Friday, December 31, 2004

phat 2004

Are you bloated? Ben Watt was until he got to about thirty when he nearly died thanks to a wasting disease which meant he lost most of his guts, forgot how to write fay, wistful acoustic faux-jazz and became the king of drum and bass for couples and homemakers. So if your feeling pogged and lifeless after Christmas, that's your answer... get a digestive tract no longer than a pea-shooter, throw your guitars away and start playing other people's records.

Have you had a good year? I have. To celebrate, even though I haven't done a list for months and whilst it's dull and nerdy, here's my list of quite good records that I've listened to whilst driving, shaving, walking, wanking, coughing, banking, singing, shouting, crying, lying and dying this year.

I've assumed that you don't want a dull nerdy rationale for the following choices, but am happy to ramble on at length if necessary. However, here's a list of some of the great records of the year as voted for by me. Incomplete, in no particular order... Oh and I've also included a re-release or something from last year here and there.

  • Love Angel Music Baby
  • Destroy Rock 'n' Roll
  • More Adventurous
  • Careless Love
  • Golddiggas, Headnodders & Pholk Songs
  • Half Smiles of the Decomposed
  • Thunder Lightning Strike
  • The Futureheads
  • Nouvelle Vague
  • Medulla
  • Over the Next Hill
  • Rejoicing In The Hands (Of The Golden...
  • High Society
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [8CD Set]
  • The Trip Created by Snow Patrol
  • Universal Audio
  • Love the Cup
  • Auf Der Maur
  • The Dirty South
  • It's All Around You
  • Ten
  • Welcome Interstate Managers
  • Scissor Sisters
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • What Will the Neighbours Say?
  • Country Falls
  • The Libertines
  • Liz Phair
  • Live - City Sounds
  • You Are The Quarry [Deluxe Edition]
  • I Trawl the Megahertz
  • Crooked Rain Crooked Rain [Special...
  • Studio 150
  • Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of...
  • Feedback
  • Smile
  • Il Sogno

  • Tuesday, December 28, 2004

    wake up boo

    In twenty or thirty years when our generation begins to die off in earnest, Joy Division's Atmosphere will the the de facto choice for funeral dirges. I know it'll be played at mine. Just a thought.

    Anyway, we had a visitor yesterday... a new cast member for the SKNOB Files... yes it's baby Boo. Boo le Vard if you want her full name. Doubtless, we'll hear more from Boo later. In the meantime, I think I'm on duty.

    Friday, December 24, 2004

    get thee behind me santa

    Judging by the slow-down in bloggage everyone's having a manic merry old time of things. So it just remains for me to say Merry Christmas to all of you from the Family Backroads. Now you lot, if you're drinking and driving this Christmas, don't forget to take the car.

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    kill a man for his biro today

    Here I am in the shopping’n’mugging capital of Yorkshire (no, not Hebden Bridge). Set off dead early to meet someone at 9.30. Got threatened by a dosser in the underpass… had no money on me but offered him the only thing I had… a chewed-up Bic pen. Was in the office by 8.00. Got some work done. 9.30 comes and goes and the bloke I’m supposed to be meeting still hasn’t shown up. I call him. No answer. I leave a message reminding him of our meeting. Ten minutes later I get a sheepish call telling me that there’d been a Christmas do last night and he’s still in bed in a hotel room in Leeds somewhere!

    Time is money you know. Still, when he eventually rolls in I reckon we might shelve the meeting and nip off a for a bacon butty.

    I was on a Christmas do last night myself on’t’other side o’t’Pennines. It was one if those where your obliged to go but you’ve got a two hour drive home afterwards and your sober as a judge desperately trying to get into the groove by wearing a cheap paper hat and sliding your hand up the skirt of the inebriated temp next to you.

    There were seventeen of us squashed onto a table for eight. No-one could remember what they’d ordered, so more or less accepted what was flung at them by the harassed-looking staff. Except for Mr Spoons next to me that is who sends everything back to the kitchen because he’s allergic to wheat. (What a great job it must be scraping the bread crumbs off deep-fried brie only to send it back out again).

    Of course the jokes in the crackers were as naff as always. Mine was even misprinted and had only the punchline on it:

    “Because William Shatner!”

    Any ideas?

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    no alternative

    It’s the same ever year. It all happens in December. First there’s a cluster of high maintenance birthdays in the Family Backroads. On top of all that there’s Christmas to get ready for. Then, the first Mrs Backroads (let’s call her Mme Cul de Sac) starts playing up. The current Mrs Backroads starts nesting. The future Mrs Backroads wins Strictly Come Dancing and lands a leading role in Chicago. Not only this but in addition to mega-project-one already under way at work, I pick up not one, but two more.

    Then there’s the usual round of school plays and fairs, works do’s, etc. Is it as manic for you? I’ve had to photocopy my bum in advance of this year’s office party. In fact I’ve scanned it and emailed it to everyone with apologies just in case I can’t get there. (Someone from Security called and rambled on about email abuse and said I could start a virus. Someone called from Welfare called and said from the look of my spotty arse I’ve already got a virus. Not very festive is it?).

    On Sunday I nipped off to get the Christmas Tree with Snicket and Alley. I always say ‘let’s just get a small one this year’ and end up coming back with a donation from the Norwegian government.. Still there was wassailing and egg-nog as the Family Backroads gaily decorated the tree… Actually there was the usual load of swearing as I tried to wedge the tree upright in it’s depleted uranium base. Sweet Jesus. Then there was more swearing as I trailed the three sets of lights around it only to find that not a single set worked when I switched them on. In the name of Christ.

    Anyway, as we religiously tear off the little windows from our traditional Simpsons chocolate advent calendars each day, the prospect of a few days off at Christmas has never seemed more alluring.

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    don't let go the coat

    Late one night, whilst walking the dog, you find a perfectly good, quite trendy, almost brand new jacket on the pavement outside your house. You pick it up. You take it inside. You try it on. It fits. You ask the lady of the house what she thinks. She likes it. It suits you.

    Next day you are sitting on the bus on the way to work wearing said jacket. You overhear a group of teenagers bemoaning the fact that one of them had thrown the other one’s brand new jacket out of the window of a taxi on the way home from a club the night before.

    Do you

    a) turn round, red-faced, explain your side of the story and sheepishly remove the jacket and hand it over?
    b) face forward in sheer panic hoping to God that they don’t notice that you’re wearing an uncannily similar garment.
    c) chuckle to yourself and enjoy the fact that someone else’s loss is your gain.

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    alone again or

    You are working away from home and during the day find yourself booked into the same hotel as a colleague. You arrange to meet for dinner at 8.30. You sit in the bar. 8.30 goes by. 8.35 goes by. 8.40 goes by. At 8.45 you get a text saying, ‘as yr not hre im goin 2 th chipi’. You text your colleague saying ‘bt Im sat in the bar u 4kwit’. Your colleague calls and you discover that you’re booked into the hotels of the same name some ten miles apart.

    Do you

    a) Offer to drive to his hotel to enjoy a tawdry Beefeater meal whilst discussing the relative merits of the Rational Unified Process and the Dynamic Systems Development Method in an offshore delivery environment?
    b) Ask him to drive to your hotel to enjoy a tawdry Beefeater meal whilst discussing the relative merits of the Rational Unified Process and the Dynamic Systems Development Method in an offshore delivery environment?
    c) Breathe a sigh of relief, say ‘never mind then, see you tomorrow’ and order room service whilst watching ‘I’m a Celebrity’ in the buff?

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    a bang and a wimpy

    Snicket’s party went well in the end, although the biggest shock was when I turned up at the Hire Shop and found that I’d accidently booked the rig for the second stage at Glastonbury. It took two trips to get the lighting rig, lamps, mixer, amp, p.a. system etc to the Village Hall. All a bit embarrassing for a three year old’s birthday party I suppose. Mind you, the bloke at the shop was dead envious as his gig for the night was for a bunch of old giffers at the local Liberal Club who’d requested ‘no loud music’ and ‘please don’t switch the flashing lights on until after the pie and peas supper’.

    Anyway, I enjoyed playing out and, after their burgers and hot dogs, the kids went mad for it as they skidded around bemusedly between the Hokey Cokey, House of Pain’s Jump Around, a bit of Destiny’s Child and Kylie and back to the Hokey Cokey via the White Stripes. They even managed to avoid the mirror ball which fell to the dance floor with a loud crash (isn’t blu-tack rubbish?) during my first set. I tell you what though, I could get a taste for turntablism.

    Mind you, what the kids didn’t seem to realise that I is an artist now and my hands is my tools. One or two of the mini-Chavs even had the audacity to come up to me with requests (Simon Says and the like), but they soon got the message as I sniffily fixed them with my best ‘can’t you bloody well see I’m working, urchin’ scowl whilst deftly segueing Extreme Noise Terror into Napalm Death. I did cause a bit of a fracas when Musical Statues turned into Musical Fall Over And Chin Yourself on the Foot of The Lighting Rig, but in the main I got away with it. In fact, my hastily improvised ‘Pin the Thong on Beyonce’ game went down a treat (with all the Dad’s in the room at least).

    If I get chance I’ll add some pics later, although maybe not... it’s Snicket’s actual factual birthday today. I haven’t been home for two days and all his pressies are up in the loft… awww the poor child! I can’t decide whether it’s more Lionel Bart or Bart Simpson round our house.

    Saturday, December 04, 2004

    two... two... check... one...two

    Thursday, December 02, 2004

    alternate title: randy scouse git

    Now you’ve perhaps not noticed this, but if you search hard enough for it, there’s quite a lot of pornography on this here Internet. Some of it is good but of course most of it is, I have to admit, very good. What a boon this must be to curious pubescent youths the world over. I remember having to sneak furtive glances at my Dad’s poorly hidden Mayfairs and Knaves when he wasn’t around and how polite they seemed compared to what you tend to see these days.

    I did progress to acquiring things like Listen With Rustler through various nefarious means and, I’m showing my age here, that magazine used to have a 7” flexi-disc on the cover which, when played, had ladies going ‘oooh ooooh oooh’ for a bit and then going ‘aaah ahhh aaaah’ for a bit more. I remember hiding a copy in between the insulation material around the hot water tank (in a cupboard in my room) and the tank itself only to find that the flexi disc had then melted to the tank, label up. It looked a bit like that crappy blur record the European Space Agency stuck on the side of Beagle II before it got lost. Anyway, insulation lasts a long time, thankfully. One day, though, someone’s going to buy that house from my parents, replace the plumbing and discover porno-boiler in my old room.

    Now I remember being fascinated by the Readers Wives sections in those old magazines and fantasized about recognising someone in there in a compromising predicament. When at Sixth Form I remember one of the previous years upper-sixth girls appeared in the Show Us Yours section of Escort. A sell-out issue round our way. This was in the Dynasty era 1980s and so you can imagine she had very big hair, even on her head. Although, come to think of it, that Anne Hathaway’s Cottage style thatch was perhaps more 1580s.

    Anyway, and sort of getting round to the point here, this school-boy fantasy has come true again. A fairly junior member of the team at work has appeared on an amateur website indulging in a variety of healthy pursuits with her boyfriend (and, ahem, his mate).


    I have to do a Health & Safety and DSE review for everyone tomorrow and feel that it’ll be my duty, when manipulating her lumbar region support and pumping up her wrist-rest to warn her to be careful when using sharp razors in close proximity to any tender or sensitive parts. Also, if she’s planning to come into contact with any more gloopy substances, she might want to wear some goggles, as they can bloody sting if you get them in your eyes. What do you reckon?

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    a right bobby dazzler

    Mrs Backroads and the other members of 'the committee' (i.e. her shitty mates) are downstairs wrapping presents for the village toddlers... drinking wine and a-giggling. Haha! Little do they know that I'm subverting their efforts by doing a Jonny and sitting upstairs watching reruns of Bargain Hunt (thanks to Sky Plus) in ladies undergarments indulging in an act which can only fall into the category of onanism, ahem, blogging about pretending do do something that someone else blogged about pretending to be doing and then crossing it out.

    Ah well. It could be worse. I could be Googling for 'Dickinson, David Nude or Semi-nude' instead of more worthy quests (the discussion of which, frankly, doesn't harm the stats) like 'Natasha Kaplinsky/Jill Halfpenny/Kirstie Allsopp/'insert name of alternative 'thinking man's crumpet' here' Nude or Semi-nude'.

    To be honest, I'm going to get a right telling off when Mrs B dissolves the coven because I'll have failed in the task that has been set for me this evening. (Well one of them anyway... I have been up in the loft stashing even more Christmas presents away... we've got everything bought and wrapped you know... Mrs B is nothing if not organised... I might get paid to manage projects during the day but, bloody hell, if I had Mrs B's skills... she's on bloody PRINCE3 [project management joke... everyone else move on]). Nope where I've fallen down tonight is my failure to draw a noseless Rudolph The Reindeer on a big piece of A2 so we can play 'Pin The Nose On Rudolph' at Snicket's birthday party at the weekend.

    It's my protest... I mean... Snicket and his mates are 3 now... they don't want to be playing 'pass the parcel', they want to be 'getting on one' to the happening sounds of DJ Dad, don't they. Don't they?