Monday, February 28, 2005

industrial light and magic

It's all very well fitting kyoto-friendly light-bulbs but it doesn't really make for cosy does it? For a start they take about three hours to warm up, so it's best to keep a torch handy, if you're planning on reading anything. (I've taken to wearing a head-torch at all times). Once they up to speed, the quality of light is sooooooooo depressing. It's like sitting in a butcher's fridge, but with less atmosphere.

I'm tempted to paint the bulbs yellow, but worry that they'll give off even less light.

If they can't get this right, how on earth are we gonna shift over to solar-powered hover-cars? Eh?

Friday, February 25, 2005

watski's ball-gag

Bloke lying in hospital bed after an op. He has an oxygen mask on. Nurse asks if he's ok?

"Are my testicles black?" comes the muffled reply.

Nurse takes a look and says "hmmm let me massage them for you".

"Ooh thanks" he mumbles.

Next day another nurse asks him how he's feeling.

"Are my testicles black?" comes the muffled reply.

Nurse takes a look and says "hmmm let me massage them for you".

"Ooh thanks" he mumbles.

This goes on for four days until the first nurse returns and says, "OK I think it's time to remove your oxygen mask". She does this and asks him how's he's feeling, to which he replies:

"Are my test results back?"

architecture and morality

In the next village there's a small industrial estate. It houses a tyre and exhaust place, a small printers, a tile place and, oh, erm, an after hours fetish club!

How cool is that? It's all over the paper... Outrage! Can't see what's wrong with it myself... Each to their own. Now where's me ball-gag?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

empires and dance

Never decide to get to work early with a view to leaving early.

Regardless as to whether you've been sat at your desk since 6am, just when you're about to start packing your things up at 4pm to get an early dart, you can guarantee that some shitehawk will loudly pipe up 'thanks for popping in'. This only needs to happen a few times in the presence of the boss and you're forever the office slacker bunged on a personal development plan and given the seat near the door.

See ya.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

the coca cola league of extraordinary gentlemen

When I was small I used to live over There. When I lived over There I used to support There FC. I used to go along each week with my Dad and we'd shout for There, through good and bad. Mostly Bad.

When I grew up I came to live over Here. Despite living over Here, I've still supported There FC. Even though I don't get to see them as often (my Dad goes alone), it's their (There) results I look for first in the classifieds on a Saturday afternoon. But, you know. I have three children. They want to go to the football and they were all born Here. So I can't force them to support There. So they support Here. I take them to the match sometimes and, I suspend disbelief and cheer for Here along with the home crowd. That's OK. I don't feel bad. I live Here after all. I can keep a sneaky eye on There's score on the scoreboard too.

But what happens when Here plays There like they did last weekend? I took Alley and my Dad. I couldn't make my Dad sit with Here fans so we sat There with the away fans. Much to Alley's dismay. She hadn't been able to where her Here shirt.

When Here scored after a minute it felt strange. There were no more goals. It was a lousy match, the only other highlights being a sending off and a saved penalty. The result for me though, is that, frankly, I feel neither Here nor There anymore.

Perhaps I should support Manchester United like everybody else. (Obviously, a joke).

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

friends again

It was January 1983, when Johnny came home with a gift for me. It was a C90 filled with stuff like Culture Club, The Bloomsbury Set, New Order, One The Juggler, Berntholer, The Bluebells and The Mighty Wah!. It set in train a tape trading friendship that kept us together when our academic careers took us apart. There was always time to make a tape. The perfect c90 mix was always elusive.

Eventually, as we took on the trappings of adulthood, the pressures of work, children and life stuff put pressure on our audio friendship. The tapes grew less frequent, as did the letters and the calls. We grew apart.

Then came iTunes and suddenly it's almost as fun to burn a quick, eccentric disc and bung it in the post just like we used to. Sure 80 minutes isn't 90 minutes and the difference between a tape and a CD is similar to that between a rugby match and a football match, However, if you close your eyes and set your CD to stop after about 45 minutes you can mime getting up and flipping the cassette over.

Here's what I sent to Johnny:

Cosmopolitan Nine Black Alps
Beating Heart Baby Head Automatica
TKO (Peaches Knock Out Remix) Le Tigre
Take Me Out Scissor Sisters
Hammond Song The Roches
Lion Rip (Single Mix) The Duke Spirit
Transmission Radio 4
Racing Green High Contrast
Tears All Over Town A Girl Called Eddy
Cripple And The Starfish Antony & The Johnsons
Pop a Cap in Yo Ass Ben Watt feat Estelle
Windmills Of Your Mind The Colourfield
Baby Said Hot Chip
Rainbow Flows Husky Rescue
I'm 49 Paddy McAloon
It's A Hit Rilo Kiley
Johnny Cash Sons & Daughters
Mushaboom Feist

Friday, February 18, 2005

sons and fascination

What is it with toddler boys and experimentation? Snicket is obsessed with tying one object to the next and then trying to hoist the bizarre looking convoy around the house. This morning I cam down to discover him sat on his wheely bug tugging two toy vacuum cleaners, a foot stool, and wooden tractor and my best headphones round the house creating a wave of mutilation in his wake.

Otherwise, my hearing has returned in my right ear. By contrast, I feel quite deaf in my grommet-less left. I think it's a case of getting used to and once I've stopped falling over that's what I intend to do.

Monday, February 14, 2005


Has anyone ever had a grommet put in their ear? Eh? It’s normally associated with children I think. Anyway, I’m having one done on Wednesday and, in many ways, I’m not a child any more. I have, however, been ‘as a post’ since catching pantomime poisoning in the Indian Ocean last summer, so grommets it is. Seemingly, it’s only certain frequencies which I can’t pick up. Sadly, none of these frequencies are employed by Jamie Cullum on his Twentysomething Hertz record.

The procedure is simple. A nice man in a mask asks me what football team I support whilst holding another mask just over my face. The plan is that when my answers fail to make sense I have had enough novocaine and about to slip into unconsciousness for a while whilst another man in a mask takes a run up, cuts a big hole in my ear-drum and then whacks a rubber washer in there.

I fear that with my footballing allegiances, I’ll fail to make any sense without any gas and they’ll immediately think I’ve gone gaga and Dr Phibes will start his run up too soon, spearing my lug-hole whilst I’m still reminiscing about the last time the FA Cup was lifted in our glory (1953, fact fans). I say reminiscing, but that’s not really true. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t born. I’ve been to a couple of Millenium Stadium trips to LDV Vans Trophy finals and been on the winning side in each case, but that’s not going to convince the wildly staring anaesthetist who, I think, is actually Michael Jackson, of my sanity now is it? Is it?


Friday, February 11, 2005

return of the mac

I’ve been forcibly reminded of my obligations to this little corner of blogworld. So, by way of an update:

This week I have been mostly:

LIMPING – in my preparations for my little 10k jaunt later in the year I managed to twang my calf muscle on Sunday. My training schedule went straight into the shredder as I hobbled around. In order to address this situation I have also been…

GETTING PIERCED – I love acupuncture and seek every opportunity to have some. Not in a sado-masochistic way… er … no actually, yes in a sado-masochistic way. I broke a nail the other week fixing a brake-light and seriously considered whether acupuncture might present a cure. Anyway, its helped with the hobbling, so I reckon I’ll be pounding the lanes surrounding Backroads’ Manor this weekend, albeit at a walking pace.

DRIVING – This week entailed a trip to Birmingham which despite being located neatly in the middle of the country and surrounded by more transport infrastructure than anywhere else in the UK is still a nightmare to get to… and almost always a disappointment when you get there.

LISTENING TO ANNIE MAC – If you’ve not listened to the great Annie Mac on the nation’s favourite at 9pm on a Thursday you’re missing a treat. She’s the future of Radio 1, mark my words. Young, enthusiastic, unpretentious and plays great records. She’s not a biffer either.

PLUCKING MY EYEBROWS – Startlingly I’ve begun to sprout stray Dennis Healey style annennas from my Neanderthal monobrow. This has been a cause of great distress to me, and of great delight to Mrs Backroads who has enjoyed the extraction process a little too much. I don’t mind her plucking them, but I wish she wouldn’t take a run-up.

ROCKING LIKE A ROMANIAN ORPHAN – After a month of being spoilt by Boo, the latest addition to the Family Backroads, sleeping like a top every night, she has now decided to squawk all night instead, placated only by that motion that can only be achieved when cradled in the arms of a bleary eyed adult rocking slowly from foot to foot whilst standing. All well and good until you try to perch on the arm of a sofa or lean on a door when the *WARNING WARNING RELAXATION ALERT* alarm goes off on little Boo’s head and the wailing recommences.

LUSTING – I’ve been doing some lusting whilst sitting on the toilet and flicking through magazines this week. I tend to be a sucker for coats, t-shirts and trainers. Particularly trainers. Check these babies as spotted in Arena. Due for launch in March. I can’t wait…

Thursday, February 03, 2005

... and you will know us by the trail of bread

Went here today. It's a nice walk. A saunter. Around a pleasant enough little reservoir shrouded in trees.

I thought it'd be a good idea to take Snicket. Knowing he wouldn't walk the whole way round I took his little trike. It's one of those with a handle so you can push and steer whilst your urchin generally swivels the handlebars in the wrong direction and pedals backwards. What a nightmare. Of course, the wheels are solid moulded plastic and there's zero suspension. Poor old Snicket was taking a ride on a right old boneshaker.

Did he complain? Nah! Well if he did I couldn't hear him over the rattle of the wheels along the rutted track. By the far side of the lake he was pretty much incapable of coherent speech anyway and was shaking like a shitting dog (I think that's an expression). I pulled the collar of my coat up over my face in case anyone had called the police to stop the maniac babyshaker and tried to cheer Snicket up by telling him it was time to feed the ducks. Only then did I discover that he'd been clutching the loaf and, in trying to sneak furtive bites on the juddering journey round the water he'd managed to drop all but a crust.

Trying to look on the bright side I encouraged the little lad to proffer the final slice to the graceful swan slowly drifting towards the shore only for a preternaturally huge Canada Goose to swoop in at the last second, grab the bread and take a nip of Snicket's hand in the process.

Next time I think we'll stay in and watch CBeebies. Far safer.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

athlete - new project

Hmm, so I felt I need to get a target to go with my heart rate monitor. So, I've only gone and entered myself in a 10,000 metre run haven't I? It's not until the end of May, but boy have I got an uphill struggle (literally if you practice up our street).

What's more, in trying to lose weight and get fit, I've bought some scales which as well as telling you your weight in several languages also tell you how much fat you're carrying, how much water you're carrying, how fit you aren't and how dull the next Coldplay album is going to be. It's all quite depressing.