Monday, 30 April 2007

Saturday 28 April 2007

andrew lloyd webber;
strange dwarf from a lost village.
please find your way back.

The UO and I staggered home in the cruel daylight, calling in at the Empire Fish Bar for chips on the way.
I have not a hangover for quite some time, and I think I’m getting too old for them. I spent most of Saturday groaning and cursing myself for mixing my drinks. As Occupational Therapy I did the washing up and listened to ‘Journey Into Space’ on Radio 7.
Saturday evening TV is not conducive to this sort of recuperation. We avoided the search for the new Joseph on 'Any Dream Will Do'. The news that Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has now stolen the title of richest musician from Sir Paul McCartney had made the taste in my mouth even nastier.
Why don’t they launch a search for a new Andrew Lloyd Webber? Surely nothing could be worse than the old one.
‘Doctor Who’ raised our spirits a little, as did a restorative glass of wine. The UO ordered pizza and we caught up with ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Coronation Street’. Occasionally we caught glimpses between other shows of the screaming horror of Graham Norton and his search for the new Joseph and his slightly dated Technicolour Dreamcoat.
We shuddered and thanked multiple non-existent gods for creating us with some level of taste and discrimination.

Friday 27 April 2007

he did the mash did
bobby boris pickett and
not with sausages.

RIP Bobby Boris Pickett, died 25 April 2007

The Ugly One and I were invited over to our friend Robert’s house for dinner in Shepherds Bush.
The journey was a bit of a nightmare as it involved two bus rides. Both buses seemed full of lunatics, added to which we had left our phones at home and were both a bit hazy about where Robert actually lived, since we hadn’t been there for some time.
I felt we must have been going in the right direction when we passed a building, over the door of which was the inscription ‘And The Holy Ghost Shall Come Upon Thee’.
The dinner was lovely but I made the mistake of drinking champagne and following my dessert headed for the toilet where I was violently sick.
Some time afterwards (this was after the very long discussion of the merits or otherwise of ‘Deep Space Nine’) I must have passed out, as the next thing I recall is waking up with the UO, crammed into Robert’s single bed. Robert, bless him, was fast asleep on the sofa.
I am always bemused by Robert’s bookshelf, as I suspect he has a habit of grabbing books with a nice-looking spine in charity shops and just lining them up on the shelf.
I found a disturbing volume of Christian affirmative poetry, and a copy of ‘Waiting For Godot’ some of which I read while sitting on the toilet and waiting for everyone else to wake up. I felt at that moment that I suddenly understood Beckett and his analysis of the bleakness of the human condition, particularly as I had just noticed how much toilet paper was left on the roll.
There was also a copy of ‘How To Be a Happy Homosexual’, which I know for a fact has been on that shelf for at least twenty-five years. He really ought to chuck it out as if it hasn’t worked yet, it’s not going to now.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Thursday 26 April 2007

hugh grant threw his beans
weapons of mess destruction
and plastered the world

The A-Z of Rationalism

F is for Fundamentalism (n.) Fundamentalists are a strange bunch, convinced despite all evidence to the contrary of the absolute literal truth of whatever book they’ve put their faith in. You can explain till you’re blue in the face that if Noah actually did have an ark in which he managed to fit all the species of animals in the world it would have to have been the size of Lancashire, with another two arks following on behind carrying the relevant supplies. And were there Chinese, Indian, African, Aztec and Aborigines on the ark, or did they have arks of their own? You won’t get any straight answers on this from our Fundamental friends, mainly because I suspect, they are scared of actually thinking it through in a rational manner.

Irrationality comes in all forms. Hugh Grant lost his usual posh amiability this week and went to war on the paparazzi, armed only with a tub of baked beans. There’s something almost biblical about this in its precedence; Samson slaying the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, David felling Goliath with a slingshot and a conker, and now Hugh, son of Grant, belting the Paparazzi with a boot and a tub of beans. It’s not inconceivable that a priest of the Church of Grant will be telling an embellished version of this tale in a thousand years, standing before a stained glass triptych of Samson, David and Hugh.
In another act of irrationality, I was verbally abused on the way home by a woman outside Brixton Tube.
‘Have you got a cigarette?’ she asked.
‘I’m sorry,’ I said. ‘I haven’t’
‘You Fat C**t!’ she said, and disappeared into the crowd before I could summon up a suitably destructive riposte.She was only half right. I have never really thought of myself as being fat.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Wednesday 25 April 2007

gilbert and george, you
are sane naughty people in
a mad dirty world.

The A-Z of Rationalism

E is for Evolution (n) a gradual change in the characteristics of a population of animals or plants over successive generations.

So, off we went to the Gilbert and George exhibition at The Tate Modern which was, quite frankly, brilliant. The layout documented their progress over the last forty years, during which they have evolved a style of assembling sometimes gigantic work using a tessellated grid system.
One section, from the eighties, confronts their concern with the AIDS outbreak, and this is examined via works featuring images of various bodily fluids.
I sat down to take in the spectacle and was approached by two Italian women.
‘Do you speak English?’ one of them asked.
‘Yes,’ I said. ‘How can I help?’
‘Could you tell me what ‘spunk’ means?’
‘Ah!’ I said, attempting to appear undiscomfited. ‘Well, it’s sperm.’
‘Yes. Sperm… semen… from men.’ I then realised that I was using my right hand to simulate a motion of masturbation, at which I attempted nonchalantly to hide the offending hand behind my back.
‘Ahhh!’ she said, as understanding dawned, and I reddened. ‘ Thank you. We thought it was spit, but I know now.’
‘You’re welcome,’ I said, and backed away to find the Ugly One who was gazing at a crucifix assembled from giant images of poo.
We bought some Gilbert and George postcards and a signed Exhibition poster before we set off to look around the abstract section, some of which was so abstract that I mistook three identical floor gratings for a Damien Hurst triptych.

Tuesday 24 April 2007

lola griffin falling
to the holby city floor.
they must have strong tiles.

There was a man on TV this morning celebrating his 100th birthday. Some years ago he put on a bet with William Hill that he would, indeed, live to be a hundred. The bookies have now paid out, to the tune of £25,000. When asked to what he attributed his longevity he replied ‘eat porridge for breakfast and keep breathing.’
This raised the question with me that, should Liza Minelli reach a hundred years old, will it be known as The Minellium?

Sunday 22 April 2007

twenty-four’s jack bauer
battered, shot, tortured and maimed,
his face still pristine

The A-Z of Rationalism

D is for Dinosaur (n.) Generic term for large reptiles which became extinct some 65 million years ago, and not, as many deluded people believe, within the last six thousand years.

I had a happy day at home, during which I did little but ponder the big questions in life such as; What function does a tie serve? Who actually responds to junk e-mail? Why is anyone actually interested in what Paris Hilton says or does? I can’t say I came to any positive conclusions aprt from the answer to question two which is ‘idiots’ but now and again it is good to give oneself the chance to address the issues.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Saturday 21 April 2007

vernon kaye, your teeth
are like a wall of naffness
gumming down my day.

The A-Z of Rationalism

C is for Cathar (n.) a member of a Christian sect in Provence in the 12th and 13th centuries who believed the material world was evil and only the spiritual was good. They believed all matter to be evil because it was created by Satan, the principle of evil.
Such was the perceived threat posed by Cathar doctrine to the mainstream church that in 1209 Pope Innocent III proclaimed a crusade against the Cathars. There followed twenty years of ruinous warfare, during which cities and provinces throughout the south of France were devastated. In one of the worst episodes of the war almost the entire population of Toulouse, both Cathar and Catholic, were massacred. Resistance continued until 1243 when the Cathar fortress of Montsegur in the Pyrenees was captured and destroyed. Those who refused to renounce their beliefs were often tortured or put to death by fire.

I awoke early and listened to some new CDs reviewed on Radio 3. The Ugly One, given the choice as to what we should eat this evening decided that he rather fancied Braised Beef in Garlic. This is one of my regular dishes; a Chinese casserole in which is beef is cooked slowly with two (yes, two) entire garlic plants, a splash of sherry, some soy sauce, beef stock, a tablespoon of potato flour and little else. Near the end when the sauce has reduced to a thick gravy you can chuck in some chopped spring onions and roasted peppers, and it’s damned lovely.
I went up to Edgware Road market as some time ago I bought some handmade soap with which I was very pleased. I’ve never been known to get excited by soap before.
The soap man had run out of peppermint, which is my favourite, so I made do with two tea-trees, an orange and a cucumber. While I was making my agonising soap decision he was arguing stenuously with an arab lady who was attempting, very unsuccessfully, to haggle.
‘Do you know how many arab people I know?’ he asked her. This was obviously a rhetorical question as he did not wait for a response, ‘One to two thousand,’ he said. ‘And some of them I damn well know are walking about with two thousand pounds in their pockets, and they try to argue with me about a fifty pence discount.’
Cowed, the lady abandoned her attempt to get the soap cheaper than the standard price and paid up.
I don’t think he was being discriminatory. He was just as grumpy with me, but grudgingly told me that he might have some peppermint in for next Saturday.
My beef in garlic came out amazingly well. The original recipe exhorts me ‘not to be alarmed by the amount of garlic involved’ as, in fact, due to the long cooking time, the garlic is absorbed into the sauce and produces a flavour as far removed from garlic as Gerri Halliwell is from reality.
Talking of ‘reality’ in the paradoxically very unreal sense of reality TV shows, ‘Doctor Who’ was scheduled early tonight, because, it seems, the BBC wanted to place their dire ‘Any Pratt Will Do’ search for the new Joseph (shame on you Graham Norton for involving yourself in such trash) against Simon Cowell’s equally dire search for the new stars of Grease, ‘Grease is the Word’.
I know another word for it, and it isn’t ‘grease’.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Friday 20 April

the weird weariness
of the long endless friday
slows me to nothing

The A-Z of Rationalism

B is for Buddhism (n.) a religious teaching propagated by the Buddha and his followers which declares that by destroying greed, hatred and delusion, which are the causes of all suffering, man can attain perfect enlightenment.

Buddhism actually makes a lot of sense. Most other religions seem to embody various degrees of greed, hatred and delusion as a matter of course. Buddhism places a serious emphasis on meditation and self-development, and members of the Buddhist faith are encouraged to question the nature of reality and the world around them, rather than being indoctrinated by dogma.
Other than that, to my knowledge Buddhists have never declared war on anybody, they’ve never had any suicide bombers and their belief system includes a prohibition against violence and a healthy respect for the planet on which we evolved.
While considering this challenge to my anti-religious viewpoint I rang the Tate Modern and booked our Gilbert & George tickets, discovering in the process that the tickets were five pounds cheaper than if one books them online.
I picked up Fish & Chips on the way home, having realised recently that the Empire Fish Bar near Shepherds Bush station does a blinding haddock and chips.
We watched the latest episode of ‘Ugly Betty’, a very funny American series about the Fashion industry in which we witness the clash of the diverse worlds of a Latino family in downtown Queens and the style-conscious office of Mode magazine.
Although Americans try to push the boundaries with their TV they seldom push far enough. Apart from her ubiquitous glasses and teeth braces, Betty herself isn’t actually that ugly. Bravely, they have
written Betty’s young nephew (a ten-year old boy more interested in fashion and soap operas than football and girls) as quite obviously gay, something which the entire family accepts apart from the boy’s estranged father who is finding it hard to come to terms with young Justin’s strange ways.
However, the gay characters generally have not evolved since the days of Mr Humphries in ‘Are You Being Served?’. The American world, it seems, is not ready for fully-rounded gay men who have other interests besides men and Gucci bags. This is a shame, as some of the other characters are wonderful, if sometimes grotesque creations. One wonderful running joke is Ignacio’s (Betty’s father) addiction to a Latino Soap, of which we catch occasional glimpses in which beautiful betrayed women seem to be always slapping the men by whom they’ve been betrayed.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Thursday 19 April 2007

if god existed
he would have mentioned something.
he didn’t, therefore...

The A-Z of Rationalism

A is for Atheism. (n.) belief that no God or gods exist(s)

I left work early to get up to Blackfriars and book tickets for the Gilbert and George exhibition at the Tate Modern next week. I’d tried to book them online, but the process was tortuous, and my work pc kept crashing. When I got there, following a journey on the Victoria Line which lasted longer than a day with Howard from the Halifax, there was a very nice man sitting behind the ticket desk who told me that the ticket desk was closed.
‘You can book online,’ he said. I remained diplomatically mute. ‘Or you can just ring up.’
They didn’t tell me that on the website, and I was too polite to point out that he was, technically, sitting there behind the ticket desk and could have sold me the two tickets there and then.
So, I made my way home. Just as I got to the corner of my street I saw Edgar, the big tabby cat who lives somewhere in our street. I call him Edgar. I have no idea what he calls himself or what anybody else calls him. He usually rubs himself around my legs and meows loudly, which is usually a sign of good character in a cat.
Tonight however, he did not mewl as he was hurrying across the street, clutching in his jaws the body of a dead squirrel. I imagine Edgar’s owners will not be amused to see that coming through the catflap.
I was gratified to discover the UO had bought us Cornish pasties for dinner from Marks & Spencer. He’d also bought two packets of crumpets as M&S were doing a 2 for 1 thing. Unfortunately I had also bought crumpets and some butter, so we are now awash with crumpet, which, strangely enough, sounds like a good title for a music hall song.

Wednesday 18 April 2007

the trees opened their
green eyes, but when I wasn’t
looking. i’m surprised

Visitors to London should be aware that London Underground’s Victoria Line is named after Victoria Beckham, as it is a little slow.
I was half an hour late for work today, so late, in fact that I did not pick up my coffee and sandwich, which, being part of my obsessive compulsive routine, upset my day.
Fitzroy at work, bless him, (I suspect that a new tube line will be named after him any day now) offered me a sandwich which was surplus to requirements at a meeting, which I gratefully accepted; chicken , stuffing and mayo.
It gave me indigestion though, which didn’t help my mood. It was nice to get home and find out that the Ugly One had bought chicken kievs.

Tuesday 17 April 2007

on holby city,
les dennis dying like a
failed comedian

I am grateful to the marvellous Popbitch for the following snippet of news from Russia.

‘No gays in Chelyabinsk. Russian pipe makers: not metrosexual

Russia's version of Little Britain is called Our Russia. One of its characters is "the only gay milling machine operator in Chelyabinsk" (an industrial city in the Ural mountains). Workers at a real-life pipe making plant in Chelyabinsk are not amused. The company contacted the programme makers to say, "Why are you telling lies? We don't have any gays!"’

I think the warm weather has drawn the lunatics out of hiding. At the weekend while waiting for a 295 bus I was approached by three different drunken men. This is obviously not a new experience for me, but it’s not the sort of thing I expect at two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon while I’m weighed down with Tesco bags.
The first asked me if I was a Polack. When I said ‘no’, he asked me for twenty pence. It’s not an unreasonable request so I parted with the cash quite readily. Maybe Polacks aren’t so charitable, and he was just checking first. Some five minutes later another man appeared, and told me he was from Southampton and couldn’t get back. I suspect he’d swapped his ticket for a barrel of rum. He too, asked me for some change, but I explained he’d already been gazumped by a Pole. He was OK about that, and began rambling, while attempting to remain upright, about shaven heads and the weather.
Then he staggered away, only to be almost immediately replaced by an even drunker man who took his asthma inhaler from his pocket, aimed it like a gun and pretended to shoot some Indian men walking up the street toward us.
Luckily it appears that they knew who he was (I think they run the local off-licence) and were not discomfited by his act of inhaler-based terrorism.
At that point the bus arrived. A (presumably) gay man sat opposite me, clutching two greyhound puppies and gabbling incessantly in Italian on a mobile all the way to my stop. The poor puppies gazed at me, as if pleading for rescue, no doubt hoping I was packing a loaded inhaler, or at the very least some doggy earplugs.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Monday 16 April 2007

precious Nintendo.
you are not valued until
i find you missing

I’ve become somewhat addicted to ‘New Tricks’, the BBC’s comedy drama series about a Cold Case unit staffed by geriatric ex-cops. Dennis Waterman (who did indeed ‘write the theme tune, sing the theme tune’although someone really should have stopped him), Alun Armstrong, James Bolam and Amanda Redman make a surprisingly charismatic team, particularly Alun Armstrong’s somewhat obsessive compulsive bipolar geek character, obsessed with detailed and eccentric research practices.
This evening, the team investigated a possibly unsolved murder at an old people’s home, which spookily featured a few faces not seen on TV for some time. There was the marvellous Geoffrey Bayldon (who was once Catweazle, and who I always hoped would have played Doctor Who when Tom Baker left), June Whitfield, Sheila Hancock, and a cameo from a face we found hard to place until I realised it was the snooty moustachioed neighbour from ‘George and Mildred’.
At this point I would normally have picked up my Nintendo but the Ugly One (bless him!) had taken it to work and forgotten to bring it home.
The bugger!

Sunday 15 April 2007

chicken, curry paste,
some alchemy, some onions,
pineapple chutney.

Recently, after a long hiatus, I have returned to learning shorthand. Wierdly, it would seem that in the intervening years all the previous stuff I’d learned had stuck in my head, and before I knew it I was able to write ‘Dan at the depot had gone to the docks and loaded all the boxes on to the boat’ in a series of curves, dots, dashes and short lines. This will no doubt prove invaluable at some future point in my life when I find myself at the docks with a need to write something down about boxes very quickly.
As is no doubt common with learning this sort of thing, I found it far more advantageous to write my own exercises, rather than the rather dull sentences they give you to practice in the book.
‘We can save the possessed, but the undead must go to the boneyard’ is one of my favourites, along with ‘I ought to go to the park as it is a place in which one can locate men of the Left Hand Path.’ (although here I have to leave the ‘H’ off the word ‘hand’ because I haven’t yet got to the chapter with the H sound in it. I think, however, this gives the phrase a certain Cockney veracity).
This evening I cooked a Burmese Chicken Curry, which we ate as we watched ‘Superstorm’, a new mini-series about, rather unsurprisingly, a very big storm.
Scientists are seeding hurricanes with ice-crystals in order to change their course. A young female scientist (who used to be in Holby City) is keen that the experiment works as it will vindicate the theories of her father, who died (as they so often do in these miniseries) a broken man when his ideas were discredited.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Saturday 14 April 2007

sun on the bookies
like it’s been blessed. we bet smiles.
got very good odds.

On the radio this morning it was suggested that Johnny Cash’s house committed suicide rather than have to suffer being lived in by a BeeGee.
On a rather more serious note, through tragically comic in its own way, there was also a very disturbing report about a Creation Science Museum being set up by a group called Answers in Genesis, who now seem to be peddling a theory that Noah took dinosaurs on to the Ark.

“Much of the Creation Museum in Kentucky is still under construction and we were not able to go on to see the section through Noah's Ark or the model of the Grand Canyon.
Instead, we visited the real thing - the Canyon, not the Ark! Grand Canyon park guides will tell you that the canyon took more than a million years to form and cuts through rocks that span more than a billion years.
Not so, say "Young Earth" creationists. All those rocks were deposited by flood waters at the time of Noah.
Though the Bible does not mention them directly, Ken Ham thinks there is no reason to suppose that dinosaurs were not still around at the time of the flood.
Indeed, he speculates that two of each may have been taken aboard the Ark (newly hatched dinosaurs are quite small so fitting them in would not have been a problem).
And what about the animals from other continents? Did Noah sail to Australia to drop off the kangaroos?
No, the flood waters lubricated a process called runaway subduction in which the continents subsequently drifted apart at a sprint!” (Martin Redfern – BBC News)

Really, these people should be stopped. This nonsense is being taught to children as fact, and accredited scientific research is being dismissed. Apparently, 40% of Americans agree with Mr Ham, which, regrettably, confirms my opinions about Americans.
Talking of dumb beasts, I bought two sweepstake tickets yesterday for the Grand National. Sadly, my horses were given odds of 100-1 and 150-1, so I didn’t hold out much hope of winning. I was proved correct. However, it was a lovely day and I spent it wandering the streets, which culminated in me having a large cappuccino in the betting shop cafĂ©. Betting shop catering has got very posh since the days of a coffee machine and a plastic cup. Nowadays you have a vast choice of lattes, frappes, skinny long decaff flavoured witches’ brews of all combinations known to man.I’ll stick to my cappuccino. I know where I am with that.

Monday, 16 April 2007


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Friday 13 April 2007

o veggie steamer
you are cursed by this dread day.
peas are still frozen.

No terrible things happened today, apart from me being so cream-crackered I fell asleep on the tube on the way home.
I was reminded today of this cautionary tale reported in a local paper from my home town.


… but drunk man discovered surrounded by chocolate on golf course had nothing to do with it

A man got caught up in the ‘Great Curly Wurly Ram Raid’ when he was discovered in a drunken state on the 18th hole of a golf course with stolen chocolate bars.
It turned out that Simon Watkinson, 27, of Bradley Road, Wrexham, had been on a big night out in Llangollen when he accepted a lift in a car that had been used to ram raid a garage near Corwen. But the only thing to be stolen in the incident was £40 worth of Curly Wurlies.
Watkinson was charged with burglary, but it was dropped when he admitted being carried in the stolen car and handling some of the stolen booty.
A Nissan Micra, stolen from Wrexham, had been used in a ram raid at Carrog Service Station, near Corwen. At about 7.30, at the 18th hole at Chirk Golf Club, a prone man was discovered by a greenkeeper with the sweets and an incontinence pad.
The story of the ‘Great Curly Wurly Ram Raid’ has been recounted in Mold Crown Court.
Someone had gone to the trouble of of stealing a car and reversing it into the kiosk of a garage near Corwen.
All they got for their trouble was a load of sweets, mainly chocolate Curly Wurlies, valued at less than £40.
The car was later found burned out and a very drunk man was discovered lying prone on a golf course, surrounded by Curly Wurlies.
That man, Simon Watkinson, 27, was originally charged with the burglary but the charge was dropped when he admitted being carried in the stolen car, and handling some of the stolen goods.
Watkinson was told by Judge Dafydd Hughes he had already spent some time in custody and that any prison sentence would be very short and of little use.
He was put on a 12 month community order, with 80 hours unpaid work, and put on an alcohol control programme.
Peter Moss, defending, said the court was dealing with the aftermath of the ‘Great Curly Wurly Ram Raid’ in the early hours one day in April.
A Nissan Micra, stolen from Wrexham, had been used in a ram raid at Carrog Service Station, near Corwen. At about 7.30, at the 18th hole at Chirk Golf Club, a greenkeeper found a man lying on the course. That man was Watkinson, who had been on a ‘particularly ugly night out’ in Llangollen when he drank an ‘incapacitating’ amount of alcohol.
he had seen the car doing wheel spins in the centre of Llangollen, accepted a lift, but got out at Chirk because of the terrifying manner of the driving.
The raid had already taken place because there was ‘an embarrassment of confectionary’ in the car. he asked for some and took them away, using an incontinence pad to carry them.
‘My client set off on the long and lonely walk in the direction of Wrexham, but was so incapacitated he had no idea if he was walking in the right direction,’ said Mr Moss.
Then, about 500 meteres from where he had left the car, he was ‘irresistibly assailed by the forces of gravity’ onto the golf course.
When charged with burglary he had said: ‘Frankly Sarg, I don’t see where the evidence is’, and that analysis had proved to be correct, said Mr Moss.
If he had been charged with being carried in a stolen vehicle and handling stolen goods the case could have been dealt with by magistrates.
‘If ever there was an example of how the abuse of alcohol and falling in with the wrong people can lead someone in the wrong direction, this is it,’ Mr Moss explained.’

(From the Wrexham Evening Leader, Friday Dec 8 2006)

Friday, 13 April 2007

Thursday 12 April 2007

downloading beatles
onto chitinous hard drives.
an infestival.

I was very sorry to hear of the recent death of Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favourite authors, creator of ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ and, my personal favourite ‘The Sirens of Titan’. Vonnegut was a brilliant satirist and ‘The Sirens of Titan’ in particular is one of those rare, genuinely funny books which highlights the absurdities of society.
I am glad to see that his last novel ‘Man Without a Country’ was written specifically to express exactly how much he despised George W Bush. George, if Vonnegut despises you, there’s something seriously seriously wrong with what you’re doing.
Cheeta, the chimp from the Tarzan films, is alive and well at the age of 75. Sadly, so are Peter Andre and Katie Price, which is another argument for the non-existence of a supreme being.
Peter and Katie are already on my Lecter List, i.e. the list of people without whose existence the quality of the world would actually improve. It would appear that another series of their dire reality show has been commissioned by the E! Channel (the channel for people who can’t read words of more than one letter) with the highly original title of ‘Peter and Katie – The Next Chapter’I won’t be tuning in. ‘Peter and Katie – the Double Funeral’ might excite me slightly more, but only slightly.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Wednesday 11 April 2007

see alan sugar,
that bloke off the apprentice.
he’s sid james, he is!

Before I became the rational person that I am today I was, for a short time, a worshipper of Parasettamol, the Aztec God of Camouflage Vests. It seemed as good a religion as any to join since the probability of his existence would be exactly the same as any other deity. Added to that there was the added advantage that, with very few members, there was plenty of choice when it came to finding a seat at the semi-regular services.
Since then, thankfully, I’ve seen reason, most of the time. My stance, I suppose, is one of probabilistic agnosticism, since I will not believe something unless it has been proven to my personal satisfaction. It’s an Occam’s Razor approach. I do not know how to go about proving that the Earth goes round the Sun, but I am assured that it does, and, if I am very determined to know how we know it does, I’m sure I could find out.
Galileo, who would no doubt be a member of the Rational Party were he still with us, had worked out for himself, following the work of Copernicus, that the Earth went round the Sun, but as the Church at the time did not believe in a heliocentric universe, Galileo was tried for heresy by the Inquisition and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1633; a Christian act which cost Galileo his life, since, being old and infirm, he died in prison.
We haven’t actually come that far in terms of rational thought in the last four hundred years. In the Middle East the concept of Evolution is, if not unknown, treated as a joke, whereas in parts of America, where some schoolchildren are taught that the Earth is only six thousand years old, Evolution is thought of as Satan’s theory, designed to make people deny God.
This would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.
As if to demonstrate to me the chaotic nature of existence, the District Line suffered signal failures as I was on my way home, and delayed my arrival at Marks and Spencers. I would love to be able to explain the significance of this in terms of quantum mechanics, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t make a lot of sense, much like Naomi Campbell’s novel or anything that Jodie Marsh says.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Tuesday 10 April 2007

no more life on mars.
the bbc giveth it
and take it away.

The Ugly One made a lovely chicken curry this evening, for which I had to cook basmati rice. My way of cooking basmati rice is to use 250g of rice to 450ml of water. I chuck them into a pan, bring it to a boil, stir once, cover, lower the heat to a simmer and leave for twelve minutes. Do not fiddle with it during the twelve minute process. Then, switch off the heat and leave for six minutes. It always comes out perfick.
I’m detailing this here just in case I forget how to do it at some future point. I used to cook a really nice dish called ‘Chicken in Cider’ and, having not cooked it for so long, I’m buggered if I can remember how to do it now. Perhaps I should go for regression therapy in order to recall the details, but knowing me I’ll go off into a past life and come back with a recipe for fouillette of braised otter.
Talking of ancient things, ‘Holby City’ has been with us so long now that I can’t remember when it started. I don’t suppose it will ever end as it’s the only place for soap stars to go once they have died (or gone to Leicester, in the case of Eastenders). They’ve got robots in it now doing virtual-waldo operations on British people, while being controlled by an annoying surgeon in Cincinatti. I can’t see them coming to terms with that in the Wrexham Maelor.
Our new TV was supposed to have arrived tomorrow, but the company have e-mailed us to say that they’re waiting for stock to come in.
‘Life on Mars’, BBC 1’s brilliant and stylish series, bowed out this evening after two seasons. Fans, obviously, are up in arms but I am impressed that the makers have chosen to draw a line under Sam Tyler and his coma/time travelling adventures. It’s been a quality product throughout, due in no small part to brilliant casting. Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) deserves a BAFTA at the very least.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Monday 9 April 2007

dierdre barlow,
smoking hard like a lowry
chimney, with wrinkles.

I had to go out and buy supplies, Lemsips in particular. We were down to our last one, which I took to give me the strength to get to Sainsburys and back. I praised Argos, the God of Catalogue shopping (my praise being, you understand, in an ironic, post-modern sense) that Sainsburys have seen fit to repair their savings stamp machine which seems to have been out of order longer than Mariah Carey’s tuning fork.
I was not away long. The UO and I spent a mutually grumpy afternoon watching TV and reading.
On the plus side, while sorting out a pile of crap from my bedside cabinet I discovered the first part of my epic poem about Jeremy Spake:-

Long ago in far Heathrow
Where jumbos rumble to and fro
Disgorging men from distant lands
With bags and passports in their hands

And folk who spoke with foreign tongues
Emitting lingo from their lungs
That few back then could understand
Until there strode into the land

Of Heathrow one whose ample girth
Brought tremors to the Heathrow Earth.
His mighty calves, his mighty thighs,
His mighty cheeks brought gasps and sighs.

As all fell silent in their dread
He raised a meaty fist and said
‘Behold. I am the Spake foretold
From Heathrow prophecies of old.’

‘For lo, do not your prophets write
How one who’s Essex-born one night
Will, after long and testing marches,
Appear before you, in Departures.’

The rest is lost to posterity, as indeed Mr Spake seems to be, last heard of compering ‘The Good Old Days’ in Maidstone. Enough said about that.

Sunday 8 April

my sausage and mash,
famous throughout six counties.
good trash comfort food.

The lurgi is laying us low. Religious types would say that this is God’s punishment for mocking the sanctity of Easter, but I would merely sneeze in their faces and see how much God protects them.This evening (having spent most of the day washing up and listening to Radio 7) I cooked us my famous sausage and mash and we settled down to watch Martin Shaw in ‘Inspector George Gentley’.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Saturday 7 April 2007

crowds for the boat race
excited, at hammersmith,
ask ‘where’s the river?’

I don’t like waking up late on a Saturday, one reason being that I like to get to the TV first and put the Radio 3 CD review show on. If the UO gets up first it’s fairly certain I’ll have to suffer CSI from ten till twelve on the Hallmark Channel.
I got my radio and coffee time. However, at twelve we watched some Judge Judy, a show which confirms many of my opinions about Americans. Most of my opinions contain the word ‘stupid’ somewhere.
A woman was suing a man who runs a children’s entertainment business. He was booked to appear as a clown at a one-year old baby’s birthday party. The clown was ill, but managed to provide a last minute replacement who was a magician. There was nothing wrong with the magician except for the fact he wasn’t a clown.
The mother was suing because her child’s party was ruined and she was caused emotional distress.
Judge Judy (a woman doomed to suffer eternal queues of the stupid lining up before her) was suitably scathing.
‘Your child is one year old, madam! He don’t know if it’s a clown or a magician!’
I wish Judge Judy had the power to request her court officer Burt to give people a slap. I'd pay to see that.

Friday 6 April 2007

three hundred spartans
in boots and skimpy knickers.
they should have vests on.

Last night the UO and I met up in Wetherspoons in Shepherds Bush and went to see ‘300’. Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel it is more of a dramatic, almost mythological account of the three hundred Spartans, led by King Leonidas, who held off the invading Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae. It was a wonder we got to see it at all as the credit card ticket machines weren’t working properly, there was no one in the ticket office and we had to get the tickets eventually from the woman who sells the popcorn. The Spartans would never have stood for that level of inefficiency.
Visually, the film is reminiscent of Orson Welles movies such as ‘Macbeth’ or ‘Citizen Kane’ and indeed the cinematic process here (although not as starkly revolutionary as Frank Miller’s last adaptation, ‘Sin City’) is certainly pushing the boundaries of cinema narrative.
Gerald Butler (Leonidas) provides a faultless performance (and a very nice arse which is seen very briefly before he goes off with the other two hundred and ninety-nine) and there is much teeth-bearing beardy shouting for those of us suffering Brian Blessed withdrawal.
Inevitably, given the subject matter it is a violent and gory film, but one which is based in a historical reality (although I’m not sure about the giant rhinoceros and the war elephants). Also, the original Spartans did have an auxiliary force of several thousand Greek soldiers, a thousand of which stayed behind with the Spartans for the last stand.
However, that’s not important to me, although I can see some people complaining about historical accuracy, others complaining that it didn’t reflect Frank Miller’s vision, and maybe the rest of us just loving it.
The only real problem I had with the film was the voice of Xerxes (embodied as an eight-foot spoiled, pierced and very precious God King of the Persians). His voice was dubbed by an American and artificially deepened and echoed, so that he ended up looking like he was channelling Darth Vader. The voice simply did not fit the physicality of Xerxes and only cheapened the film by its complete lack of necessity.
Outside, feeling very Spartified, I shouted ‘Sparrrrtans! To the chip shop!’ in a loud Scottish voice, remembering to roll my ‘r’s as Gerald does when he says ‘Sparrrrtans!’.
We picked up fish and chips and went home.
This morning I had to go shopping for vodka since we had our friend Robert coming round for dinner. On the tube platform a young builder was on his mobile talking to a friend about his girlfriend. In the course of two minutes he had used the phrase ‘at the end of the day’ eight times (yes, I counted). Someone should tell him.
I bought Barry an Easter egg. Easter is, as people around the world should be reminded, a pagan festival. It was originally the festival of the Goddess Estra, which is where the eggs and rabbits come in, fertility symbols to herald in the time of rebirth. Sadly, it was hijacked by the Christians to commemorate the alleged resurrection of Jesus, which is unlikely to have happened around the time of Easter anyway.
Barry made a blinding Moroccan lamb dinner and an apple and blackberry tart tatin with home-made custard, after which we sat up till the early hours, chucking vodka down our necks and putting the world to rights.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Thursday 5 April 2007

working with idiots,
drooling imbeciles, cretins
and brain-dead numpties.

We have been glued to ‘Life on Mars’ since it began, except for the one week when the BBC cancelled it to replace with football. The star of the show is undoubtedly Gene Hunt, the misogynist homophobic violent DCI with a talent for lightning-quick Manc vernacular, played with such verve and conviction by the wonderful Philip Glenister that one cannot help but love him.Since I spent my teenage years in the Seventies, there is obviously a nostalgic edge to my praise, although I don’t remember it being quite so dark or grimy. Maybe that’s just Manchester though. I was in Wrexham where people hoovered now and then.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Wednesday 4 April 2007

bliss. home alone, but
not with macaulay culkin.
that would be awful.

The man came to replace our electricity meter today. He looked like the man who plays the drums with Right Said Fred in the Daz adverts.
Checking the news, I find that Iran is prepared to hand our kidnapped sailors back and Keith Richard has been snorting his coke mixed with the ashes of his dead dad, allegedly. That can’t be good for your sinuses.
I had the rest of the afternoon to ponder on the meaning of existence and the cost of books about Evolution (Richard Dawkins' 'The Blind Watchmaker' is £8.99 from Penguin. I was previously unaware that Penguins had evolved the ability to overcharge).
Anyway, I am thinking of starting a Rational Party and will, I suppose, have to draw up a manifesto. Not having drawn up a manifesto before I’m a little confused as to the format. I would have thought that somewhere there’d be a Word 2000 manifesto template specifically designed for the founders of Political Parties but I’m buggered if I can find it.
At this point the best thing to do, as I’m sure my cousin George Orwell would agree, is to make a list of the party’s aims and goals.

1. To promote rational, logical thought in all areas of life and discourage policies, laws and decisions based on irrational beliefs.
2. To actively discourage the presentation of unproven myths as fact.
3. To actively pursue the unbiased scientific and historical investigation of such mythology.
4. To ban the Canadian songstress Celine Dion and her work from any juke-box, radio station, record-shop, pub, club or performance venue in the UK. (I suspect that some future members of the Party may have a problem with this but as the Founder Member and figurehead I feel I should have the right to have one clause in the manifesto just for me. Should we ever come to power, I intend to make it law.)
5. To actively promote scientific investigation in all areas, and scientific ethics based on logic and compassion.
6. To establish a system of morality based on a god-free philosophy, by which I mean that children should be taught respect for others and the basics of good behaviour without recourse to threats of damnation, hellfire and God’s rejection.
7. To establish an education system where religion only plays a part in that there is an ongoing debate and investigation within the curriculum into the existence of God. God’s existence will not be presented as fact, since it patently is a theory which has not been proven and for which there is only a small amount of dubious evidence.

That should do for now. What would Marx have done after a first draft of a manifesto? It probably involved potato soup and a stirring song about Russian boatmen so I'm having a glass of Burra Brook and a pork pie.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Tuesday 3 April 2007

man in the toilet
with black eye. where do you work?
i bet it’s finance.

I work in a Secret Government Highways Utility somewhere below Brixton Tube Station. The details of my job are classified, and many of my colleagues are, or have been, sectioned. Therefore I cannot reveal any aspects of my work under the provision of the Official Secrets and Mental Health acts, which is a bit of shame, as life here is a hoot. However, should any carriageway-related state secrets of national interest come my way, you can read about them here first.
Last night, the Ugly One and I watched ‘Coronation Street’, and the outcome of Tracy Barlow’s incredibly short murder trial. I realise that court time is precious, but a murder case surely lasts longer than a week. The OJ Simpson thing went on longer than ‘Last of The Summer Wine’ (and had more jokes).
Anyway, we cheered as Tracy was sentenced to fifteen years on several counts of murder of a decent script, criminal acting, flagrant gap-toothery and lipstick abuse.Tracy, as we all know, is the mother of Amy, the reincarnation of Mexican moustachioed and mono-browed artist Frida Kahlo, as was proven by tiny mono-browed Amy (who will surely soon change her name to Frida Barlow) who last night drew a picture of an angel for Betty Turpin. Awwwww! At least, Betty thought it was an angel. I suspect it was a self portrait of Frida with a monkey looking over her shoulder.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Monday 2 April 2007

tracy barlow waits
to find out if she’s guilty
of hamming it up.

Once again (as on 6 March) I woke up feeling like I’d been thrashed to within an inch of my life by midgets with tiny snooker balls wrapped in socks. Maybe I was.
I had a celebrity omen this weekend as, when exiting Latimer Road Tube Station, Matthew Wright (of ‘the Wright Stuff’ and ‘Celebrity Stars in their Eyes’ where he sang with Vanessa Feltz) walked past me, dressed like a tramp. What could this portend? I will have to consult my Alistair Crowley’s Big Book of Omen De Celebritaire.
A few weeks ago the Wise Woman of Wigan came over for dinner (we had hot-pot, with which Madhur Jaffrey had no involvement).
After a few vodkas the conversation turned, as it often does, to the culling of celebrities, and we drew up what we described as a Lecter List, i.e. a catalogue of people whose removal from the mortal world would actually improve society.
The obvious people were on there. We all know who they are. The cull began with all the people who are famous without having actually done anything.
I threw in a separate list of non-celebrities, for balance, just so that the Grim Reaper could collect all the Chuggers who try to mug me outside tube stations for a charity donation, and the men who hand out the London Lite of an evening, simply because their only talent seems to be getting in my way. Oh, and anyone who reads Heat magazine. We’ll never miss them.
Actors were next. The entire cast of Eastenders was wiped out, with the exception of Dot Cotton.
On to the world of music where we invoked a Tardis, went back in time and slaughtered Stock Aitken and Waterman before they had a chance to commit their multiple crimes against music.
The WW of W then suggested we also have a ‘lurve list’, and we lapsed into silence for quite some time before coming up with Rolf Harris, Morrisey, Penelope Keith and the cute man from the porridge adverts (he was mine).I am compiling a definitive Lecter List written on the sleeve notes of an S Club Seven album (plenty of blank space there) which I intend to soak in the blood of a black chicken and burn outside the offices of TV Quick.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Sunday 1 April 2007

o biryani
you steal time with rituals
and make me mad(hur)

'I've got a blog!' I shouted to the Ugly One who was in the kitchen making vegetable curry, who did not respond, up to his elbows no doubt, in fiendish spices and cinnamon sticks.
Yesterday I attempted to make one of Madhur Jaffrey's biryanis. Madhur makes the process seem very exciting, but neglects to emphasise that one is likely to spend the whole day marinating the dead animal of choice (Shaun the Sheep, in this instance) in yoghurt, (having already bashed some herbs to buggery to put in the yoghurt), frying crispy onions, steeping one’s saffron in rosewater and soaking basmati rice; time which one might argue would have been far better spent ringing a takeaway and drinking lots of beer.
However, it all turned out OK, although I missed the first five minutes of Dr Who waiting for the concoction to steam before I could stick it in the oven.
A bit too saffrony for me, and the UO pointed out that I should really have spent a further hour making a separate veggy curry to go with it as apparently ‘proper biryanis always have that’.
Maybe they do, but I’m trusting Madhur in this. She says nothing about a separate veggy curry. This is why my other half is now making a veggy curry to accompany the leftovers today.
I’m having a pork pie and a bottle of Lost Sheep from Marks and Spencer, which seems somehow appropriate.
I was also gratified to see that I was not the only person to complain to the BBC about the cancellation of ‘Life on Mars’ the other week for a football match. Actually, I also complained that they’d cancelled ‘Holby City’ too, but I think I was on my own on that one.