Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My december

There is a season, whether you turn or not. Everyone has one. Variations on old themes, the filigree work consists of the usual maple raging crimson leaves and pollen allergies.

For me its december.... my december. I realized this while walking back from the library this evening in Portland.

Cold winds scurry by your feet in rippling waves, coddling your toes into a delicate shade of glacial blue. Wind blows through every buttoned fastening, and the sun is there, bright, gazing intently out across the grass and fattened squirrels in long sight-lines of pale gold light, warm when you touch it, like 6 inches away from a flame.

But you do not feel warm. You do not feel May.

There are no people, and the grass does not speak, but only moves like tired people in an overcrowded bus swaying at every left turn.

The trees are magnificent, and cold here in Portland. Like the sun, and like it, they too are bright.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


In ancient times, before setting out on a journey men and women were given talismans-charms to protect them against evil, to give them strength, to remind them of home.

Unless of course, they didnt have any time to pack. Ahem.

In which case, all that is taken is words given and the memory of a few moments spent where people came, met, gathered on cool, dark-nighted terrace, and spoke and ate and took pictures together.

Thus, on the occasion of my imminent departure for yankville on a little plane that served turbulence and iced pepsi, I hereby post these words, which I think serve best as a... not a start. A point of reference: a bodhi treeish one. My thanks to the Earl of Babbleburgh for the same- may your words remain everclear, and your heart forever free.

1. Some of the people on that terrace and some who weren't there, you will never meet again. Each will go their own way. Sometimes, paths will intersect. Other times, lines will run in parallel and meet only at infinity. Don't leave things unsaid - you never know which ones you are going to be meeting again and which ones you aren't.

2. It will feel like a loss intitially - letting go of places and people will only come after a while. When it does, it will be liberating. Don't pine for time to return. Don't hold on too tight - flow with the current of time or it will just tear you apart. Cherish the memories though.

3. Some of the new peple you meet will be more important than people on that terrace and people who couldn't make it to the terrace. Embrace them with open arms.

4. The Indian word for signifying associations between people is "bandhan" - literally, something that ties. The Western/English word relationships, signifies links. Links will free you, "bandhans" will tie you. Choose judiciously where you want links and where you want ties.

5. The part of you that seeks freedom will at times be stifled by the part of you that creates links and ties. Over time, you will find that free will only allows us to choose our chains. It will initially appear paradoxical but you will appreciate the underlying beauty and subtlety some day. If and when you do, you will come to accept the universe as a beautiful place filled with wonderful sights and sounds, places and people. Hope that day comes to you.

6. You are responsible for everything that happens to you in your lifetime. You are not to be blamed for those events though.Take responsibility. If things are good, revel. If not, learn, move on. Life is too short to be frittered away - learn to forgive yourself.

copyright 2005, Babbleburgh.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005



Pain is never what comes with trumpeting hellfire and groans of the last flood and eternal torment. Pain never comes with flashlights and blue pencils. At least not the kind of pain that sits across the table from me today, and stares at its chipped nails, and then outside moodily, at the windswept gentle sunlit trees.

Pain has frayed jeans, and wakes staring dilatedly into the eyes of a paramedic who claps his hands in its face, and stares without human light at a body that’s bruised with memory and noise, and notices not the skin, but the shivering body that is a sign of life just returning from the OD sigh-post. Pain shivers, whimpers and wraps itself in a white bed sheet, hoping for death which means to be silent, quiet. Pain was born blind, and wanted to try meth instead of plasticine and prom nights to fill the empty draws that love left when it moved houses. Pain is then wheeled into a darkened room in the ER… and in a day, or two, or three, pays a bill, and walks through automatic doors, lighting a cigarette in the 4:23pm sunlight.

Pain will often go to the bars and restaurants and cd racks where memories of how things used to be still live, and will poke around in old bills and passwords now changed looking for what it cannot forget, and yet cannot feel anymore.

Pain stands under ice cold showers, and is ruthlessly efficient with toilet paper. Pain will recite “now is the winter of our discontent” and “aye there’s the rub: for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause”- And will always skip the remaining part of the Prince’s soliloquy till the line “thus conscience doth makes cowards of us all”. Pain will mutter this, and climb up over grass, and down hills.

Pain stands still when people cry, and will not run if its shoulder is made damp by someone who for a moment cannot see its funny-scary face, because of the power of that someone’s own grief. Pain will not cry except during La Amistad, and Braveheart. Why? Because once pain used to be like that, chained, and yelling for something worth something more than a credits roll.

Pain will in the middle of the afternoon like a scratching old man, remember scented hair and soft touches and jokes and pictures. And like an old man, will wonder where the cleaning lady put that album, or maybe the kids took it with them, or maybe its in the basement and maybe if I try going down the stairs alone I will fall and then maybe at least pieces of me if not all of me nose to chin to gut to groin to knees to toes will be with that album again... and peer for faded dates through faded eyes, and sleep in dust and a night where the cockroaches sniff and run by worried, knowing things will change soon.

Pain will even take phone calls, answer mails, and refuse to argue. Pain will remember numbers and will apologize like an awkward child standing alone after being hit by a Frisbee and the accompanying laughter.

Pain will then pull off sandals and run like a wet wild intent animal swift over a deserted playing field in the warm spiced mud and rain, lightly, only on toes, through driving water and lights made woozy by the curtain of water, running till the light but remembering that this night, this darkness will stay forever like a naphthalene ball among cuffs and tail-end buttons…

Pain does not remember what Shakespeare said about spring.

Pain will consider disconnecting the phone, finishing a bottle, picking up the receiver, quitting forever.

Pain will then check for its keys, push back the chair, and get up and walk away.

But only to wander in wet wild intent swift circles, with a cold long tooth of an iron comb spiked into its heel on every step down and forward.

And then maybe, like a dog at night after many circles, it will lay me down, lay you down, lay us down…

To die. To sleep. Perchance to dream. Or perchance, to not.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

From the land of hills and pine trees

There is so much to tell you. So very much. About planes, and customs officials, and hospitals, and Dimitri the waiter, a man named Saleh Taki, and all you can eat buffets, and dorm rooms, and japanese girls who walk barefoot and eat dried mushrooms... and so much more.

For all those who care and are curious, Portland is beautiful, Lewis & Clark has trees that have old gnarled noses on them, I landed here safely on the 13th of this month and the countries represented around me range from Syria, Morocco, Bahrain and Jordan, to Vietnam, and Japan.

One thing tho- Bob the blue goblin wants his own blog. Just a little space to squiggle about the way things are around here, in a world which is beyond 'Inscrutable Americans' and Michael Moore. Look out for a new clown fish in the fishbowl- will provide the link the minute its up.

For now, while I gleefully stomp through comparitive studies home work, and cross cultural psychology, here's a place where Im putting up some of the work I've done over the past couple of years, where its easier to look at since I have no more my documents to call home. And no, its not a phonemic narcissism.

[And if you think so, you needn't click on the bloody link, so wipe that smug look off thy mug. Hmpf.]

Ahem. Apologies. That goblin's been antsy ever since he found out they're passing a bill to restrict otherworldy creature snarkiness in human blogs.

Right-ho. Its

-Come by... and much apologies for the heavy scrolling. And to all those who know there are emails pending from my side- thankyou for your indulgence. And patient waiting. Computer lab clearance having just been... erm.. cleared, them wordy birds will follow shortly.

Unless of course the patient- and silent- waiting just means no one really wants to hear from me.


*determined snort*

Tough! You're STILL getting them squawkers.

Wishes, from sweatered day times, and the ocasional cheesy bagel. Be well.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

18:09pm and counting....

Am leaving. Am breathless. Am not going to be blogging for a day, or two, or three.

Till then, god and whatever else is smiling and free, be with thee.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Munnsamy of the cycle-rickshaw

Forget count-downs, and send offs, and trumpets, and burning latin capitals and 11th houring. The fact is that I am to leave this country for two years in little more than 24 hours, and:

a) I still haven't packed.

b) I still haven't loaded all the music I want onto my ipod.

c) I haven't written, visited, said, called or mailed all that I set out to.

Vae victis. Funnily enough, my Fall this time is due to no hubris. This time round, my hamartia is nothing but bad time management. And Im sure if these IIM gods ever got to chatting up aristotle, I'd actually have a greek term for it.

Dischronus, maybe.

Sounds good at least.

Anyway, inspite of my tragic flaw, yesterday I set out bravely in the evening to try and accomplish filling my ipod [who's name is Arion. That's another story, another post] with music from a friend's collection- everything, from Tull to the Doobie brothers, with a whooshing sweep of the entire Pink collection, right from saucerful of secrets down to... yeah well. Its a 20 Gb 'pod, so thats a lot of songs. I set out at 5:20, hoping to put everything in at least by 8.

Pounding along the road in sweaty striding socks I realized that this would probably be the last time I haggle with a madrasi auto-driver. The thought instead of softening my outlook, turned the embering need of driving a good bargain up into a burning Will To Not Pay More Than What Was Right.

Right. So the 41 degrees had put all auto-dudes in a bad mood. No one felt sportive enough to indulge in the back-and-forth. While my fourth wet-blanket victim was puttering off in a huff, I noticed yells in the vernacular being emitted from the other side of the road. The word "meddem" was heard. Figured the guy was referring to me.

Its a good feeling, this. Being recognised on the road, even if its just for commercial need, is still a heart-warming fact. You and your money are called out to, cajoled. I two-stepped over to the one who was "medemming" and it was when I was at the exact centre of the road that I noticed the murky yellow cycle rickshaw he was standing with.

One does not pause in the middle of roads. One does, however, think of time and the lack thereof and humbly accept a 35 rupee auto-driver statement because of ipodical needs.

Me and One don't seem very alike. I stood there, letting self-righteous little puttering autos go by, letting time tick-tock on, letting more "meddems" bang on the doors of my mind cheerfully.

The cycle rickshaw man promised to get me there "fasht only, meddem". He thumped the seat and beamed at me from behind his slow dripping curtain of sweat.

I did not think of time. I did not think of still incomplete packing. I instead thought of how much fun it would be to go on my first cycle rickshaw ride just when I was leaving this country.

I delicately heaved myself onto the seat, bemused. Pulled out my phone [yes his name is STILL Barney] and began messaging 3 people of my adventure.

One of them was dad. Who immediately called up to cordially enquire whether I was sure I was feeling alright, and was it very hot outside, and maybe I should've taken a hat to prevent the heat from getting to my brain, which it evidently had already done. He then chirpily proceeded to order me off the rickshaw. I nodded, verbally, and continued rolling along after he had rung off.

The same route I had travelled everyday of my life for the past three years, for aforementioned friend lived near college. Familiar faces and canine tails passed by- very slowly, tis true, but passed by they did: Auto-stands and their inhabitants, tea kadais, a sweet mongrel with a pink nose, trees, cops, garbage piles.... slowly, very slowly.

Maybe the shot of glee was gulped down by my mind and spine the way it was because all that slow parade meant only one thing to me- I would never see all of this for a while, and when I did see it again, it would not be the same way. And I would not be the same way either. And that is good.

A bit of a feel of Caesar re-entering Rome with captured nubians then, but that all ended the moment the rickshaw, the white shirted-dhotied sweating man and I came upon the over-bridge near my house. Its then that I started concentrating on Munnsamy.

For that is his name, as I found out later.

From where I sat, I could see his cable-thin tendons stretched and could feel the immense deluge of sweat that can only come when you peddle me up an lazily curving bridge in traffic under a 41 degree sky. He was just one strained line, from his neck to his ankle tendons, was Munnsamy. Shiny mahogany, all these men of southern dust. Slight, with a face roughly carved out of the wrinkly shell of a nut. This little man in white peddled till he could no more, then hopped off his cycle to guide his rickshaw through traffic and carry me over the bridge.

The bear went over the mountain,
the bear went over the mountain,
the bear went over the mountain
to see what he could see.


Funnily enough, my half sheepish, half furtive and all amused looks around me showed me that no one thought it was funny for Munnsamy to be pulling this large, red-haired person up a bridge on a vehicle usually used for midget school children, squalling in bunches of 5's and 6's, all wearing blue uniforms and water-bottles. No police men yelled, and buses though lumbering whales otherwise, gently grumbled by, letting him pass.

Letting his pass. In a city where everyone is trying to get as fast as they can to wherever they must be, no one yelled at Munnsamy. This struck me as pretty cool, and I say that because there is no other phrase that can catch the unconcerned nuance of the thing. Madras may have killer water-lorries, ambulances who use their sirens to get through traffic lights, and multiple lane traffic which lack yellow lines.... but it does have a heart and roadspace for cycle rickshaws.

Munnsamy finds the leftest side of the road the moment we reach level ground, the ends of both his legs firmly planted into pedals that pump slow down and over.

The ends of both his legs, firmly planted into pedals that pumps slow down and over are just stumps. Munnsamy has no feet. He told me that an electrical cable fell on them and that's how it happened. This fact was preceeded and followed by him earnestly mentioning his four children. He later said there were three- whether due to a sudden burst of conscience, fatigue or coz he considered 3 a more auspicious number than 4, which it is, Im not sure.

The entire experience was punctuated by me appealing to him with my pidgin tamil to please stop, very nice now will pay already late. To which, Munnsamy wiped his face with the palm of his hand briskly and shook his head at me with the ferocity of a hippopotamus who's been interrupted in his first mating of the season.

I was overwhelmed. This little man would not let me down. No reasoning would work- He had undertaken to peddle me 4 kms, and peddle me he did. The last half a km was punctuated with him mentioning hospital visits and children's sicknesses and such.
Which I also like.

Get this straight, Jack Canfield. Chicken soup may work elsewhere, but here our stories are more simple, our angels more uneven-tempered, our sacrifices often at first hesitant and often-jovially so- grumbled about with family and friends.

How on earth am I supposed to know the right price for a cycle rickshaw ride of 4kms in evening traffic? I was an hour late, and a steel knob and my coccyx became close friends. And yet- he had peddled like a trojan hero, if trojan heroes did ever cycle. He had stumps that he capitalized on only while disputing the fare. He sulked when I gave him 50 bucks. Him showing me the telephone number of his children's teacher, saying that she would verify that what he said about his kids was the truth. Me handing him notes with all the "sandhosham" or happiness and gratefulness that he invoked when I asked him "how much?". That followed by the mutterings, the grumblings. Exasperated, I asked him why can't you tell me a price and I will pay?

No. Out of "sandhosham". I jumped across the road and scurried into the lane in which my friend lives, leaving Munnsamy to ask for water from a nearby watchman and peddle wherever else he had to go.

"Sandhosham". That's all I suppose he lives on these days, apart from his determined peddling, albeit the lack of toes. Achilles had more written about him, but was lesser than Munnsamy. There, a pierced heel killed him, and much pollution coz of pyric flames and then- Nothing. Munnsamy grumbles, mumbles, sweats and cycles with stumps that he walks and cycles with.

"Many heroes are not yet born, many have already died.
To be alive to hear this song, is a victory"
- West African Song.

Someone please tell me what I should've payed him. And yes- albeit sounds good too. Like Dischronus.

A post on the way, but while it comes... YIPPEEEE!!! Got the entire forever gold collection of Freddie and crew on my ipod. Life is beautiful. And still has a kind o' magic. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

she who "caught and sang the sun in flight"

Sister Basil Quinn died on April 28th, 2005 on the Church Park campus, in her bed, quietly and in peace.

She was an 88 year old Irish nun, who scorned all forms of transport except walking and the public transport bus service in Madras. In fact considering the constancy of human nature, if not human emotions, I’m pretty sure even if they did have a shuttle service at the pearly gates for senior citizens, she'd probably make a particularly rude Latin gesture in scornful benediction and then proceed to stride past a jaw-dropped St. Pete right up to His Throne- At which point she would then proceed to discuss the bad roads on the Way Up but at least there wasn't a water problem up here, yes? I should hope not!! Tea? Yes, I would love that, thank you so much...

That was Sr. basil's way, and so much more. How did I know her?

She lived in the convent that administered the management of the school I studied in. The school was everything all convent schools are in this part of the world- Green pinafores with bloomers [elasticated puffy shorts that would be used in every impromptu school Shakespearian production if the students weren't yet in the 11th grade. Once you were in the 11th, the faculty suddenly decided that you had a new found dignity that didn’t allow for bloomers on the outside over stretch tights while lisping "now is the winter of our discontent"], which turned to salwar-kameez in the- yes you guessed it- 11th grade. There were the voice raining classes, where we'd shriek along in F minor to Tom Dooley. There were the art classes where we were taught everything from painting to embroidery: I escaped from the embroidery coz my grandmum used to be art teacher there- ha! I'd claim a piece of art paper and would then proceed to demonstrate in water color what Dali would've done if he squished a cheese burger at a Macdonalds only to find a black beetle scurry away gasping carrying a very tiny pomegranate on its back. Swear to god. Still have the painting to prove it. [Proof of love, btw- mum keeps everything I scribble or dribble paint on, even things like this].

In this school, we had the usual mix of twisted morals emotions and sexuality that only exists when you have a bunch of women living together most of whom have been there studying for 14 years of their existence, and most of whom have never interacted with the male specie other than the occasional cousin or hopeful neighbor. Nothing particularly decadent at all- THAT came with college.

[A blue tail flickers out my door, gurgling as I fling my hairbrush after it. There should be a ban on rude blue goblins. At least red goblins are "meant" to be rude. Geez.]

We had great teachers. And not just in English- One thing I will say for my old school: no other convent school had teachers like ours. May their tribe increase, at least the few I’m referring to. They called a spade a spade and weren't above dragging you out by your flagging conscience and standing there calmly-metaphorically- till you shoveled your own shit. I respect them for that. Any respect I have for authority comes only because of them.

Anyway. Life would've gone Jane Austenly in that school if it hadn't been for a few things- One of them was Sister Basil.

She and I met in my grandmother’s art room- 80 something and beginning to get extremely forgetful, she nonetheless had an Irish lilt and blue eyes and laugh that had my attention glued- to what she was saying, to the energy I could sense, to her humor and the fact that she like me thought all hierarchy sucked- its funny, even when she's spoken of God which has been once or twice, I never heard any snivelling remarks about masters and sheep.

You couldn’t help liking this lady, really. She never let the fact she was a nun act as a buffer between the world and her mind. She walked everywhere, alone. She spoke with everyone, had an opinion on everything, and stayed in madras because she preferred the weather here. Ireland, she said, was too cold.

I loved her. Still do. With her the little things and the big things were the same; you could never have trivial conversation with her- your real opinion, who you are, or nothing thank you very much. AND you can KEEP your tea! That’s how she was.

I remember bunking a two-hour math period in the 9th and going looking for her in the convent. An India-Pakistan match was on, and she called me inside the convent to watch it on tv with her. So aye, I couldn't be caught for bunking coz I was on holy ground-

[Apologies, Mrs. Grace if you ever read this. I did the math, and this too added up. Thanks for the algebra]

So I didn't tell her I didn't like the game, let alone understand it. I didn’t have to. The tv was on, goodday biscuits munched, but Sr Basil and I talked about walking in grace- the thing that Virgina Woolf called 'moments of being'. I told her .. what did I tell her?.. All those things that we who feel too much and are taught that it isn’t decent to talk about in public: the writing, the things in my head, words like god and honour, things that were mumbled and rushed over and throat-gulped out, but which she listened to, and nodded, and told me her own stuff- about Ireland, and walks, and people and herself, and faith.

In the car park one afternoon, she and I met and spoke of car prices, and she told me she was getting older. I told her I wanted to take over the UNO and restructure it. She and I laughed and planned under the sun.

When my theatre group went around to a group of city schools taking a poetry-in-performance rehearsed reading with them, I felt a strange kick in the gut when I heard we'd be performing in my old school. It was a good program we did, in association with the British Council, where we took poems from the kids' syllabus and performed them- Stuff like 'the rime of the ancient mariner' and 'the frog and the nightingale'. That afternoon, in front of kids, a few of who had been my juniors- I got up and did Diop's Africa. And Sr. Basil was there.

I had met her in the convent an hour before the show, with two of my very dear friends from college. I stood still when she came bustling out and I said, "Do you remember me?"- I had heard that she had begun to forget faces and places. She slapped my shoulder in a way that I can only describe as smartly, and then said-"of course I do, Priyanka. So what are you doing now?"

She sat with us for a bit, telling us about all the surgery people her age were getting in Ireland, where she had just come back from after visiting her family. She told Vaish, Darsh and me that when she was young, plates were things you ate off, which were found on tables at mealtimes: Not in hips and shoulders and such. Plates, indeed.

She's not too keen on medical aid, Sr. Basil.

I met her last on dec 1st, at the end of a world aids day march. It was six in the evening on marina beach, with kids in red t-shirts leaving in ones and twos and threes. I saw her suddenly, sitting right there on the pavement ridge. Tired, but still alive. She had come to the beach that day and saw our procession and came to watch. I told her of all my grown-up plans and fears and sureties. She smiled wryly, and reminded me to not forget. That’s the best part, you didn’t have to explain anything; she saw it on your face. To not forget. The sentence ended there, made sense anyway.

She had a cataract issue for a couple of years. It came back after she tried having it nicked. They found out 5 months ago it was because of a tumor in her pituitary gland. She lost sight in both her eyes then- she only said it was hard, all this darkness, when she was used to seeing so much.

An auto was driving me past school on the night of the 28th. A board outside gave me a time and place for her funeral. Till then I had never known that her last name was Quinn. I went the next day to see what was left of her, just after my visa was approved at the USIS building next door.

[A bit tragic-mystic-funny, all this passing and passaging and trips across borders]

She looked whiter than she ever did in life. Cotton stuffed everywhere, and her thumbs tied together across her chest with little bits of cotton bandaging. She didn’t look like her, at all. Sr. Basil is the first human I've known and personally interacted with whom I've seen dead. I’m not too good with portly relatives doused in jasmine and agarbati- these I do not know and do not want to know. But Basil was a different matter.

I had known she was ailing for 3 months. I had wanted to go see her. I had wanted to go tell her of my bruises and thoughts and screw ups and plans and ask her what do I do now sister, do you think I can still walk and fly the way I used to, the way you used to know I could?


That word didn’t leave me all day. It had begun the previous evening, when I had seen that chalkboard with her last name and a date underneath it. It continued when I saw the teaser campaign of Peter England shirts, where some poor sot had evidently toiled over it, but people were speeding by the damn thing, trafficking, radio mirching, spitting, cursing, driving but not seeing the damn ad at all. It was still on the next morning when I saw the way cashier clerks- Indian cashier clerks-worked inside the US embassy. It made me lean against walls and want to laugh when I saw how scared the visa applicants were, how afraid to talk, how they had all taken trouble to dress up. I laughed into the jeans I was in that a sniffer dog ten feet away yelped at and then ran away whining from. I then went to see her in a long glass box, with way too many suffocating flowers everywhere.

Nuns were mumbling litanies. Shoes off outside... I walked outside after talking one look at her. She wasn’t there at all.

That’s the thing with Basil. She, who flagged down buses. She, who refused to be dropped back by car after concerts or plays. She, who laughed and trotted and borrowed 10 bucks and made benedictions only when she knew you needed something more than a hug. She cannot die.

I was standing in the loft at the chapel, staring at a cloth-covered cross, a prosperous lizard, and a lot of ruby-shined cobwebs, lit up by the sun filtering through the stained glass. Futility? Not so. Owen wrote that poem for young men who died in a war that wasn’t their own. The peter england ad was still rubbish. The US embassy was still a morbid joke. But Basil's life was not futile. She lived the way I can only dream of- free of the emotional bull of a non-nun life that ties one up in knots, she walked free and energetic, drinking tender coconut water and learning Tamil.

I only wish it hadn’t been blindness at the end. I would’ve liked her to have seen one last sun.

For this scholarship, I had to write 7 "essays"- which in yank terms, meant 7 paragraphs of 120-200 words. I laughed. And in September, on the last day of submission, at 3:25pm when the deadline was 4:00pm, I typed out those essays in Anjana's house. Mum pacing up and down the room behind me.

The most unforgettable person you have met, someone who ahs inspired you, and in what way?

Sr. Basil.

I wrote an essay as part of the application for a scholarship offered by the US dept of state and the Fulbright commission telling them about a little old Irish nun and car prices and faith and bunking math class.

I wish I had spoken to her before she went. Even if it was only her saying my name. Sure, the pope too had wit and god's grace. But Basil braved PTC buses. No pope could beat her. She was cool, she was Irish, and she was a woman.


*tiny grin*

Walk on, sister Basil. I will not forget.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

May all those who have run with wild horses, felt the unforgettable fire and walked on be blessed with concert tickets. Apparently there's a contest on to win 2 of 'em to the gig in Manchester. Meself hoping to catch them on the American leg of the Vertigo tour.  Posted by Hello