Its been a week when I've struggled to put pen to paper (how quaint that sounds) for the blog due to the pressures of work, it's been a crazy week. This has been driven partly by the volume of work but more so by the fact that my best mate at work will, next week, be off to Hong Kong for a couple of years, fantastic opportunity but one that will mean the antics of last year, when he was my regular accomplice to any venue to see many eclectic bands is very challenging to say the least. Why does my mate going to Hong Kong make my work life hectic, because of leaving do's. He is a very popular chap, witnessed by the fact he has been entertained every night and a number of lunches, to which I have been to many and Brum's loss is definitely Hong Kong's gain. We have been plotting visits, in fact this was the main topic of Mondays Cheltenham Organising Committee Meeting, held in the Meaty BBQ world of Rodizio Rico. The topic was not so much whether we would be going over but more how we would be able to obtain what amounted to the most challenging pass out in history from our respective Missuses. Most favoured was a slow diversion of funds each month, as this will be the only way one of our number will be able to raise the funds due to the unique joint accounted way to which he is funded (his other half being of the accountant variety). How does my mate vanishing link into the world of music and hence the physical product? Well it may be tenuous but he very much is one of the few people in the world who loves his music as much as me, and has carried a quest if searching out new music past his teenage years. As such we have a vast wealth of things to share. We have different tastes in music, he knows my unhealthy obsession with female vocalists (the regular discussion going something like, fancy going to see Band X, don't know them, what are they like, oh blonde singer, funny that....) and I enjoy his bands choices I would not come across, for example getting out to see Cry Baby last year at the Hare & Hounds would never have happened without his diligence in the new music scene. It sounds as if his main nervousness about Hong Kong is the local music scene, as having his locations on Song Kick set to Birmingham and Hong Kong provides a clear proliferation of gigs in his present location, although a great opportunity of a music festival in Hong Kong - excuse to travel???
So to wrap up I will just run through some of my favourite moments of the last 13 years that we have shared, ignoring the mini napster service we operated between each other and a memory stick....... 10. Being out on the ales together and texting his Missus (Flapjack) about our progress during the evening, far too graphically, astoundingly I didn't get a restraining order for harassment....given the number of nights this occurred on. 9. Attending last years V festival, being stood for theStones Roses finale (suitably sustained with Ostrich burgers) and being hit from quite song distance by a warm bottle launched from the nether reaches of the field. Unperturbed by the mild concussion we still got to see the fine set by the Roses, lesser men would have wilted. Gig photos were always first class, as witnessed by the people behind him watching the close ups of the band on his camera screen rather than the big screen as it was better quality, now that's a camera! 8. being a connoisseur of the finer things in life, as witnessed by the regular jaunts to such Michelin starred restaurants in Brum as Purnells, allowing me to hear about this without being made to feel that I was inferior in my not being into those things. A sign of a true gent, and a true gent who met the Duke of York for his supporting of local enterprise (he does a lot of work for charity but doesn't like to talk about it.......as someone once said) 7. Fancy dress parties, by being my right hand man on our group, the opportunity to dress up as Elvis Presley was never far away and one of the finest things in life has got to be walking down broad street late at night, dressed as Elvis, flanked by many of the dodgiest looking 70's reprobates on our was to our private party at Flares. 6. Or organising, with JT the first Christmas party at Reflex, breaking in the group to fancy dress through school disco theme and being offered one of the most drunken, enthusiastic events on record, quite why their was a dancing pole in the middle of the venue I don't know but it meant we were presented by a cross between St Trinians and....well I don't know what but everyone enjoyed it. It may be outlawed now in our Diversity training I suppose. 5. Helping me transform our away job (Leatherhead, Rotherham, Glasgow) from the most hated job in the office to one of the most sought after to work on, with competitions, trips to London, pub quizzes, banter and general 'Work Hard, Play Hard' mentality. Seeing a bunch of random team members from all over the world sprinting round a laser quest centre being kids again, and heading off to see we will Rock you were 2 highlights that spring to mind very quickly. As dies going to see a film with the team and one of our number walk into a lamp post whilst texting... Priceless. 4. Friendly football banter, he supports the Villa, I don't at all! But despite this we have had loads of good banter about what's been going on at our respective clubs, it's been largely good natured banter about things such as money laundering qualified accounts, relegations, McLeishs defection, relegations, promotions, crap football, cup wins, relegations. The banter is always fun and there is never a needle, a gent. 3. Being up for an incredibly fun annual event at Cheltenham, along with various planning meetings (as better described HERE) 2. Holding a below the radar Sports Day at work, an impromptu get together in the sun next to his house, which held in half term, on a school field allowed the managers in the group to bring along their kids prove they were human, and create the best working relationship I have known at work. The BBQ from Flapjack was first class too. 1. Filming the below video one work morning. Getting our minis together for a jaunt round Birmingham was the brain child of a drunken Christmas party, written down and booked in the diary for 4 months later. More amazingly when the day came round we just planned it and went for it. The result was one of the most fun days I have had in my life, I wonder what the new starter we booked for the day to film thought about her intro to her professional career. Fantastic.
This was an easy top 10 to come up with, it's not definitive by any means, there are many things I have missed but that just shows what Hong Kong's gain is. I suppose the thing I will miss the most is the support, someone who, whether it's work, life or music will give me the opportunity to bounce ideas back and forth and give me the confidence to try for that little bit more. He is the dictionary definition of ACE.