Thursday, 24 December 2009

Trees, family, etc.

. . . like, I don't want to be the "bah, humbug" guy and family is still all warm and fuzzy like baby ducks, but I'm just so tired. sitting in the dining/living room, earmuff-sized headphones on listening to "post-nothing" and wondering if its time I started collecting jazz albums or if I'm safe to wait 'til I'm 30 for that sort of half-pose.
brielle is here. she is tired. lailey is here. natch. kasech and titu and rebka are downstairs and mom and dad went to take ice cream to aunt betty and uncle garon so they can make root beer floats when uncle gordy and aunt beth arrive and i got up at 7 today and will probably get up tommorrow at 8 to go get aunt jaimee and our tree is obviously very fake and the lights are ones we got from the camp.

tonight at the end of the shift I made a "raccoons" reference over the radio, when probably the only two people who'd get it were standing right there. this is probably one of the basic problems with my personality, the fact that I do things like this.

Monday, 21 December 2009

How it might go at this very site in the near future.

Several thoughts on year-encapsulating sorts of posts. Because I feel enough has happened this year that I should try to talk about it * some * how. Still, short of a Graham's Year In A Short Novella, not sure. So a format is inevitable. Ways it may yet happen:

-->Month by month, in Song Quotes.
Pros: Concise, emotionally evocative, vague enough to protect the guiltocent.
Cons: So very LJ, circa 2001.

-->Month by month, in Numbered Poem form
Pros: Hey, look! A new poem! (and folks will give it a pass, since its obviously a Personal Piece. . .)
Cons: Hey, look! A new poem! (no way, in the annals of Graham's Numbered Poems, this gets anywhere close to Genus, Species and Flavour.)

-->Film an interpretive dance in full-snow-goose outfit, post on youtube, link here.
Pros: Majestic!
Cons: None.

-->A 2-part summary: Wales, U.S.
Pros: Splits pretty much right in half, conveniently enough for archival purposes.
Cons: Bo-ring.

-->Compare/Contrast with 2006,7,8 in terms of goal-reaching, time-management and personal progress.
Pros: Would probably compare largely favorably.
Cons: So very Seven Habits of Highly Motivated Success Stories . . . or Patrick Bateman.

-->Do what I often do sometime mid-January and shrug it off and look ahead
Pros: The whole "looking ahead" thing.
Cons: See beginning of blog post.

Stay tuned. I bet you can't wait.

Monday, 14 December 2009


. . . or How the HELL Am I Supposed to make Crepes?

For five years I've been the sole operator of a fishing boat on the moon. Its part of a subsidized grad-school outplacement plan called “Expanding Horizons.” Just me, a one-way radio and a jar of instant coffee. Assigned to catalogue any life in the many crater lakes on the dark side. Found: only eyeless, finless wormfish, no telling how they lived or what they ate.
I’d hoped they'd send more people, but in five years there’s been one unsigned postcard from a cafĂ© in Paris, a recipe for raspberry crepes on the back in pastel calligraphy. I thought it was a mistake, but there’s my name, right above the address.
I sleep seated with an itchy wool blanket so the fish don’t crawl into my ears. Sometimes radio static keeps me awake and twitching; there aren’t days and nights like I remember. The mission completes in ten years. By then my resume will put me in the top 20% for jobs in my field.
Now they’re firing missiles straight for my area; they warned me I wouldn't go to one of the nice bits with a flag or the mouth or eyes. NASA's always hated the moon, so I'm not surprised they're sending bombs up here. Not surprised at all, especially when I heard the transmission that there was enough explosive to "blast that crater straight to hell."
Hell. Easy concept when you’re alone in a boat with cold coffee, watching death advance daily, surrounded by worms.

The above piece appeared in the first of (hopefully) many in a bi-monthly series of zines called Your Hands, Your Mouth, brainchild of one Chris Gusta. On friday I went up to B'ham and read at the launch of said series with Andrew Cole, Robyn Bateman and Melissa Queen, none of whom I'd heard before, all of whom I enjoyed. Felt better as a whole about my own energy and crowd-response at this one than the one in Everett.

Dentistry is a Delicate Art *
Paintings of Famous Satanists
A Little Fear of Drowning
Poor Sisyphus *
Genus, Species and Flavour

*these are both new pieces I'd either written down in other spots or not written down at all, and were therefore off-book and at least partially ad-libbed. went better than the whole "space coyote" fiasco.

it was a good night all in all, though every time I go to Bellingham it feels farther away geographically (which is simply strange) and a bit regressive personally (which is to be expected I suppose.) I saw Ryler today and we discussed this phenomenon at a bar on Capitol Hill in Seattle and maybe that seems to be more of what I want; old friends in new contexts. Who knows.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


God wants you to read Catcher in the Rye out loud.
He's thinking of a rehabilitation program; maybe Satan is just a Holden Caulfield-type who never got the attention he deserved during his career as the Morningstar.
You ask if He's read it before and He has in that Omniscent-omnipresent way, but frankly, at any given time he's moving on people to avoid genocides in Siberia, South Asia and Your Backyard.

God wants you to read Catcher in the Rye, out loud, in heaven, to an audience of saints and angels; let the sinless vaccuum breathe a little bit, maybe you're going to convince him of a couple things.

If it goes well he’ll start a book club and policy board; next up is The Satanic Verses.

This thought mats your hair down with sweat, beads up your eyes and gulps your throat and you suddenly wish you were Catholic and had some sort of tradition to deal with all of this. You're not sure why God asked or why he needs you to read it aloud, when he knows you have a fear of public speaking.

Jesus shoos away some orphans he's playing with-- he's always fucking playing with orphans-- and takes you aside. “Could you do this for him? I mean, I'm not sure exactly what he's thinking with this one; if not for him, for me.”
Your eyebrows and jawdrop do the talking. What would your pastor think? Like he could hear you, Jesus shakes his head, fingers his wrists with what almost looks like a sneer.
“You know how well I get on with Pastors. No, no, you're right, I mean, sure, after all, what did I ever do for you?”

good to know he still has the sharp tongue that got him strung up there in the first place.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

"it was a good reading. i don't care what everyone else says."-- jake

tonight I did a feature at zippy's java lounge in everett. felt good about it, though the crowd was appreciatively unresponsive. . . unresponsively appreciative? I think it is not a room that lends itself to raucous sorts of participation i.e. Poetry Night or The Crunch, but has a bit "bigger" feel than a lot of coffee shops, so spacing it out can be difficult.

Neo Takes the Blue Pill
Little Red Corvette
Zombies and Paint Thinner
Cafe Across . . .
Beneath the Cathedral
Get Smart!
Ambition is Critical
Paintings of Famous Satanists

I realised afters that just because I close with my two favourites in the book doesn't mean they'll be crowd pleasers.
But. It was great to see loads of friends and family there (from camp and abroad, new and old) and getting to hang out with Chris/Ryan/Jake always serves both as fun and grounding. Reading at Chris' house in December, too which I'm excited for.

on the way home I listened to Pack Up the Cats for the first time in about 3 years. My copy still skips.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Doctor, doctor

I don't often write politics here; I would hardly describe myself as a-political, but my levels of information intake and activism pale in comparison to many of my friends.

Still, its been with interest I've tracked the Health Care Reform bill and debate surrounding it. Precisely because I'm one of the people that Obama wants to help. I'm not the most heart-wrenching story, granted, but it's been about 10 years at least since I've been able to go to a U.S. doctor. I had more comprehensive coverage as a student-visitor to the U.K. than I have here. For the most part, I've just made the best of it and in my more health-conscious moments hoped that the old "apple-a-day" adage is true.

For most of our lives, this has been true with regards to my parents. As Dad said "there were a lot of times we just had to give you some aspirin and hope it got better."*

So, on the surface I'm glad that the health care bill passed the House of Reps. I don't love doctors, but I'd like to go. But I'm kind of scared.
I'm not scared that Obama is going to plunge the nation into a socialist welfare state akin to Communist Russia or whatever. I'm not really that scared that right-wing reactionism will prompt actual attempts at secessionism or what-have-you, either.

But. Watching the way the parties have been batting this bill back and forth, the complete lack of actual discussion (nothing new, really) and level of public frustration, I'm not convinced anything good can come. From my heady days in Youth and Government, I know it takes one poorly worded line to change the entire meaning of a bill. And Max Bacchus has written a 1,000 page epic. You don't have to be a let-them-eat-caker to approach that with caution.

What I'm afraid of is that a bill will make it through that's been gutted by republicans and saddled with impossible and impractical retaliatory provisions by democrats. And that when it finally passes, in whatever form it is, Obama will sign it because he has to. He's created a situation in which its political suicide to not sign a bill that comes through. And we'll be left with a system that costs taxpayers a shitload of money, creates loads of new bureacracy, endangers existing practices and after all that I still won't be able to go to the doctor.

That. Is what I'm afraid of.

*I still have some un-fond memories of the doctor's office.

Monday, 2 November 2009

new writing project:

I'm trying my fingers at Nanowrimo.

So far I have half a page. If this is the pace I keep up, I will have a long short story by the end of the month, about a guy with a toothache who lives in the second tallest apartment building in the world that has a window in the bathroom but its okay because the building is so tall, but his head hurts and he is waiting to die.

don't everyone jump up to publish at once.

Monday, 26 October 2009

at least we see eagles, like, every day

The great thing about working Lights Of Christmas is that when you're up on a ladder or unraveling strand after strand of multi-colored LED's for ground display you have plenty of time to ponder the future, near and far, relive memories and basically just think about life.

The horrifying thing about working Lights Of Christmas is that when you're up on a ladder or unraveling strand after strand of multi-colored LED's for ground display you have plenty of time to . . .

there was a wind-storm friday night that knocked over the Sunset Scene, a new display in which blinking LEDs fade in, out, create a sunset effect. It actually looks pretty cool. When it isn't spread all over the ground because its black backdrop could, in Dad's words " . . . effectively be used to carry four hundred-plus pound boats accross the ocean."

This is the first job I've worked where the weather mattered so much to actually doing it since I drove the truck to San Francisco.

_ * _ * _ * _ * _ * _

good weekend in Seattle. I almost laundry-listed a post about what occurred but decided to write about christmas lights instead.

Friday, 23 October 2009

It won't be what you want it to be, oh no.

Four things, relevant:
1. That tooth, you know? That tooth?
The one. The wisdom tooth that has been on and off hurting like a motherfucking fuckass hellacious shitcuntfuckfuck for about a god-diddly-damn year, yesterday I went to the dentist I have the poem about and he yanked that horrible, rotted-out pseudo-tooth out of there.
Dr. Jones knew where Swansea was and what division their football team was and the dental assistant was cute with and without her mask and told me good luck with the writing. And now I don't have a toothache.

I do, however, need a root canal on the one right next to it.

Dear Money: I take back what I said. Let me hold you next to me. I love you. I need you.

Tonight and tommorrow, two volunteer shifts at Hugo House. The first one has free food and booze for volunteers, the second lets me sit and read and shelve zines for four hours.

We've gotten far enough on the Lights of Christmas that me taking a day off to attend to things like teeth and writing and going to Seattle is not a problem. Come November we'll be busy again, but right now we've got five people on two-person jobs.

Visiting Grandma gets more difficult as it becomes more necessary.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

No longer Pumps and Grinds

So today after helping 20 fifteen year olds take down some tents* in the pouring rain and after driving around 25 minutes in order to find a two minute parking spot to verify things with Bronwyn and being late to my volunteer shift at the Hugo House and leaving early to get Bronwyn and a very scenic if rainy trip out to Duvall, I did my first feature reading back in the United States of America.

Flicking Ash
Swansea-Cardiff Blues (Bham Ed.)
Isolation Therapy
Zombies and Paint Thinner
A Little Fear of Drowning
Missing Every Day
Tall Drink of Water
Genus, Species and Flavour
Get Smart!

__(end of night encore)__>Story Problem

Thats a lot of poems, over half the book. Which is funny because two nights ago I was looking over it and thinking man, I don't likeany of these. I'd already decided I wanted my first reading back in the states to be all stuff from Swansea Morning Coming Down. Plus, while I've got a good chunk of new stuff, the amount of it I feel anywhere in the neighbourhood of "finished" with is not high.
Anyway. It went really well. Good reactions and sold a few books. The owners of the Duvall Coffeehouse asked if they could display SWMOCODO (nifty, huh?) on the "local authors" shelf.
Duvall is not close to anywhere in Washington (except Carnation, natch) and a lot of folks showed up from all over, including a majority of my in-state family. It felt really right that Duvall be where I step back into reading in the States. I'll do one in Everett in November probably and B'ham in February (I think; by which time I may have made at least a mini-book of new stuff) but I'm glad I started with Katherine and my family and a rainy night in Duvall, Washington.

Now I am back at Warm Beach Swamp Ground, Brielle is here and we are listening to Tom Waits' Alice and waiting for Mom and Dad to return with the three youngest sisters.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Also, I'll Have Rabies

In three days
when they've put the raptors back in their cages
and catalogued all their favourite magazines
now used to paper prison roofs
I will drink coffee still
shaking and dressed in newspapers

as I walk blind to my job at the morgue
where I will daydream of shoe polish
and proper sausage preparation

while outside the drums keep going
and my one half-dead co-worker
says nothing except
how different things were
just three days ago.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Notes from a Christian Wedding:

Jake: You know, if we go somewhere in town I'd like to get my good clothes on.

Ryan: Jake, you are so ugly that it wouldn't matter what you wear.

Jake: At least people love me and I am worth something, unlike you, who is worthless and the sort of person that people hope to go into a bathroom and find hanging from a belt.

Ryan: I've said it before and I will say it again: you make the rest of humanity look pre-fall.


it probably didn't beat out Jess and John's for Best. Wedding. E-var. but it was top-five easily. And I've been to lots of weddings and in a few. the huge amounts of protracted, gleeful yet calm happiness in both Isaac and April was ridiculous.

and the camping bit allowed 1) a trip through the hard, throbbing metropolis of Chimacum, 2) actual time spent with groom and bride beyond five-minute "heywhereareyougoingforyourhoneymoonyoulooksoHAPPy" sorts of conversations.
3) opportunity for me to forget to bring a sleeping bag or blanket and get about two hours of sleep (in increments) on a blow up mattress in a drafty tent. oh man. 4) jake-vanquishing via rocks and clapping.

we had more fun.

**** ***** ***** *****

April actually had to ask pastor Pete to move it along. Ha.


sunburns hurt. beaches are pretty cool sometimes.
so goes the paradox of modern man.

^= ?

as observed by Gusta, there were a lot of pretty girls there, but as I assumed would be the case, they generally speaking were all married or on a 6 month-2 year plan to be so, with a specific subject.

this is fine; I'm getting confirmed more and more that church-related events are terrible places to meet women, since even a majority of the single ones will just want to know if I'm going to make a really good husband

speaking of terrible places to meet women, Monday I'll be up at Poetry Night for Kate and Elissa's feature.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Faith in Women

"Maybe you're just supposed to be like C.S. Lewis, be this writer with all these insights into God. . . and um, lots of problems with women and alcohol."-- Bronwyn, on my prospects.

ladies and gentlemen, my sister, who also put AFI and Michael Jackson next to each other on a mix for me when she was 14.

Monday, 14 September 2009

One (-is the loneliest?) (-21 Guns?)(-more time?)

{jake tucker, who makes promises he cannot keep, has, in the utmost hypocrisy, bugged ME to write something. yes. JAKE bugged ME. we won't speak of recent events, we will simply move forward with grace and style}

Mixtape Piece # 1 out of 734

Female voice through the speakers on a tuesday afternoon,
over sharp, loping guitars, a narrative style to kill for
laced with snarky affection

and I, sitting on my bed,
trying to eek out something on my
sketchpad, I think

"man, if a girl ever put this on a mix for me
well, that would be the day--"

then I remembered
I didn't make this mix, you did.
as the song ended
i realised this is possibly
as good as it gets.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Site vs. Site vs. Graham's Swirling Brain

So now I wasn't going to post about the Pitchfork 500-Song list, largely because well, geez. I've found the site's resources useful over the years, especially in the last few as there's been more on-site mp3s and video (allowing the reader to decide for themselves the merits of a particular track or video) and I've gotten into some good bands via the 'fork.
But when one the arguably most influential music publications of our time puts out it's Best of the 00s lists and a lot if it is, well, confounding, I sort of shake my head. Now tastes are tastes and theirs aren't mine, but there were a few things that bugged me about the list beyond a "Oh, dude, I TOTALLY don't agree with that, laaame" way.

I was talking with Aaron about it recently, and he sort of agreed.

Now, enter site # 2. Buddyhead is a site I wrote for a few times about a year and a half ago and stopped for a few reasons, mainly previously-mentioned reasons about how after a while, music-writing bums me out. Also because Buddyhead's dude-slang approach to music writing can be good for calling bullshit, but as an overall style-guide, it hurts my brain just as much as the 'forkians who can't write looking up 5-syllable synonyms for "pretty" to describe the Best New Music.

but sometimes, you answer a fool according to his folly and sometimes, you just call bullshit.

The article is long, and has a few eye-rolling moments, but it gets at some of the things that bug me not just about the list, but about 'fork's narcissism; its consistent priveleging of groups or artists that the site was instrumental in breaking, the complete lack of perspective, the song-list probably took a while to compile, meaning you have artists and songs on the list (as high as like, no. 8) that haven't existed for more than three months, the near-complete lack of any country music on the list, the complete lack of any music that responded to the political situations in the world and what seems like a total lack of depth or discretion in dealing with hip hop and r & b.

a few gems from the buddyhead article, in case you didn't feel like reading the whole thing:

Of course, Schreiber’s site is his own, and he can pick the hits any way he pleases (and he’ll tell you when you’ve had enough LCD Soundsystem). . . the nerds might have retained a little dignity had they allowed the 2000s to actually, you know, finish, before revising its musical legacy into the soundtrack of a rich, white kid’s gay bar cocaine-binge. A little distance, perhaps even six months, might have given them better perspective.

Because we still remember the 2000s.

And Vampire Weekend is not better than Pulp.

About 499, I’d say.

For instance, ask yourself this for a moment: just how many Eminem singles were better, or more historically significant, than one of Johnny Cash’s last?

Could the answer truly be all of them?

Rankings mean something. “Best of” lists are explicit judgments about both aesthetic value and historical context, and Pitchfork seems to have disregarded both.

there's more, that's just from the beginning, but it's a pretty good read, if for nothing else, the rapper-beef vibe of it. While I wouldn't say Buddyhead has completely "put them in their place," there's a good lot there that's hard to dismiss.

I mean, seriously, Kelly Clarkson?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Silver Firs, Washington

You can see the cougars looming in the trees;
Every single building here in Silver Firs
looks like the last one on a long road into the wilderness
a classic case of named-after-what-used-to-be-there

Yes, this now-suburban community hasn’t
Been the same since the applebees (with their tasty happy hours)
And the safeway (with their deals on flowers)
And the house after house set three trees in,
just enough green to obscure sattelite dishes,
Everyone here with their trucks and SUVs

Feeling cheated that they’ll never have to kill an Indian.
Or fight a sharecropper. Or make their own moonshine.
Which is why the stares are still hard and mean, even
On the way to Jr.’s soccer practice, suspicious glares
At those who smoke in front yards—it’ll set off the kerosene!
Best not talk too loud after dark, it’ll attract the bears
Just waiting there beyond the next condo,
They weren’t messing around
When they put the sign up
That said Dead End.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

From the department of cultural realisations and differences--

Comes 7 Ways you Can Tell You're in Washington State!

7. You go back to a girl's apartment after a night of flirting and drinking, and that apartment is in Seattle.
6. You and your friend are going for a drive and your friend says "hey are those the Olympics?" and you say "Yes," because they are the Olympics, a Washington State mountain range.
5. Looking on a map you can accurately identify the borders to the area that you are in as the State/Province lines to Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia.
4. When you anger someone and they tell you to "go jump in Puget Sound" it is hyperbole simply because it is unlikely you will do so, rather than technically physically impossible.
3. You were legally allowed to vote for Washington State Governor and State Legislators.
2. You go to a refill station in your HYBRID and there's an ESPRESSO stand and the guy there (who has a BEARD) says "Hey, when I'm not working at the ORGANIC FOOD AND GRANOLA CO-OP, I'm in this really hip GRUNGE* BAND." And you're like "Wow, so AM I! Want to go HIKING and FISHING later? We can RECYCLE TOGETHER! I voted for OBAMA and DON'T LIKE SPORTS THAT MUCH!" and you write a gay-rights referendum together, and call it the TOTALLY GAY RIGHTS REFERENDUM because you still have a sense of humour about how liberal you are.
1. Whilst driving on the freeway you pass a sign that says "Welcome to Washington."


Sunday, 9 August 2009

Bellingham Revisit Roundup

Remember that post when I said I'd post more about the Capitol Hill Block Party? I either pretended you were a woman and lied to you or I went up to Bellingham twice, Brielle went to New York and I hit up a wedding in Portland all while looking for jobs.

in other words, making jokes about David Yow's majestically grey-haired belly or the proliferation of various types of t-shirts at outdoor rock shows is so two weeks ago.

So. It's been a while now since USS Horsewhip's last official show but their memory lives on in my heart. And in the heart of the USS Horsewhip tribute band made up entirely of former members of USS Horsewhip entitled . . . sigh. . .USS Horsequit. Caught a ride up to Bellingham with James, Chris and Richy and caught their set in the basement of Jinx Art Space. HQ barrelled through a bunch of local classics that hadn't actually been heard for nearly half of the actual band's live sets ("Break Out the Make Out," "People At this Laundromat Need to Mind their Own Fucking Business") and closed with a cover of Nirvana's "Aneurysm" which they dedicated to me and Conan Neutron, of Mount Vicious, who are from Northern California and played next and were a lot of fun even if I didn't want the man's hairy sweaty chest in my face for a half an hour.

Saturday day a bunch of us --breathes in-- katandchrisandbeckie andandrewandjasmineandmarahand uhmeandanotherchrisandcjithinkthatsit went 1.) Rollerskating at the All Skate at Lynden Skateway. Beckie broke her knee falling down at the end of a Taylor Swift song. It is more funny than anything else. 2.) To Ferndale for delicious Bob's Burgers and Brew where the server sighed a lot but was still very nice and I had a burger with an egg on it and the server called Beckie a "powderface." Its funny when nice dadlike old men make cocaine references. 3.) To a park in Ferndale who's name I forgot. It was lovely. 4.) To Wood Coffee in Ferndale where Kat and Jasmine were supposed to play a show. The people there seemed to have no clue about running shows and completely ambivalent about the existence of this one. To that end Kat only played five songs-- two on guitar and two on accordion-- and Jasmine did a truncated set as well. We were all pretty tired though, so despite the killerness of the tunes the shortness of the set was probably okay.

Then a little later there was a housewarming party.

Crashed at Kat and Chris' place. Their cat did little to bother me. Ryan Johnson came up and we had a board game night that also included many beers. The profound look of despair on his face when he and partner J-cup had their turns at Celebrity. Sarah Baker and Kat were victorious in that bout, Chris and I taking a noble Second.

The next day I took a leisurely stroll around and caught a few buses home for $2. I could do more posting (maybe I will) about Bellingham and how its changed and is exactly the same and all that and the people I specifically saw and how great or weird or both it was, but really, its just nice that I have firm fast friendships there and can think fondly of it again.

Maybe we'll talk about Portland next. Or not.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Back at the 'rents

what’d they say to the dove in the cage
the first time they put the blanket over the bars
for the night, turned the light out
and went to bed?

Its not a bad life, food, water, mandatory sleeping hours.
Some never get enough of any,
And damned if I’m going to turn this
Into some sort of metaphor for peace or freedom.

Sometimes I get awakened by hammers
At eight in the morning, the deck my parents
have been waiting for for years finally
getting its nails in.
I think brief thoughts about dutch-protestant
work ethic and the value of patience
as I pull a pillow over my head
And wait until they’re done
To coffee and jobsearch, unshaven.

There are rot-blackened bananas hanging from
the fruithook and I think my sisters did not eat
all their oatmeal. This could be something about waste

But I predict banana bread.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Capitol Hill Blog Party! (Saturday)

So Bronwyn and I made a move a bit earlier down to the part-ay to find it was way more crowded and hot and sweaty and thirst-inducing than friday. Possibly the fact that it was a whole entire day in which many people have no work to be done or doing. We also saw Str@y and I ran into Mike Murphy and it was a good day. Lots and lots of bands we did not watch all of and a few we did.

Amongst them:
The Pica Beats Local sort of folky-twee-indie-adjectiveadjectiveadjective band with a cute girl who sometimes sang but mainly played tambourine and there was a saxophone and like, xylophone or something and a guy in glasses who looked pretty typically northwest and sounded it too. This sort of stuff often comes off contrived, or completely played but it was pleasant enough.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart New York power-twee! Washes of Teenage Fanclub distortion on gentle melodies that was really good even if they basically had one basic drum beat for the entire set.

New Faces "Listening to the New Faces is like seeing that person at the store that's like 'hey, remember me?' and you don't, which is weird, because you remember everyone and you have an awkward conversation and you remember that they're boring and that's why you didn't remember them. If they were a band, they'd be the New Faces."-- Brielle.

we didn't stay.

Pela Pela play a form of Springsteeny American Punk Rock and Roll that can be pretty good sometimes but gets less good each time someone who grew up on MxPx decides to get "serious."

once again, we didn't stay.
"I think Pela might be a bit more interesting than the New Faces, but they're way more offensive. Why the dry spell, Block Party?"-- Br'elle

The Thermals I've missed the Thermals so many times it felt like I'd seen them before. They played well but eschewed their earlier, faster stuff for a fairly uniformly 4/4 set, peppered with covers of Nirvana ( "Verse Chorus Verse/Laundry Room") the Breeders ("Summer's Ready" or whatever its called) and Green Day ("Basket Case.") Good show by them but I couldn't help but feel like for a band that's built it's case for existence on being simultaneously brainy and bracing it wasn't much of either.

Future of the Left For about an hour I was back in Wales, just bigger and louder. More stuff from their first record than the new one, which would be my only complaint. Other than that, maybe the most kickass I've seen them. By the time they finish writing "Cloak the Dagger" it'll be unstoppable.

Gossip I'm all about Beth Ditto as a progressive female role-model for young girls. But I do not care about her band. In the words of Bill Hicks: "Oh good. Now there's an all girl form of the music I don't like."

So I went to Future of the Left. Brielle wasn't old enough for that, so she watched Gossip for me. They were okay, apparently.

Sonic Youth It was Thurston Moore's birthday. From a distance he looks about 20. They rocked like it, too. None of the "biggest" hits, but a few from Daydream Nation, lotsa the new record and "Death valley 69" as a closer. Pretty young crowd for a band that started when I was 2 years old. Water was sprayed into the crowd to help with the dehydration issue and once the Youth started, everyone was having a good time.

the 40 minutes before, with everyone, really everyone, trying to get to the front, not so fun. but we avoided punchups at least.

Tommorrow!!!!! A whole-weekend wrap up with all the super-important and relevant hilarious things I forgot to write in the first two entries.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Capitol Hill Blog Party! (friday)

Do you believe in divine sorts of signs? As in, spiritual signposts pointing you to your next step in life?

Even if you don't, you could possibly see how the Capitol Hill Block Party could be interpreted as a divine sign that Graham needs to be in Seatle, specifically one of its self-designated neighbourhoods of art and culture on this weekend. When I told Punk John the line up (sonic youth, the jesus lizard, pains of being pure at heart, future of the left, black lips, deerhunter, the thermals) he said something like "Who curated this event? . . . You?"

Its a two-day fest. Here's what I saw on Friday:

Cornish School of the Arts:
This is where I met my sister Bronwyn aka Brielle aka Toad aka Toady Malone. After that it starts getting ridiculous. She's been a faithful gig buddy since we saw the re-formed Pixies five or six year ago.

Black Lips We got there just about in time for these atlanta garage rocker's opening song. I'm totally on board with this band, if not on board with all the hype about them as a daaaaangerous rock and roll act; though they did chased out of India. They didn't play their soppy sentimental jam ("I'll be with you") or their Stone-Rosey world-rock jam ("Veni Vidi Vici" which is my favourite) but they played 60s-00s garage rock with a refreshing lack of metal/hard rock influence, leaning more on surf. Loads of fun, which is pretty important when you're stood in the sweaty sun at 6pm.

Deerhunter Bradford Cox's vocal pedals broke, so they had to opt out of their wall-of-shoegaze songs for the poppier ones, which they utilized to maximum bounce-potential. Dude is also so very skinny even Lailey would find his skinniness unflattering, which is reaaal skinny. Songs mainly taken from the first half of Microcastle and then a few off Cryptograms. Distorted the fuck out of the bass for "Nothing Ever Happens," highlighting the Sonic Youth influence. Cox also did the hand-to-forehead thing a few times, acknowledging the drama inherent in some of his wounded-boy lyrics.

Built to Spill I hadn't listened to Built to Spill in about two years and had forgotten how much I like this band. The fan-picked (via the internet!!) setlist split the difference between sprawling, northwest-friendly neil-youngy jams and their crisp, catchy pop. Closed with "Carry the Zero," one of my favourite songs of aaaaaallll tiiiiimmmmeeeee. Brielle was boppin' along and there were plenty of sweet gig-buddy "man-this-is-so-good" moments.

The Jesus Lizard So David Yow has hair intermittently on his head, looks about half awake and as soon as the band launches into "Puss" he chucks his whole self into the crowd and we all get pushed into eachother and I lose Brielle to the roiling mass of bodies. The band were tight and loud and no one stopped moving the whole time. The security guards kept shining flashlights and motioning for crowdsurfers to get down. Good luck dudes. Your part of the night is ov-er.

next update: more band reviews similar to this! graham sees future of the left. . . IN AMERICA, opts not to wear his Spillers T-shirt because that would just be too much.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Five things to consider, one week in:

5) the ever-so-slightly larger scale of everything. not just that cars are bigger, or roads are wider, or houses are spaced out to the degree that I've yet to be in a neighbourhood that strikes me as "poor" or "run down". . . simply because at least everyone has a yard. its sort of like comical movie props designed for a large dwarf or an adolescent whose found themselves thrust into maturity like a bouquet of flowers from an awkward suitor into the face of a confused love interest.

6) dude. pizza. dude. see above comment.

7) my new sisters and the way they sort of laugh at my mom but never leave her side, that its already weird to think of my family without them around.

8) visiting my grandmothers. in case you were considering it, you know, for a laugh, lemme say this: don't. have. a stroke. even a small one.

9) been to seattle properly twice now. the first time i saw one person i'd not expected to see. the second time i saw five. been back what? a week? ridiculous.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Gimme sympathy, after all of this is done

. . . after a day of doing nothing and working hard at it (peak energy: walking to tesco with john to buy coffee, slicing some pizza) which was much needed, winding down with Land of the Dead and Rum and Coke (former: bad, latter: good) and a fairly solid night sleep where I did however wake up a few times confused as to where I was, the thought that I could easily now be up for the next 48ish hours doesn't seem so bad.

still, considering a nap or some other such activity this afternoon, just to break things up.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Stuff Happens 2: Brief Roundup-->

-->Went good. Crowd participation in non-invasive ways. Solid readings from everyone and a greater variety of writing and performance styles. Once Huw gets that noise onto disc we'll get it to the folks in London and start having some Content for When the Site Goes Live.
Thoroughly satisfying as my last curated event in Swansea, provided you don't count the going-away-type-event that I've scheduled so that people can't give me grief for not telling them exactly when I was leaving. I mean, it should be fun and everything, picnic and djs at Mozarts and lots of people (according to facebook-invite-responses) and stuff, but every minute I'm hanging out with people now is time I'm not finishing my packing.

If I feel like being a twat, I'm totally playing "wild horses."

Friday, 26 June 2009

Squalor Victoria: London and back again.

After Cardiff it was London time with (definitely) old friends and the odd (relatively) new one. From the age of 13-21 I was in a young writers critique group/collective/gang of hooligans called, ahem "Inducers of Insanity." Largely for the reactions we provoked from Katherine, who was the real-life grown-up that hosted/led/cat-herded us in and out if productivity. Lots to write about those years I guess,
but the important part is that now grown, Eva Z is married to David and they live in Brussels. Shane and Becca live in Dublin. I live in Wales. Kim lives in Amsterdam and is moving to London come fall. This leaves out a few (notably James, Betsy, Deb and Arlo) but was critical enough mass for a legit IOI reunion, complete with writing exercises and everything.

After a quick coffee with Katie (swansea, then london, then back to swansea and wherever else, half the people I meet are travelers) met the crew at Hyde Park.

Hadn't seen Eva or Kim for about 8 years. People do change, but they also don't. It was strange for about a half hour, all of us riding the bus to Willesden Green where we spent the days, but then felt completely natural.

Look me up next time we're in the same city. . .
Or even on the same continent, really.

and it felt like we will.
also sort of makes me want to get a job where I'm never anywhere too long. thoughts you have on a bumpy coach when you can't sleep or write crossing over to the other side of the Severn.

the last few days have been pretty rough and tumble on all counts. i'd be lying if i said i wasn't a bit worse for wear and worn out. i think i've at least got better perspective on it than last time i left a place, probably not as good as the next time.

that hardly helps in the moment, though.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Cymru Mini-Tour Gig Roundup

A show in Swansea and a show in Cardiff doesn't constitute a Cymru tour any more than a show in, say New York and Boston constitutes a "US Tour," but a guy can pretend.

June 18th @ The Crunch

Zombies and Paint Thinner
Swansea-Cardiff Blues (bellingham edition)
Rugby '08
Poetry Open Mics
Like Taking Communion
Little Red Corvette
Ambition is Critical (swansea edition)
Camarthen Train #1
Get Smart

Psychotronic Beastfight

This being the last Crunch I'd be able to attend, it was supermeaningful to me and I had to avoid a choke-up a couple of times. Adam was excellent and natural hosting, making it feel a seamless tradition. Highlights in the open mic were many, but Wood's anti-dan brown rant, Punk John's Rollins-from-south-london turn and Jess' written on the night thing all spring to mind. So yeah. All my best friends kicked ass. Couldn't have asked for a better or more supportive reception. Wood got most of it on tape, but mercifully the camera died before I decided to trot out Beastfight and like, the doom-nostrils and all.

June 19th @ O'Neil's in Cardiff
Amerika! Reading
with Mab Jones, Mao Jones.

Paintings of Famous Satanists
Feel the Buzz (Cardiff edition)
Neo Takes the Blue Pill
Story Problem

This was a gig of america-themed poetry, and I got the gig mainly because I've got that flat accent (still.) That and Mab, who organised it, knew of my impending departure and was good enough to get me on in Cardiff before I went. I think I went down pretty well, despite my oppressive-overlord status (ha) and while the books didn't hardly fly off the stand, at Mab's hard-sell encouragement I was able to coax/guilt/flirt the books into the hands of more than a few folks.

Stayed with Gemma Howell and her bf in Cathays and jumped a coach to London around mid-day. Its much harder to 1) sleep 2) write on a coach than a train. But its so much cheaper. I wish my laziness/trainfondness hadn't prevented me from exploiting that fact about the greyhounds of the UK earlier. Oh well. Now I know.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Okay, enough of that, let's rally.

I'll fore-go the whinge, the life lessons and minutiae and just talk about a few things I'm really excited about/interested in right now:

1.) Saturday's reading at the Halfway House. These are my favourite sort of readings; ones in non-trad venues, often to non-poetry types with completely different reference points to most literature/spoken word crowds. I know that when I get published these opportunities will be making themselves scarce (self-published is so much more punk rock) so I'm excited they still happen now. Hoping for a few of these back in Seattle. But we'll see.

2.) Getting "Zombies," "Get Smart," "Flicking Ash," "Neo Takes the Blue Pill" "Fear of Drowning" and "Story Problem" solidly off-book.

3.) Arriving in Seattle. Leaving is Shit and Going Home Again is Always Confusing, but there's a long list of good things too.
3.2) Meeting my new sisters. Had a convo online with Titu and she typed better english than a lot of my friends do in Chat.

4.) London in two weeks. I do like that city. Seeing Shane and Becca there.

5.) The Threatmantics record. I'll post more about this later.

6.) The way that the unfinished Marina Quay Building (wales' tallest!) and the acompanying crane stands as a symbol for so many so many so many things about this town. Because if you wrote it, it would seem contrived.

Monday, 1 June 2009

June! Everything faster than everything else.

Over a year ago I had a post called "It being March already is fucking up my chi." I think this is true, still-- i.e. perhaps my chi remains fucked up, from last March, but the fact that it is now June seems more in line with how I feel than had it continued to be May. Which is good cuz I sure as hell can't change it.
and this month is filling up. I don't have a dayplanner but maybe I should:

June 1st:
Today. Return to work.
June 5th: Minion Fest-- The Antagonist's Print Relaunch. Featuring DJ Sets from Punk John, Gothfunc and er, we'll go with Kilogram, who will be playing all the hottest* indie punk, post-rock, garage metal, ugly country and synth-thrash. F'reals.
June 11th: The Crunch, featuring Simone Mansell Broome.
June 12th: Possibly, tentatively last day of work and subsequent Rhyddings-Goodbye Party*.
June 13th: Happy Birthday, Mom. Also, Mystery Action at The Halfway House, featuring Lewis Watkins' new band, visual art from Dan McCabe and a spoken word set from myself.
June 15th: Happy Birthday, Dad, Brielle*.
June 18th: Last Crunch I'll be at for a while. Doing a farewell-type feature and hopefully "moving" lots of "units" to fund my "trip" to "London."
June 19th: Gig in Cardiff with Mab Jones at O'Neil's.
June 20, 21st: IOI reunion in London. Probably grab tea with Katie Weston and maybe look up Nia as well for while-I'm-here hellos. Happy birthday me.
June 30th: MC for Gemma June Howell's "Inside the Treacle Well" booklaunch.
July 3rd: Stuff Happens 2! MC/Organise/Oversee/Promote. Featuring Peter Read, Susie Wild, Leslie McMurty, Wood Ingham, Liza Penn Thomas, uh, Adam, loads more people and artists. Launch of the Global Poetry System website.

somewhere in there add: at least 2 Graffiti Walks*, maybe recording with Punk John, a trip to Newport with Dave Beer*, loads of more Seeing Wales and More of the UK While I can, the whole packingandgettingridofthingsthing and of course lots and lots and lots of genuine, meaningful, reflective times, unforced and completely natural. ahaha.

* probably 3 songs by McLusky, a Pavement (for a sense of history) and like, something by Neko Case and about half of "Lets Stay Friends."
* I may actually die from various bodily failures at this point, rendering the rest of the list moot.
* Hey Brielle, do you want any sweet Welsh swag?
* Taking pictures of, not making.
* At Cardiff Central I heard someone talking about Newport and took it as a sign from God that Dave and I and maybe Roy need to go to Newport and get very very drunk. I'm not even kidding.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Everything must run its course.

Today I went to Jen and Keiran's and Jen was like "let's get you a plane ticket." So a ticket is gotten. Summer prices are a bitch, but that's life. Second week of July I fly back to the States, meaning now that the next month+ will probably run by in a montage-like series of images, events and people while MGMT and possibly the Arcade Fire play in the background of every waking thought.

Big emotions, dude. Here's more sweet jams, varying levels of relevance to how I'm feeling these days.

these guys played Swansea yesterday and I missed it. I know. Part of the problem.

you and me both, Scott. . .

I'll bet these women are really nice grandmothers now who make doilies and have no idea they're in a sweet detroit rapper's video.


Friday, 22 May 2009


I've been meaning to post a link to Wood's blog for a while, and now its narcissistic of me to do so.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

"give me something to stop the blee-ding."

I am staring out into Swansea bay and listening to the Jesus Lizard sing ostensibly not-about-tampons, but who knows.

Jen: You're allowed to be a mess sometimes.
Keiran: . . . yeah, you're a twenty-something poet who works in a bad pub. You should get an award just for not being on fire.

sigh. still.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

focus on the depth that was never there; eliminate what you can't repair.

Top Five Ways I Currently Find Myself Beginning Sentences

So dude, before I leave we have to. . .

Well, I'm going down to the library and then I'm. . .

So dude, Future of the Left put a bunch of new songs up on their myspace and. . .

Well if I knew where I was going to be for the next year or so I'd have sought out a proper publisher, but as is I decided. . .

Seattle, in the U.S., to study Creative and Media Writing down at the Uni. . .

Top Five Ways I Currently Find Myself Ending Sentences

. . . those done and if I have to ship off you'll(/they'll) have all the info to send to London when they need it.

. . . if not, probably by the end of June.

. . . really nice, yeah, the weather is the same and the people are friendly.

. . . maybe after work, if I'm not too tired.

. . . and its just like "DA-NAH-NAH-NAH NAH-WREE!" and I'm like "yeah, this rules." I think you'd really like it.

Seven One-Line Sentences That Make Up Really Frequent Responses, Queries or Admonitions*

I've got no credit on my phone so just call or e-mail me later.

Oh, that's really cool.

Can't, I have to work.

Nope, haven't heard anything yet.

Can't, I'm skint.

Nothing's wrong, I'm just really tired.

Didn't we decide this was a bad idea?

*frequently lies or half-truths to avoid the necessity of longer sentences.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Sleep through the winter, awake in Spring-- adjust your eyes to the state of things

This morning Wood loaded up the car with kids and myself and we took a brief trip to the lovely Llansamlet retail park, where the Big Post Office is, and a letter I needed to sign for but wasn't In yesterday for, yes, you see where this is going, that letter, from a certain Home Office in Yorkshire, arrived.

They said "no." Like, in fact, I knew they would all along. I tried to communicate this to everyone, that Mozarts in fact does not and couldn't/wouldn't get a certificate of sponsorship which is sort of a vital fact when you are being sponsored. Granted, I didn't want to jinx myself with negativity or post the raw facts on the internet for obvious reasons, but I always knew it was a long shot. I knew that if I was granted leave to stay, it'd be Divine Intervention of some order, because the Home Office isn't given to leniency.

But any time I'd so much as imply impending departure, the person I was talking to would do that "Butbutbutbut. . . you MIGHT stay, they CAN'T kick you out" thing, which is sort of the grown-up equivalent of sticking ones fingers in ones ears and shoutsinging LALALALA. Or there was the (far worse) response consisting soley of immediately watered-over eyes and a quivering lip.

Which is all to say, there are a few quick decisions to be made and then lots and lots of explaining those decisions and whether its a year or two weeks before you know it I'll be gone.

Friday, 1 May 2009

working/but I'm not working for you!

Weeks worth = 2 entries, roughly. Apparently.
Right now= rain outside. Sunny this morning and me coat/hatless. Waiting it out.

Speaking of Waiting It Out (see what I did there?) lets look at some food-service statistics. The way I see it, all menial jobs have their upsides (free food, good stories, staying in shape if its manual labour) and downsides (obvious.) So this is the breakdown of my four year-plus food-service jobs, starting at the age of 19 at Dennys, right up through my current Pub-tending tradition at teh Rhydz. Lets see which jobs come out on top and how far I've come.

1. Money. The reason you get any job, basically, is money. Even rewarding ones must pay in order to be jobs, not hobbies.
Denny's: Minimum wage, which in Washington State was pretty good, plus tips, which weren't as good as some high-end place, but still left every night with between $20-70, depending.
Port of Subs 20 hours a week behind a sub-sandwich bar for minimum and jar tips split between four people. Left every day with maybe two to five (on a good day) dollars. Enough to buy myself a sandwich on discount, or get a coffee. I have no idea how I survived on this for two years.
Avenue Bread All factors considered, possibly the best. By the end I was making like $9 an hour (amazing considering I was just a sandwich maker/barista) and jar tips were split between up to five people. But usually still left with between $15-30 a day.
The Rhyddings Just above minimum, because luckily, I'm over 22. Every now and then a regular will "put a drink behind" (and I'll usually just pocket the £2.50) because in Britain we don't believe in things like tipping. That's fine. I don't believe in things like giving a shit if my customers have flies in their pints.
Winner/Loser Dennys and Avenue win. The Rhyddings, depressingly, all things considered, is possibly worse for money than Port of Subs. But I get more hours. And there are other factors like. . .

2. Proximity to One's House
Dennny's No. I lived in Lake City. It was in Ballard. I drove the parents' gold mini-van and it took a half hour each way. That's a lot of 107.7 The End to deal with if you forget a mix tape and KEXP is coming in fuzzy.
Port of Subs Down the hill and nearly on the other side of the (tiny) downtown bellingham. So close, but not like next door.
Avenue Bread Depends. A 10 minute bus-ride to the Fairhaven Store (during which I think I lisened to that Raconteurs album a lot) or literal roll down the hill to downtown main. About three streets closer than POS, which makes a psychological difference.
The Rhyddings *Just* closer than the Downtown Avenue. Plus I get to cut through a park if I want.
Winner The Rhyds.

3. Flexibility of Hours
Denny's Theoretical but not in practice. For a while I was scheduled ONLY the shifts I asked for off (including when I was supposed to be paid to do improv) at which point I and a couple other workers got the GM transferred to another store about an hour from his house.
Port of Subs Weekdays 10:30 am- 2:30pm. Everyday.
Avenue Bread Decent enough; you're either getting too many hours or far too few, but they were usually reasonable.
The Rhyds "Hey Kim, I can't work this night." "Why not __________?" "Well, my friend is visiting from Bristol the day before and we're gonna be absolutely wasted. . . " "Cool I'll get Graham/Lauren/Myself to cover it."
Winner Rhyds and Avenue beat out the other two, though Port of Subs had the advantage that I could do it for 4 hours with my brain shut off and therefore it failed to effect my lifestyle whatsoever.

4. Value In Cultivating Starving Artist Stereotype Or conversely, working at a place with enough local-goodwill that it has its own sort of respect granted.
Denny's Would have been much higher if I were a fry-cook.
Port of Subs No. Other than that I was shit-poor.
Avenue Bread "Oh, hey, I've eaten there. They have really good sandwiches."
The Rhyddings You kidding? I'm not only bartending. . . I'm bartending in Wales. The anecdotal value of starting sentences with "Well, when I was working at this local pub in Swansea. . ." is through the roof.
Winner Avenue on Local Goodwill front, but Rhyddings for life-story elements.

5. Good Stories/Interesting Regulars
Dennys Oh yeah. Like the guy who wrote on napkins about Satan and asked me if I thought God hated him for drinking. Or the kids who played D & D all night for the price of one coke and one coffee. Or the girls who left me their e-mails on a napkin, offering to take me to a public hot-tub rental place for an hour.
Port of Subs Jimmy Henry used to order sandwiches regularly and he was pretty interesting wherever he was. Everyone else worked in banks nearby.
Avenue Bread The difference between the Downtown and Fairhaven stores was amazing. Like, seriously. In Fairhaven there was this guy who invited me to his church, but it felt like he was doing it to try to get into the girl I worked with's pants. Somehow. Downtown Tony burned me a bunch of National CDs and we talked about such things when there weren't lines. One of the old guys who always came in actually died right there in the store.
The Rhyddings I wasn't there for The Fight that got Dave drinking again, but I'm pretty sure I've got nearly a book's worth of interesting characters waiting until I don't, you know, work there any more, to pop out of my head. Of course that would mean I wrote a book about bartending.
Winner Denny's has a 0.1 edge in the tie right now.

6. Interesting/Hot Co-Workers or Hey, is the Whole Staff Sleeping Together? Can I get in on that? Maybe just a little?
Dennys More interesting than Hot, but I could name about six or seven off the top of my head that ruled. Nikki, whose house I'd watch movies at after work while her and her bf smoked copious amounts of anything, (sometimes-token) Black Guy Corry, who, when he got a shift he didn't like would say things like "I guess I'm the nigger today." Many other stories.
Port of Subs I worked at all times with one other underling and a Punjab couple (Parmjit and Kudlippe) who ran the store with an iron fist. For about two weeks James "horsewhip" Burns was one of those. Around the same time Grant Cross applied for a job and it looked like we were going to be the most hipster-fried sub shop in all of bellingham. Didn't pan out, though.
Avenue Bread "It is not my 'opinion' that everyone you work with is Fucking Hot. I am simply observing a fact."-- Jake, on my co-workers.
The Rhyddings Its hard to judge when you're still there, actually. Some great folks, some run-of-the-mill, some interesting enough and then there's Huwie.
Winner Avenue for Hot, definitely, with enough interesting mixed in I don't feel entirely shallow saying so. Includes Ellie, who got the poem written about her. Rhyds and Dennys may tie for interesting, if you take into account people like Keiran or Dave Beer. Port of Subs for Movie of the Week elements.

7. Morally Redeeming Elements I.E. Am I working for The Man? Do I hate myself for serving people this terrible food? How crushed is my soul by this? What's cool about this job?
Denny's Totally working for The Man. Chewed through employees like a dog through food. Employee discounts on meals, free soda.
Port of Subs The days I felt really angry or depressed I reminded myself that I was working for a immigrant family-owned franchise. And it was paying for little Jasmine's school.
Avenue Bread Free coffee, sandwiches, pastries at the end of the day. All local ingredients, everything donated to charity at the end of the day. Possibly the Greenest place I've ever seen, and run by completely business-savvy types who didn't do it so much because they were Hippies (they were pretty right-wing) but because hey-- this is smart.
The Rhyds Its not a chain-pub (i.e. reflex) and it services a local neighborhood. So that's good. But employee discounts? Pah. Green? Er, I guess we recycle.
Winner Avenue, by a long shot.

8. General Morale How depressing IS it?
Dennys Fluctuated wildly, depending on the GM. No one wants to work at Dennys for too long, but ironically it was those who'd worked there a while, chain-smoked and read Vonnegut and said that yeah "someday" they'd do something else, but fuck it, who really survived.
Port of Subs "I have to be work here every day. No friends, no life. I can to be very depressed. Is like Jail."-- Kudlippe.
Avenue Bread Depended how hungover we all were. Our boss could tell the difference between really sick and "A Night at Rumours."
The Rhyds We love how much we "hate" it there, but somehow end up there even when we weren't supposed to be.
Winner Er, probably the Rhyds. Due more to personal growth than anything else, or the fact that it all just feels so much like a story.

alright. that's enough. the rain hasn't stopped. I'm going to take some ibruprofen and call a dentist.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

. . . and half-dead too/work is for suckers and the sucker is you

As of today, I have been employed by the Rhyddings Hotel for one year.
To "celebrate," we will all enjoy a week's worth of observational Rhyddings and Other Customer Service Experience anecdotal blogging. A look back on the life and times of one Graham Isaac as he hands you unhealthy foodstuffs and drinkstuffs for minimal pay with even less dignity.

To start things off:
Queen are not a terrible band, by any stretch. In fact, they seem to be one of the few not-terrible bands that Angie and Tony (landlady and lord, respectively) like. My short-form, pre-Rhyddings feelings on Queen went like this: Like Led Zeppelin before them, they're plenty good in their own right, but they are a bad band for other bands to try to be. And a lot do.

5 Songs by the Rock Band Queen That, After Working At the Rhyddings Pub, I Can No Longer Even Imagine Enjoying, Even Ironically, Even With My Best Friends On A Summer Day, Ever, Under Any Circumstance

5. A Crazy Little Thing Called Love-- Know who else other bands/artists shouldn't try to be? ELVIS*.
4. We Will Rock You-- Buddayarrastraahngmanyahngmanbuddyyoura-- I feel myself getting stupider every time I hear this song and picture an arena full of hockey/football/basketball fans clapping along, off-time somehow, even though its the easiest song to clap to EV-AR.
3. I Want It All-- I thought this was the Scorpions at first. In a bad way**.
2. Bohemian Rhapsody-- You know what? I've never liked this song. Ever. All my friends liked it because of that scene in Waynes World where they headbang to it in the back of the car. My Chemical Romance re-wrote this song way less shitty in 2006*** and called it Welcome to the Black Parade and we won't have to hear THAT one in 30 years because everyone who deifies MCR will be dead in three years from killing themselves for their Dark Dark Masters.
1. Friends Will Be Friends-- Picture, if you will, this song, which is already the most cliched sort of expression of Friendship ever. Now picture a room full of drunk folks who aren't yours, singing along at top volume. Then they yell at you by name to get them another cider.

and, in a strange about face--

4 Songs By Queen that, Incredibly, I Don't Find That Annoying, Despite Overexposure and Someday May Even Listen to Voluntarily, Though It'll Be A while

4. We Are the Champions-- With the exception of their small, but loyal Theatre Kid Crowd who basically listen to anything you can dress up in stupid costumes to listen to (see also: Decemberists, They Might Be Giants, Dragonforce) most Queen Fans are rabidly homophobic. So the fact that this is a gay-rights anthem makes me happy.
3. Hammer to Fall-- This just sounds like generic Buttrock to me. I thought it was some obscure Guns and Roses song at first. Not bad to pour shitty beer to. I can almost pretend I work in The Office.
2. Another One Bites the Dust-- This is a good song, despite being played at so many sports games and wedding receptions, mainly because it sounds NOTHING like Queen and if you tilt your head and have water in your ears, it almost sounds like early hip hop.
1. Radio Ga Ga-- The chorus goes "All we hear is Radio Ga Ga, Radio Goo Goo". . . by all accounts it should be at the fucking TOP of the last list. But no. Maybe because it forgoes all the Big Rock Guitar shit and tries (fails) almost to be New Wave. But yeah. I actually still actively enjoy this one.

* unless you're the Cramps.
** there isn't really a Good Way, actually.
*** still pretty shitty, really only Less Shitty because its shorter, and I've heard it fewer times, and maybe if really terrible bands keep ripping off Queen people who pretend to be into music will stop trying to make me like them a lot and stop listening to new bands so I can *bask* in Brian May's "awesome" guitar work.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

dagger, do as I say (sink with my life like a stone)

There's a bit of Swansea beach, near the library and beneath the Tallest Building In Wales (the restaurant is supposed to rotate when its done) that feels positively Californian, with the palm trees and a city-beach that is far sandier than any in Washington State. This is helped by the last few days' near-shorts-appropriate weather. Sometimes I expect Josh and Cliff to tap me on the shoulder and herd me to the car because we're late to meet Taylor at some wedding-related function.

This summer, apparently, there will be some wedding-related functions in the Greater Seattle Area. I've got the Dates Saved, at least on e-mail, but I really only know the girls involved as Ideas-- IE: Dude I'm getting married to____________. This hardly rates a lot of personal investment.

But yeah, palm trees and everything; I think I like them better here. There are, shockingly, (if you've ever walked through town any gven weekend evening) fewer assholes in Swansea. Or maybe I've never watched it get under my friends' skin and peel them down to something else-- doubtless I just haven't lived here long enough.

Monday, 20 April 2009

". . . not a service I can trust."

more not-poetry.

perhaps notable because it's the first video Local H have made since the one for "Half Life" in 2002. Since then plenty of fans have clipped together live-shows, but as far as I know this is the first the band has been involved in. Props for choosing a song that won't get them mistaken for a pop-punk band.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

I live in Acid Rain.

I am so goddammnfuckinell sick of poetry right now, especially my own.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Welsh hospitality

Last night was the launch of Miscellaneous at GwDiHw (pron. goody-hoo! with the exclamation points.) in Cardiff. Organised by Gemma j. Howell, who was on the course I trucked to Wales for, but in the year before me. Room was packed out; the place reminded me of Swansea's sadly-now-defunct Siro's but all on one level. The night started with an agile-fingered piano player and ran the gamut from songwriters to poetry to instrumental jams to standup comedy.

Including a guy who started by reading from a copy of "mein kampf"-- the lyrics to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Which ruled, as he then "taught" us how to be comdedians in a bad german accent ('zis is vat you call juxshtoposhitional comedy).

I did "zombies and paint thinner" and "tall drink of water" and went over like a brick through a window, in a positive way. That's positive, right? Yeah. Nia did "harbour bell," which I think is becoming a signature. Train ride over we compared notes on poems, what Gets Published by the Magazines That Have Rejected Us.

I think I'll try Poetry Wales again-- apparently that's what handwritten rejection letters mean.

Al, Jo and Margot came and Doprav was in full effect, holding up the poetry end of the first section with his food-as-sex-as-food piece. Met a few 'diff poets who may now be coming down to the Crunch. Excellent.

afters it all I crashed with a young man named Tudor (originally from Aberystwyth via Kuwait) and stayed up late talking national identities, world history and film with his roommate Neil. Tudor made a fish pie (Neil made the required joke) and eventually, as we all sat in the living room smoking spliffs (them enthusiastically, myself polite/clumsily) T decided it was time he Played Some Songs on the Cello.

I passed out around 4, woke up around 8 and after a bit of getting lost, found the train station and rolled back to Swansea. Before requisite showers and day-offness, I'll probably do some letter-writing, or at least think about it.

And. . .

Monday, 30 March 2009


Friday morning at 6:15am I was rubbing sleep out my eyes and walking up High Street to the train station. After some unsuccessful attempts to withdraw money from a hole-in-the-wall (apparently £50 at 6am registers as suspicious for someone who usually only gets up to £20, and usually around 7pm) I got the London Paddington Train for 6:29. Or so I thought. Apparently that one left early, so I sat, half-awake, on a still train until 6:59.
I did a bit of editing on Ambition is Critical and then slept most of the way between Bridgend and Reading.

Ultimately, I made my way via tube to the Southbank Centre. I was a bit concerned about finding it in time, but luckily for me, most things with names like "The Royal Festival Hall" have huge-ass signs on the side of their buildings. This was no exception. As I was walking through the door to Function Room 3 I got a call from Lucy, the organiser asking if I'd made it okay. Movie-style timing.

I was there for the Pilot Meeting of the Global Poetry System. What is that? That's what I was there to find out. Long and short of it-- it'll be a web-based interactive poetry project. Sort of like Google Maps but with poetry. Perhaps a bit of Wiki thrown in. So, say you scroll over Swansea on the map and there are balloons that pop up with links to found poetry, videos of events, reader's musings on historical Swansea Poets. For example.

The project is very open ended and the brainchild of Southbank Centre Artist in Residence Lemn Sissay, who was incredibly warm and more than that, was able to talk about Poetry as a Vastly Important Part of Daily and Spiritual Life without sounding like a Big Fucking Hippie.

Which is very hard to do.

The enthusiasm was infectious and though the rest of the day was largely brainstorming with the other Project Partners from all over the UK, it felt just as much like some sort of odd mini-summercamp. The project is very adaptable; I feel it'll be important for Swansea to emphasize new events and generating new material; the guy from Abergavenny is planning his end around one particular poet of local renown, one of the Edinburgh ladies is specifically interested in upping visitorship and readership of libraries, Will from London is looking towards youth work and performance.

So what the Global Poetry System is will obviously evolve with time; but I find it exciting to be working with such a variety of people who are also excited about words and also excited about their own communities. It's huge.

Afters I checked out the Saison Poetry Library and I was supposed to meet Will (london) and Ryan (Scotland via Connecticut) at the bar at the British Film Institute, but I had to hit up a bank first. When I got back they weren't there; either they'd each shown up on their own when the others weren't there, thought "fuck it" and left (entirely possible) or I'd found the wrong British Film Institute bar (also possible.) As was, I sat outside drinking a pint of a cornish ale called Doombar (it was pretty good) and watched the Thames.

It was good. The part about not getting to meet up with anyone in London ended up okay; I caught the train back and read the first fifty pages of Infinite Jest, showed up at Rhod and Guppy's where the whole crew was watching a pirated version of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

It was alright.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Feel the Buzz (Cardiff Edition)

“Its a great place to be young,”

He waves his arm; there is construction everywhere,
buildings practically popping out of the ground like
multiple erections or moles granted courage.

The world’s oldest record store in Europe’s youngest
capital. A series of posters for gigs I’d never miss in
my own city.

Whenever I’ve got a Cardiff trip planned, I prepare
an excuse to wield against my Swansea friends’
how-could-you stares—The Other Woman, the Greener Grass, the
place their old best friend never calls from.

“you should really consider moving here. There’s a
scene you could plug into. Gigs every night.”

A Los Campesinos flyer finds itself involuntarily into
my pocket. I shuffle in and out the honeycomb of
arcades, buzzed off coffee.

But the buzz doesn’t last, out the other side is the
monstrous descent of mall-progress, named after
a saint, no-less, glass and metal rippling shower
curtain luminescence,

Looming hideous over the few places I’ve come to know,
a City so desperate to assert itself as such it swallows and
is swallowed by the things that kill it,

You could really plug in here, feel the electricity
like a lightbulb, in a row of lightbulbs, flickering
and waiting for the bin.

okay, it needs work. but now I've got the Bellingham Edition, Cardiff Edition and Swansea Edition. The skeleton of my chapbook is complete and waiting to be filled in.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Chapbook update, travel plans, etc

So I've been oscillating on whether the chapbbok should be 1) a bunch of unrelated poems people will like or 2) a themed batch of connected poems written since I've come to Swansea.
Plus side of 1: Easy and fun to perform. Quick. Versatile to different audiences.
Plus side of 2: Relevant. Challenging. A more rewarding read.

Thinking it over and getting feedback from folks both side of the pond it seems folks are veering towards 2-- but really want both. And so do I, really. I'd like to produce a book I can read from when I don't feel like talking about Wales, but I want the cohesiveness that comes from a theme. So the next week will be polishing and finishing a few pieces I put on the back burner in an attempt to walk the tightrope.

because why do anything easy?

speaking of, tommorrow at 555am I take a train to London for the Southbank Centre's workshop/orientation for all the partners in the Global Poetry System. I don't have a place to stay or much money, but hey-- flexibility. go see some art galleries and shit, come back with a GPS Plan of Attack.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

These kids, I swear, drink nike

for kids back home curious about Welsh vs. English accents, here's a broad stroke. Also a fairly hilarious interview. The band (Future of the Left) is from Cardiff and speaking for camera, so the accent is a bit toned down. But you can still tell the diff between the London interviewer and our Welsh boys here.

. . . this isn't the single they're talking about, nor is it quite representative of Future of the Left's "sound". . . its a bit cleaned up and a bit more march-y than usual. But the video and the song compliment eachother in an odd funny/disturbing way that Falkous just seems to be getting better at. I think 4AD (see also: TV on the Radio, Pixies, Bon Iver, Deerhunter) perhaps wanted something less tweaked to lead off with.
The Pub I work in is not quite as old-fashionedy as this one, but for some reason the one in the video feels very familiar and authentic, for all its weirdness. Perhaps because of all the weirdness, only brought to the surface instead of lingering below candy vodka shots and charted jukebox hits.

If I found any good Gindrinker videos, you'd have those as well. But try Youtubing "gindrinker" and you get a buncha tanned sorority girls falling over.

Monday, 16 March 2009

"I can sell you two cans of Hatred, but you can't open them in here."

The Facebook Site for the pub I work at is called "Rhyddings Hotel, Centre of the Universe." Cough. Cough. Cough. I didn't make it. This probably means, however, that I'm entitled to talk about what happens there as it effects everything to occur anywhere, ever.

so here we go: Superhappy Workfun #1.

There's too much longwinded backstory that isn't interesting to get this one across, but I'll try. There's two of the regulars who come by. One is Huwie, who is nicknamed "the horrible cunt" and then there's Ceri, who's a good few decades younger than Huwie, but is his boss. On and off. It's a complex relationship; Ceri often comes in and asks. . . So. . . any horrible cunts around?
No, no sign of odiousness.
Good good. So it hasn't been that loathesome in here today?
Not that I've seen.

It's good banter. Actually, probably 60% of the truly quality banter from the dailies comes from Ceri-- "I'll take a few pints of self-loathing with a chaser of despair and-- oh wait, you don't SELL dignity here, do you?
So it was pretty la-a-ame when Ceri was in a few weeks ago with a good group of mates I'd not seen before and they proceeded to give me and Simon a good bit of shit.
( Parentheticals you probably figure but I'll say anyway--Now-- Taking Shit is part of a bartender's job. Not enough bubbles in your pint? Here, let me pour your pint into a new glass and top it up, wasting what ends up being nearly half a pint of beer just so that your Fosters is foamy enough. Too MUCH head on your beer? Let's just top that up for you. Yes, it sure IS a shame this isn't a "Real Pub." I'll serve you so much faster when you snap your fingers. Etc.--)

But there's Taking Shit and there's some shit-- when one of Ceri's mates' pint was flat after about three new glasses, well, that's not my fault, is it? Plus by now we've put almost a pint and a half in the waste tray just trying to conjure up some bubbles. So then every time I walk past he complains, cusses at me or remarks that he paid £2.60 for this pint and blah blah blah (he actually paid £2.45.)

This isn't what got Ceri banned. Ceri was just sitting there laughing. Would I have liked it if one of my regulars who I'm always quick to serve actually said something-- anything-- to the effect of "come on, guys, I drink here every day, lay off." Yes.
But I wasn't expecting it.
However, when the lot of them started sending texts to the pub phone aimed at Simon saying things like Next time make sure my pint has bubbles in it, you hairy cunt and similarly hilarious bits (revolving around the C-word. I'll miss it's ubiquity when I go home.) that Simon refuses to serve them. I go along with it, because seriously, fuck those guys.
Meanwhile, the "horrible cunt" is sitting at his stool, shaking his head and politely waiting to be served. Ironies.

So if there's one thing I can say for Tony and Angie, it's that they back up their employees. None of this "customer is always right" rot. Tony tells me that he doesn't want those guys in here any more and if Ceri wants to keep drinking here he needs to issue an apology. Now I don't want the guy banned-- I just want his charming friends to leave me alone. However, Saturday night he comes in and gets into a proper Row with Angie and now he's 86ed. Meanwhile, "horrible cunt" now works for us as a cleaner.

Superfunhappytimes #2
Jane has worked at the pub for quite a while now. She's been in and out of the bartrade for a good long time and the customers like her. She is not, however, good at managing her drinking habits in such a way to line up with her schedule. Even by the Rhyddings standards. Which run along these lines-- "If I can go out and get absolutely shitfaced every night and still show up here and do my job for eight hours, you damn well can too."--Kim.
We don't care about hangovers, blurry eyes or cranky tempers. We do care (or I do) when we get texts at 6:30am asking for coverage of the 11am shift. Hypothetically. Which I did because 1) I'm a sucker and 2) I'm good hearted and 3) I'm broke and 4) all of the above.

So working an unexpected 11-5 on a rugby day was fine; but when Simon shows up and asks if I want to cover him because "he's got to do some shit" well. . . alright. Half your shift. Til 9pm. For an even 10 hours.
But when Simon doesn't show to cover the last half of his shift, well, I'm already on a pint of bitter and sure as hell no one ELSE is picking up the slack. So Angie tells Kim to text Simon "If you're not here in 15 minutes don't bother coming back."

Needless to say, he doesn't show. I'm sure he'll have a story. On one hand I feel bad for the guy -- 22 years old, two kids and what sounds like the banshee from hell to contend with, personally. When he didn't show up for a week and returned, teary-eyed and apologetic, Angie let him back.
On the other hand, I believe Nicola put it best when she said: "Well, it serves the stupid twat fucking right for not showing up. Asshole."

Because at the end of the day, yeah man. We've all Got Problems. But we show up.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

It's like the Awesome Nameless Summer Poetry Project, but will probably get a title soon. Part 1.

Today I got an e-mail from GPS with a contract and everything. Something about invoicing them. I've never "invoiced" anyone before; largely because I'm usually on the other end of that equation and because most of my dealings are with friends. This, however, is with a large, poetry-based corporation.

More on that later. With regards to the Other End of my cash-acquisition, I'm currently working on a new Chapbook to complete in time for a top-secret lock-in fundraiser at Lewis' band's practice space beginning of April.
Yeah, I know.
Something about a "top-secret fundraiser" sounds eight ways to dodgy, but still. . . I like reading in cramped, poorly lit spaces. If my words don't hit people, specks of saliva will.

So I'm currently going through a list of potential poems for this book. I want it to largely consist of pieces I've written (or heavily edited and completed) here in Swansea, I want it to have a strong Sense of Place, but I don't want it to read like a poetry-based laundry list of images and places; I find that heavily themed works get real stale real fast.
So. I've got a list of titles here, some with links to them, others you can easily find on this blog, others are yet unseen in online form and we'll let that stay the case.

First off, the Poems I Wrote Pre-Wales, that for whatever reason I Feel Strongly Enough About to consider including
Story Problem
Zombies and Paint Thinner
Dinner For One
Watching Films About Death
Little Red Corvette
Caleb Barber Loses His Teeth to Meth
Everyone Has Something
Murder Ballads

Poems I've Written in Swansea, More or Less About Swansea or Places in It or about General 'Welshness'-->(*Marks one that needs a good bit of work)
Beneath the Cathedral
Paintings of Famous Satanists
Rugby '08
Rugby '09*
The Cafe Across From the Train Station
Glasgow Weather and Inappropriate Footwear
Carmarthen Train #1
Its What We Writers Do (For Jen)
Christmas Light Gallows*
Tall Drink of Water
Black Pudding*
Isolation Therapy
At the Chip Shop
Beck House D 3.1*
Ambition is Critical*
Swansea-Cardiff Blues (Bellngham Edition)*
Earl Grey
All My Friend Back Home (Start a band about this one)*
Tired Eyes

And These Are About Girls or Concepts or came from Ryan's prompts and aren't necessarily tied to Wales
Donkey Kong Country
New Poem For Old Plasters
We Laughed at the Same Thing (M4W)
Clippers! Clippers! Clippers!
A Little Fear of Drowning
Flicking Ash
24th Ave, NE*
Cities that Exist in Movies*
Children Go Missing Every Day
Context and Subtext
Ways In Which Gloriana Flotsam McGrew Will Probably Die, Since It's Always So Fucking Glamourous With Her (addressed to the subject)
Pigeon Bait
Children Go Missing Every Day
Forward Thinking
Three Counts of Public Urination
Enough With the Cape Already*
Genus, Species and Flavour
I am the tired orphan*

yeah. So about 15-20 poems out of those. Plus a few that are very much in my head but not on paper yet. Some are shoe-ins, but it really depends what sort of thing I want to make and what purpose I want it to serve for me and how long. Which I'll talk about later. I've tagged a lot of places you can find some of the mentioned poems.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Call it romantic predict-a-text*

*for best results, scroll to the video and press play. listen to song while reading the entry. this one is just a song; there's no video to go with it.

First-- A poem from January. You might remember it. This version is slightly edited.

I have met so many girls
with fast laughs and careful smiles
who've known you far too long
whose tired eyes would do
so much better

This, we have in common.

T and I broke up yesterday. It started Wednesday morning when I was walking her to work and I made one of my brilliant "here'ssomethingcasualthatactuallymeanslots" comments about how I could, you know, really get used to this. Then Saturday night at Sin City (there's an entry coming about how all my relationships in Wales have seemed to start or end at Sin City) she writes me a note on her phone about "I think I'm falling for you way too fast."
I think Pantera's "Walk" was playing in the background at the time.
So she came over to mine yesrafternoon, dodged the crowds of baby-dedicators and we hashed things out in my room. It was either going to suck a lot now or suck a lot in a few months; selfishly enough I would have preferred the latter. Because then all the leaving-related-angst could be packed up into one misty-eyed suitcase, i could write a note on the airplane and mail it as soon as I got back. But the intervening months, helping me pack, scribble goodbyes, those would have been hell on her.

So I guess I'm taking this one in lumps.

long. fucking. sigh.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

All this talk of leaving when it still feels so far away.

Today is a heavy internet day for me. So be it.

For Lent this year I'm going with the old standby of giving up booze. There've been the odd occasions in the past when (for lent or other reasons) I've given up booze where the fact that I really didn't want to meant I needed to; this time the fact that I'm not bothered about it means it's all just as well.

I mailed off my visa app yesterday. The weight off my shoulders is tremendous. I probably have about 2 -4 more months in Swansea now and I've got shit to do. Among the things I've got planned:

--> Help Theresa move forward with her plans; she sent off an application to Grad School in Cardiff yesterday and will be looking to move soon. I like our parallell trajectories in some ways; we're helping each other along. Also, do more fun stuff with her now that I'm not in perma-whinge mode.

--> Global Poetry System. On March 27th there's a workshop in London I go to (this may be one of the few notable Lent Exceptions I allow myself as long as its determined ahead of time) and we'll get some events nailed down. The idea being to schedule a series of events related to poetry found in unconventional places and presented in new and unusual ways. It's a UK-wide deal and I'm Swansea's guy for it.

--> Pare down my collection of books, clothes and CDs; when I do move I want to minimise shipping costs. Maybe get the odd new item to supplement; I can throw out five old T-shirts I never wear a lot easier if I have one new one I think is rad.

--> The Crunch. Get that shit official; talk to Academi and get funding so we can pay features from out of town. Find someone to host in my eventual absence. Keep the momentum we have.

--> I still owe a few people Letters from Wales. It's way more exciting (when you're in Seattlingporthamland) to receive Letters from Wales than from Stanwood.

--> Tunes with John. Demos at least. Something to remember the Unnamed Trio by.

--> I'm thinking of making an extended version of Swansea Morning Coming Down with 15-20 poems in it; mainly ones written since coming to Swansea. Maybe a few old standbys. It'd be a cool thing to have as a record of a specific time and place; plus I could schedule a few readings and sell them. I'm broke.

--> See more of Wales. Preferably the parts that weren't bombed to shit by the Luftwaffe and subsequently paved over.

--> Get a few more pictures of this town, country and my friends that aren't taken inside Mozart's Wine Bar or The Office. This will possibly be the most difficult.