Tuesday, 30 November 2010


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.