On This Day In 2005

I normally reserve my “on this day” posts to look back at my own archived content, but once in a while I get a moment of nostalgia for something of somebody else’s that “fell off the web”. And so I bring you something you probably haven’t seen in over a decade: Paul and Jon‘s Birmingham Egg.

Paul's lunch on this day 13 years ago: Birmingham Egg with Naan Bread
Is this honestly so different from the kind of crap that most of our circle of friends ate in 2005?

It was a simpler time: a time when YouTube was a new “fringe” site (which is probably why I don’t have a surviving copy of the original video) and not yet owned by Google, before Facebook was universally-available, and when original Web content remained decentralised (maybe we’re moving back in that direction, but I wouldn’t count on it…). And only a few days after issue 175 of the b3ta newsletter wrote:

* BIRMINGHAM EGG - Take 5 scotch eggs, cut in
  half and cover in masala sauce. Place in
  Balti dish and serve with naan and/or chips. 
  We'll send a b3ta t-shirt to anyone who cooks
  this up, eats it and makes a lovely little
  photo log / write up of their adventure.
Birmingham Egg preparation
Sure, this looks like the kind of thing that seems like a good idea when you’re a student.

Clearly-inspired, Paul said “Guess what we’re doing on Sunday?” and sure enough, he delivered. On this day 13 years ago and with the help of Jon, Liz, Siân, and Andy R, Paul whipped up the dish and presented his findings to the Internet: the original page is long-gone, but I’ve resurrected it for posterity. I don’t know if he ever got his promised free t-shirt, but he earned it: the page went briefly viral and brought joy to the world before being forgotten the following week when we all started arguing about whether 9 Songs was a good film or not.

It was a simpler time, when, having fewer responsibilities, we were able to do things like this “for the lulz”. But more than that, it was still at the tail-end of the era in which individuals putting absurd shit online was still a legitimate art form on the Web. Somewhere along the way, the Web got serious and siloed. It’s not all a bad thing, but it does mean that we’re publishing less weirdness than we were back then.

Curry And Penny

Went out last night for curry and beer to celebrate Paul‘s birthday (yes, we’re all well aware that Paul’s birthday was almost a month ago, but this was the first chance we’d had to really get together and make an ocassion of it). It was great to get together with a handful of folks rarely seen in the same place outside of Troma Night – and in some cases, recently, not even then – and have a good night out.

At the end of the evening I was quite tipsy; a direct result of the fact that or a few hours before the curry I’d been “warming up” with ales in the Ship & Castle with Matt P. And, as you may have noticed by now, there’s a strong correlation between me going to bed drunk and me blogging about particularly unusual dreams. I skipped a dream that I couldn’t be arsed to blog about, near the end of last month, under similar intoxication. I’d made some notes on it, as I try to with everything I dream about, but never found time to write it up to standards of internet legibility (whatever that can be taken as meaning).

In any case, last night was a classic example of me dreaming within-a-dream, which I gather is something a lot of people haven’t experienced (for me, while not commonplace, it’s not terribly rare, either, for me to “wake up” within a dream, or to remember previous dreams as dreams within the one I’m currently ‘in’). Note the double-indentation to ease understanding of which dream I’m referring to:

I had been hosting a house party of some variety, in a somewhat larger (and significantly tidier) version of The Cottage, and it was beginning to wind up – most of the guests had gone home, except for a few small, scattered groups in different parts of the building (I mentioned that it was bigger than The Cottage usually is, right? – there are times that the word “mansion” could have come to hand). JTA, Claire and Ruth were somewhere upstairs; Bryn was talking to Andrew Rawlins (!) in a kitchen reminiscent of my dad’s house; and I was in the living room, talking to Penny.

If I remember rightly we were talking about oral sex technique. So, just a regular conversation for me, you’re probably thinking. And that’s about the time that we kissed.

We hid that we’d been kissing from Bryn and Andrew as they came through the living room, said goodbye, got their coats and left. And again, when Gareth, Penny’s partner, arrived by car to pick her up. And then I went to bed.

And then I woke up. I don’t specifically remember waking up, but I remember having a moment of realisation that everything that had just happened was a dream. It was an unusual dream, sure (although not entirely unpleasant: Penny’s pretty hot), but just a dream, and so I got on with my day. Leaving Claire in bed, I went to work, and I remember thinking about the fact that I would undoubtedly blog about the dream I’d had, and that I hoped I wouldn’t alarm or embarrass Penny by doing so!

And then I woke up. Actually, this time, and there was a moment of confusion as I remembered that it was Ruth I’d spent the night with last night, not Claire at all, and I spent the first few minutes of the morning trying to work out where the dreams began and ended. Perhaps more confusingly, I discovered when I woke up that I’d somehow, in the night, managed to cut my hand and I was bleeding all over the place. I snapped the following photo after I’d cleaned it up a bit.

Ruth theorised that she attacked me in my sleep because she was jealous that I was kissing Penny in my dreams, going on to add that she wanted to be dreaming of kissing Penny. But I’m not sure if she’d approve of me blogging that, so you should pretend that I didn’t.

Do you or anybody you know routinely dream that you are dreaming? Or wake up from a dream with an unusual injury? Or have dreams that involve your friends cheating on their partners with you?

Quickly, Before They Turn The Glass Into Lesbians!

So, what have I been up to this weekend, you ask. Well…

“Cover The Mirrors” Launch Party

On Friday I took the train up to Preston. The train I was on broke down at Machynlleth when they linked it up to the carriages that had come down the Pwllheli line, and the repairs set me back by almost an hour, but it turns out that the rest of the rail network was running behind schedule that day, too, and so I didn’t miss any important connections. I arrived in time for a quick “birthday tea” with my family (for my dad’s birthday) before rushing off to the Waterstones for the launch party for my friend Faye‘s first published novel, Cover The Mirrors.

Dan with author Faye at the book launch

I drank as much wine as the store were willing to give me and bought myself a signed copy of the book. I even managed to get the photo, above, under the proviso that it’s only allowed to appear on the internet thanks to the fact that I’m holding a carrier bag in front of Faye’s face (she’s more than a little camera-shy). I haven’t started reading Cover The Mirrors yet, because I’m virtually at the end of The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, and I’d like to finish that first, but little doubt you’ll hear about it here in due course.

Dad’s Birthday

After the book launch, my sisters and I took my dad out for a few drinks to celebrate his 51st birthday. It turns out that, in my absence, Preston’s nightclub scene has really taken off. We started out in an 80s-themed bar which is part of a chain called Reflex. It’s so 80s it’s unreal: all 80s hits playing, David Hasselhoff and Mr. T decorating every wall, glitter balls and spots and mirrors everywhere… deely-boppers available at the bar… and so on. Really quite a fantastic theme venue. Then, under my sister Sarah’s recommendation, we tootled up the street and into a cafe/club called Manyana, where my dad got hit on by somebody young enough to be his daughter.

My dad and some 20-something year-old

I snatched this picture. I’ve no idea who she is – we didn’t get her name – but she seemed genuinely surprised to hear my dad’s age. So I had the DJ announce it, just to make sure there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that there was an old person on the dancefloor.

This influx of Preston nightclubs is making them all remarkably competitive with their drinks prices, too. I bought a few rounds for the four of us and none of them ever came to over a tenner, and one – thanks to the “buy one get one free” policy at Manyana – came to under £6, which is quite remarkable for a city nightclub on a Friday night for four people!

Back To Aberystwyth

On Saturday I had brunch with my sister Becky, my mum, and her boyfriend and then got back onto the trains to head back to Aberystwyth. Owing to line maintenance, the stretch of track between Crewe and Preston is unusable every weekend within sight, and so I was re-directed via Manchester Picadilly. Yet again, my train ran late, and I found myself sprinting accross Picadilly station, trying to find a train that was heading Shrewsbury-way…

…meanwhile, my friend Katie, having slept through her stop, woke up in Manchester Picadilly and, not quite awake, clambered off her train in an attempt to find a connection. I’d apparently featured in her dream, and so she was quite surprised (and not quite sure if she was seeing things) when I sprinted past her. She sent a text (which I chose to ignore: my pocket beeped but I was too busy looking for a train to take the time to get my phone out) and then phoned me before she was able to confirm that yes, it really was me.

As we were headed the same way, she joined me on my train for one stop, which was a nice surprise for what was a long and overcomplicated train journey. A few folks have suggested that this might not be a coincidence, and that she might be stalking me, but I’m yet to be convinced.

In any case, I don’t have a picture to go with this part of the story. Sorry.

Jimmy, Beth, and Troma Night

YATN. If you were there, you know how it went. Big thanks to Jimmy and Beth for coming along.

Lloyd Kaufman’s Visit

In case you’ve not been anywhere that I can pounce on you and go “squee!” recently, here’s what you missed out on. You’ll remember that last week I mentioned that PoultrygeistTroma‘s new movie – was coming to Aberystwyth. Well, it did. And it rocked…

…and better yet, Ruth, Claire, JTA, Paul and I got to hang out with Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma Studios and producer of The Toxic Avenger, for a couple of pints and to share a bowl of nachos. The guy’s fabulously chatty and friendly, and if it weren’t for the awestruck feeling of “wow, we’re just sat here chatting with Lloyd Kaufman in Lord Beechings” we’d have probably been more interesting company.

Dan, Claire, !!!LLOYD KAUFMAN!!!, JTA, and Ruth

When he said goodbye, kissing the cheeks of each of the girls, I genuinely thought that they were in danger of exploding with excitment. Thankfully they didn’t, because I’d already bought them tickets to see Poultrygeist later on.

Which was, as I’ve said before, fantastic. It’s even better seen with a nice, energised audience, and better still when the director and several other people who worked on the film are hanging around afterwards to answer questions, chat, autograph things and so on. There are apparently 15 prints of Poultrygeist and the capacity to make more on demand, so if you want to see it and can’t wait for the DVD release, go speak to your local cinema now and ask if they’ll show Poultrygeist, even if only for a week (as Lloyd himself said, it’s better than showing Transformers on all 24 screens of some soulless megaplex). And hell, with Troma’s current financial situation, they could probably do with a helping hand with getting into as many projection booths as possible!

The title of this post – Quickly, Before They Turn The Glass Into Lesbians! – is a reference to one of my favourite lines in the film.

Paul might have bitten off more than he can chew, though, as he hinted on his blog. After some discussion with Lloyd, Paul is likely to be responsible for:

  • Re-establishing the UK division of the Troma fan club.
  • Acting as president of the above, for the forseeable future.
  • Investigating UK distribution of Troma films.
  • Oh, and making an official DVD subtitle track for Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead, which describes the Troma Night drinking rules and reminds you when you should be drinking. He’s got a few ideas about things that should be in such a subtitle track, too, and if you’re familiar with the rules you’ll probably be able to guess what he’s thinking about.

I’ll leave it to him to go into detail, if he wishes.

Matt In Hospital

Between places, we also joined a growing crowd at the foot of Matt‘s bed in Bronglais Hospital. His operation was a success, but he’s reacted unusually to the general anasthetic and they’re likely to keep him in for observation for another few days. If you haven’t had a chance to visit him already, he’d probably appreciate the company (although Sarah seems to have barely left his side): visiting hours are 3pm-5pm, 6pm-8pm: just ask if you need to know what ward he’s in and how to get there. If you’re feeling particularly cruel, mock him by talking about how well your bodily excretions are working, or swap his drip with his catheter bag while he’s not looking.

But seriously: I’m sure we all wish him well.

Curry!

Finally – as if we weren’t full enough from a large Sunday lunch – after leaving the cinema, Gareth, Penny, Amy, Ruth, JTA, Claire and I slipped down for a late-night curry at the Spice of Bengal. Which was delicious, although there was a little much food for those of us who were already quite full.

Dan eating curry!

Nonetheless, a fantastic end to a fantastic weekend! I’m sure everybody else will have a different story to tell (Paul spent longer with Lloyd and went to more films; Claire and Jimmy got horribly drunk together on Friday night after she, Ruth and JTA failed to see a Meatloaf concert; Matt’ll have his own morphine-fuelled tale to spin, and so on), because it’s been a rich, full couple of days for many of us abnibbers.

Happy Birthday To Me

[this post was damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has not been possible to recover it]

Update (20th March 2012) – crosslink:

[this post was recovered on 12 October 2018]

Well, I’m 23. Meh.

An array of cards and gifts, followed by a flurry of e-mails and phone calls to explain delayed gifts. I think I’ll try again for my birthday, next week, when the Post Office become competent again (this is the theory).

Went out to Cafe All Spice with Paul, Bryn, Kit and Claire, for much curry and wine. A great evening out. Now; Bryn and Paul are asleep on my couch, and Kit has gone home. I feel stuffed and contented. And knackered. I’m falling asleep as I write this, but if I tried to sleep I’d just feel more knackered from trying to digest my stomachfull of curry.

Carribean Night

It’s not often you plan an entire evening around one ingredient… which turns out not to have anything to do with the food…

Kit: “What’re we going to do with these coconuts?” (holds up two coconuts)

Two hours later, we’re sipping pina coladas, eating carribean-style curry (soon to be followed by Bounty bars). The curry turned out quite fantastic: I’d recommend it (and, in fact Sainsbury’s Recipe Finder). I’d have liked more banana in it, and perhaps a little pineapple… but hey; I’ve had six pina coladas so far, so I’m not complaining (although typing is becoming challenging).

Claire is playing Tropico, which I recently bought from Amazon Marketplace. It’s pretty good. You get to be dictator of a carribean island.

Hugz;

Fucking Flaming Brands

Last night Kit, Claire, Paul, Bryn and I acquired a huge wooden desk and other burnables and went and started an enormous fire on the beach, having just finished a most fantastic curry at Cafe All Spice. Big fire!

Later, we were joined by a man with some juggling batons and a woman with some flags and flaming things on the end of cords. I’d never juggled with clubs before, but a quick play and a little coaching later, and he had me juggling with fucking flaming brands. What a buzz!

The woman will be taking part in Equilibre at Machynlleth. Judging by how impressive she alone was with her firey-things, I’m really tempted to go. Showing 9th-16th August, 8pm.

I must buy some flame-batons. The buzz is only just wearing off.