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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dill and Moron

I was so excited when, two months ago, I booked the best seats available at the Colston Hall (Bristol’s answer to the Apollo) to see Ireland’s finest, Dylan Moran play his new gig ‘What It Is’.

It was to be an early birthday present for Gareth and I was very excited by the prospect of an excuse for dinner at the nearby Thai restaurant which we’ve frequented many times and at which I have never strayed far from the Thai green curry. Occasionally I push the boat out and ask for pineapple in my Thai green curry, but I’m not about to go wasting the opportunity to have Thai green curry on some sort of silly noodle dish.

Dinner was great. We quickly necked a bottle of wine, like the truly romantic couple that we are, and then raced over to the hall. Oh how exciting, the balcony, I gushed, looking at our tickets. Last time we came here, with my mum and sister, we were in the pits for Lee Evans, (my fault, I thought he was still funny) and I fell asleep. At least in the balcony we might have a better view.

How wrong I was.

The porter man guided us up to our seats. ‘Over there. Back row.’ Back row? BACK ROW? The wine had kicked in. Gareth waited patiently at the side while I tried to wager better seats at a sold out gig. But seriously, back row? I booked ‘best seats available’ bloody ages ago, how can the back row of the balcony EVER be the best seats? We could not have been further away from Dylan.

I eventually gave up on the porter and we took our seats. What are the odds of Gareth spotting someone on the same row who he knew…or thought he knew.

Hey, Tom! He shouts.

Tom shouts back.

How’s Sarah? How’s the baby? Gareth calls as he mimes a big baby bump.

‘Tom’ mimes the baby bump back, a frown upon his brow.

Baby? he asks.

Nevermind! smiles Gareth, slumping back in his seat.

Who was that? I ask.

I don’t know.

An amazing stroke of luck, although he’d got the wrong person, both of the people, the wrong person and the person he actually was, were called Tom, so he got away with that much. It was just the baby bit that scuppered his chances of walking away looking cool.

Dylan was about the size of a pencil from where we were sitting and too far away to see any of his mannerisms or gestures.

I had no choice but to fall asleep.

And on Gareth’s other side, a dreadlocked nutjob who was also a little sleepy. Except he’d clearly consumed some hallucinogenic drugs before coming, as he, according to Gareth, I was asleep at the time, kept trying to catch things in his sleep and awoke with a look of complete surprise and confusion on his face.

So the highlight of our evening was not the part we paid £50 for. And Dylan Moran has gone down in my estimations for being too far away. Not exactly his fault, but I realised I don’t like big comedy venues. I miss Ginglik, the cosiness, the intimacy. I miss being on the front row. I miss Simon Amstel grilling me about my career, Jimmy Carr taking the piss out of my friends, I miss the comedians being so close I could, and often did, touch them.

I was irate when my mum told me she was recently at Ginglik for the Lenny Henry night and who should pop along to warm the audience up but Robin Williams.

I’m almost certain I wouldn’t sleep through that. Almost.
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Simply The Best

Dad neglected to tell me it was still the rainy season here, perhaps because he feared I wouldn’t come if I knew.

It was never more apparent than today, when we decided to hop skip over to Thailand for some snorkeling. No sooner had we anchored the boat in a beautiful bay did the sky turn black and the rain descend. We sat in our waterproofs, although I’m not sure why as there was no place to hide, and watched as out boat was tossed and turned in the ocean like a cork. Great fun. Almost, somehow, more fun than snorkeling.

Battling the weather conditions, we headed in land for supper. The skies cleared and it all became rather pleasant. May I recommend Ko Li Pe island to anyone who’s a stranger – it was beautiful.

As we trudged through the mud, past the half-squished dying catapillar being eaten alive by ants, left at the end of the mosquito ridden path (wait while father investigates the generator system – there's four generators, one in use, just FYI) past the ant hill while giant flying ants erupting out of it only to meet their end by the army of gleefully patient birds awaiting their flying ant dinner, left again at the horribly misplaced mobile phone tower slap bang in the middle of a centuries old village, housing fishermen and naked, chocolate brown skinned children playing in the dust, and you will arrive at Pooh’s Bar.

A bar not so dissimilar from the one my sister and her partner would run if they gave up London life and escaped to warmer climes. Easy reggae greets us, there’s dim lighting and low seating. Even Dad enjoyed himself as we ‘chilled out’ (he had to check it was th right terminology) sipped cocktails and watched the afternoon turn to evening.

Real life seemed a million and one miles away as we ordered our thai green curries (well, when in Rome) and got stuck in.

Maybe something about the ambiance, the mosquito poison running though my veins or the sunstroke playing with my mind, but I think of the 945,672 thai green curries I have tried, it was simply the best.
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Weapons of Mass Destruction

So here I am in the epicenter of massage connoisseurs – the far East - Lang Kawi, Malaysia to be exact. You can ask for no better place to have a bad back or stiff limb.

Dad had found a masseuse so brilliant, he told me, that he now has her come direct to his flat. And so, slightly stiff from the flight and in need of a good rub down, we arranged for her to come. I expected the best.

I don’t like massages anymore. They are far too stressful.

She started with my feet. Ticklish. I could feel my whole body tense up as I tried to resist wriggling away.

She moved on to my calves, knees and thighs. Knees? Whoever decided the back of your knees needed massaging? Okay, so as my boyfriend regularly points out, I have very knobbly knees. Award winning, in fact. (Wootton County Primary end of term Knobbly Knee Competition – winner.) But there were times I thought she’d dislocate the poor buggers. I remained taut, my teeth clenched, my body rigid.

Finally, she moved onto my back – for about a minute. No point wasting time on my back when my ear lobes are clearly calling to her. Ear lobes? Really?

Then she started prodding my eyebrows and forehead, over and over again, prod prod prod went her stubbly little fingers. I’m thankful for my strong skull as there were times I thought she was trying to poke through my temples and unite her fingers inside my head.

Still tense.

She moves on to my arms. Write, to elbow, to armpit. All ticklish.

Finally it’s over and I’m more tense than before it began, only now I’m covered in oil and my temples hurt.

Still, it didn’t stop me going to another one when we got to Thailand.

This time it was a man doing me. Strong hands, no tickles. Much better. And he didn’t even touch my knees.

But then we made the almighty mistake of enjoying it so much we ordered another half an hour. Well, I don’t think he knew what to do with himself.

So he went for my temples. And my earlobes. And all his soothing, relaxing moves of the last hour were undone, prod by unnecessary prod.

A word to all masseuses out there – WHY? Why I ask you? Please refrain from touching the knee caps, temples and ear lobes ever again. It’s as necessary as mosquitoes and leaves me just as irate.
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