Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm Shit At Small Talk - Part 437

I go to the bar to order a round. The CD starts again - All Day And All Of The Night. The young barman asks his co-worker if this is The Kinks. She doesn't know. He looks at me. "Yes," I say, "it is The Kinks".

"It's not You Really Got Me, is it?" he says.


"I like that one. It sounds similar. I like The Kinks."

"Me too," I say. I've always liked the Beatles and Stones but only really liked The Kinks for the past few years."

"I'm a DJ, you know. 60s, 70s and 80s. I DJ'd here on Christmas Eve. Were you here?"


"I love the 60s stuff. Specially the Beach Boys. I love the Beach Boys."

"Pet Sounds?"


"Pet Sounds. It's a Beach Boys album. God Only Knows?"


"God Only Knows. It's a song on Pet Sounds."

"I like I Get Around."

"Yeah, their earlier stuff is good, too."

My music history lesson over, I pay for the drinks. I go back to our table and continue to talk Jupitus.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Last Man In Hammersmith Palais

The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha you think it's funny
Turning rebellion into money

The song White Man In Hammersmith Palais demonstrates Joe Strummer's disappointment with black youth preferring pop reggae over roots consciousness. Joe wanted a black and white revolution, to a soundtrack of serious music. He didn't get it. The white punks were more interested in showing off their fashionable clothes.

How on earth did we lose the Hammersmith Palais? One of London's most "iconic" live music venues? Now an office/live coffee complex! Oh dear.

Phill Jupitus (him again for fuck's sake) is apoplectic with rage that it became the home of School Disco, Le Palais' reliance on the silly mainstream as opposed to the cutting edge of Jupitus music bringing about its downfall. If only it were still open, Jupitus could have performed Wake Up And Make Love With Me with the aging Blockheads. Imagine Jupitus singing "I come awake, with the gift for womankind, you're still asleep, but that gift don't seem to mind." to an audience of portly middle aged men. What a mindbogglingly revolting image!

I shocked myself by agreeing with something Robert Elms said. His parents met at the Palais at a dance. A lot of London's couples did meet there. He said School Disco was performing the same function in the 90s and noughties, though not just Elms's beloved "West Londoners". How many couples met at a Pogues or Cramps gig in the 80s? I never saw anybody copping off.

Maybe we'll see a resurgence of old fashioned dance music, inspired by Strictly Come Dancing and we'll need venues like the old Palais again, with its dance floor and its stage in the middle, not at the end. What we won't see is a new punk or a new Two Tone. The mid 70s to mid 80s have gone forever and a Mick Jones/Tony James tired punk rehash won't see us through the future. Tribute bands and original bands with over the hill surviving members do not a vibrant live scene make.

Your time is dead, Phill. Face up to it.

Geoff ("danced"* at the Hammersmith Palais in the 80s)

* no you fucking didn't, you stood still as a corpse!

To watch go here

Monday, December 24, 2007

See You On The Other Side

It's Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank...

Well, no, not really. I'm not getting drunk, I'm having just enough to make me fall asleep in front of the telly between midnight and 1 a.m. The same as I have at all other weekends of the year.

Each year I think I'm going to try a new drink. This year's was Gin and Dubonnet, the favourite tipple of our current monarch and her deceased mother. The problem is, when would I drink it? I'm not one for aperatifs as I don't have a sit down meal where I have to make small talk with people I have little in common with. Because that is the raison d'etre of an aperatif, isn't it?

So no new drink for me this year. Oh, apart from the port I've bought for Christmas morning, bringing back happy memories of my first alcoholic drinks, the Christmas port and lemons, no stronger than a weak shandy or snowball but nicer than both.

Our Sky+ box is taking one hell of a hammering at the moment. It's 50% free but that won't last for long, there's just so much on! I've recorded all the MR James stuff, knowing we watched most of them last year but not remembering which ones. We've just finished the BBC's entertaining new version of Oliver Twist, mourning the death of Fagin's crow at the hands of the Peelers and sniggering every time we saw the name of the actor who played Bill Sykes. Tom Hardy in a production of Dickens! English teachers all over the land will be wetting themselves.

Tomorrow we will turn the computer on and read any blogs that are active. We will toast you all with a glass of port. We will cook our salmon and steamed potatoes and carrots and green beans. We will microwave our individual Christmas puddings. We will sit down in front of Top of the Pops. We will think of all the suffering in the world, and we will remember...

...Mariah Carey is not just for Christmas.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ian Dury Karaoke

Assembly Hall, Worthing, Tonight
Shepherd's Bush Empire, Tomorrow

Whatever next? Dawn French with Big Brother and the Holding Company?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tagged For The First Time

I've been tagged by Glenda. Thank you, Glenda. This is the first time I've been tagged in 25 years of blogging. It's a Christmas questionnaire. So it's probably best if I do it now while you're all still around. You are still around, aren't you?

When people say "Christmas" you immediately think...

My old nan sat two feet away from the telly in front of the Queen's speech, the volume turned up to maximum.

Favourite Christmas memory...

Hopping in the snow with Betty.

Favourite Christmas song/carol...

Greg Lake - I Believe In Father Christmas

Favourite Christmas movie...

It's A Wonderful Life.

Favourite Christmas Character...

The crow in It's A Wonderful Life.

Favourite Christmas ornament/object...

Pretty lights. And Kaz's robin.

Plans for this Christmas...

Stay at home!

Is Christmas your favourite holiday?

No, it's my least favourite. Every other fucker is off, too!

I tag Alison Moyet, Dave Gorman, Emma Kennedy, Stephen Fry, Richard Herring and Andrew Collins. Spread the festive blogging love, celebrities!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What Kind Am I?

This Week
A man and a woman are watching tv. There is a break in the programme. The channel shows the trailer for The Motorcycle Diaries which is on over Christmas. The man says to the woman, "What kind of weirdo is going to watch that?"

Last Week
We are looking through the Christmas terrestrial tv schedules at work. TV Quick or something similar. The others are ticking off all their favourite shows. I'm getting depressed. I say, "The only thing I can see that might be worth watching, apart from Corrie, is that." I point.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Last Christmas Singalong

Last Christmas, I lent you my car
But the very next day, you drove it away
In tears, you couldn't get it in gear
You were picked up by the Specials

Once spliffed out and twice high
You kept your distance behind the Hyundai
Tell me baby, do you recognise me?
After all that gear it doesn't surprise me

(Happy Christmas!) I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying "SMOKE LESS WEED", I meant it
Now I know what a fool I've been
But if you're doped up now I know you'll be doped up again

Last Christmas, I lent you my car
But the very next day, you drove it away
In tears, you couldn't get it in gear
You were picked up by the Specials

A crowded room, friends with tired eyes
I'm hiding from you and your ganja vice
My God, I thought you were someone to rely on
Me? I guess I was a shoulder to cry on
A face on a lover, mary jane in his head
Under the covers, you were smoking it in bed!
Oooh Oooh
Now I've found a clean love you'll never fool me again

Last Christmas, I lent you my car
But the very next day, you drove it away
In tears, you couldn't get it in gear
You were picked up by the Specials

(fretwork by Kotaro Oshio)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

La Dolce Vita

The Guardian were yesterday creaming their pants over the appointment of Fabio Capello as England manager. He likes Visconti and Fellini. Mozart, Bach and Ella Fitzgerald. Kandinsky, Mondrian and Klee. He appreciates fine wines, is an adventurous gourmet and visits La Scala when he can. His politics have moved over the years from socialism to rich capitalism, though he still has respect for trade unions.

A picture is painted of a man who will never be friends with John Terry. Unless Terry goes down the Tony Adams route of alcoholism, hitting rock bottom and rebuilding his life by writing poetry. This will not happen while Terry is at the top of his game and in the England team.

I am optimistic about Capello. Although he is a tv pundit in Italy, he is quoted as saying he doesn't like watching football on the box. There are too many close-ups, you cannot see what's happening all over the pitch. Capello sees the bigger picture and no one individual is more important than the team. Capello won't have his favourites. He won't play Lampard and Gerrard together in the centre in a 4-4-2 because they're supposedly the best two English central midfielders. Capello's football is built on defence. Lampard and Gerrard cannot defend to save their lives. Capello will upset some egos.

I'm looking forward to the next few years watching England. The big-headed players and the WAGS can all fuck off. No more Flash Harrys, no more prima donnas.

Fabio's in town!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Sex Blog Girls

There's a famous quote, fuck knows where from, that men think about sex every seven seconds. It's a load of bollocks, of course. But what about women?

Girl With A High Sex Drive says, "Every seven seconds? What about the other six?"

Jesus Christ, that's scary. That's getting into Michael Douglas territory.

As far as I know, this is the first UK tv programme about blogging. Of course they concentrate on the naughty naughty naughty sex blogs written by women, with nice soft focus pictures of young thin women with small pert tits sitting bolt upright in front of their sexy laptops wearing nothing but knickers and stockings. What a load of shit!

Girl With A High Sex Drive is quoted as obtaining 100,000 readers a month after her first six months of blogging. After eighteen months it was a quarter of a million a month. By her second anniversary it was two and a half million!

This, of course, is bollocks, too.

If I counted all searches for Beverley Callard's breasts on this blog as "readers", I'd be deluding myself something rotten. I think Girl may just have had a few more rude searches than me.

They say there's a blog created every second. There are 343563677468575786789096 million blogs active on the internet at any one time. Good ones, boring ones, funny ones, excruciating ones. There's an interesting documentary or two to be made about this phenomenon.

This wasn't it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Playing Cards

Last night I wrote my Christmas cards. I have three married cousins I send them to. They all have children.

The three sets of kids are known to me as...

1. & Thomas
2. & Boys
3. & Family

I'm sure Thomas wants to be known as "Tom" or at least "Tommy" by now. "Boys" are growing up, too, old enough to read and wondering why this "Geoff" person doesn't know their names. "Family" are feeling even more put out as this "Geoff" twat doesn't even know how many of them there are, let alone what sex they may be.

It's too much of an effort to ask any questions. I'll just have to make notes when we receive cards from them. Get it right next year.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ze Listening

The current singles chart is full of Christmas songs old and, er, old. Mariah Carey's warbler All I Want For Christmas Is You is the ladies' choice to download. The Pogues are chasing Mariah's ample behind, pissed as newts. Roy Wood is dangling his luxurious split-ended hair over her barely covered tits. Band Aid are sticking plasters on her scuffed heels. Slade are taking it in manly turns to lift her off the dance floor. A be-jumpered Shakin' Stevens is tinkling sleigh bells with Andy Williams in the background.

But enough of my fantasy!

It gets me thinking. I need some more Christmas songs in my collection.

I mean, I love Phil Spector's album. By all rights it should be shooting up the charts. But I need more. If only I had the all time classic Christmas album in my collection.

I used to. White vinyl, just like snow. December 1981. A great time to be young, dumb and full of Christmas spirit.

What a great album! Cristina, Suicide, Was (Not Was), Material, James White. August Darnell (Kid Creole before he was shit). You'll all know The Waitresses' Christmas Wrapping, of course.

And then in the late eighties, I moved. I gave away my records as they weren't the future. But every Christmas from then on I've wanted my Ze album back.

So I look on Amazon, and there it is. Re-released on CD in 2004. Why didn't I see it before?

So this is my Christmas present to myself. It won't arrive 'til after the big day. But I'll play it in my head this year.

Things fall apart but they never leave my heart
Good Morning Midnight: it's Christmas...

Cristina - Things Fall Apart

Friday, December 07, 2007

Showbears News

1. Elvis, The Bear Formerly Known As Mohammed, is to co-star in the new Ray Winstone vehicle, The Play School Massacre. Elvis will play Little Ted, the vicious sidekick to Winstone's East End gangster godfather, Brian "Fackin" Cant. Elvis says of the role, "It is a departure for me, a new beginning. Impersonating the Prophet was fun at the time, but looking back I think my actions were immature in the extreme. I'm just loooking forward to playing alongside some of the greatest English actors of our generation. It is a dream come true to work with Ray."

2. Knut the polar bear, who celebrated his first birthday this week at Berlin Zoo, has announced that he is in the running to appear as Iorek Byrnison in the follow up to The Golden Compass, the film based on the first of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novels. Knut says of his ambitions, "I think I can do it. I come from a showbusiness family, so you could say it's in the blood. I'm very gentle around humans but can play rough when required. I know I've got to lose some weight but the good people at Berlin have recently put me on a diet and I should be in my optimum condition in a matter of a few months. I really see Hollywood as a possibility. There have been rumours that I will be relocating to London Zoo in the near future, but I would refute these most strongly. I've had a taste of stardom and I've liked what I've experienced, but now I'd like a bit of a challenge to go with it. I am 100% certain my future lies on screen"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Chinese Burn

Our annual local restaurant family meal occurred on Sunday. We were celebrating our mum's 76th. My sister was also celebrating the fact that, for the second year running, she won't have to spend Christmas Day in my miserable company. She's off to Whistler where there's going to be 75 metres of snow over Christmas. Or something like that. A Whistler's mother of a snowfall.

The Chinese restaurant was absolutely packed, mainly populated by friends and family of the man with the big badge which stated it was his sixtieth birthday.

"He's not sixty!" exclaimed my mum in a loud voice. "He's seventy if he's a day!"

I ate and drank too much and Monday at work was spent feeling a bit nauseous. The longer the day went on the more I realised the two weren't necessarily connected.

"There's a 24 hour sickness bug going round," I was told.

I'm very open to persuasion when it comes to illnesses. I went straight to the chemists after work. I needed some travel sickness pills to combat the discomfort.

"Hello, Geoff!" said the assistant in a very friendly manner.

I don't know her and she doesn't know me as far as I know. But ever since she started working at the chemists she's greeted me in the same way. I'm beginning to think maybe she does know me. The only place I can think she knows me from is primary school. But I can't tell her age. She might be ten years younger than me. I can't ask her if she knows me from primary school. My date of birth is on my repeat prescription. I could receive a slap in the face.

"You're almost 46, Geoff! You were doing your Eleven-Plus when I was born, you cheeky sod!"

"Well how do you know me?"

She's not over-familiar with the other customers. She must know me from primary school.

She's not the girl who gave me a Chinese burn and made me cry, is she? If she is, that's bit of a turnaround. The little bitch who dished out unwarranted punishment is now handing out stuff to make people feel better.

Well, my dear, let me tell you...

Some scars don't heal.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Guido (As we call it here)

I'm a needy blogger. I leave comments, not only in the hope of the "LOL, I snorted cocaine all over my monitor" type response, but also in the hope that I will get comments back from that person on my own blog. What a needy bastard!

Most of us are the same. But there are some who don't go pimping their blogs to all and sundry. And some of these are bloody good, too. The following are my favourites. Think of it as Geoff's own Guardian Guide, only better than the stuff The Guide recommends...

Beyond The Implode
I read, but I never comment. Betty reads but she never comments. We're a bit scared.

Musings From Middle England

Willie's back! I was very sad when he stopped. Now I'm very happy he's back.

Ritual Landscape
Essential reading, though you pimps can't comment. Just read and enjoy!

Toasty's Futon
Toasty went. Now he's back. Or is he? Come back, Toasty!

Plug over.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dead Beat

This is me "On The Road", one weekend in The Midlands about twelve years ago. Betty dressed me up as a hep cat. Didn't I look cool, daddio?

Those were weekends literally On The Road, mainly the M25, M1 and M6. Drives across Cannock Chase, through Alpine glades and past B&Qs. Walks in the countryside in the daytime, eating in curry houses and drinking in pubs in the evenings. Followed by a Sunday afternoon drive home, perked up by a pot of coffee at Northampton's premier service station.

Now the furthest I usually drive at weekends is to ASDA, a five minute drive away. If I feel tired, which I inevitably do in the late afternoon, I have a kip. I have less energy but I need less.

No longer a hep cat. More an old, comfortable moggie.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Word Up

Mouthpiece for a Generation

Hairpiece for a Generation

Codpiece for a Generation

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Reggae For It Now

This week I have been listening to the wonderful Trojan box set, Reggae Sisters, a compilation of 60s and 70s songs sung by women. There's something about women's voices and reggae that is irresistible. Take Lily Allen for example. No, please, take her.

The collection includes this song by my favourite 6ft, bald, one eyed female singer of all time.

Of course there's not a great song in the history of the world that hasn't been improved by a wacky English DJ talking shite over its beginning and end, and this video proves that.

My ideal job would be going through the TOTP archive with Betty, choosing performances, mimed or not, to put on a series of compilation DVDs. There'd be a little introduction to each song before it starts, no talking over and no words in the middle of the screen to ruin the video. Until then, we'll have to make do with hilarious Steve Wright and the Beeb's eclectic selection box of classics and mediocrity.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Music Is Life

Scene 1

The radio is locked on Heart. They are playing Is This Love? by Bob Marley.

GEOFF: The thing is with Heart, they don't play any reggae artists except for Bob Marley. Oh, and bloody UB40 of course.

WORK COLLEAGUE NO. 1: Is there anybody other than Bob Marley and UB40?

Scene 2

The Metro newpaper is open at a page which contains an interview with this bloke. He is pictured in close up. The headline says he had a famous dad.

WORK COLLEAGUE NO. 2: Oh, I thought that looked like him. That's Kenny Everett's son!

GEOFF: ??????????????

N.B. When we used to live in the flat, at around the time Novocaine For The Soul was out, Betty constructed a paper E with a moving mouth. We used to sing the song and move the mouth at the same time. E got left behind when we moved. We only moved two doors down and when we see the woman who now lives in our old flat we wonder whether she found E. And if she did, what she really thinks of us.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nothing To Declare

The Genius Of Photography

I'm enjoying this series but the "Genius" of photography?

This week Denis Lawson read the following about the great photographers...

"What they have in common is a watchful attentiveness to the world and its ways. They see things we miss or don't think about and then report back so that we have a chance to think again."

I agree with the first part of that. But as to photographers seeing things we miss or don't think about? Most of us don't walk around with a camera glued to our eye. But how many times have we thought, "I wish I had a camera on me"? What strange things do we see out of the corner of our eye? What blurry images do we see when we're not quite awake or not concentrating? But we haven't got a camera on us because we're not obsessed with photographing things. The obsessives take what any of us can see and turn it into art. If that's genius, there are an awful lot of potential geniuses, too.


Kenny Everett: Licence To Laugh

More genius on Sunday evening as Kenny Everett was described as a comedy genius on ITV's portrait of the "comedian".

I've never found wacky disc jockey Kenny the least bit funny, but I was hoping to be converted by this programme. The old clips of Sid Snot, Cupid Stunt and Marcel Wave brought back waves of 70s nausea and made me feel nostalgic for those comfortable family humourists from the days before Kenny's "anarchic" brand of comedy, with its chumminess with the production staff forerunning wankers like Chris Tarrant and Chris Moyles (both paying tribute to Kenny in this show).

Watching Kenny was like gatecrashing a private party full of people in on a joke I didn't get. A very lonely experience.

Kenny's "anarchy" took him all the way to a Young Conservatives rally. The voiceover on the programme said...

"Nothing, it seemed, could undermine his position as loveable, cuddly Ken. Until an ill-judged moment of madness at a Young Conservatives rally in 1983."

KENNY: "Let's bomb Russia!"

"Kenny had overstepped the mark."

So let's get this right. Kenny had overstepped the mark by using irony, not by appearing at a Young Conservatives rally at the height of Thatcher's power.

Barry Cryer explained Ken's indiscretion. Kenny was an "apolitical animal". He was "pretty anti-Thatcher".

Ken the iconoclastic genius, taking the piss out of the Young Tories?

He sounds good, doesn't he?

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Cambridge Folk Festival

Nah, not interested. Not my scene. But we caught the end of Friday night's highlights programme and this geezer was getting down and dirty to some mean Appalachian Mountain Balls To The Wall Bluegrass.

I mean, there's catholic taste and there's, well, what on earth would you call this?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Those Early Years

As my grandmother used to say, "Life is hell on earth", as these pictures of the young Geoffrey testify.

Miserable in my pram...

Miserable in the company of others...

For a while I was brainwashed by racist propaganda and life was brainlessly "fun"...

But soon real life kicked in and misery ruled...

School and the proximity of other children only made me feel more deeply the futility of being...

Give me the child until he is ten, and I'll show you the man.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tony Curtis and George Best

I've got three days holiday left which I'm taking this week. This morning we went to the hospital and were in and out of the fracture clinic in a couple of hours. Pretty good going, I thought. Betty's looking good in her new cast, choosing traditional white rather than a garish coloured one. She looks so at home in white, it makes me want to renew my marriage vows.

Back home, we went out to the shops where I bought a new teapot, a strainer to go with it, and some loose leaf tea. I've just had my first cup and I've fallen in love with tea all over again. The loose leaf stuff is so much more tasty and refreshing than those shitty weak bags. Last week I bought some ASDA Extra Special loose leaf tea bags which cost £2 for 25! And they were crap! They're supposed to be revolutionary with their nylon bags, but nobody in their right mind is going to buy them twice. Buy the real thing! Drink your tea! Get Gypsy Rosy Lee to read your grouts!

The taste takes me back to the old days when bags weren't available, when my nuclear family was all together. I've just borrowed some old pictures from my mum which take me back, too. There are some snaps of my parents in their bathing costumes on beaches when my dad thought he was Tony Curtis. Well, he was more Tony Curtis than Ian Curtis, anyway. Chubbier than Ian.

There are my parents' wedding photos, including both sets of grandparents. Didn't grandparents look old back then? And miserable.

There are some photos of my cousin Michael's wedding to Linda. They made a good-looking couple. He had something of the George Best about him. All the young women at the wedding wore short dresses and were smiling. The old women wore hats and looked miserable.

Michael never drank tea. Or coffee. He was strictly squash.

I wonder if he still is?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Midnight Train To Georgia

The director of last night's Corrie was named Pip Short.

This name takes me back to a few years ago when I had the wit of Oscar Wilde. Now, of course, it's Marty Wilde.

"Do you think," I said then, "Gladys Knight's Pips resembled the Greenwich Mean Time pips? Five short ones and a long one?"

Those were golden days, the like of which I'll never see again.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Man On The Telly

Watching the moving documentary on George Melly's last days last night, I discovered that he'd had an affair with Molly Parkin. Molly was previously (George's wife) Diana's best friend.

George, it seems, was happier with his open marriage than Diana was. It gave him free reign to shag anybody he wanted.

George and Molly are two of the few famous people I have encountered in my life. I met Molly on a playwriting course in London. George I bumped into as I alighted a train at Diss station on my way to a scriptwriting course. The courses, of course, came to nothing. But the memories of seeing these flamboyant characters close up will stick in my mind for longer than that of my brilliant writing career.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Director's Notes To His Actors - Abigail's Party

You work on the perfume counter at a department store. Your marriage is a mess. You are a very sensual woman. You need sex. Your husband doesn't give you what you need. He is a little jumped up creep who is more interested in his pathetic job than in you. You've invited the couple from over the road to this party. You fancy the husband like mad. He's a bit rough and ready, just your type. His wife's as naive as they come. You'll be able to flirt with him to your heart's content. Sod your pathetic excuse of a husband. You're going to have some fun.

You're a workaholic estate agent. You think you're cultured but you're not really. You're also a racist. According to you, the area is becoming too "cosmopolitan". You despise your wife who is sex-mad and has no interest in the finer things of life. She is a philistine and a slapper. She disgusts you. You will die in this play of a heart attack brought on by your wife, not by your job which you love.

You are a naive, stupid nurse who is bullied by her husband. You are so stupid a lot of his vicious comments to you go straight over your head. You are a good woman, a public servant but you're as thick as pig shit. You can't even recognise the sexual electricity between your husband and your neighbour. You think everything in the garden will come up rosy. Stupid.

Life has been one long disappointment to you. You weren't good enough to make it in professional football. You're working as a computer operator, for Christ's sake. Your wife is a mousy, stupid little sexless thing who wouldn't say boo to a goose. You're a passionate man who likes a bit of rough sex. The only way you get rough in your marriage is by dominating the little mouse. Your neighbour fancies you something rotten. She's up for it and you're not going to argue if it's there on a plate for you.

You are the audience on stage. You're a nice "old middle class" woman (a divorcee whose ex-husband is an architect) trapped in an atmosphere of vulgarity and violent frustration. You're only here because you have nowhere else to go as your teenage punk daughter is holding a party at your house ("Abigail's Party"). You know about the arts. You are not racist. You don't think the neighbourhood has gone downhill. You are accepting of everybody, even at this party. But this atmosphere, and especially that horrid woman Beverly will test your patience to its limit. You are a genuinely nice person, Susan. Just like the audience. You are one of us.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Christmas Is Coming

My sister went to church yesterday. They tasted the body and the blood of Christ. I am on the phone to my mother.

She went with a friend from work. She goes every Sunday. Her husband never goes. Your sister will probably go again. Though not every week. It was a very emotional service. I suppose it helps people. Usually when they're getting old. You're not an atheist, are you?

You know I am.

Like your dad. Though he wasn't always one. When we were first married he used to pray every night before he went to bed.

I've always been an atheist. I could never take any of it seriously. We even used to take the mickey out of the vicar at Primary School.

Is Betty an atheist?

Yes. I couldn't live with anybody who wasn't.

You lived with us.

I mean through choice. I couldn't live with a partner who believed in that stuff.


The trouble with Sundays...there's never anything on the telly when I get up. It's either football or cartoons on all the channels. Nothing for the likes of us.

Isn't Sunday God's day?

Don't take the piss, Geoff.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Commercial Break

More and more bloggers are commenting on Betty's site, referring to her husband, "Geoff", as if I were an 'er indoors type of character and not an internationally renowned blogger in my own right.

That's alright, I can take it. We've both got the majority of our audiences in common and those of Betty's readers who can't see the worth in me...well, we know what they're missing, don't we?

Come on, humour me!

I've got a more needy ego than Betty, though. And my ego tells me to do more, maybe a podcast of my poems. Yes, what a prick!

Then I hear Roger McGough and his smug delivery and wonder whether I would sound even more smug, or even worse, sound like Mark Miwurdz. Penny for the guy, anyone?

So another blog it is, a poetry blog no less. I know it's not going to be popular but you'll be very welcome if you pop in from time to time. I'll attempt to post a poem a week and keep my poetry to that blog and my prose to this one.

Of course those of you who hate my poems will be relieved there'll be no more of them on here. Just pure and simple straightforward social commentary for serious minds.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dean Martin: Rich, Loved Drunk

You're nobody 'til somebody loves you
You're nobody 'til somebody cares.
(Nobody. Absolutely nobody. You are of no worth. Your life isn't worth living. You might as well go kill yourself.)
You may be king, you may possess the world and its gold,
(But more likely you're not well off and lacking love.)
But gold won't bring you happiness when you're growing old.
(Money can't buy me love? Bullshit. Llok at all the ugly rich old men with beautiful younger women. Then look at the ugly poor men with nobody. If you're ugly and you're poor you might as well go kill yourself.)
The world still is the same, you never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above;
You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody to love.

The world still is the same, you never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above;
(If you're a tramp stars are all you've got to look at at night. You're damn' right, you can't do a thing about it, Dean. Whereas if you're rich and a drunk, the world's your oyster.)
You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody, find yourself somebody,
Find yourself somebody to love.
(Go on. It's piss easy. There's really something seriously wrong with you if you can't. Just get off your arse and find somebody! Go on! You might as well kill yourself if you can't.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Orwell, Only Another 85 Pages To Go

Maconie's shamed me into reading The Road to Wigan Pier. I could never get on with Orwell's fiction but I thought I'd give this a try.

The first part gives us the facts and figures of northern working class life in the thirties. You can't argue with them. Orwell lives for a while in a crowded boarding house. He goes down mines.

The most revealing thing for me was not the overcrowding or the squalor or the danger of the work, but just how fit you had to be to be a miner. Not only was the work bloody hard but just to get to the coalface could involve miles of walking underground, bent double, banging your head, breathing in that lovely underground air. Just thinking about it makes me feel claustrophobic and knackered. And the miners had to do it fueled by a really basic unnourishing diet.

I'm slowly getting through the second part where Orwell gets all political. Attitudes of different classes to each other are analysed.

There is some unintentional light relief. Thank God for that because I can't read a book without there being some light relief, intentional or not.

According to Orwell, in the thirties middle class people believed that the working class were inherently dirty. They smelt, not through lack of bathing opportunities but because that's the way they were.

When Orwell was thirteen...

"I was in a train coming from a market town, and the third-class carriage was packed full of shepherds and pig-men who had been selling their beasts. Somebody produced a quart bottle of beer and passed it round; it travelled from mouth to mouth, everyone taking a swig. I cannot describe the horror I felt as that bottle worked its way towards me. If I drank from it after all those lower-class male mouths I felt certain I should vomit; on the other hand, if they offered it to me I dared not refuse for fear of offending them - you see here how squeamishness works both ways. Nowadays, thank God, I have no feelings of that kind. A working-man's body, as such, is no more repulsive to me than a millionaire's. I still don't like drinking out of a cup or bottle after another person - another man, I mean: with women I don't mind - but at least the question of class does not enter. It was rubbing shoulders with tramps that cured me of it. Tramps are not really very dirty as English people go, but they have the name for being dirty, and when you have shared a bed with a tramp and drunk tea out of the same snuff-tin, you feel that you have seen the worst and the worst has no terrors for you."

This, written in all seriousness, is hilarious. Whether it would have been so funny to a reader 70 years ago is another matter. Orwell is travelling third class because his family are lower middle class, not really that well off. Why the farm workers should want to offer him some of their beer, I don't know. The passing round of the bottle seems to me to be a bonding thing, you were part of the gang if you were offered it. The only reason they would offer it to a thirteen year old middle class boy would be to humiliate him. "Come on, lad, drink up, this'll put hairs on your chest!" They obviously didn't offer it to him, were not in the slightest bit interested in making a fool of him. He was not so central to the plot as he thought. This is Orwell's unintentional humour.

On a more serious note, Orwell's predilection for sharing tins of tea with female tramps is perhaps a clue as to how he contracted the tuberculosis which led to his early death.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Man On The Train (Part 3)

Sorry about the poem. I've had yet another technologically frustrating week and felt like lashing out. It wasn't aimed at any of you.

Remember the man on the train? I'd managed to avoid him since we came back from holiday. I'd moved up to the next carriage.

So this morning I was settled down with not a care in the world.

At the first stop, the internal door opens. Someone stands by the seat next to me. They stand there for ages, taking their coat off, adjusting their clothing and bag, adjusting their ipod, their mobile phone, breathing heavily.

I know it's him. I don't need to look.

He's out of breath because he's run for the train, just about getting on in time, on a carriage that's one up from where he usually sits. He's spotted me as he's walked towards the back carriage.

"Aha," he thinks, "There's that wanker I used to annoy. Yes, I really used to annoy the hell out of him. So this is where he's sitting now. Well, if he thinks he can get away from me, he's got another thing coming. Look at the pathetic cunt, reading his book. He's thinks he's all intellectual and superior. He used to turn his face away from me, as if I was a piece of shit on his shoe. Well, I'll show him who's boss."

He sits down next to me. He begins to text. He turns his music up.

I read the same line, over and over again. I'm thinking of a way to nip this in the bud. I don't want to cause a scene. I'll have to write something on a piece of paper and hand it to him. Something like, "I moved to this carriage to avoid you." No, I can't, he'll think I think he smells. I could write, "WHY?" Yes, I could write, "WHY?" In big letters.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Blogsbury Set

Phil was a blogger who breathed rare air
No-one could touch him for literary flair
His words they were funny, his words they were wry
He made readers laugh, he made readers cry

He was part of a group called The Blogsbury Set
Birds of a feather, they regularly met
Stroking their egos until they all came
Certain that Phil would become a big name

A publishing deal was surely in sight
All of his friends knew Phil's future was bright
But he got a reply saying, "Thanks, but no thanks
For no-one will buy your self-satisfied wank"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Manchester's Marvellous Musical Menagerie

Contrary to popular opinion, it wasn't just Morrissey who persuaded us to become vegetarians in the 80s. The most vocal vegetarian in pop music when I stopped eating meat was Kid Creole. He loved to lick out a coconut or two and wasn't shy about it.

Recently I have been re-evaluating our Smiths albums, as Stuart Maconie had made the staggering revelation that The Smiths were the best ever Manchester band. During Meat Is Murder, just before our chicken curry, I asked Betty if she agreed.

Of course not. We agreed on Joy Division as number one. But who was second?

Of course it had to be The Smiths.

That's if you discount, in no particular order,

The Fall

And Buzzcocks

And Magazine

And A Certain Ratio

And Durutti Column

And 10cc

And New Order

And 808 State

And The Stone Roses

And Happy Mondays

And Blue Orchids

Which makes The Smiths the 13th best band to come out of Manchester. Which proves that the number 13 is not necessarily unlucky.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Drowning In Berlin

Doesn't he look like he's sitting down to have a shit?

Anyway, bollocks to rugby and its fair weather friends who couldn't tell you the names of any of the London Irish or Wasps or even who the Barbarians are but who will be watching tomorrow's match with their hearts in their mouths. Was I like this in 1966 when millions of people who couldn't give a shit about football cheered on our lads in red? Of course I was, I was a four year old cynic.

Anyway, there's something much more important to look forward to.

Berlin Alexanderplatz holds a special place in my heart. It was there for me in my loveless eighties. I recorded it on the family video and watched it late at night, when my mum and sister were tucked up in their beds. According to my research, this was 1985, I was 23 years old and should have been married with a kid or two or at least living in sin with some Luther Vandross loving bird, but I was waiting for the "right one" who would appreciate my art film and eclectic music loving ways as a gift from God and not as grounds for running off with someone less "weird". Yes, I was no catch, but the films and music made my own company tolerable.

Every now and then I ask Betty if she saw Berlin Alexanderplatz. I say it was the best thing I've ever seen on tv. Each time she says she didn't see it. Each time I forget, and a couple of years later I ask her again.

There'll be no more such questions soon. Because the DVD's out next week. I hope it's as wonderful as I remember. Although I remember nothing, of course. I'll come fresh to it. With all those years of experience under my middle aged belt.

I love Fassbinder and I love his muse, Hanna Schygulla.

He was very much in love with her, you know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tomorrow's Headline


er, that should be...


Ha! Who gives a shit?



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Victorian Values

I love Victoria Wood. I love her sketches. I love her sitcom, dinnerladies. But if there's one thing she'll be remembered for, it's her awful songs. This one in particular.

This song is the first thing I associate with her name, before any of the great work she's produced. For this is my regular earworm.

It's sheer bloody torture. It's so long. Just when you think she's finished, there's another verse. Then another.

"Let's Do It!" "Let's Do It!"

No! Please! I don't want to! Geoffrey doesn't want to do it! Please, Victoria, no!

And the climax, the bit at the end, the bit that's with me, day in, day out. The bit I can never get out of my head.

"Beat me on the bottom with a Woman's Weekly!"

It almost makes me physically sick.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Death Is Not The End

The black eyebrowed, silver haired devil has started redistributing wealth. Stealing from the poor, giving to the rich. Patrick Collinson's summing up in yesterday's Guardian Money section makes you want to turn Green, not with envy but with disgust.

£600,000 tax-free, up from £300,000. Due to rise to £700,000 tax-free by 2010/11.

Patrick's been banging on about inheritance tax. Here's two letters from Guardian readers. From the rich south of England, of course.

Firstly, this from someone who I assume is a rich bastard pretending to be a cynical batten down the hatches kind of guy in order to get a letter in The Guardian:-

"Patrick Collinson can 'see no reason' why 'children of 50-plus need to inherit large sums'.
I can think of two. Firstly, they've somehow got to fund their children's education, as the state no longer does this, and secondly they've got to fund their own retirement, together with any medical and personal care, as the state no longer does this, either. You can see why some people think that if the welfare state is being dismantled, it's only fair to dismantle some of the taxes that used to pay for it."

And secondly, this from someone who I'm guessing is a selfish self-made man, a man who thinks the NHS is in a disgusting state and the government really don't give a shit about the health of its citizens but who wants his kids to be rich for doing fuck all. A Guardian reader, all the same:-

"I am a little irked by Patrick Collinson's article. The reason why it's not unreasonable for people to inherit large sums of money is because they then have the chance to help their own sons and daughters in setting up some kind of life for themselves.
I have two children aged seven and nine, and one of my last goals in life is to try and sort them out financially. It sticks in my throat when I think of this government trying to take what rightfully belongs to my sons when we finally 'croak it'."

These were letters responding to Patrick's previous article, before Darling moved the goalposts. I hope these two nice men are happy with Darling's new pronouncements. Or hasn't he gone far enough for them? The Tories are proposing £1 million tax-free. Now that's a fucking real bonanza.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Mersey Sound

Let Me Die a Youngman's Death

Let me die a youngman's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death

Roger McGough, 1937-

An Epitaph
(Twopence coloured, penny plain)

He worshipped at the altar of Romance
(Tried to seduce a woman half his age)
And dared to stake his fortune on a chance
(Gambled away his children's heritage).

He valued only what the world held cheap
(Refused to work, from laziness and pride):
Dreams were his refuge and he welcomed sleep
(He failed in business, took to drink and died).

Colin Ellis, 1895-1969

Doesn't the "constant good tumour" sound forced and wanky. But it gets a titter from the audience. Laughing at death? It just feels a little naughty, doesn't it?

I like my poetry easy to understand. I'm not clever enough to enjoy the complex stuff. I usually like rhymes, too. I like Colin's poem. You won't find Colin on the internet. You will find Roger, though. Oh yes, lots of Roger.

I've never got on with Roger's twee sentimentality. And his clever plays on words are not as clever as he thinks.

Patten, Henri and McGough all rode the Beatles' coattails. Right place, right time. Thousands of people in Britain were writing poetry as well if not better than the Liverpool poets. Maybe even more "accessible". Most kept it to themselves. But the Mersey was where it was at and these three had the guts to read their stuff in front of audiences who lapped it up because the poets were scousers and the Beatles were scousers and Liverpool was a hotbed of creativity, working class kids making it big.

I've nothing against these blokes earning a living from what thousands could have done if they'd been in the right place at the right time with the right self-confidence. Good luck to 'em. But Melvyn fucking Bragg fawning over the surviving two like they're something special? Give me a break! It's only piss poor poetry.

A couple of years ago there was a South Bank Show about The Darkness. I'll remember that when Melvyn comes knocking to interview the cream of Bexleyheath bloggers. I'll remember that when I say something humorous and the camera cuts away to Melvyn's orgasm face. I'll remember Justin Hawkins. And where he is now. (Rich cunt).


The Liverpool Poets

If it wasn't for the success of the Fab Four
The Liverpool Poets would be dead poor
And instead of publishing yet another edition
McGough would be dying from malnutrition

Geoff, 1961-

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Willy Russell

This is Willy Russell in The South Bank Show about the Liverpool poets. Once we've finished watching it I'll write a post about it. Willy Russell is currently modelling himself on Noel Edmonds. Why, I have no idea.

Willy is described as a "Playwright and Musician". If you look closely at my very dark picture you will see an acoustic guitar propped against the wall behind Willy.

Most writers are filmed in front of bookcases filled with books. Or computers. To prove that they don't sit on their arses all day doing nothing. They read and they write.

Willy's guitar proves he is a musician.

And look, here's his CD!

Well done, Willy!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Weekend Fun

So we go out for a curry to celebrate England's win. Rugby Union and Patriotism really are my favourite things. All those posh cunts singing about chariots really turns me on, in a Johnny Rotten and classical music kind of way.

So we go out for a curry, a mere 15 minute walk away. We're a bit nervous as last time we went out for a curry, in the town centre, Betty was verbally abused by some young tossers in a car on the way to the restaurant. And on the way back we were nearly killed by some young tosser in a car who thought it fun to drive at 50 m.p.h. jerking the steering wheel like it was his tiny cock.

So we're a bit nervous but this time we're not heading for the town centre, we're going down some quiet roads.

So ten minutes into our walk, we hear the screech of tyres. The car is coming up behind us. We've put our life in our hands again. The wanker revs up. We can hear the car speed up. He slows down, speeds up. He isn't jerking the steering wheel like it is his tiny cock but that's probably because there are a couple of girls in the back seat and he wouldn't want to scare them too much. No, he just wants to scare us pedestrians as he goes past us at 80 m.p.h. Thank fuck we survived, nervous but alive.

So we're within two minutes of the restaurant. A large group of teenage boys cross the road and arrange themselves into a pavement gauntlet. We don't run, just keep our heads down and walk through them, waiting for a comment which thankfully doesn't come.


In the restaurant, a couple of blokes talk about football, rugby and Ruskin. This is the first time I've ever heard Ruskin mentioned in Bexleyheath. Or rugby, come to think of it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

About Bloody Time, Too!

Ah, Norfolk. It seems like another lifetime. When windmills were active on land and not in the sea. When postmen sang and were happy with their lot!

Here then are the photos. What a lovely time we had.

1. Winterton-on-Sea
Winterton should really be called Windterton. If we'd brought any sandwiches to eat on the beach, they would have been full of sand by the second mouthful. Winterton has a desolate air, a bit like George Alagiah.

2. No Dogs!
Most of Norflok's beaches have a policy of not allowing dogs to roam the sands in the summer months. Presumably so that we don't get any headlines like "Devil Dog Ate My Little Angel". Of course, the dogs themselves can't read and drag their owners onto the beaches, unclip themselves from their collars and run around like crazy. the second photo in this section is proof. Those aren't seagull footprints!

3. Cromer.
Cromer. A poor man's Great Yarmouth. Whereas Yarmouth pier has the superb Jim Davidson, Roy "Chubby" Brown and the Chuckle Brothers on its bill, Cromer's lineup is distinctly provincial. I mean, "Magic, a Kind of Queen"! Who dreams these up? Elton Ben*?

4. A National Trust Lake
This is the lake we stopped at to take some pictures, just minutes before my brand new Primark t-shirt was shat on by some bastard bird. "Get off moi fuckin' land," the bird chirped as I walked disconsolately to the cafe, to be greeted by some foul tasting National Trust tea which was polluted by its "green" recycled packaging. What's wrong with a proper cup, eh?

5. Sheringham Park
Beautiful, beautiful Sheringham Park. Go there. The garden to our holiday cottage was supposed to contain grass snakes. I'm glad I didn't see them as I have a snake phobia. At the entrance/exit to Sheringham Park kids can write what wildlife they have spotted on their way round the routes. Adders came up quite regularly. I'm glad that most kids are lying little shits otherwise I would have been cacking myself all the way round. One kid had seen a "bear". Oh yeah? This isn't Yellowstone, buster!

* Copyright Betty's dad.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bear With Us

I'm coming out in solidarity with Betty. Until our home broadband is connected (fuck knows when) I'm not going to post another thing. I'm so pissed off with everybody connected with fucking technology at the moment. Nothing is going in the right direction. One step forwards, three steps back.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Bakers That Used To Be Broomfields

My mum's telling us about her visit to the bakers "that used to be Broomfields". None of us know what it's called now.

"So they had two tills at opposite ends of the shop and I went to the till where the batons were and another woman walks in the shop. The assistant goes to serve her from the other till. As I was first in the shop, the other customer kindly lets me go first."

MUM: Can I have two batons, please?


MUM: Well, can I have two small French sticks, please?


MUM: (Pointing to the batons/small French sticks) Well, what do you call these?


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Crocs Away!

Elton John dies and David Furnish prays to God. You see, Elton had a pair of green crocs that were his pride and joy, but when his left leg was lost in the accident the left croc went with it.

So David has one croc to treasure forever. If only he had both!

David prays to God and asks him if he could point him in the direction of the missing leg and croc. God says he can, but as God likes to see men suffer he asks David the following:-

GOD: David...who is your favourite dead film star?

DAVID: Why, Rock Hudson. He was absolutely gorgeous.

GOD: What would you say to a five minute telephone conversation with Rock Hudson?

DAVID: I'd do anything for that. But he's dead!

GOD: I can arrange it, David. I have his number.

DAVID: Yes, then. Yes, please.

GOD: Only one thing, David. If I give you Mr Hudson's number, I will not tell you where the missing croc is located.

DAVID: Why not, God?

GOD: Because that's the way I am.

DAVID: So I have a choice?

GOD: The choice is yours.

David's brow is furrowed.

DAVID: Can I have some time to think it over?

GOD: I want an answer now, David. Come on! Elton John's croc, or dial Rock?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Norfolk and Northern Folk

So it's Monday and Norfolk seems like another country, another century. Today's the day (hopefully) we get our Mac up and running and on the internet and the future will no longer be dimly Orange.

Our holiday snaps will be along later in the week. We sampled all that Norfolk had to offer except for a trip on the Broads. I just didn't fancy piloting a boat after all that driving.

Over the two weeks we watched the end of the second series and the whole of the third series of The Wire. It's still classic television, though the third series was sexed up considerably. It was as though the actors had told the producers, "What's the use in me going to the gym for four hours each day if you're not going to show my lovely body in all its glory?" So the producers capitulated and we got a sculpted chest and clenched arse fest.

My reading matter was Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North by BBC stalwart Stuart Maconie. I'm supposed to like Stuart, he's a decent bloke and he has marvellously catholic music tastes, and I do like him but he don't half get on my nerves, too. Like that dick Robert Elms, he's always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, whether it's the Northern Soul explosion, the Punk explosion, the Chicago House explosion or the Madchester explosion. But then, as he says, he does have marvellously catholic tastes.

In this book, a lot of the time he's confusing being "Northern" with being working class, (e.g. the word "dinner" to describe the midday meal as opposed to the middle class evening meal). This gets even my upper working class privileged Southern jessy hackles rising. His prejudice against southerners I can't really take seriously as it seems to be a prejudice against his BBC middle class mates. No wonder he lives in the West Midlands! He must hate his poncey London-based working life. He says near the end that there are many northerners who are not typical northerners and are twats and many southerners who act all northern like and aren't twats. I think I'm likely to be one of those untypical southerners. Will you be my mate, Stuart?

The digital radio I bought before we went away turned out to be a waste of money - BBC6 Music and 1Xtra are far too worthy and boring. We listened to Radio 1 in the car, usually untypical northerner Sara Cox (because we didn't get up in time to listen to untypical northerner Chris Moyles), and in the cottage we had on East Anglia's Kiss. At least Kiss played some decent music, even if their playlist only consisted of twenty tunes. At the weekend we listened to Kiss in the car as anything, and I mean anything is better than that untypical northerner Vernon Kay.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Classified Results

Klaxons 8, Winehouse 1

Fresh, exciting new sounds from South East London versus derivative Radio 2 approved cod soul from North London.

Saxondale 1, Gavin & Stacey 8

Steve Coogan is Steve Coogan (as always) in shoddy "comedy" with no laughs versus well-written, funny, touching romcom. Both Baby Cow productions.

Bluewater 0, Lakeside 0

Shite shopping mall versus shite shopping mall.

Pardew 4, Curbishley 7

Tony Blair style bullshit versus Gordon Brown style "does what it says on the tin".

Sopranos 10, The Wire 10

Genius versus genius.

Work 3, Jury Service 1

Boredom versus extreme boredom.

Led Zep Live 1969 7, The Who Live 1970 4

Overblown yet entertaining blues rockers versus past it, going through the motions show offs.

Back on 24th September, hopefully with a new home internet connection.

See you then.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Very Flat, Norfolk

It's no good. I can't get away from him. This morning I sat on the other side of the carriage. He sat next to me. Suicide seems the only option.

I went to John Lewis at Bluewater on Sunday to pick up my new macbook. Bluewater: what a shithole. One episode of the BBC4 documentary series The Secret Life of the Motorway, featured a long-distance lorry driver who, for relaxation at weekends, drives his wife hundreds of miles so she can do her shopping at shitholes like Bluewater all over the country. He sits outside the shops and reads. He finds it relaxing. They say there are more out than in.

I think I prefer shopping at Argos than John Lewis. There are hundreds of baby buggies at John Lewis. And customer collections takes an age. I was told my mac would be 15 minutes so I spent some time in the wanky hi-tech Apple shop, listening to an assistant saying "Apple just lurve university students" to a university student. I got back at John Lewis within the 15 minutes. Twenty minutes later, after several enquiries, I finally collected my mac. Apparently, they'd already called my name. Even though I was told to go away for 15 minutes. "Never knowingly undersold" should be augmented by "patience is a virtue".

We're off to Norfolk on Saturday for two weeks: another complete break from the internet. Honestly, the lengths we take to get away from our blogging compadres! The question is, will there be enough for us to do in Norfolk for two weeks? Once we've visited the Mustard Museum and paid homage to the Anglia tv knight on horse statue, what else is there to do?

I think I'm getting a bit nutty in my middle age. I mean, Norfolk! I ask you!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Have A Good Weekend, See You On Monday

So Betty's moved to Wordpress for a while. But I'm not joining her. We can have our own space like Woody Allen and Mia Farrow used to. I can still access Blogger from work in my lunch hours. Besides, we're away for two weeks from a week tomorrow so our five week wait for Orange to disconnect will just fly by.

Thank you all for your advice re. Macs. I'm off to buy one at the weekend and should be connecting it to the internet in early October. I've bought a dummies book, not because I'm a dummy, but because I want to know how to turn the damn thing on and off and to gen up on any hints and tips that will make my Mac experience a more rewarding and enjoyable one. If you're reading, Bill Gates, it's alright, we've still got PCs at work.


I'm always the first one on the train in the mornings. I sit at the back of the train in the window seat of a two-seater. There's just me in my part of the carriage as we pull into the second station. Recently, a man has begun to get on and sit next to me. He has a choice of hundreds of seats and he decides to sit next to me evey morning. He chews gum noisily, with his mouth open, and plays with his mobile phone. He has long, shiny shoes.

Today I got on the other side of the carriage. For a change, he wasn't first on the train at the next stop. A woman sat in my old seat. He sat next to her!

So it's not me he likes after all. It's that damn seat.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Moan Moan Moan

It's probably a problem with our home computer. We still can't access Blogger and now our antivirus is fucked up. Our PC's probably full of nasty viruses. And I can't be bothered to go through the rigmarole again of resetting the computer to its factory settings then getting more viruses then tearing my hair out in frustration over this four year old devil.

I'm going to buy a Mac. they're supposed to be less bovver, aren't they? Plus you get Garageband and you can compose your own bangin' drum & bass tunes. I can become Nathan Barley.

I would be grateful if any of you Mac users out there would advise me whether it's worth purchasing any antivirus software or do you just connect to the internet naked?


The Guardian's Saturday Guide sometimes recommends blogs to read. They've never recommended me a decent one. This Saturday's was Dave Gorman's blog. Dave is a famous comedian. He has no links to other blogs so he obviously couldn't give a toss about other bloggers. His blog is just another way for Dave to promote his career and sell his books. Dave got Post of the Week a couple of weeks ago. None of the blogs I like have ever won Post of the Week or been featured in the Guardian Guide.

It's all a load of bollocks, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hansi, Knees and Booompsadaisies

I'm too old to fight. Even James can't get my macho pumping arms into action.

If Blogger want to get rid of us we'll move over to Wordpress. They've got a couple of days. Then I'm outta here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wonder Milky Bitch*

So I'm not enamoured with alternative medicine. One thing they all advised me though was to give up the dairy products, something I've never heard from a conventional doctor.

Having spent the last month and a half with chronic catarrh and a nasty cough, I've decided now is the time to not give up, but to cut down drastically. I know from experience that dairy causes catarrh in me so I'm trusting my experience rather than my GP this time.

Cutting out cheese is no problem. But milk's a different kettle of fish.

Soya milk on my breakfast cereal gives me bad guts. And it's crap in coffee, though better than cow's milk in tea.

Rice milk tastes absolutely foul in coffee and tea. But gorgeous on its own or on cereal.

So my proposal is this...

Rice milk with my breakfast cereal.

Cow's milk with my morning cup of coffee.

And soya milk in my four cups of tea throughout the day.

Wish me luck. And anybody who says "Have you tried goat's milk?" is no friend of mine!

* £1.50 in luncheon vouchers to anybody who can tell me who did this song.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Enemies Of Reason (Part 2)

After his attack on superstition in part one, Dawkins turns his attention to alternative medicine.

The conclusion drawn is that any reports of these remedies working is totally down to the placebo effect of the way the patient is treated by the practitioner. The time spent and the empathy shown. Any healing is the result of self-healing which would have happened anyway if a sympathetic ear was available. The healing is not due to the actual treatment itself which is unproven by scientific tests.

Homeopathy is a particular target of Dawkins as in this country it is partly funded by the NHS (£10 million on the refurbishment of the Royal Homeopathic Hospital itself). Everybody should know by now that homeopathic medicine is basically water, but nutty Prince Charles uses it so crawling politicians fund it.

For a few years I took homeopathic medicine for hayfever. Fucking useless. Still, I wasn't filling my body with naughty chemicals that could have had all manner of side effects, was I? No, I was swallowing water!

I've gone down the proper alternative therapy route. I've seen a naturopath for my IBS and a kinesiologist for my gastro-oesophageal reflux problems. Both very relaxing (lots of laying down and having bits massaged, lots of listening to my problems, nodding sympathetically), and in the case of kinesiology as nutty as a fruitcake with all that chakra bollocks. Both fucking useless though.

I needed something real, something that gets in there and gets the job done, changing the fucked up chemistry in my brain, not some mind over matter placebo shit. Good old tried and trusted drugs to smash my problems like a nutcracker smashes a nut, enabling me to put on weight and feel healthy, not walk around as thin as a rake on a diet of the few things I can eat because poor little me has too sensitive a digestion to eat certain important staple foods.

So yes, Dawkins. I'm totally on your side. I've been there, done that and I'm not going back.

p.s. Professor, did I tell you about the time I was abducted by God-botherers?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Forthcoming Attractions At Our Local Theatre, The Dartford Orchard

The following are shows I'm recommending. Though to see the full range of entertainment at this local godsend, feel free to visit the website.


- This high octane musical extravaganza features fabulous “Broadway Style” production pieces, performed to wall-to-wall mega Abba hits. The show also features a medley of fabulous party classics from the 70s, and a dazzling compilation of highlights from the iconic film Saturday Night Fever.

Geoff's Preview - Come on, ladies. You'll be dancing in the aisles. Singing at the tops of your voices. "SEE THAT GIRL! WATCH THAT SCENE! DIGGING THE DANCING QUEEN!" A real girl's night out! And those party classics from the seventies! YMCA! Blame It On The Boogie! Suitable for women aged 16 to 86.


- After 32 years, this hilarious Cornishman still packs theatres the length and breadth of the country. He has his own unique style and timing, and with his new stories you will be entertained by one of the funniest story teller’s to date. If you’re looking for an evening of continuous laughter, this is possibly the best in the UK.

Contains adult material, Cert 18.

Geoff's Preview - Jethro is what is considered to be a "blue" comedian, therefore this show is only suitable for adults who enjoy swear words and mention of ladies' and gentlemen's private parts. Not really suitable for a younger adult audience, Jethro is very popular amongst older married couples. Suitable for married couples between the ages of 55 and 70.


- Think Floyd are now well into their 2007 tour of the UK. By popular demand the show is once again featuring complete performances of two of the most influential albums of the 20th century, Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here as well as Floyd classics from Barrett to The Division Bell. Plus a few selected venues will feature their highly acclaimed presentation of The Wall.

Geoff's Preview - Think Floyd will not be performing The Wall at The Orchard. If you want to see this spectacular show you'd have to take yourself along to Hertford, Burgess Hill or Milton Keynes. But there's still plenty here to keep the most ardent Floyd fan happy. Suitable for single straight men aged 45 to 65.

AN EVENING WITH MICKEY ROONEY - Celebrating 85 years of Entertaining!

- Crawling on to the stage during his father’s Vaudeville act at 18 months in 1922, Mickey Rooney began a truly legendary career. He now announces an 85th anniversary tour to be performed this year. Joined on stage by his wife, the singer/actress Jan Rooney, they sing, dance and laugh their way through the years.

Geoff's Preview - This is definitely worth going to see as it's probably the last chance you'll get to see the great man live. Still as sprightly as a spring chicken, Mickey will hopefully be performing his classic "Chinaman" act from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Who can forget his superb rendition of "Miss Gorightry! Miss Gorightry!" Suitable for widows and widowers aged 85 plus.


- No official preview.

Geoff's Preview - Derek is one of many male mediums regularly performing at venues up and down the country. Lost a loved one or a grandparent? Want reassurance from them that you're in their thoughts as well as them being in yours? Derek may be contacted by them and will translate what they've got to say to you. Suitable for women aged 16 upwards.


- Following a hugely successful tour of the UK this spring that culminated in 3 sell out nights at London’s 3,500 capacity Hammersmith Apollo, the hottest brightest award winning comedian Alan Carr will be back on the road this Autumn.

His recent television appearances have received great critical acclaim and include Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Eight out of Ten Cats, Countdown, and of course as the brilliant co host along with Justin Lee Collins on Channel 4’s The Friday Night Project. Alan’s debut live DVD will be in shops this November.

"Belly achingly funny" THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Geoff's Preview - Alan is one of Britain's rising stars. With a remarkable resemblance to Fleagle from sixties children's tv show The Banana Splits, Alan's affable camp manner will have you rolling in the aisles. Suitable for students, though unfortunately there are no concessions.


- Noise Ensemble is the new percussion spectacular by Ethan Lewis Maltby.
“Dynamic, vibrant and energetic”

Take ten sexy young virtuoso drummers and over a hundred different instruments, add a majestic score by acclaimed local composer Ethan Lewis Maltby, blend in stunning visual effects and you’ve got Noise Ensemble, a dazzling new music spectacular that’s set to take the world by storm.

“will do for drumming what Riverdance did for Irish Dancing”

Noise Ensemble explodes onto the stage with stunning choreography and breathtaking lighting and visual effects. This outstanding theatrical and musical experience is on its way to becoming a new entertainment phenomenon. Don’t miss it!

Geoff's Preview - This is a show, not unlike the more famous West End smash STOMP! which will raise the adrenaline and make you want to dance and shout like a screaming dervish. To see this show it is best to arrive at the venue by public transport, otherwise it would be like driving home after consuming 7 double espressos. Not suitable for those currently taking anti-psychotics. No age or sex recommendations.


- Ever since he burst out of our TV sets in the mid 70’s LENNY HENRY has risen to become one of Britain’s best-known and loved personalities. Comedian, impressionist, singer and serious actor, Lenny’s appeal is classless and ageless. He’s made numerous series of his own BBC show, as well as television specials, documentaries and films. With his new one-man show Lenny delivers an electrifying mix of stand-up and character comedy guaranteed to blow your socks off. You have been warned!

“Stunning, a complete blast” DAILY MAIL

Geoff's Preview - Lenny is a British institution, having shrugged off his earlier seventies "light entertainment" tag with his involvement in Comic Relief and Dawn French. Half of Britain's best loved comedy couple, Lenny's recent documentaries on the way Britons live today has cemented him as an everyman for the noughties.


- Based on author Eve Ensler's 'Vagina Interviews' conducted with women from all around the world, this hilariously witty and moving collection of tales gives voice to a chorus of lusty, outrageous, poignant, brave and thoroughly human stories.

As sharp as Sex and the City, as unmissable as Friends and as funny as Smack The Pony! This is ultimate girls night out…trust us!

‘Eve Ensler’s GLORIOUS show is WARM, OPEN, EXCITING, ENCHANTING and HILARIOUSLY funny! See it even if you haven’t got one’ Sunday Times

Geoff's Preview - You can see it if you haven't got one but you'll be in an embarrassed minority. This is a show for ladies to let it all hang out, no punches pulled. If you think Sex and the City was sharp, Friends was unmissable and Smack The Pony was riotously funny, this is the show for you. Not just for young professional women, this show is suitable for any woman who is able to laugh and cry, without embarrassment, at the female condition.


- The most outrageous comedian is back!

Still as popular as ever but too rude for television, there are only two ways to see the ‘Most outrageous comedian in the world’ – in his best selling DVD’s or at his live performances, but be sure to get a ticket as his shows will sell out.

You can always rely on ‘Chubby’ to shock but never disappoint, but be warned - if you are easily offended please stay at home. If not get practising the famous chant, we can’t print it, but we know you know what it is!

Geoff's Preview - X-rated humour from the jocular Geordie. The famous chant originates from the old Smokey song, Living Next Door To Alice. "ALICE? ALICE? WHO THE F**K IS ALICE?" This hilarious chant, originated by the Germans, is the centrepiece in Roy's cheeky show. This show is suitable for anyone over 18 with a sense of humour. Beware, though. Roy tends to pick out members of the audience for a bit of banter. So if you want to enjoy the show without being featured in it, I'd book a seat near the back of the auditorium if I were you.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

ELVIS: A Tribute

Thirty years ago today
Elvis Presley passed away
But I feel nothing inside
For Elvis liked his squirrels fried

He never stood on British soil
Though his British fans were loyal
They cried from Land's End to The Wirral
When Elvis choked on Secret Squirrel

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Enemies Of Reason

I don't believe in any thing
Hymns you will not hear me sing
The New Age is for silly sods
For Richard Dawkins is my god

dedicated to Neil Spencer, ex NME editor, now Observer astrologer

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Is It My Imajinaysheyonnn?

I know it's commonly believed that Oasis were a remarkably original band, a breath of rocking fresh air for 1994. But here's Ride from that same year proving that their fey, middle class Oxford heads were in a remarkably similar place to those working class bonces from Burnage. Except with a more interesting guitar sound.

This is a cover of a song by sixties psychedelic band, The Creation. Both Ride and Oasis were on Creation Records. Andy Bell, one of Ride's two exciting guitar wizards, is now mainly the plodding bass player in Oasis' middle aged dadrock rhythm section.

Ride had their time in the late eighties to mid nineties shoegazing era. Oasis should have had theirs in the mid to late nineties Britpop Shitpop era. However, the Britpop Shitpop era never ended and it seems as if Oasis will Live Forever.

The Andy Bell mentioned above is not to be confused with the Andy Bell of Yazoo replacements, Erasure. Yazoo were called Yaz for the American market and are not to be confused with Yazz of The Only Way Is Up fame. Neither Erasure, Yazoo or Yazz were on Creation Records.