Monday, November 09, 2009


Couple of things got my goat this morning. Didn't realise I had a goat actually, until it was 'got', but that's another story (no, it's not - Ed). Right, who's first then, Jacqui Janes or Rev'd Canon Dr Giles Fraser?

OK, women first - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8349757.stm.

Yes, Jacqui Janes is beside herself with grief at the loss of her young son in Afghanistan and my absolute heart goes out to her, but the claim that the perceived spelling mistakes in her condolence letter from the PM were "disrespectful" and an "insult" to her son, is a bit hard to sympathise with when you consider that she very quickly turned that upset into a fat payment cheque from Rupert Murdoch's odious empire, i.e The Sun(k so low). I can't help but think that in a different age those feelings would have been dealt with in a more private and less mercenary way.

Which just leaves me to sneer at Rev'd Canon Dr Giles Fraser's contribution to the Radio 4's long running religio-soap box 'Thought for the Day' this morning. RCDGF, as he will now be known (because it reminds me of GDR), was telling us about the small chunk of the Berlin wall he had in a dusty drawer somewhere. He didn't explain how all the dust got into the drawer, unless it was open all the time maybe, but he was troubled by the method by which he came to possess the tiny fragment of concrete; how the, "little bit of the wall still troubles [him]".

He bought it, pause for effect, from a mini-bar in a hotel in Friederickstrasse, Berlin.....

Wha??? OK, stop right there Rev. Two things off the top of my spinning head:

a. what was a man of the cloth doing looking in the mini-bar in the first place? Hmm? and,
b. who the hell buys a bit of 'supposed' Berlin wall, sealed in plastic bag, from a fridge in a hotel-room?!

In his little 2 minutes of fame he uses the sale of the souvenir in cheap packaging from such a potently iconic event as an example of the, "ability of freedom to become something cheap and tawdry". He repeats the philosophical claim that liberty often simply translates into the "freedom to shop". Well, sorry RCDGF, but these laments and woes carry almost gossamer levels of weight when they come from a man that helped propagate the tawdriness and cheapening of liberty by actually buying the little plastic bag of concrete in the first place!!

How the deuce has he missed the irony here? The irony that, from where I'm sitting, is sounding it's stentorian air-horn and waving it's fluorescent orange flag directly in his face? Possibly by employing the same level of self-delusion required to preach as gospel a way of life derived from a story-book concocted of errors, lies and exploitation? Yes, quite possibly that.

Dr Brockles is on holiday this week.

Sunday, November 08, 2009



A subject for posting, guaranteed to prompt accusations that, "he must have a lot of time on his hands"

Why do we sing in the shower?

Well, not everyone sings in the shower, agreed, but I've used "we" to include you with me if you do.

Quite a lot of the reasons\theories I list below are intended to be considered as coming from the subconscious, so I'm not accusing you of being one type of person or another, or of doing something for a specific reason, but I hope it might make you ponder the motives behind some of your more banal actions, just purely as a fun\interesting exercise.

  1. Quite often, people will sing or whistle whilst performing mundane tasks, either as a way of demonstrating the ease (or pride) with which they are performing the task, or simply that their brain is showing that they have extra bandwidth to do a job and sing\whistle at the same time. "Check me out, I'm washing my armpits and singing, Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John at the same time. Who says men can't multi-task?"
  2. One sometimes has music playing in one's head shortly after waking and so this continues into the ablutions (nb, it may just be me that has an iPod on continuous shuffle in my head, from waking to sleeping)
  3. There's the classic explanation people give of 'good acoustics' in the shower or bathroom. This isn't really clarified though, because I for one certainly don't walk into a shower exclaiming, "oh, the acoustics in here are marvellous! la la la laaaa, do re mi fah so la ti dohhhh!!". I would agree however that the background noise of a shower (water falling, pump pumping) might mask any imperfections one's own singing voice might have, which in turn would embolden one to risk belting out a few verses of Girls Aloud.
  4. Following on from the perceived better acoustics in the shower, the falling water etc would also act as a slight sound barrier to protect one from any listening family or friends in the vicinity who one may not wish to be privy to, or irritated by, your crooning.
  5. Falling water, the eurhythmics of it, as with falling rain, changes the human mood. Think of how a rainstorm in a movie is used to note a transition in the narrative from one mood to another. Rainy Sunday afternoons are perceived to be the nadir of English boredom, but only in the hands of the boring. Given as an opportunity to stay in with close friends and family, they can become cosy and relaxing times. The stress and complication of a thousand and one possibilities of what to do and where to go are taken out of one's hands and the relief that one feels is seldom spoken of, but gratefully received. The micro-rainstorm of a shower brings about the same emotions that one feels next to a waterfall, a babbling brook or the spray of a breaking wave at the seaside. Maybe the singing comes from that mild euphoria. It might explain why one doesn't sing in the bath so much; that placid block of water intended for wallowing in.
  6. I don't intend you accept all (or any) of the above possibilities all at one time. One explanation may be appropriate for one person, two more for the next. Or maybe it's none of the above, and instead just this one explanation that fits you: that, whilst naked and exposed in a shower with limited visibility and hearing (two essential senses for the survival of the human from unknown, hostile forces), you are nervous. But, whilst one is (ridiculously) nervous in this state, a hangover from the times when humans were once prey (although not in the same era that they owned a Mira power-shower), one is also self-consciously aware that it's not good form to show any kind of fear. And so one sings, nonchalantly. Out of tune. And whilst forgetting most of the words.
  7. And lastly, people sing in the shower because there is a kind of social meme that is propagated from comedians to pub-goers to work colleagues to family that poses the question, "Why do people sing in the shower?". It's a semi-rhetorical question, in that no-one really wants an answer (although certain types, ahem, sometimes spend far too long attempting to supply one) and is intended just to point the thing out. The result being that, if you didn't sing in the shower prior to hearing this question, you most probably will be more inclined to after hearing it.
Dr Brockles signing off.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Oh, err, Hi. Sorry, my dog ate my homework, the bus was late, I forgot your number, I was ill, work's been busy, I thought it was next week etc etc excuses excuses.

So lovebirds, what was it that awoke me from my self-induced slumber? What event of history altering import roused me from my mental torpor? Hmm? Only the fact that one of the most ridiculed lyrics in the history of pop music has recently been resurrected by a band that really should know better! That's what.

Remember this classic line from Des'ree's 1998 single "Life":

"I don't want to see a ghost
It's the sight that I fear most
I'd rather have a piece of toast"

Recently voted by listeners of BBC radio to be the worst lyric ever written, but of which Des'ree couldn't give a toss, because I think she made millions from it being number one everywhere for always.

Well anyway, poo lyrics agreed by all to be consigned to some kind of dustybin of embarrassment.

Well, rum-punchers, fast forward to the present nowness and marvel at the Arctic Monkeys' recent turn of phrase in their latest single 'Cornerstone':

"She was close
Close enough to be your ghost
But my chances turned to [yep, you guessed it pop-pickers] toast"

Presently the world wide web of bedwetters love this song and appear to forgive Alex Turner's poorly chosen plagiarism. But I haven't. Shocking mate, shocking.