Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bloody Nasty People, followed by some bloody nice people

News of a police raid on the houses of two men in North-west England has recently reached me via word-of-mouth on the internet. The police found "the largest amount of chemical explosives of its type ever found in the country," plus "rocket launchers" and "a nuclear biological suit." Were these potential bomb-makers your usual disaffected young Muslims, second-/third-generation Asians, planning on making jihad against the Western society they felt alienated from? Nope: they're both middle-aged white men, one of whom used to be a candidate for the BNP (British Nationalist Party - nicknamed the British Nazi Party and the Bloody Nasty People).
Considering the stuff they found in this raid, you'd think that it would be national front page news. Look at how many people talk about terrorism all the time, everyone is worried about bombs nowadays, aren't they? But no, hardly anyone has heard about this case. It made it into the area's local papers (the sources i am using - see links above), but has been only mentioned in small "Other news" columns near the back of a couple of national papers, and it doesn't seem to have been on national TV either. Strange, that.
Moving onto something completely different, although it could also have the acronym BNP (in this case a bloody nice party with some bloody nice people!) - I spent last Saturday night in at what you could describle as our "housewarming" party. We invited old friends and strange people from other flats in our block, so we could get to know each others' friends and our new neighbours. We laid on loads of cheap booze from Iceland (the shop, not the country) and snacks from Poundland, and flatmate Pete played videos on his computer and our makeshift cinema screen (my bedsheet + his projector), including various music videos, a SNL spoof of Harry Potter, the famously innuendo-filled episode of Rainbow (I used to love that show!), and a couple of videos that were edited versions of another two of my favourite early childhood TV programmes: Postman Pat and Fireman Sam. Postman Pat was dubbed to sound rude (he ended up as a some sort of drug dealer!) and Fireman Sam was reversed to become Arson Sam. Ruining some classic childhood memories, possibly, but bloody funny and got everyone in the room laughing out loud, so i guess it's okay then!
Met some other nice people on Wednesday this week too: I went to see the band Johnny Panic, and met a couple of old friends there too. The gig was really good and it is a shame that the crowd wasn't bigger or noisier, but i think it's because JP aren't very well known. Their typical style is uptempo rock with shades of pop and punk, like a combination of Alkaline Trio, Green Day and the Manics. Or The Clash meet Cheap Trick. With a touch of the Buzzcocks. Anyway... They're dead catchy, they're good live, and they're not bad-looking either... why aren't they big yet? They seemed like nice people too - me and my mates and lots of other people hung out with them at the bar after the show.
They played quite a few tracks from their excellent debut album The Violent Dazzling including the ballad "Coming Up Roses" (cigarette-lighter-waving stuff without being too OTT or soppy), pop-punk singalongs "Automatic Healer" and "Chemical Girlfriend" and the slightly heavier "Minority Of One," "Free Winona," "Warn You" and "Burn Your Youth" (the latter was particularly good, as the second half of the studio version isn't as good as the first half, but when they played it live i thought both halves sounded great), as well as their new, non-album single "I Live For" (another typical JP song: makes you want to sing along and bounce around). Good stuff, then.
Honourable mentions must also be made to the support band who had to cope with people mistaking them for Johnny Panic and asking them questions and stuff (I suppose that's what happens when neither the support act nor the main act are well-known) and to the people partying at the Cavern while dressed as pirates for some sports society's themed "social" (one of them looked exactly like Captain Jack Sparrow!).
Now trying to study and think up a solution to my current cash crisis...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"My head feels like there is a Frenchman living in it!"

Well, we finally managed to find a care home for my gran, and it may sound harsh but i'm glad she's gone there - living with a really mentally ill person is nigh on impossible! That is one huge weight off my mind. Another unwelcome and unexpected souvenir from our holiday in Italy is a problem with walking that I developed (I think it may be due to an injury i got while wearing some insoles and shoes that my aunt gave me - she thought it would improve the way I walked (there was nothing wrong with me as far as i could tell, but she is always trying to find something wrong with me, like when i went a bit quieter than usual for a bit because i was worried about having to look after my gran, she said that i wasn't talking at all and that meant i was "abnormal") but it seems to have done the opposite) and at one point it was driving me absolutely crazy (staying at home with nothing to do and only my family for company probably didn't help the feeling either), but at the moment it isn't so bad and i hope it doesn't get that bad ever again.
I'm back at university now, and i feel much, much better. OK, so i seem to be developing a really bad head cold (Freshers' Flu perhaps?) and i think i've managed to give myself some mild food poisoning too (I have to cook for myself now), but my life is normal now. I'm in a self-catering flat with 5 other people, including my mate Harriet, and i get on well with all of them. We have had a few getting-to-know-each-other events, like video nights, a trip to our local, Monopoly games and a trip to a Village People themed fancy dress party at Arena. I don't think anyone in my flat is normally that keen on going to the temple to tackiness that is Arena (I know i'm not that keen on it myself!), but it was an opportunity to dress up for a laugh, and one of my flatmates, Pete (not to be confused with the other Pete that i lived next door to in halls last year), is always dressing up in fancy dress, so we made an exception for that one night. (I went as the cop). I thought it was better than usual - not as crowded as usual, plus people were very friendly (I think the costumes were a conversation starting point!). The DJs were giving away loads of free stuff (just chucking them into the crowd), i got loads of fake banknotes and a poster advertising Jack Daniel's whiskey, not to mention - most bizarrely - a penis weight! I've decorated my room with the banknotes and poster but i don't have a use for the willy weight so i think i might just give it away to any boy who wants it. The music at the club was incredibly loud though... my ears only stopped ringing today - it was on Wednesday and now it's Friday.
Last night me and Harriet also met up with two of our best friends, Chris and Dan, which was great even though it was only for a few minutes. They're always a good bunch for a laugh. Dan's hair was sticking up and formed a lovely quiff - normally he gels it but he hadn't had time to yesterday, but i thought it looked good ungelled (if that is a word!) too. Also his skin seems to have cleared up since i last saw him (way back in June!). I've had a crush on him for ages, and i thought he looked particularly cute last night. He's always been amazingly polite to me, but i'm never sure if it means he fancies me back, because he seems to be really polite to everyone (which is part of his appeal to me). Fingers crossed for luck...
Tomorrow night will be a getting-to-know-our-neighbours party: we've invited people from other flats in our block and the block next door. The only problem is it's the same night as The Cavern's ska/punk/reggae night and The Hub's punk/indie/rock/emo night, and i feel like i'm going to be torn between the three! Hmm...