Spring not bouncing just yet

Welcome to the merry month of March.  On the first day of the month I had more than one person wish me good tidings on what was apparently the first official day of Spring.  Five days later I am sitting here writing while listening to the sound of rainwater dropping loudly into the courtyard.  Prior to this I spent the afternoon at the Terminal leaning heavily into a stiff gale whenever I took a step outside the buildings, occasionally in genuine fear of being blown over.  England’s ‘April Showers’ have got some way to go before they match this little lot.

Weather apart it has been a good evening though.  I have just entertained my first group of guests at this apartment; indeed my first group of house guests at any time since my becoming a full time resident of this city; and it appears to have been a successful night.  The plan was simple enough which helped: four of us plus pizza plus a few drinks plus a DVD.  Spice was added by the cultural mix: me the Brit, my friends all Azeri and the film “The 51st State” – a fine linguistic cocktail of British and American slang and Liverpudlian accents topped off with the curious phenomenon of watching Samuel L. Jackson walking around in a kilt for the duration.  It was a good laugh and I think we all benefited from having the English subtitles switched on: for me it was the first time I have seen a film where not only are song lyrics subtitled during the singing but a quick caption goes up at the beginning of the piece identifying title and artist – a dream cheat for train-spotters.

My original plan for this week’s scribble (in so far as I ever plan it) was to send a selection of photographs I have taken of assorted Soviet-era art as observed on the highways and byways of Baku.  Unfortunately having left my camera at a friend’s house for safe keeping on Sunday night I have thus far failed to complete plans for its return so I think we had best leave that little offering for later.

My reason for parting with the camera was so that I would not have to entrust it to a cloakroom attendant during my visit to Infiniti – the nightclub I wrote about last week – for the electro, breaks and trance night that I had seen advertised for the evening.  While the previous drum and bass event was good but strayed from what was promised, this time around the music was both high quality and played as billed.  The crowd of maybe forty people was unfairly small but if word spreads as well as I hope it will it is good to think that the venue will eventually fill.  After several nights spent in London clubs packed wall to wall with cynical, po-faced punters I found it refreshing to be part of even a tiny group of people who were clearly getting a lift from dancing to the music.  During the evening I made a point of chatting to one of the DJ’s and discussing the chance of playing a slot myself.  The good news is that we got on well and exchanged numbers; the bad news is that my ‘phone skipped a digit and I didn’t see it until today so I have to find an other way of contacting the guy.  It’s a small town and I have leads – he will be found and I will play.

Other news during the week has mostly been straightforward stuff: skirmishes at work and so on.  A glimmer of light in that regard is that the obstructive fellow who has been making my life so difficult appears to be on holiday for a while and I am finding his very pleasant colleague to be far more amenable to progressive decision-making in his absence; very refreshing.  While talking shop I will also note in passing that I attended my first regional business unit Engineering Quarterly Performance Review (QPR) on Friday.  The presentation skills of all but the last of the speakers were mediocre at best and the use of the space was appalling but I walked away with a transparent, three-inch-tall oil drum with a wee globule of Azeri crude in the heart of it so I can now consider myself truly initiated into the Azerbaijan Business Unit Engineering fraternity; hurrah…

Certain readers might be interested to know that I have finally played a bass guitar again for the first time in many moons.   A chap I have met at the Terminal is a guitarist with a Fender Jazz bass on the side and one of each amp and he wants to get a band together.  We had our first jam a few nights ago and it went encouragingly enough for both of us to think we should be doing it again; if a drummer can be found too then so much the better.  Watch this space and watch out Baku – an other dodgy covers band could be coming soon.

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