Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Just in case... were in any doubt as to how much of a mind-numbingly boring, dull-as-ditchwater, cesspit of a town this is:

Thursday, 20 May 2010

'Clarnon around

I've become a 'fan' of Liz McClarnon on Facebook (that's her in the picture, in the shithouse at The Alan Titchmarsh Show that I nicked off her Facebook page). Do you know who she is? She was one third of the average girl band Atomic Kitten. I fell in love with her a little bit when she did Celebrity Master Chef a couple of years back, and I recently became transfixed by her latest effort for BBC 3 called Hotter Than My Daughter (which, when I first saw listed, thought was a handy guide to the menopause).
I tell you what, it's no surprise everyone wants to be a 'celebrity' these days. To say she was an average singer in an average band I reckon she's not lifted a finger to do any proper work. Ever.
Looking at her Facebook updates her days appear to be filled with appearances on Loose Women, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, The Wright Stuff, Angela Griffin and Friends, This Morning, Live From Studio fucking Five and any other number of inane daytime TV shows you could name.
To be fair she is going on tour with Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of HG Wells's War of the Worlds later in the year. But she gets to go out on tour with 'the lovely Jason Donovan and Rhydian'. Even that's not really work though. I've seen the touring version of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of HG Wells's War of the Worlds and her part just requires her to sing "No,,, Nathaniel...." once every few bars. And she's just returned from a cruise which was, no doubt, paid for by Wish You Were Here or someone.
She's got her work cut out tonight though. According to her Facebook status she's in a quandary about what to wear to something called The Butterfly Ball. Apparently showbiz royalty like Elton John and, er, Joan Collins will be there. While she's there I'll be at work throwing shit into a skip. But whose happier, eh? Yeah, her. Groo!
The thing is, she appears on these daytime programmes to obviously give her opinion on all the latest 'news' and 'gossip'. Perhaps she ought to think about becoming one of those self-important tossers who start a blog. Oh, hang on...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I *heart* the 1980s

I reckon yesterday's attack on the 1980s may have made me look like a bit of a joy vacuum. Of course it wasn't all that bad, it's just that I get annoyed that the whole decade is summed up into Kajagoogoo, Rubik's Cubes, men in tea towels, Soda Streams and Margaret Thatcher.
I had a chat about the 1980s with my sister this morning. I said to her that I think you can't take part in a revival if you're old enough to remember it the first time around. To which she replied "Speak for yourself!" Mind you, she's hung up about getting older; she's 47 on Friday. Not only that but she's been a bit off with me since I found a booklet entitled Coping With the Menopause while clearing Mum's house, I don't think she took it very well when I tossed it to her and said "This might be of use to you."

Anyway, I've decided to compile a list of what I do like about the 1980s, in no particular order:

  1. Big Country

  2. Brookside

  3. Gregory's Girl

  4. Snogging

  5. CBTV

  6. An American Werewolf in London

  7. Microwavable doner kebabs

  8. Puma G Vilas trainers

  9. Local Hero

  10. The Stone Roses' Fools Gold and the second part of I Am the Resurrection

  11. The Cult's Electric

  12. My paper round

  13. Sagging school

  14. Aztec Camera's Oblivious

  15. No. 73

  16. My dad's delight at his weekly fix of The Dukes of Hazzard

  17. The cancellation of Doctor Who

  18. Tape-to-tape recorders

  19. Simple Minds

  20. The Sledgehammer video

  21. Clare Grogan

  22. The Sony Walkman

  23. John Swallow

  24. The Falklands war - quite entertaining for an 11 year-old

  25. Anything touched by the hand of Trevor Horn

  26. Raw Power (not The Stooges album but a late night heavy rock and metal TV show presented by the now editor-in-chief of Mojo magazine)

  27. Nottingham Forest winning the European Cup again

  28. Frank Sidebottom

  29. Blue Monday

  30. Holidays in Rock, Cornwall

  31. Viz

  32. Discovering the joys of Newcastle Brown Ale

  33. The Chart Show

  34. Leaving school

  35. The Tube

  36. The Young Ones

  37. Motorhead's No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith

  38. The poll tax riots

  39. The Comic Strip Presents...

  40. Mullets - that's mine in the photo, enjoy it while you can, it comes off tomorrow. Edit: you're too late, it's another mullet now.

  41. The YTS

  42. The Eight Legged Groove Machine and Astley in the Noose

  43. Eleanor's 'fun' pub in Newark Vegas

  44. The Police splitting

  45. Maconie, Collins and Quantick on the NME

  46. Smash Hits up to 1987

  47. Tom Hibbert in Q

  48. John Peel on Top of the Pops

  49. Ayrton Senna

  50. This record

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Fed up

Sorry about the break, but I have got a life you know, one where I do a proper job instead of staring into a computer all day.

Anyway, Radio 2. I normally hate those wankers who spraff off about their favourite radio station like they own it - I think I've blogged before about Radio 4 listeners - but what's going off at Radio 2? As it's one of the few channels I can get on my radio at work I tend to listen for most of the day. For a start they put Graham Norton on to 'dep' for Chris Evans. He made a balls up of it, not radio fodder at all. Then they go and announce him as the replacement for Jonathan Ross. Who decided that? A deaf person? And what is this show going to consist of? I think I know: him fawning and giggling all over crusty old actresses from the bloody 1970s no bastard's heard of for years, if at all. Gemma Jones, anyone? No, me neither.

Theses tossers at Radio 2 had already incurred my wrath for cutting Radcliffe and Maconie's ace show from four nights to three - then replaced them on night four with Jo Whiley. I realise La Whiley's too old for Radio 1 now (even though Westwood's well into his 50s), but why knock down a perfectly good show so that she can come on and introduce Paul Weller at the BBC theatre for the umpteenth time? (I don't like Weller either, more of him in a future post)

Then over the past week we've had a brace of announcements. For a kick off that walking car crash that is Richard Madeley has announced that he's in talks with Radio 2 'bosses'. I'm hoping he'll be on one of those Sunday morning shows where he reviews the Sunday newspapers, which'll be okay by me because there's nothing more inclined to get me to turn off the radio than listening to some lazy DJ going through newspapers (unless it's Sarah Kennedy which is always fun-for-all-the-wrong-reasons. Especially as last week she read out an article on 'funny' place names and mentioned a place in America called Spunky Puddle which flew straight over her head. Funny how she didn't mention Shitterton though. Or Racistdrunktelegraphreader-on-the-Wold).

And this week we've had to suffer the indignity of Chris Tarrant doing Steve Wright's show. Jesus, I never thought I'd say this but come back Wright, all is forgiven. The fork-throwing funster's interview with Simple Minds' Jim Kerr on an ISDN line was cringeworthy. Get off Tarrant, you're shit. Yeah, you heard, SHIT!

Enough of that, unlike the rest of the UK population between the ages of 35 and 45, I didn't watch that Boy George thing because I hate both Culture Club and so-called New Romantics. If I never hear Karma Chameleon, that Hurt Me thing or that shocking War song again it'll be too soon. I tire of the rose-tinted spectacles everyone of my generation sees the 1980s through. Mind you, I reckon the three greatest albums of the decade were Metallica's Master of Puppets, Slayer's Reign in Blood and Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden. Hardly Pelican West or Deep Sea Skiving, are they? And not a Roland synthesizer in sight.

The drums then. Cor, I had a great time last week. We got into drum fills. I think I'm going to be of the drumming school that twats it as hard as they can because they like to make a noise, a bit like Dave Grohl, not a bespectacled 'thinker' like Bill Bruford. Talking of thoughtful drummers, there was a great one on Young Musician of the Year this week. She played a thing by Frank Zappa, which, as you can imagine, was a little avant garde. She showed amazing restraint, I just like to smack the drums and cymbals. My tutor's asked me to come up with a drum solo ready for next week. Horror of horrors, a drum solo! Not a horror for the bastard playing it though. Tee, and indeed, hee.

I leave you with one of my favourite tracks from my new favourite band. They are *shhh, whisper it * nu-prog. Run for your lives! The drumming on the whole album is immense though, not that anyone reading this will actually play that video of course, but hey-ho, I like it, it's your loss etc...

Thursday, 6 May 2010

It's nice to be nice

I'm currently enjoying BBC 4's sea season - an, if you will, 'sea-son' ah-ha-ha-ha. I don't particularly feel the need to get out on the sea as I'm terrified of it, or, more particularly, I'm terrified of boats and drowning. I love being near to the sea though, it's so romantic, don't you think? I could spend hours looking out to the horizon and wondering what's over that horizon.

What I loved was last night's programme following Timothy Spall (that's him in the photo playing Nottingham's greatest son) and his wife as they journey round the coast of Britain in his sea-going barge. I love the fact that he doesn't particularly know what he's doing but is an enthusiastic amateur living by the mantra of 'if you're in doubt, don't do it.' It's just lovely to watch two soulmates being happy in each other's company even if they don't do much. They don't do much apart from drink wine, gaze out to sea, eat sandwiches the size of doorstops, have good-natured rows, laugh and just love being together. It almost made me fill up.

I'm getting sick of these people who've been on the television over the past month running this country down. I've never believed in so-called 'Broken Britain', much as regular readers of this blog will probably think otherwise, I still think Britain is a fantastic country and that the vast majority of people are decent folks who enjoy a laugh and are more than willing to help out those in need. This programme is the proof that this is still a great country, because, at its heart it's full of nice people doing nice things. I like niceness. Spall has said as much in his publicity for this programme.

Anyway, off my soapbox, and after everything I've said about Britain you can have this: a French song. I haven't got a clue what it's about, apart from the sea, but I love it and I bet the lyrics mean something nice.
Edit: I've just entered La Mer's lyrics into Google Translate, and they are lovely. God, what's wrong with me today?

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Mobile phones and dads

I finally got a new mobile phone then. I went back to my original port of call - O2 in Newark - and dealt with the manager. She asked what my requirements were, I told her and I got a new phone. It's the Samsung Fonemaster 2000, or something. I told you I know bugger all about phones so that's what I ended up with, it does everything I want from a mobile phone. My original intention was for the iPhone, but although I've got the money, something doesn't feel quite right about forking out £350 for a mobile phone.

I think a lot of that has to do with my dad. I could just hear the sharp intake of breath when I told him how much this thing had cost me. "You mean you've spent that much on a phone that plays records?" is what he would have said (Dad didn't really 'do' music. Apart from Brass bands, Russ Conway and, in later years, The Beautiful South but I think that had more to do with the fact that somehow he'd found out that they were from Hull). Swiftly followed with "Your trouble is that you've got more money than sense." I can see his point, this phone's cost me less that half what the iPhone does and it does what I want it to.

Not that my dad had anything against gadgets, no sir. Dad loved gadgets but they had to have a practical application. Like a combined cigar cutter and egg cup, or trousers with a built-in lap tray. When we cleared my parents' house we found a miniature trundle wheel for running over road maps. I'm now the proud owner of that. In his later years he became obsessed with softening water. He spent pounds on those Brita water filters (he had the top-of-the-range, complete with digital readout) and cartridges. He followed this up with a thing that he put in the water inlet pipe which was supposed to soften the water. It ran on electricity. So he had all this gear to soften the water to save on kettles. He was spending pounds on water filters and electricity. I think that might be called a false economy.

That was Dad all over. I don't think he ever had a new lawnmower, I remember as a kid he had a Suffolk Punch, which I think he had given him. Then as his brothers started dying off he always ended up inheriting their old mowers. I once went to see them and there was Dad in the garden mowing the lawn with a petrol-driven mower that looked like it was going to run away with him. Attached to this mower was a jam jar. The mower would, every few seconds, violently spit out petrol. When I asked his what the jam jar was for he told me it was to catch the petrol. Why he didn't just go and get it repaired I'll never know. Or why he just didn't bite the bullet and buy himself a new, decent mower, I'll never know either. But, I suppose, that's quintessential daddery.
Getting back to the phones, the money I saved on the iPhone I can put to better use by buying a gorgeous drum kit that I'm drooling over in a local music shop. I wonder what Dad would have thought to something nice and genteel like playing the drums..?