Sunday, November 26, 2006

Saturday



Saturday afternoons


in a Clapham pub with Mark


when it's raining outside


are great.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Me vs. "Radio 4"


I love a bit of Radio 4, me.

I can go all funny listening to the dulcit tones of Charlotte Green. The minx. And the shipping forecast is in my mind pure poetry, and reminds me of home and childhood.

Regular readers will know I'm a bit of a closet fan of The Archers, though I don't often get the chance to listen in.

However. I spotted this opinion poll on the programme's website today:

Last week's vote
Should Adam and Ian "get married" in a civil partnership?
70% said Yes they should
9% said No, because they are not suited long term
21% said No, because the process is inappropriate for same sex couples
Total votes cast: 6680


Now then.

It is a delightful and wonderful thing that 70 per cent of respondees backed Lovely Adam and Lovely Ian all the way down the aisle. Hurrah!

I'm not even too bothered that 21 per cent said that same-sex unions are heinous and abhorrent (I'm reading between the lines here a little).

After all. Radio 4 listeners are radical free-thinkers who may choose to hold certain personal opinions - to which everyone is absolutely entitled - but probably without coming over all Nazi-ish.

Should they bump into the lovely Sandi Toksvig* in the local corner shop for instance, no doubt they would congratulate her on Chairing The News Quiz and make friendly and polite small talk about the weather or the price of orange three-quarter length trousers. Well-bred Radio 4 listeners could doubtless even willingly particpate in debates and discussions on the subject matter while respecting the thoughths of others and without calling down hellfire, dammnation and exhibiting signs of utter physical revulsion**.

But there is something that really, really, yanks my crank about this jollty little survey; why did anyone at Radio 4 decide to put two quotation marks around the words get married. As if two blokes getting married is somehow not a real marriage, like it's all pretend. The sentence reads perfectly well without them. They are totally superflous to requirements and it belies a hint of Daily Mail about the whole thing, if you ask me.

It really "F*&KS ME OFF".

Am I overeacting?

And as for the evil nine per cent who said Adam and Ian are not suited long term. How very dare you.....


* There is talk of bringing back Tiswas. WHATEVER. Number 73 is one of the defining pieces of my childhood and should be reinstated and made compulsory viewing for everyone under th age of 18 immediately. The Toksvig is ACE.

** Raising an eyebrow and making a 'tsk' sound.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

...but do come back afterwards...

Posts about failing to post any new blog posts are soooo uninteresting.

Normal* service will be resumed shortly. It's just been one of those weeks.

So in the meantime I just wanted to say I'm still looking for Winter-esque, not-exactly-Christmassy-but-maybe-a-bit-cheekily-festive song suggestions for my iPod's winter playlist. I have had a few excellent sugggestions from Old Cheeser and the lovely LaLa (U2, of course).

Don't force me to make a mood board, peoples. Thanking you in advance! I will post up the tracklisting here thereafter.


* i.e. infrequent, flatulent, badly typed and quite often utterly and incomprehensibly banal

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Get the heck out of here!

Well. I've alphabetised my blogroll list* (sorry Zefrog). For some reason this has made me enormously happy.

I've added a few new ones in too. Go on. Give them a little click. They are all more interesting, wittier and better written blogs than this one, and very worth a visit or several. So get surfing!

Well? What are you waiting for!? GO. Mrs Slocombe has heard the news, and she's telling everyone....





* It's been a difficult week....

A thing.

A Lot To Learn waved me in the general direction of this fascinating piece on Blog trends and usage.

It has a minefield of information on the Blogosphere, but this really caught my eye:

"Today, the blogosphere is doubling in size approximately every 230 days."

Wow. Can this carry on? Will we run out of space? Will the start of our blogs start disappearing into the ether?

It's these questions that keep me awake at 3am, but I'm sure I'm worrying over nowt.

Wow, though. 57 million blogs. That's a lot of blogging. And all of them talking about Tom and Katies' wedding...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Uplifting verse


There is something wonderfully poetic about the spam email for Viagra that uses Shakespeare extracts to get past my work email's spam filter (although pretty much everything bypasses this anyway..).

But surely an opportunity is being missed here. What if those rogue web traders reverse this, and use Shakespeare to sell Viagra directly.

What better endorsement could there be than one of the world's greatest writers...?

"Be great in act, as you have been in thought."
King John, Act V, Sc. I

"Every man has business and desire,
Such as it is."

Hamlet, Act I, Sc V

"This is the short and the long of it."
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II, Sc. II

"I have not slept one wink."
Cymbeline, Act III, Sc. IV


Hahahaha! But then again...

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. "
The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Sc. III


Exit. Stage left.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Just because

Coming out of the stationery cupboard

Secretly, I quite like filing.

It's one of the least stressful sections of my job, and if there's time to do it, then generally that means there is no looming deadline, no constant squeal of the telephone, no urgent semi-panic on.

Unless I'm just in denial.

Plus I'm a stationery freak. I love pencils. Neat packs of marker pens. Blank notebooks full of marvellous potential. Carefully labelled dividers. The moment the ink sinks softly from the pen, into the quiet absorbancy of the paper.... uugghhhhhhh.

Today seems to be one of those days in the office when, by general and unspoken consensus, everyone is having 'a bit of a quiet one'. This must be contributing to my mood, because I'm feeling a bit... well, it's too early to be Christmassy, so lets say Winter-esque.

Every year I create a mix tape/CD/iTunes playlist (times - they have a changed!) with a wintery feel, and I reckon it's a good time to start the 2006 one.

Any suggestions..? If so - I'll let you know what final tracklisting I decide on.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ripped


Makes me laugh.

Amnesty International - working to protect human rights worldwide.

How to make Christmas even camper. Now with added vocals.

Everyone, it seems, is jumping on the Bond bandwagon.

It seems pretty obvious that Casino Royale is going to be 'a bit spesh'*, and probably one of the cooler Bond films in yonks. Ditching the reliance on clunky special effects. Hopefully losing some of the double entendres and replacing them with value-added coolness.

Bonusdoubleplus. And so the crowd follows.

For starters, Scissor Sisters have chosen to style their latest video with the look of a 007 credit sequnce.

Very good, very good.

See Land of a Thousand Words here.

Already we're bombarded with themed adverts for all the products oh-so-carefully endorsed in the film itself**, but - and here come the handclaps - only Marks & Spencer of all places has one of the orignal and best Bond ingredients for its Christmas campaign:



HERE SHE IS! YES! IT'S THE DAME SHIRLEY THE BASSEY!! ON SOME STAIRS!! NO STANNAH NEEDED!!

For give the shouting and multiple exclamation mark madness, but this is not just any James Bond tribute advert, this is the M&S James Bond tribute advert. You can picture the scene. It's 3am. The boardroom of the 'Creative Department' of the M&S ad agency. Tension is mounting, like a string section from a Hitchcock film. When suddenly, from a dark, smoke-filled corner: "Get me The Bassey's agent! IT! SHALL! HAPPEN!!"

I'm sure they would have settled on Charlotte Church. From The Valleys With Love.

See the ad here, in all its silly glory, From YouTube With Love***:



She doesn't get winched up out of the stage as her entrance, but she should, dammit. And what is that she's singing.. nooo... they can't have got her to cover a PINK song, can they....??!!

Quite ironic really, that as there are several very real conflicts going on out there, right at this very moment, that the Western world has a very active part in, we are choosing to lose ourselves in a bit of fantasy spywork. But spys are just double-hard bastards and coooool, right??


Alright. not always... well. it's Bond. He's back. And it's only a bit of fun. I've got my Casino Royale ticket. Yay!!!

Now, MoneyPenny, bring me the microfilm recovered from the body of spy working at the Ambassador's office and put the kettle would you, pet? Could murder a brew.... no...?


* as opposed to SMERSH. Aha. Oh wait. They've cut that out. Okay then. Carry on.
** Vodka. Watches. Cars. What I want to know is where he got those swimming togs from.
***Stop this. Now. Serious...

I have been a non-passive participant in a piece of site-specific theatre. Say that after a few glasses of sherry...

I had an amazing experience on Tuesday, and shoving it under the label of 'theatre' doesn't quite do it justice.

Under cover of a darkening sky and a shadowly moon, I and my fellow theatre-goer hastened to Wapping - truly a place of dark deeds and mysterious arts. And warehouses converted into trendy yuppy flats. We went to see the Punchdrunk production of Faust.

(Background to the Faust story c/o Wikipedia here.)

Now then. Punchdrunk are a theatre company who, according to their ever-so-slightly-spooky website, "create a theatrical environment in which the audience are free to choose what they watch, where they go... Punchdrunk rejects the passive obedience expected of auidences in conventional theatre."

And they ain't just whistling dixie, friends. Although I would argue that good conventional theatre is anything but passive, this was breathtaking.

Upon reaching Wapping we made our way to a former archive building, supposed a secret location, fitted out across five floors to represent the heaven and hell of Faust's tale. Starting in a good-time American bar created from scratch somewhere on the ground floor. The 8pm entry group, including us, were made to don white masks, so we looked like something out of Eyes Wide Shut. I took this picture of me wearing mine the toilets, so you can get an idea of what we looked like.

We were shuffled into a service lift, away from the most direct light we would see all evening, and various groups dropped off at different floors of the building.

And then, you see, we joined the rolling production. We could go where we wanted and when. The story was happening all aroud us, all of the time.

All I know is this - it is all still running round my head today, like hot blood dripping of a steely knife.

Utterly amazing. The more you put into it, the more you got out of it. You could follow one particular character, or wander off and wait for some action to reach you, or even investigate the many rooms and corridors, all imaculately decked out.

I drifted into a small, dark room with candles and a statue of the virgin mary, with a small, white coffin laid out upon an alter. All of a sudden one of the characters rushed in to the room, hotly pusued by one other audience member, and approached the coffin. After a few moments she turend and looked us both dead in the eye, rent with despair, not a metre away. It was electric!

The atmospshere was incredible - helped with the amazing sounds and music, both recorded and sung by the performers. There was so much I must have missed, with everything happening at the same time, but equally there was so much that practically only I or a few other people saw. Wicked. I know from speaking with my companion afterwards there was a lot he caught that completelly passed me by.

Equally there were scenes we both saw, such as the dance and wicked jiving with most of the cast and the 'finale' in the basement, that we were both in the same room for and had no idea.


Masking the audience is clever - as soon as you see a face you know they are a character. But even if you are taking a break from the action, just wandering around the room and taking in the scenery was more than enough. When on my own (again - some of the characters took quite a lot of keeping up with, and more than once did I collide head on with a spectator going energetically in the opposite direction - whoops!), I discovered a floor I hadn't been on yet, containing a dark cornfield, and suddenly there was one of the leads running through it, who I followed through the field, but then lost in a maze and barn, and then I was in an archive room with a single set of shelves lit up and piles of old manscripts...

Also in the building were an entire forest, an office, several bars and houses, a cafeteria, a hotel, a dusty field, a collapsed church and a cinema. So you can see there was alot to keep us busy.

Now if only I had given my coat to Jed...

Trippy. Like a dream. Not much talking - and believe me it didn't need it. Wish I could go again. As soon as the service lift door opened, there is nothing that wasn't part of the experiece - either planned, improvised or in passing. I cannot begin to imagine how long it must have taken to put together. I can't really do better at explaining it than this review from The Stage.

And. On the way out, we spotted one of those old-time, green screen, all-in-one-unit computers, the like of which is no longer seen by man nor beast. Unless it's a retro E4 advert or something. Kewl.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In your face, Rumsfeld!

No long political posts here. But what good news.

Excuse me while I take time out to eyeball the members of the UK cabinet with a Meaningful Glare, waving a copy of the day's papers and mumbling in a vaguely threatening manner...

Talking of people no longer in positions of power, the blogosphere has already renamed Kevin Federline, aka K-Fed, as Fed-Ex. Hahahahaha!

Oh it's wrong to laugh at any kind of marriage breakdown obviously. But, was it me or did everything have a hunch it was just a matter of time?

Did I actually just go from the international politics to Britney's divorce?

By Crikey, I think I did.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Adventures in YouTube: 5 November 2006 (Sex and the Matrix)


Must have missed this one first time round.


This looks good.


Ahhhh. Betty Boo. Thems the days.


Heee. Lar. Reee. Ous.


Hellishly funny.

New York City Boy(s)

SO!

Manhattan, my friends: it's wicked.

I did keep a few jotted notes from the trip, which I am grateful for now - although not a full blown journal that I usually keep on big new trips. When our lady lately of Peru found out I wasn't taking anything to write notes in, she advised me to take something "Leather bound and lovely". Well. Quite. That could have raised a few eyebrows at customs so I stuck to SimpleClassyPlain notebook from Muji.

As usual I was stupidly early to arrive at LHR. But. Ignoring any mad wittterings that may lie ahead, online checking-in, mi amigos, is the future. Embrace it. It is wise. Pick the seats yourself and yes, we'll have a window view thanks very much!

Spitting in the face of DVT, we had a glass of vino to celebrate the holiday when we got airborne. Yippee!

I'm not going to bore you with a long list of what we did and didn't do. But More or less everyday we kicked off with a few touristy bits and bobs, and then devoted the rest of the day to shopping, browsing, drinking or relaxing. And maybe some dancing.

Our hotel, The Gershwin, was as you can see, pretty cool. Pop art adorned the corridors and rooms, and they were dead helpful. It was perfectly located for exploring the island, on East 27th street, just off Fifth Avenue.



New York city is ace.

We did a few of the tourist biggies - The Empire State Building (VIEWS!), Central Park (TREES!), Times Square (TOO MANY F-ING PEOPLE!), The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (IMMIGRATION!), the UN Building (DIPLOMATS!), the Guggenheim(CULTURE!)) and the stunning Grand Central Station (TRAINS!). But to be honest the best experience is just checking out each of the island's best areas. SoHo, Greenwich Village, Upper East Side, the financial district - all very different but very interesting. It is exactly like the movies.

Every morning we would go and have breakfast on Cafe 28 - I really miss this already.

Enough of my dull rhapsodies. Here are some pictures...





I can't be arsed to upload more - so check out the little FlickR digerywhatsit on the sidebar to see some others!

We did, of course, also spend about fifteen minutes blocking up the sidewalk* and generally making tits of ourselves while we executed exits from Trump Tower, a la The Apprentice USA.

Shopping on the last Sunday was rudely interrupted. Half of Fifth Avenue was closed while Will Smith filmed a bit of his new movie. The cheek of it. Dammit, man. Doesn't he know I have quality jeans to purchase? Hmmm??

The food was excellent. Not least the mouth-wateringly exquisite steaks we had at The Strip House**.

I will definitely be going back to New York City. Didn't even scrape the surface of some of it - The Bronx, Brooklyn etc. One thing I'll say though, the London Underground feels a lot nicer than the NYC subway. But hey - it got us around, so I'm not complaining.

I also got totally hooked on Project Runway while enjoying an afternoon siesta in the hotel. Hah!

They played Breakfast at Tiffany's on the flight back. I nearly cried.

Although knowing that NikeTown is next door takes the shine off it a touch. Would Audrey pop in for a chi-chi pair of Nike Air Max? No. She wouldn't.

And finally, I have to say a massive thank you to one of the bestest traveling companions ever. :-)


* Picking up the lingo, you see.
** Not what it sounds, trust me.