Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Incantations and Toenails

Obviously, having no money has made me a wee bit insular. I don't go out because I can't really afford the unnecessary diesel/petrol and therefore I'm left to my devices during the day. I have my chores - having four hounds tends to mean the Dyson is out most days - and I seem to count the days off by emptying the dishwasher. I have also gone quite mad...

I walk around the house singing nonsense ditties and inventing new words to existing songs - none of them are particularly repeatable. I was sitting the bath this morning, inventing words to something or other, when the thought struck me like an epiphany (or it might have been when you finally get that joke). There are an enormous amount of people out there with little or no quality threshold. However, how does one measure quality? Is it good because some no mark critic tells us or is it good if it sells 50 trillion copies or seen by 100 gazillion people?

The problem is, if you measure quality by the masses then the likes of Matt Cardle, Rihanna and Coldplay are the yardstick to measure that quality by. Anyone with what they consider taste would argue that these kinds of acts as hardly superb quality. However, I've been listening to the new M83 album constantly, think it's inspired genius, yet it got a damning-with-faint-praise review in the Observer and will sell about 50,000 copies compared to Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay which will sell several million.

So I downloaded Xylo Myloto or whatever it's called and gave it a proper listen. It is hardly an inspirational album, but it's pleasant enough. There are some catchy tunes on it and others that make you wonder why the band recorded it and why that particular 5 minutes of a Coldplay gig might be the time for a quick shit or a stiff scotch at the bar.

The thing is, I can berate pop music, hip hop, the new RnB, Urban Grime and all the other piss stained rubbish that dominates the chart now, but I'm in the minority and that is slightly worrying. Many of my good friends have very eclectic and interesting music tastes, yet they are also in the minority, because for everyone of them that likes Frank Zappa or King Crimson or Kwoon or North Atlantic Oscillation, there are hundreds and thousands that like Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Mr Jay Zed (said in a Yorkshire accent). I'd rather listen to cats being castrated than spend 45 minutes listening to a Tinie Temper or Dizzy Rascal, but I'm probably ignorant and growing into my parents (well, actually someone else's parents, as mine were quite musically cool). The problem is, even the new rock bands that are surging through sound a bit meh and pfeh to me.

I remember many years ago having a conversation with a large group of people on the net about people's quality thresholds dropping, saying that some programmes they watch are substandard to ones we watched when we were younger. It's a difficult argument to win, because it requires almost nerd like determination to try and make someone else like or acknowledge that Show1997 is better than Show2007. For starters, how do you compare something like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer to Hill Street Blues or Twin Peaks to The Wire or The Sopranos? You can't. You cannot account for taste, because like what foods you like and dislike, it's an individual choice. I don't like raw tomatoes, some people think this is ridiculous, especially as I'll eat them in any other form (except ketchup).

When I did my own magazine, I didn't really want the reviews section to reflect the 'you should' or the 'you shouldn't' formula. It needed space to breath and reflect what something was about rather than anything else. Plus most people, it seems, want immediacy, rather than others who are happy to watch something develop. However, a turd is still a turd, regardless of how long you spend on making it look different.



I love Northampton Council's new road resurfacing policy of just tarmacking everywhere there isn't a car. The Headlands, the feeder road for where I live, has been resurfaced - I can't understand why, when there are so many road really in need of doing - but only where there wasn't a vehicle at the time. Subsequently, it now has this patchwork feel about it, especially where there was a single car. Surely they in formed the locals of this? Probably saved them a few grand by doing it this way, but took a little longer while the engineers worked out the jigsaw puzzle.


When the rugby world cup started, I watched a report from the England training camp in New Zealand. It was September, the first official month of autumn and therefore the first month of spring in the southern hemisphere. Nothing strange there, except the report had England on a field, it was pissing down with rain; the landscape behind them could have been anywhere in the UK and most importantly, all the trees were fully loaded - all the leaves were out. This confused me slightly.

During the progress of the tournament, I saw various weather forecasts for the matches and in comparison to the UK, they were all virtually the same. England played a match in the evening and the temperature was 12 degrees; that night the UK night time temperature was 12 degrees.

I thought that was odd, yet strangely obvious and slightly comforting.

Jesus Hydrophobic Christ ... I need a job...


I'm having Finger Wars at the moment. Just as I start to feel human again, thanks to my new drugs, I'm fighting a war with three fingers on my left hand. The top of my thumb is healing well after my fight with the potato peeler, and I'm halfway through a bizarre method of getting rid of my first ever wart, which took up residence on my middle finger and is now being bombarded by... super glue. The glue is winning.

However, my index finger is now swollen and potentially pus-filled. Sounds nice.

We went Sweet Chestnut hunting on Saturday and came home with a pound of nuts. I also came home with one of the prongs from the prickly pods of joy stuck deep in my pointing finger. It smarted, but I figured inside 24 hours, my body's defences would kick it out in a show of minor volcanic interest. It didn't and because this is probably less than a millimetre long and buried deep inside my digit, it's just sitting there causing havoc.

The wife tried to get it out the other night, when it first started to go green. She got a needle and pricked it, but got nothing but some watery plasma type stuff. Last night she had another look and concluded that I need to incubate it seriously to draw it out. So as well as having super glue on my middle finger and a plaster wrapped round to stop the coating from cracking, I have a double plaster on my index and the finger of a surgical glove pulled over it to suffocate it into rebellion.

It hurts like a bastard and actually feels worse than sheering the top of my thumb off last week; it's a similar feeling, but more... electric. If I don't an impressive display of yellow junk pour out of it when it's ready, I shall be very disappointed!


Something similar to this happened to me in 1980. It got so bad I went to A&E and they lanced it. That was the day I started to realise that I no longer had a strong stomach for real blood and gore.

I stayed relatively good around blood and shit like that until the wife's late brother had his first brain operation to remove a tumour. We went to Oxford to see him and the back of his head looked like someone had had a go at him with an axe and not done a very good job. I felt my stomach do a 180 degree flip and I spent the rest of the visit sitting on steps outside smoking.

The thing that probably tipped me over happened about a year later. I had to take a guinea pig with an abscess to the vet. Our vet, Moira, who oddly enough suffered from the same complaint I now have, knew that I was pretty hands on and good in a crisis, so she decided to lance then abscess and I would hold Teasel, the gp rather than one of the nurses.

She got the poor bugger's head, and basically slit his throat. What ran out all over the table was a mixture of mainly yellow custard, speckled with blood and the smell... oh sweet Deity, the smell was like all your worst nightmares. Moira later told the wife, with huge amusement, that she looked at me, saw that all the colour had drained out of me and that I looked on the verge of passing out, so she called a nurse in who took the gp off of me and I just turned into the corner, like a naughty school boy, and tried to take a breath that didn't include this smell from H.P Lovecraft's arse.

That was it. Suddenly anything on TV that had real life operations or injuries would have me hiding behind a cushion ala Dr Who. I'm fine with film gore - it's not real, however authentic it might look - but operations, child birth, accident injuries - Fuck Right Off My Screen!

Why the hell don't they have warnings, saying, "This programme contains images of scalpels cutting into actual human flesh"?


I sent a few job applications off this week. Who knows?


I've been picking autumn raspberries in the garden. This summer and autumn have been odd and I can say I've quite enjoyed it and been satisfied with it. Yes, we had crap a July and August, but don't we always.

It's the 25th of October and the back door is open, I've been out without a jacket; the sun is shining and despite the little taster of autumn last week, which was pretty much expected, it's been a pretty fab last couple of months.

You watch it change after next weekend. You mark my prophetic words!


  1. Silly question maybe, but did the guinea pig survive?

  2. Teazel - yeah, he survived for 3 more years, despite having a hole in his neck the wife had to squeeze the pus out of during all this time. weird, but perfectly true :)