acting seriously

Despite the return of yesterday's cruelly unrelenting sun I had to shut the windows this morning in order to reduce the traffic (both motorised and human) noises sufficiently to get some recording done for the ukething, though the morning is perhaps not the best time for shutting the windows as parts of the room are directly illuminated between six and ten. Though my lack of prominent fingernails is not a boon to uke-playing there was little choice as it was so warm even my fingers were sweating and nylon plectra are particularly bad at being grippable under any sort of adverse conditions, especially at the highish speeds required. Most of what I wanted to get done was done, though one part might need re-recording after some clipping turned up when reviewing later wih proper headphones rather than the crap-but-with-a-long-enough-cord-to-be-able-to-monitor-whilst-standing-up-and-recording pair found in a box the other day and originally bought for £1.50 fourteen years ago from one of the uni computer labs to get round a similar issue whereby modern front-panel-mounted headphone sockets were not yet standard and standard personal cassette player headphone cords were generally a metre long or less and ill-suited to reach all the way round to the back of the computer. Obviously I then failed to check the right files and emailed versions in which all misaligned tracks were simultaneously audible, essentially due to Audacity being shite and not having any sort of dedicated function to choose the tracks included for export (and apparently not deeming it sensible to just make it the same as the tracks enabled for playback) but also due to being in a rush to get to the cinema in time for a series of shorts featuring some sort of dancing-stuff as part of their dancing-stuff mini-season. A couple of bobbins but a few good things though the operative on the desk failed to comprehend my request to only print out the pre-booked ticket for today's show rather than the vast swathe of pre-booked Film Festival tickets; I felt they'd be much safer in the Filmhouse's box office software rather than anywhere allegedly safe at home but was given no choice, though due to another error on behalf of another operative I now have duplicate tickets for the second of my two ticket-buying sessions (including all those for which two tickets were booked after Nicky got round to poking through the programme) which I will probably return to them just to make the point that although they are silly I am honest after they kindly allowed me to make a point by refunding the difference in cost between normal membership and membership plus when the benefits of the latter were negated by the Film Festival's own pre-book discount offer.

After getting home and re-exporting the uke tracks using the primitive but best-available-until-I-locate-and-reinstall-Cakewalk method of turning down the gain on all irrelevant tracks it was time to start preparing (mostly by experiencing an increasing sense of nervousness) for the main task of the day in the form of popping out to pub to meet then eat with various associates from uni-time. I'm bad enough at keeping in touch with people even when I'm keeping in touch with them (though portable telephones and SMS weren't yet the norm back when I was in regular contact with these people) but at least it's been possible to exchange at least a few words with the people not seen for the longest times of those available to make it slightly less weird to meet them again. Despite my ungregarious tendencies I've met a few of them every now and then in the years since everyone graduated and eventually (in most cases) left so only had a few instances of not knowing the last time of meeting to deal with (including Katrina and Hanna, top left and top right). Simon (bottom right) was last seen at another friend's thirtieth threeish years ago, various times before that/after uni and probably again as soon as later this year if a proposed partial band-reunion and general meet-bash happens. Sorrel (bottom-left) is still locally-inhabitant and is very occasionally bumped-into (though not (we didn't think) since Matthew Bourne's lacklustre Edward Scissorhands (whenever it was that that was up here)). Gillian (middle) was last sighted whenever it was that I met her and another former flatmate (he of the thirtieth mentioned previously) outside Negociants back in the mists of possibly the previous decade and century. Fittingly, she was one of the first of the people-with-whom-I'd-lost-contact to resum sporadic-re-speak via FriendFace seeing as it was a chance conversation through the primitive and not-yet-officially-released Pegasus Mail instant messaging system (which only allowed intra-server messaging as far as I could tell, though most people I knew seemed to be on too) through which I eventually met her and (eventually) everyone else present.

After meeting in the Pear Tree (where I haven't been for a few years but which it's fairly impossible to forget) we all went to Home Bistro to eat (where I haven't been since it was Pigs on the first occasion where Nicky had to request her fish be returned to the kitchen to be brought back only when its head and accusingly-staring eyes were removed) where I luckily discovered something I hadn't previously spotted on the menu for my main course. All pleasant-food, anyway. Being a relatively picky eater I never fancied the menu after it changed and so its new identity was never tested, though the reluctance to go was at least faintly because the identity-changing process removed the nice dangly wooden pig-based sign it used to display. We weren't given the most ideal shape of table for a re-union of people who haven't seen some of each other for some time; my imposition-reticence specifically inhibits me from wandering around a table or repositioning myself to speak to people so I had to wait until the pub to do that. Although the Greenmantle was shut for a while I hadn't been to it for years and possibly not since it was called Kildare's and was amongst the selection of local pubs deemed to be acceptable. Apart from a bloke at a nearby table repeatedly farting it's not perhaps as bad or threatening as it seems from the outside though being part of a largish group in an emptyish pub always helps impressions of pub-safety. I started thinking it would have been better to have turned up earlier to the pre-meal pub as there wasn't enough time to talk to as many people as I wanted to before closing-time whereupon someone thought it would be fun to go to the Jazz Bar on Chamber's Street to which I have been only twice before, once when it was empty and one when it was playing the sort of jazz which gives jazz a bad name amongst people who think it has a bad name. It was far more crowded and far more expensive to get into than the previous pub but was probably prefereable to Whistlebinkies, the other alternative being suggested but which (unless something truly remarkable has happened since it used to be a fairly regular place to pop into after work when I worked at Bella Pasta in 1996-97) would have been far too crowded to move and far far far too noisy to speak in. I hadn't brought any earplugs so spent a lot of the time scowling at the damage being done to my hair cells though the band which eventually appeared were reasonably interesting; tuba, flute, guitar, vocals and occasionally something reedy-sounding called the Banana Sessions. Never heard of them before but they're playing elsewhere locally shortly and sounded interesting enough to be worth a poke. I could barely make out a word of their lyrics (they played a few eventually-spottable covers too) and forget exactly what it was I compared them to to Iain (possibly a combination of Tull, the Delgados and Drugstore) but it was better than the expected taking-themselves-too-seriously stuff the bloke who turned up just before we left was expecting, judging by his dress of a silly suit, stupid tie and daft jazz-hat. I must have at least tried to speak to people despite the noise as my voice was ragged by the time we emerged, having temporarily lost a couple of people after the bouncers deemed one of them too drunk to be permitted re-entry after they popped out for a fag. It would have been good to carry on for further speaking but it was already quarter to three and there were unavoidable things to be done on Sunday which would be easier to do without a completely minced throat and unsleeped head even if I would be relatively unaffected by the drinks I wasn't having. More reason to start earlier next time even if the prospect induces nervousness. Hopefully next time it won't, especially if I attempt to remain in contact this time. There's certainly no (good) excuse not to, though I've made that sort of promise to myself before with little effect.

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