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Monday, August 30, 2004


i try not to be cynical but find that the world turns round and slaps me in the face and shouts "stop being so naive"!
and what has brought about this latest bout of cynicism.
well there is the tendency of new labour to go where the money is, they seem to love rich people. they are attracted to them like moths to the flame. i am sure in some cases there is a great personality behind the wallet and that they are indulging in conversations of interest and worth but i can't help feeling there is a jerry mcquire moment where tony blair, peter mandelson, david blunkett et al are shouting "show me the money, show me the money!"
nick cohen's piece in the observer on sunday made depressing reading especially his conclusion that in order to stay in power politicians will have to find themselves a nice old sugar daddy to pay for their campaigns.
and of course we all know that he who pays the piper calls the tune - less power to us and more mockery of the idea of democracy coming up.

it's a move that makes us just that much more like america and the american political system. i don't want my elected officials spending a big chunk of their time trying to sort out where their next political donation is coming from - i want them running the country, i want them making sure that there are hospital beds, a working transport system, a good education system, housing, social security, decent trade union laws that protect the rights of the workers.......
oh hold on we will leave all that to the market because that's what the rich people new labour are cuddled up to want to have happen.

in the new york (so good that they named it twice) in madison square gardens - home of the knicks and where the wwe have just had wrestlemania (where it all began again) the republican party is having its conference.
bush and cheney have been nominated to run for 4 more years.
they are making a big play about 9/11 - i am just surprised they didn't go for having the event on the actual anniversary, or would that have been a tad too tacky ? so the republicans are going on about their strong president and his aggressive response. well afghanistan is still not a thriving democracy - left pretty much to the local warlords to rule over most of it. while the situation in iraq is pretty dire and with little hope of it getting better.
ah but it's ok as long as you can ban gay weddings - you know the world will be a much safer place.

one of the internet news sites described arnie as begin a moderate speaker at the convention - i am pretty scared to see what they call a radical speaker.

though it is nice to know that there are protests going on in new york to let people know that the average american is not too keen on bush, his administration, the direction he is going and like the rest of us is worried about the damage that bush may eventually cause.

yup i am not cynical - its just the world around me.

Friday, August 27, 2004


its the small things in life that seem to make me happy.
today my copy of essential iron fist arrived - well that some of my weekend reading sorted out.
today i finally managed to complete the download of rainbow's tower of babel rehearsal tape - and that is going to be some mighty fine listening to is all i can say. it was a time of magic ritchie blackmore was still a master of the electric guitar and not some oddbod who dresses as a troubadour and plays only in castles. while ronnie james dio was still the mighty mighty dio but younger and rawer.
what's more the set contains several versions of one of the best rock songs ever "stargazer".

the rock gods looked down and smiled.


as if the mark thatcher story couldn't get better - it has.
the evening standard last night ran an article about mark and his friends and their involvement in the attempted coup. it painted a nice picture of how maggie went to visit mark for a christmas gathering at his home in south africa, where she chatted to all the guests. guests who seemed to be there to be tapped up to fund the coup.
of course the only ones talking about it are the ones who either saw sense and were never going to get involved or were too broke or too late with the cash to get involved.
after profiling one of the leaders an old etonian ex SAS soldier, simon mann, the standard asks what drove these men on to plan to stage a coup.
now pay close attention here there will be a quiz at the end - but don't worry its multiple choice and there will be some clues.
so did they choose to stage the coup because:
1] they are middle aged duffers who sniffed one last chance at adventure
(very very wilbur smith)
2] they saw a chance to overthrow a nasty dictator.
3] they did it for the money.

ok the clues:
equatorial guinea is an oil rich country.
simon mann apparently stood to gain £10 million pounds, his second in commands a £1 million each.

now which do you think it was did they organise the coup because of 1 , 2 or 3.

oh and i nearly forget the absolute best bit of it all. there is a wonga (for that is what it is being called) list that names the donors to the cause and on it there appears everyone's favourite dodgy tory. yes that's right i am talking about the disgraced peer himself the one the only jeffery archer. just when you thought archer had learnt from past mistakes its a case of (cue Brittany) "....ooops i did it again..."
the silly part about it for me - is it just endears him more to me no matter what madness archer gets up to i cant help but like the man. i know its a bizarre weakness on my part.
well perhaps it's because he is married to the fragrant mary? (she is part of my top tory totty list - one day i will explain it to you all)

still if there is someone bowing before a craven image right now offering up thanks it has to be david (i am having an affair) blunkett, at least for a moment or two no one is paying him any attention.
poor old peter mandelson must be cursing his luck that this stuff never happens when he has fallen into shit creek without the paddle.

the only question left to ask is will freddy forsythe write the novel of the failed coup.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


still suffering today - not sure what is wrong with me but i do know it was not helped by falling asleep on the floor last night. eventually woke up about 4.30 am and then struggled to bed.
struggled is an apt word for it - not just because i was bleary with sleep, still a little woozy from from whatever it is that ails me but also because my flat is a pigsty. i live in total mess - the sort of place that when discovered normally belongs to the bloke who has just wigged out and shot 13 passerbys. there are parts of my flat where the carpet has not been seen in years. it is currently in a state that even i am shocked by how messy, cluttered and untidy it is. the problem is that its is so bad it is hard to know where to start in order to get in clean. not to mention can i afford the bin bags i will need to get the stuff out to the dustmen when they come.
but it has to be done and it has to start now. (well not right now as i am at work but you get my point).

the only other places i have seen that approached mine both belonged to scots - one was living in cardiff and his place did indeed look like the habitat of a militia sniper. in the case of the other it was his car - in that unique he had turned it into a rubbish bin on wheels, not seen his car for a while i can only hope it is nice and tidy now, still he does have a good taste in country and western music.

if i am lucky i might have my flat cleaned up by christmas - i can only wonder at what delights i will unearth.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


at work and i don't want to be here. i am full of aches and pains. have a bad headache and sore muscles. i wouldn't mind if i had done something to be like this but i haven't. i guess it just must be old age.
the irony of it all was that i took a day off and spent a large chunk of it being ill - top class. best laid plans and all that sort of thing.

the olympics are coming to a close - yippeeee. though have to say i was very pleased to see kelly holmes win gold in the 800.
some of the best parts of it has been the excuses of the losing athletes - my favourite is the 400 hurdler who said he couldn't see the first hurdle because of an advertising hoarding.


well leave it to mark thatcher to bring a smile to my face. up on charges of financial a west african coup.
hope they throw him inside and chuck away the key.

someone else who should have been banged up was terry yorath - i am sure he does a lot for charity and has some recent hardships, but the moment you get drunk and get into your car you forfeit any sympathy. this is made even worse when its not just your life you put at risk but other road users and pedestrians. in this case he managed to knock down a woman walking home. and what does he get £500 fine, banned from driving for 30 months and a bit of community service.
that just seems plain wrong to me.

Monday, August 23, 2004


working late.
nothing unusal there - must stop doing it though. annoyingly i am off tomorrow so by working this late, its nearly midnight i shall be knackered tomorrow.
still taking this opportunity to order some stuff off of - the best internet site in the whole world at least when it comes to me parting with my money. so what am i getting? as you have asked so nicely i will tell you.
Dysrhythmia - Pretest - the reviews seemed interesting so i thought why the hell not. i am sure i will regret it.
Charlie Watts - Watt's At Scott's - this isn't actually for me but for a friend (honest guv)
Fred Frith / John Zorn Duo - 50th Birthday Celebration Vol.5 - i love john zorn the noise is wonderful. i probably have more john zorn than any other musician (frank zappa and merzbow are probably the next two). now i just have to get the other 4 cd sets in the 50th birthday release.

right enough of this wibbling about on here - time to finish off and go home.
oh ok one more coffee as well


i have a love hate relationship with computers. they know this and every so often they crash and burn on me. in recent months i have had to replace 2 cd drives, have a new hard drive installed and this ignores all the programme quirks that seem only to happen to me.
the box has only just come back from our IT maintaince guys last week.

so when i was searching for iampat on google (ok i admit it i am vain) and had one of those annoying websites that just won't go away, so much so i had to go to task manager to get rid of it.

on exiting that i discovered that my screen had flipped so that everything was upside down. the mouse worked upside down and it was very hard to get it to go anywhere i wanted it.
oh no i thought annoying website has given me a stupid virus and this is what it does.
turn off machine.
reboot it.
mmmm so far so good.
its still upside down.

have to phone the IT bods - the shame of it.

only to discover that this pointless thing - the turning of your screen upside down is actually a thing you can make the computer do (alt-control- up/down arrow keys). what in the name of spiro agnew is that for, what purpose can it serve. tell me tell me.

like i say i love to hate my computer.


this link was sent to me by a friend. he knows i read comics.
this has made me smile very big smile. i would laugh out loud but people at work already think i am odd.
go here for a smile.


first coffee of the day - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!
i love coffee, i drink too much of it. i will drink crap coffee and i will drink expensive coffee.
i go to local coffee shops (the best being coffee@ brick lane) and i will go to starbucks and coffee republic. i just love coffee.
and there is something very very special with the first cup of the day.

tme to do some work.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


a surge of national pride went through me yesterday morning.
its is talked about in terms of you will remember where you were when .......
like most people that will be easy for me to do - i was in my flat listening to it on the radio.
just like four years ago i was in my flat watching sir steve win his fifth gold.

i caught the very end of cracknell, pinsentt and the other two blokes (well who is going to remember them ? but for the sake of it all ed coode and steve williams) did the job and won gold. i am not a rowing fan so know little about the sport. there had been a lot of talk in the run up to this event about the upsets, arguments and tooing and frooing as to who were going to make up the 4 who rowed on saturday. one of the guys who was supposed to row, alax partridge, was being interviewed throughout the week as the team rowed. it was somehow sad and wonderful to hear him talk about it - knowing that his chance for glory was not going to come this year but wanting his his team, training partners and friends to win.
alex was online as the 4 won and it was a poignant moment, made even more so by the fact that all the rowers seemed genuinely concerned about him (they had named the boat after him), and they expected him to be rowing with them for gold at the beijing olympics in 2008.

i will confess to having a tear in my eye as i listened. partly because of the one left behind, partly because of pinsent's achievement of winning 4 golds in 4 olympics, and partly because of national pride.

what is even more amazing is that as we win gold medals in all these less than fashionable events you just know that their achievements will be soon forgotten by the majority of us as they are not football players, cricketers, runners in the athletics...... which is a shame.
the other thing about what they have done is the way they talk about it the hard work, the gearing up for this one event that takes place every 4 years, the hours of training the dedication, the sacrifice. and i can't help but think that is the difference between them and the rest of us - it isn't always the talent and skills to do the task but the dedication and the motivation to actually see it through no matter what the costs are.

i raise my virtual hat to messers cracknell, coode, pinsent and williams long may you enjoy the glory.

now lets hope paula wins.


well after the adventures of thursday night/ friday morning i just knew there was going to be trouble ahead.
i was meeting up with a friend for a coffee and a curry in the evening - ah the joys of brick lane, a magical place that holds so much - a great coffee shop, a veritable legion of curry houses and it's a haven for the arty farty crowd.
the work day was pants mainly because i had had very little sleep so i was happy to see the back of the place and get out and see joel.
we were both still amped about seeing dio the previous week - and to be honest it was just truly awesome, to quote an old school friend it was a "BRAINBLAST". as ever our conversations revolved around music, work - mainly the problems of work, art and a few other things.
one of the things i have noticed about my life is that as i have gotten older i have less dreams in life - i remember at school hanging around with people like joel and adam and having dreams about being a writer, a photographer and a bass player in a rock and roll band (i had long since given up wanting to be an astronaut). in someways meeting up with joel once a fortnight is a way back to those dreams. i never expect to be a published writer or sought after photographer but at least now i have started doing both again.
(what of the bass guitar you ask - hell no, i struggled to play the bassline on smoke on the water so that was pretty much a sign from above to stick to air guitar!)

the coffee went well, the curry went well and was very nice.
except that both of us had ordered too much to eat. not really sure why joel couldn't finish his - but me it was because somewhere during the evening i had developed a bad case of wind - but not the sort you can easily let out. i think i bloated out a little as we sat and ate.
but aside from a little discomfort it was fine and the evening was good.

a short trip to a local pub (apparently tracey emin's local) and then home.

i made it home with what must have been seconds to spare.
as i sat on the toilet my arse erupted in a mix of vile noises and heinous stenches - imagine the sounds and smells of a festering primordial bog land and it comes close. i felt like i was deflating. and i was there for a loooooooooooooooooooong time, each eruption slightly less extreme than the one before.
when i eventually got of the toilet to flush - it was as if jackson pollock had decorated the inside of the toilet bowl.
i had to make two more trips to the toilet before i felt it was safe to go to bed.

saturday was pretty much me recovering from whatever it was that turned me into a human version of mount vesuvius.

Friday, August 20, 2004


during last night's missed night bus adventure i stopped off at the famous brick lane beigel bar in order to grab some food and an industrial strength but not very tasty coffee.
from there i walked home. obviously for the young and the beautiful thursday night at 4am is the normal kick out time from the local clubs. so brick lane was brisk with people walking home (after having had a better evening out than i had had!)
the thing about brick lane and spitalfields is the amazing mix of old and new , modern and traditional. so you have new fashionably designed loft apartments (tracey emin lives in one of those - so i have been told), butting up against old style elegant townhouses next to council properties. small indian resturants vie with plush large trendy eateries. style victim shops sit opossite clothes shops where your granny goes to buy her undies and such like.
in short its an area of contrasts. its also an area that is supposed to have a large proportion of the east end 10,000 artists, you won't be surprised to learn that i want to become one of that group! its an area that has seen much change and is still seeing change - from the communities who live there to the types of things that have gone on there.
with that in mind it is nice to see that some things never really change that much.
the commercial is still the place to see prostitutes - some young some old, some thin some fat, some drop dead gorgeous others looking like they have had several whacks of the ugly stick.
last night as i walked home munching on my beigels i saw 4 ladies of the night. only one of them asked if i was looking for business.
its comforting to know that under the shadow of hawksmoor's christchurch prostitutes still ply their trade and that as the various jack the ripper walks wend their way through the streets they can point to the working girls and say mmm look some things never change.


our lives are made up of moments.
all of them fleeting, some happy, some sad, some important, some just fluff.
some moments can change the way you think for the rest of your life.
other moments can just reinforce the lessons of life.

last night was a case in point.
i was out late in a part of london i do not go to often. so i needed the night bus to get home. i had confirmed there was a bus stop i could use near to where i was and it had a night bus going in my direction, even made a note of the times it ran so i could be there for it.
so far so good.
the event ends and i toodle along to the bus stop. i wait. patiently. i am thinking about how much i like being out in the city late at night. i am thinking how quite this part of north london is, i am thinking blimey its chilly.
a bus approaches i stick my arm out it keeps going, even without all its lights nice and bright i can see it is the 55 and i can see its for oxford circus. i am less than happy as i want to get home to go to sleep as i had work later. so thats me at 2am. so i decide,in frustration, to phone london transport's information line. and a helpful man (ross) told me that the 55 was running - just it was delayed. i thanked him and ho hummed.
i heard a bus approaching from behind me, i turned to look and see the bus that was on the other side of the road going in the opposite direction to the one i was waiting for the 55 going to oxford circus. of course by the time my sleep deprived brain could work out what was going on the bus had reached its stop and had moved on.

so what does this moment show ?
well it shows and confirms that the luck of pat comes in two kinds none and bad.

so another 30-40 minutes later there is the bus i want. then home to bed.
get to sleep at 4am.

i woke up to the sound of the radio blaring and the feeling my bed was on fire. very odd.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


a few days back i went to see ronni jame dio - a little man with a mighty mighty voice - live in concert. i had given up going to gigs several years back but there was something special, something awesome about going to see the man whose voice has been there through much of my musical listening career.
he was there when i air guitared to rainbow.
he moved on to black sabbath and then he formed his owned band.
the one constant through it all was his great voice (and his fascination with rainbows).

and to see him live, ah it was a treat.
by the third song he had already done two classics that i had never expected to hear.
it was a set of classics.
it was a set that demanded air guitar histronics, fierce headbanging and demonic hand gestures.
it was a thing of beauty, a thing of joy and i am still reliving it now.

two random thoughts about gigs - its nice to see the lighter has been replaced by the picture phone its not quite as romantic and moving but seems more in keeping with the times.
and i really do think heavy metal bands should be looking to get some sponsorship from people such as timotei and head and shoulders - there is a lot of hair at a heavy metal gig and a big percentage of it gets well and truly sweaty.

i salute you ronnie james dio it was a gig worthy of the immortals.


i like london transport .... well i have to as i use it a lot.
thanks to a situation of financial embarrassment (all of my own making) i am forced to use the buses instead of the tube. now the main bus for me is the 25 and its an odd bus, not just because of its number, but because of its inability to keep to a schedule, its desire to travel in packs (though i am not sure what the predator of the 25 is) and the fact that they seem to keep changing it.
recently it has gone from double decker - which made it easy to spot at night (it was the only double decker on the route).
then it went to having on of the few healthy fuel cell buses. looked great - lots of steam coming out of it, very quiet and a smooth ride.
now they are bendy buses - like to single deckers stuck together in the middle with a concertinaed middle to allow it to turn corners. but the driver no longer takes your money and you have to get your tickets before boarding, and just how often are the ticket machines working......
i reckon a lot of people just hop on and don't pay, i wonder if the route is losing money.
the reason the driver no longer collects the money is so that the bus can travel faster along its route as there is less delay for the driver trying to get change etc. it's a nice theory in practice the route seems even slower as the drivers just seem to hang around the stops.

blimey next i will be talking about how the price of mars bars have gone up since i was a kid.

who remembers aztec bars. scrummy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


there are things i know are bad for me and doughnuts fall into that category.
i am not a slender person - oh alright i am fat, i suppose i am technically obese but i luckily do not look like the staypuff marshmellow man, i just look cuddly.
anyway i am sitting at my desk listening to air america radio (via the internet) and along with the coffee i am drinking the doughnuts are being scoffed. they are custard filled and they are lovely.
what makes them taste even better is that i know they are bad for me!


so why am i doing this ?
who knows.
i know for a fact i live a dull and uninteresting life that would bore to tears most sane and normal people. so perhaps this is a form of revenge on those of you who have interesting lives.

the olympics are on at the moment and probably for the first time in a looooong while i am not interested. its not because i know that the coverage is going to centre on the fact that the great british team are not going to win medals (we never do and besides the point is to take part...) its because its on during normal hours, which means the majority of it takes place while i am at work.
there is something special about staying up late at night to watch sir steve redgrave win his 5th gold, there is nothing interesting in it during the day.
and that reason alone is enough not to want the olympics coming to london. there are other reasons why i don't want them coming to london, but that one will do for now.

gotta feel sorry for the phelps guy, by expecting him to win 8 golds anything less than that and he's a failure. but just by being one of the best at what he does he should be receiving the plaudits of most of us.
mind you don't feel that sorry for the USA dream team - was good to see they lost to puerto rico (this is not a political statement (there will be plenty of those to come at some point) just i don't feel the olympics are a place for highly paid sports stars to be at).

right end of my first real post.
and i still haven't answered the question of why?
i can tell you the answer isn't 42.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

sad arse test

this is a test to see if it works
nothing interesting here - move along.