Monday, June 20, 2005

Farewell Flat Four

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So yesterday family, friends and I braved the heat of the hottest day in the world to empty the flat, my unofficial home since 2002. I’m always sad leaving properties full of happy memories. I’ve done it twice before though this time it is with the excitement of moving into a property I will actually own.

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It’s not going to be for a few weeks which also means this is probably my final post for the time being. I hope to brave a PDA or friends computer so that I may say Hi, but in case not – I’ll see you in the future!

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Favourite Bottle

So last night, under the cover of darkness the girlfriend and I sneaked to the local bottle bank and deposited all our empties. (We didn’t want to look like Alcoholics) There was a satisfying crunch and crash as we did our bit for the environment. One sad loss was this bottle.

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Chateau Spook. One of my favourite tipples has long been Bulmers Strongbow Cider. So I was chuffed to find this special Halloween edition a few years back. Sadly the contents were vile but the bottle was cool. I’m going to miss the view of the Bulmers factory from Flat 4’s window when we move out. I’m not going to miss the gorgeous smell it produces every autumn though – you see my new house is right next door the factory! One of the huge Strongbow vats being right at the end of my street!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gotta Lotta Bottle

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Moving house is a sad time. The main reason is it means closing my third ever wine diary. It was a tradition started back at University by Hall mates Ruth and Sarah. I never did discover the totals of my first year residence at halls. In second and third year we didn’t keep it as strict as we should. Barely scraping double figures our wine & spirits diary hardly filled the top of the kitchen cupboards. (Believe it or not Peter Stringfellow, that bloke with crap hair, also keeps a wine diary!)

Back in January 2002 my girlfriend started hers at her flat, the flat we’ll be leaving next week. So are we alchoholics? In three years… here are the totals..

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That’s a lot of Jesus Juice, but refreshingly not as much as I predicted. Now it’s off to the local bottle bank with the above products… will only take two trips!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Twenty years ago Michael Jackson was the self proclaimed King Of Pop. The music he churned out was some of the best in the world. Great original tunes like Beat It, Billie Jean and, of course, Thriller. But that was two decades ago. He hasn’t delivered anything of note for years. It is this reason why I dread his inevitable re-launch now he has been proven innocent. He will have a number one – I can guarantee that but will it be a number one down to talent, or simply a number one of pity and media hype? In the days where a blue frog can get to number one on the back a ring-tone an even weirder looking creature is bound to get to number one on the back of a world press dominating court case.

It’s a shame because the embarrassing spectacle of MJ releasing a snivelling song saying he was ‘innocent all along’ will further dilute the once great image he had. Of course If I’m wrong and we see a return to form from the Neverland One I will happily toast him a glass of Jesus Juice.

Monday, June 13, 2005


I was highly anticipating the opening of Subway in the city. I’d heard so many good things about the chain. Healthy, tasty and freshly made. I strode up to the counter awkwardly, not being familiar with the store I wasn’t quite sure of the procedure but was amazed by the five staff eagerly waiting to prepare my food. I chose Chicken & Bacon Ranch, Hearty Italian Bread and decided to go the whole hog for a ‘fat bastard’ foot-long. That’s when the first worrying thing happened. Rather than treating my baguette lovingly with TLC it was sliced and manhandled by each of the staff in turn. They were wearing gloves and I’m sure they adhered to the many food prep regulations but there was something off-putting by five pairs of hands roughly flattening the baguette open and shoving in the ingredients. It was like watching ER except the operation was faster. At one point I half expected the meat stuffer to scream for a scapel.

The end result was encouraging. The baguette was stuffed with cucumber lettuce and some onion. It did indeed look tasty and fresh. Then came the shock.

“That’s £5.40 please.”

Wow. For one baguette, no extras, no drink no cookie. £5.40.

I don’t think I’ll be going to Subway again. Yes it was delicious. But for £5.40 I can buy three baguettes from Morrissons (which would be much more than a footl ong) and still have enough change for a drink. Also, two minutes walk away from Subway is our local Greggs. Baguettes there are as little as £1.50 for a gorgeous range of fillings. (And of course the freshly baked Sausage Rolls mmmm…) For £5.40 I’d at least expect a drink, or possibly gold plated cutlery and a side pot of caviar… Not asking much is it?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Oh so very very tired....

The 24-hour bowl night went really fast. We were playing Scrabble well into the early hours – frustratingly even a dictionary couldn’t help us in achieving many words longer than four letters – though I did manage ‘lockers’ at one point. At 4am we joined the charity bowlers for a game before moving to the pool area for a game of nine-ball. At seven we both started to lag. Stretching out listening to Chris Moyles. Those final two hours seemed longer than the previous six.

Still it was nice to see the sun rise and sit outside in the still of the dawn with barely a sound. Even at the edge of a dull trading estate the start of the day was as glorious as it could possibly be. Shame I missed the rest of the day by spending it in bed.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mr Sandman...

I have to stay awake.

I won’t be going to bed until exactly 24hours from now.

But how do I do it?

I’ve done ‘all nighters’ before. In 1998 I was up until 5am completing my design coursework. In 2000 I stayed up until 6am helping refit the bowling centre. In 2001 I got to bed about 8am after flying back from Cyprus. In 2002 I was up until 5am finishing my dissertation.

Tonight I am supervising the bowling centre from 11pm – 9am as a charity aims to complete a 24 hour bowl.

I did try ‘time shifting’ – going to bed later and later each night and getting up later each morning but by last night was knackard and went to be early. I’ll be fine until 4am but that’s where I’ll start to struggle. I have dug out my Rocket Fuel Coffee in preparation – it kept me going through dissertation day, and I have supplies of Red Bull ready but I really don’t know how I’m going to get through the twilight hours from 4 – 9am. This afternoon I will try going back to bed but I know, just know I won’t sleep. I never can in daylight.

Unlike D-Day and A Levels I will not be going it alone which is a bonus. There will be other staff sharing the ‘fun’ – we’ve already contemplated playing Monopoly, watching Big Brother and even bowling ourselves.

Perhaps I should give in – take a sleeping bag with me just in-case. Anyway, I’ll report back tomorrow and find out how I went!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Changing the tunes...

You may have noticed I’ve stopped logging my weekly Saturday night DJ gigs lately. No particular reason except that they’ve all been average. I haven’t had any disastrous nights in ages but like wise I haven’t has any exceptional nights. It’s not a bad thing, the clients have all been lovely as have the crowds but many have been simply ‘painting by numbers’.

Saturday was slightly different. It was a 60th birthday party which to some extent filled me with dread. Rock and Roll and 60s hits all night could get a bit dull. I like to play a bit of everything. The birthday girl surprised me though by asking for Green Day. Puzzled I played it. The dance floor got distinctly busier. I followed it up with James ‘Sit Down’, Feeder ‘Buck Rogers’ and The Dandy Warhols ‘Bohemian Like You’. They loved it. How far could I push it? I dared one of the ultimate Indie anthems; Reef ‘Place Your Hands’. They loved it more. It wasn’t the busiest night. Heck it wasn’t the best night I’ve done but being able to play something so different to the normal routines of Wham, Lulu and the B52s was very, very refreshing.

Big Brother Bit.
I’m fast realising that we have some of the most awful housemates in History. Kemal, Craig and Lesley in particular are vile. Constant bitching. Sure it’s the bitching that can make the show but you don’t want it 24/7. Some of the best bits in Big Bro are the moments the housemates bond and have a laugh. The wall painting in BB1 or the dancing task in BB2. The negativity in this year’s house is starting to grow tiresome. Normally during BB I don’t bother to even buy a TV guide knowing that it’ll make up much of my TV viewing. Today though the other channels may find their figures increase by one viewer.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Uniform Views

6 months ago the Safeways that’s 5 minutes walk from me became a Morrisons. I love it. The range is much better, as is the salad bar and selection of sandwich filling however there’s one thing that bugs me. The uniforms. They’re so ugly! It’s not just Morrisons though it’s all supermarkets.

It’s not fair. All the big high street retail giants carefully design their uniforms to represent their image. HMV and Starbucks have simple but nice polo shirts with company logo. The mobile phone giants have specially designed stylish suits. What do supermarkets get? Puffy boiler shirts in a range of vomit like colours. Morrisons is a hideous blend of purples and blacks made out of the same material as sleeping bags. The cut is hideously unfashionable looking very 60s like. Surely supermarkets are keen to promote a fresh clean image so why are the uniforms stuck in a timewarp. Sure they have to be practical but a stylish shirt with simple trousers is all I ask for. 90% of the staff wearing them look unhappy. Mr WM Morrison hear this. Making your staff happier by giving them better uniforms would give a much more positive image to us – the consumers!

So are there any other hideous uniforms out there? I’d love to hear the sickening details.

Big Brother Bit: When will we ever learn? Once again the nation has voted out the most interesting housemate meaning that Big Brother’s entertainment factor is going to suffer. Sure Mary was as mad as a box of frogs but she was different, a character we’d never seen in the show. Craig is a bitchy camp man -–we've seen plenty of those over the years of Big Brother, yet for some reason you’ve decided that you want another helping… zzzzzzz.