Sunday, September 05, 2004
Another week, another Embrace gig. Or rather, a pair of Embrace gigs - two for the price of one. Before their massive show at the Shepherds Bush Empire, the shaggy-haired ones played another free gig, this time on Shepherds Bush Green, which I assume is the site of the original shepherd's bush. Anyway, this secret gig was a lot better than the Leicester Square event because a) I could actually hear them and b) the cops didn't break it up, although Danny McNamara spent most of the gig looking nervously around, worried that he was going to be languishing in a cell when he was supposed to be playing his big comeback show. Actually, if I were their press officer, I'd have tipped off the police. Imagine the publicity.

After the secret gig, I wandered around Shepherd's Bush for an hour waiting for Butter and Ali, my littlest sister. I must have walked up and down the high street five times - with a white balloon in tow. We weren't allowed to release them because we were under a flight path. The locals must have thought I was on a blind date - 'You'll know me because I'll be holding a balloon with Gravity written on it.' I felt pretty dumb.

Finally, the girls turned up and, after snacking on a sarnie on the grass, we joined the throng inside the Empire. Because of my horrific tinnitus problems (yeah, I know, I'm old) I wore my new earplugs. To try to make said items seem cooler, I always describe them as musicians earplugs - the kind that Pete Townsend should have worn if he didn't want to go deaf. These plugs reduce the decibel level of the music without affecting the quality of the sound. That's what it says on the packaging, anyway. It was difficult to tell because the sound in the Empire is muddier than the Reading Festival.

The band were great, although the gig was slightly marred by a large contingent of morons among the audience who were more interesting in chucking beer than drinking it. What a waste. Two neanderthals next to me were holding full pints - which they'd just been singing to, lovingly (I'm not making this up) - when Embrace started playing an upbeat 'number'. The beer-lovers immediately started pogoing and the beer ended up in my trousers. (We had winos following us home afterwards.) Plastic glasses were flying overhead, even landing on the stage. Butter nearly got crushed to death during one particularly violent mosh, with me trying to protect her and getting bashed myself. There was a hell of a lot of male-bonding going on around us. I realise that all this makes me sound like a miserable fart who should have got seated tickets - and I know I've complained before about immobile Belle & Sebastian audiences - but it was really was OTT, and we weren't even in the moshpit. I still love Embrace, though, and will be going to see them again in November. Butter's not coming.

It was the Butter-birthday yesterday. I bought her a running top plus everything you need to make an Apple Martini: sour apple schnapps, vodka, martini glasses, a shaker and cocktail sticks. Sue and Darren joined us in our crib for a very sophisticated pre-dinner drink. I got quite pissed. Then we joined the nation's other Saturday night binge-drinkers and went out for a ruck. Er...except we didn't really - we went for a yummy meal at Casa Vecchio, a posh restaurant in the Pantiles. We almost ended up in the jazz club upstairs, after a mix-up when I rang to book. We escaped that horror, though. Jazz, as everyone knows, is musical wanking.

I'm going to get my ears syringed tomorrow. Can't wait.