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.