Tag Archives: amy winehouse

In the arse end of nowhere

I had a new Italian teacher last night, so that makes a total of two in two lessons.  Not that I am scaring them off but I have since figured out that it is one teacher for language, another teacher for hand gestures.

That aside, I also figured something else out today.  This morning over breakfast, I treated myself to a little Amy Winehouse from her time on Jools Holland.  Way back in 2004, she was quite sweet and innocent, tattoo free and a fuller figure – her voice, purely magical.  A couple of songs later and the year was 2006,  the tattoos started to appear, the weight dropping, that glazed unfocused stare and of course in the background the worthless shite of a boyfriend.

Then over lunch, I happened across a BeeGees in concert movie so I stuck that on and we got to talking about the two brothers that had died.  It then hit me – you can tell how old you are by how many dead artists you have in your music library. I bet everyone has a bit of Lou Reed right? Jimmi Hendrix, Beatles, Nirvana, Joplin, Marley,Presley,Bolan, Beastie Boys, Barry White,  they very quickly add up. I would like to tell you now just how many dead artists are in my library but fear of knowing the true figure stops me counting.

Of course, it got me thinking about Winehouse. Being a hard arse, I have little sympathy for her way of life but I do fully appreciate the staggering loss of talent when she departed. I also remember when Cobain decided to take his head off with a shot gun, I never understood why. I am sure that will remain eternally unanswered but then one night many years ago while in bed in Abbey Street I was listening to Radio 1, before it got shite.  Back in the day (at 44, I am old enough to use that phrase, not like some of the spotty teens on the streets)   the evening was filled with Bob Harris (deceased) Nicky Campbell and of course the late and very very great John Peel.  Peel was hosting a show on Cobain and finished off with words along the line of feeling like he could have helped, invited him into his house to be looked after and helped through their problems – and I can’t help but think Peel was right, better still, there are many of us that would have volunteered our services to help to keep such talent alive.

But enough of that crap

Lets talk about my friend Rupert – or ‘Poopie Pants’ as he is known in Portugal.  During a recent stay in England, I talked Poopie into doing the Park Run with me on saturday morning (thank you Horley for the tip off).  For those of you unfamiliar with the Park Run, it is a weekly event ran by volunteers across the UK and 7 other countries (including S.A. Lexa) where you can run a 5k track, be timed and have your times analysed and compared by world record times, age, sex etc.   While out on a run on the prior wednesday evening, I was accompanied by the aforementioned Poopie and as we got talking I suggested he do the Parkrun with me on Saturday.  He actually agreed, I was agast and he was regretful almost instantly.  Building up to the saturday, he started to look grumpy about doing it but I kept pushing him until at 9am on an autumnal Saturday morning, the flag was dropped and we were off.  My previous 3 runs had all been personal bests and I knew I would be pushing it if I were to to another.

I never of course, I posted my slowest time ever of 23:53 but was very impressed to see Poopie coming in around 1:15 seconds behind me as a first attempt.  Now I have to admit at the time it was a bit of an eye opener.  I run a lot and I was aware that I need to pick up my pace but seeing this fucker post a time like this with a complete lack of training gave me a kick in the nuts that I needed. I did take some comfort in the fact that despite all of his moaning and groaning about not being a competitive person before the event, he did actually really enjoy it.

Since then, I can see his Runkeeper times are very respectable and I have no doubt that Poopie will be busting his nuts to get a better time than me next time we go, so I am upping the ante and have pegged a 7km course here in Genoa to ‘train’ on for my next 5k.  First time out tonight was under 35 minutes with mild poo cramps toward the end but expect that time to tumble as I naturally get quicker and time my toilet drops to perfection


In the Mother Land, Comrade

Crikey O’Reily – it’s been a while since I last posted – I blame a lack of inspiration but I am slowly getting my mojo back.

Before I get into my swing, I would like to congratulate Amy Winehouse for being drug and drink free for two years now – well done Amy !

For those that don’t know, I am currently frequenting the ‘Mother Land’ of St Petersburg (that’s Leningrad for you oldies, or even Petrograd for you very old oldies, or better still St Petersburg for you readers that were around before WWI) and heading for Moscow on the overnight train tomorrow evening.  I am already thinking that I would like to spend more time here as I went for a wander around the city today after sending the bird out to work to earn some dollar, like the pimpernel that I am.

For the gamers amongst you, well that will be Steve, I took the tube today.  The escalator down into the depths had a very communist feel about it.  I know you want me to explain.  It was the stereotypical scene that we have seen in movies for years, but if you are a gamer, you no doubt would have played ‘Call of Duty’ at some point in your life, better still, the ‘World at War’ version.  As I dropped downward on the escalator, I fell into silence.  Silence of course apart from the solid sounding rumble of the escalator punctuated by the sound of someone speaking over the tannoy system.  The tannoy speakers were placed between the opposing  escalators and facing upward to the roof of the tube tunnel that the escalators ran through as they drop hundreds of feet down.  This gave it a clarity that was almost set in stone.  The people coming up, had expressionless faces, much like that of the tube in London.  Maybe all countries have the same effect on you when it comes to tube travel – you have to have a tube face, a bit like a poker face perhaps?

Anyway, it was just like playing a scene from Call of Duty, as I froze on the escalator.  My mind wandered of course, you would expect that.  I was thinking back to the Cold War Era and I could easily feel the potential this place would have had at suppressing an uprising to move away from communism.  I imagined, if I was a spy, planted deeply behind enemy lines here in Leningrad, how I would simply be shitting my pants purely because of this escalator ride.  The sombre silence of it, the drum and drone of the escalator, not too loud but powerful in its drone – left you with the impression that it could carry a tank up it should the mother land require, while the tannoy speakers pumped out continual communist propaganda.

I was also in awe of the amount of monuments, statues and generally spectacular buildings and that got me thinking too.  I guess, when you want a propaganda machine that keeps your people all pulling together, making them remember previous historic battles with thousands of magnificent works is a damn good way to do it.  I also got to thinking that if there were another call to arms of the likes of WWI and WWII, I am left with little doubt that Russia could easily muster another army of equivalent size or larger, whilst the UK and America would have more conscientious objectors than volunteers – because of course, if you are English or American, your country owes you something and you shouldn’t have to work for it, or god forbid, risk your life for it.

Still on a war theme, tomorrow I am going to the war museum.  Our guide drove us past it last night and I just have to get a photo of me with the mobile missile launcher.  I took a look at an old war ship from the turn of the 20th century today, a ship called Aurora.  Quite important if you are Russian but unfortunately for me, none of the scripts had been translated into English so I couldn’t absorb the history. Anyway, for something that was around in 1903 – it was a scary arsed piece of weaponry even if I couldn’t understand what they were waffling about.

I have also been looking for a vintage Russian Infantry Coat complete with emblems, lapels and pins etc.  No joy here, only new ones to be had but I am told Moscow is the place to find those. I did try on some genuine 1997 Russian Navy hats but they were just a tad too small.

Getting toward the end now – let me thank Horley for her inspirational tip-off of a web site called Park Run.  I am now officially training for my first race, at the ripe old age of 43.  The next Saturday morning that I am in England, I will be very competitive as I burst onto the amateur running scene in all my glory.  I am registered and ready to go.

I also need to say nah nah nah nah nah to Susan.  I am certain she will be jealous that I am visiting Russia, because I know it is on her to do list.

I also heard today that my replacement engineer on Timoneer has also quit, he didn’t even make 2 months FFS !!


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