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Wednesday, December 31, 2008


i was thinking of doing a review of the year. then i realised it had been a pretty pants year. so decided against it.
i am quite looking forward to the end of this year, even if they have made it a full second longer. the bastards.
any way here is hoping that 2009 is a much better year, and that everyone has a prosperous one.


tradition is important. it gives us a sense of past, a sense of belonging, a sense of unity. in these days of uncertainty tradition is like a glue that keeps us together. tradition comes in many forms. for some this is the time of religious traditions, and thus the most important time of the year for them. for others it is the key part of the football season when several games are played in a short period of time, a time that sorts out the men from the boys (unless of course it is ladies football). some see this as being a time of celebration, well partying an excuse to get drunk and perhaps be violently sick because it is traditional to drink far too much at this time of year.
the one tradition we all agree on is “the sales”.
as ever the sales have been well attended. people have flocked to get a bargain. items bought. bags packed. stuff taken home. people happy.
a clever process.
for me the sales are a chance to pick up some cheap books, dvds and cds. sure i could buy some clothes, but it is not like t-shirts and jeans from tescos can get much cheaper. what’s that you say, get some decent clothes! pish paw is all i can say to that. true i could buy some new furniture, but i have never seen anything wrong with sitting on the floor. the practical stuff of sales just doesn’t appeal to me.
i want the fluff and nonsense stuff, the clutter.
while stores that sell clothes, furniture, electrical goods and such like are having to cut their prices in dramatic fashion not just to deal with the issue of cash flow but also to make room for next seasons goods. stores that deal in books, cds and dvds are just doing the same old same old.
it must be great to be one of the chain bookshops you never take a risk. publishers take all the risks, they give large discounts and they have to accept returns. sure in some cases this means that the reader gets a bargain, but it also means that there is little difference between the main bookshops – they all have the same 3 for 2 offers, they are all pretty much selling the same books at a “sale” price right now. the few real bargains to be had are the handful of books that the publishers have manned up to and said no to being returned.
so i have not been tempted by the bookshops.
as for dvds and cds, again little to tempt me. zaavi is a mess, but it always was (so no wonder that it is going out of business), and little on offer that jumps out and says “buy me”. over at hmv it is the usual suspects that are on sale (again), how many times are they going to pretend that boxsets such as “band of brothers” “rocky” “godfather” et al are ever sold at full price? same with the cds, it is the same stuff that was in the last sale.
most of the items on sale are just product that the publisher is happy to take an additional hit on to eke out a few extra sales. there are no real bargains to be had.
though i am not sure why i am complaining: i am broke so not having anything to spend cash on is a good thing.

mmm could this be the start of a new tradition?


just been watching a mix of "family guy" and "30 rock". both were slow starters for me, i just didn't get them.
now i do.
now i laugh like a drain watching them.
i have no idea why i have taken so much to both shows (annoying scheduled to show at the same time as each other but never fear they are on bbc3 and five, which means they will be in endless repeats so i will catch the ones i miss at some point in the near future). well actually that is not true i sort of know why i like them.
i seem to like my comedy when the characters are not nice fluffy people.
i never really understood the attraction of "seinfeld" until i paid more attention to the george character. george is one of those slightly annoying, petty people that if he wasn't already your friend you would do you best to avoid. i am attracted to the socially dysfunctional comedy character.
i think they remind me of me, but with jokes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


my toes are cold.
my fingers are cold.
my nose is cold. my nose is runny (i could be a st. bernards dog...)
it is cold.

oh it is winter! that is ok then.

Monday, December 29, 2008


i have just had an epiphany. i am getting old. yeah i know that is a pretty amazing revelation to have. i had long accepted that i was no longer one of the hip trendy kids (oi who said i was never hip? own up). even so i never felt like i was middle-aged. tonight it hit me, tonight i realised that i am ready for my shawl, rocker and pipe.
i blame the television for this moment of truth.
i flicked through the channels and stopped to watch what looked to be a period action film. a few minutes into it i realised what i was watching. the clue was the music.
oh hell i am watching andrew lloyd webber’s “phantom of the opera”, not only am i watching it, i am enjoying it.
what. the. fuck.
let me just repeat it, as i know some of you are in shock, i enjoyed the joel schumacher’s vision of webber’s “phantom of the opera”. i know i know. what is going on?
i was a little disappointed that gerard butler as the phantom did not say “madness! this is musical theatre!” you can’t have everything.

so there you have it. i enjoyed “phantom of the opera”, it seems i am a fan of musicals, i am officially old. either that or am i gay.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


trust is important. it is a simple fact of life.
one of the reasons the credit crunch has hit so bad is that we trusted the banks and they ended up screwing the pooch on us.
the main reason i buy the observer newspaper is that i trust it. while i may not always agree with it, i trust it.
it is the end of the year this means that newspapers are smaller than usual, it is not that less news happens at the end of the year just that more journalists are taking time off. a result of this is the countless reviews of the year just gone and the previews of the year ahead. i enjoy looking at the cultural reviews and previews. the collector mentality in me wants to go “seen it, got it, seen it, heard it, got it, didn’t want it” when it comes to the reviews (sadly most of the broadsheet newspapers are a little too highbrow for me so most of the books and films i have never even heard of. and i am not going to admit to what i may have seen from the daily sport’s listing). the fanboy in me loves the previews as i can get all excited about what is coming up in the year to come. are there books i am going to want to buy (and maybe even read): well yes to the buying and perhaps to the reading part. will there be cds i will have to have to make my heart sing with music and will there be a prog masterpiece among them? i hope so. what films will make me go to the cinema and sit and munch popcorn with delight, is there a slight chance that both quentin tarantino and guy ritchie can make decent films? (slight but not impossible, similar to my chances of winning the lottery.) what artistic shows will there be, which artists will be gracing the galleries of london.
in short so much to look forward to.
in truth there is almost too much to see, read and listen to. choices made, filters used and happiness found.
the previews are a starting point.
trust comes into play. trust that the experts can guide my way, can light a path.
it all comes back to trust.
so what in the name of all that is fucking sensible are the observer doing? what is their game? are they neo-nazi sadistic bastards? oh sure they have bold banner across the top of the front page and a promising one it is too. “pick of the arts events for 2009” it proclaims. just the sort of thing i want to read on a cold winter sunday evening, dispelling the gloom with the promise of gems to come. i am almost giddy with anticipation.
hold on. hold on.
something is wrong here.
they are having a laugh (as some cheeky chappies might say), but they are not. no not a laugh, more a cruel joke. this is taking the trust issue too far.
let us quickly look at that promise again “pick of the arts events for 2009” that is a promise and a half. it sends tingles down my spine with expectation. just imagine what artistic pleasures that there could be in store. imagine. go on do it, dream the impossible dream. twelve months of glorious art events, fifty-two weeks of pleasure. an amazing year ahead. already the gloom has lifted. i am ready. tell me what i can look forward to.
lily allen.
what. the. fuck.
who in their right minds gives a rat’s arse about a new lily allen album? no really, who?
even worse which retard thinks that a lily allen album is an art event for 2009?
i am sure she is a sweet lass, but so are most of the girls doing karaoke in pubs up and down the country, yet they are not part of the pick of the arts for 2009.
even in a postmodern ironic way it is not funny. not in the slightest bit.
the observer may as well have told me that a new “now that’s what i call music” compilation was coming out in 2009 for all the use that telling me a new lily allen cd was coming out.

right now the observer and me have trust issues.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


i like sleeping, there are times when i have slept for england.
my sleep patterns are completely out of kilter.
not sure what i am complaining about though late night tv is the bomb (as the kids might say if they were middle-aged and wanting to pretend they were hip and trendy) with such great programmes as "roulette nation" and "quiz call", not to mention the shopping channels, they are the reason tv was invented.
geez i need to sleep.

Friday, December 26, 2008


no man is an island so the poem goes; we all need friendships, or alliances, to get through life. mostly we choose our friends, sometimes alliances are made out of necessity rather than choice.
an example of this can be seen in afghanistan where the ongoing ‘war on terror’ is not going as well as was hoped. rather than being under government control most of the country is either in the hands of the afghan warlords or the taleban. given that the taleban are the enemy in the ‘war on terror’, that leaves the warlords as being potential allies.
the warlords have proved to be incredibly fickle in the past, demonstrating a fluid concept of loyalty. the answer to recruitment and retention problem appears to be bribery. there is an art to bribery (or more like a dark science). when it comes to afghanistan you just can’t drop a lot of money into an informants lap as there is a chance that they will spend it stupidly on “shiny junk” and that makes it obvious that they have come into some money and bang goes their usefulness. instead the skill is finding something that they need that you can supply. weapons are not a good thing – sure they can use them against the taleban, but remember the warlords are fickle so they could just as easily use their new weapons on american or british forces and that is not a good idea.
you have to hand it to the cia they try not to miss a trick. when they were dealing with a recalcitrant warlord they noticed that his four wives were much younger than him. what to give the mature man with young wives? why of course you give him viagra.
four wives, four tablets. four days later the cia return and the warlord is a happy man, and one would like to think that he left his wives happy as well. thanks to a cheap little blue bill the warlord is a potent man again and important information flows. everyone is happy.
bribery you have to love it.

of course fans of the matrix will know that the blue pill means you keep living in blissful ignorance within the matrix, rather than escaping from the clutches of the simulation. quite what that has to do with anything i am not sure.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


well have a merry christmas then.
don't forget the happy new (and prosperous) year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


christmas has not even started and the sales are on.
total utter madness.
somewhere along the lines the season to be merry turned into the retail season. oxford street was crammed with people laden down with bags filled with little more than status symbols that in a few weeks will be seen as little more than tat. it is retail therapy gone mad.
we may all feel a little richer as we flash the cash, somehow though i think we are a lot poorer in the way we now live our lives.

end of sermon from the futon.

Friday, December 19, 2008


from the latest edition of private eye there was a lovely description of a journalist.
the fellow in question was referred to as "a cunt in cunt's clothing". lovely.
i have known a few people who fit it to a t.
i shall no doubt use it once or twice in the future.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


i am all for reusing carrier bags. i always try to remember to carry a canvas shopping bag with me.
call me green.

one of the advantages of entering my dotage is that i can tut and mumble under my breath as i stand in checkout queues. one of the things that irks me (and there are many. many i tell you, oh yes there are) is the shoppers who can't seem to get more than four items into any one carrier bag, so a shop that would fit into one bag ends up in six. what makes this a doubly annoying thing is that they are so obviously doing their regular shop so over the course of a year they end up with hundreds of bags.
plastic bags. lots of them. none of them pretty and none of them rare.
apparently though they are all single use.
of course i can say this because i have a bag i can use again and again and again and again.
call me smug.

last year supermarkets gave up 13 billion bags.
look at that number again: 13 billion bags.
that is a lot of bags. that is a hell of a lot of bags.
in 2009 the supermarkets are hoping to cut that number in half. so 7.5 billion bags. that is still a lot of bags.

another bag irk is that when i am buying stuff in supermarkets the till jockeys are practically throwing the bags at me rather than asking if i need a bag. (ok this might not happen as much in my local sainsburys where the checkout staff would rather eat their own vomit than help anyone pack anything into a bag, no matter how infirm the shopper maybe or how long the queue is).

quite why supermarkets are not more active in encouraging shoppers not to use plastic bags is beyond me as it strikes me as being an obvious way to save on the overheads. though the same could be said of all the over packaging that goes on for food.

so gentle readers make a stand, carry your own bags around with you. each bag you reuse is one less that will be floating around the streets as a bit of rubbish.
go on you know it makes sense.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


i can't help it.
i just can't get into the spirit of things. i know it is the season to be jolly but it just isn't happening with me.
time to face facts i am a miserable sod.
i am a misanthrope.

Monday, December 15, 2008


crikey who would have thought it...
there i am looking for a laugh on the daily mail website. always worth going to the comment sections because it shows that the internet and crayons do go together. when i am confronted with a story in which david cameron has a pop at city executives. he says that criminal proceedings should be taken against those where there is proof that they were involved in any wrongdoing that has contributed to current financial crisis.

hear hear mr. cameron.

though the cynic in me wonders how much of that is opposition blood and thunder that becomes nothing but a forgotten clarion cry when (if) the conservatives get into power.

a while back frank field was calling for a national government in order to see us through the recession/depression. i think he has a point.
perhaps cammeron's desire to bring city executives to book would be a place for cross party co-operation.

the chaces of it happening?
about the same as me getting my novel published.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


the plan was a simple one. take a friend around some london sights. as we walked i would do a bit of jibber jabber, a fact here a funny story there. easy really.
well let me tell you all i can say is: mice and men.
of mice and men baby, mice and men.

i was on time, a rare occurrence (as ems will testify). i stood at the station entrance watching the rain come down. my pal arrives, she has an umbrella, she is not stupid.
over to st. martin’s in the field to get something to eat (nice canteen/cafĂ© there). we get wet in the rain.
still raining when we come out.
the walk along the strand is a war zone of umbrellas, bobbing and weaving to prevent being jabbed. litvinenko wishes he had moves like mine.
waterloo bridge, water in the name water from the heavens. wet. wet. wet.
pelting rain all along the victoria embankment. my trainer is leaking.
paul’s walk was just a short squelch until we plodded through puddles around st. paul’s.
across the millennium wobbly bridge the rain feels wetter and is colder. and into the tate.
tate is dry. coffee is nice.
back out and it is still raining.
return journey is along the south bank and bugger me but it is raining harder and colder.
you can tell it is a bad night as there are about 6 of us out walking.
wetter. wetter. wetter.
over the golden jubilee bridge. rain and more rain.
through trafalgar square. more rain.
down whitehall. rain, bloody rain and more rain.
westminster station and in the dry.
we part she goes west, i go east. we are both wet.
i get home and it stops raining.
bloody typical.

Friday, December 12, 2008


i have to apologise to the shoppers in the whitechapel branch of sainsburys.
there i was walking around looking for something to eat (and what a mistake i made chicago town’s microwavable pizzas are only to be eaten after there has been a nuclear war and there is nothing else left to fill your belly with), the ipod was playing some rammstein (there is something odd about listening to german industrial metal as you ponder should i get the brown rolls or the crusty white ones).
as ever when i go into this branch i always seem to head to the media section first, i have no idea why i do this, as it is rare that i buy a cd, dvd or book from there yet i am drawn to it like a whovian to hamlet.
as i browsed the books i was struck by an overwhelming feeling of despair. you can tell christmas is here as there are countless ‘humour’ books such as golf wit. what? there is nothing funny about golf aside from the clothes they wear and colin montgomerie. the humour section merges into the 'be like a celeb' section – yes you too can eat and dress like a celeb, if only you had their money (and you don’t, because if you did you wouldn’t need their book). this section drifts into the celeb biographies people you have never heard of but have had their 15 minutes of fame (oh if only it were only 15 minutes for some of them) or have not had the time to achieve more than one thing in their lives so far. this lot butts up against the fiction paperbacks filled with dan brown alikes (i want to write a blockbusting novel about a secret society that actually wants to be discovered because they are annoyed that all the other societies are grabbing the headlines, my only fear is that it would be put with the humour books), then just when i think it has reached rock bottom i realise there is another new james patterson novel out. it is enough to make you cry.
over at the dvd section my local sainsburys dishes up a nice line in horror dvds, it is better than the local blockbusters.
even worse than the entertainment section is the ‘gift’ section. i have yet to work out quite why they are selling night vision goggles, but it takes all my will power not to buy them. yes i know they won’t work very well it is just that i never bought a pair of those x-ray specs that were always advertised in comics so the night vision things are the next best thing.
moving swiftly on, and with rammstein banging on in my ears i return to my quest for food.
and it is during my journey through the aisles that the incident that i have to apologise for occurs.
it takes me back many years ago when i was at the lse (no not the london stock exchange but the london school of economics). little did i know at the time that my goal of snagging a ma was a mere pipedream, at this particular moment i was in the library searching through various volumes of the british journal of sociology.
but first a little rewind.
before i had gone to the library i had been to the canteen. not the regular canteen, that was undergoing some redecoration so i was in the wood panelled staff canteen. there i had a coffee and a smoked salmon sandwich.
big mistake.
fast forward.
the correct volume of the british journal of sociology is in my hands. i start scanning the article i need, oh yes it has the information i need.
then it happens, as if from the bowels of hell comes a gurgling and a burbling, there is a tremor in my tummy. i am almost too scared to move in case i set off a chain reaction. i try for zen like calm, i remember all my old sensei taught me: still the mind control the body. i fear it is too late. it is. all i can do now is limit the damage. through clenched buttocks i squeeze out a silent parp, i feel it flutter my underpants and ripple my jeans. once it is out i breathe a sigh of relief. phew dodged a bullet there. ooops spoke too soon. here comes another one. crikey that went on a bit, but still quiet, no one heard. i look around, i can feel a bead of sweat form and start to run down the side of my face. another one leaks out. disaster. then the smell hits me. oh my good googlymoogly that is vile it is as if all the unwashed demons of the netherworld had decided to get hot and sweaty at once. i have just unleashed hell. i have to escape before someone else comes looking for books in this section of the library. oh no there is another one. the air is shimmering; you can cut it with a knife. escape, escape, escape.
i do make it to safety of another floor in the library, the volume of the british journal of sociology left behind, a fallen soldier to chemical warfare.
i return an hour later when i think the coast might be clear.

and there i am in sainsburys a burbling and gurgling. it is like an acid flashback, all of a sudden i am back in that library and i know what is going to happen. i try to rush, i really do, get my shopping done and out into the open before the inevitable occurs. alas my timing is off and as i walked passed the tinned fish section and comes a little parp. i keep moving over to the bread, another one escapes. i am leaving vapour trails as i go.
suddenly i am thankful for the ipod with the sound up i can’t hear the cries for help, i can’t hear the gagging noises i just hear the beat of german industrial music.

so to those in sainsburys who got caught in my whiff stream i am sorry. sadly i can’t promise it won’t happen again.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


scientists at dundee university have discovered what is being called the 'pie gene'. the gene fto means that the carrier of it will potentially eat an extra 100 calories per meal, as they tuck into the calorie rich foods such as cheese and ignoring such healthy fare as cucumber (and frankly as cucumber is the devil's food who can blame them). as i write this i am tucking into a healthy bar of chocolate, so i am guessing i have the fto gene.
the scientists also said the gene had no affect on how quickly energy was burnt or on the level of exercise.
now this does imply that with a bit of pharma magic there will be a tablet that will diminish the affect of the fto gene.
but really it just comes back to the simple fact that the simple answer to being overweight, is to either eat healthily or exercise.
simple really.
the 'pie gene' is great for some people as now they can point to it and say "not my fault". what is seen as being an explanation of obesity just provides an excuse for people not to take responsibility for their own lives.

now will football fans keep chanting "who ate all the pies?" or will they change it to "who has the pie gene?"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


today during an exchange in the house of commons gordon brown told it like it is: "'We not only saved the world...'
good on you gordon for taking credit for the work you have done to stabilise the world economy.
oddly enough the daily mail describes mr. bown as being embarrassed about this 'slip of the tongue', me i just think he is a little shy about his achievement.
now if only gordon brown would ditch id cards, nationalise the rail and pull the boys out of iraq. three measures that would guarantee him the next election.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


early mornings start for me when the digital radio kicks in to wake me up (or as it has been more recently reminding me that i should go to sleep). generally it is a good start to the day with the pleasant friendly rapport between nicky campbell and shelagh fogarty easing the listener in to the stresses of the day.
every now and then there is a story or guest that just winds me up.
today it was stephen robertson of the british retail consortium. now i have to say he wasn’t as bad as digby jones, but then few people are.
mr. robertson was on to speak about the downturn in retail.
during my working life i had to deal with many retailers, many of them were sensible rational human beings. no it is true, it is true. that said there were a few who were full of doom and gloom, no matter what their circumstances, one such retailer complained his monthly bill with us had been increasing each month over the year, even though he was buying more because he was selling more he was still resentful of having to pay for it. another complained that he had too much competition in his area and so his profits had only increased by 5%. oh dear.

according to the report on the radio sales have declined by 0.4% for the same time last year.
the response of mr. robertson was: "the numbers speak for themselves - these are clearly tough times." indeed a decline of 0.4% is tough. (the british retail consortium talks about like for like sales, and this does not include any new shops that have opened).

confusingly the news brief on the british retail consortium’s website states: “non-food non-store sales in november were 9.5% higher than a year ago. as with store sales, this was worse than in october, when sales were 16.6% up on a year ago.” i am not an accountant but that looks pretty healthy to me.

i suppose my lack of sympathy comes from the fact that the implicit assumptions in the complaints of people such as mr. robertson is that growth is a given and that there should never be any decline in profits and that profits should grow year on year. profit it not enough; it has to be growing profit. secondly the moment there is any blip it then becomes the role of government to step in and make sure that retailers do not suffer. though i would wager that the british retail consortium would be at the forefront of making sure that retailers are paying as little as possible in tax, are as exempt as possible from as much of government legislation.

but in the end the reasons why i am not a fan of mr. robertson is that he spent three years on the board of woolworths, obviously did a fine job there, and he refers to the uk and “britain plc”. shallow reasons i know, but then i am not an economics guru.


i like boris. he seems to be an affable chap. the sort of tory you could take home to your mum. his buffoonish behaviour hides a sharp witty mind.
it is true that i didn’t want him to be the mayor of london, but if we couldn’t have ken then boris was the best of the rest. he started off with a bit of a splash, did the olympics and even managed to cause a stir there (oh ok he was a bit of a tit), he has promised to bring back the routemaster, because he doesn’t like the bendy bus (though i can’t see the problem with them), he has scrapped the westward congestion charge, suggested a floating airport and more.
boris has been a busy boy.

the problem for boris is he gets busier by the day as more and more of his administration get caught up in scandals. the next one to go is likely to be david ross, the co-founder of carphone warehouse. it seems that mr. ross was not happy with being worth £900 million, he wanted more. in order to get more he has been using his shares as guarantees against large loans.
you have to wonder just what enough is to some people. while most of us have to make do on an average wage that is a little shy of £30,000 a year, mr. ross has to go to devious lengths to increase his £900 million fortune. what couldn’t he afford?

mr. ross is part of the 2012 organising committee; well at least for the moment. he is expected to resign soon.
boris will have to appoint someone new.
i respectfully put myself forward. i am pretty sure i can be kicked off the committee for some reason or another in the near future, i will be much cheaper to hire and i can tell rude stories at all the meetings. i think it is a winning combination. i suppose the one thing i do not have on my cv is that i am greedy and that i am willing to flout the rules in order to gain some more. though i am sure that i can soon add that to my skill set.

boris seems to have no skill for picking his friends in high places. or perhaps he does, perhaps he knows that they are flawed, greedy individuals but they are part of his set and he just hopes that they will be discrete when it comes to illicit dealings.

still if there is a man with broad shoulders who is not afraid of a little extra work then i reckon it is boris.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


if you have been wondering where all my photos have gone wonder no more!
just click on that flickr thing i have added and you can see a whole bunch of photos.
go on you know you want to.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


i have little time for celebs. you just can’t escape them and they seem to be multiplying, a little like odd socks.
as the landscape of celeb changes almost by the minute there are two sure fire ways to know just who is a celebrity. firstly have they ever been represented by max clifford? mr clifford has become famous for his role in various “kiss and tell” stories. he seems to have a knack of knowing when someone has done something salacious so that they may need max’s skills. so max plays a role in creating celebs. still it is hard to dislike max thanks to his work against david mellor and jeffery archer, that sort of service gets you a free pass in my book.
the other way that you can discover who celebs are by looking at the bookshelves in shops around the country as they groan under the weight of biographies and autobiographies of people you have never heard of, or have done so little it is hard to know how they have filled the pages between the hardcovers. gazing at the various tomes i am struck with two thoughts: how out of touch i am and how many trees have died for these pointless books.
then there is the other thought that pops into my head: i am getting old.

Friday, December 05, 2008


i was a bit bored last night and i decided to check out the stats on the blog. i was not shocked by how few people read it. in fact i am stunned that it is read at all, there being so much out there to read.
in some ways the web2.0 brings us all closer together and in other ways it convinces a few that their words of wisdom/madness are being read by millions when really it is two men and a dog who stop by.
however the potential is there for millions upon millions to read my blog that is what makes the web theoretically a hugely democratic place.
so how do those millions upon millions come to my blog?
one of the easiest ways is through search engines.
i knew a writer of an online gossip and rumour blog. we bumped into each other one night. it was a rare speaking engagement for alan moore. online chappy is a big alan moore fan, perhaps to the extent of being a bit of a giggling schoolgirl about it. as alan moore chatted to people rumourman would stick a camera in his face and snap a photo or two. he told me a mention of alan moore drew people to his blog, more people to his blog the more money he got, so he tried to get alan moore on to his site as often as he could.
seemed a little calculating to me.
but you have mentioned alan moore just recently i can hear you cry (well those 3 who read this blog). ah, i counter, it was justified then. the numerous mentions in this piece are not, this is an experiment, the alan moore experiment. the outcome will be decided by does it generate traffic to my blog.
why you might wonder do i care?
well one of the things i learnt last night when i was checking the statistics of my blog are the keywords that people use that lead them to my words of wit and wisdom. the most popular was of course “iampat” used by those people who are too ashamed to bookmark the site in case someone sees they read it.
the second most popular word that people do a web search on that leads them to my home on the web is, well i almost blush to type it, enema. to be fair just searching on enema means there are over 10 millions pages on the web, it is the clever combinations that people have used that have lead them to me.
all i can say is i hope they were not disappointed.
with this entry (dare i say log?) i am hoping that one day i will see the search combination of “alan moore” and “enema”.

look out for my new blogsite: enema papers, just as soon as i can work out what it will be about.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


i really need to start to sleep at normal hours.
late night/ early morning tv really sucks the big one.
just my considered view.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


humour is a funny thing (see how clever that was). there was a time when we would joke and laugh about anything. to some people those were the good old days when bernard manning and his ilk ruled the comedy roost.
times have changed and the scope of jokes about stereotypes walking into bars has all but disappeared.
the ability to shock has been removed from humour (unless you are male or christian – then you are fair game). very few doubt that this is a bad thing, rather than trading on simple stereotypes to get cheap laughs comedy now has to work hard to get its laughs.
pity the poor old bbc. they are still getting over brandgate and now they have to suffer an outrage over chris moyles recent polish ‘joke’.
now i don’t put joke in quotes because i think it is offensive, they are there because moyles just isn’t funny. moyles is as close to being funny as i am to being a genius, and that is a distance.
oh did i say outrage? moyles broadcast the polish ‘quip’ back on november 19th and there have been 32, count them, 32 complaints about it. a veritable whirlwind of whinging. more a storm in a teacup.
a little like the ‘outcry’ there was over the bbc showing the “jerry springer the opera” one can’t help feel that this is yet another senseless attack on the bbc that panders to the readership of the daily mail (they have 15 comments about the story my favourite being: “what an idi_t!!! he should be sacked straight!” i have no idea if the respondent thinks idiot is a rude word or it is a special spelling to really demonstrate how outraged he is) who are constantly carping on about how awful and beastly the bbc are (it is all a new labour plot to tax and brainwash us). so any little mishap is jumped upon as a demonstration that the bbc is satan incarnate.
sorry i went off on a little digression there.
the few times i have heard moyles he has reminded me of the loud office joker who thinks they are really funny, but all they are is loud. what offends me is that he has fans and people find him funny.

still there is no accounting for taste.

have you heard the one about the three men who go into a pub….

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


years ago, back in the days of employment, i was counting out copies of a comic called “v for vendetta”, it was the first issue of the dc comics reprint of the series. there was an introduction from the writer, alan moore, he went on about how bad it was in britain (it was the time of thatcherism) and how change was needed, but he was thinking of buggering off to the states. nice one alan, get the proles fired up, get them wanting to make a difference but leave them behind to go somewhere else.
admittedly alan moore never left these shores but i think that was the day i took against moore and after that his work never quite impressed me in the same way.

it is not that i think britain is a utopia, far from it. britain, as with all countries, has a range of problems. some of the problems are of the making of the country while others are foist on it because of the global situation. some are solvable; others will just have to be adapted to.
i doubt that there is anywhere that the situation isn’t similar.

what irks me is the moaning for moaning sake, and the willingness to complain but to leave it to someone else to clean up, while sitting back feet up and relaxing.
you see it a lot on the daily mail’s website where lots of ex-pats whinge on about how bad it is in britain while sunning themselves in australia (though obviously it is not all that good in oz because they are still reading the mail).

so imagine my ire when i read a short interview with john cleese, one of those puff piece page fillers that promotes something or another.
for some reason the interviews goes on about the american election, cleese describes where he watched the election from he talks about “feeling the tears” he goes on to say “there was a real feeling on election night of reclaiming the country.”
this was followed by a statement that was met by cleese’s response.

“we could do with a similar injection of enthusiasm here.
the most depressing thing about this country - more so even than the weather - is that nobody i meet ever thinks it's going to get much better.”

cheers for that.
of course one of the main characteristics of these sorts of moans is just to throw the complaint out there. not to offer suggestions or solutions. not to offer to help. just sit on the sidelines and carp.
i suppose it is easy when you are comfortably rich.
even worse is that is such an aimless criticism, not that the “injection of enthusiasm” point was much more focused. the implication is that the place is crumbling down around us and that no one cares. there isn’t a specific complaint just a feeling of ennui. from what cleese says britain is a depressing place, but that isn’t the reality. it is a vibrant and exciting place that has large numbers of people who are making a difference in all walks of life from the scientific to the artistic and all stops in-between.

still cleese also said “i supported west ham for a while but then one day i looked at the team and they were all czechs and slovenians.” so perhaps we shouldn’t take him too seriously.

even worse is the recent outpourings of ray winstone. ray’s words of wisdom are that britain has gone to the dogs. “we’re a mess” he says, he talks about the poor state of the nhs at how people go into hospital and come out with mrsa, he worries about crime kids in gangs with knives and what is being done about it? nothing.
perhaps more telling is that winstone also points out that there is high tax. oh right. so ray tell me how do you want to see a better nhs or more bobbies on the street (or improved education facilities) if you don’t want to pay for it?
so ray is thinking of emigrating to the usa. last time i looked the usa has it’s own problems with crime and violence and it is not a place of universal healthcare. oh not to worry ray the taxes are less there.

if there is a plus point to celebrity it is that you can influence people, that you can get access to change-makers, that you can campaign.
ray and john appear not to worry about that aspect of celebrity.

so fuck off and good riddance to both of you. if you have to come back to britain for any reason then do us all a favour pimp whatever it is you are selling, but keep your complaints and moans to yourself, unless of course you are going to pitch in and help make a difference.

Friday, November 28, 2008


well now the truth can be told about kilroy.
you may remember i wrote about kilroy appearing on some dodgy celebrity programme. his fellow east midlands meps got a little hot under the collar about kilroy being there. he is not doing his job they said. i even got an anonymous message from one of the meps (or their representatives) about the piece. ah fame at last.
now kilroy is off the programme, no one liked him.
so back to work for kilroy.
yet his mep opponents are still not happy. so glenis, roger and others now have a petition to encourage kilroy to give up his role as a mep. not that he will and not that the european parliament will kick him out.
why? i am sure that they are concerned with the democratic process and see that kilroy’s lack of attendance at the european parliament as an insult to democracy and setting back the european cause in the uk. now i have to admit if i had done a little more research the last time (because i always fact check – right!) i would have learnt that roger helmer has form in this as back in 2005 he was part of a group of meps who wrote to the president of the european parliament to complain about kilroy’s lack of effort.
regardless of what you think of the european parliament i have to agree with helmer and colleagues, if you are not going to work as a mep don’t stand as one.
kilroy has argued that in his election manifesto he said he was anti-europe and would not attend the european parliament. so to that extent kilroy can claim to be one of the few politicians who is carrying out his manifesto pledges.
fair enough.
kilroy can claim that his victory was based on the fact that the people of east midlands had cast a protest vote. so kilroy not going to parliament is one on the nose of johnny foreigner. i have no problem with such a protest vote and protest action by an mep, the real problem is that kilroy, for all his problems with the european parliament, is not shy about taking their (well our) money. kilroy’s principled stand against europe might have been better if he wasn’t trousering the cash. it is a principled stand, isn’t it.
i would like to think that roger and glenis are trying to make a serious political point about kilroy’s abuse of the democratic process. i suspect it is more to do with the fact that the next round of european elections are due in 2009 and they are all worried that kilroy has had so much free publicity that he will win his seat again if he chooses to stand again.
i agree it would be a travesty if kilroy was to win again, yet sometimes that happens in a democracy.
politics and politicians have an image problem, we don’t trust them and sleaze plays a big part of it. someone like kilroy doesn’t help them.
the reason we vote is to have representation. it is fine that kilroy wants to be a mep to protest the european project, but that protest has to be more than not showing up for work. kilroy claims he asks more questions of the european parliament than his fellow meps. big deal. it is easy to draft variations of several questions and send them off to the commission and then get some written answers. hell i can do that from here (vote for me people of east midlands).
even worse is the fact that kilroy barely keeps his website up to date, so even those in his constituency who agree with his position and want to know what kilroy is doing to prevent the commission making changes to the british way of life are left in the dark.
contrast his site with the sites of glenis willmott and roger helmer and you can see that they are at least trying to make a difference.

the perma-tanned one is always going to have an advantage over the other prospective meps because even without a few weeks on a celebrity show the kilroy name is one that people recognise.
the meps would be better off ignoring kilroy and getting on with explaining to the electorate why they should vote and what they will get for the votes when they are cast. the more they make it about kilroy, the less important it becomes and more like a celebrity show spat.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


times are rough at there. woolworths and mfi, two staples of the uk retail scene, have gone into administration. banks take lots of money from the government, though seemingly not enough to actually lend cash to people. car manufacturers want government help. captains of industry turn their back on the principles of the free market and bend their knee in order to say: “please sir, can i have more?”
times are tough.

when things are tough, that is when the tough get going.
in the world of business the toughest of the tough are those crack troops: the consultants.
they parachute in, they survey the scene, they make tactical decisions, they give orders for strategic goals and then leave in the dead of night to go in order to solve the next crisis. they don’t stop for thanks; for consultants don’t need thanks it is all part of the sacred mission.
the only thing that consultants stop for is to cash the cheque and laugh at the money they are getting for old rope.

before i entered this period of post-employment i was lucky enough to benefit from the skills and knowledge of two highly paid consultants. one, rw, was employed on a short-term contract to set up a new division of the company in the uk market. the other, dl, has become a permanent “advisor” to the company.
both paid a hefty wedge of cash, neither providing value for money.
dl has been a part of the company for many years, a smiling affable figure who will happily attend many of the company’s social functions. dl is a financial type person who seems to sit on the fringes of big decisions taking notes (and i have to say i have never seen as expert a note taker as dl – they are lovely), and acting as a go-between for the management teams in the uk and the usa.
other than that i am not sure what else dl does.
one of my favourite dl stories was the last high profile set of redundancies at the company and dl had to pass the news on to one of my colleagues that he was being let go. dl huffed and puffed until in the end my colleague said, “i am being made redundant”. relief all around. (i have to add a caveat here – this story was told to me by my ex-colleague, so it may be false, but given all i know about dl it is a story i like).

the other consultant was rw, brought in to set up new systems, break new grounds and establish a brand new division for the company. initially rw was on a six-month contract. it all started well. rw keen to learn how our core business worked so it could be integrated into the new business.
rw demonstrated one of the key talents of being a consultant: look the part.
rw looked the part.
more importantly rw sounded the part as well – lots of consultancy type speak all in a cut class accent.
as the end of the contract came closer and closer it was apparent that not that much had been achieved, and then others had done most of the work. now this is where another key skill of the consultant comes to the fore: survival. trust me if there is ever a nuclear disaster stay clear of sas trained officers and latch on to a consultant they cannot be eradicated.
amazingly rw got a contract extension.
when rw finally left (demonstrating another skill: exit strategy. knowing when to leave is key) the new division had been established and it was successful but this was more to do with the hard work and dedication of other members of the company than it was to do with rw. yet in company despatches rw was praised to the heavens, this demonstrating another crucial skill: self-promotion. for consultants it is important to take the credit and as little of the blame as possible. when something works it is because of the consultant, when it fails it is because the company/staff are not implementing the consultant’s plans properly.

so what has all this to do with the price of coffee?
i am sure that there are times when consultants do prove their worth, i am sure there are times when all companies could benefit from having a fresh pair of eyes looking over their business practices and recommending areas of improvement. my limited experience is that it hasn’t worked.

but i know i know you are wondering what on earth has brought this on? no i haven’t been reading tom peters recently. it was a comment on the radio from a consultant that sparked this off. the retail consultant was asked what he would recommend that retailers do in the current climate. remember that climate includes woolworths and mfi in administration, retailers starting sales in november rather than january, more and more doom and gloom about the financial situation in the media (though for all that one recent report said that retail spending was down 1% from the previous period).
the show’s presenter waited with baited breath for the answer.
the show’s audience all stopped ready to catch the pearl of wisdom that the consultant was about to drop.
tick tock tick tock the short seconds before the answer were like an eternity and then it came, like a tsunami of truth: the answer.
the consultant said that retailers should be doing their best to do what they do right.
he shoots he scores.
slam dunk.

the presenter’s response? “surely they should be doing that anyway?” which is why they present and don’t consult.

consultants? they con and insult you while they take your money, bizarrely business keep going back for more.

(this advertorial is on behalf of the patcon group – cheap advice for a price).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


i love the review sections of the weekend papers they serve to alert me to new and exciting things i should read, watch or listen to. sometimes it may just be that a certain creator has something new coming out and i have to make a note that i want it. what i am i saying want for, i need it!
other times i am drawn to the subject of the review and find myself making a note of yet another item i may have to get (how i love those reviews that put me off).
on rare occasions i just want to find out what other people think before i make that commitment to get something. so it was with the collection of hugo young papers that have been released.

i was never a great fan of hugo young, but i did enjoy reading his columns. so the idea of getting to see some of the background notes and thoughts to his writing is a fascinating one.
the weekend papers had two contrasting reviews: the sunday times had rod liddle, the observer had andrew rawnsley.
both reviewers make the point that hugo young was the outstanding liberal centrist commentator of his generation. from rawnsley that is high praise, from liddle it is little more than a compliment. rawnsley’s work can be seen as part of a continuum with hugo young’s work, while liddle is somewhat more to the right.
so liddle’s review is full of little jabs at the left. he pulls out all the negative material he can find on gordon brown, he hints that hugo young leaked off-the-record comments. furthermore liddle believes that young only interviewed people who shared not only his worldview but were similar in background. in short that hugo young was a snob.
rod liddle not a fan of hugo young, not much of a surprise. a major selling point for the book.
andrew rawnsley is a fan. he sees hugo young as a great reporter who went in search of the answers, who dug beneath the surface to get the truth. for rawnsley hugo young is a man of integrity. the great and the good spoke with him because he would not betray them. not that this protected them from his “magisterial savagings”, because if young felt they deserved it then he would berate them in print.
so far so good. rawnsley is selling it to me.
he even mentions how hugo found gordon brown to be a genial chap.

a slight digression here; there is another book i am interested in malcolm gladwell’s “outliers”. pretty much all the reviews seem to say it is an interestingly written book, but it is not telling you anything startling. the digested version is that genius (of all types) is partly natural and mainly a lot of hard work, with a bit of luck.
fair enough it is a slim volume and i wasn’t expecting the secret of the universe.

however one of the selling point of the hugo young papers is that because of the unprecedented access and proximity to the great and the good that young had that we mere mortals would learn something about those in power.
rawnsley himself says that the notes are “peppered with revelatory and entertaining character sketches”, sounds like good stuff.
then it hits you like a wet kipper in the face, rawnsley writes “from a guardian lunch with princess diana he takes away a prophetic thought: 'although she laments the incessant publicity, i wonder how she would survive without it.’” how on earth was that prophetic? it is just a banal thought that any reader of “hello” magazine could have come up with.

now it might be a little churlish of me to decide to pass on a book because of one less than stunning insight into the people’s princess but there you go.
the book is 800 pages so it must be possible for them to have found something a bit more prophetic than a puff piece on diana. still if you are going to have a book that length sitting on the shelf you may as well have a diana story in it as you know that is likely to get you some copy and some sales.

so the “hugo young papers” might be the work of a titan, i am going to pass on it. who would have thought it would have been andrew rawnsley’s review that put me off?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


drinking coffee.
surfing the net.
weather is mild.
pleasantly happy.
all is well in the world.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


i am not a christmas person. each year it just seems to be more and more commercial and more and more cynical.
each year (and it seems earlier every time) the sounds of chintzy carols piped through buildings, there are tacky decorations around the place, there are stories of how retail is suffering or how some council is trying to ban christmas.
but the lights are up in london and the ones in regents street are quite nice.

but more importantly i see the lights in newark are up, and here they are.

(this one is for jay)


the royal college of art is having its annual “secret art” show. it is a clever fundraiser for the college to help fund students. the idea is that you buy a postcard-sized piece of original art, you can see the work at the college or you can see it online, you have no idea who the artist is. it could be someone famous, or it could be a student. you make your choice you take your chance.
i have been going along for several years.
so far i have yet to choose a card that is by a famous creator, but i have chosen a whole bunch of cards that i like. which is really the point.
back when i first went the selling of the cards went on from a friday evening until sunday afternoon. the first time i was there were a lot of available cards to choose from, the second year i went there were a lot fewer cards available. from that year on the cards were only available for sale on saturday and sunday and now there were queues.
each year there are more and more people turning up to try and get that special card, people have started queuing the night before in order to get that card from that artist.
i have yet to queue during the night preferring to rock up on the saturday and see what i can get, but after last year when i didn’t get any of the cards i really wanted i have decided to go queue. i shall be turning up outside the royal college somewhere are 4am in the morning.
it should be fun. yeah right.
to add to it all i have just heard on the radio there is to be a siberian cold front coming in.
oh joy.
(bet i don’t get any of the cards i want…)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


there are certain types of people who just annoy. they don’t mean to annoy, they just do. if you try to explain to them why they are annoying they will just look at you with a questioning look and with hurt in their eyes.
mostly it is people who spend time trying to justify their lifestyle choices. though there are others who are equally annoying and spend their time trying to pick holes in your lifestyle choices (parents are, of course, exempt from this as it is their job to pick holes in their children’s choices).

a sure sign of who is likely to annoy is if they are a “born again” something or another.
at school i used to play rugby. on the one hand there was a chap who was in the salvation army, and while he wasn’t keen on swearing or foul play, he was decent and never went on about being part of the sally army or his faith. on the other hand there was a bloke who became a born again christian and almost overnight he became an insufferable bore as he just went on and on about his faith.

most of the people i know who have quit smoking never shut up about it, especially around other smokers. they replace their addiction to the fags with a need to tell you that they have kicked the habit.

if i had to choose a category of people who are most likely to annoy it is going to be vegetarians.
now that is a large generalisation and i know it.
i am not saying all veggies are annoying, but there are a lot of them who are.
i have been vegetarian several times in my life. the first time i did it was back in school when one of my mates said we should give up meat because of the culling of seals (i suspect it was due to the fact that both of us were fans of the group yes and the members of it were veggie). within a couple of days of this pact i had to get a new pair of rugby boots and i was confronted with the contradiction of my position: leather. ooops. so i dropped the idea of being veggie for a moral reason and just to see if i could do it.
i stayed veggie for several years. my mate lasted a week.
i went back on meat after a year at college. then i became veggie again because of love (and peace) and that lasted for many years.
in my veggie years (a great title for a book) it never struck me that i needed to pick on meat eaters (pot noodle eaters are a different matter).
yet i knew veggies who couldn’t shut up about how much better they were for not eating meat, how they cared more because nothing that was once alive now passed their lips. if someone sat near them eating a meat pie they would complain about the smell and then launch into a long (dull) tirade about being a vegetarian: it is healthier and it is animal friendly being the two main points.
one veggie who often commented on meat eaters was constantly popping vitamin pills and taking time off work for being ill.
another veggie would go on about how terrible it was to eat dead animals, how it was an inhumane practice. yet he was always having to sidestep the question of weather leather.

which brings me to the quote of lauren laverne.
quite why i ended up reading an interview about food with a person i have no idea what they did is beyond me, but i did.

“i couldn't have an animal die just so i could eat it. the way i think about it is if i was to be killed i would rather be worn than eaten. i think eating something is such an impermanent way to express a life. to be minced up and put in a burger is a bit of an inglorious ending, but to wind up as a pair of louis vuitton shoes, well, then your death has meant something. that's how i see it.” (from the observer food magazine)

i can’t help wondering if a pair of clark’s shoes are as meaningful? or if that leather belt from primark is a much more permanent way to express the life of a dead animal.
not to mention that if all of the animal that is used is the skin then there is an awful lot of it that has gone to waste. still worry not those louis vuitton shoes will last a while, so it was probably worth it. perhaps the animals used to make expensive clothes carry special donor cards: “when i die a nice peaceful death of old age please turn me into a luxury pair of shoes or a bag”.
perhaps not.

to be fair ms laverne did not say she wore louis vuitton shoes and so my criticism is unjust.

but it isn’t the wearing of the shoes that annoys; it is just the self-seeking justification of it that gets my (dead) goat. if you want to be a vegetarian fine, be one and enjoy the grub. if you want to wear fine elegant leather shoes, wear them with pride and show them off. live with that contradiction. just don’t try to justify it.

Friday, November 14, 2008


kilroy is off to the australian jungle to compete in one of the many reality game shows that populate the tv channels. when kilroy isn’t appearing in reality tv shows he is a member of the european parliament.
i know what you are thinking: he is what?
oh yes the people of the east midlands voted for the perma tanned one to represent them in the european parliament. kilroy is there as an independent, he left his political party, veritas, in order to devote his attentions to the european parliament.
(for those that care veritas still exists. who would have thought it?)
while kilroy is off in the jungle trying to prove he is a celebrity the european parliament will still be sitting. oh no, what will they do without him?
to give credit to liberal party they have not pronounced on this, though it could be that they don’t have a member of the european parliament who can speak on the subject. never fear the conservatives and new labour have combined to point out that kilroy is being paid by the taxpayer while he is also gallivanting off in australia, where he will also be paid by the tv company. both glenis willmott (new labour mep) and roger helmer (conservative mep) have piped up over kilroy’s actions.
now if i was those meps i would have remained quiet and just got on with the job at hand, whatever that is for a mep. also if i were those meps i would be thankful that kilroy was away for a bit, however short that time was.
glenis and roger are busy bees in europe making and issuing statements, they both have decent, albeit functional, websites that allows the concerned and interested elector to see exactly what their mep has been up to and in the case of glenis and roger you can imagine that said elector would be satisfied to see that their vote is counting for something.
the elector looking at kilroy’s site might be a little bit disappointed. a tired dull site. still it does list his press releases, let us go check them out. oh dear nothing since august 2007 (though you have to go back to february of that year for my favourite one “where have all the muslim girls gone?” and no he wasn’t asking on behalf of dating agencies).
on his campaign page he lists the campaigns that to quote him “are the issues which i concentrate on”. they include asylum seekers, child poverty, free speech and human rights among others. pretty heady stuff. click on the links and you get a blank page. ok so kilroy is not concentrating too much on those issues.
let us have a look at immigration. click that link and you are informed it is a very important issue for kilroy, just not important enough to have anything on the page.
still you have to admire his desire for interaction with the electors because when you go to the “uk and eu” campaign page you get “the uk should leave the eu because... the uk should leave the eu because...” unfortunately kilroy doesn’t say how many words you can use or what the prize will be when you enter this competition.
still there is the section devoted to his articles, look there are several of them, such a shame that they all start with: “lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur sadipscing elit.”
so far kilroy isn’t covering himself with glory when it comes to what he does as a mep.
last chance is a look at his parliamentary questions section. can the boy save the day? and yes he can. when it comes to questions kilroy is a veritable industry of questions, often several a day. true not all the questions he has asked have been answered by the commission but you have to admire him for trying.

willmott and helmer’s attack on kilroy just smacks of them wanting to get their names in the media, to remind the electorate that they exist. they would have been better off asking what it is that kilroy is doing there in the first place. he is not interested in the eu; he wants the united kingdom out of europe. his one purpose there seems to send off endless questions about anything that takes his fancy to the commission.

if i were willmott and helmer i would be thankful that kilroy was not about the place and i would concentrate on doing what the electors had put me there to do.

kilroy’s trip to the jungle is nothing new. he is following in the noble footsteps of gorgeous george galloway. let us all hope that he doesn’t offer to be a cat.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


times are tough for those of us in post employment. it is all about notching the belt a little tighter. it is not about going into book shops and record shops and looking at what they have and going "i want, i want, i want, i want". yet that is what i do. i know it is sad. so today i saw several books i want, many, cds that i want and a few dvds that i want.
it is true that i don't need them, i just want them.
i didn't buy any of them.
i am a good boy.
i rewarded myself with a lovely fresh cream apple turnover from sainsbury's (where i looked at the books, cds and dvds that that carry).

Sunday, November 09, 2008


tesco's banana flavoured milk. delightful. delicious. yummy.
true the sugar rush will give me a headache in the morning, but some prices are worth paying.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


the skinny kid is going to be the president. i am going to get to see a lot of michelle obama, and that is no bad thing (hey if you can’t have a bit of leching in politics what is the point).
biden gets to have his time on the stage.
the families come onto the stage.
there are shots of jesse jackson in the audience with tears, as someone said it must be a bittersweet moment for him as he wanted to be the first black president.

america has a new day. americans are bashful enough to say that this is also a new day for the rest of the world. the rest of the world will go about its business as normal (well except kenya who are going to declare a day of national holiday).
no denying it is an exciting day and somehow the future appears to be a little brighter.

and now i need to get a coffee.


obama’s acceptance speech is powerful and schmaltzy in equal measure. he is a great speaker.
bush has gone on record as saying that history will judge him well, but that judgement will come long after he has gone. a commentator on bush recently said that if bush had been a better speaker then perhaps he would have been a better-regarded president, but surely there has to be more to it than fancy speeches.
the time for obama is to come, but his speechifying is first class. let us hope that his leadership is as good.


mccain’s concession speech was very good, you wonder if he had been more like that in the campaign then he might have had a chance.

a couple of vox pops with obama supporters highlight just how much expectation there is going to be heaped on obama’s shoulders. inevitably that means a lot of people are going to be disappointed, the question is just how badly they are going to feel let down.

gore vidal talks about he was surprised that obama got in so easily, and that there were no eruptions. as the conversation went on it quickly become obvious that vidal was talking bollocks.

jeremy vine back in the london office does another of the computer things and then has to look thrilled at the, tacky, cgi ticker tape that looks to be falling down from the sky.

just waiting on obama’s acceptance speech.

a couple of times through the night the point has been that the victory is in part down to the fact that the electorate wanted to get rid of bush and the republicans, on that level it seems that any democratic candidate could have won.


one of the constant themes of the night is that this is an historic occasion: the election of the first black president.
the cynic in me says that he probably isn’t going to make that much of a difference, that big business and vested interests are going to stand in the way of any significant change.
i hope i am wrong.

the magic 270 has been broken. obama is the president elect.
dimbleby declares it as a sensational result – but it is not a surprise to anyone.

ted koppel is now pissing on the obama parade by pointing out that there will only be a short period of a honeymoon. very soon obama will face all the problems that the bush administration and that as soon as he fails to resolve them he will be blamed for them, rather than bush.

oh dear gibbs leger has gone on about how america is the best country in the world. bless.

but everyone agrees this is a time to sit back and bask in the glow of getting rid of the republicans.

just waiting on the speeches now. may pass on that and go to sleep.


mccain is seen as having lost because he ran on his biography rather than on policies. that although he has a reputation of being a maverick mccain is seen as being very much part of the bush administration. so when the economy went into the toilet that was mccain down and out.
the obama victory seems to be down to the fact that he is charismatic and people wanted to get rid of the conservatives. in addition he managed to run a very well organised campaign.
it seems in both cases policy seems to be a distant third concern.

daniella gibbs leger is one of the bbc guests, very hubba. sadly she hasn’t had much of a chance to speak because a number of other guests have been beamed in via satellite.

nancy pelosi is speaking to the crowds. she is a terrible speaker and she seems very patronising. she also looks like her face is very fixed and has false smile. she is not being shy about saying obama has won. even though it is still not certain (but we all know who is going to be the next president).

there is now a 3% difference in the popular votes.
mccain is 141
obama is 207

they reckon the magic 270 number will be reached in the next 10 minutes.


schama and dimbleby are warming up. i am thinking i might have to buy some of schama’s books.
eddie izzard has been on talking about the third millennium starting now and it being the end of slavery. after the less than insightful interview with ricky gervais you have to wonder why they get celebs on.

schama and bolton are going to get into a fight. bolton has the size but i think schama is a street-fighter and bolton will go down.

currently standing at
mccain 135
obama 207


didn’t buy enough chocolate. could do with some right now.
also need to go have a pee, but can’t drag myself from the tv.

i keep getting updates from the “washington post” letting me know what is going on in the election.
the bbc coverage is tops.

the difference in the popular vote is still standing at 1%

currently standing at
mccain 130
obama 207


john bolton, ex american ambassador, is on the bbc. he has a fantastic moustache.
simon schama, historian and broadcaster, has a bit of the ian mckellen about him, he bobs and weaves in his chair as he drops words of wisdom into the studio.

palin is being cited as one of the reasons why mccain didn’t pick up the independent votes. john bolton is missing the point that the bbc correspondent is making and says that palin was important in uniting the republicans.
dimbleby had to step in to break up the verbal brawl.

oprah has been interviewed. talked about pulsating. got me excited.
the dirty digger, rupert murdoch, tells everyone he likes obama but thinks he will be protectionist, or more accurately obama might tax him more.

dimbleby has had a little pop about the american electoral process. can’t fault him. the more i learn about it the more arse about front it is.

cycles and fickle factors are being spoken about.

now stands at
mccain 90
obama 195

(i should be watching basketball, but the bbc coverage is too good)


couple of things that have struck me about the election as it has progressed we have been swamped with coverage there has been a lot of stuff about sarah palin; she has been ubiquitous in terms of the election. it has created a sense that mccain and palin are a team. joe biden? who he? totally out of the picture. this is about obama and biden is just there as the token white politician and no one cares about him and he will have an easy job for the next 4 years of doing nothing.
the other thing about the campaign is how important that the candidate’s families are to the whole thing. it is almost as if the voters are not just voting on the policies of the candidates but they are also involved in a popularity contest and judging the families. one of the ways this is shown is in the photo ops with the candidate and their family. today is an important one where the candidate votes – so the media can cover them voting (hmmm i wonder who they voted for), the family rocks up in support, but they are not seen as voting. the question is: do they vote?

jesse jackson is being interviewed asked what the difference between when jackson ran and now. jackson’s answer 20 years and a lot more money. ted koppel has pointed out that while obama and jackson are cut from different cloth, jackson is one of the reasons that obama can become the president.

money has been cited a couple of times as the night has progressed as a reason for why obama has done so well. considering the amount of cash that has been splashed to contest the election you have to wonder is it worth it.

someone has commented that the bradley effect has not happened (basically white votes lying that they would vote for a black candidate).

one of the bbc commentators has mentioned that a lot of black americans he has spoken to offer up the comment that they are worried that once obama is in that they are worried that something bad will happen to him. he went on to say that all the chances are slim that anything would occur it is not like there hasn’t been form.

currently standing at:
mccain 76
obama 175
(but they are only separated by 1% in the popular vote).


jeremy vine is doing some computer graphic thing for the bbc, not as sexy as the old swingometer that used to be a feature of the election night. he looks like he has a session on the sunbed, and has a little squinty-eyed look to him. he is playing with some touch screen computer graphics. while it is quite nice it does look a little bit like the matrix movie done by the special effects department who worked on blake’s 7.

even in the senate the republicans are losing.

as christopher hitchens says it is a change in the zeitgeist.

mccain 34
obama 103


pennsylvania has gone to obama.
new hampshire has gone to obama.
now they are rushing in.

obama now on 84
maccain in 34

pretty much everyone in the bbc studio seem to think it is obama for sure.


south carolina has called for mccain - now 16 to mccain and 3 to obama.
three states down.


they are talking about how obama is getting the vast majority of the black vote (no surprise there) but he is also getting something like 40% of the white vote. not good for mccain.
they are saying that mccain is doing slightly better with the male voter, but obama is doing very well with the female vote. again not good for mccain.

results are coming in slowly. the pundits are saying that this is because the networks are being cautious in their announcing of the results, because of the mess they made with kerry in 2004.
it seems very odd as you would have thought that no results would be announced until the official count had been done, dusted and confirmed.

so just two have been called/ projected. and it is still mccain 8 and obama 3.

the bbc have a neat little clock counting down when the polls in certain states are closing.


so here it is - at last - election night. watching the bbc tv coverage at the moment.
currently they are saying how race is has not been an issue in the campaign.

two states have results (or are projected to have results) and so far it is
mccain 8
obama 3

but the tone of the show is that obama is in.

more to come.

Monday, November 03, 2008


there is a hole in my trainer. i discovered it today. how did i discover it? it rained, it rained quite a bit. the hole seemed to let most of the rain into the trainer. soggy sock. squelchy steps. so nice.
ah winter is here and i am so prepared.


been an odd day.
looked for one thing and found another. the thing i was looking for doesn't seem to be anywhere and it is annoying because i was planning on flogging it, either i have lost it, given it away or i never really had it in the first place. all three are possible.
the thing i found was my passport. it wasn't in a safe place (i take after my mum that way, she used to have a number of "safe places" to stash stuff, and then she forgot what was stashed and where it was stashed) no my passport was just in a large pile of books and magazines.
it has now been found. i can now travel. where will i go?

the other thing that is odd about today is that i am still awake at some rather late hour (or early, depending on your view).
i should be asleep. so i am going to give it ago and see if i can nod off.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


there was a lot of it today.
i got soaked.
i felt chilled.
i am old.

Friday, October 31, 2008


three things have me on the edge of my seat with giggly excitement.

new bond film opens and i will be seeing it at ten minutes past one today! if only it had bruce willis in it, then it would be a great movie.

the presidential election is just around the corner. it does seem that it is too close to call, but you just know on the night there will be a landslide victory to obama. to be fair from a leching point of view i win either way: michelle obama is hot, sarah palin is hot, and both of them can spank me if they want.

finally i discovered i can get a train at 4am to get me into brighton at 5.30am. at the moment 4am is the sort of time i am thinking of going to sleep, but now i can catch a train instead. with luck i should be able to get some good photos, but knowing my luck i will catch flu instead. ah what an adventure.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


it seems that the boys at microsoft have decided that having a perfectly good, solid and dependable product was not enough. no microsoft wanted to give their product a make over in the style of all those tv shows that seem to say: being good isn’t enough what you really need is to look fabby.
well microsoft have turned their good, solid, dependable hotmail into something that looks quite nice, but doesn’t seem to work for me.
so i can see i have emails. i can read some of them. some i can’t read if they are too long, as i can’t move the page up or down, though sometimes i can. sometimes i can press reply to reply to the email because the “reply” button is there. sometimes it is not. that said it doesn’t really matter because even when i do try to reply i can’t actually write in the message box so i can’t answer. even so that would be a moot point because when i try to send the email it just sits there like a dead dog.
all in all the hotmail change is pretty much fubarred it for me.
i am sure that as microsoft receives more and more feedback they will correct the errors, which seems to be the standard method for microsoft.

“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to be such a good rule, but so often it is ignored. hotmail is a case in point, it did what it promised and it did it well, but that wasn’t enough it had to look cool and that meant it had to change.

oh well if you sent me an email recently don’t hold your breath for a reply.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


recently i wrote that getting older means changes. some you expect, some you welcome, while others seem to be in contradiction to others.

it does seem to be a rule of life that as you get older you become more and more angry. the anger seems to come from nowhere and is aimed at things that a few months ago you would have laughed at, and a fewer years earlier you may just as well have done yourself.

so more and more i find myself cursing and muttering under my breath when i am in the street. more and more i shout and shake my fist at the radio or tv. constantly i shake my head and sigh as i read yet another story in the newspaper.

i am becoming a miserable old git.
i do not mind admitting to this.

so i fume at rude people, loud people. i rail at those who are inconsiderate of others. noise annoys me. litter gets my goat. loitering in busy spaces causes me apoplexy. new peeves seem to appear daily: currently i hate bicyclists from the ones who can’t ride on the road, yet seem to think that pedestrians are taking up too much space on the pavement to the ones who are too stupid to have lights on their bikes.
soon i will be irritated by the owners of umbrellas that are big enough to cover a tennis court. they may think that they are smart to own such a large bumbershoot but they are too stupid to actually make sure that they move it out of the way of other people.

at this rate i shall soon be walking the streets shouting at strangers, while wearing a tin foil hat because i need to protect myself from messages from the controllers.

hand me that tin of white lightning cider now, i need to go and shout at some trees.

Friday, October 24, 2008


awake. check time. early enough? yes. time for a run.
ipod? check.
headphones? check.
trainers? check.
keys? check.
tracky bottoms? ooops. better go put them on.
outside. drizzle. nice.
choose music. essential ufo. solid rock. good to run to.
set off. plod. plod. plod.
feeling good. add more to the distance today. not much, just some.
plod. plod. plod. puff. puff. puff. puff. stitch. oww that hurts. keep going.
too many people. do this earlier in future. pavement rage.
nearly home. plod. run. plod. run. nearly there.
done. finished. phew.
pant. pant. pant. pant.
upstairs. grab a coke. chug some. chug some more.
pant. sweat. pant. sweat. puff. puff. puff. more coke chugged.
to the toilet. sit down. big number 2. aaaaaah. relief. bliss.
nothing frees the bowels as much as a run.
nothing lightens the mode as a big number 2.
day has started well.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


as i get older there seems to be two opposing forces at work on me.
on the one hand i am becoming more and more the miserable old git curmudgeon who will soon be shouting at passing pedestrians in a loud incoherent voice (more about this in a later post).
on the other hand i am becoming a terrible softie.
generally it manifests itself in the form of tears (they are of course manly tears). it started years ago with “field of dreams”, where i blubbed at the end, until eventually i well up the moment i pick up the dvd.
now it happens more and more, sometimes it is a song and the tears come. other times i am watching tv and then i have to sniffle (darn that “dawson’s creek”), occasionally it happens when i am watching a movie and i have to surreptitiously dab my eyes (oh it is never the expected movie – but some dodgy comedy with will ferrell comedy).
the evidence is that i am becoming more and more sentimental, that i am now a “new man”. in short i have become a softie.
or i have become menopausal.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


in these dull quiet days of unemployment (though i prefer to think of it as post-employment) surprises are few and far between. the days can be taken up with me shouting at the radio (as yet i have not succumbed to the horrors of daytime tv, so i give praise for small mercies).
imagine the thrill i had the other day when i go to check the post only to discover that i have missed the postie with his black and white cat and he wanted to deliver a package to me.
mmm i thought i am not expecting anything from play or amazon.
i have not lost any teeth recently so it can’t have been from the tooth fairy.
too early for santa and waaaaay to early for the easter bunny.
just who has sent me this mysterious package?
what could be in the package? is it something nice? something i want? something i have asked for.
my mind and imagination race. who, what, who, what, who, what, who, what in time to ever increasing speed of my footsteps. steps that soon become strides. strides that threaten to become running.
i get to the sorting office.
just in time. phew.
excitement mounts.
hand over the card to the moan behind the counter. off he goes.
wait. (come on postie, come on).
back he comes. box in hand.
ooooh that looks good.
excitement overload.
almost peeing pants.
have box in hand. thrilled.
is that it?
four bulbs from british gas…. i got excited by four bulbs from british gas.

i tell you i am so rock and roll.
oh well at least i got something free from british gas, no doubt they have put my bill up again.

Friday, October 17, 2008


i try to be good. i try to recycle as much as i can. in my current battle against the stuff i have a lot has been taken to the local charity shop. a lot has been taken to the recycle bins. there is still more to go the charity shop and still more to go to the recycle bins.
i am also on a be-as-cheap-as-chips phase (strangely this only works on the smaller household items). so who needs toilet paper when you have the london evening standard? not me that is for sure. certainly it is not soft and you have to be a little worried about paper cuts, but other than that is seems to do the job. i have to confess i do not know if it leaves ink stains, i suppose i could go to the local nhs walk-in clinic and ask the nurse: “can you read my bum?” i suspect it is not the done thing and besides nurses have a enough to deal with without bringing my bottom into the equation.
i must admit to a certain secret thrill as i rip a part of the paper up ready to do deed, there is a pleasure in wiping my arse on the face of david cameron, or jeremy clarkson or some minor overpuffed celebrity. it might be a minor victory, it might br a small thrill, but for the time being it is enough.
even better i am doing my bit to save the planet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


last night there was a small news item about madonna’s directorial debut. i can’t wait. i am sure she has learnt a lot from guy. amazingly the announcer asked is there anything that madonna couldn’t do? act i scream at the tv.
i am so glad i have a working tv again.

this morning the radio tells me that the sun newspaper is announcing that madonna and guy are to divorce.
mmm there was a story they were going to divorce when guy’s last movie was opening. it didn’t make it a great box office success, but did distract a little from the lame reviews.
so call me cynical or is this latest divorce announcement timed to make sure that there is coverage of madonna and publicity for her film?
hey it didn’t work for guy, but it might work for madonna, and there is a chance that unlike guy madonna has made a good film.
a slim chance true, but a chance all the same.
then again pigs might fly.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


unlike my pal ems i am not at ease talking to strangers, it is why i am always in the kitchen at parties. it seems ems will talk to anyone, even tory politicians.
now i am the first to admit that in the right circumstances i can talk for england and my role model is mr. jefferson smith, though my motivation is much less noble.
i am also the first to admit that i am a terrible conversationalist as most of the time i seem to dominate the conversation, i forget that sometimes it is polite to let others speak and that i am supposed to listen. hey can i hope it if i think i am interesting?

but just recently i seem to have started to talk to strangers. now i realise why i don’t do it very often.
first there was the local prostitute. she called me over at first i thought she was going to tap me up for some loose change. she started chatting about my hair (she liked it) then she asked me about what i was taking photos of. she was a skinny woman, with very nice thick black hair and a very prominent pair of tits, which she was quite happy to thrust out. the sexy look was ruined a tad by the stale booze breath and very few teeth. still a chats a chat. we swapped stories of chocolate eating until i noticed her eyes glaze over. i politely took my leave.
then there was the old duffer who asked me what i was taking photos of. he looked like an east end version of burt lancaster in “field of dreams”. very neat and very dapper. we traded stories of photography, he told me about wood flooring (who knew there was so much to know)? he let me know of a great fish supper to be had at gina’s (looking forward to checking that out). then he remembered he had to be somewhere else.
next it was one of the local beggars. two of them seem to have taken a shine to me, well not so much to me but my willingness to put my hand in my back pocket to give them loose change. this one started off with a sob story about how he had done his arm in while working in the market, he was prepared to take his bandage off to show me the wound, i was less than keen as the last time a down and out did that i was put off my food for a couple of days. his accident led to a conversation about how just a few inches can mean life and death. his less than furtive glances around the street told me i was taking up his precious time. i fished out some loose change and was on my way.
when i was in a local gallery one of the owners started chatting to me about the fine weather we were having and the state of art. within a few exchanges it became apparent that polite thing to do was to let him get back to the work he stopped doing to say hello.

so i have learnt the reason why i don’t talk to strangers very often, they really don’t want to hear my witterings, while i am jibber jabbering all over the place they are just thinking of their polite (or no so polite) exit strategy.
it is much easier for me to continue in my usual misanthropic way rather than to go down the path of loquaciousness that ems travels.

i am happier when i am miserable.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


we are living in dangerous times. we could be on the abyss. we could be witnessing the end of the capitalist system as we know it. each day there are more stories of financial disasters, shares have dropped, house prices have crashed, there is no confidence in wall street or the stock exchange. times are tough.
now we know just how tough times are because the london evening standard has told us all that london’s tycoons have lost billions in the recent credit crunch.
oh woe is me.
no seriously. take poor old lakshmi mittal. mr. mittal is a steel magnate and in these perilous times he has seen his family fortune crash to £11.82 billion. crikey he will have to start buying tescos’ own brand to make sure that £11 billion lasts. while mike ahsley, owner of newcastle united and lillywhites is down to his last £168 million. looks like mike will have to make sure he turns off some of the lights in his house to make ends meet.
as if that wasn’t bad enough it is possible that city bonuses will be down this year. it is thought that bonuses will be down by nearly 60% and only £3.5 billion will be paid out.
oh stop it; i am beginning to cry now. those poor bankers won’t be getting their big bonuses this year that is just so sad. no really it is. no doubt many in the city will be going to their cleaners to tap them up for a loan.

i know that mr. mittal is suffering because he describes money as “a curse”, and i am sure when you only have £11 billion it is hard to know just what to spend it on: football team? airplane? oh hell lets splurge we will get both.

schadenfreude. is what i am feeling. i can’t work up sympathy for a bunch of very rich people who have benefited nicely from the system. we have been told for so long that we need these super rich people because wealth trickles down.
it is nice to see that sometimes misery trickles up.
but we all know that come what may the mr. mittals and mr. ashleys of the world are not going to be turfed out of their luxury houses because they defaulted on their mortgages.
while they have done extraordinarily well they will not be asked to sacrifice any more than the rest of us.
in fact when you look at it in terms of wealth we, the people, are going to be propping up the wealthy, we are bailing them out, we are saving them from their mistakes. would it be too much to ask that all the captains of industry and commerce who have said that the free market is the only way are now choking on the irony of being saved by the state?
you would like to think that if the bail out works and the economy stabilises that lessons will have been learnt. though the chances of that are slim. you can bet that within a few days of the bail out working that the free marketeers will harping on about state interference in the smooth running of the system.

i’ll take my winnings in cold hard cash and not stocks please.

Friday, October 10, 2008



we are living in interesting times. are we standing on the edge of the abyss?

books i love them. i probably (well there is no probably about it) buy too many of them. i find myself wandering into bookshops to look at what is available.
some i sneer at “oh look there is yet another misery memoir”, such books always leave confused. are they so popular because people relish other people’s misfortune? or is that people want to be reassured that there are people worse off than them?
some books have me going “another one” as i spy the latest addition to the ever growing secret mystery thrillers in which some intrepid adventurer solves a clue that has him thwarting an age old conspiracy. so far no one has resolved the mystery that is dan brown’s success.
then there are the comedy books, which seem to have a funny concept but the execution of them makes them as humorous as me. or not funny at all.
as i walk by the tables or along the shelves there will be books that call out to me, my fingers will lovingly touch them, stroking the covers, opening them up, smelling that freshly opened book smell. heavenly.
on a good day i will make a list of the books that have caught my attention and i will walk out of the shop and mull them over. do i really want that new sf novel? will i ever read that biography or that insightful explanation on the political response to terror? do i really need another book on how to compose interesting photos?
the bookshops know i have all these questions so they try to trick me, they try to tease me, they try to bribe me. buy 3 and get them for the price of two, buy this one and get that one half off, here buy this and get £3 off. temptation. temptation, so hard to resist.
but on that good day i walk out of the shop with nothing in my bag.
on the bad days i stumble into the shop and even as i walk across the threshold i know, oh i know, that i will break down, i will give in and i will buy a book. if only it was just the one book, if i am lucky it will be one, but it could be two, it could be three.
save me.
there i was in borders bookshop my bag was already a tad stuffed with the latest dc showcase featuring blackhawk and the hayward gallery catalogue for their warhol exhibition (mmm there is a mix for you) but even with a bag full of book i needed to look at more.
oh no there is a new richard morgan fantasy, no no no polly toynbee’s new look at inequality in the uk is on the shelf. resist. say no. stop. walk out. do not pass the tills. do not spend £20.
one foot in front of the other.
eyes front.
no don’t look at the new ian rankin or the new mark billingham. don’t stop keep moving.
oh what is that is it what i think it is? could it be? yes it is.
by yiminy it is. the new neal stephenson novel is out. look at it there in all its hardbacked glory. big and beautiful. i just know it is full to the brim of fantastic ideas, complex plot and characters and sterling writing. over 900 pages of joy.
did i buy it?
no i resist the jezebel.
i regretted the decision all the way home. yet a part of me thought i had won an important battle.
until the next time i go into borders, or blackwells, or waterstones.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


i am awake far too early.
it feels like i have just gone to sleep.
i have decided that eating tuna and pasta late in the evening is not a good idea. it seems to lie in the stomach, wakes me up early in the morning and making me feel wretched.
feels like it will be a looooong day.

always fun to wake up to hear that sarah palin is once again in the news: this time she is going on about polar bears - they are not endangered. so it seems it is fine to go loaded for bear when you hang out with sarah. she claims that science involved was "bad science", especially the climate change model.
it is amazing that people such as bush and palin can find so much "bad science" is being done when it comes to opinions that differ from theirs.

oh i shouldn't complain at least i am not hearing digby jones.