Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Public/Private?

The Christmas period has been nice. Lots of catching up with familiar faces from the near and distant past, destruction of mince pies and port and the odd bit of physical activity resulting in (largely) upward inertia.

I've been spending many hours each day trying to re-learn the art of architectural conceptual drawing and have developed something of a love for watercolours. Steven Holl is something of an inspiration to me and as such, I've been trying to emulate some of his conceptual works in attempting to gain some form of mastery over the artform. If you have spent any time whatsoever with watercolours, you'll have come to learn that they require a lot of patience, practice and experimentation. Luckily, I'm a fan of all three and am happy with some of the things I've developed. I figure that as I fall straight back into university via the vertical school studio project, I best possess some form of 'edge' if I'm to be amongst the top three again this year. I'm not actually sure that every single person in the school is bothered about the outcome of their entry, but I most certainly am. Firstly because of it's competitive nature (which the profession is centered around) and secondly because after the 5 days elapse, there is a friday night party in the studio. It's an amazing space for a party and hopefully this years installment should be decent.

I titled this post public/private; I'm not sure that many people at all read this blog but for those that do, I'm quite sure it is hugely sedate in comparison to a blog such as Keith's. After all, Keith is operating in the upper echelons and actually speaks about climbing. I seem to touch upon climbing in the most briefest of manners and probably get way too enthusiastic about small gains than is healthy. With this in mind, I'm going to forge a seperate blog for architecture/drivel and try to keep this one for climbing-related matters. The blog title also pertains somewhat to a paranoia I seem to be developing. Of course, very few people know of the existence of this page and I ultimately say nothing of consequence. Perhaps it is a fear of insanity, I don't know. I'm rambling. I'll shut up. I'm losing my mind!

Time to stop festive eating and crush! Seasons bests humans. x

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Oh what a night...

After a general lack of interest in going to see Luciano at Circus last night, at the last minute a fellow willing homme and I ventured forth.

Stupidly, I hadn't bought any tickets in advance and hence we had to arrive at the Barfly for silly o'clock. Being my favourite DJ and rarely in town, I wasn't going to miss this. At 8pm there was nobody at the venue door so after a brief beer in FACT, we returned at 9.15 to queue. We were about 40th in the line as others started to gather behind us. Some stupid dick from the venue decided to tell the line (which was significant and swelling at this time) that there were only 50 tickets available on the door. Cue endless nobs trying to queue jump and rumour mill to work overtime about ticket prices going up to £60.00 in an effort to get people to leave the line.

Eventually, some of the door staff loosely erected a gate to queue within which seemed temporarily to restore some form of order. Usefully, one of the door staff said to the people about two rows back from my man and I that they wouldn't get in. Needless to say, they stayed in their masses in some hope of getting a ticket. Bang on 10pm as the doors opened, the queue had become akin to the Hillsborough disaster and I could barely breathe let alone move my arms. To cut a long story short, not long after we started to queue, I met a guy I had once hung out with who was sleeping on the clifftop at Porth Ysgo two summers ago. We had a surreal conversation and met a couple who seemed quite friendly.

As Paul and I got to the door with 1000 tonnes of force behind us, the bouncer announced that there were only two more tickets left. I attempted to run in but he saw me and I expected a castration for said behaviour. In the end, the girl from the friendly couple had got one person ahead of us as Paul tried to help prevent her from having her ribs crushed on the gate. Both her and I pleaded for each other and our respective peers to be the candidates for the tickets but ultimately (and I suspect entirely on account of her looks), the bouncer let her and her man have the last two tickets. I was irate to say the least as I watched the bouncers let a swarm of tanned shitface girls in from the flanks without having to queue. I suspect they issue sexual favours to them or are the devil spawn of their other bouncer counterparts. "That's it lad, no more tickets". We waited for another 10 minutes on the offchance that we could somehow get in but this was not to be.

Why did I write so much about that? I don't know. I think I just needed to express something about the ephemerality and insincerity of clubbing queue culture where everybody is a hero and villain in equal measure. Making walls and ensuring that your micro culture triumph when in actual fact you need to be the black sheep and keep your eyes down like the slight-of-frame young man in front of me did. He knew he would be the first brick in the wall to crumble if he didn't stick by his own game plan. And to that wiley young skeptic, I salute you.

After wiping tears, we ended up taking plan B to Mumu (Liverpool's premier techno night) with an intimate and likeable crowd. It's our usual night of choice and run by an awesome small team. Trevor (the organiser) had enlisted Geddes, Reboot and Gregor Tresher for the boxing day marathon and a good time was had by all. There's a million short stories there too but I won't furnish you with the irksome details other than to say that you need a slice of Gregor Tresher in your life!

Here, have a set. I haven't yet listened to it, but anticipate great things.

Hit me. Please.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Rouhling rules

The weekend past was a pleasant one. Saturday I helped T Mills senior rip the existing kitchen out and then headed over to the studio to help Dan with the rather laborious task of rendering brickwork on his model. It felt good being back in the studio but I was slightly alarmed by the volume of students sat in there on a saturday evening. I know 98% of them play the last-minute game but even some conscientious faces were in there. I think the reality is that many of them are just slow to get things moving and the others have been indulging in a student loan sized party. It made me realise that I'm very keen to avoid doing masses of weekend work upon my return in any case.

After a pleasant evening spent at D & C's, I woke up feeling fresher than ever. I've been enduring a period of insomnia recently and last night hopefully signified the end of that spell as I woke feeling a new man. After hearing that Mick might be over this way this week and keen for me to get involved, I thought I'd leave the fingerboard alone and stay fresh. Alas, the allure of some specific exercises I've been wanting to commit to proved too great and I dangled a few well-spent hours away. It was particularly pleasing to see that all of the mono/shallow pocket work I've been doing recently is starting to come together; I managed to one arm deadhang the moon board pocket with the front two fingers utilising some very minor assistance from a sling tied over the pullup bar to the rear of the board. I made sure to concentrate on driving as much force through these fingers as possible and was pleased to feel that only half a pad of the index finger snagging the doubled-up sling was all that was required.

I made a point of spending time locking off on the sloper at varying angles and concentrating on the negative phase of the motion. Unusually, all I could think of whilst undergoing the exercises today was the work that Fred Rouhling put into training for his many impressive routes; specifically, the first joint exercise he did on micro campus rungs to "increase his pain tolerance". If that ain't micro-beta, I don't know what is!

I had a nice moment of surprise on the board last week when I managed to deeply lock a shallow mono pocket to poor flatty at close to full extension with feet on small screw ons. I also managed the second ascent (!!!) of a wall benchmark undercut pull on. With Mr D being the only other ascentionist (please don't take this seriously), I'm dining in good company! For me, training is all about cherishing these moments as it is a reflection of progress and an indication of things to come.

Speaking of micro-beta, I thought back the other day to when Mick first used to bandy the term about. Crouch and I would laugh, but I've ultimately realised the importance of this concept in everyday climbing situations. How many times have you located a 0.5mm spike or divot with your thumb deep into the siege of a project? I'm willing to wager that the answer is many! Nothing quite beats the feeling of discovering such a thing in such trying moments.

Oh and here is a video of the man himself. I can't wait to get to Charente and my current training I think reflects that.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Don't forget to leave home

I'm climbing better than ever before at the moment. I have spent recent months working uber hard on increasing my core tension and it has been the exacting requirement in the hunt for better body positioning. Unfortunately I haven't managed to get outside in a long time but figure time spent on the board will ultimately pay off.

I'd like to have the mental resolve to write an opinion on the red tape nature of almost every interaction I have with public and private sector organisations of late, but ultimately the process has consumed me. It seems nigh on impossible to make a phonecall which doesn't involve an array of "security checks" and referrals to other departments. A grinding, tiring process!

Enough of that world against me shit! Last night, after a day of meticulous calculations, some procrastination and a very long and unforgettable phonecall with Mr Donnelly, I made the decision; I'm returning to architecture in January. It is a decision which both liberates and terrifies me. The endless 'what ifs..' are over and I must accept that the future is very much uncertain and a few more years of heavy paperwork will continue, but ultimately, I will be in a better position.

I've really met too many arts and humanities graduates working in jobs that they shouldn't be in to indicate to me that this is the right decision. My results were good and I really did enjoy the course immensely.

Roll on '09. I'm really very ready for the reset switch to be pushed!!

EDIT: Need I really say the word really anymore in this post?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Don't forget to go home.

Have to be a quick one today as am nipping out in a moment.

Friday past was the second installment of the 161 party. After hearing that there was to be some sort of techno ban, I threw my toys out of the pram upon hearing that dubstep would be played all night long. Alas this was not to be the case and to the contrary, techno boomed through the annals until I hit 'stop' on the decks circa 9am. Of course, the mixer was taken upstairs to the afterparty room and the party continued. A proper house party you might say.

Climbing wise; I attacked the 45 with a vengeance yesterday. I've managed to devise some isolation exercises involving very wide open feet positions on slopey screwons and very wide hand positions on wack slopers. The idea being that donning the weightbelt and making one big move to a hold near the top of the board will serve to rigidify my core. I've been focusing hard on core strength of late and am starting to realise decent gains. A couple of variations on the guru's hand-foot matches went down except utilising pinches and screwons where possible. I worked as hard as I could in the session and feel beautifully sore right now. It's worth noting to myself that the session was fuelled by Catz & Dogz latest album and the Feiern soundtrack (just in case this is some sort of magical psyche bullet).

As I've said before (as have many before me), the importance of learning from others in the upper strata is paramount to any increase in personal performance. I remember the tenet of something Keith mentioned quite some time back that in the development of personal performance, everything centers around the individual's use of time. Whilst this is hardly an earth-shattering revelation, it is an important one and one that I have never forgotten since hearing it. It is particularly relevant to me right now given my situation and it reminds me that I love training, apply myself 100% to it, and will never shun it. Nothing beats the feeling of training in solitude knowing that the mental fortitude you possess will ultimately be the driving force behind one's greatest acheivements and that all the muscular gains were just a by product of that.

I have simple needs and desires that can be inscribed quite easily on a sheet of A6 paper and I think it's high time to start chasing some of these up.

Last thing of note is that we have a premier training facility in Liverpool now. I took a walk-through video of the space last week and will put it up in the near future.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Morning job seekers!!!



JSA Part One: The Telephone Interview in pictures.

So this morning I went to the job centre to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance. Ordinarily, as I'm sure anyone will testify to, this is a laborious, repetitive, and depressive affair. Today, however, gave me some surprisingly useful leads as to language courses and work trials, therein making it one of the better 'interviews' I have been subjected to.

I made the decision to sign on in a different Job Centre this time. Partly due to the local demographic (less screaming children) and partly due to the architecture. It sounds bizzare I know, but this really was a factor in my decision making process when presented with a choice of centre to attend; Upton's centre is poorly ventilated with a distinct lack of climatic control. Coupled with this, it has a low ceiling and gives more of an air of a WW2 medical camp in a trench than it does as a likely place to source a job.

Hoylake turned out to be a good choice; it's impressively high ceiling with wooden arches straight out of the industrial revolution and red brick construction very much conveyed at least a vague scent that thought had gone into the space and I suppose, by proxy, into the willingness of the staff to help me find gainful employment (or at least that is how I read the situation).

First up was my 'financial assessment' with Jan. Despite being subjected to a 1 hour telephone conversation last week, and reaffirming every last detail down to any property I might own abroad and whether or not I have £16,000 of savings or more, Jan was there to quadruple check my details. Poor Jan seemed to think that I was some form of non-sentient being and as such, spoke to me as a senile old lady might speak to her Chrysanthemums. In any case, I let Jan dictate the pace of linguistic and intellectual convergence and decadently cast my thoughts back to a friend who had yesterday told me about a derivative of Ritalin he had obtained from a pharmacy in Chile whilst there travelling. Apparently, intermittent erections are a well known side effect of a dose but the calming effect of the substance I'm told is quite desirable. We toyed with the idea of taking a few yesterday but decided the likely side effect would render the situation untenable. I wondered if Jan had ever taken this Ritalin variant and thought how different the turbo-charged interview might have been had she had indulged in a few.

Whilst Jan waddled off to the photocopier, I couldn't help but notice that a bite-size chunk had been taken out of the arm on her generic Job Centre chair. I wondered if this might have been a previous claimant in response to the tiresome, repetitive verification process. It could quite easily have been my DNA the police would be mopping up had I have consumed just one more cup of Columbia's finest this morning.

Jan has clearly been working in the Job Centre for a long time and I was probably less memorable to her than a two foot long shit she took back in 1983. The upside of her desperation to pass me on to the next cherry picker (the 'employment advisor') meant that I could at least stop repeating myself as to the state of my numerous off-shore bank accounts.

Jan shat me out at Julie's desk where the state of my current employment history was assessed. Thankfully we didn't go back as far as I had anticipated to the days of being a milk monitor in primary school and instead, Julie seemed content to know just the previous year's history. Whereas Jan was clearly hyperaware that she was something of a patronising-obese-gargoyle-come-to-life, Julie spoke in equally patronising but seemingly sympathetic tones. It's probably actually quite hard to differentiate here given that the average Job Centre lady is operating at a transcendental level of belittlement. In any case, and as I suspected, there were to be some details from past claims that we had to mull over and some slight innane tweaks to be made to 'my agreement' but on the whole, this was the least tedious of the three phase interview.

So there's just a brief overview of what you can expect if your boss catches you surfing the net during working hours.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Anticipatory vibes

Had a decent week of training/climbing all in all. Was up in the Pass on Sunday past as well as yesterday where me, O and Crouch went up to check out the deal with Lizard King. I've looked at it in the past and been pretty motivated by it but never had enough pads/balls/power. After some serious sequence interrogation, we devised two main methods to do the first move; one a sort of Piranjaesque lock with the left hand to a decent (but awkward) rail for the right hand. The other was an equally painful but also powerful lock to a sharp cluster with the left hand leading. The problem was somewhat damp, yet despite this, Crouch managed to fumble the good slopey jug on a late attempt and would have no doubt topped out to glory given better conditions. O was exactly the same and only shut down by dampness, not power or ability. I managed much of the problem but the previous month's layoff means I need to do a couple of campus board touch sessions to get back to (and indeed beyond) power. Really nice line and a nice day out with a small team.

Today I sent off my application for trainee project co-ordinator. Initially I thought the role pertained exclusively to information architecture, but on closer inspection it seems the placement would open up a few different avenues within the company. I'm pretty happy with my personal statement for it all and am told I will hear within 20 days if I have got it or not.
The UKB contingent were as helpful as ever with knowledge/opinion dissemination. This reminds me to make a considerable donation to Bubba when I'm in the black.

Tonight is more studio time and recording. The partytime schedule is pretty intense throughout the next 2 months, but here's to a dedicated attempt to crush as well as party.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Richie Hawtin: A night of homming.

Friday night saw the extended posse hook up at the Warehouse Project, Piccadilly station to see Richie Hawtin and his Minus counterparts churn out the good stuff.

It really was a sublime evening and the choice of venue unique. I took plenty of pictures of all hommes and hommettes homming it to the maximum. As per my usual unfulfilled promise, I'll be sure to upload some of them soon.

The art of homming is a true skill to be learnt and a lengthy apprenticeship must be undertaken by any man wishing to appear homosexual in an entirely heterosexual way.
Fortunately, the posse comprised of some of homming's finest members and all killed it to Richie in the most respectful manner possible; sleeves rolled above the shoulder, fists a pumping and gyrating from start to end.

It was a great pleasure to see many women in attendance for a change thus making the event less of a fathers meet in a sausage shop.

The moral of the story? Women, please start coming to techno events more often.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

25

25 today. I love the number 25.

A certain friend has promised me big numbers this year. On account of his achievements in his 25th year, I'm psyched!

Got lots of stuff brewing at the moment job wise/uni wise but it's all pretty exciting. Been offered some paid work at a top architectural practice too which should help me cement a decision one way or the other.

Doing the parents flavour this morning and a lark lane hit this afternoon. Think I need to calm down about seeing Richie on Friday as was rightly pointed out to me via SMS last night!

Mutilate friends...

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Layoff

Wow, I've had a layoff without even realising it; I last climbed 10 days ago. This is no bad thing as my body has been thanking me for the interlude. I've also managed to get a sinus infection on the back of a shitty virus but am hopeful that the doctor will dole out some antibiotics tomorrow as this headache is beyond chronic.

Not much to report other than I am beyond psyched for Richie on the 17th. Tickets have now sold out but all key hommes are in receipt of the neccessary piece of paper that will grant entry to the room of doom.

Have a ton of amusing photos from recent techno nights and will upload them when I can prise out this 3" CD from my slot drive.

Training resumes asap.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Phlegm gem

What a whiney effort that last post was. I apologise if you had to endure it.

Saturday at Circus was superb. I was however, distraught to hear Luciano wouldn't be playing as he is suffering badly from the flu and has had to stay home. Rather sweetly, a lengthy letter was sent on behalf of him from a member of staff at Cadenza stating how he was genuinely aggreived that he wouldn't be playing back to back with Loco Dice for 4 hours. As it turned out, this gave Loco 4 hours on his own to do his filthiest. After a bit of a slow start entering the building for Doylo (online ticketing for you), all hommes were reunited to the sound of that phat dope shit (sadly Loco never spun that classic, but if you don't know it, type in 'phat dope shit' into youtube and you can hear it).

So from the weekend I have developed a virus complete with phlegmy chest action. Not too bothered as it's clearing up pretty quick, but I would love to know how I seem unable to get a cold without it going on my chest. Any docs have the answer? I'm sure it'll be pneumonia I eventually perish from!

After that brief lull in climbing psyche the other week, I'm back in the game for full guru training action. I have some serious aspirations for the next climbing year and a surprise I've administered to myself. I want to do Walk on By. I can already hear a sea of punters tittering at my aspiration! I can't suppress my love of wall climbing and to me, that represents a good and beautiful challenge. What better man than Dolph Lundgren to have guide me through the motions.

For weekend techno action, there is the option to go see Phil Kiernan (a man who's played Cocoon a good few times) on Friday, but I sense a weekend free from techno hedonism might be in order. Especially given the tech-marathon that's to come on the 17th and 18th October.

Loose plan for that: Train it to Manchester with various other stallions. Kill it to Richie. Find somewhere in Mancs to retreat to and sleep for the next daytime and early evening. Train it to Liverpool for Mumu and kill it to Sebo K until the next day.

Next week I will panic severely for I hit my quarter century. I realise that I will realise that I "haven't yet done anything with my life". Of course this simply isn't true, but it seems an inevitable liklihood given that I'm sandwiched somewhere between a costly second undergraduate degree and a life of temping in menial office jobs.

To get a graduate job or to study? That is the question!

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Gateaux in the ghetto

After receiving a marginally greater pay cheque than usual, I've been able to eat foodstuffs other than value beans and chocolate. Training is back on track and I had a cracking session the night before last on the board.

Tomorrow night is the Cadenza showcase night in the Magnet which I'm off to, closely followed by a daytime after party where Clive Henry (DC10 resident) is playing for the day. Will need to rest hard today and tomorrow in the A.M to deal with this.

I think the Mule will come over and possibly even Doyle (the elusive techno monster that he is). D will be out as will Jenn. Should be good.

That's about all the energy I have to write about anything. The recent weather has broken me mentally and I'm not sure how much longer any human can sustain interest in anything with conditions like this.

Anyway, I got some greif for never including pictures. So...

Here's some of my favourite techno homs doing hommy things.

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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Content and Concept

Travelling home from work on the bus last night, I overheard two men talking about their experience of a play they had just been to see. One of the men was keen to usher the point that in the production of a 'radical' piece, the concept should not be allowed to overule the content. Although his friend appeared to be replying somewhat disengenously to his provocations, I thought the main protaganist was proffering something of substance through his meditations. He acknowledged the value and neccessity for conceptualism but remained ambiguous as to where boundaries should be drawn. This is of course the fundamental component behind our drive for creativity and it made me think further about all that I've so far learnt in architecture and most recently, the film and it's concept referred to within this post.

There seems to be an increased frequency in the amount of drivel flowing around my brain at present and I'm struggling to ascertain where I should mark the edit points. I suppose that's the joy of keeping a blog in which I am answerable to nobody, but free to write as much or as little as I like without practical consequence.

This week, I've had the pleasure of watching Keith's film - 'L’Etranger: 85 days in Font'. I'll be stunned if you consider yourself a climber and haven't at least heard of his excellent production. As one would expect of this scientifically minded gent, the film wasn't merely "put out there", but had experimental roots in freeconomics. That's not to say he was giving away a laptop or penthouse suite with every download as some of you materialists might be accustomed to by now; rather, he was intrigued to see how the climbing 'community' would respond to an above average climbing production and the concept of donating an arbitary amount (a similar experiment to Radiohead's recent album release). I need say no more as you should be reading Keith 'Karl Popper' Bradbury's own words via his blog (unclesomebody.com/blog).

The film was a refreshing change from skipping through 20 minute car journey scenes (granted there are some short scenes in this vein, but they have been well considered) as many productions are wont to do. It was nice to see plenty of shots of failed attempts on hard boulder problems rather than just an edit of the successful attempts. This is especially humbling for those out there who aren't Fred Nicole or John Gaskins as attention is drawn to the 'act' of slaying problems toward the upper echelons of one's ability at a given time; the bizarre differing of responses by Keith in surmounting the different problems was of most interest to myself.

My only piece of constructive criticism concerns the typographical choice. I understand the semantics behind what Keith has tried to do but feel that there's a whole world of other typefaces that could perhaps better represent the intention. Please feel free to correct me in this assessment Keith if I'm seen to be uttering gibberish. My love of type sometimes overcomes me and reduces me to the nerd that I am!

I've been keeping some scribbled notes in my Moleskine (read: he definitely is a pathetic nerd!) about some things I wish to comment on. Although of little consequence, they amuse and entertain me at the present time and I hope to document them over the coming week. I feel the supermarket value milk chocolate review will be of great use to you in particular.

Lorenzo - The guru's training plan is starting to pay dividends. I feel as though I'm coming to occupy a new shell; one which is more powerful and more subtedly aware of itself than before.

I'm considering keeping a seperate architectural blog at the moment in preparation for the months ahead. I can't say it will be of interest to any of you but it'll hopefully act as a suitable repository for my ideas and inspirations.

I hope you are all well.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Builder done good

Not normally akin to making two blog posts in a day but I thought this little observation warranted a rant.

Working in a large climbing wall situated within a large city, I get to see all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds. From 4 year old gypsy children from the neighbouring wasteland popping in to steal milk to 40 year old upper middle class business people undergoing 'team-building' exercises (quite why the cut-throat environment of modern day competitive business has any business to do with 'team-building' seems a grand irony).

My favourite observation though has to pertain to women. On a daily basis, highly attractive women come to the wall alongside their boyfriend. Never, ever, ever will you see an attractive woman at the wall with a high level climber. Instead, she will be seen with the mandatory template 'V0-campus-in-poor-style' awful haircut and mildly offensive gut specimen. He will thrutch and lunge at every jug through the top section of the step wall, ultimately culminating in the 'will he, won't he' last move which although never graceful, is always amusing. He will hit that jug in the least helpful manner, and from possessing a 13 second lactic threshold will fall dramtically and awkwardly back to the dusty old blue mat that swallows up thousands of his type every year. Despite this, his uber attractive peer will wow at his 'big' muscles and later at home comment on 'how strong and heroic' he was today at the wall. He will deposit semen across her breasts in an act of masculinity and tomorrow they will dream of buying an SUV or a deluxe Barratt home in Congleton.

All this, despite Crouch mounting the campus board to the tune of 1-4.7-7.7 on small rungs in elegant style subsequent to your man's thrutching display. And it's this that makes me realise why attractive women never adorn the arm of high level climbers. In order to be a high level climber, you live that sort of monk life referenced earlier today. Women like the aforementioned want to watch X-Factor in between a fuck before heading to the News bar. Shit I'm so judgemental but I know I'll see the same tomorrow!

My time at the wall will soon be over as the hedonistic lifestyle must end and the dollar must flow into the bank. But I have to say, this daily sight pleases me greatly and it's almost a satisfactory substitute for poor pay, inadequate hours and valuable training time.

Destroy the boulders friends and maintain the hunt for that Spanish sport climbing beauty you know is out there.

The Monk Life

Is exactly what is required to crush hard blocs. I'm in the 1% of people that can't see Keith's video yet as ibook g4 is now too low spec. However, I just watched the trailer and it awoke something within me. It was a strong feeling and it combined everything I love; bouldering, techno, and devotion. Don't even know why I'm writing this post. I'm going to destroy today's training plan installment.

Monday, 21 July 2008

So solid poo

Headed to crag y on saturday past for a meetup with M. McShane, Hession, Jennings, Adams and Sugden. Conditions were in our favour and shit was getting sent like UPS by the majority. Despite feeling strong, I didn't send anything new and indeed struggled to find the crucial toe scum on The Fool (7c+ to 7b+!). I attributed this to me not having my old soft top V10s, but M. Jennings being the wisened old dog that he is suggested it was a mere balance transfer issue and insinuated that I am a technique punter. Indeed I am, who needs feet? Shall sort this next time out.

I'm now ensconced within the guru's training plan and can feel the onset of some serious gains. Deadhangs with 2 sandbags and a weighted belt have never felt so good!

Deep into the hunt for temping work at the moment, so not much to report. Due to a lack of money and food, I'm at my parents Ivory towers for a week or two in the hope that I can eat more than dry Weetabix in order to sustain and prolong my existence. Crouchie, we must end this lifestyle and go on an Awesome strike!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Parisella's express

I have a confession.

The guru's plan was to commence on Monday just passed except it hasn't yet started. Last Sunday I did the tests as required, but knew this would be the last week where I could get outside for quite some time and hence intend to start tomorrow.

As some of you know, I have some unfinished business in the cave; a problem that has conspired against me continually. The gaps in between sessions on this problem have been too great and thus so far denied me of success. On Friday, between groups at the wall, D and I headed to the cave for a 1.5 express session. D has a similar affair, albeit not quite as tried, so we hit the theraband hard, made sure all muscles were warm and got stuck in. Pleasingly, I managed to pull onto Trigger Cut and hit the trigger. I never used to be able to even pull off the floor, so this micro goal was a satisfying one. I didn't do the main event problem but instead realised something interesting.

If you come to have a protracted siege on a problem that becomes a bugbear to you, you find yourself evolving around the problem - "I could never used to do the second move but never fail on the crux move" becomes "now I can do the second move whilst asleep but not the crux move." You come to feel finite improvements in one particular sector of your bicep (at least that's how it feels). The distance between the holds seems to dimish tenfold and their size becomes exaggerated.

Now, there are no moves I cannot do and can in fact do the finish footless on repeat. I'm quite aware that in order to do a problem you have to be both stronger than it and be able to perform that succession of moves so that you are essentially still fresh at the endpoint. In a similarly protracted manner, therein lies the simple explanation for non-completion (it's not failure). To climb things close to your limit (except it feels nowhere near in the strength department), you need to get on them more frequently. But will the next few months and years afford me the time to continue developing physically and technically? If the return to architecture is still such an appealing prospect, I sense not.

Speaking of which, the final decision is to be made this week. By Friday, my future will be dictated by this. I need to sit down and do some number crunching/feasability checks, meet with an architect and then make a fully informed decision.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Bring the noise

As many of you will have noticed, the last two weeks have been vile, humid times. Humidity is my number one enemy, making me feel sleepy and downright lethargic. Lethargy isn't a great friend of high intensity, small crimp based indoor bouldering sessions and as such, I've resorted to a month of hardcore routing. I've been having a lot of simulated clipping sessions on the step wall in preparation for some things I'd like to clean up at the Tor in good time. I've actually really enjoyed it and seem to be making fast gains clipping off small edges on overhanging boards with minimal footholds. Granted Crouch has been doing such circuits with a weightbelt but I'm still catching up from the lack of training from the first semester of architecture.

Speaking of which....

It's been time for the thinking to end and the action to start. Some simple facts; I am not Dave Graham or Chris Sharma. Nobody wants to pay me to climb. I'm good at Architecture and would dearly love to work in the profession. I can't work such cushy hours as I'm doing right now for all my life. I need to be challenged in a working capacity. I don't deserve to be paid coppers when I'm in possession of a brain. A sedentary state of mind breeds a mental malaise.

The sum total of this realisation is that next week is a week of direct action. I have two meeting's lined up with architectural associates and I'm going to probe their minds about some issues that I need to address. I'm trying my ultimate hardest to get decent hours in an architectural practice doing anything that can immerse me in that form of environment.

So next week sees 2008's Raven Tor season start. Myself and Mr D will be at the Tor at Gaskins O'Clock to receive optimum temps thus preventing prime excuses for failure. There will be no grease to fight and no crowds to negotiate. There will only be success.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Gay Bar

Friends, I'm sorry I haven't spouted shit at you all in a few weeks. The lack of internet connection saga continues and I've had to devote and divide my time between some new ventures (which I'll keep you posted on).

OK, I suppose I ought to start with climbing spiel. It's been around one month since I last managed a trip outside and I'm itching to get on rock now. This has largely been due to increased work hours and an indoor training phase that just had to be done. This urge will be curbed this week as Sir Matthew Donnelly has a three week enforced vacation between jobs and the man is telling me he will be treating climbing "like a job". Evolution is firmly on his agenda and various stuff at the Tor is on mine. I anticipate big things from the team and hope to blog about them very soon.

I'm working hard with music production at the moment on a techno venture with 2 comrades. Access to the West Kirby studio can only serve to produce good things. I'll be sure to upload the fruits of this labour in good time and will have to upload some sets for you to all wrap your lobes around.

Friday night saw myself and Mr D head out to town on somewhat of a bender. After finding the Magnet as dead as could be, Matt persuaded me to go to gbar ( a "slamming techno gay bar"). I consented and we had an awesome night. Bizarrely, Kate Lawler of Big Brother shame was DJing and I was alarmed to find that she was dropping some decent tracks. She'll be opening for Hawtin soon I'm sure.

Nothing much else to blog beloved ones. The Euro final is about to commence and I'll have to have a think about blogging about something worthwhile some time soon.

Keep crushing crusaders.

In the meantime, if you don't know what a Pacemaker is, you should be ashamed of yourself and put yourself on the waiting list. Check it:

http://www.pacemaker.net/

Friday, 13 June 2008

Recapitulaton time

Well, it's been a few days since Crouch and I arrived home and this is the first opportunity I've had to write here at the library as my home net connection is still down.

The trip to Italy was overwhelming beyond words; the people, the climbing, the food, the drink and the rest. It's perhaps best for now if you point yourself in the direction of Crouch's blog as he's in a position to upload the photo's on his home net connection. Now that I have all the footage compiled, I'm going to edit together a small video of some problems and gym footage.

I worry that Lore will tire of me now that I know I can get return flights from the top of my road practically to Pisa. In all seriousness though, I'm sure he got as much from the experience as we did.

I only have a few minutes left to cobble together something worthwhile here before my designated time allowance expires. And so I'd like breifly to touch upon something I've been thinking a lot about:

Bums.

Not the gluteus maximus you understand, but the 'surf/climb/skatebum'.

It frustrates me greatly that athletes in the traditional sense are held in high esteem, yet the travelling surfer or climber is labelled a 'bum'. Perhaps it's a sense of envy that overcomes certain individuals within society? Perhaps it's the monotony of the traditional athelete's routine that they can relate their careers to; running 20 laps around a track with no discernable sensory differentiation on each occassion. There's no real envy in that is there?

But in seeing new environments outside the constraints of a stadium or arena, I'd be astounded to meet any individual who would consider this an unenviable experience.

I suppose for now, whilst university has been suspended and funding to continue with my degree is uncertain, I am a bum. I work what hours the wall can give me and I sit here in the library reading books on things I wouldn't normally even think about.

I have to make up my mind about university fast and I still don't know what to do or where to go. It's an exciting time that's for sure.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

......

There's a lot to say and not a lot of battery power.

In summary, I've found a climbing gym I'm finally psyched for (problematic as it's not in my home country) and have seen the two most incredible cities I've ever been to - Florence and Siena.

A proper update is due on Wednesday upon arrival back in the UK.

You all should get to Italy for so many reasons beyond climbing.

Ciao for now.

Friday, 30 May 2008

The wonderful world of Italians

My, my, my. Wouldn't the world be a much duller place without the people of Italy?
This morning's television comprised of a soap opera in which the central storyline revolved around a brother and sister having intimate relations. When I say intimate, I mean intimate for 11AM. The whole experience was made uncomfortable by the fact that the woman was horrendously good looking but was engaged in a sexual act with her brother. It was very much an "ah yes!, ah no!" situation. The bloodflow to a man's penis has never been so frantically confused.

The next show up (which is on now) is a sort of Trisha. Naturally, the Italians don't enjoy patronising their toothless simpletons directly and instead patronise them by means of exclusion from their television 'chat shows'. It's clear that one needs to go through the whole casting process merely to sit amonst the audience. Temporarily revelling in blissful superficiality has never been so much fun.

After romping through chapter one of my Italian lessons, we were sat like expectant dogs on the doormat to psyche Lore through a fingerboard/campus workout. I'm impressed with his setup and his idea of attaching a set of fishing scales and sling for gauging the exact amount of force being applied for assisted one arm deadhangs.

Allora, some images.

A light flex for you readers

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A gentle swan

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A slopey caress

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Fuck, all this Italian has turned me into a soppy specimen. Tonight, I hear surfing, dining and apertivo's are on the menu.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Arrival

So after a hassle-free journey yesterday, we arrived in Follonica train station around midnight. Kindly, Lore had come to meet us and we headed back to the house of power. It's so good to catchup and I know the collective psyche should be able to disperse some issues I think each of us is/has been having.

First impressions of Italy and Lore's town are immense. It's been so good to finally meet Valentina and Lore's charismatic cat (who really does talk to you!). I've spent the morning continuing with my Italian lessons and investing energy into expanding my vocabulary. The Italian language has so many parallels to French and Spanish, both of which I've learnt over the years. Although sometimes frustrating, I hope the Fratalian will soon subside and leave me speaking pure Italian.

Today is handed over to further education, tomorrow to surfing.

Keep crushing all of yall.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Pre-trip conditioning

So the 28th May onwards, we're in Lore's hands. Work hours have temporarily dried up here so this week can be handed over to full power training. I've had myself 3 rest days to allow me to hit the weights HARD this week. Don't want to risk doing anything bad to fingers from greasing off crimps in this weather so it'll just be weights and weight-belt campus workout. Maybe one or two workouts from hell beforehand wouldn't go amiss either.

Had a good last few days and went for a drink with a lady. Made a nice change from talking about the best way to hold various spocks with Crouch and she even had the same plan in mind to go to the tate that I had. Thursday is handed over to that and I'm looking forward to my third circuit of the current exhibition.

Letting this toast and coffee digest before pressing the living shit out of my weights. A new military PB coming on I can sense it.....

Loves.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Promises, promises.....

I've realised that I keep promising to upload images without actually doing so. For those who have seen and indeed experienced my laptop, I hope you'll empathise as to why I don't upload images and video more often; it's simply too old and slow. Considering a RAM upgrade but the most likely scenario is that I'll hold out until the new job comes good and buy something considerably better.

Anyway, climbing. Well it's been pretty hot and humid of late but I managed to get out to Fairy Steps with the chaps on Thursday evening. After an express warmup due to fading daylight constraints, I headed over to Aeon buttress with Mr Binks to see how the problem felt one year on. Last year, I managed to do the easy moves through to the undercut but couldn't envisage doing the finishing section. Bizarrely, the other night I could do some of the finishing harder moves but not the easy start! I've attributed it to pure grease and a lack of time to try the problem constructively; running at a problem like an idiot because of fading daylight is no way to approach a personal project. The very last LH dropdown was eluding me, but I think I'll somehow transfer a segment of video with good beta onto my phone as my memory for sequences is notoriously appalling. Upon arriving home and watching it, I realised a couple of reasons why I hadn't been doing the opening moves with ease; a foot swap and a different crimp for the right hand at the start. I'm really keen to get back on it in crisp conditions as those slopey crimps don't respond well to the heat at all. I left feeling a little confused but ultimately satisfied that the drop into the pinch and then out right again felt fine. Progress is progress and all.....

Worked the last 3 days at the wall and climbed the last 4 days straight which is a lot for me. I'm giving myself the day off today as heading out with Monsieur Donnelly tomorrow now that his shoulder is on it's way back to full power.

Last item on the agenda is that Crouch and I have our Italy trip to stay with Lore at last. From the 28th May to the 9th (I think?) June, it'll be a hedonistic lifestyle of boulders, food, drink, techno and surf. I'm really very excited.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Some images

All unrelated in content really, but anyway.

Witnessed at a service station near Frodsham;

A minibus full of inebriated ladies on their way to a hen party event.

Beaver Travel

This image of the dawgs at the Mwyn amuses me for some reason:

dawgs

No day at the crag is complete without a favourite uniform:

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Anytime the word Italy trip is mentioned to Crouch:

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Arguably the most inefficient method of gaining the sloper on RA with left foot in pocket on the back wall. Can't do this move any other way which is most bizarre:

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On the same problem, Lore making great progress on his cave inauguration (sorry photo quality isn't the best):

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Another shot:

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Summer Lore, come on!


Anyway, I have loads more images to post up soon from Swiss, Architecture-related and Mules birthday. Shall post them up soon.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Feeling hot, hot, hot.

A week of hot weather has meant early/late starts in the Pass and on the Orme this week. Headed to the Pass on Saturday with Crouch and Dave and met up with the Cattells in the afternoon. We all pissed about on the Sleep Deprivation roof before heading to Jerry's roof. It was uncomfortably humid to be honest, which inevitably led to greasing off problems. Despite this, it was an awesome day as we headed back to Jerry's roof after heading into Llanberis to get some dinner. Jerry's lit well by lantern light and the conditions had improved greatly. Alas, energy had been sapped by previous climbing in the day and by the draining effects of the humidity.

Will post up a load of random photos later perhaps. I don't have the energy to write enthusiastically today. Off to the Park for day 4 of the sun marathon!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Cup of tea with Mr Gaskins

Last night I had a very lucid and strange dream. For some reason, I was at John Gaskins' house where he offered me a cup of tea before we were to go out climbing. After finishing with the family's finest bone china, we headed out to a 'new venue' John was developing. Apparently it was the future of bouldering and I was told I'd get on well with it. I can't remember the name of the venue but I can clearly remember that a lot of the problems involved pulling on small plant roots and pebbles glued onto boxes. I don't think I can describe the style in which the problems climbed as gravity seemed to subside temporarily on some of them. It was a lengthy session anyway and I remember enjoying climbing at this new venue and heeding some good advice from the man in question.

After awakening from this dream, I headed to the wall today to set some problems upstairs. It was like a furnace up there given the heat and I was actually without an impact driver for 3 hours, tightening all bolts by hand. Progress was slow and tedious until around 2pm when I acquired one. After finishing at 4, I stayed to watch Crouch work some routes until I became bored enough to come home and write this entry.

Had a nice day on the Orme on Saturday checking out an area I'd often wondered about. Doylo thankfully knew the script with it and the day resulted in two new problems and some future potential projects. It'll be nice bouldering here in the heat of the summer as the whole sector seemed to stay in shadow.

Off for a run now and sorry you may have actually gotten to the end of this nonsense.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Italy everywhere

After a monster session at the wall on tuesday with Crouch which involved the weight belt, board climbing and a Gaskins/Jerry footless roof circuit Toms Roof style, I felt well and truly worked. So much so that I was still feeling the repercussions yesterday in my session. After an extensive warmup, I got on some of the problems Crouch and I set. I really rate his offerings and am satisfied with mine. Felt a bit too sore to have an uber productive session so limited my energy to dogging some individual moves on one or two problems I haven't yet done. Felt good pissing some moves I would have had trouble with a few months back and it was a sure sign the workout from hell has been working. Brilliant.

EVERYTHING is pointing to Italy at the moment. Yesterday, feeling really psyched after feeling a new era of strength, I treated myself to the luxury of giving Lore a ring. We were both equally psyched about similar things and that only spurred me on further to be even more psyched to the point of probably being overpsyched, ultimately culminating in me using the word 'psyched' in far too great a frequency.

Anyway, plans are afoot for a visit just as soon as I can recover some funds from the time I had to take off work. This will be within the next few weeks and I simply can't wait. Today, after a trip to the bank to pay some bills, I headed off to the Albert Dock to visit the Tate. I make a point of going there regularly even if it is to look at the same things. Different moods have a propensity to evoke different responses I think you'll agree. The sun was out today and every man and woman on Bold St and beyond seemed to be either Spanish or Italian. It all felt incredibly Mediterranean and if it wouldn't have been for catching my pasty complexion in a shop window at one point in the journey, I could have sworn I was from the Mediterranean!

The exhibition was entitled 'The Twentieth Century: How it looked and felt'. It was an eclectic collection of everything from Picasso to Riley and I'd recommend you check it if you're in the vicinity.

I'll post up some images from it later.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

To Berlin or not to Berlin?

Techno truly is the greatest thing on the planet. The seed was sown from a very young age when my grandmother gave me the incredible Rolf Harris endorsed/designed Stylophone instrument. It took some years before I got the standard introduction to the likes of Kraftwerk but the love of synthesised sounds still continues to overwhelm me with every new track I hear.

I haven't engaged in any physical activity whatsoever over the weekend as I want to be fresh for the hard week of training and climbing ahead. Had a hedonistic night in Liverpool on friday with the doc and two of his friends. Unlike the doc, they were too geeky (and I think the girl actually has sexual mental health issues) for me and enjoyed cracking all manner of jokes pertaining to blood glucose monitoring, ECG's etc. etc. I was seriously down for some techno and wanted to hunt it down but the collective as a whole weren't feeling my dirty bad boy vibe. Returned home at 4AM anyway and lay down listening to a variety of sets for the rest of the day.

Anyway, after a brief email conversation, I've become super psyched to head to the Sunday Adventure Club at the Berghain club in Berlin. The lineup is immense and the ticket price even more so; 15 Euros!! That is insanely good value to see Dear, Carola, Magda, Hawtin, Wink et al. A ticket to Berlin from Liverpool would undoubtedly be piss cheap if I book it now and the event could be too good to miss. Outdoor party in day, moves indoor by night into the next day). May try to persuade some of you to come.......

Check the site: www.sundayadventureclub.de

Check out these cats enjoying some Berghain action (usual poor camera phone quality but perhaps demonstrative of the atmosphere):



Enjoy your evenings lovelys.

Friday, 25 April 2008

3 dirty men in a cave

Trained it over to Flint yesterday morning to meet Doylo. After some early morning hail showers, we drove into good weather with a little cloud cover. Headed to Gop Hill first as dirty man number one wanted to crush Push the Button (8a bloc) and I'd never been so wanted to see it. After an extensive warmup consisting of pull ups and deadhangs, I wanted to try Smoke a Bloke (7b+). I felt real strong pulling on and moving but it took me 2 goes to realise I needed to be putting my right foot on first rather than left foot first. The right crimp is small and sharp which gave me a bit of a premature incision but nothing I couldn't deal with for the rest of the day. I love one move problems and the pinch and crimp on this problem feel so good with a perfect distance to a slot. Will try it again if in the vicinity at some point in the future.

Next up, Mule joined us and we stayed at le Gop for a while longer before heading to the sacred Orme. Everyone had something to work in the cave and after a relatively short session in there, we went up to Pill Box. Doylo nearly crushed his sitter project after some beta experimentation but just dropped off around the top. No doubt you're crushing this as I write dawg. Got back on the only section of the Malteser (7c) I have trouble with which involves a very bouncy slap to a beautiful thin crimp/pinch thing. Although didn't manage to latch it, I sussed some beta for a bit of a right foot scum and think when fresh I can nail this move. Did Last Orders (7a) to finish which was an excellent problem.

Plan for today; run, tidy, Keiths wine bar for coffee and reading. I wish I could take you all there, it's simply my favourite place on earth. Maybe I'll try and take some photos in there.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Weather change

Yesterday was the distinct start of warm weather. I know they call the lime around now in the Peak, but I can't help wonder if we're calling the end on the Orme? Will the cave not just become a big greasebowl? Anyway, there's projects in the pass to be dealt with so this could be a good thing.

Yesterday was another power endurance circuit session. Very similar to the one documented last week but had to cruise through this one quick smart in time for the Champions League game. Riise, what were you thinking? A diving header on a basic clearance? Anyway, I'm going to write a whole entry about Drogba the dirty bastard when I have time.

Wanted to run through the park this afternoon but going to take a walk down Lark Lane (the best road in the world) and decide on my course of action for the evening. Tomorrow, I'll be either cave bound or mwyn bound.

At last, there's some decent nights ahead with Ben Klock, Villalobos and Hawtin all arriving on UK shores within the next few months. Doubtless there are more and the Rhumba night seems to be getting better by the month and drawing in good names.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

My grandmother passed away in the early hours of yesterday morning. My parents were there with her and her passing was said to be peaceful. I'm obviously saddened that I've lost someone who was very close to me, but also relieved she isn't in pain any longer. Her sense of humour remained intact until the very end and that was a testament to her personality.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

1 month on

Isn't it amazing what a month can do (why has this begun like a Sex and the City episode?)?

The last month's seen an incredibly low frequency of outdoor action but a relatively high volume of training. I've been staying with my parents and going to the hospital for the last week so it was nice to seize a moment yesterday to head out to the beloved Orme. I'd set my alarm for a bit of a lie-in and intended to train it to the dudno but a chance call from mad dog Edmonson meant that we were both now going in his van and would head down to Gyrn Goch for Ben's party afterwards.

Met up with senor Doyle, informing him of my plans to check Snout out. Snout wasn't to be as Danny is a rampant rabbit and I simply wasn't strong enough, but the real reason for failure seemed to be the difficulty in getting a heel-toe in quite a bunched position (as I'm sure Doylo will testify to). This confirms two things; 1. Danny is a mutant. 2. One must persist, persist, persist until you sometimes have to rape a problem into submission.

Bearing that in mind, and after some time spent between us trying to establish a FA near Snout, Doylo headed off and I went for a quick blast on RA.

Two things happened; I was at the last move in no time and my arms ran out of gas completely. Couldn't work out if this was from the session up at Snout or if it was due to spending such a period of time away from it. I think it's most likely the latter but it felt good floating through it.

All in all, really good to get out between things. Check out the Sunday Sermon, it's simply magical.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Trainer porn

OK so it's hardly making amends for the drivel I spouted earlier but I had a breakthrough in the ZX hunt earlier after some exhaustive searching.

Check out these potential candidates;

Seen before but rate them:

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These are a hot, hot favourite but I'm not sure the site selling them will import them;

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Loving the Kosovan refugee vibe with these bad boys;

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Question is, which to go for? All of them?

Ordered this beast today to accessorise;

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'Accessorise'? I think I'm bisexual.

Ingenious training facility

And there it was; it came to me yesterday whilst resting between sets.

I've been searching for a place around the house for a while to put my much needed fingerboard to no avail. It's all really poor quality plasterboard or just not a suitable place. I realised that between rungs 4 and 5, I could place two 2 t nuts in the campus board and using long M10 bolts, I could put up and take down the fingerboard at will.

Due to the angle of the campus board being 15 degrees, I'll need the rear of the fingerboard I'm going to make to sit flush to this angle. This is clearly no great revelation but I needed to write it down before I forgot this simple and ingenious solution.

Reading Lore's posts about power makes me realise I have jack shit in the tank. There's a crimp at the mwyn I can one arm deadhang for a decent period but that's about it. After power season MK 1, I've decided to move on to systematic one arm dead hanging sessions with a counter-weight.

How very fucking interesting this has been for you. I'll try and find something interesting later on to make amends....

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Power season MK 1

As mentioned yesterday, the current onus is on power. From A Level Sport Science, I learnt the great virtues of periodisation and I try to actively adhere to it's principles.

Managed to pop home to Liverpool this afternoon for a campus/weights/CoC session. Due to my time being very limited for the immediate future, I decided to have a sort of climbing-specific circuit training session. So, on went the weight belt and I had a full campus session doing the usual laddering/down-laddering/touches/maximal attempts etc. Could notice a slight sap in power from wearing the belt, but felt good by and large.

Next up was the weighted leg raises and CoC closes. 3 sets of 10 controlled 90 degree raises and straight onto 3 sets of 5 maximal CoC closes; they felt piss tonight and I didn't fade noticably on any particular rep.

After this and surging with energy, I moved onto the weights and did some maximal military presses and bicep curls. Performed each set after 2 mins rest and overloaded the system good-style.

I'm staying at my parents for the time being and playing each day by ear whilst my grandmother is in hospital. My dad is encouraging me to go away this weekend on the Ysgo trip for showtime's birthday, but I'll have to see.

Read an interesting article in the Guardian's G2 supplement on the bus home entitled 'Blueprint for Style'. It was a humourous overview of the manner in which contemporary architects dress; one of two styles primarily - "either they dress like Le Corbusier, or they dress like their own buildings."

I'd have to agree with this observation on the whole. Strolling through the university faculty's corridors bears a similar resemblance to attending an early 1900's rural French funeral. I think Professor Dunster actually believes he is Mies! If he's not talking about him, he's talking about how much Cognac and how many cigar's he smoked the previous night. A nice guy but a total prick at the same time if you get my drift?

Dunster:

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Mies:

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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Punch n Crush Gloves

Check out these Superman Punch n Crush Gloves. They're on sale at my local Home Bargain and debating whether to invest in a pair. Not sure what I'd use them for though. Maybe I'll lap Rock Attrocity in them once redpoint stamina steps up a notch.


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Also, check out this kid clearly enjoying his pair.

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Limestone and ZX's

Seeing Keith's photos of La danse de Balrog on UKB earlier reminded me of two things.

1. I desperately need a new pair of ZX's that I'm enamoured with. My current pair are going to be preserved and placed in an acrylic case for display in my bedroom. Future retired pairs will be archived in a similar manner. Despite an hour scouring the net this morning for a site which sells them, I couldn't find anything of any use. Even Size don't seem to have any decent stock in at the moment. Recommendations from those in the know are welcomed....

2. I don't want to forget about my limestone ticklist for the next few months:

> Big G Start (7c) - Trowbarrow
> Aeon (7c) Fairy Steps
> New Rose (7c+ now?) Farleton Knott
> Rock Attrocity (7c) Parisella's Cave


Barring New Rose, I've been on all the others and am highly confident I can do/am close to doing them. I've had a couple of finger board sessions over the past week and my mono dead-hanging duration and depth of mono ability is increasing at a rapid rate. Perfect for the end of year Charante trip (Rouhling's home turf).

After Doylo's ever-inspirational Sunday Sermon just past, I've decided to heed his many years of Orme experience and give Pill Box a bit of a rest. In place, I'm going to work seriously hard on power gains and have invested in a couple of weight belts to get started with.

Vimeo

Finally got involved with Vimeo as a better alternative to youtube.

Will embed future footage via Vimeo. In the meantime, the previously posted video now at:


Untitled from Tom Mills on Vimeo.

Nothing new to note with regards to climbing; I'm at my parents and supporting my mum inasmuch as I can at this difficult time.

Hope you're all mutilating your projects and look forward to seeing you good people out soon.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Recap modotti

Some good news is that my grandmother has had some positive feedback on blood samples. She needs to eat far more than she is doing, but we're hopeful rest and respite will assist in the path to recovery from this infection inflicted by antibiotics to a former condition.

Bad news for ma homies is that you'll have to ciphern through this waffle once again....

I suppose it's been a while and hence a bit too much to comment on. Mike's wedding reception was an all-round success and the only lowlight of the evening was my being made to do the Twist on the dancefloor with his darling wife. I'm fine throwing myself round at techno but stuff like this brings out the robot in me. Seriously, I make Peter Crouch look like Travolta.

From Rotherham it was on to Font. I intended to approach this, my fourth visit to the forest, with an open mind as to what could go down. As with each trip there, I learn something new every time. This trip taught me the invaluable lesson of spending a longer period in the forest enabling one to take a greater number of rest days. Knowing that throughout the course of my sub-fortnight trip, it could rain at any given moment for an undisclosed period of time, I elected to climb nine days out of ten. Granted some of those days weren't full days due to sporadic deluges, but I was active on each of them.
By day 6, my elbows and general body felt sore all over and I began to climb on Ibruprofen (something I dislike doing immensely).

Met Keith by chance at Bas Cuvier early on in the trip and chatted briefly. Later on, met up with the Jim, Lee, Si, Worm outfit and dossed around Big Boss whilst people got involved.

I managed to send some seventh grade problems I wanted to although my valued session on Rubis was marred by poor skin and bad elbows. I got up high in the groove and know it will go down in a future trip as it suits me down to the ground.

Anxious that any advances in cave strength may have receeded but will find out tomorrow if I choose to train it the dudno. Have made the decision I'm not going to grease out of the RA finishing slot this time and instead mutilate it so hard it breaks.

Put a video of the few things I bothered to set the camera up for on youtube. Sorry it's turd quality but it's all I can offer with my current laptop. The start has corrupted for some reason, but I'll reupload it at some point to sort it out.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Priorities

I haven't intended this blog to be a place for my philosophical musings so I won't elaborate greatly. Currently, my grandmother is ill in hospital. Barring my parents, I haven't ever met a person who has inspired me as greatly as she has and it saddened me to see her as she was tonight. For now, my attention is focused on supporting my mother and being around my family. Consequently, for you good friends that read this, I'm unlikely to write here for a little while and in the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying your climbing to the fullest.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Thomas Mills the 2nd and rock n roll

After the big man's TV appearance, he told me to look up tom mills+john lennon on google. Seems he's created a bit of a wave in the rock n roll history archives by revealing Lennon's record from the ATC. BBC news gave some coverage to the story which I thought was cool.

Anyway, I put Mick's video online last night but the first few seconds got corrupted somehow. I'll try again after finishing up here at me parentos. The 3 week holiday begins today!

Oh and I climbed two crypt V5's the other night which equates to around Den 7b+, which equates to outside 7c+. A landmark stage in my career, I'm really very hapy.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Keen Pensioner

OK, a quick post as it's 9pm, I'm exhausted and I want to socialise for a few hours before bed.

Went to Pantymwyn with O, D, and Mick today. Mule popped along further into the afternoon to join us standing under the roof evading the rain, but not before a trip up the hill to Frodsham. On arrival, we found Hoopla in a terrible state and a team prediction that the gorge might still be in condition lead us on the road to Clwyd.

Sadly, Under the Bridge was soaked in the upper section, as was the wall in general which of course meant no project action today. After a brief conversation with Doylo yesterday, he mentioned the 'blank wall' right of said line. Now, I'll never write a wall climb off as blank. There is ALWAYS a means of gaining upward inertia and just as I predicted, this line will be surmountable, but not without buckets of lank, fierce, fierce boning of small quartz edges and a lot of motivation. Check, check and check.

I despise quartz holds and some of these are a particularly despicable breed of quartz edge (I'm really throwing you off the scent of my project here aren't I?). Nevertheless, I am 100% percent committed to getting to that shothole finish and will be back in more favourable conditions. There's potentially a couple of other similar projects in the immediate vicinity but much will depend on the wall being in condition to afford a frutiful session working them.

Finally took my idiot cap off and did gasoline from a standup, but not without being a complete baffoon in the process impersonating a steroidal Austrian bodybuilder. Note to self - must stop being a complete tool when climbing. Anyway, I'd like to do the whole thing next time the place is bone dry.

Most notable part of the day was Mick doing the direct roof start to gasoline. An impressive span, he mooted it to be around font 7c but not without incorporating his now commonplace disclaimer which reads something along the lines of
"I can't grade anyway".

I managed to capture the ascent on film, replete with dogs barking and men jabbering. Is it possible I might one day film a friend climbing without the sound of dogs or sexually-driven waffle?

I'll have a mammoth post some day soon of all these images and films I keep mentioning. I Promise Rich.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Biceps mou=soft biceps

Is appparently the translation offered by my French friend. Although perhaps it shouldn't be so literal?

Anyway. Haven't had much time to blog over the last week due to a combination of factors (mostly pertaining to exhaustive work hours at the wall, sorting out uni admin matters and climbing/training a lot). Crouch even told me off for not updating this. Is all this waffle really THAT interesting for you?

Lore came over late last week and it was awesome. Everything fell into place for him in terms of the logistics of the trip. After a night of sleep on the National Express (not to be envied), he rocked up at 6am whereupon I sent him straight to bed for a few hours. After some coffee and fuel, we arrived at the Orme and began the warmup. Doylo, Jim and Ian were down to meet Lore. I remember clocking the expressions on said men when they got to witness their first "Corleone!!". Priceless. I thought Jim had shit himself!

Upon finding out RA was a Jerry problem, the man became even more psyched going on to do it in two halves. With so much to take in in one day, it was a very credible effort and I'm told the following day on the grit and the ale was just as successful.

I have a picture of a man clearly in a state of Zen on the Orme I'll post up post-bath.

In the same session, despite feeling like dog turd and shattered, I managed to get to the finishing slot on the first attempt of RA only to mis stab it and fall off. Shame as there was still loads of gas for the match left. Perhaps I should rename this blog, the "One punter's attempt to do Rock Attrocity blog".

Anyway, manged to do Under the Bridge at Pantymwyn last night 3rd go on my second session which was nice. Strangely it succumbed to beta that I was sure initially wouldn't work for me. I really do think it's one of the most underrated problems around. Incredible tension and slap moves. 7b+ apparently and wonder if a sitter or extension traverse into it would add much in the way of quality? Might have a look this week.

Bath time baby.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Don't blame it on the moonlight

An eerily quiet Orme session last night, but a good one. Good in the respect of the vibe, not so good in respect of RA. I think it might have had something to do with coiffing a hundred litres of strong coffee throughout the day (thought I was on the brink of palpitations at one point). The comedown seemed to hit me in the car on the way.

Pah! All this is a mere blanket of excuses. Although the cave by evening is a beautiful place (all her nooks and crannies are delightfully expressed), it doesn't seem to be a good plan for working a problem stuck in the middle of a roof where one doesn't have time to linger (well I don't anyway) looking for shadowed footholds . Others seem to be able to climb in a headlamp but it puts me off. Wearing the wrong t-shirt puts me off for fuck's sake! These excuses must cease and the rock must be crushed.

Tomorrow a vist to Sheffield. Whilst others are blasting each others testes with paint on a wet field in Nottingham, I'm going to find someone to visit.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The great quake of '08

After coming back from Todd's house around midnight last night, I decided to begin the previously mentioned shortlist in the 7&8's guide before going to bed. Suddenly, around 01:00, the living room began to shake immensely to which I naturally released my brown load. At first, I thought Andy had rolled 20 prostitutes out of bed upstairs but then realised even that wouldn't make this much noise and movement for that long. Sat up on UKB with a couple of other lonely hearts, I toyed with the idea of posting that there might have been an earthquake. I then considered this a ridiculous and unlikely notion, only to awake to find it was an earthquake after all!

As a lot of people have been commenting, it's amazing just how loud an earthquake is. Wow.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Capabilities

Had an interesting, albeit simple discussion with Crouch recently with regards to the UK weather patterns and the realisation of one's potential outdoors. These past few weeks have been kind to our fraternity and it made us wonder whether the community at large could not go on to achieve even greater things given a more stable weather system. An innane discussion on the whole, but there does seem to be an innundation of much sought after sends by various friends and associates at present.

The night out to Liverpool on Saturday for Mule's birthday was decent by and large; as suspected, the somewhat 'diverse' lineup did make things a bit weird and not altogether seamless. Despite this, it was good to meet some new faces and really enjoyed the many conversations. Poor 119 was rammed to capacity, though secretly I think her delicate and aged masonry appreciated a return to her glory days of post-war partying. One of the great things I realised about our house is that we seem to have forged an unspoken but mutual alliance with neighbours on both sides. It doesn't happen every weekend so when we have people en masse around, they let it slide and we'd happily do the same for them.

Despite not having any real sleep over the past 3 days, the company of Liverpool's answer to Mr Motivator carried me through a decent weights session yesterday. Realised I can actually bicep curl a decent amount now and that the last two month's weight training is really starting to pay off. Granted I'm not going to head out and buy a tight fitting, black FCUK t-shirt, get tanned up to the eyeballs and buy a Staffs Terrior, but I'd like to own some guns to be sincerely proud of.

Tomorrow night is a lantern session at the cave. Being my inaugural night-session there, I'm not completely confident I'll be able to see all the holds I need to. Should prove an interesting sampler anyhow.

Some good news through is that there is space in M. Jennings car on the forthcoming Font trip. It's been a while since last at Font and so been reading through the 7&8's guide as well as the current thread on UKB. Perhaps a little pointless as I never usually end up trying half the things I shortlist, but who knows, perhaps this time I might.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Highball

Wow. Received a call from Mick yesterday enquiring whether I'd be interested in watching him die today and ultimately be powerless to stop it. I agreed on the premise that if he was going to commit suicide at the Breck, I'd do my darned hardest to thwart his attempts.
We departed around 10 this morning for Wallasey's most inspiring (read only inspiring) highball. The car was suitably rammed with as many mats as could physically fit and as much psyche as you can fit in a nu-school 2 litre VW Beetle of your fiance's.

After the usual warmup routine on the Who Wall, we were stood at the bottom contemplating the gist of it all. Usefully, we had no top-roping kit and if Mike was to justify the drive from Rotherham, the Haston Dyno would have to be done ground-up with no inspection as to whether the finishing slot which one dyno's to was in any fit state to be caught. In any case, I perhaps somewhat irresponsibly egged him on, reminding him of Adam Long's ground-up ascent of the Angels Share and how such highball ascents are the future.

After a number of abortive ascents at the crimp line from which one launches, Mick psyched himself up good style with the sequence dialled. Rather than windmilling over with the right hand as had been the case on the initial attempts, a small edge was spotted out left and a high slopey smear for the right foot. After one go of this method, we both knew it was on and it was just a matter of time.

As he set off, I couldn't help but think of the consequences of a barndoor swing rightwards away from the landing zone and onto a pile of tetanus-ridden detritus. Naturally, I didn't voice my concerns and instead concentrated on preventing my dear friend from perishing inasmuch as one could assist.

The deadpoint of the slot was one of the longest periods of time ever experienced by any man. Indellibly scorched into my brain was the facial expression Mick possessed as he looked down in anticipation of a bum landing. I was obviously powerless and hoped to fuck that housebrick didn't have any of the moss in it I'd seen from the top of the Who Wall in years past. Thankfully, Duncan had done a grand job of cleaning it and all that was required was a match and then an equally terrifying dismount.

With the object of today's session in the bag, we headed to Bluebell Wall for an hour before departing for coffee with the chadmesiter.

One of the most memorable days climbing thus far. Amazing.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

day or night....

"So when you call up that shrink in Beverley Hills........... you know the one..." shit I love Prince.

Anyway, headed to the Breck and then Frodsham for a lantern session with O, si and Crouch. I'm really, really feeling these lantern sessions right now and it's keeping everyone pysched moving on rock instead of a scummy indoor wall.
After a warmup, sent the classic Old Shep before getting stuck into a new project. This thing has me so so psyched. A pull on on the dirtiest hold you could possibly envisage for the right, similar on the left. Pull on, low positive edge for your right foot, left foot scums, moving it into a niche. Scum the right foot into a real vague fin. Bone the living fuck out of the right and try to move over the left foot. When at 1000% effort on the right crimp and in balance, lock it making a long move to the shittest imaginable hold - like really, really bad. Hit it (desperate) and attempt to match on an atom before trending out leftwards to finish on the granny traverse. No idea of a potential number because it will be a new personal standard in thin climbing. I can't quite believe i'm so psyched for this thing. Crouch was coming painfully close on sticking the Brundlefly dyno and I'm positive he'll get it next session for the second ascent. Presume he'll then be keen for the sitter.

O is looking real strong at the moment and is managing to surmount some niggling injuries. He's also the key instigator of the lantern sessions and for that, I'm eternally thankful. People who are going to the wall in favour of these sessions are missing out big time!

Have to pop into uni tomorrow to sort some administrative matters out before going for a run and cleaning the hosue for the onslaught of half of Denbigh. Dearly looking forward to the Dear.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Anti wall measures

Felt crap with this bastard virus the last few days but decided yesterday that I should head to Pex with the others to try and get some fresh air in the system. There's a supreme smugness that descends when you realise 100+ people are wasting 7 quid for a session down the wall when you're out in the best possible conditions under lamplight tearing rock to pieces.

There was a decent crowd down and conditions were immense. Started the usual warmup of working through the gears then moved on to try NW Overhang. Couldn't envisage doing it at first but got heavily psyched and after discovering the most micro of micro beta it went. Crouch sent it and then the sit down. Standup said to be 7b and the sitter mooted to be 7b+ but there's a conscensus reckoning it likely 7c. To the visiting climber it would be pretty miserable to say the least.

I love lantern sessions and it seems everyone is now keen for them which is good.

And so:

Today: Hearty food at the Crouch's
Thurs: Lie in and Frodsham lantern session
Fri: Try and get some kids club hours
Sat: Crush am, party pm.
Sun: A veritable write off.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Wows all round!

Having been nailed to the chair doing uni work for the past month, I finally managed to get out yesterday with Donnelly, Doylo and Dan Honeyman (the big 3d's).

When not sat in the chair, I've been campussing at home and pressing the shit out of the weights. It's been an ideal time for a conditioning phase and it's done me the world of good. After the mandatory warmup in Split Infinity, we moved to the cave where Matt did his usual run through on Left Wall Traverse and I did some lock offs on RA pocket. Pill Box was on the agenda and Matt was also steamin keen to do Clutch. I had no intentions of trying Rock Attrocity as felt I was coming down from this inavoidable virus going round. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I found myself chalking up.

Now, recently I've been attempting to devise a means of rectifying my problem of sequence remembrance. The method I've come up with is a form of pictogram. I should take a photo of it at some point and post it up. Coupled with my daily bathing ritual of rehearsing the moves in a fully relaxed state, I can now confirm I have the sequence 500% dialled.

With this in mind, I pulled on and set off. Grab the pocket, arrange feet yada yada... Shit! This whole thing feels like a juggy warmup!! Shit I've hit the sloper in exactly the manner I've been mentally rehearsing it. Shit! There's no sag whatsoever on the flake, I could hang here all day! Ok, keep cool you still need to hit pocket and apply beautiful toe hook beta for the finishing match....

FUCK!!! My heel's on and there's so much gas left in the tank, how can this be! I felt shit before pulling on. In shock, I come off the problem wanting to conserve energy for an attempt where I've not got post-traumatic stress.

Sit down, sip some water and wonder where that all came from. Usually, I feel a bit of 'sag' in the arms desperately wanting me off. This time, nothing. Weights and campus have been the key.

Have one more full go and learn a bit of micro beta for the flake match, but it wasn't happening. Decided to leave the problem alone for when I feel fresh.

Matt had a decent day too getting back on Drink Driving and sticking the crux pinch move. Bearing in mind his high alcohol input the previous night, I think he should be psyched considering he's spent time out of action on holiday. Amusing to note how difficult Clutch is too! I told Matt the verdict proffered by many to which he said "it's piss!". One pull on and he was laughing as was I. To look at, it's jugs. Pull on and it's suddenly a contorted, steep nightmare!

I remember Keith telling me a while back that weights were the key to Si Moore's gains. With this borne in mind, I embarked upon said weight training phase and have now completely stunned myself. I think I surprised Matt too. He remarked that it should have been in the bag when I came off...

For me, that was the session-maker. Sure enough today I feel the onset of the cold but garlic will fight it off in no time as ever.

Fully, fully psyched and going to head back when cold is gone.

Oh and a text just through from Mick to say he's finally done Monoblock! Amazing news.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Splurge

Had today's tutorial. It went bad and I was made an unfair example of. I've realised that trying to get any constructive advice from most of the tutor's is nigh on impossible. I like Roy but he spouts more maxims than your average evangelical midwest pastor. Talking of which - there was a documentary on the youngest preachers in the world on C4 earlier. Scary, scary shit.

Plan for next few days:

Fri: Lecture and have to beast scale plans for review on Monday.
Sat: Crushing on Orme or going to Pass with Matt.
Sun: Working all day on plans run pm.

Next week need to absolutely hammer uni work so as the weekend can be successfully handed over to Audion. Denbigh invasion hold up!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Ghost town

Quick post before apres train dinner:

Hit the weights tonight and after feeling a bit like something was coming on, I got into it good style and Hawtin carried me through.

Captains of Crush went eerily well considering I've been feeling so lethargic all day. First go and almost clinked! Second and third sets the same but ultimately had to settle for efforts just shy of the clink. It'll happen inevitably so not too bothered.

Everyone's in south france for Micks stag do ripping the limestone of Rouhling's home turf to shreds. Meanwhile, the party goes on in Liverpool for me. Slowly getting somewhere with the windsurfing centre (even if my design isn't yet 'complex enough') Don't they want it simple??

Enough, dinner and the soy shake call.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Mai in vita mia (?)

What's with the Italian? I think I've managed to coherently string a short sentence together? Well 2 reasons really. The first and most important being that I intend to spend a lot of time in Italy in years to come. It's something else to keep my mind active and I sort of miss learning languages. I look at the English Lorenzo speaks and feel bad. I should be making a similar effort with a country I could see myself going to live in.

The second (and most pressing reason) is that it pertains to a project that has been offered to me. It's at a newly developed limestone crag in the backwaters and it's hard. Really, it is too hard for me yet it isn't. I know it won't get done before the crag guardian may publish the sector but I need something of this difficulty to sustain an interest. It's in a roof and involves some semi-contorted press/dyno move to a shallow crimp at a considerable distance away. Yesterday I spent my time after climbing the obvious and amenable lines working this. We had a step ladder to try the move when you latch the crimp and I had a go. It's hard, seriously fucking hard. How do I know this? Mick wasn't pissing it. It's such a deceptive move - you rock up and think wow that line looks good let's get it sent. Sadly not.

To stick the first move (and I have been hitting it in a sort of controlled manner) will involve tension beyond my current form. It will also require an increase in left hand deadhang strength. Perfect. In between study, I have just the toolkit for working these attributes at home. I'm going to start this campaign tomorrow and reattempt the (stunning) line next time out. Maybe I can get some video I don't know....

It'd be easy to think that I'm not that good a climber and the line in all actuality won't be that hard. If it wasn;t for the fact I'm not in a position to publicise the area, maybe you could try it and see for yourself.

Wow, bring it on.

Asides: Obliterated powerball pb with 11,993 the other night. Finally sorted the technique (to some extent anyway). It seems to create bruising in the middle of my palm but it's worth it for the numbers.

CoC 1.5 is a done deal. Post next campus session it's closed. I know this from trying to close it earlier whilst still half asleep and managing to get within 2mm of sealing the deal. Not looking forward to number 2!!

Actually.... of course I am! Pass me that bastard CoC!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

One thousand million brain cells

Went to Geddes on friday night just passed. Dan had secured guestlist tickets and as Jim had gone to his lady's gaff in Leeds, I got in for free which was nice. I really rate Leaf as a venue. Granted the sound could be better but the atmosphere compensates for this I feel. Either way, it sure wasn't enough of a factor to ruin the night. It would have been nice to see a few more people in attendance in the warehouse but it was still pretty busy. Hopefully Liverpool will get a decent run of DJ's playing here as I'm getting pretty pissed with mega city centre events and the inevitable high ticket prices.

Tonight, hit the dispensary with O et al. to finish cleaning up our detritus. Pretty sad seeing it shut down so early in its life but pretty good as the air was probably toxic in there. Psyched to find a venue with natural light and ventilation now. Rumours are abound that Holger has found a really good sized unit in Birkenhead for 30, yes 3.0 quid a month!! Looking forward to seeing this as Hol is not one for bullshit speak...

Campussed back at Owens, even partaking in one of his hyper campus sessions making lots of limestoneesque shuffles and big moves on thin rails.

Thursday may hit pex and warrington wall post crit.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

At last!

Music at last!

Audion's coming to town on the 23rd, I can't wait. Had to miss this last time round but definitely not doing so this time.

Bed beckons so brief weekly itinerary:

Monday: Cane uni work in studio 9am til late.
Tuesday: Uni as normal, get some studio hours in for thursday's interim crit. Depending on space, head over to the Cattell's gig.
Wednesday: Even if it's flooded, going to the cave for RA.
Thursday: Crit...
Friday: Try get some wall hours
Sat: Crush am, party pm.
Sun: Wall hours til mid pm, design til the late pm.

Rock Attrocity, you are getting ripped out of this world on wednesday. I'm going to campus the shit out of you until you break!