Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Friday 12 March 2010

Cardamom (n) An Italian Mothers Day Tradition in which children post written greetings to the mother in question.

As part of our Book Club selection I am now reading ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ by Mohsin Hamid, somewhat reluctantly.
Last year the BBC did a whole series in which Andrew Lord Webber, with the aid of the public, Graham Norton and the ubiquitous Barrowman, selected a candidate for Eurovision for whom Lord Webber wrote a suitably schmaltzy tune.
This year, the songwriters are chubby professional cockney Pete Waterman and his evil sidekick, Mike Stock. Perhaps worried by the effect that Pete Waterman may have on BBC viewers with his menacing glare for six weeks, the PTB wisely cut the whole thing down to one show.
With his customary modesty, Waterman auditioned the hopefuls by requesting them to sing some of his old hits. ‘This is a classic pop song!’ he said, with absolutely no sense of irony, when requesting one poor boy to sing ‘Too Many Broken Hearts’.
A girl called Esma screeched, shouted and hit nearly every wrong note in the catalogue, but was nevertheless put through to the final three by Mr W.
Thankfully, the public have a great deal more sense than Pete Waterman and kicked her arse off the stage straightaway.
Our singer this year then, is a nice man called Josh with a large nose.
Due to the nature of Eurovision, and the fact that songs from the Stock/Aitken/Waterman stable tend to be pants beyond even the Ashley Cole level, we might actually stand a good chance of winning this year.

Thursday 11 March 2010

Rudder (n) One who ruds professionally and is an accredited member of the Worshipful Order of Rudders. Unqualified or acolyte rudders are generally known as prehensiles , having not yet been awarded the hensiles necessary for full ruddership and membership of the society.

I wish Ashley Cole would stop texting me pictures of his underpants. It wouldn’t be so bad if he was actually in them.
Today I had to visit another doctor, this time an OHS referral from the underground bunker who had sent me to an address near Liverpool Street in the shadow of the gherkin. That sounds like a good title for a novel, I thought, as I strolled past, ‘In The Shadow of The Gherkin’.
The doctor, a very nice but rather strange and intense individual, pronounced me fit and hale and capable of sustained and intense word processing.
So I left and met up with the Ugly One in the Vue at Westfield, where we saw a 3D Alice in Wonderland in their extreme auditorium. The White Queen is based on Nigella Lawson apparently, which is quite apparent when one watches the movie.
After that a KFC bucket was called for, and we quaffed it merrily, pleased with the way that the day had gone.

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Facetious (adj) In possession or alleged possession of a fat wide head on which the face appears to be wider spread across the front than would be normally acceptable.

I had a very difficult time getting to the hospital for my monthly appointment with the Professor. There were signal failures everywhere it seems and I was stranded at Edgware Road for a goodly period.
Once at the hospital however, I went straight to the blood test department and took a ticket from their safeways deli ticket machine just in case I needed one, as the waiting time is usually horrendously long. It is a good job I did as the Professor, being a thorough sort of person, requested some blood tests anyway. Consequently my wait was a shorter one as my number still hadn’t come up by the time I got back there.

Monday 8 March 2010

Mildew (n) Word derived from the name of Shakespeare’s hero from the play ‘How’s About It?’

I had to stay home today to wait for the boilerman. He comes every year to check that our boiler is up to spec, and generally tells us that, like myself, it’s a bit old, but working OK.
While he was tinkering with the plumbing I was online and had got a message from a man in Saudi Arabia who had tracked me down on the internet.
‘You look like Michael Chiklis!’ he said, ‘I’ve been searching for someone who looks like Michael Chiklis.’
‘Michael Chiklis? The man from The Shield? That’s a coincidence,’ I said, looking at his online photo, ‘because I’ve been searching for someone who looks like Carlos from Desperate Housewives.’
‘I haven’t seen The Shield,’ said Carlos, ‘but I fell in love with Michael Chiklis in The Fantastic Four.’
‘So…’ I said, ‘You think I look like Michael Chiklis in The Fantastic Four as The Thing!’
I was interrupted by the boilerman who needed to check my gas cooker, which I had fortunately cleaned the day before.
Carlos from Desperate Housewives must have thought I was highly offended and had diplomatically logged off, although he did send me an apologetic message later.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Pilate (n) A Japanese pirate

I hied it off to the celebrity sauna, which I am now renaming The Celebrity Lookalike Sauna. Hugh Firmly-Wherewithal was there today wandering around in some outrageously tight white boxer briefs. I can’t think what he was after dressed like that. It wasn’t wild garlic or rabbits, I know that.
Back home, I cooked my famous Kung Pao Chicken. It normally has peanuts in it, but I had some cashews to use up so I chucked those in. It makes a very good alternative.
There have been several versions of Agatha Christies ‘Ten Little Indians’. The original novel had the ‘N’ word rather than ‘Indians’ and featured, as I recall, a golliwog on the front cover in a pool of blodd, or maybe I’m imagining the blood.
The title has been variously changed to ‘Ten Little Indians’ or ‘Then There Were None’ (which was used when we saw the stage play some time ago). Tonight we saw a version from 1974 with Richard Attenborough, Oliver Reed and Elke Sommer set not on an island but a remote desert hotel. It also featured Charles Aznavour who, upon arrival, headed straight for the piano and began to sing ‘Dance in the Old Fashioned Way’.
‘I hope he’s the first to go,’ I said to the Ugly One, ‘I can’t stand much more of this.’
Nor could the murderer apparently, for within minutes Aznavour was lying dead on the stairs poisoned by a spiked after dinner sherry.

Saturday 6 March 2010

Aspirate (n.) An angry snake

I didn’t go anywhere today. Instead I mooched around the house, getting on the Ugly One’s nerves while he was trying to watch ‘Poirot’. We were supposed to have gone to see The Wolfman at the new Vue in Westfield, but they’ve taken it off.
This evening I made Ghosht Alu Bakharah (which is probably spelt completely differently) which is curried lamb with plums. Despite the somewhat offputting mixture, it tastes very good.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Friday 5 March 2010

Predetermine (v) To get oneself suitably vexed and stubborn well in advance of a pending argument.

The Ugly One made sausage and mash. These days it’s never ordinary sausage and mash, not that I’m complaining. It was mashed swede, potato and spring onion with home made gravy, peas and roasted fennel. I am being slowly killed by indulgence.
Tonight we watched ‘Prime Suspect’, the original 1991 series in which Helen Mirren as DCI Tennison takes over a murder investigation when DCI Shefford has a heart attack in the Super’s office and dies in the arms of Sergeant Ottley.
I’d forgotten how good this is. Gripping, gritty, compelling, and with the occasional dash of mordant wit, it’s an acting masterclass from Mirren and Tom Bell as the old school Sergeant Ottley.

Thursday 4 March 2010

Pneumonia (n) A morbid fear of decimal currency which reached epidemic proportions when old money was abolished in 1971.

On a whim I bought a new filofax from the filofax shop in the West End, opposite Vivienne Westwood’s. My last filofax, which I only occasionalluy used, is a special Batman edition which came out at the same time as the original Michael Keaton film.
I’m going to keep it. I thought it might be worth a bob or two but having checked on e-bay I discover that an unused one has sold for £2.20.
My new one is a gooseberry leather domino, which looks as gay as it sounds, and is quite lovely.
Celebrities are dying like flies. It must be the latest fashion among the glitterati. Let’s hope it spreads to the Z-list.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Quark (n) The call of an aristocratic duck. (v) To call in such a manner.

The BBC, which hasn’t made a sensible decision in years (apart from possibly to cancel Amanda Holden’s woeful sitcom ‘The Big Top’, although one also has to remember that it was the BBC’s decision to make it in the first place) has now decided to axe Radio 6 Music, which has caused a bit of a storm. Cerys from Catatonia has started a protest to save the station which champions new music and upcoming bands. She has described the decision as ‘like cutting off your little finger to lose weight.’
This rather painful simile seems to have roused the world of music and entertainment into action since as I was buying my coffee this morning in the San Marino I saw Gary Numan on their TV lambasting the BBC whose decision is based on the shaky premise that there are other commercial stations that provide the same service.
Gary Numan pointed out that there are far more that provide exactly the same service as Radio One, which plays only chart music (at least during peak hours). The executive who made the decision (a rather portly lady in a business suit who didn’t look as if she’d know her Aerosmith from her Elbow) bleated a little about ratings and audience expectations and seemed to imagine that the role of Radio 6 could be incorporated in Radios 1 and 2. I can’t see this as a viable option since their airspace is finite, and any incursion by Radio 6 programming would have to be in the low-peak hours when Girls Aloud aren’t squawking .
Anyway, I’d be grateful if people could lodge their protests with the BBC to save this valuable resource.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Prioritise (v) To book someone into an expensive rehab clinic.

We saw ‘Angels and Demons’ tonight. Oh dear! From what I can gather, since I was laughing too much to follow the plot too closely, a Vatican priest had been creating anti-matter with the aid of what looked like some Victorian brass gas pipes, and some of the anti-matter had subsequently gone missing. Tom Hanks was summoned back to the Vatican to help look for it, and track down The Illuminati. They are a kind of Opus Dei Lite, and appear to be behind the theft, some killings, brandings, and the threat to send the Vatican into a black hole.
It wasn’t difficult to work out what was really going on. The real mysteries were how Ewan McGregor could have lived in Italy since the age of four and still have an Irish accent, and why Dan Brown is so bafflingly popular.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Sunday 28 February 2010

Fishkettle (n) The Aztec God of Kitchenware.

I was full of beans today. I cannot say why. I cleaned out the shelves on which I keep my spices and sundry comestibles, since they were somewhat unkempt and discovered several bags of noodles, some unopened cashew nuts and half a bag of rice, all of which I was unaware.
I also made some Polish Rye bread, but it didn’t rise to the occasion as much as I had hoped. It tastes lovely, but has the consistency of a small bag of sand, and it takes a full head of steam to get the knife in to it.
Nevertheless, I was determined to eat it and had some toasted with smoked salmon, and later created a somewhat stiff chicken and mayonnaise sandwich.
I spent the evening sorting out the music on my MP3 player.

Thursday 25 February 2010

Cochineal (n) An interesting example of onomatopoeia in that this is the word for sneeze in the Aztec dialect

I had a day off today, just on a whim, and went first thing to pick up the new DVD/HDD beast, which I left for the Ugly One to deal with and nipped off to the Celebrity Sauna.
No celebrities today, which was a relief, since they inevitably stalk me.
The Ugly One duly set up the new beast which is working perfectly, although in a perverse act of defiance the old one has now decided to work properly.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Parasite (n) A designated area reserved for soldiers who wish to go camping.

Our DVD/HDD recorder has become progressively sicker over the last couple of days and now just flashes messages of distress at us.
Consequently, we have ordered a new one from The Great God Argos which I will be picking up tomorrow.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Balaclava (n) A Welsh harpsichord

I have to say that although I normally avoid reality shows, I am unaccountably hooked by ‘Pineapple Studios’ which takes the cameras inside the famous dance studio to show us the lives of the shy and retiring folk who work there.
One could be forgiven for thinking one was watching a mockumentary along the lines of ‘That Peter Kay Thing’ or ‘This is Spinal Tap’ since some of the protagonists seem completely unaware of the yawning void between the image they have of themselves and hard reality.
On the good side we have Louie Spence, the ubercamp Creative Director who, I am sure, will never return to TV obscurity. Like Julian and Sandy reborn in one muscle-bound volume, Louie is a lisping high-energy witmeister who can turn his hand to anything from having to ‘clean up poo. Someone missed the ¬toilet twice the other day and did it on the doorstep. I Am Not Lying’ to backflipping around the dancefloor to show a crowd of wannabee teenagers how it’s done. I love him.
On the dark side, someone really needs to have a word with Andrew Stone, the self-proclaimed ‘ready made pop star.’ He may have been ready made at some point, but things have gone off a bit since.
Andrew (‘Some people are IN showbusiness, some people ARE showbusiness. I AM showbusiness!’) is the lead singer of the (unsigned) band ‘Starman’, whose members and manager seem to think it is still the Nineteen Eighties. Like most people who want to BE showbusiness, Andrew and his band have worked very hard on their image and have done a professional photoshoot (during which Andrew got very concerned and lip-trembly about being upstaged by a lady in a loud frock, and Jesus the guitarist threw a hissy fit when someone got chocolate on his nice shirt), but so far don’t seem to have actually produced any music. Having said that, if you ARE showbusiness, that’s not really necessary, I suppose.

Monday 22 February 2010

Depot (v) To pour the tea.

Now our DVD/TV recorder has decided to throw a strop and refuses to record ‘Days of Our Lives’ which is a bit of a worry for me since characters are currently being murdered weekly. Doctor Marlena has had a mouthful of poisoned dip at the funeral of the last victim, and now lies close to death while her family and friends fall to their knees around the bed, clenching their fists and shouting ‘Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!’
John Black’s detachable and sentient eyebrows are so incensed by this turn of events that they have left his face altogether and gone off to find the murderer on their own.
I will have to purchase a new machine just so I can keep up.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Gully (n) The V-shaped depression in the neck which in men nestles the Adam’s Apple.

The odious Katie Price has a new series and in the trailer she hopes, somewhat optimistically, that nothing terrible happens to her this year. I hope that too. Well, nothing trivial anyway. Her vocal cords may get eaten by a ferret, which would make interesting tv, and improve the programme no end in the process. She may have a fatal attack of good taste and give her child a proper name, rather than Tiramisu. Who knows?
We had fortune cookies at dinner yesterday and mine said that I was destined to enjoy fine things and would never have a serious accident.

Saturday 20 February 2010

Dermatology (n) The study of Irish TV presenters.

her face is the rain
it dampens the atmosphere
pulls down all our skies

Robert and his dog Henry came round for dinner this evening and the Ugly One cooked Sweet and Sour Pork, which came out perfick.
When I plugged my mp3 player into the pc to play some ambient sounds, the computer went a bit weird and switched all its speakers off.
The Ugly One had to fiddle with the setting for ages to get everything back to normal.
I hate technology.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Vista (n) A popular brand of Nineeten Seventies New Zealand Packet curries.

the black dog is back
following me through the rain
sleeping on my chest

‘Holby City’ has been on twice a week, which is very confusing. We also watched ‘Wallander’, the Kenneth Branagh version, not the Swedish version. It’s very bleak. I’m surprised the man gets out of bed in the mornings. He’s suffering from depression because he killed someone, his artist father is in a nursing home, and this week men were being tortured and killed all over the Swedish countryside while his father escaped and went home to his studio to die.