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Monday, December 31, 2007

0708

so ends 2007. it was a bit of a duff year. the only big events were crap ones. i shan’t be sad to see the end of it.
unfortunately 2008 opens with me having to make some stark choices about my future. a fact that makes me feel like a grown up, and i don’t like it. with luck and some thought what looks to be a less than pleasant situation might at least have some positive benefits. we shall see.
here is to you dear reader may 2008 grant some, if not all your wishes and desires. may it be a good one.

2008? bring it on.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

daze

there i was in coffee@ having a nice relaxing coffee watching the world go by (oh alright i was ogling the ladies walking by). in-between sips and ogles i was glancing through one of the free sheets that festoon the coffee house. in the middle of one was a free year planner (well cheap calendar); one part of the planner was a listing of the various world and international days.
boy are there a lot of them, and most of them are so so worthy.

the year starts off with world braille day (january 4th) and finishes with international human solidarity day on december 20th.
if those two didn’t get you excited how about world religion day (january 20th)? or maybe international mother language day (february 21st) (a day when we all speak our mother tongues – well for me that is pretty much every day…) perhaps world water day (march 22nd) is more your speed? let us not forget may has world asthma day quickly followed by red cross crescent day. june and july don’t want to get left behind so they have world blood donor day, world oceans day, world population day and world youth day (among others).
and so it goes for the rest of the year when you can have international literacy day, international day of peace, world sight day, world food day, world diabetes day, universal children’s day.
phew that is a lot of days.
some even get whole weeks such as walk to school, national vegetarian week, recycle now week and national adoption week. national allergy week doesn’t quite make a full week – it maybe they all come out in spots mondays and tuesdays are concerned.
some get months there is a go veggie month (because a week isn’t really enough) and black history month.
as if that wasn’t enough 2008 will not only see liverpool as city of culture but will also see the international year of planet earth.
double phew.

all of the days are worthy, some more so than others. several seem to clash with similarly themed days. i am sure that there is a sensible reason why there is a black aids awareness day and a world aids day, but from the outside it seems divisive and could imply that that aids is more a problem for one section of society than another.
why the need for a world water day, an ocean day and a day about desertification and drought. why not bring all these pressing issues together and make a bigger (ahem) splash about the problems that we may face over drinking water shortages, the rising of the oceans, and the pollution of waterways?
why the need for a day to eliminate racial discrimination and a day for tolerance. well we know why there is a need to highlight the problems around racism and the lack of tolerance, but are they not part of the same problem? can they really be highlighted by a day in the calendar that no one pays attention to?
why a literacy day, a book day, a book and copyright day. again similar sorts of aims, make it all one day.

the probable reason for all the days is because it gives some administrator somewhere something to do, it creates work for fundraisers – much better to be a sponsor of a “day” than just a normal everyday sponsor. it isn’t that the day gets covered and the general public can go “oh never thought of that! what a good idea…” it is more that the various organizations involved can point to something that they have achieved in tangible terms. it gives the various experts in the field a pleasant junket where they can clap each other on the back in nice settings.

so i want to get in on the act. i want to start a series of days. it worked with international speak like a pirate day, so it must be able to work with other ones.
my first few days include:
international sits in the armchair snoring day.
international wear marigold gloves day.
world walk backwards day.
world do nothing much on monday day.
international sing celine dion hits day (i know i know but the canadians deserve something…)
world swear like a trooper day.
world day of no days.
national free pole dance day.
(feel free to contribute your own, but remember truth can be funnier then fiction as 2008 is also the year of the potato.)

if you want to find out more about the various days and the good work that is attached to them get on over to the united nations website (www.un.org) and check them out.

putting aside all sarcastic quips and cynical commentary make 2008 a year when you did something of which you can say: in my own little way i made a difference.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

trains

i love travelling by train, there is something civilised about it. if you wanted to you could make an analogy that trains show what is both good and bad with the country, well you could, i won’t…
on all my recent travels by train there has only been the one occasion that there has been a serious delay. for the most part it was handled professionally, until the crew of the train changed and then we were all left in the dark again.
in the main i have find the staff to be very helpful, except the bloke at crewe who directs passengers to the various replacement coaches who is the most miserable jobsworth that ever lived.
most of the time i travel by virgin trains.

i am impressed that they can run four first class coaches that will have very few customers in them, but only run five standard class coaches on the same train that will be packed.
i am impressed by the ticket prices that are going to rise once more above the rate of inflation in 2008.

poor old tony blair wanted so desperately to leave an enduring legacy (it seems it is the done thing for politicians to want to leave something of note behind), his dream was partially scuppered by his involvement in iraq but it was also hampered by his blind loyalty to the thatcherite economic ideology of the market always being right. if he had been able to shake off the blinkers of thatcherism as easily as he has converted to catholicism he would have realised that one of the easiest ways of establishing a legacy would have been to renationalise the railways.

the point of privatising the railways was manifold: to break the power of the unions, to fill the public coffers and, of course, to prove that the market is the best way to do anything. the profit motive being the mainspring of innovation, entrepreneurial vision and efficiency.

well that was the plan. that was the spin.

for the railways it has meant a worsening service and increasing prices. there has been padding in the timetable in order to be able to say 95% of trains are now on schedule.

as it is christmas not only is it a time of deep religious belief it is also the time of bonuses. it is impressive to see that sir richard branson is about to trouser a £24 million dividend from virgin trains. all very nice for sir richard, who is a man of the people, well a man of the very rich people.
the dividend was defended as being a reflection of the companies “ success in attracting more customers”.
but hold your iron horses there pardner (see what i did there?) virgin have attracted more customers, so more customers means more money coming, means more profit. so by the rules of the profit motive and efficiency prices should come down! it just doesn’t work that way.
so virgin, whose service isn’t the best are about to put their prices up again. once more it will be above the rate of inflation. once more the reason will be to invest in the company.

lets not forget that for all the talk of the railways being private enterprises all the rail operators have their snouts in the public trough. virgin alone has had over £1 billion in public money to help subsidise their operation. frankly if sir richard can get that sort of money out of the treasury perhaps he does deserve is dividend.

even better people like sir richard get feted for being great businessmen when frankly even i could make a company work if i knew i was going to get public money, i knew i had a captive market and i know i could raise the prices when i wanted to.

today there were complaints that the rail system was going on a virtual shutdown for 50 hours, there were calls for the government to make sure there was a better service next year. the government said (rightly) it was for the train operators to make the decision.
we all know that private companies have not provided us with a better service, even the politicians. the political class do not want to invoke nationalisation for fear of upsetting “middle england”, meanwhile sir richard and his ilk are laughing all the way to the bank.

gordon brown do you want to have a legacy? well i tell you what you need to do and that is nationalise the rail. you will have your legacy, you will save money and you will be hailed a hero.

Monday, December 24, 2007

santa

is out dropping off presents to all the good boys and girls. he is even being tracked by norad. there is peace and calm in the air. to my firends i wish a happy christmas and a prosperous new year. health and happiness to all.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

coffee

i have a nice coffee. i am in brick lane. i have seen some good art. i will have another coffee. i will see a movie.
truly it is the simple things that make life worthwhile.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

amazon

i hate amazon.
sitting here waiting for books that should have arrived by now.
i hate amazon.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

crisis

red sky at night; shepherds delight,
red sky in the morning; shepherds warning.
(sometimes this is replaced by sailors.)

needless to say to comic fans it just means one thing....
crisis on infinite earths.

(right that is about 3 people who'll get it and the rest (another 3) scratching their heads.)

spidey

who is that man with spider-man?
is it santa in his empty grotto?
or me freezing in a very large, very cold warehouse.
(photo taken by lesley - not sure if i should thank her of not!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

quote

“…if you put a rat up a drainpipe and he can't do anything to get out, what's he going to do?" so said david handley one of the fuel protesters.
the answer is pretty simple: the rat is going to be stuck in the drainpipe until it dies or is let out. not quite the rallying cry that mr. handley was after.

the fuel protests of this weekend met with little success with the number of protesters in the tens and not the thousands.
oddly while they were not succeeding in getting their message across (and it seems to be “we don’t want to pay taxes mr. brown and can you persuade the oil companies to settle for just super profits and not outrageous profits?”) the usa was succeeding in their scuppering (once again) of any chance of their being any targets in the quest to stop climate change. the american’s preferred approach is one where countries assume a voluntary stance to cutting their emissions.
hey i believe it will work!
we can see it in the attitude of the chinese and indian states: hey you can’t stop us from industrialising; you did it so we are going to as well.

as for the fuel protesters they will no doubt be back, they will complain that their industry and their livelihoods are under attack (as they are the only people that has ever happened to) they will appeal to the self-interest of drivers everywhere and sometime soon we can watch the spectacle of cars queuing up at petrol stations to fill up because a few truckers and farmers will have blockaded a fuel depot somewhere.
showing that where the environment is concerned self-interest rules the roost.

patnav

been doing a lot of walking. it is the easiest way to get to work. as far as the journey goes it is pretty much a straight line, well one that has some bends in it. oh bugger it! all you need to know is it is an easy to navigate walk.
so most mornings there i am doing something that is a cross between an amble and a stride, enjoying the sounds the pipe through the earphones (and let me tell you there are times when you want a 26 minute acid mothers temple wig out, but walking down a loooooong road is not one of them, what is needed is a rock solid beat that trips away like a jackhammer tearing up the road) just minding my own business.
one of the joys of the walk is you rarely see anyone, and depending on the time i set out i might not even see that many cars.
the corollary of this is that i am one of the few people around which means that i become the de facto local expert. so now as i stramble down the road i am getting cars stopping me and asking me how to get to x or y. not once has any of them asked to be pointed in the direction i am going so i can say “shift over and follow my directions”. then in hope they will show me some half baked map that they have been sent and while map making techniques have come on in leaps and bounds these scratching that the drivers hold in their hands look like something ptolemy may have drawn – all that is missing is “here be monsters” warnings.
as i say the route i walk is pretty easy and there is a reason for it being so: it is a long big road that runs through a large industrial park. curiously it never appears on any of their maps, even though it can probably be seen from space.
it confuses me, and loses them.
all i can offer is a desultory “i think you need to go back the way you came”.
you would have thought the fact i was walking was a big clue to my possible inability to direct them to where they wanted to go. any port in a storm, as they say.

still not the strangest question i have been asked all week, that prize goes to emma. though being a gentleman i am not going to tell what it was, but it did make me smile.

Monday, December 10, 2007

me

me looking like a very bad ghost or extra from star trek.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

santa

now i have never made any claims to be the happiest bunny on the planet. nor can i claim to be the most miserable man to stride the streets. if you consider the happy miserable continuum then you would have to place me closer to the miserable end.
for various reasons i get even more miserable at christmas. truly i become the grinch.

i suppose it shouldn’t be a shock to me but for some odd reason the sight of a long haired man with a big beard seems to bring out the joker in people. add that to the time of year and you get santa comments a go-go.
what i like about all the comments is the fact that each person thinks it is the first time it has even been said. how clever they sound, how smug they look, especially those somewhat merry men who spill out of pubs with their pals. each thinking that they are the next jimmy carr when really all they can muster is a poor impression of syd little.
truly if looks could kill i would be a mass murderer.

so there i am out with a friend (hi hebe!) we are off to a gallery (what can i say it is what i do) when some one shouts out “merry christmas”. i greet it with my usual stony fuck off and die attitude, while hebe giggles her wellies off (yes she was wearing wellington boots). to her it was funny.
which again goes to prove i am miserable.
but there is a moral to this story (well sort of).
put your hand down cliff i am going to tell you the moral without being asked.
it is a simple moral: “if you can’t beat them join them!”
so the next time some drunken fuck says “hello santa” he is going to get a “ho ho ho” and i will have done my bit to spread good cheer.

(and just to show there is a little bit of joy in the world a rather attractive punk lass referred to me as saint nikolai – see a little originality there, ok ok even if she had called me santa i still wanted to fill her stockings….)

(see what i did there? sometimes i am fucking great…)

(enough it is late and i am rambling…)

Friday, December 07, 2007

happy

brick lane. good coffee. good music. pretty ladies.
life is good.

Monday, November 26, 2007

speech

freedom of speech is only defensible if you agree with what is going to be said.
discuss.
or not if you are at the oxford union.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

shocked

Rupert Murdoch admits to controlling the editorial direction of the sun and news of the world newpapers.
No way.
Next you will be telling me that bears shit in the woods and the pope is catholic.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

overreach

it has been a bad week for labour. the loss of discs from her majesty’s customs and excise, which contain the personal details of 25 million people, appears to be a disaster too far.
with luck it will halt the onward march of the id card campaign.

but is it really a crisis for the government as such?
according to cameron and the conservative party it is.
odd that.
on the one hand cameron and his team are constantly telling people that the government is too powerful and that it needs to withdraw more from the public landscape: “let businesses and people get on with their own lives”, seems to be the rallying cry. yet the moment something goes wrong the tories shout out that the government is not showing a firm hand and is not leading.

for all of the politicking that has gone on over this issue the key point that gets forgotten is that there is nothing that you can do to ever eliminate human error.

there is no doubt that something drastically wrong has occurred, but it is a failure of a few individuals in the civil service rather than the failure of a government minister. to pretend otherwise is to wilfully ignore the facts and to engage in cheap crass point scoring (but then that is something that cameron and co love to do).

i agree with david cameron that this situation does highlight one of the many dangers of the proposed id card scheme. after the loss of the discs no one will feel safe about their personal details being on a government database. it is not just a question of the safety of the data but also who has access to the data and who administers the data.
if the id scheme gets dropped then this disaster will have one happy conclusion.

but david cameron is on about government over-reach, in a speech in the czech capital (pop quiz – what is the name of the czech capital?) he described this over-reach as being an “enemy of freedom”.
"this week we saw a shocking consequence of this bureaucratic over-reach: a scandal where the government has lost the names, addresses and bank details of almost every family in the country." said cameron.
now consider that carefully.
what is cameron actually saying is the over-reach here, bear in mind that government had these details for a purpose, that of the paying of child benefit.
so is the over-reach the having details of the recipients of the benefit (and we all know that if they didn’t have the right information to ensure the right people were being paid the right amount then that would be a different type of failure altogether.
or is the over-reach that the state is paying child benefit?


just how are the conservatives going to cut over-reach? simple they are just going to collect less data. less to lose then, and with less data to manage the savings made can go back into paying the benefits.
sorry i was just pulling your legs there…
of course the way they are going to cut down on government over-reach is to cut down on government programmes. with fewer programmes to worry about there is less need for data. even better the money saved means bigger tax cuts to the rich – because when they have more money they spend it so that is a big yay to economy. no point cutting the tax to the poor, as they will just try to save it. that is a hearty boo to the poor for just thinking of themselves.

cameron does point out that new labour isn’t doing this out of spite, but because they believe it is the right thing to do. it is just, as cameron declares, that this belief that “officialdom knows best” is now an outmoded ideology.
except of course when your view is the one that says we need to get rid of the state – then officialdom does know best.
but child benefit (and other benefits) will still need to be paid (though much harder to get from a conservative, albeit compassionate, government), but never fear when the state can’t provide the market will step in (as if has done in places like utilities and transport – all the profit little of the risk) to provide the needy with the provision of benefits. but now the government won’t keep your data it will be with a conglomerate. see feeling safer already (fingers crossed that is not group 4).

just remember cameron isn’t talking about the data when he says over-reach is bad, he really means the services we are getting. he doesn’t like them and he doesn’t want ordinary people being able to get them.





(answer: prague)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

more

i am not just starting the march to blog 1000 with a few more pictures because it is easy. oh no. i am doing it because i can hear the roar, the cheers and the cries for "more pics pat!" "more pics pat!" "more more more". with those chants ringing in my ears how can i say no?

enjoy.






i didn't get the one that would have made the full wall version even better: just as i rolled up to this location there was a bloke reading the posters and from the back he just fitted perfectly with the large poster.
it didn't happen as life throws us curve balls and as i got the camera out he got bored and moved on.
another missed kodak moment.

900

crikey reaching 900 took a long time.
but here i am at 900. can i get to a 1000 before 2007 ends? does it matter? who knows? it will serve as a small challenge.

images

look i know images is a fancy way of saying pictures - but so what!
enjoy




(it is amazing what you can see when walking around brick lane - not sure if this is an art installation or not. it may have been for sale for all i know.)


it does seem big brother is watching us.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

farting

parping, bottom burps, trouser trumpets, guffs, sbds, cutting the cheese. call it what you will but recently i have been farting like a demon. it is as if john zorn was in charge of a gaggle of highland pipers.
still the sound of flatulence is better than the previous week’s constipation.

now if i can find a balance between these two states i will be happy.

you’ll have to excuse me for a moment i am just going to let rip like a foghorn.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

irony

dr muhammad abdul bari of the muslim council of britain has warned britain that it must not become like nazi germany where people’s minds can be poisoned as they were in the 1930s. i think he is saying that we should be wary of the state trying to cast the muslim population in the same role as the nazis placed the jews as the enemy within and handy scapegoats.
he could have a point.

such a shame then that dr bari goes on to say that sir salman rushdie should never have been knighted and his book should have been pulped.
oh not book burning, but book pulping. that makes it ok then.
we don’t want freedom of speech or freedom of expression when it might upset us. when someone says something that we disagree with then it seems we should be able to ban or pulp their work before others get to see it.
when it comes to that particular course of action it appears that dr. bari and nazi germany are in agreement.
funny that.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

victims

victims

was watching a piece on television the other night. it was about bullying in the work place. there was a woman who had suffered at the hands of the work place bullies and who had her dream job turned into a nightmare by what they had done to her.

i am a little ashamed to admit that at school i was both bullied and sometimes i was a bully (though never very good at it), and it was something i soon grew out of. bullying still goes on in schools, and it is probably a fair assumption (based on the kids i see around the place) that it is probably a worse problem than it was when i was in school, and it seems that through mobiles, email and the internet bullying has gotten to be more persistent and taking on a 24/7 aspect, at least back in my day once you got home that was it, now they can text you!


being bullied at school is harsh because you can’t easily escape it. you are more than likely going to be going to that school for years to come, which makes the suffering worse as you know it is going to go on for sometime.

i have witnessed bullying at work; i don’t think i did much to stop it so in the end i was as bad as the people who did it. i remember one kid who came to us as work experience bod, he was nervous and shy and probably not the sharpest knife in the box, but all he wanted to do was work and enjoy it. not sure he had as much fun as he should have done as he suffered as the butt of the joke on a few occasions too many. i am sure we all look back on that with a certain amount of pride…not. (a quick digression – bloke in question has done ok for himself and he still asks about the people who worked with back then. so a happy ending.)

the person on the tv (see i did remember where this started…) was bullied at work, but she had turned her life around and overcome being bullied and had moved on to bigger and better things.
so just how was she bullied?
her work was returned to her because she had made minor mistakes. apparently this kept happening. she saw that as her being bullied.
as with everything that appears on the tv you do have to take it with a pinch of salt and you do hope that there was more to it than: “my work wasn’t good enough so i felt i was being bullied”.
perhaps one of the (many) reasons why i am not working as a daytime tv or radio chat show host is that i would have asked “why didn’t you improve your work?” or “why didn’t you look for a new job?” instead what you have to do is be all sympathetic and congratulate the person on seeking professional help in order to help them deal with being bullied.
while the studio audience got a story of achievement i just thought here was another person who doesn’t want to take responsibility for their own life and was happier to be able to blame other people for the things that they felt were wrong. too many people are quick to grab any excuse they can rather than accept some responsibility in their life. this might be symptomatic of the growing feeling of powerlessness we feel about the world around us. as change comes at ever increasing pace and is not always for the good, leaving us in its wake.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

fireworks

i stood on a little grass hill last night and watched fireworks whooooshing into the sky. i think it is impossible to do a poor firework display, and quite how you get to be a fireworks display designer is beyond me. slow build up, punctuated with a few exclamation marks of whiz bangs, all ending up with an armageddon like explosion of noise and light.
easy really.
last night i could see fireworks going off all over the place.
it was like being a kid again.

what was interesting was that all the parents who had taken kids along to see the fireworks seemed to be shocked that the kids were not that interested.
last night it appeared that the fireworks were not for the kids in attendance, but for the parents who were trying to remember the innocence of their childhood. i know exactly how they felt.

watching the greens, reds, yellows, pinks and blue explode in the sky all i could do was smile and think happy thoughts.

perhaps every night should be fireworks night…

omens

i start the day with a purchase that came to £6.66.
i start the day bound over with constipation.

i am so rock and roll.

Friday, November 02, 2007

blubbing

i realised long ago that i am an ugly crier. not for me the lonely tear that drifts down the cheeks. not for me the gentle, dignified sobs. no for me it is a crunched up snarly face with tears that stream, a nose that runs, a mouth that curls and opens, shuts and generally looks like some norwegian painter has had a hand in drawing it.

there are a few things that are guaranteed to make me cry, such as:
my salary. ‘nuff said.
field of dreams. a film that is so good that it should be compulsory viewing. it is a film that is so good that kevin costner is forgiven for any celluloid mistake he might make.

a recent addition to the list is the regina spektor song, samson. makes me cry every time i hear it. i have no idea why. it just does.
if you have never heard the wonderful talent that is ms spektor i do so thoroughly recommend that you rush to check out her songs (and this is not because she is one of my myspace friends – it is because the music she makes is beautiful.)

here are the lyrics to samson.

you are my sweetest downfall
i loved you first, i loved you first (@@@ starting to well up here! @@@)
beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
i have to go, i have to go
your hair was long when we first met

samson went back to bed
not much hair left on his head
he ate a slice of wonder bread and went right back to bed
and history books forgot about us and the bible didn't mention us (@@@ blubbing here @@@)
the bible didn't mention us, not even once (@@@ full on blub at this point @@@)

you are my sweetest downfall
i loved you first, i loved you first
beneath the stars came falling on our heads
but there just soft light, there just soft light
your hair was long when we first met

samson came to my bed
told me that my hair was red
he told me i was beautiful and came into my bed
oh i cut his hair myself one night
a pair of dull scissors and the yellow light
and he told me that i'd done alright
and kissed me till the morning light, the morning light
and he kissed me till the morning light

samson came back to bed
not much hair left on his head
ate a slice of wonderbread and went right back to bed
oh, we couldn't bring the columns down
yeah we couldn't destroy a single one
and history books forgot about us
and the bible didn't mention us, not even once

you are my sweetest downfall
i loved you first

(copyright regina spektor)

and now that I have spoken go listen to her. You will thank me afterwards.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

end

so the london office is closed.
one countdown finished. end of an era.
start of a new countdown. start of a very short new dawn.

i am going to miss this place. and i am going to miss the people here.

(don't worry it will be back to political pat very soon...)

Monday, October 29, 2007

blackmail

it says something when a member of the royal family is being blackmailed.
the idea that any of them would be worried by the release of a story about what they get up is one that causes curiosity, after all unless they are having sex with dead animals while snorting drugs off the slick bodies of javanese go-go dancers dressed in her maj's knickers - it strikes me there is little that they can do to raise the public eyebrow.

oh look it is someone banging on about a homosexual act. so what? if two consenting adults want to play with each others male bits what do we care? it is not like it is illegal.
oh they did drugs. again so what? we know it is frowned by the law, but hey ho it goes on and why should we be surprised that anyone who has access to a lot of cash and has lots of "friends" gets hold of some illicit mind-bending substances?

mmm one of their hangers on has shopped them.
looks like it is a minor royal. no doubt someone looking for publicity in order to launch some dull slow witted scheme they have.

for a family that somehow managed to kill of di by arranging a series of coincidences that led to her crashing into a large bit of brick, you would have thought that they would have been sensible enough to make sure that no one caught them on film doing naughty things.
perhaps you just let your guard down among friends.
ah well that is one lesson they won't forget soon: toffs are tossers.
(see a little bit of class war in there for you! freedom to the people!)

here is the thing though if it was blackmail then why aren't the people who were trying to do it on their way to jail? or are they going to get a good smacking from the security team that let them get the photos?
it is a little like "the sun" journalists (well they say it is a newspaper)do those stories about security breaches. come on admit you know you want to read the headline "sun journo gunned down in security success". not so much because it is proof positive that the security measures are adequate. it is more that there will be less "sun" jounro doing the rounds.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

pics

and because here at blogspot we like to spoil you here are even more (but because i hae posted this lot after the first lot i posted you will read this before you see that making this the bit that is before the more... it all gets confusing like a 1960s dc comics batman time paradox).

anyway enjoy.


(can you spot the deliberate error?)




Wednesday, October 24, 2007

missing

look i know what you are all saying “there is something missing!” no not maddy (who do you think i am patrick keilty? at least with me there is a chance i am going to be funny.)
pictures that’s what has been missing.
guess what?
they are back.
enjoy.






Monday, October 22, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

booooo

england lost.
it seems so wrong. they came so close.
i feel deflated.

but i have to say that run of wins that england put together in order to get to the final does leave me feeling proud.

so bring on the six nations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ban

i am starting a campaign to ban the use of the phrase "minute one". it doesn't make the user sound any more exciting, it doesn't make them seem any more knowledgeable, and it certainly doesn’t make them hip or trendy.
when it is used in place of "from the first minute", "right from the start", "from the beginning" or other such phrases i don't get a feeling of increased speed or of heightened impetus.

so stop using it right this second, or should that be second one.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

speed

speed

there is talk of a speed restriction for cars of 20 miles per hour in built up areas. the reason for this is that it could halve the number of pedestrian deaths a year.
seems reasonable.
not if you are a driver.

at this point i have to declare my lack of driving skills. the one time i tried to drive i quickly discovered that i would be very dangerous behind the steering wheel. i don’t have a problem with cars per se. quite happy to accept a lift (thanks paul!) and i still have very fond memories of phil’s 2cv (i am not sure i have ever forgiven him for selling it).

what i have a problem is, for want of a better phrase, car culture. car culture comes to the fore when there are discussions about such things as speed cameras or speed reductions. then all of a sudden the car lobby throws its toys out of the pram.
speed cameras are just means of making money, they cry. fine then just don’t speed and then the cameras end up costing the government money. see there you have a stuck a blow against the autocratic government. even better you haven’t broken the law.
oh lowering the speed we can drive at means people have to keep looking at their speedometers and not at the road. surely you are doing that if the limit is 30, 40 or 50 miles an hour?
accidents are noting to do with the driver or the car; it is all to do with the fact that there are not enough roads or the roads are old. oh that is fine we’ll just build more – we don’t need houses in urban areas just make way for more roads!

i have no sympathy for the moany drivers; especially as most of them think that clarkson is a bit of a hero. like their hero the drivers see themselves as promoting freedom, they are against the nanny state, they are fighting the good fight for liberty: “you’ll have to pry this gear stick out of my cold dead hand….” of course none of them admit to the fact they want to be boy racers and have visions of themselves driving very very fast and looking very very cool. except very few of them are lewis hamilton.

it is odd how most drivers seem to be able to drive within the speed limit and never get caught by speed cameras. obviously they are doing something wrong and are letting the side down.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

fatties

Well I consider myself to be on the portly side of obese (kinda cuddly in a nice santa/ teddy bear way rather than a large walking tub of lard. I know it is subjective, but for the moment I am the right side of the fat line, only just mind).
The obesity row has been going on for sometime, and looking around you can see a lot of fat people getting fatter (I can also see a lot of men wearing their trousers beneath their arses which is equally disturbing).
There are lots of reasons for the growth of girth (fuck that is good I am copyrighting that right now). The decline of competitive sports in schools, the lack of school playing fields, the growth of stranger danger which stops kids playing out in the street, the growth of sedentary activities such as computer games, tv/dvds and the internet, longer working hours, the prevalence of fast foods, the composition of foods the list can go on and on.
there is a class issue here in that often the most at risk are the poorest. the ease of fast food and ready made meals make them an all too often first choice (I have to put my hand up here and say “it’s a fair cop guv, guilty as charged”) rather than get hold of individual ingredients and cook a meal.
So obesity grows (well it could hardly shrink) and we are storing up problems for the future in the same way porkers store transfats (see now that is what I call comedy).

Sure there are people who are genetically predisposed to be on the large side, there are some who have medical conditions that make them pile on the pounds.
The fact is that most of us who carry a few too many extra pounds and stones around with us are victims of our own desires and laziness. We eat too much and we do too little so we become fat, fatter and fattastic
We can blame who we like but in the end we are the people who stuff our faces.
It is we who need to get a grip on our habits and resist.

The state can play a large part. It can do it through education by explaining that what a healthy lifestyle is and how we can maintain one, encouraging exercise. It can do it by law by requiring that food manufacturers adopt an easily understandable labelling system that allows the consumer to know what they are buying (a simple warning: “steer clear of this if you don’t want to break the scales” would suffice). the state could look to make sure that there are local leisure facilities available at reasonable prices.

All that said a little more moderation on the subject wouldn’t be a bad thing.
We’ll ignore the talk about body mass index, which goes out the window if you exercise a lot.
But it is hard to pass up on the hyperbole of obesity being as serious a crisis as climate change (here, dear reader, I am assuming you agree that such a thing is occurring).
Look I am the first to admit I don’t know the science behind climate change but I am happy to believe it is taking place and that it affects us all. We can see it with increased risk of flooding (hell even the rich are affected as it is buggering up their skiing), the growth of more screwy (it is a technical term) weather patterns in the uk. Globally more and more are at risk from hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis. We run the risk of more skin cancer, but better tans, because the ozone layer is depleted. We are seeing the seasons in some regions change and this affects the ability to grow foods.

If the potential outcomes of climate change come about then the future of the world and humanity are somewhat bleak.
If more people become obese it just means they have to wear stretch pants and wobble along the street. Sure they will die earlier – but it is their choice.
I suppose there is the problem that maybe all the fatties jump up and down at the same time – then we would see a tsunami or two. Perhaps there maybe an issue of the methane released by porkers could bring about the quicker depletion of the ozone layer.

I am not denying it is a serious issue, it is an issue that is expanding – but it is also one in which the individuals have to take responsibility for their own lives and their own choices.
Next time I am reaching for that cream cake, I will stop and think twice and go get some fruit.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

england

woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

i admit i couldn’t listen to it. i was at the tate.
decided i would amble home, so a nice long walk along the thames.
catch the dlr.
as i walked by a pub at shadwell i can hear a crowd singing jerusalem (perhaps the finest song ever written). a flicker of hope.
through watney market, i pass a happy couple. she is wearing an england top. the flame burns stronger.
in my local newsagent a posh couple come in to get a bottle of wine because they are going to celebrate. could it be?

the radio confirms it.
even better it is a drop goal from jonny.
can they do it? not sure i would bet against them.
but for the moment let us enjoy the victory over the french.

will i be at home next saturday to hear the final?
what do you think?


wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Thursday, October 11, 2007

2am

still awake. wtf!!
should have been asleep hours ago, but nope.
so right now i am going to go count some sheep to see if that knocks me out.

perchance to dream?

tragicomedy

every once in a while a story comes along and you know your reaction to it is just wrong, a little like the time i cheered when i heard about di. to many my outburst was seen as tasteless but to me it was the full flowering of republicanism.

needless to say the recent, sad, events on the 25 bus has had me chortling.
ok i admit i am not a nice person…

for those of you who have missed the story, it goes a little like this.
early morning and a 25 bus (it is a bendy one) is going to ilford. two mates get off of the bus, one mate falls under the bus, is dragged for a mile and is dead. end of story.
it is tragic, there is the loss of life.
but all i can think of is what was his mate doing when he fell under the bus? was it a case of “ha ha that is a jolly jape, i’ll see you at the pub tonight?” or was it a case of “mm where did he go? oh well i had better get a move on or i am not going to get my breakfast” or “i am sure mr. x was with me a minute a go. i must be imagining things!”
by all that is holy how do you not notice that your mate has disappeared? how don’t you notice or hear him fall under the bus?
mind you if you haven’t noticed him disappear under the bus then at least you can pretend you couldn’t have done something.
oh what could he have done pat, not like he is a superhero from the comics you read, i can hear you sigh.
well how about banging madly on the doors of that bus amigo?
how about running to the front of the bus and shouting at the driver, my friend?
or even just phoning the police, how about that then dear reader?

well it seems none of that happened and the poor sod was dragged for a mile, until a passer-by noticed the body.

i have been a frequent critic of the 25, all because of the attitude of the drivers (“oh i know what i will do: drive really slowly and wait at every stop. mmm why do the passengers get annoyed at me?”) i have never thought the bus was any less safe than the other buses i use (at least there is never that terrible moment when you make a tit of yourself and cause distress to other passengers as they have to hide their titters and guffaws as you (well i) fall down the stairs of the double decker.
the doors of the 25 are pretty wide, and that time in the morning not that many people on there. it is not that hard to step up on the floor of the bus.
quite how you get yourself into a position where you end up under the bus is beyond me. even more so how you do it and not be noticed by your mate remains a mystery.

to be honest when i was told about this i snorted as i thought i was being told a pack of lies. it just didn’t seem possible. it still doesn’t.

mind you it does remind me of another story.
one of my work colleagues, sk, had been out with his family for a drive. they return home. unpack the car. picnic things back in the house. wife sorted out. kids checked. dog dealt with.
all seems ticketyboo.
nope need something from the shops.
off goes sk in the family car. tootle down the street. people looking. people staring. people gesticulating. keep driving. get to shop.
oh now sk can see what the fuss and bother was.
dog is attached to lead. lead is stuck in car door. dog has had to run after the car. dog has been dragged by car. not much of a dog now, more a broken bloody mess.

again this is a story that made me laugh like a drain (it shouldn’t have done, but like i said before i am not a nice person). all credit to sk, if something like that happened to me i would keep quiet about it. he was happy to tell everyone and the story has taken on the elements of legend.
shed no tears – the dog survived, sk has never said if it has ever stopped quaking when he gets near to it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

quote

quote

there i was at the tate britain. it was a late tate, i had seen the milias exhibition (very fine it is too) and decided to walk the gorgeous halls of art to enjoy some of the wonders housed there. wandering over to the hockney curated exhibition of turner watercolours.
as i closed in on the watercolours i could hear voices. instead of looking at the art i ended up listening to an author doing a reading and then answering questions.
he was not a commanding figure, almost nondescript, but his voice was strong, clear and passionate. he answered the questions thoughtfully, elegantly and with a vigour that carried the listener with him.

now i wish i could remember exactly what he said – so the title of the blog made sense – but all that stuck in my mind was how positive he was of what humanity was capable.
he spoke of how we should seek to be astonished and amazed, and how we should do astonishing and amazing things.

even an old curmudgeonly cynic like myself could see that he was right. the question is: just how to go about doing amazing and astonishing things?
when you know the answer let me know.


(oh for those of you who care the author was ben okri and i will have to get one of his books to see if he writes as well as he talks.)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

televison

reality tele leaves me cold. i really do not understand the attaction.
but i have seen something that may make me get a tele so i can sit and watch a reality show.
they are discussing having jeffrey archer starring in one of the "i am a celebrity..." now that is what i call television.

woooo

rugby world cup.
saturday.
quarter finals.
australia.
england.

last few minutes. tense. holding my breath. unable to move.
bish bosh. final whistle.

england off to the semis.
australia going home.

fantastic.

come on you boys.

Friday, October 05, 2007

election

for a long while gordon brown was being told he need to call an election in order to get his own mandate. without that mandate his premiership was not legitimate. this neatly side steps the fact that we elect the party and not the leader.
then gordon surprised us all by actually doing a deft job of running the country in the face of several major calamities.
(who would have thought it? he'd only been the most successful chancellor ever...)

cameron's poll ratings went down the toilet.
this time the talk of elections cames from those who thought gordon would walk it
gordon didn't quash this at the time and say "hey no need to call a snap election the labour party has a mandate to run the country for several more years yet. lets buckle down and get on with the good work." nope he stayed quiet and teased.

the result?
cameron was gifted a tory conference where they all agreed with each other, no one broke ranks and everyone thought that they had a chance. (they don't but that is another story altogether). not only that it allowed the tories to talk tough, in the style of the playground, about how if gordon brown didn't call the election he was a chicken (they may as well have started chanting "come on if you think you are hard enough").

tactically brown made a mistake by not stopping the speculation over the election.
now that cameron has gotten a bit of a boost in the polls (seemingly because he can talk for an hour without notes - sheesh make me president of the world now! and because the conservatives didn't go into their usual meltdown mode. why do i say tha? simply because it is doubtful anyone has been suckered by the "new conservatism for todays challenges" rhetoric, the policies seem to be no different from any of the previous formulations on tax, europe, immigration, family and the state).
(yowsa that was a bit of a digression...)

anyway cameron's boost in the polls now gives him the upper hand with the election. most commentator would agree that cameron would rather not have an election now. yet the fact he can call out brown shows just how galvanised the tories have been over the prospect of the election.
if gordon brown declines the offer of an election this year - then he will be portrayed as being scared of losing the tories.
if he does agree to the election then he will be seen as a bully who has gone to the country years before he needed to just because he wanted to capitalise on the poll ratings,

just this once gordon has been outflanked.
what he needs to do now is say: "no election - i am getting on with the job of running the country".
when he utters those words we can watch cameron stew and start counting down the days until the conservative start their in fighting again.

go on gordon - you know it makes sense.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

di

enough is enough.
she is dead. move on.
stop using the inquest as a tacky way to boost sales of newspapers (oh it is ok as they will wring their hands and say how terrible it is that those other newspapers rake over the old ground again and again...) (it is ok that i am am doing it because of course i am making a serious and important point here and not just mentioning diana princess of wales in a cheap and tacky way to get people to come to my blog, oh alright i am doing that as well which is why i must just mention that diana princess of wales was indeed the people's princess - actually what a dumb thing that was to call her as the queen is hte people's queen it is all part and parcel of the job... )

so even without wanting to i now kow she was on the pill (given her propensity to shag around sounds like she was being sensible), that she was in a lift the night she died (who would have thought it! the shock of it!)

the worst part of it all is that once the dust has settle on this inquest nothing will have changed. those that believe she was killed on orders of the royal family will still believe that, those that think it was an accident will still believe that,

the only person who knows the truth is david icke and he hasn't been called to the witness stand.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

tories

thatcher goes for tea at the browns.
tebbit disowns you.
what are you going to do?
call on arnie, not quite as good as getting clinton to come and give a speech, but for the tories it is not too bad.
arnie is tough. arnie is hard.
cameron wants to be tough. cameron wants to be hard.

so expect to hear about being tough on crime, tougher on immigration. expect to hear about much better public services but lower tax bills. talk of equality of choices, but not equality of chances.

cameron, like arnie, is playing on the old riff of "l'll be back".
sadly for him we will all be telling him "hasta la vista baby".

Sunday, September 16, 2007

bad

it was open house day this weekend (which i guess means it was really open house days... but hey who wants to be a pedant).
i went to the first one several years ago. not been since as all the places i wanted to visit and see the insides of were so popular you just never got a look in.
today while i was out and about looking at art i managed to get a look inside one of the churches that was open for the day. it was an impressive building while being plain, but then you are in there to worship (well not if you dawkins or hitchens). as i looked around and drank in the atmosphere i got myself into a little spot of bother.
i am not sure if i have told you this but i have a thing for japanese women. have no idea why but they put lead in my pencil (as they say).
there she was a nice japanese woman strolling around the place. we breifly talked. i had several impure thoughts.
so that has added a few more years in purgatory for me.
st paul has written in the big book "rude thoughts in the house of the lord" against my name.
but she was pretty.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

pics

and here are some more....






a mistake in photoshop and i get the above and i quite liked it. so there you go. there is magic in the mayhem.

pics

here are some misc pics. enjoy.





Wednesday, September 12, 2007

3am

there is magic in the night, which is much better than andrew lloyd webber’s music of the night, but even so i want to know what in the name of all that stan and jack did am i doing still awake at gone 3am in the morning.
the streets are quiet. the kebab shop is busy selling smokes, beers and the occasional kebab. it always seems to be on the go, even with the all night mcdonalds just down the road from it.

but right now i need to sleep. i am getting up soon (well that is the plan), so you can colour me green and call me lime but i am pretty shocked to still be up this time of night.

no wonder i am late for work every day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

warming

commonsense seems to dictate that man’s (in the generic non-sexist way – which means you girls get to cop your share of the blame as well) actions are changing the environment.
i am no climatologist, nor am i the world’s most observant person, but even i have noticed that the good old english weather is no longer what it was a few years ago.

green issues have gone from being the province of the tree hugging weird beards to one of key battlegrounds for competing political parties. in the uk david cameron’s conservative party seem to have stolen a march on gordon brown and new (can we still call them that?) labour.

given that i have admitted that i am a virtual imbecile (hey this is the web – it is almost obligatory) when it comes to the science of climate change how can i make a decision. i know you are asking this question of me, i can see you sitting there a furrowed brow, maybe a tongue sticking out in concentration. well dear reader i will give you my answer.
it seems to me that there is no harm in proceeding as if we are harming the environment and so act accordingly. less energy consumption? shouldn’t be a problem i should never be that lazy that i can’t hit the off switch rather than the standby switch. less package? about time who needs all those layers just to get to what you want?
do i care if governments have to intervene to make sure some of this happens? not really we can see that the market isn’t going to do it – after all most of the packaging comes from the big supermarkets. nor is it likely that manufacturers are going to do anything to improve energy consumption unless they are compelled to.

but i suppose my one abiding reason for believing that the impact of humanity is the major contributing factor to climate change is the people who are against it. today i read a piece by richard littlejohn in which he not only had a go at politicians for liking the sound of their own voices (mmm mr littlejohn pot and fat kettle i think..) he managed to have david cameron and gordon brown teaming-up in a new round of class war against the middle classes. cameron and his toff’s trying to make sure the middle englander stays in his place, while gordon brown was leading the charge of workers enraged by envy at the middle class and their consumption of things.

after reading the wonderful words of littlejohn i was convinced climate change is a bad thing and we are responsible for it.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

so i have had a few weeks to recharge the old (and i am getting old) batteries.
luckily stuff at work has meant that i am still a cynical thing.
the usual stuff will be dealt with, but luckily i have missed all the bollock about di and amy, consider yourself lucky you haven't had to read me rant about that stuff.

anyway sleep easy i am back.
all is well in the world.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

awake

been awake for a few hours. not used to being awake this early on a sunday, not a morning person so i don’t like it.

but have managed to read warren ellis’ “crooked little vein”. it is not a particularly good read. in trying so hard to find the dark soul of america all it describes is a number of outlandish perversions. all this occurs because the protagonist has been hired to find a lost book that will restore normalacy to the american psyche. written in a sub noir style with flat attempts at humour and shock. there are a few good ideas in the book – the key one being that the mainstream more often than not co-opts the underground and makes it acceptable. even this is undercut by a lack of anything like a description of what is normal and what is deviant, as the lead character points out there is no “us and then – there is just us”. it is as deep as the book gets.
for a short book there is a lot of repetition, which just gives the feeling that this has been knocked out in a few bored weekends. even worse this is just a rehash of the story from the “desolation jones” mini series. it will appeal to warren ellis fans, or those stuck in their adolescence.

so with most of the day ahead of me i have to decide what to do with the rest of it. there will be coffee, there will be art and there may even be some cleaning of the flat (oh now i am just entering a bizarre mirror world). one thing that there can’t be is me spending money, as i am broke.

oh well let us see what the day has to offer.

Friday, August 24, 2007

tories

the tories are preparing for a snap election. they are worried that gordon brown is doing so well in the polls he will go to the country and ask for his own mandate.

one of the first things that david cameron’s conservative party (not quite as snappy as new labour, but i guess it does signal a break from the past) will have to do is get their manifesto written.
to be fair they have been working on the foundations of this document since cameron was elected. in a sensible move cameron set in motion a number of fact finding policy groups, their results would inform the content of the manifesto.

rather than wait for the conservatives to unveil the full manifesto i thought i would bring you a sneak peak.

the conservative manifesto for 2007/2008 (or for whenever gordon calls the election) is as follows.

the economy: tax cuts and more tax cuts. if the richer are richer the poor have to work harder. sorted.
society: everything will be much better when everyone is married. by the way it is your life don’t expect us to help.

right that is the big picture dealt with just a couple of other things we need to mention and then we are done.
human rights or anything else that might help you against big business – well frankly it has to go because… well they have been abused once or twice and we don’t like them. remember from now on doff your caps.
immigration, frankly since we lost the empire we don’t really like the, so unless they are rich enough to employ accountants to get them out of paying taxes we don’t want them here.
crime we are going to bang them up (unless they are white collar criminals in which case it might be a nasty talking to they get).

in case you can’t remember all that let me remind you that here at the tory party we stand for tax cuts and marriage. that’s it really. pretty simple.
vote for us.


(this party political broadside has been brought to you by pat, a graduate of the mark steel school of comedy.)

quotes

"an overview of my career is usually glasses, homosexuality, watford football club, tantrums, flowers. but the music was pretty phenomenal." elton john, as quoted in the new edition of "oxford dictionary of modern quotations".

while it does seem to be a perfect summing up of the current view of elton, whereby what made him famous (the music) has taken a backseat to everything else. perhaps he deserves it for “candle in the wind”.

however it is not a quote i am going to try to remember on the off chance i can drop it into conversation to:
1] impress people with my literary learnings.
2] challenge them with a pithy pearl of wisdom.
3] stun them as i drop it like a hundred ton bon mot.

whichever way you look at it elton’s quote remains a clever summing up of his career.

most of the other quotes that have been quoted seem to be so specific to the person quoted that they are not going to be of much use to the rest of us as we trying to convince others we are smarter than we are.

a few of my favourites from the list are:

“since when was greed a criminal offence?” – conrad black, author and very greedy man.

“the email of the species is deadlier than the mail.” – stephen fry, demonstrating that a useful element of the “quote” is that it can be recycled into a new quote.

“diets are like boyfriends - it never really works to go back to them.” – nigella lawson, she cooks things and looks sort of sexy and has now created the concept of diet sluts and with it diet porn.

“football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and, at the end, the germans win.” – gary lineker, footballer, commentator and seller of crisps.

sadly none of them come close to the, almost, perfection of one of my favourite quotes: “fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke…”

one person who should never make it into the oxford dictionary of modern quotations is richard littlejohn. a man who is neither clever or funny. go here and wince.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

results

it is that time of year when the exam results are released.

shall i tell you what i have learnt about those results?
as if i had to ask, i know you are hanging on my every word.

this is what i have learnt.

students of comprehensive schools – only get their gcses and a-levels because the exams are so much easier than they were in my day (my day being whenever the commentator took them). these exams are not worth the paper they are printed on. they are just given to any tom dick and harriet. they are not about rewarding excellence they are all about mediocrity. the pass standard is so easy to get – it is all about getting the results because of league tables.

students from grammar schools get their gcses and a-levels because they have studied hard, they have been taught well, and they are a credit to the nation. the exams they sit are so much harder than the ones i did in my day. it is all about rewarding excellence, the pass standard is high and each one shows the true benefit of a good education.

quite why most of the commentators don’t say what they want to say, “we don’t want billy estate kid to get good results and go to university as it means he might not doff his cap to henry posh bloke any more”, is beyond me.
they just don’t like the fact that kids from ordinary schools can get decent pass marks and set themselves on the road to betterment (yeah yeah i know the tory party and the rest of the right make noises about social mobility, but they only really mean it as long as none of theirs is left behind). rather than sing the praises of the kids who have worked hard to make the grade the commentators will endeavour to make the claim that the current exam system is flawed and easy, yet at the same time chuffing on about how wonderful grammar schools are for getting some of the highest pass marks in the land.

frankly if the grades are easy to come by you might think that rich parents might want to save some cash and just send richard the rich boy to his local school, after all he is guaranteed to get high grades.

and if i am a public or grammar school i am not sure i would want to be crowing about my ability to get pass marks on piss poor exams.
(but what am i talking about in some cases they can have their cake and eat it, and they do).

or could it be that this is just the story the media like to trot out every year around about now?

you decide.

Friday, August 17, 2007

disappointed

like many children of my generation i was fascinated by space. my generation saw man land on the moon (or did we?).
like many children of my generation i did nothing much about this fascination, all it has amounted to is a love of science fiction.

sunday just gone saw me leaving the flat just before the stroke of midnight and wandering to brick lane to the little park that is on buxton street.
armed with my camera and a happy frame of mind i was out to catch pictures of the promised shooting star shower.

i choose a spot, i sat down. i prepared the camera. i took some prep shots. i waited.
the more astute reader will have guessed where this tale is going by the subtle title i have used.
the shots i had taken indicated that i wasn’t going to get any decent ones of the night sky and the stars that were out. blast. oh well i’ll do some moody night ones instead.

the radio had promised that there could be as many as a 100 shooting stars an hour at the peak of it all. not on your nelly. mind you the radio seemed to indicate that it would all start at, variously, 11pm, midnight, 1am, 2am and 3am (but never quite telling you if it was british summer time of greenwich mean time they meant). bugger.

so i sat. i would say i was accompanied by the ticking of the clock but i only had the mobile phone for the time. i was visited by mr urban fox (not quite as dapper as dr. liam fox, but probably a better politician…) who scurried here and there for scraps of food (a bit like dr. fox and votes). i was also joined by a chap who had come out to look at the shooting stars as well (and not to talk about badgers as paul suggested…)

although it was early morning you could still hear the insistent beat of the clubs on brick lane, the sounds of young revellers was accompanied by the heavy thud thud of industrial machinery and the occasional blast of an alarm to warn workers that something big was about to happen. the counterpoint of all this was the lullaby of police sirens.

the sky was lovely. the stars twinkled like little gems. the air was chill. i could get used to this stargazing i told myself.
so did you see any? i can hear you all ask yourself. well yes. not quite the 100 an hour, not quite the spectacular shower i was promised, but i got to see 5, which is more than i have seen before.
i got to see a fox, take some moody pictures, sit and relax. all in all a nice little adventure.

but i have to tell you this: it does get right nippy at 3.30am.








Anniversary

Today marks the third anniversary of iampat. Blimey how time flies when you are having fun.
Still onwards and upwards.
My promise to you faithful reader is that the future will be a lot like the past but with more bad jokes. Sort of like david cameron’s tory party.
I thank you, matinees on Saturdays….

Thursday, August 16, 2007

back

had a mini break. but now i am back again. i know i know you were missing me.
in the break i have sort of made a decision about the redundancy - it is a kind of hedge my bets choice that doesn't really solve the problem. though a few more days at work like today and i will make a very firm decision.

i have also watched 24 day 6. terrific tv. only problem with finishing it is now i have to wait for day 7. the next series is already planned and they are talking about making it carbon neutral, i hope they are talkng about the making of the show as opposed to the action in the show. "dammit chloe i told you to get a hybrid car...."

still in the gap between 24s i have managed to download "space above and beyond" - an ecellent show that only ran for one season. and i have almost completed downloading 60 episodes of "sunset beach" - which is perhaps one of the greatest shows to ever appear on tv.

have even done some cleaning - not much, but it is a start. acorns and oak trees.

the important thing for you all is that i am back....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

blue

so david cameron’s conservative party are going through a bit of a wobble at the moment.
they must have expected a gordon brown “bounce” in the polls, and they must have thought they could weather the honeymoon period. like the rest of us they didn’t expect the succession of troubles that have afflicted the first weeks of brown’s premiership. nor could they have expected brown’s solid, capable performance. brown’s grace under pressure allied to his slow but sure distancing of himself from the blair years has meant that gordon brown is sitting pretty in the polls.

the tories on the other hand just seem to have the jitters at the moment. donors are complaining, activists are whinging and mythical middle england is moaning. if it isn’t grammar schools, it is the trip to rwanda that is getting them all worked up. what got david cameron positive press months ago is now seen as being just self-puffery and image spin.

so how do they combat it? more reports from their policy groups (solve all problems by making people marry, make druggies go cold turkey, more money to the armed forces and er.. that’s is)? nope that is not the way.

no the tories have gone straight the heart of the matter and they are going to bring their lost voters back into the fold by, sometimes, changing their green tree logo to a blue tree logo.
hey blue trees work for me and you have to wonder what it was dave was (not) smoking at eton.
they can do this because their tree logo is about strength and flexibility. it seems it is also about just making a change to appeal to the tory heartland, it is a symbolic shout out that says “we still believe the same things you do. honest.”
you have to wonder, is that all it is going to take for the tories to rally behind cameron? perhaps deep down they don’t mind it all being about image as long as that image cleaves close to the one that allows them all to claim to be thatcherites at heart.

new tory! old story!

Friday, August 10, 2007

lechery

not often i have to doff my cap in admiration at a fellow lecher, but tonight i bow down and say i am not worthy.
there i was at baker street waiting for the tube to whitechapel, i had just missed one (it was an episode that proves that tube trains are in fact decepticons. i saw the tube on the platform but decided i wasn’t going to make a fool of myself by running for it, anyway i knew if i can for it then it would have been a circle line train and i don’t want that one. but as i strolled closer, the doors stayed open. i put a bit more effort in the stride, somewhere between an amble and powerwalk. just as i can see it is for whitechapel and i could make a lunge for the doors, they close….damn!)
anyway down the platform from me are two quite sexy young women (not young enough that i would have to claim i was doing “research”). like most young women who are out at that time of night they are dressed to impress and they are loud.
two circle line tubes come and go.
to be far i am not really paying that much attention to what is going on around me, i am engrossed in my book. i do see a japanese tourist sweep the platform with her video camera, she lingered on me. wow i am a star.
i look up and the whitechapel train is coming in.
blimey it is crawling along the platform. come on man i want to get home. then i think to myself it might be one of those short trains that occasionally service the line late at night and it will stop half way down the platform. nope that’s not it, it is still coming.
what on earth?
that is why the train is inching up the station the driver is checking out the two foxy hot chicks.
who says men can’t multitask?

tonight matthew that driver is my hero.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

larry

there is nothing quite like getting something you have been after for years. today i have tracked down a cd that i have wanted for several years.
yes thanks to the efforts of ebay expert kt i am now listening to larry adler playing a selection of gershwin tunes, with vocals being provided by a number of a-list singers.

i have liked gershwin for years. what can i say i am a bit of a sucker for a musical or two.

to be honest i was attracted to this cd more for the sheer bonkersness of it. many years ago no one would have batted an eyelid at such a record, but now it can be seen as a gimmick record.

not that there is anything wrong with gimmick records i have a few that are wonderful. one of my favourite cds of all time is the pat boone “no more mister nice guy” on which pat unleashes his smooth big band jazz vocals on some metal classics – creating a hard lounge sound.
then there is senor coconut. sublime. or the chamber music attack on the works of metallica by the cello wielding apocalyptica. smooth.

and while i sit here singing along to the songs of gershwin i can’t help but wonder what possessed the people responsible for the record to bring it out.
i can picture them sitting around a smoke filled room, time has stopped for them, and they are brainstorming, trying to find the latest new sound. names and styles are thrown out. shot down. drink is quaffed. more names. more nos. more styles. more nos. but these are record execs they are not like the rest of us, defeat is not in their vocabulary. they are winners. even as the hours turn into days they know, they know they will crack it and they will have an idea that will rock the heavens.
as night follows day.
hold on.
night and day.
cole porter.
great american songbook.
yessssssss. lets do something with the great american songbook.
great idea.
but lets use someone other than porter. i know gershwin. winner. gershwin it is.
okay what are we going to do to make it special? easy. easy you say? how. what we do is get a lot of distinctive and popular singers to do their versions of the songs.
brilliant.
lets put this baby to bed and celebrate.
break open the champagne.
hoooold on jeeves! what is the problem? something is missing. what are you smoking? it is a killer idea.
i know, i know. but look gershwin is famous for rhapsody in blue as much as he is for his songs. what are you going to do have the singers hum it?
mmm not a bad idea…. just joking. you are right, we need to have rhapsody in there. but how?
look the singers are a great idea, but lets hang it on a musician playing the pieces, that way we can do rhapsody and we can hang the singers off of the musician. how does that sound?
now you are cooking with gas baby! this is a winner.
but who? what about that guitarist you know the one eric clapton? no we can’t use a guitarist to obvious. harry connick junior on piano? now that isn’t bad, a little bit samey. that bloke who plays the flute? nah gedoutahere.
humming, you know that wasn’t such a bad idea. i have got it. we’ll get the world’s greatest living harmonica player and we’ll put him with gershwin and famous singers and we have ourselves a record and half.
pure genius.

and it is. with cracking vocal performances from elton john, sting, peter gabriel, kate bush, cher, sinead o’connor and many others all accompanied on the mouth organ by the, then, living legend of larry adler.
a winner from start to finish.

for those who care larry came under scrutiny from the house un-amercian activities committee, which forced him to leave america to come britian.

i urge you all to rush out to get a copy of this mellow miracle.

now if i can get hold of elaine paige sings queen i will be very happy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

gormley

antony gormley has an exhibition on at the hayward gallery. it is quite wonderful. part of the show are the various bodycasts that dot the skyline around the galley. the effect is quite startling.







sky

pretty darned impressive sky.
the camera has brought out more colours than i can remember there being.



graf

says it all really.

Monday, August 06, 2007

gutted

i just found out that katie "jordan" price may not have written her books.
that a ghost writer may have been involved with the cration of these wonderful works of art.
i guess someone will tell me her tits aren't hers either...

flops

so the sun has come out and i am feeling totally miserable because of it.
i seem to generate a lot of heat. so i thought i would get a pair of flip-flops. all the kids are wearing them and this old boy wants to be hip and trendy. (added to that tescos' had some on sale when i was in there…)
oh well it was a nice idea.
within 10 steps out in the open i soon realised that i was not destined to be one of the stylish ones. bloody things kept falling off.

i do need to get some new trainers though as my current favourite pair – yellow asics are about to finally give up the ghost. i think i have had about 5 years almost constant wear out of them so i can’t complain.
the only problem is: can i get another pair that will last as long as they did?

books

i have no need for new books. i probably have enough unread books to last me until…well quite a long time.
but i have a problem: my name is pat and i am a bookaholic.

just finished reading “visibility” by boris starling and very enjoyable it was too. so i need to pick up another book and start reading.
do i
a] go to the recently purchased pile?
b] go to the bought it in new york pile?
c] go to a local bookshop and buy a new book?
d] look at the pile of second hand books i have bought?
if you chose c you know what ails me.

but i am happy to say that i resisted in borders – didn’t buy a book. came close, but no c-format paperback. i didn’t buy anything in the hayward gallery bookshop. i looked longingly in the window of blackwells, but resisted.
i am a man of substance. feel my iron will.

oh shit look there is the new jeffrey deaver paperback, only £3.87. tescos once again broke my will down.
today i ended up in the eastside bookshop on brick lane. there i picked up a book on east end history and ordered another book…

so what am i reading?
yup one of those books i got in new york.

obesity

the reason i am portly (the polite person’s fat) isn’t because i am sitting here typing this while indulging in a cream doughnut. oh no.
it is much more complex than that. it is because i have a hyperactive appetite. oh well that is all right then. it is not my fault, it is a bona-fide medical condition.
i love the new victimhood culture we have – soon nothing will be my fault and soon nothing will be my responsibility.
(as obesity is now seen as being a medical condition do you think i could get half fat cream cakes on the nhs in an attempt to wean me off them? well worth a thought.)

cleaning

the most terrible thing has happened, i am back on a cleaning jag.
hot weather, me cleaning. the first two signs of the apocalypse.
expect me to be even more miserable as i rack, pack and stack stuff. as i sort and box, as i throw and give stuff away.
i know it is futile – a little like the efforts in helmand province (see updated the augean stables analogy to something more topical and cutting edge).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

hope

who would have thought that brian may would turn out to be a bit of role model to slackers like me?
36 years after he started it, brian may, handed in his doctoral thesis this week. admittedly in-between times he has had a rather successful career as a rock guitar god, not to mention getting married to anita dobson…

i take heart from what he has done as it means that there is a chance that i might one day complete my masters degree and who knows go on to do the doctorate, i once thought i would do (remember what i told you about plans?)
to be honest i have forgotten the number of times i have started a course and have never finished. i know there are only a few london universities i haven’t studied at. so come redundancy time perhaps it may be time to seriously think about going back to academic study again/

no, teaching is not an option. as paul, in a major vote of confidence, said, “you are a news of the world headline waiting to happen….”

good luck to brian for his result, and thanks for reminding me that it doesn’t always matter how long it takes – it is the doing it that matters.
i am the tortoise of academia.