Sunday, April 30, 2006


When it comes to music, you can generally trust any band name or song using the word monkey or a derivative thereof.

Monkeys by Echo And The Bunnymen.

Bob And Earl's Harlem Shuffle, where they suggest that you to do the Monkey Shine (... I think).

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci ... well, they were good when they were doing those songs where they sang in English about the patio being on fire, then reverted to singing in Welsh (probably advising people to kill English tourists. I don't blame them). Not so sure about those endless pastoral albums they seem to have produced in the past decade though.

The Arctic Monkeys. Sorry, still like them. "Last nayt these two bouncers, and one of 'em's orrayt, the other 'un's the scary 'un". Well I'd rather hear their racket than any of those bands who have a track on the monthly Uncut CD. Willard Grant Conspiracy! Josh Ritter! Jenni Bond And The Thompson Twins! Grant Lubbock! Dear God in Heaven, all those bands with plaintive acoustic guitars and menacing songs about some bint getting murdered by her lover.

Country rock was always bollocks and it always will be. You can even stick bloody Gram Parsons (bored millionaire's son) in this category. Why couldn't he just call himself Graham?

Then obviously there's the Monkees. Like a lot of people of my generation, the Monkees were the first pop band I ever encountered. I don't give a stuff if they played on their own records. The songs are great of course. Fair enough, that Mexican bloke was quite irritating.

Anyway, the Monkees' Daydream Believer has been adapted for the Cheer Up Evergreen advert on the telly.

An animated frog with legs like Sophie Ellis Bextor encourages us to buy a lawn feed while accompanied by a band which features a hedgehog, a toad and some other beast that I can't remember, and 3 ladybirds as backing singers.

My older reader (the one with the cumbersome bi-focals and the print set at Really Large) may remember the backing vocalists The Ladybirds, 3 biddies who looked like librarians and accompanied popular music acts of the day such as, erm, the Love Affair or Malcolm Roberts.

With all of those musicians in tow, you'd think the song would have a fuller sound - why didn't the animators go the whole hog and get some badgers playing brass as an approximation of the Memphis Horns?

Maybe the full on soul review will be on show for next year's Evergreen campaign.

I'm off to put some bedding plants in.


Still can't summon up the energy to write one of those long, epic posts.

Mind you, if you subscribe to Bloglines, like me, doesn't your heart sink when you find out that there are 12 new posts and most of them are long, epic ones full of purple prose? Life is too short, more people are crowding out the internet with their blogs and most of us will just be reduced to putting a picture up and writing a terse caption underneath it soon. Trust me on this one.

Anyway, you will have to make do with the random mad musings of a manic middle aged munter today. Yuk.

* * * * * * *

The already dead on its feet, well it seemed like a good idea on Thursday night Search Me team went out for a curry (I suppose this would qualify as a blog meet if we didn't already live in the same house).

As is often the case, the best dish was the starter, a spicy lentil soup which was too thick.

There was one of those slightly unhinged men who talks really loudly to his missus at the next table. They are always on the next table to us whenever we eat out.

My husband noticed that a woman of about 50 and man of about 25 left the restaurant together.

"Did you think it was disgusting?" I asked.

"No, not really."

They may have been a mother and son, anyway.

I only saw a couple of people "texxing" during the whole evening. Had I stepped back in time?

* * * * * * *

Russell Brand is the most awful man ever to appear on television. If you've never seen him, you are lucky and will have to trust me on this one too. Even his cheekbones are annoying. He should be fed alive to a pack of hungry wolves. Then again, even they might be repulsed by him.

* * * * * * *

I'll be back with another post soon.

In the meantime, British readers on their bank holiday are advised to do a bit of gardening or get stuck in a traffic jam for 5 hours so they can go to a designer outlet to buy some cut glass goblets and a pair of sale price, slightly out of fashion designer jeans which show their arse crack if they bend over. Laters!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


This blog is two years old today. Or rather, it is now dragging itself on into a third year like Heather Mills McCartney and Jake the Peg in a mums and dads four-and-a-half legged race on school sports day.

I'd love to say that blogging has changed my life. Because of the big, happy, nice, smiling blogging community I should have become a more caring and selfless person.

Clearly it hasn't and I haven't.

That should do for another few days. Can't think of anything to post. Running out of ideas. Been blogging too long. Having embraced the naff, Heart FM end of blogging (memes, er, celebrating my blogday) I will soon be reduced to asking you to tell me about your most embarrassing experiences on a first date or pretending to be on a diet.

The traffic report will be along after the break.

Be at piece with your pipe.

Friday, April 21, 2006


taking the mick

Many, many thanks to those of you who entered the caravan competition. I have been overwhelmed by all the entries from far flung corners of the world. I didn't think so many people would admit to being caravan enthusiasts!

Congratulations to Terry Wiggins of Wigan, who has proved that he owns no less than twelve caravans! I wonder if he is related to Tracey Wiggins of Wigan, a former competition winner on this blog? I hope it's not a case of "keeping it in the family"!

Transporting the 15 foot Mick Hucknall is going to be difficult, but it will arrive at Mr Wiggins' home via helicopter. It'll probably look like a re-enactment of the opening scenes of the film La Dolce Vita, with people swarming the streets of Wigan hoping to get a better look!

Consolation to the runners up - Kyahgirl, whose 40 foot winnebago didn't really cut it as a true caravan, and Tom 909, who went as far as to invent a caravan because he wanted the glittering prize.

As recompense, they have both won a dream dinner date with Britain's top Mick Hucknall lookalike, pictured above. Fair enough, he looks more like the sort of bloke who'd come to the front door to tell you that the water is going to be off until at least tomorrow morning and there's nothing they can do about it and if you really have a problem with it ring the water board as they're just acting on orders, but he's a different man with a splash of aftershave, some hair product and a Burtons suit on.

Besides, I've got to pay for his travel expenses to Devon and Alberta, Canada. Do you think I'm made of money?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Simply Mick. Not remotely seedy.

Golly gosh, I have done a lot of of work clearing up the garden, which I've put off doing for a couple of years. All of the mowing and tidying and planting, and trying to get to the roots of a climbing rose which seemed to be buried about 15 miles into the ground has left me feeling righteous but achey. I have the bandy, stiff-backed gait of a 90 year old peasant.

This has left little time for blogging and leaving inane comments on other sites, for which you should be entirely grateful.

Short of ideas, I have had to resort to a comment left on the previous post by M. Gamon (Herts.) who claims to have owned the most caravans of anyone. So let's find out if he's right. I'd love to find out who among my readers owns two or more caravans, and I'd particularly love to hear from that bloke who leaves messages on sites having a go at people who have a go at caravans.

There will be a special prize for the person who comes up with proof of ownership of the most caravans - a 15 foot plastic model of 1980's Armani suit with a t-shirt underneath blue eyed "soul" vocalist and deeeelectable ladies' man Mick Hucknall (batteries not included). Press the remote control and he sings Holding Back The Ears and all of them other ones!

So come on, you caravan fans!

Friday, April 14, 2006


Stuffy academics have marvelled at the way "ordinary" (i.e., stupid) people who couldn't read would pass on stories from generation to generation, therefore leading to a historical record of the day to day lives of the population. The same tradition occurred through folk music, which is still well loved by middle class types in itchy jumpers who yearn for the days when there were illiterates who lived in hedges and sang about deflowering young maidens after 15 jugs of scrumpy. There was a rich oral history, although I should imagine that the truth had been embroidered upon.

However, in the modern age we have computers and "weblogging", which, according to the Metro newspaper ("Yesterday's news, today") is no longer just the preserve of insomniac geeks. Yes, even the highly sexually attractive journalists who write for the Metro may think of starting up a "weblog"! Except that they lead very interesting lives and aren't that "sad", tee hee hee!

Anyways, there is now an opportunity for barely literate "ordinary" (i.e., stupid) people like me to present a historical record of things that have happened to them in the past, so that they become immortal, with any luck.

There will be a few of these reminiscences about ancient times, if I can be bothered.

Here goes then.

* * * * * * *


Mr Kettlewell was the music teacher at my junior school. He was generally regarded by other teachers as a genius, but I have never been able to pinpoint why. He spoke with a Lancastrian burr - well, didn't really say much at all, which gave him an enigmatic quality. Perhaps that was why he was held in awe. Once he announced that in next week's lesson he would show us the inside of a piano, and I was really looking forward to it as I imagined it would look like some sort of Aladdin's Cave. Wouldn't you know, I never found out because I was off school on that day with a heavy cold.

Mr Kettlewell's triumph in life was to write new tunes for all the hymns we had to sing at assembly. That was it. The old, traditional tunes were replaced in one fell swoop by Mr Kettlewell's new tunes. They all went along in a dull monotone, except for one or two carefully placed high notes:

"Onward Christian SOL-diers
Marching as to WAR"

He may have been a subversive, attempting to undermine the school's indoctrination of religious dogma through the medium of avant garde music.

Anyway, by the time I had reached the age of 9 he'd left and ended up at the Heath Hayes school instead.

* * * * * * *


Wednesday, April 12, 2006


ordinary boy and girl

It has been announced that Preston and Chantelle off of Big Brother have got engaged to be married, and not engaged to be engaged, even though when they were on Big Brother about 5 minutes ago they were "just good mates, that's all".

This has absolutely nothing to do with publicity, as they have become huge A-list celebrities in the past few weeks because of their bucketloads of talent and charisma.

I'm sure my millions and millions and millions of readers worldwide will join me in sending my best wishes to the happy couple.

Still, really stupid, uncomplicated people find it very easy to fall in love and marry at an early age, don't they?

Monday, April 10, 2006


fat, sweaty, not a copper

Okay. Managed to see four episodes of the acclaimed drama, Life On Mars (the acclaimed BBC drama). What a treat for you: a review of a series which was reviewed by everyone else in January. Woopy do.

As mentioned previously, the first episode was wiped due to Sky Plus failure. Saw the second with the husband, who decided he didn't like it after about 10 minutes. I can always tell when he wants to give up on a programme because I can see him looking across at me every few seconds from the corner of my eye.

I suggested we carried on watching for the rest of that episode. Which of course provoked the following response afterwards:

"I only have a few hours a week to relax and you made me give up ONE HOUR of my time to watch that rubbish, and I knew I wouldn't like it from the start".

So I watched the next 3 episodes by myself, because it's "an acclaimed BBC drama" and I like to give things a chance.

Oh, it's fairly entertaining in its own way. The central character, DI Sam Tyler, is in a coma and may or may not have travelled back through time to 1973. I still haven't decided if he really has gone back to 1973, or in his coma is acting out a perceived notion of what it would have been like from watching nostalgia programmes and reading about the era if you're too young to remember much about it. He would have been 4 years old then.

The husband pointed out that the 1973 police had obviously been influenced by The Sweeney (the acclaimed 1970's "hardhitting drama" (tabloid-style cliche) that I was never allowed to watch at the time).

"All the cops used to do on that was punch people up every so often."

All the references to How Different We Were Then get a bit tiring. We're lead to believe that the 1970's were the Dark Ages.

The police seem pretty clueless, and lack the advantages brought about by ADVANCES IN FORENSIC SCIENCE (the latter fact is laid on with a trowel in each episode). Not only that, but a lot of the policemen live up to the racist/sexist/homophobic stereotype compared to our enlightened noughties cop, who's constantly chastising them and is sensitive and caring and wants to prepare food using olive oil instead of lard and encourages his colleagues to "think outside the box". ("LOL", as modern people say). Blimey! Times really have changed and we're all so much more caring and egalitarian these days, aren't we? Well, of course we are, even if the expressions "it's political correctness gone mad!" and "I'm not a racist, but ..." weren't in use in those days.

In the most recent episode I watched, "hardman DCI Hunt" (tabloid-style cliche) was heard to remark that there'd never be a woman Prime Minister in his lifetime (his description was a bit more graphic but this is a blog read by very nicely brought up people, so ...). It reminded me of watching one of those 1930's films set in 1910 where the maid speaks to the lady of the house:

"Modom, your new gentleman friend's waiting outside to see you. He's in one of those new fangled automobile contraptions. If you want my opinion, they'll never catch on."

We are all supposed to roll our eyes and smile to ourselves, safe with the benefit of hindsight. If we're dead easily amused, that is.

One of the worst things is that the WPC has exactly the same hairstyle as me when I was about 13 years old. Slightly greasy flyaway curls (shade: Lifeless Mid Brown). You have to spend about 20 minutes struggling with curling tongs to look that crap. At least that bit was authentically '70's.

I'll carry on watching I suppose.

There's still Green Wing, too.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


The mememememe that everyone else has done, because I am having problems coming up with ideas about posts at the moment.

1. A track from your early childhood: Excerpt From A Teenage Opera - Keith West
This makes me think of pre-school endlessly sundrenched days in the summer of love, high on strawberry flavoured Junior Disprin and overcome with excitement thinking about a shopping trip to Cannock (these were simple times. In my case, very simple times). Tremendous song though.

2. A track that you associate with your first love: Dizzy by Tommy Roe

3. A track that reminds you of a holiday trip: Mr Vain - Culturebeat
Heard in a taxi travelling back to our apartment on a Greek island. The taxi screeched to a halt and drove on. Apparently the driver had run over a cat. Everyone else in our car was shocked that he hadn't bothered to do an emergency stop or get out of the car to look for the injured/dead cat. I wasn't that concerned because I don't like cats and was a bit pissed and tired. All I wanted was to get back to the apartment and fall asleep.

4. A track that you like but wouldn't want to be associated with in public: Mad World by Tears For Fears

5. A track that accompanied you when you were lovesick: True Faith by New Order
Don't ask.

6. A track that you have probably listened to most often: Dancing Queen by Abba
I know what you're thinking: "oh, fat stupid middle aged slapper music". Pretty accurate description of me. Apart from the fat bit. Still, when I first heard this at the age of 13 I had an epiphany. I realised that friends may let you down, family may let you down, capitalism lets you down, your physical health lets you down and we all lose our charms in the end, but GREAT MUSIC NEVER LETS YOU DOWN. Unless you go deaf.

7. A track that is your favourite instrumental: The Crunch by The Rah Band, or The Liquidator by Harry J. All Stars, or Rhapsody In Blue by Mr Gershwin, or Magic Fly by Space, or Quixote by Polygon Window, or R-Theme by Derrick May
I had difficulty choosing just one.

8. A track that represents one of your favourite bands: Marquee Moon - Television

9. A track which represents yourself best: Dancing Fool - Frank Zappa. That's Me - Abba. Heh heh.

10. A track that reminds you of a special occasion (which one?): a whole album really - Echo And The Bunnymen's Heaven Up Here
It reminds me of leaving school because it was released around that time and I listened to it incessantly. C'mon, I was 17! There's nothing sweeter than walking through those school gates for the last time, which makes me feel very suspicious of people who spend so much time visiting Friends Reunited. As the Little Dog's Day man said, the three most depressing places on earth are Rhyl, Lidl and Friends Reunited.

11. A track that you can relax to: Love Is Blue by Paul Mauriat

12. A track that stands for a really good time in your life: The Trouble With Me - Black Legend I heard this as I drifted in and out of sleep with the sun streaming through the curtains in an apartment on Lanzarote on the radio. I think it was Radio Fuerteventura, and the dj was playing a Very Much Extended mix of the song. Perfect weather, perfect holiday destination, good times.

13. A track that is currently your favourite: bear in mind that I never listen to the radio and am old and out of touch, but pop music seems to be going through a bit of a lull at the moment. I suppose the recent Sugababes one was alright, as is Golden Lion by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs featuring Pat Coombes. Or Dancing by Aaron Smith. Or Speechless by Mish Mash. They aren't exactly life changing though. Anyone who can suggest otherwise is free to do so in the comments bit, or by e-mail or at the usual address.

14. A track that you dedicate to your best friend: don't people grow out of having best fwiends when they are about 14? So I would have to dedicate it to my best friend from when I was 14. So it would have to be bloodybastardawful Don't Give Up On Us Baybeee by David Soul.

15. A track that you like especially for its lyrics: The Day Before You Came - Abba, or God Save The Queen or Bodies by the Sex Pistols, or Common People by Pulp, or She Is Beyond Good And Evil by the Pop Group.
I can't help it, I'm a romantic fool.

16. A track that you like that's neither in English nor German: Si by Gigliola Cinquetti, or Marieke by Jacques Brel, or Les Amants D'un Jour by Edith Piaf, or The Ketchup Song by Las Ketchup

17. A track that lets you release tension best: I Feel Love by Donna Summer
Probably the best pop single of all time.

18. A track that you want to be played at your funeral: The Gift by the Velvet Underground Well, everyone could do with a laugh in that situation.

I'm supposed to narrow that list down a bit, aren't I?

Monday, April 03, 2006


This is a dark and troubling day at number 11.

We have undergone a bereavement. I may have to seek counselling.

It appears that the Sky Plus box is not working. To get it to work again will probably require a full system re-set. This means we will lose all the programmes that have been recorded (and we've recorded quite a few which we haven't watched over the past few days, wouldn't you know).

Of course, I keyed "sky plus box faults" into Google, and came up with some info from this nice bloke who indicates that Sky is "allegedly" profiting by sending out engineers for a £65 callout charge when the problem can be fixed from your remote control by instructions carried out over the phone. Well I never! Fortunately we have a warranty covering any problems, but some people whose 12 month free callout warranty runs out have found their Sky box suddenly starts to malfunction. Well I never!

The other thing that I read there is that, once a fault has occurred, even when the system has been re-set, problems are likely to happen again. Oh knickers.

This has coincided with BBC4's 1973 week, which was basically a showcase for the repeat of the "acclaimed" drama Life On Mars which we missed the first time round. So although we recorded the first part it has been wiped, and we've lost another opportunity to find out if it's worth all the fuss.

Oh well.

At least we saw The Rock 'n' Roll Years: 1973. The whole series should be repeated again because it provides some amusing incongruities (you know the sort of thing, Nikita Kruschev attempting to get out of an armchair while a bit of a Mothers Of Invention song is playing). There are also classic snippets of footage, such as film of an old woman ranting about the 1971 postal workers strike:

Old woman: "I think it's a disgrace, an absolute disgrace that they've not opened the Post Office so that us pensioners can't get our pensions. Do they realise how poor we are?"

Interviewer: "But madam, you're standing in the Post Office. They've opened the Post Office especially today so that you can get your pension money".

Old woman: "Oh dear".

The subtitles under one sequence informed us that "wildman rock star Jim Morrison died after falling into a steep decline". Blimey! I always thought he died in dubious circumstances in a bath in Paris! I didn't realise that he was driving through Snowdonia and fell down an embankment! Mind you, some of those hidden bends are deathtraps ...

My favourite bit of film, however, was of Ian Paisley singing the National Anthem with a load of mad women.

Come on, BBC4, repeat the whole series, and Life On Mars, just for us at number 11! There are only about 15 people who watch your channel anyway!

Otherwise, I hope that Rupert Murdoch passes several large kidney stones, the cad.

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