Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Well, it's a fair old time since I got a guest writer to do a post. This one is a bit unusual, in that it's actually a television programme in the form of a blog post. It's TOTP2, presented by guest writer and DJ Steve Wright. The good thing is - if you're not a music fan, but love Steve's zany voiceovers at the beginning of each song, there's not actually any music, but there are Steve's sidesplitting little descriptions of each well loved music act! Without further ado ...

"Hi! I'm Steve Wright, welcome to TOTP2, your weekly shot of new and old music from the TOTP archive! To kick off we've got New Order with Blue Monday. Incidentally, watch out for the guy on bass ... IT'S IAN BOTHAM!!!!!!!!"

"Right, on now to a firm favourite of me and and all of the smug ageing Radio 2 listeners, it's a song Amy Winehouse recently recorded in the TOTP studio for us. Love the song Amy, but what's with all the tattoos!!!!!!! And look at all that hair - she looks like she's been in a mistral!!!!!"

"Great track from Amy, let's move on now to Iran from A Flock Of Seagulls. The guy who's singing looks as if he's been in a mistral!!!!!! And what about the guy in glasses - IT'S TIMMY MALLET, ISN'T IT?????"

"If you thought that was weird, what about this - WEIRD AL YANKOVIC with Beat It? Incidentally, is he ME in a WIG??????? "

Weird Al!!!!!!!!!

"Right, thanks for watching, that's it for this week folks, but before we go here's a song that'll make you sit back and laugh at all the stupidly dressed so called "talented" bands you used to love when you were young. Face it, it was all a load of shouting, it was too loud, you couldn't tell what they were singing and they looked like a load of bloody girls, didn't they? Instead, here's some PROPER music where you can hear the words and they play their instruments properly and it's not too loud.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you COUNTING CROWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

(audience commits mass suicide)

(With thanks to CBQ who commented on Avenues And Alleyways, whose grumbling about Steve Wright "inspired" the post.)

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Saturday, February 24, 2007


It seems to be a widely held belief that all people who have blogs are nerds with poor communication skills.

Occasionally you'll see someone suggest "ooh, I've considered internet dating, but I'm really not sure. I've heard of these people who come across as really witty, funny and intelligent in their blogs or e-mails, but in real life they're just really boring and have terrible social skills and are not very good looking or anything" (yeah. So unlike you, eh?).

Anyway, relax, non-bloggers. I'm sure there are as many pushy nobodies who love the sound of their own voice who blog alongside all of the Dr Who obsessives and teccy geeks who are unable to hold a conversation consisting of more than one word grunts. Look, there must be SOME over confident wankers in the blogging game - a lot of them even admit that they're media whores!

Still, I'm pretty sure of where I am on the blogging spectrum.

I don't like sci fi novels or films, don't wear a lot of nylon and don't have personal hygeine issues, so that's a reasonable start ...

... but I've got very poor social skills.

A night out with me is as interesting as a Monday afternoon sat in a dentist's waiting room. I don't like talking to people, they don't like talking to me and an unhappy medium of monosyllabic *conversation*, awkward silences and avoided eye contact is the best you can hope for. Sorry, but I don't really like having to socialise and avoid it as much as possible. I don't see it as a problem and am perfectly happy provided I don't have to be around other people.

Still, these days you can't get *anywhere* in blogging unless you network.

Which means that this blog is destined to fade into obscurity because I won't be attending supah doopah blogmeets or kissing arse.

... and I'm perfectly happy about that.

At least I won't be involved in the following awful scenario which will probably happen at an A-list blogmeet near you at some point:

A-list blogger 1: "Hi! How's it going?!"

A-list blogger 2: "Oooh, things are a bit chaotic at the moment! It's all ... rather ... STRANGE ... actually!!!"

A-list blogger 1: "I knoooow! Mind you, I have to say .... LOVING your work, really ... that post you did about your grandfather's funeral where all his relatives came over from Denmark had me riveted. I have to confess, I shed a few tears. It was just marvellous."

A-list blogger 2: "Oh, gosh!"

A-list blogger 1: "And I believe congratulations are in order, what with the publishing contract and the weekly column in the Much Wenlock Chronicle!!!"

Etc., ad nauseum.

UPDATE AND DISCLAIMER: Of course, as someone who is positively Z-list, I realise that I wouldn't actually get an invitation to an A-list blogmeet, but would be stood outside like a smudgy-cheeked Dickensian chimney sweep ... "cor, there goes that Little Red Boat lady, all 'oity toity in 'er silk gown!"

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Anyone who has an RSS feed will probably have been thinking recently "oh no, SOMEBODY ELSE has done the Seven Things I Wanted To Be When I Was Young And The Seven Things That I Actually Became meme".

Never let it be said that I'm not the last person on the bandwagon. I've allowed time for the dust to settle. So long in fact that this may constitute a Seven Things I Wanted To Be When I Was Young And The Seven Things That I Actually Became revival.


1. A teacher (aged 6). Hmm. Never likely to happen, was it?

2. A writer of adventure stories (aged 9). I spent the whole of the summer of 1972 scribbling them in an exercise book. The hero was tall, raven haired, and had the physique of a swimmer. At one point in the story he stripped down to his undies and jumped into a raging sea from a lighthouse to rescue some kid. Oh dear. Oh DEAR or dear.The exercise book was burnt in one of our bonfires, along with several volumes of teenage diaries, fortunately.

3. A photographer (aged 12). Not owning anything but a Kodak Instamatic wasn't going to help me get to where I wanted to go to with this.

4. A member of Abba (aged 14). I mean, living on an island, writing songs all day, becoming phenomenally wealthy but hardly ever touring. What's not to like?

5. An artist (aged 15). Spurred on by an art teacher who told me I had "a special talent". Told parents that I was going to art school. Told that I could forget that idea for a start by my parents, and I was going to carry on studying RSA Shorthand and Typing instead. Parents proved correct, as ever.

6. A librarian (aged 16). Reality and maturity were starting to kick in here, weren't they?

7. A hibernating grizzly bear. Still would do, actually. Unless you have nightmares about salmon that you've eaten ganging up on you to get revenge in the afterlife.


1. Brunette.

2. Blonde.

3. Redhead.

4. You really

5. Don't want to read

6. My boring boring boring career trajectory.

7. Really - YOU DON'T.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007


Do people who are on MySpace have MySpace meets in the same way that bloggers have blogmeets?

Are they able to recognise each other from the heavily photoshopped pictures in which they look fifteen years younger and more beautiful than they actually are?

Most important of all - does TOM ever actually meet any of his millions of *FRIENDS*?

I mean, at least you would be able to spot him in a pub, because he's bound to look exactly like this:

... but with a drink in front of him.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007


Just thought I would annoy you all with another post that pays homage to Richard And Judy.

Listen, Richard and Judy are very "up" on what happens on the "world wide" internet. In the past they've done features on all the exciting new crazes such as "My Space" and "Second Life". They've interviewed Petite Anglaise who is at the vanguard of the new "Weblog" trend!

This week they've discovered - YOU TUBE!!!!

They featured some clips from this amazing new website, including that horrible one of the babies who are all crying at once which has been doing the rounds for ages, the sneezing panda, a breakdancing baby, and one which featured Adam Buxton doing a voiceover of someone taking part in - HEY! - Richard And Judy's competition, You Say We Pay.

Mind you, I thought it was pretty amusing, so I've linked to it here.

At least they had the good grace not to show that awful bloke giving away free hugs. Now, he really should be shot.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007


There are some of you who will be celebrating the gloating smugathon of Valentine's Day with a lervvvved one.

Could this be because you

(1) Are in the early, stupid stage of a relationship? For the first eighteen months, scientific evidence suggests that lovers' IQs fall by an incredible EIGHTY THREE per cent. Mentioning one's love object's name in every conversation and spouting gibberish about how "every day is like Valentine's Day with him/her" is not uncommon, along with the spontaneous purchasing of soppy presents or weekends spent in overpriced hotels where you'll wake all the other guests up with your interminable noisy shagging sessions. Don't worry: eventually you'll come back down to earth, otherwise everyone you know will find you unbearable to be around and you won't have any friends left.

(2) Actually have an IQ which is eighty three per cent lower than the average?

Either way, I hope you have a rilly rilly happy dae and your loved one sends you an expensive bunch of flowers to your place of work so that you can feel smug and superior in front of all your work colleagues, especially the barren spinsters.

I love everyone, me.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Bleedin' heck folks, did you see Ten Years Younger this week?

Well, that excludes any (er, both) non-British readers, so to precis: Ten Years Younger normally gets some poor woman in her mid thirties who has gone through a messy divorce, having been left with three kids and a terminally ill mother to look after as well as hold down three jobs to go out in the streets where members of the public are asked to suggest how old she is. Unsurprisingly, they usually suggest somewhere between forty nine and fifty five. She has committed the ultimate crime of Letting Herself Go and, more often than not, wearing a fleece and trackie bottoms. The poor old bat usually starts crying and saying that she just wants to be the way she used to be.

She's then carted off to have her eyes lifted, her teeth rearranged and to have her hair cut shorter and dyed mahogany "because it'll bring a bit of warmth back to your face". Slightly nervous and highly strung Boer Nicky Hambleton-Jones will inform her that the fleeces have got to go and that "volume is in this season and we can definitely make it work for you because you've got an enormous arse" (not really).

Anyways, this time the show was different because the victim was A BLOKE!

Simon, a thirty five year old DJ, was rocking the Jerry Garcia look ...

... which made him, according to people at a record fair in, I dunno, Balsall Heath, look as if he was in his LATE FORTIES! Some myopic nitwit even suggested he was seventy.

The beard, the long hair, the studenty clothes all had to go, and he was re-made in the image of Modern Stylish Man.

Simon was quite a handsome bloke under all that hair, but unfortunately he agreed to let a cosmetic dentist loose on his yellow tombstone teeth.

They never do things by half measures, do they, cosmetic dentists?

So. He had sky blue veneers which probably glow in the dark.

The effect was a bit too near Mike Smash:

... topped off with the kind of hairdo that drippy singer songwriters called James Summat tend to have.

Poor old Simon. I hope he grows the beard and the hair back and reverts to wearing his old Carhartt gear rather than the "new, thin knit jumpers" and the three foot long shoes which are apparently all the fashion. He lives in the West Midlands after all - who needs to get beaten up every day? At least with his old look hoodies would have been too frightened to have thumped him.

He still has to live with those teeth though. Which means he'll never be taken seriously again as a DJ.

Still, time to bite the bullet Simon, even if it cracks those veneers. You'll have to get a job in hospidle radio.

Y'ain't seen nothin' yet mate.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007


Clean out of ideas once more, which means that Tha Dive's meme thing is fairly timely. To wit:

"Here is the assignment, list five lyrics that stick out in your mind and their significance to you. It can be as zany, quirky or catchy to having had an influence or impact on some aspect of your life."

*zany*, *quirky*, *catchy* ... three of my least favourite words.

First up, I should say that I'm not someone who listens to song lyrics or finds significance in them as a rule. I love the physical sound of music. Sometimes voices even get in the way. Still, I'll try to make the best of a bad lot, mustn't grumble etc.

"Come with me to the dancefloor,
You and me,
Cos that's what it's for."

Take Me Away - True Faith

Blimey, that's the first sensible thing I've 'eard all night! When I used to go to clubs, hundreds of years ago, I just used to love to dance all night. Who wants to stand around chatting about your frock or some party you've been to, or, even worse, your job? Dancing is great, you get lost in the music and, er, get plenty of exercise at the same time. Why hang around the sidelines waiting to get chatted up by some awful man, eh?

The Eve Of Destruction - Barry McGuire, aka Barry McGuigan, full lyrics here.

A 1960's protest song performed by a fat man in white tights and riding boots. One of the best comedy lyrics of all time. For instance:

"Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’
I’m sitting here just contemplatin’"

My blood's a bit mad as well mate. So, the impact it has had on me? It's made me laugh, and realise that I don't like protest songs.

Edelweiss off of The Sound Of Music, lyrics here.

Only in the context of The Sound Of Music, when the family are being watched by the German officers who are going to arrest them and the audience join in ... and ... I end up bawling my eyes out.

Definitely NOT the version by Vince Hill, although he has got nice hair.

It says something about the power of good over evil, probably.

I am a sentimental halfwit.

"I would grow roses round our door
sit in the garden
growing potatoes by the score"

If There Is Something - Roxy Music, full lyrics here.

The juxtaposition of the beautiful with the absurd, undermining romantic ballad cliches, etc. etc. I like the idea of Bryan Ferry in dungarees and wellies shovelling Maris Pipers into the muddy ground and saying "OWW, me back's gorn again, it really takes it out on yer".

"Without really knowing
I hid a part of me away"

The Day Before You Came - Abba, full lyrics here.

Another blubfest. We all just sleepwalk through life until we're in the throes of love, but perhaps it's better like that, eh? That bit of the song really *means* something to me, but it's none of your goddamn business what.

Alright, I know, none of you want to be tagged, so I won't.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I have too many scarves.

As a child, I managed to acquire a second hand girls' annual from the 1950's which was aimed at the lacrosse playing boarding school gel who would've been at home in the pages of Malory Towers books. Did these type of girls actually exist?

Well, one feature was suggesting ways that they could make themselves more attractive (presumably in case they met any boys. Which was unlikely, as they spent all their time at all girls boarding schools, playing lacrosse or riding horses or having scrummy midnight feasts w. potted meat sandwiches and lashings of ginger beer).

The annual suggested the following (I can remember it more or less word for word because, of course, I decided to live by this wisdom forever. It certainly helped me attract hundreds, nay, thousands, of admiring suitors from wealthy families):

"If you are the plainer type of girl, don't despair. A sweet smile or a pretty laugh work wonders. They tell a boy "I am feminine!" Many of us cannot afford the latest fashions, but ring the changes to a simple outfit with a gay accessory such as a brooch or scarf."

I've never amassed a collection of brooches, which might've been a bit more "it" in 1952, but I own a mountain of scarves.

Thin scarves, thick scarves, silky scarves, woolly scarves, printed scarves, plain scarves.

Yes, I use different types of knots when I wear them, which is poncey and pretentious.

I see a scarf and think "blimey, that looks like one of them Joan Miro murals, it's dead weird, it's only two quid in the sale, I have to get it!" and that's that.

The problem is, due to global warming, scarves are surely about to go the way of the dodo.

What with central heating, everyone wears short sleeves, even in the winter. Indoor shopping centres wack their heating up to about 30 degrees centigrade, presumably because they get complaints from those ridiculous people who've parked upstairs and have wandered into the centre in their shorts, t-shirts and flip flops (yeah, you do see them, don't you, even in February) ...

I won't be getting rid of my scarves because I am a hoarder.

Perhaps I could use them in, like, some sort of Joan Miro mural ...

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Sunday, February 04, 2007


BBC Four has started a three part series called Soul Britannia which examines the impact of black music on post war Britain.

I saw the first part, and enjoyed hearing Eric Burdon reminiscing about life in Newcastle in the 1950's (very good at spinning a yarn is Eric), or the effusive Geno Washington admitting that he lied his way into being a support act for Georgie Fame ("my cousin is Aretha Franklin", that sort of thing). Even the (suspiciously blacked up) Tom Jones and Kevin Rowland were quite entertaining, particularly as I didn't have to listen to them performing their recent material.

However, there was a problem.

There were contributions from Robert Elms.

Robert Elms has been annoying me for the past twenty seven years, and it has got to stop.

How long do I have to be inflicted with him gushing on about the beautiful sharply dressed inner city working class kidz?

How long can he get away with it?

Why do his face and voice form such a horrible alliance of smugness?

Many of you will not be familiar with Mr Elms. Lucky you.

This is the man who kickstarted the 1980's by introducing us to the best band of all time, Spandau Ballet Featuring Tommy Handley.

Remember that next time you have to tolerate listening to Gold or True on Magic FM in the office.

This is the man who once told Terry Wogan that he'd got a new home, but the only piece of furniture in it was one chair, because it was the only thing he'd found that was good enough to be in it.

This is the man who published a book in which he talked about his past as one of the beautiful sharply dressed inner city working class kidz.

Apparently, he was a skinhead.

Then he was a dandyish glam rocker.

Then he was a soulboy.

Then he was a punk.

Then he was a new romantic.

Then he was an arsehole in a zoot suit hanging around dahhn La Beate Route while writing gobby articles about Blue Rondo A La Turk (arf arf) for The Face.

Then he was just ... Robert Elms, social commentator and voice of the oppressed classes who have made good for themselves for the rest of his natural born.

Unfortunately, I can't find a clip on YouTube to illustrate exactly how annoying he is, but if you watch any television programme featuring talking heads yabbering on about the good old days, Robert Elms is bound to crop up at a few points in the show.

Knowing that Robert Elms is about to turn up on a television programme is a bit like waiting for the next wave of contractions when you're giving birth.

Yeah, I know, I've never had any children, but it's the best comparison I can think of.
UPDATE: Twinned with Geoff's Soul Britannia post. You scratch my back ...

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