Tuesday, August 28, 2007

apples and spice and all things nice.

It's nearly that time of year again - October 21st is National Apple Day (or at least it was last year, I haven't checked the dates this year, I don't have an apple fetish or anything.)
Last year we took ourselves to Middle Farm, a working farm straight outta the Shire and hidden in the Sussex countryside, known for it's homemade cheeses, a monstrous shire horse called - and over two hundred different types of ciders, meads and scrumpies all for the tasting.
These are proper ciders and scrumpies - bitter and cloudy and in the case of the pear cider, a mild laxative. As Odge can tell you. Ten minutes with a 5ml tasting cup and you're already a bit heady, feeling the crab apple flush building on your cheeks and a slow, stupid smile rise on your face. It's homemade and cheap and sold in cleaned out milk cartons with handwritten labels plastered on the front. If it sounds overly twee that's because it is, and if, after quarter of an hour of standing in the low-ceilinged converted barn, surrounded by the musk of old wooden barrels and the tang of spilt cider you don't emerge swathed in gingham chewing a piece of straw then you haven't really done it right, and should keep drinking until you fall through the Cider Portal. Even the names themselves seem to thrust huge innuendos and charmless metaphors into your slowly blinking bovine face. 'Crippled Cock', 'Double Vision' and 'Mangled Perspective' might sound like pro-wrestlers, but the only parallel they have with them is that all may leave you with something either sprained or broken, depending on how long you spend with each one.
They also have an Olde Time Fayre (don't laugh) which consists of the kind of circus music and swirling giddy rides you only ever see in cheese based nightmares and 'drug trip' sequences in bad films. One of the stalls is a Olde Time variation on a shooting gallery with crossbows and arrows instead of air rifles which isn't only perversely dangerous when you think of all the Double Vision seeping into your bloodstream but hilarious, especially when Richard fired vertically instead of horizontally and speared the fairy lights in the ceiling.
No prizes for Richard.
They also have a huge selection of bantam hens, each and every one of which looks as though they are wearing a pair of feathered flares, which, once I'd had enough mulled cider (hot, spicy, sweet and embarrassingly potent) I could and would have laughed at for hours, if Sweetman hadn't taken me by the arm and dragged me away muttering,
"They're just hens, Daisy, they're just hens."
Everyone should go, and if you're not singing the duelling banjos from Deliverance and making ill-judged predictions abut the weather all the way back to the train I'll eat my straw hat.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

planes, trains and shitmobiles

We all have mental filters which means we only register certain things. The things we do register sink, sponge-like, into a consciousness bank, to be accessed at will. As a for instance, for me it's theme tunes, advert jingles, ghost stories. I can easily tell you that the ewoks theme tune from it's short lived cartoon spin off went 'we're the e-e-e-e-eeeewoks, one big happy happy family' or that no matter what you say-ay, the muskahounds are never far away. ay. (if I'm drawing on lots of childhood things here, which I am, it's because that was the last time I watched t.v with any degree of enthusiasm).
Other things simply skate off the surface of my brain like greased wheels on ice, leaving barely a trace.
I once asked an ex-boyfriend to explain to me how planes stayed in the air. Jason began describing, in great detail, the necessary schematics needed for flight - I heard turbines, velocity, something about jet propulsion, maybe ? Then I began to wonder whether or not bees could hear themselves buzz. After a minute or two, he paused and peered directly at me.
"You're not even listening, Daisy." He said, justifiably angry, "Why ask me if you're not going to listen when I tell you ?"
"Sorry." I'd said, turning my eyes into big round baby blues in an effort to avoid an argument, "It's just not sinking in."
Jason looked at me for a moment and sighed. "It's all pixies and fairy dust and magic." he said.
"That's what makes planes fly ?"

"No, Daisy. That's what's in your head."
It's not that I don't care. I can tell you that my friend Finch works with people with learning difficulties and that Odge is running a pub. But Lenny and Alex, who I regard with equal affection and a certain fondness, I haven't a clue about. I know Lenny is in his second year at university studying...uh...something to do with music, he has told me...um...sound production ? No, it's not quite right. I know that Alex works in the City, doing something very high-pressured and important with large amounts of money for an enormous salary. But even though he's told me, I still couldn't tell you his job title.
I have a filter for finances, something I've had all my life. Again, it's not that I don't care - left to my own devices I'd be bankrupt by now - I just don't hear it. Bank statements continue to go into the drawer unopened, balances unchecked, withdrawals unmonitored. Someone tried to go through it with me once and gave up in disgust when I asked he minded if I played the playstation while he carried on.
Like I said, it's not lack of caring, or ignorance, it's just the mental filters only process really useless knowledge and functionless trivia into the portals of my mind. It's why I've got no idea how music is transferred to a c.d but I could wang on to you endlessly about werewolf legends or futurama or goldfish.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

more than meets the eye

So, Transformers.
I've tried to see this film three times now at have been thwarted at each attempt like a lazy bluebottle. The first time I couldn't go because I was ill, the second time was because Lenny, who had so kindly offered to come with me when no-one else would, got drunk and forget to book the tickets. Then he dropped an even bigger bombshell.
"Actually Daisy, I've been meaning to tell you this." Lenny looked uncomfortable, his eyes dancing away from mine. "It's just that, well , I -uh - I watched Transformers at the weekend."

"WHAT ? Without me ? You bastard!"
"I'm sorry Daisy. It just happened, and I thought of you the whole time. I'll come with you to see it though, it was so fucking great I'd happily sit through it again."
He began explaining a scene to me in vivid detail until I said,
"Alright, alright, we'll go on Thursday."
So last Thursday Sweetman and I (and briefly my parents, who were visiting for a couple of days) were sat in the pub, itchy with excitement. We got a couple of pints, I was doing my Transformers impressions, my parents were asking what the film was - "So it's a bit like that car advert then, when the car transforms into a robot ?" - when my phone rang. It was Lenny, who'd gone ahead to get the tickets.
"Cinema's shut."
"Fuck's sake. How long for ?"

"Just tonight. I'm outside the pub anyways, so I'll come in."
In he came, and sat down beside me.
"Fucking cinema cunts," he was ranting, "titwanks -"

"Have you met my mum ?" I said stridently, pointing across the table. Lenny had the decency to look embarrassed and mutter something about being Irish and therefore entitled to have language which would make a docker blush. In the end we had a few pints and I did my Transformers impression to no acclaim.
The next day I got to work to an email from my friend Alex, telling me all about the film and skirting into the plot and certain memorable lines.
It's okay, I think, he hasn't really given anything away, and the plot isn't the reason I'm going anyway.
Then Sweetman calls me at work. He is hungover which makes two of us.
"Where are you ?" I ask, grateful that he's called. His voice is a soothing balm on the ache of my head.
"Seafront. Well, nearly."

I'm suddenly suspicious. "Why ?" I hate the seafront. "What possible reason does anyone go to that beach ?"
Sweetman, very quietly, "I'm going to see Transformers."
I nearly thrown the phone out of the window. I wanted to howl "It's not faiiiirrrrrr" into the receiver. I managed a "okay then." Sweetman reassured me he'd meet me after work for a Friday drink, and even persuaded me to do a quick decepticon down the phone. Later in the bar garden he was telling me about the film, all the best bits rambling out of his mouth in a neon blur until a slammed my pint down and said,
"Alright stop. I haven't even bloody seen it yet and I already feel like I know most of it."
"I'd defiantly go again," Sweetman says, eyes aglow like an eighties child, "It's fantastic."

On Saturday I'm gaying it up at pride when my phone rings. It's Philip, so I call him back.
"Hey, it's me." he says, unneccesarily, "Look, I've just called to tell you that a mate's just come down and ummmm, well we're going to watch Transformers in a bit." I have to steady myself against a wall. Philip has broken three ribs recently so to call him the name I was thinking of calling him seems a bit harsh. I swallow it back, but it's an effort.

"I'm really sorry, Daisy. I know how much you wanted to see it." it sounds like he's grinning. I tell him I hope he enjoys it and think I manage some conviction.
Later, I'm back at the house with a beer when he sends a text.
"They've just captured bumblebee!"
Then another;
"Oh my god! He put the cube in megatron's chest instead!"
Jesus Christ. Charlie Brooker once said that the biggest movie spoiler of all time was the DVD cover to Planet of the Apes with the statue of liberty's head sticking out the sand.
He should meet some of my mates.
Update: Cinema at eight thirty Wednesday. Nothing but the second coming will stop me.