Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hey it's Halloween and I have a scary pumpkin face for you...

Well, I suppose you could consider the Halloween themed lunch in the canteen today a huge success, as the food was truly horrific. The sort of fare that I doubt even the most wretched of creatures could stomach. And where was the "fun" element? There were a few half-arsed puns on the menu, but it really was very pitiful. They seem to have chosen a rather unappetizing play on words for some items and passed over what I would have considered perfect pun candidates. For instance, I had the Steak and Kidney Pie. Why not "Stake In Kidney Pie"? Then they called the Chicken Wings and Spare Ribs, "Flesh and Bones", which was less of a pun and more a literal description of exactly what they were. That put me right off. As did the description of the pureed swede as "Bug Mash". Turned out that the steak and kidney pie was awful anyway. Possibly made with the decaying corpses of BSE riddled cows for truly a realistic Halloween flavour? Not sure, but the taste of the kidneys triggered smell memories of cattle sheds, which of course are heavily scented with the secretions of those kidneys - cow pee. Eeyuww. No thanks.

Now something sad, or funny if you're cruel. Depends on how you look at it. Since a fairly young age I've been aware that I tend notice a lot of things that most people don't seem to see and I'm not talking about ghosts and goolies (?) etc. The things that I tend to see are little social situations in which someone is feeling uncomfortable or alienated or awkward. It's annoying. It's a bit like the really emotional dreams that I have that stay with me for hours after I wake up. They are draining, pointless and, as the drug addled Gary Oldman spits in
Leon, "I don't have tiiiime, for this Mickey Mouse bullshit!". The classic example of this is being at a party and catching the eye of the loner who no-one wants to talk to who then meanders over. That happen to you once? It happens to me all the time. I'm not explaining it very well, but this latest incident, a sort of heartache-and-loneliness double-whammy, I had to share.

Looking out of our bedroom window on Sunday morning I saw an elderly woman waving goodbye to some visitors from her front door. The bungalows opposite are full of "oldies" and as such there are a fair few visits fom sons and daughters with granchildren at the weekends. You can often tell by the body language of those visiting that they see this as more of a duty that a genuine desire to brighten up their parent's day. As this particular couple and their kids were leaving, they made their way across the road and I was struck, as I often am, by the elderly woman's resolve to stand on her step and watch them walk all the way back to their car. Then I saw how she waited with her hand poised to wave as soon as they turned round or looked at her. They look back, hand shoots up as if electrocuted.

It reminded me of how my Gran used to stand on the doorstep of her house when we were leaving after visiting. She would wait until we had completely disappeared from sight before she closed the door on us. You could crane your neck right round as her house disappeared round the corner and if you stuck your hand out of the window at that split second, she would flash back a wave as quick as you like. Sadly, I'm guessing that as you get old and abandoned you start to treasure visits from your family so much that you want to savour every last second of them before returning to the interminable front room drone of lobotomising daytime TV.

What made Sunday's little tableaux of human misery even more unbearable was the shuffling Bilbo Baggins-type pensioner who had appeared on the pavement directly between the old woman and her family. As the family drove away and she frantically waved her goodbyes, the confused old man mistook her waving as a greeting, leant on his stick and started to wave back to her. She seemed to get annoyed at this misunderstanding, turned her shoulder slightly so as to shun him and then seemed to raise up on her tip toes as if to wave over him! He then looked round at the waving occupants of the departing vehicle, realised his mistake, slumped his shoulders and lowered his head and continued shuffling off into to his own lonely destiny. Too, too sad.

Never one to leave you kids on a downer, look here. I've found a real life
Ting Tong for you.

"Oh pwease Mr Dudwey!"

Monday, October 30, 2006

If I was in New York I might go to 5th Avenue. If I was in Edinburgh I might go up to Princes Street. In London, down the Kings Road. I'm in Abingdon and I go to the precinct. If one measures the stylishness and success of ones life by the quality of the places where one goes to shop, then I'm just edging above a tinker who lives in a field, washes in a cattle trough and steals his clothes from scarecrows.

I've mentioned before the 1970s concrete horror that is Abingdon's shopping precinct, but I don't think you'll ever truly appreciate the soul-crushing drudgery of it all until you've had to walk the gauntlet of its poorly presented shops and track suited denizens scoffing chips on a weekend morning*. There are 2 beacons of light in this grimy cobwebbed passageway and they are Costa and The Book Store.

Costa arrived in Abingdon about 8 months ago and was an instant (coffee) hit amongst the middle classes who had previously had to brave the proletariat masses of Jenny's and Crumbs in order to get a tea or coffee on a Saturday morning. Now you see them all huddle-snugged with frothy lattes, coats squashed up against the windows and pushchairs akimbo. It's a little oasis for them. A watering hole to revive oneself before moving on through the cultural desert of the precinct. As I mentioned earlier, there's also a little independent bookstore where I generally go to assess the books that I then go and order online to save money. It struck me that this "patronage" of the local bookstore probably isn't that effective at helping them pay their bills at the end of the month and, seeing as I'd be the first to whine if they closed down, I decided to go in and buy The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. As Sarah would say, I'm "bennying" on him at the moment (I'm very interested in him). I had a little smirk to myself (is that gay?) to see it in the Mind and Body Improvement section. Both the store owner and myself had another little smirk to each other when I suggested that it should go into the Mythology section. Actually that is a dangerously high level of self satisfied smirking going on there. Some might say a taunting level of smirking that gets gangs of Luddite precinct dwellers waiting for you outside with cudgels and pitchforks.

I left the shop clutching my blasphemous tome and my ears were immediately assailed with what sounded like a pre-pubescent boy having an argument with his Mum. Following the sound to a crowd of people outside Woollies, I could see that it was actually a squad of God-botherers having a little show. Not as interesting as Punch and Judy, and as such there were no children. That's excluding the 2 teenagers shouting "Oi!" and filming them on their mobiles. The chap with the amazing breaking voice was trying to convince the blank-faced crowd that their purpose on this Earth was to serve God and that if they didn't, no matter how good they were (?!), they would go to Hell. For eternity. What, they would have to stay in the precinct for ever?! Oh ho ho, how amusing of one (note to self, STOP SMIRKING!). I objected to so much of what he said that it made my legs shake and I vowed to bone up (steady!) on my God-busting atheistic put-downs, so as to decimate him and his ilk next time I see them boring people in the name of religion.

If you yourself are getting bored reading this, then that's good. I've done it on purpose so as to help convey the tedium of listening to a squawking Bible basher preaching to jelly-heads in a grubby provincial shopping centre. If you're not finding it boring, thanks very much.

The miggedy mad coincidence that follows on from this, and the real reason I brought up the subject anyway, is that Mr "They've-Not-Quite-Dropped-and-I'm-Thirty" was using a stooge called Alison to answer his staged questions. Apparently they pepper the crowd with them, in true con artist stylee, to join in the event and to help build up the illusion that they're not simply preaching to the converted. Well, as I started to move away I turned around to find a chap I knew from work standing in my back pocket (virtually). I'm sure he was flicking holy water on my back or something.

God Botherer: "Oh, hi there. Are you OK there?"
Me: "Err, yeah" (beam me up, BEAM ME UP!)
GB: "Did you have any questions, you know, about what was being said?"
Me (in my head): "Yeah I bloody well have actually..." (launches into well prepared Root Of All Evil speech, dispatching every argument for the presence of God without drawing breath. Then the freshly converted ex-Bible bashers hoist me on their shoulders and we all sing an emotional version of Imagine by John Lennon as the national news crews arrive and start filming a cross toppling mob descending on the 1200 year old Abbey, marking the start of a global Dissolution of the Church.)
Me (shuffling away meekly): "Err, no. Thanks"

Ha, but beware my friend, the meek shall inherit the earth. Oh, no, that's a God thing as well isn't it?

Anyway, I was relating this story to my manager at work. He knew the chap that had cornered me and was very surprised to hear he was, "one of those". We were then discussing what it was that made certain people religious. What switch is it that get's flipped that stops the logical approach to creation and replaces it with, "Oh, God did it", when I glanced up to see what I thought was this Alison woman from the precinct walking past my pod. I quickly looked up all the Alisons on our intranet and found her working in the department next door. I had no idea this person worked at my office. Spooky. In a town with a population of around 36,000, one of the two named members of the Precinct Preachers (yeah, check that out) works about 10 metres away, and I'm talking about her as she walks past. And do you know what? That's exactly the sort of co-incidence, especially given the religious connections, that some people in this life would take as a "sign". In fact, I'm sure that people have probably been bowled over by lesser examples of mathematical probabilities than this and I think that this is exactly the " trip switch" that we were discussing. The kind that activates when the desire to keep questioning facts and evidence suddenly seems so exhausting that it's easier to simply hand over the keys to your life to religion and to accept everything that then follows as unquestionable truth. To have Faith and to Believe.

And, (yes I can start a sentence with "And" :0) as if the thought of God watching over you wasn't bad enough, we now have this Ceiling Cat creature to look out for...

*This has given me an idea for a shop-by-shop review of Abingdon's precinct to be continued through the weeks leading up to Christmas. If I start at the logical place, at the main entrance, and take the left side first, I will be begin my journey this Saturday from that fashion Mecca for teenage mums everywhere, New Look.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I understand that there may be some new viewers to the blog. I think you might be a little disappointed with the content, sorry. You'll find that I promise a lot and deliver very little. Mainly, little anecdotes about dreams, music, funny (I think) stuff and things that annoy me. For instance, I am supposed to be reading the Bible to try and get a handle on whatever you religious retards find so life affirming, but I'm finding reading it akin to eating a balloon: you get full really quickly, but when you digest what you've just consumed you find it's nothing but wind and you're left with an empty feeling in your gut. What do you think of that, Bible-bashers?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

No dreams to write about today. But, I did have one of the maddest co-incidences I think I've probably ever had last night. I was wandering around in the kitchen trying to make some hotdogs and suddenly got the urge to mumble (in a faux tribal accent) "dukka dooku dukka dukka dukka dukka dang a dang" etc etc (it goes on for a while). This was a bizarre jingle for MTv that used to be on the telly all the time when I was over visiting Sarah when she was working in Long Island. Being a bit of a retention retard it's stuck with me for all these years, as well as tens of thousands of other useless tunes and ad jingles, such as "Blue Riband blues", Country Life's "betta bit uh buttuh" and "Meow Mix".

I've no idea why I suddently recalled the jingle out of the blue like that. I simply wanted to sing something and that was what popped up.

So, I had the last 100 of my breakbeat 12"s to listen to and thought I'd sit down in the living room to run through them on my little portable record player. The 20th record I played had that sample in it from the MTv advert, and I swear it proper freaked me out. I hadn't heard that silly little chant played outside of my head for about 10 or 11 years and here it was on a track by Blue Light Fever called Ebola Tombola about 30 minutes after I'd just been humming it. Highly improbable and surely my most bizarre co-incidence to date but yet, to me, still nothing more than a co-incidence. There was no divine intervention, no higher purpose, no fate or destiny, no mysterious entity trying to communicate to me. It was just a random co-incidence with a calculable figure of probability, should anyone with a massive brain, computer and an infinite amount of time want to work out.

OK, so there was a dream. I was a giant that fell asleep in a city. I had to lie on my side to fit in the street and lay my arms down alleyways with my head wedged in a piazza so I couldn't move. Why did I dream this? Because I had 2 ibuprofens when I went to bed and slept like a log in the same position all night. Sorry to burst the bubble oneiromancers, but there is nothing mysterious about a dream. Don't think about it too deeply, look what might happen...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Other people's dreams are boring, so look away now. I had a very short dream last night that I was in a car park surrounded by brambles and willow trees. I started to hear a very loud hissing, which I guessed was a snake and started to run away from the noise, when a 3 ft long cobra poked it's head out from under a bush and launched itself at me. I put my hand out to stop it, but it swallowed my arm whole and sank it's fangs into my shoulder and armpit simultaneously. Nice. Then I felt it stabbing my middle finger with some kind of internal sting. I woke up with a start and found my arm hanging out of the bedclothes and just starting to get the beginnings of pins and needles.

Here's a random picture of a snake eating something. In this case it's an antelope.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but antelopes are pretty fast aren't they? I mean, they outrun cheetahs on the savannah most of the time yes? So this python either parachuted silently out of the sky, was disguised as some grass or was riding a frigging motorbike! Anyway, pain in my arm was what triggered an elaborate dream created to wake me up and move my arm into a more comfortable position.

But what, I wonder, was the point of the next dream? I was a woman in Bournemouth (?!) trying to avoid a thunderstorm in the overgrown garden of a tatty bungalow. Lightning struck the ground near me and set light to a large pampas grass. The man that owned the bungalow was a cruel hunter that had built a concrete channel in one side of the garden, down which his rabid dogs would chase rabbits. When the rabbits reached the end of the channel, where it opened out into a shallow basin, he would blind them with a halogen torch and shoot them with a shotgun. I left the garden fairly swiftly and walked round the shops which were perched on the side of a very steep hill. There I met a really ugly and hairy muslim woman in a cafe and thought to myself, "I wish she
would wear a veil, she's hideous".

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I might have a brain disease. I went to call someone today and picked up the mouse instead of the phone and last night I had a dream involving four, pillar-box red weasels, synchronised swimming in pool next to an enormous, inflatable re-entry capsule from an Apollo rocket.

My mindwaves could have been troubled by the late night documentary I watched before going to bed. It was a Storyville program called "Ortho-dykes" on BBC4 about gay Jewish women trying to gain recognition and acceptance from their friends, family and faith. The program title is a great pun on the word Orthodox, but it's just a shame that it was such an upsetting programme. It basically just re-enforced my hatred of religion and it's mediaeval rules, although I would find no allegiance with the women for thinking this, as they wanted to be gay and still be able to be classed as practicing orthodox Jews. Talk about giving yourself a cross to bear. Ooh, another bad pun. I'm off before they start skimming stones off my head.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mmm, IKEA make the best meatballs. Meatballs, gravy, fries and lingonberry sauce. Yum. Meal and drinks for three, £9?! It's a bit of a pain that we have to drive about 45 miles to Milton Keynes just to get them though. Also, what I find a bit weird is that they have these cafes right at the top of a warehouse. It's almost like they can't have a restaurant just on it's own. What? They sell furniture as well? Well that's diverse. Not sure it'll take off though.

One of my most vivid memories from primary school (apart from performing a "cough and drop" for a male doctor and a female nurse in a cold hall with 10 other boys) was the assembly where the headmaster played a Simon and Garfunkel record to us as we trooped in and sat down. We were told to come in quietly and to listen to the song that was playing. We had all been seated for about 2 or 3 minutes when the song finished. The headmaster stood up and asked us all what we thought of the song he'd just played. This would have been about 1980-ish and us kids weren't the PSP\iPod touting, txt msging, internet junkies that kids are these days and, not being very music savvy then, we just all kind of murmured, "s'alright". It was a very gentle inoffensive piece of music sung sweetly by Paul Simon (don't know the song name though) and it didn't even register as anything but, probably, some kind of soppy love song. Well, the piece of music was actually about some guy killing his girlfriend, possibly by slamming a brick on her sleeping head, possibly by drowning, possibly there was a knife involved with a lot of blood. I can't remember fully, I was young. Anyway, he made us listen to it again, but this time to listen to the words. And there it was all spelled out, a murder song wrapped up in sugary melodies. It taught us (well it taught me at least) not to take things at face value, to listen to what you hear, to think about it and not just to blindly accept it, and it was quite probably the greatest lesson I ever learned from anyone and certainly the best piece of advice I've ever received (inlcuding "wine before beer makes you feel queer"). This especially as I'm inclined to ignore all advice anyway, confident that I can cope with whatever situation might arise from me ignoring that advice.

Anyway, that lenghty pre-amble goes some way to explain the suspicious mind I have and what leads me to ask questions of the adverts I see on TV. I know that all adverts are trying to get me to buy something, sure, but when they don't directly say, "Go out and buy this product", I know something sneaky is going on and it's my job to find out what that is and protect myself from it. After all, I don't really want to be remortgaging the house just to buy the surfing car I saw one time or the car that does somersaults or the car that sounds like a plane. I don't want to be tricked into switching my mobile phone contract to a higher tariff on the basis of a singing cherry being eaten by a Japanese schoolgirl etc etc. So, the new Sony Bravia TV advert, hmm.

Now the old one I understood, I think. Lots of coloured power balls bouncing down a street in San Francisco to the dreamy melodies of Jose Gonzalez. This enabled Sony to convey the Bravia's prowess (albeit through the medium of my crap telly) at displaying bright colours, moving at speed and then to associate with it the cool factors of Senor Gonzalez and San Francisco. Easy. Now, the new advert adopts a similar approach. This time though it's a lot of exploding paint (bright colours moving at speed again) and the music is cliched-classical, whilst the setting, bizarrely, is a council estate in Scotland. Err, hello?

To me this is Sony saying, "Hi there. You live in a crappy, grey tower block on some sink estate in Bumtown, why not improve your life immensely by getting a £2k TV? Simply shackle yourself to an impossibly extortionate loan with an interest rate inversely proportional to the rate of interesting programmes you'll watch and instantly transform your moronic little face and mushy brain into another kind of receiver dish for radio waves beaming in on a wavelength more damaging than if you'd simply sat in front of a microwave set to cook with the door open. Think of it as a massive rose tinted window onto a world that you'll never see, understand or experience fully".

I don't know what everyone else thinks?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Today I am speechless. I went to the loo and in the only available cubicle I found the toilet in this condition....

Oh. My. God. It is true, I work with cavemen. In case you can't see, that is poop smeared round the back of the seat and splattered up the back of the lid. I mean, Jesus, did his ass explode or something? It might explain why he only managed to make a cursory attempt at cleaning up after himself, if he had his bowels hanging out of his ruptured sphincter.

Added Richard Dawkins' new website to my favourite links (look right) and was very pleased to get a ticket to his 'The God Delusion' book reading at The Oxford Union on the 14th November, thanks to the QI Club.

Tonight we're off to se
Boy Kill Boy at Southampton, so expect some rubbish camera phone pic tomorrow :0) .

I'm still laughing about the panda.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Looks like I'm at the back of the pack when it comes to discovering the idiocy of IKEA's "Ask Anna" help-bot. See, I'm a cool hep cat who prefers to frequent online music stores rather than flat pack furniture websites, so I can be excused for only just finding out about this grimacing Bimbo of a logic-vacuum. As quickly as I found her though, I quickly tired of her. The small task of trying to prise information out of her regarding a chest of drawers descended into irritable tedium and I finished up childishly haranguing her and trying to trip her up. Small excerpt of my conversation with her:

Me: How do you go to the toilet?
Anna: You can find all products in the product line on the page I'm opening for you now. (opens Search page)
Me: OK. Do you pee pee? (OK, so I'm no
Anna: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
Me: Format c: would hurt you. Do you have a front bottom?
Anna: Sorry, but that's an object I don't really know enough about to comment on.
Me: It's like a tuppence.
Anna: You said it.

OK, so that conversation ended a little strangely, but I'm bored of her now.

Now I want you to watch this sneezing panda video, with sound.

I don't want to build it up, but if you want to get an idea of the sort of thing that makes me laugh so much that I go dizzy, red-eyed and my body and brain get so confused that I actually end up crying rather than laughing, then watch it ten times in a row like I did. I'm definitely anthropomorphosising the panda into a fat man with big sad eyes. And that's making it funnier!

Later, spoon feeders.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A paucity (look it up) of blog updates might make one suppose that the blogger has nothing to say. But the supposer in this case would be catastrophically incorrect in their supposition. I am tired though. Sick and tired of people talking about me. Well, not people exactly. More like animals, birds to be exact. Sparrows.

Every day during the week I walk down from the bus stop and as I get within about 100 metres of my house I can hear all the little chirpers in the hedges around the garden, twittering away happily, gossiping in their clipped little chatter. And this goes on furiously right up to the point when I open the gate and they presumably then realise that I'm there and listening. Then they stop, caught, red-handed (winged?) and perch quiet and ashamed until I go into the house and close the door. Then they start up again just as brazenly as ever, without a care in the world for any upset they may have caused! Well, we'll see how much energy they have for tittle-tattle through winter with no crumbs or seed in their bird feeders, the back stabbing little passer domesticus’ (oh yeah, Latin baby).

A very busy 4 or 5 days have passed actually, involving Jimmy Carr, American friends visiting (Craig and Andrew), the London Eye, the London Aquarium, 700 breakbeat 12"s, a 15 mile trail bike through stinging nettles and brambles and an accidental foray into a gay bar with my Dad. Yes, now you're interested aren't you, you little Hello\OK! reading sex-topic magpies? Well the story goes thus:

Pops and I arrived in Oxford about 2 hours before we were due to see Jimmy Carr at the Apollo. We walked into town, conscious that it was Friday night and that most places might be heaving with loud Ben Sherman's (and the offer of violence) and so I tried to think of somewhere quiet to go. We walked past The Castle Tavern, had a peek through the window and saw the bar quiet and well presented enough for us to venture in. Two pints were ordered and we sat down on our bar stools oblivious to the impending homosexuality about to descend upon us (I don’t mean that there were gay men hanging from the ceiling like bats, it’s just a figure of speech, silly). The first warning should have been the sign over the bar requesting, "One customer per stool please", an obviously self aware reference to the joke, "How many gay men can you get on a bar stool?"*. However, the first thing that registered with me was a flyer on the wall for a gay club night. Nothing wrong with that, the club scene has a massive gay following and you'll find that half the world class DJs are in fact gay - they have a natural gift for handling 12"s in dark and sweaty environments (fnarr).

Next I noticed the poster ad for extra strong condoms. Hmm, not such a common advertisement I felt. A bit more specialized, targeted for a certain demographallic. Quick glance round the room and I instantly catch the eye of a chap in a leather jacket sitting on his own with a glass of wine. Err, small alarm bell ringing now. I didn't say anything to my Dad, but the conversation unusually came to a halt as the evening bar tender came in, swung his man-bag off his shoulder, gave an affected swoon to indicate he'd rushed to get there and then waved goodbye to the chap he'd just relieved (steady). I thought I'd better nip to the loo and then suggest that we move off somewhere else. So, I went downstairs and stumbled on a second bar in the basement festooned with balloons and streamers, a glitter ball and Freddy Mercury playing on the jukebox. Okaaay, we're outta here. But just then I was startled by the loo door opening and a bloke coming out (I don’t mean he revealed that he was gay, I mean just coming out of the door). I made certain not to make eye contact and quickly walked in to a cubicle, just as my Dad came in. "I think this is a gay bar" I said. "Yeah, me too" he said. I waited outside while he had a wee and started to read the notice board: "Men's sexual health clinic", "Gay advice line", "Room to let - contact Keith, Derek or Nigel".....!!

We left pretty sharpish. I commented that I’d always thought the Jolly Farmers was the gay pub and then noticed that, unusually, the pub sign was a vertical rainbow design with the Castle Tavern logo over the top. I looked down Paradise Street towards the Jolly Farmers and also saw a massive rainbow flag flying from the roof. The penny dropped. Or should that be “benny”? A quick look on the internet the next day confirmed that the
rainbow sign is indeed a gay code to indicate pubs that are safe for or frequented by, gay men and women. And the article I also found on gay pubs in Oxford went on to say of the Castle Tavern, “The stylish pink exterior and a big rainbow flag make it hard not to notice (though many still walk in oblivious)”. Yes, they do, but they walk out that little bit wiser.

In my trawling of gay websites for further information on the rainbow sign (strictly for investigative purposes only I can assure you), I noticed a flash advert on the RainbowNetwork.com site for Philips razors featuring two hairy kiwi fruit that had me nearly choking with laughter (see below).

If I read that correctly, are they suggesting that gay men like to shave their balls and that the Philips razor is the one for the job? Or am I taking it the wrong way? OOOEERRR missus!!!

* The answer is 4, when it's upturned. This is an example of "artistic licence". In other words, I lied about this happening to make the post funnier. There was no sign. So sue me!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Maximo Park were good, thanks for asking. Here's a piccy.

We were up in the circle and found ourselves seated right next to a giant. He was about 7 feet tall, wrapped in a black tarpaulin (possibly a raincoat) with a large baseball cap balanced atop his boulderous head and size 22 baseball shoes on his platters of meat. He seemed tame enough, even though everything about him was enormous. I tried to take a picture, but actually couldn't get his head and feet into the same shot to capture the full impact, but believe me, you would have been impressed. He was like Hagrid. Interestingly, he didn't clap after any of the songs. I think he was too self conscious that, with his shovel-like hands it would either drown everyone else out, or deafen everyone around him, or create booming shockwaves powerful enough to knock everyone else over the balcony. "Hurrr, hurrr, hurrr. Band! Good!! Hurrr, hurrr, BAND GOOD!!!" CLANGBOOM CLANGBOOM CLANGBOOM!!!

After the gig I went to one of those archetypal London convenience stores run by Asians that is a 24-hour Aladdin's cave of drinks and foodstuffs that you never see out side of the M25. I tried a peanut flavour nourishment drink by Nestle. Weird, but good.

Something I was reminded of the other day after spinning Toby around for about half an hour (not continuously, he doesn't want to be an astronaut or anything), was that it is possible to cancel out the dizziness by simply turning in the opposite direction for 3, 4 or 5 rotations. I discovered this myself and it really works. Using this simple Gash-technique you will no longer be mistaken for a sad wino in the park who staggers from swing to slide, moaning and vomiting onto the grass after a prolonged spin on the roundabout.

Following on the amusement theme, we took Toby to the Abingdon (F)un-Fair last night. A massing of the great unwashed lubricated with Stella and fuelled by blue candy floss, boneburgers and do-nuts saturated with dripping. I don't hate people having a good time, but the fair embodies a lot of the things I do hate, such as jostling in crowded places and spending\losing money with nothing to show for it, oh except maybe an inflatable plastic hammer...! If I wasn't so depressed being herded in with all the other council estate cattle I could have found some of the 'people-watching' quite entertaining. Such as the guy below who nearly kebabbed a bystander and then the stall holder with his boss-eyed archery "skills". As Napoleon Dynamite famously griped, "Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills".

The other highlights were the return of the Romanian pram.

Every year this 1900s style pram appears, not sure if it's the same, stunted child each year though. Maybe he's kept that size, Bonsai style, by being cooped up and restricted from growing? And then there was the Burberry clad inbreed running the raffle stall who, on handing over a massive Crazy Frog to an apprehensive child, proclaimed through the loudspeakers, "another satisfying customer".

And lastly, if you're bored by people going on about their dreams\nightmares, please go to sleep now. This dream-ramble is recorded simply for posterity:

The haunted paddle steamer Goliath built by the local wealthy landowner. Moored out at sea and brought back in with giant rusty chains to be moored aside a monstrous jetty with corroded pilings. We are walking along a coastal path to a shallow bay. There is a rope coming out of the sea which is fastened to a tree stump. The rope ends at a chain, which leads out into the bay and is attached to a larger chain. When we pull on the rope\chain we can see that it is in turn attached to a larger chain, which is in turn attached to a larger chain. Eventually we can no longer move the largest of the chains that is attached. We drop the rope and move on. The 'camera' stays on the chains and we realise that a chain of events (ha) has been put into motion and the chains actually lead to an iron clad building on the far shore which appears to be a winching station with a further, even more gigantic chain leading out to sea. The gardens around the house around are filled with exotic and dangerous plants and insects. I was covered in leeches. Later when the ship comes into the bay, a girl fishing for crabs doesn't see one crawl up her line and fix itself to the side of her head. It looks like a small Japanese spider crab and begins talking to her. She then pronounces that she can understand all the sea creatures. It's a kind of Babel-crab. We make it to a tea room in the grounds of the abandoned house of the wealthy landowner that built Goliath. Whilst talking to the lady owner, I notice through a window the massive form of Goliath moving through the sea fog. There is a huge bow wave which is swamping the smaller boats. Two men on the shore shout out to a man (possibly called Jennings) furiously rowing back to shore. He is overcome and sinks. Goliath is actually a ghost ship, a bit like the Event Horizon. We all board the ship and are trapped in various rooms with ghouls and half decomposed Victorian gentlemen covered in barnacles and seaweed hammering down the rotted doors. Toby and I are trapped in one room and a corpse drops down the chimney and begins reaching round for Toby with a wormy, decomposing hand. He's screaming. I wake up, very relieved that it was all a dream.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What are you people, vampires? It's just "take, take take" with you lot isn't it? Bleeding me dry until there's nothing left. Well I won't have it. I won't have it I tell you! There's no post today, but I will have some toilet humour for you to look forward to tomorrow. In the meantime, please feel free to vote on my rather poor effort at suggesting a new sidekick for Mitchell and Webb's Angel Summoner on the BBC's Comedy Soup website.

Regulars (ha) to the blog may recognise the little chap in my submission.

And so, as Ian Astbury once said, "Ciao baybeeeeaaahhh!".

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I broke my own self imposed embargo on eating turkey meat (massive legs, ugh) today and had the roast turkey at lunchtime. It wasn't too bad actually. Dry, as the Turkey Creature always is, but not bad and better at any rate than the limbless, burnt rat on a skewer that was advertised as a kofta kebab. As I know you're hanging on every word I write, longing to know what accompanied my meal of monstrously proportioned fowl, so I will tell you: potatoes and brussels.

Seeing those potent little green balls again reminded me of an incident some years back where I was subject to the type of craving usually reserved for pregnant woman. It was late one evening at my Dad's house when, obviously lacking some vital vitamins and minerals, I had a sudden urge to eat a bowl of brussel sprouts. I knew we had a 2lb bag in the freezer and I now fancied boiling them up. At the time I didn't feel that it was a bizarre thought to have, despite my wife and father ridiculing me, for eating vegetables. I mean, times were when I would have had both of them moaning at me for not eating enough, tch. Anyway maybe my craving combined with a stubborn refusal to listen to reason was blinding me to danger that I was putting myself in. Twenty minutes later I had, I kid you not, a serving bowl of steaming brussel sprouts slathered in butter sitting in my lap and I steadily began to chow down. Another 20 minutes later and I'd scoffed probably around 50-60 sprouts. The evening wound up as normal with a movie and Sarah and I going to bed around 12.00. (gurgle).

I could possibly have been having a dream involving a compressed air hose being inserted up my anus, as about 4 hours later I was awoken to a feeling of agonising internal inflation. The natural digestive processes were underway, only with more fuel than ever before, and I was beginning to resemble Kananga from Live And Let Die (Bond forces him to eat a compressed air pellet). But with a damn sight more methane. Oh my days. I won't be base and go into full toiletical details, but needless to say, most of the windows remained open that night and Thames Water were subsequently fined £4,000 for releasing an untreated toxic substance into the River Thames, as their Bicester Sewage Works was temporarily overrun by an early morning surge.

So, I can't recommend eating a bag of brassics, but I can highly recommend
DJ Roctakon's new EP on Money Lotion records. Available now from Boomkat for only £5.99, it's in the style of Diplo's Hollertronix EPs and does very well on the mash up front of Soulwax style chopped drums and emotive 80's soft rock melodies. If I was a DJ, I would play it out and chicks would dig me.

"It's just another

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sometimes my postings are really short, as nothing of note has tickled my brain blob. Like today. Although, you might be interested to know that I watched Brick last night and would recommend it. It's similar in style to Donnie Darko with it's teenage protagonists and cryptic storyline, also a bit David Lynchian. Much as I hate to recommend films, as they immediately then become 'built up' for the recommendee, if you like to exercise your brain while viewing it could well be worthy of an hour and three quarters of your busy life one evening.

As some welcome light relief to The Bible, I've also just started reading Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner. It's about reading statistics holistically, and sceptically I suppose, and by co-incidence has a section within entitled, "Why drug dealers live with their mothers". The mysterious drug dealer 'Pin', in the aforementioned film, did indeed live with his Mom. But please, before you take to the streets with pitchforks, flaming torches and religious banners, I must point out to you that this is no Godly portent or proof of a Higher Power ruling over our lives, it's just a co-incidence.

And if you suffer from vertigo, you better look away now...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Behold, Stupidity! Many levelled, ubiquitous, amusing, comforting and self-affirming stupidity. I have a number of examples of stupidity collected over the past few days that I want to share with you (no, not just you Milligan, there could be others reading too). They're probably less about actual stupidity and how I've perceive it and more about my own insecurities and prejudices I suppose. But thinking like that takes all the fun away from laughing at the idiots for God's sake!

Example 1: Slightly stupid - In
this article, David Cohen is commenting on a Canadian college Professor's daily use of marijuana on campus, with the college authority’s permission apparently. The article is fine except for where Cohen states that the Professor in the story had been, "toking up for more than a decade now". Now I imagine that, prior to writing an article, a lot of journos do some quick "genning up" on a topic to give the reader the impression that they're writing with apparent authority on the chosen subject. Unfortunately for David Cohen, by getting his drug parlance so mixed up, he ended up sounding more adrift than if he'd just said, "smoking cannabis". 'Toking' is smoking (apparently). 'Skinning up' is rolling (apparently). There is no such thing as "toking up". You non-inhaling idiot.

Example 2: Naturally stupid - I snapped these two slugs sliming over and eating a paper sachet.

Yum for them. Until they eat through the paper layer and discover the SALT inside!!! Yowser! Terminal indigestion for two? Coming right up retards.

Example 3: Paternally stupid - Toby was watching a really annoying Dennis the Menace cartoon at the weekend. I was interested to see where it was made (so I could send them a letter bomb) and as the credits were rolling up I noticed that one of the crew was called
Euan Kerr (who turns out to be the recently departed editor of The Beano). My playground bully brain is still very much alive and I was smirking immediately, at a loss to understand why would Mr and Mrs Kerr call their son Euan? Euan Kerr, say it out loud. I bet he had to get a job working in comics so that he could pretend it's a stage name (Jo Kerr would have been better). He wanted to be a forensic pathologist really but the anticipated disruption to court proceedings when giving evidence ("In your professional opinion Euan Kerr..snigger..") forced him to drop out of medical school.

Examples 4 and 5: My stupidity\Celebristupidity - Recently I failed to realise that the bookmark I'd made to The Telegraph online website was actually specifically to the News page of 17th July 2006. After reading about the 6th news article yesterday and saying to myself:

Blair push for peace in the Middle East - "I didn't think there was still fighting in the Lebanon"
'Heat kills' warning as temperatures head for record - "In October?!"
Lord Levy denies blocking loan declaration - "Why can't they leave him alone?"

I finally realised my error. I then went to the main news page looking for current events and one of the first headlines I saw was that George Michael had been arrested for possession of cannabis after being found slumped at the wheel of his car in London on Sunday morning. Hang on; this happened earlier in the year didn't it? I checked the date and confirmed that, no, I was not the idiot this time, it was Mr Michael, repeating the
exact same infraction he was cautioned for 6 months ago. Proof that smoking cannabis plays havoc with your short term memory. What a hairy gay monger.

Example 6: Blind stupidity - People smoking whilst cycling. You guys must be out of your tiny minds. I mean, even the most belligerent of smokers would surely have to admit the fact that they are killing themselves by smoking? I think that they do recognise this and have at least some kind of desire to prolong their lives, even if it is just so that they can smoke more cigarettes, and the high sales of 'Lights*' cigarettes would seem to back this up. So when I see these fools cycling, exercising, puffing away and sucking death even further down into their expanded but ever weakening lung bags I'm thinking, "Hello?!". I liken it to the auto-erotic asphyxiators who, not content with joffing off, have to go one step further and half kill themselves at the same time with a pair of tights, an orange and tourniquet (apparently). Chimney thicket.

These examples might not seem that stupid to you, but you're just wrong you stupid idiot! You probably think that
this bloke doesn't look like an idiot either do you? Look, he's chosen to have a profile photo taken with him pretending to smoke a pipe. He wants us, you, to know that he smokes a pipe - why?! So that he can be seen as an elder, patriarchal trustworthy type that we can go to when wrestling with those tough decisions such as when to cut the runner beans down, whether to go for an indoor aerial or whether to bother with a chamois when washing the car? Tch, OK, so he's a techno guru, a very good one, and I've just learned something interesting from his blog about sound compression on pop songs to make them stand out on the radio. He's still an idiot though.

And finally, Toby calls Sarah's Flamenco dancing, "flamingo dancing". Oh right, is that where they stand on one leg and curl their unfeasibly long necks down to the ground then is it? Fool. And I suppose you think I'm being cruel to say that's stupid? In that case you must feel that a sensible child would dress up as Rambo, pretend that a yellow rubber basket was a pirate's galleon and use it to attack a pot plant only to topple over and whack their head on a wall as well?

Piratical fool.

* 'Lights' being light in name and not nature. The name makes them seem less harmful without the tobacco companies actually having to go through the tedious research and manufacturing processes of lessening the harmful chemical intake and thereby actually making them less harmful.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Oh ma giiid, how tired. No question mark there, rhetorical question, I am tired. Another Late Night with Gashy and Seal. I don't think it's anything specifically to do with getting old that makes late nights more of a problem to get over. Going to bed late, maybe 1.00am, and then having to get up for work at, say, 7.00am, isn't really a killer, as long as you have opportunities to recover. And when you're younger that means not having any real responsibilities (e.g. kids) to stop you from falling asleep watching Neighbours when you get home from work. Just that extra hour on the sofa is usually enough to get you back on track. Or you can simply use it as kind of sleep credit and cash it in with another late night. Careful though, if you burn the candle at both ends you, er, won't be able to stand the candle up anywhere. Although you will have twice as much light and I don't know where this analogy is going. The End.

Soo, we went to see People Under The Stairs, in their first UK gig in 7 years apparently. Mad. It was at the Jazz Cafe and they rocked it, along with
Giant Panda the support act that they kind of gave a helping hand to back in the day. I was thinking, "why Giant Panda as a name?". I got it later when they were rapping, "black and white, and from Asia". A black guy, a white guy and an Asian guy. Well there's the panda. And “Giant”? Well, just because, why not? I love all the wordplay that goes into intelligent hip hop and it's a real shame that most folks don't ever get to appreciate it because they can't get on with the delivery or the beats or have an image of hip hop that begins and ends with 50 Cent, Ho's and hoodies in the precinct.

The rest of my day was decidedly un-hip hop as I spent it in the autumnal Bix Woods near Henley with Toby, hiding from monsters, climbing and swinging from trees and trying my hand at some
Andrew Goldsworthy-style natural art.

Afterwards I wished that I'd combined the two pieces to make a larger flower head with concentric circles and a stalk, but I didn't have much time and Toby was getting restless as I'd nicked most of the beech nuts that he'd braved the brambles and nettles to collect. Never mind, I was still happy with the way they turned out and also with the thought that they could be dismantled and eaten by squirrels or rabbits later in the day.

I’d visited my Ma earlier in the day and she’d cheered me up no end with hilarious tales of various people she knew that were dying from a number diseases, including one man who’d told her he was dying from "prostrate cancer". I had to bite my tongue to not quip, "Prostrate? He must be lying".*

More fame and guns tomorrow with a little thread on stupidity, but I leave you with:

"First the worst, second the best, third the one with the hairy chest, fourth the golden eagle"(?!). What does that actually mean? Now you know. I personally think that it’s a biblical based saying myself and can very easily prove it. The first son of Adam was Cain (the worst); second was Abel (the best who was killed by Cain, the worst); third was Seth (who had a hairy chest, probably) and the unknown fourth son who was a golden child and also a bit feathery and had talons…

Fourth son: "KAAAAHHH!!!"
Eve: "Hush now Kaah, you can't have any pudding until you've finished all your doormice"

*prostate as opposed to prostrate