Friday, July 30, 2004

spoiling a nice walk

Occasionally I wonder if I should take up golf. Then I remember that it's a silly idea which I haven't got the time for, nevermind the skills. I move on.

Onto time management and organisation. Here I'm similarly faddy. On the whole I'm reasonably well organised but I swing from paper diaries and notebooks to PDAs of different flavours and back again. Now this week I've joined a team who all use a fancy American time management system. This really seems to work for them but they're a bit like Moonies about it all, lugging around these ginormous planners with them, like family bibles. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big stationery fan. It's great for stress relief. When the going gets tough, the tough buy a pad of A4 quadrille and a strawberry scented gel pen from Smiths. However, these planners are so 80s.

So I think I'm gonna kill two birds with one stone and upgrade my PDA and then get the software version of this cultish lifestyle. This should simultaneously satisfy my desire for gadgets and stationery.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

never, ever

Well the pre-holiday fever I took away with me mutated into bronchitis whilst abroad. Not to be budged by foreign anti-biotics I'm now in the midst of a second course of high-powered drugs to shift what I'm told isn't Pneumonia but might be Legionnaire's Disease. I've got lungs full of soup and the capacity of a 90 year old. They've even given me an inhaler. So. Not a great first week back at work all told.

Still... managed to sneak out for some CDs... the new Angie Stone, the Cornershop single 'Topknot', the insanely great Rush covers record 'Feedback' and the, grr, Shaznay Lewis record. Plus the disappointing Nouvelle Vague version of Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Monday, July 26, 2004

back to life

Aaah! Good to be back. Kinda. Anyway, the Indian Ocean's nice. Where we stayed was a bit like Rivendell crossed with Cleveleys. More later when I've acclimatised.

Friday, July 09, 2004

gone fishin'

See you in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

'all art is quite useless' - oscar wilde

I think that the hallmark of a classic joke is one where it remains funny even when only the punchline is told. This can be so effective that it makes the rest of the joke redundant. My own personal favourite:

'Because William Shatner!"

Other points. Now for some reason this bloke wrote everything down. What a mammoth blog that must be. This wonderful thing is from fluxblog and it's Frank Black Francis with Two Pale Boys.

I often find myself regaling you with tales of local shindiggery and today is no different. This week it is the local 'art show' and it's one which enjoys a fairly wholesome reputation far and, indeed, wide. On the surface it appears to offer an intoxicating blend of high art from trained professionals, to the kind of crap fourteen year olds knock out for their GCSE mocks. Nevertheless, there must be something to it because on at least two occasions when I've been present I've spotted the Human League's Sir Philip of Oakey having a browse... or a least trying to take a coy peek from under his lop-sided, er, skinhead. Anyway, the 'show' is, of course, simply an opportunity for the local faux artistes to slap each other on the back and pretend that they're all tortured and earnest and on the breadline, despite the fact that mater and pater usually own a chain of hotels and give their talented little gems all the rent from their clutch of trendy cottages, under-dwellings and farm-houses to tide them over and keep them in Corbieres, weed and enviro-friendly nappies for Cinnamon and Poppy-Anna.

The mechanism for getting stuff on display in this show is fabulously arcane. On a gloomy day in mid-winter you have to present yourself at the local branch of Lloyds TSB (Why? Dunno) to collect and complete an entry form which enables you to submit up to 2 pieces of work. These forms are usually all gone by lunchtime and that's it for another year. Or so you think. Come July, when you get to the show, you find all the local members of the scene that celebrates itself have got oodles of items up for sale. In some cases, the work is excellent, in others (and here I'm specifically referencing the framed, knitted sheep-heads that are always miraculously sold out before even the 'private view') it is dire.

In short, it's a week long party for a bunch of lazy gits who don't really need or want to work but parade around telling everyone that they're artists. What's more, it's damn annoying that some of the work is so good I end up buying it. Doh!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

northern soul

Bristol Parkway is a crap station. There are no bins so it's covered in expired meal deals. Also there are no staff or timetables. So I'll sit here until a train shows up which is headed vaguely in the right direction and then I'll get on it.

I've noticed that the recorded voice which does station announcements belongs to a bloke who used to present Look North West. Phil something or other. I wonder how he got the train announcer gig and how mind numbing it must have been to record all those separate phrases, times and soundbites. I wonder if he gets royalties and repeat fees. Maybe that's why you don't see him on stuff now. He's retired to Doncaster, Crewe or the Kyle of Lochalsh.

He also used to do the Saturday afternoon sports show on what used to be Red Rose Radio in Preston. That's where I got my big break in showbiz, filling in for a friend of a friend as the runner on the show for a couple of weeks. This mainly involved shuttling between the studio and the office with cups of tea and swathes of IZAL out of the teleprinter with up to date county cricket scores and news on.

For local cricket scores, every twenty minutes or so I had to ring round the various grounds for an update on the score. I was young and not that well up on my Wisden at the time, so scores which would have been incomprehensible anyway were made even more of a challenge when the phones at grounds like Oswaldtwistle and Barnoldswick, when eventually picked up, were answered by 83 year old blokes on their fifth pint of mild with the most incomprehensible East Lancs accents. I was sacked when Phil announced on air that Clitheroe were '108 for 4 all out' followed, fader down, with 'who wrote this shite'. My Mum and Dad were so proud.

My career as a hospital radio DJ was similarly short-lived when I was frog-marched of the premises by an elderly porter for playing what I considered to be an inspired segue of Sheer Heart Attack and I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight.

Monday, July 05, 2004

t u m b l e w e e d

I think I've got malaria.

Started taking the pills since weekend ahead of hols on Saturday and I've felt rotten since. What's worse is that I am en route to Newport (Gwent) which must be a challenger for crappest town in Britain. The joke about the nuclear bomb going off and causing 50p worth of damage MUST have been conceived there.

Well, last I checked, last week's flurry of attention has swung heavily into reverse as bloggaholics the world over stay away in droves.

Not to worry. The backroads are likely to be seldom travelled for a couple of weeks after Saturday during which time my blogging career is to be evaluated.

Until then, I think we need more cows around. I'll have to sort that out tomorrow if I successfully traverse Offa's Dyke.

BTW, can't update my 'reading' links ATM but I'm chugging through Bryson's 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' quite nicely thanks.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

god is nowhere, god is now here, god is nowhere...

A strange shopping day in Manchester. It was full of bizarre and unbelievably smart nuclear families wearing Walk With God badges. All a bit Stepford Wives. We tried to avoid them but they were everywhere. They sort of looked normal until you saw their eyes and then you could tell something wasn't quite right. Odd.

Anyway, did the t-shirts thing but avoided the trainers. Took lots and lots of pics of the colourful cows which are dotted around town too!

Re: god is nowhere, god is now here, god is nowhere... if you've not read Douglas Coupland's Hey Nostradamus! I can recommend.

him, from a village

Just in, the village gala stats:
Windspeed: 82mph
Precipitation: 100%
Gazebos Damaged: 6
Hotdogs eaten by astronauts: 2
Teddys sold: 167

It's one of those pre-holiday shopping days today. Yep, gonna paint the the town beige in the hunt for holiday clothes. Y'know, those you buy knowing you'd never wear them at home and... surprise, surprise they remain folded in your case for the duration of the holiday because you wouldn't wear them away from home either.

Tomorrow, it's all crap travel again. Lots of standing around on platforms desparate for distraction. It's my fervent hope that, for good behaviour, I'll be awarded somewhere to sit on the train tomorrow as I triangulate the UK. Last week's foray into the unknown revealed some pleasant scenery though.

Friday, July 02, 2004

talking heads

Sitting in the back of a cab twixt Paddington and Kings Cross because Circle Line is kaput. Another jumper. Looking forward to three hours standing because I've missed the train I should have caught.

I'll be late home but with any luck it might get me out of the task of thinking up names for 100+ cuddly toys. Yes, tomorrow it's the village gala and I'm manning the Teddy Tombola. I can't begin to tell you how life affirming an experience that is.


Bloody Hell! I've spent the first hour of the journey in a bloody luggage rack. The train is packed and I've had to wait until Peterborough for a seat. I feel like I've just flopped out of a George Formby grill after cuddling Mr and Mrs Samsonite.

So I'm now listening to The Byrds 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' trying to bump myself into somethinq resembling a sunny weekend vibe.

Now. What are my chances of picking up an eye patch and cutlass at Toys'r'us when I get off the Duke of Edinburgh (it's the name of the engine, honest)? Why the eye patch and sword? Didn't I mention that tomorrows gala is fancy dress? Oh yes. I'm going as an astronaut.

Apparently I've got to repair a big hole in the back lawn tomorrow as well. Beckham's penalty landed in it yesterday.

Blimey, Alan Bennett's just wandered past with a butty. Good to see he travels Standard. Mind you, I bet he didn't do the first hour sat in an ash-tray.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

pull this handle to stop brain

Whatever happened to Bush? I never liked'em but they were massive in America. Didn't Gavin Rossdale marry someone famous? Now I did like Uresei Yatsura and you don't hear of them either but they were right there on the Fall/Pavement tip. As I write I'm hurtling south courtesy of GNER so I can't do any Googling to check either band's status.

I've done reading Q now and here's what's on my mind:

1. I'm not even slightly interested in the ongoing Pete Doherty/Libertines soap opera. Should I be?

2. Fluxblog's hosting of Scissor Sisters version of FF's Take Me Out gets good plug... See my link from the other day.

3. Article on knitting and Kelis. See 'What Not To Wear' in 'previous posts'. Nuff said.

4. Snow Patrol article. Damn, I'm losing interest.

5. Jamie Cullem. There's something not right here.

6. Prince. The most recent CD in the list of Prince albums you should own is Sign of the Times from '87. So why a five page spread on the bemused maestro of quantity over quality?

7. Steve Jobs is the second most powerful person in rock. But, hey, elsewhere we're told that's it's Peter Gabriel's company OD2 that licences digital downloads for the five majors.

8. The new Juliana Hatfield is probably not a good idea. She's the Donna Tartt of pop.

9. Mono sound a bit like Mogwai. This is good.

10. I'm tempted by Ultrafox but know it won't last.