Wednesday, November 29, 2006



I get a lot of dross on my voicemail. Quite often old people don't like talking to a machine, so I get the following:

"You have ... two... new messages. First message"
"Hurrrrr. Sigh"
"Next message"
"End of messages"

They usually call back.

Then there's the people flummoxed by technology:

"You have ... one ... new message. First message"
"Oh. Um."
[voice in background] "Well, what do they say?"

"Um, I, Er"
[background voice] "Well are you going to leave a message?"
"I, er, um" *click*
"End of messages"

Then there's the two minutes of background noise, which have to be sat through just in case there's a message on the end. Even better, a minute of heavy brething, again usually an old person who is waiting for someone to pick up the phone. Or the foreign voice who whilst they're doing their very best, is completely incomprehensible on voicemail, and has about a 50/50 chance of you being able to call them back based on the number they leave.

Anyone with a published phone number will be used to all this. The reason I'm posting is because I've had somethgin out of the ordinary today. Recorded American voices tellign me I've won a prize, yes, but an entire Radiohead track? The instrumental section?
Not sure which track it was, but I'll have another listen tomorrow

Saturday, November 25, 2006


An Overdue update

Last time Iwas here I spoke of going to Southampton. That was over a week ago, and yet no updates.

Full gig reviews would be a bit excessive, and rather self-important & arrogant. Maybe an account of my night out would be more in keeping with the blog.

Mr Scruff's promise on his visuals of 'a prize-winning marrow of a bassline' were fulfilled - the bass was of a level where it threatened to make one's eyes bleed. Thank goodness for earplugs. Much dancing took place, and I may have been perilously close to a dance-off at one point

The CSS gig was fairly lively, and since they appear as default content on the Zune, I'm sure htey're destined for Very Big Things in the coming months - it'll be interesting to see how far up the the line-up they'll be for next summer's festivals. Support came from the Rodgers Sisters who I found a bit underwhelming, and the very pleasant 1990s who can be summarised thusly:
With the gig over, there was supposed to be a club night until 3am... but with only a half a dozen of us in the club, including the 1990s having a post-gig dance-and-poppers session. I asked the bassist about the prevalence of la-la-la's in his music and the drummer's involvement [look, it was after midnight and I'd had quite a few drinks]. But shortly after this, the club decided to call it a night.

But I wasn't ready to stop. Oh no.

I wanted another drink! Where can alcohol be found on a Thursday night after midnight? To the local chain bar! Now in York, Flares is a nice place when you're a student to stop off on your way to a club. I am reliably informed however that it's a no-go-zone for students in Southampton. I purchased whatever alcopop was on offer and started sipping. We wouldn't stay here long, we were definitely bringing the average customer age down by about 2 years.

A gentleman in a checked shirt approached us
"If anyone tries to fuck with you, I'll sort them out, alright?"
"Oh, um, thanks"
Down drinks, about turn, out of door, up street, brisk walk, don't turn round!

And thus concluded my night out in Southampton.

On my way home the following afternoon, it was raining buckets, and the train driver/guard/manager/whatever warned us to be careful because of "moisture in the vestibules brought on by alighting passengers" Why can't we just be told to look out for slippery puddles around the doors?
In a similar vein, Tesco very kindly label their carrots as 'Suitable for Vegetarians' Thanks for clearing that up.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


2.4m2 of fun

A thoroughly enjoyable weekend all in all. No St. Johnning for a change, went down to Brighton on Saturday which was verging on the bleak at this time of year, took a few pictures on the beach [have you seen my photographs by the way?], and was most amused to see some young 'lovers' (I say lovers' but as I'd guess they were some age 'tween 14 & 17, maybe 'snoggers' would be more accurate) on the beach. They were doing that thing couples do on summer days in London parks, lying down very close to each other whispering sweet nothings to each other. The effect is lost somewhat though, I feel, when wrapped in a puffa jacket and the couple are taking it in turns to act as 'windbreak' against the gales bowing down a rather pebbly and damp beach.

Talk of wind though brings me back to my main reason for visting Brighton. There's a small kiteshop down there, going by the name of Air Born Kites. Nice people, who actually fly kites and can give you advice. [cf Argos, who are now sellign some really rather large flying machines]
I'd gone down in the hope of returning triumphant with a 1.7m2 Flexifoil Sting. I hadn't reckoned on being lured by the prospect of the 2.4m2 version. "Only £15 more, and you won't regret it"
Well, it isn't much more... and that is quite a bit more kite...
"Can I see how it looks out of the bag?"
The kite is duly laid out on the floor of the shop... Nah, doesn't look too scary - I'll take it.
Back in the safety of my own living room it had magically expanded - maybe it was too big...

Only one way to find out.Picture of a 2.4m Sting in Petrol colour scheme
Headed out to Dunstable Downs on Sunday afternoon, and after taking great care laying out my lines [thankfully it had performed a shrinking trick - Paul Daniels eat your heart out], I was almost disappointed to find I didn't struggle. Within 10 minutes my sister who had been filming events and kites unfolding in the hope of capturing footage of me disappearing into the next county for YouTube posterity was hankering to have a go.
So, maybe not as big on danger as I'd been hoping, but I think things could get more 'interesting' in higher winds.

I think it's fair to say the Sting's fairly foolproof, as long as you have the gumption to figure out a lark's head knot, flying & re-launching is tres easy. Having said that, my shoulders, arms and ribs ached this morning after what was not a particularly long flight (I was rained off), and my shoulders are still feeling the effects now, so there must be a fair amount of 'pull' there. 'Power with control' as they say.
I'm off to Southampton for a few days this week, going gigging and drinking, but may blog if I get bored, or have an amusing experience to relate...

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Morning humour

Sometimes you receive a reply to a text and cannot help but laugh. Unfortunately this usually happens when you're sat on a commuter train and people will look at you like a madman if you laugh out loud, so you restrict yourself to a big stupid grin.

I do wonder, what exactly is the purpose of the security guard pacing up and down the platforms @ watford? Is he there to ensure people don't steal the trains?


It's ok, the trains move too fast for that. He's making sure nobody moves the lines on the platform. An important task, i'm sure you'll agree.

In other news, I've just had a mince pie put on my desk. How nice. How festive.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Sticking with it

Last night I tried [unsuccessfully] to step down from my role organising training for my St. John division. The organisation is old venerable, and at times has the turning circle of an oil tanker, which is highly irritating when you're trying to do new things or are a new person doing something slightly differently. In the event, I was talked down and wasn't allowed to jump, and to be honest I'm kind of glad.
For all its faults, the organisation does do some excellent work, and there are the occasional moments which cause amusement. The last under-18's night I went to included a form with the following information:

Disposal: Other [Police van]
Handling/Immobilisation: Other [Handcuffs]

They really did produce the forms for every eventuality.

Coming up I have an amateur comedy revue to cover, which is most notable for being unfunny and having a very low risk of anything untoward happening. And I've signed up to watch sit through it twice.

Saturday, November 04, 2006



Considering getting a new coat (I've had my current one a good few years and though warm it has a certain 'dress' quality that isn't entirely flattering).
So in anticipation of a shopping trip which as we now know, I detest, I decided to browse some online ranges.
Styles available include

"Melton Funnel" Sounds rude. Snigger.
"Distressed Biker" Visions of a big hairy man in leathers bawling his eyes out after someone ran over his cat ensue
"4 Pocket Moleskin" I didn't know moles had pockets
"Wool Check" Is it made of sheep? Yes. Cheers, just wanted to check
"Waxy Sport Bomber" Someone's got something against surfboards

I need to get out more.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



Advertising is a source of fascination for me. A part of my job is supporting the marketing of the organisation I work for, so I'm always on the look-out for interesting ways people are promoting stuff.
I'm currently trying to find a suitable room in a house to move into. Or at least get a good idea of what's available. This involves scanning through adverts placed by individuals summoning all their marketing prowess to make their room sound attractive and be snapped up by a lovely new housemate.
Many sites offer the option to upload photos as part of the advert.
The idea is to give people an idea of what the room is like.
Make it appear attractive
Oh. Oh dear.

There certainly aren't going to be any accusations of over-selling this room, in West London. No siree.
The picture highlights all the exciting features of the room:
"House Amenities: Furnished, Share bath, Carpet, Closet"

In other news, it appears that the room I turned down a while back and was then quite relieved when it later became the scene of a shooting (or at least the road did) is once again available. From the description it sounds like it's the same room, so I'm wondering whether whichever person who took it two months ago is now high-tailing it out of there having seen London's gun-crime epidemic first-hand... unless they were the one "gunned down in a hail of bullets". Hmmm.

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