Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The sound of silence

Maybe it’s just because I’m tired but when did everything get so noisy? I seem to be surrounded by endless noise pollution all day long. Sitting on a train for an hour and a half each way I have to endure the automated drone informing me which station I’m approaching and which stations the train will stop at. Given that it’s 23 stops, it’s a long old list at the start of the journey, barely finishing announcing our ultimate destination before launching into ‘We are now approaching…’. Throw in a few random messages about penalty fares and security, plus the conductor chipping in with his location on the train if anyone is in need of a ticket to avoid said penalty fares and it’s pretty much a non-stop assault. And that’s before you take into account the other passengers.

That hell on Earth that is half term is upon us, which means that the train is full of families and their screaming broods, off on a day out to the harbour and a trip up the tower. There are also the students off to Chichester, who insist on playing music and videos on their phones at full blast, screaming about their exploits the night before and the ‘sss sss sss’ emitting from numerous headphones. Can you all just shut the fuck up and let me read the paper in peace?

As part of the events for the Volvo Ocean Race and half term promotion, the management at Gunwharf have decided to have a live band playing this morning. The stage is just outside our offices with the PA system facing us. The band play turgid, acoustic covers of MOR favourites and the female vocals in particular cut through everything. To make matters worse, they only seem to have a limited amount of covers in their set and we’ve been treated to the same songs 3 times now. It really is the live equivalent of muzak.

At one point a mail went round the office suggesting that we try and concentrate to see if we could summon up a Tsunami to cleanse the harbour of this aural filth. The experiment met with mixed results and it was clear that some were not concentrating as much as others as we were rewarded with Katrina and the Waves.

And don’t get me started on the fairground type attractions that have sprung up this week all around the shopping centre. Music, sirens and screaming kids everywhere I go. I just want to lie down in a nice, quiet, dark room. Still, the band has stopped now. Hopefully for good and not just for lunch.

I’m currently working on a game design that involves failed musicians and a high powered sniper rifle.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You and me baby aint nothing but mammals

The chimpanzee genome project has shown that women are closer to chimps than men. Apparently this is because the X chromosome has changed less than the Y chromosome since we were split from a common ancestor with chimps. Women have 2 X chromosomes compared with XY in men.

Explains so much.

Moving on up

It’s been just over a year since I started my latest social experiment and it’s soon to come to an end and a new phase will begin. Last May, after 15 years of living in London, I moved to Brighton, started a new job and most importantly, lived on my own for the first time in my life. For various reasons, in just over a month, I’ll be entering the world of the flat share again.

From the last 13 months I've learned a few valuable lessons and realise that there will be some adjustments to make.

I’ve discovered that it’s not a good idea to leave my keys at home.

I’ve also discovered how easy it is to force my front door open and have dead bolted it ever since, which doubles as a handy way of remembering my keys.

I’ve learned that toilet roll seems to last an amazingly long time with the absence of flatmates and, more importantly, their girlfriends. I still believe that half the girls I know must eat the stuff as part of a super model type diet to stay waif-like.

Apparently neighbours don’t appreciate impromptu social gatherings at 5am, especially when the walls are so thin that you can hear them snoring in the flat above.

Washing up left for over 2 weeks in water smells bad. Real bad. On the plus side you develop some interesting cultures for experimentation.

You only need to dress when leaving the flat. Any other time you’re free to wear whatever you want, if anything at all. Obviously those days are coming to an end. Unless I end up sleepwalking naked into my flatmate’s room at 3am, as I did at my last flat. Jon, you’ve been warned.

The TV remote is my domain and mine alone. It’s going to be tough to relinquish such awesome powers and I suspect there will be some power struggles before remote control harmony is achieved in the new house, albeit a slightly bitter and resentful harmony.

You can leave clothes, dirty or otherwise anywhere you like. No need to go through the tedium of pairing socks and sticking them in the drawer when there are radiators, clothes horses or the floor to supply handy, alfresco storage space.

I’ve proven I can survive. I’ve managed to cook meals, pay the bills and even keep the place relatively tidy. Ok, we’ll ignore that too much of my diet still consists of ready meals at my work desk, the occasional court summons and that at its worse the flat resembled an explosion at a jumble sale and chalk it down as mostly a success.

I’ve loved the freedom but I’ve also discovered that it can be a lonely and isolated experience, particularly now I’m working at a new company outside of Brighton and don’t have as much time to meet up with friends during the week.

Now, of course, I can look forward to evenings of vintage port and Cuban cigars, myself and Jon sat in our smoking jackets, surround by lithe, young ladies in cocktail dresses laughing, gasping and applauding at our witty exchanges, our searing intellect and illuminating insights. With dim lighting, Dvorak or Berlioz on the stereo, Jon will prepare a gastronomic delight in the kitchen while I recite self-penned poetry of loves won and lost. There won’t be a dry seat in the house.

Obviously, I realise that it won’t be like this every night. Such eligible young bachelors as us have a hectic social life to attend to and prose capable of removing lingerie at 20 paces doesn’t just write itself. I’m also aware that given both our personalities and work demands, there will be times when my new flatmate and I won’t see each other for days on end, either entering into a reclusive stupor that only a duvet and hardcore EastEnders can cure or working towards yet another deadline.

So, given that Jon is probably the only person that will read this blog, it might just prove to be a useful way to find out what we’re actually doing and that we are still very much alive and well. It might just prove useful in other ways too.

Jon, if you’re reading this, the money for the gas bill is on the kitchen counter.

Oh, and we’re out of tea bags…