Or How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Love Procrastination

Monday, August 27, 2007


Its my last night of the trip. Everything is done, and as I walked back to the hotel I wandered slightly into a courtyard with pretty lights. I walked down it, via pond side resturaunts and turned back to see Ste Catherine's Cathedral at night. I took one last photo and went home.

Kind of funny, just when I thought nothing else would happen, someone drops this scene in my lap.

In the last few days I have seen paintings, buildings, bands, comics, performers, castles, rivers, etc...all food for the soul.

I thought once that maybe I could be a great artist of some sort. Might still happen I guess, but its not for now. Right now I'm happy with the inspiration. I'm happy to be a consumer.

Talking to Brian in Prague, we discussed High Fidelity, and what a great tribute it was to guys like us. The ones without talent, but the ones that get the most out of what talent can provide. We're the middle masses.

Back at work tomorrow. Will be posting lots of photos very soon.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Working on the moon

I am sitting in Rynek Glowny, on a beautiful day, enjoying a Zywiec after a hectic morning.

Its my last full day in Krakow. I fly out at 7am, and trying to fit everything in.

A number of interesting, important things have happened here. Firstly, met some great people on the train. They gave me quite a lot to think about. I also went out drinking with some locals. One girl told me living in London is like working on the moon. This fantasy. It was very, very humbling.

Auschwitz took up most of day two. I could have spent another day there, but I was so disturbed already. I was going to write a whole thing on Auschwitz. I might still do. But for now...when walked through the gas chamber and looked into one of the ovens where they burnt the bodies... I wanted to throw up.

I met Sarah and Tess who had dinner with me last night and today is tourist day. Saw the castle, Schindlers factory, the Japanese museum and now back in the old square for some serious beating up of the memory card.

All this walking is killing me though. This time tomorrow I will be in Brussels where I plan on getting a regular hotel, get cleaned up and catch a eurostar straight to work Tuesday morning.

There is so much to say. So much I've seen and learnt. Sad to think it is pretty much over.


Friday, August 24, 2007

I Often Dream Of Trains

Finally, some alone time with a proper computer.

I am in Krakow after a wonderful time in Prague. I just fell so in love with Prague. My first night, when it rained, I braced it to find some food. And turned a left and looked right and found this random gorgeous boulevard, leading up to the magnificent Museum. In the sparkling rain it was very magical.

I met some great people in Prague, people I will keep in touch with. First and foremost my New York friends, and getting pretty close to betting Chris would throw up on St Charles Bridge. We had some massive nights. And the afternoon I sat in a bar and wasted a lovely afternoon getting drunk with Adam, discussing a lot of Tom Waits.

My favourite memory of Prague comes from the Castle. If you do not know, Prague is divided by a river with the Castle, high up, looking over the town. It looks gorgeous at night, by the way, all lit up (I have plenty of photos that I will share). But out front of the Castle are these well kept gorgeous gardens, that look over the entire city.

It's been hot all week, and I was walking through these gardens, sweating. I walked right through a courtyard in the middle, spotted a pretty girl, suspiciously on her own, without a book or an ipod. Sunnies on, just smiling. I walked past her to get to a fountain to wash my face and turned back, and like the fairy tale end of a movie, this good looking dude walks up from over the horizon, and greets her. They hug. They kiss. On a gorgeous day looking over the whole city, that I have decided is the most gorgeous spot in the world. Were they locals? Were they long separeted lovers? I don't know. I almost took a photo but that would have been weird.

So I didn't even do all the things I wanted to do in Prague but I will be back. And sadly I left, caught a train to Krakow. Met some great people on the train. Just the usual...where are you from? What do you do? Essentially, who are you and what are you about?

There was a frighteneing moment when I couldn't find my passport, and the long train journey wore me out. Finally made it to the Orange Hostel, where I was supposed to meet Judie but am now 9 months too late.

(Sorry Jubes, all the people you knew here are gone. Aga is now a stewardess and very happy, though)

Had drinks tonight with two lovely random girls I met in the square and then went to a club with people at the hostel. Needless to say, I'm really loving it. And I've only been here 6 hours or so.

Tomorrow it's a bright morning start for some serious sight seeing. Couple more days, then back to Brussels and home. I can barely remember work. But it will be good to lie in my own bed again.

It is 1:30 and I'm decalring it an early night. I will bore you with more later.


I am on a train

In a cabin car with french teenagers, all around 17. It's 10:30 and they just cracked out the wine and offering the bottle around.

Oh, Europeans! How can I say no...

On a train to Krakow

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Leaving On Your Mind

I'd like to say it's cos it's Prague, and I had such a magical time here, but as I crawl into bed, knowing there's a train in the morning, there's a weird feeling in me.

Another town, another place, and just leaving something behind. But if you don't leave, someone else will. This is not even close to life. It's a holiday.

I am excited about Krakow, but its just the thought of packing it all up, moving on... It's over and will never be again.


Wherever you go there you are

I was crossing the Charles Bridge two days ago here in Prague. Ipod on, looking at this bridge and all the buskers and tourists that line every side.

Until there was a bit of a gap of people, and oh it was so cinematic. Camera pans then lifts and you see the amazing river from the Charles.

I stood there for a long time, thinking about how I got here, people I miss and all that.

Prague has been wonderful. I've met so many awesome people. Seen some breath-taking stuff. Drank a lot of beer. Good times. The Castle at night...oh my.

More details later. Right now I'm waiting for my breakfast, in a cafe typing this and looking at last night's photos.

Krakow tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Oh what a night

Third night in a row of great, great nights in Prague. I love this town. It is 4am and I am wasted. Goodnight and I hope you are well.


Monday, August 20, 2007


Kim, in her Kim on Tour blog, linked to the right there, had the best headline for Prague. I won't even try.

Said goodbye to Brussels, which was lovely. I will be back. Spent last night with Katia, and we saw some music at Grand Place, then a french band call Les Fatals Picard.

These last guys were the french eurovision contestants but were actually brilliant. They had a pogues/madness vibe, and weezer called and wanted their guitarist back. Actually, reminded me of Barenaked Ladies too (I like them, fuck off).

Today we tried Little Asia on Goris' recommendation. I bought Harry Potter one in French in an effort to better myself. It is all good.

Now I'm in the Prague, in the best hostel ever, recommended to me by Dave Keys. I'm in pretty high spirits.

Hope all's well with you, wherever you are.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday, here again

Once again, I'm caught in Europe on a Sunday. There is nothing to do so I do whatever.

The Jacques Brel Museum was closed and will be tomorrow. Such a shame I don't think I'll see it.

I did see two wonderful Museums. One was Musee Royaux Des Beaux-Arts Belgique, ie the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium. It had Rubens, and quite excitingly, James Ensor, who was the subject of a They Might Be Giants song. Most excitingly, Rene Magritte. I will write more about Magritte later.

The other is a comic museum, featuring the rich, rich history of cartoons in Belgium. Tintin and the Smurfs are the main two. Its amazing. The first floor has over a hundred original works. From comic book pages to cartoon strips. Romance comics, sci fi adventures, cowboy shoot em ups and just cartoon fantasies.

I'm a big fan of comics. Newspaper strips and comic art, and yes, American Superheroes. Where as this place had a whole floor showing the evolution of comics, American mainstream stuff has stood still.

This place had a whole floor dedicated to comic's evolution. Both visually and thematically. Where as in the US you have to bend at the altar of Stan Lee, and any speaking out against him and his style is treachery. You must have screaming damsels. You must have cackling villians. You must have an alliterated name. I hate Stan Lee.

Otherwise Belgiums been lovely. I'm meeting someone I met last night and we're going to see some French folk music. Tomorrow will be the music instrument museum then off to Prague. Right now I'm at Ste Catherine, downing Hoegaardens and wondering if I'll be able to buy more socks today.

I doubt it.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Shuffle 'round the earth like a ping pong

I'm staying in a terrible hostel in Brussels.

Why do I keep choosing the cheapest ones. I think maybe I can afford a better range of Hostel. Note to self. what really should have given it away was the name. Youth Hostel Van Gogh. It's just one of those names that international travellers will recognise. I just put one euro in this machine and you only get 12 minutes. Ripped off. Oh well.

So it's a very strange feeling travelling again. Last time I really did this, I kind of had nothing else to go back to. Now I do, and I miss home, my current home, already.

But I'm getting back into the spirit of it. It's kind of like putting yourself in an elastic band and just shoot yourself off. It's random and fun and the aim is to just keep going. Manage to forget the battery for my camera and a European adapter. Argh.

I'm liking Brussels so far, although I have not done much. Wasted some time in record shops. There's free music in the Town Square tonight so I will go check it out. Saw some lady truly destroy an Alanis Morrisette song earlier. And it's a little bit quieter than what I'm used to. I might buy some shoes. And there's a FNAC here, and those places are always good.

Will hit a couple of cafes on Isabelle's list and check out the Jacque Brel Museum if I get the chance. And get a Tintin t-shirt. But you know, really looking forward to some serious sitting in a park time too.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Becky asked me for a little timeline of bands she should listen to, of old stuff. I sent her this...

Here is a timeline of significant events in human history.

5 Billion Years Ago: The Big Bang

1972: Todd Rundgren realeases his double album masterpiece, Something/Anything.

Todd Rundgren was at one point the talented frontman of The Nazz, one of so many bands in the 60s who thought they could be something like this band called the Beatles. The Nazz were actually way better than the Beatles. At least they were for one glorious song, Open My Eyes, a song that sounds like Snow Patrol only in title.

The Nazz did three albums, called 'Nazz', 'Nazz Nazz' and then, just as you thought the third album would be called 'Nazz Nazz Nazz', they called it 'Nazz 3'. And by 'they' I mean everyone other than Todd, who left.

Todd did two fantastic solo albums, Runt (1970) and Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren (1972). 'Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren' should not be confused with 'Runt'. Although it often is. That's because it's fucking confusing.

All that was like taking off your shoes and squishing your toes before the long, orgasmic glories of Something/Anything in 1972, released on Bearsville, a label out of Woodstock (the real one, not the fake one) run by Bob Dylan's manager.

To be clear, it is a glorious ride of 70s radio rock. Fr
om Carole King ballads, Motown thumpers, Rolling stones rip-offs, New York Dolls like sex drenched glam, Rufus Wainwright show tunes with flutes - you put it on and you are on a trip through all that is great about music.

The album is split into four sides - each with a name.

First is a 'Bouquet of Ear Catching Melodies'. Which is exactly what it is. Take the best of the Beach Boys, the Cars, Queen, Chicago...all the greatest shiny over produced pop, and that's what this start of the album is about.

This side, and the album itself, opens with the single lifted off the album - 'I Saw The Light'. Todd writes his own notes on the album, saying he thought it would be a great single, so he put it first on the album, like Motown. This confused me for many years, as I had a copy of the Bearsville pressing, but didn't understand why he would write liner notes for himself. Then I realised people did that back then. Nowadays they wait for the reissue.

(Another reason Todd is better than everyone else)

It has such great tunes. It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference that was used in Almost Famous, and Wolfman Jack, a tribute to the legendary DJ.

Sides two is 'The Cerebral Side'. It starts with a spoken word skit, where Todd runs you through all the different glitches you can get in a studio (bad mastering, hiss, pops, etc). It's plain weird, and lightly experimental. What a guy.

Third side is 'Kid Gets Heavy'. Now, I've heard Prince say he loves Todd Rundgren a lot, and seeing him recently, reminded me how great Prince is as a guitar playing, but he's no Todd. Todd is the man. It's the jam rock side. I mean, it's a double record from the seventies. Expect jamming.

The first three sides of the album, Todd PLAYED EVERYTHING.

And he played everything better than anyone else.

That's just the way he is. He is the Chuck Norris of 70s pop.

But, just to prove he has friends (because, we all know Calvin Harris has no friends), the final side of the album, brilliant named 'Baby Needs a New Pair of Snakeskin Boots' is recorded live in the studio, raw and tough. From this side, we get the album's other big hit, Hello It's Me, which probably made it all the way to #30 or something, but was straight to the top of my personal charts, and has stayed their ever since.

The album ends with three of the weirdest songs. 'Some Folks Are Even Whiter Than Me', which is horribly politically incorrect now, 'You Left Me Sore', which is about sexually transmitted disease, and finally, the awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome rocker 'Slut', where the whole band is singing along

She may be a slut but she looks good to me!"

And another line about not keeping his hands to himself that I find quite funny. The trumpets groove the whole thing along, as Todd belts the tune out. Then it's all over.

It's a great album.

The original vinyl only has the word SOMETHING on one side, ANYTHING on the back. It has a stupidly cool looking photo of todd standing on a chair in his studio. He looks so damn cool, that if you held the gatefold cover up to the sun, it would stop global warming.

The album's catalogue number is 8122711072.

End of timeline.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mike Wieringo/Tony Wilson

So I'm really busy but just wanted to write a two things.

Tony Wilson passed away. I'm working in music in the UK and his legend looms large. Many people have told me amazing stories about him. I've enjoyed reading him interviewed, his writings and I adore his legacy. But there is no better tribute than the film 24 Hour Party People. Funny, that I'm working on a project now that is one of Tony's. And
I've been batling and struggling to get it done despite the ridiculous packaging, and someone pointed out - "That's Tony." The man who lost money on every Blue Monday single sold because it was the right thing to do.

Mike Wieringo also passed away. I'm not going to say he was a personal hero of mine or anything overblown. He drew many, many comics I loved. But more importantly, one of the greatest run of comics for me is the Mark Waid era of The Flash, that ran in my late teens. It's such a mature, well written, loving, funny, epic run of a comic. It's considered THE Flash era by many, and one of the best titles in that 90s comic explosion. And Mike was there. A great artist, with a great happy style that was so far away from like, the Punisher or Spawn. And when I think of that excellent run of the Flash, and then I see the Flash in my mind, it's drawn by the hand of Mike Wieringo. That's something.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Is the right time

I am always pretty awake and alert at midnight. Why can't I be at work now? I'm no use at 8am. Who came up with 8am?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

An Unrecorded Song

I read a lot of biographies. My favourites are ones like Nick Drake – The Biography by Patrick Humphries. It’s full of interesting stuff - who knew that the tall skinny (and remarkably handsome) Drake was born in Burma? But it also has what may be a dying art in biography – a sense of mystery. He died so early, in such obscurity, no one kept records.

Are we the last generation of lost records? By records I mean official documentation. I’m pretty sure from 1990 or so there accurate records of every place I’ve ever lived. I’m sure if someone wanted, they could easily find all the places I’ve travelled, and when. There’s a computer somewhere that has every journey I’ve ever taken. Except maybe one trip from Korea to Taiwan where I was issued with a paper ticket. Maybe, that’s the one black mark.

And I like the black marks. I like not being able to join the dots sometimes. I like to think there are things that people never know about eachother.

This isn’t an anti big brother rant. This isn’t me walking down your street with a sandwich board saying the government is watching you. It’s just a belief that a life can be more than what can be assumed from documents, even interviews.

Have you tried googling yourself? Then, there are now myspaces and facebooks. Facebook, you can even tag photos with people’s names. There are many photos of me I’ve never seen. Then there’s Youtube! How long before you’re there, in the background of someone’s camera phone.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like a bit of mystery. It doesn’t feel like I can do much these days without people knowing about it. Which is fine. But sometimes, when you are somewhere, and you realise, no one knows where you are, or what you are doing, can be a beautiful moment.

I have to believe that there will always be mysteries in the world. That we cannot be captured simply by the tracks we leave behind. And that there are things in the world that cannot be looked up in Wikipedia.

They put out another Nick Drake collection this year (in the same month there was ‘new’ releases by Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley). I didn’t get it, but I have plenty of Drake boots. He did a lot of covers and just jamming stuff. I have to believe that maybe there is a beautiful song he wrote and played that maybe is never recorded, that I’ll never hear. I have his three albums, and about 10 other collections, boots, demos and stuff. And after all that, I want to be able to say that it was just a part of his bag of tunes.

No one knows if Nick Drake’s death was an accident or if it was deliberate. I don’t want to know. I don’t ever want to know everything. I want to keep guessing.