That’s right, kids – the Swindler is riding the Record, a bike he found in a skip when up against the necessity of escaping a thunderstorm here in South Oxford. I naturally thought that it would be unsalvageable, and was stupid enough to say so, at which point we found ourselves on the Donnington Bridge, heading to the gentle embrace of Steve at the Oxford Cycle Workshop. In about an hour, Steve made the Record (pronounced as in the act of taping a song, not as in an achievement) not only work, but (he claims) work better than my own bike, the famous Ricochet.
This is clearly impossible, as the Ricochet is the best bike on record (ha!), but we must let the Swindler have his moment.
Aberdovey – The Swindler and I embarked on a Peugtastic voyage of ridiculous to the verges of Snowdonia itself; our destination, the holiday cottage of Jim “Trim” O’Jiley and his female companion, Imogen. This was the most satisfying holiday crash because they didn’t know we were coming. Crabs were caught, chips were eaten, esturies were swum in, and, on the way home, the M6 was sat on. For an hour and a half.
Lewknor – Together with Roxanne of Brimstone Moth, The Mountain Parade, The World Is Not Flat and so forth, I set off for junction 6 of the M40. Our goal? Find out what the Oxford Tube stop there was for. Our conclusions? Much remains a mystery, but we think that at least one person works a big city job in London out of a tent in a field in Oxfordshire.
Over Stowey – In the company of Sophie Lewis, who is from Wales, I set my sights on Somersetshire and darted down to the vicinity of Exmoor, where Lucie (also of the Mountain Parade fame) was hanging out in her family pile, Quantock Lodge. It was exactly like an Agatha Christie novel, but with no murders. There was a swimming pool.
Oxford-Wolvercote-Kidlington-Thrupp – My parents breezed through Oxford at at least 2mph on a narrowboat they rented last minute, those impetuous devils. Swiftly did I board their vessel, make tea, do locks, and generally experience the Oxford canal, which I haven’t before, and the river Thames at Port Meadow, which is truly unbelievable. In Thrupp, we had a lovely meal and then I got THE BUS HOME from Kidlington, which is scary.
In the first three of these four mini adventures, solid use was made of Max’s latest gift to the Peug, a Yugoslavian tea-kettle. Thanks to Max for that.
All the other people involved in this ridiculousness successively agreed on two things:
1) Loads of micro-holidays are the new spending hours in airports for no reason
2) Britain is bloody excellent
I’ve spent the last three weeks hosting the Oxford branch of the Catweazle event. It has been a fantastic experience and I’ve learned a lot about performance art and how communities work. For those of you who don’t know it (I’ve blogged about it in the past), Catweazle is an open stage event which takes place every Thursday in the East Oxford Community Centre and is, by the way, the reason I live in Oxford, to say nothing of the reason I know a large number of my best friends, including my housemates.
I haven’t been blogging about it too much because I’ve been trying to keep my hosting of Catweazle seperate from the FaceOmeter “thing” (several performers on the nights have been making that extremely difficult for me…). But I do want to paraphrase what I said at the end of last night’s show, which was my last as host: Catweazle is not, in my view, a ‘space’, or a group of performers, and it certainly isn’t the guy running the thing – important as all of those things may be. Primarily, Catweazle is an audience, and it’s one of the best audiences around.
As a host, you can end up being quite disconnected from what’s actually happening on stage – there’s so much to organise and worry about – but despite that I end my tenure with an even greater love for the thing than before. Photos or not, there are some things I will never forget, and dancing as Daddy Long-Legs for Ed Pope at the end of my first hosting night (31st July, which was also the day I moved back here) is high on that list. Thanks, everyone, for having me. Matt will be back next week.
Of course, many are popping out in opposition, too, and some are using the #welovethenhs hash tag to do it. My favourite so far has been “because someone else should pay for my bad decisions”. Gentlemen and ladies of the right: not your finest hour.