Happy Snippets

Snippets from the weekend (no more than snippets, though. Tufts in the fur of the woolly mammoth of my current happiness. Some of the reasons I’m happy make me go a bit shy and fluttery, and I don’t feel like writing about them here):

After an extraordinarily taxing day, Thai food, Mercury Rev and charming company made for an extraordinarily pleasant Friday night. Even though I somehow managed to buy a Rev T-shirt that was shocking in its random ugliness (I blame the wine, and Alec for not stopping me), and even though I was the lucky one who got to sit next to Stupor Guy, whose travails on the astral plane manifested themselves in the inexorable downward drift of his upper body towards an increasingly cringing me, the gig still had its moments – nice renditions of The Dark Is Rising, Spiders and Flies, Hercules, Tonight It Shows and Goddess On A Hiway’s always fun. I do wish they’d played Endlessly and A Drop In Time though, and I don’t think they played anything from Boces or Yerself Is Steam, which was a little disappointing.

Their live sound is rougher round the edges than the pristine sound on the last two albums. Their album sound feels as if each component of a song (think Endlessly, for example) occupies a distinct musical space with clearly delineated boundaries, and exists quite happily there without really interacting with other elements of the song, even though they all complement each other very prettily when taken as a whole. Like a consomme. Live, it’s more of a stew, or perhaps a chunky soup, and I’m not sure how much I actually liked hearing the songs that way. For me, Deserter’s Songs and All Is Dream are the sound of late nights studying or reading in bed, just right for the spaces between the sounds of night drizzle and Gower Street white noise. Having said that, I do think gigs are meant to sound different from albums, so all this is more commentary than complaint.

Saturday was the President’s Cup, the only intervarsity tournament for novice debaters in the UK, and something Mark and I had been slaving over (well, kind of) for the past couple of weeks. Relentless perfectionist that I am, I’m still half convinced that every person who kept coming up to me and raving about how fantastic the tournament was, was either piss drunk or just being polite, but there does seem to be considerable consensus that it was a resounding success. Which makes me happy, although it could all have been so much better if not for a plethora of organizational failures that I know I made, and which I feel lucky for getting away with.

Special mention must be made of:

  • Mark, tournament convenor AKA My Bitch, who ran himself ragged during the day, supplied alcohol at night, and has generally been absolutely lovely to work with because of his ability to find hilarity in drudgery and give wonderful hugs when I’m not in the mood for hilarity.
  • Russ, who sacrified his Saturday to perform the extremely boring functions of a tournament drudge, because I really needed the help, and because he’s sweet like that. (Oops, he hates being called sweet. Oh well.)

After Saturday, Sunday was a day for nothingness. Woke up at noon. Practised the organ for evening mass. Spent the rest of the afternoon in bed with Seamus Heaney and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, falling in love all over again with the Olivia Tremor Control’s Dusk At Cubist Castle, munching Kettle Chips, breathing in chrysanthemum tea. Had fun at evening mass playing my calypso version of How Great Thou Art. Chocolate pancakes a la Mark for dinner. Subjected Alec to The Lost Children (stomach-turning song on the new Michael Jackson album, to be excoriated here in the very near future). Camp dancing extravaganza with Mark to New York City Boy (Pet Shop Boys), which might possibly have been quite inconsiderate to Stefan downstairs due to my very creaky floorboards. In retrospect, I suppose you could say it wasn’t actually a day of nothingness, except in the sense that it involved nothing that detracted from happy, happy, happy me.

(Are you tired of this yet?)