Thursday, August 31, 2006


I'd arranged to meet a colleague at 1pm.   His PA wrote to me to inform me that the meeting was being "preponed" to 12.30pm.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


If you're looking for the Family Backroads, we'll be circumnavigating the Warwickshire Ringpiece.

Back soon.

Monday, August 14, 2006


God they were everywhere! Picking bugs off each other. Screeching. Sticking their backsides in each other faces. Peeing themselves. But Sky insisted on making the tickets for the English National Ballet/Opera event free so even common people were allowed into The Lowry.

Despite their best efforts, clapping in all the wrong places, turning up late, sitting in the wrong seats, mobile phones going off mid Don Quixote (‘Shakira! Shakira!’), the assembled povs failed to ruin an excellent show.

Following the show, and after delousing, Mrs Backroads and I headed off here for supper, before our late night run in with Superman.

Walking through the Printworks at midnight and on up through the cinema is like being in a scene from Total Recall. It just needed an alien foxtrumpet with three breasts to tap me on the shoulder with a proposition. As it was there were enough vaguely human foxtrumpets knocking about to engender mild throbbage.

The Printworks’ undercover street reminds me of one of those ‘Life In The Victorian Age’ street scenes that they have in museums. In the future, when they try to recreate early 21st Century life, it will be just like the Printworks on a Saturday night.

On Sunday, we went to Knowsley Safari Park where the baboons behaved better than the chavs hanging out of their cars begging to have digits removed.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Being dead witty and not even slightly up my own arse I often like to risk life and limb whilst driving in to work and listening to Radio Five Live by texting in hugely funny one liners for the team in the studio to read out to entertain my public.

Obviously, they have NEVER EVER NOT ONCE read out any of my missives, but am I bitter? NO!

Well this morning they had a feature on up and coming nobodies ‘The Horrors’ who are the next big thing for the MySpace generation. ‘Shockingly’, they have only got 15 minutes of ‘material’ and have never even heard of the ‘Jesus and Mary Chain’.

Yawn… anyone still there?

Anyway, the way the programme trailed the item was by asking “The Arctic Who?” which was much more though provoking, as it got me thinking about what a great tribute act The Arctic Who could be. They could do songs like “The Kids Are All Right Cold” and “Snowball Wizard” or even “My Generator” or “I Bet That You Look Good on a Vespa”.

Amazingly, Radio Five Live passed up this once in a lifetime opportunity to palpate the listeners’ collective chuckle muscle so I’ve opened up the deal your good selves. Shall I add the Donate Via PayPal button yet? This stuff doesn’t write itself y’know.

Moving on.

Tomorrow, I will be openly snubbing an aggregate of bloggers getting together at Urbis and thus foregoing my chance to win a free wireless to go instead to distant Salford to see the ENB/ENO collaboration which forms part of Sky’s takeover of Manchester this weekend.

Now I know that you’ll think I’m dead highbrow and that, but I did try for tickets for Lazytown and they’d sold out. However, I’ll be setting my controls for the heart of the sun afterwards to go and see Superman Returns in 3D at the Printworks IMAX. So I’ll wave at y’all whilst you’re swapping RSS feeds. Have a good one and don’t forget kids, it’s not big and it’s not clever

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Muse are one of those bands I instinctively dislike. I sometimes take against a band purely on the basis of a silly name and, even if the rest of the world swears by’em, I can’t tune in. Super Furry Animals are a classic example of this. They are rubbish. Whatever you say.

Muse on the other hand haven’t got a particularly daft name. In fact, my dislike was nothing more than a ‘I know they exist but I’m not interested’ until Supermassive Black Pudding came out. I think it’s the Hipgnosis style sleeve (also infecting their album) which, on any records brought out after 1976, simply smacks of desperation. Check out the Cranberries ‘past their best’ effort “Bury The Hatchet” if you don’t believe me.

Anyway, SBP had just come out ahead of Muse’s pretentious album, when I was sat having a cup of tea on purpose at the Titchy Coffee Co in Manchester’s ‘The Triangle’. At the table in front of me was a young bloke in a Muse Absolution t-shirt sitting with his girlfriend/mother (I couldn’t decide on account of her being a bit of a biffer). They were chatting away, minding their own business when a smart looking young woman of ample proportions more or less assaulted him with ravings about how she loved Muse… how great and different SBP was… how nervous she was on hearing the title before she heard the song… how great serious/pretentious bloke’s falsetto is, etc etc.

Absolution Boy and his girlfriend/mother were somewhat taken aback but joined in as gamely as they could until the raving robust foxette surrendered to lunch with her own mother. Blimey. What a shame she was so excited about Muse, I thought. Why couldn’t she have spotted the teeny weeny screen on my iPod, realised I was listening to Hot Chip and instead slathered me which her spicy enthusiasms whilst jiggling temptingly before me?

The only thing sexier than a buxom foxtrella passionate about music is a buxom foxtrella passionate about gadgets.

Actually, the only thing sexier than that is a buxom foxtrella passionate about music and gadgets.

Actually, the only thing sexier than that is a buxom foxtrella passionate about music, gadgets and me.

Well at least Mrs Backroads is buxom.

And she doesn’t like Muse.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


It's entirely possible to have a day trip to France, even if you live oop North. For best results...

Leave at 4.45am. Aim south.

M1/Wave at non-existent workmen whilst doing mind-numbing 40mph/M25/M20/Dover/Ferry/Calais/Collect Wine/Eat Omelette/Drink beer/Go on dodgems/Ferry/Dover/Battle of Britain Memorial/Picnic/Drop bottle of Martini out of car/M20/M25/M1/Wave at non-existent workmen whilst doing mind-numbing 40mph.

Home at 10.30pm with 286 bottles of wine.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I know, I know.

It’s been a week or two, but I’ve been away and despite buying a new phone ‘with Blogger built in’ (yes if you’re in America) I have been unable to blog.

South Wales.

Which is pretty good when you get the weather.

Which we did.

When we set off Snicket had already got a virus and was running a temp of 105 degrees. He has an affectation for Victorian diseases and this time had been diagnosed with Slapped Cheek Disease (honestly!). In our caring, sharing way we said ‘sod it, let’s take him on holiday anyway’.

Alley, at 12, simply had her usual Face Like A Slapped Arse disease, so we stuck her in between Snicket and Boo, lashed a windbreak to the roof and the bikes to the back and hit the road for a week’s camping near Manorbier (Myffanny).

So, once there, other than Boo’s helter-skelter incident in Fishguard (Lummpfyssh) which prompted an immediate visit to A&E in Haverfordwest (Heffellummp), and a follow up in Tenby (Dinby-fysh-Piecod) Cottage Hospital, things went surprisingly well for the Family Backroads.

I got a brown head and grew a beard.

Mrs B got brown sauce all over the Primus and grew annoyed.

We did some body-boarding at Newgale (Dyppsinch). Alley and Snicket floated on the surf like turds at Blackpool. I sank like a fat bloke in a wet suit lying on a piece of polystyrene.

Me and Alley road our bikes down to the beach but got Mrs B to come and pick us up because the hill was a bit steep. Aren’t bike racks brilliant?

There are some great pub lunches to be had and it’s better than Cornwall because it only takes a mere 7 hours to get there. Also, it’s more commercial than North Wales, so the locals don’t immediately lapse into Welsh every time you nip into their shop. Also, we are more than capable of setting fire to our own tent thanks.

I didn’t see Cerys Matthews when we were there, but I listened to her on the radio on the long journey home. She was talking to Stuart Maconie at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Even though she has bandy legs and an appetite for booze which would shame Charlotte Church, her voice still gives me a semi.

There’s lovely.