Wednesday, December 29, 2010

His Old Man

Tissues at the ready as I present my latest tear-jerking cartoon. I've even worked out how to upload to YouTube!

I promise I won't go mad and do one of these a week, but you know us boys and our new toys!



p.s. Sorry a third of it is hidden. Probably best to go to the link after all.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Boxing Day Blues

Christmas is a time for families to get together at the feet of the matriarch, even if you're feeling like shit, as I was.

We spent Boxing Day eating a mixture of salad, jacket potatoes, cold turkey and ham, pickles, quiches, pigs in blankets, apricot cheese, stuffing balls, mince pies, trifle, Quality Street, nuts, crisps and our own bile.

"I always enjoy this more than Christmas Dinner," is said every year without fail.

After dinner, the tv recorders are put to work. There's one downstairs and one upstairs.

"BBC1: 6.30, Countryfile. 7.30 Antiques Roadshow. 9.00 Upstairs Downstairs."

"I'll go upstairs and record Benidorm and Deal Or No Deal".

"What about Harry Hill?"

"No, I'm not bothered about Harry Hill."

They have 150 hours of unwatched tv on the recorder. They're going to spend the rest of the week catching up.

We, however, have caught up. Our Sky Plus box is free for the first time in years.

You can judge a Christmas by the quality of its telly. This has not been a good one.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Simply Having a Wonderful...Oh, please yerselves

I'm back!

And here's a little something for the festive period.

OK, it's not Guy Ritchie yet, but it's a start!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Brucey Bonus Tracks

I'm sitting here listening to Bruce Springsteen's The Promise, songs from the Darkness on the Edge of Town sessions, thinking Bruce chose the right songs to release back then when he blew my teenage mind, man. There's an urgency, a passion, a spirit in that album that spoke to naive boys and made us think anything was possible, that even owning a car might be romantic. Of course cars and young relationships could never live up to Bruce's billing but I still get a rush of adrenaline whenever I hear that album. The Promise is OK but not essential, a bit like the reality of the motor car.

***

I'm sure you were all riveted by the Golden Twit Awards yesterday. So pleased for Stephen Fry and the Greater Manchester Police. Fry's childish strops and the Force's kettling puns have been essential reading. And they had the gall to have "Public" awards for certain categories, as if the general public actually give a shit about nonentities' egos. Twitter's a great source of news and good for pissing around on with like minds but awards and books and sitcoms based on of-the-moment Twitter accounts? Get a life!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Drinker's Tale

I walk into the pub. A big place with a stage where they put on entertainment. I go to the bar and the barman greets me.

"What can I get you, sir?"

There is an array of fine real ales. I can't choose, there is too much choice.

A bearded man appears to my left and says to the barman, "He's a newbie. He'll have what newbies have."

The barman pours me two halves of two different ales. Medium strength.

"You owe me 50p," says the bearded man.

Of course I don't.

I find a stool at the bar and sit alone with my two halves. Except there aren't two, there are three. Where did the other one come from and which are mine?

I spend the next hour drinking the beer. I compare and contrast, taking gulps from each of the three glasses in turn. Three glasses because I don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

I am feeling pleasantly relaxed. This is the pub I've been looking for all my life. Nobody is bothering me, nobody is annoying me.

"One two, one two."

Somebody's on stage. It's the man with the beard. He has an acoustic guitar. He starts to sing.

50p. That's all I ask,
To point you to the tastiest cask.
To cap it all you drink my half.
Do you see this fucker laugh?
When you leave you'll meet outside
Some friends of mine, you cannot hide.
They'll beat you to a bloody mess

And that's my story, more or less.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Limbo

I keep preparing myself for change but change never comes. I don't want change so I should be grateful. But this is a very strange feeling, the most weird I have felt in my life.

I never used to think of the future, just took each day as it came. Good or bad, the present was where it was at, the future would take care of itself. Now my head's in the future and the past. The present is running on empty. The future's looking stressed and over-busy or it's looking relaxed and easy. The past? I had it good though I often had it pretty bad. But I never had this feeling of strangeness.

This week I thought it was shingles. The shingles never materialised. A soreness of the midriff which lasted four days. That's it, I said, it's shingles, it's the stress. But the shingles never came. I tried not to touch my eye as I knew someone whose sight was damaged by shingles. But I'm not a doctor and I really shouldn't be diagnosing myself. It wasn't shingles after all. It was just the stress. The stress that comes not from overwork but from a lack of control.

I don't want change, change is the unknown. Frying pan, fire. Fire, frying pan. Just like that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Whiskey in the Jar

It was my stepdad's 75th birthday last week. He was in hospital for some time earlier in the year and it was good to see him tucking into his Sunday roast. And his prawn cocktail. And his pudding. And half my mum's pudding.

My mum has a friend who has also been ill recently. But for her, living it up is not on the menu. Her doctor's told her in no uncertain terms that she must give up alcohol. Altogether.

Her favourite tipple is whiskey. It just so happened that her giving up drinking coincided with my stepdad's 75th birthday. What special gift would she give him to celebrate this landmark, considering he has driven her and her husband here there and everywhere for the past 15 years?

Three quarters of a bottle of whiskey.

He is a brandy drinker.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Perfect 10

The young woman giving out leaflets for Gym Box (remember them and their Chav Fighting classes?) has a jacket adorned with the words "Get the body your partner always dreams of."

So I pluck up the courage to ask her...

"What's the body your partner always dreams of?"

"James? He dreams of a body that's dismembered, caked in dried blood, bruised black and blue, oozing with pus, crawling with maggots and smelling to high heaven. But that's James and he has a vivid imagination which doesn't switch off when he goes to sleep."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One Is Busy Washing One's Hair

Her Royal Majesty has cancelled this year's Christmas Party for her staff. The party was an annual event until two years ago when she decided to make it biennial.

This year, said an unofficial spokesman, she "couldn't be fucking bothered".

An official spokesman said, "The Queen is acutely aware of the difficult economic circumstances facing the country and, given the current economic climate, it was thought that it was appropriate for the Royal Household to show restraint."

When confronted with the latter, the unofficial spokesman reiterated, "No. The truth is she couldn't be fucking bothered. She's an old woman. Prince Philip is an old man. They've met the great and the good over the years. They see members of the Royal Household every day of the year. They know they're not going to get a conversation as entertaining as the one they had with Michael Bentine in 1995."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Twitter Love

We met on Twitter. We fell in love in 140 characters or less. We have a common interest in music. We love festivals, that communal coming together of like minds. I play the guitar, Rachel plays the drums. We lived 140 miles away from each other but 140 miles is nothing in cyberspace. Within four months Rachel had moved down to London with her drums. Luckily one of my flatmates had fallen in love with a nice girl 140 miles away and was moving out. We formed a band. You wouldn't have heard of us but we're a bit like the Tings Tings although in our band the drummer's female and the guitarist is male, a bit like the White Stripes but not really if you see what I mean.

When we saw the advert asking for young thin white indie musicians who fell in love on Twitter we immediately contacted ITV. They filmed us holding hands in the park and looking lovingly into each others eyes. They filmed the band too but they didn't show the performance on morning television as they said it wasn't suitable for their audience. We feel a bit let down but we're going to carry on as we think we've got something to offer.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Time of My Life

In a bid to make the evening more special we decide to go to the pub before the restaurant.

The bus journey is a mile and a half, two pounds each one way, a bargain. The pub we choose is one we used to go in when in this town, run by no-nonsense middle-aged women.

Oh well, not any more. Younger bar staff, loud male punters everywhere, swearing at the tops of their voices.

And the tellies are on. And here comes the football.

I see John Terry's gormless face in the tunnel. Oh well, Chelsea. I look around and see Chelsea memorabilia on the walls. Great. Just what I wanted.

Chelsea score two goals, one bloke shouts his appreciation. Most people are ignoring the football. As they should. Televisions, karaoke, live music and tv game show machines should have no place in pubs in a civilised society. But they do. They're everywhere, we're supposed to need these distractions nowadays. Ever since the 80s when it was decided by the Pub God that jukeboxes were not good enough any more and the hated video jukebox made an appearance with Michael Hutchence wanting to make us sweat greasily like him and Sting and Dire Straits screwing with our minds and starting us on the road to buying our Sky dishes.

So we leave this pub and head for another, distracted on the way by a pub that looks as though it's closed down. But it isn't. It's no longer the haunt of desperate alcoholics but it's now a Real Ale Pub, recommended by CAMRA, winning awards.

We go inside. There are Union Jacks everywhere, posters telling us about a Battle of Britain Day on Saturday, dressing up in Wartime clothes required, kids very welcome to come along as long as they're dressed as evacuees. That'll teach the kids what the War was like, except of course they'll be with their pissed-up mum rubbing Bisto into her legs and their paralytic dad moaning about how long it takes for him to get his willy out of his uniform to go for his half-hourly piss, not hundreds of miles away with smiling, welcoming strangers and glasses of creamy milk straight from the cow's udder.

Next week there's an Irish night when the theme is Green and leprechaun children with large heads and false ginger beards are welcome.

Meanwhile on the telly, we have Top Gear with the odious Jeremy and his mates.

So we leave this pub and head for the Turkish restaurant.

The restaurant is busy for a Wednesday night. Big men are getting stuck into big steaks, cramming chips into their big mouths. Out of the front window of this tastefully decorated very pleasant establishment I see the bookies over the road, bereft of customers, next door to the greengrocer's, which is next door to the Londis which doubles up as the local Post Office. The heart of the town.

The background music is awful 80s. Young at Heart, Eternal Flame, (I've Had) The Time of My Life, you get the picture. Pure shite but loved by everyone of a certain age, the age for coming out on a Wednesday night, stuffing your face with your partner.

So we leave the restaurant and, oh fuck, it's the bus: "RUN!"

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The 6Music Subspecies

The Simon Armitage interview with Morrissey said far more about the state of my BBC sponsored demographic's establishment attitudes than about the plodding indie anachronism himself.

I feel like I should be part of the Mark, Lard, Armitage, middle-aged dry-humoured serious music fan set, but I just can't bring myself to raise my game and stroke my chin to a succession of bands that wouldn't have got record contracts in the 70s but are now lauded on 6Music's Pub Lunch With Graham Beard.

Talking about a new band called the Smiths, "Peel was never one for hype or eulogy, but somewhere within the lugubrious voice and deadpan delivery, I thought I heard a little note of excitement and perhaps even an adjective of praise."

Wrong, Simon. Peel's little note of excitement was his mind drifting to images of pretty young girls. He thought the Smiths were a load of old cunt and would much rather be playing something sent in by some unlistenable no-hope band recorded in some poor old deaf gran's kitchen in Uttoxeter.

One of the rules for my generation when talking about music is to drop John Peel's name into the conversation. As if we didn't have minds of our own. This nostalgia is suffocating and inaccurate and would send me to prison if ever I were to come across ex public schoolboy Phill Jupitus in the flesh and tempt him into talking about ex public schoolboys Peel and Strummer and wait for the sentimental "we're in this together" tear in his eye.

Armitage hides his not quite double platinum selling band's CD in his book of poetry gift to Morrissey. Morrissey is embarrassed as he forgot to bring his own 40 year old book of poetry Salacious Salford to give to Armitage and return the compliment.

I cringe for my establishment figures.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gentle Giant

In the pub I overhear a man mention the words "gentle giant".

I hope he's talking about this...



Or maybe this...



But looking at him out of the corner of my eye I know he's talking about this...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Faith School Menace?

I love watching Richard Dawkins documentaries. The naivety of the man is supreme. He cracks me up. Richard brought his kids up to be questioning, skeptical, fully-rounded human beings. He believes that children have the right not to be indoctrinated by their parents or teachers. He believes in a right that doesn't exist. Just like the "enemies of reason" believe in gods that don't exist. How does a young child stand up for their right not to be indoctrinated by religious parents? And if the child can't, who will? Do we have an army of questioning, skeptical, fully-rounded humanist social workers watching CCTV footage of a parent's every interaction with their child? Does a questioning, skeptical, fully-rounded SWAT team storm the home and arrest the brain-washing mum or dad?

Young minds are open to the possibilities of the supernatural, things that go bump in the night. Mums and dads are there to protect their kids from evil ghosts, monsters and carnivorous wallpaper. They're there to cuddle and suffocate with their overbearing love. And if they have a god to help banish the evil from the home and protect the child, they will call upon him.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Maybe A Bunk Bed Would Be A Good Idea After All

I could smell smoke before I saw it. Someone was having a crafty fag.

My mother appeared. She was sitting on the armchair, her right hand hidden from me. I could see smoke rising from behind the right arm of the chair.

I asked her if she was smoking. I said she can't start again now, not after giving up in her 60s. People don't start up again at the age of 78.

She said she wasn't smoking. The smoke was filling the room and my sensitive nose.

I asked her again. She turned to me and regally lifted her hand to her face, as if she were Princess Margaret. She left the cigarette in her mouth and dangled it like a flat-capped commoner.

I reacted like Bruce Lee. I leapt in the air and kicked the offending stick from her mouth.

***

I woke up with a start. Betty seemed to be sleeping. But she often wakes up in the mornings with bruises on her leg.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nothing Seems Right In Cars




The 60s boy next door has moved up from a Lambretta to a Mini. Today he is out lovingly washing it as we walk past. My filthy, sticky car is a few feet away. If I were a normal middle aged man I'd say to him, "You can do mine when you've finished." I'm not normal, though. Some cars are aesthetically pleasing to me, like the boy's Mini. But that's as far as it goes for me. My car stays plain-looking, unwashed and unloved, covered in tree and bird emissions. I ought to give it a once-over but that can wait till the week before its service.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag And Stick It Up Your...

Googling only makes Eliza Doolittle depressed. Is she depressed about the state of the world? Conflict, poverty and "natural" disasters, Eliza?

No, it's the nasty people on the internet saying how fucking awful her music is and how she should fuck off back to public school.

Named after a cockney flower girl who provides wank material eye candy for an old man in payment for elocution lessons, Eliza was born into the world of the stage school female "artist" bollocks infecting current pop music. She is the granddaughter of Sylvia Young!

I hear Eliza's latest song every day on the radio at work. It annoys me so much I've gone beyond hate. I'm somewhere much darker.

The other day I blurted my distaste out loud.

"I've never heard this song before," was the reply, even though it had been played every day for five weeks solid.

And then, probably to spite me...

"I love it! It's really lively! It's got a really lively beat! It's so happy!"

What do you think?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Free Prog & Krautrock!

It will go down in history that the last CDs I bought were Peter Gabriel's first two solo albums. I had them on vinyl a long long time ago and my memory isn't what it is. I still like the first one but that's about it of Mr WOMAD's long, distinguished, boring solo career.

Our house is bursting with CDs, DVDs and books. There just isn't room for any more. Admittedly we have listened to the CDs at least once each. But many of the books and DVDs will have to wait for my release from that hamster wheel called work as Philip Larkin said so eloquently.

I suppose Spotify is my friend. I'm not particularly enthusiastic about it as it makes finding new and old music too easy and hardly rewards the artists for their art. But that's the modern way. They make their money from live shows nowadays. So why should I feel guilty? But I do.

I'm spending a fiver a month on Spotify's "Unlimited" package, free of those five-an-hour British Gas adverts. I suppose it's about time Rupert Murdoch got his grubby paws on it and it's incorporated into Sky Songs.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You Know This Much Is True

I was reading Gary Kemp's autobiography and, boy, did it go on!

Gary can write a mean, lean tune with concise, deep lyrics. But when he starts tapping those computer keyboard keys, well, did we really have to know EVERYTHING about his life? He only reaches his third birthday on page 147!

Three months I was at it, learning more about the Kemp brothers than I thought humanly possible and by the time they'd been through Bert Weedon's Play In A Day for 73 consecutive days I had just about had enough. I stood up from my seat in the train carriage, held the book aloft and shouted at the top of my voice "Tony Hadley is the greatest soul singer the world has ever produced!" and with palpable relief threw the book out of the open window just as we passed Millwall's football ground.

To cut a long story short I had truly lost my mind.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Middle Aged Fred

On Saturday night the conversation was about festivals and live music. I felt so old. I've reluctantly been to one festival: an awful GLC one where the highlight was The Three Johns! And my last gig was Air at the Brixton Academy, which was full of idiots talking all the way through as I kept going to the bar in frustration.

I doubt my cynicism is welcome when live music enthusiasts attempt to get me to join them down memory lane. I couldn't feel less at home if classic cars were being discussed. In fact in my twenties I would spend many hours in pubs listening to my friends enjoy themselves in this way.

I'm not good company. My glass is half-empty, ready to be knocked out of my hand by someone punching the air to Pendulum on the jukebox.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No Dill

I've just bought a sofa online from IKEA after several hours looking for one that will fit through our front door.

In order for IKEA to remember me when I next decide to purchase something, I was obliged to create my profile.

In order to get some uniformity in my life I have decided to have the same profile on my Blogger account, too.

So I am currently a 48 year old male with the following interests...

Beds

Sofas

Chairs

Storage Solutions

I have no interest in tables or footstools but I am open to suggestion on the subject of Swedish food which I know many of you enjoy on a regular basis.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sorry, I Can't Do Any Better At The Moment

Now Cheryl is going back to calling herself Tweedy and completely disassociating herself from "the best left back in the world", we can but dream that she falls in love with a mid-life crisis "grumpy" comedian, that Jade Goody is brought back to life and back in the arms of her greatest love and that they all go out in a foursome.

Tweedy, Dee and Tweed and Dumb.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our Week in North Yorkshire

As you can see, we were lucky with the weather. It could have been a week indoors watching the unimaginably awful Frost/Nixon and other DVD delights. We took the Green route to Scarborough by train, tube, train and train. I wouldn't recommend going by tube from Charing Cross to King's Cross with two extremely large bags. But enough about my aunts!




Filey Brigg



Scarborough Links



Scarborough North Beach, Lovely Colours!



Scarborough South Beach, Best from a Distance



Whitby, Goth Heaven



Whitby's Blues Singer, Muddy Boots, Welcome Here!



Moo Moos



Chuff Chuff!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Give Peace a Chance

A friend's nine year old daughter is doing a half-term project: The Life Of John Lennon.

I ask her what she knows about Lennon.

"He was shot by Mark Chapman. We found the video on YouTube."

She has to draw a picture of a Lennon album cover. We find her the Plastic Ono Band cover as a tree is preferable to a close-up of Lennon's face or a full-frontal luxuriously-pubed John and Yoko.

The schoolteacher has asked for the children to bring in Beatles and Lennon CD cases to hang on a tree, presumably a Yoko-style tree of peace. This is unlikely to be a success.

I ask the girl what she knows about Lennon's upbringing. What does she know about his mother?

"She was killed by an off-duty policeman."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cockney Singalong Sunday

To be sung to the tune of the chorus of Daisy Bell. You know the one: "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do..."

TROUSIES, TROUSIES



Trousies, trousies, love 'em I really do,


I wear trousies all the summer through.


I love to wear me trousies,
Accompanied wiv me blousies,


And socks look sweet
Upon me feet
Wiv trousies and sandals, too.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Buster and the New Boy

At school there was a kid nicknamed Buster who would terrorise the more timid boys. He would demand their pocket money and if they'd already spent it at the tuck shop he would take their savoury snacks and sweets.

He was a truly horrid specimen and the prefects didn't do anything because they fancied his sister who was devoted to little Buster and wouldn't have a word said against him.

One day a new boy joined our school. He was weedy, wore glasses and had a stutter. A perfect victim for Buster's cruelty.

After a month of giving up his pocket money, snacks and sweets, the new boy joined the school's lunchtime Chemistry Club which kept him away from Buster's playground domain. The boy was very enthusiastic about his subject but very secretive and would shield what he was working on from the other swots and the naive teacher.

One lunchtime, as he left the club, he was confronted by an angry Buster in the quadrangle. Buster asked the boy if he had any money. The boy said no. Buster demanded savoury snacks. The boy said he hadn't any. Then, sweets?

The boy produced something Buster hadn't seen before. Little white pills in a see-through flip-top plastic container. Buster asked what these new treats were.

"Only mints," said the boy.

Buster grabbed them from the boy's hand, flipped the top and greedily tipped half the contents into his mouth. He gave a superior smile as he crunched the mints with his strong teeth.

Seconds later, he held his neck. He was burning inside. More than that, he couldn't breathe. Red rose from his Adam's apple to his forehead. His heart was thumping like mad and his brain was an uncontrollable kaleidoscope of colours. He was dying.

With his last breath he forced the words out.

"What...the fuck...are they?"

He fell to the ground and expired. The container of mints fell out of his hand.

Later that year the new boy went to court. The case made the national press. The headlines said...

BULLY BOY TIC TACS

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Heart Ward

My dear fellow,

When I visit your father in hospital, I do not wish to hear about your £2,000 lawnmower, your £8,000 boat, or the "fantastic" wedding reception you went to where the "blinding touch" of egg and bacon sandwiches being served to a plethora of pissed up philistines is the highlight of your life till now.

No, if you've got nothing to say about football or Coronation Street can you kindly keep your mouth zipped shut.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ghouls & Boys




Well, I got my hung Parliament and probably the best result I could have expected. A horrible one.

But the promise of a referendum on getting rid of the unfair first-past-the-post voting system will be making a lot of Tories choking on their foie gras. I'm surprised Cameron hasn't been lynched.

Speaking with a Lib Dem activist today, as you do, I was informed that during all the dithering they'd been contacted by angry people saying either "I didn't vote Lib Dem to get a Conservative government" or "I didn't vote Lib Dem to get a Labour government." Don't you just hate manic optimists?

So a step towards a fair voting system? That's what I wanted out of this election. Of course PR might produce the same result as we've got now. And there'll be even more people to blame.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

2010 Election Broadcast


"Hello, Geoff. I am your Member. Would you like to touch me?"


Yesterday evening I was in a bad mood when I got off the train. My mood didn't exactly improve as I was greeted by our MP and his team as I left the station. David had a big false smile on his big smug face.

Although he's a shoe-in to keep his seat, I'm relying on those of you in marginals (sound like skimpy pants, don't they?) to "do the right thing" and "vote for change".

Now where have I heard those phrases before?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Future Fairer For All

The latest YouCunt poll results are as follows:-

50% of the UK electorate would like a fairer society
30% of the UK electorate would like a less fair society
20% of the UK electorate haven't got a fucking clue what they want

Of course in the current first-past-the-post system, elections are decided by the people who haven't got a fucking clue. But this time, with the very real possibility of a hung parliament, the 50% of the electorate who would like a fairer society may get one. If the Lib Dems get to hold the balance of power, proportional representation could well be on the cards and the Tory Scum will never form a government on their own again. (Well, that's the theory).

If you want a hung parliament, to help you choose, this site looks just the ticket.

Looks like I'll be voting Lib Dem as a tactical vote for only the second time. Last time I voted for them the bastard came third.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tijuana Brass Neck

If England insist on playing Terry, Lampard and Gerrard in the World Cup, I'm going to have to support another team.

And as my favorite player of this season has been West Ham striker Guillermo Franco, it's going to be Mexico for me.

Of course our countries have a history of mutual admiration. Who could forget this tribute to Bobby Charlton from Mexico's greatest rock guitarist?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's All We Seem To Hear About Nowadays

I say to my mum, "Did you hear about Malcolm McLaren? He's dead."

"The racing driver?" she says.

"No, the Sex Pistols manager."

"Oh, the Sex Pistols manager."

I take a different tack.

"And Christopher Cazenove."

"That was strange, wasn't it?"

Monday, April 05, 2010

Herr Wallander

I bought three Wallander books the other week. I haven't started reading them yet but I'm looking forward to the descriptions of the surly detective's hair.

Kurt just can't seem to decide what to do with it.

Does he have it au naturel?



Or does he try to look younger by using the cheap option, Just For Men?



Or does he indeed splash the cash and get it done professionally at Benny & Bjorn?



If this is what the male menopause is like, I'm not looking forward to the next fifteen years.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weally Wotten Wiposte

At the weekend, Fulham fielded a weakened side against the Irons' fierce relegation rivals, Hull City. The Tigers (Grrr) won 2-0.

I think it was this that was the cause of a dream I had last night.

Fulham's manager, Roy Hodgson, was the England coach. By a miracle (beating Germany on penalties), we won the World Cup. To show his appreciation to the players, Roy decided to hold a party.

It was a fancy dress party. And to remind the players of their humble beginnings and their good fortune at now being wealthy heroes, Roy decided on a special theme. He gathered the players together and told them it would be a "Rags To Riches" party.

Here is a photo of a few of the players' other halves at said party:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Dead Sea

As some of you may know, I've joined Facebook. It's not for me. There's just none of the energy of Twitter, the forward momentum. If Twitter is a vigorous river, Facebook is the Dead Sea. I've been banging my head against my Wall trying to think of a creative use for Facebook. I've given up.

Maybe I just can't be myself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who's The Daddy?

Doesn't the Camerons' news put a smile on your face. A pregnancy is just the thing to perk up an election campaign. Mothers and mothers-to-be can relate to politics once again for the first time since Mrs Blair and Mrs Brown were in that wonderful life-giving state.

But who would make the best prime minister? He's got to be seen as virile and a good father. Fathers are so important in politics. Edward Heath was not a father. Look at what happened there!

The current state of affairs for the main UK political party leaders is as follows:-

Gordon Brown (Labour) - 2 children
David Cameron (Conservative) - 2 children, happily one on the way
Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) - 3 children
The Lord Pearson of Rannoch (UKIP) - 3 children, but disappointingly married 3 times
Caroline Lucas (Green) - 2 children, though yet to be a father
Nick Griffin (BNP) - 4 children

Of course it is important for the prime minister to have an impeccable marital history. This would rule out The Lord Pearson of Rannoch. Caroline Lucas is also a no no as the time for mothers running the country has gone - the Thatcher era was an historical blip. Gordon Brown has tried over the past few years to demonstrate his virility but no matter how good a father he may be he is just not young and thrusting enough for the modern electorate. David Cameron and Nick Clegg talk the talk but do they really walk the walk? Neither could honestly be described as "Mr Lover Man".

No, only one man will do as Prime Minister. Uncommonly handsome, exceedingly virile, a wonderful father, a moral leader, a man to bring the nation together, Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein F├╝hrer.

May 2010 will be Springtime for Griffin!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

F for Fake

This week I have learned how to make a fly-on-the-wall workplace documentary. The following guide is indispensable.

1. Don't worry about chronology. It doesn't matter when or where something really happens.

2. Set up false situations to make things more interesting. The protagonists will be happy to go along with this if you tell them it will make more interesting viewing.

3. Get your "stars" to ham it up for the camera. Create fake arguments to make it seem as if there is passionate debate when in reality things had already been decided beforehand.

4. Film some "quirky" footage in the building to make the atmosphere seem unreal and non-contemporary. Stupid people watching will be saying "what a surreal place to work, like going back in time. I would never have realised such places still existed if they ever did."

5. Film some completely unrelated footage featuring real celebrities who turn up at the workplace for no reason whatsoever. This gives your documentary a link to the "real" celebrity world which your viewers can use as a point of reference.

And last but not least...

6. Do not include the people doing the vast majority of the work. They will be too busy to put on an act.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Do Not Buy This Book

After all these years of blogging I've decided it's time to keep a hard copy of my best stuff to date in the form of a book. Something to show to somebody else's grandkids as I'm dressed like Clive Dunn.

So I've done a little 30 pager, just enough to use as a shin pad.

The price shown on the home page isn't inclusive of postage which is a rather expensive addition. This is just an offer for friends and family people who don't personally know me and I'm expecting a very small take up. So please don't disappoint me by ordering a copy.

I mean, why pay for something you can get for free online?

Bollocks idea, really.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Save The Khan

We fell asleep last night whilst watching our recording of BBC4's Heavy Metal Britannia. I'm not much of a heavy fan now but I was there at the start of the musical revolution that was the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, or NWOBHM as it was imaginatively known in rock weekly Sounds.

We went to see bands such as Vardis, Angel Witch, Praying Mantis and Iron Maiden (whatever happened to them?).

But my favourite nights out were in the Red Lion in Gravesend watching local heroes, Triarchy. I knew the singer/bassist and drummer and I don't know if you've experienced it but it's a very strange feeling seeing kids you've grown up with suddenly onstage in front of you. As a member of the audience in this situation you can't really let yourself go in the way you would in front of, say, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band or Lionel Richie. You've got to stay cool in front of your peers.

This is the band's self-financed single, Save The Khan, which has a lot more going on in it than you might expect. The Ultravox influence is undeniable!

Friday, February 26, 2010

On 6Music

Twitter's gone a bit loopy today with the news that the BBC could be axing digital radio station 6Music. Thousands of Tweeters are angry enough to #savebbc6music. Apparently George Lamb, Tom Robinson, Bruce Dickinson, Craig Charles, Dave Pearce, Don Letts, Guy Garvey, Liz Kershaw, Steve Lamacq et al are producing shows in the spirit of John Peel (one good reggae track followed by ten fucking awful indie tracks?) and are doing what the BBC is all about (innovation and education) and not just lining their pockets with licence payers' money by doing bugger all other than making self-love to the sound of their own boring voices and playing generally boring music in a boring vacuum of boringness.

As a middle-aged white man with impeccable music taste you would think 6Music would be aimed at the likes of me but even if I did like 80% of the tracks they played I've got music coming out of my ears here at home and there on the internet.

I don't need self-appointed music experts droning on, advising me on what I should be listening to. I'm old enough to work that out myself.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Media's Perception Of Blogging Is Wrong, So Wrong

I was listening to a discussion on the Guardian Technology podcast yesterday. It was claimed that people are stopping blogging because a blog post takes so much effort from which the blogger obtains so little reward.

Well, I've always found the act of writing on here an enjoyable piece of piss. It doesn't take much effort to type the crap that comes into your head which is what true blogging is all about. If you want to pore over something with a furrowed brow then you should be writing a book, not a blog.

As for the "little reward", what do you expect? It's free to publish, it's free to read. The reward should be in the heads and faces of your readers. The knowing nods, the wry grins, the explosive laughter, the tears of empathy. And then the comments that communicate these emotions across the miles.



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Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Boys Are Back

I am currently listening to Thin Lizzy. It happens at this time of life that songs I never thought of buying in the past suddenly creep up on me and I get a hankering.

One of Lizzy's songs is, of course, Dancing In The Moonlight (not to be confused with the Toploader toss). It contains the following lines.

"Now we go steady to the pictures
I always get chocolate stains on my pants"

The first line is clearly how the young Lynott would have spoken, as in 1960s Ireland teenagers would "go steady", as good young Catholic boys would, and he would have gone to "the pictures", the wonderful traditional description of a cinema for those of us growing up in the British Isles.

When we come to the second line, however, Phil is clearly going for the North American market, unless he actually went on dates in his underwear which would have been an arrestable offence in tight-assed Dublin.

Interesting.

Also of great interest to me is from which confectionery product did Phil's chocolate stains emanate. I have discussed this on Twitter and at home and come up with the following list, in order of probability:-

1. Flake (as suggested by Beth) 27%
2. Chocolate Buttons (as suggested by Betty) 24%
3. A finger of Fudge 21%
4. Curly Wurly 10%
5. Ice Breaker 8%
6. Old Jamaica (we know he had a taste for the hard stuff) 7%
7. Revels 3%

Are there any glaring omissions in the list? If only we could bring Phil back to life for just this one question!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Homework

Imagine you are a nine year old child. You are used to doing homework because that's what nine year old children do nowadays. Your teacher gives you an assignment.

"I want you to draw an A-Z of mathematical shapes, including both 2D and 3D examples."

So you ring up your mum.

"Mum, we've got to draw an A-Z of mathematical shapes, including both 2D and 3D examples."

So your mum says "don't worry, I'll help you".

So your mum boots up the computer and looks on Google for lists of mathematical shapes. She finds some sites such as A to Z Of Maths Is Fun, Wikipedia's List Of Mathematical Shapes, etc, prints off the shapes such as Acute Triangle, Bezier Curve, Circle, Decagon, etc, says "there you are, love," gives you the examples and you sit down and copy them, making sure the shapes have the right number of sides, the correct angles, etc.

Your mum checks you have copied the shapes properly and you are allowed to go to your bedroom to call your friends.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm So Excited And I Just Can't Hide It

She was really excited.

"I'm so excited!"

She'd just booked a holiday to Florida. She'll be going with two of her friends though originally there were going to be seven of them but four dropped out with pathetic excuses.

I felt really happy for her as she loudly told her friend on the other end of the phone line how excited she was about the hotel being near the beach, near the clubs where they're bound to meet some people, near lots of watersports which they'll all be trying out even though Kirsty has never done watersports before and she's so excited she's going on holiday with a couple of friends who've done watersports before and get a real thrill from them, near the docking point for a one day cruise to the Bahamas which is really good value and the experience of a lifetime...

And of course she mentioned twice, yes twice, that the hotel was so fantastic that CONTINENTAL breakfast is included in the price of £800 for 10 days, yes, CONTINENTAL breakfast!

I was feeling really pleased for her as she said she couldn't believe how lucky she was going to her dream destination, Florida, and that she was sure she'll have an even better time than the last time she went there a couple of years ago!

I was feeling even more pleased for her as she shouted that she couldn't believe how excited she was about this year as it is Kirsty's birthday next week, then next month it's Vicki's birthday, then she's going to India, then it's another friend's birthday, then it's another friend's birthday, then it's June and Florida for the holiday of a lifetime! She said that without all these wonderful things to look forward to she really thought she would be depressed.

The train stopped at Charing Cross and she got off. A blind woman in a wheelchair and her guide dog were waiting patiently by the door. A kind man asked her if he could get her some help to get off.

"Yes please," she said. "Thank you. I wanted to get off at London Bridge but they put me on the wrong train."

Our train doesn't stop at London Bridge.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Geoff Wet Blanket" Part 2

Many thanks to Rog who has taken Dave's words out of context (something all politicians moan about) and put them into something far more meaningful and true.

Rog's video here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Day I Spoke To The Future Prime Minister

Watch live streaming video from conservatives at livestream.com


Could somebody go to 36 minutes into this and tell me what Dave's answer is because every time I try it I piss myself laughing and can't hear him talk.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Staying Blinkered

You control what you can. You have to concentrate on what you can do. Everything else is not your responsibility. If things around you are falling apart you concentrate even harder on what you can control. Don't look at the bigger picture. Stay focused on small things.

That load of bollocks is my introduction into what I've been watching, listening to and reading recently.

I have been watching Nurse Jackie, starring the marvellous Edie Falco.




It's a "dark" comedy with a heart of gold and a fantastic performance from its leading actress. It may be a bit too sugary for some cynical tastes and the script and performances not as funny as my favourite hospital comedy Only When I Laugh Getting On, but Edie deserves every award going for her portrayal of a drugged-up, two-timing, hard-working mother-of-two with a (yes, you've guessed it) heart of gold.

I have been listening to the weekly podcast of Thinking Aloud. I hadn't sat down and listened to the radio since Little Nicky Horne on Capital in the 70s. Now I feel I've been missing out on Laurie Taylor's show since it started on Radio 4 in 1998 but now I am a devoted listener, one of Laurie's Old Gits or LOGS as we are known.

I have been reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first novel in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. It really is a rattling good thriller and worthy of selling all the copies it has, though you wonder whether it would have sold as many if the author hadn't tragically died before its publication.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Diary A

The Dear Diary season on BBC4 gets off to a disjointed start with Richard E Grant visiting friends and family of diarists Joe Orton and Kenneth Williams, talking about the death diary of John Diamond and visiting Rosemary Ackland's actor husband Joss who compiled and edited her diaries after her death, emphasising all the bits where Joss made "exquisite" love to her.

The most controversial subject, however, was prison diarist Erwin James. If you look at Erwin's biography on his website you will see a story of triumph over adversity, a previously ill-educated man who took a degree and wrote about life on the inside in a very truthful, real way, giving Guardian readers a special insight the string 'em up readers of the Daily Mail will never have. Erwin now works full-time as a freelance writer and the Guardian still loves him.

On the programme, Erwin's work gets a big thumbs-up from "prison reformer" Jonathan Aitken who praises the authenticity of the diaries.


Prison Reformer, Jonathan Aitken

Oh, by the way, did I mention what Erwin was in prison for, which he glaringly omits from his biography?

I'd better not say it here. Instead I'll direct you to the third paragraph of his Wikipedia page.

It's wonderful what an education can do, isn't it? Aitken calls James a "remarkable rehabilitated ex-prisoner". He is the product of a forgiving Christian society which dismisses revenge as Old Testament and realises that people do change over time and if given a second chance may well become good, literate people who can hold their own at nice intelligent dinner parties.

James was in prison for twenty years.

Former England cricketer Chris Lewis is currently serving thirteen years for smuggling cocaine into the UK.

Yes, cocaine, the stuff hidden in judges' white wigs to keep them awake.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Yes, London's Moving, Mr Mayor




Yes, it's been snowing. And we here in the wilderness of South East London are suffering.

Today, in their wisdom, on our line and every other "Metro" line, Southeastern Trains decided to run two trains an hour into London and two trains an hour out of London. When you consider a normal weekday rush hour service contains four times that number, you may see where a problem could occur.

I left early this afternoon and with my fellow departmental employees (we all got the same train, isn't that cute?) we watched our train fill up by Waterloo East and leave lots of people unable to get on at London Bridge. You had to laugh.

And there was more jolity to come. While we made a scenic stop at middle-class Blackheath, we watched the hilarious sight of drivers failing to drive their cars out of the station car park as the incline was too icy. Their tyres just couldn't get a grip! Yes, I know! You pay for a car parking space and a car parking space is what you get!

Still, tomorrow there will be four trains an hour, otherwise known as a "Saturday service". Except it's not really a Saturday, is it?