege of eating) we relocated to the pub, where it was quite literally like a ghost town.

The gig went down well with the 15 or so people who were interested in live music rather than the vacuous pap blasted out by the DJ, but sadly, the crowd (which eventually DID come) were more interested in doing the Macarena (lead by The Idiot, I might add) that rocking out to Guns N Roses.

I must admit to only vaguely remembering the second set due to full bottles of Moet that kept appearing in our ice bucket. One thing I DO remember clearly was making my way to the loo for a moment of peace and quiet. ( ladies, tell me that you don’t do this too in loud nightclubs ) Apart from the copious vomiting that I could hear all around me, it gave my teeth a chance to stop rattling. However, I obviously enjoyed my solitude a little too much for the female security staffer who was manning the toilets.

Stupid Bouncer: (knocking loudly) You’ve been in there too long. Come out please.

Me: I’m sorry?

Stupid Bouncer: You’ve been in there too long. You need to come out.

Me: Um, okay. Can I pull my pants up first?

Stupid Bouncer: (pounding on the door that had no lock, forcing it open) YOU NEED TO COME OUT NOW!!

Me: Sure. By the way, I seemed to have dropped my dignity around here someplace. Can you help me find it?

I’m not entirely sure what kind of entirely silent activities the thick headed she-mountain thought I was engaging in inside an un-locked toilet stall. Answering her in the first instance should have been enough for her to deduce that I was conscious and not making snorting or puking noises should have alerted her to the fact that I was neither doing blow nor blowing chunks, (the later of which certainly wouldn’t have been helped be her banging on the door in any case.) so I can only assume that she was a sad cow with a panty fetish. Luckily, I discovered another toilet downstairs that was more private and unmanned, thought not quite as peaceful, (being right next to the speakers) to frequent for the rest of the evening.

Around 4 am, most of the gear had been stowed back in The Slug and we hungrily went in search of something to sink our teeth into to dilute the excess champagne. We ended up with pizzas from the takeaway across the street from the pub and managed to escape the two fights that broke out in the 15 minutes that we were waiting. (I despair of people sometimes.)

Having traded The Super Slug to The Idiot for the larger and emptier transit van that carried the stage, The Ginger Man Tart and BoyRacer were bundled into the back to brave the 5 minute ride to the hotel while The Holiday Romance and I rode in the front with The Rock Star. My guess is that riding in the back of a dark, windowless transit van while sober isn’t the best idea, so their plaintive, drunken wails from behind our backs served to amuse us to no end, especially on roundabouts.

After perfuming Ginger ManTart's room with Eu de Pepperoni, we all retired to our rooms for a restful 4 hours or so before we dragged ourselves out of bed to avoid having to pay for an extra night.

And so endeth the holiday season. I hope that 2006 will be gentle with me.