Friday, 31 October 2008

Bright Ambassador's Googlewhack non adventure

I've found out, via the extremely hand and incredibly informative, Statcounter that I've very nearly been Googlewhacked. Some bod from Channel 4 put 'Tits McCrikey' into Google and found this blog. Unfortunately 'Tit's McCrikey' returns two results. Although the other result only returns 'McCrikey'. So it's kind of a Googlewhacking victory for me. If I or you were bothered about such fripperies of course...

In other news, I'm thinking of taking up the ukulele, anyone know where I can buy a cheap but decent one from? Thought not...

And as it's the weekend, have this on me.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Ugh, I feel sick

I was unfortunate enough to catch the last fifteen minutes of that National Television Awards thingy last night. I'd never seen it before as anything voted on by the public usually ends up being shit. It didn't disappoint as Simon fucking Cowell was given some kind of Lifetime Achievement award (pointedly not voted for by the public). How can a man who, according to Mark Radcliffe, has been responsible for more shit records than anyone else, find himself winning a big TV award like that? I must be getting old.
To make matters worse, the man responsible for the second most shit amount of records, Pete Waterman, likened his shows to a Shakespeare play. Christ on a bike!
And if that wasn't enough, Piers Morgan was spraffing off about how he'd told Gordon Brown (Did you hear the clang when the name 'Gordon Brown' dropped there?) that he could take some lessons off Cowell. As if Brown hasn't got enough problems without that smarmy bastard telling him where he's going wrong and saying he should be more like the Botoxed, is-he-or-isn't-he shit magnet that is Simon Cowell.
I'm pretty sure that throughout it all, Cowell was sat there with the biggest erection he's ever had.
I'm off for a lie down.

Next year, why not give it to someone who actually deserves it. Like, off the top of my head, Tony Hart. Or the Australian 'video journalist' off my local news programme. He's ace.

Oh, and 'who's going to be the next doctor'? I don't give a fuck!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Licence to be bored

I gather there's a new James Bond film coming out. Not that you'd notice, I mean I've hardly seen any promotion done for it, have you?
I can't take Bond films seriously these days. After the first Austin Powers film it just all seem so ridiculous. But I guess that ridiculousness is the point. I was listening to Adam and Joe the other week and they had Roger Moore on. They asked him why he never seemed to take Bond seriously, he told them that how can you take it seriously, when this man, who is supposed to be a spy, is recognised in bars and casinos all over the world. And, if he doesn't want to be recognised, why does he drive around in Aston Martin DB5s and Lotus Esprits? When I see either of those cars, while I'm out and about, I always stop and say 'Cor, look at that penis extension'*.
I used to like Bond films when I was a biscuit-cruncher. My little Holy Trinity of Bonds was Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. Let us, for example look at You Only Live Twice in more detail. For a start it involves a plot that sees an extinct volcano in Japan being used to launch rockets to swallow up other spacecraft. This engineering job to hollow out the volcano must have been massive. But it wasn't just hollowed out, it was also rigged up with all the gubbins needed to launch rockets, as well as a fucking monorail. And how come nobody noticed the lake in the volcano's crater was being replaced by a sliding glass cover to look like a lake? Who are all these contractors who do theses huge jobs for SPECTRE but don't tell anyone? If it was McAlpine's or Wimpey's they'd be crowing from the rooftops about this massive job they'd done in Japan. And what of planning permission? If that was in Blighty a big job like that would more than likely go to a public inquiry.
And why does he always avert some major catastrophe with 007 seconds to spare? Why can he never avert a catastrophe with a tidy fortnight to spare?
Why do we now have this new, serious Bond for the 21st century? I'm sorry, but you can't churn out twenty odd films over forty years - making huge wedges of cash - and then suddenly say 'Hmm, they were a bit silly, weren't they? This is how we think it really should be'.

Oh, and this Bond-related new release is absolutely bloody shocking.

Of course, this post has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I was listening to this week's Armstrong and Miller Timeghost podcast on my walk to work today. I'm sure passers-by thought I was a bit doolally when I cracked out laughing as they were thinking up names for new Bond girls. Tits McCrikey and Flouncy Minge indeed!

*I'd just like to point out to any ladies who might be looking in that I drive one of those very small Smart cars, if you catch my drift..........

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Brand awareness

I just thought I'd have my two pence worth on this Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand thing. Isn't it funny how 'over 10,000 people have now complained'? They mean 10,000 people have now complained since reading about it in the Mail on Sunday and have probably never even heard the broadcast. Indeed, by the time they'd have read about it, this week's broadcast would have superseded last week's on podcast or online.

Not that I'm condoning what they did. If I went to work, rang people and left smutty remarks on their answerphone, I'd be severely reprimanded, and quite rightly so. I think these two should be made an example of. Are they both such powerful figures within the BBC that they'll be allowed to get away with this? I mean, who's going to miss Brand's Saturday night show? His audience should be out of a Saturday night anyway. There was some Brand fan bleating on the radio this afternoon that 'controlling comedy is wrong and if you don't like Brand then don't listen to him'. Yeah, well, making salacious remarks about someone's granddaughter when they haven't got a chance to answer back is also wrong. Tosser.

Anyway, in further news, I've started walking to work. I've put my bike away as I don't like riding in the dark. Walking's murder on my ankles. What I have noticed whilst walking is that one of my neighbours is the proud owner of an Aston Martin, and that one of the houses en route has changed its name from the original Buena Vista (it's etched on the brick gate posts) to Orchard House; Buena Vista is Spanish for 'pleasant view' apparently. They probably changed its name because the view now is of the factory where I work, a factory which makes cream cakes for every supermarket going, the largest distribution centre in the UK and the largest sugar processing works in Western Europe. Not a very 'buena' view these days, clearly.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Number Six

I've been tagged by Mr Avenues and Alleyways to do this writing six random things about yourself thingy. I'm not tagging anyone else because I don't know six other bloggers well enough, and I can't be arsed. Anyway, here goes:

  1. I once saw Motorhead's Philthy Animal Taylor walking around the town in Newark of a weekday lunchtime. I knew it was definitely him because he's fairly unmistakable, right? It was during his second stint in the band in the very early 90s. As I was too shy to approach him, it was like a scene out of a cartoon, he'd stop to look in a shop window, so I'd stop twenty yards behind him to look in another shop. I often wondered what he was doing in Newark of a weekday lunchtime. I later found out that he's from Chesterfield, and while that's not exactly round the corner, it's close enough for him to feasibly have family in the town.

  2. I didn't realise how bad my baldness was getting until I saw a reflection of the back of my head in some restaurant toilets last weekend.

  3. I've never seen any Star Wars, Godfather, Sylvester Stallone or Lord of the Rings film. Nor do I have the desire to.

  4. I once went on a protest over the visit of General Jaruzelski of Poland to Newark, when he was still the Communist leader of the country. Well, when I say protest, I mean I went and stood with some protesters outside Newark cemetery gates - which was across the road from my house - in the hope of getting on the Six O'Clock News. I didn't get on the news but the report did, I was stood behind the camera during the melee as his motorcade passed us on the way to the Polish war graves (and, more importantly, the grave of General Sikorsky, leader of the free Poles during WWII) in the cemetery. I read in the paper the other week that he's currently under trial in Poland for imposing martial law in 1981. Our house got on telly though.

  5. I've been a best man twice. I haven't spoken to the first guy I was best man for in about five years. I haven't spoken to the second guy I was best man for in the last twelve months. I know this because it was his birthday recently and the last time I spoke to him was on his birthday last year. Kind of sad really...

  6. The first CD I ever played on my first ever CD player was the Pet Shop Boys' Introspective on my 18th birthday. The second was Marillion's The Thieving Magpie. See, I've always had a weird taste in music. I think I played the PSBs first because Left to My Own Devices probably demonstrated the superior sound quality of the source material better (it had strings on it). Or something equally as wanky.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Celebrity lookalikes no.3

Knocked-up-in-an-afternoon, friend of Dum Dum, Hanna Barbera kiddies' post-school favourite, Touche Turtle.

Peace sign-waving, autograph shy, second least talented member of The Beatles, Ringo Starr.

I know this Ringo Starr business is last week's news, but I've never understood the fascination for autographs. What is the attraction? Is it because someone who does a job you like has actually held something in their hands and scribbled on it with a piece of paper? I dunno...
I'd rather shake someone's hand and tell them how much I like what they do. I think they'd appreciate that a lot more. I don't have anything autographed, apart from the Alex James book, which I picked up from one of those table displays in an Edinburgh bookshop with the intention of using it to read on the bog (I'm not even much of a Blur fan, I'd read any old crap about popular music. And it was on offer.). I didn't know it was signed until I got it home, and I certainly wouldn't have paid more for it just because he'd sat and signed a huge pile of them at the end of an in-store. I once read where Rowan Atkinson told autograph hunters to 'fuck off', which sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Fortunately for my mother though, he didn't tell her to 'fuck off' when she asked him about five years ago.

I'd tell this rancid old hag to 'fuck off' though if I'd just paid over £100 for the 'pleasure' of attending one of her enormodome concerts and she picked me out like that. It's not that bloke's fault her husband's sodded off, is it? And why does she use the 'f' word as punctuation? The more you use it, the less impact it has.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Leicester squares

Look at that picture. That's right, it clearly shows a wedge of lime in a pint of Coke. What sort of madness of poncification is that? I went to the De Montfort Hall in Leicester last night for the first time since I saw The Wonder Stuff there in 1989 and look what's happened. I blame the 6Music Brigade with their fancy Dan ways to be honest. Lime in Coke, whatever next......?

Anyway, the gig? Superb thanks. Elbow really are tremendous and I urge any lovers of quality music to catch them, very uplifting. I'm so, so jealous of anyone who can express themselves artistically, unfortunately I can't.

Best moment of the night? Elbow frontman Guy Garvey telling a woman in the crowd called Karen that the guy she was with called Paul had something to ask her in the next song. After the song we learned that Karen had said 'yes', hurrah! Things came back to Earth with a bump when Garvey told them that 'we won't be playing the wedding.....but to celebrate the engagement, here's a song about blinding heartache.'

Two things I've never seen at rock show too: 1) a lady roadie and 2) a cellist desperately trying to do a big rock 'n' roll finish. Top drawer. And can people please stop talking all the way through gigs please. I turned to my gig-going chum once at the end of a song to say 'Fuck yeah'. That's all that's required, thank you.

And I'd forgotten how much I love, and I mean love Newborn. Beautiful.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Reel to reel warping

Hey, remember the summer? No, not much to write home about, was it? Well I got in my car today for the first time in ages, and look what I found. At some point over the summer, it must have been warm enough to do that to one of my groovey compilation tapes (it's been photograghed while resting on my denim-clad thigh - calm down, ladies). Ain't Mother Nature er-mazing sometimes?
As you can see I don't go in for writing on those little stickers to put on the tape, I love the mystery when you put it in the 'deck'. I wonder what's on it? Probably a weird mix of this, this, this and this.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Where the brass bands play

I notice, with not very mush interest, that the BBC Electric Proms is about to start its 'third great year'. Does anyone really get excited about this? I really don't see the point, I'm sure Henry Wood never thought his legacy to the nation would see Oasis performing with a fifty voice choir, or Alison Goldfrapp operating a Theramin by waving it in front of her vagina.
And look at some of the other dreary names on there, Keane, Razorlight, the-bloke-off-the-Arctic-Monkey's-hobby-band-because-the-BBC-love-anything-remotely-zeitgeisty.
Why not put someone interesting on there, like Slayer? They're doing a British tour in the next week or so, they'd be available. If anyone needs electricity to perform it's them, and they'd be almost guaranteed a pretty big TV audience*.
And what happened to those other great 'annual music events'? National Music Day anyone (held once, notable for the youth groups, WIs, townswomen's guilds etc. up and down the country singing Lou Reed's anthem to heroin, Perfect Day, in unison)? John Peel Day (held twice on the date when Peel made his last Radio1 broadcast)? The British Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Induction (held twice, and pissed on its chips when Robbie Williams was inducted over a million other more worthy acts. And I'm including The Wurzels in that million)?

Which brings me on to the state of music on TV these days. I think things like Later and Live From Abbey Road are pretty tired formats. I'm not normally someone who bangs on about the good old days, but why can't someone do a TV show like The Tube these days? Do you remember how it was appointment television? The weekend really did start here for people of my generation. Can you imagine a programme on telly like that these days? A great format: a few live bands, interviews with an interviewer most of the guests want to take to bed, filmed reports, video exclusives, comedians and a smattering of poetry. See, it's not difficult, is it? I'm afraid the closest to that these days is on Radcliffe and Maconie's evening show on Radio2.
I'm a sucker for any documentary on music on BBC4 (even going as far as being inspired to buy Roxy Music's first two albums after their doco the other week), but they tend to look back, not forward. Surely BBC4 is the sort of channel designed to host something like The Tube. Instead they show those incredibly worthy BBC4 Sessions; not usually my cup of tea I'm afraid.
I think the answer is simple: someone, in TV, needs to employ me as a music editor. Are you listening More4? I can see it now, An Evening With Megadeth and Chums. Oh yes, pass the cigars.
I've just checked the Channel4 listings for this Friday in The Tube's old slot: The Paul O'Grady Show followed by The Simpsons (repeat) followed by Hollyoaks. Not very inspiring.....

Talking about Later, did anyone see Tom Jones on last night's? He looks like David Gest's even wankier brother. What's happened to his hair and face? I don't know who he's trying to kid, but nobody believes that's what a man pushing seventy looks like, do they? Mind you, I've never had much time for him anyway. I can't name a song of his I like, and, if it wasn't for Jonathan Ross, he'd be thought of in the same way today that Engelbert Humperdinck is.

*Even though they've just had to downgrade one venue from the cavernous Birmingham NEC to the cosier Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Celebrity lookalikes no.2

Could-do-with-a-mixed-grill-or-twenty, Shakespeare-bothering, Taggart rejected, Scottish actor from an unfathomably popular children's programme, David Tennant.

The BBC's currently extremely overworked business editor, Robert Peston.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Celebrity lookalikes no.1

Some warbling bint who I've seen twice on national telly over the past couple of days (she was in Wicked, or summat).

Geddy Lee c.1975 from Canadian prog metal power trio Rush.

Drink from the furry cup, it's the tops!

I'm thinking turning lesbian after reading this think piece courtesy of AOL.
Do you think someone actually got paid for writing that garbage? I love the way they begin to run out of celebrity lesbians to feature and so turn to the definitely straight Katy Perry, Madonna and every plastic surgeons favourite, Dannii Minogue.
Besides, I didn't realise that being a lesbian was a conscious lifestyle choice. Obviously it is, and as someone who likes to keep up with all the latest trends, I'm now a dedicated rug muncher. That's right, I'm a gusset typist of the highest magnitude. That is until next week when celibacy will probably be all the rage. Mind you, I think I've hit that stage already..........*wonders off muttering*

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Desert Island Cobblers

Our kid's done this Desert Island Discs thingy, so I thought I'd nick the idea and give it a go. You can take albums, right?

First up, the whole album, mark you, not just these two songs.

Perfect indie pop.


Perfect, er, pop.

Two for the price of one here. Going to see this lot a week tonight.

Dave Grohl never bettered this. Recently covered by Glen Campbell.

Doesn't outlive its welcome.


Luxury - an iPod to render this whole exercise pointless.
Book - The Deeper Meaning of Liff. I've read it hundreds of times and it never fails to make me 'LOL' (eergh). It'd make me realise how much pleasure used to be had by laying on a settee on a Sunday afternoon, absent-mindedly picking yourself.

Dum-di--dum..., hello there, you've just caught me deep in thought. I was thinking that how is it, as a British tax payer, I'm having to fork out to help some greedy bastards who put their money into Icelandic bank accounts? You see, I'm only a humble factory worker, but I was always told that high financial returns usually involve some sort of high financial risk. Now I may be very old-fashioned, but I thought it would have been the Icelandic government's job to sort this mess. Perhaps they're too busy planning on how to start another war over fish, or working out how to charge even more for a bottle of beer.

As you were.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Sexist comment from 1993 alert!

This has been written by Esther Rantzen, but don't let that put you off (mind you, I saw her daughter do a documentary the other week, and very good she was too), it gives me hope. Nearly as much hope as when Christine Bleakley followed Adrian Chiles to an empty flat for an hour. That means the Bleakley's into pudgy-faced, broad blokes from the Midlands who support unfashionable football teams. I think I may be in there.
The Rantzen article reminds me of something one of my better-looking-than-me friends used to say to me when I'd to travel to Bath to visit him at university, usually just after he'd copped with a complete siren: "Don't worry, Rich, the fat birds are better in bed. The skinny ones take it for granted you fancy 'em so just lay there like a starfish". That never explained why I was always left with the less attractive one though. Never mind, beauty's only skin deep, ain't it? Attractiveness takes so many forms, I only hope he enjoyed himself. His un-PCness seems so very decadent these days, doesn't it?

In other news, I found out today a colleague of mine likes, and is going to see Uriah Heep. Oh dear, I needed a laugh today.

And I know Joe Brown isn't exactly fashionable, but I kind of love his new single. Hear it here at track no.5.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Birds, burgers and bastards

Quite a productive weekend for me, all in all. Normally I like to sit on my fat, lazy arse at the weekend and do absolutely fuck all.
Saturday saw me rise quite early and nip into town. I needed the bank and some gentlemen's toiletries, so thought I'd give the great unwashed a swerve and go in early. Got home and thought I'd erect one of my purchases, my latest toy, namely a deluxe birdfeeder. I know, I know, calm yourselves, it's not all thrash metal and Bacardi Breezers at chez Ambassador you know. I'm not one given much for pets, I can never see the point of them, especially sodding cats, but I do derive some pleasure by watching small birds gorge themselves at my expense. While I was in the garden I packed away the garden furniture. That's a job I hate because it means the summer's finally gone, not that we had much of one this year. I'm a BST person, not a GMT person. Anyway, there's a small orchard on the other side of my back fence and I get a slow but steady supply of wind-blown Pippin apples at this time of year. Food tastes better when it's free, no?

Managed to get a big chunk of my book read on Saturday afternoon. I've been wrestling with Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain since the beginning of August, and I've only just reached the chapter on the 1984 miner's strike. I'm left with the impression, after getting this far into the book, that since 1945, Britain's been run by a bunch of clueless fuckwits. I'm surprised we're still here at all. It may turn me into a Thatcherite yet. Anyway, I'm trying to hurry it up now, I need to finish it because I read an excerpt of Frank Skinner's new book yesterday and I'd like to read the whole thing.

Saturday night was spent at the Odeon watching How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. It's based on Toby Young's book of the same name. I don't know much about Young, but I gather he's an odious little turd. I only really know him from his appearance on Come Dine With Me, and I quite liked him. And his house.
The problem I had with the film is that they had to put a romantic element into it. Why do that? To get women in I suppose, because we all know that women walk around all daydreaming about romance and chocolate, don't we? Not a bad film, could've been better.
What bugged me though was that it was stated to start at 18.10. What time did it start? 18.40, that's what time. That was after we'd had to sit through 30 minutes of ads for Radio1, mobile phones, Scotland, Stella Artois etc. Then, after they'd finished we had to sit through trailers for a load of shit-looking films I don't want to see. And why are films so loud these days? I know cinemas want to show off their sound systems, but really.

Finished the night at somewhere called Ultimate Burger. Don't know whether it's a chain or not, but let me tell you, they don't serve the 'ultimate burger'. Any ultimate burger to me involves lashings of brown sauce. Ultimate Burger don't serve brown sauce.

Yesterday saw me pottering around doing minor DIY jobs. I say minor because when you're in Homebase buying a hose for a shower and some other small bits, and someone passes with a large trolley groaning under the weight of internal doors, long planks of wood and a lethal-looking power tool still in it's box, you know what you're doing is small fry. Still, even the smallest of DIY jobs gives me satisfaction, especially if I've managed to do it without getting mad or trapping a finger.

Yesterday afternoon I took my car down to the jet wash. Normally I wouldn't mention this, but some bastard had been there before me with a car that must have been caked in mud. Which he'd left all over the floor. I then spent the next ten minutes gamely trying not to slip over in the mud. I've noticed that just lately, I've started talking to myself. I found myself cursing the owner of the previous vehicle by saying, what I thought was quite quietly, "The dirty fucking bastards". Obviously it wasn't quiet enough because I attracted the attention of an elderly couple looking round some second-hand cars. Oops.
Went home, had to put my jeans straight in the washing machine. When I emptied the washer, after its cycle, I found my wallet in there, such was my haste to get the jeans in. Cash, credit cards, debit cards, AA membership cards, the lot. And it ruined my 100% leather wallet. And all because of that bastard with the caked-up motor. Bah!

Anyway, managed to get some stuff watched off the PVR. Saw Friday's Jools Holland and found a new group I liked called TV on the Radio. Then started filling up at the denouement of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. I didn't cry though, I'm a man

Went back to work today for a rest.

Friday, 3 October 2008

John, have a word with your wife

I know John Lydon really doesn't give a toss what I, or anyone else, thinks of him. But why, why, why? His last piece of dignity gets flushed down the toilet of life. To which, no doubt, he'd reply with "I ain't never 'ad no digni'y in the first place."

Of course, it was much simpler in the 1981.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Registered at the Post Office as a comic

I was in a petrol station earlier, and thank God I was, otherwise I'd have missed out on this Earth-shattering news staring up at me from the newspaper rack. It's good to know that with all the depressing news at the moment, the Daily Star have got their finger on the throbbing pulse of all the world's top stories. Great news for mongs everywhere, no doubt.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Band meeting

Now I can take or leave comedy songs; in my book they're either hilarious or tedious. But I have to say that I'm really loving The Flight of the Conchords on BBC4 at the moment. I think it's on a repeat run, I didn't see it the first time around for two very big reasons. The reasons being that a) as I already said I can take or leave comedy songs and b) I heard the awful sitcom they did for Radio2 a few years ago. Now sitcoms on the radio I definitely can leave*, there's no ifs or buts about it. I used to listen to it late at night when I was doing shift work and just didn't 'get it'. Besides, it had a very annoying narration by Rob Brydon.
Since then they've relocated to New York and bagsied themselves a contract with HBO, and mightily pleased I am to boot. If you're unfamiliar with The Conchords, the premise is that they're a musical duo from New Zealand trying to make it in America with their hapless manager, Murray, who works for the New Zealand tourist board. They also constantly try and spurn the advances of their only fan and groupie, Mel (played to perfection by Mad Men's Kristen Schaal*, who I'm becoming slightly obsessed with, I'm a Mel to Kristen Schaal. I love a woman with a divvy favce). As well as trying to get gigs and convince Americans that they're not English.
Anyway, watch it, I haven't 'done' an American sitcom since Cheers finished, but this is incredibly subtle and 'unwisecracky'. Constant wisecracks and smartarseness are what put me off most American sitcoms. It probably helps that the Conchords aren't American in that respect.
Check out their brilliant Pet Shop Boys pastiche.

And another thing, what gives with giving celebs road trip series at the minute? We've got Charley Boorman, Russell Brand (in which we were 'treated' to the sight of everyone's favourite sex addict desperately trying to get into a girls undercrackers outside a bar, while his mate was inside on his Jack Jones), Stephen Fry and even Paddy 'No Discernible Talent' McGuinness all taking trips around various parts of the world. So, I thought I'd do my own road trip, if any TV commissioning editors are looking in. The idea is this: I go around the world sampling the finest five and six star hotels available. But there's a catch - there's always a catch in these types of telly shows - the only forms of transport I'm allowed to use are first class seats on scheduled airlines or by Aston Martin. That's it. I'm tentatively going to call it Emptying The World's Swankiest Mini Bars with Bright Ambassador. I can almost smell the tie-in book deal...

*I mean, have you heard Miranda Hart's Joke Shop? I presume the title's meant to be ironic given the severe shortage of jokes on offer.
**Isn't Kristen Schaal the most American name you've ever heard?