So yes, whilst I was disconnected from the world, I also happened to turn 23.
Well, it's not exactly a number I like, but you have to work with what you got, right? I have enjoyed odd numbers before, 17 and 19 being particular highlights. In all honesty, I was loving the second half of being 22, but it was a pretty rocky start.
There were lots of pre and post birthday celebrations which pretty much started with Nick and I going to Oxford.
It's no secret that Oxford and I haven't always gotten along. In fact, for a while there, we hated each other. But I have come to embrace the city now. This was my last visit there, possibly ever, so I wanted to make it count. And the place really is downright beautiful. For example, this is where my best friend lives (or lived, since she moved out today):
It's gorgeous. There's a deer park behind it. A bloody deer park! When we turned up that afternoon, people were playing croquet on the lawns. And I mean actually playing, not just arsing around with mallets like me and my friends would.
So the whole point of travelling to Oxford (other than some quality time with Vic) was to go to Formal Hall, something she's been trying to get me to do for three years. You get all dressed up and eat a three course meal in the college. And you can only do it when you know someone who goes there. Tres exclusive!
We all scrubbed up rather nicely, though I do say so myself (even Vic who had finished her exams a few days earlier and been trashed in her gown). I assumed pictures were forbidden in the dining hall and didn't want to make an ass of myself anyway. Needless to say, it was all very civilised. We ate cold soup, lamb and white chocolate mousse and Vic marvelled at Nick's talent to eat other people leftovers (something my parents happen to be rather impressed with too).
Oxford is a lovely place, particularly excellent for eating, which Nick and I did aplenty. From cookies to milkshakes, ice-cream and sandwiches. It ain't cheap, but it's all delicious :)
Next on the list of pre-birthday treats was the long-awaited (FIVE YEARS) Tom Vek gig at the Ruby Lounge.
You're probably aware of the Tom Vek story unless you've been living under a rock for a few months. Basically, the guy released his debut album back in 2005, did a handful of gigs and then, for all intents and purposes, disappeared.
No appearances, no cameos, no working with other artists. Nada, zip, zilch.
Pretty much every year thereafter a rumour would go around saying this was the year Tom would make his comeback, but, five years later, it was looking pretty unlikely. A bunch of sad Tom fans were left clutching their albums awaiting his return.
Then he pulled a total Radiohead on us. Suddenly he was back. New single, new video, new album and, best of all, a tour. Oh I was so there. So I dragged a rather unconvinced Nick along to hear the sounds of Mr. Vek.
And he didn't disappoint. The new album is solid, but it's grown on me more after seeing him live. Onstage he is rather shy and tends to get carried away with the music, often dancing to his own beat (so cute!) and closing his eyes as he sings. Nick and I bopped along (okay, I bopped) on the barrier, lapping up every song. Even better, that was the very night it was announced he'd be playing on the Festival Republic Stage at Leeds. Definitely gonna catch him there.
My birthday was a quiet one, which was fine by me. Got awesome presents (Vic's signed Frank Turner album being the pick of the bunch) and Nick and I went out for dinner and then to the Cornerhouse to watch Senna. I always like a quiet day, personally, and, though I still get excited about them, birthdays are starting to lose some of their appeal.
Rach's boyfriend Rob had his birthday a few days later so we combined celebrations and went out round Preston which was oodles of fun. You gotta love an alternative club! Moshing along to classic nu-rock and metal is what it's all about!
And I suppose that was my birthday in a nutshell. Now all my days off are pretty much spent up and life has become a waiting game as I slowly prepare for Leeds Fest (only two months away now!) with a few highlights on the way.
As always, since I find recording my life such a cathartic experience, I'll keep you posted!