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.