Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm Sorry, I Didn't Realise I Was a Lying Arsehole...

I often complain about my dogs as being the canine equivalent of the four horses of the apocalypse and with good reason. Ness is a belligerent bully to the other 3; Lexy is a wayward wanderer with a hound's sense of obsession, who, when in the pack, takes on the duty of ambusher extraordinaire; Murray could whinge and bark for Britain (not that that's a problem in the grand scheme of things) and Marley has been and is, at times, a monumental pain in the arse. She is aggressive, at times; she's belligerent, at times; can be a bully, at times and more obvious than anything else is such an ebullient and in-yer-face dog that it would be easy to tar her with a 'bad' brush. She does do larger-than-life better than any other dog I've met; but, that said, she's calmed down to a stage now where bad days are few and far between. Her past and reputation have led us to blame her for any infarction - blame Marley first ask questions later has been our motto for the last 4 years.

Today, we're over Bradlaugh Fields and were less than 5 minutes out of the car when we meet two Setters and a scruffy poodle owned by a couple of guys, one about 15 years younger than me and the other about the same in the other direction - they are undoubtedly father and son. Their dogs are passive and quite elderly. Marley doesn't make a great first impression; hurtling down the hill and running into the middle of them all - looking like she's up for a fight or about to attack - it is something that I worry about, but in four years only one person has ever mentioned her bull-in-a-china-shop entrances and he wasn't complaining, he was just pointing out how intimidating it can look to people. Anyhow, Marley arrives at her destination, stops, just about and pootles about sniffing and saying hello.

The owners have their backs to me and are walking back to the park exit; the wife is picking up some dog shit (in a bag) and I'm watching the dog social. Suddenly, without any warning, the grey and white Setter growls and bares her teeth at Marley; Marley rears up and suddenly we have handbags in the park. Lots of gnashing of teeth and standing tall; but no real fighting and absolutely no damage. The wife springs into action; I bellows at Marley and the two guys turn around and head back to their dog. Marley by this time is just standing there looking bewildered - not an unusual occurrence, it has to be said. The conversation between the men and my wife is one of accusation and contrition; the elderly man is suggesting that Marley should be kept on a lead, while the younger man is checking the Setter for 'bite marks or puncture wounds' - his words and suddenly I felt my own hackles raise.

"Actually, it was six of one and half a dozen of the other," I offers. "Your dog started it."
"You've got that wrong, chap," says the younger man.
"With the greatest respect," says I rather level-headedly, "I was watching them, you had your backs to it."
"My dog is too old to start fights," says the older man.
"As I said, your dog growled at mine, mine reacted. it was a reaction rather than an act of aggression."
"No, your dog is vicious," says the younger man. I felt the red mist descend, but I could see the wife, now with Marley bridled up, looking at me with semi-pleading eyes.
"As I said, you weren't watching. I'm quite happy to accept when my dog is in the wrong, but she was just reacting to your dog."
"No she wasn't."
"So, you didn't see it and you're calling me a liar?" The younger man mumbled something I couldn't hear or maybe was expected not to hear. I could see the wife's eyes pleading with me by this time and I reined back, but not before I heard the younger canonising his own dog and utter a few more gems of wisdom about mine. I could see why they thought what they did, but even in the most cut and dried cases there are facets that aren't always seen. Marley is a pain and has started many a fight over the last 4 years, however, she doesn't really do it any more and especially not with elderly dogs. In fact, with puppies and pensioners she's a model of good behaviour and I felt so aggrieved by all the blame being humped on Marley that I've had a bug up my arse about it ever since!

The problem is, I spend the next few hours trying to think of how I can take my dogs out without having this kind of thing happen and the subsequent confrontation/discussion. She is a pain in the arse and she does get into scrapes, but I think she got a bum call today and the two owners of the Setters managed to make me feel like an arsehole for suggesting their dog, which is obviously the canine version of Jesus fucking Christ, could possibly have incited a handbags at dusk scenario.

Some people. dog owners included, can just be utter cunts...

There's Not an F in Oak

When we moved into this house, back in 2000, there was this straggly little twig growing out of the dust, mortar and crumbled alleyway dividing our house from what is now Fishwife's abode. It was ignored for over a year. In the autumn of 2001, my late father decided he was going to sweep up and tidy the alleyway and when he got to the twig he bent over to rip it out of the wall, but I stopped him and pulled it out instead. It came away with ease and an intact root system. It was something of a miracle considering where it had been growing and what protection and nutrition it was receiving.

In 2001, my dad built a raised herb planter on our patio - people who have been to my house will probably recognise it or possibly even remember it. I opted to put the pathetic seedling into the corner of that and it thrived. In 2007, the wife suggested we needed to get the sapling - as it was now - out of the raised bed and into the garden. The job of getting it out of the raised bed was more difficult than you could imagine and the root network was literally all over the place. It caused a lot of mess and when I got around to putting the 20 inch tall tree into the ground, Alan Titchmarsh would have been having kittens. It was not pretty and I had to treat the tree like a gymnast trying to get into a ball.

Yet, inside four years it is now taller than me and looking really healthy. This is good. The world needs more oak trees and that was almost the philosophy I had when I salvaged it from the clutches of my, at times, destructive dad. The wife bought me a Dorling-Kindersley Tree book the year we transplanted it, because I was concerned that my little oak tree was not like your conventional oaks that grow across our country. On careful examination of said tree book, we both cam to the conclusion that we had a Hungarian Oak sapling - not uncommon in this country, but compared to all the other kinds quite unique.

End of story? you'd think so. Tree growing nicely, along with the other salvaged trees - the apricot (yeah, I have a fucking apricot tree and it gave us 22 apricots last year!), the horse chestnut, the cherry, an apple tree, a few maple seedlings and two nectarine trees - which the wife is really excited about. We do trees probably better than we do flowers. except everything was thrown into disarray yesterday. "Phill, you know the oak tree?" I nodded. "It isn't an oak tree." Huh?
Sure as sheep shit is useful for your legumes, the Hungarian oak has sprouted flowers that are not in any way connected to oaks. I went through the tree book again; knowing I had a job pinning Hungarian on the sapling despite it looking as though it was pretty much that and nothing else and came up with the small possibility that it might be a Swedish Whitebeam - which, is a bit more exciting than a Hungarian Oak. The evidence is pretty convincing, even if the leaves are a little different. For years we thought the apricot was a cherry tree, then a plum tree, then an almond and eventually a peach before we realised it was what it was. I'm pinning my colours on Swedish Whitebeam; not only does it appear to fit the descriptive bill, I think it's pretty cool we have an(other) uncommon tree in our garden!

On an unrelated note: Did I mention that I found a morel over Easter weekend? One of the most prized of all mushrooms and one of the few that grow in the spring; Morels are effectively one of the world's most expensive fungi you can find (after truffles, ceps and chanterelles) and chopped up with other mushrooms in a cream and white wine sauce on slow dried pasta it was really rather... ordinary. Yeah, I've had them before, but not for a long time - over 10 years to be precise - and these brains on sticks as the wife calls them are actually a lot of hard work and you are left wondering if they are so valuable because of how rare they are and not what they bring to the table.

The garden allotment is springing into life. Potatoes, spinach and rhubarb are all thriving, despite the lack of rain and this weekend I'm planting some beans. With potential hard times ahead, these high yielding crops might save me a few quid come the late summer!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Facebook is the Whore of Babylon

As I've alluded to briefly in previous entries, I'm looking at doing some band management and have been talking to Steve Messina and his band Blow Up Hollywood about being their European agent. This in-turn led me to spend the first quality time I have with old buddy Pat Fish in nearly 20 years (oh, how time flies). Pat was very good at suggesting a huge bunch of people for me to get in contact with, via Facebook and I duly started to add these people to my portfolio of friends, except... At 20 it stopped me and suggested that I a) might be a spammer, b) might not know these people and c) that I was blocked from making any more friend requests for 2 days.

I stared at the screen in slight disbelief, but having realised a long time ago that attempting to contact Facebook is a bit like trying to win two legal battles against Mark (He's a complete cunt) Zuckerberg - it just ain't going to happen. So, I opted to wait the two days, in fact, I waited three, to be on the safe side. The block is essentially still in force - it's changed a degree since Tuesday; it now blocks 50% of the people I want to befriend - these include The Roadmender (a building that houses gigs) and a Record Company (that produces and sells music) claiming these 'venues' either have too many friends already or too many friend requests! WTF?

The other 50% is a little easier, of sorts. I click on a name - let's say Andy S. Kank, someone I've met in the past, someone who shares 13 mutual friends with me and I get a form to fill out asking how I know the person I'm attempting to befriend, what his relationship with me is, am I befriending him at the request of someone else or is this just a 'blind' request. In fact, I'm asked almost as many questions as there are on a Housing Benefits claim form. After filling one of these in and sending an incredible indignant message to Facebook, I clicked on another name and was faced with exactly the same process. For the 30 odds people I could do with contacting and who might find it beneficial to them if I could contact them, I've been stopped or given such an obstacle that I don't actually want to now...

The annoying thing is, a few months back I was banging on about people befriending complete strangers just to allow them power ups in stupid fucking Facebook applications and games. I could make 55 'friends' when I was playing Social City - that wasn't a problem. I get 45 names from Pat and after 20 I have the fucking Facebook KGB on me like a rash. But... but... that's the point - these were 'friend suggestions' not just cold calling, click on someone at random gestures.

The worst thing is if someone tries to befriend me, I've been blocked from accepting the request. Someone I've known for ages tried to access me via Facebook last week and was told that I had too many friends requests pending. I tried to click on the confirm button and Facebook kindly reminded me that I have been prevented from adding people to my account. The irony here is that in the right hand column it regularly has at least 2 people - who I might know - that I should befriend... Bunch of worthless fucking cunts...

I am very close to being apoplectic about this. I actually don't really like Facebook (or any of the many rubbish social networking sites), but I see the importance of them and the ability to connect with people you want to connect to is the driving force behind it. Oh. No it isn't. Not for me any how...

I wonder if this is revenge for clicking x on every single advert that appears on my page and choosing 'offensive' as my reason for deleting it?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Penultimate Word on Association Football

Expectation.

With it comes a weight that newcomers struggle to comprehend. In the world of football we've seen heaps of expectation. Newcastle to remain a major force in English football; the same with Leeds (now struggling to hold onto a play off place in the Championship after 5 years of aimless wilderness wandering); the agonies Liverpool fans go through year after year because they believe their club has a greater history than any other team in the world and because they're all quite delusional. In the year I was born, Spurs won the first modern day League and Cup Double and for 49 years the fans have been waiting for the return of that glory glory team.

Last year, Spurs fans were treated to something totally bewildering - a 4th place finish that appeared to mean more financially and praiseworthy than winning a cup. In fact, Spurs won nothing last year and were treated like Double winners by their fans. Such is the fickle nature of football now that finishing 4th is better than winning the FA Cup.

The arse end of the season is upon us and remarkably the Premier League has five more rounds of fixtures left and 90% of them could still have serious ramifications for most of the 20 teams. There are still 13 teams that can be relegated; but realistically that will probably be contested by just 7 and as each week passes some new team becomes the focus of relegation realism. A few weeks ago Aston Villa were being talked about as realistic relegation candidates, four matches later and they're on the heals of 7th place - such is the bizarre nature of the world's most difficult league; which is certainly living up to its label this year. Sunderland were in there until they won yesterday and now League Cup winners Birmingham look like becoming the latest team to flirt with relegation.

At the other, business end, we're seeing pedigree shine and pretenders wilt. Man Utd will wrap up the title in the next 2 weeks; the valiant last minute dash by the Chelski Pensioners will amount to nothing, but the boys in blue will pinch runner's up spot from the profligate Arse; arguably the 2nd prettiest football in the league and with as much cutting edge as a wooden spoon - which is what Wenger will end up with again after flattering to deceive all season. The new boo boys - Man Citeh - will now take, what they believe, is their rightful place in next season's Champions League. The Eastlands Billionaires will achieve this not because they were better than 16 other teams, but because the serious challengers at the start of the season became embroiled in a game of musical chairs and overestimation.

It's not sour grapes that makes me say the Citeh don't deserve 4th; obviously at the end of the season they will have accrued more than enough points to have earned it; but with a line up that rivals the best Chelsea teams of the early Abramovich era, the manager should be castigated for not making a serious fist of winning the EPL. For all of Citeh's money it took Spurs' inability to beat teams beginning with W and Liverpool's transitional woes for them to get 4th. If this season had been like previous ones, Citeh would probably have struggled to finish 7th.

Expectation...

In October, I went ballistic over Spurs' failure to beat a resurgent Sunderland team at White Hart Lane. After holding a 1-0 lead for most of the match, we let the Wearsiders walk away with a point and I voiced my disdain to whoever would listen. It was a terrible result for a side that had top 4 aspirations. Yet, when we went to Blackpool last month and got stuffed 3-1 by a side that hadn't won in 7 and have gone a further 6 without victory, it barely registered on my contemptometer! Spurs let themselves down like a set of blinds in a south facing room; if they went through a season without disappointing me then they would win the league by 10 points. Yet, this season, with 5 matches to go, Spurs have lost less games than any previous Premiership campaign. Even if they lose 3 of those 5 games, they will still have gone a whole season with one less defeat than when they finished 4th. Surely this is a something to be proud of?

Actually, if you'd told me in September 2008 that Spurs would finish 4th, get through to the QFs of the Champions League and be guaranteed top 6 the following season, I would have not just bitten your hand off, I would have marinated it and drunk a bottle of vodka with it. Yet, here we are on a day when an on-line poll suggests that a third of Spurs supporters think that Harry Redknapp has taken the club as far as he can and should be sacked. Admittedly it follows a host of mediocre results that have all but ruined our chances of finishing 4th; but I remember beating Bristol Rovers 9-0 when we were trying to bounce out of the old second division after a humiliating relegation the previous year! I remember Christian Gross, Ossie Ardilles, Glenn Hoddle, George Graham (although he did win a cup for us), some bloke called Santini, Juande Ramos (his cup win doesn't count, it was BMJ's team) and a host of others who have failed miserably to return Spurs to former glories. Harry is the best thing to happen to Spurs since Bill Nicholson; we should hang on to him for a bit longer; we don't want another BMJ debacle, do we?

(Big) Martin Jol gave the Spurs fans something to believe in. Harry has reinforced that and given us something to reach for and, of course, he has given us expectations and while it is great to expect your team to be better than they are, unless you're Man U or Chelsea or Real Madrid or Barcelona, then there is an element of wishful thinking in those expectations.

I received a series of texts yesterday from my mate Jon, a zealously bonkers Red Shite fan. His team had just beaten a crap Birmingham side 5-0, while my Spurs drew 2-2 with WBA. This left Liverpool 3 points Spurs and the tone of his messages were that if Liverpool finish higher than Spurs, especially after the horrendous season they have had, then he was never going to let me live it down. At first, I studied the league tables and the BBC predictor and worried about letting the hated Red Shite finish higher than us; but as the evening wore on, I actually thought it would be a good thing. If Citeh are guaranteed 4th, then Stoke would get the final Europa League spot; Liverpool would get the only other one available through finishing position and Spurs would have no European football nights next year. That made me happy.

Here's why. I do not think Spurs will sell Modric or Bale this summer. I think that Van Der Vaart might stay as well. With defensive players like Kyle Walker dropping into right back, Steven Caulker getting a first team squad promotion and a few good quality signings up front and on the left hand side, Spurs without European distractions could seriously challenge for 1st place - a suggestion I would have laughed hysterically at 5 years ago. The biggest single thing that has affected Spurs this season has been injuries; this has been followed by poor striking and an inability to turn winning positions into winning results. Two of the above can be rectified and a season free of serious injuries would be a real bonus.

I believe that Man Utd will struggle next season; Chelski need £100million worth of investment and probably a new manager (and if that manager is, as some papers are suggesting, the Fat Spanish Waiter, then...); Arse might need the same and Citeh have Roberto Mancini, who looks good but isn't. Liverpool could have Europa League distractions, which will ultimately bugger up their long term campaign (but could do what I think Spurs could do if they don't finish 5th). Next season could be the start of a real shake up, with the unexpected leading the way.

But enough waffle about what ifs. The weight of expectation has made this seem like a failure of a year for Spurs. I sit here trying desperately to be positive about the season and it's difficult and that is because of the expectation. The reality is that whatever happens, we've done ourselves proud considering the hurdles we've had to jump. Beating AC Milan with half a team injured; beating the Arse 3-2 at the Emirates after being 2-0 down; Gareth Bale; Modric and Van Der Vaart; the emergence of Sandro; BAE's haircuts; having a laugh at Gomez's expense (even if he cost us too much to be allowed to stay); the matches against Inter; the debacle that was almost suffered at the hands of Young Boys - it has been a season of incredible highs; the lows have only felt bad because of ... expectation - in a normal year we'd shrug our shoulders and say, 'that's my Spurs!'.

I'm proud to be a Spurs fan. They play breathtaking football at times; and competed on the highest stage and made it to the last 8. Whatever happens between now and the end of May, I will remain Tottenham Till I Die! COYS!

Friday, April 22, 2011

When Men Looked Like Frogs and Donkeys like Hobbits' Scrotums

Sometimes you know something is going to happen and when the announcement comes it does little to change your initial beliefs. When I hated reading almost every moment of the last 3 Dark Tower books, I knew that it would be made into a TV series or trio of feature films. It wasn't prior warning or believing speculative gossip, it was pure and simply a period when Stephen King's laundry list had Harvey Kietel and Rob Lowe written all over it.

The announcement that it's going to be a film and more - see http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/854126/10_things_we_want_to_see_in_the_dark_tower_adaptation.html for some fan wank nonsense, makes me wonder if there might be a 'reverse Golden Compass' effect. This being the opposite of what happened when I saw the film adaptation of Philip Pullman's book. Perhaps the Dark Tower will suddenly become understandable, intelligible and good!

Actually, that link does a good job of spelling out - unintentionally, of course - the content of an article I've continually rewritten and continually failed to do anything with: why is the Dark Tower such a bad book when it started off so good?

This isn't going to be that article either, but the author of the article on Den of Geek suggests removing every single element of the book from the film that had die hard aficionados like me wanting to beat King to death with his own spine. The article at that link actually takes a story that ends up being a bad travelogue; hacks out all the naff bits and then exposes that there isn't actually much of a story to start with and something that isn't in any way consistent. Sad bastards would argue that because King himself was rewriting the series because of his accident ... and then you'd want to start beating your own face to a pulp.

The producers of the potential Dark Tower TV series/film trilogy need to take notice of this article; it removes the majority of crap things the series had. It leaves, essentially, the story of a gunslinger and his four companions - 3 human and one bumbler - and how they got together and wandered across an ever changing landscape. The American idea of a fantasy novel appears to be inextricably linked to getting to A from B. The first - The Wizard of Oz - was about a journey and it seems that like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings it has to be about getting somewhere from somewhere else. Maybe Stephen King should write proper travelogues; he writes fantasy ones badly, perhaps if he had facts to deal with he could use that descriptive ability to excellent use again?

***

Game of Thrones and the lesser hyped Camelot are the epitome of fan wank. I cannot believe that apart from the slight flirtation with adult fantasy back in the 1980s, it has taken TV producers this long to realise that sword, sorcery and SEX sell. Have a fantasy TV series, throw in some bad language, a few decapitations and loads of tits and clunge and you have a guaranteed solid gold success. Spartacus paved the way and while Game of Thrones and Camelot have a fair amount of the 'supernatural', these are essentially period dramas, but in a time when accuracy can be substituted with hip dialogue and everyone having sex had really good teeth.

As for Game of Thrones and whether it's a winner or not. Well, it got renewed for a second season about 3 hours after the 1st episode aired; but I think HBO (and probably Sky) had already committed to at least 3 series otherwise it would have cost them far too much money. GoT has one real credibility problem (other than it's a fantasy story) and that is Sean Bean - he works in the first LotR film, but only just, but in this, especially as everyone talks like they've jus' bin recruited from some whippet racing meet in Donny, 'appen; he just seems like Sean Bean being a gruff Sean Bean. That said, it is better than Camelot, despite only being a week in; that suffers from being slightly twee and has the curse of Joseph Ffiennes - who was in Flarsh Forwards or whatever it was called. Camelot, however, has far sexier women who get their kit off even faster than they did in GoT. Every body has perfect teeth - orthodontists are obviously very advanced in these fantasy worlds...

Did I like it?

Now, that's a far more interesting question. I'm always on the look out for new series to get excited about and to be honest one episode is not enough to sway me one or the other; but I wasn't terribly impressed and found some of the characters positively annoying. But, I'm not keen on Camelot either and while I have the Spartacus series to watch as well and I'm so eager to do that I haven't bothered burning them to disc since I downloaded then - 6 weeks ago.

***

Apparently, vampires are now old hat and Sci-Fi is the in thing. That could be why V was cancelled (or it could be that it was just a big pile of camp pooh).

The BBC have a history of making SF; but more often than not we associate BBC SF with the 1970s and wobbly cardboard sets. At some point, the young generations will look at BBC SF and say, "Well, it was better than ITV cgi."

Doctor Who came back and I'm struggling to see why Steven Moffatt is heralded as an Andrew Lloyd Webber to Russell T Davies' Ernie Wise. DW is all about style and nothing about substance. It's the showcase for BBC special effects and sometimes they forget everything for the chance to have guppies swimming round lamp posts in a neo-Victorian setting.

I love DW, but last night's episode made as much sense as giving Graham Norton a horny female prostitute. I appreciate it was meant to be confusing (clever), but even though it didn't make sense, it definitely didn't make sense. The press have been saying that when this two-part story finishes Internet chat rooms and forums will be debating the subtext for years to come. I'm thinking that from what we've learned so far about River Song that she'd be a little perturbed for still being in prison since she no longer kills the Doctor - unless, fiendishly, this person in the space suit is actually Song. But since the incarnation we're stuck with is in prison already then she should remember when and where she killed him. Plus, what was that bullshit she was spouting to Rory about every time she sees him before they actually meet - it sounded like it came straight out of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife or a retarded baboon. What was that crap about the Doctor knowing her less and less every time she meets her and then saying how weird it is to have him meet her when she was younger and know everything about her. I don't think it was well thought out and if it was simplified for a younger audience then I hope they cottoned on to what was being said.

The other bit of gossip that was flying around is that the BBC has said that one of the four will die; well as the Doctor has already died, I think that might be a red herring or just a mean trick. Evidence from looking at all the trailers for this first half of the series indicates that Rory will die. Why? Well, he died 4 times in the last series but always came back - this might be the time he doesn't come back, and I dunno, Arthur Darvill in the title sequence? Hmm... That sets off all kinds of alarm bells. Plus he appears least in the clips for the series. It could be River Song - she's baggage that is becoming increasingly tough to like. All this 'spoilers' business is bogging down stories that have to have her in them. It might even by Amy Pond - it could be that any of the main supporting characters appearances in the trailers were lifted from just these two episodes. But it'll probably be the Doctor. Which, of course, will ask the question that if the Doctor who dies is over 1100 years old and is a much older version of the Doctor, then Matt Smith must have signed on for the duration and there aint gonna be another transformation...

Don't get me wrong; I enjoy DW even when it makes no sense at all; but I have suffered (but not in silence) at critics knocking Davies' DW for making no sense; but at least you could write off his crap plots with the excuse that he was writing ostensibly for kids. Moffatt also is, but he dresses DW up like an expensive US prime time series, yet it suffers from the same disease as Davies' - it's flimsy in story now rather than sets.

***

I'm currently reading Joe Hill's Horns. Hill is Stephen King's son ( I hope he wasn't Christened Joe King) and has all the energy and power that his father's books lost when he became an institution rather than a writer. I feel as though I want to describe it as Nu-Horror, because it has a youthfulness about it that his father's work has never had, but it also pushes all the right buttons. They both paint good pictures of their protagonists, but while Hill has none of the prosaic abilities of his dad, you get just as good a picture through his jerky prose and slightly disconnected feel. Nu-Horror... yeah, I like that.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Snow as a Fashion Statement

Hasn't summer been good so far?

Had a birthday this week. It was the 49th in an annual succession of them.

I sometimes astound myself at time and the way it meanders along at such a constant and unforgiving way. The way it allows your mind to stay sprightly while buggering up your body in an insidious way that never ends well.

People who say the Seventies was the decade that fashion and music forgot obviously were comatose during the Eighties.

I found it quite ironic while sorting through some work stuff yesterday that the one time I appear in the newspaper, during my 6 years at this current employer, should have the headline: Silver surfers can get tips from youngsters.

I need beer. I need to OD on beer, then go on a diet. I need to do this because I am FAT.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Own Bellicose Jesus

Bloody hell! Have I had one of those weeks.

Got official notice yesterday that I will be unemployed on 21st May 2011. I think my boss and the HR department probably have never had an easier redundancy notice to give; there was laughs, jokes and one really nice compliment handed to me by our head of service.

Also on Friday, but half a day earlier, I played with Microsoft Video Maker and 'created' my first video - although to be fair it was just a series of still photos. 36 hours I'd deleted it and replaced it with something even better. The video - a bit of free PR for my friend Steve Messina's band Blow Up Hollywood could be the beginning of something new and exciting to keep me occupied while I try and find a new job. Go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af0BWFIdPyw to check it out; share it with your friends; post it on your social networking site and better than all of that go and buy stuff from www.blowuphollywood.com. No, they're not broke, but they are considering taking on a UK and European agent/representative... This is why I'm trying to boost their profile in Europe. My argument is that most people I've played BUH's music to have liked it; several have gone and bought stuff; heck, even muso friends have stated the band are much better than their modest successes, thus far. I mean, they have 6 albums out, another in the pipes, so it's not like they're some flash in the pan, fly by night, bunch of chancers now, is it?

Wednesday night was fun. I went round Hippie Dez's to watch Spurs' last Champions League game (probably for a year or so unless results and form start to side with them) and as usual had a laugh and a joke and couldn't care less about Gomez's howler that meant the Spanish side won a game they were always second best in. Dez is a Chelsea fan, so we both went out of the competition this week; he was a lot less happy than I.

Tuesday we won the pub quiz for the 4th time in 5 weeks and yet still failed to win the jackpot that is sitting at around £150 now and would, seriously, be a nice fillip for Team Squonk (as quizmeister One Ell affectionately refers to us as). It's nice to see something with Squonk attached that isn't crashing and burning! However, despite an evening of fun, frolics, bad ponytails and beer, it was marred by a strange chemical smell emanating from where we were sitting. it wasn't as I first suspected, someone's arse, but it did give me a blinding headache and said headache has lasted with me right up until today. If I die, someone sue The Vic for me please!

As I stated in a previous blog, the early part of the week was spent marvelling at the amount of beer I drank last Friday, the lack of a hangover on Saturday and the exceptionally grand day spent with my old pal Pat Fish aka the Jazz Butcher! Plus, for much of the week the weather wasn't as bad as it could have been!

***

Let's, in fact, talk about the weather, especially as it is a stock favourite of mine.

Are we turning into India?

Not the massively hot days and fourteen feet of rain in 20 minutes, but the fact we seem to get all of our rain now mainly at the time of year when we want it least. I put my spuds in last week and I've been having to water them - something that you don't expect to have to do in April - you know the saying - April Showers. Well, springs in this country have been getting drier and finer, autumns are like slightly warmer versions of spring and the summer just tends to be masses of clouds and rain avoidance. A couple of weeks ago, during that really nice spell (the one I said would be the end of summer), the skies were blue and big and clear of clouds - skies I remember from summers like 1976. I can't remember a day in the last 10 years between June and August where it has been clear blue sky from dawn till dusk - it just doesn't happen any more.

And I heard it for the first time on Friday afternoon. The utterly stupid words, "We've got to have a good summer because we deserve it!" I deserve to get a decent job or win the lottery or have Karen Gillen profess her undying love and desire to get naked with me - but it aint going to happen. Is it? I've banged on about people thinking that the weather is dictated by what people deserve for as long as I can remember - time to move along; nothing new to be seen there, just wishful thinking wankers...

***

Despite the fact that I'm now (rushes into the bathroom to stand on the scales)... 16 stone, it appears that many friends, colleagues and acquaintances are ignoring my MASSIVE gut and rushing to tell me how healthy I'm looking. Just on Friday, a good, long-standing colleague of mine said how well she thought I was looking. Mentally I'm feeling better too. In general, I'm feeling better than I have for at least 6 months and it must all be down to my latest medication. Heck, I even ran after the ball with one of the dogs yesterday. it did look like a whale trying to dance a waltz with a dingo, but it wasn't a sedentary stroll.

If I want to be slightly conceited for a second - I think I'm getting my mojo back. It's come out of hibernation and is working its magic again. This calls for a woo and a hoo!

***

http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2486213913/ is a clip for a new film starring David Hyde Pierce, better known as Niles Crane in Frazer. it looks rather brilliant, especially if you always wondered if Niles had any balls!

***

Off for an early birthday meal with the wife and RnB tonight. It might be one of the last times I go to the mighty Pooja for a while - treating my impending redundancy seriously for as second. But it was slightly odd and also quite good to be sitting in the pub on Thursday and hearing two people discussing the finer points and merits of Pooja. I couldn't help butting in to their conversation, because that's me. but we all agreed that the food is great, the service is ... patchy and it is the best Indian restaurant in the vicinity.

Have I ever mentioned that while me and t'wife are good friends with the guys that run the place - they think (and have done for years now) that my name is Poll...

***

I'm happy with the serialisation of my comics autobiography so far. It's proving to be a little harder work than I envisaged because I'm editing it again before it goes up and I'm adding bits to an extra chapter I've included that will appear near the end - all the bits I forgot to put in or forgot about. But I've been pleased that so many people who aren't really interested in comics have been reading it - hopefully, if they don't get bored to death, they might learn something from the first half at least; all the juicy stuff doesn't start until August, so hopefully perseverance will be the order of the day!

Now, all I have to say is: F.O.T

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

whale oil beef hooked

[There are no spelling or grammatical mistakes in the following vignette]
A colleague has been working with a graffiti artist. He's sitting doodling on scrap paper and has spelled, in flowing and ornate letters, the word DEBE. My colleague looks at it and says, "What's that, then?"
"Girlfriend's name, innit."
"Her name is Debe [pronounced Deeb]?
"No man, her name is Debbie. You know," pointing at the graffiti, "Deb. E."
"Does she spell her name like that?"
"I dunno. Probly. That's how is spelt, yeah?"

I can rest easy in the knowledge that our language and the young people wielding it are in good hands...

But that said... Are we breeding (I except myself from that generalisation) a future generation of incompetent nincompoops? A female friend, who is in a long term relationship with one of my relatives, posts on her Facebook page that she had had a really bad day which was horrible, stressful, painful and unfair and to top it all off she had really sore eyes from crying. Probably a little too much info for a Facebook status/what she is thinking update, but each to their own and all that. A number of her friends replied and all of them seemed to ask the same questions: is something wrong? Is she okay? and the remarkable - have you had a horrible day? It isn't even stating the bleeding rhetorically obvious, it's just totally DUH!!! I was just itching for her to post a follow-up saying - Have had a really horrible day, discovered that a lot of my friends were mentally deficient or have the compassion of a piranha fish.

***

Nostalgia bloomed yesterday afternoon as I spent a very enjoyable afternoon in the company of ye olde Jazz Butcher, in his courtyard garden, supping coffee, chewing le fat and reminiscing wistfully about the 1980s, friends we have known and loved and wankers. We also discussed football, but that's because we both share a passion for the mighty Tottingham Hotspurs.

I'd gone to see Pat to pick his well pickled brains about how I'd go about representing bands in the UK and to be honest none of the information he gave me made me want to rush out and start a new career as a music representative in 2011; but it was enlightening listening to a musician who sampled some interesting times in the indie world at a time when indie wasn't necessarily a recognised thing. The business has changed so much that he envisages a time when the album will become as important as vinyl is in the 21st century and there won't be new record shops.

It's been far too long since I sat down with my old buddy and just chilled - probably getting on for 20 years. Back in those days, Pat used to refer to me as 'Snapper Disgusto - world famous Russian cosmonaut' and claimed I'd make a living out of scaring children. His vision of my future sounds terribly exciting...

***

On Friday, I did something I haven't done for a long time. I had, I believe, 8 pints of beer. Two at lunch, on a sunny and warm afternoon with One El and a further 6 up at one of my favourite pubs - the Queen Adelaide, in the evening, with my good friends the Lloyd Brothers.

Jesus, I was drunk when I got in.

***

I've embarked on a new medicinal treatment for my back pain, my leg numbness and my general pissed off-ness at my, at times, raging bones and musculature. My gut feeling is that it's having a positive effect. I've been following this new set of drugs and relaxation processes for just over two weeks. I shall know if it has been a success by the end of May.

***

I should probably do this over on my politics blog, but...

It would appear that some of the LibDems have grown a pair. It's not necessarily going to do them any favours or win them much support back. The leader of Liverpool City Council - who just happens to be a powerful Liberal - claims his party are lower than snake shit and will be destroyed at the local elections at the start of next month. Good call - the man is right. Tories would normally get the backlash of a protest vote, but I think the general populace want to punish the coalition; the problem is they can't punish both of them; so Clegg's boys are going to take one helluva beating on May 5.

Now, interestingly (for me, anyway) is that the referendum on AV is the same day as the council elections. I've been sitting firmly in the NO camp since Clegg's tie-dyed yellow shirt was caught out in the rain and became a very deep blue. The main reasoning behind this is because it's what he wants and because of his allowance of this Tory leadership to do some shitty things to the country - without any resistance - when there were clearly better alternatives.

However, I'm not so sure now. The AV system might be complicated and will in some places allow the person who finishes 3rd to win (and can you imagine the test case lawsuits that we'll see if that actually happened?), but it also allows us all to place the Tory and Lib Dem candidates as 8th and 9th choices, so they literally disappear from parts of the country. I've always felt that tactical voting was the best ally of both Liberal and Labour in the FPTP process, because it allowed collusion to oust some snobby wanker, sorry, I meant Conservative, from getting into power. But this new AV system, which in some quarters is being claimed it prevents direct tactical voting actually allows tactical voting en masse to wipe out politicians and the evil, Tory hating bastard that I am sees this as a perfect way of screwing with Westminster.

You see, I think convincing non Tory voting individuals to put the Tory candidate lower down the ballot would be a damned sight easier than convincing them to vote for who you want to win. Arguably it can work the other way around, but in general individuals with moderate incomes and in work view Labour, in general, as a party of stability, while look to the Tory's for scary depression inducing periods followed by boom times for people who already have more than all of us put together. Even people who inherently aren't Labour supporters must see that Tory's aren't actually the slightest bit interested in you; they're just interested in your money and as indirectly as possible, because they like long, complicated paper trails. That's why I think you could convince Mr Average that putting Lord Snooty 'I Hate Chavs' Pervey-Cholmondley below the Monster Raving Loony Party will have all the girls at the office laughing at his sense of political humour, while leaving the Tory with no deposit - not that its going to be a drop in the ocean, but the humiliation should keep us all happy for a week or two.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Radioactive Sushi

General bleats...

I've zero problem with the Japanese except the way they seem to think that they have the divine right to eat any endangered species in the world. Such an unusual race and an amazing culture, yet they do like to eat some fucking strange things.

Japan and the way they eat cropped up twice this week in dispatches. The first was the knowledge the Japanese government or Nuclear Power commission or whoever is in charge of the Fukushima nuclear power plant intend (and apparently have just) to release 11,500 tonnes of radioactive water into the sea. They 'think' it shouldn't have any serious effects. Serious effects? Oh good.

Japanese gave us the love of eating raw fish. This might be revenge.

I wasn't in the office much last week; I have more important things to do like sunbathe and dig potato trenches; but while getting involved in one of my usual conversations, young colleague attempted to convince me that sushi is probably the best thing in the world and how Japanese cuisine is basically better than sex. Now, I know people who live in Japan; I know people who eat sushi and I know Japanophiles and most of them claim that Japan is better than God; but I don't like their food. I've had it before and didn't like it. I have no intention of eating raw fish, rice, vine leaves, sake, vinegar laced rice products, strange poisonous fish swim bladders or anything else like that. So, I don't care how much I'd love it; I wouldn't. Honestly and really, I won't like it. I won't eat it again and fuck off and stop telling me how it's like orgasms in food form. Twat.

Someone is going to read this and go, "He really doesn't know what he's missing..."

FUCK OFF AND DIE!!!!

***

Tits appear to be the new Sopranos (or something like that). I've noticed that Spartacus - the new Starz TV show is wall to wall clunge and actors who have never got them out for the lads ever are queuing up to flop them out for all and sunder. This new Camelot series seems to have women whose clothes just fall off, revealing that Dark Ages women were not short, hairy, sagging, ugly and with rotten teeth, but gorgeous blondes with fabulous norks with nipples that point to the North Star and teeth that a dentist would willingly buy advertising space to claim he can get yours looking as good.

Apparently that BBC drama Crimson Petal and the White Knickers or whatever it's called is also wall to wall nudity - with all the women owning perfect teeth and none of them suffering from stinky minge or pubic lice (that's crabs to you and me) - both common in Victorian London, allegedly.

Of course, I think it's all shocking and we should be watching Songs of Praise or Countdown...

***

Can you tell if Peter Crouch is in form?

***

Well, that's it. Summer's over. Hope you got your sun tan because that's the last decent weather we're going to see until September 7th. You read it here first...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Gig Guide 7: Blackfield/Pineapple Thief at The Assembly Rooms, Leamington Spa; 6th April, 2011

Of Steven Wilson's 26 side projects away from Porcupine Tree, Blackfield is pretty much the one I'm the most ambivalent about - if, indeed, you can be 'most ambivalent' about anything apart from measuring one's own ambivalence. I like the first two Blackfield albums, but there's a couple of things about both of them that, you know, almost leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth. The newly released third album - Welcome to my DNA - is pleasant enough. It's not got a lot of weight, dark autobiographical pop, and a bit Porcupine Tree Lite musically!

Aviv Geffen, Wilson's cohort in Blackfield, is a kind of cross between Robbie Williams, Bob Dylan and Daniel O'Donnell - he's essentially a very popular protest singer in a country that still finds the need for protest singers and worthy causes. For an Israeli, Geffen is a peacenik. Musically, a lot of his stuff... you'd sell organs to avoid.

The two of them - Wilson and Geffen - and their band - a drummer (who annoyed Roger), bass player and a keyboardist had to wait for the warm-up act to do their 30 minutes first and my companions this evening - Mr Walker and Mr T - are both much bigger fans of this band than me. Pineapple Thief are a kind of hybrid of Porcupine Tree and Radiohead. They're what Radiohead might have been like had they just come out and admitted they liked prog. I don't dislike this particular PT, I just find them a bit ... meh. They've done some great songs and I'm unlikely to ever see any of them played live (one of them is 29½ minutes long) and if any of the nu prog bands of the last 10 years were going to make it, you'd probably have a few quid of Pineapple Thief.

They were accomplished. Played a tight 30 minute set with some tracks I knew and didn't steal any thunder or get wig-out with it. Roger said the band were quite reserved from the last time he saw them. If all Pineapple Thief gigs were that long I'd be happier and might play them a bit more.

Blackfield came on. Played a 1 hour 20 minute long set, including encore. They focused on 75% of the songs Geffen wrote and like the other PT supporting them, they were accomplished; the sound was good. There were the familial touches you want like Wilson with no shoes on. The venue was very nice and you could imagine Porcupine Tree kicking off a tour here.

At 10.30, we left the venue and returned to the car... The journey home was uneventful...

Huh?

Yeah, that was the sum of it. Watched the band and had a safe journey home (to the delight of Mr Walker). Nothing spectacular. No leaving the venue extolling the virtues of Israeli power pop/prog. With retrospect, Leamington was probably more exciting. It looks like a well weird 'town'. It looks more like a city than some cities I've been to yet it's about the size - population wise - of Wellingborough and neighbours with Warwick, which, despite its castle and university, is a bit of an idiot cousin in terms of appearance. The accent is a bit odd too.

And that's what the gig was like in many ways - a review that turned into a geography lesson; a horse that became a biscuit; lamb flavoured cider...

2½ out of 5 (or 5 out of 10 if you're scoring in 10s)

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Poor State of the Televisual Treat

I remember when the phrase, 'there's nothing any good on the telly' was theoretically easier to comprehend. Today, with 99 channels of shit and nothing on, you should struggle not to find something to watch.

I'm amazed that almost 50% of my allotted channels seems to be documentary based - which sort of pooh-poohs the idea that with the plethora of channels the death of the documentary can't be far off. I'm equally amazed at how little of this plethora I either haven't already seen or have any faintest hint of a desire to watch. The thing is even the 'special', the Pay Per View or Subscription channels don't offer anything that sets my pulse racing. I'd argue that I don't even need a set top box; I could survive on Freeview and my PC...

Is watching a TV programme theft? It's a complicated question because it doesn't offer any hints to what exactly I mean by theft in this context. I'm also not getting all existential on your arses, this is to do with when and how you watch it rather than when and how. I shall explain that. You watch, I dunno, Coronation Street either live, on one of the digital stations or plus 1 channels, or via your set top recorder and it is totally legal. But, what if you download an episode from a Torrents site? Is that as legal, or has that episode of Corry just become a little warm? I feel that the law about torrents and file sharing must have a very hazy middle bit; a big grey area that probably helps pirates rather than a company seeking to protect its interests.

I could also argue that I might never have watched Coronation Street but decide on a whim to download an episode, love it to bits, start watching ITV1 (how wrong is that name even now?) and leave myself open to be targeted by whoever's sponsoring the soap now and add one more viewer to ITV's audience share.

TV therefore is not music - because not all copyright theft leads to buying the album from Amazon. TV is also not film because of the obvious DVD spin offs; but hold on a second,Coronation Street doesn't (to my knowledge) have DVD Boxed sets of entire year's worth of stories (yet), but TV series like, oh, I dunno, Waking the Dead or The Killing or Martin Clunes: Up An Aardvark's Arse Hole in a Hot Air Balloon 3D, are going to have DVD or box set releases. So, is downloading the third part of a four part drama theft? The owners could argue that if you really desperately want to know what happened in the penultimate episode of the thriller you should buy the box set. But you'd think they were a bunch of pricks and they'd know you were thinking that and entertainments companies are empathic with their customer base; how else would they know what to force feed the masses with? Or something.

So you probably wouldn't get prosecuted if you downloaded the news every day off of a Torrents site, but if you download an entire season of Xena: Warrior Princess or X Files then it probably is illegal. See what I mean about grey areas? Equally, you could argue that with all these channels, whoever buys a potential hit TV series will want the best possible exposure and audience; so FX that runs first view True Blood will want people to watch their station and they can sell advertising for more money, etc etc. So, watching an avi file downloaded off the Internet and watched anything up to a year before its actual UK TV showing is also a no-no. What if it is for a TV series that isn't shown on UK TV by anyone?

That is just a long winded defence in case anyone from the CPS reads this. I tend to download any TV that isn't British rather than wait for it to be shown or not on one of the subscription channels such as Sky Atlantic that I don't subscribe to. I don't distribute the content or sell it, I just watch the TV that interests me. If I couldn't download it, I'd go without because I can't afford to have 199 channels of shit on my TV. I might get one or two of the things I miss on DVD, but it would have to be from a relative as a gift because I feel the price of individual seasons is ridiculous and I wouldn't pay the price, I'd rather go without. That's why I watch some of the shit I watch because I tend to take a risk when it's free. Very little of what I've watched - a small percentage compared to the overall list - is persevered with; I therefore view it as an exercise in quality control. My argument is simple; if I buy a DVD box set of something and I think it's un-entertaining and therefore a waste of my money, no shop is going to give me a full refund after watching it all - they would say 'tough' and we wouldn't have a leg to stand on. This is me doing it the other way, kind of.

Anyhow, stuff that was watched legitimately appears to have all but finished, with the exception of the final series of Waking the Dead and as we hurtle towards summer there will be less and less wanna see and much more meh. This leaves the burden on the USA and if the current crop is anything to go by then I will be spending more time outside on warm summer nights.

I've never realised just what a 22 or 23 episode series is like for someone who doesn't live in the USA or has no concept of the way they watch television. It's stop, start, stop, stop, start, stop so that when a series starts in September it will be May by the time it finishes just leaving the 3 high summer months void. A bunch of favourites come back in the middle of April for straight run throughs till season end, but at the moment we're in lull land and it makes you wonder how people actually manage to stick with series. Why don't they just do what we do and show the bloody thing from start to finish? But that's an aside I just wanted to throw in somewhere.

What, apart from The Killing, is happening? Is the next Sopranos out there or another No Ordinary Family?

I mention The Killing because Roger and his missus have been avidly watching this like plumbers and the US version has just started on AMC - the station that brought you The Walking Egg or Egg of the Dead, depending on what side of the street you live. I did the stupid thing and watched this version first. I don't know how close it is to the original, but nothing grabbed me by the gonads and threatened to immolate me. It was... okay.

Speaking of okay, Camelot fits into that category. It's full of semi-authenticities, has the new black in US TV dramas - lots of full on nudity, and appears to have been scheduled to usurp HBO's Game of Thrones, which I've been told, nay almost ordered, to like when it appears. My belief is that anything with Sean Bean is stretching it. Camelot has a mixture of dodgy acting and women with drop dead gorgeous bodies; one of the Ffiennes boys is in it, the one that failed with Flarsh Forwards!

Harry's Law is David E Kelley doing his quirky lawyer thang to usual good affect. Kathy Bates looks old and battered, she's surrounded by mad people and a teenage ex-coke head in a shoe shop. What's not to like?

I am punished, weekly, for watching Off The Map because it is a bit shit. The problem is I can't put it down; I keep going back to it. It's shit; I must have more to my life than this? Probably crack or heroin... God, I'm so out of the loop for hard drugs now...

I've been trying to think of what I'm watching on terrestrial TV and apart from the aforementioned Waking the Dead, I'm struggling. I'm giving White Van Man a try because it has a strangely surreal feel about it; like Brush Strokes had for a while. Um... I'm struggling to believe there isn't actually anything I'll sit down and watch live - apart from football - this spring. Obviously Doctor Who, but that's being spoiled somewhat by associates all speculating as to some subliminal message placed in an advert for the next series. Part of me is hoping that they're all clutching at imaginary straws. Besides, what makes them think that producers are going to hide subliminal messages aimed at 14 people and an intelligent goat in adverts. That's just pious.

Arguably, I should be more concerned about stuff I have waiting to be watched. The list of things I've got to watch is more frightening than anything Wes Craven does now. I have 5 seasons of Boston Legal, a couple of seasons of Dollhouse, the final season of The Dead Zone, three series of Breaking Bad, a series of Rubicon, two series of Bored to Death, three series of Mad Men, then there's The Wire - it would be silly to forget that. I've got Nurse Jackie to watch, and Spartacus. Then there's going to be stuff that I want to catch back up with - I have all of the Kricfalusi Ren & Stimpy series, to remind me how good cartoons were in the 1990s. I have two thirds of the old Fry and Laurie to get through, I downloaded the 6 episodes of Police Squad because I felt it was important to watch again. I've finished downloading Denmark's The Killing and I'm pretty sure there's at least two or three other series I've forgotten to mention; probably hidden away in a DVD case, in the cabinet, by the electric meter... Plus there's stupid stuff like all of Tex Avery's Droopy cartoons; that SF series made for $40 called Pioneer One and DVDs packed full of things like Carnivale, The Tick and Firefly which I might get around to watching between now and the end of all life as we know it.

You could say that I could get rid of my TV package altogether and just watch DVDs for the foreseeable future and if the wife didn't like all the bollocks she likes, I'd probably go for that idea straight off.

Madness.

Actually, I'll tell you what real madness is. Real madness is having a list of films as long as a donkey's swollen member to watch. It appears that very few films that come out now are really worth watching. 90% of the films I've seen in the last couple of years have left an anticlimactic taste in my mouth. It seems that the duff ones are extremely pooh and the much-vaunted ones are a slightly lesser grade of pooh.

Several months ago, we sat down and watched the totally bonkers film Skyline; we did this under advisement from various sources that this film was utter shit and we should wait for the film it was ripping off because that would be so much better. I thought Skyline suffered from having Eric Balfour in it, a host of other B-grade TV 'stars' and it went a bit uber-fucked up during the last 20 minutes. It didn't make a huge amount of sense but by God it was several buckets of shit loads better than Battle: LA, the movie it apparently knocked off.

Battle: LA was just 90 odd minutes of gung-ho Americanisms and offered the thing that Skyline didn't - a happy ending. It was a film that offered so much and delivered a massive fake orgasm. Aaron Ekhart would make a good Sgt Rock though... It's a crap movie with about a fifth of the special effects that Skyline has and you want everyone to die by the end of it!

The celebrated return of Wes Craven arrived with My Soul to Keep which was a big bag of wombat's vomit. Seriously bad teen slasher movie with no redeeming features and it could have been a PG-13. On the other hand, Hammer's US remake of Let The Right One In is a great film, full of atmospheric images and the distinct feeling that you're witnessing the birth of a sociopath - in many ways it was creepier than the Swedish film. Let Me In stars the girl from Kick Ass and the boy from The Road and it pisses over other horror movies by massive arcs of urine!

Husk is supposed to be a return to the traditions of 1970s and 80s horror films. It was an interesting idea poorly executed and for all of it's attempts to be post-post modern really needed a script editor to give the thing a sense of making sense.

Finally saw the new Harry Potter film and wondered if the movies were now just being made for aficionados of the books. I found there were some things in the film that needed explaining to me. It was like it should come with an explanatory documentary called So Far in Harry Potter. I definitely felt like I needed a Hoggwarts refresher and the old school was nowhere to be seen.

I currently have 36 films to watch, 39 if you count the three I have on the TV hard drive; that's going to be at least 60 hours of my life I may never see again. Some of these films I actually want to see: L'Illusioniste, Belleville Rendezvous, Mr Nice, Voyage of the Dawntreader, then there's about half of them that I'll maybe get around to watching and half a dozen that I'll be watching on my own because the wife wouldn't give them house room - things like Bad Biology, The Human Centipede, Rubber and Sanctum.

The point is, barring a couple, none of these films would I have a) gone to the cinema and seen or b) rented or bought the DVD. I believe we all have a right to enjoyment and we shouldn't be expected to pay for something that don't like and not have the same rights as other retail services. Fuck me, the price of going to the cinema is now so expensive you'd be better off (and have more fun) if you bought a top class prostitute who doesn't mind wardrobes, jelly and ooh is that the time?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Let's Moan About the Weather

It's been a strange week. It has been filled with endings or the beginnings of endings; but I did buy a rhubarb crown so there was something beginning. The circumstances behind the purchase of the rhubarb is worth repeating. It was Thursday, I was sitting at my desk at work, doing nothing and with the prospect of doing some more nothing for at least 4½ more hours. So I emailed my line manager and said I was bored, I had some seed potatoes to get and I was going home. I received a reply pretty quickly saying, yeah that's fine, see you next week. Job done. So I went to the garden centre, bought some Golden Wonder and a rhubarb crown, came home, sat in the sun and dozed off for a while*. It was a damned sight more positive than sitting at work.

I have suggested 'gardening leave' mainly because I have very little intention of helping out. My argument will be, "I won't be here in 5 weeks so here's a good opportunity to see what life will be like without me." I might then flick them the Vs or go and wee up the side of one of their cars...

Suffice it to say, I've been a touch discombobulated this week. What to do... What to do...

Well, I need to go on a diet and shed at least 2 stone or 30lbs of fat that seems to have taken residence in my stomach. I need to exert myself a little more, because it isn't that bad the next day and apart from finding a job there are probably dozens of things I could do or should do or have to do, if only to remain sane-ish.

*I say sat in the sun and dozed; the reality was I was awoken by the sun going behind a big sod off cloud and the temperature dropping by about 5 degrees. I really shouldn't moan about the weather because it is only just April, but all the threats of high temperatures and spring sunshine obviously, like most of the snow, happened somewhere else. I think Northampton has its own eco-system because it's not in any way related to other places' weather patterns.

I have to go shopping to Chavsco's because we need some cheap junk food...

This is how exciting my life is going to get!!!