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I present you with an approximation to this weekend
Okay, let's see... Well, I went and got my ticket early on Friday so that I'd not have to queue up, and specifically asked for the route as given to me by the Railtrack website - they suggested I go from Brighton to Milton Keynes to Manchester. Made sense... So I ask for that route, get my ticket, and I'm on my way. However, the train to Milton Keynes didn't seem to be running, which was odd - a quick check of the timetables revealed that in fact, trains only go there on Saturdays, and Railtrack had screwed me like they tend to screw everybody.

Anyhow, feeling unworried, I just got on the first train to London, bought a ticket for tube travel (on account of my ticket not having it), and managed to get myself up to Manchester on the train I'd planned to get - it stopped off at Milton Keynes to pick up the Me who would have been there had there been trains from Brighton. Anyhow, so yeah, got to Manchester, wandered into town to find David in the pouring rain, which was.. um.. fun.

It should be noted for future reference that I started coming down with a cold late on Thursday evening, which was damned bad on Friday. I was feeling damned icky and stuff, and will freely admit that on the basis of that, this trip was perhaps a little ill-advised. We'll come back to this subject later...

Let's see... As I recall, we subsequently wandered around for a bit, ate at Burger King, hung out in HMV, you know, the things that I simply have to do every time I come up here. Then we just came home, lacking things to do (as per). Played quite a bit of network GTA with David and one of his siblings (it changed over time). I got totally 0wned, as expected, since I've only played GTA2 and GTA3 lately, but still... Much fun was had by all, as far as I recall.

By this time I was feeling groggy, so I spend quite some time just curled up in a ball on David's floor, waiting to feel better, which I eventually did. Anyhow, after that, Jenny came over for a while. She impressed me very much by idenfiying David's Pacifica (which I was playing badly) as being a Strat clone - people who know guitars rule by definition. I was further impressed because she recognised me from my LJ pic - that rarely happens, since generally I deliberately go out of my way to meet people that I know online - the only time it ever happened by chance was with Shanu, and I spotted him first. So full marks to her, or something :o)

To while away the time. we played GTA some more (although Jenny just watched, having never seen a multiplayer game before or something), until it got to about 11pm, when we walked her to a friend's house. And, being as it was me and David, we evidently looked so cool that we got invited in (quit laughing). So, we listened to bad bad music (and Jenny, if you're reading this, the Calypso music sucked, sorry), argued about Pop Idol, and vaguely socialised with the other people (three of them) there. I think I have digicam pictures of Jenny beating David up, but I dunno how they'll have come out - should be amusing. Oh, and at one point, Jenny tried hypnotising David and me with my necklace, but it kinda didn't work :o)

After a failed attempt to get pizza, or kebabs, or something, we settled for home-fried chips, which would have been nice were I feeling up to eating (but alas no)... Anyhow, five or so hours pass by (the hip hop we listened to made it seem to last longer), and little of note happened, except David and myself moshing to Oh What A Night or something - you know, you just have to do things like that.

So yeah, 4am comes around, and we realised we had to sleep sometime, so we came home, went to bed, and slept for ages (although perhaps not long enough). The first part of Saturday was spent in traditional David and James style - hanging out in our boxers, sitting online. Well, you know, we have to pander to the stereotypes sometimes or else where's the fun of it all? Anyway, we eventually decided that we really had to get up and do something. My cold was going away, so we figured we'd go into Manchester and have some fun or something.

After eating at McDonalds, and buying bus passes (and seeing two people off Livejournal too), we then made our way to Ste's house. The second I walked in, I felt immediately at home - it gave off major Student Residence Vibes. We hung out playing on the GameCube, which was quite impressive really. The controllers took some getting used to, but I soon seemed to get the hang of it. I almost 0wned everybody at Monkey Bowling, but sadly, Jess (who had played it before) beat me. At this point, present were Jess, Ste, me and David. We were then joined by Andy and Adam, who both utterly kicked my ass at Monkey Bowling, but I didn't care.

It should be noted that this was a game which features a variety of sporting activities featuring monkeys trapped in balls. The monkeys hurl themselves down bowling lanes, or fling themselves across golf courses - you get the idea. It was sufficiently bizarre to appeal :o)

Anyhow, at that point or thereabouts, Donda arrived (and he is perhaps the prettiest guy I ever saw in person), and we went and watched some TV. Saw some of Pop Idol, and some thing about celebrities and their sex lives - generic student viewing material really. Chatted about various things, the usual. We were later joined by Deb, who was (predictably) very cool. Then Gaz turned up, and so we were only waiting for Charlie. When he eventually arrived, we all headed off to Jilly's (an activity which saw us witnessing Gaz running, no less). Got there at about 10:30pm, and most of us were stone cold sober. Not quite how I'd planned for it, but still...

So yeah, after many quick drinks, we grabbed us a table by the dance floor, and settled in. Similar in music to Club New York back home (although it felt far more mainstream), they played mostly loud guitar sort of stuff that you just throw your head about to. I think the only person with shorter hair than me there was David, which didn't bode well for dancing, but still... The highlight of the evening was probably when they played the cover of 99 Red Balloons - I got up and danced without the others for that. I felt especially proud when I was screaming along to the German verse, on account of how I know the words to the German version of the song. I won't go into the low points, but let's just say that Gaz needs to learn what is inappropriate in clubs (or, rather, learn to modify his behaviour to take this into account - he is clearly already capable of being inappropriate).

Anyhow, fast forward through some crap music... There was quite a bit, although there were still good songs - but I'm more melodic punk than metal/hard-rock, so... Of course, technically, I've already found my genre. There's a massive increase in people doing a whole anti-boy-band deal - you know, dying their hair black, the whole shunning of that image. Well I'm anti-anti-boy-band. That doesn't work as a double negative there - as in, that doesn't mean I'm trying to emulate boy bands. I'm just trying to distance myself from the anti-boy-band lot, for more or less just one reason - intolerance. I tend to find that they're shunning an entire genre of music and dismissing it out of hand, without considering the merits of individual songs. The sort of logic that says "If it's by the backstreet boys, it's bad by definition" isn't the attitude of a music fan, it's just snobbish. These days I try to listen to songs on their own merit, and it doesn't matter whether the relevant artist is a sell-out corporate dummy, or a hard-working band who've been together 10 years. It's just about the music, which is probably how it ought to be.

Tangent over - the point is, fastforwarding to the end of the night (and skipping the part where David danced with loads of hot girls, because I'm a jealous little bitch), we all made our way out at about 2am, and went back via a pizza place. I didn't have any myself, save a few mouthfuls of David's Beef and Chilli pizza, which while reasonable enough (especially given that I don't much care for Chillis) was rather hot to be eaten sans liquid. On the walk home, it was revealed that Charlie actually knew of me from Tribes and Usenet - that's the first time I've ever been recognised from that stuff - David introduced me as The Unknown James, and he knew who that was - spooky. Got back to Ste's, and half the relevant people retired to bed immediately. Left awake were, as I recall, myself, Ste, Charlie, Adam, Gaz and David. We got to talking about sex lives (something I don't tend to do that often, on account of only being close to one guy at home, that being Jimbo, and we don't discuss such things), and David soon tired of it and went to bed.

After a brief interlude in which fine wines were discussed, we got back to the sex-life stuff (it's more interesting than the other potential drunken topics of conversation), where Charlie (who is, by his own admission, an Uber-Tart) decided that I too was a tart. Pfft... Oh well. He did, however, say something akin to "If you sample too many chocolates, you'll never know which is your favourite", which is as valid a reason as any for not sleeping around. Conversation did occur pertaining to me pulling Ste back in June, but you know, it was bound to happen. We both seem to insult each other about that equally - we both consider it a really bad kiss and stuff. Anyhow, moving swiftly on.....

So, 4am comes around, and after some maths-style innuendo (it's a talent, trust me), we then decided to call it a night. Charlie and I were sharing a (large-ish) bed with David, who snores. Anyway, we all got in, and he (Charlie) and I spend the next two hours just talking and stuff - all pretty random weird stuff, including discussing the dangers of one of us waking up and finding themselves snuggled up to one of the others. Unknown to us at the time, Andy and Ange (who were in that room with us too) were awake this whole time and heard the whole conversation, which amused them greatly it seems. Oh well, happy to help.

Thankfully (ish), I slept from about 6am until about noon, waking up periodically when people in the bed were moving around and stuff. More sleep than I was expecting. After a couple of hours of just hanging around and stuff, our numbers were reduced to... um... fewer. Ste went to see his girlfriend, Deb went home, Adam was unconscious in his room throughout, Donda had gone home... Anyway, at that point, David, Gaz and myself went to pick up Jude from town. Got there, and it was (typically) raining on us - um, yay. Had Burger King again, where Jude stole practically all my chips, but I didn't complain that much - I didn't have much of an appetite.

Ooh, speaking of food, you know what are really nice? The Milky Bar Creme Eggs, or whatever they're being marketted as. Just like the normal Cadbury Creme Eggs, only they're white chocolate. It just occurred to me, since I had one this morning, that's all...

Anyway, back to the story - we wandered down to Laser Quest where we were meeting Charlie, Andy and Ange. 'twas rather amusing, since Jude's flaired cords were kinda absorbing a lot of ground-water, and the wetness was slowly creeping up past her shoes. Despite how wet and bedraggled she looked though, she still looked positively wonderful. So, we got there, hung around a bit, got some games booked for later, and went on to a pub. We tried to go to a dive that Charlie knew, but it was so bad that it had in fact been torn down. Oh well...

So, we get to a nicer pub, which was reasonably empty (as one might expect at 4pm on a Sunday), and played a few games of pool. I think I managed to beat David now that I think about it, but it was a hollow victory because we were both playing shite. Had a couple of drinks (although I drank them fast, and they were of the fizzy type - you'll see why this is bad later) and bought a couple for Jude and Gaz... I still have so much money left though - yay me. Anyway, after some (better) games of pool (which did not involve me playing), we went to play LQ. I think I somehow misheard "Jude" as "Jamie", because I picked up Jude's tag by mistake, but that was okay, since I let her use mine. So I played the whole thing as Jude, and gave her a bad name, whereas she played as Jamie and made my name look good on the scoreboard. Yay.

The first game was a team game - we were against these little kids, so four of the LQ staff joined their team - we were 0wned, but only by a margin of about 100 points. I came about 10th of 17, and last in our team, which sucked, but you know, I've not played anything like that since they closed down the Quasar Laser in Wycombe, which was years ago. Anyhow, the second game came around, and it was a free for all, and I did better. I came 5th out of 10, having led for the first half. And even better, my name came out 3rd on the scoreboard, because Jude managed to shoot way more people than me. Like I said - she was making me look good.

Afterwards, we all went to another pub, where I just had a couple of sips of coke and that was it (Jude charitably finished off the rest for me so I didn't look bad or something) - I was not feeling well, although it didn't quite occur to me at the time why that might be. Time passed, and Jude had to catch a train home, so David and I walked her up to the station, and that was that. She somehow managed to squeeze past several thousand people and get on the train in front of everybody, which was impressive - only girls can pull that off :o)

By this point, I was feeling really ill - David and I had to stop walking every few minutes so that I could rest. At first I thought it might have been the alcohol I'd had earlier or something, but it was getting progressively worse, which is generally not the way of things - that long after the drinks, it would normally be clearing up. So anyway, we stopped off at a shop where I got some weird chocolate soya milk stuff (it tasted how the milk goes with Chocos, actually), but it didn't help me much. Finally got back to Ste's after lots of stopping, and I just sat in the living room talking to Gaz and feeling shite. By this point, I realised that a contributory factor was the fizzy drinks earlier, and my gulping style of drinking them - since I really am incapable of burping, this is not something I can easily rectify, and was leading to a real feeling of sickness and pain.

I think we left Ste's at about 8pm or thereabouts and walked to the bus stop. By this time I'd developed hiccups (which are really really painful when I get them, and lasted 45 minutes), which was not good. We got the bus back to Cheadle, and it further occurred to me that I've not had much sleep these last couple of nights, I was dancing, I was running around playing LQ for 40 minutes, I've not eaten that much, and I have a really bad cold. Can we say over-exertion? No wonder I'm feeling really ill - it's entirely my own fault for doing far too much when I should have just been lying in bed.

Still, we got back to Cheadle, although on the way home I was sort-of-sick. That is to say, I was retching quite a bit (yay :o\), but obviously I had nothing to bring up. All that happened was that I burped up a lot of air that I swallowed while drinking my coke and stuff, which in turn made me feel far better from that point onwards (although I still feel shite from having overexerted myself). Got back to David's, where I practically collapsed, and slept for a few hours. Woke up at around 11ish, and have been awake ever since. And I'll be going to bed just as soon as I've posted this. And, since my story has more or less reached the present, that's what I'll do...


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