Thursday, September 30, 2004

Post-Gig Entertainment

Green Park station. Last night. Victoria line platform, northbound.

A gentleman who had clearly had a few too many and was in fact a definite tough nut and all round hard geezer was faintly angered by the fact that the tube train in the station when he arrived drove off without letting anyone on.

In fact he gave the doors a right old kicking and then stormed up and down the platform, with what I can only assume were his carers in tow, swearing loudly.

Presumably there was some part of "Not in Service" he didn't understand.

He then proceeded to tell one of the young ladies with him what a complete stupid cunt his sister was, not realising that she was standing next to him at the time. Although to be fair, she didn't bat an eyelid - perhaps she realised that by simply being in his company she was being incredibly stupid.

So yeah... drunk people are funny.

I actually quite enjoyed going home sober. I may try it more often.

Ooops.

It transpires we gatecrashed the gig last night.

Apparently due to the fact that both lists could have filled the shoebox (sorry, club) to capacity the Soho Dolls' guestlist was knocked on the head so that only people on Client's guestlist would get in.

Obviously something went wrong somewhere. It does explain, however, why the doorkeepers looked a bit confused, panicked slightly and ran around looking for more sheets of paper with names on and so on. There was, quite clearly, an almighty great cock-up.

Okay, so it was accidental, but the fact is we weren't supposed to be there and we were. Ergo we gatecrashed.

Hence as of today I am now officially "rock and roll".

Yeah baby.

Did I mention..?

...that Richard X is a god? I'm sure I have.

Well there are rumours that he isn't actually some form of higher being, nay e'en deity, but I have to say on the stength of his remix of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" I think I can justify casting non-believers into pits of hellfire and damnation for all eternity.

It's so cool.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Last night, despite being pretty much on the verge of collapse after three nights' non-sleeping, I was out on the town at the intimate setting of the Infinity Club for the launch party of the new Client album "City".

I say intimate setting - it's a long thin bar not much bigger than a shoebox with lots of jutting out bits so I can't say visibility was entirely good considering how packed the venue was. At the last minute the night became guest list only so a friend of Christina's blagged us onto the support act's one and we decided to get there early and wait in comfort.

Naturally it all started late. The support act, The Soho Dolls, were first up and were rather good - albeit in a sort of "could have done with a bit more variety in their set" kind of way. Bit more punky than I'm used to put still wouldn't say no to seeing them again.

It was between sets I ventured to the bar to get more drinks in and was vaguely amused to hear a group of Depeche mode fans who'd clearly only turned up because Client's record label is run by DM's Andrew Fletcher who was DJing that night. In that bizarre sort of aloof familiarity they referred to him only as "Fletcher" as if that put them in some kind of inner circle. Of course, when he turned up the whole night was delayed further as said fans had photos taken with him.

There's more of him than there used to be. I hope they had panoramic lenses.

Then Client finally came on stage and put in a storming performance that, to be brutally frank, rocked. Loved it to bits and the new stuff was great. Probably the highlight of the set though was a performance of "Here and Now" that blended their version and one of the remixes effortlessly and just built up and built up all the way through.

The other highlight was seeing Sarah Blackwood getting herself ready in the downstairs bar just after opening. I recognised her, and smiled and nodded. She saw me, smiled and nodded back. I then panicked and ran.

Well, I've never been good at meeting celebrities.

I am, of course, even more shattered than I was, but it was a very good evening indeed. I must do such things more often.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Employee Motivation

Yes. Employee motivation. Not something at which my company has hitherto excelled but they're trying. Very. Last night they launched the "Ovation!" rewards program for the UK office and, lured by the prospect of free food and drink, I naturally attended - even though the exclamation mark they insisted on putting on the program title simply screams "this is lame, but please like me!"

Frankly I was vaguely underwhelmed. By dint of not showing them the business end of a hissy fit and walking out for three years in a row, I have automatically been awarded 10 points - all of which amounts to a bonus of £50.

To be paid in vouchers.

When they finally get round to actually going out and getting them.

To which I can only say "Woo-bleeding-hoo".

There are actually some quite sizeable sums of money being given out for long service, but I do have the vague feeling that anyone who's stayed with the company for twenty years either has the patience of a saint, doesn't actually need the money anyway because they're being paid shedloads, or simply has a severe lack of imagination.

Still, I have my eye on the PC World vouchers. This is partially because I am a geek, but also because I need some new speakers for my PC that cost more than £7 and thus don't cause howlaround whenever I play Kylie at excessive volumes.

Is it wrong...

...to only hold the lift open for someone just because they seem vaguely attractive?

Coz if so, I'm a bad Rob.

Of course, as payment for this, he seemed to have bathed in Joop, so I sure got my come-uppance.

Yay for Karma.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Straight Acting? Never...

Well, my weekend was largely uneventful. A bit of shopping, a bit of gyming, a bit of website coding, a haircut, a fair bit of wine, some DVD's and a DVD-RW installation and that's it.

I enjoyed it mind, but it doesn't make for an exciting entry (oo-er) does it? So, in lieu of tales extraordinary, here's what I've been enjoying on my MP3 player this morning:

Pop! - Can't Say Goodbye (WIP Mix)
Strangely it sounds just like Steps, only with a more shouty vocalist than Claire. The boys are prettier too, but arguably about as much use as a fire door in a coral reef.

Annie - Chewing Gum
Criminally neglected by the record-buying public is this track by the lovely Annie. On the other hand the Pet Shop Boys' "Heart" was given a higher chart placing than "Being Boring" so it's hardly a guarantee of quality, something which this track displays in droves. Richard X is a god.

Girl Thing - Girls on Top
Despite the "ooop ooop" bit - which ever since H from Steps used to do it has always made me twitch and want to hurt people - this is a great track reminiscent of the Spice-Girls at their best (i.e. not the third album). I have to stop myself singing along to the robotic bit at the start though - it's oddly compelling.

Marilyn's Boys - Hot Stuff
Interesting idea. Take one Donna Summer track, add a synth riff from another Donna Summer track (yeah, that bit from "I Feel Love" of course) and then get a boy band to sing it. Thankfully the line "wanna bring a wild man back home" is left intact because, and this is a rare admittance in the industry, they're all a bunch of pooves. If Phixx want to save their flagging career then they should cover this now (and get Andrew to sing that very line).

ABBA - I Am the City
According to the documentary on the other night ABBA split in 1981. Which makes this 1982 recording either an anomaly or some researcher somewhere a bit of a cock. Either way I'm convinced this is about Lisa Riley: "a giant creature that forever seems to grow in size." She is the Riley. You let her be.

Annie - Me Plus One
The other Richard X produced song from her forthcoming album Anniemal. Gorgeous melody, but apart from the "this is B, this is E, this is A, U, T, this is I, this is F, U, L" bit I am rather suffering from not being able to hear the vocal properly. Still the synthesized dog-yaps make me happy.

Belvedere Kane - Never Felt As Good
I like my songs like I like my men: camp and callous. (Okay, that's not how I like my men, it's just how they turn out.) Still, a fab track and the writer clearly had a fixation I share: "I only took the bare essentials, the things I'd really need: my oldest Motown records, and my ABBA hits CD's." Nice.

Dubstar - No More Talk
Simply gorgeous. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. So ner.

Client - Radio
Mmm. Dirty pop. Can't wait for the album - oh, hang on: I don't have to! It's out today! Yay!

Geri Halliwell - Ride It
A song which proves we need more synthesized accordions in pop music (well, that and disco pigeons). Sadly the only version I currently have is a "live" version from a performance in Blackpool which starts with the compere announcing "Please give it up for Geri Halliwell!" Only he doesn't actually say "for" which is probably the best Freudian slip in ages.

Rachel Stevens - Some Girls (Extended Mix)
Did I mention that Richard X is a god? I think I may have done. This is a great mix as well. Lots of "studio talk" and probably the first time someone has admitted to liking Bucks Fizz with a tape recorder nearby.

Robbie Williams - There are Bad Times Just Around the Corner
Pet Shop Boys-produced song by arch songster Noel Coward - that is to say a songster who was arch, not an arch-songster - and arguably better than the treatment of "I've Been To a Marvelous Party" for Neil Hannon. Downbeat, bitter and strangely euphoric, it's probably one of Mister Williams' finest moments on record. (Robbie's new single is still shit, by the way, even if he is looking rather fine in the video.)

ABBA - Under Attack
Another one from 1982? Oh, and what's that? It was a single? Oh, that researcher should so be shot. Anyway, apparently this has an element lifted from the lost ABBA track "Just Like That" - which almost made it to the player, but I decided it was already fairly ABBA-heavy - but I can't spot it myself. Great stuff, nonetheless.

Kylie - What Do I Have to Do? (Single Version)
I'm slowly coming around to Pete Waterman's point of view that this is a far better track than "Better The Devil You Know". Probably one of my favourite drum sequences ever too. Unfortunately due to my mind being corrupted by fellows who shall remain nameless (they know who they are) I can't hear the stock sample "what's that sound?" without a small still voice in the back of my head saying "It's Amanda, Tapping".

ABBA - When All Is Said and Done
Unlike Agnetha's "Winner Takes It All", Frida's divorce track goes for stoic realism as opposed to bitter heartbroken collapse and, for me, is all the better for it. Plus you just can't fault songs which have different arrangements for each verse can you? (There's even a vocoder in there at one point so yay for that, alone.)

Hmm. Looking at that list I have just realised that I am - without the slightest shadow of a doubt - the living embodiment of a cliche.

Things not to do at the gym...

Aside from the obvious (i.e. get a hard-on watching that cute guy doing sit ups, drool, do an impression of Margharita Pracatan - it's probably an endless list now I think about it) I discovered one more that had never hitherto occurred to me:

Don't put songs on your MP3 player that have compulsory dance moves.

Yesterday "The Time Warp" came on while I was on the cross-trainer and I was almost hospitalised on the spot.

I mean, of all the ways to obtain a disco-related injury, doing it in a line of exercise equipment is probably the most hazardous (and possibly the most comedic).

A quick observation...

There's a picture of Tony Blair on the back page of the FT today and it's really quite frightening.

Is it just me or is he starting to look more and more like Kenneth Williams?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Crumbs!

Apparently those leaked Kylie tracks I talked about ages ago here have been causing trouble on various message boards.

Someone claiming to be from EMI (whose subsidiary Parlophone is Kylie's current record label) has been claiming that both "I'm Just Here for the Music" (which I must confess has rather grown on me) and "My Image Unlimited" (which hasn't - although that may be because Dane Bowers co-wrote it) are not Kylie tracks at all but Dannii tracks.

This was despite the fact that it sounds just like Kylie and not at all like Dannii but hey.

They apparently even went so far as to post as someone else a link to a online poster about this fact. Unfortunately they included the immortal words "not Kylie as widley reported" which rather ruined the effect since no-one has a clue who Widley is.

Apparently the whole thing is bunkum (as both Kylie's management and Parlophone have confirmed - they were recorded for Body Language and they're trying to figure out how they were leaked) but I do find myself wondering what sort of saddo would try and do this and for what purpose.

Although there are suggestions it's all a massive publicity stunt for yet another Kylie Greatest Hits package due out at the end of the year.

Oh well... time will tell. It always does.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Christmas at Context

Well, last night I spent a few hours getting merrily twatted in Context, the bar which occupies the ground floor and basement of part of our building.

It was a preview of what they'd do for office Christmas parties. Somehow I'd managed to blag my way onto the invite list and so, with a couple of friends in tow, I went with the intention of getting my hands on as much free food and drink as possible.

Well the food was nice, and the drink kept coming which pretty much set me up for a while. Sadly after the complimentary champagne the only free one was some kind of red thing with gin in it and I don't normally do gin (I'm frankly not that gay) but in the interest of keeping up with the Christmas spirits I forced myself down a few.

In fact I had rather a lot. I wasn't gagging because they clearly had kept costs down by not putting much gin in it in the first place. So I had to keep going back.

But the preview was ghastly. Christmas songs, Christmas decorations, cheap crackers (and the hats never fit on my head - either of them), plus "ironic" gaudiness and attempted trendiness laid on with a trowel.

All of that is bad enough, but when allied to the fact that most office parties end up as a cross between wedding disco and autopsy (well... you should have seen the meal I was given last year) I really wonder why people feel compelled to put themselves and their colleagues through the experience. Is it a triumph of hope over experience? A general hatred of their fellow man? Or a trusting belief that people grow together when adversity?

In any case there was no chance of us booking Context anyway. This year's party is already booked and taking place in the London Prison museum. Which seems strangely appropriate.

Ouch!

Take a look at this.

It kind of sucks. Trouble is it's gonna take a lot of investment to improve things but of course the recent announcement of tube fare hikes has resulted in anger from commuters who frankly don't seem to realise that the system is not going to get any better without it.

Sometimes my fellow man does seem to suffer from a devastating inability to grasp the obvious.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

It's only dried leaves!

We've got clients in this week. Dozens of the buggers. A veritable infestation in fact. And so, in an attempt to make us seem up-market and professional, huge buffet lunches have been laid on (squashing the sandwiches something rotten), there is a constant troupe of people serving coffee and drinks, and a lot of suits are being worn around the office (and thankfully around the people).

And, in that desperate attempt at class which can only be made by people without taste, bowls of pot-pourri and a scented candle have appeared in the toilets.

Well, not in the toilets, obviously. I mean in the same room as.

I raised an eyebrow at this travesty but said nothing thinking discretion the better part of valour. I have, however, objected to one particular development which was particularly unwelcome: the airfresheners in the toilets. These aren't simple subtle things you can spray if need be, but ever-present industrial-strength ones. The ones that hang around waiting to mug any passing odours and wrestle them to the ground. The ones that don't actually get rid of the smell, but simply blend with it in unusual and distressing ways.

The effect was, to say the least, more nauseating than what it was trying to conceal; several of my colleagues gagged on entering the room. I can't think why people think they're a good idea; is it supposed to distract you from one problem by giving you something else to think about (in the same way that poppers only make buggery easier because you spend your time concentrating on the headache)?

If so, I wish to bring one simple fact to the attention of the powers that be:

The only thing that actually makes air fresher is, believe it or not, fresh air.

So very tired...

It was gratifying on Sunday night to receive a message from someone stating that they had found Vitriol and Old Lace and had been, in their words, "helpless with laughter". This was especially good because by that point I was pretty hacked off with working on it.

Unfortunately they then asked if there was a mailing list they could sign up to for updates. I realised then that this was a glaring omission and started working on one - leading me to be up until the wee small hours playing around.

I finally got the coding finished last night and I have to say I'm quite pleased with the results. I can sit back a bit now and, apart from a few minor design tweaks I shall doubtless perform over the coming weeks, it should pretty much run itself.

At least, that's the plan... nothing is ever that simple, of course. Ho hum.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Never Felt As Good

Ye Gods. I keep forgetting how much work building websites is. Following the redesign of Vitriol and Old Lace I ended up rebuilding and recoding the whole thing in PHP over the weekend (clever scripting stuff for those of you who don't know) so I can add extra functionality like Guestbooks and Site Recommenders and so on with the minimum of effort.

It was a bit of a baptism of fire, I must admit. Prior to Saturday morning the only PHP I had ever written was a bog-standard "Hello World" script. By yesterday afternoon I was recoding other people's scripts to make them do what I wanted.

Still it wasn't all work. I had the joy of finding Belvedere Kane's "Never Felt as Good" due to a Popjustice recommendation and have had it on near constant loop. I'm with them in their assertion that it is probably one of the gayest songs of the 90s - it's anthemic, callous and has a beautifully eurovision ending.

In fact, thinking about it, only "Go West" and "Just a Little Bit" can possibly claim to be moxier.

And I love it.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Weird for the sake of Weird?

Now, I must confess that I'm not a big fan of modern art or architecture. Technically I suppose I'm more of a disliker or of modern artists and architects really, but the two do kind of go together. There's just something about the pseudo-intellectualisation that goes on which makes me want to slap them about and tell them not to be such a bunch of knobs.

But every day I pass this construction on the bus and I have to say I really like it. There's just something about it that excites me and makes me think "oooh, I'm living in the future!" It's apparently the new graduate building for London Metropolitan University, but even then it's a welcome touch of life and zest to the Holloway Road and it makes me happy.

Trouble is, shortly afterwards I pass a lovely old tube station entrance in a state of some disrepair here, currently abandoned in favour of an ugly concrete slab over the road and I feel a bit downhearted again. London Underground really have a lot to answer for.

Creative Endeavours

Well, last night was largely spent in front of my PC working on a new design for Vitriol and Old Lace in honour of its new URL. Go have a look, I'm rather pleased with it to be honest. I think it's smarter and will certainly be easier to deal with.

Strange thing is that despite the fact that Daniel and I have been working on turning it into a workable sitcom format, I haven't actually been back to have a look at the site properly since February. Whilst going through to weed out any coding problems and make a few editorial changes I ended up reading it again and actually sniggering in a faintly schoolboyish fashion at it. I know it's bad to laugh at your own work, but there is something about the correspondence that amuses me no end. (And yet it still manages to balance insanity and some surprising subtlety - there's actually rather a touching love story underneath it all.)

I also ended up trying to get a guestbook working in PHP but this is proving harder than I thought. Clearly my weekend is going to be spent swearing at a screen-full of code.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

System Failure

Strange. The gym was far busier than it normally is on a Wednesday and so it took far longer to get round than usual, but rather more worryingly I had real trouble last night. Weights I have happily pumped for a couple of weeks I seemed to struggle with - at one point I really felt my arms were going to drop off.

It was probably the most demoralising visit I've ever had. Normally I just swear and curse at my lack of progress on the Chin Up machine - a device of torture which I swear would have been installed in Guantanamo Bay had it not been proven far too inhumane - but this time the whole thing had me feeling down. I can only assume that the exclusion of my normal fifteen cups a tea a day from my intake has reduced my caffiene levels to an intolerably low amount. Still, I shall persevere.

So I get home and actually spend an hour in a steaming hot bathroom just unwinding and, to a certain extent, marinating myself. My flatmate, who had got home half an hour earlier, was rather happy about this since he was now desperate to use the facilities (this I understood from the blur of movement past me, the words "wee-wee-wee-wee-wee-wee-wee-wee-wee-wee" being yelped almost above the range of human hearing, the sound of a door slamming shut and then a rapidly descending sigh of relief).

For the next couple of hours I found myself unable to move from the sofa. Nor indeed really engage in anything. But then at ten 'o'clock I suddenly and unexpectedly came back to the land of the living and started doing little tasks. For one I registered a new URL for Vitriol and Old Lace, set up web forwarding and reconfigured the feedback form. Expect many minor changes to this site over the next few days as I step up the campaign to get it better known.

Then someone sent me the link to the new Client video (here) and I ended up watching it a few times. Their videos are so cheap they're rather charming and it's about time they dented the top 40. So go and buy "Radio" on Monday - and if you must do it online do it from www.hmv.co.uk because they're the only online retailer whose sales count towards the charts.

Robbie Williams has a new track called "Radio" out soon as well. But that's really really shit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Puffed Daddy

The downside of my recent bout of tonsillitis - well, apart from the agonising pain obviously - was the weight gain I experienced during my convalescence. This was basically all down to a diet whose staple ingredient was ice cream since it was one of the few things I could eat which didn't hurt.

I was, therefore, quite horrified on Sunday when I realised I'd really puffed up in the face, which seems to be my body's primary depository for any fat it finds. The other place it tends to go is my arse, which I think is probably the ultimate insult since apparently even my body can't tell the two apart.

So I am now desperately trying to get it off again which is proving harder than you'd think. I had muesli for dinner yesterday and am trying to satisfy my desire with low-fat, low-carb (and subsequently low-interest) foods at lunchtimes.

Okay, so the effort is paying off and I think I can see my cheekbones returning (yes, a structure mentioned in two posts in a row - I am indeed obsessed) but even after lunch I am still ravenously hungry and there is a very real danger that my body will rebel, take over and go off in search of Fruit and Nut bars at any moment.

God this is hell!

A Transport of Delight

The Metro is an odd paper. Its brilliance exists in the fact that it's in colour, it's free and it's a good size to read on the train on the way into work. Its unfortunate side is the fact that it consists mainly of offcuts from the Evening Standard the night before - the ES being a paper which displays the unfortunate tendencies you'd expect from a sister paper of the evil Daily Mail which has become even more hysterical and reactionary of late. In fact even my aunt who, despite her professed Labour status is politically to the right of Atilla the Hun, thinks the Mail's gone a bit mad, so you know it's in trouble.

So, the Metro is a kind of scrapbook paper. I've lost count of the number of times its printed stories I knew about weeks ago just to fill up a bit of space or fulfill its quota of "and finally" stories. It's even more worrying when the Green Room column seems to blatantly filch stuff I read weeks (nay even months) ago in Popbitch.

So I've always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. But now our relationship is over. Why? Because I've taken to getting the 271 from Archway to work in the morning.

I'm not naturally a bus person to be honest. I'm a big fan of the tube system, fascinated as I am by its history and hidden underground nature, but the journey to work on the Random Line has become somewhat hellish of late. It's got to the point where a normal service seems to now mean trains via Bank every 8 minutes, rather than the three or four I used to get. The knock-on effect of this is that I either change at Camden (which is not pleasant at the best of times) or find myself shouting "found you" as I cram myself into another commuter game of sardines.

So, when the other day I got a travel alert telling me that that even by LUL's standards there were severe delays I thought "sod it", grabbed a book and grabbed the bus.

I am now on my second book of the week (Danny Wallace's "Join Me" if you're interested) and have to say I'm finding the journey rather pleasant. Since the 271 starts in Highgate, it's still empty by the time it gets to my stop so I always get a seat - by the window no less which with crisp winter sunshine pouring in is rather pleasant.

Actually ploughing through books is having a knock-on effect on my life. I feel more fulfilled, more creatively driven, and - if it were possible - more self satisfied. Plus I am exposed to more daylight in the morning which improves my mood no end.

But there is another infinitely more shallow reason I'm enjoying the journey more: maybe it's because I'm in a better mood anyway, but there seem to be far more attractive people taking the bus. Just today I saw some rather delicious young gentleman - tall, dark hair, dark eyes and amazing cheekbones - and I remember just feeling happier about living in the world when such entities are allowed to exist.

Okay so the chances of being offered his phone number can be rated at "unlikely" considering he was with an equally attractive young lady, but it was still a nice view.

The only downside is having to leave home earlier to catch it, but I'm sure I can cope with that.

Until the next hangover anyway.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Pizza Pizza

I think Pizza Express should do a main course consisting of a few dozen dough balls and a couple of dips. As a starter the dough balls are my favourite thing on the menu, so I'd be more than happy with this development.

I hereby decree that this should be so and if I don't get them next time I go in there then I shall kick up a right royal stink.

Whoa!

This is September isn't it? If so, why is it so fucking cold?

I woke up this morning and I was so frozen I was in danger of turning into a woman!

I really resent putting the heating on during what is still technically part of the summer.

Monday, September 13, 2004

A Moving Picture

Well, last night the ICA put on a showing of Battleship Potemkin in Trafalgar Square with a live performance of a new score by the Pet Shop Boys and the 26-piece Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra.

Naturally the wind was howling most of the day, the rain seemed determined to put a dampener on things and I was in some doubt as to whether I could really be fagged to stand for two hours in such conditions. But in the end, after being generally unpleasant prior to the screening, it all cleared up during and I have to say it was a fantastic event.

The film itself drags a bit in places - well it is very much early days of cinema stuff - but most of it is visual masterwork of montage. The massacre on the Odessa Steps, something I'd previously never really been aware of except in vague references, was particularly harrowing viewing and an incredible piece of propagandist film-making.

The music, though, was gorgeous. The Pet Shop Boys did us proud - during some sequences people couldn't help but mosh and for the most part it seemed the music was actually driving the film forward, not merely accompanying it. Can't wait for it to be downloadable, which apparently is forthcoming.

One of the nice things about events like this is the camaraderie between people who've just turned up to watch. A whole load of us ended up learning about the Potemkin from a German gay couple who were quite surprised we didn't know about it - "you do get taught history here, ja?". "Only our own," we had to admit "and even then that's only if we're lucky. Most of the time we don't even get taught English in this country."

And then the flatmate and I popped along for a couple of drinks at what was Brief Encounter, then Site Bar, then Stonewalls (for about a week I believe) and is now Brief Encounter again - slogan: "the briefer the better" (or if it's not it should be). Now it's returned to its original name, it has become noticeably cruisey again and apparently even has a darkroom. There's something I find delightfully entertaining about watching a load of desperate pooves who haven't got laid this weekend, optimistically mooching about on one last cruise. (Of course in a few years time that could be me, so I'm taking notes whilst at the same time desperately trying to avoid eye contact with anyone.)

So, all in all, rather a lovely Sunday night. I rather wish events like that happened more often.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Hear My Body Language

Previously on planet pop... Kylie's last album was a bit of a disappointment as far as most people were concerned, serving up a lot of rather limp R&B salads rather than the more susbtantialy beefy pop of Fever or Light Years.

But it appears that this wasn't due to a paucity of songs. Two tracks have been leaked that were apparently slated for inclusion and then left off, leaving the only standout tracks of "Slow" and "Still Standing" looking rather self-consciously out of place.

Well, I tracked them down and frankly "My Image Unlimited" is still a bit shit, so we'll not talk too much about that - sounds like Madonna's "American Life" without a decent melody or lyric (yup, you heard me).

"I'm Just Here For The Music" however is susbtantially better. Still not anywhere near the dizzy heights of her early stuff (which she still won't admit were great tracks, the silly woman) or the preceding two albums, but it would have made "Body Language" look considerably less limp.

The bad news I hear, however, is that she's decided to ditch the stuff she did with the Scissor Sisters recently because it's a shade too autobigraphical. All of which sounds like a major shame to me.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Rain Check Required

Today's weather according to moi:

Wet, dreary, grey and uninspiring.

Today's weather according to BBC weather:

Bright sunshine with great big yellow happy suns.

Okay, so I'm paraphrasing, but I think they've confused London with Dubai again, you know...

D'oh!

Something that didn't occur to me when packing my bag for work yesterday morning was that I would still have it with me when I got to Electrogogo. Hence there was still a bloody great big tub of red pills in my man-bag when the bouncers searched it.

I died a little inside when he pulled it out and stared at it. "They're antibiotics," I helpfully explained, whilst suddenly thinking that I could be spending a night in police custody at this rate. (This isn't as far fetched as it seems - I somehow manage to project paranoia and guilt only under those circumstances where I've done nothing wrong. The reverse is also true - which in the past has been a bit of a lifesaver let me tell you.)

Still, in the end he let me through - but this I suspect is largely because he couldn't understand what he was reading.

I would have been happier, mind you, if the chemist had managed to make the tub look less like it had been labeled by an epileptic monkey using an 8-pin* dot matrix on a lifeboat during a thunderstorm.

Yay for technology.



* Oh yes. 8-pin. I had one for my old C64. I'm sure losing the 9th pin saved Commodore a fortune over the years of its manufacture - almost enough for a swift half at lunchtime, mayhaps.

We're going to the Zoo the Zoo the Zoo

So of course the first thing you do when recovering from a bout of tonsillitis is to go out with a group of friends, get hammered and go clubbing.

Okay, maybe not, but it's the first thing I did.

Last night was the re-opening of Electrogogo in its new venue at the Zoo Bar (in Bear Street off Leicester Square). A band I've been trying to get to see for ages, The Modern, were performing and put on a stormingly fantastic set: noisy, visual, bombastic and a perfect slice of retro-futuristic pop. That only downside was that they've got that tendency towards artistic posturing which never goes down well for me without the added element of campy kitsch. But still, I loved 'em. They're definitely one to watch.

Then there was an intermission during which I indulged in a spot of dancing to some fantastic tracks which has tightened my abdominals considerably and reminded me again that I do love clubbing even if I do dance like a twat. (And I may have over-vamped during "I Feel Love" which is slightly regrettable.)

And then Steve Strange, ex of Visage, came on. Allegedly he was the main act of the night, but there was something rather sad about his performance. Although he performed his tracks well - despite them summing up precisely what I don't like about the 80s New Wave scene - there was something rather tragic about the macho posey-ness he was attaching to otherwise uninspired blasts of sound.

Worse, however, came when he was required to introduce DV8 to the stage to perform a remake of "Fade to Grey" with him. He hadn't said much by this point, in fact he'd only managed "Thank You Very Much" a few times, but the reason for his lack of verbosity became quickly apparent: he was totally incoherent and unfocussed in his introduction to the track and I came to the conclusion that if ever there was a poster boy for an anti-drugs campaign then Steve would be it.

But still, an excellent evening in a gorgeous venue with muchos dancing and entertainment, preceded by a lovely time out on the tiles in Hoxton with some great people which just felt natural and silly and effortless.

Only one thing bothers me: the boyfriend of a colleague of mine opted to confirm what I've been suspecting for a while - I'm starting to look rather old. He meant it in a good way apparently, opting to tell me I'm "losing the boyishness" and looking more masculine. Now I suppose that isn't too bad an appraisal, but it does mean that my thirties are starting to make their presence felt already. Ho hum.

Someone else who shall remain nameless, however, managed to undermine that by saying that I was "looking good, considering". (I am charitably assuming that he was referring to my recent illness, coz if not there'll be trouble.)

Gosh I'm tired now, though.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Nose to the Grindstone

Ho hum - back at work again.

Gratifyingly the whole department seems to have fallen apart in my absence - something even the MD commented on - so apparently people are very glad to see me back.

Of course, since it has fallen apart, I now have to put it back together again with my customary flair. This could be a bit of a challenge.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Why the Fuss?

I'm beginning to think that I'm the only person who isn't upset that the old Routemaster hop on / hop off buses are vanishing from the London streets.

Aside from the fact that I think the front's an ugly design (sorry!), the last time I took I ride in one of these it was cramped (especially since it was low-ceilinged and as a nation we seem to be taller these days), falling apart, peeling and a real boneshaker of a ride. Even allowing for under-investment over the last few years when they should have been refurbished I can't imagine them ever being comfy.

But the real clincher for me is that, given that the vast majority of the populous are careless idiotic fuckwits, the open back has to be a bit dangerous now doesn't it?

Now I agree that the Bendy Buses are a bit shit (they'll never work on some of the corners in central London) but I don't see why replacing the old guard with other newer doubledeckers with proper doors, heating and disabled access is such a bad thing?

I'm clearly missing some nostalgia kick or something.

Unfortunate ways of the Who-er #1

I don't think I am, by a long chalk, a big Who-er (Who-er being my preferred term for a Doctor Who fan - more effective when spoken with a Glaswegian accent, admittedly) but my affection for the series does seem to have affected my life in various subtle and unpleasant ways.

For example I just noticed that I spelled "doctor" in my previous post with a capital letter. Duuuur!

Of course I could have edited it out of the post but it gave me something else self-deprecating to write about.

Hang on a Cotton Picking Minute...

If my tonsillitis is, as the Doctor stated, viral then why am I an antibiotics?

I should be on antivirals surely?

Mind you, I'm not complaining. They seem to be gradually doing the trick.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Chewing Gum

Further reason to doubt the rumours of the demise of pop music came to me today in the form of Annie - whose Richard-X-produced song "Chewing Gum" is, I'm glad to say, absolutely dandy!

Why? For the simple reason that it's equating men with confectionery:

"I'm gonna tell ya how its gonna get done.
I'm just a girl that's only chewing for fun.
You spit it out when all the flavour has gone.
Wrap it round your finger like your playing with gum.

Oh no oh no.
You've got it all wrong.
You think you're chocolate when you're chewing gum."

So, I ask you: how could it be anything other than genius? And it has a great remix too.

While we're on the subject I'm muchly enjoying Pop!'s single "Can't Say Goodbye" too. Although I'm with PopJustice that the W.I.P. mixes (full and radio edit) are better than the original.

Well, I see what they tried to do... #1

One of the things about being ill is that you end up sitting at home knowing you can't really go out and do anything you'd normally do on a day off. I can't, for example, go to the gym because I'd pretty much collapse through exhaustion.

So you're left with the option of watching daytime telly (over my dead body) or finding something else to do.

Well I've done all that (you dirty-minded people), and then I was in need of something else. So I actually gave in and have just finished watching "Reign of Fire" on DVD.

Heavens... it's not very good is it? Definitely had its moments (yay for shirtless Christian Bale) but I'm afraid the whole was very much left than the sum of its (and his) parts.

D-. Must do better.

Oh Goody

Is it me, or are there only two types of antibiotics doctors prescribe? Every time I've ever been offered them (usually after not reading my notes and first offering me penicillin) it's always been either a) Amoxcyillin ; or b) Erythromycin.

Today I was prescribed the latter. Yes, ladies and gents, I have - after three days of pain, not sleeping and not being able to swallow - been diagnosed with Tonsillitis and am currently at home trying to keep my throat lubricated (and not in the good way).

Still, it's not all bad. I have just heard the new Geri Halliwell single and shall probably have it on loop all day.

Until I finally crack.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Gilravage...

...was my Forgotten Words word of the day on Monday.

And I love it.

Apparently it means "to commit wild and lawless depredation".

Which all sounds rather fun to me. Although obviously "deprevation" would be better.

Pavement Strategy

Now, it's not exactly rocket science is it?

Pedestrians everywhere, I implore you: if you want to go left when you cross the road, position yourself on the left-hand side of the crossing, straight on then stay in the middle, and if right, then on the right. This way when you set off you don't end up ploughing through that happy group of people who were actually capable of thinking ahead and positioned themselves accordingly.

And, while we're on the subject, when changing direction it's a good idea to head off after checking the way is clear. Don't just turn while in mid stride.

Do this and you won't end up disrupting the lives of your fellow man through inconvenience, injury or - more importantly - disrupting the happy bouncy swagger that comes naturally to lanky moxen with camp trash on their MP3 players.

So, with that rant over, guess who only just managed to stop himself hitting the floor today when bowled over by someone with their body in gear and their brain in neutral?

Go on, guess...

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Attention all Passengers!

I can't really imagine being a driver on the tube. Particularly on the Deliciously Random Line where they get shunted through miles and miles of tunnel often without any idea of their apparent destination as some Line Manager somewhere tries to "regulate the service".

On Saturday however I heard the authoritarian voice of a lady driver who had clearly been prevented from joining the Prison Service and had simply decided to inflict the warder mentality on the passengers entrusted to her care.

She didn't quite go as far as running along the side of the train, rattling a truncheon against the doors, but her eagle eye was definitely watching what was going on in the carriages. The first time her flat nasal voice came over the announcement system was a bit of a shock, and not just because of a habit of enforcing certain words by jumping up an octave, but also because of the way power dripped from her edicts like runny butter.

"To the gentleman who is smoking" she spat "you are kindly requested to put it out." And then just to be absolutely sure that this was neither kind nor a request she continued "Put it out. Put it out at ONCE!"

At this there was a certain amount of grinning and eye contact between the occupants of my particular coffin but there was better still to come.

Hurtling along between Euston and Kings Cross another announcement broke my concentration. "Ladies and Gentlemen, it appears we have a beggar on the train. Please do not encourage him. He is not deserving of your sympathy, he is in fact SCUM and is costing you money by selling on old tickets. To the beggar, if you do not leave this train at the next station I will have you forcibly removed".

It has to be said after the word "SCUM" (for which almost two octaves were traversed) most of the carriage was in stitches.

Git that I am, it put me in a supremely good mood for the rest of the night.