Thursday, March 31, 2005

tory blogging and bad radio show titles

Some further thoughts on Conservative Home, this time expressed by Labour MP, Tom Watson, who says:

"[Iain Duncan Smith] wants to build a vanguard of right wing bloggers in the UK and looks to the US for inspiration. I'm not so sure it will work. For one, we may moan about our press but there is every strand of political thought on offer in the UK - from the Morning Star to the Daily Mail. Secondly, our newspapers have the best writers. Only a few bloggers can match their style and prose. Those bloggers that can, cross the divide and end up in print - Oliver Kamm, for example. Thirdly, rusty though they may be in some areas, political parties are generally broad churches (even in Arundel I suspect!)."

Tom has just been interviewed for Radio 4's 'Analysis' programme, along with IDS and Will Davies, and the resultant programme goes out tonight at 8.30pm. Entitled (ahem) 'Going to the Blogs', it 'explores the world of Blogs and analyses whether they could really change our democracy', according to the Analysis website.

I hope someone thought to mention Andrew's sterling endeavours on behalf of Labour bloggers.

false promises

Quite a revealing interview with John Redwood in the FT today, which the Guardian Newsblog talks up as containing a gaffe, although Redwood's comments regarding the possibility of withdrawal from the EU were a bit too considered to be in the same 'giving the game away' league as Howard Flight's comments. Nevertheless, they mask something which we all know - the tories can not be trusted to keep Howard's promise not to withdraw from the EU should they win the forthcoming election.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the prospect of an election campaign filled me with doom. Well, as you can probably tell from recent posts, that isn't quite true. I'm enjoying it so far. It's revealing how deep loyalties run, though. Any thought that my tribal loathing of the Tories might have dissipated given how much I fuckin' hate this government has been dispelled - I truly love watching them flounder. Ah well. I certainly won't be cheering when Labour are returned to power, but I might allow myself a smile if the Tory recovery is as slight as I'm beginning to think it might be.

freedom of movement and the right to stay

Spotted over on John B's Shot By Both Sides blog, information on a March through London this Saturday, 2 April. The Misson statement?

"'We stand against racism and fortress Europe and for the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. For citizenship based on residency and the closing of all detention centres. We oppose deportation of migrants.

'We see the demand for freedom of movement encompassing different struggles of migration taking place every day throughout Europe: struggles for housing and legalisation, struggles against racism and camps, struggles in the workplace, the struggles of women and men to free themselves from patriarchy, racism, homophobia in their country of origin but also of their country of arrival.'"

Excellent stuff. More information here.

jon ronson on jonathan king

Jon Ronson does a radio interview...

Great stuff over on Jon's blog -

"So there I was, a paedophile apologist, for all of Northern Ireland to hear."

Oh dear.

Here's some more Jonathan King stuff; (not that I'm a JK fan or anything, I hasted to add...)
- Lyn Barber on an unlikely friendship
- His final interview in prison
- Jon Ronson's long article on Jonathan King from December 1, 2001.

I confess, I do find Jonathan King quite interesting, or at least, I'm interested in his refusal to accept responsibility, and by his complete blindness to how he is perceived by other people. Choosing to launch a pop single immediately on his release from prison was an extraordinary decision, and I want to know where he gets the confidence from to carry on the way he does.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

verity project

Excellent - new Electrelane stuff on its way, apparently. The Steve Albini produced 'Axes' is out on May 9th, and a track from it, 'Bells', is up on Fluxblog - and bloody ace it is, too; a pulsing, krautrock grower for the first few minutes only to give way to a fantastic piano break, before rocking out for the finale. What a great song. Go here to get it. Then go here to read about the new album, and finally go here to pre-order it.

fight or flight (sorry)

I watched Newsnight last night, feeling fairly sympathetic towards Howard Flight, who certainly made a gaffe when he admitted that the tories ultimately aim to cut public spending, but nonetheless only said what every tory knows and in any case did not deserve to lose his political career for it. It's really not so hard to find a politician departing from the party line if you follow him with a tape recorder. So I was looking forward to his interview with Gavin Essler, even if I think that Flight is very wrong in his hankering after a return to thatcherite values.

Yet his brief appearence was so lamentably badly executed, he was so sulky and superior that it was hard to feel sympathy. Flight represents a whole raft of politicians that we rarely see (anecdotally, I gather that the people of Arundel don't see him that often, either) and so we cannot judge him as a man until he is unveiled. I do not mean to say that a five minute interview convinces me the man is not worth the trouble, but it's instructive how so many politicians who we automatically assume are able, coherent and clear-thinking turn out to be alarmingly unimpressive.

Instead of taking the opportunity to be candid, open and constructive Flight instead assumed a pained expression, fidgeted about, loudly denounced 'labour spin', proclaimed his innocence and for all the world came across like a petulant five year old caught with his fingers in the sweetie jar. His performance was extraordinary, and I suspect will put paid to his hopes that his local party will rise up in his support. Distasteful though Howard's actions were, you suspect that the local tories will keep quiet with the election so close.

On the other hand, this is the tories, we're talking about, so who knows?

jamie's progress

Some good news on the school dinners issue. The Guardian writes that:

"The government today promised £220m to bring the minimum spent on school dinners to 50p.
The education secretary, Ruth Kelly, also promised to reintroduce guidelines on nutritional standards in school meals for the first time in 20 years."

Kelly predicts "a really dramatic increase in the quality of food in school dinners that are served, particularly in those areas where they are not currently serving good school dinners at the moment." You'd hope so. Apparently Jamie Oliver has welcomed the plans but pledged to remain 'the voice of the dinner lady'.

punk rock

If you follow this link here, like I just did - thanks to New Links, who drew my attention to it - you'll find a big list of punk rock MP3s available to download. Mostly by bands I haven't heard of, granted, or crap like NOFX, but if you flick through you'll find tracks by Bratmobile, Girls Against Boys, Gas Huffer, Sick Of It All, Pansy Division and various other bands that I thought were cool when I was 15. I think I was mostly wrong, with the exception of Bratmobile and GvsB, whose 'Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby' was rarely off my stereo in 1993.

are you thinking what I'm thinking?

"History can be rewritten, but it cannot be undone. Changing or deleting words is possible on the Web, but possibility does not always make good policy"

The author of Conservative Home doesn't seem to understand that blogging is a dialogue, and, as Rebecca Blood, author of the above quote, puts it, "Changing or deleting entries destroys the integrity of the network". Yesterday the tory blog launched with about ten to twelve interesting and revealing posts, most of which attracted considerable comment and plenty of people took the trouble to link to individual pages. This morning the archive has been extensively edited, leaving only two posts visible on the front page.

Perhaps the authors of the site are embarrased that much of the comment has been negative. Perhaps they had not expected criticism. Perhaps they've had the hard word from Michael Howard (good lord, perhaps he's trying to get them de-selected as we speak).

All the same, it's a great shame to see someone using the blog format, getting a lot of praise for doing so, and then distorting the medium.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

the long wait

I was in the library at lunchtime, prolonging the inevitable return to work, and I overheard the following exchange, between a youngish dad and his son, who can't have been more than three years old. The father had just picked up a DVD from the rack.

Dad (wistfully): This will be a fantastic film for when you're a bit older.
Son (wrapped round Dad's legs): What is it?

I crane my head and see that the father is holding 'Blade Runner: The Director's Cut'.

Dad (even more wistfully. No, reverentially): It's set in the future...

I walked back to work.

conservatives and the language of the left

It's interesting to note that the Tories are now getting in on the blogging bandwagon as part of their pre-election campaign; Conservative Home, started by Tim Montgomerie, former political secretary to Iain Duncan Smith and former head of the Conservative Renewing One Nation unit, is up and running, and advocates 'social conservatism', apparently.

Like Bloggers4Labour, the site is independent of the party it professes to support, but 'supportive of it', although it operates less like a hub for the right's online presence (as B4L does for left-leaning blogs), and more like a think-tank blog with an electioneering twist.

It looks good, if you like that sort of thing, although it's oddly childish in places - aiming to deconstruct 'leftish' (the form of English spoken by Guardian readers, basically), it defines 'the woman's right to choose' as 'I'm not listening anymore'. Well, quite so; how dare these people - women, particularly - assert their right to make up their mind about something which the right feels qualified to lecture them about.

The editorial nature of the blog makes it better reading that Bloggers4Labour, but I can't help thinking the gloss will wear off when it becomes apparent that, having sweetened the pill by talking about 'social conservatism', the architects of the site will apparently go on to urge the return of 'one nation' Tory politics, which is presumably when all the arguments will kick off. Meanwhile its rival site continues to bring bloggers on the left together without stamping on faultlines.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

meet the president

Ok, now this one is just so desperately unlikely....

But you never know.

Bill Clinton's blog.

"It’s a strange thing, being a politician. When I was running for office journalists asked me what my favorite song was. I couldn’t tell them the truth. My favorite song is “Be my Baby” by the Ronettes. Obviously I couldn’t say that, because it’s too romantic. So I decided to say it was “Don’t stop thinking about Tomorrow” by Fleetwood Mac.

It was the right thing to do at the time. You’re a politician, you’re telling voters you are going to change politics as they know it, so what better theme song than “Don’t stop thinking about Tomorrow”? It was perfect for the campaign.

I do like Fleetwood Mac. Most baby boomers do. If I’m right their album “Rumors” is still the best selling album in the United States. Their best song though, is, you will agree and you will know I’m being honest with you, their best song is “Tell me Lies”. Am I right or not? I couldn’t use “Tell me Lies” as my theme song during my presidential campaign."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

why did no one tell me about this???

Dinosaur Jr have reformed! Since when? Not with Lou Barlow included, presumably, but all the same! Fantastic. Well, they're playing the Astoria in June and I will be there, oh yes*.

*unless I do what I normally do and forget all about it 'til it has sold out.

UPDATE: OK. Lou Barlow is included. *goes weak at the knees*.

bloggers' disco (reprise)

Having taken part in Mike Troubled Diva's great Bloggers Disco a couple of weeks ago, I'm pleased to note that he's put together a CD's worth of tracks which form the first part of the disco playlist, and am looking forward to downloading and burning the result when I get home tonight. Mike says,

"It's a good crowd-pleasing, floor-filling opener, which would probably work just as well at a wedding disco as it would at a bloggers' disco."

Follow the link above to go get it.

face the truth is coming

Hey, new Stephen Malkmus stuff on its way, excellent - 'Face the Truth' is coming out in a couple of months (exactly, it's due on May 23rd). Quoth Malkmus,

"and people are going to like it more . . . I can already tell."

There's a very appealing mini-review of the album over on Scenestars, and they even have an mp3 of one of the new tracks, 'Pencil Rot' there. Of course the song is laid back (this is Stephen Malkmus), but it's also tuneful and envigorating, something which I thought was a bit lacking from his last effort, Pig Lib. If this track is anything to go by, he's toned down the classic rock impulse that has gradually spread outwards in his work since Terror Twilight, and the loose, buzzing synths and Malkmus's easy, confident drawl recall an avenue many of us thought that he might go down a few years back, underestimating his love of 70s rock. This track dashes along, not forgetting to shimmy into a chorus, and sounds fun, just like all the best Pavement tracks did. It's the best thing I've heard him do in a long while. Matthew, over at Fluxblog, points out the similarities to the Fiery Furnaces, which I can see, and, back at Scenesters, EJ writes that on the new album...

"Mr. Malkmus has found some form of joy, and a resonating sound of happiness strings through the record unlike anything I've heard previously from him. I think he has mastered the undercurrent of pop music in this record. It does not bore, and I am going to need to want to listen to it for a long, long time."

Good news.

Mind you, I've been going through a phase of listening back to the neglected Malkmus records in my collection, finding much to like in stuff like Brighten the Corners and Terror Twilight, albums which disappointed me when they were released. I'd forgotten how good that early Silver Jews stuff is, too, and have been catching up on recent 'Jews material (sans Malkmus), which is surprisingly brilliant, given my short attention span for pedal steel guitars. So I filled a CD up with Pavement, Silver Jews, Smog, Slint and that Bonnie "Prince" Billy album, and have been reliving my indie rock years. I also finally managed to track down 'I Suck', by the New Bad Things, which was my favourite song ever ten years ago, and which I've been trying to find for years - so I'm going through a serious regression period; it's 1993 all over again round my place.

From that New Bad Things song:

"People like to think that if someone has changed society
in some profound way then perhaps they don't suck,
But they're wrong in thinking this.
My first example is Lou Reed".

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

contradicting myself

Some thoughts on the election campaign as it begins; it was being heavily trailed last night on Newsnight as 'Top of the populists', the allegation being that both major parties are resorting to what Lynton Crosby calls 'dog whistle issues' in order to get their message - as opposed to their opponents' - over to the electorate as the 'top story' - hence Howard on abortion, travellers, GM crops and asylum and Labour on, erm, school dinners. And the budget, presumably (which the tories, shouting 'vote now, pay later' consider a piece of crude electioneering in itself).

Superficially, it's easy to equate the tory line on travellers with Ruth Kelly's announcement on school dinners, both announcements coming on the back of nationwide campaigns as they do. The Sun, that bastion of campaigning journalism, has had it's knives out for Britain's travelling folk, and Jamie Oliver, with his excellent Jamie's School Dinners programme, has both knife and fork pointed menacingly in the direction of Bernard Matthews, who makes Turkey Twizzlers and - by virtue of stuffing them full of scrumptious ground-up turkey bones, additives and crack cocaine - has sewn up the school dinner market in the process. Both campaigns, it appears, have provoked political gestures from Howard's Conservatives and Blair's government.

Both argue that there is nothing crude in their own actions and plenty in those of their opponents. Howard claims that he is responding to a genuine greivance on the behalf of many Britons, whereas Kelly is merely jumping on the bandwagon. The Labour line has it that Howard is exploiting and encouraging ill-informed racist sentiment that he would be better off challenging. And Kelly, apparently, knew all about Jamies' dinners long before we did - something which is probably true, given that Oliver has footage of himself talking to Charles Clarke about the subject last summer - and already has plans in place.

So, are we being exploited twice over by parties who only want to jockey us into voting for them? People peddling policies which they would never have meddled with had they not been in dire need of a pre-election boost? It's certainly a real blot on the Labour copybook that it has taken this long to do anything about school dinners. The French spend between £1.50 and £4 on school meals and we manage a mere 37p. Clearly not good enough. And Ruth Kelly's announcement is just not enough; more is needed than a cap on ingredients - this is about funding, equipment and training.

But I'm not so relentlessly cynical to think that simply because the government is responding to a campaign it's motives are entirely flawed. In truth, the idea of providing healthy food for children should not be a party-political issue in any sense, were it not for the spectre of contracting out services. It would be far more troubling if movements and campaigns such as those led by Jamie Oliver (and, I say through gritted teeth, The Sun) were ignored entirely. Which is not to say that just because someone starts campaigning about something, be it fair trade or the abolition of late-term pregnancies, the government should follow the tune.

But Oliver's campaign gives me hope that sensible, articulate campaigning can be one of the central ways we can get out of this cycle of being so desperately disappointed by our shoddy government and the political system in this country. If we can no longer trust parties to be bold and take the initiative then we do need to feel that we can influence them; Jamie's School Dinners did just that. Ruth Kelly may have just re-hashed a load of fairly unimpressive policy commitments but in doing so she sustains the debate - we can keep going, we can demand more. This and other campaigns (like Christian Aid's 'Make Poverty History') enable us to keep up the pressure on politicians to do more than just make token gestures.

Howard, too, has been influenced by single issue campaigning, and doubtless his supporters feel the same way I do - they want these issues aired. In party politics, especially near elections, we all have to be opportunists when it comes to furthering our ideas.

But whereas Kelly's commitments are 'not enough', merely a small step towards a destination that remains frustratingly far away, Howard's plans are too much and too dangerous. He looks to deprive people and ethnic groups of rights, he demonises communities and he exploits racial tension. I'm desperately disappointed by this government, but I will take any day a party which makes frustrating small steps in the right direction over a party which wants to turn us round and march us into isolation, division and neglect.


The only problem is that both those descriptions, seperately applied, describe the Labour government. I deplore the populist poison which has marked the tory campaign so far and yet I am faced with this current administration, which conjures up identity cards and illegal wars, which presides over the destruction of human rights and civil liberties, which "talks tough" on asylum without making the case for immigration. Polly Toynbee accurately described Blair as "not so much adrift as perversely rowing in the wrong direction."

For all Lynton Crosby's backwards agenda and the sheer nastiness of the tories, we retain a one step forward, three steps back government. It's not hard to understand why the start of this election campaign, with its depressing choice of Tory and New Labour, is filling so many us with dread.

image steal number two

A great photo from the Assistant gig the other night, lifted from Sandra's great Attic Glimpse blog; I didn't provide a review of the gig here, but it went well - although you might want to tell that to anyone present who heard my voice combust mid-way through 'What It Means'. Ouch.

Normal me, sings: "Do you ha-ve any sympathy for me?"
Monday's me: "Do you ha-agghhhhv any sympathy for meeeeuuuuurrrghh-ugh-crrr-cckkk?"

Ok, shut up, here's the photo:

photo by Sandra of Attic Glimpse.

Monday, March 21, 2005

tory scum

Hmm, how impressed am I with Michael Howard's rationale in the face of claims that - subsequent to his latest attack on travellers - he is a repellent bigot?

"Some people claim it's racist to raise this issue", Howard stated, today, and then - as if the following tied the matter up - "It's not".

Well, that settles that. How's this for a rejoinder, though - I say it is. Is it your turn, then, Mike?

Meanwhile, according to the Guardian,

The shadow defence minister, Gerald Howarth, who reportedly joked about a friend who is "as black as the ace of spades", today denied his remarks were in any way racist, but said he was sorry if anyone had taken offence. Mr Howarth, MP for Aldershot, reportedly made the remark during a private dinner at the spring conference for the right-wing Freedom Association.
Lovable bunch, these tories.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

image steal number one, sorry.

This photo, along with the caption, 'Such a skinny building' just showed up in my RSS feeder, appearing as it did on Funky Pancake. I reproduce it not because it is a dazzling photo (nor an especially dazzling building), but because I scrolled past it and noticed that doing so created a most unusual bulging, rippling effect on the image. So please navigate your mouse eastwards, scroll down, scroll up, and - suitably impressed - continue as normal.

photo from Funky Pancake.



The peculiar, colourful, boxy towns which teeter on grey rock in front of a jagged claw of ice and ahead of a brilliant, forbidding blue sea, the Inuit towns of Greenland and Alaska - something about them absolutely grabs me like no other landscape. I don't think I even knew what these towns looked like - or had given no thought to it - 'til I chanced upon a few TV programmes and chapters in books about them, but they gripped me immediately; something about the colour and the desperation - something about the desolation.

Last night I happened to watch two excellent TV programmes, a double bill of Nick Middleton's excellent Surviving Extremes series, which pit the Oxbridge don and travel writer against the world's most inhospitable climates. His trek through the forests of Congo were remarkable enough (where the forest, at it's densest, is so impenetrable that it can take ten minutes for a raindrop to reach the forest floor), but his month in Greenland was breathtaking, whether fishing for birds with a long net on the steep side of an ice-clad cliff or being forced to sample raw seal liver.


The society was so singular, so unique, so finely skewed between wilderness and civilisation. At one point Middleton, aghast, looked on as Inuits sat on a sheet of blood stained snow and ate a local speciality; a seal carcass is stuffed with birds, buried in the ice for six months, and devoured raw.

The entire programme was every bit as horrifying and fascinating as that suggests.


Um, the blog of Alastair Campbell, anyone? Surely not...

"Saw the trailer for Channel 4’s The Government Inspector last night, a programme about the events surrounding Kelly’s death and the whole wanky BBC affair – it will be interesting to see how I am portrayed. Apparently I swagger about a lot shouting “Bollocks” and “What a load of shit”. Well it was so at least they got that right."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

cover to cover

Just the merest shiver of spring and we're back into winter here in Chichester; the view out of my window is relentlessly monochrome all of a sudden, which is a depressing sight - I had an almost spring-in-my-step this morning (a concept which will doubtless amuse Vic, who is rightly tired of my month-long bad mood at the moment) as the sun pulsed on the back of my neck waiting for my connection at Barnham. I've started getting an even earlier train in the morning, even though it gets me in at the same time, such is my colleague-phobia and desire to be able to read the paper cover to cover, read a chapter of my book and get in a fifteen minute nap.

At the moment I'm reading a book for my work book-group - Jonathan Carroll's The Land of Laughs - which is irritating me. It's a quick read, a half-time orange, but I want to get back to Cloud Atlas.

The Land of Laughs is from the Stephen King school of writing. Naive, good-hearted characters roll into idealistic US towns to warm applause from mystifyingly friendly strangers. They walk into shops and interrupt frantic conversations consisting of phrases like "For god's sake, Anna, that's the seventh boy gone missing this month! And have you seen the horses?". They suspect nothing. Before long, strange things start happening. Who'd have thought it?

On reflection, I decide to stretch my sleep outwards to twenty five, or read the education supplement.

Please stop raining.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Assistant unveiled

Assistant: 4 new songs, January-March 2005.
Right click to download. Please let us know what you think.

1. What It Means [3'40], 3.4mb
2. Theme [1'17], 1.2mb
3. Drinking With You [3'07], 2.9mb
4. I'm Shit. [3'55], 3.6mb.

Friday, March 11, 2005

competent maturity

"I don’t like this. Warnings / Promises is an accomplished rock record made by an accomplished rock band. “Back-to-basics” is a conservative epithet and this record is made by conservative men, more interested in craft than inspiration, bound by a subconscious will to safety. Idlewild now sound like REM. Which is to say that the unbound fury became passion and then became earnestness. Which is to say that the maelstrom of white noise became electric strands of silver and then became slide guitar"

Thanks to Ben at SWSL, who draws my attention to a good review over at Stylus of the new Idlewild album, which I've not heard yet, but which sounds from Nick Southall's review like exactly the album I feared it would be, which is mature, slow, thoughtful, conservative. Dull. I'm with Nick completely on this one, Idlewild were always a really exciting, energetic proposition, and their descent into measured Americana is profoundly depressing. Nick writes,

"On the record sleeve, two members of the band are wearing cowboy boots, and another has a denim shirt and jeans on. I suspect someone bought them a Gram Parsons record. Bastard"


Thursday, March 10, 2005

ten years younger

Another great Jamie's School Dinners last night - that's the best TV programme I've seen in years. But the show which always gets us talking in the flat is the show which preceded it in the schedules last night, Ten Years Younger, which I've complained about before. I only saw a few minutes of it last night, but enough to make me really violently angry. Sadly I only went and spoke to Vic about it. Looking back, I should have thought up some extremely witty insults about the show's host, Nicky Hambleton-Jones, blogged them, and claimed the credit. Even if I had, mind, I would have been beaten to it by Charlie Brooker, who got this to press a full week and half ago; brilliant stuff.

"She's slightly synthetic and ethereal; the ghost of a listless graphic designer. Weirder still, for someone fronting a show about facelifts, her own face is almost entirely featureless. She looks like Mrs Spoon from Button Moon. She looks like a baby new potato in glasses. She looks like Michael Jackson's mugshot snap. But most of all she looks like a Crayola sketch drawn by a very very stupid child. There's a Ten Years Younger spin-off book in the shops right now: the front cover features a simple cartoon drawing of Nicky Hambleton-Jones, and curiously, it looks more like her than her actual photo does. She's a freak. How DARE she tell other people what to do with their faces when she hasn't grown one of her own?"

[thanks to LinkMachineGo for the link]

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

i bet U2 are to blame for this

I just noticed that Apple have discontinued the 40gb iPod!!! What!? Why? I was fuckin saving for one of those, you guys! I guess it's so they can shunt people like me along to the iPod Photo, which is too clunky, too heavy, too small at 30gb or big at 60. And still too expensive. Damn it.

a short history of america

Like someone said on the letter's page of the Guardian today, amidst all the obsessing over Robert Crumb, the controversial American cartoonist who is featured in the paper every day this week, there's a "far funnier and more challenging cartoonist" syndicated into the paper every day - the peerless Garry Trudeau.

I don't see Crumb as a great visionary or genius (any more than I did Hunter Thompson), but - having nodded in agreement when I read the letters page - I thought the Crumb cartoon in G2 today, when I got to it, was breathtaking. It's spread over two pages on the Guardian website, and deserves more than a moment's glance; I spent fifteen minutes poring over it. In eight frames he has crafted a static 'Short History of America', chronicling the incursion of rail and road into the American landscape and the slow, choking stranglehold of the city. His wires, snaking across the sky, are a marvellously intrusive web.

Part one is here.

And part two is here.

bloggers' disco

Mike is hosting a bloggers' disco in aid of Comic Relief over at his Troubled Diva blog, so I have to come up with a suggested tune. Cue much umming and aahing, wondering whether I should name something obscure in order to be all arty and impressive, and generally thinking aaagh, I can't remember a single song, let alone one in particular.

But I have to plump for something, so I'll go for 'Shack Up' by A Certain Ratio.

nice green cover

Our new songs are primed and sitting on a server somewhere waiting to be activated. You should definitely be able to give them a listen by the end of the week. In the meantime, if you would like a copy on CD, please email me. There'll be plenty to pick up at the gig next Monday, but you'll have to pay a quid for those. I know, I know, capitalism gets us all in the end.

Monday, March 07, 2005

stopped sharking to get chips and drinks

I normally approach my journey into work in one of two ways. Either I'm completely knackered and not yet woken up - in which case I adopt my always flattering loll-back-in-my-seat with head hanging off to one side and mouth open look, and wake forty minutes later in a moment of panic - or I'm feeling refreshed and awake enough to use my commuting time constructively, in which case I might do some reading, look at the paper, jot down some ideas for songs or posts for my blog, or listen to some of my latest legally-acquired music.

This morning, however, I did neither, as knowing I had a meeting at 9.30 meant that I was both too restless to sleep and too distracted to read. So instead I sat in a kind of blank state and half-heartedly eavesdropped the conversation going on behind me, in which a pair or teenage girls and a mostly silent boy discussed their latest romantic misadventures.

Well, there was nothing particularly funny, explicit or notable about their conversation, but it was funny dropping in and out of it and hearing key phrases every now and again.


Girl A - I think he's really gorgeous. He's got about twenty pairs of trainers! (Here she listed some fashionable models). And his house is well big.
Girl B - I don't think the money would bother me, to be honest.
Girl A - I just think he's gorgeous! He's got a terrible personality, though.


Girl A - Don't you think he's lovely though. He's got a lovely arse.
Girl B - I think he's a bit wimpy.
Girl A - Yeah, he is quite skinny.
Girl B - I really don't like skinny boys, they make me feel fat.

(until this moment, I thought I liked the sound of Girl B more, but I am thinner than thin, so I turned on her at this point).


Girl A - I missed a pill on Saturday, though. I had to have it in the evening which is a bit dodgy.
Girl B - What did Ben say?
Girl A - I just said, you're going to have to wear one and that's the end of it.
Girl B - Two kinds of protection is better than one, anyway. Did he, then?


Girl A - Do you think I look like my nephew?
Girl B - yeah, same nose, same around the mouth.
Girl A - he's getting into trouble at school. I might have to go down there and stop them beating him up.
Boy A - He'll just get it worse if you go down there. How old is he anyway.
Girl A - Year 11.
Boy A - You'll just chat up the boys, anyway.
Girl A - No I won't. Well, I will if they're fit.