Thursday, 5 August 2010

She and me (That's how it starts...)

Think of the most romantic moment of your life; work that memory of yours hard. I want you to taste that memory. The eyes that you looked into, the skin you touched and the hair you smelt. Or perhaps there was nobody there but you. A letter dropped through the door onto the mat, and you opened it, and read the words you were longing to read; or the words you didn't expect to read; or the words you never thought anyone would ever write to you.

Yeah, it didn't quite happen like that. I met She in a field in a valley; gentle warmth radiating from the earth, baked but soft, like chocolate brownies, amidst palm trees and gruff, reassuring mountains... alright, I gotta stop that. It was Coachella 2007, Thursday evening, as folks were arriving and setting up camp. She had a flag and a boyfriend, I had a couple carloads of friends from San Francisco and the UK, and a girlfriend. We set up in a rough corridor of fans obsessed/enamoured with/y'know, kinda fond of Arcade Fire, courtesy of Us Kids Know. Well, courtesy of She. She had organised the partitioning of an area of campsite for us to congregate and talk about Montreal, the Butler brothers and that tall ginger guy who looks like Napoleon Dynamite. She had done this group camp thing before; with, um, Radiohead fans. Yeah.

It wasn't an auspicious kind of meeting; for me it felt like I was collecting friends. I spent most of that year trying to collect friends. I spent '06-'07 in San Francisco on a study exchange program. It was a year spent in bars and parties and restaurants and classes and apartments and parks and in the back rooms of San Francisco's only independent Pirate Supply Store. I had around 50 weeks to collect experiences, memories and ticket stubs before I returned to Loughborough, and Norwich. So I was on a hang-the-expense, if-it-feels-good-do-it kind of trip. Pay attention to that intention, it turns out kind of important a little further down the line.

So there we were. Like-minded people meeting and talking and laughing and drinking, in a hot-as-balls desert location that nobody in their right mind would think a suitable venue for a three-day music festival. Oh, California. Crazy...

Flash forward three and a bit years, and we're getting married.

What the Eff? You know, I'll let her fill you in on the details. She's good at that; my memory's awful, even when it comes to happy memories. If time is a river, my memory is one thousand, seven hundred and thirty-three yellow plastic ducks, released at the same time, all sponsored by a child or a family or a corporation or a Rotary Club or a Masonic Lodge or boy scouts for £1/$1 each with the proceeds going to charity and the winner getting a bike or a blue plaque or a pat on the back. They bob down the river, most of them staying all together but a few get lodged between tree branches, or stuck in weeds, or fished out by a curious heron, and stay where they are. And that's my memory.


So. She is American as St Patrick's Day and The Godfather; I am as English as Neil Gaiman and Burger King. See, because Burger King is American but someone once told me it was originally an English chain, and because it is "King" it suggests monarchy, which England is, and... oh, nevermind, the analogy made sense to me. I want to live in America, She wants to live in England, setting the scene for a comedy of hilarious misunderstandings and, oh, wait, not that at all.

We each want to be in the other's country. And be with each other. Well, shit. Solution: get married, move to San Francisco! Look, it makes more sense if she explains it, ok?

This is just the rambling introduction that will be tied together intricately and satisfyingly as the series/movie/novel/blog progresses. Trust me.


What happens is, we use this blog to discuss the progress of my visa application so I can actually go to America and marry this most excellent of women and we can start living the way we want to live. In the meantime, we will be posting here about exactly how we plan to go about doing this. And some random stuff as well.

I write fiction and songs, she writes journalism and insightful, incisive and surprising emails. Some of these may appear here. Sometimes I might post about a nice meal I had. Sometimes I might go weeks without posting (I say "I", I don't want to cast aspersions on Her productivity/motivation). Kind of going for a bittersweet, arms-reaching-towards-each-other-in-a-futile-ballet-of-ocean-divided-love (yeah, the Atlantic is like the world's biggest cock-block right now), rising towards a cathartic, sickening conclusion when we get married and go all lovey-dovey. I wouldn't read this blog if I were you.


Also. We both kinda like music, so, uh, here you go.

Songs listened to whilst writing this post, dithering beforehand:

British Sea Power: Waving Flags
Mountain Goats: Distant Stations
Journey: Ask The Lonely
Nirvana: Tourettes
Chris Isaac: Wicked Game
Laura Marling: Shine
Mountain Goats: 1 John 4:16
Broken Records: Slow Parade
Jets To Brazil: In The Summers When You Really Know
The National: Fake Empire
The Magnetic Fields: The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side
Manic Street Preachers: 4st 7lbs
Bruce Springsteen/Seeger Sessions Band: Mrs McGrath
Gomez: Bring It On
Aesop Rock: None Shall Pass
TV On The Radio: Walking The Cow

Note: no symbolism is to be inferred by the use of any of these songs. Especially not Journey.


  1. Hi Tom

    I'm Meghan - thank you for allowing us to meet you (virtually - at least) through the blog. I'm glad you think Gina is awesome as I do.
    Keep up the commentary!

  2. Aw thanks Meghan (I assume this is Meghan B.)! I didn't see this until today for some reason. Thanks for reading!