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

Podcasts - Chris Moyles, Mark Kermode and Stephen Fry

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
The Register
Recent GBlogs
Arsenal FC

Some blogs I enjoy:
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, October 31, 2008
Free Cat...
Free cat, anyone?

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Bad News Day...
Three bits of bad news at the moment:

1. David Tennant leaving Dr Who. It was to be expected I guess and perhaps inevitable what with a new producer coming in.

2. Russell Brand resigning. A complete overreaction. I used to love Russell's BBC Radio 6 and BBC Radio 2 shows. I thought the call he and Jonathan Ross made was very funny. End of.

3. Tottenham stealing a draw. See below.

Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham...
Paul and I went to the game last night. Oh, my giggy aunt. The lucky, lucky bastards. We played by far the best game on the night and they stole goal after goal. It was certainly thrilling stuff right up until the last 40 seconds but, boy, did we deserve the win.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Dead Set (against)...
I'm probably the only one who doesn't like the heavily promoted E4 horror show Dead Set. The reviews have all been pretty positive. But I don't really like zombie films - only one step up from awful money saving 'body snatcher' films. And I always think fake blood and fake gore looks 'cheap'. And fictionalised Big Brother is even worse than real Big Brother - even if it is a scathing attack on the genre. So I guess I was never going to like it. I do hope it's a success though as I think the idea of a nightly show over a whole week is good one.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Windows Azure...

Yes, the truth is finally out. The 'next' version of Windows will be Windows Azure. Well, strictly speaking it'll not be a version of Windows per se but a service platform to run along side client based computing. So it's a collection of services really. Or as Microsoft put it, "software to give you the ability to build new applications in the cloud - or use interoperable services that run on Microsoft infrastructure to extend and enhance your existing applications. The Azure Services Platform provides a wide range of internet services that can be consumed from both on-premises environments or the internet". So now you know.

Shorthand; they're going after Google and Amazon (and maybe Facebook) - to add IBM, Novell and Lotus to their scalps.

Monday, October 27, 2008
Justin Bond...
Last Friday Stu and I went to see cabaret artist and New York icon Justin Bond perform his show Lustre at the Soho Theatre.

It was a great show; potent, musical and very entertaining with just the right amount of pathos and the right amount of politics. I will confess however I do miss him performing as Kiki in Kiki and Herb and I hope the rumours of them not gigging again together are just that. The cancelled gigs earlier this summer were ominous though.

The two support acts were a cute accordion play (who we saw again the following night at Duckie) and Martyn Jacques of the Tiger Lillies who performed the rather marvelous Banging in the Nails. Even today I'm still humming, "I'm bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, banging in the nails."

Friday, October 24, 2008
Good Luck...
Are you good at finding things? Finding a four leaf clover is always good luck. Check out this fuzzy picture and see if you can spot it.
Good Luck!

Thursday, October 23, 2008
Silent Duck...

Ah, how sweet? A little duckie. A little silent duckie. Oh. Wait.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
RIM Jobs...
Want a career with Research In Motion? Apply at of course. Fnah.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Scott Capurro...
Last Sunday Mark organised tickets for Mikey, Kevin, Stuart and I to go and see Scott Capurro at the Hen and Chickens.

We didn't sit at the front - hey, we'd seen his act before and we didn't want to get picked on. That didn't stop him though. Mark got rather mercilessly bullied. When he did try to talk back - guess who had the microphone?

The material was 'challenging' (to say the least). And uncomfortable. But that's why it was funny. I guess. Well I laughed!

Monday, October 20, 2008
French & Saunders...
On Friday night Stuart, Paul, Simon and I went to see French & Saunders - Still Alive! at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

After 30 years together French and Saunders are finally calling time on their double act. Last year's A Bucket Of French & Saunders filled us with some anticipation - and not in a good way. We needn't have worried. The show was fantastic. A great mix of character comedy, parody and banter.

We were treated to old stuff reimagined; white room set Doctor's sketch, Jen's leotard clad reprise of her bulky Madonna impression, Sex Talk (the first sketch they wrote together), the original Ab Fab sketch and the expats from Biddeford marvelling at how big everything is in America.

And new stuff; The Vicar of Dibley vs. Absolutely Fabulous rivalry, Dawn taking a chocolate detector into the stalls and finding a rat in someone’s cleavage, a tragic bitter-sweet routine about two teens spending Christmas at boarding school, a pre-recorded Strictly Come Dancing sequence morphing into the old ladies dancing with mannequins of the show’s Anton du Beke and Brendon Cole and the sisters from Prickly Pear Farm in court.

The ending was a bit Little Britain (fat men's rubber willies) but very funny all the same.

Best line: “I banish you to UK Gold!” Too true. But is that such a bad thing?

Saturday, October 18, 2008
Arsenal 3-1 Everton...
Marky and I went to the Emirates earlier to watch the game. A rampant second half display secured a much deserved win. Just reward for an impressive second half display coming from 0-1 behind. Yay!

Friday, October 17, 2008
Search Flickr by Colour...
Click here to search Flickr by colour - utterly fab. He's my pink version.

Thursday, October 16, 2008
Gatito Exquisito...
Uber cute kittens. Fair enough. We all like snaps of a cute kittens. But much funnier is the comments at the bottom and the increasing enraged comments though, "Looks like these cats have down syndrome."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Cyndi Lauper...
Last night Stuart, Guy, Cesar, Darren, David (and a load of other gayers) all went to see Cyndi Lauper perform at the Shepherds Bush Empire on her Bring Ya To The Brink World Tour.

Essentially promoting her new disco album Bring Ya To The Brink she also delighted us with pretty much all of her back catalogue of hits including Time After Time, She Bop, All Through The Night, Money Changes Everything, Change Of Heart, I Drove All Night, newy Into The Nightlife and of course Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and True Colors.

Great singalong fun. Stuart thought she looked a bit like Robyn though.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Microsoft Sound...
I'm a bit of a Brian Eno fan. But I had no idea he'd written the Windows 95 sound for Microsoft.

In 1994 Microsoft corporation designers Mark Malamud and Erik Gavriluk approached Brian Eno to compose music for the Windows 95 project. The result was the six-second start-up music-sound of the Windows 95 operating system, the The Microsoft Sound. In the San Francisco Chronicle he said:
“The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while, and was quite lost, actually, and I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem — Solve it!" The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional", this whole list of adjectives, and then, at the bottom, it said: "and it must be 3¼ seconds long". I thought this was so funny, and an amazing thought, to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made eighty-four pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny, little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds, at the end of this, that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then, when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were, like, three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.”

You can listen to all the Microsoft start-up sounds here. Ah memories.

Monday, October 13, 2008
Britain's Got The Pop Factor ... And Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice...
Peter Kay's Britain's Got The Pop Factor ... And Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice was hilarious. It ripped the piss out of Britain's Got Talent, Pop Idol, The X Factor, Any Dream Will Do, Soapstar Superstar, Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing On Ice perfectly. It got it just right; from the inconsistent judges' comments to the contestants' oh so sad sob stories.

The idea of having a medley for each contestant was brilliant too:

Heartrob R [Our] Wayne sang a medley of "Return to Innocence" by Enigma, "Love Train" by The O'Jays, "Earth Song" by Michael Jackson, "YMCA" by The Village People and "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" by the St Winifred's School Choir.

Semi wheelchair bound 2 Up 2 Down sang a medley of "We Built This City" by Starship, "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child, "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton, "Holding Out For A Hero" by Bonnie Tyler and "Hero" by Mariah Carey.

Oversized tranny Geraldine sang a medley of "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen, the theme to Born Free (perhaps best known as Andy Williams' version), "Free Nelson Mandela" by The Special AKA, "Umbrella" by Rihanna, "C'est la Vie" by B*witched and "Milkshake" by Kelis.

The single "The Winner's Song" was written by Peter Kay and Gary Barlow and is out now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed a a small change in overyourhead from today. It's very small change in fact. It's a new little icon in the address bar, to whit, the favicon . It should automagically turn up in favourites etc. Well, that's the theory.

Saturday, October 11, 2008
Sympathy For The Level...
On one level I'm sympathetic to charities that have lost money due to banking crisis. Of course I am. But on another level why did they have so much money in a bank account in the first place? Shouldn't they have spent it on their cause already?

I won't name names, but certain AIDS/HIV charities that I know of have huge bank balances. Can it be legal to hold on to donations and not spend them?

Friday, October 10, 2008
Motown At Fifty...
On 12th January 2009 Motown will be fifty years old. The current owners of Motown (Universal) are releasing an album in December of Motown's 50 favourite tracks. You can vote for your favourites to be included at

For my vote anything by Stevie Wonder please, anything from Motown's disco era (especially Diana Ross's Love Hangover) and for cheese Charlene's I've Never Been To Me.

Thursday, October 09, 2008
Seems a bit harsh.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Beauty and the B...Roger
Last Friday Roger and I went to High Wycombe (of all places) to see what has now become, in some respects, "our musical": the Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

Needless to say we loved it; the front projection was new (and worked really well), the orchestra was fantastic and the cast were all excellent.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Victor Spinetti...
Last night Ian treated me to a night at the Bloomsbury Theatre to see wit and raconteur Victor Spinetti. Half-Welsh, half-Italian Spinetti is touring with his A Very Private Diary - Revisted show in which he recounts tales of the great, the good and the not so good. As it says on his web site, his charmed life has brought him close to legends of stage and screen. His intimate, revealing and hilarious stories include Marlene Dietrich, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Sir John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, and of course, The Beatles. Spinetti has appeared in over thirty films including three with The Beatles; A Hard Day’s Night, Help and Magical Mystery Tour.

As he acknowledged early on in the show, he has made naming-dropping into an act form. But we sort of love him for it. And polished over four decades, each anecdote is a gem.

Monday, October 06, 2008
Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal...

Oh heavens. Paul and I seem to jinx it when we travel to watch away games.The Gunners' shock loss to Hull last weekend was supposedly out of our system after we thrashed Porto in midweek. But sadly that was not to be. "It is the second consecutive weekend that Arsenal have failed to win and claim the top spot in the Premier League - and there must now be huge concerns about their title aspirations" - got that right.

It was a fun journey though. Four hours up to Sunderland and four hours back to Kings Cross. The return train journey was especially fun. The whole coach was packed with singing Gooners and when we met up with a rugby team also on board the singing rose to an even higher volume. Most of the non-footie passengers moved to other quieter carriages (I'd have done the same!) when the dancing started. By the time we reached Stevenage the rugby team had all stripped naked and where doing some rugby dance in the aisles. I was going to take pictures - but thought better of it! Thank you National Express for not being too heavy handed with all the high jinx. I spoke to the train guard at the end of the journey and he just said, "it was all good natured, no one complained and we made a mint at the bar!" Good man.

More pictures of our trip here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008
Media Training Course Anyone?...
The following is an edited transcript of Newcastle interim manager Joe Kinnear's first official press conference last week:

JK Which one is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror's north-east football writer]?

SB Me.

JK You're a cunt.

SB Thank you.

JK Which one is Hickman [Niall, football writer for the Express]? You are out of order. Absolutely fucking out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can fuck off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that fucking crap. No fucking way, lies. Fuck, you're saying I turned up and they [Newcastle's players] fucked off.

SB No Joe, have you read it, it doesn't actually say that. Have you read it?

More of that car crash press conference here...

Friday, October 03, 2008
BBC Transcript To Be Used In Wake Of Nuclear Attack...
Long before the threat of Global Warming we lived under the threat of a Nuclear Winter. The 1970s was all about how cold things would get if we were attacked by nuclear weapons from Russia. And good old Auntie Beeb had a broadcast ready to reassure us. Bless them.

This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes. Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourselves to greater danger. If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which followed a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors. Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire-fighting. You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very long. Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don't waste it. Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep. If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note. The "all clear" message will also be given on this wavelength. If you leave the fall-out room to go to the lavatory or replenish food or water supplies, do not remain outside the room for a minute longer than is necessary. Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or feel it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the "all clear" on the sirens. Here are the main points again: Stay in your own homes, and if you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given stay in your fall-out room, until you are told it is safe to come out. The message that the immediate danger has passed will be given by the sirens and repeated on this wavelength. Make sure that the gas and all fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. Water must be rationed, and used only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. It must not be used for flushing lavatories. Ration your food supply: it may have to last for 14 days or more. We shall repeat this broadcast in two hours' time. Stay tuned to this wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries until we come on the air again. That is the end of this broadcast.

Pano, David, Andy, Kev, Tony, Stuart and I went to see Eurobeat at the Novello Theatre last night. As Terry Wogan said on tape at the end of the show, "If you liked the show tell your friends. If you didn't like the show keep it to yourself... nobody likes a whinger".

So I'll take his advice and keep it to myself.

Thursday, October 02, 2008
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer...
I met Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yesterday to chat about virtualisation (server, desktop and application) and online 'evolution'. Well, when I say 'met' - I was in a hall with hundreds of other people. Products discussed were Microsoft's new Hyper-V and new versions of Windows (desktop and 'cloud' versions).

Looks like Microsoft will be stripping it's desktop operating system Windows Vista v2 7 down quite a bit i.e. removing email, photo-editing and movie-making apps - instead making these part of Windows Live and available as downloadable options. And soft announcing a new online version of Windows with one-click application execution, software as a service, yah-dee yah-dee yah.

So basically they are going after VMware and Google. They have a lot of ground to make up. But then they did take on IBM, Lotus, Novell...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Arsenal 4-0 FC Porto...
What a relief. After the miserable game on Saturday we needed a win. And boy did we get one. Paul and I were singing and dancing most of the match (no really). Porto weren't really up to much - certainly not what they used to be so it was a comfortably win to get our home campaign started in Champions League Group G.

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