Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cut and thrust in a gastro-pub in London

"Two halves of Star please."
"You from The Cock?"
"Yeah" smiles
"Chef there aint'cha?"
"Wanna leave?"
"We sacked our chef last night..."

Friday, December 23, 2005

Welcome to England, have a nice day (II)

Tall guy; big, wide, tall guy. Stack of snow-white hair. Belly lunges precariously over his trousers. Shambolic English academic. Looks like his pieces - head, arms, hair - were tossed in the shed and, over time, rusted together in a more-or-less human shape. Stands stock-still. Rummages in a shoulder bag (fabric, stuffed full of papers, may contain a laptop).

As I pass he mutters, sotto voce, "Gis' a kiss darlin'"

Hampstead Heath

Welcome to England, have a nice day (I)

Large, white rooms. Wide, long, low ceilings. The wide width and long length intimidate the human occupant. He suffers a creepy, creeping feeling. Not noticeable at first. The subject is crushed by the low ceiling. Without knowing, he is at his most vulnerable.

The low hum of machinery. An shrill warning siren. Old people ferried by a buggy: the kind you'd find in the lair of a down-on-his-luck Bond villain. Driver: glum, overweight, older than his mid-fifties deserve. Beard: muddy white. Eyes: disfigured by glasses. A Santa hat clings to his skull like a popped balloon.

Gatwick Airport

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Blind fury

At Madrid airport, boarding calls are not announced over the PA system; instead passengers must check the information screens regulalarly. Roughly every ten minutes, this policy is announced over the PA system. There are fewer furious blind people than might be expected.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bush, Blair declare war on explosions

Following the explosion which rocked Luton early Sunday morning George W. Bush and Tony W Blair have openly declared war on explosions, the "scourge of the modern age" as one commentator put it.

Mr Blair took the opportunity of a pre-arranged speech to the Scarborough Women's Institute to emphasise the solid stance of America and Britain in the war against explosionists.

"We are bound together as never before. And this coming together provides us with unprecedented opportunity but also makes us uniquely vulnerable," he said to a packed audience.

"And the threat comes because in another part of our globe there is shadow and darkness, where not all the world is free, where many millions suffer under brutal bangs, and where a fanatical strain of religious explosionism has arisen. We have to tackle this at every level."

In a bold speech to Congress earlier today, Mr Bush declared, "America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against explosions. Our war on explosions begins with Luton, but it does not end there. It will not end until every explosion-doer has been found, stopped and defeated."

The Pentagon today began distributing Top Trumps cards of the world's biggest explosions to help win the hearts and minds of the man on the street in the new campaign. An interactive list of the biggest explosions in the world compiled by our team of keen-as-mustard, eighteen-year-old experts in the proliferation of world explosionism can be found here.

Monday, December 12, 2005

As Jesus is my butcher

1 - a young man at the counter

"No not that bit, can you cut it from another piece?"
Jesus: "What are you talking about?"
"That bit's too fatty, can you find me a piece with less fat"
Jesus: "The fat's good for you."
"I don't want it"
Jesus: "...gives it flavour"
"Just cut it from another piece."
Jesus: Sighs

2 - a mother shops for her family

"Whoah, stop there,"
Jesus: "What?"
"Stop there, that's fine."
Jesus: "What?"
"That's fine, we'll never eat all that"
Jesus: "You will"
"We won't"
Jesus: "You will"
[warning tone] "Jesus..."
Jesus[shakes head]: "O-kay"

These were two conversations overheard at my butcher's, who is called Jesus. This is not so odd in Spain (in fact, I once met a man called Jesus Maria El Salvador - "the saviour" - who'd been born on 25 December).

The vegetable shop round the corner is called Hermanos Polla, which means "Cock Brothers". It's one thing to be called Mr Cock: quite another to go into business with your brother and use the family name.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Saddam: hanging's too good for him

What a blighter! Fancy turning up to court without a tie! They're better off without a slob like that. No wonder he won't show his face today; embarrassed no doubt.

Probably the kind of yahoo that would light a cigar before coffee.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Romantic gift

Not sure what to give that special lady in your life?

Buy her a false eye and when you give it to her say, "In case someone steals the diamonds in your eye and...like...y'know...you wouldn't be able to see so...er...I got yer...geddit?"

Putty in your hands, my brothers.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Best goes West

So George Best has finally karked it. The Best death of all time?

I can't help seeing it as ironic that Georgie's last hours came just as England's drinkers were granted a few more
hours in the pub.

Alanis Morisette, if you're reading this blog, THAT's irony. All that stuff in that naked song of yours missed the mark.

In the interests of transparency, I should declare an interest. George Best looked like my Dad.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rioting in France - what did I tell you?

What did I say? Hmmm? All that bally-hoo over how the Americans can´t organise themselves out of a flooded bayou and how it wouldn´t happen in Europe because we´re different and whaddaya know? A couple of weeks later all of France is up in flames.

And before any smart arse pipes up with "ah but that´s different, that´s the French, they´ve never won anything," well it wasn´t so very long ago that northern England was aflame with racial rioting and only just over 25 years ago Spain was a dictatorship.

So it does happen here. Less of the gloating please.

I refer the assembled self-righteous to my previous blog: click.

...and anyone who points out that maybe, just maybe, this post is a little self-righteous, I point you to the title of this blog.

I´m living the brand.

I cannae change the laws of physics captain

Poor old Scotty. He wanted his ashes spread across the final frontier but the spaceship's knackered.

Fix the warp nacelles and get warp 3 in less than three minutes or they´d all be dead! Alas, the energiser was bypassed like a christmas tree. In life, as in death, he couldnae change the laws of physics.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

security guards and foreign exchange

I've made good friends with the security guard at work. He's a nice fellow, looks like Steven Segal's dad. He collects coins and has a thing for pound coins so whenever I go back to the UK I bring him one. Anyway, one morning we were discussing the pros and cons of sporting a leek on your coin of the realm and he explained how expensive they are:

"They're not cheap you know."


"Oh no, I mean how much is a pound in euros?"

"About 1.50, give or take"

"Well, there you go you see. I paid 2.50 for this one."

I let out an impressed whistle.

This is surely China's century

When the International Olympic Committee makes synchronised yogic flying an official sport, China will be ready and waiting.

That the same can't be said of our once-Great Britain speaks volumes.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Kindly old gent pooh-poohs world-domination rumours


Not the leader of a shadowy organistion that rules the world

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Katrina cause: lesbians, jazz or Japanese?

Pat Roberts was meanly misquoted by Hollywood Dateline as blaming Hurricane Katrina on famous lesbian, Ellen Degeneres. link to slanderous, degenerate commies

That would be silly. The punishment for lesbianism is earthquakes, as every good Christian should know. And Hurricane Katrina was all about sinful jazz music.
link to grovelling apology from slanderous, degenerate commies

I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

He's angry with the jazz, not the lesbians.

Pat Robertson reveals controversial plans to wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

Rug-munchers! Suffer thy shame.

Scientists think talk of Godly vengeance for jazz is bunkum. According to one clear-thinking and rational egg-head, Katrina was caused by Japanese gangsters annoyed by Hiroshima and hoping to clean up on the futures markets. Click here to know the truth about Katrina.

...and more from the world of science:

"Patrick Leman of Royal Holloway, a college of the University of London, has presented the results of his research into conspiracy theories to the annual meeting of the British Psychological Society, which was held last week in Bournemouth. He thinks the reason people believe in conspiracy theories is that humans have an innate tendency to try to link major events with major causes.

To test this idea Dr Leman presented 64 students with clippings of articles that looked as though they had been taken from a newspaper. In fact, the articles had been made up. They were about the president of a fictional country, and they came in four versions, of which each student saw but one. In the first version, the president was shot and killed. In the second, he was shot but survived. In the third, the shot missed, but he died shortly afterwards from an unrelated cause. In the fourth, the shot missed and he lived. The students were asked to rate the likely truth of six statements on the subject of whether the assassin was a gunman acting alone, or whether there was a conspiracy at work. They were also asked to rate the accuracy of the “facts” in the article.

...Dr Leman found that if the fictional president “died” after the shooting, readers were much more likely to believe that the gunman was part of a conspiracy. This was true even though the other facts in the story were unchanged, and even if the death was due to an unrelated cause, such as a heart attack. This curious observation is the basis of Dr Leman's hypothesis that there is some underlying process in human psychology that assumes that the bigger the effect is, the bigger the cause must have been."

Taken from: http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=1648616

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Healthy living

The white room stretches six metres in front of me, two metres wide, three metres tall; a corridor to nowhere, a white-tiled cul-de-sac. A dull chrome bar clings with menace to the far wall. I am sent to it, told to face it. I want to steady myself on the bar but am afraid to show my fear. The white walls, the dimensions of the room, my near-nakedness, all threaten me. From behind a white counter, by the entrance, a water cannon is turned on my back. I flinch under the cold spray which starts at my feet and rises to my back, growing harder and warmer. Turn round. I am facing my aggressor. Nothing to hold on to. My arms hang awkwardly. Our eyes don’t meet. She blasts my body disinterestedly. It is a job to her, dull, functional, workaday.

"It’s good for the circulation."

I have mixed feelings about the imminent massage.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Beating the Bush

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the President his daily briefing, and concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in an accident"

"Oh No", the President exclaims. "That's terrible".

His staff sit there, stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President slumps, head in hands. Finally the President looks up and asks...

"How many is a Brazillion?"

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Norway not boring!

Norway's prime minister today proved to a shocked international audience that his country is not nearly as boring as everbody thought, by resigning with his government.

"Sje peebol ov de worrld dink we de borink but we naat. I haf sjoan dis dooday," mushed the outgoing premier.

"Ssssss...harrumph...mine's a gin and tonic...ssss...zzzzz," said Britain's Foreign Secretary in a statement issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office responding to the news.

Monday, September 12, 2005


An apology to the hordes of readers out there who may be missing my irregular posts.

I will be more erratic than usual for the next couple of weeks because I've moved flat and don't yet have broadband. I ordered it at the weekend and was offered a special price, which made me feel special.

"Ooooh," I asked coquettishly, "and how much is this special price?"
"39.95 a month."
"oooh...oh. That's the same special price as usual. Which is to say, it's not special. And by extension, neither am I."
"It is special,"
"No, it isn't."
"...and so are you. Would you like ADSL?"
"You're all the same you, you, you UTILITY companies. All charming with your fine words and special prices but at the end of it all you're just after one thing."
"You get a free router."
"Hmmmm...ok then, but this is the last time..."
"It's wireless."
"Well, you'd better think about throwing some wires in, hadn't you? Hmmm?"
"For free."
"...it'll be with you in 20 days."

Disaster strikes!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Booze and the oldest democracy

Harry Hutton wonders whether you're four times more likely to get punched in the chops in England today than 10 years ago.

Now there's a grand hoo-har over relaxing licensing laws to distribute chop-punching activity more evenly through the night and give the vomit on your porch less time to dry before morning.

It's maybe a good time to point out that your average Briton chinned 9.2 litres of pure alcohol in 2002 (link, info on page 2). Pretty impressive. Booze is surely one of the pillars upon which the oldest democracy stands.

On of the arguments for relaxing licensing laws is to encourage a more "continental European" drinking culture. The hope is that pallid yobs who like to follow seven pints of cheap lager with a fight and a kebab, will become tanned sophisticates sipping wine and strolling through the boulevards. I fear this is wishful thinking. Take a second look at this: link, info on page 2. In 2002, Britain boozed less than Luxembourg, Hungary, Ireland, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Portugal and Spain.

I was carousing in Spain last night and it is certainly possible to get staggeringly drunk over a long period of time in this fine land. But Spaniards aren't nearly so terrifying when drunk.

The British drink more recklessley, take more drugs and steal more road cones than any other country in Europe; always have done, always will. A stroll through the Victoria and Albert museum is like strolling through a British student's bedroom on Saturday morning, full of the spoils of past excesses.

"...and the priceless treasure on your right turned up in Lord Elgin's possession while the British Ambassador to Constantinople was on the outside of six pints of lager and a bottle of Metaxa. It is a sorry loss for history that Elgin couldn't remember the exact provenance of the vase but reckoned he must have swiped it from somewhere between the Good Times Taverna, where he fell into the arms of a syphilitic maiden, and his offices, the steps of which he woke up on at six in the morning having lost his keys. Elgin later attributed an otherwise inexplicable bruise on his shin to the same night out."

Friday, September 02, 2005

there's just a thin layer between us and total ratshit

I have had the overwhelming feeling today that if all this New Orleans carry-on happened in my home town, or in any of the cities i've lived in, the spiral into lawless mob-rule would be more or less the same.

I'm pretty comfortable in my western middle class cocoon watching disasters on telly, reading about famines in the paper, feeling bad for a minute before worrying that I'm nearly thirty and my most valuable possession is a pair of shoes (which need fixing, incidentally).

But if I was corraled into a stadium with no food, no water and pounding heat after having all my possessions washed away (ok, that's one benefit of the aforementioned) by a biblical deluge, I reckon I'd get pretty shirty too. Fuck it, I'd be pissing-on-my-socks terrified. I'm an utter and devoted coward. A mean fucker with knives wants my underpants and my broken shoes?

"Why certainly, good sir, and may I say, your one eye lends you a dashing mystery. I don't care what others say."

Put a gun in my hand and I'd undoubtedly shoot Mean Fucker instead of giving up my broken shoes and pissed-on socks. Not having much of a clue about guns, I'd probably shoot him in the ear, at a stroke justifying and increasing the tempo of the ensuing beating. Nope, I wouldn't come out of such an ordeal smelling of roses.

If there is any good to come out of this, and surely good comes out of everything, just as bad does, it is that we can no longer presume that bad things, disorganisation and collapsing societies only happen in far away countries we visit. ("Ya, such a great experience, man. The people are so real.")

We're all humans and disaster, whether it is war, famine, flood or other stuff, can happen however civilised you think you are. Some of the dumb fuckers moaning about how Africa should be left to sort out its own problems would do well to remember that.

Sorry for the serious post. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Whoever names hurricanes should be well-versed in popular culture

In 1998 Hurricane Bonnie struck North Carolina. I was confident Hurricane Clyde was just around the corner. Two vicious Hurricanes named after two vicious bank-robbers. Can't say fairer than that, now.

Alas, the next awesome demonstration of nature's might was Hurricane Cyril, or Clive, or Chris or some other unmighty name.

I shrugged, disappointed. If I was at the business end of nature's kosh I probably wouldn't want the world to be smiling wryly at a well-chosen name while I'm watching my house swoop over the horizon with a cow.

But maybe not so much thought goes into the names after all. I've had "Walking on Sunshine"* stuck in my head for three days now.

*by Katrina and the Waves

Euphemism and cultural relevance

"The [flying of planes into tall buildings is] understood by both Arabs and non-Arabs... even by Chinese."

Osama bin Laden demonstrating that even crazies in caves use "Chinese" as short-hand for "you won't understand them and they won't understand you".

(link: later conversation turns to football (albeit with a flying-planes-into-buildings twist))

When I was 14, I wondered how my Dad's painter and decorator friend was big-house-with-swimming-pool-in-leafy-part-of-London-rich.

Me: How comes your mate Painter Decorator's got such a big house with a swimming pool?

Hughes the Elder: ...well...err...well...he's done work for Arabs y'know.

Me: ...

I now know that "done work for Arabs" is a Hughes-the-Elder short-hand for "married money".

I wonder who the Chinese think is unintelligible and Arabs think is rich? And do they both use "Greek" as short-hand for "buggery"?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Madness: you've either got it, or you haven't

There is a good-natured-looking crazy fella in Venezuela, according to a chap called Hutton (link here).

He's not got a patch on Carlotta the Mad, wife of an Emperor of Mexico. She was firmly in your full-baked category of nut jobs: spent days talking to a life-sized doll dressed in imperial robes and when her house caught fire, leaned out of the window (ok, sensible) shouting, "That is forbidden! That is forbidden!" at the flames (mad).

Nuns as batty as thought

A batty nun.

I am a menace

Weeks ago, in thrall to an “efficiency”, I bought a return ticket from Paris to Somewhere in Rural France to see Hughes the Elder. Leaving the house to catch the plane for Paris, I left the tickets on my bedside table. Arriving in Paris Gare de Lyon, I bought a second ticket to Somewhere in Rural France. Buying a return ticket would assure me of having a ticket for the return leg. I bought a single.

I surfed the internet (a fantastic device, they say it will be a big thing) and e-bought the e-return. I will pick it up at the station when I go home. After a lovely week of fine wine, strong cheese and odd dreams, Hughes the Elder drives me to Gare du Somewhere in Rural France.

There’s a diversion and we park a few minutes’ walk from the station. The diversion is a red herring which steals valuable moments. We arrive. I collect my ticket. Do I have my reservation number? Of course not. We argue. I don’t speak French and Hughes the Elder’s hearing is poor. I buy another ticket (this is the third I have bought for the same journey). I miss the train. I panic. We think. I get annoyed. I buy a ticket from a station 200 kms away.

We must drive quickly. Allez-vites, allez-vites. We are in the car. We are lost. We are found. We are going the wrong way. We are going the right way. We are where we started. We’ve lost half an hour. We must go quickly. We need a pee. We stop, pee and continue. My spirits have lifted. I am no longer angry. The gods smile on us. The journey is fast, the conversation engaging. We bond. We arrive. Will we find the station?

We do, miraculously quickly. I have my ticket. We joke about missing the train. The train is late. It arrives. I say my goodbyes and headbutt a girl walking in the opposite direction. My eyes water; she is bruised and affronted.

The train door won’t open. I try another. Hughes the Elder worries. No problem at all! I laugh and wave affably. My eyes are streaming and my nose throbs. I board the train and find a seat.

Two and a half hours later, I arrive in Paris. An hour to cross town and I arrive at Paris Orly airport with time to spare. I drop my mp3 player down a toilet.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Nuns not as batty as thought

Vindication at last for generations of nuns ridiculed into silence for their unscientific and, during the 70s at least, downright unpatriotic belief that looking at lewd pictures makes a boy go blind.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Although the idea of a Brand Champion, Company Values Champion or Quality Champion makes me want to vomit into my shoes, "Champion", alone, unqualified and unspecified, would make an excellent job title.

"Hi, Bob Hughes, Champion, pleased to meet you."

"So what are you a champion of, Bob?"

"Oh, you know, stuff."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

whut up sugar-girl?

Dang pimp done stole my moves

Monday, August 15, 2005

Well grow me a mullet and call me Max!

Two perspectives on oil running out.

According to the sobre analysis of this rational, every-day Joe who is most certainly not a nut job, fruitcake, swivel-eyed loony or crackpot of any sort, civilisation as we know it will come to an end. Soon.

Not a loony

But according to a crack team of responsible, grey-suited, disinterested analysts who have never visited La-La Land, it´s all fine, nothing to worry about, blue skies, stick another SUV on the barbie. These folks are most certainly not gouging leeches or spittle-flecked madmen. Neither are they senile.

Never visited La-La Land

Who to believe?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Easy come, easy go

The president of Thai Airways, Kanok Abhiradee, must have been cock-a-hoop when he heard, on August 5th, that he had been awarded the 2005 World Airline Leadership Award by SkyTrax Research, which conducts surveys among airline passengers. According to the company's website, the awards are "the most recognised and respected mark of quality approval for the airline and airport industries".

(scroll to bottom left)

Mr Abhiradee had only five days to celebrate before his boss suspended him for "a crisis of huge losses" as reported by the FT. Life at the top certainly is topsy-turvy.

Perhaps, though, the answer lies in a closer look at SkyTrax's website.  

Scroll down the page and, below the black and blue image of last year's excellence awards plaque, there is a link to click on. The link is called, "Award Plague". Pity next year's winner.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Political correctness gone mad

First our right to shoot burglars went the way of the dinosaurs. Now those guilt-ridden middle class hand-wringers are after our right to have a pop at mindless maniacs hurtling about the skies in helicopters, interrupting lord knows how many afternoon naps.

This have-a-go hero has been arrested! Probably a war veteran. I've no doubt the acned youths dressed up as policemen desrved a cuff round the ear with a saucepan.

Now tell me it's not a slippery slope.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Innuendo and the law of diminishing returns

Don't get me wrong, I'm as fond as the next man of easing a well-judged innuendo into a natural opening, but surely Sky has brought the art into disrepute with this blunderbuss offering.

stroke here if you are aroused,

18th earl of Pembroke in dancing dwarf romp...possibly.

He's tall, he's handsome, he's worth a mountain of money, he's not a complete twat. But I bet he nevers gets black-bearded midgets dancing for him. Not without paying for them, which he probably does, in his cellar. The seedy lowlife.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

I was an object of desire

I went out on the razzle-dazzle with a few charming folk on Friday night. We found an excellent little bar where I entertained the locals with some spectacular dancing - the better for my being drunk.

Without any preamble, I was nose-to-nose with a black-bearded, short man who was beaming brightly and thrashing like a cat chewing through a power cable. I understood him to be dancing.

The evening had been going well and I was in high spirits so I danced with our new friend. After a while I broke off and went to the toilet. Coming back, I saw black-beard standing with my group and I presumed he was pestering the ladies among the group. I cast shame aside and danced with the hot-blooded latin lothario to give the girls a break. He returned my chivalry by kissing me on the neck.

It was only then that I realised I had been the object of his amor. When I clarified my hetero status, he exclaimed "I see! I saw! I have seen!" and then went over to a friend of mine and shouted "I see! I saw! I have seen!" before walking off, a little embarrassed.

Apparently everyone else knew all along that this guy´s intentions towards me were not honorable. I think I need to get my gaydar recalibrated.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Mighty Elephant

A mighty elephant is stomping through the jungle one day, in a foul mood, when a tiny armadillo waddles into his path.


"We´ll I´ve been ill," replies Mr Armadillo.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Washington, for the love of Big Animals

...and in other news this week, a Seattle man has died after having sex with a horse.

  • Click here and scroll to bottom story

  • A couple of points which raised an eyebrow:

    1) He died of a perforated colon, which gives a surprising answer to the question, who was on top?
    2) The horse was uninjured, thankfully
    3) Sex with large animals is not illegal in Washington State, but pair up with only a wee beastie to make the beast-with-two-backs and you're going down.
    4) So lovers of large animals should head to Washington State.

    And it's goodnight from him.

    Access to the netherworld just got easier!

    In Newquay, in Cornwall, UK, just behind the bus station there is a care home for the elderly, called Roundabout Nursing Home. So named? Because it’s on a roundabout.

    This is the same logic that leads you to number your children, which at least betrays an admirable lack of parental gooeyness. But naming an elderly care home after a non-descript roundabout is lack of imagination to the point of callousness.

    They might as well name it after the graveyard next door (really): St John’s final rest, access to the netherworld just got easier! Even industrial estates are more imaginatively named. “It’s very practical” Yes, but it seems more heartless than plastic bedding. Poor devils.

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    Berserk we did go, verily.

    On Thursday I paid good money (twenty-five euros, no less) to watch an elderly man roam about a stage wearing nothing but a pair of 1970s trainers and a nappy. That man was one of The Presidents. In fact, I thought he was George Clinton until another fully grown man ambled on stage in jeans and a striped polo shirt with coloured strips of paper decorating his hair. He didn't need to do an awful lot for the crowd to go berserk. And berserk we did go, verily. Bananas, barking, cock-a-hoop.

    It was a spectacular concert.

    In a quiet moment I mused on which outfits the chap in the nappy had dismissed earlier that evening. Jeans and t-shirt? Nah. Gold lame catsuit? I'm too old for that kind of caper. Fuck it, it's a warm night and I'm approaching incontinence, I'll wear the nappy.

    I also wondered at the coincidence that way back in the 1970s this crazy loon call himself George Clinton and started a band called The Presidents and the past three US presidents have been George, Clinton and another George. Weird, no?

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    Please pray for this man...

    The publicist for RnB chap, Omarion, issued a statement on Thursday, July 7, asking fans to pray for him because he had been in London when terrorists exploded four bombs in the city. According to Shana Gilmore, his publicist, "He wasn't hurt or anything, but just the fact that he was there and all that."


    Except that, according to Omarion, he has nothing to do with Shana Gilmore, or the company she works for.


    ...and according to Shana Gilmore she has nothing to do with Omarion


    which is all a bit fishy.

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    I felt very far from my friends and sister today

    When terrorists bombed Madrid last year, I felt very close to my friends and folks back home in London. A lot of them called, texted, emailed to see if I was OK. Today, in diametrically opposite circumstances, I felt far away. I didn't hear from my sister until after lunchtime and my imagination had already begun to swoop and dive. I flickered between two websites and the radio news for most of the morning, trying to pick up information.

    Later, I found myself wishing I had been there. That my friends had been through this weird day and I hadn't. It was a weird and selfish reaction but not one I'm ashamed of. Then, having spoken to and emailed a couple of them, I got the feeling that maybe it was more weird for me than for them. Maybe you take it in your stride when something shocking happens in your city - unless you are directly involved. I remember that about the Madrid bombings too - it really didn't affect me much on the day, other than to make me worry that I might be laid off. That was a selfish reaction that I am ashamed of.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Loathing Subsides...for the moment at least

    I seethe for 10 minutes a day at the open thievery and despicable gouging of fear that is the insurance industry.

    That was until I found this article about an insurance company which has offered triathletes insurance against a close encounter with the Loch Ness monster: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4651679.stm .

    So bare is their face, so disarming their chutzpah, I have set aside my daily roil and instead doff my cap to their temerity.

    Tomorrow I will hate them again.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Ode to Goonhavern

    Down at the very tip of Cornwall,
    far from London´s madding crowds,
    there lies a sleepy sanctuary,
    Goonhavern. A haven for Goons.

    Far from the feck and the list,
    of modern life,
    fat bees waddle in the breeze,
    and clay woodland fauna gather in gardens.

    Garden gnomes become loyal friends,
    suspicious shrubs cause a rumpus,
    and Goons while away lazy afternoons,
    swivelling their eyes and giggling.

    Here the Goons have nothing to fear,
    For they are in their haven.


    At a chess convention in a posh hotel, the upper echelons of the chess community are enjoying welcome drinks and reliving past victories. The hotel manager stalks in, shouting, "Get out! Get out of my hotel! Everyone of you! Clear off and never darken my door again!"


    "I'm not having chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."

    Butcher´s Handle

    There is a butcher´s shop in northern Madrid called "La Matanza", which means "The Killing".

    As in, "Can I get you anything from The Killing while I´m in the area?"

    Wednesday, June 29, 2005

    tell him to stick his verisimilitude up the eye of his arse

    More on Spanish swearing. This gem was uttered by my oh-so-dainty Spanish (female) friend.

    Gotta love 'em.

    For any budding Spanish speakers, this is:

    "Dile que se meta su verosimilitud por el ojo del culo."

    It's the level of detail which impresses me most.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2005


    Donald Rumsfeld was ranting the other day that China has been increasing its military spending without an immediate military threat. According to the righteous old bore, China has risen to the number three spot in military spending.

    That takes quite some face, given that Rumbo´s very own defence budget not only takes the number one spot, but is eighteen times that of China (or 7.5 times if you take US figures).

    Saturday, June 11, 2005

    I shit in the milk!

    ¨The weather, the food and the swearing,¨ these are the things that a Spanish friend of mine missed during a year in the UK. In fucking Glasgow of all places. Swearing was up there at number fucking three.

    Contrary to popular fucking suspicion, Anglo-Saxon swearing is fucked. Not half as good as our Latin, Indian or African cousins.

    The title of this post is a direct translation from the Spanish, me cago en la leche. Fuck knows what it means; it is, like much of Spanish swearing, a fairly flexible phrase used in good, bad and indifferent situations. The English equivalent would almost certainly be fucking hell!

    Then there is me cago en la hostia (I shit on the body of christ) for which the English equivalent would almost certainly be fucking hell!

    Swearing is a much greater part of the Spanish culture. A quiet and unassuming Company Legal Secretary I know, is fond of asking which party has taken their trousers down and been fucked in the arse, when checking the progress of his staff´s negotiations.

    In the delicatessen the other day, I spotted a can of green beans with the brand name: judias cojonudas (bollockingly good beans).

    Un piso de puta madre (a flat of the whore´s mother) is a very desirable place to live. Fucking nice flat would be a reasonable translation. What got to my foul-mouthed and homesick friend the most was the lack of variety "everything in england is fuck, whereas in Spain we have joder (fuck) but we have so many more ways to swear." She went on to list me cago en tus
    muertos (I shit on your dead family), qué te den por culo (I hope they fuck you up the arse)...

    Anglo-saxon filth is fucking prosaic by comparison.

    Wednesday, June 08, 2005

    Wanted - web designer, must be fresh from fight

    I was offered 2 tickets for the price of one to a Bonnie Tyler concert today. This has nothing to do with the waning stardom of one of rock and roll's most appealing artists. It has everything to do with how much one of rock and roll's most appealing artists values me as a fan and, no doubt, friend. I'm probably one of her most appealing fans.

    Alas, I have other plans.

    But I did take the opportunity to look at Miss Tyler's website (www.bonnietyler.com) and, I must admit, I thought one of rock and roll's most appealing artists could have done better.

    So any budding designers of bonnie websites out there should get in touch and do their bit for soft rock.

    It seems Miss Tyler is big in Germany. This is right and proper. Her brave offer of a signed sports-bra to Mr Gorbachev in return for calling it a day on the global domination front has gone egregiously unsung in my view.

    Just like that beef-wit, Reagan, to lap up all the credit.

    Sunday, June 05, 2005

    killers born naturally

    I am something of an Economist addict. I love the writing, which is always clear, interesting and to the point. Anyway, that's beside the point. This post is about murder.

    Last week's Economist contained news that psychopaths are born and not made. Actually, it contained news that psychopaths MAY be born, as opposed to nurtured. Well, strictly speaking, there's still hope for them even then, so long as they aren't dragged through childhood by bastards. That is "bastard" in the common usage of the word - the illegitimacy of their parents was not mentioned.

    I can see how Tony Blair cocked up that dossier so badly. It's not easy writing arresting prose when everything has to be true.

    Deep throat fingered!

    fnrr, fnrrr.

    Ok so I'm late with the news and the gag is at least as old as the nickname but...wait a minute...is it possible to make a double entendre about an already double-entendred nickname? And what are the odds on that being the subject of a research grant proposal?

    My very doobling of the entendre probably reveals something uncomfortable about my inner desires.

    Perhaps, deep in the shadowy cloisters of my id, I fantasise about stolen trysts in a secluded garage, furtively arranged by drawing a clock-face on a daily newspaper.

    Oooooooh yes, that's it....blowing a whistle....while two men in dark suits bungle a burglary.

    Mmmmh, and a hard-drinking, grumpy old chap brooding in the background, whitewashing an already-white-but-forever-stained house (sweet irony!)...ooo-ooh yeeeeah.

    Wha??? Where am I??

    Shit, I've drooled.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    Literature and life

    "Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way round." David Lodge

    Sunday, May 22, 2005

    A time long ago...

    when George Lucas could knock up a decent flick. I saw Star Wars 3 at the weekend and was disappointed. Points I didn't like>

    1) Dialogue. Quite the worst i've heard since Before Sunset, which had the excuse of not having a script. Example>
    "Why do you look so beautiful?"
    "It's because I love you"
    "No, it's because I love you."

    Or, on hearing that the love of his life is dead, "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!" which was surprising only in its predictability and total hamnation.

    2) Acting. Anakin Skywalker is apparently played by a tranquilised high school footballer. It was as convincing a rendition of the internal struggle between good and evil as you might expect from George of the Jungle on Mogadon.

    Ewen MacGregor produced some appalling ham. All tally-ho and chocks away.

    Lord Sith was never really convincing until he became deformed. Until that point he was too reminiscent of the kindly old gent who plays God in the Time Bandits. And he sounded like he was reading his lines for only the second or third time.

    Put simply, Natalie Portman was about the best actor there. Which gives you some idea of the woodenness of the others.

    3) Lord Grievous. Quite a good character ruined by an appalling name. Might was well call him Mr Bad Guy. Note to George, "Doctor Evil" was a piss-take.

    4) The moment when Obi-Wan finds out that Anakin has gone to the Dark Side. Let's not forget, this is not just the turning point for this film but it is the set-up for the next three films. It is despatched with as much dramatic tension as checking a gas meter.

    Nevertheless, and in the spirit of fair-mindedness, it was not all bad. Bits I liked...

    1) The set designers were the clear, far-and-away winners of the film. The city-scapes were especially good. As always, in Star Wars the ships were fantastic.

    2) The story coming full circle and Darth Vader getting put back together. Very cool.

    3) The fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Probably not a coincidence that this was the darkest and most gruesome part of the film.

    So there you have it. A disappointment. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is surely the last decent film George has done.

    Earning your daily bread

    "It's just another form of idolatry, a dog licking the rod that beats it: work." Q, Luther Blisset.

    I am inclined to agree; it's been driving me round the bend recently. It was with mixed feelings, then, that I read an article about Somalia's Minister for Tourism. Enticing people to spend their two weeks of hard-earned leisure time in a country which shot to international fame for the death of American soldiers is an unenviably hard task... but on the upside he receives no emails and civil war is a water-tight excuse for failing to drum up much tourism.

    '“I'm sure tourists would leave Somalia alive and I'm hopeful they wouldn't be kidnapped,” he says. “At least, we would try to make sure they were not kidnapped, although it can happen.”' The Economist, March 4th, 2004

    Saturday, April 30, 2005

    stories or things?

    is it better to live a life of experience or things? if experience is your bag then I recommend trying to make those experiences sober ones. Having lived most of my twenties in the pursuit of experience at the express expense of anything useful to show for it, I'm starting to believe that those boring swine who spend their lives accumulating wealth and/or things are the smart ones after all. Where they have houses and heated towel rails, I have a hazy memory of running round a stranger's garden screaming like a loon in the early hours of sunday morning.

    But what about "enriching" experiences? I chose to live abroad to expand my horizons (quide liderrally!). A few years on and not only can I speak another language but I enter ex-pat banter fearlessly. My friends back home are rich, powerful and own houses.

    I am by no means about to head home. I like it where I am. But I don't think I'm a better person for it. Just different I suppose.

    Friday, April 29, 2005

    It's all very clever making a film without a script

    ...but you get the impresion its more rewarding for those involved than for the poor bastards who have to watch it. Before Sunset is the worst load of drivel I've ever seen. Male writer of romantic bestsellers meets female NGO-worker who apparently manages to help the developing world despite showing only basic biological intelligence (eyes follow moving object, demonstrates flinch response to loud noise etc). Quote: Female "I read my diary of nine years ago and was amazed. It was like I was the same person." Male heroically resists temptation to point out how jaw-droppingly stupid that sounds (he later reveals himself to be equally free of activity upstairs). It wasn't a total waste, though. I'll admit it was hilariously bad: I was surpised, after ten mintues, to find that it wasn't satire.

    (I nicked this post from an email I wrote to someone because I'm trying to kickstart this blog. So not plagiarism but lazy, certainly.)

    Wednesday, April 27, 2005

    A slow start

    On a corporate training course I was advised to "under-promise but over-deliver". This is invaluable advice which I have applied rigorously to all corners of my life.

    This blog will be dull and shit.