Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2008: Year Of Boredom

I'm bored. 2008 was going to be the year I read and wrote poetry. I'm bored with poetry, with writing it and reading it. To be honest with myself, I'm not very good at either.

2008 was going to be a fiction-free year. I'm bored with reading fiction, can't take it seriously. But what's left?

I went to the bookshop. What about an autobiography?

I bought a bestseller, Bill Bryson's childhood memoirs, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

What a boring book! What a smug bastard! And the advertising inside for his other books! I've never seen the like!

There are thirteen pages of arse-licking reviews. And the inside back cover has pictures of all his other books just in case you hadn't been brainwashed already.

I've got three more books lined up. Simon Napier-Bell's Black Vinyl White Powder. A Drink with Shane MacGowan. And Owning Up: The Trilogy by George Melly, as recommended by Arabella.

Can anybody recommend any other entertaining non-fiction/autobiographies? You'll be performing a public service.


In other news, tonight in the chemist's I asked the woman behind the counter who calls me "Geoff" if she knows me from somewhere.

"Only here," she said.

"Oh, you pick names up pretty quickly, don't you?" said I, slinking off into the evening air.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Look Away Now

Taking the gauntlet from the missus (see her links for more entertaining lists), the following is my list of Ten Songs That No Grown Man Should Own. As meme's go, this is one that all bloggers should have a go at. You think you're too cool, eh?

1. Follow You, Follow Me - Genesis
I could never understand the appeal of Gabriel-era Genesis. Far too clever for me. This, in 1978, was the first time they'd floated my boat. I saw them live a year or two later. They were shit.

2. Hotel California - The Eagles
The Eagles' Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is the world's third best selling album after Thriller and Back In Black. Our school had one AC-DC fan. Nobody liked Jacko or The Eagles. With Hotel California, The Eagles were past their best and in their pomp. Joe Walsh was a new Eagle. I loved Joe Walsh. This single is beyond the pale. but I don't care.

3. Welcome Home - Peters & Lee
My mum loved this song. I seem to remember her developing a fancy for Lennie Peters. This, and I Just Called To Say I Love You are the only two singles by blind performers she has admitted to liking over the years. I always thought Peters and Lee were an item but they were married to different people. The clue's in the name, dummy.

4. Big Seven - Judge Dread
Judge Dread was a big favourite of our Ronnie Corbett-lite friend of the family. We'd sit in his living room on a Sunday afternoon, two young families, and he'd play this sexist filth. Big Seven was a more complete record than Big Six. It is more lyrically rounded and he keeps the Jamaican accent all the way through, not wandering off to South America.

5. Macarena - Los Del Rio
Two creepy, pervy middle aged taxi drivers trying to get off with beautiful young women. Thinking they're in with a chance! No, Grandad. Keep your eyes on the road!

6. Private Investigations (12 inch) - Dire Straits
A vinyl film noir. From the album Love Over Gold about which Wikipedia says "Due to its lengthy atmospheric instrumentals it has been cited as the band's only album that resembles progressive rock, although not quite achieving it." There's something magnificent about not quite achieving progressive rock. A beautiful failure.

7. Call On Me - Eric Prydz
Pervy video with hot babes, ahem, "towelling" themselves down. Played to absolute fucking death on MTV Dance a couple of years ago. Based on Steve Winwood's Valerie, it shouldn't work but it does. Oh yes it so does!

8. Aqua Marina (Stingray Theme) - Gary Miller

Miller provided the singing voice for Troy Tempest. You really couldn't tell, Troy was that good. I was in love with the idea of Marina, a mermaid who would hold my hand and take me through the most unimaginably beautiful coral. She would hold my breath for me in a kiss.

9. The Last Waltz - Englebert Humperdinck
I love the idea of "two lonely people together". I look at all the lonely people. Where do they all come from?

10. Chant No. 1 (12 inch) - Spandau Ballet
Who can forget Robert Elms' poetic introduction to the Ballet's live Scala show? I hear True every day at work. It is my least favourite song of all time, that joke just isn't funny any more. But this slice of white funk still gets me up on the dancefloor.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


"You wanna get some UB40 on them squeakin' 'inges."


"I suppose we ought to get that cheque off."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Holy Mackerel!

I love films. Not "film", films. I've loved films since I was in my late teens.

"A bit late to be getting into films," you may say.

But the films I like are for adults. I couldn't sit down with a child and watch a film. One of us would get very bored very quickly.

Heath Ledger is dead, the victim, it seems, of the pressure he was under playing the Joker in the new Batman film. Yes, Batman. A 28 year old man couldn't handle the psychological consequences of portraying a character in a kids' film.

I had a Batman outfit when I was three. I would run through Bournemouth town centre, pretending I was Batman.

It didn't fuck me up.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Skiffle Piffle

My Lonnie Donegan double CD is getting on my tits. It was not cheap, it was a tenner. For a tenner I expect the raised plastic bits which the CD holes fit over to be intact. As soon as I opened the case for the first time, they both crumbled. I expect this from cheap CDs, though why I'm not sure. They can't be saving that much by using crap packaging, surely. Still, at least the front of the case hasn't broken off. Yet.

Another thing that pisses me off about this compilation is the fact that it is a double rather than a single CD. Several of the songs have various versions. There are about five Midnight Specials coming down that fucking line! I don't want four studio versions and one live version of the same song. I want one definitive version. The best. That goes for anybody, except maybe the Beatles whose German versions of their classics sound like different songs. What kind of anal completist actually enjoys listening to the same song over and over?

"But Geoff, didn't you notice the bass player farting halfway through the second chorus in Midnight Special Take Three?"

No, I didn't. And I couldn't give a bollock about it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kevin Keegan - Master Of Irony

"When they've worked all week, the match for them, it's a bit like people down south going to the theatre".

Brilliant, King Kev! You've really raised the bar. That's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time.

You can see through all this bollocks about Newcastle United fans being the best in the world, salt of the earth, community minded, proud of their history, more working class and honest and neighbourly and humorous than other fans, deserving of success more than any other team's fans in the whole wide world. Toon Army, my arse. They can't hold a fucking tune.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Donna doesn't know it yet, but when she walks through the door to her secret 50th birthday celebration they will be playing Donna by Marty Wilde. Not Donna by 10CC or Donna by Ritchie Valens, but the cover of Valens' song which is "nicer" than the original.

As part of his set, the DJ will play Hey There Lonely Girl by Eddie Holman, the first song which Donna really liked in her teens.

For my 50th birthday bash I'm hoping to walk into the room to the strains of Space (Jefrey With One F) by The Pixies. I will later have a little smooch to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Shut That Door!

Woody Guthrie, Philip Pullman and Larry Grayson may seem like strange bedfellows, but all three had/have a common obsession.

Guthrie recorded several songs about DUST. Indeed, he became known as the "Dust Bowl Troubadour".

DUST is a major theme in Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials. Indeed, his novel entitled The Book Of Dust is due to be published in 2009.

Grayson's stage act included running his finger along the top of the back of a chair, searching for DUST, then exclaiming, "Oooh! Look at the muck in 'ere!"


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jo Brand and the Bruvvers

Last weekend I spent editing all Betty's 60s and 70s compilations down to eight cracking CDs. It was time well spent.

This weekend, inspired by the latest Uncut Magazine CD of influences on Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline, I have bought a Woody Guthrie compilation. And to complete my old music spree, I spent the remainder of my HMV voucher on a Lonnie Donegan skiffle CD.

Lonnie was feted on the first of BBC4's Pop On Trial discussion programmes. As big an influence as Elvis on British 60s bands, according to the panel of Joe Brown, CP Lee and 50s throwback Pete Wylie. Stuart Maconie chaired the discussion with his usual chummy aplomb.

On the website you can vote for your favourite track from each of the decades, though I'm not sure if you can tell them which you think is "the most important, influential and entertaining decade". Which is the premise for the series as far as I can tell. Maybe that vote comes later.

I can't decide which is my favourite song from any decade. I like several from each of the lists provided. Why can't we vote for our least favourite? Why haven't they got a shitlist? Surely a decade can be judged by its worst as well as its best.

Back to Joe Brown. Joe got away lightly when it came to a stage name. No Wilde, Fury, Eager, Pride, Power, Gentle, or Fame for Joe. He got to keep his real name. Joe said that Larry Parnes wanted to call him and his band Elmer Twitch and the Fidgets! And Joe refused!

Like the prostitute thing where you have your first pet's name followed by your first street's name, there should be something similar for one's Larry Parnes' name. I'm working on it, but for now Betty has given me and my imaginary band the moniker of Rory Fire & The Coals. I am seventeen and have smouldering good looks.

What's your Larry Parnes' name? The best one will receive a record contract with Pye Records.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The P*ace That's The Best

INT. The discussion is of a deceased colleague. Along the lines of "I bet he's in heaven, dancing to his favourite song, Spi*it In The S*y."

A (MID 50s): I once did some work for the guy who did the original. What was his name?

ME: No*man Greenb*um.

B (18): Gar*th Ga*es?

A: No, Gar*th Ga*es did the cover version! What was his name?


A: I know! Cli*e Jack*on! He was in a band called Doc*or And The M*dics. They're still touring.

B: ?

ME: ?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Me And The Chip Girl

It's time for one of my occasional psychosomatic illnesses. This time it's heart disease. I've been feeling a tightness in my chest, going down my left arm. Yesterday I had an ECG and a blood pressure test. I was fine. "It's not cardiac," said the nurse, softly into my ear in a crowded waiting room.

So it must be digestion related. Because I've read that angina can have similar symptoms to indigestion, it stands to reason that the reverse must be true.

Time to look at my diet, I suppose. As if I'm not always looking at my fucking diet. I have a lot of sympathy for the girl who can only eat chips. It took them years to find out she has gastro-oesophagul reflux disease and that chips are all she can comfortably digest. It goes against the rules, you see. Chips are supposed to be bad for the digestion.

Well bollocks to the rulebook. I can't eat potatoes full stop. Or "healthy" porridge. Or "healthy" omega 3 fatty fish. But I can eat hot, spicy foods and drink alcohol 'til the cows come home. That's against the rules, too.

One thing I've learned about the digestive system is that it doesn't respond to reason. We're all different. It's just that some of us are unfortunately more different than others.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dance What Off?

This year's Corrie workout babe is Vicky Binns. Vicky plays Molly, mad staring-eyed daughter of lonely, obese, face like a punched doughnut, bottle-bottomed spectacle wearer, baker Diggory Compton. She found love with slack-jawed, overweight, face like a Yorkshire pudding, ignoramus, car mechanic Tyrone Dobbs and has lost her love handles just for him.

Last year's Corrie workout babe was Vicky Entwistle who plays wasp-chewing, face like a bag of spanners, voice like chalk scraping a blackboard, seamstress Janice Battersby.

Next year's Corrie workout babe, according to the missus, is likely to be Jennie McAlpine who plays Fizz Brown. I like Fizz and won't hear a word said against her.

The name Vicky Binns just happens to be a combination of two high street off licences, Victoria Wines and Oddbins. Molly Compton happens to be one of the least alchoholic Corrie characters. Vicky is missing an opportunity.

for more soap workout fun, see Wyndham

Friday, January 04, 2008

Live To Work!

Back at work on Wednesday after our lovely long break and people are saying they were bored at home, desperately missing routine and a reason for getting up in the morning, glad to be back in the office.

How will they cope when it's time to retire? Are we going to have future generations of working 65 plussers, unwilling to get off the treadmill, drawing their pensions and their salaries, accumulating more and more wealth until they're unable to leave their homes?

What is this work ethic bollocks and who's the tosspot who invented it?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hello 2008

We dispensed with tradition last night. Tradition dictates we watch Hootenanny and shout expletives. But I just wasn't up for it last night. I couldn't bring myself to swear at Macca. Not after the year he's had.

We did turn over just before midnight just in time to see him do the song he always does nowadays because for some reason he thinks we all like it. We don't. This time he was accompanied by little Kylie and the obligatory Jools Holland band with Jools' little brother, Christopher. Yes, I know, our licence fee, etc etc...

Then they counted down from ten to one. We opened the front door to watch the fireworks as the breezy bollocked Scots Guards played Auld Lang Syne. All we could see was some badly dancing middle aged swingers in the window of the house across the road seemingly beckoning us to join them in their new year shenanigans. Well that's what it looked like in our inebriated state, so we shut the door pretty sharpish.

Most of the evening was spent watching The (100) Most Annoying People Of The Year 2007 on BBC3. I'd heard of most of them and most of them did annoy me. Three snippets of information I missed last year include...

1. The revelation that Mick Jagger used to get bees to sting him to enlarge his manhood.

2. The revelation that Bryan Ferry is an aficionado of Nazi style.

3. The revelation that former professional Christian athlete Jonathan Edwards had a crisis of faith and resigned from Songs Of Praise. I didn't know he had presented it in the first place!

My new year's resolution is to keep up with the news that matters.