Doing this the whiskey way

Somebody told me once,’lay off the whiskey, it’s for losers… now the truth is I was never fond of whiskey, as a child it was my father’s choice of poison, and although he wasn’t a loser, he sure weren’t a winner either.. Many times in my memory a night of scotch would often end up like a scene from rocky…so it pretty much was to my dismay that I formed a taste for it just a relatively short space in time ago… And indeed the taste-bud development for said fermented grain mash was quite swift.. In less than 18 months I’d coiffed, sloshed and deliberated over many of the malts out there, even getting excited about pubs that had a ‘whiskey map’ and cities that had ‘whiskey stores’…

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….. To a most recent fine moment of swigging merrily on a johnny walker blue label for 40 bucks…

Thus, along the whisky way I took some knocks, experienced increased aggressive behaviour in self, done some things that had I not been ‘mashed’ in the head I would most definitely not have done, some laughable, some against my sober code of conduct.. So upon waking this morning with hip flask in my pocket (jack daniels honey for the record) to being thrown out of the Brooklyn room I’d purchased online to here and now being totally alone in NYC… I’m of the belief that there could be something in that statement about being a loser, I sure feel it…

The hip flask is still in my pocket and I know there’s a wee dram left in there….
…the question now is, does one continue to imbibe the ‘water of life?’ does one carry on the whiskey way?

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the bonny experience …….

life is tough, so much so that its proving difficult to smile, and that’s how i know that things aren’t right … smiling has always been an enjoyable pastime for me, but right now, i can’t seem to pull any out of the face

even when this was on offer, a welcoming gesture upon arrival at my wonderful baby sister’s home

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admittedly, it was a sunshine moment at the height of despair and it was definitely cheering.
But so soon afterward, more grey troubles presented themselves.

I’m thinking there’s just something de-motivating in the energy down South, having lived so long and pretty much happily up North for over a decade…

I’m here to find a motorhome, as nothing so far has presented itself as ticking the boxes to my requirements.  Am i too fussy? do i want too much? obviously so

there’s no internet at my sisters so i head for the parents house, having to get the timing right because there are a couple of monsters (siblings) amidst and they definitely require the widest berth you could ever imagine …

so i gets on the internet and i commence yet another lengthy search via e-bay, preloved, gumtree, and any other google search i can think of ….. suddenly a Winnebago Brave presents itself and the pictures look pretty good, the number plate is enchanting and its only been up for sale for 59 minutes .. i dial the number

the bloke on the other end talks very very fast so i ask him to slow down, and it’s quite funny that he slows down to a very strange and warped ‘grave’ tempo … (this, i should have taken into account as an omen)

anyway, we manage to understand each other and i book a viewing for the next day, out near Wembley …

from the parents house me and my sister go off to do some errands together, i’m feeling a bit sick because my life is an upside down mess, my possessions scattered around Merseyside, my home is currently my van with a suitcase and guitar and dog food in it … one of my dogs is with me, one is with a friend up North … my head is battered and bruised – i’m usually an organised, neat ‘place for everything and everything in its place’ type o girl .. and here and now, it looks nothing like the calm and tranquil lake in my mind – in fact it looks more like the landfill experience i had two decades ago where all the shit and rubbish from all over Essex, Middlesex and Hertfordshire was dumped …

anyway, we find ourselves in Hertford, both hungry and thirsty, so we decide to treat ourselves to lunch and our feet take us to a nice little number in what is called ‘Saloon’

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and so on a personal selfish level, i get an hour reprieve from the monsters in my head, and i feast on good food and wine (but of course, over indulgence comes back to kick you in the head, as you will find out as you read on)

thus, being in the mood to continue drinking and dining, the mother parent wants to spend time with her daughters and granddaughter so that very same night, we prepare to go out for a meal … and this we do, to a rather posh and nice restaurant

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another glorious break from reality, an expensive meal, but that’s what expensive taste buds do for you ……..

and then we get home

and then we drink another two bottles of red wine, and a rather rotten white!

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it was off! uurrgggghhhhhhhh, took it back to the late night off licence and advised them that it’s shelf life was most certainly over

and then the next morning, there’s a density in the air, or is it in our  heads?

and i have to meet up with the female parent to go and view a motorhome that i am to potentially purchase and travel by car to a place outside of Wembley …. i pull myself together as we pull into the farm where the motorhome is parked.  we meet the seller, a gypsy looking man with two gold bottom teeth and a large scar from top lip cross ways, looking like at some point in his life he may have taken a baseball bat to the mouth (possibly?!) … anyway, this man chats away, using coin of phrases over and over again … i’m in a part desperate position (cos i’m homeless) and i’m pinning my hopes on this motorhome …. and it looks pretty decent

it has almost everything i need (other than a kennel for the dogs!) … it even has a full on bike rack on the back, for a scooter to be carried.  we agree a price, shake hands on it and i say i’ll be back the following Wednesday to collect … so now i’m beginning to feel hungry so me and the parent make haste toward a feeding venue, we’re in a little place outside of Wembley so unknown territory to us, and then i catch sight of a garden centre and there’s a cafe within its grounds – quicker than you can say ‘full english’ we’re in the wonders of the tinsel lined aisles and into the cafe…. we order salmon and scrambled eggs on toast and tea and orange juice whilst we wait … i’m waning, feeling pretty empty, thirsty and deflated from the adrenalin rush of looking over my potential new home.  Breakfast is served and it looks fantastic … i tuck my fork into the scrambled egg and savour the first mouthful, next forkful in includes the salmon, and then another polite mouthful, alas, my nightmare continues as the blood drains from around my mouth and my lips begin to tingle … i feel like i’m going to fall off my chair and within seconds i’m doubled over, my parent still merrily stuffing their food and then looking on in distaste and weary shock too.  I feel as if my world is crashing in and i just want to get out of the place and curl up featal like somewhere under a rock or a stone.

can’t believe how ill i have become so quickly

i spend the rest of the day doubled over, trying to sleep, knowing that i have to make a three and a half hour journey back up the motorways to Liverpool, to no home, to have to collect my other dog …. feeling sick as a dog …. can life throw anything else at me?!

yep, it sure can, it comes gratuitously by way of torrential rain for three hours (200 miles) of motorway driving, by this time i haven’t eaten or drank anything for almost 24 hours and i’m battling nature, arctic lorries, speeding cars and mile upon mile of cats eyes ……….

the after bubbles ….

waking up four hours after falling asleep constituted another safe bet that hard partying had occurred…

with everyone going their separate ways it was just me n Jo left as we returned to Liverpool

and for every drop of fun you experience, there’s always a hard hitting back down to earth waiting in the wings – mine being a last minute call in to go for a pre-op appointment, couple of bloods, few questions, blood pressure being taken etc etc … a day before last minute check in!

turned out to be pretty painless, lovely nurse, lovely private hospital where i received a very dignified assessment … still doesn’t take away the fact i don’t fancy going in for the operation tomorrow …

anyway that aside, the appointment was done n dusted n then me n twoeey were back on the road heading her homeward bound – no homeward bound for me, i still don’t have a home

we stopped off for a quick drink at the White Horse and then headed to the ‘Bubble Room’ for a scran …

lamb hotpot was on the menu for us both

bubble room 1 bubble room 4 Price = £10

at first we thought it looked a bit weird, arriving in a cup! but under the mash (dumpling) there were huge chunks of lamb and it was very very tasty!  8/10 compliments to the chef – The Bubble Room, Woolton is definitely worth a visit …………. then,

we went back to Hobson’s thereafter and had a couple of swift scotch’s and a smoke and then turned in, with sweet dreams of a gig gone good – roll on the next one!

futurejack visit manchester …..

Me and Two Pints wake up around the same time … 11am, so we’ve managed to get about six and a half hours kip.  We sort ourselves out pretty sharpish as i want to get on the road for about 12.30pm – i’ve arranged to collect my mate Mr Corner and head to Cheadle Hulme for about 2pm to go check out a racetruck before arrival at the Victoria Warehouse Hotel in Manchester for around 3pm…

Me and Twooey need a proper start to the day so after walking Karma we then stop off at the Whistlestop for …..

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breakfast done we jump back into the Boogie Bus and head for Mr Corner Pickup and then the M62.

All seems good and timing just a little behind. I’m heading for an Industrial Estate on Cheadle Hulme without a Sat Nav or even A-Z, possibly a recipe for disaster?  Ok, so i get a bit stressed and smack my steering wheel a couple of times, my passengers becoming a bit quiet, what can i say, i haven’t practised any Yoga for a couple of days and my patience wanes. Together we get through it and finally find the location, only to have a near miss crash by another less than capable driver who doesn’t check their mirror and turns a left into the front of my vehicle.  I scream out loud and reckon it’s my scream that they hear and therefore apply their brakes, by this time i’ve applied my brakes and Two Pints, who’s sitting in the rear of the Boogie Bus ends up getting a Bass guitar, Electric Guitar in hard case and a couple of drums in the back of her head.  Luckily enough she still had a bit of scotch in her from the night before so felt no pain, only a tad of bewilderment for a nanosecond.

We all pile out and check the racetruck (it’s a very quick viewing as i’m running behind on time by now)!  immediately i know it’s not for me so i shake hands, tell the sellers i’ll be in touch (which i did to tell them it was a no) and we all pile back in the boogie bus and head for our gig.

A bit more stress in finding the way back, note to myself to practice Yoga again very soon. Lucky for me my friends are very understanding.

We arrive at our destination pretty upbeat considering my earlier stresses.  Now onto the good stuff, we unload, set up, soundcheck and all is very very good. We check in, undo the scotch and have a swift nip or two before going back down to the bar to meet up with the rest of the crew.

Futurejack are ready to gig!!!

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We all had an absolute ball

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Stayed up all night and the three of us even done an impromptu cover of our own song ‘in my way’ in the shower!

Breakfast was at 7am to which there

was Goddess Naomi and myself only present

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8am … the single bed was calling, and so too, the Sandman!

You can check out more photographs and video snippets on our facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/futurejack

wednesday wednesday …..

So i wake up Wednesday morning under the warmth of my trusty parka jacket on my mates’ faux leather sofa and i’m feeling better than i did the night before! well, the full moon eclipse has well waned by now and i’m on the other side of its effect.  My good friend makes me a lovely strong coffee and gives me his spare keys so i can leave any time i want.  His chauffeur arrives and then he’s off to work.

Meanwhile i try planning the day ahead. Not got much to do today really, it’s the day before our big gig in Manchester and because i was such a disaster last night at rehearsals we’ve decided to get together again tonight at the Lomax, and put in another session. So, i decide to go into town, do a couple of errands and then maybe pick up something to wear for the gig.

My mood is still a bit of a damp squib, until i pop into Soho and, staring me in the face is the perfect item of clothing for the gig – a ‘psycho ward’ bright orange hoody!!  until that is, i turn 94 degrees to the left and spot something better, something even more purrrrrfect!

Shopping done i treat myself to something from Bold Street soul cafe!  my appetite’s down but definitely not out ………..

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from here on things can only get better….. marshmallow and creamed up to the nines i get back out on the street and smile.

I’m off to meet the rest of the futurejack pack @ the land otherwise known as Lomax and we get on with it and put in a good rehearsal session. After that, me and Jo head on back to Hobson’s for a bit of our a la carte, no messing about, late supper which consists of  :

two pints - cheese n marmite

a very artistically pledged assortment of cheese and Marmite, a couple of glasses of Jamesons and a sneeky rolly or two ….

JO also presents me with 2 gifts, finely wrapped by her very self, i gets a bottle of JD Honey Whiskey and a James (My Ma) CD …

the chester fields ……….

For the first time in possibly about nine days, i put on some make-up. My mate was dressed up and ready to go. My fashion styling right now has taken a turn into the realms of ‘alternative strange’ because it really is a test to one’s ability to ‘dress out of a suitcase from the back of a van’ on a day-to-day basis. Anyway, my friend said i looked okay and i can trust her on that one because she is a smart dresser herself and i know she’s not a ‘yes person’ just for the sake of it.

She drove me ten minutes up the road to her ‘semi-regular’ haunt of a ‘high-end’ restaurant/bar. Half past seven and already it was pretty busy. We sat off in the bar area for pre-drinks, mine a bombay sapphire and soda, hers a gordons and tonic. Then comes the time to get our table. Once seated i take a look around and there is some great quirky artwork, trinkets and china dog ornaments (one of which had his photograph taken with another diner).

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We ordered Rioja (purportedly with hint of vanilla and coconut!) from Spain – could grasp the vanilla but unsure as to whether the coconut was there or lucidly longed for because it had been mentioned.  My friend went for the beef, i chose lamb shank .. and we didn’t have to wait too long for our dishes to arrive. Absolutely beautiful food. I had mashed spinach, broccoli spears and green beans too… all of which were cooked to a superb standard and worth the £16.50 price tag.

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With dinner done we returned to the bar to carry on with our drinking. The bottle of wine having been happily swigged and opened the taste buds for some further glugging.

My next choice was a ‘Countryside Old Fashioned’ a deep bourbon with a spoonful of sugar (a special blended sugar of cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and some other secret spices) and plenty of ice, which, the very chatty and knowledgeable Gareth (our bartender) whizzed round and round with his long-handled spoon, the result of which was an amazing tasting ‘cocktail’.

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My friend played it safe to be honest and stayed on the Clavijo Rioja (@ £7.95 per 250ml glass!) …  My next choice was a regular glass of ‘safe’ Prosecco…

and then Gareth, seeing that we were having a good time, edged us toward trying a favourite of his (and easy to make he stated) .. The Hazel Espresso, and yes, it was the perfect ‘cold coffee liquor’ (without the mound of fresh cream that can leave a heavy floating feeling in the belly), instead, it was a concoction of sweet strong smooth easy (far too easy) drinking cocktail.

I’ll have another thank you very much.

Then i tottered off to the little girl’s room.

Five minutes later i’m back sat at the bar.  Gareth made his way round and was heading through the thinning crowd, and me being the jester that i am, said ‘oh you needn’t have bothered’…. cos he was carrying what looked like a cake for someone …  turns out it was for me, my friend had quickly pleaded them to do something toward a birthday gesture for me …..

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Continuing with the wonderful hazel espresso, i was bought another by a regular (Phil), who, by this time had started conversation with my friend and kept up being part of our late evening at the bar (right til the end in fact as we were the last to leave).

My nightcap at the bar was an Evan Williams Honey which absolutely laughed all over the JD Honey which has recently hit the supermarket shelves. My well-informed bartender imparted the fact that the Evan Williams was a lot harder to purchase – else you go to Amazon where you can find it in plenty.

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Me and my friend changed out of our kitten heels into our snugg boots and walked the B road curbside back home.

I chose to sleep on her plush cream sofa for the first couple of hours until realising that i was bent double, internal thermometer rising, and having very strange dreams about being bitten on the arse by a dog whom i knew was going to bite me and which i was a bit fearful of but my love of dogs had made me less able to move away from it…  and then there were other vicious dogs too but who turned out to be harmless … and there was a big house with a room in which when i touched a tap on the wall, the plaster all fell away and crumpled into a neat pile to the right of where i was standing. After which, several men, some of whom i thought i knew, some i didn’t, all begin to congregate in the house.

I sat upright, picked up the high tog duvet (must have been that causing my hotness) and snuck upstairs to grab another couple of fitful hours on a ‘princess’ mattress size bed.