Monday, July 10, 2006

(Bollard, are you drunk out of your tiny mind following Italy's shock triumph in Germany?)

Arthur Koestler might have the answers. He's dead, but he still might have the answers. It's ONLY a co-incidence! Avid followers of the blog will be aware of the running co-incidence of the Harry J Allstars tune Liquidator, well this took another couple of funny turns over the course of the weekend and this morning. On Saturday I strong-armed the family into going to the Rise:against racism music festival in Finsbury Park. I wanted to see Roy Ayers and Common, but due to a coach fire on the M40 we were delayed by about two and a half hours, luckily while Toby was asleep in the back, otherwise he would have been berating me for not taking the M4. Little, traffic-flow know-it-all that he is. Anyway, we did finally get through the combined vehicular and humanoid throngs of North London on a Saturday to arrive at the park in time to see about 30 minutes of Common, who was very good. After he'd finished we carefully picked our way through the menagerie of drunks, punks and rowdy teen-hoodlums to find an ice cream van, with conspiciously covered up prices. No cider lollies, but I did try a Cherry Brandy, which was passable. We sat on a bench to eat the ice creams and watched the freakshow, which wasn't an attraction (or attractive), but rather just the general festival going public. Across the way was the reggae converted double-decker bus\bowel emptying subsonic bass generator that is The Mighty Trojan Soundsystem. As we sat and vibrated to the tunes being spun I started to recognise the tune playing, and so did Toby. He looked round with a grin on his face; it was Harry J Allstar's - Liquidator, for the third time in four days. I recounted this to Mr Ball-Acre this morning as we cycled to work and to help jog his memory I tried to hum the tune, but instead mistakenly hummed a different reggae classic, Dave and Ansell Collins' - Double Barrell. I get to work, turn on my iPod, hit Shuffle and the first thing I hear (from 8164 available tracks) is, "I, am the magnificent. I'm backed by the shack of a soul boss..." etc etc and the opening melody of Double Barrel, as sampled by McKay for their tune "5 Days of Faith". It's ONLY a co-incidence. But what a co-incidence eh? Good article on co-incidence and Elisabeth Targ here.

After parking my bike in the under-office car park I asked Mike if his bike tyres were the sort that could self inflate if they were ever shot out. He said no, but they are guaranteed to be puncture proof. At that point as we were walking I looked on the ground and saw a 2 inch sewing needle on the tarmac. Why such a thing would be near the bike racks in an under-office car park on an industrial estate is beyond me. I picked it up though and it's now in my litle tray of "collected things".

Later this morning I then discovered that the ice-cream sundae was invented by soda fountain owners that had been banned from selling sodas and ice-cream sodas on Sunday, as they were seen as some kind of evil deviance, ie they were 'fun'. The shop-keepers instead decided to simply pour the soda syrup over the ice-cream and serve it at the same price. It was a success, obviously. They were called Ice-Cream Sundays as they were sold on the soda-forbidden Sabbath day, but then a spelling mistake somewhere (the Americans are good at this type of thing, eg aluminum) gave them the ice-cream sundae, which then moved into other days of the week. And although these were days which didn't incur the wrath of retarded religious zealots, the name 'sundae' remained. The serving of Kn*ckerb*cker Glory's and B*n*n* Spl*ts however, on any day of the week, remains a capital offence in most US States up to the present day.

And finally, while in Finsbury I bought a 15 kilo watermelon. It cost me £8.42 and I can't eat it all. Do you want some?

Friday, July 07, 2006

We took the Ungrateful One to the theatre last night, although confusingly it was to see a circus act. The show we went to see was called 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes. As we took our seats the warm up music they had playing was Liquidator by the Harry J Allstars, which by co-incidence seems to be The Miserable One's favourite tune at the moment, so he was happy for all of the 3 minutes while it was playing. The show itself was pretty good and featured a number of fairly lengthy and involved acts, which towards the end left them with just 8 minutes to complete the final 14, which they managed of course. We were on the edge of our seats; Toby was on the edge of boredom. After about 20 minutes he said really loudly, "When is it going to finish, I want to go". The only thing that got him through it in the end was that when I clapped after each performance, I 'sandwich-clapped' his hand between mine. And he thought that was great. Not the guys juggling knives, double trapeze, doing flying forward rolls through hoops, skateboard contortionism etc etc. Just the triple clap thing. That old analogy about kids playing more with the boxes that the toys came in, rather than the toys themselves, is so true.

Before the performance, in the foyer, I overheard a bohemian-type mum in a raffia smock (probably called Cressida or Iolanthe or something) ask one of the staff, "Excuse me, when will they have the interval?". Yeah, riiiight........in a 45 minute performance. When the whole point is that they have to beat the ticking clock and complete 46 acts in the set 45 minutes. Considering most theatre performances are at least an hour and a half long, so you generally wouldn't get an interval for 45 minutes anyway. What on earth could you possibly need to do 20 minutes after the show had started. Spin a bloody prayer wheel? Do reiki over your rune stones? Get some more carrot sticks for your humous stinking kids? Think, before you open your mouth and annoy me, it's the least you can do.

Then we went to Krispy Kreme's and bought loads of chemically enhanced doughnuts. My favourite is the original glaze with creme filling, the thought of which now, after eating 8 in 12 hours, is making me feel reaaally ill. Also, I have fairly sensitive teeth finding that, in recent years, eating ice cream has become a real 'joy and pain' exercise in determination. Now that pain issue has been extended to excessively sweet foods as well. I've now noticed that pure sugar on my teeth, such as that encrsuting Kripsy Kreme doughnuts is really painful, but I can't work out how the pain is so immediate. It's as instant as an ice cube on the exposed base of my front canine. Surely the acid in the sugar isn't that strong that it attacks the tooth straight away? I'll update with my findings.

I would also like to take this opportunity, which I have just created, to direct you avid readers to the brand new link on the right of this page (if I can get it to appear) which will transport you to the mighty fine BeerGlassCollector website.


"Like beer? Like drinking it out of glasses? Like scouring charity shops in provincial market towns for obscure glasses of unknown origin, storing them in an ever more cluttered loft and then researching them at work in order to catalogue and publish them on a site that no-one reads? No, me neither, but thank god Richy Billingsgate is up to the challenge. Live your beer glass collecting fantasies vicariously through him, visit the site and give him a patronising pat on the head in the form of a comment in his guestbook. Then go down the pub, have a pint and raise your glass to the BeerGlassCollector! (If it's a nice one, nick and post it to him. Especially if you live in the old Eastern Bloc). Mach's gut!"

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Future is coming, the Future is coming!

I have a t-shirt purchased from the exceptional Threadless.com that has written on it, "This was supposed to be the future. Where is my jetpack, where is my meal in pill form, where is my rocket powered house.." etc etc. It's one of my favourites because it summarises pretty much what I expected from the 21st Century when I was a kid, minus time travel, which I'm guessing will never happen otherwise someone would have invented it and been back to tell us about it by now. Shoot.


Anyway, I saw an advert on telly yesterday for something that realised another of my childhood anticipations of the future - spray on plasters (check the bizarre TV Ad at this weird site - button top right). Unbelievable. I really still can't believe it, which is why I just typed, "Unbelievable". Plasters (Band-Aids, sticking plasters, whatever) coming out of an aerosol can. I'm probably most excited about it because I have an image of a George Jetson type character scratching his arm on a space cactus and reaching for the Elastoplast can, which sprays a perfectly rectangular plaster over the wound. Then he necks a turkey dinner and apple pie meal capsule and roars off on his jetpack.

I've since found myself recently becoming slightly reckless when handling sharp objects, hoping to get the chance to use the "spray on, stay on" aerosol plaster in order to properly join the 21st Century. Although I feel like I should be bleeding a silvery, mercury-like substance really instead of blood; that's just sooo Middle Ages.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Boo hoo England. Boo hoo. I'm not going to comment on something I know nothing about, but there was one thing that I needed to report on that made me smile. And amongst all the misery and tear soaked St George flags I think we need do need to retain a bit of perspective. I mean, 65 people were killed in a car bomb in Iraq on Saturday. Anyway, throughout the game on Saturday I kept hearing the roars of supporters from the pub just down the road and also from all the garden parties and BBQs in the neighbouring houses. During the penalties however, what a contrast; you could have heard a pin drop. And when I went outside immediately following Ronaldo's coup de grace (or should that be coup de farce?) there was absolute silence. A couple of minutes later in the emotional vacuum of the aftermath, a solitary England fan meandered down the road, trying his best to text with double vision, when he suddenly stopped and, in a gesture that echoed the feelings of drunk football idiots up and down the country, shrugged his shoulders. To an empty street; no-one around. Then he stumbled off again on his way home. I was more glad that things were going to get back to normal following England's exit from the World Cup, than I was sad that we'd lost.

At a carboot on Sunday I was treated to some frontal lobotomy enhanced commentary on the match. A seller had slashed his Engerlund paraphernalia (flags, deckchairs, tampons etc) to half price and a doddery old fart (DOF) passing by with a spare oar commented:

DOF: Ha, that's not worth anything now is it? [implying that the tat was worth something at one point?]
Slasher: Aaah, don't even talk to me about it mate.
DOF: Weeell, it was a bloody shambles, that's what it was.
Slasher: Don't bother mate, I don't want to talk about it.
DOF: Professional players missing penalties like that?!! Shambles!
Slasher: Whaddyagoinonabaat?!!
DOF: Graaahh!!
Slasher: Baaah!!
Both: Yeaarrrh!!!

Watching this was more entertaining than the game.

Saturday daytime I went to the Oxford Record Fair, bought some records and then left them in the Post Office. Brilliant. You can't ring a PO direct these days, you have to go through a switchboard manned by monosyllabic teenagers raised on indifference and sneers who transfer you to a phone in a locked room in the basement of their office. This phone will ring unanswered until eternity itself sews up the whole experience in a Groundhog Day bubble and blows it into the depths of the never ending universe. So I probably won't see those again, not in this life anyway.
Whilst in the PO I noticed that the gay bloke in front of me was wearing Doc Martin shoes. I remember that gay men and women cleverly adopted the uniform and hairstyle of their enemies, the fascist skinheads, in the 80s, which explains why gay men started wearing jeans with braces, white t-shirt, shaved heads and Doc Martins (I think they drew the line at having a bulldog on a chain, opting instead for a toy poodle with a diamante collar). But that was ages ago. A gay man being that out of tune with fashion is just wrong.

More 'pink news' in the hilarious discovery, following a recent study, that gay men are more likely to have a number of elder brothers. Or rather, the more older brothers you have, the greater the likelihood that you will be gay. A sound technical explanation is given
here. I say "hilarious" because, to my mind, the research carried out in Canada on this, when corroborated with further tests and studies, will finally prove to the bigots of this world that being gay is genetic, just like being tall or blonde, rather than a chosen "lifestyle choice". In essence it will prove that 'God makes gays'. And I am going to love listening to all the religions of the world try and wriggle out of that one.

Going back to the Post Office, I've just remembered the chap in front of me wanted to mail a parcel and when asked where it was going answered, "Derbyshire". No, I don't think they want to know the county you dipstick. As far as I know there aren't separate rates for the home counties as opposed to the North etc. And he certainly didn't reprieve himself by saying, "How very kind of you" when they offered to take his parcel through the hatch either. Bender.

Today, Toby's favourite song is Liquidator by the Harry J Allstars. Good choice son.