Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hunting Highs And Lows

Last week I wrote some nonsense about not getting out enough and ever since then I’ve hardly been in at all. Paris, Rome, New York and London are just a few of the cities I’ve avoided visiting in order to fulfill a healthy calendar of golf, football and big budget movies set in a galaxy far, far away.

Along the way I’ve enjoyed the highest of highs and suffered some serious lows but through it all I’ve kept a smile on my face, a song in my heart, a bluebird on my shoulder (pisser removing the staples by the way) and have emerged on the other side with only a nervous twitch and a sizeable underwear laundry bill as side effects. Here, in summary then are ten days in May. (Good title for a film, that.)

Monday 16th
High: On a lovely sunny day in Scotland (no, really) I played golf with my pal Gordon at the Falkirk Tryst Golf Club and had the match sewn up with four or five holes left to play.

Low: Needing three closing pars to shoot a 68 I bogeyed 16 & 18 to scrape home with a round of 70 and saw the dream of a 69 fade into the distance yet again. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

Tuesday 17th
Hardly got any sleep last night tormented with the 69 that could’ve been and dreaming about the 69 yet to come.

High: Went to visit my pal Grace, an old friend from high school who I haven’t seen for ages and who offered me not one, but two cups of coffee and three chocolate chip cookies. Called her up later to arrange another visit soon but the line was busy… or the phone was off the hook.

Wednesday 18th
High: As a generous birthday treat from my folks, I had a round of golf on the Old Course in St. Andrews, the home of golf and venue for this year’s (British) Open Championship. Shot 78 in the pissing rain and freezing wind and was pretty pleased with my smug little self.

Higher High: Just before we started our round on the Old Course the starter said to us, “Oh by the way, you might see Jack out there today.” No, not Jack Bauer, Jones, Nicholson, Lemmon, Black, Rabbit, Hammer, Sprat, or Anory but Jack BLOODY Nicklaus. Sure enough as we were playing our approach shots to the first green, there he was teeing off on the 18th, or rather backing off his tee shot as my Dad scampered across the fairway to retrieve his ball. Classic!

Low: There are no lows on a day when you play the Old Course with Jack Nicklaus.

Thursday 19th
There I was sitting impatiently in the cinema on opening day waiting for “Star Wars III – Revenge of the Sith” to begin when I suddenly thought, “Hey, this is the last time I’m EVER gonna see one of these for the very first time!” Immediately every fibre in my being became alert and ready for what was to come… a bit like when I get a whiff of pizza. Despite some ropey dialogue and indifferent acting, the scale and spectacle of the film are breathtaking. I loved it. And Anakin becomes Darth Vader? Who knew?

High: Was three holes up and one under par after 11 holes of my first golf match representing my club.
Low: On the 12th hole, I suffered a complete mental and physical breakdown with my golf swing and allowed my opponent to draw level with one hole to play.
High: Watched my opponent smash his drive out of bounds on the 18th and I then hacked my way to the green to secure a fortunate one hole victory. And they say golf isn’t life in miniature.

Friday 20th
High: In between the rain showers, I managed to cut the grass, do the weeding and trim the daffodils without the loss of any major appendage.

Low: Ran out of beer and then burnt the pizza I’d made (i.e. taken out of the freezer) for dinner. Inconsolable.

Saturday 21st
High: I ordered concert tickets last week to go and see sublime singer songwriter Maria McKee in Glasgow at the end of June and they arrived safely today. Can’t wait, her new album, “Peddlin’ Dreams” is fantastic.

Low: The English FA Cup Final was on television and despite not supporting any one English team, I was rooting for Manchester United to win. (Sorry Russell.) They outplayed boring, boring Arsenal but then lost in a penalty shoot out. Comforted by the thought that tomorrow will bring footballing triumph and glory.

Sunday 22nd
Low: After 9 months, 37 games and 87 minutes, my football team, the mighty Glasgow Celtic, were only a matter of minutes away from securing their 4th Scottish championship in 5 years. Three minutes later, they’d conceded 2 goals and handed the title to their bitterest rivals Rangers. This calamity was almost on a par with Friday’s pizza trauma and I can only thank the Lord that there is no wife, child or pet in my life to bear the brunt of the wrath and mayhem that ensued.

Monday 23rd
Wake realising yesterday’s football catastrophe was real after all.

High: Thank the Lord (again) that I’m unemployed and don’t have to suffer the plight of Celtic fans today in workplaces the length and breadth of the country. Go back to sleep and then go and play golf.

Low: Turn up at my weekly five-a-side football game to find we’re three players short. Invite some local Sighthill kids to remove their Burberry headgear and lay down their crack pipes long enough to make up the numbers. Watch a ten-year old dance his way round me with the ball and then end up on my arse trying to kick the wee shite into next week. My football humiliation is complete.

Tuesday 24th
Low: Consider a visit to the Emergency Room to nurse the gash on my knee caused by a wee, ten-year old shite’s football boots.

High: In a dimly lit rehearsal room in Bonnybridge, a strange and unexplainable phenomenon unfolds. (Fittingly, Bonnybridge is officially Scotland’s UFO capital.) For the first time in over six years all four members of The Signals are gathered together in the same room, instruments in hand, ready to unleash some face-melting rock. And unleash they do.

The fingers of Young Bill Hay dance frantically over the fret board as solos and (not so) long forgotten riffs emerge as if by magic. Behind the kit, Handsome Doug Grant is attempting (and pulling off) drumming gymnastics with a degree of difficulty that Keith Moon would be agog at. And Ole Donald Campbell is throwing arrogant, rock guitar stances, one foot atop his amp while his bass thunders into the night.

Three hours fly by in an instant and we emerge into the cool midnight air ecstatic, surprised and not a little shagged out hoping that the mother ship will beam us straight to our cribs. The Signals are back and that’s official!

Wednesday 25th
Low: I wore a suit today for only the second or third time in over two years. I really despise wearing suits.

High: I wore the suit because I’ve had confirmation of a new job (which I’ll finally believe and write about in a couple of weeks when it starts) and today I visited the offices of my new employer to get my photograph taken. Thankfully the job does not involve having to wear a suit ever again.

Higher High: Witness the greatest televised football match I’ve seen in a decade as Liverpool overcome a three goal, first half deficit to defeat AC Milan in a penalty shoot out in the final of The Champions League. It had everything and I’m over the moon (to use football parlance) for my golfing chum Russell and my brother in law Alastair, big fans both. What a night!


At 27/5/05 1:48 pm, Blogger McSporran said...

There can be no bigger sporting high than your team doing what they did on Wednesday. Cheers for the phone call after the game and sorry for making no sense at all. Words can never describe what that was like.

At 27/5/05 1:50 pm, Blogger McSporran said...

What was the better (or best game) a decade ago?

At 28/5/05 10:53 pm, Blogger carl said...

Eh Sport,
Even your LOWS seem a wee-bit happy.

Perhaps a note to yourself would work. May I offer this suggestion:

"Dear Self,
Need more beer, less heat on pizza, wear suit only to impress girlfriend, invite girlfriend over for football game, work on 69 together, keep head down on follow thru...

Anyway it's a start. Sound like youhad more fun than anything else.:)

At 29/5/05 2:26 pm, Blogger Neil said...

Russell - "Decade" was a random time frame picked out of the ether for no reason other than I was rushing out the door at the time. Can't think of a better game.

Tom - Great idea but need an additional entry somewhere between "pizza" and "69" that reads something like "acquire girlfriend".

At 30/5/05 7:19 pm, Blogger carl said...

Okay...change wording "wear suit only to impress lasses...", carry on.

At 31/5/05 7:46 pm, Blogger DC said...


A truely illuminating insight into only a short period of your " interesting " existance".Golf,football, eating ,drinking ,rock & roll, Maria McKee,sporting legends, Star Wars.If we ignore the suit reference you must be up for some kind of "Lad of the Month" award.But, I suppose you didn't like wearing it, Top Bloke !

Thank's for the kind remarks re dimly lit B/bridge - you didn't - a result of your shocking modesty - mention your own performance . How many lyrics did you actually remember? Also glad you didn't mention us playing 4 different songs at the same time- a bit like experimental jazz I thought. Also very glad you didn't mention that whilst executing the very basic " foot atop amp" pose, my strap ( guitar that is ! )fell off, leaving me stumbling about like some fat drunken oaf trying to regain what little dignity remained . Can't wait 'til next time.

Yours in Rock,


ps Peddlin' Dreams is most excellent- Barstool Blues, ( a Neil Young song I do believe), reminds me of a number of sad/thoughtful drinking songs:

- One for My Baby & One More for the Ditch- Frank Sinatra.

- Million Miles Away - Rory Gallagher.

- The Barroom is Empty - AHB.

Right ! I'm off to get drunk and depressed.



At 1/6/05 3:07 pm, Blogger Neil said...

That Lucinda Williams album is f#cking awesome dude. Good choice.


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