Monday, December 08, 2003
Phew! Wot a weekend... I really ought to lie and say that I didn't update MarkCity yesterday because I was too shagged out by three days of excess. The truth, however, is that Blogger was down yesterday. But, but, but: it was a riproarer of a long weekend, kickstarted by those rock n roll animals Belle & Sebastian. It was such a wild gig (at the Astoria, Thursday night) that at one point, several members of the audience removed their duffle coats! It doesn't get much wilder than that.

But seriously, to quote the loathsome Phil Collins (who got mugged last week in London - cue evil cackle), while B&S were brilliant, knocking out an hour and a half of beautiful little pop gems, the crowd looked like they were auditioning for a job in the window of Selfridges. Or rather, Oxfam. While Maggie - my companion for the evening - and I, and two other lively audience members, tried to dance and enjoy ourselves, our fellows stood and stroked their girlfriends' chins. The guy standing next to me, who I think was German, looked so horrified that people were moving that he left before the end. He spent most of the gig with his head in his hands and a finger in his ear. Come on, it wasn't that bad. In fact, it was rather marvellous, and I didn't even miss my train home.

Friday night brought forth the Butter Xmas Party. Butter's company had paid (a lot of money) for us to go to a big corporate do in a tent - sorry, marquee - in Battersea Park. It was entitlee 'One Night In Bangkok'. And if Bangkok really was like the interior of the marquee, nobody would ever spend more than one night there. It was full of yuppie skinheads, a new breed, and I'm sure half the inhabitants of Battersea's most famous home had got in. Actually, it was a fun evening, thanks to the beer, wine, more beer and more wine, even if Butter and her compadres got stuck in a mini-bus in Purley and nearly missed dinner. We watched fat blokes dancing in a cage, whilst we shook our stuff to The Darkness and, er, Robbie Williams. Then we all went home on the bus and nobody was sick. Which means it hardly qualifies as a Christmas do.

On Saturday we went to see The Strokes at the Ally Pally, which is like a big aircraft hangar with ornate bits set on top of a hill. The hill has very nice views, unlike the one Butter had when the Strokes came on stage. The poor wee thing - all 5 foot 4 of her - could only see the backs of numerous heads and the lights at the top of the stage. They were very nice lights, but not worth paying £30 to look at. I, fortunately, am quite tall and could see nearly everything. The Strokes played a bleeding blinder, banging out practically every song from both their albums. The sound cut out halfway through the second song, 'Reptilia', and when it came on again they started up again at exactly the spot where they'd left off. Now that's professional! Highlights were 'Someday' and 'The End Has No End'. We rushed out during the last song to get the first bus to the tube, which was so packed by the time we got to Leicester Square I was having Tokyo flashbacks. Then we thought we'd missed the train and Butter had a strop - 'I can't believe I'm in this situation!' - but then we realised there was another train so everything was alright in the end. Hurrah!

Talking of happy endings, Expedia have refunded all our money from the Manhattan House of Horror, which is what I believe they call a result.