Wednesday, April 28, 2010

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Being Ill Sucks...

...big time!

Another weekend of gigs cancelled. A return trip to hospital. Seeing the blood man on Monday - let's hope he can tell me for sure why I no longer seem to be able to heal properly!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where Have I Been???

Simple answer. In hospital.

Regular readers will know that I had a "simple" hernia repair two weeks ago. The operation was simple enough, the recovery less so. I was told on discharge that I was to leave the dressing on till it 'dropped off'. Well it didn't.

Six days after the op, as I was in a cab back from Waterloo Station, I noticed a vile stench emitting from my belly button. It was embarrassing! When I got in, I peeled the dressing off and was met by an awful sight. I won't go into detail cos it was really gruesome. I cleaned it up as best I could and put a clean dressing on.

Saw the doctor, and was dosed up on anti-biotics for the best part of a week, but they weren't working. Last Sunday I went to see Dr Blum for the botox top up, but he took one look at me and refused to treat me! I told him what had been going on and he checked the wound. He told me to get straight to the hospital and demand a blood test to make sure the infection hadn't spread to my bloodstream.

Stunned, I did as I was told. I arrived at 1pm and by 6pm was tucked up in a bed in a holding bay, waiting for a 'proper' bed. At 7pm I had one and was being dosed up with IV anti-biotics.

I had nothing with me, as I really wasn't expecting this, but in the past I would have been freaking out and demanding that I be allowed to go home and pack a bag, but not the new me. I don't let the little things get me worked up anymore. They gave me a toothbrush and paste, and handed me a fabulous gown!

In my three day stay I've been poked and prodded, but shown incredible kindness and patience by all the doctors and nurses and aides and even the cleaners who always had a smile for me.

I do have a teeny confession tho. By Monday my iPhone was running low, and my charger was at home. I mumbled something to the nurse about nipping out for a paper and I was off! Like a hospital ninja! I jumped into a cab, came home got changed into more suitable hospital clothing, grabbed a comb, moisturiser, my journal and my charger then got a bus back to St Marys. They didn't even notice that I was dressed completely differently!

Yesterday they cleaned and packed the wound in a similar way to the work done on my breast last year, so that it heals slowly from the inside up, and this morning I was told I could go home. I have a ton of horse pills to take, and need to see the nurse every day to get the "wick" changed, but I have avoided septicemia (sp) and am on the road to recovery! Thank you Dr Blum!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Since I've Been Back ....

... I ain't bleeding stopped!

I came back to a mountain of mail regarding all my Dad's affairs, but had little time to sort them out. No sooner had I unpacked and done the holiday washing, than I was packing again to go and do a weekend in Manchester!

I was on at The Frog and Bucket, and had so much fun. The lovely Jeff Innocent was on too and I've not worked with him for ages. He's really on fire onstage at the moment and we had a right laugh offstage too.

I'd booked the Crown Plaza to stay, mainly cos I got a deal and I collect the Priority Club points, but it turned out to be even better cos its a stone's throw from the gig! Result.

As usual the shopping was divine, tho I purposely brought a small case to stop me going insane, and on the whole I was fairly restrained for me. Until Saturday afternoon when I was on my way back to the hotel and stumbled upon a Marahrishi sample sale!

I've coveted a pair of their combats since the All Saints days when those four were never seen without them - not cos I wanted to be in All Saints, but cos the combats were awesome! Two things stopped me having them then - price and sizes - I was too poor and too fat!

Not anymore tho! Well not too fat! I got a pair of awesome trousers and a gorgeous parka, both at approximately a quarter of their original price. Still not pennies, but affordable. Go me!

Back from Manchester on Easter Sunday - eventually - the obligatory bus/train/camel train/bus again journey that Virgin specialise in on a Bank Holiday. I must be blissed out still from Thailand cos I didn't get wound up at all!

On Easter Monday I went back to the fantastic Hazel at Urban Retreat at Harrods to get my eyebrow touch-up done. I shoulda had them done weeks ago, but life got in the way. You would think there'd be a great deal of pain involved in having your eyebrows tattooed on, but for the second time I fell fast asleep. Not sure if this was down to the numbing creme or my exhaustion, but it was good, and they look magnificent!

Tuesday saw me succumbing to more pain. About six months ago I noticed a lump on my groin and was more than mildly concerned. A trip to the doctor's confirmed it was a hernia, and finally the day arrived to have it fixed.

Bearing in mind I wouldn't be able to exercise for ages, I walked to St Mary's Hospital and by 11am I was being injected with "something to make me sleep".

The nurse said think of something lovely, and just as I was conjuring up images of Phi Phi Don, "Knocking on Heaven's Door" came on the radio!!!!!!! Not what you wanna hear as you're about to be knocked out. I had an oxygen mask on so couldn't point it out to them sadly.

Anyway, it turns out not to have been a sign, cos by 1pm I was in recovery bitching about the headache I had. By 4pm I was nibbling on a tuna sarnie and looking at the unshaven face of my mate Mickey who'd turned up to take me home. Its a health and safety thing I guess that if you've had anaesthetic you can't go home alone.

Mickey, bless him, brought me back and I got into my own bed at 5.30 on Tuesday afternoon. I didn't get out of bed really till Friday morning!

I had to get out then, cos I was off to work. This time it was Portsmouth where I was doing the Highlight club (formerly known as Jongleurs). I was MC'ing which was just as well cos the post-op painkillers had me a bit spacey. I doubt I could've concentrated for a whole 20 minutes!

I had a cracking line-up to introduce - Charlie Baker, Tanya-Lee Davis, and my old mucker Curtis Walker - so my job was fairly easy. Well once I'd gotten the audience focussed it was! Took me 20 minutes at the top on Saturday night to do just that!

Saturday daytime saw me making the most of the gorgeous sunshine by wandering round all the shops at GunWharf Quays. I even got some genuine bargains at the Gap outlet.

My old mate Jez let me know via Facebook that Portsmouth were involved in some kind of football match yesterday at Wembley, and god bless him for telling me! I decided to get the early train out and even that was rammed!

How on earth can anyone drink Fosters at 7.30am and think this is a good thing?????? There was no trouble, but it really was a cattle wagon and the train company did nothing to police it. Shame on you!

Got into my house by 10.30 and I was in my bed by midday. Turns out I'm not as healed from the op as I thought I was, cos barring being awake for about an hour yesterday early evening, I didn't wake up till 6.30 this morning!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Coming Home

In one way my 15 days in Thailand sped by, but in another way I did and saw so much that, it felt like I'd been away much longer.

Everything that happened before I went away, didn't disappear from my mind during that time, but the physical distance gave me a chance to try and make sense of it all. My new answer is that there are no answers, at least no definitive ones. Instead I am choosing to take inspiration from the lives of all the people I've loved and lost.

Being my usual anal self I was up early on my last day, so early it was still dark out! The view from my hotel window really was pretty spectacular.

I did the last of my packing. I really have been restrained this trip in my purchases, I got everything in the case and closed it without breaking sweat! My last breakfast was as yummy as ever, even the toaster worked.

I was very, very early, my flight wasn't till midday, but as I've said many times I'd rather be too early than too late. I checked out and got a cab to the airport, assuming I'd at least be able to check in and potter about in the Departure lounge.

Sadly this wasn't the case. I was there about 8.30 and the flight wasn't even on the board! Bit scary. I found the Eva Air desk and that was completely shut down. It did cross my mind that they might have gone bust while I was away, but this didn't really concern me. I was already planning buggering off to Koh Samui or somewhere instead! Eventually I found someone in the uniform and showed them my flight confirmation, they said come back at 10 am for check in. Oh well, I had this fella to keep me company.

I pottered about, using the internet cafe and having a coffee, and watching people who were booked on an earlier flight to Heathrow rush and scramble to check in. With Eva Air its a bit mad to get excited cos you select your seat when you book, so you're not gonna get anything better now.

Finally, about 9.50 the queue for that flight disappeared and I went up to see if I could get through to raid the Duty Free, only to be told that the flight everyone was checking into was actually my flight! They'd brought it forward and not bothered to contact me! Its a good job I'm always early eh?

Once I was on the other side - with no time to mash the plastic (Bangkok Duty Free's loss) I asked at the gate why I hadn't been contacted. I was told it was cos there were no contact details for me. She then printed off my file which showed my land and mobile numbers, and home and email addresses! I guess they were trying to contact me psychically!

Oh well, as I say the seat was pre-booked so I still got my aisle seat, and quickly settled in for the almost 12 hour flight home. Why are the return legs so much longer? I bunged a movie on and ended up watching Robert De Niro's 'Everybody's Fine" about a Dad trying to re-connect with his kids. That was all it took, I was a sobbing wreck! Felt kinda good to get it out.

After dinner/breakfast/lunch - not sure what the meal was - I popped my Nytol and nodded off. Bliss. Seven hours of sleep, that's a result on a long flight like that.

We landed early at Heathrow, well really early for me cos I was expecting to be on a later flight! And I learned one of the true benefits of being practically the last person to check into a flight, your case comes out first! What a touch! I had chance to grab and AMT latte and was soon speeding back to London.

I came home to a mountain of mail, mostly about my Dad of course. The break served me well in all kinds of ways, I've got a much clearer idea of where I'm going in the future - in as much as I can control the future - the past is long gone and the present is pretty damn good!

What more can you wish for?


Monday, April 05, 2010


Sooooooo last Sunday (28th) was my 49th birthday.

Over the years I've marked surviving another year in a variety of ways, from getting tattooed and/or pierced in odd places. Odd places on my body that is, not odd places in the world. I've spent it in Paris, Brighton and twice now in Bangkok.

I have to say that so far, Bangkok is my favourite place to move closer to the grave than anywhere else in the world - anywhere I've been so far that is - something about the vitality of the city makes me happy to be alive, even if bits of me are aging rather too rapidly!

Anyway last Sunday, just being in Bangkok wasn't enough for greedy old me, I wanted to spend it doing something I've been dying to do since I saw Chris Crudelli do it on Mind Body and Kick Ass Miracles a few years ago, and that is go to the Tiger Temple and cuddle some tigers.

The temple's proper name Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, and its about two and a half hours from Bangkok. I'd resisted the temptation to pay way over the odds by booking the excursion here or in the hotel and took Chris's advice and went to Khao San Road and booked it for a fraction of the price from lovely Mr Thai Travel.

I had to be there by 11am on Sunday to get the mini-bus, and being my usual anal self I left at 9.30 in a cab to get over there. Just as well I did cos the Red Shirts were having a huge old rally and that meant most of the roads were closed! It took about 20 mins longer than it should have to get across town, and pissed the cabbie off no end cos he again refused to put the meter on. If he had, he'd have made double the agreed price! Karma baby!

I was still there early enough to have some delicious cinnamon french toast and another watermelon shake - soooooo addicted! - before the bus arrived. It was fascinating seeing the Khao San Road at this time of day, everybody setting up their stalls and people looking slightly less bewildered than at night time!

Mr Thai was waiting for me and wished me a happy birthday which was very sweet of him. I was first in the bus so got the pick of the seats - yay! We made our way up the road collecting an unusual bunch of folks from various tour operators. There was a young German couple who were very sweet, a boy with the dreaded dreadlocks who turned out to be a systems analyst not a lost soul as the hair led me to believe, and a fab mother and son from London. We also picked up some woman who was from god knows where but was the rudest person I've ever met - and I've met some assholes in my time. I didn't know if she was going to the temple or not but she was dressed like she was on her way to a slut convention! I'm still not sure why she was so angry - other than the fact her hairdresser had given her a dodgy Glenn Close "Fatal Attraction" perm - but she threw her rucksack at the bus driver and tried to flounce into the bus. This didn't work cos there was only a couple of seats left and very little flouncing room. Daft cow. If I'd been the driver I'd have slung her and her fucking rucksack down the other end of the Khao San Road!

Anyway, off we went and Jan who was sat next to me, and I got chatting. The journey passed in no time, and we even got to stop off for ice cream and a wee half way. Yes it was a squat toilet and yes I did, and no I didn't pee all over my shoes! Check me.

As we got close to Kanchanaburi which is where the temple is, we swapped buses and thank god lost the stroppy slut. I could barely contain my excitement. I'd read up on the place and seen reports both good and bad. Urban myths that they eat a couple of tourists a year, that they're drugged, all kinds of stuff. I choose to believe as the monks do, that these tigers are reincarnated monks and that as long as your karma's good you have nothing to fear.

We handed over our 500baht admission and Jan had to buy a pair of trousers cos her's were reddish in colour and you're not allowed to wear those colours in a temple. Luckily I was in my black combats and white linen shirt, so no extras for me. The guy that sold them to her was an american volunteer. What a cool gig!

We went through and the rules were explained. There were tons of western volunteers working there, as well as Thai employees. Again there were "extras" - we could pay another 1000baht and have a photo with the tiger's head on our lap or squat behind em for free, we could come back an hour later and get in a cage and watch some of them playing in the water for another 500 baht, etc etc. A few people were moaning that it was all a big old scam, but the reality is it costs like £16 to get into London Zoo and you don't get to cuddle shit! They also have 54 of these suckers to feed not to mention keeping the monks fed and watered! Having said that I didn't pay for any of the extras.

I had to hold my tiger wrangler's hand as she led me around the dozen or so fully grown tigers that were lazing in the midday heat. As I squatted behind the first one, it just didn't feel real, I couldn't believe I was thisclose to a wild animal! She told me to stroke his back and as I did, I felt he was wet. Turns out they all were, seems wearing a coat like that in 90-odd degree heat makes ya sweat!

My guide took a photo behind every tiger, and it all felt a bit production line, but then we were told to go over the hill to the nursery. We weren't monitored the same and could kinda do our own thing.

Oh my god! Baby tigers from 5 months and up were there for us to interract with! Unlike the bigger ones they weren't all asleep either! I cannot put into words how awesome it feels to be talking to and stroking and cuddling a baby tiger!

I could have quite happily spent the rest of my life with that little sucker, he was sooooooooo gorgeous! The bond between him and the monk was incredible, you do have to really give reincarnation some serious thought!

They had other animals there too, deer and buffalo, who seemed to be a moveable feast for the main inhabitants. If you had any doubts about the wildness or the alertness of these tigers you only had to look at the lust on their faces as they watched the little Bambi wander past! They even had a leopard that had been brought in. It was up in the tree and took us a while to see it, but when I did spot it, it reminded me of the Banksy animatronic leopard at the Bristol Museum!

All too soon it was over and we had to pile back on the bus back to Bangkok. I gotta tell ya folks I am gonna really have to go some to top this as a birthday treat!

As if that wasn't enough animal interraction, when we got back to Khao San I treated myself to half an hour of fish nibbling at one of the multitude of fish spas they have here. I'm not sure these little creatures actually do feast on yer dead skin, but it tickles in a nice way and it was good to get the dust off my feet!

By 9pm I was bushed, so I jumped in a tuk tuk and went back to the hotel. Now as you're aware I was not exactly enthusiastic about this hotel, but there on my coffee table was something that almost made me cry! A bunch of roses, a fruit basket - including a dragon fruit - and a chocolate birthday cake!

Goddam I love this country!


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Dahn The Market

Saturday saw me rise early. It was time to go to Chatuchak Market. This is a market the size of a small town at Chit Lom, the end of the Sky Train.

I went last time I was here and I recall the claustrophobic feeling I had as I got lost in the labyrinthine space, the humidity threatening to stop me from breathing at all. But I was a big old fucker then, and I ain't now, so back I went!

Last time I think I lasted about 30 minutes. This time three and a half hours baby! I got a gorgeous jersey dress, saw the cutest, fluffiest puppies, drank a delicious watermelon shake, and browsed just about every single stall.

It was fantastic to be able to spend so long wandering about, tho the heat got to me in the end. I was mightily relieved to board the sky train back to Siam Square. That air-con is a gift!

I sent a couple of emails and jumped a cab back to the hotel. I actually found a cab that was willing to put his meter on! Now I see why they don't wanna do it, my fare was a third of what I'd been getting charged!

I had time to freshen up before heading out again to PatPong night market. The lovely Chanel bag I'd bought at the start of my trip had broken and as I'd got it in a shop and not from a stall I decided to see if I could change it. I went back to my friend at the Mook Shop - I always remember the name cos of Mean Streets - and sure enough, she exchanged it no questions asked! Bless her! A bit of dinner then it was back to the hotel for an early night. Big day tomorrow!