Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker By Sandi Thom


Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair

In '77 and '69 revolution was in the air

I was born too late into a world that doesn't care

Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair

I know what you're after, Sandy. The nihilism of punk mixed with the let's all love one another message of flower power. Lovely thought. But I'm afraid there's never been revolution in the air in the UK. Unless you mean the Thatcherite revolution which didn't reject old greedy capitalist values but turned them into a religion.

When the head of state didn't play guitar

Not everybody drove a car

It's true, neither Harold Wilson nor Jim Callaghan played the guitar. Harold played the squeezebox and used to keep Mary up all night. Jim played the mouth organ at the 100 Club R&B nights. That's R&B as in old style rhythm and blues, Sandi. And not everybody did drive a car. Although you may be surprised to learn that many people today either cannot afford to or don't want to drive a car.

When music really mattered and when radio was king

When accountants didn't have control

And the media couldn't buy your soul

And computers were still scary and we didn't know everything

Once again I agree that we didn't know everything then. But do you really think we know it all now? There's a lot of things out there still to be discovered, Sandi.


When pop stars still remained a myth

And ignorance could still be bliss

And when God saved the Queen she turned a whiter shade of pale

She's always been pale, Sandi. She's not one for lying in the sun.

My mom and dad were in their teens

And anarchy was still a dream

So your mum and dad are about my age? We didn't really dream of anarchy. They're having you on, matey. All we wanted was someone to love.

And the only way to stay in touch was a letter in the mail

No no no. We did have telephones, you know. It wasn't the dark ages.


When record shops were still on top

And vinyl was all that they stocked

And the super info highway was still drifting out in space

Kids were wearing hand me downs

Once again I think you haven't been told the whole truth by your parents. This was the 60s and 70s. OK, if families had a string of kids, they might get hand me downs. But working class mothers had their pride. Maybe they wouldn't take their kids on foreign holidays but they would buy their children clothes.

And playing games meant kick arounds

And footballers still had long hair and dirt across their face

Come on. Have you seen Robbie Savage?


I was born too late into a world that doesn't care

We care, Sandy. Honest, we do.

Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Don't Believe The Hype

I'm trying to be quick off the blocks here.

If you like Rufus Wainwright and big Antony & The Johnsons, you'll love...

Joan As Police Woman.

Then again, if like me, you can't bear them...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Paul Merton's Silent Clowns

Smile, damn you. Come on, Buster. Cheer up, it might never happen. Just a little smile. No? OK. Bloody sod you, then.

I don't want to go through all this again. Why I don't like physical comedy. But seeing Paul Merton's audience in his lecture about Old Stoneface I think I understand myself a bit better.

I don't like laughing with other people. I can sit in front of Curb Your Enthusiasm, just me and my good lady wife on the settee, and I'll have tears of laughter rolling down my face. But that's between me and Larry David.

The people in the audience watching Keaton are different. They are getting off on other people's laughter. Show me a Keaton film in the comfort of my living room and I couldn't tell you where you're supposed to laugh. Impressed by the stunts, yes, but laugh?

But when there's an audience they all seem to pick up where to laugh almost immediately. I don't know if Merton initiated the laughter himself but...

It reminds me of Billy Bragg when he's talking to an audience about some old folkie or other. He keeps his audience rapt with his witty Essex repartee. They laugh in the right places, too.

At one point Merton asks his audience to imagine how the following excerpt of Buster's film could be improved by dialogue. The excerpt shows Buster running down a hill, seemingly out of control, being chased by rocks.

The dialogue could go like this...

FIRST ROCK: Let's get the bastard.

SECOND ROCK: Stone face, my arse. He only looks like that so he can get the women.

FIRST ROCK: I bet he's had his fair share, too.

THIRD ROCK: Course he has. And do you think he would've if he'd looked like us?

SECOND ROCK: Oi, Keaton! How'd you like a real stone face?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Big Arseholes

All I have gleaned from listening to reports of the latest Big Brother are:-

1. For a dumbfuck laugh, there is a young man who has Tourette's Syndrome in the house. He spent the first evening shouting "Wanker!" to all and sundry.

2. Last night this same young man got his knob out. Apparently a contract to appear in a porn film is waiting for him to sign when he gets evicted.

From this, the Sherlock Holmes in me deduces that the porn film will be sado-masochistic, for those men who enjoy being verbally abused for their own physical self-abuse.

Elementary, my dear wanker.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Some Crazy Things You Just Can't Get Out Of Your Head

And today it's Stuart Staples of the Tindersticks singing vowels...

Ayhee Eehee Eyehi Oho Uhu

Stop it, Stuart.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Don't Badger Me

We catch a bit of Emmerdale. A man is carrying the woman who used to be Reg Holdsworth's lover in Corrie. His back gives way. The actor is recognisable as one of the Flying Pickets, the very odd-looking band who did an acapella version of honking voiced pubrockelectropop duo Yazoo's Only You. The character Mr Picket plays is a middle aged Ted with one especially distinguishing feature...

He has badger hair.

Very strong black hair with a wide streak of white running from front to back, dividing his scalp into three separate zones. I've seen this hair before.

"Remember The Mallens?" I ask Betty.

She doesn't.

I vaguely remember The Mallens. A Northumbrian Dynasty soap in which badger/men fought amongst themselves for the ultimate prize: king of the sett. A Catherine Cookson bodice-ripper, no less. I vaguely remember enjoying it.

The Mallens, however, like Leslie Thomas's Tropic of Ruislip, is one of those series I remember watching for a few weeks, then the next week tuning in to discover it had been mysteriously pulled from the schedules. It was upsetting and showed total disregard for millions of us freaky hair lovers.

Then again nothing surprises me. They'll keep that depressing shit EastEnders going forever and pull comedy classics like Eldorado at the drop of a hat.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lordi Lordi Lordi

So congratulations to monsters of rock, Lordi, Gene Simmons' barmy Finnish army.

I was genuinely surprised at the result, not believing that there could be so many "ironic" voters out there in Eurovision land.

We voted with our hearts for the Nightingale of Sarajevo. Of course, nobody else in Britain voted for him.

Plus ca change...

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I suppose I should be grateful to Mr Moog for giving us the Moog, the premier analogue synthesiser.

The Moog probably appears on a lot of my favourite tracks. Being a non-muso I couldn't tell you which.

But. But. Without the Moog, we'd have no Keith Emerson. No Rick Wakeman. Teenage boys with high IQs and no soul in the 70s would have had to stick to listening to guitar solos which, no matter how excrutiating, are still more palatable than monophonic keyboard wanking.

It's sad to see Mr Moog, only months of life left in him, playing a tone-deaf Ol' Man River on his beloved Theremin near to the river by his home.

An experimental Russian musician who was involved in the early stages of Moog development would have preferred the instrument to be keyboard-free, presumably just twiddly knobs and slides.

Which would have done me just fine.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This Week I Have Been Listening To Joy Division

It's been a couple of months since I started my higher strength drugs regime and I must say I'm feeling like a new man.

I'm sleeping like a baby, albeit a baby on elephant tranquilisers, whenever I get the chance to close my eyes. I am able to drink tea for the first time in years (my favourite being Assam), and this helps me to fight my general tiredness. I'm even able to take real cows' milk with my breakfast cereal and gulp my way through a Muller Light yoghurt after my one-thirty sandwich.

But considering I'm taking larger doses of anti-depressants, I'm not getting any more cheerful. Not that I was depressed in the first place, but it would be nice to walk around with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

Monday, May 15, 2006

See, I Told You No More Football

Episodes 6290 and 6291 of Corrie (how do I know? - Sky+ balls-up) showed us the best of Roy Cropper.

After spending the night sprucing up the cafe to win over the Environmental Health Officer, Roy showed the man round whilst sporting what seemed to be a new extremely smart, slick hairdo complete with side parting.

Of course, once the officer had left, allowing Roy to reopen the cafe, Roy's hair was back to normal, although maybe a tad shinier than usual.

And later, when explaining why he reemployed Vera after unfairly partly blaming her for the mess the cafe got into while he was away, he compared Vera to HM The Queen:-

1. He's not sure why she's there.
2. He gives her too much money for what she does.
3. He's not actually that keen on what she does do.

BUT - for some inexplicable reason, she draws in the punters.

And that's as near to a republican manifesto you'll get on a British soap opera.


In other telly news - the Hovis advert has gone all countryfolk on us.

The same hilly, cobbly street, the same brass band musical bollocks, but no longer the eeh bah gum when I were a lad from oop North ecky thump. Oh no, the voiceover is all oo ar, oi loikes moi bread to be olemeal, oi doz, and this week oi 'ave been mostly eatin' 'ovis.

Is it just the South who've got this new accent? This reminds me of the Bacardi advert in 80s cinemas where the cockernee voiceover was for the Dog 'n' Duck dahn the 'igh street apples 'n' pears me old china. Then I go to Edinburgh for a short break and it's The Thistle and Sporran in Sauchiehall Street och aye the noo there's a wee bit a dirt in ma eye and I canna get it oot.

Why can't these bastards speak the Queen's English?

For Christ's sake get Brian Sewell in before it's too late.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

One Last Post About Football

Of course everything looks better in the morning and I can draw comfort from my supposition that it's not just me who had a miserable night but also fellow Hammers fans Noel Edmonds and Russell Brand.

That's enough about football, folks. But before I go, just a couple of gripes I have about the current language of football on tv.

1. A player is never his exact age. A 21 year old is described as "21, 22". A 24 year old is "24, 25." Even one of yesterday's heroes, born-leader and future England captain, Nigel Reo-Coker couldn't describe his own age. I don't wish to be known as "44, 45", thank you very much.

2. Pundits and managers can never say the truth about the Premiership. They always say "the top 4 or 5 clubs", trying to infer that it's a slightly more level playing-field than it is. EVERYBODY knows it's the top FOUR clubs. Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal, and that one of these FOUR clubs will win the League or the Cup. That's the FOUR richest clubs, right?*

Tomorrow I'm going to stroll into work at 9.45 a.m. and explain that I start work at 9, 10 o'clock.

* Quote from the actor John Simm in UNCUT Magazine:-

"PET HATE - I'm beginning to really hate Chelsea Football Club because I just hate the fact that they've bought all their success. It really annoys me. We (Liverpool) are nearly catching them up, and I hope we do. It's just so annoying because they're going to go out and buy more of the best players in the world and buy people out of their contracts. I just hate the marketing of it all. It's just horrible. I'm not being bitter or twisted, but it's ruined the Premiership."

Piss off, John. You spoilt brat.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Pre-Cup-Final Tension

Wednesday night I dreamt I was in the team. I didn't recognise any of my team mates or the opposition. It was a tense match. I bicycle-kicked the ball away from our penalty area. I woke up with my foot an inch from the bedroom radiator.

Last night I also dreamt I was in the team. Except my team was a rock band and we were in a battle of the bands with the Flaming Lips. I was thinking we could piss all over these jokers but Wayne Coyne threw us a googly, interrupting their set by tucking into the buffet, playing for time. They then did that song that asks me if I realise that everybody is going to die. I retaliated by putting my heart and soul into the Beatles' Yesterday, followed by a new song I'd just written. We blew the audience away.

Sorry, Liverpool. Do one. This is our year.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

They Don't Just Keep Your Chips Warm

As I enter the station platform of a morning, I like to look at what other people are reading.

Look, there's a Da Vinci Code.

And there's a Mein Kampf.

It's usually the newspaper headlines I'm after, though. And often I am unable to see the whole headline as to crane my neck could be construed as harassment.

So this morning I see most of the front of The Sun...


Ah, I think. The terrorist threat again. They're making sure we KEEP VIGILANT. Of course I am, I'm forever checking for stray rucksacks in the overhead luggage compartments.

Then I see another Sun, this time the whole front cover...


And then at my London station, the free paper The Metro has the headline...


Great, I think. Good old Mr Murdoch is giving us another 15 Bible bashing channels and 25 Phone-In Quiz channels to play about with.

But no, the story is the EC's relaxation of the Government crackdown on booze and fags cruisers who make a tidy living from their regular jaunts to France.

Calais here we come.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Come On, Let's Have A Sing-Song

Come on, everybody! Stop moping and start hoping! You know what I do when I'm feeling pissed off? I have a sing, that's what I do. Come on, bloggers. All together now. Pretend I'm Danny la Rue and I'm getting you all going. Let's try one we all know...

On Mother Kelly's doorstep, down Paradise Row,

I'd sit along o'Nelly, she'd sit along o'Joe.

She's got a little hole in her frock, hole in her shoe,

Hole in her sock, where her toe peeped through,

But Nelly was the smartest down our alley.

On Mother Kelly's doorstep, I'm wondering now,

If li'l gal Nelly, remembers Joe, her beau,

And does she love me like she used to,

On Mother Kelly's door step, down Paradise Row.

You see, they didn't have Primark then. Hole in her frock, hole in her shoe, hole in her sock, and probably, although it's not mentioned, a hole in her knickers, too. And she was the smartest human being in the locality. Oh yes, she scrubbed up well, did our Nelly...

Come on, let's have another chorus...

She's got a little hole in her frock, a hole in her shoe,

A hole in her knickers where her Joe peeped through...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Truly Madly Annoying

This week we've attempted to watch a couple of expensively made American films. Films we wouldn't normally watch.

First up was The Matrix, apparently the only one of the trilogy worth watching.

Two things I can't stand in films:-
1. An unrealistic rooftop chase (unless it's done in an arty way)
2. Men in dark suits and dark glasses (this rubbish started with the godawful Blues Brothers, continued with the bleeding Men in Black and now we have these twits in The Matrix).

So, The Matrix: We lasted ten wasted minutes.

We didn't, however, give up on Solaris starring George (down, girls) Clooney.
Solaris - basically a love story between a man and the ghost of his dead wife, basically then a better looking version of those nauseous old tear jerkers Ghost and Truly Madly Deeply. Basically an excuse to show off George Clooney's tight arse and well-defined back and shoulders.


Come on, America. You can do better than that.


The HM Revenue & Customs' April Employer Bulletin is out! Hurray!

Look at these gems...


"Subject to Parliamentary approval the current age limits of 16 and 65 on entitlement to Statutory Payments will be removed from 1 October 2006.

From this date all employees with average earnings at or above the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL), (currently £84 per week), who are:-

aged under 16 or 65 and older, will be eligible for SSP

aged under 16 will be eligible for SMP and SPP."

So not only do they want us to work from the cradle to the grave, they want us dropping sprogs as soon as we reach puberty.

Well, Mr Brown, you can stick your work and family ethics right up your tight arse, my son.


And news that although the Home Computer Initiative has been scrapped, computers provided to employees by employers are not affected by the change...

"Where an employer provides employees with a computer for the sole purpose of enabling the employee to perform the duties of his or her employment no tax will be due as long as any private use made of the computer is insignificant."

So this means you lucky bloggers who work from home can breathe easily because all those blogging hours you put in are INSIGNIFICANT. You won't get taxed because this blogging lark is INSIGNIFICANT.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Here We Go Again

It's time to vote again.

I told the caller from New Labour when he phoned about a month ago that I'll be voting for their three men. So New Labour have left us alone.

We've kept the Tories from the door too, but they've stretched their long, slimy arms and popped some leaflets through our letterbox. All the leaflets seem to explain how they are committed to reduce the time for removing grafitti from fourteen days to a mere seven.

There's one leaflet showing all three Tory candidates together, smiling to the camera, looking like three middle aged zombies who've dug themselves out of their 1950s early graves and been on a rampage round the local charity shops in search of old, ill-fitting trousers and jackets that DO NOT GO TOGETHER.

Of course the Tories will win in our ward (working class people shooting themselves in the foot as was said in one of Mike Leigh's condescending films), but NOT because George Galloway told them to vote against Blair and the Iraq War but because they feel it's time for a change which of course means a Conservative government and young Mr Cameron.

And the better off will be better off. And the worse off will be worse off.

How jolly bloody super.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sun is Shining, Weather is Sweet

They said it would rain. And it didn't.

Yesterday we went on our favourite local walk: Foots Cray Meadows. I'd never been there till a couple of years ago. Thought we'd try it though as a change from the woods where we were always nervous of meeting the local big cat.

There are no lynx or panthers here, though. A great variety of dogs with their owners. And on the river there are ducks and coots. No babies yet but hopefully soon.

The river in the picture is the River Cray, a tributary of the Thames. This is its widest and deepest part and there is strictly no fishing here as it is for wildlife only. Some swans were shot here with air rifles last year.

Doesn't the water look inviting? No? It looks pretty clean to me. And it would have done to my dad in the early post-war years. Because this is where he and his friends learned to swim. Copying the coots and the ducks? Paddling for dear life? Maybe. You can see it was all sepia then. This area wasn't part of London, it was on the edge of a North Kent village with its independent brewery and its council houses, one of which saw the birth of my dad and the deaths of my grandparents. I spent a year in the house when I was four and shit scared of the wallpaper in my bedroom.

On the way there yesterday we walked past a hall hosting a record and CD fair. This was right up our street as we can't resist a bargain. They let us in for free so I felt obliged to spend £24 on seven CDs, bargains all.

They must've thought they'd never get rid of that John Cale CD, that Can CD, that Box Tops CD or that Edgar Broughton Band CD. The latter band were recommended by the great Boggins and I always listen to my elders and betters. I'm even currently reading a book by Harlan Coben, an author recommended by Vicus, so you see I really do have the greatest respect for those who've lived a bit and still got all their own marbles.

I suppose you've all found mine and Betty's new blog, Search Me. It's not a serious creative blog like our others but there to illustrate just what type of people we are spending hours trying to entertain.

You're all mad.