Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Weekend

There aren't enough days in the weekend.

Rod Schmidt

So here, at long last, is a lengthy blog about the weekend...

It begins Friday night, when I finished my late shift relatively early (before midnight), and went to meet my friend at The Intrepid Fox. I figured, hell, it's a fun place, I make friends there sometimes. It's a cool place when you're feeling a little lonely. My friend rocked up from a gig in Hammersmith (seeing 'The Cult') and I got talking to a guy from America, before the Fox shut and the three of us tried to get into the Crobar. My friend knows the bouncer, and so was let in, but we were told in no uncertain terms it was too full for us other two.

I might have tried to sneak in regardless. I may have been grabbed and pulled back out of the doorway. I rang my friend on the inside and explained there was no way we were getting it, but the message went straight to answer machine. At no point did I consider my friend a prick for disappearing into the bar and leaving us outside. Well, you know, not til the morning.

It was probably for the best. I got back in and to bed at about 5am. I got up and out of the house by 9.30am.


Saturday was a proposed pubcrawl, to celebrate Australia Day on the 26th January. Some of you eagle-eyed people might spot that Australia Day is closer to next weekend than this one just passed, but having been invited to this one it seemed rude to kick up a fuss. Intentionally the aim had been to get up early enough to pick up some Aussie-ish beach wear on the way to the first bar, something from Fat Face. It didn't quite work out like that so whilst friends turned up as the ladies from Sheila's Wheels, I looked like some weird confused geek.

The lady on the left, who is helpfully being pointed out here, is 'Megsy' our tour leader. She's also a participant in something called 100 Things, where people list one hundred things they'd like to do within their lives, and attempt to do so, raising money for charity in the process. Here's Megsy's 100 Things for you to look over, to applaud, to make you think, to maybe even offer assistance with. Or maybe, just maybe, it'll give you a moment to think of 100 Things of your own to complete.

We were also told about the incredible Carnivale D'Ivrea in Italy, which takes place in March. Not only told about, but invited along, and if money was no problem I'd be there like a shot. Money is a problem, however, and I really need to sort out getting my own place before arranging foreign holidays... but this looks SO cool - next year, Italy, next year!

Megsy was the first of two people I met this weekend who was working on a private project that involved inviting others along for the ride, but we'll come to the second person in a moment.

It was a pub crawl, of course, so we wandered bar to bar, and between maybe fifteen of us shared about forty free shots at some of the bars towards evening. Theoretically things could've got really messy, but I somehow managed to survive, brain intact. I had a great time dancing, though noticeably spent little time trying to flirt or engage any of the girls we met in any bars. I only really noticed that the following morning, and when the photos appeared online Sunday morning I begun to wander if looking and acting like the funny friend or the protective brother is really doing my love life any favours.

Anyway, starting at 11am and going on for just over eight hours meant it was pretty full on, but didn't go on ridiculously late. Which is just as well, as Sunday had other plans.


On Sunday I was due to meet a bunch of strangers to... well... I wasn't sure. There was a Psychological Art Game proposed at the National Gallery, and we just had to turn up to, as the tag line stated, to meet, play, love? I'd arranged to meet one friend, Chris, and potentially another, Claire, but since the latter had been on the pub crawl too (she's on the right hand side of the picture above) and was feeling a bit the worse for wear, she elected for a day with books and DVDs.

We were there to meet Alan Wills, who's recently set up the website www.areyoumypartner.com - having previously experimented with blogging his search for love and a wife via a series of random invitations to try a date that was somewhat out of the ordinary (result = success!) he now wants to be able to resurrect the idea for other people to meet up in a series of interesting ways, to defy the idea of conventional dating. I wasn't sure what this would mean before turning up. Part of me was terrified that it might be some sort of speed-dating thing, simply within the confines of a gallery.

And yet three words intrigued me: Psychological. Art. Game. I had nothing to loose, and potentially everything to gain.

I'd found out about Allan via a mutual friend called Kate, who had met Allan during his Are You My Wife? project -whilst she'd been experimenting with her own 30 Dates in 30 Days project - and because Chris and I had met Kate via something else random and spontaneous it seemd that Allan's project might be something we could really get into. I'll admit a little trepidation to sticking my hand up and saying to the world "Okay, yes, I'm looking for someone," but when online dating seems to be an exercise in spending lots of money and enduring the humility of seeing how much people rate you out of ten (the last time I checked it had fallen from seven point five to seven), and going out is often an exercise in getting drunk in the hope that I might get drunk - and lucky - enough, well, it held some promise. And I wasn't disappointed.

Okay, so the male to female ratio was maybe stacked against the men, and of the ten people who turned up, six of them were in couples (including Allan and his wife), but it was a nice crowd of people and I'm pretty sure we'll see all of them at some point in the future, if only through further 'Chapters' in the project. I can see, as more people get involved, there is the potential for singles to get together, and that's cool, but it was just a nice dynamic this weekend, meeting a group of people like-minded enough to spend their Sunday afternoon doing something experimental.

Experimental? You want to know what the Psychological Art Game entails? I won't disclose it here, as it's something I think might work really well as a future first date, but it's on Allan's website. In conclusion though I seem to have been able to get to the heart of someone else's likes and dislikes almost perfectly (and with no idea whether I was anywhere near the mark until it was confirmed) - which is funny, because I'm always tied in knots about whether I can read someone properly, or whether I just want to read them in a particular way. So essentially I go around thinking the best, but don't do anything about it because I can't recognise the signs as being explicitly signs. My anti-rejection buffer generally stops me from doing stuff, but it's also wired up to my don't-ruin-a-good-thing circuits. So, well, those are issues I need to resolve.

I'm not sure where or what Chapter 2 will be, but since I've got the Love Poetry event I'm helping out with on Valentine's Day I think the day before, Sunday 13th February, has been pencilled in as a possible date, an 'Anti-Valentine's Day'. Which is good because it then frees up Valentine's Day for everyone - it'd be a shame not to see people for the next 'experiment' (although also nice and reassuring that they've got a person to spend that day with).

In summary a really nice bunch of people. I'll maybe summarise them in more detail following Chapter 2.


I got my hair cut. Whenever I have moments of doubt about the man in the mirror I always change how he looks, whether it be via complete beard shaving or extreme hair cut. This time I went for the short hair, as the floppy hair was making me look a little studenty. I prefer to look a little more serious, a little more cool, if only to balance out the fact that I'm not half as cool as I'd like to be.

And then I went on to teach art at the place where I volunteer. Drew a few pencil sketches, one of which another volunteer asked to take home with her, after she'd asked me a lot about my love life (relax, she's married, and trained as a social worker - oh... and another Romanian). And then, on the way to work for the evening I bought The Picador Book of Love Poems. Mainly for ideas for things to use to promote the Poet In The City event, but also as a springboard for my own poetry. It's been a while, but it's something I'd love to get back into.

The last poetry I wrote was a Sonnet I composed for my ex-wife, in a card for her to read on the morning of our wedding, with each of the ten lines beginning with a letter that spelt out her newly married name. I've not really considered anything much since til recently, and the wedding card emory had me considering Valentine's cards on the bus journey home last night.

But that's another story.

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