Thursday, April 2, 2009

Swordfish Trombones

Those few moments between befuddled sleep and the reality of a new day’s duvet-push-back; when dreamscapes conspire to create the improbable.

Over there, in amongst a sea of people gathered in the Grosvenor Hotel’s capacious ballroom, I can see a bewildered Tina. She should be walking toward the stage but she can’t get there because of the manacles around her ankles. No one is shouting, everyone is curiously calm; they’re distracted by what is being projected onto the big screen.

Its two weeks early but, I look around anyway… Ah, good… there is the posthumous award that she’s going to pick up on Rob’s behalf… oh and great, Music Week’s editor did like my idea of gift-wrapping it up in a QPR scarf; Billy Bragg is standing by, wearing a suit that’s one size too small and glancing down every few moments at a sheet of paper he’s holding – his hand-over speech. He’s patiently waiting for all of the talking head interviews to run their course.

But… why on the big screen are there background BBC HD images of brown bears standing in rocky pools as salmon leap upriver, right into their eager mouths and end-of-winter-hungry bellies? Its all being relayed in ultra-slow motion, every silver-white droplet of water is visible.

One salmon makes the leap and one of the brown bears stretches out its huge paw. It’s nails are fearsomely long; this Rupert Bear is clearly related to Edward Scissor-Hands. He can’t reach and just cuffs in annoyance at the passing salmon.

Only, its not a salmon… that’s my face; I’ve become the One Who Got Away.

And I can see myself three-dimensionally wriggling in High Definition, trying to get over the toothless razor-wire that I know is just below the water-line. I can feel it… its in my throat. It’ll catch me if I’m not careful… breathe in… breathe out… ouch… its got me, like a Peruvian boa-constrictor; wrapped around my chest – oh, mistress mine.

I try to swallow but the pain is excruciating; every inbound gulp of saliva is akin to being rigorously rogered with barbed wire without the benefit of lubricant. The anaconda’s vice like grip on my chest isn’t easing up either. The early warning signs of a large cough ease up through my esophagus… oh no, this is going to be nasty. It was… one big racking cough that – were my teeth not cemented into my gums – would have deposited said nashers six feet hence.

Bxxxxr, today of all days, I’ve come down with man-flu.

And… I absolutely loathe being unwell. But wait… c’mon, Storey… be sensible… what would Nurse Lusty prescribe? Oh… I know… its that truly ghastly tasting concoction that comprises Elder Flower, Elder Berry, Leaf of Olive, Onion, Maple Syrup, Cayenne Pepper, Bitter Orange, Yarrow, Pleurisy Root, Goldseal and Lobelia Seed – so bloody organic that there should be a warning on the small brown bottle from the Ministry of Horrible Tasting Substances that actually do the trick.

Gargling with Listerine, this isn’t… so, the four required drops of that go into a glass of Tangerine Juice – in a vain effort to disguise the taste (which, needless to say, doesn’t work) and, give it half an hour or so and I can set about enjoying the day… sort of.

Because, today’s the day that Project-X was finally pronounced dead; long live… AlphaBetaMusica.

The new name’s been there or thereabouts for a bit now, I’ve tested it out both within meetings as much as I have with close friends and acquaintances – explaining that Project-X and the original web-holding-name were simply treading water-type names… and that it was a case of being patient and letting the proper name come.

And arrive it did… as often these things do… whilst bathing the body beautiful fairly recently. OK, employment of that last adjective might be a bit gung-ho but… hey… who’s counting.

Anyhow, after a lot of dithering and wondering whether this was the one, the web site has finally been registered and the relevant sent over to M’sieur le guru d’ internet and all stations to Crewe for him to weave his not inconsiderable magic.

He may even play about a bit with the typographic logo – loosely based on Russian poster art lettering. That’s also been completed; its retro as much as its 21st century… although I’m still debating about reversing the ‘s’ which may (conceivably it may not) give the whole a bit of extra oomph. Ohhh baby, squeeze that lemon.

As much as Obama was (apparently) as excited as a young schoolboy at meeting the big lady during his G-20 stint this week, similarly I am with this… it feels like a big step forward; its not as if it wasn’t real before – just that it feels considerably more real now.

And… I wasn’t even late for the meeting earlier this week either although, true to form, I did encounter Manuel’s first cousin, half-removed.

Wicker-weave shopping basket, sexy sexy boots and bat-wing flapping coat approach the reception desk in the building to which I’ve been summoned. I explain that I’m expected by so and so and…

Yes… he says cautiously… and your name is…? I can feel myself ahead of the game immediately, this bloke speaks English.

I repeat it slowly and Manuel’s first cousin starts tapping away at a computer.

He glances up. No… there is no one of that name workin’ ‘ere.

I consult the book of words – my diary. I’m in the right place at the right time and… I give him the name of the man I’m due to be meeting. Again.

Oh… so you’re not meeting Mr. Storey? He looks at me quizzically.

No… that’s my name and I’m meeting… and the first two letters of his name also begin with ‘s’ and ‘t’… just like mine. He starts tapping away again and… we both let out a sigh of relief as contact is made and I’m waved toward the lift.

An hour or so later and I’m back out in the Spring sunlight – excellent progress has been made and ABM (as it now should be) has garnered further support. The man whose name begins with the first two letters of my own surname requests various documents of me and so the next thirty-six hours pass by in a blur of writing, checking and double-checking, more writing and revising of budgets, phone calls to legal eagles and number crunchers until… Late in the evening, lengthy document-X is complete, exported as a big PDF file that eventually wings its way through the ether to be ready and waiting for him in his corporate lair the next again morning.

And, while that’s been on my mind, Obama and Gordon Brand have been cuddling up to one another in a truly worrying take on Puppy Love – the newspaper pictures and tv footage showing Brown all gooey and doe-eyed, reveling in the pomp and circumstance of the Man Who’d Be King coming out to play – the ceremonial circus that wasn’t accorded when he, Brown, flew of to Washington but a few weeks back. Its much more fun having your own sand-pit to play in, isn't it Gordon?

While my favourite image of them all has been the one of Obama walking away from one of the innumerable press conferences with his arm firmly around Brown’s shoulders – the image stating unequivocally just who is in charge; I’ve also started to wonder what they really make of each other and… what is said when Barrack and Michelle are alone in their room. Indeed, what Gordon and Sarah talk about in bed when the lights are turned down low. I expect the latter read novels... the former.. hmmm, methinks perhaps other things occupy their bed times.

Further to which, what on earth is the point of this G-20? With the world reeling within financial meltdown, was this little extravaganza truly cost-effective? The US is in turmoil in pretty much the same way as all of Europe and the rest are so… most especially given Obama’s stance on the fat-cats of Wall Street and their diabolical bonus payments, how justifiable is the cost – in this instance – to the US tax payer, the man, woman on the street – when he travelled in the manner in which he did? How many cars was it..? The helicopter… though, I suppose that was a necessity given where he landed.

Good day, Mr President… welcome to England. This is called… Stansted. Your helicopter is this way. Damn site better that than the dear old M10 / M25 crawl into central London. I used to take the bus out that way on those rare occasions flying in and out of France back in the day… from the Finchley Road tube and all the way up through Golders Green and so forth… nose to tail crawling traffic. No wonder the helicopter came in handy. Memo to self – when ABM achieves big-success nab a helicopter off the shelf, nothing to ostentatious… just a decent sized run around and one that’ll transport self from ‘a’ to ‘b’ fairly seamlessly. Whirlybirds could be go I reckon.

They whizz about almost as rapidly as the Formula One circus that, this weekend, sees itself in Malaysia. And… it seems it wasn’t just me who found that time-change as per the elf Ecclestone to suit Euro-tv viewers objectionable – the drivers did too with The Guardian quoting Nico Rosberg commenting on the glare of the low-setting sun earlier this week and saying: In Melbourne it was obvious that it just increases the danger so much. The visibility is so difficult you can't even see the edges of the track in some corners. I was driving into the sun and that's not what racing is about. So I really hope they reconsider that. Even moving it forward by one hour or something will help us massively.

Ah well… monsoons are forecast so, presumably it’ll rain a bit on Bernie’s parade… rather like it has of late in terms of sleeze and the incumbent government. Actually, I suppose I should re-phrase that bit as it appears that there are rather a lot who aren’t so governable in Central London as has been demonstrated during the last few days. Not so sure I totally agree with the trashing of the Royal Bank but… one has to have a modicum of sympathy for their actions – not least because of the G-20 Cirque and its overpowering display of wealth that has been so prevalent.

So, a true sporting weekend lays ahead… the Grand National – and thank the Lord that the organizers didn’t bend it like Beckham and alter their rules (Ecclestone like) to allow the Sun newspaper (can it really be termed that - its debatable isn't it) to purchase and re-name Parson’s Legacy (one of the nags that’s taking part) as… Jade’s Legacy. In any event the steeplechase is on the same day as the funeral… or should their be a new synonym for funeral in this instance – circus? Stiil, thank the Lord once again, all of that will be past history soon.

Besides the blokes who’ll be hurtling around the steamy Malaysian tarmac, league football is back on the agenda - although Southampton FC might not bother turning up having just been liquidated in the blender of professional soccer - as is… the Tour of Flanders. Oh to be there, my all time very very favourite race; reading the previews and looking at the www pictures of the bergs – the short, sharp and improbably steep cobbled hills that all come in the latter half of the race and serve to shape it whereby only the really strong survive. Oh to be there.

I've a strange kind of nostalgia for that particular part of Belgium at this time of the year; its as if half the country comes out onto the by-ways and highways to watch and, to be part of that – festival – is to have the hairs on the back of one’s neck stand up on end. There’s the scent of frites everywhere, beer abounds, the noise of the crowds all jostling for position for a quick glimpse of the gladiators on wheels as they hurtle by; the rushing from one viewing point to another with the idea of seeing the race as many times as possible… but, its back to the search for the internet feed.

I wonder if beleagured Secretary of State Jaqui Smith’s husband will be watching on pay-per-view or if he’s had enough of that after the recent revelations of his hand-shandying to late-night movies that display a somewhat dubious subject matter. Well, that’s according to the Daily Stale – Britain’s ethically correct (sic) guardian.

I mean… its probably highly unlikely that he (Richard Timney, husband of lying about her living conditions etc etc Secretary of State Jaqui Smith) saw anything too… ummm… hardcore via that medium – not, I hasten to add that I’ve actually looked on those ‘channels’… honest injun.

All he’d have had to do was turn on his computer and fire up – if that’s what gets you going, then its all there… its whatever takes your fancy. is, incidentally, a more visited www site than Tescos – amazing thing, research, isn’t it?

But… wasn’t it just brilliant how the guardian of all our morals – the Daily Stale – got so worked up about a bloke playing Rosie Palmer with the five sisters in front of the telly? So what that was a bit of solo fun for him... Oh… and couples don’t use that form of entertainment as a method of adding a bit of ‘spice’ to a normal relationship? The hypocrisy is quite incredible.

Its time for more medicine. I suppose if I’d become an aficionado of Twitter, I’d emit a tweet that simply said I’m ill.

Well... I really am.

Not content with being laid low by man-flu, I think I may well have contracted the plague too as I've just noticed a rather unpleasant 'thing' where there shouldn't be a rather unpleasant 'thing'. Hmmmm.

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