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Thursday, April 26, 2007


not feeling at my best at the moment.
with all the talk about obesity that has been flying around recently, and the fact i am getting older, i have decided to go on a mini diet.
not for me the tedium of counting calories. not for me the dullness of the atkins diet.
i know exactly why i am a fat pat.
no for to lose weight i am taking the drastic measure of ditching chocolate bars and avoiding cream cakes.
i am going cold jam doughnut on it, i crave mars planets.
i am just saying no.
i am on the 12-step programme.
my name is pat and i am a chocoholic.

i can handle it...


no i am not talking about littlejohn and clarkson. though they would qulaify.
no i am not talking about chelsea fans, but they probably are.
no i am not talking about the tory party, even though they most definitely are.

no i am talking about bus drivers.
it might be an unreasonable hate - but currently bus drivers are scum of the earth, almost as bad as estate agents.
rant over.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


it seems that i missed history being made over the weekend. from the tone of some of the newspapers that informed me of it this was an event to compare with the parting of the red sea, the moon landing and the pulling down of the berlin wall.
what was this event?
it was the first woman football commentator on match of the day.
i confess i was a bit shocked that there hadn’t been a “live” tv commentary by a woman on british tv. still it all changed with jaqui oatley, oddly i have heard her numerous times on radio 5 live presenting reports from some of the lesser games being played that day (the important games get covered by such wonderful commentators as alan green or mike ingham) and she is ok.

what seemed strange about the stories was the implication that women just couldn’t commentate on a football match. obviously that is just hogwash, women are just as capable as men to commentate on football matches for games shown on tv. after all how hard can it be? what does a commentator have to do?

well a commentator has to be able to talk, and talk constantly for a fair stretch of time. we all know women can do that.
a commentator has to know lots of useless facts and have a perfect ability to work those titbits of information into the flow of the conversation. anyone who has had an argument with their girlfriend or wife knows that without a moment’s thought or hesitation they can tell you exactly where you were, what you said and what you were wearing five years ago.
a commentator has to be opinionated. need i say more?
finally a commentator is generally someone who may love the sport but has never performed at a very high level in the sport. it is mostly this that gives the commentators opinion their weight because instead of playing the game they have been students of the game. the corollary of not being a practioner of the sport means the commentator can speak with a similar voice of the armchair fan. as currently women are excluding from playing at the highest levels they can easily fulfil this requirement of a commentators cv. (it must be noted at this point that ms oatley was a keen player of the sport until she damaged her knee.

even though jaqui oatley can easily match all the required skills needed there still appeared to be a bit of a fuss over her doing the job (one is tempted to make a storm in a d-cup joke, but i am going to resist). there was talk that her commentary was polished up after the event as if it is a cardinal sin that she may have fluffed a line in the heat of the moment, as i am sure none of the male commentators make fools of themselves.
whenever i have heard ms oatley on radio 5 she seems to be professional and competent. so it is not the fact she doesn’t have the right skill set which created the fuss. i think there was an element of fear that the jobs for the boys might have been slightly eroded because she was now going to be doing tv football matches.
for the fan this was an encroachment of the last stronghold of maleness, no longer could they hold true to the idea that women knew nothing about football and what’s more if they could remember the names of the players they would never understand the off-side rule (but as only 34 people in the world really understand it that was never a fair argument).
no longer can a football match on tv be a haven of maleness. the walls have been breached and there will be more.

true it is not quite history making, but it is an interesting move. be thankful for small mercies in that ms oatley has not learnt her skills from watching sky sports fanzone show.

Monday, April 23, 2007


ok now is the time to call it quits on the following stories:
virginia tech massacre. it happened over there, not here so why on earth have the press devoted so much time to it? it is not like we don’t have our own problems with guns and knives. if there is any benefit to the endless attention paid to the story it is it reminds us that there are many differences between the uk and the usa. we will never understand their love of the gun, their belief that the ability to have a gun is an inalienable right.
but we had the usual spokesbollocks from the national rifle association that it wasn’t guns that kill people but it is people that kill people. while pretty much everyone knows this is total hooey the nra still get away with it. it makes you wonder why the tobacco lobby has never used it, or for that matter why colombian drug lords haven’t started to use it as a means of getting drugs made legal.
if the mantra of the nra wasn’t bad enough the other plank of coverage of such events was wheeled out. the perpetrator was influenced by a (shock! horror!) film. the film of choice this time is “oldboy”. part of the “conclusive” evidence is a picture of the perpetrator with a hammer in his hand, oh look there is the character in “oldboy” with a hammer. well that is me convinced.
(meanwhile b&q have a new slogan” “hammers don’t kill people…”)

we have all had enough of kate middleton. move on from it now. it was never that interesting to start with, and now it is just getting silly. even worse are all the commentators who go on about how “our obsession” with useless celebrities. the argument seems to be that these people have done nothing worthwhile and that our constant need to know what they are doing and have done is an example of what is wrong with mass culture. of course when they talk about it what they say is not frivolous it is incisive and relevant.
i don’t mind them writing all the drivel in the world about the state of celebrity but please don’t pretend what you are writing is important; don’t pretend that because you are critiquing the concept you are not as much in its thrall as everyone else. mostly try not to come across as not being jealous because no one cares what happens in your life.

no more banksy. i like graffiti. i like banksy. what i am bored with is the shock that occurs every time a banksy piece of graffiti is covered up by building contractors. often the article implies that the painters are stupid for not recognising the banksy piece before them. this is quickly followed by the “fact” that the piece in question is worth x thousands of pounds. how? banksy’s graffiti art is done on a building, so quite how you are going to sell the bricks to a collector or a gallery is beyond me.
part of the nature of graffiti is that it is ephemeral.
one of the more interesting aspects of the banksy situation is that it opens up the debate about the nature of art, though most of the people who would defend the work of banksy would be among the first to criticise the vandalism of the unnamed graffiti artists whose work sometimes brightens up the city other times just makes it look messy.
if banksy is to be criticised it is for his popularising of stencils, now the darned things are ubiquitous when it comes to graffiti.
mind you banksy isn’t crying about it as each time a piece is covered up the story is always reminding us that the artist has just sold another canvas at a gallery.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


“though i have a stylist, i have a hand in what i wear. having an artistic mind, i get really involved in deciding what accessories to wear – that’s my playtime.” so says fergie of the blackeyed peas.

how we laughed when we heard that prince charles had people to dress him. so lets raise a large guffaw for the “artistes” of the world who need help deciding on their individuality. if ever there was an example of the vacuity of celebrities it is here.

true i have no idea of style – most days i am just happy that i have managed to find a fresh pair of pants to wear to work. one of my colleagues does have an individual style. an ability to choose the clothes that work for the look they are after. true there are times when it doesn’t quite gel, but all in all he gets it right.
if ever there was a person who was born to be a personal shopper it is bc, sadly he will probably never get the chance.

there i was in blockbusters the other night (buying two batman movies – if you must know) and there was a portly chap, with his low-slung jeans and his mighty whiteys showing. the oh so casual, but not so easy to maintain look, is not one that think is a particularly attractive one, or in many cases a practical one. but if you are going to be wearing it you need to be young, thin and not worrying when you have to return the barbie dvd you just borrowed.

Friday, April 20, 2007


you are a dictator.
you are less than complimentary about the british. in fact you see the british as one of the root causes for the position you are in.
you have no problems being and killing the citizens of your country.
you have even less trouble beating up your political opponents.
for all intents and purposes you are king of all you survey.

hold on a minute. a dastardly counter attack has been launched at you by a fearless british mp, nigel griffiths. what mr griffiths wants to do is hit robert mugabe of zimbabwe where it hurts – yes there is a motion being put forward to withdraw the honorary degree that mugabe was given by edinburgh university to the zimbabwean president for “services to africa”’. not only does he want it withdrawn, he wants it done swiftly.
what is the rush, dude, its not like mugabe has been a nice chap the last couple of years, it would be churlish to ask how they have missed mugabe’s attacks on farmers, politicians, anyone he didn’t like the look of.

ooh you can see mugabe shaking in his boots over the loss of the honorary degree (i bet he can’t even find it…)

now i know you think i am being a sarcastic here, but i am not. i think it sends just the right message to mugabe. the message is. “if you don’t clean up your act next time we are coming for you’re a-levels…..

gesture politics is such wank it is not true.


the evening standard (look i have no idea why i buy it not only is it shit but it is also right wing…) carries several pieces today about the need for a mayoral candidate to oppose ken livingstone.
jonathon freedland’s piece is title “still wanted – a mayor who will take on ken”, the piece basically argues that it is not healthy for london for ken livingstone to be effectively rubber-stamped into role election after election.
the leader column, “london deserves a proper contest”, says the same thing, but adds that it is stupid that some of the big names of the conservatives are scared of running in case they get beaten.
meanwhile nick curtis presents a humour(less) mock diary piece, “briefly, the certainty of my 30-year reign wavers.” the piece has a little bolded line that alerts the reader that “our writer imagined how the mayor would record the his week.” it should also come with the note that this is a chuckle free zone (actually given the propensity of columnists of the independent to write for the standard they should also have mark steel contribute to the faux diaries as he is equally unfunny).

most of this has been brought on because david cameron’s last best hope for a mayoral candidate to possibly topple ken was greg dyke.
greg dyke isn’t a politician. he is a media genius. he is someone who has spent many years working in tv, for people such as gmtv, where he introduced roland the rat, and then later at the bbc where he was director general.
dyke was a supporter of tony blair and the new labour project. the iraq war and weapons of mass destruction may have dented his affections for new labour, as he quit his post over the david kelly affair.
it could be thought that dyke may have wanted to score some revenge on blair and friends and for that reason he agreed to stand as an independent candidate as long as both the conservatives and liberal democrats backed him.
menzies campbell decided that he couldn’t back dyke because he was worried about the reaction of his party members.
thus cameron’s great hope is shot down in flames.

ironically dyke said after he decided not to run that he thought livingstone had been doing an ok job. which begs the question why was dyke prepared to run against someone who he thought had been doing a reasonable job and was of the same broad political outlook as himself. could the answer be: ego. is it a case that some people need to be in the spotlight?

the evening standard and freedland are right there does need to be a serious contender to oppose ken. if you do not have a strong opposition then you do not really have democracy. to be honest i am not sure how ken has done as mayor it all seems to be a little underwhelming. true he has brought in the congestion charge; he had fought the corner of london underground. but he seems determined to turn swathes of london into a version of new york, in doing so there will be a large number of faceless soulless tall glass boxes going up – not all of them will be as visually pleasing as the swiss re building, besides which even a cursory walk around manhattan shows that there is more to the city than tall buildings.
but that is a digression.

now lots of people talk about there is no longer a connection between the electorate and politicians. a lot of guff is spoken about how to reconnect to the man in the street and how to appeal to them and how to reengage them in the political process.
the conservatives provide us with a partial explanation as to why there is this gap.

cameron wants to find someone to stand against ken. now it seems obvious that the person who stands against ken livingstone has to have something to say and what they have to say should be substantially different from what ken is offering.
that makes sense? right? of course it does.
nope not in the world of the tories. what matters is that the person who stands against ken is a personality who will get the votes to see ken become a bitter runner up.
have a policy? don’t be silly it will just slow you down.

for those of you wondering why there is so little faith in politicians anymore i’ll give you a patastic clue: one of the reasons is we know that most of them are just in it for the job and don’t really believe in it any more. which would explain why some of the tory big dogs such as michael portillo declined to run, scared to lose. little conviction politics there, just cold hard calculation as to how it would affect them.

with the liberals wimping out what are the tories going to do?
hah never fear they have a plan. instead of appealing to the intellectual argument the tories are going straight for the reality talent show format. until july 16th it seems anyone can throw their hat in the ring, from this lot a short list will be drawn up. between august 3rd and september 26th the candidates on the short list will be out and about arguing why you should choose them. everyone on the london electoral roll will have a chance to vote in this london mayoral primary.
surely this just means that fans of ken will vote for the worst possible tory candidate?
for a party that is always going on about red tape this is surely a convoluted (and expensive) way of going about things. though i could be doing them a disservice by saying it is going to be expensive as the tories will pick up the tab for this city wide polling event, or will they leave that to the london taxpayer (perhaps we can have a london poll to decide that – “you decide…”
in essence the winner will not be the one with the best policies, but the one the votes like at that moment. so much for conviction politics.

francis maude, conservative party chairman, describes the timetable as “the beginning of the end of ken livingstone's london reign”.
no francis what it looks like we are going to get is a half baked process that provides the tories with a personality that might be nice enough to topple ken.
(feel free to suggest your london friendly candidate. i nominate frank bruno, he’d make a good fist of it… groan!)
but is that any better for democracy than ken running pretty much unopposed? i don’t think so.

london does deserve to have a serious mayoral debate and election, but if one of the parties reduces it to no more than a personality contest then they have already lost the argument even if they win the election.
perhaps it tells you all you need to know about cameron and his brand of tories and his brand of politics.

have to say though i am tempted to apply to be a candidate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


sometimes they are just so good you don't really care about the story.
my current favourite is from the bbc.

man with shoe fetish walks free .
you have to hope that the writer of that headline knew what he was doing. true it is a dire pun but it has made me smile.

the chap in question was found with 100s of pairs of shoes in his house, and confessed to 8 robberies (he would sneak up on his victim and steal the shoes from her feet). he has been given a suspended sentence.
said chap admits he was very wrong to do what he did and the judge has told him to get the best treatment to rid himself of his "unfortunate fixation".

if only he had explored the internet a bit more he would have found he could pay used shoes very easily.

while i appreciated the trauma it may have caused the ladies concerned, all i can do is smile at the badly punned headline.
i doff my cap at that headline writer. tonight they are my champion of champions.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


so i get up early. hard for me. not nice for me. i struggle into work. i go via canary wharf. it adds to the journey time, but there are benefits. a decent tescos to get some sarnies in. a scenic route in to work. some lovely suited and booted office ladies to lech at. most of all a coffee republic to get a tall latte with an extra shot to start the day. they know me in there. i get the feeling they don’t like me. who cares? the coffee is good and strong.
i need coffee today.
although i am striding through the dlr station i am flagging. it is not even 9am and i am off to work. hell has frozen. but a coffee will repair my flagging spirits. i march manfully into the coffee republic. it is surprisingly empty, but it is open. i get my money ready.
she turns. looks at me, out eyes meet. is that a spark? could it be a connection?
“there is no coffee,” she says like a harpy from the stygian depths. i detect a glimmer of satisfaction in her eyes. what a callous wench she is.
i turn and trudge dejectedly out.
starbucks is my last best hope.
coffee in hand i wait for the next stratford bound dlr.
the coffee fills me with a fleeting feeling of euphoria, but i know the pattern of a blurgh monday has been set.
curse you coffee republic, curse you.
tomorrow i try somewhere else (if i can get up in time..)


now that is what i am talking about.
kicking the girlfriend out because she is too middle class (oh no the royal family are snobs – no shit sherlock, can’t believe how that has come as a surprise to anyone…), getting jiggy with lots of other posh lasses, being an alpha male at officer training school (ooh i am tiger grrrr…), your brother dressing up a as a nazi, your dad complaining about dvds being inconvenient to use, your granddad just being well philip.
meanwhile mohamed al fayed wants to bring your family up on charges demands his day in court, gets it and then asks for an extra six months to get the evidence sorted (just what have you been doing the last 10 years al?)
no doubt andy, fergie, eddie, zara and the corgis have all been up to no good.
this is reality soap opera but costs less than a tv license.
this is celebrity culture gone mad.
this is why we don’t want a republic; this is why we need the royal family.

long may they reign.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


so there i was watching wrestlemania 23. cliff describes this as being the fa cup for wrestling fans. personally i think he undersells it – for me wrestlemania is what hyperbole was invented for.

have no fear boys and girls i am not going to talk about wrestling here, i could never do it the justice that cliff could do.

what impressed me was the fact that aretha franklin, the queen of soul, opened the event by singing america the beautiful.

it strikes me that anthems serve a few purposes: they are there to inspire, they are there to show loyalty and they are there to bring people together. this is never more apparent than at sporting events.
national anthems can be “official” such as “god save the queen”, slightly less official, such as “rule britannia” and plain unofficial but popular such as “swing low sweet chariot”. when the crowd gets together to sing the song it buoys up the sportsmen and allows the crowd to be the, famous, extra man.
i am not ashamed to admit i get a little shiver of pride when i hear either “god save the queen” or “rule britannia” ring out.

oddly it could be argued that for all the accusations levelled at the english we are all that patriotic (and there is an argument that would say that is one of our major problems) yet my experience of americans there is nothing they like more than to chant “usa! usa! usa!” that said they love to make the singing of their national anthems at sporting events a pretty impossible thing to do.
both “star spangled banner” and “america the beautiful” are used to start events, and as it is the usa the bigger the event the bigger the star who will sing the chosen song. apparently “star spangled banner” is hard to sing (i wouldn’t know as every song is hard for me to sing in something approximating in tune) and rarely goes beyond the first verse (we know all about that in england…) which is one of the reasons “america the beautiful” was written and is sung.
the problem with getting stars to sing the anthem is that they can’t resist putting their interpretation on the song.
so at wrestlemania with aretha crashed through “america the brave”, she stretched notes to breaking point, she added words, she warbled. even the choir behind her seemed unsure as to when they should join in. absolutely no chance for the fans in the audience to join in the vocal gymnastics that ms franklin was going through.
over the years i have seen and heard americans butcher their anthems as the singer tries to find new ways to make it their own. there have been jazz whispering versions of, diva beltings of it, pop posturings with it, soulful slanderings of it.
the audience left bemused (in fact in the borat movie you ended up thinking that if only borat had sung it in the style of a mariah carey no one would have commented on his new words for it…) the artist left with a feeling they have done a fine job.
me i am left with the feeling: only in america.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


here is one of those juxtapositions that you just have to love.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


it is a saturday and i find myself awake very early (well for me).
ok it means i can probably do some of the things i planned on doing, because i will have the time to do them.
the sun is shining bright.
there are birds twittering.
i need a coffee - a trip to coffee@ in brick lane is now on the cards.

but my one abiding thought is: mornings are overrated.
'nuff said.

Friday, April 06, 2007


currently i am stressed out. my sleep patterns resemble a pollock action painting. my normal sunny disposition has been replaced by a more scowly pat. it doesn’t take a genius to work out why (yeah yeah i can hear some of you shouting out “cut down on the coffee dude!”) the reason is i have no idea what i am going to do come october.
i could up sticks and move to the north in order to keep my job. i am not keen on this for the simple reason i am a londoner and i just can’t imagine living outside of london. but the move is the safe option.
i could take the money and run, looking to find work in london and just cut back on the fripperies i fill my life with.

and while my current idea of selling everything i own, cashing in everything i have and moving to thailand to open a whorehouse is attractive i suspect it is a little impractical.

so i guess i am going to remain somewhat stressed out for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


you can thank the gilbert and george exhibition at the tate modern for this attempt at art.

a photoshopped picture of a crane down middlesex street.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


ah the streets are awash with poets and philosophers. words of wisdom are offered up at every step.
but not every time.
admittedly this is a self evident truth, but i expect more from the warrior sages of the east end.


proof, if it was needed, that cctv is a very, very, very effective tool in the battle to clean up our streets.