Wednesday, December 28, 2005


TV Schedulers Are The Spawn Of Satan, Quite Possibly Made From His Very Tissue And Sinew

You know what they say about buses? Wait ages, then two simultaneously? I have never known that to be true - here in Stourbridge, you have to wait an hour and a half for a bus, and then one may, if the driver can be bothered to show up for work, or bother to stop to let you on, wheeze asthmatically to a halt. You'd better make sure you don't miss that one, because it'll be another two and a half hours for the next one.

In Manchester, meanwhile, living on the most bussed route in Europe means that they arrive all the time, even if they do take forever to get anywhere.

TV Schedulers are the real masters of 'the irony of timing.' Christmas TV is usually the best of the year, but it's been incredibly weak this year. Apart from 'Family Guy', which the BBC disgracefully relegated to about midnight, and the Christmas Day 'Doctor Who', which was deliriously silly, and rather wonderful in a kitsch way, there's been nothing I can really say I enjoyed.

All of which makes it even more sickening that the four principle terrestrial channels screened, at the same time last night, 'The American President', 'Once Upon A Time In The West', 'Bulworth' and 'Taxi Driver.' What to do?

In the end, I plumped for Scorsese's masterpiece, but really, I wanted to see them all. TV schedulers - bastards!

Anyway, that's it from me for the year - I'll be back on Monday. I'm retreating to here, and then having a big New Year's Eve. Please take the time to read my last two posts or look through the archives if you wish. Oh, and please do comment too! When I come back, I promise I'll do the posts I said I'd do recently.


On Urine, George Monbiot & Clive Of India

In the week surounding Christmas, Fleet Street goes into a rather torpid state. The newspapers, who spend the rest of the year trying to either chase the news or, in some cases, make the news, now want to just sit quietly and hope nothing much happens. The result is a lot of bizarre items for inclusion, and nowhere more so than the Guardian.

Ever willing to tackle the big issues, the Guardian asked 'The Question' in last Wednesday's edition:

Is it a good idea to drink your own urine?

The writer, science correspondent Alok Jha, not noted for his accuracy, states the answer in the first sentence:

'No, there is no benefit whatsoever.'

Actually, as the article goes on to point out, there's really little danger in drinking your own wee - the exception being if you suffer from a urinary tract infection, in which case urine can be poisonous. By and large, however, as it is typically composed of 95% water, a refreshing glass of dew in the morning is unlikely to do you any harm. Some people insist to this day that urine-drinking improves the condition of the skin.

One aspect of urine culture that Jha doesn't get to grips with is urolagnia - the finding attractive of urine, which manifests itself in desires to see people bedwet, and also appears in 'golden showers.'

However, as Jha points out, and as has been pointed out before, it is somewhat ironic that the one situation where the average person might consider drinking their pee is the one where it is least helpful. It is frequently downed by those lost in the desert, or stranded at sea, yet in fact the salts in urine acclerate thirst.

Refreshing drink, or a dangerous tipple?

The real question, however, is why such an article needed to be in a newspaper in the first place.


George Monbiot might know a thing or two about urine - he's certainly in the region a lot, given how much time he spends talking out of his arse. In his latest incoherent ramble through Britain's political culture, he manages to make a bit of a fool of himslef, to be honest. Let's take a peek.

The article purports to be about how many people Jeremy Clarkson is killing because he doesn't like speed cameras. However, before he gets to mentioning the 'Top Gear' presenter, he makes the claim:

'These [Safe Speed and Motorists Against Detection] and about a thousand such campaigns maintain that speed limits, speed traps and the government's "war on the motorist" are shakedown operations whose sole purpose is to extract as much money as possible from the poor oppressed driver.'

I'm not sure I believe this. Certainly, it is only true to a small extent. A brief glance at the Safe Speed homepage suggests that, amongst their many views, some of them admittedly distinctly bizarre, the belief that speed cameras are a 'stealth tax' does exist. However, Monbiot uses his column to have a particular bash at Clarkson, and doesn't bother to take the time to point out that he specifically rejected the opinion that speed cameras exist to make the government money on a recent edition of 'Top Gear', providing evidence for the claim.

However, Monbiot starts to draw larger claims from speeding tickets:

'But this is not, or not really, an article about speed, or cameras, or even cars. It is about the rise of the antisocial bastards who believe they should be allowed to do what they want, whenever they want, regardless of the consequences. I believe that while there are many reasons for the growth of individualism in the UK, the extreme libertarianism now beginning to take hold here begins on the road.'

Aha. So now we get to the nub of the issue. 'Individualists' are to blame. As a libertarian myself, I have to take offence at this. In large part, offence arises because Monbiot is deliberately avoiding any historical context. The 'growth of individualism in the UK' is no such thing - what it is, if, indeed, it can be said to exist at all, is a re-assertion of individualism. Collectivism, as a concept, is a recent invention when looked at through history. For a further look at this subject, see this.

'Of course, these politics are possible only while we have a state capable of picking up the pieces. If there were not a massive hidden subsidy for private transport, those who decry the nannying bureaucrats couldn't afford to leave their drives . . . the new libertarians fail to recognise the extent to which their freedoms depend on an enabling state. They hate the institution that allows them to believe that they can live without institutions.'

This is both untrue and an attempt to blur the issue. His insistence that there is a massive hidden subsidy for private transport is not a false one - the government, after all, are the ones paying for road construction. Except that they aren't. The taxpayer pays for the roads. The government, to be precise about this, barely pays for anything at all. Absolutely all money spent by the government is taxpayer's money, with a handful of excpetions - profits made from the sale of goods abroad and import tariffs being two. The government is, in fact, rather like a financial advisor, but not a very good one - we elect politicians because of a manifesto that shows how they will spend our money, believing, essentially, that they know best.

The freedoms Monbiot mentions are not reliant on institutions - the positioning of a speed camera or the abolition of a speed limit is not an issue of fundamental freedoms, merely the average arguments over the minutiae of a piece of legislation. This is why a statist party like the Conservatives can campaign on a ticket of speed camera reduction.

Finally, Monbiot goes on a baffling rant about Thatcher, apparently of the opinion that before her, there were no cars on the road, before ending with this cracker:

'It shouldn't be hard to see how politically foolish are the current government's transport policies. The £11.4bn that it is spending on road building is an £11.4bn subsidy to the Conservative party.'

Yes, George. Labour would win many, many more votes if they dug up the nations roads instead, wouldn't they?


After all that, with the lowered expectations, I was delighted to see an actually intelligent article in the Guardian the other day, written by Max Hastings, in which he points out that, in fact, it might not be a bad idea to teach western children the history of the western world after all.

Who would have thought?


Dia Horribilis

Inspired by the recent efforts of others, I decided to Wiki my own birthday, and see what good old July 27th is noted for.

Bugger all, it turns out. Tony wasn't too impressed with his fellow Dec 20ers - 'historical nobodies', he calls them. However, his anniversary of emergence can't begin to compare to the parade of anonymous characters that Wiki says lay claim to my special day.

I mean, I have at least heard of Rich Gannon, the Superbowl-losing former quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. Billy Bragg, too, has popped up on the radar from time to time. As for Ashley Cole, well, our biorrythms are precisely in tune.

I too share my popping date with a footballer, but not a good one like Cole, oh no. I share one with, honestly, occasional Everton fullback Alessandro Pistone.

The word 'mediocrity' was invented for Pistone.

Worse still, I see the anniversary of 'my escape from that accursed ovarian Bastille', as Stewie Griffin would have it, is also shared by wrestler Triple H.

That's it. He's the only other one I've heard of.

Incredibly, Triple H warrants a vast entry on Wikipedia. It is longer than the entries for William Shakespeare, President Taft, Peter Jackson, and Bill Bixby, star of 'My Favorite Martian', to name but four of the countless billions who have contributed enormously more to the march of humanity.

Really, who cares?

H, real name Paul Levesque, will almost certainly further annoy me in 'Jornada del muerte', a WWE wrestling film project, which sounds absolutely awful.

I don't know why wrestlers try to cross into films. Certainly, don't ask Bill Goldberg, whose 'Santa's Slay' has enjoyed a critical pannning. Incidentally, the writers may have thought they were creating something new with a Killer Santa film, but in fact readers familiar with the Banned list will surely be aware of 'Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2', in which a man goes Columbine in a Santa costume. According to the Melonfarmers, it was looked at by the BBFC just after the Hungerford massacre, causing it to bite the dust.

American football players should also be very cautious about a life on the silver screen, because it'll be less silver screen and more straight-to-video. Anyone remember Brian Bosworth?

Bosworth's abysmal, sub-Van-Damme action films became almost as infamous as his I-was-a-German-porn-star-in-the-1970s mullet.

Monday, December 26, 2005


The Cleveland, Ohio Quagmire

I have a problem. I have a relative who, I believe, lives in Cleveland, Ohio. I have a name, but not an address. Basically, I'm checking to see if said relative is still alive. It's fairly urgent. Does anyone know how I can find out?

Sunday, December 25, 2005


I Was Nearly Touched By A Genius

While out Christmas shopping the other day, I was stood at the counter at HMV, and a man stood up to the till next to me. He held out two CDs, pointed at one and said:

'Can I exchange this please? It's not as good as I thought. This one's exactly the same price.'

The till lady let him. I thought nothing more of it, until I had left the store, when it occured to me that his tactics are ingenius - he's copying the CDs onto a computer or some such, and then taking them back and exchanging them for new ones, with which he does the same, and so on. For someone like me, who only wishes to actually get fifteen or so albums a year, that's a perfect wheeze without breaking the law.

I can't think why this didn't occur to me before.

Anyway, have a Merry Christmas, and enjoy this Killer Fact if you haven't done so already.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Image Crisis

This blog passed two landmarks the other day. The first was the 250th post, and the second was that I received my two-thousandth visitor who arrived looking for pictures of people or things that aren't on the blog. In order to help these confused souls, I've provided them with what they are looking for. Please, take a moment, look around, and then fuck off.

In almost every picture of her on t'Internet, Fantasia Barrino has one finger pointed skyward. Either she loves God, or she has a very specific joint disease.

When Victoria Koblenko bought her latest outfit, she didn't see the label that said 'Mad Hommage To The Irish.'

Marla Sokoloff mistakenly smokes the 'magic cigarette of tears.'

Finally, twenty-three absolute certifiable weirdos have arrived looking for pictures of bin bags. Still, if you can get off on a bin bag, then a classy, multi-coloured holder as well must surely have you writhing in ecstasy:

Friday, December 23, 2005


The Hymn - Horror Connection

While browsing through some hymn lyrics - yeah, right - I realised just how easy it is to spot similarities to plot features in certain horror films. Watch:

Joys Seven

'The next good joy that Mary had, it was the joy of five;
To see her own Son Jesus Christ, to bring the dead alive.'

'The next good joy that Mary had, it was the joy of six;
To see her own Son Jesus Christ, upon the crucifix.'

That's Jesus Christ. Lord. Saviour. Re-Animator!

Jesus pauses before injecting the Holy Serum.

That's just one. Points for any more in the comments.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I Prescribe A Nightmare

I ran out of meds the other day, so I rang up the doctors for a repeat prescription, like I always have done in the past.

Me: "Hello, I'd like a repeat prescription please. My name's Stephen ********."

Receptionist: "Sorry, you can't get prescriptions over the phone any more."

Me: "Pardon?"

Receptionist: "You have to come to the surgery, with a letter saying what medication you want, how long you've been on it, and where you will collect it from."

What the fuck? This is a new development, in just the last three months. This wouldn't even be a big deal, but I don't have a car. So, instead, yesterday I had to walk for an hour in order to give a snotty receptionist a stupid, primary school-like letter asking for permission to have medicine I'm already entitled to. The best part of it is, because it's Christmas, I have to wait a week before I can have the privilege of another hour long round trip to get the new meds.

At the end of the day, for me this is an inconvenience, but what about the elderly? Or people with arthritis? There is a compulsory three day waiting period now. One of my best friends is asthmatic - this new rule is no good when her inhaler runs out and she urgently needs a new one, which has already happened.

The pathetic thing about this is that, over the last year, the government have been heard to use the phrase 'power to the patient' when discussing the Health Service. Yet here we are, with a new rule that not only doesn't give power to the patient, it actively takes it away. The only people helped by this stupid idea are beaurocrats and snot-nosed receptionists, and I couldn't care less how hard their lives are.


I've also posted here.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I Used To Be Indecisive - Now I Have A Timeshare On Top Of The Fence

It's time to have a moan about an issue so obscure you may well not believe I could actually care about it, but there you go.

Joe Theismann was an exceedingly good quarterback, winning one Superbowl with the Redskins and leading them to another, winning League MVP once, and twice playing in the Pro Bowl. He is also a very good summariser on ESPN's 'Sunday Night Football' telecast. The man has quality, no denying it.

However, I was a little dismayed by a series of points he made during last night's visit to the Chicago Bears of the Atlanta Falcons. First half, fine. Excellent. Around the start of the second, he opined something along the lines that if Chicago replaced starting quarterback Kyle Orton with their principle quarterback Rex Grossman, that would be a bad idea. Chicago did just that. Grossman threw a good first-down pass to Muhsin Muhammad on his first play. Suddenly, Theismann could be heard singing Grossman's praises. A few plays later, Grossman missed a shot downfield, and suddenly it was the wrong decision to bring him on. Another first-down to Muhammad later, and guess what? It was absolutely the right decision. He continued with this for a while. I believe the term 'flip-flopping' was coined in the USA during the last election when discussing Senator Kerry's mysteriously changing policy agendas. Well, this was the sporting equivalent.

Like I say, he's actually a very good summariser - not quite as good as Madden, maybe, but very good nonetheless. Just don't change your mind! I'd rather you got it wrong.

Theismann in his glory days. I feel bad now. Who am I to mock such men?

Sunday, December 18, 2005


The Programme With Everything To Hide

Last night saw the end of 'Space Cadets' on Channel 4. The ten-show, one-off special was, in my opinion, one of the better TV events this year. To create a hoax that elaborate demands so much attention to detail that it's impossible not to be impressed. Everything about the show was well chosen - they managed to get contestants both suggestible and funny, the pranks they played were much better than the chicken-suit rubbish that is to be found in 'Big Brother', and I think they made a good chice of host in Johnny Vaughan.

So, they found out that they hadn't been to space at all, and in fact hadn't left Britain, and they were understandably a bit miffed and humiliated. However, I have to take issue with this report, which claims:

"But one contestant, teaching assistant Keri Hasset from Birmingham, said she was "heartbroken" by the prank . . . "When I thought we were coming back to Earth I was planning my speech. I was going to say it had been my childhood dream. Now I'm a little bit heartbroken," she said."

This quote is lifted from the programme itself, not made afterwards, and so I can say comfortably that, given the good humour with which Ms Hasset took the prank, using the single word "heartbroken" gives a rather distorted image of how she took it. Presumably, the unnamed writer of the piece decided that "Victims fall foul of giant prank - take it quite well" wasn't an interesting enough story.

My personal hope is that the three contestants get a TV career out of it - that's what sets us apart in Britain, we love failures, and these people failed brilliantly. Plus, let's face it, they couldn't be any worse than BB winner Anthony hosting CD:UK earlier this year. I feel particularly bad for the contestant Paul French, who I've been calling 'Dumb Guy' all week. Can there be a more moronic-sounding accent than West Country? In the end, he was the first to really suspect what was happening, so he wasn't that dumb after all.

A little life breathed into the dying reality TV genre.


Fortunately, when 4 taketh away, they mostly giveth back too. The next quality programme they've produced is 'Demolition', a programme in which 'Grand Designs' presenter Kevin McCloud and Indy editor Janet Street-Porter travel round Britain's most horrific buildings, explaining what can be done about them.

'Demolition', sadly only a four-part series, is an excellent example of how television can be informative and provocative without being controversial for the sake of it. Basically, the idea underpinning the programme is the suggestion that Britain should have an 'X list' of buildings, the opposite of the English Heritage grading system. A building's place on this list would encourage its owners to demolish or rennovate it as soon as possible.

This is a brilliant idea. Bad architecture is one of my pet hates, and I can spend hours moaning about the buildings I most dislike. A real, workable and actually rather democratic plan to make our country a better place is surely something we can all approve of. You can vote either way at the microsite linked above, or better still you can sign the petition here. I urge all my British readers to do this - if enough people sign it, combined with the pressures of the TV series and the RIBA, there's a very real chance the government will adopt the idea. Do it!

In the meantime, let's have a look at some of the buildings named as the worst of the worst:

Greater London Council Overflow Building

To my mind this is the single most horrific. I don't live in London - I don't even like the place very much - but I can appreciate that central London is full of some very nice buildings. The renovated buildings of the South Bank. The Houses of Parliament. The London Eye. This ghastly lump is only a matter of yards away from those - you can see the Eye in that photo - and I'm not surprised people hate it with such a passion. It's determinedly unlovely, and now empty anyway.

The Scottish Parliament

This entry was rightly dismissed by the presenters, and it does reveal a potential problem with the list idea - sometimes the public are just wrong. Fortunately, the petition is worded in such a way that it's clear that there would have to be a consensus, not only amongst the public, but also amongst architectural experts, before a building could be demolished.

What I object to about the Scottish Parliament is the cost of the bloody thing, particularly since I don't see what I, as an Englishman, get out of it. However, the building itself is really rather beautiful.

Gateshead Multi-Storey Car Park

Most of the other buildings on the list merely look like parking ramps. This is one. A main part of the problem is that it is perched on an eminence, as if the town planners believed the car park should be the focal point of the town. One group hoping it doesn't meet the detonator are the 'Get Carter Appreciation Society', who don't want to lose the place because of the role played by the restaurant at the top during the film. So, should it stay or should it go now? Hideous eyesore or piece of cinematic history? I'm not sure.

Crown House, Kidderminster

This choice is a bit personal for me, because I used to work in an office just a couple of hundred yards away from it, and I can confirm that it really is a wreck of a building. It sits close to the town centre, completely blighting an otherwise perfectly average shopping district. It perfectly encapsulates one of the principle problems of construction with concrete - it just gets dirty. The building would be offensive enough without being filthy as well. I'd love to see this one go.

None of these shockers made it into the top three. However, rather than go on with those, I'd like to share my thoughts on two other buildings that weren't on the list.

NatWest Building, Birmingham City Centre

This was my vote for most hideous building. No picture can do justice to how loathsome it is in the flesh. One of the entries on the list was Greyfriars Bus Station in Northampton, the principle complaint about which was that it was the first building you see on entry to the town. Well, approach Birmingham from the south or west on the train, and this is one of the first you see. It looks like nothing so much as a gigantic, shit-stained kettle.

University Of Manchester Mathematics Tower

You're looking at a little piece of history here, for this building no longer exists. Demolition on it finished about a month ago. Much like the NatWest building, it was an over-tall edifice that had a bizarre shape and significant lack of geometry to it. However, despite these flaws, I actually didn't mind it so much - at least by the end of its life. It has to be said I harboured a different opinion a year ago. I carried expounding my theme a little later too. I stand by all of those comments, and I still particularly loathe the former UMIST building, but I did feel rather better disposed to the Maths Tower when I learned of its forthcoming demolition. Maybe we'll miss those horrors above when they're gone. Probably not, though.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Maybe There Is An Importance To Being Idle, Even If Just For A While

I should like to tell you the reason I haven't been posting much is that I've been devilishly busy. I should like to, but I can't for it would be a barefaced lie. Sure, I've been occupied, but that is emphatically not the same as busy.

Still, I'm sure you will agree that my laziness and general malaise have brought forth dignificant fruit, when I tell you that, this weekend, after a decade of on and off trying, I finally completed the 'Expert' level on Minesweeper. Words cannot do justice to how absurdly proud I am of this fact. Some men are happy with Nobel prizes. Others are proud of box-office successes, and chart-topping singles. This may well the crowning acievement of my life so far. Feel free to praise me if you wish.

See? Mr Sunshine was proud of my achievement too.

Over the next few days, hopefully things will get back to normal, and you will receive an incisive analysis of the World Cup draw, amongst other bits and pieces.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Blogs Of Scrote

Any readers who have a Blogger blog will probably be familiar of the feature on their homepage called 'Blogs Of Note.' These blogs are, we are led to believe, blogs that members of staff at Google have spotted and particularly enjoyed.

I have a problem, however. I can see that some of these are very good - Abandon The Web! is interesting, while some are stonkingly boring, like Founder Frustrations. The one that is slightly annoying is Xooglers. This blog is written by people who used to work for Google. I mean, come on, there's patting yourself on the back, and then there's removing your own ribs so you can suck yourself off.

To be honest, I still haven't forgiven them for removing Ah Yes, Medical School off the list. How I used to laugh at that wacky Jewish med-school student and how he had to stuff his hand up yet another fat guy's arse. Comedy, eh?

It doesn't matter anyway. Here's a list of reasons why all bloggers are arseholes.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


The Man In The Mask - A Little Sport Blogging

I spent all of Sunday in the pub, watching the football, and I was struck by the appearance of Manchester City right-back David Sommeil:

Sommeil is the one on the left, as if you hadn't already realised.

The reason he had to wear the mask was a fractured cheekbone, but frankly I think he should keep it for every game. To paraphrase 'Scrubs', it gives him the option of fighting crime afterwards. He really does look like "Zorro-Gives-Up-The-Whole-Flouncing-Around-With-A-Sword-And-Takes-Up-Being-A-Shylock-For-The-Mafia" - and that's quite a look. Jonathan Pearce announced he was wearing it "so he wouldn't frighten the opposition so much", which I thought was rather amusing for a man who used to commentate on 'Robot Wars.'

Man City were superb, particularly in midfield. Trevor Sinclair, Sun Jihai and Joey 'So My Brother's An Axe Murderer' Barton* were all excellent. I'm particularly impressed by Sun Jihai at the moment. The man is on top form - an excellent passer and crosser of the ball, and tireless in pursuit. In my humble opinion, he may be one of the most valuabe players to that squad at this moment.

Yet another City player with headgear. They should be the 'Bandit Team.'

*To be fair, it's not his fault if his brother is a racist psycho who likes to associate with men called 'Chopper', and actually, I think he's been handling it rather well.

Monday, December 05, 2005


The Sun Shines, Albeit Dimly

I've already stated the reasons for my general antipathy towards The Sun, so I shan't bother to do so again, but I found myself with no other choice again today, and so I braced myself, squared my shoulders, and plunged in.

I have to say, I was reasonably satisfed. The nation's obvious Visigoth-like hordes of paedophiles and asylum-seekers failed to get a single angry rant, which was a relief, and one column in particular was actually rather sensible. This came, unbelievably, from agony aunt Deirdre Sanders, writing about 'Why It's Right To Teach 5-Year-Olds About Sex.'

The article, which was a defence of the government's plans to introduce sex-related education from primary school age in a bid to lower the number of teenage pregnancies and STD's, is a surprisingly reasonably-argued and lucid one. I was concerned at first by her invocation of vague and unnamed 'research' to back up her argument, which is often a sign that the writer doesn't actually know if any research on the topic exists, but to be fair to her, it could just as easily be a lack of space, given the fact that she was clearly given about a 300 word limit.

The one sentence that jarred particularly badly with the sense of the rest of the column was this one:

'It would be wonderful if we could simply tell all teenagers under, say, 16 or even 18, that they are forbidden to have sex, and rely on them to obey.'

Eh? Would it? I know she's addressing this to parents, but in fairness I don't think parents have to be outrageous libertines to accept, and perhaps even approve, that their kids may very well have sex before they reach University age. I mean, you can get married when you're sixteen, and imagine two years of marriage without sex. Ok, for some couples that must be easy, but not the first two years.

This sentence is a real shame, because it engages in something all tabloids do, which is talk down to their readership. Parents are intelligent enough, or, if they aren't, too bad, to make up their own minds about the sexuality of their children. Equally, I personally have no problem with kids of a reasonable age, say fourteen or fifteen, having sex if they want to. I certainly don't think bedroom police are the answer.

In another column, by 'financial journalist' Ian King (who he?), which is essentially an ad hominem attack on David Cameron, King claims that Cameron 'will not cut it as leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition.' He provides as proof of this claim the statement that during his time as press secretary at Carlton, Cameron was a 'smarmy bully.'

Call me cynical, but I suspect that being a smarmy bully is just about the best attribute for the job.


Best In Show

Radio Five Live annoyed me again this Saturday, by having live coverage of George Best's funeral. Look, ok, great player, sadly missed, ad infinitum, but a funeral on the radio?

It . . . was . . . so . . . slow . . . and . . . tedious . . . I . . . kept . . . falling . . . back . . . to . . . zzzzzzzzz.

Seriously, I respect the sentiment, but at the end of the day, there are some events which just don't make good radio. I'm always baffled, every year, by the coverage of the Marathon on the radio. How does this work? I know what someone running looks like, so really, what's the point? Particularly when the Beeb cover it on telly as well.

I went back to sleep for about half an hour after the coffin was being loaded into the hearse, and when I woke up, the hearse was only just pulling off. An action-packed morning then. I think the nation has paid plenty enough respects now. Maybe it's time to just move on.


Even more infuriating was an event that happened to me in the early hours of Sunday morning. I was walking down the road at about five with my mate, and he needs to go to the petrol station for fags, and what does he find? There's a bloke at the window, making the man at the checkout walk through the shop to get him products he doesn't want.

"No, not that frozen pizza, the one next to it."

So he has to go back and get the next one.

"No, I don't want it really. I do want a bottle of water though."

A bottle of water arrives.

"Not Evian, Volvic."

He kept this up for about fifteen minutes, all the while calling the attendant "nigger" and "coon", and just making a complete twat of himself.

The only sort of person worse than him is his girlfriend, who was sitting in his car, clearly greatly impressed by the level of wit he had attained, egging him on. How moronic do you have to be to find that funny and attractive in a man?

Once upon a time, I was on a walk in the Lake District with my parents. Our car was parked at a car park at the end of the walk. This being the Lake District, the road out of this car park was long, windy, and only wide enough for one car. We got to the end of the road out, and just then, a Beemer pulled in, blocking the exit. It was a bloke with his girlfriend. One of us was going to have to reverse. We would have to reverse about half a mile. He would have to reverse about half a yard. Would he reverse? Would he fuck. We had this stand-off for about five minutes, all the while his girlfriend was laughing gormlessly in the passenger seat, no doubt proud of her acievement in being pulled by the biggest dickhead in all of England, until eventually my dad gave up and reversed the half mile. He's a classier man than me - if it had been me, I'd have sat there until I died of thirst rather than move.

Friday, December 02, 2005


British Bulldog No Good

Last night felt like Christmas Eve used to when I was a child, and I believed in Santa Claus, a belief, incidentally, that ended the Christmas Eve that my Dad walked into my room with my presents, tripped over, and dropped them all on the floor with a huge crash.

Why did it feel like this? Well, I genuinely believed that today, I would have the Internet. When I moved out of the tenement and into the commune this year, I lost the 'net doing so, and since about the end of August my fellow commune-dwellers and I have been doing everything possible to get it back. We had a door-to-door rep from Bulldog, who announced a deal so great that we took him up instantly. No problem, we were told. You'll be all done by around the 28th September.

Various problems ensued, some of them our fault, but most of them theirs, not least their stunning lack of capacity, a result of completely failing to realise that if you give people a great offer, lots of them will take you up on it, therefore you need greater capacity. Anyway, a ten days ago we were told it would be today.

I couldn't sleep last night. At five this morning I was still hoping. By four this afternoon it obviously wasn't going to happen. So congratulations Bulldog, for being completely, totally useless. Oh, and what was their brilliant explanation when we rang them today?

'Technical Difficulties.'

Sorry, but it's not good enough.

Go with a different provider, and save yourself a lot of bother.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Over-Analysis? Never!

After the revelation earlier this year of 'Potter pornography', I had presumed that there was no limit to the Potter madness. However, I may have been wrong.

I like 'Pickled Politics' a lot. It's a great blog, and I agree with it almost all the time, but this is very weird. It is either the most astounding over-analysis of a children's book ever, or it's a superb parody of such analyses. I'll leave it to you to decide:

'Hermione Granger is the quintessential feminist figure stuck in a post-feminist paradigm.'


'In the triangular Harry-Ron-Hermione friendship, she has a two-step function. The first is to preclude the threat of a homosexual liaison between the two male figures, and the second is to formalise Ron’s heterosexuality by being pitched as his romantic partner.'

Erm, I think I would just have accepted it if Rowling had written that Ron was heterosexual. He doesn't have to be Hermione's 'romantic partner' for me to believe he's straight. Similarly, why would you believe that, without a close female friend, the two male protagonists would have a homosexual relationship? Baffling.

From left: 'Hysterical Female Stereotype', Potter, and Frustrated Gay Lover.

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