Friday, July 29, 2005

Judge Dread

This story tickled me. It's the everyday tale of Judge Nicholas Medawar QC who's had some of his decisions quashed because he was having a bad day and taking it out on the defence lawyer. Actually, the thing that really tickled me was Judge Medawar being ticked off by Lord Justice Judge, the Deputy Chief Justice, a man whose absurdly literal approach to his own name has led him to become highly successful in the career area of his own name. Sadly for me, my parents didn't decide on marriage that they should double-barrel their own surnames (Mr & Mrs Paper invite you to the wedding of their beloved daughter, Elizabeth, to Mr John Shuffler...) or I'd be outstanding in my own chosen field.

This thought has put me in a bad mood now, so I'm going to take it out on the students, and no-one can stop me!

Except for my boss, Brian Tediousfunctionaryataformerpolytechnic.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mint Etiquette?

OK. I'm now reduced to worrying about such tangenital matters as:

It's polite when eating sweets to offer them to those you're with. This is an iron law, and I base most of my life around it. Except when I'm hungry. Or feeling mean. Or grumpy. Or don't like who I'm with. Or I know they're diabetic. Or etc. The recipient will no doubt get pleasure from the sweet sweet sugar. Offering chewing gum likewise. People gain pleasure from the act of chewing like some kind of ruminating animal (such as a cow or sheep, and it stops football managers from talking (cf Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce) or having heart attacks, so this too is something that you should offer others in your company. What I've taken to recently though, is those super-strength mints (Smint, say), which confer no benefit on the user in terms of pleasure, taste, texture, sugary sugar kick or anything of that nature. All they can possibly be used for it to make you smell less of onions. So, when I've been having one of these things, I've also been offering them round. Is this saying to the other person that I think their breath could do with smelling of mints rather than what it currently smells of? Perhaps when I'm having one too it's more of a communal thing, a shared experience, but what about when, as I have also been doing, I just whip them out of my pocket, offer them to someone, and then just put them back in my pocket, without taking one myself? Is this just the height of subtle rudeness that is likely to pique my refined and sensitive friends? Or am I being super-generous, offering round something that I'm not even going to be having myself? Or am I just trying to make people confused and paranoid?

Anyway, would you like a mint?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Etiquette Query

Right. I'm after some advice here. I'm going to go to a friend's book reading tonight [Plug begins - It's for a short story collection called 'Underwords' published by Maia Press, and it's got stories from Angela Small Island Levy and Hanif Budda of Suburbia Kureishi, both of whose parents gave them stupid middle names in the hope they'd become successful novelists. The star turn undoubtably is Paul Owen, reading from 'Gunfingers' at 6.30pm today, at Counting House (which to my understanding is a pub, 50 Cornhill, which is near Bank station) - plug ends] and I need your advice.

How should one behave at this event? I've never been to a book reading before. I'm going to treat it as a cross between a sporting event and a gig, on account of the performance and fandom aspects of the whole thing. By treating it as such, I of course mean that I'm going to turn up drunk, whoop, holler, shout abuse at the opposition (other authors), give my man a sporting nickname (Paulo? Too Portugese. Owensy? Too shit. I'll have to give this further consideration), and shout praise ("Oi! Great characterisation!" "Strong analogy, my son!" "He's the British Don DeLillo! He's the British Don DeLillo!"), and generally make a lot of noise. Is this what everyone else would do given the situation?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Scenes From My Lunch Hour

In a pub, watching the cricket, a group of postmen are sat, smoking cigars and debating heatedly the current Big Brother housemates and how, if you were to write your name on a letter with just 'London, N5' as the address, the postmen would somehow hunt you down and deliver the letter to you... A small boy in the street being shouted at by his mother: "Don't you touch your little sister!" "But she's not talking to me."... A note, slipped under the windscreen wiper of a car: "I can't even begin to tell you how inconsiderate you are by parking here."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Strike! | Roy Keane! | Deadpan Conversations!

Have just found out that the strike at my place of work has been called off. This is great news for me: I've started pronouncing it 'industeral action', which is quite embarassing, and I'll be glad to get rid of that.

Went bowling last night, which was good fun. I've not been for a long time, but managed to enjoy myself and play quite well. I came consistently second, which I would normally consider to be a good thing. However, infused as I am with the spirit of Roy Keane, I now consider this to be appalling. If I don't go out and win every time, I'm not fit to wear the red and black bowling shoes. I shouldn't even be playing this sport if I don't have the desire. I was playing in my comfort zone. I am disgusted at myself. I'm going to quit the sport.

Plus, I've got a hangover from drinking generic continental lager, which I think puts me in a Roy Keane frame of mind.
Scene: My doorstep, having answered the door to my next-door neighbour, who is clutching a parcel from Amazon.

Next-door Neighbour: Hi. I've got a parcel for you.
Me: Thanks.
NDN: We get a lot of your post.
Me: Oh.
NDN: You know you're 157B, don't you?
Me: No.
NDN: Well, you are.
Me: No, we're 157. It's on our contract and all the bills. It's the address the Royal Mail have got too.
NDN: Well, it's got to be 157B. We're 157A; it makes sense, doesn't it?
Me: Hmm.
NDN: We get a lot of your post, though.
Me: It might just be the things that don't fit through our letterbox. [Demonstrates by attempting to push the parcel through our miniscule letter box. It fails.] I could put up a sign to tell the postman that this is 157 and you're 157A though.
NDN: Yes, it is quite small.
Me: Thanks for the parcel.

This was a very strange conversation to have, and while I feel sorry for him that he sometimes gets some of our post, I think the telling someone else what their address is was an oddly intimate thing to do. Especially as he was wrong. Hmpf.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Keane: The Autobiography

I've been boring everyone I know half blind with my love for this book, but hell, the whole purpose of a blog as far as I can see is to fully hammer to death ideas that people would otherwise stop me talking about because I was boring them. I have really been enjoying Roy Keane's autobiography. It's very well written. The tone of his writing is good. Exciting. Short sentences as punchy as the man himself. He is introspective and broody, but tries to get away from the idea that he is a loner. He likes a drink as much as the next man. Sometimes too much. The season was tough. He is tougher. He owes it to the gafer. To the bosses who have shown faith in him. To Clough. To Ferguson. He is a pro. And he admires pros. There are too many players out there who thinnk that the game owes them a living. But not Keane.

(Sorry, it's quite addictive.)

Anyway, what I was going to say (and this is true of all autobiographies), is that you initially want to flick to the parts of the book that contain either the repudiation or the admission of the myths and rumours that have grown up around the celebrity. For Keane, these are his run-ins with Alfie Inge Haaland, (Leeds/Man City player who was never the same again after a Keane tackle) and his run-ins with Mick McCarthy (which legend has it that he quit the Irish team in the 2002 World Cup with the words 'Stick it up your bollocks. You're not even Irish you English cunt'). And in order to get this out of the way before you launch into reading the book proper, if indeed you ever do, you need a proper thematic index. I offer you here the thematic index to Keane: The Autobiography.

Cantona, Eric: aloofness of, 69; allrightness of in private, 71; unexpected talent for swearing, 72-8

Charlton, “Big Jackie” Jack: undeserved reputation as halfway able manager of, 86-90; truisms spouted by, 88; crapness of, 85-100; increased crapness of sidekick, see Setters, Maurice

Dalgliesh, Kenny: self-considered non-fuckability with of, 88; is fucked with, 89

Drinking: proficiency in, 12-13, 25, 32, 67-9, 78-82, 134, 176; fondness for, 13, 65, 79; retrospective regret for, 236

Facilities: annoyance at lack of, see Wembley, Landsowne Rd, USA, Etc.

Ferguson, Alex: drooling testimonials to the greatness of, 96-108, 110-301; powers of omnipotence attributed to, 265; overuse of the word ‘manage’ in relation to, 242; ability of to be one step ahead of the game, 183

Gladhandling: dislike of, 34, 37, 89, 190

Haaland, Alfie: tackles against, 99, 178; grievances nursed against, 100-176

Ireland, Republic of: woeful preparations, administration, facilities and management of, 13-23, 45, 78; the above in comparison to Nottingham Forest and Manchester United, 79, 101, 106-7

Late tackles: approval of, 52, 78; ability to commit, 49, 88

Living: dislike of players who consider the game owes them a, 15-18, 98-105

Neville, Gary: sinister assertion that he was never a kid, 154

Pearce, Stuart: idolisation of, 35-46, 48-9, 101, 134; professionalism of, 35-46, 48-9, 101, 134; hardness of 35-46, 48-9, 101, 134

Professionalism: approval of, 1-15, 17-60, 65-80, 98-253

Robson, Bryan: Steve Bruce almost as good as, 182

Schmeichel, Peter: dislike of, 109, 120-1; posing of, 115

Setters, Maurice: sound of an axe being ground against, 92-3, 147-9, 201

Small-talk: dislike of, 56, 82-3, 99, 103-4, 203

Solskjaer, Ole Gunnar: assertion that he is a baby-faced assassin, 153; literal assertion that both baby-faced and an assassin, 153; unspellability of, 153

Swearing: talent of Eric Cantona for, see Cantona, Eric; author’s gratuitous uses of, 1-156, 158-301

Third person: self referred to in, 2, 5, 8-25, 34, 44, 56-79, 92-100, 108-156, 180, 182, 223-256, 258-300

Tracksuits: incorrect size of in RoI training, 84

Violence: justifications for, 22, 35, 46-8, 66, 84, 91-3, 110-2, 115, 118, 164

Wembley: on failing to be turned on by, 170

And that's quite enough of that, except to sum up the book in the style of its author:

Blows were exchanged. I gave as good as I got.

Frivolous Purchase

I've just bought a copy of PaRappa the Rapper 2. It's the everyday story of a small dog in a hat who has to rap in order to win the heart of a daisy in a dress, which is what floats the boats of small rapping dogs, according to the game's manufacturers. It is, as anyone who's played it will know, an inordinate amount of fun. The gameplay is based around trying to copy the rap another character does by pressing the correct button at the right time:

Altogether now: "Kick, punch, it's all in the mind/If you want to test me you're gonna find/The things I teach ya are sure to beat ya/So listen up and get a lesson from teacher now."

This will be my evening, and sad to say, I'll probably have a whale of a time.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Jealousy

An unfortunate aspect of being a greased cog in the bureaucratic engine is that sometimes we have to send out hundreds of letters, and we lack a robotic envelope-stuffer or work experience drone to do it for us. However, I've hit upon the cunning plan of taking all the envelopes and letters down to the pub, and doing the operation with pint in hand. Please do not tell my boss.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On the Reason For My Latest Lateness

Right. Let the trumpets blare and the tickertape drift down, for I was over two hours late today, making me the latest ever. I was actually so late that I passed a pub that was open on my journey in. I did consider popping in for a quick pre-work pint, but dismissed it as I was already carrying a cup of coffee, and because of the fearsome pricing of Upper Street pints (you need a drink after you've ordered a drink, if you see what I mean).

The bank manager turned down my loan request for my planned fair-trade kitchen appliances shop For the Grater Good, because apparently my business plan wasn't up to scratch. Given that my business plan was an A3 sheet with the name of the shop and an exclamation mark at the end, I fail to see his point. Anyway, having seen from Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares how easy it is to run a restaurant, I've decided to realise my lifelong dreams and set up a restaurant. I've got a nice little place on the outskirts of Bodmin in Cornwall in mind. I'll invite you all to the opening of The Bistro of Bodmin Moor just as soon as the ink is dry on the contract.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Deadpan Conversations, Vol. 13

Scene: Highbury fields. I'm on my lunch, relaxing away from the stresses of paper-shuffling. A schoolkid approaches.

Schoolkid: I've been dared by my friends; can I touch your bald head?
Me: No, I don't think so.
I felt like a killjoy, refusing such a childlike request, and letting the kid down in her important attempt to prove herself to her peer group, but then I thought, bollocks, I'm not having strangers come up and touch my bald head; it might set a precedent, and people would begin to attribute superstitious beliefs of good fortune that comes from touching my bald head. I'd be a bit like an inadvertant Jesus, curing lepers without really wanting to. And that's one of the last things I want to happen.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Defiant and Unbowed

In line with the Met's insistence on business as normal, I feel it my duty to continue to waste the time of both my employers and readers by continuing to ramble inconsequentially about matters of little import.

I was struck down with worry today that Fatman Scoop might actually be incapable of normal speech, and might conduct all his exchanges in the abrasive guttural bellow that has produced such hit records as 'Be Faithful' and 'Lose Control'. Singing his infant children to sleep with a gentle lullaby would be an experience likely to result in perforated eardrums and visits from social workers. Unable to hold down steady employment or a lasting relationship becuase of his inability to communicate at an appropriate volume, Scoop drifts, haunted by dreams of a normal life. Driven near-insane by such thoughts, he carries out a savage laryngectomy on Bob Harris, in the belief that this will give him the quiet he seeks. Sentenced to life imprisonment by an uncaring judge, Scoop fears that he will become the target of brutal prison bullying with his attention-drawing holler. Fortunately though, Scoop hides in the prison library and learns about the Trappist order of monks, and lives out the rest of his life in silent observance of the spirit of Jesus Christ and his teachings.
Today I received an exciting parcel in the post. It is a USB 2.0 PCI Host Controller Card. As if this were not incentive to dance about like a loon in joy enough, the manufacturers plaster the promise 'Extreme IO Experience' over the box. That's IO as in 'Input/Output'. I've yet to install the product, but should the experience fail to live up to the extremity promised, well, I'll just have to live with it, I suppose.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Yesterday in London

Well, it's been a pretty strange time in London recently. Fortunately, no-one I know has been hurt in any of the bombings yesterday, and everyone's pretty shocked and disbelieving of what happened yesterday.

Looking back today it all seems slightly unreal as I'm sat here. I felt a palpable level of fear which after the realisation that what was happening was bombing. Not really a fear for my own safety, but a kind of collective fear, which I've never felt before. As the afternoon wore on, and it brightened up, I was walking into town to meet up with L, and people released from their offices seemed pretty cheerful. Everyone was walking, following the bus routes, all walking on the left-hand side of the road, and the scene resembled the aftermath of some kind of giant office carnival. A couple men were propped up on the railings at Highbury Corner, watching events, and as I passed, one turned to the other and remarked, "Look, there goes Moby". I think the capital's ability to face its aversity in the only way it knows how (directing snide comments at me) is heartwarming. Actually, people did seem to be coping, knowing that the whole situation was out of everyone's control, and that there was little point in belly-aching about it, which is genuinely quite moving. Except for one guy who ran out of a building on Upper Street, dressed in a blue work-issue polo shirt, kicked a lamp-post with a cry of 'fucking cunts', and then ran off to kick another lamp-post with a similar outburst.

I've been overhearing a fair amount of wild pronouncements offered with great shows of authority from people about the events, using intelligence buzzwords, the most prevalant is 'chatter' or the lack of it. I'd cleverly refer to the dinner-party speculators as 'the chattering classes' if that didn't make a pun so dizzyingly brilliant as to be indistinuishable from the phrase itself that it makes your eyes water, that is.

Anyway, this hardly seems like the place to dwell on the issue, save to say that it's pretty sobering as the death toll continues to rise and people are still unaccounted for, and I hope that everyone you know is OK.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Ooh, look who's got the olympics! Us!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Some Magazines That I Found

Hi there. To make up for the near total lack of me posting on the blog for a long time, I've gone html-crazy, and put up this new mini-mini-site:

Yes, it's the title-says-it-all Some Magazines That I Found (ardent students of the future will note that I have also used the alternative title Some Magazines I Found and will no doubt wish to discuss the significance of this at great length in chat rooms). I'd advise you to go and check it out before SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENS. Yes, live each moment as if it's your last and visit me discussing some old magazines I found. You'll die happy and your family will be proud.