Monday, 29 November 2010

Short Story - "Home Advantage"

She was an Everton fan. I was a Liverpool fan. This is likely all the back story you need.

"Get off our pitch!" she shouted at me.

"Our boys never walk alone!" I yelled back, thinking myself clever.

I was young and full of bile and sperm. She was similarly charged, for her team.

We had a bad run that day, and what a shame.

We met again, by luck of the draw, the next month.

"Get off our pitch!" I shouted at her.

"Right after we kick your arses!" she yelled back - much more inventive than me as it turned out.

Down the pub afterwards, I got drunk, which helped me explain the finer points of why my team is so much better than hers. At the same time, she got drunk and that helped her explain the finer points of why her team is so much better than mine.

"But we beat you," I told her, which obviously made us better.

"Home advantage," she replied, but I was having none of that.

We went home and left our friends to argue, though our tongues still fought on the way home, in their own way. Our formations were tight, with excellent wing play and some smart tackling at the back.

"Three - one!" I shouted at some point during the night.

"Home advantage!" she shouted back.

I let her have that one.

It was another three months before we met again.

"Get off my pitch!" I shouted.

"My turf's always better, boy - wish your entire team was buried under it!" she shouted back. She was definitely more inventive than I was.

When half time came around, I called her up and asked: "Want to have a few minutes on the run from my centre forward?"

"At Anfield?" she said. "You'd get more arousal out of a chicken."

It's a shame Everton won that one, but I still love derby games.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Blog - "Retro Gaming Nostalgia"

There are a couple of people in the world that I literally can not imagine my life without. A few months ago, one of these people told me that he was taking me to see a film. I was okay with this, despite having no prior knowledge of the film in question. He told me it would be fantastic, and I chose to believe him. That film was Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and he was right: it was utterly magnificent.

Alongside the film, they released a game that we’ve been playing over the last couple of weeks. It’s a simple enough game, and, beautifully, it puts me in mind of all those lovely little beat-em-ups I enjoyed so much as a kid.

Does anybody remember Double Dragon? Now there was simplicity at its best. One button punched, the other kicked and both together did a flying kick. All of this on a scrolling 2D landscape? Sounds like heaven to me. Yes, the film adaptation was little more than a joke, but you can’t really hold that against Double Dragon, can you?

Golden Axe was another one that I devoted a healthy chunk of my life to. I played the dwarf, with the axe and the lightning special attack. I don’t know why, especially not now, but he just seemed much tougher than the alternatives, and I wasn’t really into playing female characters at the time, since they were always built weaker. It seems to be an accepted paradigm that your female characters will always be weaker than the male ones. The fantasy elements of Golden Axe held quite the draw for me.

That was nothing though. No game held my complete devotion like Streets Of Rage. I still come back to it now, to take Axel everywhere from boat to skyscraper. I used to love throwing people from that outside elevator on level seven. I still do. My love affair for Streets Of Rage extended as far as the second game, but the robot with the extendable arms and old man face very much turns me off the third one.

Scott Pilgrim has that old Streets Of Rage magic, but with good old RPG style stat boosts and level ups. Everything from the soundtrack to throwing weapons takes me back to my childhood and, for a writer, that’s where all imagination lives. Even if it is a game of repetitively beating the crap out of anything and everything, that’s enough for me.

It’s anger management in its purest form, and I love it.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Blog - "Concussions"

Hey again,

It's rare that you can say 'i had a short day today', but you often hear people say 'i had a long day today'. I had one of those last night.

Fridays are fairly textbook for me. I volunteer to help out at a Youth Club, then certain members of the staff go out for drinks. Our regular closed down a fortnight ago, and I didn't attend last week, leaving this as being the first time we tried somewhere different instead. Other than a poor DJ, the pool was cheap. I ran into a few old friends, made a few new ones and convinced everybody I was a lot more drunk than I actually was because I hadn't had much to eat and I wasn't in the mood for heavy drinking. When it closed we spent half an hour in another pub, then went outside to go our separate ways.

It's at this point that the concussion happened. 

I'm a little sketchy on the details, due to the fact that I wasn't really paying attention just before it all went dark, but unconsciousness reigned for a while, so I'm told. I've never been a fan of A & E, but when you're instructed to go, you go, and you have to stay awake, without eating or drinking anything, until a Doctor has checked you out and officially found you fine.

Of course, upon getting home at about 5am, I found myself sleeping through for almost nineteen hours. When I woke up, it was dark again, but at least I woke up.

Other than that, not all that much to tell. Slow week.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Blog - "Quirks And Mirrors"

Good day cheerful readers who earn me a living. This, as usual, is Tom Colohue. Now...

I have a big interest in people. Not in an I-watch-crowds-of-homeless-people-pissing-in-alleys sort of way. Psychologically, I have a big interest in people. If I don't understand something then I tend to develop a big interest in it, since I hate it when I don't understand something. People are a prime example of this. I just don't get it.

People, in general, make a fair chunk of sense. When you have the option to generalise and make broad, sweeping and all encompassing statements you can basically pull whatever truths you want out of the air. That's not what interests me. What interests me is the tiny, often subtle and intricate nuances of individuals. The quirks - if you will. That's what truly separates people.

Have you ever stopped to look at somebody you know, just to experience the things that they do that nobody else does? Everybody has something, and more have plenty more than just one. Nevertheless, quirks and personality traits tend to operate in the peripheral vision. Most people just don't expect to see these things, so they don't. It's that expectant perspective thing again. Everybody has blind spots you see.

What about you then, dear reader? Do you know what your individual quirks are, because I'm sure you have plenty? Where did they come from? What do they say about you?

There's so much more to a person than just what's in the mirror.

Tom Colohue

Friday, 5 November 2010

Blog - "Belonging In Motion"

So, Tom Colohue's on a train again. Greetings from the nicely crowded train to Manchester Airport.

I feel certain that, at some point, we've all felt the urge to be anywhere but home. You can't put your finger on the exact reasons yet, but you're just feeling restless and in need of a break. You know what I mean; I'm sure. You just need to step out of your life for a little while. With this in mind, I've finally decided the following:

I absolutely love trains.

It might well be all of the excitement of Tommyfest so short a time ago, but my life has seemed quite droll lately. It can't help that the Ultimate-Guitar London mini-festival was last year - leaving me trying to hire a drumkit, on the day of the event, from the train down there. I didn't even realise how much I loved that until a time afterwards, but I did.

Even though, this time, there's no big event coming, I'm quite excited inside. I'm not trying to discuss my niece, or her parents here; I love them both to pieces, but the events that I manage give me an incredible rush of belonging that I've never received from my family. It feels like I'm going back to work, and I'm near ecstatic about it.

The farther I get from home, the better I feel. Even fighting a cold and being annoyingly single: this eclipses that. I need more festivals to work, and more interviews to do. I need to soak up the utter beauty of music events and spend my life as part of it all. My home is the train now, and I most certainly did not expect that.

I suppose it's all about belonging really. I've worked from home too long to like it, but the world at large is still a scary place. Do I belong here? Do I belong there? Maybe I belong somewhere I haven't even discovered yet? How would I know?

I suppose I'll be on the trains a while yet.

Tom Colohue