Saturday, December 30, 2006

Best. Piece. Of. Internet. Ever.

My head hurts. I can't take anymore. No more boozy nights. No more. Enough. No more staggering through Clapham in the early wee hours, clutching our heads/a bottle of JD/the pavement. No more waking up and wondering who I am, where was I and what became of dignity etc. No more dancing to Xanadu. No more losing the ticket to the cloakroom. No more hurling money at McDonalds staff for 'food'.

Liver says no. Please no.

I never thought I would say this, but thank goodness 'party season' is nearly over and we can all make a pretence at sobriety for ten minutes in January. Please. The toilet can't manage much more of this madness...

But! Thanks to stumbling across the marvellous Blue Cat, I have come across the funniest bit of the internet. Ever. It's about that tornado that hit North London (Capital city. Not a lot happens here, you know) and can be found here.

Please, I urge you to read it. But not while drinking anything or trying to get any work done.

Can't form sentences. Laughing too hard. There are so many lines of pure genius in there. What got me were the thick Edwardian walls, which tells you a lot about me, I think.

I demand pictures of Happy the cat.

I am vanishing off to darkest Norfolk for NYE 2006. Best Friend and I had a plan to always spend NYE abroad and on foreign soil. This has lasted now three years. Norfolk is, after all, practically another country.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Back passages (titter ye not)

Londonist is mapping London's alleyways and passages, go here.

I love this bit of code, and the way when you choose one it brings up a picture. V good. I shall be cross-referencing (pauses to push NHS specs back up nose) with this, which I am reading at the moment (when the vicious Christmas elves leave me in peace for five minutes, which hasn't happened much lately. Oh my liver, Oh.):

It's a fascinating read, though a little bit all over the shop in terms of the writing (get me, literary critic extraordinaire). It is furnishing me with lots of 'Did you know's' for impressing people at Christmas parties (pushes up specs again).

We've had a lot of fog around these parts of late. I found myself quite literally whooshing over to Oxford for a work meeting this week, and some of the countryside looked beautiful, emerging slowly from the prevailing fog, with a thick frost layering across it. What has happened to any semblence of sentence structure? Well. Here's a badly taken and almost blurred-to-the-point-of-incomprehension cameraphone picture of ther aforementioned ground conditions, to compliment the imagery.

Do enjoy.

Todays mission: wrapping papper.

What do you mean, I'm leaving it to the last minute..?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

HRRNNKK!! Non-festive post alert!

This advert is brilliant, but makes me want to cry a little bit, and just generally take care of the ASIMO. What if someone's mean to it, or it gets lost!? I feel this even more after seeing this news story.

I'm pretty sure that a lot of the advert has been shot at the wonderful Science Museum. I used to love going as a kid - and pressing every button I could get my hands on. I remember it so clearly.

However, I made the mistake of taking my nephew once and trying to share this with him. We got there just after it opened and headed straight up for the top floor, where they keep the medical science collection.

It was very creepy, with all the mannequins and pointy instruments, and total lack of anyone else being around. Uncle Boz was trying hard to keep a lid on his mounting terror. The nine-year old was less bovvered.

Anyway. Whoever is doing Honda's adverts, is very clever, and clearly well-paid. Well done there.

But neither advert are as good as this much, much cheaper one for Travelocity, which has me in tears of laughter:

"Hi. I'm Carl and I just wanna take care of you..."

Now. Must get on. The final of Strictly Come Dancing is on. I didn't think I would get into this. But, d'you know, I have.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Wrapping: Musings on festive gift shopping

I have discovered five cardinal rules of Christmas shopping. They are thusly:

ONE: Never beat yourself up for instantly forgetting all those wonderful things you saw throughout the year that made you think "Ah! That would be perfect for X!" or "Y would just adore that, and think me the most witty, stylish and thoughtful of friends!".

For starters, you should stop making friends with people whose name is but a single letter of the alphabet; they are only trouble. But secondly you should remember that chances are even if you could remember them, they would no longer be on sale or available, and should you have bought them when you saw them in July and stored them away for Christmas, mold/mice/moths/nephews would have reached them. And no one likes people who are that organised anyway.

Likewise, get over not getting down to it sooner. You had important appointments with bar people, dammit.

TWO: Time is limited - pick one good part of town and do everything there.

People are far more easily pleased than you would imagine. Not every gift has to be the pinnacle of sophistication, originality and taste. you are only setting yourself up for failure and unobtainable standards. Do not fear the request for receipts, nine times out of ten it is a sign that a person feels comfortable with you.

Likewise, try not to have some kind of breakdown if the branch of the shop you have visited doesn't have the thing you wanted. Remain polite and dignified at all times. Elegance is our watchword. Your inner-shopper will be distracted by murderous thoughts of lairy shop assistants.

And when you get home and discover you have separately bought three things that could have been part of a 'three for two' offer, remain calm and remember that worse things happen at sea.

Being trapped on a cruise full of cheerful octagenarians learning how to rhumba, for example.

THREE: Always get a few generic spare presents. The horror of being presented with a hand-wrapped gift from someone who you had relied on to dish out nothing more than a nice card is a challenge for even the most socially capable.

The phrase that runs through my mind on such an occasion is "I bet this never happens to the Queen-slash-Elton John...".

FOUR: Seek guidance.

I would love to think I am a 'down and with' uber-cool uncle ("Nang! Book!" Oh ask a kid...). I'm not really, and that's fine. Therefore, it's advisable to consult a parent, co-parent or handy under-ten for advice on at least part of the present. Better still - ask the child itself what it wants. Spending insane quantities of money of a gift your inner child things is really cool may not result in yelps of happiness from your local eight year old. Chances are your inner child is at least twenty years out of touch.

Don't even think about an ethical gift for anyone under twenty, unless they really are going through 'that stage' and have specifically asked for a goat to be sent to an African village. Even then, buy them a book to wrap up. Otherwise save all that for events outside of Birthdays and Christmas.

And don't go expecting a nice thank you note. Weep tears of gratitude at an SMS message and shush.

FIVE: When the wholenerve-wracking, Krypton Factor-esque endurance feat of tghe shopping day itself is over, never, ever, EVER tally up what you have spent. You will only want to cry. And then you'll only feel crap about feeling guilty about how much you have sepnt. It's an ever decreasing circle of latter day self-loathing about conspicuous consumption.

Remember, conversion to an alternative religious bias is always an option, and will get you out of this hidesously ruinous and sticky experience in time for next year. But where would be the fun in that..?

Someone always has it worse than you, and this piece by Lucy Mangan made me laugh like a drain, as my flatmate will testify.

I can say all this in the smug knowledge that I have just finished all of my Christmas shopping. And I did the last bits in a small piece of heaven found in central London, Hatchards Bookshop.

Don't get me all wrong, the rather biblically proportioned Waterstones down the road is just great, but there is something magically homely about Hatchards. It's like shopping in a bookshop created by your Great Aunt. I kept expecting one of the staff to offer me a mince pie and make a disparaging comment about the length of my hair/trousers/nails/conversation.

Oh yeah, and the books are fantastic too. I could have strayed through the sections for hours...

I bought a copy of The Big Issue on the way home, to reduce the fear of a karma imbalance leading to an Act Of God that would wipe out all my hard work.

Mince pie, anyone??

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It killed the cat!

You curious internetters, you. I won't tell you what I do. Shan't.

Let's just say broadly communications and leave it at that, shall we? Oh the irony. In consolation, I have two things:

THING ONE: This How To on Blogging by the v good guy Browning. And I quote:
" It's never a good idea to blog about your workplace. When you complain about your boss doing nothing at work, you'll soon find the one thing he makes sure he does is read your blog."



I thank you. In a mature and dignified manner.

I think it's the yule spirit. It's getting to me. And we're about to 'do' our tree. YAY!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Literally neither hither nor thither

First weeks in new jobs are always a bit stressful, aren't they? Mine is certainly no different, and especially at this time of year, when everyone is rushing around trying to organise Christmas*.

But thankfully everyone is really nice. Not 'nice' twee nice. Just really cool and sound NICE. Which is good news. And the induction programme they have is fantastic, so I'm feeling well eased-in.

Loads to do though. Big project next week. Eeek.

Tonight is the first night I've had free this week. I'm sitting inside, all toasty warm, writing my Christmas cards and listening to the beautiful sounds of Anthony and the Johnsons.


I'm very relaxed. So I'm bound to have forgotten something crucial.

So you'll have to excuse me while I make a nice cup of tea and catch up with the rest of the internet.

* I have not gone to work for Santa, alas.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Following this rather sad episode in the history of this very blog wot you is reading now ("hello"), my mum came to see me this week - and look what she bought!

It's Geoffrey Casherelle II - and he is two, as two branches appear to be growing from one avocado stone. Brilliant! The Parentals found him on in amongst the compost on their allotment, in deepest, darkest Wiltshire. It's probably on a ley line or something. Or I could be fostering another Audrey II. Little Clapham Flat Of Horrors?

I don't know what to call him. It can't really be Geoffrey Casherelle again. I need something new. Any ideas, internetters??

Also, while tripping through town Crimble shopping - and nursing a not unconsiderable hangover from Christmas and Birthday parties in South London last night - I saw this in Waterstones - which just made me laugh:

Hee hee hee!

You'll be pleased to know the hangover has subsided somewhat now. Making difficult decisions about the colour of baubles was not easy earlier. Not easy at all. And I think their was a roll-over effect as Friday's nights leaving drinks were also plentiful.

I'm having a quiet one this evening, with m'flatmate. New job starts tomorrow so I need to be bright and perky.

Eeek! Browning pants as we speak...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Goodbye Kitty

I'm having a very stange day.

I have just arranged to have my sister's cat cremated.

As a Christmas Present.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Frosty Boz Choons

Don't know why I haven't blogged much this week. Not much to say. Which is almost world-first. And it's not like there's nothing going on. Christmas shopping... family stuff... changing jobs a week from tomorrow... (bricking it...)

It's all been A Bit Much.

So instead of a proper post - Drumroll please! As promised, here are the results of my compilaion of a Winter-esque batch of music for my iPod to help me along the way as I bimble around town in a state of mild and disconcerting panic.

Yes, it's...


I'm excited. Are you? Let's begin:

1. The theme from a Box of Delights (which the internet tells me is by Victor Hely-Hutchinson)
2. A Camp - Silent Night
3. RJD2 - Silver Fox
4. Flevans - Smalll Room Syndrome
5. Aim - The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice
6. Goldfrapp - You Never Know
7. Rufus Wainwright - Poses
8. Donna Summer - Winter Melody (c/o Old Cheeser)
9. The Pretenders - 2000 Miles (c/o Doris)
10. Love Unlimited - It May Be Winter Outside (But in my Heart It's Spring) (c/o Old Cheeser again)
11. U2 - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (c/o JulaBerry)
12. Frost - Endless Love (Royksopp remix)
13. Yann Tierson - Comptine d'un autre été - L'après-midi (from the Amelie soundtrack)
14. Saint Etienne - I Was Born On Christmas Day
15. Scissor Sisters - Kiss You Off
16. The Pogues - Fairytale of Old New York (c/o Gareth et al)
17. The Cardigans - Great Divide
18. Barry Adamson - The Big Bamboozle
19. Massive Attack - Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water
20. Sébastien Tellier - La Ritournelle (Sven Love & Catalan FC Remix)
21. Quantic - Time Is The Enemy
22. The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special Theme

So there you have it. This is whats filling my ears at the moment. Not exactly Christmassy, but certainly Winterish.

A huge thanks to all those who suggested tracks. Sorry to Old Cheeser - I couldn't bring myself to include The Waitresses Christmas Wrapping, simply because the Spice Girls once covered it.

And I can't find anywhere an electronic version of Tony Robinson's Christmas Wrapping song, which I loved as kid.