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, August 31, 2005
Spent the day by the hill-top pool at Hotel Cenit with Michael, Andrew, Andy, Gary, Ian & Neil. Marvelous panoramic view of town & bay. Jason has kindly guest-listed us all to Amnesia tonight. Did I mention I bumped into Jason? Quite by accident. He's working in a posh restaurant here. So it's been quite a nice day all told.
I was a good boy last night. I kept my powder dry - well, mostly. We went to a great BBQ in a fantastic fuck off villa in the middle of the island. It was a bit like the one in Sexy Beast but with loads of sexy guys. Ended up in the pool. Natch. Then headed back to Ibiza Town where we just danced till dawn in Anfora - the gay club in the Old Town.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Finally got some shut-eye (!) and then up and at 'em at noon (how soon I've adjusted to Spanish hours, huh?). Neil & Ian arrived and we all spent the day chillaxing on the beach. The beach was fun, actually - the people were cool, the water warm and the sun hot. Useful hiring two cars as we are now ten. Tonight we have all been invited to a BBQ in a villa in the centre of the island. Michael I. & nine other guys are our hosts. Should be fun.
Been up for 25 hours straight. There's so much to do here: bar, pool, bar, restaurant, disco nap, bar, restaurant, bar, bar, club. Bumped into loads of people from London. Natch. Think I might enjoy it here.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Finally arrived in Ibiza Town proper. It's hot, it's sunny and we are all completely knackered. We got very little sleep last night - Smiths 2, Chicagos, inflatable beds & a 4am start all conspired against us on that front. My hotel El Puerto is perfectly adequate but I'm only here for three nights. Where next? La Marina as originally planned or try to get into the fabulous hotel in the old town that Andy & Tim are staying at? Tough one. Maybe new swimming pool friends Brian & Tom will swing it for me.
Just landed. Waiting for Hertz to pull their collective fingers out with our hire cars. Having a beer while we wait.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Ibiza (via Chelmsford)...
So sure enough Overyourhead is off on holiday (What? Again? I hear you cry!). Stuart, Gary, Andy, Kevin, Andy, Michael, Andy, Tim and I are jetting off to the White Isle for ten days and (probably more importantly) ten nights. Tonight I'm staying at Andy and Michael's as we've got a very early flight tomorrow and they live in Chelmsford which is near Stansted Airport. Apparently.
Posting may be sporadic to non-existent for 10 days so... feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
Reissue: Can You Tell I Need A Holiday?...
Advice to all company employees on the proper use of Jonathan's time. As your System Administrator I am at your service. Just call Jonathan on his extension or on his mobile - day or night. He's just waiting for your call.
• Never write down any error messages. Just click "Ok" or restart your computer. Jonathan likes to guess what the error message was.
• When talking about your computer, use terms like "thingy" and "it".
• If you get an EXE file in an email attachment, open it immediately. Jonathan likes to make sure the anti-virus software is working properly from time to time.
• When sending someone your document via email, always assume that they have all the same software installed that you do.
• When Jonathan says he coming right over, log out and go for coffee. It's no problem for him to guess your password.
• When you call Jonathan to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and Popsicle sticks. Jonathan doesn't have a life, and he finds it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.
• When Jonathan sends you an email marked as "Highly Important" or "Action Required", delete it at once. He's probably just testing some new email software feature, anyhow.
• When Jonathan is eating lunch at his desk or in the kitchen, walk right in and spill your guts and expect him to respond immediately. Jonathan exists only to serve and is always ready to think about fixing computers.
• When Jonathan is at the water cooler or outside taking a breath of fresh air, find him and ask him a computer question. The only reason he takes breaks at all is to ferret out all those employees who don't have email or a telephone line.
• Send urgent email ALL IN UPPERCASE. The mail server picks it up and flags it as a rush delivery.
• When the photocopier doesn't work, call Jonathan. There's electronics in it, right?
• When you're getting a NO DIAL TONE message at your home computer, call Jonathan. He can even fix telephone problems from remote locations too.
• When something is wrong with your home PC, dump it on Jonathan's chair with no name, no phone number, and no description of the problem. He just loves a good mystery.
• When you have Jonathan on the phone walking you through changing a setting; read the newspaper. Jonathan doesn't actually mean for you to DO anything; he just loves to hear himself talk.
• When the company offers training on an upcoming Windows or Office upgrade; don't bother to sign up. Jonathan will be there to hold your hand after it is done.
• When the printer won't print, resend the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently just disappear into the cosmos for no reason.
• When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all the printers in the office. One of them is bound to work.
• Don't use online help. Online help is for wimps. Right?
• If you're taking night classes in computer science, feel free to demonstrate your fledgling expertise by updating the network drivers for you and all your co-workers. Jonathan will be grateful for the overtime when he has to stay until 2:30am fixing all of them.
• When Jonathan's fixing your computer at a quarter past one, eat your Whopper with cheese in his face. He functions better when he's slightly dizzy from hunger.
• Don't ever thank Jonathan. He loves fixing everything. And guess what - he actually gets paid for it!
• When Jonathan asks you whether you've installed any new software on your computer, lie. It's nobody's business what you've got on your computer.
• If the mouse cable keeps knocking down the framed picture of your dog, lift the computer and stuff the cable under it. Those skinny mouse cables were designed to have 20 Kgs of computer monitor crushing on them.
• If the space bar on your keyboard doesn't work, blame Jonathan for not upgrading it sooner. Hell, it's not your fault that there's a half a pound of pizza crust crumbs, nail clippings, and big sticky drops of God knows what under the keys.
• When you get the message saying "Are you sure?", click on that "Yes" button as fast as you can. Hell, if you weren't sure, you wouldn't be doing it, would you?
• Feel perfectly free to say things like "I don't know nothing about that computer shitp." It never bothers Jonathan to hear his area of professional expertise referred to as shit.
• When you need to add paper to the printer, call Jonathan. Changing the paper is an extremely difficult task, and both Hewlett Packard and Lexmark recommend that it be performed only by certified network administrators with lots of time on their hands.
• When you receive a 130-megabyte movie file, send it to everyone as a high-priority mail attachment. Jonathan's provided plenty of disk space and processor capacity on the new mail server just for those important kinds of things.
• Don't even think of breaking large print jobs down into smaller chunks. God forbid somebody else should sneak a one-page job in between your 427-page Excel spreadsheet.
• When you bump into Jonathan in the supermarket or in the street on the way home, ask him a computer question. He works 24/7, even while at Sainsbury's buying toilet paper.
• If your son is a student in computer science, have him come in on the weekends and do his projects on your office computer. Jonathan will be there for you when your son's illegal copy of Visual Basic makes your other Access databases keel over and die.
• When you bring Jonathan your own "no-name" brand home PC to repair for free at the office, tell him how urgently he needs to fix it so you can get back to playing Lara Croft. He'll get right on it right away because he has so much free time at the office. Everybody knows that all he does is surf the Internet all day anyway.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory...
Last night Drew & I went to see Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Think 60s psychodelia, think Michael Jackson, think Edward Scissorhands. Great fun.
Friday, August 26, 2005
A man walks into his bedroom carrying a sheep.
His wife is reading in bed. The man says, "This is the pig that I fuck when you've got a headache".
His wife retorts, "I think you'll find that THAT is a sheep."
The man replies, "I think you'll find that I was talking to the sheep."
Apparently a third of all Britains want a 99p coin to tackle the menace of the £XX.99 pricing strategy, which a Virgin Money poll says wastes £11m a month in discarded 1p pieces.
Although around 50 per cent of thrifty citizens save their 1p and 2p coins - traditionally in a huge whiskey bottle having drunk all the whiskey they bought with the proceeds of their last huge whiskey bottle bank - plenty of us just chuck the small change. Virgin Money reckons the total lost comes to £133m a year.
The poll - of 1,250 people - also proved that 40 per cent of surveyees preferred to break into a quid coin or a note than count out change.
Of course, the real solution to the problem is to make the pricing of goods at £XX.99 (or £XXX,995 in the case of houses) illegal and punishable by death while raising the value of the 1p coin to £1 to encourage people not to throw them away.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Google made a late entry into the instant messaging market yesterday with the launch of Google Talk, an IM service that allows users to place free phone calls over a net connection to other people signed into the service. Google Talk, released as a beta, requires a Gmail username and password. It works with Jabber-compatible Instant Messaging client (such as Apple's iChat, Trillian or GAIM). Although that represents a stand towards interoperability in practical terms it doesn't mean that much since none of the big three IM clients (MSN, Yahoo! and AOL) support the feature. I'll be having a play with it but currently Google Talk is missing any sort of search, doesn't save conversation histories properly, and requires a GMail account... and it doesn't even have smileys :-(
Update: Just did some real world testing connecting with Simon in Sitges comparing Google Talk vs MSN audio - Google Talk comes out top with audio only, but MSN supports simulaneous video, of course, which is nice.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
How Do You Make A Man Go Woof...
Take (a) a pile of dry wood, (b) lots of petrol, and (c) two idiots. Mix and stand well back.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
On Friday Roger, Kevin and I went to Blackpool for the weekend. It was Kevin's birthday last week and I was joining in on their annual pilgrimage to see the Funny Girls show.
Now Blackpool is quite a long way from London. Well, it takes a long time to get there what with changing at Preston. So we occupied ourselves on the train by drinking beer and reading. When we eventually arrived we didn't stay at Trades Hotel (surprising how many people warned me against that - paper thin walls, door-handles that rattle at night) but at the Belvedere Hotel run by the charming Linda and Sandra. The rooms were clean and airy, the breakfast large and the conversation chatty.
On the Friday night we were joined by the super sexy Spencer and Paul as we hit the town starting at Mardi Gras and ending up at the a bar above Funny Girls.
The following morning we were up at the crack of fanny and off to the front. We did all the piers and ended up getting drenched on the Valhalla ride at the Pleasure Beach. Great fun.
In the evening we met up with Bill, Spencer and Paul again and did Funny Girls proper. Funny Girls is an impressive drag show (all miming) with lots of high-kicks, cherries and feathers. It lasted for about 3 hours with lots of breaks ably filled by DJ Zoe's witty musings. The boys were all regulars and seemed less than impressed by what we saw; "you should have seen the Sound Of Music one - it was fabulous!" But I was pleased with what we'd seen. Not exactly Dame Edna but good all the same.
On the Sunday we did some more pier-walking and stocked up on Blackpool rock before the six (yes, six!) hour journey home.
A fun weekend. Thanks, guys.
Regular readers may know that I'm a bit of a fan of Google Desktop - the free indexing and search that means you never lose anything on your computer again. I use it daily to find old e-mails, files and other miscellania that I've misplaced. Well, there's a new version in beta at the moment which extends it's functionality by quite some way - a sidebar (email, news, weather, RSS etc), a better quick find (faster and including PDFs) and an Outlook toolbar. Time to give it a whirl I think.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Do you know your 'belly where the pig bit' from your 'dead dingo's donger'? Try this Aussie Quiz.
Friday, August 19, 2005
Westlife's Mark Feehily is gay...
So Mark Feehily is gay. Big deal. But full marks for coming clean though. Missus.
Disappointingly MSN report it as: Westlife's Feehily admits he is gay. God, I hate that word. 'Admits'. It has the air of the confessional about it. Why not 'reveals'? Or simply 'says'? Or indeed just 'is'?
Scissor Sisters At The Forum...
Last night the gorgeous Sarah and I went to a 'secret' Scissor Sisters gig at London's Kentish Town Forum. It was in association with XFm and the charity 21st Century Leaders (something Sarah is involved in). Proceeds were going to the Elton John Foundation and the Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music.
The gig kicked off with the support act - those two old karaoke lushes, Bananarama. The crowd was so pumped they positively erupted to the likes of I Heard A Rumour, Robert De Niro's Waiting, Move In My Direction, Love In The First Degree and, of course, Venus. Some old queens (i.e. me) still remembered all the dance moves. Well, we had done it on stage at the Black Cap years ago.
When finally the Scissor Sisters came on everyone was already on their feet, the temperature was rising and we were ready to party.
It was a great set.
Naturally we were treated to almost the entire first album including: Laura, Take Your Mama, Comfortably Numb, Mary, Tits On The Radio, Filthy/Gorgeous, Music Is The Victim, and of course the seminal Return To Oz.
As expected, the band also previewed some material from their forthcoming second album and it all sounded fine. Hard to judge when you're at a big gig but essentially it was more of the same i.e. good songs plain and simple. "Shut the door, close the blinds, we're going for a ride." Very Elton John. Very 70s. Very good. You may have heard one at Live8.
Dance? I thought we'd never stop. Only we did occasionally as Sarah is pregnant with triplets. I'm sure they will all be SS fans when they're old.
Jake was wearing what I can only describe as spray-on shiney trousers. Nothing was left to the imagination. He was very proud of them though. "My Dad made me these!", he gushed. Bless.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Tragedy! Jamie Kane, who shot to fame as one third of boyband Boy*d Upp and went on to solo fame when the band disintegrated, is dead! Killed in a helicopter accident. Or is he?
Except Jamie Kane isn't real at all - he's the star of a new interactive online game launched by the BBC. The idea is that you sign up and get e-mails that encourage you to trawl the interwebnet trying to unravel the mystery of Jamie's death. The attention to detail is incredible and the depth of the game is just out of this world. It's also great fun.
It's aimed primarily at girls aged 14 years to 18 years (or so they say) which probably explains why David and I are enjoying it so much.
It cost the BBC £250,000 and the money is all up there on the (computer) screen:
Jamie Kane the online game
Jamie Kane the fake web site
Jamie Kane Fake Locations in the Far East and the Middle East
Jamie Kane Fake Biographies
Jamie Kane Fake TV interviews
Jamie Kane Fake Radio interviews
Jamie Kane Fake award ceremonies
to name but a few.
Confessions on a Dancefloor...
A few weeks ago Madonna.com reported that Hung Up is going to be the first single off Madonna's new all dance album, Confessions on a Dancefloor. I've heard a snippet of it thanks to David and it's sounds pretty good. It'll be on the radio from October 17th and the album will be out on November 15, 2005.
Madonna, 47, had a recent horse-riding accident but this is reportedly not going to affect these release dates and she's set to tour next summer to boot.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Living Each Day As If It's My Last...
There is a lot to be said for living each day as if it's your last. Don't waste your life waiting for something to happen, man. Make it happen. You could be run over by a bus tomorrow. Carpe diem, baby. Seize the day. Well, that's the theory anyway.
As for me, I've perhaps been seizing the day a little too hard and a little too often just recently. Mainly round the neck. These last four months I've been throttling my days like a crazed strangler. Oh yes, I've been doing a lot of seizing of late. A lot. Way too much in fact. And not always in a good way. I've not so much been burning the candle at both ends as setting a blow torch to it. I’m living each day as if it's my last. Take just 24 hours out of this last weekend just gone. Just 24 hours: hangover, Darren's party, Comptons, Bar Code, sauna, hangover, pub, Gummi - drinking and smoking all along the way with little sleep at the end of it. It was, quite frankly, exhausting. And it's not as if I don't know why I'm doing it. Oh yes, I'm quite painfully self-aware. I'm perpetually going out searching for something that I know I could find very much closer to home. A bit of self-respect.
You see my self-respect took a big kicking recently. It was pretty much crushed in fact. It was clutching its stomach and rolling on the floor. It was lying in the gutter in a pool of its own blood and may not have made the night. And it needed some help. I needed some help.
And indeed help is what I sought. I talked to friends, I went to counselling, I attended courses. In fact I’ve managed to build up quite a support network these last months. But you know what? Ultimately they have all said the same thing. Give it time. It takes time. Time is what it takes. And with so many people saying the same thing you have to believe it, right? We asked a hundred people the same question… our survey says… the top answer is… what they all say is… ‘give it time’. So that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to give it time. My self-respect will return apparently. If I just give it time.
But giving things time is not something I do very well. The lure of going out looking for affirmation in the short-term is still pretty strong. But I suppose the corollary is that by living each day as if it's my last, I dramatically increase the chances that it actually fucking is.
Brain Teaser Answers...
1. Today is the 1st January. Yesterday, 31st December, was Chris's 8th birthday. On the 30th December she was still 7. This year she'll turn 9 and next year she'll be 10.
2. A rainbow
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
1. The day before yesterday Chris was 7 years old. Next year she'll turn 10. How is this possible?
2. What ends in a 'W' but has no end?
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear Darren
Happy Birthday to you
Monday, August 15, 2005
Dealing With Stress And Conflicting Needs...
I'm not in the office today. I'm being sent on a course: Dealing With Stress And Conflicting Needs. This one day programme examines the causes of stress and its impact on individual and team productivity. Delegates will analyse their individual stress levels and learn how to deal with stress and conflicting needs effectively in order to improve and maximise their performance in the workplace. Hmm. I wonder if my company trying to tell me something?
Friday, August 12, 2005
C30, C60, C90 Go...
The Puzzler has been mentioning tapes recently. Audio cassette tapes. Which got me thinking.
You don't actually see many of the old fashioned cassette tape recorders around these days. Maybe just the odd one or two in older cars. Radio/cassette players usually. Or maybe in old Music Centres or aging ghetto blasters in spare bedrooms where they gather dust as no-one has the heart to throw them away. No, these days digital is all the rage for audio: CDs, MP3 players and the Interwebnet.
Back in my day audio cassette tapes were the bee's knees. They paved the way for the personal stereos like the Walkman. They could be used to record stuff off the radio - the Top Forty usually. They could be used to copy entire albums from friends. Home Taping Is Killing Music. They were versatile little critters. But best of all they could be used to make compilation tapes for parties. Bring some of your tapes, man. If you had a twin tape deck you were cool. Party on like it's 1985.
Casette tapes came in four sizes. Well, lengths really. The only difference between them was simply the length of the iron substrate coated plastic tape coiled around their weedy plastic spindles. The lengths were either 30 minutes (15 minutes each side, oh yes, they were reversible), 60 minutes (30 each side), 90 minutes (45 each side) and 120 minutes (60 each side). Hence C30, C60, C90 and C120.
C30s - they were my favourite. Just the right length for a short compilation tape of maybe 5 songs each side. The C30 never seemed to get tangled up either which was a good thing. The C60s I always thought were the 'wrong' length - you couldn't fit any but the shortest albums on them - LPs rarely were the same length on each side of the vinyl anyway. C90s were much better - actually slightly too long for an album - but you could always repeat your favourite tracks at the end. A bonus. The C120s I hated though. They were so prone to getting mangled up and potentially ruining your tape recorder as well as the tape itself that I dreaded even using them.
Up in the attic I've still got a few cassette tapes. Only a few mind. They are cassette singles of the early ZTT artists. Ah, thank you for the Memorex.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Reissue: Don't do anything I might find out about...
"Look at this! 'Humon Resources'. I ask you. 'Humon'! How do they expect to get the job when they can't even address an envelope without making a basic spelling mistake?" So started a rather surreal conversation in Sainsbury's this morning on the way to work. A rather cute in-a-military-kind-of-way security guard had been watching me ever since I first walked in the sliding double doors. He had waited for me to queue up with my chicken hickory Be Good To Yourself instant meal and then without warning just started talking
"You take my sister. I got an e-mail from her yesterday. And you know what? It had sixteen spelling mistakes in it. I counted them. She spelt 'wool' W-U-L." I eyed him suspiciously. He was dressed in the typical gold trimmed brown trousers and jacket that is often the standard apparel of supermarket security personnel. He was quite muscular and had a chiselled jaw. His highly polished black shoes and crisply ironed shirt gave him the appearance of a door-to-door Mormon or a fresh young accountant bright-eyed ready for their first job interview. I smiled and nodded saying nothing - thinking that maybe he would leave it at that. Making no further eye contact I shuffled forward one place in the queue. A queue that now seemed to have slowed to a snail's pace. As I looked straight ahead I mused; maybe he'd been driven mad by the inanity of his job? Perhaps banging on to complete strangers somehow was keeping him in touch with reality. Then he made me jump by whispering almost directly into my ear. I'd not noticed but he had moved closer. Much closer.
"Did you have the strap and the cane at school?” he said. I grimaced and then my eyes darted around nervously wondering whether in fact I was part of some elaborate prank or sting. No one else seemed to be looking at me or smiling in my general direction so I just thought it was me who was overreacting. Maybe he was hitting on me? Had I got the signals wrong from the start? I slowly turned and smiled. What the hell. I'd chance it. And with a nod said, "Yes." Big mistake. Huge.
Without pausing for breath, permission or further responses from me he held up not only me, but the the rest of the queue, with a stream of such wistful pronouncements as, "We had assembly every morning at school, didn't we?” and “We had to say the Lord's Prayer and behave while we said it, didn't we?” Not only was I getting increasingly late for work but was also beginning to feel slightly uneasy. Why was this man talking to me? Didn’t he need any feedback when he spoke? I studied him for a while. He had steely blue eyes and almost perfect tanned skin. His short-cropped dark hair was slightly greying at the sides. His lips where slight but betrayed a permanent smirk. Still he was banging on, “We had to dress smart and look smart. They don't do that anymore, do they?"
After what seemed like an eon I was saved at last by Mohammed on check out number three. "Next please!" I'd finally got an excuse to turn away from my rabid talker. With a single movement the food was scanned, money was in Mohammed's hand, I'd stuffed it into a thin plastic bag and was making for the door. I was free. I'd made my escape. Well, I thought I had. Just as I was heading out throught the doors he called after me, "Don't do anything I might find out about!”
Quite the most surreal trip to Sainsbury's I'd ever had.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Magic Numbers out. Goldfrapp in.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Goldfrapp Secret Warm-Up Gig...
Last night Paul, Simon and I went to see the wonderful Goldfrapp (check out their fabby new web site) do a 'secret' warm-up gig for their upcoming tour in The Junction in Cambridge.
It was fairly quick to get up there (54 mins on the train from Kings Cross) and the venue itself was new, very well organised and had good lines of sight. Despite, or perhaps because of that, we three stood at the back. We wanted to be near the bar. Natch.
The support act were The Shortwave Set who were OK-ish. A little bit Kirsty, a little bit odd ball. Pleasant enough though. But it was Alison and Will we were here to see. And when they arrived they did not disappoint.
The stage went dark, the music started thumping, the lights exploded into life and there she was; decked in a head-scarf, 70's Abbaesque flares, hair 'til Tuesday and platforms like stilts. The lighting was suddenly blinding. The sound became teeth-shatteringly loud. Goldfrapp had arrived. Think T Rex. Think The Glitter Band. Think Glam Rock.
We were treated to a seventy-five minute set of eye-popping, ear-splitting, mind-blowing versions of Utopia, Train, Strict Machine, Lovely Head, all the hits and more. And we loved it. Couldn't stop smiling. Not enough of the new stuff though - just the new single Ooh La La (get it in the shops now, kids!), No. 1 and Lovely 2 C U. Can't wait to hear more.
As a footnote I have to add that the backing band were great too. The chemistry between them and Alison was really good. I'm really looking forward to seeing them do it all over again in October at the Brixton Academy.
Glam is definitely back.
Queer Aisle For The Straight Guys...
We're sure that most overyourhead readers don't object to gay marriage as long as it doesn't frighten the horses, but we wonder if that liberal sentiment extends to heterosexual same-sex union?
We'll find out soon enough, because Canadians Bill Dalrymple, 56, and chum Bryan Pinn, 65 have decided to tie the knot, the Ottawa Sun reports. Although Pinn is reported as calling the impending nuptials a "hoot", there is good business sense behind the proposal. Pinn adds: "There are significant tax implications that we don't think the (Canadian) government has thought through."
Indeed, the pair want to "shed light on the widespread financial implications of the new [gay marriage] legislation and are willing to take it all the way". Well, not quite all the way, because apparently there will be no consummation of this particular union. The two have, though, checked that there are "no laws in marriage that define sexual preference". Dalrymple and Pinn conclude by saying their upcoming wedding is not intended as a slight to gays and lesbians. However, gay and lesbian rights activist Bruce Walker warned: "Generally speaking, marriage should be for love. People who don't marry for love will find themselves in trouble," although he gamely conceded: "If someone wants to do something foolish, let them do it."
Monday, August 08, 2005
I had a lovely day yesterday with Martin. He introduced me to the Sunday with five F's:
F number one is 'friends'
F number two is 'the Fort'
F number three is... er... (being a family journal I can't tell you what Fs three, four and five are but suffice to say they put a smile on my face.)
OK, OK since you're clever and know how to reveal white text the final three F's are: freesomes, fisting and fucking.
Brighton Pride Pix...
If you want to see pictures of Brighton Pride you could do worse than popping over to Blogadoon's site and taking a gander. Of even to Psyonic's Pridepix - which is shameless linked to in my side bar! :)
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Die Brain Cells, Die...
It would have been our anniversary today. So I'm all set to bleach my hair and drink excessively. Or is that hair excessively and drink some bleach? I haven't quite decided yet. Either way - brain cells will be killed in their tens of thousands! Hurrah for the single life!
Friday, August 05, 2005
Me, I'm off to Brighton tomorrow for Brighton Pride (on Pride in Brighton and Hove 2005 to give it it's proper name). It's always a giggle. It claims to be the "biggest (and best) Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trangender Pride Festival in the country" attracting more than 100,000 people. And who am I to contradict them?
The plan is to get the 09:55 Brighton train from Kings Cross (well, it is just a plan!) The parade starts on the sea front near the Palace Pier on Maderia Drive at 11am sharp and then trails up to Preston Park for the festival at 2pm. See you on the train going down, in the park, in the cabaret tent for Dame Edna or on the drunken train home!
Stuck for something to do this weekend? Why not walk on water with trampofoil?
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Best Film Title Ever...
1,001 Ways to Eat My Jizz, Part 3: Biscuits and Gravy Edition.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Sitges For Beginners...
Beach 2pm - 6pm
Parrots Bar 6pm - 8pm
Snooze 8pm - 10pm
Food 10pm - midnight
Bars midnight - 3am
Clubs 3am - 5am
Shagging 5am - 8am
Sleep 8am - noon
Food noon - 2pm
Repeat as necessary.
Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast...
"I can't believe impossible things." said Alice.
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen.
"When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
- Lewis Carroll
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Reissue: Hey lady, you lady, cursing at your life...
I've been to Georgia
I've been to California
I took the "hand" of a preacher man (well, he was a vicar and it wasn't just his hand I took)
And we made love in the sun (in a sauna actually but it had a sun lamp)
I've been to Nice (and got mugged thank you very much)
I've been to (the Isle of) Greece (with a girlfriend first and later with a boyfriend - how Grecian)
I've sipped champagne on a yacht (many times, in many places, daarling)
I've moved like Harlow (well I didn't wiggle my hips quite as much) in Monte Carlo (backpacking as it happens)
I've showed 'em what I've got (too many times, too many places)
I've been undressed by kings (well, I've been undressed in Kings, the tacky nightclub in Gran Canaria)
I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see (you'd better believe it!)
I've indeed spent my life exploring subtle whoring (and sometimes not so subtle)
I've even been to Paradise (and Heaven, Bangs and Bolts)
And before you ask, yes, I've been to me. Many times.
At the risk of incurring some ire from long-time readers I've decided to dust off (i.e. republish and in some cases substantially rewrite) a few of my favourite previous musings on overyourhead. These will only make ocassional appearances and be clearly marked with Reissue:. And it'll certainly be well below the 10% that the Beeb puts out.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Why not fall in love with a robot cat.
< -5 BoyLOGS +5 ? > < webloggers > < # Blogging Brits ? >