Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Punishment, part II

Damn! You know what I forgot in my inexhaustible round-up of awful music-related puns? I forgot those damn Libertines and associated stupid drug freak bands. OK. I can see that you're unimpressed, as well you might be. After all, you've been fooled by the media's love for all things Libertines. Then you listened to them, and were so unimpressed you were inclined never to believe anything anyone told you ever again. Yes, musically, they're uninventive. Lyrically, they're as poor as a sixth form and an equal number of typewriters. Facially, they look like pasty indie urchins who haven't experienced the joys of vitamin D for some time.


They are abusers of not just the heroin, but also the written word.

OK, here we go, but don't blame me if you never want to see the the English language again. The Libertine's debut single was called 'What a Waster'. The puns were kept under control after that, until Pete Doherty's drug and play-on-words habits got too much, and he left and formed an offshoot band called 'Babyshambles'. Whose first single was called 'Killamangiro'. Christ. Who know's what they'll do next. The one thing for certain though is that the media coverage will be entirely disproportionate to the listenability of the records.

Jamie Cullum

Right. People hate Jamie Cullum. This isn't (just) prejudice; I've got cast-iron anecdotal figures to back me up. As a young metropolitan gadabout, I have cause to use the Underground (on which, I'm reliably informed, the only two coffins to be transported are those of William Gladstone and Dr Barnardo). Given the vast spending power of the bored and alienated commuters, poster adverts are affixed to many of the parts of the Tube. In my broad and majestic experience, not many of these get vandalised. I've seen a few "Esso eat babies and have never cried human tears" stickers stuck on the posters of large corporations, but nothing has struck me as much as the level of permanent marker-based abuse meted out to cheery young piano-thumper Jamie Cullum.

He's pictured, grinning like an ecstasy-befuddled Jehovah's Witness at the final reckoning, leaping as a taurine-addled salmon would high above a gorgeous sunset (pictured below in its comparatively rare unvandalised state and at a daring angle because I had to leap off a Victoria Line train in order to take it, and was understandably self-conscious about being seen to jump off, brazenly take a photo of a Jamie Cullum poster and then scurry back on, looking all too excited. Worse still, I couldn't shake off the nagging fear that JC himself was seated further down the carriage, saw the whole thing, and decided to interpret it as justification to carry on his career, which he had hitherto been considering abandoning in order to do something worthwhile with his time):

I'm not exaggerating when I say that on the majority of these posters, someone has taken advantage of the expanse of light plain areas to scrawl demeaning-to-Jamie-Cullum comments speech-bubbled from the frolicking Jamie Cullum mouth. "I'm a twat", "Punch me", this sort of thing. Others, I'm sure, can vouch for this.

Now, I already hold the answer to this question, but in the interests of all things fair, what is it about JC that has so driven the normally law-abiding, if common-decency-flouting, tubegoing public to pick on Cullum so?

[Note: This post has been scanned for even the slightest trace of anti-Cullum sentiment, and as such has been passed as commendably impartial by the Society for the Impartial Treatment of Jazz-Mangling Twats]

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Near-Immediate Catchphrase Update: Wobs and IPCGM

Near-immediate update: Google currently has me listed as the 3rd most important person to be wishing people a 'merry wobs'. Get in on the ground floor, and overuse the expression until you seem like a pathetic twenty-something trying desperately to cling to the disappearing hooded top of youth, as well as annoying all those who love you, and baffling and alienating those who might.

As someone who constantly tries to gain worth from comparing themselves to his peers, I note that I'm better than a Belle & Sebastian fan, but less good, in the all-seeing eye of google, than someone called Liz.

Happier news, however, for lovers of neologisms comes with google's assessment of IPCGM. Google only lists its use in two places in correct context, so in your frantic and rather sad attempts to be hep and with it, you can at least be truly one of the pioneers. Use it in an email or forum post today, people. The top google entry for IPCGM can be discounted as a genuine use I think, unless some obscure coder working on an inventory maintenance programme really does think that a sub-routine he's written is political correctness gone mad.

Oh, and those of you with jobs. Yes, you. I have a task for you. If you do anything that is official, carries weight and prestige, then I will give purpose to your snivelling little lives. When you drag your mince pie filled arse back to work whenever that may be, make it one of your priorities to use the word 'cadaverous' in an officially published capacity, be it newsletters, webpages, signs, posters, inserted at random into a book you're publishing, unfurled on a giant banner at a conference or used in context in a piece you're writing for the Guardian. It's a good word, and doesn't get its due. Right this wrong! Let me know how you get on, and you'll make me beam paternally.

Hope You All Had a Happy Wobs

I had a perfectly pleasant one that involved the usual amounts of getting up late, finding out that most of my presents were composed of chocolate and rejoicing in that, drinking from noon, eating too much, wearing a paper hat, going for a jog out of sheer novelty value, competing with my family over who could make the most outrageous comment about the Queen (the winning entry being unpublishable, and the winner currently applying for asylum in France), watching the Will Smith endorsement-whore-a-thon I, Robot, shaving my head completely for the first time (a surprising amount of effort, but less blood that I'd feared), forming a ceilidh band with my father and aunt, and producing a working of Whisky in the Jar that has rather more Latin-jazz whistles, cow-bells and hi-hat than any I've heard, courtesy of my aunt's marvelously retro keyboard and my ceaseless quest for experimentation (coupled with an attention span that can only be measured at the atomic level). In the keyboard stakes, my aunt's still falls into distant second place behind the one currently in my flat that allows us to pretend that we live in a Seinfeld episode via function 66, 'Slap Bass'. To further add to this illusion, I have recently taken to wearing a jacket with jeans, and I own a very white pair of trainers, but modesty prevents me from doing the whole thing too often. Added to my housemates' appalling taste in clothes and haircuts, the illusion would be complete if it weren't for my near pathological aversion to the tucking-in of t-shirts.

Bearing in mind that I'm obviously suffering somekind of withdrawal symptons, I'll leave you with the following links, while I go and brush up on my highly synthesised slap bass technique:

Want to play the apalling bass riff from Seinfeld, but can't bring yourself to listen to it that many times to work it out?

Tell me, source of all wisdom, who composed and played the theme? If you can't give me a full answer, give it your best shot, eh?

What about a site where I can download various audio clips of the Seinfeld show, and a MIDI file of the theme tune giving naffness a whole new sub-definition in the dictionary? Cheers!

Now, I'm not normally one to angle for gifts, but this poster would brighten up any flat, as well as add dignity to its owners.

Nerds, eh? Where would I be without them? Oh, popular and well-adjusted, that's where I'd be.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Anrgriest? Not by a long chalk

Well, it's official. My URL is nothing but a sham of a fraud of a fake of a hoax. I'm not the angriest man. I'm not even the angriest Jim. A short perusal of Angry Jimmy should tell you that. Also there's Broadway Jim, who's NSFW, but who the hell is at work now? Additionally, this joker has stolen my Deadpan Conversations with Shop Sales Staff, invented a time machine, gone back to 1998, and had far more interesting conversations to boot. He's probably made them up though. Having been on the receiving end of some New York service industry people, however, I'm not so sure. When you have a barman look you in the eye and say, 'you're not Jewish, are you?', before they embark on a joke or anecdote, you've got to worry about them and the state of their country. IPCGM!

On the brighter side, there's Angry Jim who's quite a good graphic artist, all things considered.

However, it's too late for me now. I'll either have to become Very Angry, which will probably mean thinking about My Life Story (Click here to see a picture that should have you baying for blood. I'd put it on the main page, rather than link to it, but I respect your right to keep your breakfast down. Only click on that link if you don't mind seeing a glimpse of depravity and ugliness that even your most tranquil meditating monk would smack across the face. Please, don't hit your monitors - it's not real) more than is healthy, or just accept my place in the pecking order (currently Slightly Peeved Man in Crouch End).

Anyway, as the predictive text on my phone has it, have a very merry wobs. If anyone can explain to me what a wobs is, and why it's more important to my phone than xmas, please do. Do mobile phones gather together to share the secrets of their SIM cards at the annual Wobs celebrations, laughing uproariously at the ill-advised photos taken on your cameraphone of you, cross-eyed and bloodshot, with your arm around someone who looks like the Gurning Champion of Norfolk, and deleting those important voicemails while they loll around drinking mulled wine? I think I may have seen that Carphone Warehouse advert with the walking, talking mobile phones one too many times.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


OK, I've held it off for long enough. I've tried to present myself as something that I'm not. Sorry internet, I've been dishonest. Now that we know each other a bit better, it's time to come clean.

I have a weakness for puns. Plays on words. I'm not proud of it. As part of my therapy, I offer you a warning. Below are some of the worst album titles ever. Bearing in mind that these things needed to be approved by chains of important people, from the band through to beancounters working out how it will play with key demographics, it's amazing that these ended up on our record racks.

The Vinyl Countdown: Album Titles Pun-ching Above Their Weight

Public Enemy (1994): Muse Sick in Our Mess Age
Ouch! It's almost painful to look at, but let me, a soul made of sterner stuff, take you through it. Music and Our Message - yes, they're a political band with things to say, through music. Good so far. But they've been at it for a while, PE, and things haven't got any better: hence 'Mess Age'. That's fine. It's a pun, and both of the double meanings make sense. But, carried away on the power of the pun, they go too far. Music/Muse Sick. Yes, they sound the same, but they've just said, in the title of the record no less, that they're creatively bankrupt, they've run out of ideas; their MUSE is SICK. Too far. They've hoist themselves with their own pun-tard.

Smashing Pumpkins (1995): Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Right. You're a band of goths, you're doing ok out of having lived longer than some of your peers. You've decided that, prog be damned, you're going to release a double CD album which, for some reason best only known to yourselves, is by and large rubbish. You'll have made sure that the only tracks worth listening to have a number in them (Zero, 1979, and stretching credulity, and assuming that you are Prince, 2night, 2night). Now, not forgetting that you're a goth band, what are you going to call it? Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness? Yes, that sounds appropriate, you bald weirdo. What do you mean, it's spelt 'Melon Collie'? A type of fruit and a type of dog? Why, for the love of all that is decent and pure, why? Is it because you're the Smashing Pumpkins? Who knows? It's just a good job you've surrounded yourselves with craven yes-men, who wouldn't dare criticise a sequence of incredibly stupid decisions, eh?

Various: Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins
This one has been committed by the great and the good. And by My Life Story. Talking Heads (the great), started the ball rolling in 1991, by reforming and writing a track called Sax and Violins for a Wim Wenders film. A nice low-key pun there, that might just escape attention. Then came Sparks in 1995 (the good) with their extended version of the pun, the album Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins, which is acceptable, but it's been done before, lads. Still, I can accept this from the only man in the western world who persists with the Hitler 'tache. What I can't accept is My Life Story (the unclassifiably bad). For those who can't remember: you're lucky, lucky people. It was the heady days of Britpop, and the fine Divine Comedy were doing ok with their brand of orchestrated aphorisms and loucheness. Then, the unbearably smug Jake Shillingford, who, if you ever get to meet him, is owed a smack in the face from me and anyone who's ever had to listen to one of his records, tried to reproduce the formula, but taking out the charm, good music and human qualities from the mix. Their fanclub (or possibly they called it an information service, aware of the difficulties the word 'fan' might represent) was called 'Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins', and this was around '96, '97. Ugh, I feel sullied.

OK, in my very brief round-up of the genre, which has thus far only included records I've listened to, we come to the final entry:
Westlife (2004): Let Me Be Frank
It's a covers album of Sinatra songs. Supressing... urge... to kill... Westlife... Those pug-faced little stool-dampeners. I'll leave it at that - I'm wasting no more potential RSI on the little twerps.

Anyways, in the season of goodwill to most men, what album title has had you roll your eyes, bite your lip, contort your face and bawl like a baby?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Thought for the Day

The Right Reverend Angriest speaks from the BBC's Religious Affairs studio in Cambridge:

The Chrismas carollers were singing in Crouch End this evening. They went, "the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight". Well, that set me thinking. What are my hopes, and more importantly, my fears for 2005?

My fears

1. That all of my opinions and tastes will be matched perfectly by Mojo Magazine, as I become increasing old and conservative. So what if I choose to spend my valuable leisure hours reading a 24-page article slavering over Ringo Starr's solo career?

2. That Donkey from Shrek won't get his own spinoff film, and I'll have to endure Mike Myers' Scottish-ish accent in yet another film (c.f. the Austin Powers films, So I Married an Axe Murderer, and I suspect Wayne's World but I can't remember, and imdb doesn't have a section on outrageous accents, which is an oversight, I think). Think I'm the only one who values the Donkey role as Eddie Murphy's finest hour? Wrong.

3. Becoming the object of Michael Howard's affections, and daily receiving a single red rose with the card bearing stanzas of Michael's explicit love poetry.

I live in a constant state of fear, don't I?

Monday, December 20, 2004


...if proof were required that my time off work is being well spent:

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Xmas CD!

Esteemed friends, it being the season that it is, I am generously donating my time, taste and blank CDs to the act of sending out my nationally famous Christmas Compilation CDs. Anyway, I'll be posting these out shortly. You should get one, unless I've forgotten you, in which case feel free to grouse, gripe, winge, whine and generally throw your toys out of your bloody pram, you big baby. I'll send you one, ok? Space being limited on the back of the cd packet, I offer you an extended discussion of each of the tracks, mixing fact and opinion as I see fit:

1.Annie:Chewing Gum
Hmm, good start. I don't know an awful lot about this song. It's great, though, isn't it?

[consults internet]

Oh, it's Richard X. That makes sense. It's great stark deadpan-delivery elctropop, and it gets my extended metaphor of the year award for the lyrics. Plus, she looks pretty.

2.Dogs Die In Hot Cars:paul newman’s eyes
Great Glasgow band, equal parts XTC and Talking Heads, with a bit of Orange Juice too. This is a good thing. The album Please Describe Yourself is equally fine, if not moreso.

3.belle & Sebastian:your cover’s blown

Double A-side that didn't get much in the way of radio play, but it's funky, which B&S aren't as a rule.

4.Magnetic fields:I thought you were my boyfriend
Electrpop! Whisper: I think he's gay. He likes concept albums. There was 69 Love Songs which was 69 love songs on a triple-album, but without letting the quality control slip too much, and this year's I, where all the song titles start with the letter I. My, he's urbane. Also, I've just (like half an hour ago) watched Pieces of April, a very funny and strange but touching black comedy, for which Stephen Merrit who is the Magnetic Fields wrote the soundtrack. Trivia!

5.warren zevon:werewolves of London
Released in 1978, this song has some of the best delivered lines I think I've ever heard. A-woo! Look at the lyrics. I've just bought his greatest hits as a present, and the sleevenotes are written by Will Self - that's a good sign, surely? It is my ambition for 2005 to eat at Lee Ho Fook's, although perhaps not beef chow mein. I'll have to see the menu first.

6.the killers:jenny was a friend of mine
These guys wish the '80s were still going on. Nice bass line.

7.Loretta lynn:Portland, Oregon
In which leading presentphobe Jack "White Stripes" White decides to revive the career of country singer Loretta Lynn by producing her album. This, the single, is the best thing on it, although the rest's quite good, except for the track where she (Glenn Hoddle style) blames the disabled for their condition. It's nice to listen to this track and imagine pasty haircut-dodger White getting it on with octagenarian Lynn. Oh no, it's not. Ugh.

I've taken the first 40 seconds of noodling off the start of the song, you lucky buggers.

8.the czars:little pink house
Man, this is good. It was hard to choose which track to put on. Overblown, isn't it? Album of the year? Possibly. I haven't decided yet.

9.al green:take me to the river
Nothing to do with 2004 except that I first heard it this year, having believed up until then that it was written by Talking Heads. I'm older and wiser.

10.nancy Sinatra:don’t let him waste your time
It's like a Pulp song (good) with Nancy Sinatra singing it (good), and the line "some skinny bitch walks by in hot pants" is just brilliant.

11.PJ Harvey:pocket knife
I'm getting a bit bored now. How many ways are there to say that a song's good? Go and buy the bloody album.

12.Johnny cash:father and son
He's dead, which is a shame. This is quite an affecting cover of the Cat Steven's song. His name is Johnny Cash...

13.sons & daughters:broken bones
...which segues beautifully into this band, who have a song called Johnny Cash. Which obviously isn't this song. This song has a better bass line.

14.nouvelle vague:just can’t get enough
First heard this while hungover in a pub, and it's just the sort of song you want to hear when you've had a rough weekend. When will people learn? If you're going to do a cover of a good song - for the love of Jesus, Mary and the Three Wise Men, do it bloody different. If you're doing a cover of a song that isn't good, I think you want to think about your motives more.

15.snow patrol:spitting games
Yeah, they're a bit anonymous and that, but at least they're not bloody Coldplay, or those awful corpses with haircuts, Keane. This song sounds like My Bloody Valentine trying to have a hit, which is no bad thing.

16.bison:fraggle rock
Friends of friends from Sheffield, but wait - listen! It's great isn't it? They have a website and are playing gigs dahn sarf in the new year. I may just go along...
17.nick cave:breathless
Speaking of gigs, I saw the best gig I've ever been to this year, Nick Cave at Brixton Academy. He's got such style, such a great croony voice, and a deftness with his lyrics that takes your breath away. The two new albums are well worth buying, should you get HMV vouchers from your aunt with all the cardigans.

BONUS TRACK! 18.Joe Tex:You're Right Ray Charles
By bonus track, I of course mean 'mistake on the track listing'. Anyway, Ray Charles died this year, and this is a track by Joe Tex commemorating what sounds like the skimpiest piece of advice ever offered, although Joe seems to have taken it to heart somewhat. However, if you make it funky enough, I'll listen to it.

19.rufus wainwright:oh what a world
I'm going to let this one talk for itself. I'd like to see him live. Hmm. The bastard written word makes it look like he's in the throws of a life-threatening disease. I hope that came across like I meant.

Deadpan Conversations With Shop Sales Staff, Vol 4

Scene: Fopp. Once again, I have my David Shrigley card-holder out, in order to pay for Xmas presents (you lucky people).

Shop Girl: I used to have that card-holder, but I lost it.
Me: The last guy who served me in here was interested in it as well.
SG: Was he tall with black hair?
Me: I don't know.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Yes, that's it. Gloat. I've got three, 1, 2, 3, weeks off now. I bet I waste them mainly on lie-ins.

Side Effects

Now, popular prescription-only painkiller Co-dydramol provides me with today's interesting tit-bit of information. Here are the edited higlights of the side-effects:

  • constipation
  • difficulty in the passage of food throught guts
  • abdominal pain (may be caused by spasm of the bile ducts)
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • mood changes
  • restlessness
  • excitation
  • headache [but it's a painkiller!]
  • nightmares
  • tolerance [only applicable if Richard Littlejohn or Anne Coulter]
  • blurred or double vision
  • extremely small pupils
  • redness or flushed face
  • increased sweating
and my own favourite
  • drug fever
How did you score?
Between 1 and 3: You are a fiend with a constitution to be feared. Contact your nearest government agent to submit to further analysis and extensive tests on the effects of having vinegar rubbed into your eyes. Your Queen demands it.
Between 4 and 8: Your fear of rejection is holding you back. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Please renew your subscription to Cosmoplitan immediately.
Between 8 and 12: Good. But have you tried mixing them with other drugs?
Between 12 and 17: Bingo!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

My Dilemma Solved

Catherine, retracing our Tuesday night steps in order to gawp at houses, has solved the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators in the Mystery of the Purpley Blue Paint Shoes. It seems there was some spilt paint on the pavement the same colour as that on my shoes. Isn't real life dull?

I've not posted the picture of my shoes a) because there was some phone/computer interface problems and b) I think that there's perhaps no purer image of navel-gazing solipsism than posting a picture of your shoes on the internet.

In other news: I saw and advert on the back of a bus that was racing away from me. It was Barnet Council's worthy give up smoking campaign. The headline is:

Bash Ash With Fash
accompanied by a picture of ex-Crazy Gang big man up front John Fashanu, who is featured smiling and not smoking. The message being hammered home is clearly that if John Fashanu can give up smoking for the one-sixtieth of a second that it took to take the picture so can you. I think Barnet is engaged in some sinister campaign to reduce the public image of John Fashanu.

Harry the Fairy Prince

In my last post I was perplexed. Now I'm superperplexed. This has just been posted as a comment. Who is Harry the Fairy Prince? Google tells me that no documents match my search.

Like all royals, he's prone to be somewhat deviant, so I wouldn't put homosexuality beyond him, but haven't I noticed him and some blonde in the papers recently? Unless this is a bluff to cover THE TRUTH.

Perhaps he's starring in panto.

More pertinent perhaps is what does Frpgs mean? Fantasy Role Playing Games? A typo for 'frogs'? Or, and I suspect I've got it right here 'Finds Royals Particularly Gay Sexy', and, like all good psychologists tell us, those who indulge in homophobic insults are probably masking their own insecurities over sexual orientation. But that's always sounded to me like a highly intellectualised way of the psychologists calling the first person a poof. Which I think makes us all gay. Discuss.

Update: Er, the reason the question's probably being asked is because the word HOMOPHOBIC appears on this site, several times, and in capital letters to boot. I asked for that, really, didn't I? It could be my grandparents posting, couldn't it? Hello!

Explanation Required

OK, this really needs a photo, which I'll add later, but I'm so perplexed that I need explanations immediately.

I went out and got drunk on tuesday evening. Not in itself a noteworthy act, but patience, reader, patience. Having worn smart shoes yesterday (Note: this is relevant, and not merely extraneous detail), I didn't notice until this morning that my shoes were covered in purpley blue paint. Now, I admit that I was drunk, but I made my way back safely enough, and don't recall any puddles of paint, paint cans, weirdly painted areas of paving, encountering Jackson Pollock imitators, or being attacked by squids. Also I was with Catherine, and she doesn't remember any of these, nor is she in any way covered in paint.

My lovely brown retro babies! Painted! Actually, I think they look good, so I'm not that upset, but I am scared, and may not be able to drink again until I found out what the liquor-pixies did to me on Tuesday night. If you can help, please do. By help I mean explanations and presents to make me feel better.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Make Like It's Friday

Decrease productivity in the name of Xmas by playing this Flash game in which you have to hurl Father Christmas over a chasm. I think you're the elves, and Santa's employee relations have hit an all-time low. The story of the game isn't explained sufficiently for me.
Anyway, I got 332.1m before the need to do work became pressing. See how far you can throw him before someone in a position of authority notices. Thank Tim for that one.
Update - Make that 334.3m. Must stop now.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Robbie Williams

So, you're disappointed that George Bush won the US election, and thinking of becoming an anti-American? Well, hold up. Something Awful has a powerful counter-argument:

Robbie Williams - Greatest Hits
The world may see America as a nation of overweight rednecks, as a dangerous and power-hungry empire, or as a bunch of insane Christian zealots. Sure, all of that might be true to some extent, but at least we never allowed Robbie Williams to make it big over here. And for that, if nothing else, we can be proud to call ourselves Americans.
Convincing, isn't it?
This is also good:
After a prolonged legal battle over who has the right to exhume Kurt Cobain’s corpse and make it dance for money, we have finally been blessed with a box set of rarities which documents Nirvana’s peerless history of shitty outtakes.

Philip French Watch, Vol 2

Well, a somewhat disappointing weekend from Philip French. No puns at all, unless you count the headline ('Grape Expectations'), which probably was written by a sub anyway. The only thing I feel that I need to bring to your attention is the final line of his review of Mondovino:

This dog is also notorious, apparently, for the power of his farts.

I'm hoping for better next week, Philip. At least one good pun or tantalising reminiscence, please.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

My xmas present to you all

Dear all,
in the spirit of the season, and to apologise for the previous post which is a cautionary tale on the perils of posting while pissed, being a rambling post about nothing in particular, I offer you, the good reader of my blog, an xmas present. You can find it here. It's all a bit virtual, as you can see. If you want to wear it, you have several options:

  • Affix your monitor to your front and walk around. You may wish to invest in a flat-screen monitor for this purpose. And a laptop, so you can walk more than 1.5 metres away from your computer.
  • Print the image out, and staple it to your t-shirt or bare chest, as your preference dictates.
  • Go to http://www.cafepress.com or your local t-shirt shop, although the image will be so degraded and tiny that the original message will be lost, and everyone will laugh at you, and you'll lose your job as a result.
Merry Xmas everyone! I know it's only 12th December, but I've done all my xmas shopping, and have therefore earned the right to eat as many mince pies as I can cram into my big christmassy mouth. Mmm. Think I'll make some roast potatoes this week.

Why I was late for work the other day; or Bobby Robson

Anyway, so I was late for work the other day. Big whoop. Yeah, tell it to the judge. I'd set all the relevant alarms, and I'd not even had a single drink the night before, but somehow, in my dreamy-dreamy-sleep-sleep state I'd managed to turn them off and continue with the dozing. I was having a dream wherein I was running a marathon (for charity, great guy that I am), and I was a teacher (which I amn't) and I knew that finishing the marathon would make me late for work, but hell, I had a marathon to finish. Being late for work as a teacher, as I know living with two (count 'em) teachers, is tantamount to killing your boss and then attending his funeral drunk and insulting his ugly wife and ugly kids. So, I was feeling this guilt, but the driving force was to finish this marathon. I wasn't winning the marathon. It wasn't one of those dreams. I was just running in it. I got to the finish line, tired, out of breath, and sweating. I then woke up, tired, out of breath, and sweating. I'd been woken up by a text message from my work colleague informing me that she'd be late because the Victoria line was down yet again(my emphasis). This didn't completely panic me, because my stereo, which is set to play Radio 4 from 7:29am, was already playing Desert Island Discs. There was a decrepit Geordie voice coming from the speakers, and I was trying to work out who it was. Yes! I'd established that it was probably Bobby Robson! This was my first acheivement of the morning. What a start! He was halfway through a somewhat rambling anecdote (as I myself am) aboot hoo he'd teeken a his players doon a cool mine, to teach them humility. The next record he played was Lady in Red, because, as he told me, he's an old romantic, which I listened to the entirity of before I realised that the novelty of listening to Desert Island Discs should be telling me that I was very late for work. So, in conclusion, this is why I was late for work. Bobby Robson, a marathon, and being a teacher. Surely that's enough?

Longest, and latest post ever. Yay!

Friday, December 10, 2004


Having read this post from a few days ago, you'll be familiar with the term 'HOMOPHOBIC INSULTS SOAR'. Good. You're also presumably not my grandparents, then, who came down to take me out for a meal on Tuesday. They came in and sat down, chatted with my housemates, and I thought what a jolly civilised affair it all was, and how they must view me as a successful young man making his mark on the world. What I'd neglected to do before letting them in, was to carry out the necessary 'adult checks' on the house. These include, but are not limited to, tidying up, hoovering, emptying ashtrays, hiding ashtrays, clearing the room of all visible drugs paraphenalia, making an endless supply of tea, coffee and biscuits available, and sending Dan out with £5 to go to the cinema. Also taking down the giant news headline board in the centre of our fireplace proclaiming 'HOMOPHOBIC INSULTS SOAR'.

No wonder they were giving me funny looks all through the meal.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


This map has just appeared in the basement of the building I work in. Look at it. Try and make sense of it.

Actually, I may have made a mistake in assuming it to be a map. It may simply be an abstract geometrical form chosen to represent the corporate identity of the basement.

Hoxton hip in satirist's sights

Bitterness' brightest and best, Chris Morris (The Day Today, Brass Eye, Jam, etc.) and Charlie Brooker (TV Go Home, Screenburn column in the Guardian) are making Nathan Barley, a sitcom about the adventures of a twatty media type. Obviously a missed opportunity to call the programme what it's called in TVGH.

Ooh, I bet they're going to be really mean about people, aren't they?

Left-Handers and Violence

Interesting article in Nature about why the otherwise disadvantageous deviation of being left-handed continues to flourish despite being linked with reduced lifespan and low birthweight. Apparantly it's because they're better at fighting.

This reminds me of an assembly our Deputy Head gave at school once. He stood up and earnestly lectured us on the theme of Why Left-Handed People Are Not Evil, At Least Not Inherrently. In order to dispel this myth that no one in the room was under, he gave the examples of Stuart Pearce and John McEnroe. So that's that cleared up then. He was a strange man, our Deputy Head. I suspect he was terribly riddled with doubt and insecurities.

Deadpan Conversations With Shop Sales Staff, Vol. 3

Scene: Corner shop. Your hero is buying a can of Cherry Coke and a bag of Ryvita Minis Mature Cheddar and Onion flavour (they say: 'The Snack with the Mighty Taste!" I say:'They're Disgustelicious') to aid his hangover.

Teenage Girl In Front of Me in Queue: Twenty B&H, please.
Woman Behind Counter: Oh, you and your cigarettes!
TGIFMQ: I know...
Me: Hi.
WBC: Is this your breakfast?
Me: Yes. Healthy, eh?
WBC: No.
Me: Thanks.

Did I mention I've got a hangover? What idiot decided to have the Christmas piss-up on a Wednesday night? Oh, me. Idiot.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mystery shopper buys 10,000 Mars bars

OK. I want an explanation for this story from the Evening Standard. Actually, I want two explanations.
1. Why has this woman bought 10,000 Mars bars?
2. Why did this appear in the Evening Standard? I'm sure there's a paragraph that's been lost at the end of the article:

"Sources suggest that the woman was likely worried about being able to purchase confectionery owing to the difficulties Londoners now face in carrying out day-to-day task following the introduction of the Congestion Charge. Transport for London refused to be interviewed. See our pull-out section Why life is unlivable under Ken: Is euthanasia the answer? this Thursday, in place of our usual entertainment listings."

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Jim at the Gym

I thought I saw Jim Davidson at the gym the other day. He wasn't JD however.
Poor man. I wanted to go over and sympathise with him, but I didn't
want to run the risk of it being JD's twin brother, or JD himself
after a crippling car accident which resulted in hundreds of hours of
reconstructive surgery. This last thought cheered me up.

Deadpan Conversations With Shop Sales Staff, Vol. 2

Scene: A pub, early on in the evening. Very few customers about.

Barmaid: Hi. Are you being served?
Me: Not yet. Can I have a pint of San Miguel?
Barmaid: What would you say if I said 'No'?
Me: I'd say, 'Can I have a pint of Kronenburg?'

I'm hoping this will eventually become the definitive collection of every conversation I ever have. That would be a worthy enterprise.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Holy Bible - Remaster, Reissue, Repackage

Having ended up unexpectedly in Brixton overnight, I managed to pick up the new super-deluxe edition of the Manics' The Holy Bible. I think it's a sign of how highly regarded the album is that it's given this rerelease. Or a sign of how they've been crap for the subsequent ten years.

It's still the disorientatingly dense album that ever it was, beloved of teenage neurotics, and now ex-teenage neurotics. Pass me the mascara and combat fatigues, mother, I'm going out to watch a documentary on the holocaust!

I'll no doubt update you by randomly quoting my favourite parts over the next few days. It's currently blaring out of my tinny pc speakers in the office. Heaven help any student who comes in the office - their complicity in the evil of modernity angers me. That's if heaven isn't a fictional construct that provides false solace and props up the morally bankrupt edifice of democracy. (Whee! This is fun!)

Also, I slept last night with a rabbit staring fixedly at me. It doesn't encourage sleep, I can tell you that much.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Philip French Watch, Vol 1

Philip French, the Observer's film critic has a weakness for puns, particularly of the forced kind. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but he generally burys them deep in film reviews. A service I will therefore offer you, the reader, is a digging up and collecting of the best:

This week, I bring you:

School for Seduction stars Kelly Brook as Sophia, a supposedly sophisticated Italian beauty, who brings kohl to Newcastle ...
Last week, he reached new depths in his review of art-porn Anatomy of Love:
At one point, Rocco brings an implement from the garden shed and inserts it in the sleeping Casar's vagina, giving an ugly new meaning to the term a rake's progress.

The subeditor had a hangover while checking last week's column, clearly. This will only egg French on to new heights of depraved pun creation.

At the risk of descending into stalking the poor man, we occasionally get glimpses into the life of PF in his reviews. The review of Merchant of Venice this week starts off, enigmatically enough, with:
A few years ago, I found myself travelling with one of this country's finest younger actresses...
Marvellous. But coquettishly he doesn't go into any more detail. Not one to kiss and tell - a fine upstanding journalist. At other points over his recent career, he's made reference to his upbringing in Liverpool, but these have been far too brief and scarce. It all helps his sense of mystery for me.

Names and Headlines

Right. On advice received at the pub last night, this page is now to be know as "The Angriest Man in Crouch End", which was inevitable, really.

On the way back from the pub, we came across the headline board for this week's "Ham and High", which had the inexplicable headline:


The best understanding I can make of this is that homophobic insults are a higher class of insults, and are inherently better than other forms of insult. I'll take this to heart the next time I need to insult someone.

I'm off to get some breakfast - much of my attention, as you'll be aware, is occupied by eating, thinking about eating, reminiscing about eating, etc.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Deadpan Conversations With Shop Sales Staff, Vol. 1

Fopp, this afternoon, buying a record as a present, like the gent I am:

Shop Guy: Hey, is that a David Shrigley card holder?
Me: Yes.
SG: Where did you get it?
Me: I found it on the floor.
SG: Really?
Me: Yes. And if I find any more on the floor, I'll be giving them as
Christmas presents.
SG: Wow.
Me: So keep your eyes peeled on the floor.
SG: Here's your receipt.

Watch out for more Deadpan Conversations With Shop Sales Staff,
exclusively here.

Also, saw Napoleon Dynamite today. Herds of nerds were there, but
unfortunately this lags behind cinematic geek greats like Ghost World
and American Splendor. It does feature a great disco dancing scene,

Friday, December 03, 2004

[Drum roll] The Answer is...

...the esteemed Lauren Laverne! Well done two Louis and Tim, both of whom recognised her eye, and also remembered that I'm mildy obsessed by Ms Laverne. I almost saw her in a restaurant once, but someone evilly monopolised my attention until after she'd left. Internet points all round!

The Film What I Saw

Yesterday I was feeling restless, and went to see Sideways at Screen on the Green. Review follows, for the benefit of people who are unfortunate enough not to be me (The man sat next to me was scribbling furiously into a reporter's notebook, and I was going to harangue him afterwards to include a few points that occurred to me, but I needed the toilet as the credits were rolling, so I'll have to exorcise them here):

Sideways, co-written and directed by Alexander Payne, brings American Splendor's marvelous everyman Paul Giamatti to further public attention as Miles, an introverted slump-shouldered divorcée and wine snob, who embarks on a stag week with his personality polar opposite, Jack, a has-been actor (Thomas Hayden Church, looking every inch the part). This is a buddy movie that makes the most of the disparity in appearance and style of its leads; Giamatti looks like a gone-to-seed Billy Crystal, a borderline alcoholic constantly ruing past mistakes, and Church is a weathered Californian would-be playboy able to keep his infidelities from keeping him awake at night, not that he intends on getting much sleep. These two rather stock characters are given depth by great performances played with comic pathos.

On their road-trip, they drink wine, and Jack hatches his plan to get both himself and the reticent Miles laid. They fall in with Maya (Virginia Madsen, sister of Michael, described by imdb.com as one of the beauties of 1986), whom Jack bullies Miles into pursuing and Jack of course keeps his upcoming wedding secret from the object of his affections, Stephanie. On a double date, after being warned against drinking too much wine by Jack, Miles drinks too much wine and drunk-dials his ex-wife who he's just learned is remarried, and the foursome head back to Stephanie's. While Jack and Stephanie embark on loud sex (a Jack later puts it, 'she's nasty!'), Miles and Stephanie have a more chaste conversation, brilliantly scripted, where their shared wine appreciation substitutes for direct intimacy.

While About Schmidt, Hayne's previous movie, suffered from the casting of larger-than-life actors Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates in the lead roles, with the characters being little more than collections of actorly tics, Sideways' relatively anonymous actors allows for a greater depth of feeling and character development, even within the confines of a fairly straightforward buddy movie. Witty, charming and sympathetic by turns, this movie, made for $16m - a trifle by modern standards - proves that it is still possible for able directors to get intelligent entertaining mainstream movies made. Catch it at the cinema from 28th January, or wait until the video release and enjoy it with a cheap bottle of Merlot or two.