Friday, February 25, 2005

Looking Out of the Window Too Much Effort?

Then this Crouch End Weather Station is for you. There is an utterly bewildering array of statistics for you to look at. In summary: it's quite cold. The records at the bottom are good fun. It's in Gladwell Rd apparently, which is the Stroud Green side of Hornsey Town Hall, for you fans of precise details.

This will be very alienating for people who don't live in my house, sorry. Have a look out of the window instead.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Evening Standard Headline...

...on the boards outside newsagents last night was

Marriage is Legal

Slow news day? On other pages 'Murder, Arson less so'. When they've not got a story they normally just insult the Mayor.

Found Poetry

Came home yesterday evening, and discovered the following poem open on the computer.


Hot valves

Rnb hip hop
Rnb 18 one

One in verse – seductive for chorus?

Beautiful, eh? After quizzing housemates to find the author, the flustered response was something unconvincing to do with modules for a music software package, but we're no fooled, are we?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tubes? Running Later?

Public Service Announcement: Transport for London are running a questionnaire on late opening of the tubes.

Presumably it's just a PR thing so that if people complain when they move to it they can wave the responses to this in their faces. Help them rubber-stamp the proposal, bureaucracy-fans! Click those buttons!

Ken Ken Ken

The Grauniad is using this picture to illustrate all their Ken Livingstone stories at the moment. The poor sod. He's just issued a statement refusing to apologise.

Monday, February 21, 2005


...Snow! In Highbury at least. Even the adults are excited.

When Oh When Oh When...

... will they release the second series of Fifteen Storeys High on DVD? I've been rerewatching the first one recently, and it's absolutely the funniest thing that's been on telly for ages. If there were any justice in the world, they’d strip Ellen Macarthur of her damehood and award it to Sean Locke, writer and star of 15SH. I may vote against Labour on this very basis come May.

In one of my favourite scenes, Vince (Sean Locke) has discovered a new budget supermarket which sells a Polish energy drink called Blue Rat (“All the Energy of a Rat… In a Can!”). He then gets increasingly nervy and stays up all night monitoring the neighbours through binoculars. In another episode he gets a wrong number:

[Into phone] “Is Mandy here? I don’t know, I’ll just check.” [Shouts] “Mandy? Mandy? Are you there Mandy?” [To flatmate] “Have you seen Mandy?” [Into phone] “Dunno. What does she look like? Oh, I’m wasting your time? I had to walk all the way across the flat to pick this call up, and now I’m wasting your time? I’m a busy man; I was halfway through a sheet of bubblewrap.”

Now, Eastenders. I don’t watch it more than occasionally, but Friday’s episode seems to have been quite exciting. I didn’t watch more than about the first ten minutes, but from the account I heard Den was killed by a concrete dog, which seems like an impossibly exotic way to go. Can anyone confirm the presence of the murderous petrified pooch? Did it escape from an experimental travelling freakshow that was passing through Walford?
The whole of work's network has been down this morning, meaning no internet. This hasn't resulted in the surge of productivity you might expect, because we can't access work email either, so everyone's just been wandering round the building aimlessly, complaining about it to anyone who'll listen. I imagine this is what people mean when they talk about the Blitz Spirit.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Deapan Conversations: Stapler Supplement

Yesterday afternoon, in the office. An academic comes in, asking to borrow a stapler

Academic: Nice stapler.
Me: Yes.
A: Where did you get a stapler this nice?
Me: Catalogue.
A: How come I can never get my hands on stationery this nice?
Me: Dunno. It staples up to 60 sheets at once, though.

Want to know the secrets of the Rorshach Blot Test? You know, the one with the ink blots you used to make in nursery school, but you're meant to tell your psychiatrist what you see in it, and they sit there and nod and make notes in their pad? Click here to find out. It will allow you to give all the results if you want to avoid the chair for your crimes.

On the other hand, you can look at my answers:

1. Fox.

2. Decomposing Fox.

3. Hips (of a skellington).

4. I did see a giant looming above me, but I didn't notice the giant penis until later. Please don't lock me up!

5. Ladies' bits. I mean, butterfly! Butterfly!

6. Mexican on a bicycle.

7. False beard?

8. Haunted monkey skull.

9. Cuddly-wuddly koala.

10. Crabs having an orgy.

I've not read the results too much, so feel free to practice amateur psychiatry on me. It's like being Cracker, without being morbidly obese and annoying!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Bob Dylan and My Navel

My main fascination (well, navel-gazing self-obsession, really) is, as you'll have heard me mention, search engine keyword analysis. I doubly love the fact that firstly there is someone out there who has seen fit to sit down at a computer, open up google, and then type in "Crouch End twats babies" and secondly that it leads directly to this page. It's like seeing your first-born say his first swearword or kill his first copper.

Slightly more highbrow is "seinfeld" "the outsider" camus, paul simon crouch end uk and more disturbingly decompositional odour analysis.

Oh, and you know how for years I've been telling the anecdote about how Bob Dylan ended up in Crouch End. Well, what I've told you was bollocks. The real story was to be found in Word magazine which is aimed squarely at people who know they're now basically Mojo readers, but they don't want to read a 24-page analysis of the recording sessions for every frickin' Beatles track every month, and who also believe that the NME has been crap for the past 10 years, and secretly suspect that it has always been crap. In an interview with Andy Kershaw, he relates that Bob was in Crouch End looking to buy a house, and he'd popped in to get a drink. He sits down, Kershaw's wife doesn't recognise him, asks for a drink, she informs him that UK licencing laws forbid her to sell him a drink without food, and a testy exchange ends with Bob saying, 'Do you know who I am?' and flouncing out. Glad I've got that off my chest.

My story was far more exciting, and took in Dave Stewart, mistaken identity and social awkwardness.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Deadpan Conversations, vol 9

Student comes into the office, asks to borrow stapler.

Student: That's a nice stapler.
Me: Um-hum.
S: A really nice stapler.
Me: Oh yes.
S: I've got the same stapler.
Me: It really cuts down on the effort involved. [Demonstrates by effortlessly stapling 30-odd sheets of paper together]
S: Yes.
[Both look embarassed at the enjoyment we've gained from office products]

I've recently come under some criticism for not living up to my billing as The Angriest Man in Crouch End. So: Mushrooms are shit; Queen Victoria was a rubbish monarch; Orange is a poor, poor colour; Who'd want thin-slice marmalade - halfwits?; Who makes sellotape that you have to use scissors (or teeth) rather than tearing? How have we come so far, only to suffer from substandard barely functional stickytape; etc.

Oh, and this from the Onion is quite good on the Israeli-Palestinian situation. I remember seeing a large headline on some other site, in The Onion's style, saying:


It's true, y'know.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Weekend TV

Morning all. Hope you had good weekends. Most people's will have involved an anecdote-worthy cab ride, if my immediate circle are anything to go by. We took a taxi ride paid for by a racist, which I don't think I'll be looking to repeat any time soon. You can only grunt non-comittally in order to avoid confrontation so many times before you start to sound like a teenage Neanderthal. I'm walking everywhere from now on.

Did anyone see Nathan Barley at the weekend? I've got it recorded, but suspect it's going to be crap, and I'd at least like to be prepared for disappointment before I go in.

Oh, and what was TV's most tearjerking moment from last night? I think they'd got down to the time that the Blue Peter tortoise was put out of its misery on air by the time I had to go to bed. The 100 Most Tearjerking Moments was, of course, presented by side-partinged gagger Jimmy Carr, whose ubiquity on Channel 4 leads me to believe he's about to launch a coup to take over the channel, perhaps in alliance with some repeated episodes of Friends. I wouldn't have any problems with this, just so long as a live execution of Avid Merrion from Bo Selecta takes place within his first month of power.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Dancing Pirate Penguins

Just saw this on b3ta and have been watching it, mesmerised, for minutes. Look at them go. (it was done by collapsibletank, to give credit where it's due).

Enjoy that weekend peeps.

Search Engines in Their Infinite Variety

Being a nerd, I gain great delight from things that the ordinary well-adjusted member of the public might not. I get to see things like the things people type in to search engines in order to get directed to this page, and generally they bring me the sort of pleasure normally associated with seeing your first child, curing an infectious disease or discovering a really good anagram of "Beethoven's Ninth Symphony".

The one that's tickled me today is

Someone who searched Google for "dear prick" "i didn't know you were such a prick" - the page you're on was the only page that came up.

Also, someone visited the page after searching for "Tony Blair's speeches", but I'm not sure they'd really have gained much from the experience.

For that nerdiness I owe you some fun. here is a link to Mr Picassohead, allowing you to create your own masterpiece. Or not, as you wish. I just like the name.

The Spam-O-Matic is good fun. It generated an email that started:

N0 MORE! those times are over. GET INSTANT CURING YOUR ILLS 100%!!!!
Did you ever think..... it doesnt w0rk!?
Now it does! Read on--Jim\'s Product2000(TM) this will help you GUARANTEED

Which can only be good for all concerned.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Deadpan Conversations Vol 8

Scene: An Army & Navy-type shop in Victoria. I'm attempting to buy a wooly hat. The shop is all too reminiscent of the military shop in Falling Down with Michael Douglas, where there's a special back-room containing illegal military hardware, Nazi memorabelia and so forth. The guy is just finishing off serving the previous customer.

Shoppy: There you are sir. [hands over shoebox] Your usual size. Will you be taking one pair or two pairs?
Customer: Two, I think.
S: Very good, sir. [Turns to me] And how can I help you?
Me: I'm looking for a wooly hat.
S: Ah, feeling the cold, eh?
Me: Yes, I'm bald.
S: Nothing on top to protect it, eh?
Me: No.

[I feel that we have now established my lack of hair to the satisfaction of both parties, and its place in my desire to buy a hat. I now want to get to the actual hat-buying part.]

Me: Do you have any in grey?
S: Only if you don't wash them.
Me: Hmm. So that's no then?
S: Yes.
Me: Can I have the black one?
S: Solid wool, yes. Good choice.

Riots accompany Ikea opening

This story tickled me so much that I burst out laughing, and then had to explain myself.

The idea of crazed twenty-somethings looking to furnish their first flats and bringing out the savagery inherent in man makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. The suspicion that Chris Morris is behind it all is hard to shake.

Of The Sun's coverage, my favourite is this line:

"I saw women punching women and men threatening children."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Want to see what the oddest articles posted on Wikipedia are? Well, this is where you can find them.

My favourite is a list of short actors.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Roy Keane, The Musical

Wow. Roy Keane, the Musical. The man who took swearing to a new level with his request to Irish team manager Mick McCarthy to stick it up his bollocks. Wow. Get me tickets. Now. What a guy.

All this, and last night Newsnight went weird. In a segment about dry-land-avoider Ellen MacArthur, the presenter referred to her boat being sponsored by DIY giants B&Q by saying that she'd already undergone more trauma than most could cope with by spending 71 days in B&Q, and then talking about how posh the pastime is talked about the 'have-nots and the have-yachts'. The longest interview was with the woman from Dead Ringers who spends her time making fun of MacArthur. Ah, to be British is to mock those who strive to achieve. Although as her achievement seems to be not to have noticed that the quickest route from Falmouth to Falmouth is staying put, I think it puts her too close to Richard Branson in the shit forms of transport stakes. It's about as heroic as a man unicycling from Land's End to John O'Groats. Remember people: we beat David Blaine. We must use our power of ignoring pointless feats of endurance. They're only looking for attention.

Monday, February 07, 2005

My Perfect Cousin

Paying quarter attention to Radio 1, which I'm sure is the most most people can muster, they seem to be playing old songs, including at least two plays of The Housemartin's 'Happy Hour'. It's like Virgin Radio, in other words.

However, this gives me a good hook on which to hang one of my hobbyhorses (RSPCA please note: this is just a metaphor. I do not condone in any way the mismaltreatmentisation of animals). One of my favourite couplets ever comes from The Undertones' 'My Perfect Cousin'

His ma bought him a synthesiser/
Got the Human League in to adviser her
Has a pop reference in a pop lyric ever been as good as this?

No. It hasn't.

Friday, February 04, 2005

House Hunting

Taking a rather more personal tack today, I thought I'd let you know about the exciting house hunt we went on yesterday. Warning: Names will be dropped. Take heed.

We're moving out of the house we've lived in for the past three and a half years, affectionately known as 'the old shithole', hopefully into somewhere with a kitchen that can be measured in square metres and a landlord who doesn't employ Laurel & Hardy's heirs to perform home repairs. We're taken by a disarmingly honest-seeming letting agent to see the flat owned (and previously lived in) by HANNAH. From S Club. This was very exciting. Nice toilet, broken stair, horrible shelving in the third bedroom. We're not going to move in though, more's the pity.

Then (anticlimax ahead), we went to see a dump that smelt like the bin behind a fast food restaurant, where the person who'd furnished the place was either an arch-ironist, wrapping themselves in layers of camp and kitsch and rolling about on the floor in their own self-satisfaction, or they'd just done it on the cheap from an Eastern European detention centre. We politely said no to that one, too.

Then we were shown to a flat on the top floor, about which the overbearing estate agent in the office all but reached orgasm. We had to go in a lift, and it was very brown, so the signs were good for me. It had roof terraces on all 3 sides, great views of london, the hugest front room you'll ever see, imacculately decorated, a dishwasher, was owned by an ex-member of the Bill, and it had 2 large bedrooms and one box room, so we couldn't have it. Arrgh. It was gorgeous though. We were all sizing up the room, trying to push on the walls to see if it could be made any larger, but it was about the size of a double bed, so no go. The suggestion was made that we turn one of the larger bedrooms into a dorm, with bunks, but we had to admit to ourselves that we couldn't live there. Boo.

And then we saw a very nice house that we might go for, but no celebrities were connected with it, so I won't bore you with the details.

Two hours forty-five minutes until the weekend. What a service I provide.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Another of the strange signs that has popped up at work recently is this one. It indicates that on this floor there are toilets for able-bodied males and females, and facilities for those disabled in seagull attacks.

The Internet is a Strange Place...

...but only as strange as the people who inhabit it.

Yesterday someone arrived at this blog having typed

bill murray sweating

It's a good job I'm a liberal live-and-let-live it-takes-all-kinds whatever-floats-your-boat kind of guy, really. I hope he/she got what they were looking for, but I suspect not. If so, sorry. I'll try and get some pictures of Bill Murray sweating for you all to look at, because the customer is always right, even when weird.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Nerd Up!

Right. Here's a link to some variably funny imaginings of functions to be included in future versions of Windows. You've probably all thought of funnier ones yourself. Ah, the joyous nerdy conversations I've had where we've imagined the inner life of the MS Help paperclip. He's a funny wee fella. Always so helpful though. I think he gets a hard time of it. The XP dog though. I don't trust him rooting round my computer. I suspect he chews on my files.

To show how easy this is, here's mine

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Why I Am a Git

Well, not why exactly. More like How I Am a Git.

Whenever I give out telephone numbers, I give them out as 020 7123 4567, keeping the 020 dialing code separate. Whenever anyone repeats it back to me or has a problem understanding that 020 is the dialling code, and the 7 at the start is part of the actual telephone number, and needs to be dialled, this sort of thing goes on in my head: "0207 is not, I repeat, not the dialling code. Try and dial 123 4567 and see what you get. We've had it for long enough, get used to it, slowcoach. Why am I wasting my time on this person? Argh." As I said, Git.

I could never live in America. I think I'd like to, sometimes, but I'd get mad whenever anyone referred to a band as a singular ("I think Maroon 5 is getting better with every release", although that's a bad example, because although it obeys gramatical rules, it makes no sense, like Chomsky's "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously") instead of as a plural ("Maroon 5 are shit", say). I know it's just the British way of phrasing it, and I shouldn't prickle and get visibly annoyed when I hear or read the American way, but I do, because, as I mentioned, I'm a git. Also, to me the American way makes it sound as though the band is some kind of separate entity in law, like a corporation, rather than the communal group of individuals that the British way makes it sound. But I'm still a git.

I am pschologically incapable of going into a toilet and seeing toilet paper that has been hung incorrectly:

without taking it off and remedying the situation by returning it to the correctly hung paper-outwards position:

It matters not whether I'm at home, in someone else's house, or in a restaurant toilet. This is eccentric, certainly, but the curmudgeonly aspects of the behaviour lend more weight to my central contention that I'm a git. Such a git, in fact, that I'm blinded to the fact that a unicycling captain chimp weilding a cosh is sitting atop my toilet paper in the first example, which anyone else would find terrifying, but I'm more concerned with the hanging of the paper.