It's coming... o v e r y o u r h e a d . . .


Crawling through technology, life and love

Contact me:
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Listening:

Playing:
Pool Paradise - GC on Wii

iTuning:
Podcasts - Chris Moyles, Mark Kermode and Stephen Fry

Reading:
All 24 25 Tintin books

Bits and Bobs:
Wish List
Gerry's Lyrics Pop Quiz
Minipops Quiz

Sites I like:
Marc Almond
Top 40 Singles
News
IMdb
The Register
Hacks
Recent GBlogs
Arsenal FC

Some blogs I enjoy:
bboyblues2000
bitful
blogadoon
brainsluice
chig
groc
minkered
scally
sparky
troubled diva

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


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Friday, November 30, 2007
Macbeth...
Last night Paul, Simon, Stu and I went to see Macbeth at the Gielgud Theatre in London glitzy West End.

Wow! What a show! It says here, "Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most bloody and fear-filled tragedies" and they got that right. We were on the edge of our seats. The settings were more Stalinesque than Scottish, more white tiled military hospital ward than cold damp castle. But what a great production idea by Rupert Goold - brilliantly executed.

Patrick Stewart was the murderous Macbeth (and no, no-one shout out "engage" or "out, out damn'd Scotty" but we were tempted). And he didn't just play Macbeth he was Macbeth. Quite fabulous. Equally fantastic was Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth.

What a great night at the theatre!


Brain Teaser - An egg a day - Answer...
They were ostrich, goose, fish, quail ..etc...eggs.


Thursday, November 29, 2007
Brain Teaser - An egg a day...
A man ate an egg each day. He did not have any chickens at home. He never bought, borrowed or stole eggs. How is this possible?


Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Mike or dyke?...
It had to happen. A site that has pictures of men who look like old lesbians.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Arsenal 2-0 Wigan...
On Saturday I took Jane to see the Arsenal game. We were playing Wigan. It was freezing cold at the Emirates but we enjoyed ourselves. Two late goals sealed Wigan's fate so we are now three points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand.


Monday, November 26, 2007
Danish Shopping...
This is the sort of place I'd like to go shopping. Bonkers site.


Friday, November 23, 2007
Quick Quiz...
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years

2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador

3) From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses

4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November

5) What is a camel's hair brush made of? Squirrel fur

6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs

7) What was King George VI's first name? Albert

8) What colour is a purple finch? Crimson

9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand

10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange

For the answers click and drag your mouse at end of each question
[Thanks Roger]


Thursday, November 22, 2007
Beckham TV...
Both Beckhams appeared on my telly box last night at about the same time. 9pm.

David Beckham was on the Beeb having been brought on for the second half of the Croatia vs England game. Although he was good his efforts weren't enough to save England from not qualifying for Euro 2008.

And over on E4 Victoria Beckham was strutting her stuff in Ugly Betty.

I know which one I enjoyed watching most.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The Four Tops & The Temptations...
Last night Stu and I went to see a bit of classic Motown: The Four Tops and The Temptations performing live at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Temptations were initially known as the Elgins but the quintet were renamed the Temptations by Berry Gordy when he signed them to Motown in 1961. They have undergone dozens of lineup changes over the years but a couple of their members have endured longer than you'd expect. Last night they did look rather aged on stage but the trademark dance moves were still there as were their voices. Sadly they were just badly let down by the sound. The orchestra just sounded like a din. It was awful. So much so we retired to the bar half way through the first half. But not before enjoying such hits as My Girl, Get Ready, Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) and their cover of Papa Was a Rollin' Stone.

Back for the second part of the show the sound was a lot better (but perhaps still not quite up to the RAH's usual high standard).

The Four Tops were initially known as The Four Aims but changed their name to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with The Ames Brothers. At first their signing to Motown in 1963 didn't produce much success until one day Holland-Dozier-Holland added a few lyrics to an instrumental track they had been working on. This produced The Four Tops first hit Baby I Need Your Loving. This we were treated to last night along with other hits like I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), It's the Same Old Song, Reach Out I'll Be There, Standing in the Shadows of Love, Bernadette, Walk Away Renée and the more recent Loco In Acapulco. The boys were all in fine fettle, sounded great and looked the part (yellow suits all round). At times they had a bit of the Boyz II Men feel about them but we didn't hold that against them. By the end we were clapping and singing along with the rest of the crowd.

From a personal perspective it's a shame Levi Stubbs is no longer with The Four Tops as it'd have been fun to close my eyes and match up his voice with his performance of the man-eating plant Audrey II in the 1986 musical film Little Shop of Horrors.

Stu is more of a Motown girls fan rather than a Motown boys fan. And although we had fun at the gig last night I'm not sure last night did much to change his mind.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The Gentle Sex...

I'm not quite sure how appropriate viewing this would have been last Sunday morning - "Arse: The Gentle Sex".


Monday, November 19, 2007
Tutankhamun...
On Saturday Stu, Andy, Kev and I went to the Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2. It was fun to see but slightly disappointing that the death mask wasn't there. Good but no 'wow factor'. Some snaps here.


Friday, November 16, 2007
Goldfrapp Go All Folk...
Goldfrapp's new album will be called Seventh Tree and out late Feb 2008. Reports are that it's a folk album created mainly with a harp and small organ (!). The first single will be called A&E. The album track listing is:

1. Clowns
2. Little Bird
3. Happiness
4. Road To Somewhere
5. Eat Yourself
6. Some People
7. A&E
8. Cologne Cerrone Houdini
9. Caravan Girl
10. Monster Love


Thursday, November 15, 2007
Kate Bush Writes New Song...
According to the BBC: Kate Bush has recorded a new song called Lyra for the soundtrack to the film Golden Compass Northern Lights, based on Philip Pullman's book. Her song will feature over the film's end credits. Yay!


Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Don Hertzfeldt...
I quite like this little cartoon called Wake up Cat. Very sweet. However my favourite 'stick' cartoonist is probably Don Hertzfeldt typified by the wonderful Ah l'Amour and the Oscar nominated Rejected.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Eggcorns...
I quite like malapropisms. Kath and Kim specialise in them (loving season four on UK Living BTW). There's quite a funny collection of them at the Eggcorn database and here are some of my favourites: wreckless driving / blown-idle / bare witness / batter an eyelid / cease the opportunity / chickens come home to roast / common everybody / dashboard stomach / explanation mark / gas turban / get one's nipples in a twist / no stings attached / siezes to amaze / one fowl scoop / rimming with pleasure / damp squid / wide elephant / free reign / free rain / stutter to think / shutter to think / all intensive purposes / given up the goat / take it for granite / moo point / mute point / fine toothcomb / drank ourselves to Bolivia / He went as white as a sheep / It's not Brain Science/ It's not Rocket Surgery.


Monday, November 12, 2007
Amsterdam...
Stu and I have been in Amsterdam for the weekend. I was staying there last week on a business trip anyway and Stu flew out to join me on the Friday night.

We had a great time; a little bit of culture, a little bit of sightseeing and a little bit of bar hopping.

We do have fun when we're away. Although Stu has come back with a spot of RSI - I blame Elvira Mistress Of The Dark Pinball!


Friday, November 09, 2007
Two Cows...
TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM:
You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM:
You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet is provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

A FRENCH CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them World-Wide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

A BRITISH CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
Both are mad.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You break for lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 12 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION:
You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you.
You charge others for storing them.

A HINDU CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You worship them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim full employment, high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported the numbers.

AN ISRAELI CORPORATION:
So, there are these two Jewish cows, right? They open a milk factory, an ice cream store, and then sell the movie rights. They send their calves to Harvard to become doctors. So, you should complain?

A TEXAN CORPORATION:
You have two cows.
That one on the left is kinda cute...

[Apologies for any excessive jingoism!]


Thursday, November 08, 2007
Don't do anything I might find out about...
From the archives:

"Look at this. 'Humon Resources'. I ask you. 'Humon'! How do they expect to get a job when they can't even address an envelope without making a spelling mistake?" So started a rather surreal conversation in Sainsbury's this morning. A rather cute in-a-military-kind-of-way security guard had been watching me since I first walked in on my way to work. 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 at me. The envelope in his hand was apparently from a recent job applicant. Quite why he had it or indeed felt the need to show it to me was as yet a mystery.

"You take my sister. I got an e-mail from her yesterday. And you know what? It had sixteen spelling mistakes in it. She spelt wool W-U-L." I eyed him slowly. He was dressed in the typical gold trimmed brown trousers and jacket that is often the standard apparel of supermarket security personnel. 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 thinking that maybe he would leave it at that. Making no eye contact I shuffled forward one place in the queue that now seemed to have slowed to a snail's pace. I looked straight ahead and 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, I thought. Then he surprised me by talking almost directly in my ear.

"Did you have the strap and the cane at school?” he said. My eyes looked around nervously wondering whether I was part of some elaborate prank. No one else seemed to be looking at me or smiling in my direction so I just thought it was me who was overreacting. Maybe he was hitting on me and I'd got the signals wrong from the start? I turned and smiled. I'd chance it and with a nod said, "Yes." Big mistake. Huge.

Without pausing for breath, permission or further response he held me up, and the rest of the queue, with 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 late for work but 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?"

Saved at last by Mohammed on check out number three I finally managed to turn away from my rabid talker and to quickly pay for my food, stuff it in a thin plastic bag and make for the door. Just as I was about to secure my escape he called after me, "Don't do anything I might find out about!”

Quite surreal.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007
The Netherlands...
I'm in The Netherlands all this week. On a 'visionary management' training course. It's full of jargon of course ('Current Reality Change Framework' anyone?) but actually quite good fun. I'm staying in Amsterdam and commuting to Leiden where the course is.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Heather Mills on GMTV...
Heather Mills tells it like it is on GMTV.


Monday, November 05, 2007
Arsenal 2-2 Man Utd...
Paul and I went to the match on Saturday. It was a thrilling game as we took on the premiership title holders. I thought we were hard done by to only get a draw but it was certainly an entertaining game to watch.


Mastermind...
Erasure fan Katie Bramall will feature on tonight's edition of the quiz 'Mastermind', with her specialist subject being Erasure! "Host John Humphrys invites four contenders to answer questions in the famous black chair. Subjects for this edition are The Naval Career of Nelson and Collingwood, Life and Works of Primo Levi, Erasure and the Life and Career of Sir Richard Attenborough."
Date: Monday 5th November
Time: 19:30 - 20:00
Channel: BBC Two


Thursday, November 01, 2007
Mary Poppins (revisited)...
A couple of years ago I went to see Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre in Old Compton Street. As it's closing in January next year Stu thought we might go and see it again before it finally goes dark.

It was still great fun with all the hits we know and love; Step In Time, A Spoonful Of Sugar, Feed The Birds, Chim Chim Cher-ee and the still sublime Let's Go Fly A Kite.

Tragedy struck though during the marvelous Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. An old dear in front of us attempted to do some of the letter-spelling movements to the song. She got into difficulty and seemed to have a fit and fell from her seat. Before we knew what was happening and amid much curfuffle she was pronounced dead and her lifeless body was dragged from Dress Circle Row E. We could hear an ambulance and police cars arriving outside. We, and most of the Dress Circle were in shock. It was only after the show was over we were informed that it was her eighty-seventh birthday and in fact she had be resuscitated on the way to A&E.


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