Thursday, December 20, 2007

Deadpan Conversation at a Pub, With Fascinating Insights into the Male Psyche

Scene: A pub.

Ian: Which is your favourite barmaid?
Chris: That one.
Jim: That one.
Ian: The one at the end.
Jim: Ian, that's a bloke.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Xmas Compilation CD: Part 2

Well, as promised in the first part of my sleevenotes, here is the second part of my sleevenotes. Man, that was a smooth introduction. And some ugly jpg deterioration above. Oh well, it'll do for now.

12) Queens of the Stone Age - Make It Wit' Chu
Feel familiar? Well, for reasons not entirely clear, QOTSA have re-recorded the track they did with PJ Harvey on one of the Desert Sessions a few years ago. Still a good song though, and nice to hear again. Perhaps they could re-rerecord it with Peej again and rerelease it in time for my next Xmas album? Thanks guys.

13) Operator Please - Just A Song About Ping Pong (On The Prowl Version)
And here starts the Shouty Girl Vocal Section of the evening. I wasn't previously aware that beef jerky had an aftertaste, and I thank them most kindly for the information.

14) Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches
Not that it's The Single, but I like this, and it ends with a punchline and is fun.

15) Thomas Tantrum - WhyTheEnglishAreRubbish
This came to me via Marc Riley's 6music radio show, and is also great. I told you this was the Shouty Girl Vocal Section of the album, didn't I? If not, you might have guessed by now.

16) The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
Further shouty stuff. As mobile phones have saved us the bother of remembering phone numbers, I think the next generation of mobiles will also remember people's names for us, which will come in handy, and avoid the need for songs like this to be written. Shouty segment over and out.

17) Blonde Redhead - Top Ranking
I inadvertantly saw Blonde Redhead this year, and they were great. I didn't realise they were a trio with a weird twin brothers/husband and wife dynamic. Must make intra-band squabbles fun.

18) The Killers - Tranquilize (Feat. Lou Reed)
Ooh, it starts off moody, doesn't it? Warning: Contains a creepy child chorus. Terrifying. I was going to include Digitalism's D.A.N.C.E. on here, which also has a creepy child chorus, but Winamp decided otherwise. Listen out for the bit near the end when Laughin' Uncle Lou starts to sound like a near-death Johnny Cash. Mrs Reed, take out that life insurance now.

19) Devendra Banhart - The Other Woman
Yeah, it's another track from Devandra B, this time a weird dubby little thing. If you go to his website you can play dress up with him, which is bafflingly entertaining.

20) Rufus Wainwright - Going To A Town
This was a real grower on me when it was released as a single earlier in the year. Very well-judged lyric, and the vocal is nicely resigned. If I had produced it, and I can't quite picture the Some Mothers Do Have 'Em-esque chain of events that would have led to that happening, I would have had him do an extra verse where he sighs the lyrics. I'd also put disco keyboard stabs and kick drums and cowbells and an oompah band and a choir of creepy children.

21) Joe Dassin - Les Champs Elysees
Coming in on the home straight is the song about which I know nothing but was in a film I saw (The Darjeeling Limited), and made me leave the cinema singing in an out-RAY-ge-ous Ferr-ench accent, which can only be a good thing. Unless you happened to hear it. Anyway, there it is. I imagine somewhere out there in the infinite monkey typing pool that is the internet there is a Frenchman sat with a laptop in a cafe, fag dangling precariously from his lips, writing densely intellectual criticism of a track called The Mall. Even better, I'm now going to cover this song with my newly formed Dixieland jazz trio, Jim McKenzie & the Offended Parties, changing the chorus to 'Oh, Holloway Rd/Oh, Holloway Rd', and thinking up they lyrics to the verse on the spot. Playing unappreciated at a pub near you soon.

22) The Flight of the Conchords - It's Business Time
Have I cornered you in a pub or party recently and subjected you to an intense conversation about how great Flight of the Conchords is? If not, consider yourself lucky and experience the virtual version of my drunken enthusiasm, presented here in the elegant form of one of their songs what I got off their DVD using the awsome power of technology. This song is even better in the context of the episode it's from. If you've not watched it yet, that oppressive feeling of guilt is the feeling of me judging you, quite hard.

Archivists amongst you may want to note the tracklistings to previous years' Xmas Compilation CDs and spot themes (like how I always put I Want To Make It Wit' Chu on all of the compilation CDs, and won't stop until it replaces our national anthem at sporting events):

Xmas 2006
Xmas 2005
Xmas 2004

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Xmas Compilation CD: Part 1

If you've been good to me this year and I've got your address, you should be getting a copy of Jim's Arrogant Summation of the Music of the Previous Twelvemonth in the post soon, along with a card wishing you a happy Christmas, and probably something positive about the new year. In order to whet your appetite, here's the first part of the tracklisting (more to follow soon):

1) Joan As Policewoman - The Ride
Here's a sentence that might baffle: Joan as Police Woman is one of Anthony and the Johnsons. Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. Anyway, she's one of the Johnsons. Like Richard Hawley, it's a surpise when people step out of a backing band and are great.

2) The Whitest Boy Alive - Inflation
I'm going to have to cut and paste this guy's name - Erlend Øye - because I don't think I can make my keyboard perform such Norwegian gymnastics. He's a King of Convenience, and this is off one of those albums that all the tracks on it are so similarly produced and instrumented that it's a bit much to listen to the whole album, even if the individual tracks are good. I've gone for this one over the single, Burning, for the simple reason that this track is named after an economic phenomenon, and there aren't enough songs named after econonic phenomena. Except for U2's touching ballad 'House Price Falls More Widespread (Credit Crunch to Blame Blues)'.

3) Decemberists - The Perfect Crime 2
This may have come out in 2006, but I think it was a single in 2007, and anyway, it's my party and I'll put slightly out of date tracks on it if I want to, OK? Unexpectedly funky, in a taught white Talking Heads way. It's the best funky assassination-pop tune since the Baader Meinhof album.

4) Rilo Kiley - The Moneymaker
You could force a point and claim that this was also named after an econonimc phenomenon, but you'd be pushing it, frankly, boyo. Also unexpectedly funky. I like it when funky comes up and surpises me. Just so long as Craig Charles doesn't creep up on me and surpise me. I wouldn't like that one bit. It's unlikely, because you'd probably hear him going 'Awoooga! Awoooga!' from quite some distance away, and then reading out emails where people tell him how great he is: "Craig, love the show, you're a legend! Cheers, Dave in Rotherham".

5) Modest Mouse - Dashboard
Hmm, it's all the usual suspects isn't it? Well, it's either me or popular music which is stagnating, and I DON'T THINK IT'S ME. I'm a fucking fountain of youthful experimentation, me. Anyway, slightly disappointing album considering Good News For People Who Like Bad News was (to use ebay terminology) an 'A+++++++ Top EBAYER!!!!1!' and also that they've got Johnny 'Johnny Marr out of the Smiths' Marr. Still, this is good, and so's some of the other stuff, and I like the imagery.

6) Laura Cantrell - When the Roses Bloom Again
One of the Great Things about 2007 has been Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. I love it when he reads out the lyrics to the song he's just about to play. Also when he reads out a joke in that deadpan drawl of his. Also when he just reads out a list of examples of the theme of the show: 'The theme this week is letters. Here are some examples of letters: Love letters, bank letters, capital letters, letters of recommendation, letters of resignation...' Actually, that's a good theme. I'll write in and suggest it. Anyway, this was a track I heard on the 'Flowers' episode, and it's gorgeous.

7) Herman Düne - I Wish That I Could See You Soon
Also gorgeous is this. In fact, if you take one thing away with you from this CD, let it be this song. I am a huge fan of it. I love the way that singer David-Ivar Herman Düne sings exactly like Leonard Cohen only better, and how the arrangement is exactly like Leonard Cohen, and the bit where he goes 'and the angels go:' and then the backing singers kick in just melts me like butter in a frying pan. Sorry, I'm a bit hungry. It's under 3 minutes, too: perfection. Put it on repeat.

8) Robert Wyatt - A Beautiful Peace
Not really representative of the rest of the album (Comicopera), but its whimsy tickles me. Anyway, it's only short, so SHUT UP.

9) Monkey Swallows The Universe - Martin
If you've seen me recently, you'll have noticed the worried, drawn look to my face. This is because I've had the impossible task of trying to whittle down which Monkey Swallows the Universe track from their album 'The Bright Carvings' is the best. I still don't know. This is just an interim choice. Also complicating matters is the fact that this is a 2006 album and they've also got a new record just out called 'The Casket Letters', but I've not got that yet. And - Arrrk! - they've just split up. Damndamndamn. OK, well, I've just booked tickets for their gig on 11th January at the wonderful Bush Hall, so who wants to go? Really, who wants to go? It'll be great, and I promise I won't cry. Actually, I promise no such thing. Sorry for the running commentary. Anyway, my Google calendar now alarmingly says 'January 11th Monkey Swallows the Universe 7pm' which would terrify my grandparents I expect.

10) G. Love And Special Sauce - Cold Beverage
Not in any way from 2007. Nor is it anything I discovered in 2007 (my normal get-out clause). I just like it. And also cold beverages. I like those too.

11) Billy Bragg - A13 Trunk Road to the Sea
Er, and this isn't from 2007 either. It's great though. Impress me at parties by reciting the chorus word-perfectly. All togehter now: "Starts out in Wapping, it ain't a-stopping..." Ah.

Part 2 a-coming a-soon...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Triple Deapan Conversation Bonus Bundle

Yep, it's three deadpan conversations for you, reader.


Scene: Outside my house. I am opening my bin shed to put my bike in. A father and child pass by.

Child: [Amazed voice] Do you live in there?
Me: Yes. Not in the bin shed though!
Father: He asks too many questions.


Scene: Outside work, I meet the postman. You could tell he is a postman without already knowing that he is, because he wears shorts in all weather.

Postman: Hi.
Me: Hi.
P: You're Catherine's boyfriend, right?
Me: No, I don't think so.
P: Oh.
Me: It's Chris you're thinking of.
P: Oh right. He's the big lad?
Me: Erm.
P: Wears a hat?
Me: That's Ian. Chris works upstairs. He's about my height. Dark hair.
P: Spiky hair? Cycles? Wears a green jumper?
Me: Yes, that's him.
P: Oh yes, the Geordie. I know him.
Me: No, that's not him.


Scene: A football stadium in Stevenage. Running late owing to cancelled trains and a lack of ticket machines at Finsbury Park, I hurry along towards the turnstiles, but hear a loud roar indicating that we've scored. Damn.

Me: 1 adult, please.
Turnstile Woman: That's £12 please.
Me: Thanks. I don't get a discount for missing a goal then?
TW: No. I ought to charge you more for not being here on time.

Anyone know what the best 70 minutes of music released during 2007 were? If you can compile it onto a cd and send it to me, it will save me considerable efforts. I've already wasted far too much time comparing Devandra Banhart tracks from his recent album without coming to any conclusion. Cheers.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Self-Promotion and Helping You With Your Crossword

[As this is a blog, navel-gazing self-absorption is a given, so I'm fully justified in the following bit of self-congratulatory self-promotion.]

Want to hear my convoluted sentence-construction trip up a normally silver-tongued professional broadcaster? Want to hear the word 'thrum' said on national radio? Of course you do - you're not a complete idiot. Well, in that case, fire up the internet, and point your browsers to here, and after you've listened to XTC and the Lurkers (that's 2 songs in, counting fans) and you'll be able to hear the words 'messianic' and 'grogginess' and 'dissipated' all in the same glorious email. It's about 10 minutes in, giving you time to boil some eggs if you want. But do it before the end of next Wednesday, before it disappears forever.

Also, for those of you doing today's Guardian quick crossword, the poisonous woodland fungus is 'death cap'. No, don't all thank me at once.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Deadpan Conversations, Vol. n

Scene: A phone call to a minicab firm.

Minicab Woman 1: Hello. Where do you want a cab from?
Me: Finsbury Park to London Fields please.
MCW 1: Could you hold on a sec. [To colleague, with hand over receiver] Could you take this one - I'm busting for a piss. I've been waiting for ages!
Minicab Woman 2: Hi, where do you want a cab from?
Me: I hope she makes it.
MCW2: Me too.

Sadly, we'll never know whether she made it or not. Well, unless you ring Bartley cars and ask them.

Hi internet, how are you doing? I've been busy battling the evil BT empire to try and get them to set us up with a phone connection. I would have been more successful if I'd got a bit of paper and written 'MAKE WIRE BE PHONE GOOD' on it, then folded up the paper into a paper aeroplane and flown it out of the window. Also it would have been cheaper.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Well, It Makes a Change from Estate Agents' Glossy Magazines...

Two examples of the gold that drops through my letterbox each day. I like the idea of the man who finds the satelits - he's an alright guy. The sinister 'professor', however... I love his motto though. Must have been fun in the business card shop:

"OK, what can I put on there? Let's start off with bringing back the dead. Yeah, that's a good one. Oh yeah, and the rest. I've got a list here. I've got a bit more space you say, even with all of the many things that I can do, including careers advice, and undoing the work of my fellow charlatans (it'll get me in trouble with the United Guild of Scammers and Con People, but sod 'em, I say. When have they ever done anything for me)? Could you make the 'Your pain is my responsibility' a bit larger? And capitals? And italics? Cheers. I'll pick them up tomorrow. You don't know where I could find a satelit do you? I need a high signal good, you see. Oh well, worth a try."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wem-Ber-Ley, Wem-Ber-Ley

What have I been up to recently? Only participating in the most historic occasion ever to happen ever. Yes, that's right, I'm talking Stevenage Borough in the FA Trophy final at Wembley on Saturday. 53,261 other people were there too, most of them eager to see what kind of home £1bn gets you these days. The answer? Really powerful hand-driers (of which I am already a fan), the sort that make your skin ripple and sound like a jet engine revving up. Also, it's the one place on earth where men have to queue to get into toilets and women don't, such is the equality of provision. However, if they hold a massively female dominated event (I can't come up with any more precise description for fear of being arrested or beaten up, unfortunately, but it did involve a kitten-cooing convention as one of the elements), the rightful queue disparity will be restored.

Getting away from the toilets, what you really want to know is how did Boro do? Well, in keeping with the frustrating way they've been all season, they played like drunk clowns for periods in the first half, giving away two goals while the defenders all tried to get into a car but the doors kept falling off whilst throwing buckets of glitter over each other (I had a good view, and I'm pretty sure that's why they didn't put tackles in on the goalscorer). So Boro entered half-time two goals down, and woe was me. Oh woe. But, following a half-time talk by, I can only assume, Boro Bear (who can be seen on the above picture at the far left of the line of players) spurred the team on to score three second-half goals and win a big pot of hunny. Very exciting. Best thing to happen to Stevenage since I left, reported the local paper on Monday, somewhat vindictively.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Apologies for not posting anything for ages, but I've been living in fear. Every tiny noise in the flat fills me full of dread anticipation. Any creak, bang, jangle or flapping of the wings of a pigeon in the jaws of a cat makes me start in terror. Oh, I think I may have given the game away. Damn.

Yes, the first victim of the Mog Summer of Horror has been taken. A young pigeon by the name of Flappy was bought to an untimely demise by the rampant cat-jaws of our cat earlier in the week, but I've known it was coming. There's something about the demeanour of a cat - perhaps a devillish twinkle in her eye, perhaps the extra vim she puts into chasing the toy panda - that lets you know that SHE WILL KILL AGAIN.

It's the bin-men I feel sorry for. They're the poor buggers who have to take it away.

(NB - cat-kill photo above not done by me or my cat - it's from here. Thanks, Flickr).

Why is it that the only people to wear shorts all year round are footballers and postmen? What is it that they have in common? Apart from always being down the pub (and I really can only speak for the postmen of the N5 postal district here, not to put any kind of slur upon the good name of postpeople - footballers, however, I feel free to cast aspersions about, as I've seen some right bloody rubbish football recently).
On a different, and possibly even more whimsical tack: I wonder, am I the only person who regularly sees nuns on the way to work? While I cycle by, slickly oiled machine that I am, habitted-up nuns shuffle past.

Anyone else see any nuns -or better still - monks on their way to work? (NB Buddhists DON'T count. Sorry.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Summer Is On Its Way (By Science, Comrades, Science)

It's a nice day today, everyone's smiling, the beer gardens are open, and it seems like summer's here. Well, it's not. It's not here. It's still winter. How do I know this? Well, seeing the popularity of meteorologists - they have their own programmes on the telly and everything - I decided that I'd cash in, and use hard facts to prove that it's not summer.

What I've done is decided that 4 seasons is too precise, so I've reduced it to two (summer, the hot one; and winter, the other one). I've also mapped out the number of days that I wear a summer jacket or my winter coat during each month. Therefore, the precise day when Summer! will begin is the day that summer jacket usage exceeds winter jacket wearing. The dotty line on the the not-at-all-knocked-up-in-ninety-seconds graph tells you predicted jacket-wearing days based on the bell-curve that I assume fits the data. This means that mid-April will be summer! It's not far off now people.

[Warning: All 'facts' may have been made up in a fit of whimsy, and maths and statistics sticklers may be able to prove me a fraud. However, they're all too busy dancing in the town centre fountains with their trousers rolled up to care.]

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oh Man, Look at Those Cavemen Go (and USB twigs)

Hope you've been watching Life on Mars recently. If you haven't been, then you won't know how skilled John Simms is at acting drugs. Unless you've seen Human Traffic, which I understand also features him acting drugs. He's really good at it though. He does sweaty, confused, hyper and chewy so well.

Can anyone explain why I'd need this here item? A USB flash drive embedded in a twiggy wooden stick? Would you believe it though, it's actually the most practical thing on their website. It'd be enough to make Jesus weep (although it'd probably take a while to explain the concept of a USB flash drive to Jesus, and might not be the best use of Our Lord and Saviour's valuable time. He's got bigger fish to fry. Or turn into wine. I seem to remember this TV Show explored the concept of what would happen if Jesus was a cop and it was quite funny, although I'm sure more could have been made of the concept. Worth a look if you accidentally get locked in at work at the weekend and the only other option is to translate the Health & Safety manuals into French.)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Me vs Pigeons

The pigeons have struck back in the ongoing battle for supremacy between featherless, hygienic me and the fearful filthwings. I arrived at work. I picked up a parcel addressed to Nicola Kirkham, c/o me. I wandered into my room thinking, not unfairly, "Who the bloody hell is Nicol Kirkham?" What I wasn't thinking was, "Hello pigeons, how have you enjoyed your time flapping round the office, you disgusting evil beasts?" That's what I should have been thinking, because there were two sickeningly fat and barely able to fly pigeons crashing about. I had to get someone with a stick to help me guide them out of the window. I'm not used to helping pigeons without using the Swift Hammer of Merciful Death, so it was a slightly strange experience for me.

In brief Evening Standard headline news, I saw one the other day that looked like it might just be a new indie band advertising their new album (available on CD and download from iTunes from Monday):

Missing Internet Girl: New Pictures

(Come to think of it, she can't actually be all that missing if they have new pictures of her. I'm not going to buy the Standard to find out though; they're not going to get me that way, oh no).

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Evening Standard Headline Board Mocked

Yes, but who did they attack?

(Cheers, Evening Standard headline poster)

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Newness and Promises That Won't Be Kept

Hey there, little reader, you. In lieu of actually writing anything, I've instead been tinkering with the new Blogger templates (hence the shiny newness on which you read these words). In one fell swoop, they've made it both much easier and also impenetrably difficult to edit the template. Fact was, the old one was looking like a dog, and I had to take it out round the back of the internet and cave its head in with a big spade made of code. Also, I just tweaked one of the default templates slightly. Anyway, enough of that.

Actually, one more thing on the topic - you won't be able to see the comments on the main page any more. The Man can't cope with such free speech, man. You'll have to click on the comments bit at the end of each post, or you could subscribe to the comments feed (see side panel for more on this). Stupid new things that aren't as good as the old things.

Watching Man Utd v Reading earlier in the week, I was struck by John Motson's introduction to the game, which has been presented here in the form of a poem:

Outside there's a conference centre,
A luxury hotel,
An indoor training complex.
But I think what most of us appreciate,
(Those old enough to drive, anyway - heh!)
Is the location of the Madejski,
Just a mazy dribble
By Christiano Ronaldo
Over a couple of roundabouts
Would take him onto Junction 11
Of the M4,
As that westbound motorway
Roars out of London
Through the Thames Valley
And onwards to Bristol
And Cardiff,
Where the Millenuim Stadium is still on standby
Just in case the new Wembley
Is not ready to stage
The final
From which
These two
Teams tonight
Are just
Three matches

I'm in a very excitable musical mood at the moment, and am currently enthusing about:
CSS - endearingly gonzo disco-rock from the Brazilians responsible for 'Off the Hook', 'Alala' and 'Lets Make Love and Listen to Death from Above'. The squeaky 40-a-day vocals really help.

Gossip - Oh yes, I can really get into something months after everyone else is fed up of the NME hype. Sounds like a less disorientating Public Image Ltd or a better tunes Radio 4, this is nothing that hasn't been done to death in the recent punk-funk craze of about the past 5 years, but it's done very well, and (agreeing with Noel Gallagher) Beth Ditto has got a great voice.

Regina Spektor - I meant to put 'On The Radio' on the Xmas CD, but forgot, like a durrbrain. Other opinion in my house holds that 'Fidelity' is better, but you don't want to trust the musical opinion of a cat, do you? The whole album is great too, and it gets my Well-Written Lyrics Award for having well-written lyrics that are written well.

My words don't make the music come alive in your brain LIKE YOU ACTUALLY WERE LISTENING TO IT? Well, there's something wrong with your CRITICAL FACULTIES, but I won't hold it against you - low-rate previews of these people follow: CSS, Gossip, Regina Spektor - click click click.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Excuses, Cat Drugs, Debates and Fiscal Tiger

Yeah, so it's been over a month since I last posted. My excuse is: I had a cold. One of those cold that affects your typing and mouse skills. Such a debilitating kind of cold, that. On behalf of the Guild of Internet Artisans, I offer my most humble and profuse apologies, and lay myself at your mercy.

Going to buy cat drugs from the vet's, I had to show the nurse the previous packet of cat drugs so she knew what cat drugs the cat wanted. The packet had Mog's old name on, the one that the cat home had given her, so I said to the nurse, 'Catrina was her old name.'

'We changed it to Mog,' I then said.

Then, adopting a conspiratorial whisper, I added, 'because Catrina is a shit name.'

There was then an awkward pause as I weighed up the odds that the nurse's name was Catrina. She looked like she might be Spanish, and everyone in Spain who isn't called Maria is called Catrina, so I thought it probably quite likely that she was called Catrina. Damn. I meant to say, 'Catrina is a shit name for a cat'. But I didn't, because that would just lead to me blathering on with things like, 'but it's not a shit name for a person. It's actually a good name for a person. I like you. Give me cat drugs.'

I got the cat drugs, but the cat scratched me to buggery when I gave them to her. I think the nurse switched the worming tablets for some kind of cat psychotic.
For reasons best left obscure, the other night I went to a debate (the kind where statements like 'The House considers flip-flops to be a modern blessing of convenience upon our benighted land and thinks that their invention should all be honoured with big cash rewards and sloppy kisses' are bandied about) that some schoolkids were having. In a debate about the merits of learning a foreign language, one of the kids came up with

'if it wasn't for languages, we wouldn't be able to use semi-colons. You know, the things you use when writing letters.'

Needless to say, he won his debate.
I've just found some drawings I did of Fiscal Tiger, of whom I had great hopes once. Fiscal Tiger (FT) is a cartoon tiger I wanted to make a cartoon strip about. He was going to represent rapacious capital in its rampant 1980s throwback form, while also being a tiger. The plan floundered on twofold reasons: I know nothing about finance and I can't draw. However, before plans were shelved, he was given a copyright-infringing catchphrase:

'Greed is grrrrrrrrrrrrreat!'

which he would use at the end of each cartoon, in the absence of a punchline (oh, did I mention the third reason: no punchlines? I couldn't think up any funny stories or punchlines. That was the third reason).
Is this post long enough now? I've got absolutely priceless thoughts about the merits of gatefold dining tables, but perhaps I'll save them for another occasion.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Happy New Year, Happy New Cakes

Hi, happy new year and all that. Last year I was limping and being grumpy about having to wish everyone happy new year. This year, I'm giving up on trying to keep track of who I've wished a happy new year so far, so I'm just going to be saying happy new year to everyone at every occasion, regardless of how may times I've wished them it so far, until about mid-February. That solves that problem. Who says you don't get more cleverer when you get old?

I was just in the local corner shop, when something on the edge of my vision caused me to do a proper comedy double-take complete with spin-around while I loudly went 'Ehrrrr?'. What had so ghast my flabber was a cake. A Manor House cake. It's the second North London district to be honoured with a cake, to the best of my confectionery knowledge (the other being a Tottenham cake, which I'm sure I've made mention of in the past). Has anyone ever had a Manor House cake? Was it created in Manor House? Or was the result it a council-funded project to sum up the area around the Picadilly Line station in cake? Given that all Wikipedia can come up with on Manor House is connections to Goths and pornographers, I don't think I'm going to risk tasting the cake soon.

Anyone know of any other North London-related cakes, and the history thereof? Does the Finsbury Park cake exist? What would it taste like? Actually, I think I'm going to use this methodology in meetings when someone raises a bright idea:
- "I think we could rationalise the delivery through structured e-learning technology"
- "Yes, but if it were a cake, what would it taste like?"

(NB the Manor House cake may simply be a name coincidence, but don't spoil my fun. The truth always has to spoil my fun, the bastard.)