Friday, December 24, 2004

Twas The Noon Before Xmas

I’m on such a low at the moment. I’ve just come from the radio station where I’ve completed my fortnight long stint as late breakfast show host. I was on such a high, and now the contrast of emotions is weird.

I’m unhappy because I’m no longer a radio DJ and I’m unhappy because I’ve neglected this Blog! Hopefully the near future will bring some more radio work, I’ve already stuff lined up but it all seems so far far away.

It’s weird to feel so down on Xmas Eve which is normally one of my favourite days of the year hopefully meeting up with old friends over the next few hours will right my ways but until then normal life just seems bland compared to the whirlwind of the last few weeks.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Smeg On Air

So what was that exciting news from the other day? Well I didn’t jinx it and I have now done something that I’ve wanted to do for years. I’ve had a go at radio. A brand new local radio station launched last week so I emailed offering to help – I expected to do some behid the scenes stuff and work my way up but on the first day they gave me an on-air audition. Whatever I did I seemed to do it OK as I have had two slots since – yesterday I was on air for four hours. I’m awaiting call back for later this week but have loved every minute!

On another bright note my run of good Christmas gigs continues. Friday night was a blinder with the dance floor full throughout the night. Yesterday, although we had smaller numbers, again I kept the floor alive! Friday: 9/10 Saturday 8/10

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Itching To Say...

My head is spinning with a dizzying amount of contrasting emotions at the moment;. Fear, Joy, Nervousness & Excitement are all rampaging through my brain. I want to tell you all and shout out the exciting news but at the same time I don’t want to say much in case things fall through.
One of my ambitions in life has always been to work in radio. Not to be famous, but just because the thought of sitting there and sharing music with people excites me. Tomorrow, I might have the opportunity to do just that as I’ve been invited down to a new local radio station that is starting up. I’ll fill you in as soon as I can, but for now – wish me luck!

Monday, December 06, 2004

PC Worl.. Won't

So last week my PC died – the hard drive corrupted. I took it to PC world and asked for it to be fixed. "Sorry we don’t fix PC’s here" said the patronising Italian technician. "So why is there a huge sign above your head advertising PC Repairs from £50?" I inquired. He didn’t answer me properly and just started rabbiting on about the hotline number I should ring. He told me I had a virus and patronised me by telling me I should have virus protection as the net is a dangerous place. Then he told me not to worry. Not to worry? I’ve only lost all my data, hey no worries.
So if your PC breaks down don’t bother with PC World, apparently they don’t fix PCs….

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Djing on an open fire.

This weekend saw my first corporate Christmas functions. In theory Xmas dos are easy money. People are there to party – nothing else. Also the age range isn’t as wide as family parties. You have no toddlers, no kids requesting Busted, no stroppy teens requesting awfulness like Scooter and Three of a Kind and no over 60s who think they’re being cool requesting Agadoo. Instead you have an age range of 18 to 50ish meaning it is easier to target the music you play. Also as it isn’t a family gathering the punters are keener to dance rather than spending hours catching up. It should be easy right?


The problem is you are governed by the catering team and have to wait until all the food is served before the volume is cranked up. With up to 160 people being fed this means one half of the room finish first and get bored waiting for me to start and thus start to leave for the local clubs. This year I’ve got a few games up my sleeve – play your cards right, mystery years etc which is helping to combat last years mass desertion. So far I’ve had my third best Xmas gig ever. Friday was 8/10 and Saturday 7/10. (Sorry but the 2001 Chelt Xmas ball and 2001 Ford Corporate bash at Cheltenham Racecourse topped this weekend!)

Friday, December 03, 2004

I've Missed You

Typical, another week where Smeg hasn't posted. Why does he even bother having a Blog when he doesn't maintain it? Well I really wanted to, I was planning a while series of posts about my Devon exploits then - last Saturday morning my hard drive died. Everything I'd ever done on PC lost forever....

It's weird losing a computer. I kept telling myself to back everything up but never did and thus now in this world of communication and data I was dataless.

I missed having access - for a while week I had to fight the urge to flick on the PC - even if I did I'd be greeted with a blue screen. Every day I'd make mental notes top check something out online a trivial fact hear a world event there. For 5 whole days I didn't have the luxury.

Oh and there's my experience with PC World, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow. Tonight I'm off to DJ my first corporate Xmas party. Jingle Bells...

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Devon Guide - Day One

Today we trekked the hour and a bit journey from our Exmouth hotel to Plymouth. I had been warned by a friend about this historical city. He said it was a dump and was bound to offer some miserable experiences. Entering the city certainly seemed to prove his opinion. It was grotty. Grey and industrial everywhere. We voyaged into Plymouth past an odd looking Sainsbury’s and a mass of pampas grass.

Our first stop was at the National Marine Aquarium. This huge modern building dominates the harbour and was funded largely by a Lotto grant. This building is dedicated to educating the masses about water, oceans and marine life.

The displays were stunning – far superiors to many aquariums I’ve visited before. It even holds Europe’s largest tank. A dizzying 10.5 metres deep, the tank holds 2.5 million litres of warm seawater, including the adjoining life support systems, this volume increases to 3.3 million litres. The tank is especially designed to house a wide range of creatures from circling sharks to stealthy moray eels. There is also a second panoramic Atlantic Reef set in a hall that makes it look like something out of a 007 film. The rich blues and variety of colours from the sea life made staring at these huge walls of water a hypnotic experience.

After spending the morning there and enjoying one of the tastiest burgers I’ve ever eaten at a waterfront bar we ventured into Plymouth for some Xmas Shopping. The centre was undergoing a massive redevelopment scheme but even with that amount of disturbance I found the City to be a clean and pleasant experience – far from the grot I was expecting thanks to my friends advice. We did have the worst Mocha ever from Plymouth Costa but we also got loads of stuff from the huge Debenhams store. We had wanted to visit Plymouth Dome and Smeaton’s Tower, but sadly they were closed.

In the evening we headed back towards the Hoe and the Plymouth Gin Distillery this was a fascinating tour around the distillery and included some samples and history of the product. We even sat in the bar that the Pilgrim Father’s sat in on the eve of setting sail in the Mayflower to America.

After this we made the return trip back to Exmouth after enjoying a great day out. Plymouth had a lot to offer the average tourist and we were annoyed that the Dome – an interactive history of Plymouth – was closed. Still it gives us a reason to make a return visit!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Possibly the best gig of the year last night, the atmosphere just clicked and whatever I played just worked, I managed to get the atmosphere to go up and down and work the crowd well and felt quite chuffed with my self. I would have awarded last night the first ever 10/10 of 2004 except for the usual moron who didn't understand that a severe shift in the style of music would dampen things. This meant with just half an hour to go I all most emptied the dance floor - just 6 people left. Luckily I put things back on track and by the end everyone was having a good knees up to New York New York. It's not often I come home feeling completely happy with the evening but last night was pretty much there! 9.47 out of 10!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A Blog's life...

Don't worry I haven't forgotton about my planned Devon week on the Blog, I Just want to do a bit of research before I start so I get my facts right.

In the meantime I wanted to find something else to Blog about. What worries me is that I haven't. Is my life that boring that I can't even fill up an occaisional post on here? Got up, went to town, did some Xmas shopping, had a Starbucks, got home, watched Band Aid and now online. Predicatable.

So I think a resolution for 2005 is to make life more interesting. But how do I do it? Finally summon up the courage to become a home owner? Change of career? Perhaps try and travel more or try and broaden my social life? Perhaps I coulue, no thanks whatsoever to the Democratic standard-dropper, John Kerry."

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Back For Good

I've been away for the last week, not because I deliberately was neglecting my Blog but simply because I was on holiday and could find no net access. Not to worry as I had an enjoyable week with my girlfriend in Devon and, for the next week, will use my Blog to promote what to do if you ever find your self there. Just give me a few hours to sort out my photos!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Burning The Bush

In yesterday’s The Times (now all diddy and compact thank God, it’s so much easier to read during lunch break as it now actually fits on the table!) Tony Blair issued a statement that the world should accept that George W Bush is here for another four years. He told us not to worry, that this second term will be a great time for America and the world.

The fact that the leader of Britian is telling the world not to worry that Bush has won a second term is precisely why I’m worrying.

Never before has one world leader had to reassure the globe about a fellow world leader. What the heck is that about?! It’s like saying, "yeah I know his first term saw him cause complete global chaos as he further divided the east and west through two major wars and ignored the UN, but he’s a laugh, chill dudes…"

What’s worse is that there is no way he can be re-elected so it now doesn’t matter what he does because he doesn’t have to impress the US people and try and win the second term. He can do anything…

Isn’t that scary?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thank you America.

Thank you for re-electing a moron.

Thank you for putting the whole world's safety into another four years of jeopardy as he promotes his war on terror ruse to fund more safe oil supplies.

Thank you for ensuring that our moron-of-a-Prime-Minister spends even more time licking your moron-of-a-presidents arse.

Thank you.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Busy Week Behind

Last week was the first time I had to spend a week away from my girlfriend since leaving university in 2002. I imagined I’d have a long empty week – instead I had an empty blog. I ended up being busier than normal with a few extra shifts at work and planning for our Halloween spectacular yesterday – which went very well! I also got the chance to catch up with some old friends and spend the night out.

My main memory of the week though has to be last Sunday when, for the first time ever I had to do the train thing. I waved my girl friend off from Platform 4 – just like in the movies, mouthing I loved her and walking slightly up platform with the movement of the train. As she left the clouds opened and it poured down, pretty much mirroring my emotions. David Lean couldn’t have filmed it any better!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Sheer Ap-Peel

In the last decade the art of being a DJ has changed dramatically. Names like Westwood, Lisa Lashes, Pete Tong and Judge Jules ensured that it was no longer about the music. People flocked, not to hear the music, but to see the DJ. To witness how tunes were mixed and mashed up on the DJ’s whim. While I admire some of these DJ’s for their sheer technical excellence I have never admired their disrespect for the music – how they consider themselves bigger than the artists they play. To me that is not what Djing is about.

When I DJ I hold my hands up and admit that my technical expertise could probably be matched by a four year old, but as far as I’m concerned I’m there to play music – not to show off.

I’m often asked whom I admire as a DJ. Two people always spring to mind – the first being Sir Jimmy Saville. This may shock you but was the first true live DJ. In 1943 he hit up on the idea of playing records live, he was the first person to use two turntables and an amplifier and played records by Glenn Millar and Harry James throughout Mecca Ballrooms nation-wide.

The second person is considered to be one of the UK music scenes most influential people. John Peel. He championed the music and never ever let celebrity take hold of him. He used to kid new Radio One DJ’s that he was the office bin man but secretly they all knew who he was – he was the reason they got into radio. John Peel had no arrogance when it came to music, he realised that all music had potential and he spent his life celebrating any musical sound that deviated slightly from pop. Many Indie bands owe their careers to him but he’d never admit it. In fact he would hate the fact that I’d just written that.

Sadly, yesterday John Peel died suddenly from a heart attack. The UK Music industry has lost one of its biggest assets and UK radio has lost one of its best voices.
John Peel RIP.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Smells Like a Teen Idiot

I haven’t been adding reviews of my DJ gigs lately because they’ve all been pretty normal nights. Until now. Last night I DJ’d a joint 18th for three people. In the week before one of the group had requested plenty of Rock music which I was happy to cater for – it’s good stuff. On the night though it just didn’t get people dancing. I started playing chart – Kelis, Rachel Stevens, Eric Prydz etc and soon people were packing the dance floor.

"Oi, what’s going on – I’ve asked for a rock party." Said the one birthday boy. I explained that it wasn’t getting the atmosphere going and I’d noticed people were leaving so I was trying to balance it out with some chart stuff.

"I don’t care, I’ve asked for rock and it’s my party!" was his snotty response. So I started playing stuff he’d asked for – Rainbow, Kiss, Guns & Roses and yet again the dance floor emptied. People started asking for more chart, Black Eyed Peas, Deep Dish so I put it back on and dance floor filled then once again birthday boy came and complained.

I pointed out that there were two other people celebrating their birthdays at this party and that guests were asking for more dance & chart he was the only one asking for Rock. Sadly he was such a selfish moron he was determined to just have a party for himself and a handful of his friends who were head-banging. His attitude was that of ‘f*ck the 150 or so guests.’
So I played just rock. I admit it was all great stuff and tracks I’d happily listen to but it was completely killing the night so I became bored. Guests left and it was just the moronic head-bangers left. King Tw@t ended the night by smashing up a chair – a bit stupid considering we have his bank details and will now quite happily charge him for the damage he caused.
So one arrogant sh*t ruined and 18th for two other people and eventually ended up ruining it for himself. It was worth it just to see him leg it like a girl when security saw him smashing the chair.


Friday, October 22, 2004

Newsagent Annoyance

WHSmith this week reported more profit warnings. It is a stark time for one of the nations most famous brands with specialist shops like Waterstones, Rymans and HMV wrestling in on its lines. There’s also the threat of online shops such as Amazon and Play.

I used to love WHSmith, before I discovered the (cheaper) joys of online shopping it was where I bought all my music and videos. Now I use it simply as a newsagents although it’s no longer much good as that. Magazines I used to buy have disappeared from it’s shelves. Source, a cocktail and drinking guide I now have to buy online and it also stopped stocking UFO Magazine (which has ceased publication since then anyway.) Now almost every time I visit the magazines are moved around occupying different shelves and a regular monthly merry-go round. Some weeks SFX and Star Trek are tucked away at the back and others their in a completely different area. Edge is often hard to find as is Fortean Times.

So there you Mr W H Smith that is why you’re losing money, it’s because you keep moving the magazines around! Human beings love routine and familiarity. When I walk into a shop I want to know exactly where I’m heading to to buy the product I want. Sadly they’ve lost my custom now, I can pick up the Times in Starbucks and a smaller shop down the road has a fantastic range of magazines which are always in the same shelf space every week!

Monday, October 11, 2004

It’s not 9-5 you know…

At last, after a year of waiting tonight we finally discover if Tom is double agent. Is Harry in on the operation or was it a set up from Christine Dale all along? The last time we saw him Tim Quinn was disappearing into the North Sea with his life destroyed by a secret CIA operation and we’ve had to wait until 9pm tonight to find out if we’ll see him again. Sadly I’m working and have to set the video so please, don’t tell me, don’t spoil the surprise. Please? Thanks!

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A Shat Album

Imagine my surprise about three weeks ago when I tuned into Dermot O’Leary’s Saturday club on BBC Radio 2. I heard a fantastic rendition of Pulp’s Common People. Then the following week Chris Moyles played it every day on his breakfast show. It grew on me until I reached the point when I had to get hold of a copy.

So who was the artist behind this five-minute musical delight. None other than William ‘Captain Kirk’ Shatner. In the 1970s he released his own album; The Transformed Man which was, well, a bit of a joke. Tuneless renditions of Beatles hits meant his musical career promptly ended. Anyway this week I wandered into my local Virgin Megastore (which is actually no bigger than your average toilet cubical) and there was his new album "Has Been" on the rack. I knew of the Shatmeister’s musical history and wondered if my love of his version of Common People warranted spending £13.99 but then I saw the list of supporting artists including Ben Fold and Lemon Jelly.

I bought it.

And? I love it. It’s different, it’s even a bit challenging – it’s also brutally honest and while Mr Shatner still can’t carry a tune he does carry some powerful lyrics about the loss of his wife and the loss of contact with his daughter. He challenges the view that he is thought of simply as James T. Kirk arguing he is so much more. He also mourns the fact that he is nearing the end of his life proclaiming in a fantastic blues/gospel track "Live each day like you’re going to die because one day you are."

So go and take a listen to it, I can honestly say I don’t think you’ll regret it. In fact I think I’m going to take another listen right now…

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Grande Caramel Macchiato Please

Coming home from university two years ago was a time of mixed emotions. I was sad to be leaving friends behind, leaving a town that, over three years, had become a second home. Then again I was returning home to old friends and family and familiar surroundings.

There were two things that I would really miss about the town centre at uni. One was the superb HMV store which regularly fed my appetite for new music and DVDs. The other was the coffee-houses. They were a new phenomenon to me when I began uni in 1999 but I grew so fond of them I even ended up buying my own coffee machine. Cheltenham had Starbucks, two Costas an Italian Coffee Co and a Soho Coffee co. Lots of variety and lots of different Mochas.
So for the last two years my irregular visits to Cheltenham or Birmingham have been a blessing – a chance to visit a real coffee house, something Hereford has lacked – until this year.

Imagine my delight when Costa opened it’s door a few months ago. Gorgeous coffee and a gorgeous house! Then, like buses two came along at once. This week the Holy Grail – Starbucks finally got it’s barista's a brewing in Hereford. After two years it was a sheer disappointment. Sure the coffee was gorgeous, that familiar taste I’d missed but the surroundings were awful. The café is small and cramped. The tables no bigger than the plastic imitations you fed your teddies tea parties around when you were three. I missed the large airy surroundings of the Cheltenham branch with big comfy sofas and study tables for the next days assignment.

Looks like I’ll be drinking from a paper cup in the future.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

It'll Be Alright On Tape

At last, another compilation of bloopers and gaffs was broadcast on ITV 1 last night. It may be cheap TV but I love It'll Be Alright On The Night and look forward to it every year. But like many I always make sure I deliberately record it so I can fast forward through the painfully unfunny Dennis Norden. When will ITV learn to prise the clipboard from his hand and send him packing. We don't want to see him, we just want the clips! You've Been Framed is the same - who cares about Lisa Riley, we just want to see people falling over and cute kittens doing oh so funny things with door handles and bits of string!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Not Seeing The Woods For The, Well, Tree...

You wouldn’t pay good money for an amateur plumber, you wouldn’t want to visit an amateur doctor and if you discovered it was an amateur pilot flying your plane you’d want to get off. So why do we go and see amateur dramatics? Why not pay a few quid more and go see some dramatics of the professional kind.

Last night I made my second ever visit to my city’s theatre to see an amateur musical. There was hardly any set, some singers missed their queue and others were slightly off key. Parts of it were cringeworthy, parts were mildly amusing but, being an avid hater of musicals (though oddly I enjoy The Little Shop Of Horrors) if I’m 100% honest I didn’t enjoy it. So why did I go I hear you ask? Well because one of my best mates had a part in the production – and it was worth every penny to get a good laugh at his attempt at singing. Suprisingly he played his part really well, a shock considering I never knew he had acting abilities.

So it’s a weird one, I really can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed it but I hate sounding so negative about a friends project – especially when he’s been so supportive of some of mine. So if you enjoy ‘am-dram’ or like musicals go check out ‘Into The Woods’ at Hereford Courtyard. But if I’m to be 100% honest, it just wasn’t my bag baby.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Mufti Day

So Trinny & Susannah return to television tonight. They are, perhaps, the worst side effect of the whole cult of celebrity that has exploded since 2000. What gives them the right to tell us what to wear?

I wear what I want to wear. If anyone tells me I don’t look fashionable or it doesn’t suit me then sorry but I don’t think they are the type of people I want to know in the first place. What we wear says a lot about our personality and it can define our image. By being told what to wear and succumbing to these slaves to fashion you are stripping away part of what makes you you.
It’s great to dress up, to look smart now and then but day to day I’m quite happy in something comfy even if that is a battered old pair of jeans and faded polo shirt!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Ever Decreasing Circles

When you were young you were obsessed with friendship. You probably made lists ranking all your friends with the hallowed title of ‘best’ friend changing every week. As you get older you come across more and more people and your extended circle of acquaintances gets wider. Sadly your close circle of friends seems to shrink. The last five years has seen that happen to me. Back in 1999 I had a close circle of 7 or 8 friends that I would spend most of my time with. University happened and they all went their separate ways. Over the five years it’s sad to say that I’ve pretty much lost contact with all of them – apart from one – my bestest of best mates. Now he has also moved on to a city about 25 miles away. It doesn’t seem like much but as I have no car it hinders things so I have resolved to make sure I make every effort to see him. Today was the first attempt and it went well, spending a lovely afternoon with him and catching up.

Three years ago I was best man to another close friend, he also moved away and sadly I lost touch with him, until yesterday when I bumped into his Mum who told me the bad news of his split. I just don’t want that to happen anymore. Life can be cruel and lonely – friends are what makes it rich and fun. I have lost too many friends in my twenties. It’s natural I suppose, we’re finding ‘other halves’ new lives and new careers in these important years but it is all too easy to lose sight of the important things.

So go on, got someone you haven’t seen for a while on your mobile phone directory? Text them, ring them, say hello. Tell them smeg sent you.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Drumming up an atmosphere

Just got back from tonight’s gig, an odd one at best. It was a 50th Birthday party and featured a wonderful crowd and an extremely talented live band. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t get it going this evening. Eventually after half an hour or so of faffing around I captured a crowd on the floor for a while as I dug out some classic 80s. I had them for the best part of an hour until I put on the Monkies. They usually work as a great sing-a-long but tonight they repelled. At the end of the evening the drummer from the live band did a 20 minutes solo. It was stunning stuff and left me amazed that such raw talent was left waiting to be discovered.

Overall nice crowd, nice atmosphere but I just didn’t get the party started. 6/10

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Tally Ho!

So it seems that fox hunting has finally been given the axe. I must admit it’s an issue that has never particularly bothered me. I was shocked to see such violent clash between the supposedly civilised pro-hunt demonstrators and the police at Westminster yesterday and was even more shocked when my girlfriend got very vocal about the issue. "It’s another mistake made by the Governement." She complained. Usually she takes little interest in current affairs but she is pro-hunt with concerns over the welfare of the hunt dogs and the chipping away of traditional British life.

It got me thinking, what British traditions do I hold dear? The sad thing is I don’t. The culture of my generation – the under 25s is probably far less ‘British’ than the one of the generation above. If anything we’ve been influenced more by America. When we were young it was US cartoons that started trends – Ghostbusters, Turtles, Thundercats and Transformers. Films were all American. I’ve noticed that I pronounce advertisement, lieutenant and harass in the US preferred way and now music is dictated by American trends. Youth fashion is more US inspired than ever before with skater style loose pants commonplace. In my twenties I have idolised the characters of Friends as having ideal lives where realistically it should be the characters of Coronation Street or Emmerdale.

I sat and thought really hard and have decided there are only two British traditions that I can really claim I follow. That is I’m a lover of Fish ‘n’ Chips and enjoy a nice pint after work. Try banning those if you dare Mr. Blair!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Rude Awakening

I don’t have to be into work today at until 4pm so I felt I’d have a lie-in. This hope was shattered when I heard a loud crash and smash coming from outside the kitchen window. Bizarrely it seems that a window has fallen from the flat above and smashed onto the roof of the flat below.

How rude.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Remember, Remember, The 11th of September

So today is September 11th 2004. Events that happened three years ago have forever made this day a day of reflection, a day of remembrance and a day of memory
But do we honestly remember 911 for the right reasons? Do you really look back and think of the tragic human suffering? The people hurling themselves to death out of windows in an attempt to escape death?

That day watching the 24-hour news service it was as if Hollywood had come alive - it was the plot of dozens of action movies right in front of our eyes. Just like those movies, just like Die Hard, or Lord the Rings I feel that people don’t remember 911 because of the human element, they remember 911 because of the stunning 'special effects'.
On another note. Should do we have the right to mourn the people in 911 when our governments have used it as an excuse to go to war.
  • 3000 People died in 911
  • This week the 1000th US soldier died out in the Gulf.
  • Since 911 the Bush government has been responsible for over 10,000 innocent deaths in the East.

Perhaps we should reflect on who the terrorists really are…

Friday, September 10, 2004

Limping around...

It seems my day off yesterday was wise. No sooner had I finished posting my blog that I got a severe shooting pain and discomfort from my ankle as the swelling increased. I called my mum, luckily a registered nurse, to come and have a look. I feared more severe damage but, happily, she diagnosed a severe sprain and left me some instructions to follow. After two hours the swelling had decreased.

Today I woke up to find mobility had increased greatly so decided to carry out some cleaning duties I had neglected yesterday. After half an hour of tidying the swelling has returned so shortly I will return to the sofa with Star Trek DVD’s in hand.
It’s not good – my girlfriend is hosting a dinner party for friends tonight, also I am Djing tomorrow. It’s a pain in the, well, ankle.

DJ Review Saturday 4th Dec.
Last Saturday I hosted a wedding which went very well. Good atmosphere despite one lardy cow shouting ‘put fucking Scooter on’ (I was very happy that, when I played said record, the dance floor cleared proving that my choice of sound was distinctly better than hers.) Luckily the Scooter fans soon upped and left, leaving the party to develop full swing. 8/10

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Hmmm It's probably the size of a Squash Ball now...

Ankle Biter

In almost eight years of service to my current employer I have only ever had 4 days off sick. Three of which were in the last twelve months. Today is my fifth. I hate it. I hate phoning in sick. On November 11th last year I damaged my knee, yet still managed to get into work – hobbling around dosed up on painkillers. In February I had bad stomach pains. I made it to work but after 15 minutes started vomiting and was sent home.
I really feel that most illness is in the mind. People who take days of because of a cold irritate me. It’s pathetic. Last night though I got up too fast off the sofa and turned my ankle. This morning I awoke to find swelling the size of a golf ball and the ability to walk about as well drunken Essex-girl in white high heels.

I wanted to go to work, I tried walking around and around the flat to try and get my ankle working again but it is just not having it. So I’ve phoned in sick and I’m now bored. I’ve watched some of my Star Trek DVDs and some of Channel 4’s Teachers on DVD but I hate just sitting around not doing anything, especially when I know I’ve got loads to do at work.
The internet will distract me for a while, as will the fact I still have to write this week’s pub quiz. So an afternoon of listening to radio two and feeling like a pathetic moron is all I’ve got to look forward to.

Oh well I’d better keep it elevated. Also I know I want a cup of tea in half an hour – I’d better start walking to the kitchen now!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Names to faces?

Fifteen minutes ago, at 23.20 I left work and walked home via the local BP garage to buy some eggs. My girlfriend wanted me to bring some home from breakfast. (I always thought it was bring home the bacon!)

"Eggs? Normally piss-heads buy those at this time of night to chuck them around." Replied the girl behind the screen. I don’t know her name but she has served me almost every time I’ve stopped at the garage, on the way home, about once a week for the last few months. The thing is I don’t want to know her name. It would spoil things. We always share a joke, she always smiles then I disappear into the night as she deals with the drunkard wanting fags and crisps behind me.

It’s like the fat guy that always serves me in KFC. There’s the crap girl in McDonalds who serves me every time, always getting my order wrong. At first it was annoying but now I find it funny as I do a mental sweepstake as to which item she’ll forget. (Apple Pie last time) There’s the lovely older woman that always serves me in WHSmiths as I buy my Times or Star Trek mag. She asks how I am and comments on the weather. There’s the girl with puffy eyes in Pizza Hit or the guy with fuzzy ginger hair in Powerplay record shop who serves me up my weekly single releases. (No, I don’t like McFly, I need it for DJing. "That’s what they all say" is his usual reply.) There’s the barman in Wetherspoons who always says hello and knows what I want before I ask.

It’s funny how a survey a week or two ago said that the clone cites major UK chain stores were creating were lacking this personal interaction. Strange then that all the instances above are major UK chains.

I love this familiarity of life in my home city. I missed it when I went to Uni. Every face was one of a stranger. Towards the end of the first year I began to recognise faces but then had to start all over again as I moved out of Halls and into a house the other side of town. Coming home after three years of uni was a blessing and made me realise I wouldn’t leave again.

There’s no moral to this post, just that familiar, but nameless, faces are a great and underapprieciated part of life.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Truth Is Just Left of Pisces

Exciting news came yesterday. It seems that ET may have phoned home. The SETI program (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) discovered an unknown single coming from somewhere near the Pisces constellation. (Cool – my own star sign could be the key to contacting alien life!)

So do aliens exist?

Well say there are 100 UFO sightings.

Personally I believe that out of these 100, 90 are completely explainable. Misidentified aircraft, planets, birds etc.

I reckon another 9 of them are military black projects being tested.

Then there’s that final 1. A genuine UFO. That’s what interests me. What is it? Who are they? Are they future time travellers observing us, aliens or people from another dimension?
The government love the UFO phenomenon and deliberately help to hype it by classifying files and creating an air of mystery around sites like Area 51. This means that they can then test top secret craft right above our heads knowing the public would rather believe it’s an alien spacecraft than a military craft.

Isn’t it a coincidence that the UFO phenomenon started just as the Cold War began – no, it isn’t it’s completely deliberate! Remember that the US didn’t reveal the Stealth Bomber for years, so now it’s common knowledge just imagine what the current secret jets are like… the so-called Aroura and the Silent Vulcan.

Area 51 houses nothing, thanks to the press frenzy about it in the mid 90s (largely thanks to Bob Lazar) I’m sure the military would have moved all the ground breaking experiments to another more secretive air base. If there is anything there it isn’t alien – it’s just our future!

Join the search for Alien life here!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Two fat ladies...

Last night I did something really enjoyable. My girlfriend and I went to bingo. What are two 24 year olds doing in a hall full of grannies I hear you ask? Well the truth is it’s not like that.
While I agree that a high percentage of the audience are eligible for a bus pass there were a lot of youngsters in the crowd. At least 40% were under 40. There were a lot of young girls 18 – 22 and suprisingly a lot more men than I thought would be there.

Another myth about Bingo is that it is a slow grannies game. Nope. It’s actually very fast and you can soon find yourself two or three numbers behind if you don’t keep up. If this happens you’re doomed because the minute the next number is called any claims for the previous number are void! Also these days the traditional bingo calls just do not happen, there are no 'fat ladies' and eleven has no 'legs'.

The jackpots are good too. Last night a house was £200
Oh and the final evidence that you should really give Bingo a go for a fun night out – it was only £1.10 a pint!!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A Pirate Adventure

Today I’m wracked with guilt. I did something naughty last night. I watched a bootleg DVD of Garfield the movie.

I’m a big fan of the movie industry – I love the whole process of movie making regularly following the progress of a films completion via websites like Dark Horizons. A good film can be sheer joy, transporting you to other times, worlds and lives. A good film will prompt a heavy post-cinema analysis with your mates in the nearest pub or car journey home. I remember years ago I watched a bootleg copy of The Lion King at a friends house. It was awful, blurry, colour was poor, sound was sporadic and there were the occasional shadows of people walking around in front of the screen throughout the film. That put me off pirates-copies for life. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to watch these awful versions of films when, for a few pounds they could watch it on a huge screen with fantastic sound, picture and a great atmosphere.
These days though Pirates aren’t so bad – don’t believe the propaganda being churned out by the anti-pirate corporations and film industry. Garfield was very clear – great quality and the sound was crystal clear and in full stereo.

So why did I feel so guilty? Well as I’ve said before I love the film industry. I love the huge spectacles that roll around. I love the films that make you think and I love supporting the talented individuals that create these films. But my viewing of Garfield illegally means they don’t get a single penny from my enjoyment of their movie. It’s only £5 to go to the cinema but if say, just 40 people have seen this DVD then the film-makers have lost out on £200.
I have decided that morally I should make up for it, so even though I felt Garfield was average – more a kids tale I will buy the official DVD when it comes out. But next time I’m interested in a movie it will definitely be Odeon Cinema providing my enjoyment – not a dodgy car boot trader…

Monday, August 23, 2004

When the going gets tough - quit?

The media is today commiserating Paula Radcliffe’s performance in the Athens Marathon. She is being hailed as a brave hero, a true champion.
She is a loser, a quitter. She gave up. We are telling our children it’s ok to do this. ‘Oh life’s a bit hard is it son? Never mind just give up you’ll be a hero.’ It is totally the wrong message to be giving out. I cannot deny she is a fit athlete, she trained and trained and even by quitting she achieved more than my unhealthy body ever could. It is, however, utter rubbish that she is being called one of the best athletes of our time – she obviously isn’t otherwise she would have completed her race like all of her team-mates and many of her competitors.
Beckham, Southgate and many more are ripped to shreds when they miss penalties why isn’t Paula getting the same treatment? It’s media hypocrisy. Despite true feelings they want to follow what they feel is the public line – even if that line differs from the paper’s opinion they’ll still follow it, just so they make sure papers will be sold.
Well I’m not selling papers so I will be honest.
Sorry Paula you are a loser and you let the nation down…

Sunday, August 22, 2004

In 2012 my true love gave to me, five multi coloured rings!

I don’t know Steve Redgrave. I have no personal interest in Matthew Pinset so why, yesterday morning, was there a lump in my throat?
The race was thrilling. Close all the way. Team Great Britain grasped rowing gold by just one 800’s of a second. It was a race that saw me shouting at my TV screen in excitement. Then, when they clinched victory I could have cried. Television was amplifying the raw emotion that must have been felt in that team GB boat.
It’s one reason I like television. Good evocative programming can create and amplify emotions from nothing. It might sound sad but I have suffered more emotion at the hand of the magic glowing box than I have through the loss of loved ones. My great grandmother died ten years ago and I didn’t shed a tear. Four complete strangers win a boat race yesterday and I was ready to blub.
These four men though were true athletes. Forget your Beckhams and Rooneys it is the GB rowing team that display the attitudes of true sportsmen. They train for four years for one victory then fade away off our screens back to their lives – we don’t have to suffer their faces all over the press or have Heat Magazine ramming what their fashion tastes are like down our throat. They do it for the sheer love and thrill of the sport not for the million pound advertising deals.
I hope London does win the 2012 Olympics. Forget football – real sport is coming home.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Nostalgic Ramblings...

My girlfriend and I yesterday travelled the 64 miles to the Birmingham NEC. We were partly giving her brand new car its first motorway run but we were also visiting a nerds mecca – The Memorabilia show.
Memorabilia is held at the NEC three times a year. April, August and November. Entering the doors and wandering around the tradesmen’s tables is a pure delight. Hidden amongst the various Buffy, Star Trek and Lord Of The Rings action figures there are true treasures of childhood. At least every 5 minutes you here someone whisper ‘I used to have one of those’ alternatively you also here;
"It’s worth how much!? Oh god, why didn’t I keep the box!!"
I went yesterday vowing to spend very little – last year I blew over £100 there in one afternoon, the majority on a hand signed photo of Kylie Minogue. I went there wanting to meet Deep Space Nine’s Ezri Dax (One of the show’s regular guests) and buy a tin wind up bender (from Futurama)
Sadly I failed in my resolution when I cam across a gorgeously detailed model of Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, other than Thunderbirds, the adventures of Stanz & Venkman were my other big childhood favourite. Though unlike most children my original 1985 Kenner Ecto 1 does still have the box…

Sunday, August 15, 2004

A hurricane in Florida kills three people and Bush declares it a disaster zone.
Military action in Iraq kills thousands of innocent citizens and Bush declares it a success…

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

So are Thunderbirds go?

I finally went to see Thunderbirds today.
Johnathan Frakes re-imagining of the classic TV series has caused mix press. Many, traditionally hard core Thunderbirds fans have slated it for daring to alter Gerry Anderson’s vision of the future. Meanwhile other reviewers have praised it for being a good, fun, action packed kids movie. So what’s my verdict?
Well let me inform you that in 1991 Thunderbirds was my life. When BBC2 re-screened it I instantly fell in love with it. I ran to the kitchen grabbing empty bottles and tried to re-create the craft. Ultimately my mother was very pleased when Matchbox then decided to release their own versions thus saving my mum’s fairy liquid bottles from butchering. I new all the stats, facts and plots inside out. This background meant while I was excited at seeing stunning CGI versions of my favourite craft I was worried that the 21st century may have destroyed one of my childhood loves.
So did I like it?
God YES! Absolutely brilliant. The craft look like they always should have (though TB2’s rear end seems slightly odd) they now have power and the Tracy Brothers can finally walk! The campness is there, the suspense is there and all the little in jokes are there. Yes it IS a kids films but the 60’s show was a kids show so see it with that in mind and you will thoroughly enjoy it!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Exhausting Day

Aren’t coincidences amazing?
Tomorrow my girlfriend is taking delivery of a brand new car, a lovely Kia Picento (sp?) Anyway we were driving down to my weekly pub quiz today in her old car and the exhaust fell off! Seriously, any other day it would have been a disaster but that fact that we’re due to get a new car in just 12 hours meant all I could do was laugh.
Why don’t cute moments like this happen more often?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Big Load Of (ex)Bollox

What a farce.
Nadia won, but the big question is why. The answer, she had a gimmick. That’s all people care about in these days of sound bites and infoblasts. You need a gimmick. Michelle McManus was fat so she won Pop Idol, Nadia used to be a bloke and therefore won Big Brother.
The 10 weeks in the house should be all that you use to inform your decision of who wins. The contestants past should be ignored and irrelevant. Nadia went in wanting acceptance and she got it – weeks ago. She didn’t have to win to prove she was accepted for who she is, when she broke down on Wednesday was a wonderful moment and I really felt for her but it was her only ‘moment’ in the Big Brother house. The only other thing she will be remembered for is the fact she turned into the Hulk when she didn’t get fags. Other contestants were far more deserving and will be remembered for much much, more than being a gimmick
It’s a shame really because this year I thought the public was finally learning to vote out the bores rather than the annoying people. If this was BB1 or 2 Victor & Jason would have been evicted weeks ago and we’d have been left with Vanessa and Stu & Michelle fawning over each other.
Also can I add the fact that I had Dan in a sweepstake has nothing to do with my bitterness…

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Normal Service Resumed

Wow, Sorry I have neglected my blogging again so:

Saturday – Sarahs 21st Birthday Great gig, good fun – never thought I’d see a dance floor of 21-year-olds dancing to Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep by middle of the road! 7/10

Big Brother – It’s taken 5 years but it seems we’ve finally learned to vote the boring ones out. Stuart left the house which is fantastic considering he’s done nowt since being it in there except fall in love with a psycho. I was upset that Victor went but thankfully you’ve all had the sense to keep Jason in. Dan deserves to win not Nadia all she’s done is be a man.

So what else have I been up to. Basically just waiting and waiting for a good thunderstorm to come and clear the air. As I am;
  • A: Asmatic
  • B: Unfit,

it can get hard to breathe in this muggy atmosphere. Also there’s the bonus that ligtening is amazing to watch. So please, please, please let it rain!

Monday, July 26, 2004

My DJ Diary for This Week

Friday – Wes (60), Keeley (27) & Matt (21).
The news that I was booked to do a 60th sent shivers down my spine. The last 60th I had done had been a long slow night. They requested a lot of Glenn Millar and although I had quite a lot of tracks by the missing-presumed-dead band leader extrodinare I wasn’t overly familiar with them, apart from the few sampled by Jive Bunny in the early 1990s.
The came the next shock. Oh and they’re combining it with their Grandson’s 21st.
How do you even begin to cover that musical spectrum? 20 year olds and 60 year old in the same room!? Luckily the genteleman who was celebrating his 60th was a young 60. He’d rather listen to Robbie Williams than Little Brown Jug so that helped. After singing his own rendition of Angels the party kicked off and went well. A nice group and an enjoyable night.

Saturday – Jo & Clive’s Wedding.
We’re having a run of really nice couples lately. Though when ‘Riverdance’ was requested I had a moment of panic – sadly it’s a soundtrack I lack from my collection. Like Chandler from friends I too have a flailing legs phobia.
Luckily the sounds of Lou Reed – Satellite of Love & Lola’s Song did the trick and got them dancing. Over all they weren’t big dancers. The dance floor remained filled by only a handful of dedicated gyraters while the remaingin crowd observed. Luckily for me though they were singers. With Livin’ On A Prayer, Summer of 69 and Suspicious Minds the crowd came alive singing along – while not dancing the atmosphere remained positive thanks to the good lyrical vibe!
Another 6/10

So above average but not me at my best. Next week though is a 21st. Roll on Saturday.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Real Surround Sound

Spiderman 2 is a great film. Intelligent in places, pulls the heart-strings in other places and then has big no-brainer action sequences for a bit of eye-candy. A good summer blockbuster. Perhaps I’ll write a full review tomorrow but today I need to get something off my chest partly proving James Blogwell’s theory that a proportion of Blogger’s use the tool to channel their negative thoughts.
I deliberately chose the late show last night to view Peter Parker in action. So why, oh why was 70% of the audience kids? Not just teenagers but, I jest not, 50% under 10 and at least four or five 3-year-olds. Throughout all two hours of Parker’s wrestle with his duel identity there was the sound of a 3 year old mumbling, at one point wailing. WHY! What possible enjoyment is a three year old going to get from Spiderman 2?!!?
"So little Johnny did you get the subtext that Spiderman removing his mask on the train sequence was the directors way of showing that Peter Parker was no longer ashamed of his secret? No? Thought not you were too busy fidgeting."
Then just as MJ meets Peter in the café to talk feelings what happens? A mobile phone goes off thus shattering the connection I had with the film at that point.
It is not on. The late showing should be adults only regardless of a films certificate. It defeats the whole point of a matinee. An usher should stay in the auditorium at all times – as soon as someone’s phone goes then they should be kicked out. It is showing an extreme disrespect for other human beings.
I really, really want to go and see Thunderbirds next week but last night’s experience has put me off.I don’t want to have to wait 6 months for the DVD release but if it means peace and quiet then it’s the way forward.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Avoiding Charity

You may remember last week I mourned the loss of being able to traverse my local city centre without being harassed by a charity collector. Today I discovered the weapon in this battle - a Sony Walkman.

At least once a week I like to take a wander around town and browse the records & games shops. Today I did it while listening to Radio 2 on my walkman. Not once did I get stopped.  As an experiment I tried making eye contact with one of the Charity tykes - normally this is a mortal mistake - today she didn't even attempt a sales pitch.

So there you go folks, minidisks, personal CD players & Walkmen - never leave home without them, It's just a shame this technique doesn't work on cold callers.

Big Brother Views....

So last night saw the event the nation has been waiting 5 years for – sex on Big Brother. After five years what to we get? A fumble under a table.
The thing is this year has really proven than sex is unneeded on Big Brother. It’s the playing of the game that interests me. Like most of the nation I agree that Jay & Victor are pricks of the highest magnitude but they have expertly played the game. I would argue that they are not as clever as they think they are – it’s more like the rest of the house is dumber.
The house politics have been fascinating, the whole Harem Vs Jungle Cats has stood up to the basic premise of Big Brother way better than ever before. However what has been cringeworthy is Bunny boiler Michelle’s relationship with ‘aren’t I intelligent’ Stuart.
Big Brother 2’s relationship of Helen & Paul was endearing. They were watchable. The BB5 version is quite the opposite – it’s sickening. Michelle’s odd shaped head is off putting to begin with but the way she fawns over Stuart is tiring. Her obsession with being the bride showed her at her lowest and made it the first time I had to give up watching. Stuart meanwhile is the most pathetic contestant in history. He’s scared of Michelle’s advances – signalling this is probably his first ever experience with the opposite sex but keeps leading her on. He came in bragging of his intelligence but has failed to display any signs of it. He’s common sense is non-existent and he prefers to play cowboys & Indians. He hasn’t done anything memorable yet, instead he just sits there being very very boring.
This week I feel it is time for Jay to go – it would be great to see a different side to Victor without his co-Jungle Cat. Will Victor fall into line and become more subdued or will he be more outrageous?
Vote Jay, you know it make’s sense!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Dan & Kerry

The above couple were the clients in tonight’s DJ gig – celebrating their engagement. A lovely couple too. The gig saw a lively atmosphere and again gave me a chance to deviate from my usual party hits canon. Keane, Coldplay & Scissor Sisters were all requested – much to my delight, as were the Streets. I was also able to slip in some great bootlegs and kept the crowd going right until the end. Hopefully I’ll end up Djing the couple’s wedding too!

Saturday, July 17, 2004

A Very Nice Day

Today I did two of my favourite things.  First I took my girlfriend's dogs for a walk in the woods.  It really is underrated you know. 90 minutes of quiet reflection and pondering, rolling thoughts over in your head as you smile at the enjoyment a little cairn terrier and westie are having at just rummaging about in some leaves.
Later on in the evening at work I caught up with an old friend. Someone I hadn't seen for two years.  Expecting awkward silence as we try to remember what we used to talk about I went over to say hello. It was like it was only yesterday since we'd met. We talked for ages as she recounted the last 24 months of life with all the enthusiasm and smiley nature she always used to have.  Sorry to sound like Paul Whitehouse but isn't catching up with old friends, well, brilliant!
Big Brother Bit
Well I'm disappointed in you all.  Okay, it is good that Dan's still in.  It means I'm still on course for a sweepstake victory but I am cross that Ahmed was voted out. Never in history have we had the chance to watch someone have a slow but sure breakdown on TV. You had the chance to vote out Stuart or Shell - the extremely boring ones but oh no, you went for the most interesting.  Yes he was annoying as hell but isn't that the whole point?  Big Brother got evil this year, why can't the viewers?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Radio Ga Ga

I must be getting old. I have started listening to Radio 2.

The reason though it not the music or playlist but the personality. Radio 1 used to be great in the afternoon with Mark & Lard & Moyles back to back. Then the awful Sarah Cox became the mistress of the afternoon and the even awfuler Colin Murray was wheeled in. (Edith is OK though, seems nice and funny – not smug and annoying like her leprechaun side kick.)

So the afternoons have left me listening to Steve Wright – I can bare him. He’s not the funniest bloke on earth but he plays some great music (a mix of modern eg Streets, Rachel Stevens etc and classic 70s & 80s) and often has good topical debate. Also Mark Radcliffe now has a great nightly show at 10.30pm every evening on Radio 2 with bands like Elbow playing live.

The problem is Scott Mills has now moved into the Radio 1 afternoon slot. What do I do? I like Scott Mills, he’s funny, in an ironic way and has some great items – but I’m used to the laid back style of Steve Wright and the great mix of music he offers.

Luckily the BBC have saved the day. Their excellent listen again feature means I need never miss Moyles on days I lie in or miss Mark Radcliffe on evenings I’m working! It also means I can keep up to date on new music via Radio 1 but also improve my knowledge of classic with Radio 2. A bonus when you’re a DJ!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

So I'm one of the privilaged few that is getting to trial Gmail. Great except I have forgotten my password.


Friday, July 09, 2004

Your Money Or Your Life

The mission was simple. I had to get from one end of town to the other. Sadly there were obstacles in the way – five of them to be precise. Five of the most loathed creatures currently in existence. Charity Beggars.

Corporations like Dogfam and Adopt-A-Child-Or-Die-Foundation can no longer rely on charity shops it seems. Nope rather than let us chose to donate our money they now try and force us to give up our credit card numbers. Why?

“Have you got a few minutes Sir?” is the usual innocent question. ‘NO!’ Is my usual reply.

I’m not an uncharitable bugger. If I have some spare earnings I don’t want I often donate it to charity. Poppy day usually receives a bit of my income around November – just my way of thanking the previous generations for defending my freedom and I regularly support & fund raise for Comic Relief as well as the local Hospice & Air Ambulance. What I do not like is being made to feel like scum because I’m not willing to hand over my credit card details to a student with a clipboard in the middle of the street. Charities should use TV, radio & magazine ads to prove they need our money and to prove it will be spent well – they shouldn’t interrupt your daily routine by stepping in your way and harassing you.

What’s even more annoying is that gullible public members must be stopping and donating because they keep insisting on filling my local town with 10 pale adolescents in bright yellow jackets and I am absolutely sick of it. I’m sorry but the minute I am harassed by one of these Charity Beggars I make a point of finding the charity’s name and vow to never, ever donate to them again. So please unite and free the streets of these annoying people by doing the same!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I actually think the dripping overflow has stopped.

Now it's the eeire silence that disturbs my sleep!

And still it leaks…

Luckily the noise of Car Park Catchphrase on the Chris Moyles show is drowning out the noise of the neighbours overflow as I write this weeks Pub Quiz.

Ironically we currently have a plumber in. He’s fixing our shower so that it doesn’t take off two layers of skin every time you want to clean your dirty bits. He’ll also reseal the bath hopefully solving the problem of water getting to the neighbour below. Sadly I just discovered we’re out of milk meaning we currently can’t fulfill the international law of offering a workman a cup of tea. So now I’m house sitting while my girlfriend nips off to Safeways… hopefully returning with some yummy croissants too!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Drip, Drip, Drip

What a gorgeous sunny day it is today. A day where you want to fling the windows open and breathe in that fresh summer air, sucking in all the pollen and making you sneeze for the next half hour as a result. I have my windows open and a box of tissues on standbye (for the hayfever you dirty-minded things) but this morning there is an evil disturbing this little slice of heaven. Chinese Water Torture. An overflow pipe right outside my window is gushing out enough H20 to revitalise Ethiopia overnight. Today isn’t the first time it has been doing this. The mini-Niagara falls has been present now since Saturday.

It seems this building is falling apart. The people below have complained water is leaking through to their living room from us. I’ve ripped the side of the bath of fearing a leak to find it bone dry, which is great considering the side of the bath was tiled – that’s going to be nice to fix. The washing machine was replumbed 18 months ago and is fine. I’ve traced all water pipes and can find nothing. My best guess is that the sealant on the side of the bath needs replacing, which it will tomorrow.

Perhaps I should return the favour and go the flat above and tell them their overflow is running, although if they haven’t noticed perhaps a 10% off voucher for SpecSavers would be a better idea.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Burberry & Bling, the most Chavvy of things...

There have been a number of times where I’ve commented on Chav culture in this Blog. Interestingly the Times decided to do the same on Saturday running a piece about how Channel 4 is catering for Chav culture where it was once ignored. Wife Swap, Big Brother etc are all ‘Chav TV’ the writer even pointed out similar things that I did about last weeks Wife Swap.

So is it all hype or are Chav’s really taking over the world? Sadly, yes they are. If you don’t know what I’m on about there are a number of websites that explain this social class typified by Burberry, bling and a poor grasp on the English language.

I was thinking about this the other day, perhaps I’m the one at fault? Perhaps I’m the snob? What gives me the right to frown upon people who come from a poorer background than me? It’s not their fault that they live in urban areas, on high-rise council estates with little sense of community. Not their fault their parents brought them up to swear like troopers. But then again it is their fault that, when they’re old enough to make their own decisions, they don’t work hard at school and instead, choose to hang around on street corners and intimidate passers-by.

My conclusion is that I don’t have one. I feel that because I have actually paused to consider why chav are the way they are that makes me different from them. You feel that the whole point of Chavs is that they don’t pause to consider others. But then again could this growing media obsession with chav culture just be a way of avoiding our own failings?

Forget Hot Or Not, find out if you're Chav Or Not!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The louder you scream, the faster we go!

Monday morning saw me headed down the M4 with one of my best mates to check out Alton Tower’s little sister – Thorpe Park. The park has seen much expansion in the last few years since it was taken over by the Tussauds Group. It used to be a dreary Theme Park. I visited it as an 11 year old and I was bored! Since Tussauds took the reigns two world class coasters have been added as well as a whole host of new ‘flat’ thrill rides. Sadly the park is still quite small and is easily do-able in a few hours but it is set in gorgeous surroundings. Lush greenery and two lakes make it a suprising oasis just a few miles outside of London.

There is one ride there which I personally feels makes the two-hour-or-so-trek down to London justified. Tidal Wave. Go and that only if you don’t mind being damp for the rest of the day. I’ve been on water rides before, but Tidal Wave makes the Thames look dry.

So the verdict? Not quite up to Alton Towers standards but it is catching up. Colossus & Nemesis: Inferno are great coasters and give it another 5 or so years of investment and Thorpe Park could become a fantastic day out. 7/10

BIG BROTHER BIT – Oh dear oh dear. Last night I gasped in amazement as Marco turned into a vile snivelling snide wretch of a man. Obviously bitter about being nominated he started taking side swipes at other contestants until Victor, thankfully, put him in his place. Although it doesn’t effect my sweepstake this week, please, for my sanity – vote Marco out.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Morals of Swapping Wives...

So Wife Swap returned to Channel 4 last night.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept it usually sees a Chav female swap homes and lives for 10 days with a middle-upper class female.

Typical features of an average show are the Upper Wife commenting on the scrounging, living-off-benefits-lifestyle of the Chav Wife. Chav Wife normally retaliates by commenting on how lazy Upper Wife is, how sheltered they are etc.

Last nights show seemed different. It did have the polar opposites present with Chav (Lucy) V Upper (Pat) but somehow it wasn’t quite what I expected. Normally the programme is edited so the Chav ends up being the one you frown upon. Last night I warmed to her.

She had a great bubbly personality. I did disagree with her attitude to swearing and smoking but it was the Upper wife who repulsed me. She had a strict punishment regime for her children (there was no talk of a reward scheme) and had a daily schedule which had to be strictly adhered to. What shocked me even more is that she tried to enforce her attitude on religion on her temporary home by having them pray every night. I’m all for the social experiment of swapping house rules but you should never, ever enforce your religious views on other people.

Chav wife pointed out that the kids didn’t have fun in the upper home. Where was the laughter? I also felt incredibly sorry for Chav wife. She admitted she wouldn’t know how to live without her husband. She has never caught a train and wouldn’t know how to. Part of the experiment showed her getting a job at a local gym - the transformation was unbelievable, she became a happy smiley enthusiastic person.

Of course you don’t know what the hidden agenda of the shows producers were. There could be hours of footage of the Upper wife being a fantastic fun loving mother and the Chav wife being an evil demon. Just once though I was glad to see a ‘wife’ whose rule in life was to have fun, no matter what her background.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

A Fine Day For A Ruby Wedding

Another Saturday, another gig. This week was a 40th Wedding Anniversary. A very gentle affair with the couple choosing to use the time to talk rather than party. I was ordered to keep the music as low as possible and stick to 60s/70s by the organiser. I didn’t mind this but it did lead to problems when the rest of the crowd were requesting chart!

The organisers were a lovely, lovely couple and it is amazing to see a wedding lasting 40 years in this day an age of Tesco Value divorces (I kid ye not – your own divorce kit now available here! Only £7.49 too!)

So a nice crowd but slightly lacking on the old atmosphere – 6/10

BIG BROTHER BIT – Wow, a new housemate – a false Italian one at that. Already Victor & Jay are looking mildly pissed off and could we see a bitch fight between the new Beckie and old Michelle. Exciting stuff. Oh and thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Vanessa is out and my sweepstake is safe for at least another 7 days!

Friday, June 25, 2004

We W-Urs Robbed!

My girlfriend and I had a gorgeous dinner last night then sat down to watch a DVD. Was a nice relaxing evening. It finished with about 20 minutes to kill before Big Brother so we switched BBC 1 on, just in time to see that disallowed goal.

I’m not bothered by football. I don’t really are about England’s progress but being English I suppose it would be nice for them to win. I don’t know much about football but I have to say even in my blinkered way that was a goal.

My jaw dropped as yet again England had to go to penalties. They always do. At world cup, or Euro level they always seem to get to the quarterfinals, score a goal in the first 5 minutes for it to be equalised and end up in a penalty shoot out. This always results in England losing and yet again they did last night. Except they didn’t because that was a goal.

Still there’s no point moaning about it now, it’s happened, it’s done with.

If only there was a way you could personally tell that stupid referee, Urs Meier, how you felt about his awful decision….

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Last weekend I was mostly DJing

DJ’s a pleasant gig last Saturday even though it was only to 20 people. It made a huge change. Despite the small number the bride had insisted she wanted a DJ. I grudgingly agreed although I dreaded the gig arriving.

It actually turned out to be a nice surprise. The group, including the Bride & Groom were really, really nice people. As there wasn’t a large crowd there wasn’t the pressure to get the room dancing that you normally get from gigs. This lead to a more relaxed affair and gave me chance to dig out stuff I hadn’t played for a while. The crowd did dance intermittently but at the end announced I hadn’t played a single bad record. Was good fun! 7/10

On a different note today I saw a car that didn’t have a St. George cross on it. A rare sight indeed.

BIG BROTHER BIT – it’s strange but since the big fight I’ve lost a bit of interest in BB5. Must try and catch up with the house events. Anyway don'’ forget evict Vanessa, oh come on, she’s not very nice. She leads Jay on then ignores him and she can be a bit bitchy. Also if Dan goes I lose a bet!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

A Journey To Oblivion

It was a gorgeous summers day yesterday so I decided not to waste it and voyaged 110 miles north to visit the even more gorgeous ancestral home of the Earl Of Stafford – now lying in ruins. Probably a good job it’s uninhabited as the neighbours – 5 world class roller-coasters and loads of fast spinning rides are a bit noisy.

Yep I decided to visit Alton Towers.

Secretly I’m a bit of a roller-coaster geek. I love them. I visit Alton Towers at least twice a year as well as a plethora of other theme parks. Yesterday was my second visit this year and my first chance to ride the new coaster – Spinball Whizzer. I can highly recommend it too. A bit of a queue but the ride is great fun, as was the refurbished Flume that now ensures all riders get wet thanks to the installation of power showers – something that’s desperately needed on the River Rapids which failed to wet anyone.

Sadly the visit was marred by a few Burberry wearing Chav queue-jumpers but we politely told them where to go.

A tip to add to you’re enjoyment of the Towers – visit their website and download the £10 entry voucher!

Also visit this site for an excellent look at the park and its history.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Music Be The Food Of... Well everything!

There’s nothing better in this world than music.

It has the power to unite the power to divide and the power stir memories.

No matter how awful you think a particular tracks is someone somewhere will love it – even list it as their favourite. Also there are some tracks that, the instant you hear them, you remember what you were doing while they were riding high in the charts. It’s is an instant connection to both your recent & distant past.

Many people are very narrow minded about their music. Once opinion is formed they stick to it rigidly. I’d hate to be like that. Personally so far The Streets have done nothing for me. I feel In The Jungle by Tight Fit has more musical ability than any of Skinner’s songs. This opinion is slowly being enlightened by listening to their current release, which is really growing on me.

Lately I’ve had a lot of requests for ‘Ska’ music while Disco requests seem to be diminishing. Is this as sign of the 70s & 80s nostalgia moving on? I like a bit of Madness and The Specials Ghost Town but have never really paid much attention to Ska.

As I’ve always maintained that I DJ because I like the music, not the money I felt I’d better start delving into Ska. There’s actually some good stuff to be found with Harry J & The All Starts Liquidator being high on my list. So many, many thanks to the 4 or so people that have asked for ska over my last few gigs – I will start experimenting with it – though don’t expect Donna Summer to disappear just yet!

Big Brother Bit: Isn’t this years just great? By far the best bro since BB 2. Ahmed slowly going mad, The whole Kitten thing and the Bedsit Babes! The bedsit doors are thrown open at 10pm tonight – can’t wait! Oh and by the way I have Dan in my works sweepstake - so please everyone vote Vanessa!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

It Doesn''t Add Up

So yesterday was spent sweating my tits off and retaking my Maths NVQ level 3 Key Skills test.

You may remember I took this test back in March – well, surprise surprise I failed so I spent Sunday evening revising percentages, fractions, long division, area etc.

Got to the test and felt I was doing very well until they pull a surprise trigonometry question out of the bag followed by a nasty cumulative frequency question.

Why Oh why do I have to do these ridiculous tests to prove I can make a good manager. Surely management is partly about delegation – if I can’t do something I get someone else to do it – preferably by hiring an accountant to do it all.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Retiring Early

I DJ’d a retirement party last night. Was really looking forward to it. There’s something about nice sunny days that makes me want to put some tunes on, relax and DJ. I also wanted to try and play a few different things, stuff I hadn’t before so I tried some Clash, Adam & The Ants and The Specials. I got the crowd dancing a lot earlier than usual trying out some Tamala Mowtown and Northern Sould and it was shaping up to be a good night except that only 25 people turned up.

That’s a great way of killing the atmosphere before the party has begun, it also shows a lack of respect for the person retiring. A shame too as the assembled crowd all seemed really nice. The lack of people meant that despite keeping them on the dancefloor the celebration seemed very flat thus I wasn’t surprised when people started to leave early. Kylie & Robbie went down as well as ever, as did a bit of Lulu. Still by 11.30 I was Djing to an empty room and an eager-to-head-home staff.

2/10 for effort but 5/10 for those that were determined to dance!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Flagging Again

So there’s St. George’s flags everywhere.

I’m a bit bitter about this. About 4 years ago I was in my first year at uni, sharing a gorgeous new hall with about 50 other students. We bonded quite well and decided to decorate the large front atrium to our modern block with a large St. George. The halls opposite followed suit with a large union flag. Another resident was half –Egyptian and loved the idea of being proud of your country and put up an Egyptian flag while our Norwegian residents proudly displayed their country’s flag. We were all quite proud – it was like a little global village in a quite corner of the Cotswolds.

That was until the accommodation officer of the university ordered us to take it down. His reason? It was inciting racism and making international students feel uneasy.

What?! Yep this narrow-minded soul felt that as the symbols of Great Britian had been adopted by the BNP that they now promoted them and not our country – with that attitude then the BNP have won. We were trying to display the flags for what they are – a proud symbol of our country.

Thankfully the international residents complained that it was unfair – they were allowed to display their flags why couldn’t we? Still the uni didn’t give in and the red & white came down.

Go to the US and you see the stars & stripes proudly aloft on every street corner. They love their flag and behaviour like that above would be frowned up on in the states. Admittedly I feel the current displays of St. George are for shallow reasons – a dumb football team rather than a true celebration like 60 years of D-Day but at least people are slowly waking up to what the symbolism is. We must reclaim our national flag from the narrow minded and the racist hooligans. If we keep flying the flag it will, once again, become a symbol of pride and a symbol of a Great Britain that welcomes all nationalities with open arms.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Make Your Vote Count

Don’t forget to use your vote today folks. I’ve never voted before. I was old enough at the last election but I was apathetic. To be honest until recently all the parties have been pretty dull and also all their manifestos have overlapped meaning that whoever is in would do the same thing. Now though the parties are staring to go their separate ways and politics is starting to get more interesting.

The dark prince could spice up the Tory party – although they seem to have been very quiet in the run up to today’s voting. Kennedy seems to have some health issues which means he could drop at anytime – could be a great sweepstake! Meanwhile Tony seems to be ageing before our eyes and the will he quit won’t he quit debate is almost up there with the will they - won’t they of Mulder & Scully in the X-Files.

Any way I’m off to look at the various parties websites to see who deserves my vote!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Flying The Flag

Poor St. George must be turning in his grave. Why oh why is his flag being used to celebrate the campaign of 11 brain-dead footballers in a dumb game?

The flag should be used for being proud of your country, proud of Britian and its achievements. I’m sorry but I don’t think the England football team are something to shout about. Their actions do not change the world, they do not effect life on a global scale. However decisions made by the Queen or Government do.

The Beagle2 Mars probe failed, but for a few days the whole country was behind it. If they had succeeded and made some great discoveries abut Mars then that’s when the flag should be flown. Likewise if we were out in Iraq genuinely fighting for a good cause to liberate the Iraqis then, again, the flag should be flown, though to be honest I feel Bush has other, genuine, reasons for invading Iraq.

This weekend should have acted as a vivid reminder as to why we should fly the flag. This weekend celebrated a genuine victory, not a shallow football campaign but a real life changing event the British were involved in. D-Day.

Men lost their lives to protect what they believe it. The worst footballers can do is break a nail or have their hair slightly ruffled. We should be forever thankful for what they did 60 years ago, that is why we should fly St. George with pride.

Monday, June 07, 2004

A game of boring halves

I’m making the most of this week. It will be the last week for over a month that I will be able to switch on the television without fear of boredom and a wave of insignificant statistics. You see I am one of a rare breed. I am one of a few males that fail to see the interest in the beautiful game. A game, to me, is all it is. Just 22 incredibly over paid and under-IQ’d running about kicking a ball around. That’s all it is. I don’t care who wins I don’t care about the ‘skill’ involved and I don’t care who the England captain is shagging.

Football is very over rated. I feel it’s wrong for the media to celebrate something that insights so much hatred and violence. There are real life changing events going on in the world at the moment why should the front pages be dominated by the progress of a game or what its players are doing now?

I’m a fan of Big Brother – but I even despise the way that grips the media. It is another ’game’ yet it still dominates the front pages of many news publications. Perhaps it is a product of our lives becoming trivial. Other countries would love to have their news made up of page 3 models, footballers and game shows instead they have civil unrest, religious uprisings and death. Personally though I would argue that they have got their priorities right…

Saturday, June 05, 2004

The Bowling Centre Survival Guide.

After 7 years of working in a bowling centre here is how to make sure you have a great time visiting one. Keep the staff happy and they’ll keep you happy!

Do not jokingly ask for a silly shoe size i.e. “Size 19 please.” You are not clever, you are not funny. You are not the first or last to say this. In fact desk staff at a bowling centre hear this remark about 4 times a day. Stop it!

Do not try 4 different size shoes before going back to the first size you tried. You are only wearing the shoes for an hour it really doesn’t matter if they are slightly too big. You are in a bowling centre not Clarks.

They are called LANES ok, LANES – got that? They are not rinks, courts, pitches and definitely not tables!!

No we don’t have any smaller balls. Lighter yes, smaller no.

Don’t bowl at the sweep. It can tear the shock absorbers and cause lots of problems.

It is called a SPARE ok – there is no such thing a ‘half-stike’

If you decide to walk down the lane (despite signs saying otherwise) don’t come crying to us when you slip, hurt yourself and get lane oil on your clothes funnily enough that is exactly why there are signs telling you not to walk down the lane.

On the bowling consoles there are big signs saying ‘sorry we are unable to take drinks orders, please visit the bar for service.’ So don’t come and complain to us that no one has come to you lane when you’ve pressed the ‘d’ button.

The lanes are not uneven – you are just crap.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Séance it isn’t so…

Ouija boards – something under no circumstance you are supposed to mess with. So egged on by Derren Brown’s live séance show I have just sat with some work mates and tried it out.

“Spirit, are you there?” We asked.

“s-o-r-r-y” was the reply spelt out.

“Do you like bowling?”


Slightly spooked we asked its name.


Right. Ok. Ummm “Spirit where are you from?”


“Are you evil?”


Great. The first time I have ever made contact with the sprit world and it’s dyslexic.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Check This Out


I hate it.

I consider it the uniform of the football hooligan or the fashion essential of ‘Chav’ (along with crap bling and pristine white trainers.) It is to the 00s what Shell Suits were to the early 90s

Sadly though the nation doesn’t seem to agree with me. That naff camel coloured tartan is every where. Umbrellas, scarves, caps, T-shirts heck there’s probably even Burberry bondage gear now. But would it be so popular if people realised it actually isn’t that fashionable? It’s ‘manufactured fashion’ it’s like the Hear’Say of the clothing world.

Firstly it isn’t actually Scottish. Burberry was founded in 1856 by Thomas Burberry in Basingstoke. It was a small shop – ‘gentleman’s outfitters.’ Burberry is famous for inventing Gabardine the water-resistant tough fabric a lot of out-door wear is now made from. Burberry supplied a lot of military clothing throughout the early 1900’s

It wasn’t until 1924 that the Burberry check was invented and used as lining on trenchcoats. It wasn’t until 1967 that it was first used as a cloth and was applied to scarves and umbrellas.

It wasn’t fashionable until 1997 when a new management team re-launched it in new collections

But here’s the clincher – this is why it should never be fashionable, the supposed Fashion Empire is actually an offshoot of GUS. Yes the home catalogue company also responsible for Argos has owned Burberry since 1955! Would you consider Argos high fashion chic? Nope, yet loads of chavs still parade the products of its sister company thinking they’re the Beckhams. The last laugh is on you – ‘check’, mate.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Oh What A Night, Late May back in '04

So last night was my forth DJ gig since beginning this blog – the start of June heralds the start of a busy season – I’ll be Djing weddings & birthdays every week now for the next few months – on top of the weekly pub quiz I host.

Last night I provided music for a lovely couple. They introduced themselves by stating that they wanted none of that ‘hip hop or rap rubbish’ and thus I instantly warmed to them. I spent the night playing the more cheesy areas of the pop charts – there were a lot of kids present so I made sure S Club & Britney got a good airing as well as the ‘Chav.chav slide.’

The crowd took a while to find last night – I dithered with a bit of Motown, some Disco and dance but it wasn’t until I pulled Wham! out of the DJ case that I got them – and kept them there until 1am. It has to be said that one thing I have learnt from Djing is that the young are very arrogant about music. They are ignorant to the older people in the room and don’t understand that Hip Hop and what we now call R&B (which is an insult to proper Rhythm & Blues) isn’t actually that popular post-mid twenties. Also if they don’t hear something they like they vote with their feet and go to local nightclubs – something I consider very rude if you’ve been invited as a guest of a wedding. No matter though – they lost out as once I got the crowd going – about 10.35 (good considering I only started Djing at 10pm(ish)) it was a great night! 7 out of 10.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Fetch The Engine, Fetch The Engine

Firefighters in parts of Tayside and Glasgow have been taking part in a work to rule as part of unofficial industrial action. The move was in support of colleagues in Greater Manchester who have been suspended for refusing to use new major incident equipment.

The problem is this time they are not going to get the public support.

Personally I feel they are downright selfish. They winge that they don’t get enough money for the danger they are put in. Um, hello – there’s a big clue in the name of the job title ‘FIREFIGHTER’ the risks of the job are obvious when you join up – if you don’t want to put yourself into that danger then don’t go into firefighting.

What about the amount of money they’re on? I’d love to be paid that much! There are people out there in the community doing just as important jobs for society that don’t get paid anywhere near as much. Look at Nursery Teachers – they are criminally under paid – not even £10,000 PA. Firefighters can expect anywhere up to and over £17,000+ OK so they save lives but Nursery Nurses help to lay the foundations to develop lives – just as important. Teachers, Nurses, Doctors, etc all deserve more but the fact they don’t constantly winge about it leaves them with a lot more respect. One firefighter on the local news was trying to get pity as he ‘only’ got £23,000 p.a. oh dear my heart bleeds for you – I know many, many people that work extremely hard getting a lot, lot less.

Perhaps if fire fighters actually did what they were supposed to rather than moaning and groaning all the time the government might not be so hesitant to give them the money they want.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Slow, Slow, Quick Quick, Slow

I have decided to enter politics. I am going to set up my own party and hinge my manifesto around one policy. I want to revolutionise the country’s pavements.

I consider myself quite a quick walker, I am one of the few 20somethings that can’t drive and to be honest has no interest in driving. The look of shock I get when people discover this is quite amusing. “But how do you get about?” many people ask.
“I have these amazing things called legs,” I reply.
One girl last week, my boss’ daughter, looked amazed as I told her I walked home every day from work. “It’s only a 10 minute walk,” I told her. “10 MINUTES” she gasped, “bt isn’t there like a bus or summit?” (Teenagers these days even seem to talk in text speak.)

Yesterday I decided to set off for work earlier than normal. It was so nice and sunny I decided that I wanted to walk at a more leisurely pace so as to enjoy the weather & the view. Soon I came across a problem. Even at my ‘slow’ pace I got stuck behind a slower moving vehicle – three old biddies blocking the pavement moving at a arthritic snails pace. To top it off they were the most evil of types – the ones that suddenly stop without warning leaving me to bump into them. Eventually I performed an overtaking manoeuvre as luckily there was a long straight and no traffic coming the other way. Another five minutes on and I get stuck behind another slow moving vehicle. A young mum with a pushchair and toddler in hand.

So this is my manifesto. All main pavements should be revamped and structured like motorways. A hard shoulder for those that breakdown – suddenly stopping without warning to prevent people behind crashing into them. A lane for slow moving window shoppers, A quick moving lane and a lane for overtaking.

At last I could get from A to B without having to navigate an obstacle course of biddies, skaters, (sorry sk8ters) toddlers & pushchairs.

Number 10 here I come.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Whack's Away

Last night I did something reasonably exciting for me. I went to the theatre. Our local theatre is now six years old and not once have they had anything on stage that remotely interests me. To me that screams of the fact that perhaps they actually haven’t got ‘the locals’ foremost on the list of importance. Instead they try to be all arty with opera singers and folk jazz. They regularly have gay & lesbian acts – weird considering this city doesn’t have a large gay or lesbian scene. (They all travel to nearby Cardiff & Brum for their entertainment!) They ignore the fact that this city has a large working class population (which I’m proud to be part of) which would far prefer a good stand up comic to some Vagina Monologues.

Anyway. Finally, after years of the annual ‘Sooty Show’ being the only thing I’d consider going to see, and believe me as soon as I have children I’ll be dragging them to see it – even if they’d rather watch ripoffemon, the theatre announced they are hosting Dave Gorman’s Google Whack Adventure. Sadly I’d already seen it – the fact that my local theatre doesn’t cater for me meant I’d been travelling to not-so-local theatres for my entertainment! This didn’t deter me from a second viewing which was every bit as enjoyable as the first, oh and the book (I recommend it highly if you’re in need of a read.)

The premise was that Mr. Gorman accidentally travels around the world meeting Googlewhacks by trying not to complete a bet to meet Googlewhacks! I don’t want to spoil anything else as a lot of the story works on its element of surprise suffice to say it is very, very funny.

Anyway in honour of the show I decided to set about finding a Googlewhack. Now I’m very very proud to say it only took me 3 hours and 37 miutes – and that’s without the Observer Crossword!

Here though we come across a problem. I want to tell you the Googlewhack I found, but, by doing that it would no longer be a Googlewhack. It was something like semolin@ unicyklist (I’ve spelt it wrong deliberately to preserve its googlewhackness.)

So if your bored this weekend why not find out what a googlewhack is then go find one yourself!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

A Nation Of Curtain Twitchers?

Blog’s can be boring.

They are tools of the ego. Why should the Internet community be interested in what I’m doing daily? I don’t for a minute expect anyone to care about my life and what I get up to. In today’s tense political environment tales of me going to get drunk and getting up to traffic-cone-stealing hi-jinx’s are insignificant.

It is because of this that I don’t want to use this blog as I dairy of what I do, but more of what I think.

So what is on my mind today? Well it’s the old tale of abortion. The battle between the rights & wrongs of abortion have always been rife in America but the last few weeks have a seen a rise of interest in the UK. It started when Channel 4 aired a programme featuring graphic footage of an abortion. I’m not going to get into the rights & wrongs of abortion. People much more intelligent and wiser than I have discussed this issue for decades and still not come to a conclusion. Instead it’s the media’s handling of the issue that bothers me.

Today the media is full of the story of Michelle Smith, a 14 yr-old girl who kept an abortion secret from her mother after having unprotected sex. There is also the ongoing tale of Church of England curate, Joanna Jepson getting involved after she discovered that a Dr. Michael Cohn performed an abortion on a baby with a Cleft Palate 28 weeks into the pregnancy.

I think the recent tales of abortion are a side-effect of society’s current obsession with other people – particularly celebrities. We are too interested in what other people are doing when really we should care about ourselves, and our closest friends. Perhaps it is Heat Magazine’s fault but I don’t care what trousers Beckham is wearing this year. I can live without knowing Jay-Lo’s secret pot noodle addiction or that Will Young sniffs the saddles in the local gym. Likewise it is none of Joanna Jepson’s business as to why Michael Cohn carried out the abortion – it should just be between him and his patient. Also the media should not be further traumatising a young girl by running her abortion story in the press. In fact this will probably damage her more than the mental anguish of the abortion its self.

No society is too nosey for it’s own good. The crime is not the abortion its self but the fact that we know about it. We don’t like Big Brother watching us, so why should we become Big Brother?

Not all blogs are boring - this one's great!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Dog Tired

Back on the 18th March I pondered over how long I’d actually keep this Blog up. I’m ashamed to admit that after just one week and a holiday to the large building site that is the Costa Del Sol the regular posting stopped.

I did forget for a while. Then a few weeks ago I was online and remembered, but couldn’t think of anything to say. I still can’t but I know if I don’t keep going I will regret it. Not today perhaps, not even tomorrow but someday and for the rest of my life.

So I return to Blog land today to find that the site has had a redesign which aids my confusion.

Anyway what have I been up to of late?

Well the end of march and early April was taken up by a holiday to Spain. The resort was gorgeous, the company was great but the weather was awful. Still on the plus side I learnt a host of new card games and discovered some great new cocktails.

Since then I’ve been hosting a weekly pub quiz and generally just working. A visit to Alton Towers here, a meal with the ‘in-laws’ there.

Last night was perhaps one of the oddest in a while. I found myself cheering on my works football team as they played a local leisure centre. I don’t care for football, it doesn’t interest me but I felt that I should give the gang some moral support. There was a hitch. I gave them this support whilst dressed as a giant dog. It was funny at the time and believe me next time I go to Disneyland I may feel a bit of compassion for Tigger and Mickey.

What else have I been up to? Oh yes I went from one extreme to the other on the DJ front. My last gig (Sunday March 21st) was awful. Last week’s was a blinder. The minute I put on the first record (Peter Andre arrrgh!) the dance floor was full and it didn’t empty until New York New York three hours later. The atmosphere was electric and I was on a high for the rest of the weekend. So thank you local maternity unit for such a great night! (Also thank you to someone in that room that night for putting your thumbprint in the back of my head during my first few seconds of life!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Education, Edukatshun, Edducateshion

My parent’s hail from the chalk and talk era. Everything was drummed into them. They had to copy from the blackboard, in silence, in rows. No ‘trendy’ group work or ‘carousal’ teaching. No interactive smart boards. No National literacy strategy and definitely no plenary.

They can still remember content they were taught when they were 12 – it was drummed into them for fear of the dreaded cane or a blackboard eraser being hurled across the room at them.

Today I spent 2 hours doing an exam to prove just how appalling my maths is.

As a middle manager I have been encouraged to under take a “Not Very Qualified” course. Part of this course is Key Skills. English and ICT I flew through with no problems. I consider my English to be very good and I know my way around the keyboard. Maths is another thing…

I can do adding, subtracting, division & multiplication – you know the stuff that real people do in their real lives. Then there is the other stuff. Pictograms, cos, sign, tan, fractions, ratios, algebra etc. This is stuff that only teachers know and that you only ever experience in school or in maths tests.

Why do we have to do this stuff? No one ever uses it in day to day life yet the course is called ‘key skills’. How can you possibly call this course ‘key skills’ when the last time I had to find angle y on a triangle my voice and other anatomy were at a higher pitch!

Suffice to say I spent the two hours in the exam room sweating a bit and trying to work out what the hell all those buttons do on a scientific calculator – I didn’t answer many questions. So much for my B in GCSE maths!

Still I blame my education. My generation relied heavily on the calculator and got very lazy. No cane – no fear thus no reason to learn.

Anyway I don’t think I’ve passed this test. It was my own fault – I forgot to take my lucky troll!