Monday, October 18, 2010

Kiss the bottle

Aside from a few blood donations and some shifts at my university's gym, I have never really been one for volunteering my time or money. Maybe it's the Jewish surname or the Scottish ancestry, but I don't often give things away for free. However, on Thursday night I offered up some of my time to speak to local students heading to Australia to study.

It seemed like most of the group were heading to Wollongong, so Michael and I answered questions as best we could. I gave a quick speech about how great being unemployed and living near the beach can be, while Michael fielded private questions about sourcing particular chemical remedies. For all of our advice and wisdom, we were probably the best representatives the university could have sent over.

The next day Michael and I grabbed our seats on a crowded bus and headed along the Mass Pike towards Boston. Eoin joined us at the back of the bus as we guarded the toilet of Narnia, where it seemed people would only enter, never leave. In the few weeks since I was last in Boston, the Massachusetts greenery has continued its trajectory towards a yellow, orange and red colour palette. As the leaves fall, so does the temperature and by the time we reached our hostel the cold had already circumvented my hoodie and flannelette shirt.
Mike's costume wang.

After a quick walk around the block that involved perusing a costume store we both settled for some Thai curries at the local restaurant. Delicious as they were, we didn't linger and made tracks towards the House of Blues. Our route took us straight to Fenway Park, home of Boston's Red Sox baseball team. The massive stadium is somewhat haunting on an overcast night with no people around. Even if it is a ghost town when the team isn't playing, I'm sure the place is even scarier inside the stadium on game day.

Baseball creep

Look at that fucking hipster

The line outside the House of Blues was long, and given the spitting rain that was falling neither of us saw any point in waiting. Instead we headed to the bar inside Fenway, where the heating and Samual Adams made the waiting a much nicer experience.

Once inside the venue we set up our spot in the middle of the general admission area. We were inside for nearly an hour before there was any sign of music. All of a sudden a blonde, somewhat chubby Scottish guy came on-stage, apologised for being late and explained that his band's car had died in a bumpkin town outside of Boston. He played a song on his own while his band waited for their gear to arrive. As his song drew closer to its end, his band-mates came on stage with pedal cases and within 2 minutes were ready to play their set.
Moments after pulling his head out of his own arse, Mike shoves it up someone elses.

Their distortion pedals were foggy, the bassist sounded like he learnt to play by listening to Joy Division records and the drummer had that fantastically rigid Max Weinberg style. They were something in-between Mogwai, Sparta and Bloc Party, and put shortly; fantastic.

Though their set was cut short by transport difficulties they had done enough to win over the audience and I personally wouldn't have begrudged them for going overtime. At their final song they said good-bye to the crowd, while a few members of the audience yelled "who are you?". The man in front of us elucidated to us that they were "We Were Promised Jetpacks" and they would soon be my next googled term.

There was a very short wait before Jimmy Eat World took the stage. They started with 'Bleed American' and nearly sent the audience into epileptic fits. Not only were the lights flickering rapidly, but there were so bright that I was seeing red. Though I have seem them a few times before, I absolutely love Jimmy Eat World's live shows and even though Jim has lost his manboobs, his on-stage politeness is still there.

They played the extended version of Goodbye Sky Harbour and Jim did the outro by looping his voice over his voice over his voice over his voice over his voice. Better yet, they played Blister, my favourite song of theirs and one they've played everytime I've seen them. It was a 90 minute set that was well balanced with their staples and new album tunes. Though it wasn't as good as Soundwave this year, it was the second best time I've seen them.
Mike relives Sydney Uni

The weather was hovering a few units above zero by the time we left the concert and Michael and I were inadequately prepared. Our walk back was brisk, and even though we passed our share of girls in short dresses, one gentleman used ski goggles to protect himself from the cold.

After the show we went looking for a bar so we can have a nightcap, but even though I'm 24, the fact that I hadn't brought my passport with me meant I was not allowed in to the one sports bar we found. Tragically we settled for a midnight snack at Wendy's, and as unsatisfying as it was, it beat the hell out of lingering around the hostel's kitchen.

We planned on making an early exit from Boston so Michael could make it to rugby. My alarm went off, but we both slept in, forcing us to have a rapid breakfast (watered down tea, apple for the road) before heading for the bus to Amherst via two trains. We made it on time, and managed to get seats together on the highly competitive Peter Pan bus. The driver was an absolute gent to a lady with her young baby while she was waiting in line, but as soon as they were on the bus he gave her a hard time about the capsule she was carrying. In America your responsibilities to the law and your employer come before those of being a human.

His thick Russian accent made his announcements hilarious, but I was more than happy to get off the bus and head straight to the shower. Once washed I immediately turned around and headed to the football stadium with Jess, Alex and Dicky Peach. We got there in time for the tail-end of the tailgate and watched the first quarter of the football game.

Quickly we hatched  a plan for the night, and executed it almost immediately. A quick stop at the bottle shop for some Narragansetts was followed by a bus trip where Ollie proceeded to tell everyone about his life in a hilarious, not so subtle manor. We all grabbed a quick dinner before heading to Ollie's room, which he had converted into a table for beirut/beer pong.

The beers were flowing quickly and beirut transformed into flip cup. Better yet, it got competitive, where the English lads lined up against the rest of the world for 'The Ashes'. Us worldies were absolutely killing it for a while, making the poms look like absolute amateurs. The games got more and more competitive, the sledging fiercer and the celebrations more grand. It wasn't even 7:30 and I was already approaching the end of my cans.

Sam and I teamed up for a quick game of beer pong and even though we were down four cups to one we produced a comeback Steve Waugh would have loved to take the win. In celebration I jumped all over Ollie's bed, knocking over my beer and spilling it all over my new pea-coat. Who cares, as I told everyone in the room that my jumping was the most action the bed was going to see.

Everyone was shocked when we realised it was only 8PM. Blame it on the games, the weather, the banter or whatever, but everyone was ripped and the sun had only just fallen asleep. A group of us caught a bus into town, but for all of the lines at the bar we decided against bars and went in search of a party. With Kate and Max leading the way, we made it to the ski club party and talked our way past the people watching the door.

The party went down well, meeting some nice people and running into fellow international students. The international charm was working for some, while others were passing out on couches. Slightly confused by all the alcohol, Max and I wondered off, taking what felt like the long way to college pizza. Inside we witnessed a 10 year old kid waiting tables at 1AM, a lady giggle at our drunk accents and our attempts at getting a chicken and bacon ranch pizza.

We ventured outside to eat our custom slice and drew the attention of some passing girls. When Max told them his accent was from London one of them replied, "Oh my god London! Is that in France?"...bless American girls. We convinced the girls to walk half a block with us to the house on Sunset. Along the way a group of jocky frat boy types walk past and one decided he would throw in a shoulder. Undeterred I yelled back "What the fuck is wrong with you?" as one of the girls asked "what the hell is wrong with you, are you trying to get beat up?'. "No!" I replied, "we just don't do that where I come from," ignorant to the fact that it happens as much in Crown St Mall as Amherst, Massachusetts.

When we made it to Sunset the place was full of fog. Again they had left their smoke machine on for hours and it was near impossible to see anything. It didn't stop anyone from enjoying themselves, as I danced on the coffee table before pop, locking and dropping it. I left Max, the most innocent lady-slayer since Adam first courted Eve, with his Sunset crew and made the 30 minute walk back to Lewis.

If confusing London for a place in France wasn't a hilarious American girl moment, today I heard one of my favourites.While on the phone a girl was getting enthusiastic about a point she was making; "exactly, ig-fucking-zactly". It was like poetry. Anyway, my Halloween costumes arrived today. Enjoy the previews!
Billy Bob


We Were Promised Jetpacks - It's Thunder and It's Lightning.
Enjoy the loveliest surprise Friday night offered.

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