Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Tuesday 24 January 2010

Overt (v) To go out in public dressed as an egg.

‘Days of Our Lives’ is continuing one of its periodic dark and spooky periods. A killer is stalking Salem and has already claimed the lives of Pensioner and Supercop Abe Carver and has now bashed ace reporter Jack Devereaux over the head with a brick.
Supernatural signs have been visited upon the people of Salem, far more potent than my Green Man experience. Old Alice Horton has been seeing the floating head of her dead husband hovering over the sofa, and Maggie Horton has been hearing evil children singing nursery rhymes about chopping up members of the cast.
Jack Devereaux, of course, has returned from the dead before. This time, however, having been seen in the obligatory coma which at least one cast member has to be in at any one time, his wife Jennifer switched off his life-support at the mains. His body then shone and his ghostly glowing soul rose from the sheets and winked a final wink to the viewers before fading away into the credits. I don’t think he can come back from this as Jennifer has farmed out his organs to needy Salem transplant-list people.

Monday 23 January 2010

Overween (v) To miss the toilet when urinating.

My embarrassing moment of the day came when I was returning to the Underground bunker from the Brixton branch of Marks & Spencer with a bag of biscuits and tripped over a kerbstone, hurling myself bodily flat onto the wet pavement. I suffered a grazed knee and a bruised chest. I was touched by the fact that a nice Portuguese man came to my aid, as well as a colleague who had been walking behind me.
‘You should be careful,’ said the Portuguese man. ‘If you fall like that you can break your spectacles!’
‘Thank you,’ I said. ‘I shall bear that in mind when next I fall.’
I felt more stupid than anything else, and what further annoyed me was that not one biscuit had suffered so much as a crack.

Saturday 22 January 2010

Scamper (n) A conman who lives in a tent.

I have seen today how easily superstitions or the concepts of ‘signs’ can emerge within society.
I got up this morning and the Ugly One was watching ‘The Green Man’, a somewhat vintage, although quite brilliant, black comedy starring Alistair Sim and a variety of British talent; Dora Bryan, Richard Wattis, George Cole and Arthur Brough (Mr Grainger from ‘Are You Being Served?’) playing the landlord of The Green Man itself.
Once it had finished I set off for the shops and went to up to Edgware Road to do some shopping. As I got on the bus to go two stops to Somerfield, I noticed that the pub behind me had been ‘The Green Man’. Then we passed a set of pelican crossings which was showing the sign to cross, i.e. the green man, and then, almost immediately, we were upon Marks & Spencer, whose large scale window artwork features a sketch of a man wearing presumably M&S clothing, but who is completely green.
Now, the gullible among us having had such an experience would say ‘Oooh, it must mean something’ and it is quite understandable that they should do so, but why should it mean something?
The randomness of events ensure that generally events conform to the laws of averages and probabilities. However, this also ensures that occasionally coincidences occur, and because our brains are hardwired for pattern recognition we connect those items which have symbolic value. Logically there should be no connection between a pub and an electric traffic sign, but because we have attributed a colour and the figurative symbol of a man to both we create a connection.
Yes, it was odd that this particular movie was shown this morning, but the rest of the green men have been in situ for quite some time, and pure coincidence can sometimes be a delight. There is nothing supernatural about it, and to those of you who habitually say ‘There must be something in it!’ I would ask you to think very hard upon the question ‘Why must there be something in it?’

Friday, 22 January 2010

Thursday 21 January 2010

Risotto (n) A famous German brand of cigarette paper.

On a whim, I decided to cook my signature dish, Welsh Baked Chilli Beef Risotto, which is an old Welsh family recipe handed down from the dawn of recorded vinyl. Being a kind fellow, I have decided to share this recipe with the world.

Roddy’s Welsh Baked Chilli Beef Risotto

(Y Risotto Cig Eidion Chillio Rhodri yn Crasu)

450 gms lean beef mice
1 beef tomato (blanched, peeled and chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
3 or 4 red or green chillies (chopped, one left unseeded)
3 red and yellow peppers (seeded and sliced)
2 cups of easycook rice (cooked, drained and left to go cold)
1 beef stock cube
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 large packet of tortilla chips
Mild Cheddar Cheese (or any cheese of your choice)
2 Tablespoons Groundnut Oil

In a large saucepan, fry the onions, peppers and chillies in the groundnut oil until soft.
Pour yourself a large vodka and coke, and drink liberally throughout the process.

Meanwhile, in a small pan heat 250ml of water on a low light and add the stock cube, ketchup and chilli sauce.

Add the meat to the fried vegetables and stir until the meat is browned, and mixed with the vegetables.

Add the chopped tomato and continue to fry and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the cooked rice, stir to mix and then add the sauce. Lower the heat and continue stirring until the mixture is mixed. Top up the vodka and coke as necessary.

Decant the mixture into a lasagne dish or baking dish and allow to cool a little. This might be a good time for another drink. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4.

Crumble the tortillas into a layer on top and then grate a generous layer of cheese on top of this.

Place in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve a slice of the topping with each helping of the risotto, and praise the Welsh for their culinary genius.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Fatuous (adj) Too fat to be called just fat.

reluctant morning
the light won’t get out of bed
because the sky sulks.

I was too tired for anything complicated for dinner so I got us a Marks and Spencer Lasagne al Forno, which I hope had the meat of several fawns in it.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Avatar (n) A Peruvian form of bitumen, composed of the crushed bodies of Gardner beetles (Dactylopius Avagardnerus). Gardner beetles were discovered in the Nineteen Forties by Hollywood actress Ava Gardner, who often spent her spare time in Peru, classifying insects and cage-fighting with nuns.

vodka and monsters
wetherspoons. three ninety-nine,
and then ‘avatar’.

After two double Smirnoff and Monsters (Monster being the new Red Bull, or, as far as I could tell, the old Red Bull called something else) the Ugly One and I donned our 3-D specs for ‘Avatar’ at the Shepherds Bush Vue.
It was marvellous, despite the fact that the lead female character looks like a blue Katie Price. I was particularly impressed that the US produced a film blatantly demonstrating the US tendency to muscle in on other cultures when there might be a profit in it. Particularly telling was the phrase from the brutal American general, ‘We will fight Terror with Terror!’ which has the strong and repellent whiff of George Bush about it.
The 3-D was outstanding, and this is probably the first film that uses 3-D intelligently rather than a gimmick. I did have to laugh at the use of the word ‘Unobtainium’ which is a phrase coined many decades ago in SF circles to describe those rare metals which the heroes of the works of authors such as John W Campbell and EE ‘Doc’ Smith used to discover on far flung planets, and which could not be found anywhere else.
Rather than hand them back, I kept my 3-D glasses. I paid for them. They are mine.

Monday 18 January 2010

Oology (n) The study of exclamations of awe.

people make demands
I am glad I’m not famous.
I’d be found in shreds.

Days of Our Lives is going through a spooky phase following the murder of pensioner-cop Abe Carver. Residents are plagued by the voices of children singing nursery rhymes with bad lyrics, and a Blood Moon hangs over Salem shedding a crimson luminance so bright one could almost imagine it was a studio light with a red filter on it.

Sunday 17 January 2010

Drench (n) A wooden device of the Gwent area of Wales, used for excavating and cleaning the nasal passages.

my chicken rendang
did not look like the picture.
cookery books lie.

London Transport have seen fit to close my local tube lines this weekend so I could not venture far. I therefore went to Morrisons and to the local cut-price bookshop which has opened recently in Shepherds Bush precinct following the demise of Books Etc.
I bought a book which promised me one hundred and eighty wok recipes, and set about making Chicken Rendang.
Although it looked nothing like the picture in the book, which shows something akin to some portions of Kentucky Fried Chicken, it tasted luvverly. Its appearance was somewhat like porridge, and I am baffled as to how the recipe can end up with what it is supposed to look like on the page. Having looked at some pictures online, my Rendang looks far more like those than the one in the book. I suspect that the authors may have used some Kentucky Fried Chicken in the absence of the proper dish.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Saturday 16 January 2010

Shannara (n) A mythical world where the gullible are tricked by magical means into reading the same story over and over and over again….

then there was the rain
it colours the whole picture.
a soaked tree glistened.

We have started a book club down in the secret government bunker, and the management of this has devolved to me, which is OK, as I can veto the rubbish books.
My choice so far, which my victims will have to read in May, is ‘The Day of The Triffids’ since I am keen to introduce people to real Science Fiction, rather than the Space Opera pap they peddle on the skiffy channel.
Those who know me know that I am an SF junkie and devour books with the same voracious saliva-raged fervour as Kerry Katona in a pasty eating contest.
I like to read the Award Winners when I can. If I had to try and categorise them, the Arthur C Clarke Award is most like the Booker Prize, whereas the Philip K Dick Award is more like the Turner Prize. The Nebulas and Hugos can be compared to the Baftas and the Oscars. Now and again you get a veteran writer getting an award for a book that may have sold well but was probably a sequel to something written forty years ago.
Then there’s the Locus Award which is voted for by the general public (democracy in these matters is never a good idea) and can be related to the TV Quick Award more than anything else. As with some other awards it incorporates fantasy novels, and invariably has a Terry Pratchett title in the finalists and something along the lines of ‘The [insert name of weapon, royal title, piece of jewellery or item of clothing] of Shannara’ (Vol IV of VII). It seems that any excuse for a Shannara novel will do. The latest one is about as asphalter who is called upon to fight the Dark Lord and is called ‘The Tarrer of Shannara.’
Further suggestions for ‘Shannara’ titles are welcomed.
Apart from the Locus TV Quick Awards, most of them do a good job in picking out the best, based on the criteria of the award. The Philip K Dick Award, for instance, goes to the best novel which went straight to paperback (since much of Dick’s early work was published in paperback with no hope at the time of a hardback edition) and often brings up a quirky selection.
This month, our book club selection is ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe, and is as far from SF as Katie Price is from a dictionary.
It is the story of Okonkwo, a Nigerian of the Nineteenth Century, a hardworking man of tradition, who is faced with alarming changes to his family and culture when European missionaries set up camp in his village.
I enjoyed it enormously.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Friday 15 January 2010

Homicide (n) A chemical developed by The Christian Right designed to kill gay weeds.

and a fat carmen
sang from a strong balcony
to her fat lover.

When one embarks on egosurfing, i.e. typing one’s own name into a search engine, one should employ discretion in analysing the results.
For instance, apart from the fact that I am apparently both a classical singer and the captain of the England Polo Team, I appear to have been cast as the central figure in the novel ‘Shadows of The Moon Dancing’ by Jim Green, the blurb of which tells me that:-

‘Roddy Williams must hide from the gangsters who have put a contract on his life. His grandfather, a retired Chicago homicide detective sends him to live with a friend and onetime partner who owns a trading post near the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.
Roddy becomes involved in the lives, history, and legends of three different cultures. Can he survive the intercultural conflicts plus the ancient curse that surround his new environment and still keep secret his hiding place?’

I don’t know, but I’ll try my best to do so. I’ve got some experience of intercultural conflicts, but I’ve not so far had to cope with ancient curses.
Talking of ancient curses, Ivana Trump has been remarkably lively and spry in the BB house for a woman of her age, especially considering the additional weight of her unfeasibly huge ears.
This evening the public evicted Katia, the girl who fell for 62 year old Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, not for his money, but due solely to his good looks and irresistible personality and charm. Also evicted was Heidi Fleiss, the ex-brothel keeper who now breeds parrots for hopefully non-sexual purposes.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Thursday 14 January 2010

Mullion (n) A stud mullet, used for breeding purposes on fish farms

someone has made me
the lead in a crime novel.
I am fictional.

I haven’t ranted about religion in quite a while. I didn’t want to make a comical point about the Pope being knocked to the ground, as that is akin to those terrible American blooper shows where they feel they have to add sound effects to the clips to make it funnier. I will therefore let the incident stand on its own comical merits.
What has been annoying me of late is his Holiness Stephen Baldwin, who obviously feels he is God’s emissary to the Big Brother House and last night succeeded in convincing Alex Reid to publicly accept Jesus as his Lord and Master.
Far from decrying this act, I am glad it has been shown, since it shows all too graphically how fundamentalist Christians groom their victims. Sadly, the stupider the victim, the easier the process appears to be, and when it comes to poor Alex, he’s not exactly the brightest himbo in the house.
I just hope Vinnie Jones can bring him to his senses before he gets baptised in the Big Brother bathtub.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Squeamish (n. adj.) An American Puritan sect who eschew all the trappings of modern life apart from calamari.

snow is nice. babies
who grow up to be killers
are nice at some point.

The snow returned today, on the day I had to go to the doctor to have my prescription renewed. Being British, we have a tendency not to organise ourselves and then to overdramatise the situation.
Admittedly, things are pretty serious in rural areas and many people are isolated by the weather, but in London, most of us will admit that the snow isn’t an enormous problem.
It would appear that stocks of rocksalt and grit have been exhausted, so councils have not been able to grit all the roads.
I crept out and tiptoed tentatively to the doctor’s surgery which was mostly ok, seeing as it was all on level ground, until I came to the surgery itself which has a steep path up to the front door, liberally covered with snow and ice. Not too bad going up. A little scary coming back down.
I decided that a nice hot sauna would be the antidote to such conditions and so set off for the celebrity sauna. Sadly, apart from the steam room and the coffee bar, the place was freezing. Consequently, I spent some time drinking coffee and chatting to the Philippino masseur who tried to convince me via a graphic demonsrtation which involved hoisting his tank top that one of his nipples was bigger than the other after an abortive and ill-judged foray into piercing.
I couldn’t see the difference quite honestly.
You don’t get this sort of thing in CaffĂ© Nero…. sadly.

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Brandish (n) a ceramic bowl from which one would eat milked oat flakes.

the mornings washed out
like a vest wrung to its death
hanging damp and grey.

Not having been out very much my life is revolving around TV and life in the secret underground bunker, both of which tend to be surreal, fascinating and tedious in equal measure.
In ‘Days of Our Lives’ Abe Carver, the oldest policeman in America, has been gunned down on his own doorstep while his wife and friends were waiting for him to turn up for his son’s christening at the church.
Even though it was within walking distance, and people were getting frantic (including Celeste, who regularly has spooky psychic visions of doom) no one thought to go to the house to see what was keeping him. Had they done so they would then have found him lying in the front garden in a pool of geriatric blood, with a tumbled zimmer frame beside him.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Monday 11 January 2010

Sonorous (adj) In the manner of an annoying male child.

IT managers
should be sent to slough to wait
for the friendly bombs.

Our secret government bunker underneath the Brixton Academy has been on high alert with all this snow. Such activity has not been seen since the Academy spelt Skunk Anansie’s name wrong a few weeks ago on their big sign above the door.
‘Skunk Ananise’ it shouted out at Brixton in three-foot high letters.
I imagine that Skunk herself must have seriously kicked some Academy ass since the sign was changed by the afternoon.
The council’s efforts to grit the pavements were battled fiercely by both the weather and the Council’s Streetcare Street cleaners who followed the gritters round and dutifully brushed the grit into the gutter.
I am a person of particular habits, one of which is singing at my desk. I claim this as a genetic requirement, since, being Welsh, it is a racial necessity. For generations Welsh mothers who find that their children cannot sing have left them out on a mountain to die. It has long been believed that had the French Canadians adopted this practice we might have avoided the musical holocaust that was Celine Dion, but alas, hindsight is, as they say, twenty-twenty.
My boss, however, is tiring of my warbling and accuses me of singing only old material.
‘You’re always singing songs like ‘Seven Brothers for Seven Sisters’!’ she declared yesterday, despite the fact that, if there even was a song called ‘Seven Brothers for Seven Sisters’, it’s unlikely I would be caught singing it.
She has now provided a money-box and I am obliged to pay 20p a day for the privilege of singing at my own desk. This, I reflect morosely, makes the survival of Celine Dion all the more ironic.
The snow has abated somewhat, and back at home I have become fascinated by Ivana Trump’s ears, which surely have to rival Leonard Nimoy’s in their size and convolutedness.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Sunday 10 January 2010

Exigent (n) The doorway leading to the outside toilet.

sundays still carry
a nagging scent of terror
PE on mondays.

The weather, as they say, is inclement. Not so much here in the city, although my pavement was iced up for a couple of days. Nevertheless it is cold, and outside of London the country is having a hard time of it.
Older people of course are having none of that.
‘It was much worse in 1963,’ they say. ‘I walked across the Thames!’
Apparently, most of London took the opportunity to walk across the Thames in 1963, even Tony Blair allegedly, who would have been ten years old at the time. However, the number of people who claim to have walked across the Thames would have blanketed it to the point where no ice could be seen.
Ivana Trump is now in the Big Brother House, presumably because there were no British celebrities left on the Z-list from which they pluck their contestants. Stephen Baldwin is beginning to tire me with his relentless gormless cheerfulness and his childish view of the world.
I am not sure if he was serious when he went into the diary room and suggested that Ivana Trump may ‘sleep-cougar’ him if he occupied the bed next to her, and requested to be moved. I’m hoping the sleep-cougaring involves ripping his liver out with a set of US designer nails.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Thursday 7 January 2010

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Leicester man accused of having sex with a horse and a donkey after he failed to turn up to court.
There’s something particularly British about our fascination with bestiality. Being Welsh, I am regularly and somewhat disconcertingly cheerfully accused of consorting with sheep. I accept the charge with good grace, although in my own defence I have to state that there were no lambs involved, and all the rams were consenting adults.
Paradoxically though, it seems to be generally the English who get charged with these offences. There was a case of horse abuse not so long ago where the accused was caught on cctv carefully placing a bucket behind the object of his affections for him to stand on during the act of congress.
Talking of inbred behaviour, I am fascinated and horrified in equal measure by Stephen Baldwin’s manic religious rants on Celebrity Big Brother.
He has already shocked his fellow housemates by telling them a rather odd story about how, if his daughter was held hostage by someone with a gun to her head who asked her to say ‘Jesus does not exist!’ then he would rather she says ‘Jesus definitely exists!’ which assumes that he would rather his daughter die than say something she probably does not mean under duress.
Now he states that he does not believe in evolution because, ‘if man had evolved from apes then why are apes still here?’
One begins to wonder what sort of education Mr Baldwin and his fellow Americans receive over there. However, no one jumped up to argue with him, or to point out, as most people of my age who had a proper education will know, that apes and humans are descended from a common ancestor and evolved simultaneously.
I suspect that the Bible is the first and last book he will ever read. There seems to be a heavy emphasis on the Old Testament. The other housemates are beginning to look glassy-eyed and one or two are glancing furtively at the meat-knives.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Wednesday 6 January 2010

The very last ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ seems to be far more of a misnomer this year than in all of its previous incarnations, boasting only two people whom one could properly label as celebrities. There were two people who I thought might have been put in as fake celebrities, namely Cisqo and Lady Sovereign. Neither the Ugly One or myself had ever heard of them. It turns out that Cisqo had a hit in 2000 with a song about thongs and Lady Sovereign is a chav rapper. OK.
Like Jo McElderry, Cisqo is absolutely heterosexual, so it looks like I will have to get my gaydar repaired.
Jonas (aka Basshunter) I only know from random dance tracks which I have avoided on the internet. He is a Scandinavian Tourettes sufferer, who has taken a shine to Katia. Katia is the diminutive and very young Russian blonde who until recently was struggling to explain what first attracted her to the 62 year old millionaire Ronnie Wood.
Dane Bowers lives in Croydon and was having a successful career until he made a single with Victoria Beckham (some years ago) and shacked up with Katie Price. He is rumoured to have recently had a fight with fellow housemate Alex Reid, a cross-dressing cagefighter, currently shacked up with Katie Price.
There’s a page three girl whose name I can’t be bothered to try to remember.
Heidi Fleiss went to prison for prostitution related crimes and has since been a professional reality show contestant, having come straight here from ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and ‘Sober House’. Classy.
Stephen Baldwin once snorted his way through a Mount Ararat of cocaine. Now he is born again and God has fixed his face into an expression of benign and sinister amusement. He was once in The Usual Suspects. In his contract he is allowed to have his big leatherbound bible out for an hour a day. I am sure that very soon many people will want to beat him to death with it.

Real Celebrities:-
Stephanie Beacham: From Dynasty to Coronation Street. Proper classy she is.
Vinnie Jones. Actor, ex-footballer, hard man.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

‘The Day of The Triffids’ was one of the Christmas shows that the BBC promised. The BBC, it has to be said, are usually very good with their novel adaptations. Their 1981 Day of The Triffids is still regarded as a classic, and is available on DVD, and although the low-tech triffids now seem a tad unrealistic to some, the show was carried by pace and drama and varied little from the original novel.
My fears began when a magazine promised the sight of ‘twenty-foot carnivorous plants rampaging across Britain’. Mmmmm.
It is a sad fact of life that Science Fiction novels, no matter what their historical or literary merit, are never treated with the same respect as their mainstream counterparts. One would never imagine for instance, that a BBC producer would suggest updating ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to the Noughties, or setting ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ in Thatcher’s blighted Britain of the Nineteen Eighties.
Genre novels, however, are fair game for the most annoying of writers to ‘improve’, and usually writers who have only a cursory acquaintance with SF. One only has to look at the recent cinematic versions of ‘The Time Machine’ or ‘War of The Worlds’ to understand the extent of the travesties that result from such decisions.
One would have thought that the BBC would know better. Unfortunately, it seems not.
Yes, ‘Day of The Triffids’ has been set in the present day and the basic framework of the novel has been retained, although the spirit and indeed, the basic point of the novel have been completely lost.
In the original, the triffids were a genetically engineered species some of whose seeds were stolen. The plane in which the seeds were being carried was shot down, but in the process, the box was shattered, and the triffid seeds scattered to the far winds. Thus, not long afterwards, strange plants begin growing across the world, and it is discovered that they produce a very fine oil, but also, that they can walk, on three rudimentary rootlike feet and can also kill, via a stinger from the large lilylike orifice at the top of their stalk. People find that the stinger can be docked and many people keep triffids in their gardens. Undocked species are kept in farms and their oil harvested.
Dr Bill Masen was stung as a child and so has a fascination with the creatures, and has become a scientist researching the beasties.
In the new version, triffids are a natural species, originating from Africa where Masen’s parents were studying them. Masen’s mother was killed by a triffid and his father genetically engineered the plants to produce the oil which replaced carbon fuels.
Ridiculous premise 1: No one, it seems, knows what triffids look like, since they are locked away in farms.
Ridiculous premise 2: The triffids are voraciously carnivorous which begs the question ‘What are they being fed on, in order to produce the environmentally sound oil?’
Ridiculous premise 3: The triffids have prehensile roots which allow them to grip humans so tightly, they cannot break free.
One of the factors of the original novel, which is what makes the story so chilling, is that the triffids are biologically feasible, and had become such a part of the background of our society that we had become used to them. Thus, when the catastrophe occurs (again, the writers felt it important to take it upon themselves to change the meteor showers to a solar flare which again ruins one of the premises of the novel) the sighted survivors find it hard initially to take Masen seriously when he maintains that triffids will become a serious danger.
And, disappointingly, the much-hyped CGI triffids were a bit of a laughable anticlimax. Looking rather like a cross between an aloe vera plant and a Harry Potter dementor being pushed along on castors the triffids are rather too slow to be taken seriously. Again, returning to the original novel, the triffids could work up a bit of speed when travelling in open country and were seen worrying a flock of sheep across a field at one point.
These triffids have all the lumbering urgency of a Nineteen Thirties mummy.
One imagines that the casting of Jason Priestley as Coker was in an attempt to sell the mini-series to the US, since the assumption seems to be that Americans will not watch anything that does not contain a home-grown accent somewhere.
The most glaring annoyance however, is the repeated scenes of Masen’s memories of Africa and his mother’s death, in which he is presented with a wooden tribal mask.
Now, one has to explain that, in both versions, Masen is hospitalised having been stung in the eyes with triffid venom. The hospital consultant explains that Masen has a fifty/fifty chance of regaining his sight.
At the denouement, which is similar to the novel in that the survivors are in a farmhouse surrounded by triffids, Masen suddenly picks up the African mask and remembers how he can escape from the triffids.
The answer is, bafflingly, illogically and really annoyingly, that the family drip triffid poison into their eyes in order to fool the triffids into thinking they’d been stung already. How will they not be poisoned? The idea is simply ludicrous, as is the idea that Masen has only just remembered that this is what an African native did to him when he was a child to lead him past the local triffids.
You should hang your heads in shame, BBC, at wasting money on such a travesty.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Tuesday 15 December 2009

The X-Factor is all over for another year, for which I’m quietly grateful, since it means that the secret government bunker operatives will have to find a new topic of discussion.
The Sun today is proclaiming that the winner, Geordie Jo McElderry, is a raving heterosexual. This has come as something of a shock to me. I hadn’t realised that my Gaydar was so askew. How could I have been so wrong?

Monday 7 December 2009

Argos saw fit to answer my prayers and Danyl was sent back to the land of the strange big-eyed folk. It only struck me today that they must be using his relatives in that TV ad where the police spot drug users by their uncannily huge eyes.

Saturday 5 December 2009

My prayers to Argos, the God of Catalogue Shopping, seem to have been answered of late. I prayed that the ghastly Jedward would be thrown off X-Factor, and thrown off they were. May they be sent back to Dublin obscurity where the only words anyone will hear out of their rosy-cheeked annoying faces again is ‘Do You Want Fries With That?’
This week, my X-Factor prayers are that Danyl will go. I’m not sure if it is his goofy grin or his creepy manga eyes, but there is something about him that makes me feel very uneasy.
In terms of pure performance, he cannot be faulted, and therein lies my problem. His performance is always good, but he hasn’t improved any since the start of the series, and, quite honestly, I get no emotion from him. I’m sure he would be excellent in stage musicals, but as a singer, he leaves me cold.
We must be getting old as we had to have a man round to fix our computer today. He’s sorted it out and installed Windows 7.

Friday 4 December 2009

I had one of my rare days off today from the secret government bunker, and went in to an ‘adult shop’ which had appeared unaccountably in Paddington. I wasn’t planning to buy anything. I was just curious as to what sort of things might be on sale.
DVD porn titles are getting no better. The other week, in the Celebrity Sauna, I was treated to the sight of a DVD called ‘Chinese C**k Sucking Soldier Boys’
I had thought the shop could not better this but as soon as I walked in I was greeted with the sight of ‘Even Grandma Loves Black C**k’.
I imagine she does. You don’t get that sort of thing in HMV.

Monday 16 November 2009

Currently, I am interested in the potential for surrealist expression with digital cameras. Certainly it has become far easier to create photographic deceptions (for want of a better word) lately and I have already created some composite images which, at first glance at least, would pass as a single shot photograph.
These days, without the time-intensive practice of developing film and subsequently the full darkroom process, one can view one’s images in-camera and, in tandem with Photoshop or one of the many other photographic software packages available, manipulate the image endlessly with a high degree of sophistication.
My previous experience of photosurrealism was, back in the days of SLRs and real film, the random effects of double exposures. This was, for me anyway, achieved by making a mark on the film when it is first loaded in the camera which matches to a corresponding mark in the camera body. Pictures are taken at half the estimated normal exposure. When the film is used up, one rewinds the film, but not completely. If you did rewind it completely, I devised a method of retrieving the end by sticking a piece of double sided tape on a card and poking it into the film cartridge.
The sellotape latches on to the surface of the film and, with some patience, the end can be drawn out.
Then one reloads the same film in the camera, matching up the marks so that the exposed frames match up to the overlaid exposed images and again are taken at half the usual exposure.
The results are variable but often very interesting, especially if you mix for instance, portraits with landscapes or close-ups of still life with a mass of vegetation.
Later I did some photoshop collage illustrations for the magazine The Third Alternative, most of which had a surrealist edge.
Now, I’m finding that the very act of subverting reality by mixing things up unobtrusively, rather than obviously, is interesting me greatly. I have photographed people in the street, used photographs of people I’ve met on the internet and combined them to produce an image which could have been shot as regular image, but is a situation which has never happened.
In one of these, I attached a friend’s head to the body of a man I shot in Shepherds Bush, and placed this chimera on the platform of my local tube station.
It looks realistic enough, but what I like is that there is something ‘not quite right’ about these pictures, something which disturbs the mind.

Saturday 7 November 2009

I dreamt that an angel
Glad Tidings did bring.
God was sending down Elvis
and taking back Sting.

The X-Factor has caused something of a furore this year which began with Louis Walsh’s bizarre choice of freak show twins John and Edward (or Jedward, as they are now known in the popular press) as one of his finalists. I suspect, from the quality of groups that got through boot camp, and the fact that three individual entrants had to be virtually pressganged into forming a girl group, that groups of a certain calibre were in very short supply. However, this doesn’t excuse Louis’s choice. Even in a sixth form end of term show these Leprechauns of the Apocalypse would be hard put to have got through the audition.
Get through they did though, and seem to have taken the nation by storm, since people seem determined to keep them in the show, no doubt through some ghoulish sense of fascination at seeing two eighteen year olds with hairstyles that went out with Split Enz, jumping around the stage, singing out of time and out of tune and employing cringeworthy inappropriate dialogue between verses.
‘Oooh Edward, I’m so scared!’ whimpered John as they paused during their demolition of the Ghostbusters song this week.
Now, there have been differences in the format of X-Factor this year, which may explain something about the bizarre voting patterns we have experienced.
In previous years, the shows have been split into two over a Saturday night, and voters are given an hour or so to ring in, before there is a showdown of the least popular two in the second show.
This year, the showdown has been moved to Sunday evening, which gives ITV and Simon Cowell far more revenue from phone-ins, but also gives the opportunity to vote to those who previously would not have done so. I suspect there is a subversive element in Britain who are ringing in for Jedward just to buck the trend and demonstrate the size of the creative vacuum in which this show exists. Otherwise I can only blame the popularity of Jedward on backward children and special needs people with access to mobile phones.
Sting, of all people, has criticised the show this week. I don’t often hold with the opinions of Sting, and occasionally wish he would go off and play with his lute and leave the rest of us be, but this week he proclaimed (sometime after his dinner with Lucian Freud) that The X-Factor has put British music back by decades.
I tend to agree.