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Sunday, August 26, 2007


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


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.)


"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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.
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


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.


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


says it all really.

Monday, August 06, 2007


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...


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?


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.


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.)


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


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.



this has left me flummoxed.
"following extensive research, we discovered the dandy readers were struggling to schedule a weekly comic into their hectic lives. they just didn't have enough time…”

because of this the dandy
comic of my youth is no more. no longer will it be published weekly. nope because the kids of today have such full and packed lives they will only have to read the dandy every two weeks.
already children around the country are emitting sighs of relief. those that did read it every week can now use that time to catch up on some much needed sleep. while those that were daunted by the prospect of having to read a comic every week can now forget about that stress and just indulge themselves every fortnight with “dandy xtreme” which comes with the “dandy comix” inside.
at last the comic/life balance has been restored and the kids are saved from even more stress.

i almost feel sorry for kevin petersen, “english” cricket player, who recently complained of being drained because he had been playing too much cricket recently. lord knows what it would have been like if he had been asked to read the dandy as well…

as i read the quote i thought it was marketing bollocks. when i got to the bit where “dandy xtreme” was also going to provide the readers a lifestyle guide in order to keep them in the loop. it was then i realised it was utter tripe.
confirmed by the fact the characters were going to be edgier and cheekier and of course more xtreme!
hard to believe we are talking about a kids comic here – i almost thought it was a quentin tarrantino presents type thing filled with the edgiest of edgy. but i was wrong – desperate dan will still be there, eating his cow pies, but now he will do it with angst and existential worry.

newspapers must dread this kind of report – if they can’t cope with a weekly comic, what are they going to do with a daily paper?
still no need to worry if half the things they say about our education system are true in a few years hardly any kids will be able to read.

Friday, August 03, 2007


plans are such simple things. today i am going to do x. there you go a plan. see simple. true they can be made complicated: today i am going to do x, after i have done y and while doing z, but only if w happens. see that is a complex plan.
as hannibal was fond of saying “ i love it when a plan comes together”, except so rarely does a plan ever work for me (it might be different if i had face, ba and murdock on my team…) the problem is i either go for the very basic plan, so that it is impossible not to succeed, such as today i will breathe. or i make it so convoluted that i am already in knots before i start, these normally take the form of having too many things in them to do, at least 3 elements which are contingent on the alignment of the planets and one crazy moment where i expect the 25 bus to arrive on time.

today it was simple. go to work early, go out for lunch with some people, leave work early, go to the tate britain. almost elegant in it’s simplicity.
how much of it did i achieve?
none of it. got into work so late it was almost time to leave for lunch. so i had to pass on the lunch engagement. late in, means delays in getting out. so left work later than planned. no trip to the tate.


the worst of it is that i still have made plans for tomorrow, even though i know there is little chance of them coming true. i can’t help it. i need to make those plans. i do it in spite of myself.
hell if i was a little more organised i would be making lists of the things i need to do.

i would bore you with the details of my plan, but why bother it is not like i am going to do them.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


i have to make a confession. it is a confession that cuts straights to the heart of my manliness. it is this: i couldn’t tell you the difference between makes of car; cars don’t excite me at all. it gets worse though. i am the same with bikes, planes, boats, weapons and designer label clothes.
they are all just things to me. true i they are things that sometime have me on the edge of my seat in the cinema.
it is the same with helicopters i wouldn’t know one from the other if my life depended on it. but if there is one thing that is guaranteed to give me an action junkie boner it is a helicopter flying into view.
doesn’t matter if it is in film, recent examples would be “die hard 4.0” and “transformers”, or tv shows, such as “24”, put a helicopter on the screen and all of a sudden i am getting all excited and moist.
so much so that even films that i truly adore, such as “citizen kane” and “calamity jane”, i secretly wish they could be remade so a helicopter could feature.

what can i say i love helicopter porn.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


sort of like clouds, but with the moon.
because of work i have missed out on getting some great photos of the lovely moon we have had for the last few nights. maybe i will get some of it tomorrow night.
no need to worry though - it should be back next month.
oh well enjoy these ones for the moment.


more clouds.
becase i like them.


i know jay loves the pics of urban art - so here are a few for his pleasure.

banksy has a lot to answer for.