Crawling through technology, life and love
Pool Paradise - GC on Wii
Podcasts - Chris Moyles, Mark Kermode and Stephen Fry
Bits and Bobs:
Gerry's Lyrics Pop Quiz
Sites I like:
Top 40 Singles
Some blogs I enjoy:
Books recently read:
Time Out Guide to Havana (and Cuba)
And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks - William S Burroughs and Jack Kerouac
At My Mother's Knee ... and Other Low Joints: The Autobiography - Paul O'Grady
Star Maker - Olaf Stapledon
My Booky Wook - Russell Brand
When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
Then We Come To The End - Joshua Ferris
A Spot of Bother - Mark Haddon
The End of Mr. Y - Scarlett Thomas
I Never Knew That About London - Christopher Winn
The Arsenal Miscellany - Adam Gold
Young Hearts Run Free: The Real Story of the 1970s - Dave Haslam
Magical Thinking - Augusten Burroughs
Veronika Decides To Die - Paulo Coelho
Time Out Guide - Amsterdam
Lillian's Story - Kate Grenville
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Schott's Original Miscellany - Ben Schott
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling
A Gay History Of Britain - Matt Cook
Time Out Guide to Madrid
Time Out Guide to New York
Kingdom Come - J. G. Ballard
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
Mutants - Aramand Marie Leroi
A Young Man's Passage - Julian Clary
Growing Pains - Billie Piper
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Wild Swans - Jung Chang
Highbury: The Story of Arsenal N.5 - Jon Spurling
Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins - Rupert Everett
Affinity - Sarah Waters
Lighthousekeeping - Jeanette Winterson
Tipping The Velvet - Sarah Waters
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Of Human Bondage - W Somerset Maugham
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Lucky Man - Michael J Fox
Labyrinth - Kate Mosse
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
The Night Watch - Sarah Waters
The Pedant's Revolt - Andrea Barham
The Republic Of Trees - Sam Taylor
Written On tbe Body - Jeanette Winterson
Untold Stories - Alan Bennett
The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
Read All About It - Max Clifford
The Folding Star - Alan Hollinghurst
Thursbitch - Alan Garner
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris
Staying Alive - Matt Beaumont
The Bookseller Of Kabul - Asne Seierstad
Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince - J K Rowling
A Short History Of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
Count Karlstein - Philip Pullman
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Spell - Alan Hollinghurst
The Double Life Of Daniel Glick - Maurice Caldera
The Smoking Diaries - Simon Gray
Straight- Boy George
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
Deception Point - Dan Brown
The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Sydney - Time Out Guide
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
Eleanor Rigby - Douglas Coupland
The Scarecrow and His Servant - Philip Pullman
Tha Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
The Line Of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
Barcelona - Time Out Guide
The Closed Circle - Jonathan Coe
The Clerkenwell Tales - Peter Ackroyd
Copenhagen - TimeOut Guide
The Butterfly Tattoo - Philip Pullman
The Broken Bridge - Philip Pullman
In Search of the Pleasure Palace - Marc Almond
Brick Lane - Monica Ali
Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
Last Exit To Brooklyn - Hubert Selby Jr
You Shall Know Our Velocity - Dave Eggers
Touching The Void - Joe Simpson
Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
Istanbul - Time Out Guide
Millennium People - J G Ballard
The Duchess Who Wouldn't Sit Down - Jesse Browner
Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami
Our Man In Havana - Graham Greene
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman
Doran - Will Self
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
the book, the film, the t-shirt - matt beaumont
High Society - Ben Elton
Man And Wife - Tony Parsons
I Was A Rat - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix - J R Rowling
Great Apes - Will Self
Barrel Fever - David Sedaris
Round Ireland With A Fridge - Tony Hawkes
Close Range - Annie Proux
The Third Way - Anthony Giddens
dot.con - John Cassidy
The Salmon of Doubt - Douglas Adams
One Hit Wonderland - Tony Hawkes
The Thief Lord - Cornelia Funke
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Cloud Sketcher - Richard Rayner
Keane: the Autobiography - Roy Keane
A Wasteland of Strangers - Bill Pronzini
The English - Jeremy Paxman
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young
Dead Famous - Ben Elton
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman (again)
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman (again)
The Bear and The Dragon - Tom Clancy
101 Reykjavik - Hallgrimur Helgason
Forward The Foundation - Isaac Asimov
Carter Beats The Devil - Glen David Gold
The Tin Princess - Philip Pullman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Tiger In The Well - Philip Pullman
The Rotters Club - Jonathan Coe
Generation X - Douglas Copeland
Perfume - Patrick Suskind
All Families Are Psychotic - Douglas Coupland
The Shadow In The North - Phillip Pullman
No Logon - Naomi Klein
The Dirt - Motley Crue
Miss Wyoming - Douglas Coupland
The Amber Spyglass - Phillip Pullman
The Subtle Knife - Phillip Pullman
Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman
The Ruby in the Smoke - Phillip Pullman
The Sandman - Miles Gibson
Blood and Gold: The Vampire Marius - Anne Rice
The Actrocity Exhibition - J G Ballard
Shameless - Paul Burston
Sing Out! - Boze Hadleigh
Brilliant Orange - David Winner
New Boy - William Sutcliffe
London - Peter Ackroyd
Wonder Boys - Michael Chabon
One For My Baby - Tony Parsons
How To Be Good - Nick Hornby
White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Lust - Geoff Ryman
Tulip Fever - Deborah Moggach
Dead Souls - Ian Rankin
The House Of Sleep - Jonathan Coe
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers
What a carve up! - Jonathan Coe
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
The Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Heartwood - James Lee Burke
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Man and Boy - Tony Parsons
The Map Of Love - Ahdaf Soueif
e - Matt Beaumont
The e Before Christmas - Matt Beaumont
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Electric Six's next single out at the beginning of June is called Gay Bar.
We heard it on the radio this morning and laughed our heads off. Mark did a bit of digging and found two things:-
- You can have a go at remixing Electric Six's Gay Bar and get it broadcast on XFm
- Joel Veitch has produced a fantastic video of Gay Bar 'performed by' the Viking Kittens (perhaps not suitable for office viewing unless you turn the volume down a bit)
Electric Six are touring at the moment too so maybe we'll go along.
May Day tomorrow...
I don't know if any of you read the Evening Standard yesterday but there was an article about the May Day protests tomorrow and it lists the 60 firms that are to be targeted. Sure enough we are on the list...
We are also on the Stop The War web site and London Mayday Collective.
Riot gear tomorrow then.
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
The Union Chapel...
At the end of our road across the roundabout is a chapel. The Union Chapel. It's a very beautiful chapel, the roof is in need of some repair and it's still home to regular worship. It has a revamped/relaunched web site too and it's a big improvement. Well done, guys.
But why my interest?
The Union Chapel hosts regular and frequent concerts. Big names sometimes too. I guess what they like about it is the fact that the Union Chapel is a small intimate gig and it can be a good showcase/warm-up venue for artists that want to try out new material. We've seen Goldfrapp perform there, Marc Almond go solo twice and Bjork has played there too. Last night Beck was holding a 'secret gig' - something we were alerted to courtesy of the Chapel's mailing list. In the coming months there will be Cerys Matthews, Eddi Reader and Ian McCulloch. OK, maybe not stadium-filling names these days but undoubtedly talented people - but it's cheap and it's on my doorstep. So if you fancy coming along to the 'Chapel' drop me a line as I always enjoy the company.
The Ad that Never Was...
And talking of gay ads, here is one that was made for Guinness in 1995 but was never aired after the hullabaloo in the UK tabloids about it before it was screened. Guinness even denied it existed.
Monday, April 28, 2003
Here is a site that dedicated to the appearance of 'the gays' in TV adverts. Or as they put it, "The Commercial Closet Association is a non-profit educational and journalism organization that works to improve societal perceptions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through better portrayals in the most powerful cultural medium of our time--mainstream advertising. The project brings together journalistic reporting, critiques, visitor reviews, live video lectures, guidelines and resources for advertisers and their ad agencies." So there.
[Thanks to Guy for the link]
SuperDude's online pinball. Fun.
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear David
Happy Birthday to you
Friday, April 25, 2003
I originally posted this link to a Japanese Cat singing last year but thought it worth repeating. It's soooo beautiful.
A few weeks ago we went to see 'mentalist' Derren Brown do some of his
We were seated just about as far back as possible in the auditorium as it was possible to be and right in the middle so as to avoid being picked on. We were far from safety though we didn't know it. Even the back row wasn't safe as we came to discover!
The show was OK I suppose - 'mind reading' mainly. And Mr Brown is a reasonable showman. But being a 'magic' show naturally we spent the whole time trying to work out how he did everything! And when we did work it out it was, how can I put it, disappointing to say the least. Take it from me it's best to not know how it's done. It ruins it. True of any 'magic' show I guess.
At the end of the show he asked that no one should give give anything away about the 2nd half of the show. So I won't...
..except to say there are TWO naked ladies in the bath, the elephant falls through a TRAP-DOOR and doesn't FLY and the mouse was dead BEFORE he stamped on it :-)
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Jerry Springer The Opera...
Last night we went to see Jerry Springer The Opera at The National.
Mr Springer himself is of course most famous for bringing us shows like 'I Married A Horse', 'Sex With My Sister' and 'I Refuse to Wear Clothes' - so it was perhaps to be expected that there would be some rather fruity songs and and a wacky storyline in an opera that bore his name.
But this particular opera's creators, Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee, have created a show with wit, daring and down right gaul that defines belief. Arias like like "Wrap Me in Chocolate and Throw Me to the Lesbians!", "Three Nipple Cousin Fucker" and "Slut Junky" were delivered with such panache and conviction that you couldn't help but marvel at the sheer audacity. In turn vulgar, blasphemous and hilarious each section of the show seemed to top the last. "Chick with a dick", "Fat Whore" and "I Like to Shit in My Pants" all had their Jerry Springer Moment.
When it is hinted that we will see the appearance of the Klu Klux Klan people looked at each other in disbelief. When they actually appeared, set fire to a cross and start tap-dancing jaws hit the floor. We were in pure The Producers territory. Brilliantly funny.
My favourite bit though had to be a duet between Jesus and the Devil (don't ask) with the devil singing "What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fucking, fucking fuck!" and Jesus countering "Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Talk. To the stigmata." Masterful.
Go see, go see, go see. If nothing else to watch posh opera people swearing on stage.
Ben Folds Five...
Create your own origami CD Case. Weird.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
The graphic review XXX, which had its premiere last night at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, featured some of the most explicit sex scenes ever seen in Britain. And they may get prosecuted for it too. Fab.
[Thanks to Bryn for the heads-up on this]
Dates for the diary...
Tonight a group of us are going to see Jerry Springer The Opera at The National Theatre. I know next to nothing about it except the tag line "where low brow meets high art". We shall see.
On Saturday week we are taking my parents to go and see Chicago. The stage show that is. Again I know very little about it other than it's about "two women who are jailed for murder. And they sing and dance about the case for two hours." I'm sure it's better than it sounds.
On Monday 5th May I'm going to see Erasure at the Astoria. Being a fan of their music (no, really), an ex-friend of Andy and having had 'an experience' with Vince I'm really looking forward to it.
On Saturday 10th May Paul and I are going to see Laurie Anderson perform her new show Happiness at the Barbican. Yet again I've not heard too much about this either but anything that Laurie does gets my vote.
Finally we going to see Goldfrapp at the Astoria on 19th May for Simon's birthday. The new single Train is good and I'm popping out to get the new album Black Cherry at lunch time.
Is work getting you down? You're not the only one...
Share your job horror stories off the record.
The Dancing Blair...
Move your cursor to make Tony hop. I love keen political analysis like this.
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Aren't they sweet...
Who's (With) Who...
Can you pick who is with who? What the hell is this all about then? This is scarely in a 70s hell kind of a way.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
Saturday, April 19, 2003
I shouldn't laugh but...
On 16 April we published an article "Fry on the wings of Love" claiming that during filming of the new Harry Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", two owls burned to death on set after flying into candles. There is actually no truth whatsoever in this and we apologise to all. The owls are present and correct and fully feathered!.
Happy Easter from Popbitch....
Thursday, April 17, 2003
The Taliban on Broadway...
What if Afgan politics came to Broadway. Hilarious.
Find your favourite oxymoron. What's yours?
See how your pets rate.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
Today I'm not at work. I'm on an interview panel for quite a high powered job. I'm one of three people who will decide whether it's the cute one with the quiff or the clever one with the glasses. The ugly one with the charm or the nervous one with the twitch.The inexperienced one with the posh degree or the one with the CV as long as their arm. Naturally I shall be completely fair. Fair and impartial. Fair, impartial and honest. Think of me as the Simon Cowell of the interview panel. Scrub that, I'll be the Geri Halliwell/Paula Abdul instead. Maybe I'll ask them all to sing too.
Guess the TV show or Film Name...
See if it guesses what you're thinking of.. A bit of an American bias but still fun. Stick with it.
The Wiggles official Web site...
The Wiggles in all their campness.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Just got hold of the new Goldfrapp CDs. The single Train was out yesterday. Gorgeous.
Create your own online film...
Create a film with backgrounds, sounds and text. You can then send it to other people too. Cool.
I had had some really weird dreams last night. And the night before. One involved furniture and pillows and shaved heads and smiling. Well guess what? This free dream interpreter tells me what some of it means.
Monday, April 14, 2003
He's on the phone...
Search Google using the phone.
That was the day that was...
What happened on your birthday. I bit American but fun.
Be prepared ...
An online book: US Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Sunday, April 13, 2003
I'm in work today. I've got to babysit a remote processing job (i.e. just got to twiddle my thumbs for three hours). Ho hum. So I've got Kate Bush's 18-track Hounds Of Love remix CD at full volume and am rearranging my loose paper clips in descending order of size and favourite colour. Anal? Me?
Friday, April 11, 2003
A nice little game for a boring Friday afternoon.
How excited am I?...
Being a Nintendo freak and having just finished Metroid Prime and Mario Sunshine on the fabulous GameCube I'm at a bit of a loose end. That is until I got the following e-mail...
We are pleased to inform you that your order is on its way to you. Thank you very much for ordering from us here at Kingcube and we look forward to seeing you again soon. You should receive your order in 3 - 5 working days. This dispatch contains the following: USA Starfox Adventures, USA The Legend of Zelda : The Wind Waker + Zelda Bonus Disc (that includes the classic The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and previously unreleased title The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest)
Squirrel fishing ...
Look, ma, no hooks!
Thursday, April 10, 2003
Why do the numbers 70641 appear in the address label of almost every printed letter I get at home? Banks, bills, junk mail everything. Does anyone know?
What economists do all day.
[Thanks to Russ!]
This is a bit weird. Click on the graphic, type a letter and watch.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Multiple monitors in style. I want I want I want.
The unsinkable tugboat...
Don't try this at home.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
This is the most fab thing ever. Make this fly-guy fly. Meet all the things on the way up, check out the air-guitar with the alien and enjoy the desert island.
Focus On War: Get them while they're young...
An HK MP5 submachine gun made out of Lego.
The Sand Age...
(Ok, I wrote this piece a little while ago and it's a bit tongue in cheek as you can probably tell. But I've always loved those 'Let's Hear It For Nickel' and 'Tin. The New Gold' films we got shown in 1st year Chemistry lessons back at school in the early 70s. Of course The Simpsons do a similar thing with the Smilin' Joe Fission promos.)
Man has lived through the Stone Age, the Iron Age and then the Bronze Age. The Buggles even spoke of the The Plastic Age. But I bring you... The Sand Age. Yes, that much maligned grainy stuff: silicon dioxide. Further to that I'd suggest that sand has propelled man's scientific evolution forward by four giant leaps. Four distinct ages of man all due to our little smiling silica friend.
The First Age of Sand is glass. Glass that was polished and made into telescopes. Galileo used telescopes to help us to see the Universe for what it was. That the Earth was no longer at it's centre. A fact that organised Religion wasn't too happy about. For some science was to become a new Religion.
The Second Age of Sand is also glass (is that cheating? No!): Glass that was again polished but this time it was used to make microscopes. Hooke who refined the microscope helped us to see the world for what it was. And guess what? Upon closer inspection it turns out that all things are the same. Living things such as animals and plants were just collections of cells. These cells are made up of bunches of molecules. And these molecules strings of atoms. So everything was made from the same stuff. Man was no longer unique. He wasn't at the centre of the world. Just part of it.
The Third Age of Sand is silicon chips. Silicon chips transformed the then slowly evolving world of electrical circuits and valves to the vibrant and fast developing world of electronics. The diode, the transistor, and then printed circuit boards came to produce wireless radios, TVs and then computers. Thanks to silicon chips computers are omnipresent. Computers have taken over the world.
The Fourth Age of Sand is fibre optics. When lasers and optical fibres came together they revolutionised communications. Sending information at the speed of light has enabled the Internet to flourish and allowed us to route voice, data and video communications to anywhere in the world at the touch of a button. Fibre optics are the world-shrinking conduit through which we communicate globally.
So ladies and gentlemen, let's here it for.... SAND!
Monday, April 07, 2003
A dire warning about the threat of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) arrived in our office today. There are 30 pages of hysterical, panic-stricken pseduo-medical clap-trap about how this was the end of the world followed by a single page at the end of slightly more realistic advice. So I shall paraphrase the good advice rather than the hysteria:-
- So far, all recorded SARS cases have developed the disease only after having prolonged and close contact with a patient (e.g. family members, doctors and nurses). So hand-shaking is just fine.
- There are no recorded instances, where the disease was transmitted via casual contact, traveling in public transport etc.
- A person can only pass on the infection after symptoms appear.
- Only a very small percentage of the Hong Kong population have the disease (i.e. about 90 out of 4 million), and they are all sequestered. Ther are probably more cases in China but unless you are travelling there you shouldn't really worry.
- Therefore, wearing masks in public places and transport will not give any appreciable protective benefit. And besides, you'll look like a pillock.
Not that that hasn't stopped four people in our office taking today off with 'only a cold but you can't be too careful'.
a) If it takes Alicia 3 hours to paint a fence, and it takes Mark 6 hours to complete the same job. How long would it take both of them working together at their normal paces to complete the same job?
b) A mathematical one....
a+b = c
a+b+a+b = c+a+b
2a+2b-2c = c+a+b-2c
2*(a+b-c) = (a+b-c)
Therefore 2 = 1
What is wrong?
Friday, April 04, 2003
I'm going into hospital to have surgery today. This afternoon in fact. No, not cosmetic surgery! And not major surgery either. In fact the spin doctors and spin nurses have been to work on what they call it. It's now called Minor Invasive Therapy. And consequently I'm going to a Minor Invasive Therapy Unit to have it done. When they say 'minor' it is; I have a small sebaceous cyst on my neck that needs removing. The term 'invasive' is probably fair too; they will have to actually cut me open and I guess that is pretty invasive. The term 'therapy' I do have a problem with though. A doctor is going to sharpen up with scalpel and cut me open with a butcher. Now I don't know about you but I don't call that 'therapy'! I call that surgery!
Anyway I hate doctors. Correction: I hate going to the doctors. Hospitals too. They scare me. People die in hospitals. Doctors give you bad news. So I'm more than a little nervous about today's procedure. I've not met enough surgeons to have formed an opinion about them. But I suspect I'll be just as nervous when I meet my one this afternoon.
Oh and 'Nil By Mouth'? Bollocks. I fancy a stiff drink this lunchtime to steady my nerves!
We've been having lots of fun with this in the office. And for all the obvious pervy reasons. Move that body!
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Kath and Kim...
Last November when Marky and I were flying up from Sydney to Cairns we thought that we'd watch some of the inflight entertainment. There was the usual mix of crap movies (I'm so over Jennifer Lopez these days), wildlife shows (who knew some kangaroos can climb trees, huh?) and local news (they still haven't moved that skip, you know? Dreadful). Anyway, hidden amongst this festival of faint film fayre was a real gem: Kath and Kim.
You may well have already caught Kath and Kim on TV over here already as it's being shown on FTN (flextech television network?). FTN, or to give it it's proper title ftn, is one of those free-to-air digital that slipped on to Freeview and some other digital services almost unnoticed. It shows a fairly humdrum mix of shows. But Kath and Kim stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Kath and Kim is rather like The Office, The Royle Family, Larry Sanders et al. Well observered, strong characters, loose camera work to make you feel part of the action and no laughter track. It's also very, very funny. The two lead actresses are superb.
If you've not seen it yet, give it a whirl. I think you'll like it.
A new episode of Star Trek...
The U.S.S. Exeter? Very impressive but won't these people get sued or something?
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
Walking On Thin Ice...
Yoko Ono's Walking On Thin Ice has been remixed by amongst other people, the Pet Shop Boys. It's going to be released here in the UK as a CD single on 12th May. Originally out in 1981 it's always been one of my fav Ono tracks.
In a press release on the PSB site it says:
Neil Tennant: "We always thought 'Walking On Thin Ice' was an amazing song and it's a real honour to have the opportunity to do a new version of it with Yoko".
Ono will be appearing at a few surprise dates in UK clubs in March or April, following on from her amazing appearance last year at Crash in London, where she played her new version of "Open Your Box".
UPDATE: The 'Walking on thin ice' remixes are this week in American Billboard Hot Dance chart at number 10.
What operating system are you?...
Try this little quiz. What operating system are you?
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Focus On War: Icons at war...
This is really good. Windows icons go to war.
Do you know what PRS stands for? And no, it's not an April Fool's gag. These people really do have far too much time on their hands.
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