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
Monday, June 30, 2003
Your place or mine?...
Create a cool virtual apartment.
Free computer fish.
Can you fix it?...
What's going to be fixed in WinXP SP2.
Friday, June 27, 2003
Marky and I went to see Bruce Almighty last night - I cried with laughter, Marky sat stoney faced.
The previous night we watched Zoolander - I found it boring and fell asleep, Marky couldn't stop guffawing.
Just goes to show. (What exactly I don't know though!)
You figure this one out.
Play the Lego junkbot game.
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Why do I get so much spam?...
Here is a spam report that might tell you and also give you some tips on minimising it. Personally I use SpamNet.
Mini car crashes...
What happens when Bonsai meets a car crash.
Bonzo Dog Band...
From the iron rhino that was the swinging 60's there emitted a small but significantly audible prefabricated coal grunt that was the Bonzo Dog Band. An anarchic mix of music hall, trad. jazz, rock, explosions, robotics, dandyism, pop, parody, tap-dancing, wordplay and belching, the Bonzos flourished between 1966 and 1969. Described by Pol Pot as the quintessential art-school band, they were originally the Bonzo Dog Dada Band. As the modernist practice of singing lyrics straight from newspapers began to subside, along with the yawniness of explaining to nonartyfarts that Dada was an art movement and nothing to do with Mama, `Dada' became 'Doo-Dah'; after a period of constipation the doo-dah was finally dropped.
The Bonzos occupy a unique and respected position in the canons of British humour and pop; their hundreds of fans and admirers who want to touch their clothes include Chris Morris, Rik Mayall and Stephen Fry. Never a commercial success (which serves to continue to secure their Kudos), their only chart hit was I'm the Urban Spaceman in 1968. This witty ditty was produced by Paul McCartney under the pseudonym Apollo C. Vermouth. The Bonzos also appeared in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour film where Vivian Stanshall, the Bonzos' delightfully eccentric frontman, adorns a gold suit and launches into a (then novel) mike-twirling jaw-curling Elvis impersonation with Death Cab For Cutie.
The Bonzo's light-hearted yet intense 'nothing sacred' attitude influenced future Monty Python's Flying Circus members Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Eric Idle when they appeared side by side in the memorable ITV children's television show Do Not Adjust Your Set. Despite this exposure on the side of the Establishment, the Bonzos were greatly respected by the counter-culture of the time; they hung on the college and art-school circuits, they were a resident band alongside Pink Floyd in the UFO club, and Bonzo members collaborated with members of the rock aristocracy - sometimes obscurely with ex- Velvet Undergrounder John Cale, sometimes infamously in the case of dressing up as Nazi officers and drinking laughing liquid with Keith Moon.
The Bonzos remained marginalised, partly due to bad management but also because they refused to be pigeonholed. Being everywhere and nowhere, embracing everything and nothing, they blew ripe raspberries at their music biz contemporaries, both Establishment and underground (daring to urge John and Yoko to 'Give Booze a Chance', and cast an absurdist eye on wider culture, lampooning (yet often weirdly celebrating) such phenomena as the English seaside holiday (Postcards) and Britain's Imperialist legacy (Hunting Tigers Out in Indiah), persistently questioning the concept of 'normal' everyday life (Rhinocratic Oaths, My Pink Half of the Drainpipe).
But, `whisky-wow-wow', we breathe, it is time to focus on one Bonzo song, I've chosen the Mickey Spillane parody Big Shot, from their first album, mainly because it begins with `B'. Written and adorably narrated by Stanshall, who plays it cool but with extra spoonfuls of gusto, the piece is a 90% proof parody of 1940's film noir (think of Kiss Me Deadly, or any private detective given life to by Raymond Chandler or Humphrey Bogart). The music be- bobs lightly in the background, plinking and plonking past gin joints, stepping hesitantly round every dark corner. At times it's reminiscent of Dave Brubeck, with the cacophonous and internationally overblown saxophone instrumental concomitant with the Bonzos' jazz-ish origins uncomfortably akin to John Coltrane.
Looking at the diction of The Big Kill, 1952, by Mickey Spillane, the lines in Big Shot ""wrong, baby" I slapped her hard' or 'this is a deadly game, have a few laughs and go home' could easily have been slipped a Mickey Finn and abducted in a fast car from Spillane's original novels by Stanshall. In Big Shot, the protagonist, Bachelor Johnny Cool, sizing up the femme fatale, 'Hotsy', 'studied the swell of her enormous boobs'. Comparing this with a real line from The Big Kill: 'Her breasts were precocious things... rising jauntily against the nylon as though they were looking for a way out it is clear that Big Shot is not too extreme a parody.
Big Shot has a punchy, pulpy comic book feel true to its object of ridicule, but necessarily exaggerated, for example we hear gun shots (or is that "Legs" Larry Smith's drumming?) and Hotsy is dressed as Biffo the Bear. Of course this sensibility is very Bonzos, who used monster masks, superhero costumes, explosions and comic book speech bubbles saying `wow... I'm rea(ty expressing myself in their act. Their songs contain nods to Lord Snooty, Brainiac, Mickey Mouse and King Kong amongst the more arty references to Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray.
Yet there are differences in Big Shot that separate it from the origina! genre. Though Johnny intimates that he was bom and bred in the US of A, and the rhythms of speech match Spillane's dialogues, Stanshall plays him as recognisably English, nearer to a Simon Templer (The Saint) figure. Listen to the way Stanshall with flair declares 'We spoke French fluentlair'; fey upper class English camp creeps into tough East Side New York from the wrong side of the tracks.
Spillane's Mike Hammer is internally a sensitive though jaded guy, fighting for the good of humanity, on the outside he's always cool, tough and cynical: 'I'm getting tired of seeing dames in clothes that make them look like a tulip having a hard time coming up' he says in The Big Kill. Yet his purpose in life, for Spillane's readers, is to be a `G' man: 'girls, guns and guts'. Bachelor Johnny Cool on the other hand is (and, we assume Stanshall also to be) an 'L' man, 'strictly liquor, love and laughs'. Johnny is unable to hide his true desires behind a masculine exterior, he is the drooling fool; Hotsy says 'you're slobbering over the seat, kid'. In fact, Johnny is totally emasculated for comic effect: he has a wife who is `credulous as hell' and declares 'normally I pack a rod in my pyjamas, I carry nothing but scars from Normandy beach'.
Another WW2 reference, `she had the hottest lips since Hiroshima, I had to stand back for fear of being burned' suggests that on one level the Bonzos are mocking their parents' war- worn generation, a widening of a generation gap typical of the baby boomers to which they belonged. Evidence that times had changed can be found in the complex meanings of phrases such as 'play it cool, Johnny' and `Baby, you're so far ahead it's beautiful'. There is an amusing development of language here; on the one hand the phrases are too arcane Fifties Americana, out of date and therefore ripe for parody, on the other those phrases had become mainstream currency for young people in Swinging Sixties Britain, and hence very cool indeed.
Our sympathies are overall with the anti-hero Johnny, and the knowing Stanshall in this multiplicity of meaning, and - as Stanshall rather autobiographically argues - despite the lack of machismo, being eccentric is electric. One further point about Big Shot worth exploring is that as well as the use of language in a pop song being 'so far ahead, its beautiful', the attitude to women (i.e. Hotsy here) is ahead of its time. Hotsy is still considered sexy despite, in fact because of, being dressed as Biffo the Bear. She has an ideal, comic book curvaceous body ('42-23-38. One hell of a region') yet she remains in control throughout and displays some very unladylike behaviour. One would imagine a woman who 'spat playfully' yet remains sexually desirable to be a character in an edition of late 1990's female sketch show Smack The Pony rather than in a 1967 piece by an all-male band. Women characters in British comedy at that time were usually stooges; they were either grotesque battleaxes or conventionally gorgeous babes whose function was to expose their bodies in order to expose the uncontrollable lust of men. The Bonzos subversively, perhaps unknowingly, allow a little more room to move than most British comedy at the time for female character. Regarding this subject it is interesting to note that Stanshall appeared on the cover of Oz magazine in March 1969 being unzipped by a breast-liberated Germaine Greer. Nevertheless, the principal thing for which Big Shot is remembered, and oft-quoted by Bonzo aficionados, is its final lines: 'A punk stopped me on the street. He said "you got a light, Mac?" I said "No, but I got a dark brown overcoat'.'
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
On a speed reading course recently a delegate brought in a paper bag from the booksellers W H Smith. Written on the side was the famous (?) quotation by Woody Allen about Speed Reading: "I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia".
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Find the most common virus in your part of the world.
And without a hint of irony I give you the chance to - send your thanks to the US military and to support the troops at Operation Military Pride.
Far more interesting though is the Iraqometer. It tells you how many bombs have been dropped on Iraq (37,600), how many Iraqi civilian casualties there have been (5,800) and how many weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq (0).
Here we go loop-dee-loop…
SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER, returns to FLIP for another funky outing on Wednesday July 2nd
DJ Juggy Jones’ monthly shindig continues to go from strength to strength and is beginning to build up quite a following of loyal soul fans who dig Juggy’s retrotastic tunes from the Sixties and Seventies.
Delving deep into the archives Juggy keeps the dancefloor grooving with his funky blend of Motown, Northern Soul, Funk and Rare Groove.
This month Juggy will be paying a special tribute to the Crème de la Crème of Motown’s Ladies with a set which will include hits from Diana Ross & The Supremes, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes, The Velvelettes, Tammi Terrell, Mary Wells, Brenda Holloway, and Gladys Knight.
Juggy will be joined on the decks by guest jock Phil C, bass player with London's leading Hammond and horns combo, The Gene Drayton Unit, and in demand DJ on the mod scene.
It’s What’s In The Grooves That Counts
SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHER - Wednesday July 2nd
(and every 1st Wednesday of the month ) 10pm – Late
FLIP, 30 Lisle Street, London, WC2 (Leicester Sq underground)
£3 B4 11pm then £4
FLIP runs a majority gay and lesbian door policy
Monday, June 23, 2003
Good advice from Bart Simpson...
Books good enough to eat...
Devoured any good books recently?
New Guy in Big Brother House today from South Africa...
Name: Gaetano Kagwa
City of Residence: Kampala
Occupation: Currently studying law
Relationship Status: Single
Education: University Degree (University of Wisconsin, USA)
Hobbies: Riding motorbikes, talking politics, listening to jazz
With an mix of Italy and Uganda in his name, Guy is indeed a multi-faceted person. He is fluent in two languages and currently working on his Sesotho, he holds a degree in political science.
He has a strong sense of family orientation and would do anything to protect members of his family. If given the chance to develop a close relationship in the Big Brother Africa house, Gaetano would like to take it as far as possible as he is not a man with many inhibitions.
With the dream of living in the Caribbean Islands, this 30-year-old student is quite the 'sous' chef and can cook up a storm. His love for sport, especially soccer, sees him on the field with friends on many weekends. Gaetano likes listening to music, especially to the sounds of George Benson and Bob Marley. Asked what he would do if he won the $100 000 prize money, he says that he will help his dad pay off his debts, donate something to an Aids charity and eventually have a blast spending some of it!
Friday, June 20, 2003
Varla Jean Merman...
On Wednesday night Roger, Kevin and I went to see Varla Jean Merman perform I've Got The Music In Me at the Soho Theatre in London's glitzy West End.
Varla Jean Merman (the alter-ego of a certain Jeffery Roberson) is a 'multi-media cabaret act' - for that read 'drag queen with a projector' - who belts them out like Shirley Bassey (and boy can she sing) and yet has the occasional comic brilliance of say Dame Edna. I say 'occasional' because great fun though the evening was it didn't quite fulfill the potential or consistency that I had hoped or indeed had been promised - Varla having been compared to both Kiki & Herb and to Tina C (the former are more demented, the latter is funnier). But having said all that it was a fun act to watch - especially when early on she picks out the "homo-sex-you-alls" in the front row by asking them what music they listened to.
Repeatedly bursting onto the stage with an all-singing, all-dancing shamelessly upbeat show tunes is a bit of a winner in my book even if some of the songs were maybe a little obvious such as Sing Your Own Kind Of Music. But doing an operatic cover of Dead Or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) was high point for me though and nothing short of inspired.
Varla is indeed a very funny comic creation to see live but perhaps she worked best when she was performing on film (she's won awards dontchaknow!). The films peppered the show and were all very, very funny: highlights being teenage birth at a Prom Night and being rogered by a lobster in Province Town. And if you perhaps detect a strong American flavour to some of that then you'd be quite right. Let's just say that some of the Yankie humour perhaps didn't travel quite as well as the rest of it. And by the same token seemingly casual references in the stand-up sections to Matthew Kelly and Charlotte Church jarred somewhat too. But that said a gay gag is a gay gag, right? We all get the references to drug taking and sex in the park, right? To her credit though there was film set in London - 'putting the liver back into delivery' which was very funny, if a bit cheesy.
And talking of cheesy things, quite how she managed to sing Dream A Little Dream Of Cheese and at the same time squirt liquid cheese from a can down her throat was mind-boggling. And a bit yucky too.
As the show drew to a close (after a disappointingly short 60 minutes) I was left wanting slightly more. A longer show it's true but also a slightly more polished running order. There were many, many great things in the show but it lost momentum with the occasional unfunny song or rather lame gag. Something a producer could perhaps correct quite easily.
On the way out I bought her CD The Very Worst Of Varla Jean Merman. It's good - but again not as good as either K&H or Tina C's CDs.
Varla's web site is a blast though. Especially the guess her weight game.
Lots of people from our office are going to Ascot today. But for those of you, like me, who can't make it, I give you a cool horse racing game.
One liners for Friday...
I met a Dutch girl with inflatable shoes last week, phoned her up to arrange a date but unfortunately she'd popped her clogs.
Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly; but when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it.
So I said "Do you want a game of Darts?", he said "OK then", I said "Nearest to bull starts". He said "Baa", I said "Moo", he said "You're closest".
You see I'm against hunting, in fact I'm a hunt saboteur. I go out the night before and shoot the fox.
The other day I sent my girlfriend a huge pile of snow. I rang her up, I said "Did you get my drift?".
So I went down the local supermarket, I said "I want to make a complaint,this vinegar's got lumps in it", he said "Those are pickled onions".
I saw this bloke chatting up a cheetah! , I thought "he's trying to pull a fast one".
So I said to this train driver "I want to go to Paris". He said "Eurostar?".I said "I've been on telly but I'm no Dean Martin".
So I said to the Gym instructor "Can you teach me to do the splits?". He said "How flexible are you?". I said "I can't make Tuesdays".
But I'll tell you what I love doing more than anything: trying to pack myself in a small suitcase. I can hardly contain myself.
So I met this gangster who pulls up the back of people's pants, it was Wedgie Kray.
So I went to the Chinese restaurant and this duck came up to me with a red rose and says "Your eyes sparkle like diamonds". I said "Waiter, I asked for a-ROMATIC duck".
But I'm in great mood tonight because the other day I entered a competition and I won a years supply of Marmite......... one jar.
So this bloke says to me, "Can I come in your house and talk about your carpets?". I thought "That's all I need,! a Je-hoover's witness".
You see my next door neighbour worships exhaust pipes, he's a catholic converter.
So I rang up British Telecom, I said "I want to report a nuisance caller", he said "Not you again".
So I was having dinner with Garry Kasporov (world chess champion) and there was a check tablecloth. It took him two hours to pass me the salt.
He said "You remind me of a pepper-pot", I said "I'll take that as a condiment".
Now did you know all male tennis players are witches, for example Goran, even he's a witch.
And I've got a friend who's fallen in love with two school bags, he's bisatchel.
So I was in Tesco's and I saw this man and woman wrapped in a barcode. I said "Are you two an item?".
So a lorry-load of tortoises crashed into a train-load of terrapins, I thought "That's a turtle disaster".
Four fonts walk into a bar The barman says "Oi - get out! We don't want your type in here"
A jump-le! ad walks into a bar. The barman says "I'll serve you, but don't start anything"
A priest, a rabbi and a vicar walk into a bar. The barman says, "Is this some kind of joke?"
A sandwich walks into a bar. The barman says "Sorry we don't serve food in here"
Dyslexic man walks into a bra
A seal walks into a club...
A man walks into a bar with a roll of tarmac under his arm and says: "Pint please, and one for the road."
A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He slides up to the bar and announces: "I'm looking for the man who shot my paw."
A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?"
they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."
There was a man who entered a local paper's pun contest! . He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.
A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Amal." The other goes to a family in Spain, they name him Juan". Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his mum. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wished she
also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, "But they are twins. If you've seen Juan, you've seen Amal."
[Thanks to Peter Kay]
Thursday, June 19, 2003
"We're sorry about that slip-up there I have no idea now that happened. But it won't happen again."
HA HA HA!
Microsoft does weblogs...
Microsoft FrontPage 2003, part of Microsoft Office 2003 which is currently in beta, comes with a prebuilt weblog application. Another case of 'embrace and extend' perhaps?
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Archer to go free...
With a bit of work, Jeffery, it could be an anecdote.
I heard a rumour...
I was back at the RVT last Sunday after 4 months' absence. I had a great time. At about 8 o'clock I found myself dancing and singing to a disco version of a David Bowie song. Guy, God bless him, was just too young to know the words - that 'dates' me I guess! Of course what with me being so old (and being too pissed at the time) my memory's going so I can't even remember what the song was! But through the drunken haze I vaguely recollect someone telling me it was Bananarama doing the cover. No? Really!? Can anyone enlighten me?
The MIT Internet Radio locator service is a jolly wheeze. You can look for internet radio stations all over the world. Or even just in the little old UK.
Hey, I even found the Gaydar Radio live stream and am bopping about to some disco trash as we speak. Cool.
Y Viva Espana ...
As widely predicted in the press Barcelona was but a stalking horse. Beckham has signed with Real Madrid for £24.5m. Should pay for a hair-cut or two.
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Chicago, Millennium, Cairo, Steelhead, Stinger...
A short history of Microsoft code names.
Monday, June 16, 2003
Some people really hate Google, huh? Makes for interesting (if paranoid) reading though.
The top ten gayest websites...
My current favourite in the top ten gayest web sites is why are robots so gay?
The real thingy?...
And talking of robots, is this tickling robot real?
Friday, June 13, 2003
Rude but fun.
Thursday, June 12, 2003
Doggles - Protective Eyewear for Dogs. I am simply lost for words.
First of all an apology in advance to all you Ragtime fans out there. This isn't going to be pretty. Or well structured. Just a rant.
Last night Roger and I went to go and see Ragtime at the Piccadilly Theatre. Roger had phoned up during the day saying that he could get half-price tickets and that the show was coming off on Saturday so it would be one of our last chances to see it. Warning bells should have been ringing at that point.
I knew nothing about the show other than the fact it had transferred from Broadway (which has to be a good thing, right? Wrong!) and that it had rave reviews. What I hadn't grasped was that it had probably transferred from Broadway because they didn't want it any more and the rave reviews were raving-mad ones!
The 'story' was set in 1902 and the 'action' took place in New York, Atlantic City and God knows where else. The 'family' (read cliched white folks) introduce themselves directly to the audience at the start and we think, o-oh. A little boy says, "I'm the little boy." D'uh! And the father says, "I'm the father I'm very rich. I'm what made America great" And the mother says, "I'm mother and I look after father and little boy" And we're thinking, what is this shit? But wait, there's more. "I'm Grandpa and I'm a bigot", pipes up Grandpa. Jees-us. This has to be a joke, yes?
Then on comes a bunch of 'immigrants' who say, "we're poor, poor immigrants from Latvia. We come to America. To land of opportunity." Then a bunch of black dudes start dancing in Harlem and say, "we've been here a while and there ain't no opportunity here." As a comment or deconstruction of American racism at the turn of the 20th century it was vacuous in the extreme. It had the emotional depth of a particularly stoic flea.
Various plot lines limped around the stage like wounded animals crying out to be shot. Luckily a couple of these plot lines seemed to die of there own accord - no-one seemed to notice or care much. Even when the leading man's love interest dies I had to stifle a laugh such was the lack of emotional connection to the characters.
And did I mention it was a musical? No, well perhaps I was keeping that gem of information to myself. The music was uninspiring and just seemed to be a poor excuse to justify the poor plot devices. Chicago, it wasn't.
There were many more empty seats after the interval as the audience cut it's losses. I'm sorry to say we were not amongst them.
At one juncture we hear that the leading man's car-seat has been shit on by some thugs. To be honest by that point I'd have thought that if there was any shitting to be done it should have been done on the heads of the producers.
As we left the theatre we read the reviewers quotes that were reprinted on the boards hanging outside. One said, "What a show!" Sentiments I can but echo.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Whack the Hungry Spiders!
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
News just in...
Beckham's off to Barcelona for £30m then. And Man Utd plc share price has jumped up 7p a share! Apparently Ferguson is fed-up with Beckham's advertising jaunts.
The Late Tube Petition...
Support the official campaign to keep the London Underground open until 3am at weekends. Current Signatures: 27,211 (Updated Monday 9th June)
London is an amazing city. A city of culture, history and diversity. A city with a mayor who collects newts. A city with a huge Ferris wheel. A city where the clubs and bars stay open 'til three at the weekend... But a city that's an absolute nightmare to get home from after midnight.
Every weekend millions of us are forced to either go home early or face the prospect of a torturously slow journey on a night bus full of barking loons. Or to pay a fortune for a cab which "ain't going south (or north) this late". And all because the Underground system in this amazing 24-hour city of ours shuts down just after midnight. Even at weekends.
But it doesn't have to be like that. We pay for the Underground system with our tickets and taxes and so there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn't operate on our terms.
We're creating a petition to be sent to both The Mayor and Transport For London - the two bodies who together control London Underground - demanding that the Tube be kept running until at least 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
If enough people sign the petition - we reckon 100,000 should do it - then Ken and Co will be forced to sit up and take notice. Not least because there are Mayoral elections next year and this is a guaranteed vote winner.
So what are you waiting for? Get signing! Your city will thank you; your friends will thank you; even barking loons on night buses will thank you. But you won't be able to hear them. Because you'll be underground. Perfect.
If enough people sign the petition - we reckon 100,000 should do it - then Ken and Co will be forced to sit up and take notice.
Not least because there are Mayoral elections next year and this is a guaranteed vote winner.
A few nagging doublt? There is an FAQ here.
So what are you waiting for? The petition is at... http://www.londonbylondon.co.uk/latetube
Please take a few seconds to add your name - and tell everyone you know to do the same. Your city will thank you; your friends will thank you; even barking loons on night buses will thank you. But you won't be able to hear them. Because you'll be underground. Perfect.
Thanks for your support!
The Late Tube Petition
[Thanks to Juggy and thefridaything for the heads up]
Culture - high and low...
Damien Hirst at The Saatchi Gallery
I few weeks back Paul and I went to County Hall to see some of the contemporary art that Saatchi had collected and had put on display for all to see. All good stuff and a must see for art fans and Philistines alike. Walk past the shark in formaldehyde closely from front to back and watch it move round behind you. Spooky. But that diesel oil don't 'alf stink though.
The following week we tried to go and see the Art Deco at the V&A. Huge queues so didn't fancy waiting 3 hours to get in. Perhaps we should have booked!
X-Men 2 (or X2 as it's called in some strange quarters)
I liked X-Men and this was more of the same. My only comment would be "too many goodies and not enough baddies". Alan Cumming was a dream-boat as ever - even covered in blue paint.
The shepherd and the BMW...
A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him.
The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"
The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered, "Sure."
The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his notebook and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the Internet, where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas.
He sent an e-mail on his Palm top and, after a few minutes, received a response.
Finally, he prints out a 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturised printer then turns to the shepherd and says,
"You have exactly 1586 sheep."
"That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car. Then the shepherd says:
"If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?"
"OK, why not." answered the young man.
"Clearly, you are a consultant." said the shepherd.
"That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"
"No guessing required." answers the shepherd.
"You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you know sod all about my business. Now give me back my dog."
[Thanks for the joke, Dad]
Monday, June 09, 2003
What does Google have to say about you?
Create your own personal world clock.
Books for soldiers...
Send a book to a soldier.
Friday, June 06, 2003
Electric 6 : Gay Bar...
I was waxing lyrical about Electric 6's new single Gay Bar back in April but it's out this week pop pickers! You can watch the real video here. Their advertising has been quite good too - they have been putting up signs all over London (and beyond?) saying "Gay Bar" on them (a couple of examples are shown below). Some of these signs actually have been pointing to gay bars but I suspect this is merely a coincidence. Many just point to any old pub. I note that the ones that were pointing to non-gay bars (is there such a term?) have been fairly hastily removed - presumably by the owners themselves or souvenirs hunters..
Do you see grey spots?...
The grey spots at the intersection of the white lines is called lateral inhibition. Weird, huh? Check out these other optical illusions.
Thou mammering ill-breeding whey-face!...
Have Shakespeare insult you on demand.
Thursday, June 05, 2003
Tail feathers were indeed shaken...
I went down to support Darren at Shake Your Tail Feather last night at Flip. I had every intention of arriving early and leaving early as it was a 'school night' and I was knackered after quite a few late nights at work. Well, I got it half right anyway. I arrived early. But as for leaving early that was a different matter. After downing a few pints, chatting with Darren, gazing longingly at Paolo (guest DJ Jo's husband) I had a little dance. Or two. And just when I was girding my lions to sprint for the last tube around 12:15 Phil offered me a lift home if I stayed and kept him company. As Phil is quite cute and the offer of a lift was hard to refuse I stayed. Northern Soul is so much more fun when you (a) have had a few, (b) have the opportunity to dance, and (c) have a cute man to dance with. Take it from me.
So I got home late. Very late. What could I say to my wife? "Darling, I've been beaten up again". Let's face it she's as credulous as hell. A punk stopped me on the street. He said "you got a light, mac?" I said "No, but I got a dark brown overcoat'".
(OK. Just me with the Bonzo Dod Do-Dah Band references, then)
Become a 70's DJ...
This is completely fantastic. Groovy, baby, yeah!
An enterprising overyourhead reader's web site...
He wants your money.
Wednesday, June 04, 2003
SARS - is no-one safe?...
[Thanks to Guy]
Shit. Fan. Hit...
Long story short. Big problem at work. No one could fix it. I fixed it directly i.e. without going through 'the usual channels'. Worst crime ever, apparently
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
Sorry about the slight blogging today. I'm having a tough day or two at work. And it's all rather falling about my ears at the moment.
Some unusual greeting cards.
Monday, June 02, 2003
Stained glass jigsaw puzzle...
One has to ask oneself 'why' though?
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