Friday, April 20, 2007

The Boy Is Back In Town

Dearest Friends, in the words of Lionel Ritchie, "Hello."

No, please, don't go! I swear I've not posted anything by that wretched Commodore. Honest.

Goodness, I suppose it has been nearly a fortnight since I last posted. I did, in fact, return home (aside: it still feels odd calling here that) Monday evening, more or less intact. But frankly it's taken until now to wind myself back up to the point of posting.

Why? Various reasons.

First off, I've been recovering from the journey back. I set out from London's Clapham Junction train station at 6:30 AM London time and stepped out of Vancouver Airport at 7:30 PM the same day. That's 21 hours of travelling, some spent variously on a train, most spent lurching in and out of shallow, cramped sleep on two airplanes, and a chunk whiling away a layover in the antiseptic blandness of Dallas Fort Worth Airport. Where you can, if so inclined, by George W. Bush postcards - they're right next to the ones of the armadillos. Poor armadillos...

Yes, close to a full day on the go, coupled with a total of nine hours of time change, or what the French call décollage horaire. I far prefer the Gallic version, for I always associate it --rightly or wrongly, I know not-- with the verb décoller, which counts among its meanings "to unstick." So time comes unstuck, or one becomes unstuck from time. Indeed, if I do the maths, (starting out in Warsaw, 9 hours ahead of Vancouver, then figuring one day needed to readapt per hour of time change), it explains perfectly why, four days after returning, I still feel I'm somewhere in Greenland. Maybe Godthab .

EDIT: Oh, what a delicious mistake! Dearest Civil Servant has gently pointed out that in fact the French for time difference/jet lag is, in fact, décalage horaire, from the verb décaler, meaning to bring forward or back. Thus my Gallic construct has itself come gramatically unstuck. However, I'm not going to let that stop me! Though I shall now henceforth always enunciate décalage, in my mind I shall be envisioning those hours peeling off and floating away randomly...

I've also been reconnecting with the family. Dearest Wife did a splendid job of keeping Darling Daughter and Little Man clothed, fed, and deployed appropriately. But that's really par for the course. Ten days away is a long time for a father to be away - I remember that clearly from the times during my childhood that my own father would travel on business. So it is lovely to be back doing Daddish things.

Since returning, I've also been trying to reflect on the Warsaw trip, to understand what I should learn from it. I shan't bore you with the details of either the visit, or my ruminations. At least not yet; you have all been so kind with regards to my last, somewhat self-indulgent post, which was done rather rawly, emotionally, and in haste. So, more to come, but I still need to sleep on it a bit. I will say that that the trip was largely a good one on many levels, and overall it deepened my compassion. And for that I am grateful.

As for my brief stays in London at either end of the trip, they were a total blast! It was deeply warming to have had the chance to relax and catch up with many of my Dearest Friends, and to finally meet shiny, happy Baby Tom. And last Sunday, which we largely spent hanging out on Clapham Common in a delightful gaggle of grups and bairns under unseasonably warm skies, was simply too marvellous.

My London touchdown also afforded me the worderful chance to meet Dearest Young Tim of Contrast Podcast fame! It was somwhat odd to see a cyberperson made flesh, but we soon grew convinced of our respective reality as we bonded over pints of ale, podcastic conversation, and weekend engineering works on the British rail network. I will have some startling revelations about Tim in my intro for this week's upcoming podcast (theme: Contrast Podcast Introduced Me To...), but rest assured he is, as I expected, lovely. You can read about Tim's account of our meeting here, though I warn you I don't photo well after a few beers, sleep deprivation, and three hours on Polish Lot airlines...

Oh, and of course, there's music!!

Peter & The Wolf - Safe Travels (buy here or e-here)
Yes, I know this has been about a bit in blogland of late. But it is a wonderful, special tune that accompanied me throughout my journey, particarly through a spot of rough turbulence over the Atlantic. So there.

Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks (buy here)
Insaney catchy, and it was playing on Easter Monday at Boiled Egg & Soldiers, the posh cafe on the Northcote Road where Dearest T&F@TLH plus Dearest D&S and I had a scrummy full English breakfast. Plus I saw some German hippy-hoppy types do a tepid remix of it on the telly in Poland.

Elton Motello - Jet Boy, Jet Girl (buy here)
Because my arse is stil all flat and my vertebrae still twisted from spending eons stuffed into airplane seats. But Elton obviously has far more exotic adventures while jetting than I do.

Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town (buy here)
Coz I'm back.

You see? I promised you there'd be no Lionel Ritchie...


Colin said...

It's great to have you back Fil - you have been sorely missed.

But, any trip that deepens compassion is surely a worthwhile one - no matter the ordeal and the emotions stirred.

Er, Can I admit to being slightly disappointed by the lack of any Lionel in this post? It started so well!

(just teasing)

PS, Indeed, pity those poor Armadillos. They just don't talk anymore :(

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back old chap. I used to live incredibly near Clapham Common in my London days - it's a shame I was bewitched by a Celtic vixen and lured away to deepest Lapland (i.e. Edinburgh) or I'd have been out there to say hi as well, with a bit of luck.

And am I allowed to admit a sneaking liking for a couple of Commodores tracks? Not love, just think they're alright.

I blame the parents myself.

Anonymous said...

welcome back Fil, you were definitely missed!

Anonymous said...

We all loved to have you here! Come back soon and play on the Common. Glad you enjoyed your breakfast at Boiled Egg and Soldier...

Anonymous said...

Très cher Fil
j'espere que tout va bien pour toi et la famille. C'est vrai que tu as l'air fatigué sur la photo avec Tim de Contrast Podcast. Mais c'est normal comme tu dis : c'est la bière et le jet lag.
Ah au fait on ne dit pas "décollage horaire" mais "décalage horaire".
A très bientôt
The Civil Servant

Anonymous said...

when i was but a wee lass, one of my favorite songs was "the boys are back in town." brings back the memories, it does, and i'm glad it brought you back as well!

p.s. that elton motello song is a little sketchy. ;-)

p.p.s. you could always post todd rundgren's "hello it's me" if need be. no shame there!

Mentok said...

Welcome back!

The Elton Motello song reminded me that there was a French version, n'est-ce pas? So natch i googled 'er up. There is simply an appalling amount of information on Wikipedia about Plastic Bernard. Far too much info, i'd say, about a man who's main contribution to the world was coming up with the original tune to Jet Boy Jet Girl.

But I digress. Glad you're back safe.

Campfires and Battlefields said...

Welcome back Fil. Glad to hear the long voyage went well, and good to have you safely back. And just think, only a few more weeks back in North America and you should be fully cured of your compassion. No, wait, you live in Canada. That' all right, then ;)

Tim Young said...

You're always welcome in Egham FiL .. especially when there are hunking great things on the level crossing :) I'm looking forward to listening to your introduction when I get to work tomorrow and then heavily editing all the details out and replacing them with the SLIME approved version.

Colin is right about the Armadillos. Sigh.

FiL said...

Dearest Colin, indeed, it was a worthwhile trip. And what must we do to loosen those armadillo tongues, hmm??

Dearest Toad, I too lived for a year down in the Clapham area. With Dearest T of T&F@TLH fame, no less! And of course you can admit to a passing like of The Commodores, but I think they now have pills you can take for that sorth of thing... ;)

Many thanks, Dearest Merz! I missed you all as well.

Dearest, Dearest T&F@TLH, it was lovely to see you all again. I wish I could wrap you all up & transport you right here to Vancouver...

Dearest TCS, merci mille fois! Ca fait du bien de te revoir chez moi. Mais t'aurais du me corriger jadis - tu sais bien que ce n'est pas la premiere fois que j'ecris "decollage horaire!!" ;) RYS!!

FiL said...

It is somewhat iffy, isn't it, Dearest Marcy? But I must say I prefer the original song by Belgian pop punker Plastic Bertrand. OK, it makes no sense lyrically, but it somehow motors along better. Still, once can always sing along to it and shout out on the dancefloor "HE GIVES ME..." Oh, and isn't Rundgren synonymous with shame?? ;)

Dearest Mentok, what say you?? Surely Plastic Bertrand was one of the most distinguished Belgians ever! And there are great cover versions out there - Thee Headcoatees and Sonic Youth spring to mind.

Dear C&B, I'll be jaunting down to NYC in June - that may well soak away any compassion I have left. P.S. That's an oddly compelling avatar you have there. The gals at work love it!

Dearest Tim, many thanks for your kind hospitality and transport. But did you have to abandon me on that Staines train with a posse of da yoof ov today? I felt soooo old...

A. B. Chairiet said...

I guess you've been back for a while now, but better late than never: Welcome Home!

I'm glad you made it safely, and had a total blast in London. :)

As for Lionel Ritchie: I kinda like Hello...I remember watching that video with my sister when we were kids.

"So she's blind? How'd she sculpt that head, then??" ;)

I like the the thought of time unsticking, and floating away.

Was Dallas really that bad?

Enjoy your Daddy time. :)

Take care,
~ Ash

sandpaperhearts said...

Check out PB & J on tour this month and next with Au Revoir Simone and Fujiya & Miyagi!

Check out the video for Object of My Affection at!

May 03 - Philadelphia, PA - TLA
May 04 - Boston, MA - Paradise
May 05 - Montreal, Quebec - Le National
May 06 - Toronto, Ontario - Phoenix
May 07 - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center
May 08 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
May 09 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
May 11 - Calgary - MacEwan Ballroom
May 12 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore
May 13 - Seattle, WA - Neumos
May 14 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
May 15 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's
May 16 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo's
May 17 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater POSTPONED
June 23 - Vienna, Donau Inselfest
July 01 - Istanbul, Radar Live
July 05 - Kristiansand, Quart Festival
July 06 - Roskilde, Festival
July 21 - Valencia, Benicasim
July 22 - Gurten, Festival
July 27 - Berlin, Festival
July 29 - Niigata, Fuji Rock