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

Crawling through technology, life and love

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Pool Paradise - GC on Wii

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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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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
My Birthday Weekend...

Thank you to one and all for helping me celebrate by birthday.More snaps here.

Monday, September 29, 2008
Arsenal 1-2 Hull...
Oh, the shame of it. The result says it all. Recently promoted Hull ran rings round us. We simply didn't deserve to win. What a contrast to last Tuesday.

Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Killers - Human...
The Killers new single Human is simply wonderful. "Like Johnny Cash meets the Pet Shop Boys", as they put it. Listen here.

Friday, September 26, 2008
A Piece Of Cake...
So, yes, I'll admit it. I'm 47 today. 47 years of fun and frolics. 47 years collecting toys. 47 years of playing games. And I have to say I really don't fell much different now than when I was 7, 17, 27 or 37. I have the same basic needs - to love, to learn, to be loved, to have fun and to do new stuff.

And to that end I did something last night I'd never done before. Something I'd never thought I would ever do. I baked a cake. My first one. A lemon drizzle cake it was. And it was great fun. I got the recipe from Stuart; 6oz flour, 6 oz sugar, 6oz butter, three eggs and a lemon.

But me being me I didn't make life easy for myself. I didn't have any kitchen scales. Hmm. What to do? Well I used Google on my iPhone to find out the density of self-raising flour, used the iPhone app "Units" to convert 6oz into grams and then via the density calculated the volume of flour I needed. I then used my thumb knuckle (which is about 1" = 2.54 cm, right?) to measure the diameter of a coffee cup and calculated the cross-sectional area. Again using my thumb I worked out the height I'd need to fill the cup to with flour to get exactly 6oz required. I then repeated this calculation for the caster sugar. Then for the butter (which came in a 250g pack) I calculated the ratio to 250g of the weight of salted butter I needed (again using Google for the denisty) and measured the length of butter I needed to cut. The rest was a piece of cake.

And it turned out OK too. In fact I brought it into work this morning and it's almost gone already (the sign of a good cake?)

So there's a new feather in my cap. Perhaps for my birthday next year I'll ask for some kitchen scales though!

Do you see the number 47 crop up quite a lot in films and on TV? If so, you may have witnessed, or indeed be in on, the in-joke.

Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Triplets...
Last Friday Mark and I went over to see Sarah, Ben and the triplets. Dylan, Eve and Lola were in fine fettle - singing Bowie's Starman, playing ring a ring a roses and playing Gulliver (i.e. pinning me to the floor). Great to see everyone as ever. Few more snaps here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Arsenal 6-0 Sheff Utd...
Oh my giddy aunt. Sarah, Mike, Paul and I went to the game last night at the Emirates not really expecting much. It was the Carling Cup third round and we traditionally play our youngsters to give them some experience. It also gives them the chance to pop up on the radar for potential first team places in the Premiership or European games - a sort of chance at first blood if you like. And in this case Wenger was fielding the youngest Arsenal team ever.

Well, what a team he fielded. The goals came think and fast. Bendtner, Simpson and Wilshere were superb. And Vela got a hat trick. 6-0! We took them apart.

These were the eighteen players that Wenger was picking from to play. Many not old enough to drink!:
12. Carlos VELA (Age 19)
16. Aaron RAMSEY (Age 17)
17. Alex SONG (Age 21)
19. Jack WILSHERE (Age 16)
20. Johan DJOUROU (Age 21)
21. Lukasz FABIANSKI (GK) (Age 23)
24. Vito MANNONE (GK) (Age 20)
26. Nicklas BENDTNER (Age 20)
35. Francis COQUELIN (Age 17)
38. Jay EMMANUEL-THOMAS (Age 17)
40. Kieran GIBBS (Age 18)
41. Gavin HOYTE (Age 18)
42. Henri LANSBURY (Age 17)
43. Fran MERIDA (Age 18)
46. Abu OGOGO (Age 18)
47. Mark RANDALL (Age 18)
50. Jay SIMPSON (Age 19)
56. Emmanuel FRIMPONG (Age 16)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Jane's Birthday...
Taking a break from Open House last Saturday Stu and I joined Sophie to help celebrate Jane's birthday.

We went to the White Hart first in Stokie and then once the evil drink had done it's work (i.e. before long) we moved on to Blush. A few pints later we had flowers in our hair. Tee hee. More pix of disgraceful behaviour here.

Monday, September 22, 2008
No Respect...
Lack of Respect.

Open House 2008...
This weekend just gone was Open House in London. On Saturday we met up with Pano, Andy and Kev for a spot of pavement bashing. As often happens with Open House you don't quite make it into the buildings that you think you might - in our case Houses Of Parliament, Lambeth Palace, BBC Bush House, HM Treasury or 83 Calabria Road but you do find some hidden gems such as 26 Whitehall (former Admiralty Buildings), Banqueting House Whitehall, Horse Guards Whitehall and the sub-crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields. By mid afternoon to retired to The Cole Hole in the Strand for refreshments, not really making it on to anything else that day.

On Sunday we visited a rather charming Queen Anne house at 67 Grange Walk and then the IPC Media Blue Fin Building on Bankside.

We took quite a few snaps. See them here.

Friday, September 19, 2008
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 in fact and it wasn't just his hand I took) and we made love in the sun (and also in the sea as it happens)
I've been to Nice (and got mugged outside a campsite)
I've been to (the Isle of) Greece (with a girlfriend first and later with a boyfriend - post outing)
I've sipped champagne on a yacht (many times, many places, darling - sailing around the seas of the British Virgin Islands being a particular favourite)
I've moved like Harlow (well I didn't wiggle quite as much as her) in Monte Carlo (backpacking as it happens)
I've showed 'em what I've got (way too many times to remember in way too many places)
I've been undressed by kings (well, I've been undressed *in* Kings, the now defunct tacky nightclub in the Canaries)
I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see (you'd better believe it, baby!)
I've indeed spent my life exploring subtle whoring (and sometimes not so subtle let's me honest)
I've even been to Paradise (and Heaven, Bang and Bolts)
And before you ask, yes, I've been to me too!

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Samsung Omnia (i900) Unboxing...
It's enough to make you want to buy one. If only unboxing all phones and indeed other gadgets where always this much fun.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Echo & The Bunnymen...
Last night Sarah, Ben, Simon, Bruce and I went to see Echo & The Bunnymen perform their classic album Ocean Rain at the Royal Albert Hall.

You may remember EATB from their early hits such The Back of Love and The Cutter or indeed what was for me their other most notable hit Bring On the Dancing Horses (although they did have quite a collection of other single releases).

The first half of the gig was a sort of greatest hits show which the packed auditorium simply lapped up. It was a sell-out show and everyone was singing along.

After the interval a full orchestra joined the boys on stage and the performance of Ocean Rain began. And what a fabulous album it is and a fabulous performance they gave of it. Standout songs were obviously the hits The Killing Moon, Silver and Seven Seas but for me the best song of the night was Ocean Rain itself. It was the song Sarah and Ben had at their wedding and the song Sarah would like to have played at her funeral. Quite wonderful.

EATB have now reformed properly and have a new album in the works The Fountain.

The rumoured support act was to be Scotland's very own Glasvegas but sadly they were a no-show.

Rick & Steve...
What: Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World
When: Wednesday 17th September
Time: 22:30 to 23:00 (30 minutes long)
Where: E4
Reviews: Luke warm
Watch it?: Set the PVR

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
French Alpine Property...
Looking to buy some French Alpine Property? Maybe you want a base for those skiing trips or a place to have a summer holiday. Well, look no further than - a highly experienced international property agency focused on finding buyers the best French Alps property.

OK, time to declare a vested interest for this shameless plug. French Alpine Property is a company that my sister Joanna has set up with her friend Lee. I went to go and see them at their stand at the French Property Show last weekend and it all looks very swish. Good luck girls!

Monday, September 15, 2008
Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray...
Stu and I went with Ian and Terry to see Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray at the Sadler's Wells on Friday. Oh my God. What as amazing show? Sure it wasn't perfect but pretty damned near.

Based upon Oscar Wildeís novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) this was a fantastical, sexually charged homoerotic romp that had the audience agog from start to finish.

Walthamstow born Matthew Bourne has been influenced in his recent New Adventures productions by both film and TV. So it was with Dorian Gray. There's bits of American Psycho and Velvet Goldmine in there was well as echos of The Line of Beauty. We were transported to the 1980s world of fashion, politics, money, drugs, sex and celebrity. It is here that the power of beauty is so potent. Beauty that opens doors, opens hearts and ultimately opens up the way to disaster.

The dancing was superb, the music was thrilling and the whole production just throbbed with energy.

And let's not ignore the fact that the men were gorgeous. Sexy as.

More production shots here.

Friday, September 12, 2008
Stevie Wonder...
Last night we went to see Stevland Hardaway Judkins Stevie Wonder at the O2 arena - Wonder Summer's Night Tour. He was simply fabulous. All the hits and more. In fact a lot more. two and half hours of it.

Playing his signature harmonica, keyboards and guitar Wonder lead us through his early hits, his classic 1970s period and on to his big 1980's smashes.

Many of the songs were extended versions of the originals which for the most part pleased the crowd. At points though frustration showed as the ten or twelve minute jazz funk posturing became unintended interludes - so many headed for the bar.

The set list was as follows; As If You Read My Mind, a bevy of hits from Hotter Than July including Master Blaster (Jammin'), Did I Hear You Say You Love Me and All I Do. Then came Knocks Me Off My Feet, Higher Ground, Spain, Donít You Worry ĎBout a Thing, Visions, Liviní for the City, Golden Lady, Creeping and Keep Fooling Yourself, Baby Girl. Stevie took a break from singing here and let his daughter Aisha Morris take over for Iím Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life. Back in the driving seat Wonder then gave us Isnít She Lovely, a bit of a singalong to Ribbon in the Sky, Overjoyed, My Cherie Amour, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, Sir Duke, I Wish, Do I Do, the briefest smattering of I Just Called to Say I Love You, For Once in My Life, Uptight (Everything's Alright) and the wonderful Wonderful Superstition. Top, top night.

Thursday, September 11, 2008
David Sedaris...
Last night Ian, Terry, Paul and I went to the Bloomsbury Theatre to a book reading by David Sedaris. I'm a bit of a fan of DS and it was with some joy that Ian sent me his latest collection of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, as gift a few weeks ago and also organised these book reading tickets. The reading was brief (just over an hour), illuminating (he's shorter than we'd thought) and hilarious (making coffee without water and his relationship with his boyfriend Hugh). A fun night out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Happy Birthday Drew...
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear Drew,
Happy Birthday to you.

It's Drew's 30th birthday today. Here is a snap from his birthday party last Sunday.

More snaps here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Will The World End Tomorrow?...
When they turn on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN tomorrow will the world end? Will the search for the Higgs boson by colliding super fast tiny particles cause micro-black holes that will 'eat the planet'? Short answer. No. No way. Won't happen.

Why, you might ask, am I so sure? How do I know the world won't end tomorrow?

Is it because I have a blind faith in scientists who must know what they're doing? No, not really.

Is it because I actually know people who are involved in the LHC project back from university days and I trust them not to destroy the planet? I do. But, no.

Is it because I have studied particle physics at Cambridge University and know that it's virtually impossible? Well, no. Not that either. (I mean nothing is impossible, right? Quantum physics and all that.)

Is it because the LHC will not be producing anything that does not already happen routinely in nature due to cosmic rays i.e. if they were dangerous we would know about it already? No, not that either.

No, the real reason why I am so sure that the world will not end tomorrow is this. They are really only turning on the power tomorrow. It's just the first attempt to circulate a beam. The first counter-clockwise and clockwise collisions aren't scheduled until later in the year. So maybe we'll have to hang on just a little bit longer for the end of the world.

And even when things are up and running, it could be years before CERN start producing any meaningful results due to the challenges involved in detecting such tiny and fleeting particles. But you've got to admire their publicity machine.

Monday, September 08, 2008
Big Bang Day: Torchwood: Lost Souls...
On this Wednesday, scientists in Geneva are due to switch on the fastest atom-smasher in the world - the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to try to recreate the aftermath of the Big Bang. This should enable them to shed light on some of the greatest unanswered scientific questions about the origins of the universe. So no pressure then. Mind you, it make take a year or two to analyse the results. Fingers crossed that Higgs boson finaly shows up.

So Wednesday has been designated Big Bang Day. And to celebrate the BBC has commissioned a new Afternoon Play on BBC Radio Four @ 2:15pm called Big Bang Day: Torchwood: Lost Souls.

The Torchwood team go to Geneva, where former time-traveller Martha Jones is now working as a doctor at the world's biggest physics laboratory, CERN. Deep in an underground tunnel, a giant particle accelerator is about to be activated. But something strange is happening. Scientists are hearing voices and collapsing with a strange illness. Is something lurking in the tunnel?

Update: You can download the MP3 of the play here for the next week.

Friday, September 05, 2008
Separted At Birth?...

Thursday, September 04, 2008
Electric Picnic...
We did have a great time at the Electric Picnic last weekend. High points were definitely Hercules and Love Affair and Goldfrapp. Other memorable acts were Candi Staton, Hayseed Dixie and of course the rather wacky, twenty minute late Grace Jones (who when we didn't immediately cheer for an encore told us all to "fucking fuck off".)

Below are some of the snaps we took. Click here to see some more.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008
We had a great time at the Sitges last week. It was just five days but it seemed much longer. We met lots of nice people, saw probably the best firework display I'd ever seen and got to spend plenty of time with our mates.

Below are some of the snaps we took. Click here to see some more.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008
All roads lead to Chrome - Google's new web browser is finally in beta.

Back in the Saddle...
Good to be back in the saddle. Did I say saddle? I meant harness - 3123 unread emails waiting for me in the office (and that's with spam filters on.) Yikes!

Monday, September 01, 2008
Homeward Bound...
It's been a fun, but frankly quite exhausting, ten days so we are both
looking forward to getting back home. We have some very fond memories
of both Sitges and Ireland so no doubt there'll be more musings to

What I would say first though is a big thank you to Clodagh, Colin,
Sara, Simon, Angela and John who helped make the Electric Picnic so
much fun for us - festival virgins.

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