Wednesday, November 29, 2006


RIP Noel Edmonds, who died peacefully in an entertainers' rest home in Ellesmere Port this morning.

Noel will be fondly remembered for the Noel Edmonds Radio One Breakfast show, when he played endless drivel like that song "If I Could Read Your Mind Love, What A Tale Your Thoughts Could Tell" and behaved like a sort of watered down Kenny Everett. After this, he went on to design the eight foot heap of strawberry yoghurt vomit, Mr Blobby, and awarded people like John Craven his *hilarious* "Gercha!" awards. After several years where he apparently disappeared from view, lulling the public into a false sense of security, he returned with the hugely popular quiz show where people open some boxes or summat.

Oooh, hold on ... that should have been Neil Edgeford, an 87 year old former trapeze artist from Bootle. Who died peacefully at an entertainers' rest home in Ellesmere Port ...


Tuesday, November 28, 2006


More Zepp, more Sabbs, more ELP!

Not 'arf mate.

Stay bright.

Friday, November 24, 2006


A few don'ts for would-be bloggers who may be passing through on the way to something slightly more interesting. Well, they're things that get on my nerves about blogs, so there's every chance they might get on the nerves of at least a few other people ... right?


DON'T post up endless pictures of your small children. The only people who are interested in endless pictures of your small children are you and their grandparents. Hey! Why not start a scrapbook full of pictures of your small children so that you and their grandparents can look at it? Then you can avoid annoying the fuck out of the rest of us.

DON'T hog the comments section with your *rapier* wit. One, two, maybe even three (if you're genuinely witty) comments on one post will be quite enough, thank you very much, unless the blogger asks you specific questions, or you're having one of those drunken weekend live chat type sessions. Otherwise you're going to look like a Very Lonely Person. No one should end up looking like a Very Lonely Person, even if they are.

DON'T flirt with other bloggers. Actually, this is possibly persmissible in the under-30's. As for those people who are 40-plus marrieds with families who want to give the impression that they're giggly drooling teenagers ... the expression "too sad for words" applies.

DON'T SWEAR TOO MUCH. Thing is, I like swearing, and think that it is big and clever. The problem is, there is always the chance that your blog will be found be a self-righteous, moronic, God-fearing mother of 6 from the Mid-West who will object to "all uv that filth" being found "by childrunn like mine" and they will click on that "Flag As Inappropriate" thing. I've certainly toned down the swearing, and the tasteless jokes that I love so much these days, regrettably.

DON'T PUBLISH REALLY, REALLY, REALLY LONG POSTS. I know blogging is a form of rampant egotism, but please spare the poor old reader, who probably has umpteen other posts waiting on their Bloglines list. Do we really need to hear every detail of your ongoing argument with your parents about a disagreement you had 18 months ago, in 40,000 bleating words?

DON'T WRITE ABOUT YOUR SEX LIFE unless it's going to appear on an erotic blog. I don't care if you haven't been getting any since 1987 and have met the man/woman of your dreams and you get 20 screaming orgasms every night, in the kitchen, on the patio and in the garden shed. Not only are there single people reading who will feel even worse than they already do, but a lot of people are eating when they're reading stuff on the internet. I mean, euww!

DON'T PRINT YOUR REAL AGE, THEN ACCOMPANY YOUR BLOG WITH AN AVATAR PICTURE OF YOURSELF FROM 20 YEARS AGO. People aren't going to think "ooh, he/she looks good for their age!" They're going to think "God, that reminds me, is there ever going to be a film version of Dynasty? Ha ha ha ha."

DON'T SEND NASTY ABUSIVE ANONYMOUS COMMENTS. All it proves is that you want some kind of infamy to compensate for your complete insignificance and general wimpiness in Real Life. That is all.

As for anything else - well, anything else goes really. Good luck.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


... after the fashion of MySpace ...

November 23rd, 2006

Current mood: %*@:-) spaced out, with an undercurrent of suppressed hysteria.

At the moment, am "in recovery": nose has stopped dripping and phlegm is of a thicker consistency. An annoying tickly cough has developed.

Time to announce the results of the Jacques Tati competition, at long last.

Thanks to Istvanski, Molly, Homo Escapeons and Murphmeister for their contributions, but the winner and recipient of a bottle of shampoo from a Belgian pound shop with Turkish writing on it is Tim Footman for the masterful "Les Evacuations de M. Hulot". Congratulations Tim, the bottle of shampoo will be winging its way to you in, erm, Thailand ... hmm, wonder if I should "forget" to pay the postage so he'll have to pick up the tab?

However, recognition has to go to Murphmeister for coming up with the following contributions:

"By Jove. The sooner they invent toilet paper over here the better."
"National Ghent Dog-Sitting Championships kick off."
Dog: "That's the last time I get involved in a Tati stunt like this."
Dec & Ant: "Join us after the break for the next round of bushtucker challenge."
Caption: "One of several unsuccessful pitches for the lucrative Andrex account."

Because of this outstanding effort, Murphmeister will be receiving a special prize, twenty years' free supply of Bakers Complete Shite dry dog food. Congratulations, Murphmeister: a package from Bakers will be winging its way to you on a monthly basis until November 2026.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Hullo people. Thanks to the millions upon millions of you who entered the Put-A-Caption-To-The-Picture-Of-Jacques-Tati competition. I'm still sifting through all the postcards (and answers on the back of a sealed down envelope, as stipulated) at this moment in time, and it's hard work, believe me.

Unfortunately, on the last night of the Lost Weekend And A Bit in Ghent I got a really painful sore throat and about three hours sleep. This has since developed into a bad cold/touch-of-flu.

I now feel as if my head has been chopped off, a rocket stuck in the neck which exploded and landed on a racecourse where the hooves of thirty galloping horses trampled it underfoot, then it was retrieved by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, then put in a tasty stew with some other offal of dubious origin, then retrieved again after simmering for eight hours and stuck back onto my neck with a staple gun.

Besides which, my mouth is full of bubbling lava, so every time I fell asleep last night it felt as though I was choking to death and I woke up again in a state of panic. Happy days!

Anyway, I'll reply to your comments on the previous post and announce the winner of the competition when I'm capable of writing something even vaguely intelligible. Otherwise it'll just sound like Bee Gees' lyrics, and you wouldn't want that, would you?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


There are hordes of other bloggers who're linked on my sidebar who seem to be escaping from home to do something more interesting at the moment.

So, like the sheep that we are, we're going to do the same. But in more of a z-list blogger, unglamorous way.

We're going over to wonderful Belgium, home of lovely new beat and pleasantly monotonous field after field of cows with big, watery, Donald Sutherland-type eyes.

I wonder if Ghent is going to be full of blokes who look like
Jacques Tati*, **? I know Bruges was. There was even a Tati-alike in the queue at the ferry exit. He smelt of vomit and had profuse, greasy white hair growing out of his ears. I fainted.

Perhaps Tati-ism is only confined to certain areas of Belgium though. We shall see.

Sorry to disappoint you, but I'll be back in the blink of an eye.

* Can anyone think of an *amusing* caption for the Jacques Tati photo I've linked to, or even describe what is happening in it? The winner will receive a bottle of shampoo from a Belgian pound shop, with Turkish writing on it.

** Yes, I know Jacques Tati was French, before any pedants rush to the comments section to remind me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


My passport is up for renewal.

I'd like to escape from the country because of the incidents where I firebombed a number of bus stops in the Folkestone area (I can't help it ... it's an OCD issue, right?) which means that I want to get the new passport as quickly as possible.

So at the weekend I went to a photo booth to get the necessary pictures printed.

What has always been an unpleasant experience is now an ordeal.

Due to *stringent security measures* there are now several hundred pages' worth of do and don't rules regarding your passport photo. Or, more accurately, several hundred pages' worth of do.

You can't cover your head with a hat or scarf "unless it's for religious reasons".

You can't cover your face with hair, so sheep and Slash out of Guns & Roses have got problems.

You have to have a white, cream or off white background on the photo.

You can't be too far away from the camera. Or too close.

You can't have an open mouth, so Peter Crouch and Tyrone Dobbs from Coronation Street have got problems.

You have to be looking directly at the camera.

Those are just a few of the rules. As you can imagine, by the time I got to the photo booth I felt more like somebody who was facing a firing squad.

I know my hair was looking a bit dull and lifeless.

I know I should have touched up my grey roots.

I know I should have worn a bit more make up.

The final picture was worryingly off centre, even though I'd tried to keep my face in the red frame on the screen.

The husband's first words on seeing the picture? "Yeah, it's a mug shot".

Judging by the photo I had taken, I look like the sort of woman who would be screaming up at the bedroom window of a house on an East Midlands estate at two o'clock in the morning:


God forbid, if the photo is actually accepted (unlikely, which means that I'll have to spend another £3.50 to get some more pictures of Me As Bint With Mad Staring Eyes printed up) then I will be helping the police with their enquiries in every country I holiday in.

Plus I have to pay nearly £70 to get the passport renewed. Plus a delivery fee of £3 quid. Plus the charge to the Post Office if I want it checked to ensure it'll be accepted.

Can't I just go on breaks to the static caravan in Rhyl for the rest of my life?

Sunday, November 12, 2006


For six weeks, we acquired a lodger: a zebra spider. No, not the one in the photo above. He was too small to get a decent picture of with our weedy digital camera.

When he first arrived he built a fairly smart looking web which added an attractive three dimensional quality to the window above the kitchen sink.

He's only ate once as far as I can tell - at the end of the first week he managed to lure a daddy long legs to the web and attacked it with great ferocity. There was a bit of a size difference: obviously his eyes were bigger than his belly, he had bitten off more than he could chew, etc., etc.

Still, he's looked well on it really. Occasionally he'll start doing a bit of freeform dancing while I was doing the washing up, throwing in some moves that seemed to be influenced by Ian Curtis and that Jeffrey Daniels off of Shalamar. His tastes seemed to veer towards dad rock, I'm afraid. I don't know what he would've reckoned to dubstep.

I like the way that he'd suddenly scurry back to the centre of the web like a mad woman haring out into the street to tear a strip off someone who has parked their car in front of her house.

He also used to scratch his arse with one of his back legs.

Then, around a week ago he got the wanderlust, and started climbing out of the window, then back in again. A couple of days later, he just upped and disappeared.

I still can't bring myself to get rid of his web. Just in case, like, he decides to return from his travels.

He was a violent, hot tempered little bugger but I kind of miss him.

Find out about spiders on car mirrors and, indeed, drugs, here.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Time demands that we catch up with all the programmes stacked up ominously on Sky Plus. Which this weekend included the BBC Four play Fear Of Fanny.

This was not a study into extensive research proving that a fear of fanny is an affliction suffered by at least eighty per cent of men who regularly use the internet. Heh heh. After all, everybody knows that already.

Nope, it was a black comedy based on the life of one of the first stars of British television, Fanny Cradock. Between the 1950's and mid 1970's she was a precursor to the celebrity chefs who annoy us to the back teeth today.

Not that I ever saw her on television. Cookery shows were unwatched in our house. As I've explained, er, somewhere else in the archive, my mother was not a keen cook, a "fault" she has passed on to me. What's the point of spending all that time in the kitchen, amassing loads of ingredients, chopping, grating, stirring, whisking, kneading, all the tedious minutiae of cooking? Yawn. Plus, you end up eating loads more food and turn into a huge lumbering sweatbox who dies of a heart attack at fifty! Great.

I seem to remember seeing her being interviewed on Jonathan Ross's show in the late 1980's, talking about the death of her husband. "I probably finished the old bugger orff. Good riddance, too" she declared. Tut tut, hardly the sort of thing you expect to hear from a sweet little old lady, is it?

Fanny was indeed known as something of a dragon, on and off set. On screen she was constantly nagging her unfortunate assistants and amiable, henpecked soak of a partner Johnnie. In some ways, they may have been the prototype for another couple who turned up at the end of the 1970's ...

Hmm ...

She had two illegitimate sons and sent them to live with their grandparents. She seems to have severed relationships with all of her family at some point or another. I don't know how much artistic licence was involved in the storyline, but it seems pretty true to life, judging by the Wikipedia entry which is well worth a read.

The dramatisation was quite good, all things considered. Still, there were one or two annoying points.

The play was attempting to show the "vulnerable" side of a hard, bossy woman. Well, what a surprise. All women who are considered to be a bit *frightening* in the public eye are subject to this kind of consideration, as they are obviously "damaged". Otherwise they would have put aside all their ambition to get married at the earliest opportunity and have half a dozen children, where they would have found true happiness.

How many times has it been "explained" to us that the reason Madonna has been so driven, singleminded and hardfaced is that her mother died at an early age? She may be powerful but there is obviously a, ahem, "damaged little girl" behind the fiery persona.

Funnily enough, aggressive, controlling men in the public eye are rarely subjected to such an examination. We're unlikely to see a play opening in the West End exploring the "vulnerabilities" behind Robert Maxwell's empire, imploring us to understand why he was a vicious, bullying cunt.

At the end of the play we see Fanny resident in a nursing home, eccentricities magnified to the power of ten, running amuck in the kitchen attempting to re-arrange the dreary food being prepared for lunch to her own ends, acting as if she was still on camera. It seems horribly like gloating to me: look how this ferocious woman has ended up! She rejected her friends and family and has ended up alone, unloved and completely mad!

Underneath it all, perhaps there is the same old moral to the story. If you are a woman who can't fit into the role of sweet, uncomplaining, demure housewife, mother and nurturer all sorts of terrible fates await you.

Not even being able to serve stuffed goose with all the trimmings will be able to save you.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Face it, a good firework display rocks.

The noise of masses of fireworks going off, rather like the noise of a jumbo jet taking off, is one of the most life-enhancing sounds on earth. Which is why I make a point of attending a firework display every year.

Unfortunately, there are a number of displays at which some twat has decided that we prefer to hear the soundtrack of frigging War Of The Worlds booming out in its entirety instead of fireworks. That's what you get for allowing members of the Round Table to organise events though.

This time of year always draws me back to memories of early childhood: the return to school after the summer break; various nature projects which featured primary school teachers' endless fixation with the colours of autumn leaves; the clocks going back; Hallowe'en night; the flourescent armbands we were bullied into purchasing for "fifty-new-pence" every year so that WE COULD AVOID BEING RUN OVER CROSSING THE ROAD ON THE DARK, MURKY MORNINGS AND EVENINGS.


There was also a list of terrifying Firework Code rules that we were expected to memorise and adhere to, most of which revolved around NEVER RETURNING TO A LIT FIREWORK. "KEEP PETS INDOORS ... NEVER RETURN TO A LIT FIREWORK" was a droning mantra third only to learning my times tables and the Lord's Prayer in the League Of Droning Mantras You Have To Learn At Primary School.

As my parents were too poor to let me attend an organised firework display I had to make do with seeing half a dozen crap fireworks lit, but not returned to, in our back garden. Because it wasn't very well lit out there it was a bit like stepping out into a primordial swamp, especially if there was a fog caused by the collective bonfires in the gardens of surrounding homes. The "display" used to last twenty minutes, tops.

Then, one year in the 1990's, I returned to the homestead with Geoff on Bonfire Night and we decided to go out into the garden just to watch the fireworks going off around us.

Of course, it was extremely dark and foggy. You couldn't see the fireworks going off but you could hear them. Once again I was dragged back into the primordial swamp of childhood. It was a REALLY uncanny and disturbing experience, like being sucked into a vortex. I became disembodied - it was as if I'd travelled back to a pre-birth time and was just a handful of cells. Possibly how Mr Proust felt when he tucked into his bit of Madeleine cake and experienced some kind of epiphany, the big bloody ponce. Still, it only lasted for a few minutes, thankfully.

... ahem, anyway, I now make a point of going to a firework display every year, and it compensates for all the ones I missed in childhood. Have a nice Bonfire Night, and ...


Wednesday, November 01, 2006


A round up of some of the things happening to blogs on my link bar, just for the hell of it.

Go visit the Golden Haired Adonis Of Blogging (TM) who apparently would like visitors to comment or de-lurk. I have the feeling that he doesn't get as many visitors to his excellent blog as he ought to so BLOODY WELL GET YOURSELVES OVER THERE THIS MINUTE and read about the exploding toilet and other stuff.

Boggins appeared on Hallowe'en, but only fleetingly, at the magnificent Kaliyuga Kronicles, where he left a comment *... a wailing voice in the howly howly void.

Interpreter Pavlov did exactly the same on Quinquireme. His homepage now features the words "coming up for parole". This is someone who supposedly drowned. What is going on?

Meanwhile, missing in action ...

Is it futile to think that Toasty And His Futon will be back, ever?

Has anyone seen Garfer on their travels?

Finally, Mentalist Glenda is back. Fortunately, for most of us, she is now out of harm's way. Readers from the US should, however, beware, especially if she has an "epipheny".

* This bit was updated for reasons of diplomacy.

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