Sunday, 8 July 2007

The Wolf

Apparently I am not a reliable blogger, but then the past month has been quite grim here in Texas. The skies opened in June and thus spring showers became a summer storms. I have rarely experienced such rain in my entire life. Texas hasn't since 1924, the wettest June since records began, and even then there was only half an inch more rain. As a result an outrageous amount of my time has been spent stuck indoors and stuck in the mud. Yes, I allowed that unique British miserablism to overcome - even though I was somewhat enjoying the rain and the pensive thoughtfulness mood it lured me into for so long. As the humidity has risen, and sunlight interchanged with lightning, my moods have shifted more frenetically than an ADHD suffer on speed.

But it hasn't all been soulful starring out the window. I got to see Wolfmother at Stubbs BarBQ, which was a great fun. In fact, now that I come to think about it, it was the Friday most my friends were all up to their pert nipples in mud at the cold and even wetter Glastonbury (seems most thought the boundaries between Heaven and Hell had truly been blurred). So it was some much needed rock to take my mind away from where I wasn't. Travis, Chris and Mike were all there to thrash their air guitars, Chris in particular to thrash his ever expanding Puerto-fro (that's his Puerto Rico fro, not Pervert fro - just incase there's any confusion). Travis and I battled our way through two mosh pits to get to the front, which was pretty awesome and I couldn't resist crowd surfing out, albeit only 5ft. Afterwards it was the usual carnage, I bumped into my friends Nick and his girlfriend Bobby, cruised around a couple of bars doing shots and mixers with the adrenaline of the gig keeping me standing. Travis and I met back up to get a cab home, which I may or may not have been obnoxious to the driver before declaring that he'd ruined my cab ride and that I'd walk the rest of the way. Of course that only occurred after I'd tried to make best friends with the guy. Oh, and I came home with a walkie talkie, which I believe was procured at the bar Mohawk.

Then there was disc golf at Pease Park... in the rain. Pease Park is located in the centre of Austin, not far from downtown and enjoys the added feature of a river running through it (to steal a movie title), which on this occasion was flowing at around 4 feet in depth and with a fury. Needless to say I did go arse over tits trying to cross it for the fourth time.

Naturally a month of rain has also meant a host of movie watching, at home and at the cinema. There was Ratatouille, which proved a real hit. As funny and as touching as most all the Pixar films before it, once you could allow yourself to overcome the inherent creepiness of seeing rats run around a kitchen - no matter how clean they are. Live Free Die Hard finally landed, albeit after jumping from an F35 fighter jet in decidedly ridiculous fashion. Still, it was passable, Bruce brought his best John McClane-isms to the screen, kicked copious amounts of ass - although the circus act henchman using parkour is getting really tired now, though not as bad as Harry Osborn (James Franco) flying on a fucking snowboard in the tragically bad Spiderman 3.

Then there was a little documentary called Lost In Woonsocket.
It was a film that I missed at SXSW despite the fact I'd met and made friends with much several of the people involved with the film (Malcolm, Thea, Ashley, John). Chris Tilly had caught it and had lots of good things to say about the film, so I was chuffed to pieces when Thea contacted me to tell me they were all coming back to Austin with more of the team for another screening at the Alamo Drafthouse. I promised to be there and was true to my word. By the end of the film I can't fully contextualise quite how I felt, but I know I'd been touched quite deeply. Lost In Woonsocket is a film not just about random acts of kindness - in this case taking one homeless, alcoholic man off the street and getting them into rehab. Rather it is a film about the consequences of an act of kindness - how the smallest of gestures can lead to the greatest of successes, often in the most unexpected of corners. It is about human spirit, its vitality and its potential to change, grow, and ultimately overcome. For me it was also a timely reminder of my good fortune, my family and my friends. That I'm not now, nor will I ever be, alone in this big adventure called life. It also reminded me that behind every face there is a story, and quite often those stories are well worth listening to.

On a sad note, however, this was to be my penultimate visit to the Alamo Drafthouse downtown. The 10-year old Austin landmark is moving to a new home on the highly commercial and townie-centric 6th Street. I hope it retains its old magic at the new location (what used to be Austin Ritz theatre years ago). The Alamo is by far the best cinema I have ever been to. These people know and love film like few proprietors of cinema screens anywhere in the world. The theatre is set up like this: each row of seats has its own bench in front, and every other seat has a menu. Once inside, you take your seat, pick what food or drinks take your fancy for the evening, write them down on a piece of paper, which then sticks up in a bar on the bench. A waiter comes by, picks up your order and 15 minutes later delivers it right to your seat. My favourite has been the Smokey Bacon and the Bandit BLT. Delicious. Anyway, the theatre always plays old cartoons and commercials (Fred Flintstone smokes Winstones don't you know). It also has its own unique warning for anyone who uses their phones in the cinema, I can't do it justice, suffice to say it involves zombies and and lots of blood.

So anyway, the Drafthouse is know for its screenings of lots of older films, obscure films, and outright classics (I'm still not doing this place justice). And so on the Drafthouse's penultimate night, and my last one there, I got myself a ticket for the 'thank you for smoking' screening of Breathless. Joined by a couple of friends I made my way there for some heavily nicotine infused movie-watching and even wrote a little summary for a local website, Slackerwood. Feel free to check it out, though it is far from one of my better written pieces.

In other news I went to Houston, but not to NASA, which was hugely disappointing. Did get to see Travis' dad (Larry) again, who is just one of the loveliest people you could hope to meet. Larry took myself, Travis and Chris out for dinner on our last night there and all I can tell you was I had no right being in this joint, but could certainly get used to it. Fine wine and serious fine cuisine. Steak all the way for me - in typical fashion though ordering white wine with red meat (see what I mean by not belonging). Also I got myself a ticket to see the San Francisco Giants play the Atlanta Braves (that's baseball folks) while I am in the Bay area. I'm so excited about this trip now it's ridiculous. Oh, and my birthday is in a mere matter of 2 and half weeks while I'm there. Can't wait for Daft Punk.

Oh, and then there was my discovery of Ann Coulter: the insane, pathological fascist-cum-political pundit. Words cannot do justice to how much I despise this woman. She is a horror to behold. I would direct you to one of the many youtube videos I've watched of her recently, but I just can't do that to you - if you want to find out more you can look her up yourself as I will play no part. However, if I do finally perfect the Nobhead Bomb I've been working on all these years, I believe she could well be the strongest candidate yet to be ground zero.

With once again promises to try to post more, I bid thee all adieu - oh, and the fact that I'm also considering potentially watching The Sound Of Music. Something that will have several ex-girlfriends shouting expletives in shock and disbelief should they happen to read this.