Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Stuff I've Been Up To. (part two)

House Hunting:

One of the main reasons I've haven't been blogging as much as I'd like is because i've been looking for somewhere new to live. When I say 'I', I mean 'we' as my lovely girlfriend and I have decided to move in and rent a place together.
Now, as all of you who have ever been house or flat hunting know, estate agents can be economical with the truth. We wanted to move to the Moseley area of Brum (or as I call it, Mos Eisley. I'll explain why later), but so do a lot of people. This means Mos Eisley is prohibitively expensive, and estate agents say properties are in Mos Eisley when they're not. We looked at places that were in Hall Green (famous for its dog track) when we were told they were in Moseley so they could bump the price up a bit. Also, what an estate agent calls a double bedroom is not what I would call a double bedroom. what they would call 'desirable' some times is what I would call a 'shithole'. We looked at one house that was a relatively new build, but inside it was terrible; the stair rods were mostly missing and every room's walls were riddled with holes. (I reckon the previous tenants were fans of the 'floating shelf'.) Apparently, having a house that resembles swiss cheese is 'desirable' these days! Not to me, matey!
My lady and I also saw a house we subsequently referred to as 'the house of death'. It was completely beige inside, beige walls and beige carpets all through the gaff. It smelled bad. Its kitchen hadn't been updated since about nineteen forty-seven and it was obviously a house where someone old had died. To be fair to the estate agent on this one, though, he could tell it wasn't the right place for us and looked suitably embarassed as he was showing us round.
We did luck out though. The house we settled on is in King's Heath, not far from Mos Eisley, it's got four bedrooms, it's in our price range and it's lovely. We'll be moving in a couple of weeks, so I'm up to my ears in packing and measuring stuff and buying washing machines. It's worse for my girlfriend, who is moving up from Winchester, so her hassles are probably ten times what mine are.

Mos Eisley Folk Festival:

My girlfriend is middle class, and I'm obviously not, so we're kind of putting ourselves through a cultural exchange. She makes me watch rom-coms (some of the time, anyway! I still won't watch anything with Reese fucking Witherspoon in it, though. I have some standards!), I make her watch kung-fu and zombie movies (but not Peter Jackson's Braindead, yet. That combines the two genres in one fantastic scene. You should all go out and see that movie if you haven't, yet. One of my faves.) I make her eat baltis, she makes me eat salad from wooden bowls. (This is the biggest indicator that someone's middle class, this is; owning wooden salad bowls.)
My girlfriend's a big fan of Seth Lakeman, who I'd not heard of before I met her, and I've since found out that he's a folk-singing midget who mostly plays violin as well. She found out that Seth was playing at the Mos Eisley folk festival, so she bought tickets for her and a friend to go and see him, and all the other bands playing at the festival. As the festival got nearer though, it turned out that her friend couldn't go, so I agreed to accompany her. This had a cultural exchange aspect to it too, as I stipulated that we had to watch the Villa-Liverpool match (which was on the same day) in a grotty pub first before we head off to the folk festival.
After watching one of the shittest nil-nils I've seen in a long time (fair play to the mighty Villa though, we're third in the Premiership as I type this, only one point off top) we headed off to Mos Eisley. Now, Moseley does resemble its Star Wars counterpart. It's a weird place, maybe not the 'wretched hive of scum and villainy' that Mos Eisley is, but it does have a strange mix of residents, so the pubs do resemble the cantina from A New Hope. There are a lot of posh people, you know the types with people carriers who take their kids to violin classes, there are also a lot of grungey students, lots of new age types, all wiry hair and sandals and creative facial hair. And that's just the women! (Insert rimshot noise here) and, Moseley also has more than its fair share of tramps. Not the modern Big Issue, dog on a string homeless, but your old-fashioned tramp. Meths-drinking, mismatched shoes-wearing, big overcoat-wearing, piss-smelling, giant beard wearing paraffin lamps. There was a famous itinerant called 'Pete the Feet' who used to bother drinkers in Moseley for small change, he was called that because he refused to wear shoes. But I digress.
We went to the festival and it was pissing down. Torrential. As has most of what we used to call 'summer'. A friend of mine said that the British weather is like the Muslim community, sometimes Sunni but mostly Shi'ite. (But, Brum's muslims are mostly Sunni, apparently, so it's a crap joke, really)
The festival was in Moseley Park, which is a park you have to go down an alley to get to, and the festival was like any other festival you've been to, but a lot smaller. That's a good thing, the queues for the chemical bogs are much smaller, for one thing. There was a real ale tent. Another good thing. There were a few stalls, including, weirdly, one that sold violins. I think the cheapest one was three hundred quid. Hardly an impulse buy at a music festival, is it? Unsurprisingly, the stallholder wasn't doing much business. There were all the usual jewellery, joss stick and hippie shit on sale, and there was quite a good book stall. Because most of the festival goers were new age-y types , I was worried I wouldn't be able to get anything substantial (i.e. meat) to eat, and, at first glance my worries were confirmed, falafels, veggie burgers, vegetarian indian nosh. I opted for a falafel, and it was lovely, but I dropped my girlfriend's chilli, so hers wasn't as nice as mine. Then, after I finished my falafel, I noticed the hog roast stand. Bastard!
The rain was coming down in big sheets, and we couldn't shelter under a tree because all the other festival goers were hugging them. And the music, whilst not my thing, was fairly good. It's nice to see proper musicians playing instruments and enjoying themselves. Bit too much accordion, though. People have a go at the metal music I like for being all morbid and obsessed with death, but it's got fuck all on folk music. The songs are about such heartwarming subjects like lifeboat disasters, the highland clearances and dead sheepdogs.
After an escape from the rain for a bit (we went to the O'Neills round the corner) we headed back into the park to watch Seth Lakeman, and he was good. Not good enough to convert me to being an Arran sweater wearing/desert boot folky, but he was alright. Despite the rain and the boring footie match, it was a good day.


jamie said...

well done with the decision to 'move in together',you won't regret it.
of course,we had one hell of a blazing fucking row tonight cos theresa wanted me to tidy the cds instead of drawing,but...
good luck,buddy!
i'm sure it's going to be sheer bliss all the way for you guys,what a lovely pair.
and you're quite nice too,mick.
(rim-shot noise).

Mick said...

Thanks for the lovely words, Jamie. Not sure you should be commenting on my girlfriend's chest, but you are right!
see you at BICS this weekend.