Friday, October 29, 2004

Going Spare

Well last night I went on one of the Southwark Mysteries walks - this time a full moon ghost walk in honour of Halloween. Although it's not local to me any more I do find these things interesting. History, architecture and a good legend or two whilst pacing little known streets and meeting new people is an uncommon pleasure I feel.

Naturally the Crossbones Graveyard put in an appearance. It's a slab of ugly looking concrete but underneath is an unconsecrated burial ground for paupers and the "Winchester Geese" (prostitutes who were effectively allowed to ply their trade in the London see of the bishop of Winchester as long as the brothels paid him rent). Even though the church benefited from their trade they still got buried on unconsecrated ground, which I think says all it needs to about the finances of organised religion.

The area is supposed to be redeveloped, but amusingly the locals keep remembering it's there and kicking up a stink. Last time was when the Jubilee line bored its way through and bodies were apparently dropping into the tunnels like... um... bodies into tunnels. If it is developed then it quite clearly should be as a local park, something for the people, and in a memory of the geese who perished in the area.

Aside from that, we flounced around the area Rachel Stevens hoofed her way through in the "Some Girls" video and visited the delightfully named "Cottage Chicken" for a bite to eat - as far as I can make out it's a Halal KFC. There are some obscure places round London there really are.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

NaNoWriMo

I have been toying with the idea of taking part in National Novel Writing Month but today I have decided that in an unofficial capacity I may actually give it a bash.

Unofficial because I feel less than inclined to sign up to the official website just so I can get a lousy button for my own netspaces. Instead I shall just hack away in the privacy of my own little world and aim for the 50,000 word target.

There is, of course, next to no chance that I will actually succeed in this aim but since I now have the basics worked out for my glittering debut novel I think NaNoWriMo is as good an excuse as any to start on it.

And you never know... it might actually turn out to be okay.

WTFF?

"What sort of person" my sleep-addled brain asked itself as it struggled groggily into wakefulness this morning "uses a drill at half past naffing five?"

The answer, of course, came to me as I downed my vitamin C drink whilst blearily staring at my email. "Cunts," I said. "That's the type of person. Cunts."

Or, if you prefer "inconsiderate fuckwits" but in any case, I am ill-disposed towards people brandishing items of electrical hardware this morning.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Little Britain...

...or (as BBC Three have it "New Little Britain" which makes it sounds like a US province) is proving to be diverting. Thankfully this week the laughter track seemed to have been turned down a bit so it was less intrusive.

And it is very good. But I can't help but have reservations about the show as a whole. Watching the entire last series on DVD I did become aware of how very repetitive it was. And I can see the same thing happening with this.

I mean, the only thing that made the WI members different this week from last is that the Walliams character was vomiting over Paul Darrow (in itself, mind you, this amused, but more because of him than them).

If it wasn't for the genius of the narration it really wouldn't matter which episode you watched, frankly. I suppose most comedies tend towards ingrained patterns really but it always seems more noticable when it's essentially catchphrase or character-gimmick based.

John Peel

Well, everyone else has had their two-pennyworth so why shouldn't I?

I'm rather sad about Peel's passing. Musically he had no impact on me at all, but I always felt that I appreciated his reasons for likeing X,Y or Z and I could respect them because he presented them in such a learned and respectful way.

His columns were always so damned good too. Kind of intimate which I guess is something that comes from his life in Radio (it is a much more personal medium than telly after all).

I saw on popjustice the comment "why couldn't it have been Moyles" and you know, callous though it may be, I kind of agree.

Peel was a legend.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Pensive? No, Just thinking.

This weekend it occurred to me, after way too many different and unrelated incidents, that most of the problems of the world in general, and inter-personal relationships in particular, would be eliminated at a stroke if the individuals concerned didn't assume X would do Y when told Z.

As far as I can see assumption has a nasty tendency to come back and bite you on the bum. I can't think of a single relationship in my life which hasn't been floored by it in one way or another.

Sadly I am by no means blameless on this score, but I shall try harder in future.

Amazing isn't it...

...how quickly one adjusts to a scenario and gets blase about the benefits?

I am still taking the bus into work of a morning, but realised today that I have long since stopped being grateful about being able to get a seat every time (compared to travelling on the Random Line at that hour) and in fact get a little bit irked if I can't get a window seat on the left hand side.

Frankly this is obsessive and bad and wrong, and I really shouldn't be fussed about it at all.

Besides which, the elbowing and biting aren't really dignified are they?

I look like who?

Saturday night, after a long hot bath and a quick mull over the events of the day, I attended a party a couple of streets down from my house. I was a little terrified of going actually since it had long become apparent that I was going on my own and (since I am quite a shy and retiring person really) that meant I was going to have no-one to hide behind until I felt comfy.

As it turned out this was an enormous benefit since it pretty much meant that I had to mingle and chat and not just hide in a clique, so I actually felt pretty proud of myself and ended up enjoying myself enormously.

It would also appear that my lust drive seems to be back online again since I saw a very high proportion of people I actually fancied. As a rule they were either coupled or in the process of doing so, but I felt even so that this was an improvement on my recent lack of interest in anyone at all.

There was only one thing that threw me. Whilst happily chatting away with one group, I was informed that I look like Matthew Whatsisname from (or at least from until recently) BBC's Spooks.

I suppose being compared to someone famous isn't too bad (even if it's someone I don't find in the remotest bit attractive), but I'm a past master at snatching an insult from the jaws of a compliment, so when the words "only less gaunt" came up I naturally came over all indignant: "are you saying I'm fat"?

Oh, I do love watching people flounder. Sometimes I end up having conversations with people purely for sport.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Flight of the Navigator

Well, I spent most of my Saturday at the National Honey Show.

The first reaction of people when I have told them this has been "the what?" but it is more or less exactly as it sounds. Beekeepers from all over the country submit jars of honey and other products of beekeeping (such as mead, candles and so on) and they get judged and looked at and so on by anyone who cares to go and have a gander.

My dad, having won first prize at a local show in Kent this year was informed that he had to exhibit and so he sent a few off and, since it was at the RAF Museum in Hendon this year, the family picked me up en-route to it.

It must be said that the journey was a little fraught. By map it is a very straightforward and simple journey, but one you've added the vagaries of London signage and the interesting driving habits of other people into the mix, North London motorways and A-roads can be an interesting experience. Dad was navigating, my stepmother, Shelley, was driving and unfortunately there were a few communication problems. In fact we saw Finchley several times.

Eventually I commandeered the map and took executive decisions as to our route. Dad was quite insistent that we didn't want to be in Hendon due to the fact that the RAF museum (being an old airfield) is quite a way outside it. I overrode this and his complaint that if we took that way we'd end up in Golders Green on the (perfectly sensible I thought) basis that both of these places were nearer the museum than we were at the time.

As it happens, I got us there. I have to admit, though, it wasn't easy. I remember thinking the AtoZ was out of date but I confirmed this when I noticed on the map that Brent Cross underground station was called Brent. I just checked: the station changed its name in 1976 making the map older than I am. (And they wondered why it bore little resemblance to current London cartography.)

However we made it, and had a lovely day. Daniel (my halfbrother) got to see the RAF museum which made him happy, I got wined and dined - which made me happy - and Dad got third prize for his dark runny honey and a very highly commended for his creamy honey which made him extremely happy. Not bad for a beginner - I think he's found his perfect hobby.

In fact I will admit to a slight element of glowing with pride about his success. Yay him!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Ivor Wood

Apparently Ivor Wood has died.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3760490.stm

I dunno... Great chunks of my life, slipping away like melting icebergs.

Critiques on Critiques

When the new logo for Doctor Who was announced the other day, the OUTintheUK messageboards were alive with comments from those people who loved it, loathed it, or (like me) couldn't make up their bloody minds about it from one minute to the next.

One of the things I read on the thread, though, kind of rankled. Someone who I normally regard as being quite sensible and level-headed took the following line with anyone who had any critisism: "well, you do better then" - essentially implying that the only people qualified to critique something are people who work in the field themselves.

Now that, to me seems an utterly ridiculous standpoint. It's akin to saying "well, when you get your licence *then* you can criticise my driving". Which is clearly a crap argument; just because you don't have a licence doesn't mean you don't know it's a bad idea to be up on the pavement and reversing towards a small child, now does it?

Equally, I can't play the guitar either - well I can actually, just not very well - but my lack of ability doesn't mean I can't spot a duff note or a lacklustre performance if I hear one. Similarly lacking any graphical or design ability doesn't mean my response to what other people do becomes automatically invalid. It may mean there is a barrier to my appreciation of said item, but that could actually be due to a flaw in the artist's vision, not just because I don't "get" it. (Or, indeed, both.)

In any case the reaction should be conisdered before it is dismissed. To dismiss the reaction of sections of your audience before recieving them (for whatever reason, be it "they don't paint", "they don't drink at the same bar" or "they won't sleep with me" etc etc) is counter-productive in terms of the artists' own personal development.

Not to mention making them look like an arrogant old wanker.

Mind you, I tend towards a mildly self-flagellating approach to other peoples' artistic endeavour anyway: if it's something I could conceivably do then it can't possibly be any good. It stands to reason.

Go easy on that stuff, Samuel...

Apparently yesterday was the anniversary of the Birth of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It was he, you may recall, who penned a reasonably famous poem beginning "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a stately pleasure-dome decree", the full text of which can be found here.

I'm slightly (but not at all very) ashamed to admit that I thus spent much time yesterday persuading people that Samuel Taylor Coleridge is therefore directly responsible for Olivia Newton-John, and indeed wrote the words to her hit song "Xanadu" whilst smashed out of his skull on illegal narcotics.

You know, it's amazing how I get away with this sort of thing sometimes.

Mind you, it isn't entirely beyond the realms of possibility.

Wildlife Photography

Well, last night I spent a very happy evening with Chris and Daniel at a preview of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

Must say I much enjoyed it - and not just because the waiter seemed determined to keep plying me with wine - some of the photography really was absolutely stunning, even though I must confess I wasn't taking it entirely seriously. Well, sometimes photos just need comedy captions - although the one of a baby penguin projectile pooing was not one of them (I think it spoke for itself).

Frankly I think I could handle more cultural events of this type.

The oddest moment came when a gentleman by the name of Steve sidled up, checked I was who he thought I was (I was) and then proceeded to say how much he enjoyed Vitriol and Old Lace. Naturally since there is very little anyone of artistic temperament enjoys more than talking about their work, Daniel and I happily banged on about that for a while. Steve, bless him, seemed content to let us.

Oh, and in a bizarre moment of real life imitating fiction, the tunnels around South Kensington were closed last night, which presumably means Aunt Enid caused more damage in the Thundersley than we'd thought. (And if you really have no idea what I'm talking about here, just go and sodding click on the link above.)

It must be admitted, though, I was unutterably pissed by the time I got home.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

People Search for Odd Things

I've got one of those statistics collectors attached to this blog. No, don't panic, it's not doing anything particularly horrifying, but it does provide me with a count of who's visited and so on, what country they're in, what web browser they use etc etc - all quite useful and interesting stuff if you are, like me, a complete geek.

It also shows me, and this is usually of little interest, what page the person who visited my blog came from. Usually this is the Blogger toolbar or Glitter for Brains, or occasionally OUTintheUK but last week I received a visit from a search someone had done on a search engine.

They weren't looking for me specifically I'll grant you (there's a million Rob Morrises anyway - I'm so common) but what they were looking for had me staring open-mouthed at the screen, with the sort of puzzled expression I usually keep back for complicated things like addings or train timetables.

Someone in some part of the world (I forget where) had entered into Yahoo "Is Derek Acorah Evil?" and found my blog as a result.

Still, what sort of a question is that to ask? Of course he is! That hair clearly isn't the work of Mother Nature.

Well, tough...

It's just been commented on that I am somewhat chirpy.

I think this was a nice way of saying "stop singing and smiling - you're unnerving me" but it's not entirely clear.

Besides, what I was actually singing was "There Are Bad Times Just Around the Corner" which is only upbeat as long as you don't listen to the words.

The people I work with are odd.

Good Lord

Well last night wasn't arf windy was it not?

I could barely sleep because of it - tossing all night I was.

And frankly the weather didn't help either.

(Sorry, couldn't resist it. Must try harder.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Puzzled

I must confess to being a little bemused by the hounding that footballer Adrian Mutu is receiving after testing positive for cocaine.

Apparently he faces a ban over it, which puzzles me because it's not exactly what you might call a performance enhancing drug is it? In fact, at worst he'd probably end up chatting non-stop to a linesman.

Of course what's more puzzling is that I have any idea of anything vaguely relating to football, but there we go.

Latest Additions

Aside from the Kylie tracks, which I am still very much enjoying, the latest addition to my MP3 player is a wonderful little ditty from the film "Top Secret" - which regular readers (both of you) may remember me muttering how much I liked earlier in the month.

"How Silly Can You Get" is a rather bouncy old-fashioned rock and roll number about infidelity in Paris and it's been going round my head since I saw the film. Finally getting hold of it has made me appreciate it all the more - not least because it is, like all of the tracks in the film, performed by Val Kilmer himself and the boy actually can sing in the required style really rather well.

One of the other things I like about it is that it does have that "I'm a bit of a lovable scamp aren't I?" feel about it and you just know that his sweetheart'll forgive him afterwards.

I mean, if he'd sung it to me I know I would.

[Swoon.]

Woolly Round the Edges

In fact - aside from the unusual fallout from another lovely night at Daniel's sorting out our various projects - I am very literally woolly round the edges today.

Not shaving is a wonderful thing to do occasionally isn't it?

It also has the wonderful side-effect of giving my skin enough time to recover so that when I do shave I end up deliciously smooth and give good skin around the chops.

This is aside from the worried looks people give me on the bus. They're fun too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Woah...

Oddly enough, last night I was feeling vaguely perky so I decided to go and hit the gym on my way home from work and get back into the swing of it. Due to illness, crapness at work and being otherwise indisposed I haven't been for a couple of weeks and I was quite amazed at how knackered I was by the end of it.

Even more amazing was the fact that there was indeed some totty there for a change. They've obviously shipped them in to keep me interested.

After that a lovely evening was spent doing bugger all. I overate, steered clear of booze, watched a spot of telly and had a lovely long drown in the bath as a result of which I am really feeling recharged again.

Indeed the only worry that raised its head was whilst my flatmate was watching Battlestar Galactica and seemed to be enjoying it.

Personally from what I saw it seemed to be horribly overblown drivel, but hey.

And about time too.

Well, they've finally revealed the new Doctor Who logo here to a bit of a mixed response (by me).

Thing is, I do love the typeface they've used - it's very elegant and stylish and indeed almost timeless, the latter being something many of the Who logos have determinedly failed to be.

If the whole image constitutes the logo, then I'll confess to having reservations, essentially because of the Farscapey style and the lens flare. But I think they mean just the lettering "Doctor Dot Who" is the logo, and the background is part of the overall title sequence.

Thing is, I'm really not too sure at present; in typical BBC Cult style the announcement is all a bit "look what we've got!" without giving away much in the way of actual information, bless them.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Fall and Rise of Robert MJ Morris (Part Three)

Sunday I returned from the arms of morpheus to find my aunt had prepared breakfast - an excellent development I think you'll agree.

Probably what you will regard as a less good development is the subsequent trip to Matalan in Greenwich, but hey - it was good for me.

It's an odd store. 95% of their stuff is absolute rubbish but they do occasionally have gems. One of the few things I can say positively about my physique is that I am a good clothes horse so even cheap stuff tends to hang off rather me rather well. A rather nice waffled oatmeal jersey (the sort of thing I am naturally drawn to) and a very fetching zip up thing (not at all drawn to normally, but I felt the need for a change) and I was pretty much done.

Well, apart from the cream face flannels. But they make excellent glop-mops and cost £1 for three so they're a bit of a no-brainer.

Then we went home for an enormous lamb roast, some exceptionally good red wine and a gentle doze in front of David Attenborough (slightly rude, I admit, but I hadn't realised it was his turn). I finally made it back home at 6:00 last night in time for a relaxing facepack and bath (how gay am I?) and further dozing in front of the telly before bed.

As a result of this I am almost back to my old self - indeed arguably above expectation now that the Kylie tickets are confirmed. But frankly I'm hoping tonight is similarly uneventful - the rest of the week is looking rather packed already and I'm certain that I could embrace a few more hours of pushing up the zeds with determined enthusiasm, nay even elan.

Plus if I don't burn that CD for Daniel in time for tomorrow I may never get brisket again.

The Fall and Rise of Robert MJ Morris (Part Two)

Having recovered from my death on Friday night, Saturday morning was spent pottering and making myself vaguely human again. Thankfully this wasn't too difficult since I found chicken soup in my cupboard, which does seem to have a miraculously curative effect.

By the afternoon, after more in the way of typing up notes from Tuesday and massaging episode two into shape, I headed towards my aunt's - stopping by H&M on the way (which was, as one might expect of a Saturday afternoon, a little slice of hell on earth - but at least I got something I could wear for the evening).

My aunt is a lady of much generosity. My first 18 months in London were spent at hers, where she had given over floorspace to a bed in the living room while I got myself sorted. She is, it must be said, an excellent cook, whose culinary expertise is only marginally overshadowed by her determination to make sure that anyone who eats with her is kept on the verge of exploding due to excessive consumption.

Any time I'm down that way, though, I have a place to crash over and get well fed, as well as pretty well drunk. Invariably I also leave the place laden down with gadgets she's got bored of, which is rather less good news on the tube, but I digress.

After a lovely steak (accompanied by an excellent Terry Jones adaptation of the Wind in the Willows - one of my favourite books ever) I headed off to Brixton for Christina's latest party. There was allegedly a cowboy theme to this, but I couldn't really be fagged to dress up and decided that being a cowboy IT consultant would be good enough. I then proceeded to get ever so slightly smashed, lark around in, by turns, a colander and a set of blond plaits whilst enjoying Christina's taste in electro music enormously.

I wasn't really on the prowl - I very rarely am - but that's probably just as well really; the only guy I went "woof" at was not only straight but allegedly vaguely homophobic too. I suspect there were other pooves there, mind - at least one guy panicked and ran to go home and change once the ladies he was with realised he was in the same shirt I was.

I finally left at midnight. I wasn't so much concerned about turning into a pumpkin but more a sort of Rob-shaped paperweight. Once again a short course of death ensued the minute my head hit the pillow.

WOOOHOOOO!

I'm going to see Kylie! I'm going to see Kylie! I'm going to see Kylie! I'm going to see Kylie! I'm going to see Kylie! I'm going to see Kylie! I'm going to see Kylie! I'm going to see Kylie! I'm going to see Kylie!

[Looks around. Coughs nervously. Continues in same vein but under breath.]

The Fall and Rise of Robert MJ Morris (Part One)

Well it's been an interesting weekend - largely characterised by some thumping headaches and me amazingly managing to skirt the edges of complete physical and mental collapse without quite suffering a full systems failure.

Friday night involved the celebration of a friend's birthday. The general plan was to hit a pub for a few bevvies then head onto a club. Since the club in question was Club Kali I declined the opportunity (for one thing I wasn't quite convinced I'd last beyond 10:00 anyway, and for another a South Asian Gay night in Tufnell Park spectacularly failed to appeal) and so we hit the Settle Inn in Archway.

Settle Inn. See what they did there?

Actually it's a rather nice, well appointed, well decorated pub, and since it's just over the road I wasn't too fussed by this. What I was a bit fussed by was the fact that we didn't get called for until 9:15 which did mean my tiredness was now being worn like an enormous cape of blackness and irritability. It seems to me to be a very strange time to decide to start drinking for one thing - it's about the time when if I've been home all evening my thoughts are starting to turn towards carpet slippers and a horlicks.

Which does of course make me wonder when I became so bloody middle-aged.

I just about managed to keep awake for long enough to hear the words "shall we go to the club" at which point I made my excuses and left.

I must admit I do feel a twinge of guilt at this. It was in fact technically my round, but I can't say I'm too bothered. Frankly their timing was at fault, not mine - in fact, considering my rather perilous financial state at present, it could be argued that my timing was perfect.

I managed to get home more or less awake and opted for a hot milk drink to wash down my Nytol (I wasn't taking any chances, I wanted to be sure I would be completely comatose for the next ten hours) and five minutes later realised I couldn't keep my eyes open so would head off to bed.

Unfortunately a combination of various factors meant that I shortly had to get up again ten minutes later and be violently ill, an unusual state of affairs for me these days it must be said. I am, however, one of those lucky people who recovers almost instantly from said exertions and, if truth be told, I did feel an awful lot happier afterwards than I'd felt in days.

Two minutes later I was dead to the world and would remain so for a very long time indeed.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Ah, for simple pleasures.

Now, despite having a hairline that hates me, I have inherited a fast-growing and thick head of hair (or indeed thick-head of hair). In some respects this is a good thing but on at least two counts it isn't.

The first is that it means I need it cutting every two-three weeks if I wish to look even halfway reasonable. The second is that towards the end of that period the hair round the back and sides is extremely thick, thus having the effect of making my face seem considerably wider. Given that I have a fairly square face as it is, this is not a good thing.

So, today I went to have it cut again. But, unusually, I also opted to have it washed as well.

Normally a wash isn't offered me at my usual barbers by dint of the fact that it costs a fiver and I'm usually out in about the same number of minutes. Today, however, I was having it done at lunchtime, near work, and so I wasn't actually at my usual place but a salon instead. Thus it was that I was offered the full works - and since I was still stressed, tired and headachey I decided that, hang it all, I'd treat myself. And I'm so glad I did.

I'd forgotten what a lovely lovely thing having someone wash your hair is. The absolute bliss of the scalp massage made the extra expense so worthwhile. Not only has my face now miraculously lost weight, not only do I have a wax in my hair that smells utterly lovely, but my stresses were eased away by the process and I must say I feel rather chipper again.

Now all I need is a hot bath, a shave, a facepack and a chilled glass of white wine and I think I may actually be ready for the weekend.

Which actually is looking rather busy.

Hmm.

Finally I have heard the full Kylie "I Believe in You".

I think I may need to make a bit of a u-turn on this one. After the first 47 seconds I'd heard so far comes the chorus, and I'm not convinced it really raises the bar enough for my liking.

Don't get me wrong, it still does the whole watersports thing with almost everything on Body Language, but I think my allegiances are with the Xenomania produced "Giving You Up".

I think it's just the better song of the two.

Damnit!

I possess one of those dispositions which benefits hugely from time alone. Not whole weeks of it obviously, but the occasional night of just my own company where I don't have to converse on anything above flatmate level or entertain or simply don't have to be in company at all is a rather pleasant thing as far as I'm concerned.

My flatmate on the other hand seems to rather dislike such evenings - thankfully this is rarely a problem. He manages to plan as many nights out a week as possible, I deliberately build quiet nights in into mine.

Last night was one of those nights.

At least that was the plan. Unfortunately it appears various people I know had other ideas. It was one of my more misanthropic nights too, which is never a good thing. I tried escaping to my room but I got told off for being antisocial so that didn't last long.

On the plus side I did manage to action some of my plans for the evening. I typed up some of the notes from Tuesday night's writing session, laying them out in order, assessing the structure of the episode and so on. Once again, however, I felt fairly guilty about laughing at my own work, but there are a couple of fantastic pieces of wordplay in it, which I always enjoy.

I didn't complete that task due to time constraints, but I did manage to eat too much italian food and drank too much wine which were also on the list, so that's a bit of a result.

Of course I'm still feeling emotionally and physically drained, but hey.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Oooh! Public Schoolboys!

I've just seen the most homoerotic video of my life.

The track in question is Bonnie "She's Coughing Up Blood!" Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart. And it's entirely young men in blazers and stone-walling being generally posey and arthouse outré to the point of utter filth.

Naturally I watched entranced.

The weird thing is I kept looking for someone I've met once to turn up in it. But there wasn't a single flash of blonde hair.

Anyway, it has to be said I do love this song. But it is one of those few tracks that suffers from having a cover version which is better. Frankly Bonnie's sixty-a-day-and-a-bag-of-sulphur vocal is trounced by (everyone's favourite mad aunt) Nicki French's version many many years later - despite the fact that said cover was done in Stock and Aitken's "after Pete wasn't around to stop us being self-indulgent" phase.

Oh well.

Turn around bright eyes.

I Have That Power!

Well yesterday I went and spent a substantial whack of my continued service award on some new speakers for my PC. I now have a lovely set of silver and black flat panel speakers with a sodding great subwoofer sitting there looking all stalinesque and forbidding.

Which it should do, because quite frankly it's dangerous. Yesterday as a test I played the Human League's "All I Ever Wanted" with the bass turned really high up. As a result of which my desk vibrated and I almost ruptured an eardrum.

This is something I regard as a good thing where basslines are concerned. So yay for that.

My flatmate also rather likes them. It turns out that he invested in the technology used by the speakers when it was first created and now gets some kind of royalty.

That boy's financial arrangements never cease to amaze me.

Robin Hood, Robin Hood...

Well, last night was the first night at Archery in some weeks after injury, illness and Canadians had put me out of the running for several consecutive sessions.

This was also the first night I'd been along since the beginners course finished, and the normal practice sessions are very different beasts I must say. Especially since now we've moved indoors to a church-hall in Pimlico due to light issues outdoors.

Frankly it was like being a beginner again. I'd forgotten it all and was shaking like a leaf when I went to take my first shot. Thankfully I didn't miss (I think for the first time ever) but it took pretty much two hours to regain any semblance of technique again.

Mind you, since there are fewer of us, and because it's not tutorials we do get to shoot a lot more. My draw fingers were so sore afterwards.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Actually...

...this talk of wine reminds me... I'm owed a bottle by one of my colleagues.

Damn his hide.

Lovely Evenings

Do evenings get much better?

Good wine, excellent food, a major creative outpouring (episode two of Vitriol and Old Lace is now sorted and is suitably bonkers), Diana Rigg camping it up as a twenties detective, and some lighthearted banter and repartee amongst friends.

I am tired, natch - it took me a sodding hour to get home again, but an evening exceptionally well spent I feel.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Webby-type Things

One of the few actual productive things I did this weekend (aside from that) was add a new installment to Vitriol and Old Lace.

Daniel and I had batted the pages around during the last couple of weeks and so, due to the work I'd put in on the scripting, it was the work of but moments to upload, proofread and publish.

It also ends on rather a good cliffhanger so that we can safely leave it for a month or so and concentrate on our other projects.

Now we just need word to get around about its sheer brilliance.

Anyway, go and have a look. You know you want to!

Hah!

Just remembered: I was called an outrageous flirt yesterday.

It was one of those "pot calling the kettle black" situations, I must say, but even so I was actually filrting outrageously so I had to agree.

It really was most unlike me.

And boy did it feel good.

Que?

I have commented before on the vagueries of the Blogger spellchecker but I think just now it excelled itself.

In my last post it decided it had a slight problem with "watersports" (and who are we to judge) and flagged it up immediately.

However its suggested replacement was staggeringly random:

"Addressable".

I mean... What?

Good News from the Front

It would appear that the new tracks to be found on "AKA Charlene"... sorry, sorry... "Ultimate Kylie" are, compared with the towering folly of Body Language, actually rather good.

Sadly I've only heard a 47 second snippet of "I Believe In You" but even those 47 seconds take "Chocolate" down to Central Station's SOP for a generous watersports session.

"Giving You Up", however, I have enjoyed in its entirety. It's kind of insistent and hypnotic, vaguely Light Years-ish, and quite clearly standing second in the SOP "let's micturate on her last single" queue.

Thank God. She's back.

Winning the War

Well, I'm pleased to report that despite its insistence I am finally winning the war on my cold. Sore throats are a thing of the past and the congestion is finally on its way out too.

Sadly due to a session at Retro bar involving Trivial Pursuit (which I are shit at) and two bottles of Rioja (which was rather pleasant) I have a pounding headache but I'm sure I'll wrestle that into submission by the end of the morning.

Of course this does mean that I may be in a position where I'm healthy enough to finally hit the gym after work tonight, but I suppose that's a good thing really.

It's just that I'm really not looking forward to it.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Thanks for the Memory

I spent a fairly horrific hour this afternoon plundering the TV Cream site for theme tunes. I'd been a couple of times but not really had a concerted effort at listening to most of what they'd shoved up there (although I'd learned enough not to go back and listen again to "Doctor in Distress").

It's really quite upsetting having your childhood memories ritualistically raped by cold hard facts. I always remembered that Chock-a-block was quite a cool theme, for example, not the piece of repetitive nonsense it actually was. Zig-Zag similarly had a title sequence I loved dearly (if the series itself proved to be rather dull) but it too is a slice of twinkling vocoded hell on earth.

It wasn't all bad news, though. Box of Delights, Tomorrow's World (late 80s version) and Juliet Bravo were all rather enjoyable, and the Going Live theme thankfully entertained.

In the latter case I always remember wishing they'd use the theme as the closing credits more often. Instead I was invariably disappointed by their rabid insistence on rolling the credits to whatever lame-brained popstrels were desperately promoting their single that week.

I was a very angry child it would appear.

It has to be said that the discomfort I experienced during the plundering was more than made up for by the Dalek soundfiles they've provided for Windows. Having one of the grating ones inform you that an email has arrived "detailing exploits of cum-loving sluts" really would make anyone's day.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Contact!

Due to extreme laziness I haven't actually changed my opticians since moving to London so I'm still registered at a lovely little old-fashioned place in Canterbury. Aside from having to pop in personally once every couple of years they are kind enough to just send me new three-month packs of contact lenses on demand through the simple expedient of telephone sales which suits me fine.

The only downside to this arrangement (well, okay... apart from having to pay at all, but we'll skip over that) is that every single time they forget to tick the little box on the side of each pack which tells me which eye each pack is for.

It does mean that despite traipsing down to the sorting office this morning to pick them up I still don't have anything I could use if my existing pair suddenly end up on the underside of a shoe or in a bowl of chicken soup (hey, it could happen).

I suppose some people would know instantly if they'd put the wrong one in (still not being able to see clearly is a bit of a giveaway), but I'm not that way inclined. My lenses are almost indistinguishable from each other - I can put the wrong one in and not notice for hours.

So, "what's the problem?", you may be thinking. Well, sadly at the point after a couple of hours have passed I suddenly get blindingly painful headaches which will last for the rest of the day. I can almost guarantee that at the same time as this starts happening I will be in a situation where I can't remedy the lens situation. You know, I'll be stuck in a windtunnel with a load of sandcastles or something like that - life often conspires against me in ways like this.)

I just wish they'd tick the boxes. It would make life so much easier. And I fret, I really do. Not having lenses in reserve is a nightmare for someone with my batlike blindness.

Ho hum.

The Horror, The Horror

Last night, during a happy viewing of "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing" which has jst arrived on DVD, I received a phone call from a freind of mine asking if I was up for joining him and a friend in a pub locally a little later on. I said I was (although it would necessitate putting clothes back on) and later recieved a summons to the Angel Inn, Highgate.

I'd only ever been once, and I must admit getting faintly lost en-route seeing as I'd not attempted the journey from my house to Highgate on my own before, but finally arrived at the designated location with only one worry - which horribly proved to be confirmed.

The gentlemen concerned were, and I'm sure they'll forgive my use of the term here, utterly rat-arsed.

I must confess I don't handle this well and I must apologise to them if I seemed offhand in any way, but there are fewer experiences less enjoyable than being sober in the company of people who are "in their cups".

I mean, bless them, they did their best to help me catch up. But unfortunately every mouthful of alcohol I tasted caused me to fight down a wave of nausea due to my inebriation the night before, hence it proved impossible for me to end up in the same state.

All told I really think I should have stayed at home.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Oooh. Fame at last.

It has come to my attention that I am mentioned in a blog. Not just mine, no - all I ever talk about on here is myself after all - but someone else's. Here in fact, at Martylog.

It's kind of odd and I do feel strangely humbled by the experience. It's all very well having a blog about yourself but to actually get a mention in someone else's is a novel experience for me - especially since it's rather a good blog in its own right.

Anyway. I've decided I like it. I intend to infiltrate other people's lives, and subsequently their blogs, as often as possible now.

Well, everybody needs a hobby.

I wonder if I can get a "blog me" t-shirt made.

Ah... that's better

We just had a leaving lunch to commemorate Christina's passing. Very relaxed and very chilled and very pleasant.

Plus Mark and I decided we'd have a hair of the dog that bit us and opted to have wine.

I feel much perkier now. Yay!

Ugh

Much as I hate wearing sunglasses on drab dreary days, it has become necessary today if only to avoid scaring people on the bus. My eyes presently, to use an expression my father so charmingly uses, look like piss-holes in the snow, and I am rather worse for wear.

In fact I think I may actually still be drunk.

The reason for this? Well, it was Christina's leaving do last night at Dragon bar in Old Street. Much fun was had by all and needless to say much wine was had by me. It's self inflicted so I don't expect sympathy, but just don't click too loud anywhere near this

Dragon is one of those venues which has gone through retro and vintage stylings and is now opting for a kind of scandinavian skip-salvaging look. All the sofas have been patched beyond belief and there isn't a single item of furniture there which matches anything else. It's all delightfully ropey and as such has managed to create a bizarre sense of style that's turned it - much to my surprise - into a rather trendy place to go.

Naturally, it being trendy, the Hoxton set were much in evidence.

And I worry about them I really do. How they can combine such totally mismatched elements as a £50 haircut and £8 used russian combats and call it a fashion statement is beyond me.

Frankly I just wanted to make some of them over.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Is there anyone here?

Following our amazed viewing of one of the worst films ever made (see below) we found ourselves letting off steam at the latest installment of Most Haunted which this week (like last) was on an all expenses paid trip to Holland.

I still maintain that no self-respecting ghoul is likely to put in an appearance for fear of getting the piss mercilessly ripped out of him by his mates down the The Old Ghoul and Goblin, but if anything Most Haunted is becoming ever laughable.

For an entire hour we watched in awe as absolutely nothing happened (and happened with astonishing regularity). We watched as Yvette failed to scream even once, despite wearing flares which we were convinced would send her into a panic when the lights went out ("Oh my God there's something flapping round my ankles!"). And we watched as Preening Psychic Derek Acorah once more managed to come up with stuff that couldn't be verified by even the most diligent researcher.

All in all it was good for a giggle as always, but I can't help but feel that it's less fun than it used to be now the amateurish enthusiasm of the early series has given way to po-faced deadpan earnestness.

It's about time they took it less seriously again. For starters they need to start replacing the various crewmembers captions with more accurate descriptions. "Former Blue Peter Presenter Yvette Fielding" and "The Actor Derek Acorah" would be good for starters.

That'd set the tone admirably I think.

Dragonheart

There really was *nothing* on television again last night. And once again it coincided with one of my "I really mustn't have a drop of booze" evenings - I have a nasty feeling there's a pattern emerging and it doesn't bode well for TV. Frankly the best thing which was on was an episode of 'Allo! 'Allo! which, much as I enjoy it generally, isn't exactly astounding television by anybody's standards.

So, faced with either that or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen again (I vetoed this on the grounds that it is the most singularly illiterate tale ever) we ended up watching Dragonheart on the Sci-Fi channel.

Now, personally I think the review on IMDB gives the movie way too much credit. It was pants. It was totally uninvolving even if you do (like me) feel that a pleasant evening could be spent under Dennis Quaid. And despite a few nice moments, on the whole I ended up watching the whole thing with increasing incredulity.

I also, I must confess, did that singularly irritating thing of shouting at the screen and pre-empting the plot - a tendency I loathe in other people but, in my defence, the "plot" really was riling me: in fact I was able to predict (with astonishing accuracy) how the whole thing would end.

I was - in what I can only suppose was payback for disrupting the movie - then taunted for having written the screenplay.

Aside from being deeply unfair, I did feel that this was plainly untrue. Clearly no-one had written it. The script had simply happened.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Ye Gods! [Gasp!]

Yuck!

I so didn't buy the right throat sweets.

Cough.

Choke.

Whimper.

Tempting, so very tempting...

I mean... I have a bad throat and a cough and everything and I was hunting for medication and this box was just sitting there begging me to buy it and I so nearly did too... but... well, sometimes an obvious gag can be a bit too obvious do't you find?

And so I bought something else. Thus missing the opportunity of uttering the immortal words "yeah, I'm just sucking on a Fisherman's Friend."

Ho hum.

Ick

A pox on my colleagues.

Well, maybe not all of them. One of them in particular, however, has annoyed me by stubbornly coming into work for a week with a streaming cold in order to avoid getting any additional sick days on his record. This despite the fact that he almost had to crawl to his desk most days and slumped drooling over his keyboard.

Now, as pretty much the only person in the office, I have been pounced upon by a horde of yucky germs. Sadly because I am reasonably fit at the moment (morning doses of effervescent Vitamin C and Echinacea have helped - and you wouldn't believe what the extra zinc is doing to my... um... range) so rather than being completely out of it and confined to bed I am actually capable of being here with only the minimum discomfort to myself.

But it's enough. I am so drained you'd think I've been at Chariots for an afternoon.

Oh... that's brought a smile to my face.

Happy days.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Thank You For No Music

On Saturday night I took my life in my hands and went to Bethnal Green to attend a birthday bash in a bar round those parts. What had not been mentioned however was that the birthday boy runs a karaoke night there on Saturday nights and so I was exhorted to give it a bash.

I got away with it, mind. I am pleased to announce that I escaped unscathed without being shoved in front of a tinny backing track.

Fact is, I've only done Karaoke three times before and I think I've proved that it's a very bad idea for me to get in range of a microphone. First time ever I did it in Croydon and did a rendition of "Sweet Transvestite" which wasn't a bad performance all told and had a drag queen demanding to duet with me some other time. I haven't been back - obviously - but managed to do a passable Phil Oakey impression for "Love
Action" one time at Halfway II Heaven a few months later.

It was at this point that I overreached myself and attempted to do "It's a Sin" only to achieve the remarkable feat of being consistently three semitones flat for the entire track - even when the guy playing it pitch bent the track I matched his change by shifting my own pitch equally. Thus I managed to remain just out of tune enough to make people drink very quickly indeed.

Since then I have shied away from bothering. Other than my previous two successful attempts I can't think of enough songs I know that either require me to rumble then shout or simply camp it up and declaim the lyrics without ever having to sing.

If pushed I would have given "Pop Muzik" a bash I suppose, but I'm rather glad I got away with it. After what had been done to "Hot Stuff" and "Money Money Money" there could well have been a riot.

Deary Deary Me

The Avengers. Great series, but a vaguely disappointing film.

However, I've just found the original movie script online here: The Avengers - and am shocked to report that it is actually quite good (for starters it actually makes sense).

All of which does rather beg the question: "What the fuck happened?"

Top Secret!

I picked up the DVD of this film while I was in Virgin. It's from the same people who made "Airplane!" and despite bombing completely I've now decided it's my favourite of the Airplane / Naked Gun style films.

It's only real flaw is that the plot is an excuse for the jokes but since there are so many of those I can't say I really care. The men landing on the pigeon statue is worth a fiver alone.

Plus Val Kilmer is very easy on the eye. (Discovering he actually sang all the songs was a bit of a shock, though - he's quite good.)

City

Well, I've come to the conclusion that HMV just aren't much cop really. After ordering the new Client album from them online (due to a complete lack of success in finding it locally) I gave up waiting when finally my order was updated to contain the admission they didn't have any in stock and were awaiting a supply.

Thus Saturday morning found me heading down to Tottenham Court Road to see if I could get it there. Thankfully, although it wasn't on the new releases stands in Virgin it was to be found in the racks and so I rushed home and played it.

And it's fab.

It's a much richer album than the first one. The straightforward stuff is still in evidence, but the emphasis is either on darker grungier tracks ("In it for the Money", "Radio" and the surprisingly romantic "Pornography") or lusher more haunting tracks like "One Day at a Time" and "The Chill of October" which are just beautiful. The vocals really shine out this time too.

My favourite track though is "Don't Call Me Baby". It's such a confident and brazen slice of pure pop that I'm really quite stunned. I hadn't expected it of them really and it's absolutely fantastic. If it isn't a single there really is no justice.

Friday, October 01, 2004

An Evening of Utter Evil

Well, I had felt of late that maybe my boozehounding had become a little excessive and so should be sternly brought back under control with a little self-discipline.

So for most of this week - apart from Tuesday (but since that was a work function and the drink was free it doesn't count - I have been extremely good and steered clear of alcohol and actually felt a certain benefit from this (and that's not considering the general self-satisfaction that I so enjoy).

But without the liberal application of cheap white plonk I suddenly realised last night how fucking awful Thursday night TV is.

It really was quite a shock.

Infantile? Moi?

I came into work this morning, realised it was the first of October and suddenly had the overwhelming urge to go up to someone and go "pinch punch, first of the month".

"And noooooo returns. So there."

I am lost.