Oh Dear Diary, Or Am I Unwell
by Alex James



I can see no further than this music. -Plato



It's Wednesday again. Hooray. It's down to Radio 1 and I'm trying to think of things to
say to the listeners, but the taxi's not here and I look like a potato. I get in a taxi and
say some 'oms' but I've got the later fear and the potato fear, and they've started
without me. Going on the radio is like talking to a nice girl you know; you think of
perfect things to say and things to talk about but you can't premeditate love or the media.

Damon goes off to meet some important people and I go to Tesco's. Tesco Disco Metro.
Hooray. Get a trolley full. I'm with the Proper Girls. It's 6pm. I like listening to them talk.
They make each other giggle.

Get some ice from downstairs and shake up some White Russians. Toss the Mars/Freud
coin and Mars it is. Stephen Duffy's walking up Endell Street and we say, 'Hooray, it's
Wednesday! Just the one then!' Mars is full of Campari slickers so we take the Freud path
to enlightenment. Plummy Tim Porter's in there and Big Charlie Myatt. Decide to go to
Bath Spa for the weekend as Duffy's got a studio booked there.

Damon arrives from his secret meeting with the Government and we adjourn to his
exclusive drinking club. If he goes to pubs, the poor lad just gets arseholes asking him
when the next album's coming out or whether he really is a sex flop. I bask under a veil
of relative anonymity which is fine.

Damon's club, The House is very understanding. They do things like goat's cheese 'en
croute' and it's full of Eastenders' cast and Cassandra from Only Fools And Horses. Chris,
our accommodating host, sorts us out with a comfortable white Burgundy and our
favourite table. Nobody asks Damon when the album's out because no one cares. 

Phone Phil 'Dirty' Daniels at the Vaudeville and arrange to meet him in his new pub,
which is the nearest one to the theatre. When we arrive, the Americans are coming out of
Sunset Boulevard- the worst sort of expensive, fat, Americans who, like expensive, fat
wine, don't travel well.

We ask them for spare change or shout 'Park Life!' and have some beer. Emma and
Justine are playing the fruit machine and drinking all the brandy. Then it's the Ed Wood
Party in a prison in SE1. Film parties are usually the most amusing but this one was up its
arse; men in dresses and no vol-au-vents or dry martinis. Boo. Walked over Tower Bridge
and got a taxi back to Mars. Had some huge brandy. Said some lewd things. Went home
with the girls.


Michael 'Sounds Great' Smith, my marvellous apologising publisher, is taking us out for
breakfast. It's very early and my hangover likes me. We go to Blacks. Salubrious Blacks.
Hogarth prints, panelled walls and always some berk talking about finance on the next
table. We have giggly, raspberry-blowing hangovers and the cherry juice is too
high-faluting for us. We say 'Cherrehs' and 'Hippehas' and 'Arsnewl'.

The scrambled eggs are a bit scary Mary, a runny, stingy business, but necessary.

Mike goes off to work and the sun shines on Old Compton Street. It's going to be a day
of contemptible, bone-idle boozing. Hoorah! The girls go off for some ackers and I take
the hangover for a drink. A Bloody Mary. A naughty, delicious, morning, irresponsible

We go to Mars to find out what we were doing last night. They put the Squeeze album on
for us.

'I feel like I've got no lips and no eyes,' says the Ems.

'Put your shades on and put your lippy on,' says Jus.

Get some cheese puffs from Tesco Disco and stumble into the 'Theatrical' Salisbury on
Martin's Lane. Then we remember John Virgo's snooker challenge in The Crown, Seven
Dials, and floss up there. Cheers. Virgo's trick shot. The suits have gone, everyone is at
work. We are drinking in the West End. The grown-ups' playground. We are children
again. We squabble and we snigger and we want some more sweeties.

Go back to check the Freud temperature, which is sub-zero, cryogenic, no fun. Go home
to play cards and listen to The Bee Gees. The Mackey phones, Pulp's midweek's Two so
we invent a new cocktail called a Brandy Alexbanana and play the 'shithead' game.

Phone Streetie and invite him for mashed potatoes. He's busy with Chrissie Kissy Hynde
but will come at seven. We're a bit funny when he arrives, a bit pickled, sloshed, in our
cups, under the table, but the potato is a 'triumph, deeply moving.'

Andy and Helen and Damon arrive and we go back to the John Virgo game. Someone
asks Damon when the album's coming out, so we have to go back to The House.




'I've only had a couple of c---s, drinkstable.'

I have a one-dimensional life. I have a nasty lump on my right forefinger. Oh dear, it's the
analytical, not very friendly hangover. I even dreamt about the music business. Up early
for the photos that are on this issue's cover. The EMI cab has 30 quids' worth of arsing
about in Notting Hill on the meter when Damon arrived.

Polaroid. Click. Polaroid. Click. Click. One more roll. Cheers. The next taxi driver has
'got that Blur in the back of 'is cab' and goes on about an old guffer jazzwanker that could 'old
a tune in a bucket.

Go to the NME office on the 25th floor and get jolly listening to Rod Stewart. Eat some
goats cheese crap in the Mars and go to the football party at the Atlantic. Thought I'd
better put in an appearance at the 'I can do anything' club. Talked about Twiglets at
length. The only things that taste like Twiglets are Marmite and stilton. Gin martinis
rocket fuel. I see Russell 'I've Given Up Drinking' Barrett has given up drinking. Told
everyone I've started writing a joke and exploded.




Hangover: n. The delayed after effects of drinking too much alcohol.

Intense fear. The fear, the fear. The crapulent abyss, the chasm of the delayed after
effects. Well, we were showing off a bit. Oh, but the fear, the sweaty nose, the nausea,
the sky may crack, the legs aren't there. Grim.

This is a bad hangover, and anxious one, and it wants to get its mates and go drinking
right now.

The flat is a good metaphor for my head. Wednesday's mashed potatoes gone brown and
lemons everywhere. I don't think anyone likes me. I certainly don't.

We're going to Bath, Britain's poshest city, to make B-sides with old chum Stephen
Duffy.  Have to get the Jif Lemon out as the pares are staying in the flat for the weekend. Oooh
and hide the offensive Damien Hirst drawing, bleach the bog, all that stuff.

Stir up some Bloody Mary's for the journey- vodka, lemon juice, tabasco, Worcester,
sherry, pepper in the thermos. Cheers, mates. We've run out of pants. Have to get some
in Bath.

Leave the keys in Freuds.

Ben 'Ha Ha' Wardle is driving Jus and I down in his Dog Man Star. It's one of those days
when it takes an hour to get to Hammersmith. Can't get anywhere with the bumper hank
holiday crozzer either, apart from 63 across, which is 'nosegay.'

Have a Bloody Mary, put the new album on and cheer up briefly. Then get a headache
trying to play cards. Go past Stonehenge. Who does its press? It's small. Actually, it's
worth mentioning, as its name-droppers week, that meeting famous people is about as
easy as seeing Stonehenge, if you're determined... but they too are often smaller than
you'd expected.

A lot of fear miles later, we land in Beckington, Wool Hall Studios. Residential studios.
Cheers, mates. A nice lady gives you chocolate cake and a cup of tea. Snooker, videos,
library, log fires, proper! Monsieur Le Duffy, ladies and gentlemen, is feeling fine. A
refined, resigned sage of a gentleman. We have to go to Bath to pick up bald Macdonald,
out favourite photographer, and the pants and ginger beer. The nice lady cooks you
dinner as well- it's all a bit Famous Fivey when the homemade strawberry ice-cream
cones come out. 

Beckingham's got one pub. It's called the Woolpack and known to us as the Fudgepack.
In there we played the popular making up band names game. Geezer was the best one.
Now everyone's a little boisterous. The Hub Club looks like the best bet in snotty, snobby
Bath, as there's some dreadful-sounding roots reggae or other in the Moles. 'E' still seems
to be popular in the provinces, as are shagging, drinking and dancing.

I bump into a clown that I know. He's down pretending to be a cherub in the Bath
Festival. He always smokes my fags. A nice man offers us a lift and collapses so we cab
it back. Taxi drivers, God bless 'em- the pulse of the city.

Send Ben round to Real World to get Menswear to see if they want to play Scrabble but
they are all tucked up in beddy-byes.

A lot of Armagnac is sipped and the trivial pursuit gets ridiculous. 'Luftwaffe' is now a
joke and is being told quite a lot. I find an enormous loudspeaker of cheese in the fridge and
some of the local crackers.

I think I am playing 'Blue Moon' on the piano when the sun rises. 




A fantastic slow-motion crispy vocabulary-enhancing hangover. Hoorah! Fortune flops
me an ace. Find a great book called Freaks and Marvels of the Insect World which absorbs
me over my Marmite on toast. I had a dream about venus flytraps last night. There was
one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom and they ate all the flies. 

There is an impossibly flash-looking health club in Monkton Coombe so we give 'em a
tinkle. A swim and a sauna is the second best hangover cure. It's halfway up a hill and
very splendid apart from the screaming kinds and the dreadful 80's aspect of the interior.
Ben and I have no trunks and we don't fancy the lost property so we have to pants it.

Play snooker all afternoon and table tennis as old Duffer is mixing another track. Nice
lady makes us cauliflower cheese and roasties. My desert island dinner. The pears with fudge
sauce establish fudge as a joke as funny as 'Luftwaffe.' Bash the song out after supper.
It's called 'Tempus Fugit' which is Latin for time flies. B-sides can have Latin names.

Play Scrabble with the girls and Donald and the cheese came out again. Watch
Performance with the volume turned down. Don't like the business with the paint, get the
horn in the bit where Mick's getting his nose licked, though.

Take the insect book to bed.




Get up very early. Have to be in Putney at 12:30pm for a rehearsal with my famous
mates. Have a good run back listening to the local radio stations with their phone-ins and
handy hints. My one-dimensional studio-to-studio existence continues.

Dave is making some tea and I say, 'Oh, cheers Dave, cuppa?' and the moron asks me if I
take sugar. For goodness sake, he doesn't know! I've spent six years blah blah blah and
he doesn't know. Unbelievable!

Go and get an ice-cream with my silly hat on. Graham's very quiet. The horn section isn't
coming after all. They've all got perfect pitch and perfect timing and don't need to.
Damon's got a keyboard that makes funny squelching noises and we amuse ourselves
playing 'Pick Up The Pieces' with sarcastic squelches and muso expressions. 

Do a Tesco and come home to watch the Bond. Mother has scrubbed everything, even
the wok, and all the gin's gone. Hooray. Dr. No mate, what a hammy load of crap. Deep
fry some camembert in the clean wok and eat it with jam. Cheers. Pop down to Out Price
for Joe Jackson's 'Greatest Hits' as I've been singing 'Different For Girls' all week. Go to
bed for 14 hours and dream I'm a fish.




Where have Richard & Judy gone? I'm not sure about these two. It looks like rain. I see
there's another shite book out about us. Que faire uh? Michael comes round for some
coffees. We're doing the Late Show so it's down to TV Centre, Wood Lane, W12 8QT.
Hyde Park smells a bit manurey.

It's great at the BBC. Cheese sandwiches are 32p and you get five balls on the Indiana
Jones. Play a bit of Black Maria/Scabby Haggy/Hunt the C--- with Dave and Laura, our
keyboard player. I don't think the brass section can dig my sarcastic bass playing on
'Country House.'

Have a couple with Wimpy, the resources manager, in the BBC club and cab it home
with Graham. Emma and Jus are drinking tea. Make Bloody Marys by the TJ's on the turn-

Go down to the NME photo exhibition and drink free beer for a good cause. Old fatty
Cummings is looking very pleased with himself. Somebody pays 250 pounds for that
photo of us dressed up as Blondie. 

All the usual mates are here, naturlich. The hipperati, the swingers... ooh, I could name
names, but it would be dull.

Find Jo, who I haven't seen for ages. Graham and I lived with her brother. He went to
New Orleans with a hammock and he hasn't come back. She's mad. She bites people.
She's dead good-looking. Round to the Mars. Duffy's having his birthday there. Even
Dave's come out. It's all a bit lively. We're on the monster gin. Probably should have
eaten. Someone suggests a game of earsy-kneesy-nosey, but we've got to go to
Stringfellow's to check out this silly cocktail band, the Mike Flowers Pops Orchestra.

In the past, Mr Stringfellow has made defamatory character references in writing several
of the tabloids, but we've all passed a lot of water since then and it's always better to be
friends, kids. He's drinking VAT's so we join each other, briefly.

It's very dark and Dunhill International and you have to shout rather than chat. I think it's
good when you're beery drunk because of all the big bosoms but it's not really a monster
gin drunk place. 

The band leader is wearing a good wig and they sound like the school orchestra. The
Daniels arrives with a raised eyebrow, but I leave when Jo bites the photographer. The
Mars bar is still rocking. Russell 'Superman' Barrett is drinking again. Mars is full of
Camden and Julian the 'funny ha ha' barman has got a bag on. He doesn't get 'Luftwaffe' either.
No they have no Luftwaffe beer and no fudge vodka.

Go into the kitchen to look at Adam's ladles. I've been having problems with my cheese
sauce splitting in the oven and he says I should boil for longer and make sure the cauli's
well drained. He is a Dodgy fan. Bounce home to find some chips in the wok and




Nice to see R&J are back. Watch The Herb Garden as well. Sage is having singing
lessons.  I love Lady Rosemary's 'I am Lady Rosemary, I'm very tall and willowy.'

There is a lot of nocturnal answerphone activity. Mainly Graham singing
'Diddy-diddy-didn't-did.' Go down the laundry for some Mike Leigh-type action. The
Cross Keys is the laundry pun, but it's a bit funny handshake and I don't fancy it. Go to Bodum
and get a posh new cafetiere as the cheeseboard fell on the old one. Buy some flowers
as well- glad and lily of the smelly.

I don't mind doing the laundry. Actually, it's zen rich and wholesome. Jilly Cooper walks
past. She probably has service washes or dry cleans.

Make a sort of a parsnip thing that Justine laughs at. Go downstairs for a quick
marguerita while Jus gets ready. I'm off my Long Island Iced Teas with OJ at the moment
which is a shame as they make you very bold and daring.

Matthew 'Daddy' Longfellow, who directed top rockumentary Starshaped, is having
triangular sandwiches and olives affair upstairs at the Windmill, Mill Street. Film parties
are always the best- bullshitteramas, castles in Spain mate, ridiculous 'I'll get my people
to talk to your people,' breakfast, on-line, off-line, 'deadline' and they all shag their
secretaries, God bless 'em.

Kiss everybody and cab down to the Africa Centre to watch Heavy Stereo who are just
Whirlpool without the fat one. The music business supreme high court is already there.
McGees and Lamacqs and Rosses and Reids ad infinitum.

I have some horrible fizzy beer and go outside to be sick. Someone follows me and asks
for my autograph. The band are late on and we have to dive off to the, erm, Mars bar as
Pulp are having their 'Hooray, we're Number Two' party. Nice to meet Big Chris Thomas,
the real Sid Vicious.

Drink all the Mars bar vodka and start on the Toblerone. The entire music business
descends and pretends to like each other. Andy Rossage calls it the Good Mixer
Syndrome. It used to be just me and Russell and then Blur sold a million and Russ left
Chapterhouse to concentrate on his drinking. He's an expert and the Mars is popular. 

Phone Uncle Jake at Browns, to ask if it is OK to bring 100 people down. He's very
reasonable and helpful. The big chap on the door is also extremely affable, You can tell
how sophisticated a place is generally by how far they tolerate states of extreme
drunkenness, provided it's not violent or aggressive. In Bournemouth they don't sell
tequila as everyone wants a fight. In Canada they sell you two beers and kick you out for
being drunk. But the person next to you in Browns is probably a boxer so you just don't

Have a few beers and talk utter gobshite with Steve Mackey, my favourite bassist, and
stumble home with the proper girls. Put the Kylie Minogue on and get the phone book
out. Phone everyone. 'Morning schmorning!' we scream down people's asnwerphones. Play
the entire Oasis album down the Albarn's and much worse probably. Pink gin, white Russian
and ruby red Margaux. You only live once. Get drunk, be a tart, enjoy ourself.

The end.

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