Monday, 5 November 2007

New Rules For Monday

Learn about business in sport. Quickly.
Avoid all HMV/Virgin type record shops.
Avoid all independent record shops too.
All participants in property programmes should be forced to buy a property by the end of the show. Unless they're selling, in which case the production company should hand over the cheque if their advice has not lead to a sale.

For reasons I wont explain because it's far too nauseating, I was in a Virgin Megastore (sic) on Saturday, somewhere in a mall in Kent. It was one of the more depressing moments in my life so far. Not because I was in a Virgin Megastore on a Saturday afternoon somewhere inside a ghastly mall in Kent which is depressing enough. It had more to do with with the quick trawl of the album section (rock and pop). With my little eye I spied a large number of records I currently own, have owned and dispensed with or have downloaded. The remainder of the CDs on display were ones I have absolutely no interest in owning or by bands I have heard of but sound vaguely reminiscent of something I already own.

There are no CDs I want anymore. My music buying life seems to be over (unless I suddenly take an interest in Country or Hip Hop and that's fairly unlikely to happen). That may not be such a bad thing.

As for business in sport, well lets simply say that's a flight of fancy. I'll probably stick to reading David Conn in the Guardian. It's a lot easier when someone does the footwork for you.

Friday, 2 November 2007

And today's lesson is on 'delusion'.

If you're not doing what you want to do, do what you want to do.

Make sense? If not why not?

I'm not doing what I want to do but I am doing what I trained to do. It's time to change. Going back into teaching was a mistake. I was a teacher. I got terribly ill. I left teaching. I recovered. I went back into teaching because it was easier to find the jobs, fill in the forms and be successful at the interviews than for any other line of work. I knew what I was doing. And now? Well, apart from asking questions like, 'And now?', well I guess I'm finding there's a danger of becoming ill again. So out of the way everyone, it's looks like I'm going to have to do the difficult thing for once.

There, that feels better. You know, that's the reason this thing is here. It's not because I actually think anyone will want to read it but because it's cathartic. That's stage one. Catharsis. Stage two is actually publishing. But let's not get carried away or anything, after all this is the first thing I've written on here since the end of May.

By the way, that restaurant was absolutely the worst I have ever had the misfortune to visit. But you'll need to look at the previous posts to check up on that. I love the way you can write on here as though someone might actually read it. A quick, cheeky little second person address is all you need to raise the spirits. Some call it second person address, others self-delusion. I'll stick for second person delusion and see how far that gets me.

Much has happened in the last five months. Most of it is none of your business, so don't go asking questions. Quite nice to have the man Kelner add a comment to a previous post although it does make me worry Mr K that you engage in the pursuit of entering your own name into search engines. Now there's an additional delusion folks, the one that suggests that just because someone has read this blog before they might come back again, especially when it's someone who might get recognised on the street (in Wakefield at least).

Ok, so this is going nowhere fast. I'll be gone then.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

I'm not brought up that way, like.

I don't mean to be rude although often it just happens. And I'm not normally one for restaurant reviews although I used to enjoy Will Self's in the Observer all those years ago and I'm rather taken by Martin Kelner's reviews of Jay Rayner's reviews in an oddly post-modern way.

But the point I'm slowly dawdling towards is that there a fair number of websites where diners can leave their reviews of restaurants. I happen to be going to a restaurant called Sarastro on Drury Lane tonight and I'm not entirely comfortable with it as a choice. It stems from knowing that it was chosen more for the decor, as a place to go, rather than as a means to eating enjoyable food. From reading the reviews, which can be described as extreme to say the least, I have trepidation writ large across my face (not a pretty sight).

It could be that the negative reviews are penned by other Drury Lane restaurant owners and the glowing ones by Sarastro's owners. But I've seen the menu. The cheapo set meal offers you the choice either hot or cold salmon. Well thank you very much. And I know that cheapo set meal in London, blah blah blah, what do you expect you snob and all that but there's no effort to make it sound anything other than what it is; a begrudging effort at raking in numbers rather than diners.

The meal is all in the name of entertaining my girlfriend's parents. Since they flew in from the States they've experienced from fairly mixed service at the hands of cafes, pubs and restaurants. And fairly mixed food too. I'm keeping my stomach crossed that tonight's meal doesn't live down to expectations. They're good people. I'd like them to come back. They deserve better.

Review to follow...

Monday, 21 May 2007

Did I hear that right?

I'm having a bad day. I normally have some every two or three weeks. It used to be a lot worse. Today is like one of bad days from the bad days (if you see what I mean) so please forgive me if this starts with the following phrase:

I was lying in bed listening to the World At One... (see what I mean?)

Anyway, having spent two hours wrestling with the temptation of popping up to Lord's for the last day of the Test and having the temptation removed by my poor state of health and the rain, I retired to bed have a little dignity and decorum as I suffered. Little did I know that the World At One, that venerable Radio 4 institution was now asking for opinions.

I'll give you mine Martha. I don't listen to shows like yours in order to hear the views of the public on issues such as the Cutty Sark fire. And I really don't want to hear the view's of the public when they arrive in text format.

I'm hoping it wasn't Martha Kearney's idea because she is a journalist I have some time for. However, the whole moment reminded me of Jeremy Paxman's on-air huff against the lowering of production standards on Newsnight. Perhaps Martha is too new in the job to be able to arrange such a protest.

It's a million miles away from the half hour of magical radio that took place on Radio 4 Long Wave and Five Live Sports Extra etc in the run up to the official lunch interval at Lord's. The three current long-standing Test Match Special commentators, Messers Agnew, Martin-Jenkins and Bloefeld. Together the just talked, mostly from memory, about their time as commentators. The pleasure at hearing three professional broadcasters just talk was overwhelming and so refreshing when compared to numb skull ex-pros who litter broadcasting simply because they are ex-pros (and I know Agnew played himself but I feel he's served his dues but why is Andy Townsend still so poor?).

And feminism has yet to take root in the sports world either. Can you name the four major(ish) sports broadcasters who are also daughters of successful sportsmen/coaches? Sisters are doing for themselves, although they are willing to take on board any help that their standing gives them. Sure, they're probably all very good and are no doubt breaking down barriers for everyone else, blah blah blah. But it's only a matter of time before Zara Phillips is a roving reporters on Derby Day.

Ranting again. Sorry about that. It was so much more fun when the writing was strangely odd instead oddly angry. Which reminds me of something else but that can wait. I've had enough for now.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Protecting Us From The Hooded Claw Since 1821

I really like Martin Kelner. I can't help it. His podcasts are truly terrible, a totally unprofessional mixture of bad jokes, appalling accents and woeful singing. And yet I have subscribed even though I now have to pay. From time to time I listen to his BBC Radio Leeds show, even though I live in London (although his untimely sacking has led to him charging for his podcasts...). And I make a point of reading his Screen Break column in the Guardian.

Today I have been rewarded with this excellent piece on my current bete noir ("Edouard, what's the French for bete noir?" "Martin, we don't have one."), Inside Sport.

Read. Enjoy. Complain to the BBC about the utter shite they are passing off as journalism. Or you could try posting on their "blog" (cough) and wait to see if they bother to add it to their celebratory comments.

Friday, 11 May 2007

I'll have egg and chips please

And maybe some baked beans. And a sausage. Or four.

That's what I'd put on the Great British Menu.

Actually I'd probably make it slightly more sophisticated as I've never cooked egg and chips anyway. But that's not the point. But then nothing ever is. With my militant Marxist head on I'd like to question why a group of chefs who produce expensive food out of the range of the ordinary people are producing expensive food that doesn't fulfill its primary purpose of sating hunger to be served to a group of elitist Frenchmen (that's not all Frenchmen, just the group the food will be served to) in the opulent surroundings of the expensively produced British Embassy.


With my lazy arse head on (?) I find it very hard to get worked up about it at all. It's just not interesting enough. A bit like that whole Paris Hilton thing. Friends expect me to be angry with her for whatever it is she did and rant about how it is typical of the celebrity obsessed nature of English-speaking societies that she can seek to overturn her sentence because of who she is. But I can't be bothered to have an opinion about her at all. Someone please explain to me why I should have an opinion about her or the Great British Menu.

And for the record, I'd serve toad in the hole. As her last meal.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

I got yet another email from the Daily Telegraph this morning

The editor of the Telegraph wrote to me. He did! The email had his picture and everything. He said he wanted to know what I thought of his paper so I followed the link. Of course, imagine my surprise when it turn out to be nothing more than a brazen effort to find out what products they can sell me. So, back to the original email I went and low and behold I discovered that the silly man had left his email address on it. I'd have used a 'no reply' jobbie (if I knew how to do it of course).

Mr William Lewis - Editor, Daily Telegraph

Anyway, this is what I wrote:

Thank you for your email. I don't expect you to read this. Perhaps one of your junior bods will have the pleasure of ignoring it on your behalf.

Here's what I would like to see. I would like to the Telegraph contribute to a debate rather than spout one dimensional Tory propaganda. I'd like to read columnists who have something to discuss rather pour personal bile and prejudice out. I'd like to hear alternative view points given and considered. I'd like the Telegraph to actually admit when someone with an alternative view is correct or has done something good. I'd like you to admit that not everything this government had done has been to feather its own nest and that perhaps it has made the odd decision on the basis that they think it will improve the country. I'd like the Telegraph to admit that the country isn't going to the dogs (stop apeing the Mail) and I'd really like you to get Alan Hansen to write something outside his comfort zone. Get him to actually research a piece and prevent him from using cliches. For goodness sake, he was interesting once (about 1999 I think) but like many who receive unquestioning support from their employers because they mistakenly think their name brings readers to the paper, he has got lazy and predictable. And I'm not even going to start on your other one-dimensional sports "journos".

Thank you for the time it has taken to delete this email. I'm sure I will sleep better tonight knowing that you will automatically assume that you know best. On the other hand, feel free to get in touch and criticise the quality of my writing.

Monday, 7 May 2007

It's called Dovetailing. No one really knows why.

Consider the lilies. Consider the rousing climax in the snooker. Quickly go back the lilies.

Two things are apparent tonight.

For the love of god will someone stop calling Inside Sport 'journalism'. If that's journalism then there really is a need for Steve Davis to be wearing fulling evening regalia at a quarter to one on a Tuesday morning. Guess what? Andy Murray, a tennis player, nominally from these fair shores, would like to play tennis in the Olympics when they come to these fair shores.

Well bugger me sideways with a fish fork. I'd never had guessed that he might dream of wanting to do that.

And to cap that, the BBC's investigative sporting shit stirrer Mihir 'Conspiracy' Bose has revealed tonight that someone from a foreign country wants to buy a football club from these fair shores.

Mind you, he then rather ruins the story by claiming the club is Charlton. He could have picked a club someone cares about rather than the archetypal 'well-run/family orientated/community/too lazy to do anything other than send a border collie out to do my research and then rehash some tired old generalisations' tripe that follows Charlton around.

What worries me the most is my genuine love for the BBC and my acceptance that they still do this tripe better than anyone else (cue rousing rendition of "There's Always Be An England" with England scrubbed out and replaced with United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). For all the Murdoch Millions behind Sky Spots (sic) News, if there isn't a Sky Sports product to be promoted then it aint getting on.

If a wicket falls in the forest and there's no one watching county cricket, can we truly say that it's out?

And the BBC is sadly going the same way. News programmes cover blatant adverts for TV programmes to follow later in the day. Consequence? They depend upon each other. News journalism can go soft in the knowledge there's always a story to be thrown their way. Programme makers know their product can be promoted across the BBC networks and can even create a news story (Gary Richardson you useless bastard, I'm talking to you here even though you're on radio you Alan Partridge wannabe) for the many platforms to gobble up because they're too lazy to find something themselves and so on.


Now, about those lilies...

Quick poser

Monday 7th May.

You have 45 minutes to salvage an entire year's work.
No one really cares if you make it or not.

Who are you?

Answer in 45 minutes?
Although probably not due to a total lack of interest on the part of anyone whatsoever.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

I don't mean to be rude. Was I being rude?

Sports journalism is one of those over-confident areas, so sure of itself because it deals in big names and big fan numbers. When a new show comes along that wants to be taken seriously and is described in these terms:

Inside Sport is new, so it's not emulating anything. Our aim is to have a good balance of original journalism, features that other areas of television don't have the inclination to do, and interviews that have more depth about the individual.

then the inclination is always going to be to knock it as pretentious twaddle. The nature of this programme is to create news content for all the 24 hour providers connected with the channel (in this case, BBC News24 and Five Live). Here's the big scoop the BBC's new sports journalism programme Inside Sport managed last night:

Chelsea captain John Terry says he has spoken to the club about becoming their manager when he retires.

Stunning. Absolutely stunning. The blurb has pretentions way and above the content. Once again proving that simply because we have more information, it doesn't mean we have better information.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

We wait, more in hope than expectation

Secure Mail Services, neither secure nor much of a mail service, are hopefully, finally scheduled to be here between 12 and 2. I wait, all baited in the breath department.

UPDATE: They came at 13:55.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Secure Mail Services (Part Two)

Dear sir,

You are a liar. We did try to deliver your package. Your door entry system may well be linked to your caller id telephone. And it may well display DOOR when someone presses your number. And you didn't have DOOR displayed on Friday other than for the other two people who came to your property when they said they would. And we didn't call your mobile number even though we specifically asked for it. But you are a liar. We did try to deliver the package.


Secure (sic) Mail Services

Secure Mail Services

So secure, in fact, are the services of Secure Mail Services that they don't deliver. Security therefore is threefold. You are secure in your residence. Their drivers are secure in the cafe. My package is secure in the depot. Everybody is happy, even if they don't realise it.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Dear Sir,

Or Madam, because in fact we couldn't be bothered to read what you sent us, that includes the letter attached to your other sheets, I suppose we should call them a manuscript. Anyway, the basic gist is that whatever you sent us to read is being returned in this envelope because we couldn't be bothered to read it, however we are sending you this note to give the impression that we at least glanced at it although we are aware that only a monkey in the middle of lobotomy conducted by some half-eaten scampi will be gullible enough to believe us. At least we're keeping the Post Office busy and, in the end, isn't that the most important thing?

Yours, with a distinct lack of sincerity, whatever the letter says,

A.N. Agent

Monday, 9 April 2007

The Marching Song of the Covert Battalions

"Within minutes flames leapt into the sky along the banks of the Thames from burning warehouses and factories... Acrid black smoke from the bombed warehouse of the Silvertown rubber factory flowed across the North Woolwich Road, bogging down fire engines, ambulances and Civil Defence vehicles. The ghastly fumes of rubber, tar and paint mixed with a sweet odour of caramel as Tate & Lyle's sugar barges blazed."

North Woolwich, April 6th 2007 Photograph "borrowed" from (
There is, of course nearly sixty seven years between the report and the picture. The report is taken from Juliet Gardiner's Wartime: Britain at War 1939-1945, a period of history, an element of the war that seems to be neglected, much like the area round here which took a fearful pounding. But much like the area today it scarcely warrants much of a mention. It's not a pretty area and although the north bank of the river may well get the boost of the 2012 knock on effect, it's still an area in need of regeneration. Of course, regeneration only works if it also regenerates the community currently living there, giving them a greater reason to participate and integrate. It's amazing how often solving the poverty gap reduces the social gap.
The fire last week was reported. It made the news! Well, the local news but considering the local news has a reach of around 8-10 million people (although an actual audience of three bored children waiting for their tea and a stoned hamster).
It's a shame no one made the link back to September 7th, 1940.
I've been reading about wartime Britain to aid some research I'm undertaking. It's a confusing period but a fascinating one. Descriptions of the Blitz leave me shuddering but wondering whether or not we bother to appreciate the bombing we conducted. We all know what images the word Dresden brings to mind but there's still a feeling, albeit relatively unspoken these days, that they had it coming. But us noble Brits, well, we really suffered.
We still haven't really come to terms with the idea that wars are brought about by a few people and conducted by the masses. Dying on someone else's behalf if not my idea of fun. Being the victim of bombing as a non-combatant (as I believe the terminology makes us) is even more pointless whether you are German, Japanese, British in World War Two or Iraqi, Iranian, British of Brazilian in the War on Terror (sic). But as Juliet Gardiner's book makes clear, there were many people who profited from the wartime economy, legally or otherwise. Although the Sun and ITV are £100,000 poorer and an individual member of the armed forces £100,000 richer, this is not a cause for celebration of redistribution of wealth. As a national it leaves us morally bankrupt.

Friday, 23 February 2007

And in all the excitement of multiple seaside visits I nearly missed it.

The return of Danger Mouse

Ah, them were days, when men were men and international heroes were mice. Gawd bless BBC2 for showing it. A quick glance at the old schedules suggests it's not on next week (crikey!). So for all you who've missed it this week (crumbs!) it's off to the DVD store for you.

Mind you the animation is/was pretty crappy anyway.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

You went where?

Four days ago I got back from lovely Bilbao.
Twenty four hours ago I was trekking back from

Or sunny Southend as it's otherwise known.
Now it's a bit of an unfair comparison due to the time of day/quality of camera etc etc etc.
But there's a world of difference between stepping off the train at Southend Victoria to be confronted by a concrete circle of hell and the graceful style of Bilbao. There's several hectares difference between the sophisticated if somewhat faded chic of the sea-side suburbs to the north of Bilbao and the bright lights of the front at Southend in February. And you have to cross the galaxy to find a greater difference than the one that exists between the cool, cultured (if decidedly weird) Basque variations on the tapas theme and this:

Didn't Teddy Taylor used to MP for Sarfend on Sea? Teddy, "I'll defend England 'til I die even though I'm Scottish" Taylor? I could be wrong. But if he was, I get the feeling he was defending the indefensible. Those crazy continentals know a thing or two, Teddy. Perhaps we could even learn something from them about food, culture, bars, transport.
And football. Despite the glory of the mighty Crystal Palace's thumping (i.e. extremely lucky) one nil win over Southend United, the game was of the most atrocious standard (and I use the word standard with due caution). So bad was it that we felt no guilt about arriving late and leaving early. And as much as I loathe the indentikit blandness of Pride Park, the "Walkers" stadium, the Stadium of Light and so on, the sooner Roots Hall gets turned in low-cost housing the better everyone will feel. When the best things about a football ground are the turnstiles, you know you're in for a bad evening.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Where in the world is this monster?

Te he he.
A few days in the sun, a spot of culture and Rioja. And although these pictures do not really show Bilbao at it's most beautiful (and it is, in places, very beautiful) I'm putting them here anyway.

I have often been accused of being obsessed with the Woolwich Ferry although that exclusion order is frankly a disgrace. So I have to travel to the Basque Country to get satisfaction. It's an odd attraction, the transporter bridge. It's even funnier how they charge you 30 cents to ride its mechanised transporter thingy and 4 euros to walk across the non-mechanised bit at the top.

Everywhere you look their trees are ready for the next shot of the Magnificent Seven.

And now that the actors are here...

Ok already, that's enough. It's early and I have the gym to go to and an essay to write...

Monday, 12 February 2007

And the last shall be first and the first shall be last

Or to paraphrase Billy Bragg:

Help Save The Youth of Australia.

There was a moment, just one special moment for me. When Strauss caught Ponting. The reaction of the England team was not one of surprise but of belief. At that moment they weren't mopping brows because the greatest batsman of his generation was out cheaply, they were celebrating in a manner that suggested a win was inevitable.
And they won.
So I guess it was.
But thank god that tour's over and I can rest my radio until the latter stages of the World Cup (not that I'm expecting us to beat the giants of Bolivia and Guam (or whoever it is that clogs up the group stages of the second most pointless world cup - after rugby league...)

Friday, 9 February 2007

About fucking time too.

Rickey Ponting, Glen Mcgrath, Don Bradman, Alf Ramsey, John Howard, all the bar staff and supply teachers in London, Paul Hogan, David Campese, Jim Robinson, Burke and Wills, Men At Work, Skippy the Kangeroo, Oliva Newton John, Dame Edna Everage:
Your boys took one hell of beating.*

Picture from BBC website courtesy of my license fee.

(Ok, here's a slightly more accurate take on the actual translation but the first one was much more fun)
We are best in the world! We are best in the world! We have beaten Australia at cricket!! It is completely unbelievable! We have beaten Australia! Australia, birthplace of giants. Paul Hogan, David Campese, Jim Robinson, Men At Work, Skippy the Kangeroo--we have beaten them all. We have beaten them all. John Howard can you hear me?
John Howard, I have a message to you during your election campaign. I have a message to you: We have knocked Australia back in the Commonwealth Bank series of cricket. John Howard, as they say in your language in boxing bars around Madison Square Garden in New York: Your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!"

(Just don't mention the test series, please)

Normal service resumed...

Left flat at the end of the second over of England's reply. By the time I got to the gym three wickets had been lost.
It's better now.
We still wont win.
But in the spirit of the day I salute our dour bravery (?) with this:

Er, this doesn't sound right

I woke up around five and as has been the habit, stuck the cricket on the radio expecting to hear doom, gloom and disaster. And I did. Ponting and Hayden were on the go, and how. One hour later and suddenly it's time for a jig in the style of:

Now, I'm not suffering any delusions of associated grandeur. I know how this teams work. They shall overcome, we shall be undercooked. However, I know a bit more about cricket then your average media commentator/mug punter and there's always hope. That's why 170-1 can become 250-9.
Of course, to use the expression us followers of both Crystal Palace Football Club and the England cricket team are only too painfully aware of, and in homage to Escape To Victory:
"Come on lads, we can still loose this."

Thursday, 8 February 2007

There's No Smoke Without Fire

I'm sure that's probably not entirely true. What do I know? I have an F for my GCSE in Chemistry which I often proudly told students, especially when covering Science lessons for weird professor types who, despite being exactly forty-three brain cells and two A levels short of starting a medical degree, should really have known more about looking after themselves in the winter time.
If there a point? Not usually. Anyway, here's a question for those of you out there in Her Britannic Maj's United Kingdom of So On And So Forth. The estimable Matt Haynes has said that for the third issue running he'd quite like to use something I'd submitted for Smoke (see links on the side guys). And that's brilliant because I love that magazine. But I feel I need to branch out a bit as well. Don't get me wrong, I plan to keep submitting to Smoke as long as I have ideas in my brain (stop drumming your fingers dear reader). Well, where are the opportunities? Ambit looks a bit, well, erm, pretentiously intimidating. Same for Stand. And don't even bother mentioning Granta. And there are some ho-hum websites around. Come on, I challenge you, where are the British Lit Mags that take things from little old writers like little old me?
And I'm not bothered whether or not they pay. Really. I'm not.
So, what do you think?
Out with it?

Friday, 2 February 2007

Riding Along In My Automobile, My Baby Beside Me At The Wheel

Every time I start one of these I know picture myself narrating The Wonder Years. And frankly that's getting annoying. Little did we know at the time...
Worth mentioning that Decoration's new CD, Flippant, is out and jolly fine it is too. Candidate is a blinder of a song in anyone's book although I'm not convinced this is the best version of it that exists. Oh, get me. Anyway, follow the link on the right and by the latest CD from the least hard working band in British rock! (makes stupid gesture with his fingers even though the term "rawk" doesn't actually apply to Decoration because they're the band that could make you like the Wedding Present, should you be so inclined, which, let's face it, not many people are. So, big recommendation from me then) Ok, I've got a reason why you should buy it, how many albums do you own that have songs with the word "fickle" in the title? Well, this one has got two! There you go.

So, this weekend I will be:
Using words like fickle and harrumph.
In the Bluebottle pub in Crystal Palace, annoying Liverpool fans while they try and watch the "Merseyside Derby" (insert squeaky voice) by adapting their songs to suggest that they might not win anything this year or by telling them they should support their local team however crap they are.
Supporting my local team, however crap they are (actually, technically Charlton, Millwall and West Ham are now more local than my beloved CPFC but that's not the point).
Getting half cut in The Cut (geddit, huh, huh, oh ok, it's a street near Waterloo with some bars on it).
And, retrieving half of my CD collection from the world's most environmental pixie (he's the man who put the mental into...) on Sunday. This will be the best part of the weekend, not because I love my CD collection (harrumph) but because the pixie and I haven't seen each other for ages (he lives in some backward country now, Gloucestershire I think it's called. It may be near the Cook Islands) and he wont have seen me in my new, improved, thin, contact lens, vaguely all right looking state. As Brian Moore (whose head looked uncannily like the London Planetarium) once said as Alan Pardew actually managed to pass the ball accurately for Ian Wright to score in the play-off final, second leg, against Blackburn in 1989, "That's the part I like."

Monday, 29 January 2007

Every picture tells a story but sometimes the story is similar from picture to picture

Get the picture? Right, let's go.
This was last Monday. Or was it Tuesday. Anyway, the water over the rail covers a footpath. I live in sight of the Thames Barrier. The wrong side of the Thames Barrier. The high tide level was high anyway but the whole of the barrier was up. Now, call me thick if you like but this surely means that the tide level down 'ere in old Woolwich Town was even higher as a result. I'm in one of the thin white buildings on the left here, sixth floor, don't panic the water wasn't that high. What do you mean you weren't panicking? What do you mean why are talking to yourself? What do you mean... enough already.

The sign here being obscured by the flash gives out details of how to contact the coastguard. Previously thought this was a redundant sign but if the tides keep rising then I may need them (or a small boat of my own) if I want to walk along the path there. The path that leads to Thamesmead. I appear to be able to hear the drumming of fingers on tables.

Or if I can't find a boat then I could always find an alternative means of transportation...
(Warning, you may need to tilt your head to view this picture properly. Grrrr, grrrrrrrrr, hrumph)

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Now, lets all have a long hard think about this.

And we need to have a think too. Primarily we need to think about the last week because although the big story appears to be solely a media issue, it does actually reflect the way in which we use language in this country. And homophobic tendencies are just as apparent as racist ones. And sexist and so on.
So, when the "woman" as the centre of the storm is quoted in the News of the World this morning as saying

"things that I may not think are racist can actually be racist"

then we have to take notice. This is a simple, profound statement. Read it. Think about it. Read it again. Once we accept the point then we can move forward. I may not intend to offend but if someone finds my remarks offensive then they are offensive and in the future I shall have to consider my remarks, better still I must try to understand why someone might find my remarks offensive and learn from it. If we do not accept this simple point then we are stuck as a society. And think, Jade Goody (and her advisors) could end up being a force for good. Now who would have thought that?

Friday, 19 January 2007

Let There Be No Doubt

Who knows, who knows / I might never have found you / Touching your toes / in the alpine section of the garden centre / where anything grows

From time to time it's hard to avoid this sounding like the Wonder Years, a drippy voice over about things we learnt that weren't previously aware of. It's also annoyingly tough to actually write something here sometimes because I want to be specific but feel uncomfortable without hte backup of being able to say "aha, it's only fiction." Fiction hides everything. It can be about you but also an extension of you, you are a starting point. And yet really it is you. Or at least the you you wanted to be. still want to be or were afraid that you had become.
So, it's not really a surprise that I'm finding it hard to write here about the genuinely brilliant situation that has developed over the last 7-10 days. Really genuinely fantastic. And I can't write about it. But I think I get it. It's because I want to live it first. The moment it turns into a piece of writing then it is an experience to be shared with all manner of other people. But in truth it's an experience that only two people ought to share. I'm not saying you don't deserve to know. Hang on, that might actually be what I'm saying. No, maybe, I'm not sure.
Not every moment of everyone's life needs to be shared as a mediated experience because then the experience is no longer your own, you no longer own it for yourself. So, I think I've got there, I want to own this experience for as long as possible. So, still with me? I'll make sure I waffle on here about any old crap because, for the moment, I'm keeping the good stuff to myself.
And I make no apologies for it.
And I'm sorry about that.

Sunday, 14 January 2007

I lied, I lied, I lied, I lied, I lied, I lied

Tag mission no nearer completion.

Things I like this week:
New Mexico
Ticking boxes
Change (and not the small kind)
The NFT (Maltese Falcon last Friday, Casablanca next, who needs new releases? Well, ok, I am going there to see a preview of Hot Fuzz in February so I guess I do - the level of excitement I'm feeling explains the small change gag)
And the rest.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Bear with me.

Oh labels. How exciting. Now, wait a second or two while I go through and label up the posts and then refine the labels. Ok, it may take me quite a while, not becuase of the number of posts but because of the shame of using the word nitwit in the previous post. I may never live that down.
The shame, the shame.

And now, with the time coming up to eight forty, it's thought for the day.

Institutional blogging must stop.
Whilst the BBC and the Guardian are two of the media institutions I hold dear (well, probably the only two really) their insistance on calling everything on their websites "a blog" to indicate it is an opinion piece is really an abuse of terminology. It's an editorial, it's a column, it seems it's whatever they want it to be. But in truth all they've become is an excuse for nitwits that while away a couple of hours at work by getting in to a slagging match at the end of said "blog".
This is not democracy guys, this is not an expression of your communicative rights. It's, oh what's the point.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Notes and queries

1) I really need to get up off the sofa now.
2) I guess Gabor's on his way back.
3) Good intentions can only last for so long.
4) Can we define what exactle constitutes "false idols" in the year 2007 because I swear there's a lot of worshipping going on.
5) We really ought to have a bash at "worshipping" as well. If it boils down to doing something for only an hour a week then I've got this West Wing thing going on. We should clear it up. Is it possible to worship without realising? If so we need to check back on that false idols thing again.
6) Is it possible to be a practising aethiest? And yes, I know I am asking a simple, naive blah blah question based upon a common misunderstanding.
7) I appear to have lost my mug. It was here a moment ago.
8) Yup, good intentions are gone (oom bop bop good intentions). She's giving me excitations.
9) Can I make ten?
10) I guess the answer to that is no.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

With no particular axe to grind. Part Three.

Prendre vous vu se que ils faits à Dial Square?
C'est maintenant une parc de stationnement.
(I suspect this translation website I'm using is a dial of steaming manure but until my A level French comes back to me - I failed - I'll keep on using it)
I have no particular axe to grind against Arsenal. I'm a Palace fan. Four times I went to Highbury to see my team play (my team! Delusions) and we lost 4-0, 4-1, 4-0 and 5-1. Thanks. Highbury is now on the way to becoming a housing estate. But Dial Square is now a car park. For those of you who don't care enough to know/read on, Dial Square is the original name of Arsenal FC, it being the part of the Woolwich Arsenal where the players worked. Only one side of the square remains but as the whole site is being constantly developed (and it looks pretty good actually) more car parking space is required.
I think I think it's a shame (if you see what I mean) but I'm not sure. I suppose that everything changes at some stage but it seems a shame that when so much of the site is listed that this one relatively small area couldn't be set aside for, I don't a Square with a bit of grass and maybe even a couple of goals. Still, I wonder if any Arsenal fans care. Perhaps they'll all be clambouring for the spaces.
I don't really know if I'm trying to make a point about anything. The importance of football in our culture? Whether or not concrete is part of our culture? Preservation of historic sites and whether or not we sacrifice recent history in favour of the more glamourous past? Does history matte anyway? Is it anything other than a series of codes devised to impart a sense of an artificial national identity?
But maybe it's just a story about une parc de stationnement. But sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar. Sometimes it's a smoke
Enough already

With no particular axe to grind. Part Two.

Répéter après moi.

Ça matinée J'ai acheté une paire de pantoufles.

Je m'appelle Andew.

Je suis soixante-dix ans.


With no particular axe to grind. Part One.

Do you think it bothers the French that although the main language across the globe, culturally, economically, politically and diplomatically is English although we still use the expression lingua franca (which to the best of my knowledge isn't even french).
Answers sur une carte postale (or is it un carte postale? You see, that's where it all goes wrong).
Anyway, today nous celebrate the gloire de francais (except sans les accents if you know what I mean) until I get bored of it.
Cinque minutes peut-etre?

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Of spice and zen

If you can discover that the same man wrote the screenplays of North by North West and The Sound of Music.
If you can stop this worrying trend of eating pickled onions straight from the jar.
If you can continue listening to Test Match Special even though you're 4-0 down and already behind on 1st innings score before lunch on the third day.
If you can still hope that maybe, just maybe your football team wont embarrass themselves against lower league opposition in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
If you can ignore that twat in the pub who confused place of birth with the artificial construct of national identity and finish your IPA without stabbing in the eye with your Anti-Nazi League badge.
Then you'll be a slightly confused alpha male my son.