Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ripping off each others clothes in a most peculiar way

Hello, people who read this shite. How are you? Oh dear, really? Oh well, never mind, it's nearly Christmas. Yeah, yeah, I'm not too bad, wish I could shake off this cold, but as The Boy Lard used to say  in his best Joe Gladwin voice "Musn't grumble!", but thanks for asking. As it's nearly Christmas I'll give you my highlights and lowlights package of 2010. Have a good Christmas and I hope that rash goes in 2011.

Lowlights - Groo!
  • The ceaseless march of Simon Cowell
  • The general election
  • Nick Clegg
  • The dick at the local VW dealership who sold me a car. Love the car, hate car salesmen
  • iPhone users. Stop being so smug. I consciously didn't choose the iPhone. I did that just so iPhone users could go "Of course, you should have got an iPhone"
  • iPad users. As it said in Viz Top Tips "Giants: an iPad makes a handily-sized iPhone."
  • Lady Gaga. Bored now
  • Survivors series 2. Terrible, gave up after episode 3
  • ITV dropping Dexter
  • The top 10 constantly featuring songs I don't know, usually by Tiny Temper ft. Mary Hinge or Jay Z ft. Mike Hunt
  • Nottingham Forest getting done over by Blackpool in the playoffs. I left the home leg with their lot shouting "Can we play you every week!?" ringing in my ears. Ooh, I was mardy
  • Radio 2 thinking it's okey-dokey to drop their best show down to three nights a week just so Jo Whiley can introduce five year old concert recordings of Roxy Music because they have to bow down to what the BBC governers' survey suggested
  • Mock the Week. Why is this still on?
  • Take Me Out. A televised cattle market presented by the world's unfunniest berk
  • Seeing Nick Griffin
  • Prolonged cold weather and snow
Highlights - Hooray!
  • Wilko Johnson at the Rescue Rooms
  • On a related note, Oil City Confidential
  • Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. A joy of a documentary DVD, this is why people love Rush
  • North Atlantic Oscillation's Grappling Hooks LP
  • The Divine Comedy's Bang Goes the Knighthood LP
  • Standing on top of one of Britain's highest mountains and marvelling at the view
  • 'Meeting' Billy Connolly
  • Micky Flanagan at Edinburgh. What a pity he picks such shit TV work
  • Stewart Lee's If You Prefer a Milder Comedian... DVD
  • Finally seeing The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
  • Finally getting round to learning to play the drums and stuff that goes with it like making new friends
Have a good Christmas. Here's some of my singles of the year that should have been massive but weren't:







Thursday, 16 December 2010

Electric Landlady

On Saturday it'll be 10 years since Kirsty MacColl died. I remember the day well, I was working for a well known crisp manufacturer at the time and the news came on the radio in the afternoon. I don't ever recall being so affected by a 'celeb' death before or since. I was too young to appreciate the enormity of Lennon's assassination, I vaguely remember Elvis's death, and although I was a big fan, it could hardly be said that the death of Kurt Cobain came as a massive shock.
I think it was the manner of her death which knocked me for six the most. It upset me that such a beautiful person could die in an horrific manner, the only comfort was that she was trying to save her kids. I've always found it upsetting that nobody has ever been properly brought to justice over her death and the campaign to get justice has had to be wound up.
You see, I'm a massive fan. Not only was she a songwriter of enormous talent herself but she was also one of the great interpreters of other people's songs. Try her takes on The Kinks' Days (her version of which got played at my dad's funeral), Billy Bragg's New England or the less well known cover of The Smith's You Just Haven't Earned it Yet Baby.
I was lucky enough to have seen her live twice. The first time was at a free festival organised by a brewery for which I was lucky to receive two passes allowing me and a mate to watch her from the side of the stage (my boss handed me the passes saying "'Ere you like music, this is tonight, the Heineken rep's left 'em. Someone called Kirsty McEwan's on." I didn't need asking twice). Of course, I swooned, she looked gorgeous in a purple velvet dress. The second time at Leicester De Montfort University when she was promoting her greatest hits set, Galore. I seem to remember getting as close to the stage as I could without looking like a stalker.
And as well as her prowess as a songwriter and performer there was that voice. Nobody has sounded like her before or since. Stunning. No wonder she was always in demand for backing vocals and duets.
I quite often find Morrissey a tiresome bugger these days but I love what he said about her: "She has great songs and a crackin' bust." I love that, and no doubt Kirsty did too. As I also think she'd have loved Lemmy's view of her that "She was a top bird, was Kirsty".
Sleep well, Kirsty.










Monday, 13 December 2010

Hey nonny-nonny

Did you have a nice weekend watching telly? I did. I was struck by two programmes on BBC4 about traditional music and dance. First up was Charles Haywood's Come Clog Dancing, where the conductor tried to get the people of the North East reinterest in their tradition of clog dancing. Sounds like a bit of a dry old subject, eh? Well, I quite enjoyed it, and thefalsh mob manner in which it was done - in the centre of Newcastle - was a stroke of genius.
The second programme featured the Unthank sisters. I don't know if you know then but they're a couple of sisters from Northumberland who sing folk songs and incorporate clog dancing into their live shows. I've always found their music a little dreary and Rachel Unthank has a tendency to have a fasce like a slapped arse most of the time. they certainly livened up on Still Country Dancing After All These Years. Yes, that's right country dancing. I'm talking morris dancing here. I know that morris dancing sends a shiver up my spine, let alone yours. BUT it is a great English tradition, isn't it? We know all about the Irish and Scottish traditional music and dance, but being English you're supposed to be embarrassed by anything traditional. Why is that? Unfortunately for me I'm as English as they come, yes it would be nice to have a bit of Scots fire or Irish heart in my blood but I'm about as Anglo-Saxon as you can get (fair hair, blue eyes both parents families from the east of England. I've even got the most Anglo-Saxon name imaginable).
So this programme went around different parts of England over the summer months discovering old Englaish dance traditions. Yes, I know Cotswold morris can be tiresome (think flowers around hats, bells around ankles, hankies and a  pewter tankard attached to the belt), but some of the real Pagan stuff is terrific, I think. For example, who wouldn't want to go to Padstow during the Obby Oss festival in early May? I know I'd love to go. For those unfamilliar with the Obby Oss, a man dresses as a 'horse' and entices local maidens under the horse's skirt where they become fertile. I reckon that's great. I love the way these traditions are usually about fertility; it always makes me laugh that the Maypole that primary school children dance around is a representation of the penis. Not only that, but seeing someone getting twatted over the head with an inflated pig's bladder is always funny.
Anyway, with all that fertility and Rachel Unthank lightening up rather a lot I started having improper thoughts about two Northumbrian singing sisters myself.
Here's a song about reviving English tradition (although I do find Show of Hands a little worthy sometimes), unfortunately it's come onto the BNP fuckwit radar just recently. Looks like we'll have to claim it back. Why do they spoil everything?


What I don't recommend you watch is something else that was on BBC4 over theweekend called Folk at Christmas. It was rotten. It was like a folk The Good Old Days with those tiresome fuckers Bellowhead. The audience were dressed like pricks, the Unthanks were back in misery mode and the compere thought he was funny. Avoid.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Bostin

I went to see Wilko Johnson the other week. He had this support act on (rather good actually, bluesy rock 'n' roll and the bassist looked like Plug off of The Bash Street Kids and they manged to reference both Pendolino trains and the NEC into their lyrics), trouble is they didn't announce what they were called when they walked on stage. So, as they said a few perfunctory 'hellos' and asked if we were 'ready' I noticed a bit of an accent. 'Hello' I thought 'these chaps sound like they come from the West Midlands.' Now you have to be careful here because you'd logically assume that they're from Birmingham but there's no generic West Midlands accent, apparently. But I took the view that they were from Birmingham, so as they didn't give their name at the start of the gig in my head they were called Some Brummies. I think that's rather a good name, certainly better than their proper moniker, People's Republic of Mercia. Which got me to thinking of a name for the prog-metal-punk-psych-folk-new wave-electronica band I'd like to start and be the drummer of . Here's a few names I've been toying with :

  • Dollop
  • Trains That Won Wars
  • English Electric Lightning
  • Vitamin Q
  • The Fighter Pilots
  • The Biscuit Factory
  • Hogarth Flyover
  • Chocky's Children
  • The Vulcanologists
  • Blame Canada
  • Tobes of Hades
  • Das Boot
  • Anywhere But Here
  • Boffin's Island
  • The Catering Front
  • Two Day Hot Tub Event
  • Shoplifting Shame
  • Get to Falkirk!
  • Bazookas
  • Check the Chips
  • Real Life Spy Thriller
  • Potty Time
  • Psychic Octopus
Any got legs?

Monday, 29 November 2010

Ring Cycle

Right, something's gone horribly wrong - plans to subvert this year's X Factor by trying to get that Wagner bloke to win have come careering off the rails. What we need is coordinated action to stop something truly dreadful like that horrid Mrs Overall lookalike, Cher Lloyd, from getting the Christmas No.1. Unlike last year there's no set effort to stop Simon Cowell, and who would have liked to have punched him in the face last night as he sent Wagner home? (Not that I watch, of course). Really, I don't give a toss about the X Factor, if you're daft enough to watch it that's up to you, what I do give a toss about is music and Cowell's divine right to think he has to have the Christmas No.1 every year. So, here's what you do: from 7pm on Sunday 12th December, start downloading the song below from legit download stores, up until the following Sunday. Wouldn't it be nice to have a proper song at no.1 this Christmas? And just imagine the look on Cher Lloyd or Matt Cardle's fizzogg when they don't get the no.1 they 'deserve'.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Parsons nose

Who decided this man was funny? He represents everything I hate about comedy these days: the careerist attitude, the topical gags, the way his voice is trained to let you know when the payoff's coming, the sneering 'everything is shit' attitude (evidenced in the title of his DVD, 'Britain's Got Idiots'), his willingness to appear on any panel show going. That's why I don't listen to Radio 4 or watch Dave comedy. 

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

My totalitarian vision

I'm turning into one of those people who believe there are far too many television channels. At work this morning the TV in the canteen was tuned to Sky 3 which was showing something called Crash Test Dummies. It features the two berks off of Big Cook Little Cook putting things to the test, or, in other words, twatting around in a half-arsed conglomeration of Jackass and Top Gear. The sort of thing that would appeal to teenage boys, thick people and the type who have a personalised number plate on their 2003 BMW 3 Series. In short, it's trash.
So what I propose is, when I become the totalitarian dictator of this sceptered isle, that the only TV channels allowed to survive are BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4, BBC4 and QVC. What I'd also like to see happen is the abolition of TV programmes between the hours of 9am and 3pm. When I was a kid the only TV shows on during the day were programmes for schools and colleges and horse racing. There was stuff on ITV, like Open House, Afternoon Plus, The Cedar Tree and a soap opera about a fashion house, but as we've seen, ITV won't be on air. There will also be a return to interludes. So instead of filling a spare few minutes with a news bulletin we will be treated to a film of someone shoeing a horse or turning a piece of wood for a Windsor chair. These interludes will also take the form of educational films. These films will be of things like how to make a pompom for a woolly hat, how to change a washer in a tap, how to deal with cold callers in an effective manner and how to knit the woolly hat for you to sit your pompom on in the film shown earlier. There will also be a reintroduction of Public Information Films which will be shown purely to scare the shit out of children (well, I had to put up with them as a child, why can't today's kids? Especially that one where that rag doll gets stuck in the escalator...brrr, a chill's run through my body just thinking about it).
Top of the Pops will also return to its rightful place of 7.30pm on Thursday. And Brookside will also return but without the crap. As will Play for Today.
Television will end for the day no later than midnight and the new national anthem will be played. The new national anthem will, of course, be the Dambuster's March.

Also, the internet will be switched off during office hours. This will increase the capacity of industry and will also mean that I won't come home after a hard day at the seat of government (my totalitarian offices will be located in London's throbbing West End) and spend hours watching You Tube clips of old public information films and Geddy Lee singing the Canadian national anthem at baseball games.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

"I make proper trifle with proper custard, not out of a packet"

Warning: This is a rare post about which contains stuff about, ugh, 'feelings'. Those of a nervous disposition should look away now.

Been thinking about my parents a lot over the last few days. Not only because I've spent some time in the place where my mum's ashes were scattered - it's a lovely place and I would have gone anyway, while there I saw an infamous figure/cretin in British life walking along the beach - but also because I noticed in a bookshop a film tie-in edition of Nigel Slater's rather excellent book, Toast. I don't normally go in for Top 10 Favourite whatever, but if I did one on books that would definitely be in there. It's a book about how Slater's formative years were shaped by the food he ate. Coming from a family of gluttons* I found loads of common ground with him in it. Apart from the fact that his mother was a terrible cook (it's called toast because the one abiding memory he has of her is scraping burnt toast) mine was absolutely fantastic. I think one thing people do when a family member dies is to talk about whoever it is whose gone and talk over the good times and good things. Most of our reminiscences came from the food Mum prepared. The thought that we'd never taste her macaroni cheese (pretty mundane but her macaroni cheese was gorgeous, great 'comfort food'), chocolate fudge cake, fruit scones, Yorkshire puddings, shortcrust pastry, ginger parkin, steak and kidney pie or trifle again made us shiver (well, just me on the trifle front as those two divvies don't like it). There was also the disasters but funny disasters, like when Dad, who didn't get a sophisticated palate until later in life, insisted that he'd only eat spaghetti bolognese with veg. Plates of spag bog with a healthy serving of boiled savoy cabbage on the side was duly delivered to the table. She'd also sneak carrot into lasagne and had this fetish for putting sultanas in curries. Years later, when I'd discovered curry houses, I pointed out to her that I'd never eaten in an Indian restaurant that served savoury sultanas, she laughed and told me that that's how she was taught to make curry...by an English chef.
You'd also never see her weigh anything - unless she was cooking for a competition, where strict rules applied - her skill was immense. I wish I could 'knock up a few scones' if someone gave us short notice that they were visiting or cook something delish for an ill or needy friend. Memories are all I have, like Slater.

On a slightly different subject, came back to find the great Danny Baker has fucking cancer. I say 'fucking cancer' because that's what I call it after hearing Wilko Johnson call it that on an interview recently when talking about his deceased wife. Cancer's a murderer which takes good people before their time; like Mum, three grandparents, an aunt, an uncle and several family friends. I wish Danny well and nothing but best wishes. If you can spare a few pence for a cancer charity, please do.

*There's a great photo of Mum's twin brothers at a Christmas party in the fifties. Though facing the camera neither of them are looking at it, but follow their eyeline and they only have eyes for an enormous trifle on the table.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Ooops

There was a blog post here about how much Peter Andre spends on shaving foam and stuff in a week (£600), but I decided that it was a bit too similar to this far more rewarding blog post, which I read afterwards. So if you're interested in my thoughts on Peter Andre's 'grooming regime' then drop me a line to the usual address. In the meantime here's a nice picture of some F4 Phantom jets. Enjoy!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Telly selly time

Just a few bits about this week's telly:
A History of Horror with Mark Gattis is terrifically good. He's suitably creepy to be presenting such a programme. He's the sort of person I can imagine presenting a Tales of the Unexpected or Armchair Thriller type of show. He'd sit and introduce the film (something like Whistle and I'll Come to You) beside a crackling log fire. At the end he'd come back on and say "Sleep well". "Sleep well"? I'd have to watch an hour of QVC before popping off to bed. Perhaps he could persuade the Beeb to dramatise some of his League of Gentleman buddy Jeremy Dyson's creepy short stories, they'd be well suited to the half hour treatment.
The problem is that I now want to see all the films featured in the show. I know BBC4 can't show them all but wouldn't it have been better to show Blood on Satan's Claw or Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde after this weeks incredibly entertaining edition on Hammer Horrors? The Quatermass Experiment's been on more times than I've had hot dinners, and I've had a few of those.

Mad Men. Just gets better and better. It's good to see the mask finally falling off Don Draper. Top marks. I'm seriously considering this to be taking over from Our Friends in the North as my favourite TV drama ever.
Reggie Perrin. I know there are a lot of people out there who don't like this, I'm not one of them. It's great. And how nice it is to see a studio-based sitcom with an audience that actually contains jokes and good comic actors delivering them. I've noticed there's more of s trend back to this just lately with Not Going Out, The IT Crowd and The Old Guys, all decent shows. Also if you like the original Reggie, the box set is available on Amazon for £12. That's a steal.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Meerkat manor

I've just seen what an awful lot of disappointed children will be getting for Christmas. It looks more like a badger with a birthmark. I'm going to put Churchill the insurance bulldog in a Manchester United negligee and make a killing.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Vive la republique!

I love the French. They can keep their frog's legs, Citroens and Sacha Distel, what I love about them is the fire in their belly. If there's something they don't like they take to the streets and shout about it. What do we do in the UK? Sit on our arses and say "Oh well, there's nothing you can do about it. What time's Mock the Week on?" Take this current trouble they're having. I think it's great. Contrast that with the UK petrol blockades of 2000; it lasted all of five days and as soon as a district nurse couldn't complete her rounds and Spar were running out of PG Tips and Utterly Butterly, the whole game was up. I don't know about getting more right wing as I get older, I'm getting more into thinking that it's direct action is what we need. Take to the streets and shout. If the election this year taught us anything it was the level of apathy people have towards politics. We all know that most senior politicians in the main party went to a 'decent' public school and a top university, so what do they know about ordinary lives? They've never led one. And if you take someone like John Prescott, who had worked his way up from humble beginnings, then what lies in store for you is Ian Hislop. Come the revolution...

And while I'm on this theme, I find the furore about the election of Ed Miliband as the Labour leader being the work of Communists aka trade unionists rather bad form. My dad was a trade unionists and someone less likely to be a Communist you could never meet. Not for a man with a mortgage, a car and who used to make sure he took his family on holiday every year. No, Dad didn't believe much in Marxism, what he believed in was fairness. A fair days pay for a fair days work and your employer giving you fair conditions in which to work in. When people say "Oh, it's health and safety gone mad, that is" let me tell you, it wasn't ever thus. You could just ask my dad who watched his finger ends get sliced off in a swinging tailgate of a trailer, or a colleague of his who was killed when a lorry he was attending to rolled on top of him and killed him. I've seen my dad take a camera to work to take pictures of dangerous machinery to stop accidents happening. That to him was what trade unions were about, people together to shout louder than one man on his own. I suppose he was what the TUC would have called a 'moderate'. He hated Arthur Scargill for not holding a ballot for the '84 miner's strike as it completely destroyed the ethos on which trade unions are built: one man, one vote. I've just looked at the National Office of Statistics website which says that about a quarter of the UK working population are members of a union. I'd fancy that the vast majority of those people aren't a bunch of mini Lenins planning to storm the gates of Buckingham Palace, but are just ordinary working people who want to be treated fairly. Power to the people indeed.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Why Cliff will always remain a footnote AKA Noisy Monday

There's been a massive love-in for Cliff Richard ever since his 70th birthday last week with a load of hand-wringers quacking on about how John Lennon got all the celebrations for his 70th the week before but there was hardly any for, ugh, Sir Cliff. I'm nowhere near a Lennon apologist, but I don't recall Cliff Richard writing some of the most memorable tunes in popular music history, or, along with five other people, changing the face of popular culture forever. But then, perhaps I'm being picky, aren't I? I dunno, all I can see of Cliff Richard is that he's part of the establishment light-entertainer who nicked his act off of Elvis Presley. I want my pop and rock stars a bit rebellious, that's what pop and rock music's about, isn't it? I'm sure Cliff had his fingers crossed when he was giving it all that 'Hang loose, Daddio!' back in the late fifties and early sixties and was looking at the long game. Maybe I'm being very old-fashioned in being this cool.
Not only that, but his old backing band get nowhere near the recognition they deserve. I don't recall anyone ever saying that the sainted Cliff inspiring anyone to pick up a guitar. Along with Burt Weedon's Play in a Day manual and Lonnie Donegan you can trace an arc that goes like this:



To this:



To this:



To this:



To this:



To this:



To this:



To this, last year's Christmas No.1, saying 'we're not taking the middle-of-the-road shit any longer.' Only one person in that list of groups has accepted a Knighthood, some would say he deserved it, even if it did make him part of the Establishment. Thank you, Hank B Marvin, Bruce Welch, Jet Harris, Burt Weedon and Lonnie Donegan. Not thank you, Cliff Richard:

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

"Introducing brand new shapewear for men"

Have you seen these new pants that M&S are marketing at men? Have you? I've never seen anything so bloody ridiculous in my life. How insecure would you have to be to want to make your meat 'n' two veg look bigger? And how many women look at a man's lunchbox while they're checking him out? Not very many, I fancy. Most of the women I know don't even like the look of most Johnsons. Even if she did I don't think I'd want to go out with somebody who was only interested in the size of my one-eyed pant python. "Shapewear", my arse.
Of course I don't need a pair of these as I have a fantastic arse and I'm packing one huge weapon. Did you get that, ladies?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

God botherers and bad-tempered Mrs Tiggywinkles.

Well Harry Hill's already done this stuff but fuck it, I had the idea before Saturday night.
Right, Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers, have you seen that? It's Channel 5's homegrown answer to Ice Road Truckers. I've seen Ice Road Truckers once. I think that is the requirement for watching it as it's basically the same thing every week: will Trev get his cargo of very important medical supplies to the incredibly remote village in time before the ice road is shut off for the winter leaving dozens of people in peril. Possibly. The problem with Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers is that the same amount of, what a TV exec would call, 'jeapordy' gets lost when the only thing you're worrying about is whether TJ can get a load of pizzas from their factory in Nottingham to a distribution centre in Corby. I'd say he wouldn't have much trouble, just down the M1 for fifty minutes.
The other thing these shows get off on is facts. They love facts. On IRT the facts revolve around the thickness of the ice they're travelling on and the harsh weather conditions. With EST&T the facts generally are to do with horsepower and how many Death by Chocolates the average trailer can hold. Not very glam, is it?
Of course there may be some people out there who get off on this. I don't, it's my life. I deal with miserable bastard lorry drivers and jobsworth yardmen five days a week. I don't want it on a Saturday morning, thank you very much

In other viewing, I've seen The Apprentice. I wasn't going to watch it but boredom on Saturday afternoon got the better of me. What's wrong with these people? Why are they obsessed with work? And why are they obsessed with being such hateful turds. Anyway, I've decided to go on it next year and here's that bit they do to camera by way of an introduction which I've written already:
"I'm a business c**t! I'm such a c**t that I'll kill anyone who gets in my way! I'm a winner! Second place doesn't enter on my radar! To me second place is the first placed loser! Or something! As a baby my mother would take off my nappy and instead of finding green shit she'd find green £1 notes! I literally shit money! In fact money pours out of my every orifice! I wee wonga! I barf banknotes! I cum cash! Lord Sugar will want to fellate me so much! I'm such a brilliant business brain I can't understand why I wasn't headhunted before! Oh, hang on..."

Friday, 8 October 2010

Place the bass face

I don't know about you, fellas, but there's just something about a woman with a bass guitar...*










* But not Suzi Quatro. This is just like Loaded magazine, ain't it?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

You lying get!

Inspired by a thread on the Word magazine website about things you believed as a child, I thought I'd compose a list of stuff that I believed as child because I was told it was true by other people, usually my mother or eldest sister.
  • Celery leaves are poisonous and are not to be consumed under any circumstances. I never questioned why celery was sold with the leaves still attached if that was the case. And something in the back of my mind told me to not to eat celery leaves until I saw Nigella put them into a pot roast chicken last week. Mind you, perhaps that's Nigella trying to get rid of us and create her own super race of North London-dwelling gastronomes. My sister tried to pull the same trick with the last bit of tea or coffee in a mug but I never bought that one. What do you take me for? She still leaves the last bit of tea or coffee in a mug, which didn't sit right with me when I bought her an expensive coffee last week and she left a quarter of it.
  • That Brian Clough lived in a big white house set on a hillside near the train line between Newark and Nottingham. My mother used to tell me this when we went on shopping trips to Nottingham. It wasn't until I was in my twenties and after Mr Clough had been found sleeping in a ditch 'near his home in Derby' (the same home he'd lived in for years) that I realised she lied. When I questioned her about it she said that it "broke the journey up to point out landmarks, even if they weren't real."
  • That drinking pop directly from a can caused your tongue to get trapped in the hole and they'd have to cut your tongue off. I never thought that if this did happen (and to date I've never heard of it happening), then they'd just cut the can off.
  • Swallowing chewing gum or bubble gum makes it wrap around your intestines and slowly kill you. I think what she was trying to say here is that she hated gum and didn't want me to have it.
  • That the clown who used to roll the credits on at the end of Camberwick Green was actually my dad. I never questioned why Dad went to work, completely altered his appearance and dressed as a clown. This was given more weight when I once watched Camberwick Green with some cousins and, at the end, they pointed to the screen and shouted "There's Uncle Roy!" So someone else was telling them that Dad worked for Gordon Murray productions on a part-time basis.
  • The Daddies Sauce bottle used to feature a neck band with a photo of a generic smiling dad that used to say underneath it "My favourite!" I was led to believe that was our Uncle Phil, as were most of the cousins in my large extended maternal family.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

A handy cut-out-and-keep guide

You know how you read newspapers, right? Well in my newspaper they like reporting on new buildings, vehicles, planes, planets etc. To illustrate the amount of superlatives they can give whatever's new they have to use a chart comparing the dimensions of whatever they're talking about with something else. So I thought I'd come up with a standardised table so that people who work in newspapers and magazines who think we're too think to understand what they're talking about can use it without having to think of anything new. So, here goes:

Height in descending order
  • Mount Everset: top of the shop there
  • The Petronas Towers: these twin skyscapers in Kuala Lumpur have replaced the World Trade Centre
  • Canary Wharf Tower: Used to be The Empire State Building for this scale but we've got our own now so ner!
  • Nelson's Column: You're taking the piss now
  • A double-decker bus

Volume in descending order
  • The O2 arena: never got a look in when it was the Millennium Dome, now everyone loves it
  • The dome of St. Paul's cathedral: Wren would have loved his greatest work to be used like this
  • A swimming pool: pretty vague but usually means a competition-sized pool, like what they use at the Olympics and shit
  • A bathful: fairly straightforward
  • An eggcupful: as a child I used to know how many eggcupfuls of water it would take to fill the dome of St. Paul's. I was an annoying little tit
  • A drop of water: used for describing minuscule amounts, like 'a dose of paraquat the size of one drop of water can be fatal to an idiot.'

Length in descending order
  • Around the world: used for something that measures a lot. Example - if you laid the amount of chewing gum that gets spat out onto the street outside Rock City in Nottingham on a Saturday night it would stretch around the world two and a half times
  • A football pitch: bit of a drop there from around the world to a football pitch, but hey-ho
  • The wingspan of a jumbo jet: the standard jet being used here is the Boeing 747 (211' 5", fact fans). Can also be used for volume. Example - 'The Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Cape Canaveral site is big enough to hold four jumbo jets stacked on top of each other.'
  • A double-decker bus: yawn

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Obligatory annual X Factor post

Have a look at these two videos:





Two fantastic songs, I think. My take on the Adele song is that it's told from the perspective of someone who has an unrequited love, an unrequited love for someone from a distance (have you ever experienced that? I have. Perhaps some of us are right now), nobody else knows. They want to keep it a secret, and because they want to to keep it a secret, ssshhhhh, they don't want to shout about it.

The second one is just a tender love song. From one person to another. You don't need to shout because they're there with you and you just want to let them know how you feel. I love the way Flack separates her words. For example there's a very clear division between the last 't' of 'first' and the first 't' of 'time'.

So why do these idiots on the X Factor have to go on and sing "TOOOOOOOOOOO MAKE YOU FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL MY LUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRVE!!!!!!!!!" or "THEFIRSTTIIIIIIIIIIIIIME EVERISAAAAAAAAAWWWYERFAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Ugh! it's horrid and needs to be stopped. Singing it like that doesn't make a better song, indeed for most people you're just spoiling the whole thing and making a bad atmos. Indeed I bought down the atmos at a friend's house I visited on Saturday night where it was on in the background, I mean I don't watch the bloody rubbish. I tutted and sighed all the way through it, and let me tell you, my drum tutor says he's never heard anyone tut the way I tut.
When is this X Factor thing going to stop? It's hateful, staged nonsense where Danni Minogue, that's right, Danni Minogue gets to tell people whether they're talented or not. That can't be right, can it?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Twatter

Have added a Twitter widget to this blog. If any of you would like to, ugh, 'follow' me on twitter I'm @BrightAmbasador. Though why anyone is interested in anything I've got to say is beyond my comprehension.

Anyway, have this, it's Friday and you need to get yer arse onto a dancefloor. They never bettered it:

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Do the Shake 'n' Vac

What gives with air fresheners? I don't smell. My house doesn't smell. The only bit of my house that may smell is my bathroom after I've been for a no. 2. And even then I'm the only person who uses the bathroom so I know to leave it for ten minutes afterwards. The few guests that come can use the downstairs 'cloakroom'.*
So why do we have this relentless march of air freshener technology? The HQs of Airwick and Glade must be 75% new product development. Every time I switch on the TV there's some hot new thing to get rid of 'unwanted odours.' I don't have unwanted odours, and if I've cooked something smelly I put on the fan or open the window. That normally shifts the bastard. In my day there were two types of air freshener: 1 - Air Ball. A round plastic thing with slits in it. My aunt always had those. Blue Peter showed once how you could use them to make a handy holder for your 7" singles. Yes, really. 2 - Glade. Glade was a plastic thing with some coloured blancmange-like substance inside that shrunk over the weeks. Mum always had those in the bathroom even thought the window was always flung wide open 365 days of the year.

This has all come about by this innovation I saw advertised in the telly the other night. My first thought was that it looks like one of those weird mannequins you see in shops that specialise in underwear and hosiery. No, not like La Senza or Knickerbox, but like those creepy shops you get in the backstreets of small towns that have that awful yellow film on the inside of the windows. You know, those mannequins of a ladies stomach and legs designed to show off corsets (or 'roll-ons' as they were called in our house) and big pants.
Then, if you look closely, look where the smell is coming from. Your home would smell like a knocking shop.

*Why is the downstairs bog suddenly a 'cloakroom'? I don't want to hang my coat where someone might go for a shit, thank you. When I went with my mother to see some estate agents about selling her house, they asked if she had a 'cloakroom.' Mother wasn't aware of this new development and said yes, she had a cloakroom. At which point I had to step in and explain that what the agent was driving at wasn't a room under the stairs that used to be a pantry but now housed, amongst other things, some coat hooks. Cloakroom, she thinks it's a bloody dance hall...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Love in a time of bubble perms*

With all this talk about Wayne Rooney and prostitutes, I think it's time to hark back to a much simpler time. A time when footballists weren't on mega wages and they had to find much simpler pleasures. A time when football philandering was seen as something quite quaint.
I give you, as an example, Nottingham Forest legend Mr Peter Shilton. To furnish those of you who may be unfamiliar with the fact, here's something pasted from The Observer website:

"Shilton was arrested for drink-driving after being found at 5am in a country lane with a woman called Tina in his car. When Tina's husband Colin arrived he said the pair were partially clothed. Shilton hurriedly drove away and crashed into a lamppost. He admitted 'taking a lady for a meal' and was fined £350 and banned from driving for 15 months. He then had to endure countless terrace chants of 'Shilton, Shilton, where's your wife?'"

Now isn't that just a gorgeous little tale of love in the 70s and early 80s? Shilts was obviously missing something from his marriage so he took 'a lady for a meal', did you get that? A 'lady'. His respect for women knows no bounds. And he's put his hand in his pocket and treated her to a slap-up dinner. What a gent.
Now, Shilts obviously couldn't be seen to be booking into a hotel in Nottingham with which to entertain her. No, no, he's too much of a face in the city and his cover would be blown. So Pete has a Jaguar. A Jaguar has nice reclining leather seats. Throw the guy a bone here, he's trying his best. Now, when Colin arrived, down this lane round the back of Nottingham racecourse, near Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centre, the couple were partially clothed. Isn't that just a beautiful image? Shilts's little white bum flashing up and down? This was an age before sex became exotic and women started demanding mutual enjoyment. Bloody women. I think the term that could be used here is 'having it off'. This is the time before 'dogging' had been invented so Shilts doesn't hang around, no sir! He's off and crashes into a lamppost, probably with his Farah's Action Slacks and nylon Y-fronts still around his ankles. This is thirty years ago, so there's no Mr Loophole to get him off the charge. Pete takes his punishment like a man and takes his ban and his dreaded returns to the City Ground with Southampton like a man.
Come on, ladies, could you resist a man with a bubble perm, large hair and some blingy medals in the cabinet? Course you can't.

So there's a lesson for today's footballers: you don't have to spend thousands on hookers and Marlboros, just treat a lady with a little respect and she'll deal out what you want in the back of a flashy car round the back of Nottingham racecourse, near Holme Pierrepont National Watersports Centre.

*I love the way the names Colin and Tina are involved in this story. They're names that are so 'of-the-time', do you not think?**

**I know these little footers can be annoying, but you try reading Stewart Lee's new book. They're on every page and go on and on and on and on.... But I kinda like 'em.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Booker for music (yeah, right)

Have a listen to this:


That lot won the Mercury Prize last night. I hate to sound like a boring old fart who'd probably say, like that judge in the 60s "Who is this...erm...Lady Gaga?" but I don't think much to that at all. I know that not everything has to be tailored to my taste, but I have they never heard of, you know, a tune?
And why the misery? You're young people for God's sake; jump around, take acid, shag your fans. God, the pained look on their faces. And, I hate to get personal, but that lass could get pickles out of a jar with that chin. I think they'd do well to wear spangly capes and sing songs about inter galactic space galleons. or something. I could be their manager and show them how to do it properly.
Still, at least Paul Weller didn't win. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

"H'aint you ever met a toff before?"

Phil Collins then. Where do you stand on him? He makes it very difficult to love him sometimes. As a prog rock aficionado, with an interest in drummers, I should be unremitting in my praise for him. He is, correctly, regarded as one of the all time great drummers (although lesson one, when you have drum lessons, is not to hold the sticks as he is in that photo. One mishit and you'll break your index fingers). The problem he has is that instead of just sticking to the drumming, and singing, with Genesis, he has to do all the other stuff. The stuff that gets people's backs up.
There was a chink of light in his recovery in public perceptions of him last month when he told Mojo magazine that he realised in the 80s and early 90s he could understand why he was viewed as an annoying little turd, and, looking back, he even thought he was himself. How can anyone look back at the cover of No Jacket Required and think it was a good idea - looking like a baked bean with a face?
Why then does he have to undo all that good work by releasing an album of Motown and soul covers? I've heard tow tracks from it, Martha & The Vandellas' (Love Is Like A) Heatwave and Stevie Wonder's Uptight (Everything's Alright). I'm of the opinion that unless you're going to bring something new to a cover, then DON'T DO IT. Both of those records are pretty damn perfect as they are, why does he mess with them and put his voice all over them? Phil, Phil, Phil, is there any way back for you? Just as you were getting everyone else on side.
He can't play the drums any more so he might as well retire. Or go back to Genesis and just sing. But no more covers albums, pur-lease.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Not so Big Yin

Sorry about that, I've been away again, and work's turning to a pile of steaming shit at the minute so I haven't been arsed to blog.
Anyway, while I was away at the Edinburgh Festival I met Billy Connolly. Well, when I say met I shook his hand. I don't normally hold with approaching famous people for number of reasons: 1) they probably don't want to be disturbed and you might get a 'fuck off' 2 ) I'm incredibly shy 3) I hate massaging egos 4) there's that old adage about meeting your heroes - you'd only be disappointed.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the famous people I've met, they are Mickey Dolenz (a former resident of this town whom I used to serve on a regular basis), Brian Laws (former Nottingham Forest player, now manager of Burnley. His appearance fee was 1.5 ltr bottles of Gordon's gin, Bell's whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Courvoisier brandy. Thing is, we found out later we could have had Stuart Pearce who was the England captain at the time but Laws got in first. Groo!), Bill Maynard (at the height of his "Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggatt" fame. His catchphrase at the time was "Magic, our Morris" and that's exactly what he said to me), John McGovern (former Nottingham Forest twice European Cup-lifting captain, the only man to have captained a European Cup-winning side more times is the great Franz Beckenbauer. It was at a book-signing, my mate asked me to take along his Forest shirt to be signed, when he asked me who it was for I said "Steve" and from then on he addressed me as 'Steve'.).
The only person who I've always said I'd approach is Mark Radcliffe. My admiration for that man knows no bounds. He's my generation's John Peel. I'd just like to shake his hand and thank him for all the great music he's introduced me to and for all the listening pleasure he's given for the past sixteen years. Let me tell you, when you have a job supplementing your income by delivering Chinese takeaways at night in this town his, and Lard's voice, were always welcome. Especially as it was on his show where I first heard Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett. You'd also get poetry mixed with comic turns and top notch session guests. He's still great and whoever decided to put his show down to three nights a week should be shot. I also believe that Radcliffe buys anyone who approaches him as a fan a pint. So, happy days!
Back to Connolly then, I was walking in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh's Old Town at about ten in the morning. I saw this bloke walking towards me with long white hair and a small pair of spectacles on the end of his nose. I thought to myself "'Ello" I thought "This bloke looks a bit like Billy Connolly". The giveaway was a banjo pin badge on the lapel of his jacket, by this stage he was a few feet in front of me. I just stuck my hand out, he took it shook it and I said "I'm a massive fan. Thanks" to which he just said "Thanks very much" and carried on walking. That's all that was required, no trying to stop and get a picture or chat, I met my ultimate comic hero. End of. The thing is, if I'd had chance to think about it I wouldn't have done anything, I'd have just thought to myself "Oh God, there's Billy". No doubt he completely forgot about it a minute later and went about his business, although I like to think that he hasn't washed his right hand yet. And why he's called 'The Big Yin' is lost on me, he's no taller than my 5' 11".
I know that they're a probably people reading this who meet well known people all the time, who'll think "Wow, you met someone famous" but it was a big deal to me (as someone who spent far too much of his youth listening to his records and watching his videos), and to which I say this, it's about the quality of the personality, not the quantity

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Just remember...

...he's most definitely NOT gay. Okay? His mum always told him to stay a bachelor boy.

Isn't Photoshop a wonderful invention..?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

A bunch of James Blunts


I've seen this poster everywhere over the past couple of weeks. I have to say it's doing a pretty good job of making me not want to see this film. It doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to see what this film's about: a bunch of immature, self-satisfied, smug American 'college chums' wisecracking with each other while their long-suffering 'womenfolk' have to put up with them. If Hollywood wants to know why it's on its knees, they need to look no further than this poster. I'm not a violent man but I could quite easily smack in the mouth all the males who appear on it.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win


Yay! I finally figured out how to do all the stuff on Blogger I could do before but then couldn't do...if you see what I mean. I'm not very computer literate I'm afraid. Thanks to all you kind folks who offered suggestions as to the cause of my problems. All I had to do was click Blogger's new thing-a-me-jig. Hurrah!

Anyway, where were we? Aah yes, turning forty. I'll be celebrating my fortieth birthday in less than six months' time, and I'm dreading it already. I can never understand these people who want to celebrate their fortieths. I hate the fact I'm getting older. I suppose if I had kid I'd treat it differently. But how can you have kids when your a big kid yourself? My greatest dilemma in life is to try and choose between Sugar Puffs and Ricicles. See? I even eat kiddies's cereals. I suppose I should be eating Shredded Wheat, but they're so chuffing boring.
And when does it become unacceptable to wear t-shirts with the names of bands on? I'm writing this in a khaki Metallica t-shirt with the band logo on the front and the legend 'Death Magnetic' on the back. Is this type of garment the preserve of the fourteen year-old and not the forty year-old? Likewise, when do you stop wearing Converse sneakers? It's a bloody minefield. I mean, I want to stay 'down wi' kids' but by the same token I don't want to look like Tommy Saxondale (though I wouldn't mind a bit of his hair).

Staying on the subject of having kids, I'm reading Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern at the minute. It's based on this Justin's Twitter feed, the title's pretty self explanatory. If I was a dad (some chance!) I hope I'd be like Halpern Snr. He doesn't suffer fools gladly and treats his kids like adults. I don't mean like those awful liberal parents who nip down to the shop to buy their kids fags and believe they've got as much to learn from their kids as they have from them. He's the sort of dad who tells it like it is. No bullshit. What particularly struck a chord with me was when Justin took him a Lego model as a child and his dad told him it was crap. You see even as a kid I could never understand parents who put their kids' artwork up on the wall and tell them how great it was. It really used to annoy me on Blue Peter when they'd get the viewers to design the Christmas stamps. The winner of the first class letter stamp would always be a red splodge with a white splodge on top which was supposed to represent Father Christmas. On the display behind the presenters they'd display the other entrants and you wanted them to pick the really detailed thing done by some art A level students. Can you imagine these Christmas cards being delivered from abroad and the kind of message it sent out about Britain? I always wanted to shout at Simon Groom or Lesley Judd to go back and rethink what they think should have won. I always remember some party on a park in London (don't ask me which one, London parks after Hyde, Regent's and St James's all blur into one for me. You go there looking for two things, to get stabbed or jerked off) when I was about eight or nine in honour of the Queen or something. This must have been quite an important party because it was broadcast live during the school holidays. This party boasted the world's longest poster - painted by bloody kids of course - and at the very end of this poster was The Queen. Her Maj was duly escorted to her part of the poster where a youth worker had let the kids paint Our Lovely Queen Gawd Bless Yer Ma'am black. I seem to remember finding this absolutely hysterical and going to find Mum to show her. She turned around and walked straight out as soon as she saw it was Geoffrey off of Rainbow who was guiding The Queen around because she hated both him and everything to do with Rainbow.
Anyway, just thought I'd tell you that...

Right I'm off on my hols for massive chunks of the next month so there'll be no more posting, Faceberk, Twatter or whatever. I need a break from all this intertwat madness every once in awhile. I'm going to do what 70s rock stars used to do and get my head together in the country. In fact I'll be a bit like Yes when they recorded Tales From Topographic Oceans; they couldn't decide whether to record in the country or the city so they bought in straw bales and stuffed sheep to the recording studio in London. So I'll be going to both the country and the city. Best off both worlds, eh? Whichever, I'm jumping on a freedom moped out of this town.
I'll leave you with something nice and summery and one of only two songs I like by Springsteen, who doesn't like to see the girls in their summer clothes? Pip pip, have a good summer and I'll see you around. You'll have to click here to see it as Broooce doesn't want no Limey, Chevvy-hatin', blue-collar-anthem-deridin' dude embedding it.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

WTF?

Why can't I put pictures and links on blog posts any more?

Friday, 2 July 2010

Charity begins in the street


I've been into town just now, and it's awash with, what I believe are called 'charity muggers'. Now, I'm a fairly generous person, I think. I donate to charity regularly (though like Smashie and Nicie, I don't like to talk about it), what I hate though is being bullied into it.
These charity muggers today were from the British Red Cross, a worthwhile organisation, I'm sure you'll agree. Today though I really didn't want to set up a standing order for £5 a month to go to them. I don't really like entering into contracts, apart from my employment contract, which is the reason why I refuse to have Sky telly, contract mobile phones etc. The thing is, they must have worked out that they could afford to blitz a town centre with these muggers today as the money they pay the muggers they must be able to recoup and then some. I mean, I take it they're getting paid for doing this as they all look like students. I think I must be an easy target - they see me approaching, floral print shirt, nice jeans, Converse All Stars. "Ah" they must think to themselves "This stocky, balding James Mayalike is just the sort of middle class bloke whose conscious will get the better of him - this is as good as in the bag." Think again, Student Grant, I encountered three, and these are the conversations I had:
Lady Charity Mugger: "Good morning, sir!
Me: "Morning!"
LCM: "Can you spare a couple of minutes for a chat?"
Me: "No"
She made a mistake, if she'd said "Morning, sexy!" then yeah, I may have stopped and indulged in some mild flirting before walking off without opening a standing order and she would have though to herself "Saddo thought he was in with a chance" well, that's her loss.
Next one looked like Hair Bear off of The Hair Bear Bunch:
Hair Bear Charity Mugger bellowing from a hundred yards away: "Morning sir!"
*I look over my shoulder in a mock 'are-you-talking-to-me-manner'*
HBCM: "Yes, you sir, the chap who looks very nice! Have you go time to chat, sir?! I'm not asking for money!"
Me: "No"
Next one approaches after I've stepped out of the music shop to drool over the drum kit I want and had a chat with the proprietor, with a copy of Kerrang!* and a practice pad under my arm.
Charity Mugger: "Morning, sir, have you got time for a chat?"
Me: "What, are you going to buy me a pint to go with it?"
CM: "Ho ho, no sir!"
Me: "Then I haven't got time 'for a chat.'"
Ha! That told him.
So what did I do then? I stepped into the Oxfam books and record shop where charity mugging of another kind was going on. What they hell are they doing with the prices? They had a vinyl copy of Dark Side of the Moon. "Oooh" I thought to myself "I wonder if that's still got the stickers and postcards which came with 1970s pressings?" I was disappointed, there was a card attached to the front which read "Late '70s pressing. No stickers or postcards. Plays okay, just slight jump during Brain Damage." Do you know how much they wanted for it? £9.99! That's nearly ten of your English pounds! What a rip off! Hardly a rare album is it, not when they've sold thirty million of them. If it had stickers and postcards? Yes, then they could have had my £9.99 and that would have made it four times that I'd bought the bloody record.
To compound this, in with the records was a Q magazine guitarists' photo supplement. I used to have that and binned it, now they want a tenner for something that was given away for free!
Compare that with the Oxfam in Nottingham a few months back which had every Q mag from issue 1-50 for sale for £90. I bloody wish I'd bought it now. No, scratch that, I wish I'd not thrown out my Qs which I collected religiously from 1988 to 1997.
I'm not being tight-fisted here, but Oxfam would get a lot more of my business if they looked into their pricing policy, so, in the long run, they've lost out. I mean, a vinyl copy of Blondie's Parallel Lines for £7.99 when you can buy it on CD from Sainsbury's for less than a fiver,? Do me a favour...*wonders off, muttering*...
Anyway, have a good weekend. If, like me you're going out for a picnic, with family, then note these wise words. Oh, and apologies for the 'screamers', went a bid mad with them, didn't I?:



*Yeah, I buy Kerrang every now and again. What are you going to do about it? Besides, this week's has got my four thrash metal heroes on the cover - together at last!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

In his life

I watched that Lennon Naked this morning, you know, that BBC4 play that was on last week about John Lennon.

I'm not the world's biggest Beatles fan, they're great, obviously. I think they've gone above having fans, everyone's a fan. What I'm struggling to understand is the choice of lead actor for this role. Christopher Eccleston is 46 years-old. The person he was playing in the film aged from 27 to 31. It doesn't take a genius to work out the he was much to old to play Lennon. Do you think this was some sort of vanity role for him? You know, "This'll look great on my CV, Wikipedia and IMDB if people see I've played this great man?" As has been pointed out this morning, with that hooter he looks more like Ringo. Something exacerbated by the fact that he sounded like Ringo too. Every time I spoke all I could hear in my head was "'Come along!' shouted Thomas the Tank Engine" or "Peace and love...don't send me owt else to sign, you bastards!" or "They're gonna put me in the movies". And whoever that tit was who was Paul McCartney, well, his voice sounded like the sort of effort Bobby Davro would put into a Macca impression. Still, it was good to see Epstein played by someone who got Buckaroo! for Christmas twenty odd years ago (sorry).

I've never understand this mythologising of Lennon. I went to the house he lived in about three years ago. What struck me was that it was just like the house I was born and bought up in, albeit one with a poncey garden room and a bigger kitchen with a servants' bell display board (God knows why, they could have shouted, had they had servants). What did send a shiver down my spine though was that there was a photo on the wall of his entire grammar school on the wall. I only just glanced at it and my eyes immediately fell on Lennon's face out of hundreds of others. To be honest, you got more of a sense of 'magic happening' at Macca's parents old council house. Probably because you knew it was a happier house and there's photos on the wall, taken by his brother, of Paul playing the guitar and writing things down at the spot where they were taken.

Everyone knows Lennon wasn't a very nice man, you didn't really need this film to tell you. Do yout think it's because he's dead that he gets this treatment? Or the fact that he disappeared from view for about five years while his former bandmates were selling millions of records and appearing in dodgy films? That's the thing with him disappearing to New York: he blamed everything on his father abandoning him, then he did the very same thing to his own son. How do you think Julian feels about his dad giving it all up when his step brother came along? And what about that awful 'mong' face he'd pull at any given opportunity?

He did write some cracking tunes though:

Monday, 28 June 2010

A load of rubbish to kill time


Let's get the football out the way: I'm not surprised, England will NEVER win the World Cup again in your lifetime. And as for people predicting the results, how can you? As Danny Baker says "Football is chaos and you can't predict the outcome of chaos." I saw one bloke give his prediction that England would win 2-1 yesterday after extra time. How can you be that certain of a scoreline? Tosser. I predicted England would bottle it, Germany ain't that good.
Anyway, I was in Nottingham on Saturday night, walked passed a Nando's with a sign outside that said "Piri piri - so good they named it twice." I know Nando's is now seen a s a bit of a joke but I've never been in one. Until Saturday night I thought it was a Mexican restaurant until it occurred to me that chicken piri piri is a Portuguese dish. I didn't go to Nando's, my pre-theatre restaurant of choice is Pizza Express. You can have junk food like pizza but because it's at cosy middle class haven that is Pizza Express, it's okay. And why do those sort of upmarket chain restaurants insist on playing jazz? It has to be the most un-relaxing music to listen to, after industrial metal and grindcore, I suppose. I once remember Talk Talk's Mark Hollis saying that music should never be used as background. In Pizza Express's case it's not background music because you've got Charlie Parker parping away in your earhole.
I fully intend to be the last person in the UK never to have eaten at a Nando's. Or Aberdeen Steakhouse. Or Spaghetti House. Or Garfunkel's. Or Bella Pasta. Am I missing out?
I saw about twenty minutes of Glastonbury on Friday night. That really is turning into some corporate rock cash cow now, isn't it? Take that John Peel Stage; it featured bands who I don't think Peel would have liked very much. From what I saw it put on bands who record labels pushed on there to up their profile. I came to Peel only when I started working shifts, his shows mainly consisted of unlistenable garbage but every twenty minutes or so a diamond would get pulled out. I recall one night we were given death metal followed by Sandy Denny followed by George Formby. What I don't recall is the singer off of Bloc Party showcasing tracks from his new solo album.
The drums then. I think I'm getting to the stage where I need to play with other people. So if anyone knows a guitarist and bass player in the Newark area who are looking for a distinctly average-to-poor-but-will-get-better drummer, then drop me a line. No timewasters or raggae musicians please.
Here's my drum tutor showing off. He's the one on the drums, by the way:


Saturday, 19 June 2010

We're from totally different backgrounds


Five Centres made a point yesterday about the new background to the blog. One of the main criticisms of Blogger is the lack of variety of templates; they seem to have addressed this problem just recently.
I picked this book theme because I suppose I thought it'd make me look more intelligent. Don't be fooled. I've just finished One Day by David Nicholls (which I enjoyed immensely, even though I originally though it was chick-lit. And I ended up falling in love with the main female character, which I also did with Nick Hornby's last), and I'm currently on the Chris Evans book.
I know I should be reading Proust, EM Forster, Steinbeck, Graham Greene and all that, but I enjoy a bit of crap. Who doesn't secretly enjoy a Big Mac every once in a while?
I'd go as far as to say that the publisher with the most books on my shelves isn't Penguin but Ebury Press, publisher of memoirs and travel guides by 'my sort of people'. Hey-ho, Dostoyevsky's going to have to wait. Why read about some bloke being locked up for murder when you can read about Richard Herring facing up to his fortieth birthday? I'm planning on reaching forty, not murdering someone.

Friday, 18 June 2010

21st Century Fox


Has anyone ever see anything by Megan Fox? I've only heard of her because every time I switch on my computer, there she is in the entertainment section of the home page staring out at me with her latest bit of news.
Looking at her in that photo - apparently taken at a recent premiere where she wore next to nowt - she looks like a slightly unattractive Anjelina Jolie with skinny legs and is brassierephobic.
Are men supposed to fancy her? Because I always remember Billy Connolly saying about supermodels "They're not the sort of women that men fancy, it'd be like shagging a bike." I just bet she has no sense of humour or personality, let alone a filthy laugh.
No doubt she has a fantastic agent whose making the most of her, I suspect, meagre talents.
I take it she's some sort of actress, but I really can't be bothered to find out because that's exactly what she wants me to do...as well as write a blog post about her. Oops!