Tuesday, 29 December 2009

An even bigger splash

I love overhearing snippets of other people's conversations. Yesterday I was getting cultured up in Nottingham Contemporary Gallery (I've seen better Hockney exhibitions, by the way. Yeah, get me, the culture vulture) and overheard two women in their mid-twenties: "The trouble with Jen is that she's like a dog on heat. She's moved back here because there aren't enough men for her in Sheffield". At which point I had to restrain myself from asking for Jen's number.
Mind you, I quite often find art galleries a sexually charged environment. Especially that Tate Modern.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

May I extend Yuletide felicitations to you?

Well another year over, and 2009 was a right old bag of shite: the death of a parent, a massive disappointment selling her house (thanks a bunch Ms fucking Miller of 15 Dunghill Mansions, Newark. You knew the circumstances under which we were selling the house, you sow) and then topped off nicely with a redundancy scare (I'm still in gainful employment, unlike forty of my ex-colleagues, poor sods). So it'll be a massive relief to see the back of it. I'm not normally one for New Year's Eve but I'm going to buy the biggest firework available to let off this Dec. 31st/Jan. 1st as a final 'piss off' to a shit year.

Anyway, I know I don't normally give much away on this blog, but I've been thinking about Mum and Dad a lot these past few days. Things reached a peak when I heard this on the radio last night. It's a song I remember from my childhood and surprised myself by knowing all the words. It's lovely.

Add to that all the Alan Bennett stuff that's been on telly lately (both Mum and Dad loved him, and as a tribute I'm going with sis to see one of his plays with Alison Steadman next year, which Mum said she'd liked to have seen), Ed Stewart promoting Junior Choice on Radio 2 ("'Ello darlin'!") a general air of melancholy and the fact we won't taste her trifle this Christmas has left me feeling incredibly sad. I daren't even watch that Oliver Postgate documentary that was on last night, I'll save that till after Crimbo, I think. Postgate's voice just transports me back to the front room of our 1930s three bed semi on Elm Avenue with Mum in the kitchen making something yummy. And don't even get me started on the organ, flute and Richard Baker intro to Mary, Mungo and Midge "A town is full of buildings..."

I'm not one to burst into tears - I'm a man after all, and not given to tears - but I think Christmas has highlighted the fact that I'm now, technically, an orphan. Boo-hoo for me.

Anyway, enough of the self-pity, which I normally hate, and may I wish you a Merry Christmas and a spiffing 2010. I'll see you on the other side, hopefully a bit more regularly than of late. Sorry this post's a bit depressing. To cheer you up have this Top Tip from Viz: "Former member of 10cc Lol Creme, don't sign your name at the end of text messages conveying bad news." Aah, LOL!

Have this for Christmas too, Mark Radcliffe always used to play it at Christmas and I love it.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Thanks to Mr Clearbrook...

...I've been reminded how shit this advert it. I seem to remember blogging about the Iceland Christmas ad last year, and this year they've really surpassed themselves.
For starters they've made all the food look completely unappetising, surely not the desired effect.
Secondly, why are they still obsessed with prawns?
Thirdly, how can Coleen Nolan push all this crap food when she's been banging on in the Daily Mirror all year about how to lose weight?
Fourthly (is that a word?), why is everything miniaturised? Mini this, mini, that, mini the other. Is it so the mouth-breathers who buy this cack don't know how to eat with cutlery and so have to shove everything in whole?
Fifthly (okay, that's definitely not a word), why the aside about smoked salmon, as though it's some new innovation? Or is it because the people eating this shite regard smoked salmon as something a bit swish? I don't know why if that's the case, I can't stand the stuff.
Sixthly, chocolate-covered frozen strawberries? What sort of sick mind came up with that?
Seventhly, who'd like to give Coleen, Jason and that twat who says "Yer not kiddin'" a miniature vile of paraquat?


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Get me out of here. Please.

I had the grave misfortune of watching the last half hour of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here last night. Hopefully you didn't see it. I don't know what it is but I was slightly shocked at what was happening to Katie Price during her so-called 'Bush Tucker Trial'. Regular readers will know that I don't hold her in particularly high regard but some people must surely have gained some pleasure in seeing her get a ton of cockroaches shoved down her coat, boots and hat, wretch over a beetle smoothie and tip her head into a school desk full of frogspawn and live meal worms. Surely this is just some kind of masochism for the masses watching on TV? Yes, I know it's her choice to do it and she's getting paid well blah blah blah, but quite frankly I went to bed a little disturbed about what we've become as a nation of telly watchers.

Here's something much more palatable, because it really is nice to be nice.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Another town another place/Another girl another face

I've seen all sorts when it comes to concerts. I've seen giant inflatable pigs, giant inflatable astronauts, giant inflatable lingerie-clad-winking women, a twenty-one gun salute, aeroplanes crashing into the stage, flying guitars, disappearing guitars, rotating drum kits, arty films and animations on giant screens, explosions, fireworks and enough lasers to service the CD player industry well into the next millennium.
I went to see Motorhead on Monday night and, thankfully, they didn't need any of that. Lemmy was interviewed in The Times on Saturday where he said that they can't afford a fancy stage show so they just go out and play rock 'n' roll. What more do you want? The only concession to any type of big ass show was a bit of dry ice and a ton of those old-fashioned coloured lights they had before Vari-Lites became all the rage. There's no fancy intro tape or any of that ego-inflating nonsense. Lemmy just strolls on, carved Rickenbacker bass already strapped on - to huge cheers, obviously - and addresses the crowd thus: "Are you alright?...We'll soon put a stop to that. We are Motorhead, and we play rock 'n' roll." Bang, straight into Iron Fist.

The support act for the night was The Damned. What a great live band they are. Captain Sensible is actually quite a good guitarist and a born showman; he walked into the crowd during the elongated intro to Smash it Up, sat down in the front row and had a drink from someone's pint, all while still playing. Not only that, but you can't go wrong in my book if you come out and your first number is the first, and best, British punk song, New Rose. And Dave Vanian is, I'm convinced, an actual vampire.
Hurry along if this tour comes to a town near you, you can't go wrong for £25 a pop, and you get Girlschool thrown in too.

Compare that to this email I received the other day from Nottingham Arena:
Get ready to witness something amazing! Cesar Millan, dog trainer to the stars is coming to Trent FM Arena Nottingham on Wednesday 10th March 2010.
Oprah Winfrey, Scarlett Johansson and Will Smith have all had their dogs trained by US TV sensation Cesar Millan - and now you'll be able to witness his talents as he brings his amazing and hugely entertaining live show to Nottingham.
From Sheepdogs to Poodles, Cesar Millan will have audiences spellbound as he shares his amazing insights on dog psychology and behavioural issues.
Millan said: "If you had told me when I was growing up in Mexico that one day I would be going to the UK I don't think I would have ever believed it. I rehabilitate dogs and train people, so to be given the chance to fly across the pond and share my talents that help dog owners become calm and assertive pack leaders with their dogs really helps me fulfill my vision of making the world a better place...one dog at a time."
Using his natural gifts as an educator and as an entertainer, Cesar uses state-of-the-art multimedia accompanied by some friendly pooches to illustrate his unique concepts and ideas. Cesar will have audiences seeing the world through their dog's eyes and his 'fulfillment formula' will change their relationships with their dogs forever.
Prices start at £39 rising to £99. The £99 tickets entitle the holder to a Q&A with Cesar after the show. For £99 I'd expect a five course a al carte dinner to be thrown in along with the services of a Filipino masseuse. Now that would be 'something amazing!' Old Cesar could do with a lesson on ticket prices and what to expect of a show from Mr Ian Fraser Kilmister, I think.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Gordon Sumner. Again.

Now this really will just not do. If Sting doesn't start talking about how much he loves avant garde jazz played via the medium of banjo ukulele soon, then I'm in severe danger of becoming to like the tantric Tyneside tosspot. Get a grip, Sting, and start talking out of your arse again. Pronto!
Edit: Just watched last night's Culture Show while eating my dinner/lunch. Sting was on there singing a song called Snow That Melts the Soonest. It was lovely. Bloody hell! Time to call up Russians or Fields of Gold on You Tube I think just to get the Sting-hating levels back to normal.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Andrew Marr can probably play the guitar

There's been a lot of talk on the radio and TV this week over this new thing on Saturday night called The Impressions Show. It stars Jon Culshaw and some woman off of Coronation Street doing, you guessed it, impressions.
I hate to pour water on their flames but someone else is doing a rather good impression show over on BBC2 on a Wednesday night. Yes, it's everyone's favourite political correspondent, Andrew Marr. His show The Making of Modern Britain is jam-packed with impressions of all the major players from the turn of the 20th Century. Edward VII? Check. David Lloyd George? Check. Lord Kitchener? Check. Winston Churchill? Check. Charlie Chaplin? Check. Even PMs who nobody remembers get the Marr impersonation treatment, because, lets face it, nobody knows what the hell they sound like so he can get away with any voice he likes. An East End dockers' union leader? That's not a problem to our Andrew "Gor blimey, guvnor! These MPs are 'avin' a right 'larf! Lav a dack! Everybody aht!"

But his entertaining skills don't just stop at impressions, oh no, sir. He also likes to indulge his acting talents. Take the first episode, Lloyd George had tried to give a speech to a packed and rowdy Birmingham Town Hall but was overcome and had to disguise himself as a policeman and made good his escape from a side exit. Andrew took on this role with gusto and stormed out of one of the Town Halls exits, unfortunately he stopped short of dressing as an Edwardian policeman.
Ditto episode two when our history-loving presenter acted out a scene in a Manchester park when a load of Northern thugs decided to give those Suffragettes a bloody nose. He laps it up.
Of course, the one impression he can do with no make up is Macauley Culkin.

All this of course is a bit of dumbing down, get those who aren't really interested to watch. But they won't. On the subject of dumbing down, what about that Britain's Really Disgusting Food? If you haven't seen it it's a show on BBC Three that's actually worth watching. Presenter Alex Riley picks a foodstuff each week and shows you what horrid ingredients and shameful manufacturing processes go into it. Now, I like Mr Riley, he's got a stupid face and can be quite funny. But can't we do without the silly stunts like getting dressed in lederhosen, while standing outside the British HQ of German supermarket Lidl, to protest at them putting hydrogenated fats into their food? Something that always has to be done with a bullhorn to get their point across? I know they have to make these things entertaining but credit us with a bit of intelligence. Anyway, his programme may be having the opposite effect, as I now quite fancy the Celebrity Meat Loaf featured on last week's show. I've worked in food manufacturing for the past eight yeras and I'm pretty unshockable. It won't kill you.
And on that point, don't even get me started on Jimmy's Food Factory...

Monday, 9 November 2009

Searching for freedom from TV 'chefs'

I'm losing my patience with TV cookery shows. Come on, who actually makes any of that stuff they do on those shows? No me neither. The thing is these shows are everywhere, even supposedly primetime viewing. Let's look at what's on this week: Saturday Kitchen, Something for the Weekend, Come Dine With Me, The F Word, River Cottage, The Restaurant. They're just the ones off the top of my head. In recent weeks we've also had Jamie's American Adventure (pity he didn't get stay there), Britain's Best Dish, Cook's Challenge yada yada yada.
The thing is, who actually makes their own pasta? When Mr Heinz is quite prepared to make it for me and put it in a tin then I don't see why I should, I've got better things to do than dick around with one of those turny-handled pasta machines all afternoon.
The crunch came for me on Saturday morning when, I was getting ready to go out, there was this long lost relation of Jeremy Clarkson's (Valentine Warner?) on Saturday Kitchen doing something with a duck and an ingredient called puy lentils. The lentils ended up looking like puke. Green puke. Has anyone reading this ever eaten puy lentils?
I was in Waitrose a few weeks ago and overheard some fortysomething women banging on about how they'd like to be on the Chef's Table on Saturday Kitchen, like it was some kind of dream destination. And James Martin's 'a bit of alright, isn't he?'. That's the real reason they want to get on Saturday Kitchen, I fancy. They also like to make out they're some kind of experts 'there's so many flavours going off in there, it's great. The pan-fried* haddock really compliments those seared brussel sprouts.' Shut up.
Anyway, the only TV 'chef' I have any time for is Nigel Slater. He champions food that's not very good for you but tasty, and it's all 'oh, chuck however much you like in there'. And he writes great non-cookery books.

What I have enjoyed on the telly this week was something on Saturday night about the Berlin Wall. Post war Germany fascinates me from the 1970s in West Germany to the shitness of the old GDR. There were non-party people on this documentary who actually still mourned the passing of the GDR and still believed in its ideals. I suppose Communism is a good idea in principle, but anyone whose ever read Animal Farm knows it can never work.
What I also find interesting about the GDR is the Stasi, the secret police. This documentary told us that they were far worse, and in much greater in numbers, than the Gestapo ever was. They scared their own people so much they'd even managed to recruit an early 80s anti-Communist activist to spy on his mates. A brilliant documentary.
*A term I hate, by the way. How else does one fry something other than in a pan?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Reasons to be cheerful

Sorry I've not been posting for a while but I've not had much to post about, and a strange melancholia has engulfed me somewhat. I don't think Mum's death has hit me properly yet, and something big's about to go off at work, from which, fingers-crossed, I'll emerge from the other side unscathed. Hopefully.

Anyway, I don't do self pity on this blog (I do that on my other blog http://www.boohoomyhamstersjustcroaked.blogspot.com/) so I thought I'd let you know what I've been using to cheer myself:
  • James May making giant Airfix kits.

  • Danny Baker on the Word podcast talking about working in record shops owned by Elton John in the early 70s, King Crimson, the myth surrounding punk and its origins, working at the NME in the late 70s, Earth Wind and Fire.

  • This record. I gather it's not everyone's cup o' meat but I like it.

  • Mark Ellen guesting on Mark Radcliffe's show; two mates talking about nothing much but being funny and listener-inclusive.

  • Seeing Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds. A good night out if you like to hear Kraftwerk's The Model played on mandolin, violin, double bass and uilleann pipes.

  • Series six of Peep Show. Just keeps getting better.

  • Listening to my eighteen year-old nephew order alcoholic drinks at a bar, ice creams and fish 'n' chips while on a weekend away with the bloody family. What a dork. But a funny dork.

  • Armstrong and Miller.

  • Reading about Sting and Trudie Styler's tantric sex-powered helicopter in the latest Viz.
  • Reminding myself about when I went to a roller disco in 1982 after being served by a girl in Marks and Spencer's who was there. She fell and dropped Polo mints all over the floor for other roller discoites to grind into the wooden gymnasium floor with their wheels. That set me off, but what got me even more was the thought of me at a roller disco. Regular readers will know that I'm the world's most un-roller disco person. What was I thinking?

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Gordon Sumner

Do you know who I really hate? Yeah, that Sting. I always have done. As a child my sisters would torment me by playing their copies of The Police's Regatta De Blanc and Zenyatta Wotsit albums over and over again. Even aged 8 I knew I hated The Police and that twat singing. One of those albums contained a track called Canary in a Coalmine, and I detested that one especially.
Imagine my disgust, then, when I flicked open the latest edition of Word mag yesterday and saw a full page ad for his latest release, an album for winter with the utterly pretentious title of If On a Winter's Night... (Those fucking dots are actually part of the album title) Guess what, there's a photo of our hero looking all windswept and interesting on the cover walking a dog, alone in a snowy forest. I'm not surprised he's alone, who'd want to go out for a walk with a man who, was described perfectly accurately by Radcliffe and Maconie last week as, "the punchable lutist and Wallsend wassock". The lutist bit comes from the fact that a couple of years ago Sting released an album of lute music. What a cu..
I'm going to illegally download If On a Winter's Night *dot dot fucking dot* and only play it on the hottest day of the year. Yeah, that'll stick it to the punchable lutist and Wallsend wassock.
Do you know what else I hate about him? All that tantric sex stuff he banged on about. Christ, who wants that going on for hours and hours? I'd lose the will to live. Especially as at 6pm the holy trinity of TV starts: Eggheads, East Midlands Today and The One Show. Trudie Styler must have a snatch like a blind cobbler's thumb.
I do like Message in a Bottle though, mainly due to the guitar riff and drums, and would like to point out that I also like Stewart Copeland. He was in Curved Air after all.

Right, I'm off to watch Dune, Brimstone and Treacle and Quadrophenia back to back.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Ask me about the Mitfords

I've had a bit off a Mitford's weekend. First off, on Friday night, I went to see Andrew Collins and Richard Herring record one of their podcasts. I don't normally download their podcasts but thought I'd go along and support the Lincoln Comedy Festival and it was only a tenner to get in for over two hours of live entertainment. I enjoyed it, even Mr Collins's attempt at stand-up in the first part of the show. I tell you what bugs me though; people who get up to the bog in the middle of a set. It was even more noticeable on Friday night as they were recording it and someone's echoing footsteps must be clearly audible on the podcast. I haven't downloaded it, I heard it live, three rows from the front. It was a lovely venue for comedy though, the seats were actually quite comfy.
The Mitford connection is that Collins was sporting a t-shirt which read "Ask me about the Mitford sisters." Apparently he's an authority on the Nazi-loving, uppercrust siblings.

The second bit of my Mitford weekend came yesterday afternoon when I thought I'd pop along, as part of my ongoing quest to culturally enrich myself, to the annual Sotheby's sculpture selling exhibition at Chatsworth House. It'd slipped my mind but the youngest of the Mitford's, Deborah (or 'Debo' as she's known to her friends), is the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, whose family seat is Chatsworth. Their are two large gift shops at Chatsworth, both groaning under the weight of books about the Mitfords. They don't hide their light under a bushel.
I love a stately home gift shop. They always think they're above selling gonks and pencil sharpeners with the name of the home on the side. For a start not only were there books about the Mitfords, but there were books by a Mitford. That's right, Debo has her own books of letters and essays published. I flicked through the latest one and not only did it have an introduction by Alan Bennett ("Aah yes, I've spent many happy hours stroking Debo's pussy by a roaring fire in the private apartments at Chatsworth" or some such nonsense) but there was also advice, I kid you not, on the correct way to wear a tiara. My stifled guffaws must have been noticeable to the staff.
Another book which diverted my attention was DeBrett's Guide for the Modern Gentleman, of course I could have written the bloody thing, but it was worth standing in the shop and flicking through for fifteen minutes, if only for the advice on how to handle a lady (I was heartened to find three of my favourite albums in their Top Ten Heavy Metal Albums).

I believe bits of the TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice were filmed at Chatsworth, and, as you'd expect, there's tons of Pride and Prej stuff, including stacks of copies of the book. What I couldn't quite understand though is why, next to Pride and Prej, there were also stacks of copies of Stuart Maconie's Pies and Prejudice. Do you think one of their buyers got the wrong end of the stick?
Anyway, what I loved the most were the tables given over the The Duke's, The Duchess's and Lady Burlington's own choices of gift. They've got stuff on with a little note by whichever member of the family's picked it, like this for a kiddies' book "My grandchildren love me to read them this amusing book whenever they come to stay" or this for a book called Posh Crosswords "The hours on the train journey between London and Derbyshire just fly by with this handy book of puzzles". What had me scratching my head the most though was a huge stack of those clocks which sings a different birdsong on the hour, they're the sort of naff things you only normally see on those terrible Innovations catalogues. The 12th Duke's note? "This clock never fails to amuse me, on the hour, every hour." As Basil Fawlty once said "Only the true upper class would have tat like that."

Friday, 2 October 2009

Don't bank on it

I was in my bank this morning, using their cash machine. I use the cash machine inside because a) I don't like the way banks are forcing you outside to get YOUR money which helps them pay for their nice branches and b) I get a thrill out of the free warm they're inadvertently giving me.
The bank in question is one which is cockney rhyming slang for 'masturbation'. You may have seen their, supposedly 'amusing' TV ads voiced by Stephen Merchant (or you may know him as him off of Extras, no, not Ricky Gervais, the lanky one, the one who plays the agent, you know "Barry from Eastenderrrrs"). While I was using this machine to go about my financial dealings to find out if my wages had been paid and to withdraw some cash for tonight, I noticed a sign directly above the machine which said "I love it when you push my buttons". Now things are pretty slack for me action-wise at the minute but you know you've hit rock bottom when a cash machine starts coming on to you. If that's what its intentions were.
The other intention might have been, of course, that Wanker's Bank think they're actually having a little joke, that I might somehow be amused by their little bon mot. Well, I'm not, I want my bank to deal with my finances efficiently and without jokes.
Looking round I noticed that they're trying to make us love them. There was a sign near some chairs which said "Take the weight off your feet", I know what a chair's for, they don't need to explain it to me.
Another, near the enquiries desk read "How can I help?" Well, you can help by taking down these stupid signs and not paying some sort of PR company hundreds of thousands of pounds of MY money to come up with 'friendly' signage.
In my experience they're not exactly 'friendly' when you pay in a cheque, worth an awful lot of money, issued by another high street bank, take ages to let it clear (when it should have cleared instantly) and then charge me the unfriendly sum of £16 when I write a cheque for the same awful lot of money to my DEAD mother's solicitor whose bank tries to draw the money before Wanker's Bank have let it clear. Wankers.

And they can shove their free pens up their arses too. "Take me, I'm free." No, I'm paying for those pens, they're not free to me.
Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Welcome to the machine

I've just watched a programme about the progress of technology with Simon Armitage that was on BBC4 last night. At the start of the programme he went into a school and asked them to tip out all of their gadgets onto their desks. Isn't it easy being a kid these days? With mobile phone technology there's now no more need to pop down to the phone box at the end of the street with a stack of 5 pence pieces if you wanted to speak to the girl you wanted to ask to the school disco.That's not counting the limitless possibilities of internet instant messaging.
When I was at my last days at school the first 'brick' mobiles were appearing. How we laughed, who'd want one of those? That was an opinion I held up until as recently as 2000 when I finally relented and got a mobile, even that purchase was more out of necessity.

I've been toying with the idea of an iPhone recently, but then do I really need an iPhone? Yes, they look like fun, but there's a scores of features on the mobile I've got now that I never use like a radio, video calls, organisers, a calculator and video capture. I suppose the internet on the phone is handy for when I'm away but I very rarely use it because a) I'm on holiday and much as I love you I like to have a break, and b) it's bloody expensive on pay-as-you-go. Besides, knowing my luck, I'd buy the iPhone the very minute they were bringing one out that was better. Who was it who said they'd buy a new telly if they stopped inventing new ones?

When I was at school the only piece of technology I owned was a 14" colour portable telly and my sister's cast-off Walkman. She was a rather 'troubled' teenager who ended up under a shrink so my parents were a bit more generous with her when it came to dishing out presents. In fact, I don't recall owning my 'own' Walkman until I started earning my own money delivering papers.
I loved the Walkman and must have got through about half a dozen of them, including those with a fairly useless graphic equaliser on the side. Can you imagine my joy at the advent of the CD Walkman? Heavy on batteries but you could instantly go back to the beginning of Megadeth's Symphony of Destruction the minute it had finished without all that horrid rewinding killing your batteries.
Now with the iPod I can listen to my entire record collection wherever I go. I don't, of course, because I'm too lazy to rip CDs into the bloody thing. Most of the music on there is stuff I've downloaded, hence the weird look of that Top 25 Most Played post. The things I listen to most on the iPod are podcasts when I'm either doing my chores or out walking. I've got the second biggest iPod available, storage-wise, and I don't think it's a quarter full.

The most useless gadget I've got is a personal DAB radio. It's crap. Don't buy one.

I'm not buying any more technology, not until they give us those hover boots they've been promising us anyway. As the campaign slogan says in Muriel's Wedding "You can't stop progress!"

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

In with a bullet at number twelve, it's Petula Clark

I've heard it said before that the Top 25 Most Played on your iPod is a true reflection of your musical taste. Well, here goes, wish me luck....

  1. The Go! Team - My World. Brighton-based hip-hop-rock-dance crossover outfit have a go at long-forgotten kiddies' TV theme music. Rather good.

  2. Focus - House of the King. Dutch prog nutjobs provide theme music for Saxondale. Excellent.

  3. Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. Only decent thing they've ever done.

  4. Hard- Fi - Living for the Weekend. A shining example of one of my 'obsession songs'. Don't think I want to hear it again for a while. Especially with lyrics like "Oh shit, my clothes are all counterfeit."

  5. Sailor - A Glass of Champagne. Look, I like it. Okay?

  6. Amy MacDonald - Mr Rock 'n' Roll. Jesus, how did that get in there? The Argos KT Tunstall, no, hang on, that was Sandi Thom. Okay, the Primark KT Tunstall.

  7. Genesis - ABACAB. I like Genesis, and what are you going to do about it?

  8. Clout - Substitute. Another 'obsession song'. Thing is, the only version of it on iTunes is a re-recording, so it's not even the original with the blokes playing all the instruments.

  9. Lindisfarne - Lady Eleanor. See Monday's post. It's about a "belly-dancing beauty with a power-driven saw".

  10. Tool - Stinkfist. Fuck yeah! The Californian prog-metal miserabelists stock opening gambit at a live show.

  11. The Raconteurs - Salute Your Solution. Haven't heard that in ages. Another 'obsession song'.

  12. Petula Clark - Colour My World. Saw on a DFS ad, liked, downloaded. Tony Hatch in full effect.

  13. Billy Ocean - Love Really Hurts. No wedding's complete without this. Red Light Spells Danger is nearly as good too.

  14. Heart- Barracuda. Inspired to download by Guitar Hero. Zeppelinesque rock workout about music industry creeps. Top.

  15. Wolfmother - Woman. Imagine if Deep Purple were Australian and still capable of making good records.

  16. Bobby Goldsboro - Summer (The First Time). I'm thoroughly fed up of hearing this paen to cherry-popping.

  17. CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above. I loved this a couple of years ago. Funky shagging song by the Brazilian crossover dance act.

  18. Elbow - Newborn. Worth it just for elongated section at the end. Brilliant when played live, especially the way it suddenly stops.

  19. The Killers - When You Were Young. I normally hate The Killers (I've got enough Simple Minds' records without this lot making weak facsimiles), but this is the only song I've ever got 100% on Guitar Hero. Probably because there's not much guitar...

  20. Nick Nicely - Hilly Fields. I blogged about this a while back.

  21. Kirsty MacColl - They Don't Know. I don't need to explain this, surely.

  22. Baccara - Yes, Sir, I Can Boogie. Look, I can explain...

  23. Feeder - Feeling a Moment. I'm not normally keen on these Foo Fighters copyists, but this reminds me of something I'm not going into here.

  24. Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal. Not for listening to in the summer, but just the ticket as the days get shorter and darker.

  25. Half Man Half Biscuit - Trumpton Riots. Elevaaaaaaaaaaate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm an eclectic bastard, aren't I, readers?

I've put You Tube links on to tall those tracks and it took me ages, so you'd better look at some of them. I'll quite understand if there are no takers foe Bobby Goldsboro though.

Monday, 21 September 2009

The music grabs me, spins me around and round

I'm becoming obsessed with this bloody song. I bought one of those crappy 80s compilation CDs to play at work and this was on it. I have these little song obsessions every now and again. The other week it was Lindisfarne's Lady Eleanor, a few weeks before that Don Partridge's Rosie. I'll go mad on it for about a week and then forget it, only to be reminded of it again when I play The 25 Most Played playlist on my iPod.
Twilight Cafe reminds me of early Simple Minds (guitars and synths share the limelight with a strong bassline) and it's obviously trading on that whole Echo Beach I've-got-a-shit-job-but-I-go-somewhere-after-work-to-let-my-hair-down-with-like-minded-folk vibe. What a shame she doesn't sound all that happy about it.
My obsession has led me to found out more about Ms Fassbender. Unfortunately she hanged herself in 1991 leaving three daughters. What a sorry end to the tale. She looks so happy on this clip too.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Two men called George

Via the Word magazine weekly mailout comes this link for an excellent blog. I love a bit of George and Lynne. They're so liberated, aren't they? We never 'took' The Sun in our house, mother would have thought it too common* and Dad had The Express. Dad had The Express from the minute he started work in the late 40s up until the day he died in 2003 - that's right, he was lying on his hospital deathbed and we still took him an Express.

My country-dwelling aunt and uncle had The Sun though, so it was always a treat going to their house as, for a young lad, The Sun was manna from Heaven. Not only did you have to contend with top-heavy Page 3 'lovelies' but there was also the joy that was George and Lynne. When I was that age George and Lynne offered a skewed peep into what it was like to be an adult. George and Lynne gave this wonderful impression that childless adults just lazed around in bed all day watching television**. And Lynne ALWAYS had her norks out with a pair of see-through panties on (even though, to my disappointment, only the back was see through). Their conversation was always about some builder who'd wolf-whistled Lynne or George making some double entendre. You just knew that immediately afterwards they were going to have the best sex ever.
How disappointed and disillusioned was I to become with adult life?

Dad's Express only offered the charms of The Gambols. The Gambols were Terry and June to George and Lynne's Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. The Gambols were George and Gaye, a happily married, middle-aged, childless couple. Their strips usually revolved around anecdotes that George would tell Gaye after a day at work (of course Gaye didn't work, what are you? Nuts?), a misunderstanding Gaye would have with a shopworker, or one of George's golfing mishaps. The only time The Gambols got a little bit sexy was when they were getting ready to go out - no doubt to a fucking dinner party - and you'd see George in his vest and pants (large, white Y-fronts) while Gaye would be wearing stockings and suspenders. But not in a sexy way. It was in a way that tells you the artist hadn't come to terms with the invention of tights (pantyhose for any Americans looking in).

The summer would be livened up by having their niece and nephew, Flivver and Miggy to stay. 'Hilarity' would ensue on a daily basis with those two little sods. By they way, have you ever come across anyone called either Flivver or Miggy? No, me neither.

I mean look at that picture at the top, that's a typical Gambols' drawing. George struggling with a grandfather clock bought at an auction while Gaye excitedly follows him. Don't you just know that was a bad investment?

I'd love to kick George Gambol in the bollocks in front of his missus for not being George and Lynne. The pair of bastards.
*Perversely, she'd buy it on Grand National day because 'it had a list of runners and riders.' Like they didn't in any other newspaper.
**I hate watching telly, and eating, in bed though, as an adult.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Deep joy

I've been thinking about Professor Stanley Unwin today, I don't know why, I just have. I can't think about him these days without also being reminded of something a colleague said when the news of Unwin's death was announced on the TV at work: "Thank fuck for that, I could never stand that old c**t." Which I always thought was a terrible thing to say, not only because he was being deeply disrespectful to someone who'd just died, but also because I believe that if Unwin doesn't even raise the briefest of smiles with you then you're a pretty humourless individual (that's not to say I can tell people what's funny and what's not).

Unwin always reminds me of two people who loomed large in my life when I was smaller. They were both childless but have a love of kids and loved to share little songs and stories with us. I reckon a lot of it had to do with the fact that they weren't parents themselves and didn't mind making a tit of themselves if it got a laugh out of a child. My dad, for instance, went to work, came home, had his tea, washed-up and then dropped off to sleep in front of the telly. Every night. That's not to say he was a bad parent, as he quite plainly wasn't, it's just that it was his job to provide for the kids, and be with them at weekends or on holiday.

My dad's brother, Uncle Jim was a man who spent his whole life living with our grandmother. Whenever you went he had a fresh Jane or Andy Capp book for us to look at, could knock out a tune on a concertina and would sing us songs, his favourite being one about snot and bogey pasties, exactly the sort of thing kids love. The one line I can remember went "You can have the black ones, 'cos I like the green ones." Brilliant!
As recently as the mid-70s I remember going to their house and having to use an outside loo. This was always fraught with danger as it was a home to many large spiders. Uncle Jim always came good though because to take your mind off the spiders he's let you take his lantern with a flashing beacon on top to light your way. The excitement of a flashing beacon was too much to bear for this 6 year-old.

The other guy was my mum's butcher. You'd go into his shop on a Saturday morning - trying to avoid the carcasses of dead animals which were dripping blood all over the sawdust-covered floor - and the first thing he'd do would be to shout at his wife to go and fetch the biscuit tin. Biscuits were duly handed out - usually a malted milk or a sport biscuit - then he'd launch into any one of a hundred songs. Particular favourites were There Was and Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Susannah's a Silly Old Sow and one which told the tale of a woman who took a pig to market and couldn't get it over a stile. She took a stick to the pig to make it go over the stile, but the stick, unbelievably, wouldn't behave itself, so it went "Stick, stick, beat pig to get over the stile/Fire, fire burn stick to beat pig to get over the stile/Water, water, quench fire to burn stick to beat pig to get over the stile" It continued ad nauseum until the exact moment my mum's meat was cut, bagged up and paid for. Perfect timing.

Anyway, enough of my useless and uninteresting childhood reminiscences, here's some classic Unwin. You Tube's disappointingly light on Unwinese, but fact fans, clip one contains an actor who was born on the same street as me. That's right, I was born at home, there'll be a blue plaque on that house one day.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Jordan: The Comeback

I woke up this morning and thought that I'd dreamt that I'd read in yesterday's Daily Star that Katie Price had said "Rape is a subject very close to my heart." Turns out I hadn't dreamt it.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

I'm going to ring-rang-a-dong for a holiday

This is going to be my last blog post for a while as, thanks to my employer's policy of making us all have two weeks off when holidays are at their most expensive, I'm going away at the weekend and, along with the fact I'm going to be away for a chunk of August, I'll have limited internet time over the summer. So I thought I'd do a what-I've-been-watching-on-TV round-up.

Let's start with Guesstimation, a dreadful new Saturday night vehicle for Nick Knowles. It won't surprise you to learn that I hate Knowles. He comes across as the kind of idiot who stands at the bar in pubs spraffing off to his pathetic mates about how great he is while mentally undressing every woman who walks into the bar. To compound my hatred I heard him being interviewed on Radio Nottingham last week while trying to promote Guesstimation. While he was at it he thought he'd slip in that he's doing a new reality show. The woman interviewing him stopped him and reminded him that in the past he's slated reality television (while conveniently forgetting that he made his name on DIY SOS, and appeared on Comic Relief Does Fame Academy), well of course he went off on one defending what he'd said and his show. Like I said, an idiot. And have you ever noticed that, apart from DIY SOS, his shows never get past a couple of series before being canned? Why is he still employed by a major terrestrial broadcaster, anyone else would be on QVC by now. Oh, and that permanent 'designer stubble' winds me up a treat an'all.
Anyway, getting back to Guesstimation, it's crap. It surely has to be the dullest game show format ever devised. the aim of the game is, get this, to guess stuff. Well that's not very interesting for the viewer is it? There's no conferring so we have to wonder what two teams of twats are actually thinking. There's nothing for the viewer at home, well, apart from throwing crisps at the telly when one woman guessed that Tokyo was 350 miles away from London. That's the distance form London to Edinburgh.

At the weekend I watched a film on BBC4 called The Mother, it was shown as part of BBC4's season about old codgers. The film's plot revolved around a widow (Anne Reid) having an affair with her daughter's boyfriend (Daniel Craig). I don't know why, but the sight of Ken Barlow's first wife being taken up the Gary Glitter by James Bond has traumatised me and left having nightmares.
The film didn't really go anywhere and at the end I was left feeling worthless and empty. No doubt Reid and Craig had similar feelings when they watched it back. Having said that though, Anne Reid does have nice knockers for her age.

What about Wallander? Have you seen that? I'm not talking about those Kenny Branagh ones from last year, I'm talking about the Swedish ones currently running on BBC4. I've only seen the one, but they're very good. I have to watch them in bursts of a bout thirty minutes at a time though because of the subtitles. Normally when you watch a film with subtitles it's usually French and the action's punctuated with bits of rumpy-pumpy so you have time to give your brain a rest. Wallander's relentless though, the plots moving on constantly so you don't even have time to think that they all sound like the chef off of The Muppets.
Apparently Wallander says an awful lot about modern Sweden. Shame that, I've always fancied going to Sweden, but I don't fancy getting blown up in a bank.

Don't get me started on On Thin Ice, a show where Ben Fogle and James Cracknell try and race other teams to the South Pole. I watch it because I find polar exploration fascinating, but I find the whole thing rather pointless. If you're going there for scientific purposes, fair enough, but to go and race? You need your head looking at. And they're so miserable doing it, especially when Cracknell's foot looks as though it's going to drop off and he wakes every morning to a massive coughing fit. Factor in the fact that you're constantly trying not to get frostbite in your winkle every time you go for a leak, and a happy time is not being had by all. I find it oddly enjoyable though.

Also good to see the return of Only Connect. The contestants are usually overgrown students, but I enjoy it, not least for Victoria Coren. I'd marry her, I would. The problem is she's a shark at poker and I have trouble remembering the rules to snap. Never mind, we can but dream.
While I'm away this blog will celebrate its 1st birthday (a week tomorrow), which is something of a feat for me as my blogs don't normally make it that far. So happy birthday Modern Gutnish! You'll never know how much trouble I had naming you.

Right, that's me then, I'll leave you with my favouritest summer song in the history of the world. Have a good summer and I'll see you in a few weeks. Bye!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street

I don't know how much truth there is in this, but hasn't Joe Jackson realised that he screwed up his youngest son's life by making him perform as a child? Now he's planning on the same for his 'grandkids'.
Personally, I think he should go back to making his own records, is She Really Going Out With Him? and It's Different for Girls a bona fide new wave classic in my book.

Monday, 13 July 2009

If you believe they put a man on the Moon

I've decided I like niceness. I think events over the past few months have taught me to be a nicer, more tolerant person. I've even decided to stop dissing other people's taste in music; if you like it fine, please listen and gain your pleasure from it. (besides, I can hardly talk considering I own albums by Yes) I like the sort of all pervading niceness you get on say the Radcliffe and Maconie radio show, which is just like listening to your mates banter punctuated with some quality tunes. Or I like the sort of niceness you get on BBC4.

Well, I thought I'd turned to niceness until the weekend. It started off badly with me coming home from work on Friday night to be confronted by Friday Night Jonathan Ross. The line-up was Vivienne Westwood, James May and Rufus Wainwright. Westwood came out and it was pretty obvious from the off that she there to bang on about the environment and how we were all fucked. She didn't need to tell me that, I know already, where's she been for the last ten years? Personally I think, by the look of her, she's been playing an ageing Elizabeth I in yet another film about the troubled Tudor monarch.
Then, after James May who spoke more sense about the fragility of the earth and environmentally-friendly transport in the space of a minute than Westwood did in her whole interview, they wheeled on that droning sod Rufus Wainwright. What gives with him? Is he the emperor's new clothes because I can see absolutely nothing to attract me to his music whatsoever. I've worked with openly gay guys and they've all been the most happiest-in-their-own-skin people I've ever come across. He makes being gay sound like a slog. Besides, he must have some pretty saucy snaps of some high-ranking BBC official considering he was interviewed on Radcliffe and Maconie on Wednesday night, had a full hour long Imagine film dedicated to him on the same night and on Friday had fifteen minutes with Jonathan Ross to plug his new sodding opera which no one wants to see.

Now, lets' move on to Master Chef, I only watch the celebrity ones as I can't be doing with real people cooking lamb with a redcurrant jus. How come Middlemiss won? After a week of cooking challenges, where she was proved to be the worst cook, she made the best all-round meal at the end and won. What was the point in the previous bits of the final if they're not going to be taken into consideration? I've never liked Middlemiss anyway.

Moving onto Saturday and the only two minutes I caught of that Katie Price interview left me spitting my cider all over the settee. She went on television and told everyone she'd had a miscarriage. Is there nothing she'd like to keep private? Then she revealed she'd 'ran the marathon bleeding.' (presumably the London marathon) Did we need to know that? Of course not.

I'd like to say though how much I've enjoyed BBC 4's series of programmes marking the 40th anniversary of the Moon landings. I love all that old NASA stuff. One programme concerned Neil Armstrong's withdrawal into being a semi-recluse. Can't say as I blame him, after all, what are people going to ask you? "What was walking on the Moon like?" That's what people ask you. How tiresome would that get? And let's not forget, he was good at his job which is why he was picked as an astronaut. He didn't do it for fame. Do you think ITV would show an exclusive interview with Neil Armstrong on a Saturday night? A man who, let's face it, has a million more interesting things to say than Katie Price, Jordan or Rufus Wainwright added together. No, I don't think they would either. More's the pity...

Friday, 10 July 2009

The love that dare not speak its name.

Can I just say that I like Sarah Brown? It seems the press do too, when was the last time you saw a disparaging article about her in the paper? Perhaps that's because the press could never forgive the previous PM's wife for never really letting go of her working class upbringing as she helped herself to any freebie and perk that was going. While Sarah manages to juggle a career, being the PM's wife, running charity dos and being mother to two children, one of whom has a serious medical condition. Not only that but I reckon most blokes fancy her on the sly. I know I do, and not even on the sly, she's all mumsy, like (a bit like Nigella, MILF-tastic). And I reckon she's good in the kitchen too, I must start following her on Twitter, she, ugh, 'tweets' recipes, apparently.

Sarah Brown must be hugely more popular than her husband and it's no wonder he gets her to help out at any public event going. Mind you, having worked in PR she must know all about that stuff, I wish she'd stop him smiling though, it unsettles me. Oh, and she should also stop getting him to comment on the most trivial matters. Do we really need to know his opinion on the deaths of Jade Goody and Michael Jackson?

I reckon she's head and shoulders above that Michelle Obama with her arms on show all the time, desperately showing us she doesn't have bingo wings. Oh, and I'll never forgive her for pushing our lovely Queen around like some doddery old grandma. And as for that Carla Bruni, I don't really buy that. I mean, a giraffe of a supermodel who makes records, married to a midget Harry H Corbett lookalike? I don't think so...

Anyway, big up Sarah Brown. I definitely would.

While I'm kind of on the subject of politics, you know how I hate politicians, but why is it, on the rare occasions I watch Question Time, is Shami Chakrabarti on it? Is she on every week? Mind you, I definitely would. There was also a woman on it called Sarah Teather, she looks like the comedy drummer from Roman Holliday, almost as if her face was being reflected off the back of a spoon. I think I would. Is Question Time supposed to give you the horn? And can you tell I'm not getting any? I'm sure all those hard-working career women would be pleased to read this. It's been a long week...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Rushian roulette

I've spent a lot of time on You Tube recently looking at old videos of Rush. I've never seen most of them before as when Rush were troubling the lower reaches of the pop charts in the late 70s and early 80s, they never got shown, and I didn't know who Rush were then anyway. What irks me though is these amateur musicians who like to play along with their favourite tracks. What with Rush being a bit of a musos band you get quite a lot playing a long to everyone's favourite Canuck prog-metal power trio.
Take this fellow:

He's paying along to Rush's Neil Peart. A man who is often hailed as one of the best drummers still living. Why does he think he can play any better? Nobody's interested in it. Are they? Well 192,000+ were interested enough to watch it. Mind you, they were probably thinking "Why doesn't he go out, get some exercise and get some of that lard off instead of sitting at home behind his expensive drum set up playing along to someone else? Or even better form a band and make some music of his own? And he should stop wanking too, it'll send him blind." I mean, how much would you love yourself to actually film yourself and then put it on the internet? Does he think he can do any better? Clearly not as he just drums along parrot fashion, like an unoriginal turd. Then you get all the other musos chiming in with comments like "Mmm, really tight man, I'd love to see you and Neil in a drum war!" Well the amateur would clearly lose, wouldn't he? Considering he has to drum along to someone else to perfect his 'chops' and can't come up with his own stuff.
Anyway, this girl pisses all over our friend above. And she's THIRTEEN. And she can do all that fancy stick twirling stuff.

I get inundated with literally no letters asking me why I like Rush. Try these three originals for size, they tell you everything you need to know about the mighty Canadians. Ladies: try asking yourself, could you ever love Geddy Lee (the singer)? Plenty of Rush's female fans do. I'll leave that thought with you.

This one's a belter with Aimee Mann playing a camerawoman. The director was obviously going mad with new technology:

Friday, 26 June 2009

Are you going to Glastonbury Fayre? No, me neither

What do you think of Glastonbury then? I must say that this year I have no interest whatsoever. I've spent too many hours fast-forwarding through recordings of it in the past and it's going to be a nice weekend, so my plan is not to watch any of it. To be honest, I think Status Quo have got it about right, they honest about only doing it for the money and it's true that up until about fifteen years ago the general consensus was that it was a hippy fest where Hawkwind would play long into the night and The Levellers would encourage all their crusty mates to climb over the fence.
The problem is that it's taken on this air of - ever since it was first televised in 1994 - 'if you're not here then you don't matter.' Personally I can think of a lot more places I'd rather be, like down in a sewer or even on the end of a skewer. I've been to rock festivals and large open air gigs in the past and they're not very satisfying, even for just one day. Factor into that the fact that you have to camp, can't get a shower, go for no.2s in rancid toilets, there's little shade and get wet all makes it for not a very pleasant experience. The last open air gig I went to was Ozzfest in 2001, and that was really only to see the reformed Black Sabbath. I doubt I'll go to an open air gig again. It's a captive audience, at Milton Keynes bowl you're not even allowed to take your own drinks in, so on the two occasions I've been there, people have been tipping away gallon after gallon of perfectly serviceable drink at the gate on hot days just so they can get in.

Getting back to Glastonbury, I'm not even all that keen on who's on, apart form Madness:

  • Bruce Springsteen - Can't stand his songs about unwanted pregnancy, getting laid off and ridiculous gas-guzzling cars. Songs in a live setting seem to go on for twenty minutes each.

  • Neil Young - Wrinkled old git in a plaid shirt playing interminable fuzzboxed guitar solos. Only like on of his songs, that one that goes "Keep on rockin' in the free world!", it goes "Keep on rockin' in the free world!". I think it's called Rockin' in the Free World.

  • Blur - Best of a bad bunch of headliners. Just bet they don't play Country House.

  • The Specials - Do me a favour, Thatcher's gone.

  • Kasabian - A band I couldn't more give a toss about you couldn't find. Nothing particularly wrong with them, just never been moved to buy any of their records.

  • Spinal Tap - Just leave it at the film, eh lads?

  • Tom Jones and Tony Christie - You know my views on those two already.

  • Crosby, Stills and Nash - What's this, granddad's day out, or what?

So, as Mary Ann Hobbs wouldn't say, you won't "see me down the front", you'll see me in the beer garden with my Magner's pear cider. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Get it right or I kick your head in

Well, here we are again. What have I been up to? like you're interested. For starters I've booked two holidays. One of them is a get-away-from-it-all affair to the north of Scotland in a small place overlooking the Moray Firth. Apparently you can watch dolphins from the garden. I hope they don't get too close, there's a word in The Meaning of Liff for the point when animals stop being picturesque. I don't get on very well with animals and have never seen the fascination of wanting to swim with dolphins. Mind you, I don't see the fascination of wanting to swim. As Billy Connolly says "Man spent thousands of years evolving to get out of the water, and the first thing he wants to do is run back in". We don't belong in there, there are things in there that want to hurt you.

Anyway, I'm going up there to just switch my phone off and chill out, away from solicitors, bank managers, pension companies, fawning funeral directors, the DWP etc etc. Having said that though, I get on quite well with our solicitor, she's a laugh. I knew I'd gone a bit far the other day though when I launched into an anecdote about The Great Soprendo before realising she didn't have a clue who I was on about. The penny dropped when I was reduced to saying "You know, The Great Soprendo off of Crackajack...piff paff puff......he was married to Victoria Wood...used to do Dictionary Corner on Countdown...Geoffrey Somebody...no?...oh." Obviously she'd spent her formative years poring over legal texts while I watched telly. Never mind, it's her loss.

I've also been thinking about buying a new car, thanks to Lord Mandy of Mandelson's scrappage scheme. I hate buying cars though and I'm desperately trying to put it off. It's the salesmen, I went with an ex-girlfriend to look for one for her once and the salesman kept addressing me. I had to tell him it wasn't me buying the car. He also kept saying 'superb' at the end of every sentence, like a complete wanker. The last one I bought the salesman said "I can see, sir, you look like the kind of man who loves his gadgets." How could he tell that? And he was wrong anyway. I'm still putting it off though, and knowing my luck, when I do brave the showroom it'll be the day after all the scrappage money's run out. Bah!

I've been reading The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher. It's a sprawling book that spans two decades in the lives of two middle-class Sheffield families. I love that kind of thing. (See my love for Stan Barstow's Vic Brown trilogy, Jonathan Coe's Rotters' books and Our Friends in the North for more details) It's a 700+ page monster but it's one of those books I don't want to end. He takes ages getting the detail right, which some would probably find infuriating, but it's the detail I love. Also not much happens, but it's very involving. So involving, in fact, that I had a day off work yesterday and took it to the pub yesterday afternoon. I never take books to pubs, and never go to pubs on my own, but I did yesterday. I read about eighty pages while getting slowly half-cut on pear cider and sitting at an outside table which I think was meant for smokers, but fuck 'em. Have you tried pear cider? It's a great summer drink, very sweet, but it slips down as easily as pop.

I went to see Telstar - The Joe Meek Story at the cinema last week. What a disappointment that was. It didn't know whether it wanted to be a knockabout comedy or a serious drama about mental health issues. I have a passing knowledge, and general interest in Meek, but the film told me very little I didn't know already, apart form the fact that his session guitarist of choice was Ritchie Blackmore. It also concentrated too much on his relationship with a complete turd of a man called Heinz, who Meek fell in love with and spent loads on trying to get a string of hits out of him. It all went pear-shaped, as you'd probably guessed. I was frustrated that it didn't tell you how a tone deaf man who couldn't play an instrument became a producer of such note. I reckon they made it with the interest of the average cinema punter in mind and didn't want to get bogged down in all that detail. It would have made a better TV drama, like those BBC4 films about real people. Especially as I was at a weekend showing with only six other people. That was after I'd picked myself up off the floor at how much the cinema wanted to charge for a) premium seats (Which turned out to be Mastermind chairs at the back with a small table, worth £14 of anyone's money. Not. I'd want a mid-film blowjob by a Polynesian handmaiden thrown in for £14) and b)the price of popcorn, surely the world's most inexpensive food product somehow made on par with caviar.

I'll leave you with this. How hateful is that? It's like those annoying tear-off calendars at work which each have a bit of cod philosophy at the bottom of each page. The filmed report on that page is worth watching just for the sound of the train driver's monotone voice spraffing off a a bit of Immanuel Kant, and saying "The passengers love it." Really? Oh, and it's also worth watching because I've taken a fancy to the woman at 50 seconds.