Friday, January 27, 2006

26/01/06 Friends In The News

George Galloway meets my good friend Pete Swanson.
They are meeting to discuss the possibility of teaming up and manufacturing 50ft long Havannah cigars as well as Pete's proposed "smoking ban bustin'" 50ft Silk Cuts.

Also, I was recently surprised to see Cheesy McLoughlin's great chum "Fat Mike" appearing on TV swimming up the River Thames. He managed to captivate the entire UK media as well as thousands of watching Londoners for 2 days.
I have to say though that I am deeply puzzled as to why he carried out this act of flagrant exhibitionism....
I was also shocked that he would go so far as to fake his own death on national TV.
I can only guess that he staked his entire fortune on Middlesboro FC not getting relegated this year?
Perhaps recent events have forced him to consider a complete change of identity and a move abroad financed by the Life Assurance cash paid out to the named beneficiary....his sidekick Cheesy....! (who'll probably pocket a percentage)
Is this far fetched? I don't think all fits into place as far as I am concerned.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

24/01/06 MonkeyMania...!

I don't know much about "The Arctic Monkeys" at all really.
I know they're quite new, from Sheffield, have a huge following which they've cultivated on the Internet via free downloads of their songs, and are a thrashy pop group with reputedly clever, insightful (is that a proper word?) lyrics.
Anyway, I've heard the odd clip, and think they sound quite good.
Of course, they are now poised to become another contender for the title "Biggest British group since The Beatles", and there will be an almighty amount of media hype in the next few weeks about this combo.
I like the fact that they seem like a real band. It seems they are friends who have just got together to play music and form a band. Like the way we used to do in the old days. You know...record a few creaky demos, play loads of gigs in dingy bars and church halls, send the tapes optimistically away to every record company in Christendom, waiting for an A & R (that's "Artists and Repertoire" if you are not familiar with these chaps...and they did always seem to be "chaps" in those days) man to hear the tape and realise that he's just heard the fledgling tinkles of the "Next Big Thing"....
The drummer and the bassist are probably in the band because they're part of a group of friends rather than the best possible instrumentalists available.
That's what happens in proper groups.
(not that I'm making any parallels with my glittering drumming career)
The best example of this admirable loyalty is "Def Leppard". They continued to employ their drummer even after he lost an arm in a road accident. I loved them for doing that. Although I still didn't actually like their music very much.
The Monkeys will be/are huge, and it's nice that they've done it by avoiding appearing on moronic "Pop Stars" -esque TV shows.
They're a "proper" band, and I rejoice in their success.
Television, Simon Cowell and Pete Waterman have had nothing to do with their meteoric rise to fame...and this must be seen as a good thing.
I was walking past a TV again last week, and again "Celebrity Big Brother" was on... (the TV owner is obviously a veritable saddoe with a chronic addiction to reality tv shows).
I don't say this lightly, but the scene in which George Galloway verbally mugged Michael Barrymore has to be the most electrifying TV sequence I've witnessed since Derren Brown did his "Russian Roulette" show.
In the media today, George is being portrayed as an aggressive bully.
There is an element of this at play, but, in fairness, most of his criticisms of Barrymore were spot on.
George is coming out tonight though. The Big Brother "character assassination by selective editing" has been carried out on him and he will walk tonight...
Freed from the shackles of IT work, I am back on the "investment" game.
Here are my tips (I have invested in these myself) ;
Back Gus Hiddink to be England's next manager
Lay against Man Utd beating Blackburn tonight

Monday, January 23, 2006

21/01/06 Getting Shirty

When I was working down Stockbridge way, I had something of a morning routine.
I stopped off at "Starbucks" on my way to San Quentin.
Me : "Could I have a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake please"
Customer Service Assistant : Certainly sir, and can I get you a hot drink as well?
Me: No, thank you...
This exact conversation was repeated 3 times a week for 4 months (I didn't have cake every day. I'm disciplined. I'm not a glutton.)
Anyway, on my last day, I couldn't resist the lure of sarcasm...and instead of "No, thank you", came back with "Oh, I see, do you sell hot drinks here as well?".
"Are you being funny?"
"Do you want a hot drink or not?
"No, I don't. You see if I wanted a hot drink I'd just ask for one. I realise when I come into "Starbucks" that coffee is available. I just find it a bit odd that you feel you have to ask me whether I want a drink or not..."
At this, I was brusquely given my change, and the assistant moved on to the next customer...
I certainly showed them, didn't I?
It just seems daft to me. Usually you try the supplementary selling technique for something not too obviously available...
If you're buying shoes, you may well be interested in buying some aerosol leather protector, and welcome the sales assistants' recommendation of the aforementioned product. You might not have previously thought of buying this item.
Similarly, if you're having your hair cut in a Barbers, the offer of "something for the weekend, sir" is a useful service.
I don't expect to get a hot drink sales pitch it when I go into a shop which obviously specialises in hot drinks.
I mean, it's blatantly obvious I don't want a hot drink.
I just want to have my cake and eat it.
I get free tea at work from the machine.
I don't want to pay £2.50 for a cup of milky, weak shite.
I can get that for nothing out of the machine.
I was on a roll, and before I knew it I was complaining to the assistant at "Victoria Wines" about the price of their wine.
They've got this "offer" on all their stock at the moment in that if you buy 2 bottles of wine you get a third free.
Of course this effectively means that if you just want one bottle of wine you are completely shafted with a rip-off price.
I'm sure this policy will go a long way in terms of alleviating Scotland's rampant excessive drinking problem.
One bottle of wine? Don't be stupid. Buy 3!!! You know it makes sense!
Livers? who needs them?
The assistant groaned "You can't please everybody..."
I've decided to no longer offer my patronage to "Victoria Wines".
I just ordered 50 bottles of wine from the "Sunday Times" wine club.
This is a slight change of tack from my championing of the single bottle purchase. However, i could have bought a reasonable priced single bottle of wine if I'd wanted to.
And, don't think that just because I will have a massive supply of wine in my flat, that my intake will no doubt increase.
That argument carries no weight as far as I am concerned.
And, by the way...Graeme Souness! Can you hear me..? Go Now!!!! It's over!!!
Show a semblance of dignity and allow me to pick up my cash....
He's shamelessly hanging on for his compensation money for being sacked. If he had any conscience he's walk away, realising that he has made a complete and utter c**t of the job!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

18/01/06 I'm Free...

"...and freedom tastes of reality" as Roger Daltrey of The Who sang...
Actually, I find freedom tastes more like steak and kidney pie and carrots than anything else ; but that's probably just me.
I mention this because I have just finished my latest IT Contract and am once more a man of leisure of sorts.
In my spare time I have been making a few Bollywood short films.
Take a look at this and this and this and even this and finally this cinematic masterpiece.

Yes, I know that these are all fairly rubbish, but hopefully one day I will be clever and funny and all that.
These will just have to do for the time being...
It only took me 10 minutes to do them all what do you expect...come on! reasonable for god's sake...
I have just been out visiting my local, friendly fundamentalist atheist Dave Reilly whose ankle I accidentally broke in a football match 8 weeks ago.
He's still plastered up and is still getting painful grief from his foot.
I advised him he should pray to the Lord and it'll probably heal quicker.
Hopefully, he'll get a good report when he gets a hospital check-up on Friday.
I had brought exotic fruit to cheer him.
He was happy to see it, and it was great fun exchanging chirpy banter with Dave.
I confidently stated that this was the first time I'd been in his house since 1985.
This surprised the Reillys as they only moved in to their house in 1987.
I suspect it's a case of reincarnation, and in a previous life as a gypsy accountant, I may well have been in his house...
But Dave probably doesn't believe in that sort of scientific reasoned argument.
I suspect you can read his version of this historic encounter here.
On the way home "A Little Glass Of Champagne" by Sailor came on the radio (I was listening to Radio 2).
Coincidentally, Dave and I were not drinking champagne, but took coffee instead.

I have stopped smoking again (zzzzzzzzz...boring...boring...boring...).
I had actually intended to keep smoking till the public space smoking ban comes into effect in March.
I just smoked too much one night late on...couldn't get to sleep...was a zombie at work all the next day, and just thought this is fucking stupid.
I don't even actually enjoy smoking all that much.
So here we go again...
Anyway, I've done 15 days now and feel tip cravings whatsoever...but I suspect I've said that very same thing in the past...

I just happened to be flicking channels and I came across Celebrity Big Brother.
I don't watch it really. I just catch the odd snippet. Yes, really.
Anyway, George Galloway came up with an interesting anecdote...
He recounted a conversation he's had with Nelson Mandela relating to his 27 year imprisonment on Robben Island.
Mandela and the ANC bigwigs had come to a group decision not to smoke during their captivity.
This must have been an extremely tough decision to take, as I'd imagine smoking is generally regarded by prisoners as an isolated little beacon of pleasure amidst the tedium and angst of being locked up.
Their reasoning was that the guards already controlled their liberty, and that by smoking, it would give the guards more control over them, in that they'd also have power in terms of controlling tobacco supply to the inmates.
Not smoking was to them a gesture of inner strength and defiance.
So anyway, I really should be able to stop a lot easier than them!
As George said, that's a major reason why Mandela looked so healthy and vibrant when he was released.
He'd probably have looked vastly different if he'd been on 60 a day for 27 years.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

15/01/06 Sven, Will I See You Again?


Sven, Sven, Sven..... I can't believe you fell for the News of the World "Fake Sheik" routine!
It's been used several times to catch public figures on the hop, eg Newcastle United directors were quoted as saying "Alan Shearer is like Mary Poppins!" and "...all Newcastle women are dogs!" ; then there was Sophie of Wessex saying that her PR company "could fix up Royal contacts" for clients.
There have been a few more which I can't remember the exact details of.
The format is always the same though. A rich "Sheik" looking to throw a few million quid around gets the salivating personalities to be a little more candid than is generally adviseable.
If I was approached by a Sheik, I would treat him in the same way as I would treat a noted practical joker inviting me to sniff a large, (suspiciously plastic), flower pinned on his lapel.
I would immediately pull at his beard to determine if it was false, thus rumbling his disguise before he had the chance to entice me into making embarassing remarks about famous people that I am a close, personal friend of.
There would be a worry though that I could get into serious trouble if I pull the beard of a bona fide Sheik, who legitimately wants to speak with me on business.
Pulling someone's beard in Saudi Arabia is a serious criminal offence.
However, it's worth avoiding the risk of being shown to be a gullible idiot in a downmarket national newspaper.
I can't think of any other country in which the national media would seek to destabilise the national football team such a short time from a World Cup.
It's a very odd aspect of our culture.
It's the lengths that they went to in order to set up the entrapment which is mind boggling.
They invited Sven and his assistants to go to Dubai under a false premise..booked rooms and function suites in posh hotels, hired actors (including the legendary "Fake Sheik"), and ultimately got some inconsequential shite about how he
"might leave his job if England win the World Cup"
If he wins the World Cup, I expect he'll be free to do whatever he wants...He could even arrange oral relief from the Queen, I'd imagine...
I hasten to add, this doesn't apply in Scotland...
There would be a compulsory media blackout and a suitable duration of "national mourning". Probably about 6 months.
"BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2006" would be even more unwatchable than it usually is.
There will be a special edition of "A Question of Sport" with teams from the 1966 and 2006 World Cup Winning teams playing against each other.
Geoff Hurst and David Beckham will be endlessly photographed together saying how much "they respect each other".
All the squad will be knighted...
"Arise Sir Wayne Rooney..."
It's a nightmare...a nightmare...make it go away...make it go away....

Oh, and the other "revelations" were that Rio Ferdinand is "a bit lazy" (shock! horror!), and Michael Owen isn't that happy at Newcastle and "only went there for the money" (well, who on earth would have thought that)

Friday, January 13, 2006

12/01/06 Will Jodie Be Evicted?

hmmmm.....yum yum

A nation holds its breath...!
Not that I ever watch that godawful rubbish TV show "Celebrity Big Brother", but is Jodie Marsh a definite to get booted out tonight as she has seemed to be all week? I'm not so sure now....
It's a funny old Johnny, "memory", you know...
A "Beryl The Peril" storyline in the broadsheet comic "The Topper", (for the sophisticated child who looks for something slightly edgier than the bland tabloid fare of the "Dandy" and "Beano" "Biffo the Bear"...what was all that about?).
Anyway, Beryl and her pals stage a spontaneous series of "anti-grown-up" demonstrations demanding certain "rights for kids"; much to the chagrin of her long-suffering father.
He is embarassed very publicly and is forced into making a number of lifestyle concessions to his brazen daughter Beryl.
All the adult neighbours think this is hilarious and take great delight in Beryl's Dad's obvious discomfort.
However, Beryl's Dad then embarks on a cunning ploy.
He ties his hands together and stealthily attaches himself to a pram by a length of rope or something at the back of Beryl's latest demo.
It gives the appearance that he has been abducted and tied up by the militant children and is being humiliatingly paraded throught the streets.
On seeing this, the adults are outraged and decide "enough is enough".
"They've gone too far this time!", they all exclaim in unison...
The kids' revolution is brought to a shuddering halt, as all the participating children are frog-marched home by their parents, and are probably soundly thashed for good measure.
What I'm trying to say is that although Jodie has been irretrievably awful ;no-one likes a bully.
She has accumulated a good deal of sympathy over the past couple of days as a consequence of being subjected to sustained aggression from the other inmates, principally Pete Burns, (who is himself almost as obnoxious as Jodie Marsh, but not quite...)
I think he may have overdone it.
British people hate bullying and will always have a measure of sympathy for the plucky underdog, even if she is completely obnoxious.
I'm bored...
pathetic excuse...I know, I know...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

08/01/06 Celebrated Big Brother

My older brother is currently staying in my flat.
While I have been earnestly trying to save the planet by not sending any Xmas cards, (and thus discouraging continuing mass deforestation of the rainforests. It should be obvious that I am a true environmentalist who "talks the talk and walks the walk".), Gavin leaves the light on in every room he visits and is shockingly wasteful with my (and ergo the world's) energy supplies.
He reminds me of Michael Jackson in his "Billie Jean" video in which Jackson magically lights up every surface which he has just stepped on.
Paving slabs, name it....Jackson switches them on with absolutely no consideration for the ensuing electricity bills.
On football matters, Graeme Souness is teetering on the brink of getting the boot from Newcastle Utd.
The £250 prize for predicting this event taking place before the end of the season is almost within my grasp.
Predictably, he's vowed not to resign under any circumstances ; in spite of the fact that his reign there has been a disaster, and he's totally lost the support of the fans and now, apparently, the boardroom as well.
The trouble is, no manager ever actually "resigns" these days. They wait to get sacked so that they get a tasty big settlement payment for the remainder of their contract. It's understandable, but inconsiderate, as I'd like my money now, and can't be bothered hanging around for the Board to finally wake up, smell the coffee, and bid farewell to Mr Sourness.
Continuing on a football theme, it was my great honour to score the first goal of 2006 in our regular 5-a-side game.
A left-footed half-volley whizzed passed the static keeper to open the scoring.
My overall contribution after this feat of derring do was fairly limited.
But that's of little import. My work was done. And my team strolled to victory.
To come back from a debilitating hamstring injury and achieve this great honour is surely one of the great sporting feelgood stories of 2006.
It's reminiscent of Bob Champion winning the Grand national on "Aldiniti".
Perhaps I should try to sell the rights of this inspiring tale to Hollywood?
On the subject of football, England fans concerned with Michael Owens's World Cup fitness prospects, in light of him breaking his 5th metatarsal bone, should relax....
9 years ago, I broke exactly the same bone playing football, but 6 weeks later was back playing again, and effortlessly managed to recapture my pre-injury level of footballing mediocrity, and haven't looked back since.
I expect it will be the same with Michael.
I also invested a load of cash in "UK Coal plc" yesterday...
With our projected increasing reliance on Russian gas, and the ensuing risk that they could get shirty with us in the same manner as they have been with Ukraine, I've figured that we may well re-open a lot of the pits that were shut down, and increase production at existing ones.
Well yes, carbon emmissions would go up, but we could counter that by continuing to reforest the Scottish Highlands and that'll act as a carbon sink.
It's obvious innit?
It's either that or build loads of new Nuclear Power Stations. This is possible, but deeply controversial, and would probably take a long time to agree sites and build them etc...
So I reckon that coal will make a comeback (sort of).
And of course if everyone who reads this buys thousands of shares in "UK Coal", it will push the share price up, and then I can immediately sell my holdings, make a large profit and leave you all to take the future risk that my hypothesis is utter bollocks. (which it most likely is)
That's the way Capitalism works.
It's great, isn't it?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

05/01/06 Memories....

Not looking a day older than when I last saw him in our student days, Miles seems pleased to see me!

I was buying a filled roll from the local Deli today when I spotted a familiar face in the queue.
I had a ponder and then it struck me.
Could this indeed be "Miles", with whom I served on the Entertainments Committee at Stirling University, many,many years ago?
I didn't run over to hug him. I could still clearly remember that we didn't really like each other at Stirling.
Miles was stringently sensible and responsible in his student lifestyle choices. In fact he probably still is.
In contrast, I had a more cavalier attitude towards the moral maze of student life, and as a consequence we weren't the best of buddies.
There was probably more to it than that, but I can't remember precisely.
Famously, myself and legendary ne'er-do-well, Sandy Grom, were unceremoniously booted off the Ents Committee by "Hanging Judge" Miles and his cohorts.
Our offence? We had been on box-office duty, and had been duly pestered into giving away 6 tickets for the "Pathfoot Disco" by some of our "so-called" friends.
I hasten to add that there was no profit in it for us. It was a selfless act. We were latter day "Robin Hoods" ; stealing from the rich ("Students Association"),
and giving to the poor, unwashed, simple-minded, poverty-stricken individuals who relied on us for support, (aka Dave King, Jim McManus, Bill Wilson, Bill Burns, Richard Arnott & Shamie McTickle). ...
However, when the discovery was made that ticket money was short, we stood accused and had to face the crass indignity of a disciplinary hearing.
It was nothing but a show trial...
We'd hoped for an appearance by the six direct beneficiaries of our ticket largesse. An appeal for mercy from them, a hearty endorsement of our previous impeccable character, along with an apologetic undertaking to reimburse the "Students Association" with the deficit, might have bought us a more lenient punishment...
However, they didn't show up at all, and had apparently gone to the pub in town to take beer instead...
It was a huge blow for our defence team...
We then had no alternative but to plead guilty to all charges.
We anticipated a ticking off, but Miles wanted blood. We sat ashen-faced, as we discovered we were being kicked off the committee with immediate effect.
"The Guildford 4" and "Birmingham 6" cases paled into insignificance when juxtaposed with this horrendous miscarriage of justice.
For me personally, this was an unmitigated disaster. Being elected to an Ents role had many nice perks.
For instance, we were paid to attend all the University concerts & clubs, (we would have been there anyway), only having to spend a short time on the box-office rota. It was the best job to have as a student.
I was also paid to attend a "Students Entertainments Conference" over a weekend in Sheffield as a Stirling representative, staying in an extremely posh hotel.
I even shared an elevator with David Vine, who was presenting BBC coverage of the "World Snooker Championship" at the Crucible in Sheffield, and was staying at the same hotel... I said "hello", and he said "hello" back.
It was one of the proudest moments of my life.
These were halcyon days indeed...
I got to meet and say "hello" to many top music acts like "Siouxie and the Banshees", "The Undertones", "The Adverts", "The Cramps", "Squeeze", "The Pirates", "The Skids", "Gong" (cough), "The Thermometers" (cough cough), "The Capital Models", "The Pure Bears"....basically ALL the greats....and occasionally some would even say "hello" back.
Anyway, I spoke to him as he paid for his sarnie, and it was indeed Miles....
It turns out he does freelance IT work as well. At the Royal Bank of Scotland, no less.
We had a few minutes of banter and then bade our farewells.
I cursed that I didn't have spare tickets for some vacuous club event on my person....
I could have flashed them at him and said "Hey Miles, I shouldn't really be doing this, but would you like a couple of free tickets to this vacuous club event?"
Hopefully he would say, "Yes, that'd be great!"
Than I'd go "aha!!! so you'd take them would you! without paying?? aha!! Got You... Got You....yes...yes...yes...revenge ....revenge...I win etc etc etc"
I'd continue this rant indefinitely until the Deli staff were forced to call the police and I am then formally arrested for a "breach of the peace"...
However, I'd be confident that the super six(aka Dave King, Jim McManus, Bill Wilson, Bill Burns, Richard Arnott & Shamie McTickle) ...would redeem themselves, securing my release and paying my bail money to make amends for their shoddy behaviour in my previous time of need at Stirling University.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

04/01/06 Cough Cough

Pete gets in some valuable "pre-smoking ban" training (at altitude)

Idiotically, I've recently relaunched my smoking career with a
It's not the case of me making an eccentric 2006 New Year Resolution to "start smoking again".
I have to confess that I've been furtively puffing away for a couple of months.
Some friends have helpfully pointed this out by saying with a concerned look, "you've been smoking quite a lot lately, haven't you?"
To which I usually respond, "Yes, thanks for noticing, it's going really well. My ambition is to build it up to 60 a day by next month, but, in fairness, that's a big ask!"
I'm not quite sure why my sustained nicotine abstinence campaign so spectacularly imploded. Strange, very strange. I was doing really well.
Thankfully, help is at hand; in March of this year, the smoking ban in public places comes into effect in Scotland. This should finally extinguish my pathetic nicotine addiction, as I generally only smoke when I'm drinking.
I'll be genuinely delighted when the ban comes into force, and once again I'll assume the gratingly, self-righteous persona of an "ex-smoker".
Unarguably, they represent the lowest form of life on the planet.
To ready myself for post-March encounters with hardened smokers, I'm already practising waving my hand in front of my face, coughing theatrically, and cultivating a perpetual pious, disapproving expression on my face.
I'll be ready to go in March....! Yippee!
Me old mucker Pete, who smokes on average 750 ultra-light Silk Cuts a day (2000 a day at weekends), is mightily concerned about the implications of the upcoming ban.
He is very fond of a coffee and 400 cigarettes of an afternoon in the cafes and bars of old Edinburgh toon.
This legislation is obviously going to have a drastic impact on his social life.
I was thinking of suggesting to him that he writes to Silk Cut, and inquires, as one of their best customers, if they can design some special cigarettes for him?
Perhaps he could have a packet of 60 ft long fags that he could sit in the bar with, drinking his coffee, but sticking his elongated coffin nail out of the pub window and then smoke it till it burnt down to the window, carefully storing the exhaled smoke in a balloon which he occasionally takes outside the pub to pop with a knitting needle to release the contents.
I'm actually surprised that the Scottish Parliament haven't already acted to close down this obvious loophole in the ban legislation.
The only flaw in this ingenious smokers' counter-action is that Pete will need to employ someone to wait outside the pub with a step-ladder, which he or she (let's not forget, it's the era of equal opportunities) would climb to light the end of Pete's pub-window protruding giant gasper.
He or she would also have to carefully manoeuvre a 20 ft wide glass ashtray towards the pub window, thus collecting the ash as Pete inhales deeply from his fantastical fag.
It's the only way I can think of to easily beat the ban, and Pete's Titanic Tabs would be the talk of the toon.
Alternatively, I suppose you could wear a hermetically sealed astronaut suit and smoke inside it?
Mind you, it would be uncomfortable having all the smoke swilling around in your suit, and as a consequence, you would be simultaneously smoking actively AND passively, thus increasing the health risk exponentially.
Scrub that one. Stupid idea really.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

03/01/06 The Perennial Cheeky Monkey

My role model....

I got into my car and prepared to move off from my parking space in sunny Coates Gardens.
I then noticed another car stop 10 yards back from me. He was obviously waiting for me to leave, and then take the vacant parking space for himself.
This is entirely reasonable behaviour.
However, I reacted in a worrying way ; in retrospect convincing myself that I lack emotional maturity on a number of levels.
Rather than promptly start the engine, have a glance around and move off, (as I would normally do), I subconsciously went into slow motion, and every action was reminiscent of "The Six Million Dollar Man" show in which the bionic one performs incredible physical feats extremely slowly to a a springy type of noise soundtrack.
I fiddled about with the lights, had an interminable rummage in the glove compartment for an appropriate CD, (why is it called the "glove compartment" anyway? Why should gloves get a whole compartment to themselves? I mean, how many people ACTUALLY store gloves in their "glove compartments"? It's the hats I feel really sorry for. What do they get in the way of designated automobile storage facilities? Yes, you're right...fuck all...! not even a peg....) I then started reversing at an approximate speed of one millimetre an hour, before tentatively edging forward and out onto the road.
I estimated that I added an extra 3 minutes onto the normal expected duration for a car manoeuvre of this nature.
I detected a grumpy look from the parking space's new encumbent.
So what was all that about?
Is it an unconscious statement from myself to the other driver that I am (at least) his equal in the global pecking order, and as such he does not have the authority to make me vacate the space promptly?
Even if I did it at normal speed, it could be interpreted that I had been intimidated and had hurried (in a Frank Spencer-esque fashion) to allow this so-called "alpha male" to park.
I'd be seen as "kow towing" to him, and my status as the cool hipster of Coates Gardens would be seriously compromised.
So, by my shamelessly deliberate slow driving out of the space, along with the theatrical prevarication with the "glove compartment", I retained my dignity, and showed him I'm certainly someone to reckon with.
I need help (possibly).

Monday, January 02, 2006

02/01/06 Happy New Year!

CBE??? CBE??? what happened to "Sir Brucie" ???

Well, it's 2006, but unfortunately things are a bit grim at the moment for reasons I don't want to go into.
I'd never intended this to an overtly, confessional blog and I'm not going to start now, but it's difficult to write jolly prose without acknowledging that it's plainly not the best of times.
I had an interesting Hogmanay. I was on filming duty at the Departure Lounge club in the Cowgate in Edinburgh. I videoed the redoubtable Edinburgh Samba School troupe performing at the club, as well the Orchestra Del Sol.
It was a fun night indeed.
I nicked up to Black Bo's for a sneaky couple of New Years drinks and met up with some old cronies. I bumped into the luvverly Alia who I hadn't seen for about 10 years ,and I have to say that age had not withered her in the slightest and she was still uncannily radiant a decade down the line. Impressive...! That London air has done her no harm at all.
I thought TESS put in a highly enjoyable, ripsnortingly energetic show.
Unfortunately, apart from the dancers on the stage, the main band were cloaked in darkness, and it was extremely difficult to get any good video action.
I started from the balcony, but couldn't really pick the drummers out from the crowd.
I ended up pushing my way to the front and just doing close-up shots.
Unfortunately this meant that the sound was unbalanced and I got too much of the sound from whatever side of the band I was filming from.
I watched the footage yesterday, and it was fairly rubbish footage. Never mind...! I did my best....honest, guv...!
I got some great shots of ODS performing though. It was a lot easier as they were all on stage and had lighting.
I managed to cadge a lift home from Lorna. She is truly the Patron Saint of "Driving Pissed People Home Late At Night". She should really be given a special taxi certificate, valid for life, which allows the bearer to get pissed in any situation and be able to hail a free taxi. It's the least she deserves I would have thought.
For years, one of my favourite hobbies has been to guffaw sarcastically at the TV, and I was actively practising this art tonight while watching "Celebrity Mastermind".
The target of my scorn was none other than Mylene Klass, late of top pop combo "Hear'Say", and now a self-styled "classical musician".
I've always felt that the "specialist subject" category is demonstrably open to abuse in terms of realtive degree of difficulty.
Myleene's subject was "Sex And The City : Series 3".
Hmmm...not the broadest of specialist subjects really, is it? And I could think of terms other than "Mastermind" to describe anyone who has built up an encyclopaedic knowledge on so limited an area.
Needless to say, she stormed into the lead in the first round with a stunning 17 point haul.
Myself, and the rest of the TV audience then pondered how she would do in the General Knowledge section.
1 point.
Now that WAS funny.
All round good egg, and clever man, Iain Banks stormed to glory.
His specialist subject was "Malt Whisky". Now that's more like it. Respect!
My specialist subject would be "French Impressionism 1865 - 1930".
I probably wouldn't get any points at all, but the knowledge that I would receive tacit approval and acceptance for the perceived range and difficulty of my subject from TV watching "Jim Park" pedantic clones dotted around the country would sustain me in my time of crisis.
And it's taking part that counts, as they say...