contains mild peril

Sunday, October 30, 2005

the worst DJ in the world

went to a 'chill out' bar in search of after hours drinking. Here there were 3 people and 1 "DJ". Actually this is a stretch of the term as he basically had a Bob Marley album (vinyl) and was picking up the needle and dropping it onto the next track. can't remember the other album he had but it was an hour of "3 little birds... ccchhhthhhUUUNKKK....No woman no Cry.... CCCKKKKKKkkkkkkTHHunkkkkk .... waahhh wahhhh.."
we had 3 vodka and oranges. Literrally. I mean 3 vodka shots and 3 tall oranges. I had to "depthcharge". But otherwise a relatvely sophisticated bar. Reminded me of the Spanish bars on Hanway street.


I'll be honest - I can dance

Went dancing in a bar. Very very good fun. I now enjoy dancing more than ever and have realised (too late too late!!) that I'm actually quite good. damn. now its too late and like tonight i end up dancing with 3 gay eastern european guys (isn't it always the way?). One of them became enfatuated with my female friend and then got very ill. I don't think these things are related, but still. I tried chatting up a very good looking girl who worked at the bar but she was busy clearing tables and was being held in check by management, otherwise I'm sure I was in there.... lots of sideways glances... smiles... unless that was simply to see where me hands were..? but the chastest kiss on her cheek reduced me to a (very sophisticated) 15 year old.

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oooohhhh this place is fantasssstttiiiiicccc!!!!

I guess when you're an expat then you get nostalgic for the good things from back home. My taste of this was a visit to a pizza restaurant. Sure the pizzas were quite good but not that good. A bit oily, but yeah great, the crust was thin. Still, better than many many places in London if that means anything, but mainly I think its just that abroad is full of stuff you want and lacking in stuff you need.
or is that the other way around?

or is this the glass half empty/ half full conversation...?

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whattya got?

I'm an ignorant sod. I've been embarressed by other people's generosity. So, on the off-chance that you, dear reader, are as ignorant and as lucky as I to travel to eastern europe (in fact anywhere) then be sure to pack stuff which can be exchanged as gifts. I was given a gift going TO someone's house, not merely bringing something as the person visiting. This hospitality is incredible in my mind (christ, I'm already sleeping on their floor).
so, my advice would be to pack really interesting teas - very light, a bit unusual and maybe stuff they ain't got.

or coke. ditto

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you're boring me

Met people. Friends of Ronda's. I'm getting too old. Weird this, but I'm the most sociable bastard you'll ever meet and i love people but... maybe this is due to the conversation I've just had with a housemate but I'm beginning to value my time more, to the extent where when i meet people that I don't really care about I want to be out of their company. Why am I wasting my time with them? smiling..? My mate once asked me why I bothered chatting to a guy or a girl at a party when I knew I'd never meet them again and I was flabbergasted and couldn't give a coherent answer. It was obvious that I just liked having the craic with people. NOW I realise that he just had higher standards.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Coal but no shades of black

Zory, a mining town in Southern Poland, and my first smell of coal smoke again. Its kinda nostalgic as I have family in Rotheram and I can remember the smell, but I don't realise that this omnipresent smell could drive you nuts after a few years...
Meet my friends husband for the first time. First impressions are tricky, but do I suspect that there are 'issues' going on? I put whatever awkwardness down to language gap on my part, a noisy bar and the fact that I was best man at her first wedding!
Meet a couple who are far far too attractive. She's Polish with glittering eyes and a really delicious smile, and he's Columbian with longish curly hair and a flashing smile. Jeezus it makes you sick. He's also a talented guitarist and is hosting the "Latin night" in this actually-quite-cool cellar bar in this small mining town.

And Zory is where I get my first taste of Stalinist tower blocks and estates of housing. Ok, these estates can be daunting but actually its pretty much similar to where i grew up in a Soviet New Town called Stevanage. Really, the only difference is that we had more houses, and their blocks are 10 stories high and are twice as long as the estates in North East London. It leaves a lot of countryside as countryside and not as 'sprawl'.

Katowice. I have a day to spend here as Ronda is teaching, so I walk round it. Twice. Three times. At first I thought there'd be a lot to see but actually the town centre is pretty small. Encounter pedestrian crossing where to be honest, if you put you foot out then there's no real guarantee that a car will stop even if its seen you from yards away. Given this I can't see why they don't put lights on all of them. Then i realise that the ones with lights usually stop traffic but not unless someones actually got the bottle to walk out. Gotta watch those trams too.... they ain't stopping for anything....

Is it odd not seeing anyone black brown or beige? Except of course for the perma tanned women with an inch of foundation the colour of terracotta. Maybe it IS terracotta.

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sorry - who are you? (and I care?)

Normally when you meet people there's obvious conversation openers. I met some TFL teacher friends of Ronda's the other night and there's always obvious things to ask, normally about where they're from "hm, Portsmouth eh? I was in Dover - surely not as bad..?" knowing there's bound to be rivalry/ jealousy or at least similarities, but I was stymied by a girl who was described as "Nicola - she's from everywhere". and indeed she'd never lived in any place since infancy for more than a few years and took on the accent of the last person she'd been with.

So a really odd person to talk with, especially as she wasn't interested in answering any questions even remotedly involved with identity. Such as "Sorry, I didn't catch your name..."

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not writing but thinking...

Joe has texted me (again) to remind me to tell his ex that he's getting plenty. Unfortunately my texts back to him are not working (yeah, I'm technically challenged, but don't tell the people that I'll be no doubt working with in the IT sector later next year...) The annoying thing is that he (and everyone else who's been trying to contact me) will think I'm lazy or just ain't been thinking of them but it ain't true.... ah fuck it...


"get to the point"... why?

Talking with Ronda is FUN! We're very alike - this is odd as now 2 of my mates have gone out with women that are 'very like me'. If I think about this too much... it'll give me a headache).
We talk in a similar way ie we'll be talking and then veer off the main point, mention sometrhing related and then get back on track. and we might do this 2 or 3 or 4 times during one 'story'. This is obvioulsly frustrating for all those poor soulds who have to have linear stories. Hell for them would be listening to the Ronnie Corbett monologiues. actually that'd be hell for anyone but yio know what i mean.. What these people don't realise is that this off-roading' of the point is meant to illustrate or highliught or in some way colour the original story. But we will get bacjk to the point. honest. As long as we remember what it was... Ronda and i both respected this pause as we searched for ewhat the hell it ewas that had led us to this diversion.... Its really fun when you find soemone who does this to ve able to listen rather than be the one talking... (thinking about it its mainly women that do this. If i think about this too long... I get a headache..)


Friday, October 28, 2005

Cute 18 year old questions

So the questions 18 year old girls in Katowice want to ask me:
Have I ever eaten haggis? - yes, it was very strong and I ralised that they had no idea what "swede" as a vegetable is ('red turnip'?? - Is Swede something only my parents called it? wouldn't be the first time...)
How do you make pudding? - This one foxed me. Kinda any way you like... it then transpires that in Europe and America 'pudding' is a custard. I am just soooo uncultured.
What is my best James Bond part? - unfortunately I didn't get all double entendre with this one. I thought she meant actor but she meant film (Dr. No?)
Have you met Queen Elizabeth the Second? - very deliberate use of title there from the sweet girl in front. "No, but she's welcome roundmy place for tea any time she likes" gets the expected giggle.
Have you ever been on a double decker? - telling them that the Routemaster is destined to extinction is both boring and alarming. Didn't know i could do both in one sentence.
Do I know "Kircek"(sp?) Dudek? Seems this is a more familiar way of saying Jerzy. He's actually on billboards all over the place in Poland - is he the most famous Polish export at the moment?
Did I like their station at Katowice? - I probably didn't notice but I will in future that Katowice station is a real dump, and obviously a talking point of the town.
Then one of the girls says that she "really like sthe Birmingham accent". Now, don't get me wrong, one of my dearest friends grew up outside of Brum, but I can't think of anyone saying they actually liked the accent. Seem this girls been listening to The Streets, so she probably likes Mockney more.
She then says she really likes my accent too, blushes and hurries away giggling after class. ahhhh, jeezus, i could flirt with a door.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005


Ok so I'm on my way to Poland to visit an old friend. This'll mean that I won't get into any trouble or chat anyone up at bars inappropriately o take anyone back to me hotel. So, if that's why you're reading this blog, apologies. Mind you, if you're reading this then you presumably know me and should realise i hardly ever get into any trouble... hmm

air hostess had that look of perma-tan and too much makeup - would this be the kinda distracting eye-candy for the trip or would there truly be this land of lithe blondes with beautiful smiles...?

Flew into Warsaw (the strips of farmland in Europe make me think its practically medieval! None of the rolling fields I'm used to, and god knows what the americans make of it.with their state sized fields.

I have an hour to burn before my connection to Katowice (gotta stop pronouncing "w"s and hard "c"s cos I'm getting blank looks when I'm saying "catoweeka") so walk into Warsaw. Not as bleakly Russian as I'd been forewarned by the guidebook. In fact the PKiN building is quite ornate (obviously I have no idea what I was expecting - probably bigger versions of Senate House in London).

Apparently they rebuilt the city centre as it had been before the war - again my untrained eye can't really pick this up so I see an old-ish town surrounded by tower blocks. I don't really get long enough to make it to the centre before I have to get back so... maybe I'll spend more time here when i return to leave.
Arrive in Katowice station at night - keep my head down, don't look around too much as it's kinda like a bigger version of Finsbury Park station which always spooks me (mainly cos I've been done there 2 or 3 times). My friend (Ronda) is teaching an evening class of 18 yr old girls and i get there easily due to really good directions (I remark upon this as i find most people's directions to places lousy as they always miss an essential component, like "turn left when the road splits.."). My friend hasn't changed in 5 years. fantastic to see her again. I sit in her class and these really sweet girls ask me some questions they've preprepared about "English culture". And yes, they're 18 but I (now?) realise i ain't into girls this young (was I ever, even when i was 18?) Anyway, reassuring to know I'm not a pervert as the older I get the younger the girls that strike my eye seem(ed) to be.

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Poland (and tales for the blog?)

so, off to Poland tomorrow to visit an old friend and visit some places (Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Bratislava...). Those of you that care (and I'm sure you all do) will want to know that this is Ronda I'm visiting (Joe's ex-wife). I haven't seen nor spoken to her in 5 or 6 years yet I'd still say she is a good friend and fantastic company - when we do see each other there's usually a gap of a year or so and then we just yap about what's happened and then get on with what's outside the door. I guess this time there's just a bit more to yap about (since i saw her I stopped being an illustrator and turned into a web design/ IT consultant which I've also just stopped after 5 1/2 years - tedium got to me. and quite a bit of personal stuff concerning unrequited love, bereavement and bouncing off walls. sheesh quite a bit then).

She teaches TEFL and has invited me into her class when i arrive in Katowice: "would you like to visit my class? A group of 8 or so 18 yr old girls??? I could plan a lesson about British culture and at the end they can interview you. Interested?"
yup, i kinda got interested at the part you'd expect...

judging by 2 of the best blogs I've read, there has to be some sexual shenannigans to this blog to keep up interest - so at least the journey begins with the right kinda setup.

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