Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Vicus Scurra has been having problems with BT's automated voices telling him what to do.

It seems that everywhere we turn, humans have been replaced by faulty machines. I am frequently intimidated by the automated checkouts at Sainsbury's supermarket.

When they were first introduced, I would still instinctively head for the queue waiting for the human checkout option, in the belief that the now underemployed workers (face it, mainly middle aged mums who aren't paid much) would be booted out of their jobs and replaced by machines. Unfortunately, if you are seen to have less than 50 items in your basket, someone on the shop floor will swoop down on you to usher you to the automated checkout. You have to give in.

You are then subjected to a form of sensory overload as you run the items over the bar code. The prices are read out to you by a woman whose voice suggests she is approaching a not-very-thrilling orgasm ... ONE...NINETY...FIVE! EIGHTY...THREE...PENCE! However, you are lucky if you can price all the items up without the addition of the killer announcement "UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA". This is spoken by a silver haired lothario in Farah slacks and an eggshell-blue turtle neck sweater. He used to perform with the Cliff Adams Singers of Radio Two's popular "Sing Something Simple" programme, and has recently "found happiness" with his fifth wife, a 29 year old researcher for Tyne Tees Television. Anyway, at this juncture a pimply youth will appear and will attempt to correct the fault by pressing a number of keys and then going to get Dawn who, joyfully, twenty minutes later, manages to eradicate the problem.

By the time you are asked to pay the voices in the machine will have asked you a number of intimate personal questions about your financial situation, any embarrassing medical conditions you may have, and whether or not you have considered rudimentary plastic surgery as, face it, you're looking a bit "tired" and all your friends think that but they're too nice to admit it to you.

In 1987, a slightly drunken friend announced that, by the year 2000 "we will all be flying around in cups and saucers". The future has proved more terrible than she could ever have imagined.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Ye gods and little fishes. It seems that I have been tagged again. The last time I did this sort of thing I managed to spin it out for over a week because I don't like talking about myself. I am a deeply uninteresting person, as I will prove now. This time I'm approaching it like a Brazilian wax: it is best to get it over and done with in the shortest amount of time.


* Receptionist at a leisure centre, with an indoor bowls class led by a one eyed man (Wednesdays) and an over 65's dance class (Thursday afternoons) (a psychedelic explosion of lavender/strawberry pink/lilac/blue rinses). I certainly smashed through the glass ceiling in the get-ahead '80's, didn't I?
* Something I had to sign the Official Secrets Act for.
* Shorthand typist/receptionist/general dogsbody for a light roofing company. After I left, someone who was owed money by the boss turned up brandishing a gun.
* Telephonist for a Crown And County Court. One of the cases going through when I was there was the split between Stan Collymore (later known as the Dogging Footballer) and his girlfriend.

Perhaps you can see from the above why my sociology lecturer of about 10 years back suggested I should "expand my horizons" in looking for work. I didn't take his advice.


* The Sound Of Music (except for the Lonely Goatherd bit, which I fast forward through).
* Vertigo.
* The 400 Blows (oooh, get her!).
* Most of the Powell and Pressburger ones.


Pathetically, I've only lived in two places:

* Hednesford, Staffordshire, England, UK.
* Bexleyheath, Kent, Arse End Of England, UK.


* Coronation Street.
* Curb Your Enthusiasm.
* Celebrity Big Brother this time, unfortunately. It is like a Tennessee Williams play on crack.
* The Thick Of It.


* Colwyn Bay (from the ages of three to eight inclusive).
* Berlin.
* Prague.
* Tenerife (where I nearly died).


* Alastair Campbell.
* James Coburn (deceased).
* David Essex (well, when I was 13) (and James Hunt) (and dreamy Eric Stewart of 10cc).
* Thierry Henry.
* Rhys Ifans is lovely but seems to have made a career out of being in lousy films. I like a good Welshman.
* Sasha Distel (deceased). I think all women reach an age when they start to like Frenchmen. Possibly.
* Peter Cook.
Is that four yet?


Er, there are too many ... I don't want to be accused of "favoritism".


* 1979. I wouldn't have a bad back, or bingo wings, and I would have made more of an effort to get good grades in my O-levels so that I could face a future with a glittering career which didn't involve working as a recepionist at a leisure centre. Hmm.
* 1988. I'm not saying why.
* Lanzarote. It's very cold at the moment, obviously.
* Under the influence of cough mixture and painkillers. I'm not ill.


* Leninology
* K-Punk
* Vicus Scurra
* Ian Penman

(I am, of course, joking about the last bit. Anyone who wants to be tagged can but I don't want to be accused of "favoritism" or "sadistic tendencies").

UPDATE: The Cheesemeister has volunteered to be tagged ...


Vote! Vote Pete Burns!

Vote! Vote Caroline!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I think I am going to be mentioning blogging awards a bit this week, so anyone who isn't a blogger is going to be even more bored than usual. Sorry.

It must be such a privilege to judge all those blogs up for awards - pages and pages of purple prose from all those eager folks angling for a publishing contract pouring their hearts out for us.
Of course, none of this goes on at the arse end of blogging, where those of us who type out a load of ill-conceived rubbish attract hardly any viewers and lots of people doing Google searches for Claire Nazir (incorrect spelling - my greatest blogging triumph is to have at one point been the number one Google search for Claire Nasir spelt Claire Nazir, so I am going to have to keep mentioning her every so often). Who, though is going to represent us - the crap bloggers?

I think there should be a crap blogging awards. If blogging is a great democracy, why should all the Coldplays keep on getting the awards? Besides, what is all this pro-blogging nonsense? Blogging in its purest form is written by nobodies, FOR nobodies.

So I'm going to put forward a few blogs for nomination for this year's Crappies (Crap Blogging Awards). Perhaps it will inspire other people to think of blogs which have bored them.

LIVING WITH HALITOSIS - The daily diary of 36 year old Timothy from Chipping Norton. People give him a wide berth but he refuses to give in. Details his frequent visits to the dentist, homeopathic remedies, purchase of a tongue scraper etc.

I'M A GLOATING GRAN! - Happy, contented, smug Barbara, aged 57, has taken early retirement along with her husband, has a big fuck-off house, four cars in the drive, is always jetting off to their holiday home in the Algarve, and most importantly of all, has FOUR BEAUTIFUL GRANDCHILDREN. She posts up endless pictures of them on a daily basis, to which broody women respond by leaving comments along the lines of "ooooh, he is WAY cuuuute!!"

KYLE'S WORLD - Diary of a teenager from Connecticut. Hey, he has to, like, do his homework by, like, the day after tomorrow?? and it is like a *total* bummer and he is having girl trouble but, y'know, he is going to hang with his friends in town tonight so that should be okay??

WHOSE WHO - The world's most exhaustive Doctor Who site! No, really! Join in the 60 page discussion on the forum about who was the most fanciable Doctor's assistant!

MAUREEN'S OBVIOUS BLOG - Nah, only joking.

BETTY'S UTILITY ROOM - Occasional, erratic, plodding posts from past-it, jaded, bitter housewife who never sees the good in anything or anybody. Stop WHINING you old hag.

Embrace life, embrace crap. There is a lot of it out there after all. Keep clicking on that Next Blog thing in the top right hand corner of the page if you don't believe me.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Well, my recent dreams that will come true post went down like the proverbial lead balloon, so it is probably best to stick to the same path of reader alienation. I should say that the disturbing dreams are at least preferable to my frequent episodes of sleep paralysis, which seem to have subsided for the time being.


Sunday night: I am preparing to do a comedy sketch which will be beamed round the world in that same way as the Beatles singing "All You Need Is Love" in 1967. I am the support act to ... Frank Skinner who will be singing a couple of standards in the Frank Sinatra style (I know. Few things could be worse). God I'm nervous, but am applying and re-applying my make up like Pete Burns on Celebrity Big Brother. My foundation is several shades too light.

The show is being held in the grounds of a hotel on the south coast (it seems to be in Herne Bay) and it is a freezing cold but sunny day. I'm in the hotel room when someone pops their head around the door. It is fiery ball of energy, Scots singing poppet Lulu, who has an announcement.

"I'm sorry, but you and Frank may as well go home. Your services are not required any more. It's been decided that my son is going to be singing some of his songs instead"

A smug smile plays on her lips.

"He's such a talent, my boy".

I wake up before I get the chance to throttle her.


Are the vocal group from the Sheila's Wheels car insurance advert the 1962 Girls Aloud?


It seems that in 1962 the blonde one who rolls her eyes a lot is carrying on with Danny Blanchflower of Tottenham Hotspur.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I could barely crawl out of bed this morning, which is always a sign of a night well enjoyed. I was out at the annual South London blogmeet.

We gathered at the Morrison's supermarket car park, Erith, at 2.30 am. What a meeting of the minds it was! Topics discussed included whether or not the Iran situation could escalate out of control, the River Cafe recipes in the Saturday Guardian, the new licensing laws, people whose fucking car alarms go off at all hours of the day, how little Chantelle is a lovely girl and how there are no sides to her and how she will probably go on to win it now, whether avian 'flu poses a real threat to anyone in South London, whether or not Jack Douglas is still alive, how you can get tins of tomato puree for 7p in Asda and how Shane Ward's song has that fucking predictable key change where the TOTP audience all whoop with glee, like all them sort of songs have. It got a bit confusing at times because the more people drank, the more they talked over each other.

There was much discussion of the impending release of the Lewisham Roof Felters Choir's version of Minnie Ripperton's Lovin' You.

Many thanks must go out to Harvey (retired), formerly of Harvey's Fish Bar, Erith Road, Bexleyheath, who laid on the catering - three jars of pickled eggs and numerous saveloy (is the plural saveloys? Savelii?). The booze and fags came courtesy of that off license in Barnehurst whose name escapes me. Thanks all round, folks!

I'm happy to report that arrests were down by 37 per cent on last year's figures, which is very encouraging.

I can confidently say that the South London bloggers can now hold their own up against those North London toffs. Who are they all anyway - they all say "ooh, well I work in publishing actually" (i.e., on a secondhand bookstall on a market) or "ooh, I'm in the media actually" (i.e., continuity announcer on UK Gold Plus One Hour).

The Saaarfff will rise again.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Each day 85,000 blogs are created. This means there is now only a limited amount of room in what used to be called cyberspace. Drastic measures are required. It has been announced that within the next month, all blogs with an average of less than 40 comments per post (if you are a blogger and you're not Jonny B or Scary Duck, this means YOU) will be obliged to share their blog with someone else.

In this spirit, it is with great pride that I announce that I am following the Government's new Blogshare initiative, and welcome a new roommate. Think of it as taking in a lodger (and hoping that they don't have gangland connections or pass really smelly stools).

'utch up, there's room for a little one!



Hi and welcome to the very first entry of my new weblog!

Betty has very kindly loaned me the use of her weblog for one day a month (for a nominal payment) and I'll be talking about all the things that are happening around me! I hope you enjoy it!!

I'm new to the weblogging craze but I'm sure we'll make friends over the months and years!

I'm a 33 year old mum of Matthew (aged 6 - otherwise known as Obvious Junior Major!!!) and Molly (aged 3 - otherwise known as Obvious Junior Minor!) and I'm married to Jonathan Obvious (otherwise known as Mr O, for obvious reasons!!!!!!).

Here are some of the things I've been thinking about in the past few weeks!

* Gosh, isn't it horrible getting up on these horrible dark days at this time of year. And it's so cold - I hate having to leave the house!!!

* We took the Christmas decorations down a few days ago. I don't know about you, but I think the living room looks really BARE now!!

* Celebrity Big Brother is back on the telly - not that you could call any of them celebrities!! To me, "Preston" will always be a town in northern England!!!

* The January sales are upon us again. Gosh, they really have put some rubbish out on the racks and shelves. I was on the lookout for a pair of smart black bootleg-cut trousers and some white shirts for work but could I find anything? The shops were full of hipster jeans and tiny tops more suitable for skinny minny teenage girls!!! And the shop assistants are so rude!! Even good old Next and Marks and Sparks have let me down, and are full of teenagers' clothes!!

* I see Charles Kennedy has quit as leader of the Liberal Democrats. He seemed like a nice man but in the end he had to go really I suppose!!

* Finally, on a happier note, my son, Obvious Junior Major, came third in his class reading competition!

Anyway, until next month, take care of yourselves. This is Maureen Obvious signing off!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Last night I was watching the Billy Wilder film Witness For The Prosecution. It starred the splendid Charles Laughton.

One thing disturbed me: I could see an uncanny resemblance between Charles and *troubled* Celebrity Big "Bruv" nominee for eviction Jodie Marsh.

There is a similar glazed, myopic quality about the eyes.

If Jodie goes on to direct a film of the classic stature of The Night Of The Hunter, people will have to do a U-turn in their opinion of her.

I only saw Celebrity Big "Bruv" because the remote control was stuck on Channel 4. Honest guv.

Oh, and I know you "can't see it". It's just me, that's all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Have drafted some other posts which I will publish soon. Still, a few odds and ends from "real life" to bore you with in the interim.

* The THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of the child next door playing football in the living room until one o'clock in the morning came to a halt this week. The woman who lives in the upstairs maisonette had said that she had informed the police, so I don't know if that had something to do with it. Perhaps the child (aged about 7) has been taken away to a remand centre, or maybe it has been put down like a savage rottweiler. I do hope so. Still, it must be a letdown for the old woman: she really had something to get her teeth into, complaints wise, and now will have to go back to watching in case anyone parks in HER space in the parking bay, probably putting up even more notices warning car owners not to even THINK about leaving their car in the vicinity.

Or possibly the child returned to its mother for a week or two, and the walls will once more resound to the THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of the next generation's Wayne Rooney soon. Which is more likely.

* The neighbour who didn't speak to us for four years, for no apparent reason, has finally moved and been replaced with a couple who have a son who is about 11. They keep themselves to themselves (very encouraging ... so far) and are called Bev and Darren. The only reason we know this is that they put a card through the door at about 8 o'clock on Christmas eve, which meant I had to scribble an emergency card and put it through the door surreptitously an hour later.

* Have been watching a lot of telly, as per. Was impressed by the 1972 film Prime Cut, which was odd, funny, and involved Lee Marvin and Sissy Spacek being pursued by a dungareed in-breed in a combine harvester and Lee Marvin having a shoot out in a field of sunflowers with a load of dungareed in-breeds where he had the unfair advantage of using a machine gun. The scene where Gene Hackman eats a plate of what appears to be stewed entrails is a useful one for all you laydees who are dieting to tape, as it is very offputting. Mind you, no doubt you have all watched it a dozen times. There are huge numbers of movies I've never seen, as I wasn't allowed to watch films on telly as a child - I've only seen one James Bond film, for instance, and only saw the Great Escape for the first time last year.

Also enjoyed Bleak House, as everyone else seems to have done, and the M. R. James short stories which were re-shown over Christmas. Now the only thing that seems to be on telly is Celebrity Big Bro, so I can get on with taking up a new hobby such as macrame or collecting thimbles or some other Del Prado nonsense. Next!

* The mother-in-law is considering going to see the new Ang Lee gay cowboy flick at the cinema and Woody Allen's alleged "return to form" film. Has she started to buy Time Out? The computer is still nowhere near being set up, and probably needs another half dozen cables, at least. If they ever do go on-line, it will be like Cape Canaveral around their house.

* The husband has got to sit in on a meeting with Sharon today, possibly in the capacity of bouncer if things get a bit out of hand. Here's hoping Sharon's big, violent husband doesn't turn up to support her. Best of luck, G!

That's it.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Yesterday's headline of the day in the Metro (the commuter's freebie paper whose real name should be Yesterday's News - Today!) ...


I was hoping there would be a bit underneath in smaller writing saying


Well that one should have got the all important, tut-tutting-frostyknickers-little-Englanders whose votes will put the Conservatives back into power spluttering over their bacon roll and latte.

Unfortunately David C. was talking about his musical preferences. He also has a liking for Pulp, Blur and Radiohead (all popular around the time of New Labour's 1997 landslide victory ... is he playing Freudian games with potential voters' heads?)

That'll be something to make Laughing Boy out of Radiohead even more happy then.


... that title has something to do with the subject matter and might draw in a few punters who would otherwise peruse Girl With A One Track Mind. Just think about it - I'm saving you from your own mortal sin! Put the tissues away!

Anyway, 2006 is going to be the year that all my dreams come true, at long last.


On Monday night I dreamt that I was strolling along the front of a coastal resort in Tenerife with my mother. She has been turning up in my dreams frequently despite being dead for 26 years: I only knew her for 16 years "on the earthly plain" as barmy old women would describe it. Phew! Spooooky! She was young, slim and lovely (rather like she was in photos before she gave birth to me. Yet another reason I'm glad I haven't had children - she went from fitting into a size 8 wedding dress to being a "mumsy" (eugh) size 16, always following some unsuccessful diet or another). She was wearing a lovely 1950's style flouncy green dress with one of those big swishy skirts and had a tiny waist. We had the following conversation:

ME: "God, the architecture here is more like something you'd find in Istanbul than anything Spanish!"

HER: "Oh don't be ridiculous! Don't you realise that there is a heavy Islamic influence on a lot of Spanish design. Look at Gaudi, for example."

ME: "Yeah, but I'm just thinking of some of the Spanish towns I've visited."

HER: "Such as?"

ME: "Erm ... er ... Barcelona and Madrid".

We are to conclude that my mother has turned into a middle class travel writer and I am a clueless nerd who tries to bluff my way through conversations with people who know a hell of a lot more than me.

The latter is DEFINITELY TRUE.


Wednesday night: the Sun newspaper reports that the guitarist and bass player from the very first line up of the Fall have died on the same day - both had been "celebrating" their 54th birthdays as well. Spooooky! Guitarist Alan Gardner had been a painter and decorator since being booted out of the Fall in 1975, and had died of a heart attack. Bass player Jim Green was living in reduced circumstances after years of heroin use. He died of a massive overdose.

We are to conclude overall that I make a number of factual errors in my dreams, and should possibly consult Wikipedia before retiring to bed.

Dear reader, I hope all YOUR dreams come true in 2006.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


In case you were wondering.

I went for a New Year's Day walk in Bursted Woods, which is a vile and sinister place, especially in the bleak midwinter. Everything went hazy. I remember little apart from an acrid stench, swarming rats, swarming purple lights and an ear-splitting droning noise.

Too much like goth night at the Xanadu Club, Birmingham, circa 1987 for my liking.

I don't know what "they" took away, although a big wave of inertia has engulfed me ever since, hence the inability to blog. At least I don't have one of those blogs where I will get 25 comments saying "Gee honey we missed you! Glad to have you back!!!" Like that woman who couldn't keep her food down once sang, no-one ever cared if I should live or die. Which is as it should be - being ignored keeps you on your toes and stops you from becoming too self-satisfied (... just about) (with any luck) (oh, who am I kidding? I'm a smug, horrible cow).

Still, in the meantime I have been reading Best 300 records of the year lists on the internet - over at Silent Words, Mr Bandito's Site, Troubled Diva, the ever brilliant Church Of Me and the very impressive best hundred albums of all time chosen by the Woebot fellow, for starters. I will have hopefully read the best 300 lists of the best 300 records of the year by the end of the week, and will realise that I only own about 4 of them because I'm old, out of touch, in the way, deaf, embarrassing, virtually incontinent, only remember things from the 1930s, pay for stuff at Aldi with pre-decimalisation currency etc., etc.

I should be posting up soon about some telly that I've watched, something grouchy about the new year, something grouchy about my neighbours, and I'll be the last person in the world to post up their favourite record of the year (just the one).

Mind you, don't hold your breath because in my last missive I said that I'd pass on my New Year's resolutions before 2005 ended. Perhaps my resolution should have been to stop making promises I can't keep. Instead, I resolve to carry on being a nasty piece of work. Shouldn't be difficult.

Keep watching this space. It is like watching paint dry.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?