Friday, May 28, 2004

Word for the day

Sofamole (n). Like a couch potato, but fluffier.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Silver Lining

Charles Saatchi said today that he was "excited" at the opportunities for pushing back the boundaries of modern art made possible by the fire at the warehouse storing his collection. He told us "Much of the collection seemed avant-guarde and daring at the time I bought it, but things move rapidly in the art world, and, frankly, Tracey Emin's work "Everyone I have Ever Slept With 1963-95" (for example) had begun to seem quite dull and traditional. I feel that the fire has actually given us freedom to move forward."

He went on "On the basis that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, you could argue that the artworks are still there, if in a different form (a pile of ash). Surely only a philistine would argue that the works need to remain in their original shape and texture to retain validity. Or value. Of course it might be thought that the true essence of the work was in fact contained in the smoke and gases which were released in the fire, the "soul" of the collection if you like. I have some sympathy with that view myself, but unfortunately we don't have any of the smoke. If we had some, and therefore could auction it to obscenely rich cretins for laughable amounts of money, I'd be much keener on the concept."

Brian Sewell, the London Evening Standard's art critic, said. "It's fabulous. People living downwind of the fire have inhaled art worth millions of pounds; I know several collectors who are already bidding for lungs. It's the most exciting way of making art accessible to the public I've ever seen. Of course the fire itself was a most impressive piece of performance art, and Damien (Hirst) has approached the Fire Brigades Union to see if they'll let him cut one of the firefighters in half. They said they'd get back to him."

Mr. Saatchi described the idea proving to be most popular with the general public, that the ashes be moulded into a two-ton block and dropped from the top of Canary Wharf onto Brian Sewell, as "pedestrian".

Stickers (2)

A while ago I started foaming at the mouth about "Baby On Board" stickers.

This morning on the way to work I see one that reads "Small Person On Board". I begin to retch. There's no alternative. I overtake on a blind bend and pull in in front, forcing the bastard to stop. I leap from the car, intending to scream abuse at the driver for his sheer twee-ness.

The car door opens, and there in front of me, boots still smouldering from being shot from the cannon, head criss-crossed with the pattern of the safety-net mesh, clothes still damp from landing in the Thames the first couple of shots, is a midget in full clown make-up.

He pulls a piece of four-by-two from the car and gives me a sound drubbing.

And that's why I was late for my eight o'clock meeting.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Secret World

I've always had a thing about the quantity and variety of Hidden Stuff. What I mean is this: we're all aware of the limitations of our senses (obviously some of us are more limited than others, and I've met people who are so limited they're certifiably dangerous). Over the centuries we've made machines to allow us to compensate for those limitations, either by taking an existing sense and improving it (telescopes and microscopes), or by turning the Hidden Stuff into something that can be identified by an existing sense (Geiger counters allow us to hear radiation. Obviously we can also identify radiation by throwing up, watching our hair and teeth fall out and producing three-headed children, but that's more of a long-term thing. Geiger counters are probably the preferred option, even though they make a curiously irritating noise.)

Anyway, the point I'm labouring towards is this: WHAT THE FUCK ELSE MIGHT BE OUT THERE?! Not that I'm panicky about it or anything, but there must be all kinds of weird Hidden Stuff. All around. Everywhere. Take a rock, for example. Try to list its attributes. Big. Heavy. Grey. Hard. Dense. Lichen-covered. Foop.

Foop? Yeah, foop. I don't claim to fully understand it, what it is or what it does, but I'm telling you, the world would be a very different place if we didn't have foop. Do all rocks have foop? Of course they do, that's the most important thing about rocks. Big? Grey? Heavy? Not important. Foop, mate, that's what's important. What do you mean you can't see it? You didn't see the radiation either, did you, baldy? If you're going to argue you can take that ugly three-headed kid of yours and fuck right off.

And what if it applies to man-made objects? Cities, for example. You and I might not see the point of, say, Leicester, but, not so fast! If it wasn't for Leicester's emissions of thok, well, who knows what might happen? And what if it applies to people!? You might think that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott (to take a random example) is a pointless, ugly, short-tempered, obese tub of lard. Maybe so, but it's only the amount of slub John emits that stops the Universe tearing itself apart! Think of it! There might be a point to Celine Dion!

Depressing thought, that.

Friday, May 21, 2004


I've made the serious mistake of trying to be clever and "improve" the template of my blog. And now all the comments from my chums have disappeared. Damn. Also, when you try and add a comment it asks you for passwords and stuff. You can add comments anonymously, even though it says you can't on the comment screen.

We hates it forever.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Terminal Velocity

Apparently the well-established Middle Eastern tradition of firing shots randomly into the air in a fit of exuberance is extremely dangerous and the descending bullets can cause serious injury.

What's even more dangerous is when the bullets don't actually fall back to earth but become lodged in the floor of an Apache full of extremely nervous morons with itchy trigger fingers. To paraphrase Alanis: "It's just like several thousand rounds of heavy-machinegun fire on your wedding day." Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?

Shoulda Known Better

I've been trying new templates 'n' stuff and it's all gone horribly wrong. Bear with me while I try to come to terms with my technical ineptitude.

Thanks, Jim...

Listened to BBC Radio Four's "Today" programme on the way to work this morning. Presenter James Naughtie was talking seriously to a journalist about the possible fire service strike. "You can't do that willy-nilly", he said. "That would be silly." There was a split second where you could hear him struggling with himself. He couldn't resist. "Silly-willy-nilly" he said triumphantly. There was an outbreak of cackling from the studio team.

Cheered me up, that did.

Friday, May 14, 2004


I'm second in the queue at W.H. Smith, clutching my copy of The Guardian and a bottle of Lemon Fanta. The person in front of me is buying a paperback costing £8.99. He decides to pay by debit card. The cashier tries to swipe the card, but it's worn or dirty and it doesn't work. He types in the card number and the expiry date. The card is rejected. He peers at the till, then the card. There's a brief discussion with the customer, during which the cashier realises he's typed in the wrong expiry date. He tries again. The card-reader communicates with the Mother Ship or whatever the fuck it does. We stand and wait.

After about thirty seconds there's a curiously annoying beeping sound and the till cranks out a signature slip. The customer signs. The cashier checks the signature and hands the customer his copy. Then they go through pretty much the same routine with the "loyalty card". The customer wants to check to see how many points he has. The cashier isn't sure how to do it. He calls a supervisor. The transaction continues...

I've now been standing here with my newspaper, my bottle of fizz and my five pound note for about five minutes. Veins are standing out on my forehead. (I can't see them, but I know they're there.) Sooz has wandered off, because she knows that if she looks at my puffed-up cross little face she'll start to laugh out loud, and then, well, then the killing will start.

So here's my point. USE CASH, YOU BASTARDS!!! Cash transaction for an £8.99 paperback - what do you reckon? Fifteen seconds? I can count pretty well, I can even give the right money sometimes, and then it's even quicker! What's so wrong with that?

I know that shops don't like holding large amounts of cash, which is why they like doing that "cash-back" thing which adds even more time to card transactions, but Hard Fucking Luck. (The other reason retailers don't like cash is that they're afraid their employees will steal it. Well, I know this is revolutionary, but how about paying these poor fucks a decent living wage so they don't have to steal to buy food for their ugly malnourished babies?. (Just a thought.)

And tell me, who does use cash? Little old people, that's who. No wonder they're always being mugged. All of you out there have the responsibility of diverting the attention of the criminal classes away from my mother and back to you. Okay, so you run the risk of having a hundred quid or so taken from your wallet, but at least you'll have saved a little old silver-haired Irish lady from a kicking, and also you may well have avoided that walk to the nearest ATM with a knife in your ribs and your underpants full of poo. Price worth paying, I'd have thought.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Too busy... post today, but this is splendid. Thanks are due to Miss Dorothy for sending me this.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Vacancy: Dictator Wanted

I'm in something of a quandary over the situation in Iraq. (A quandary's a sort of luxurious state you can afford to be in when you're several thousand miles away from a problem and no gives a shit about your opinion anyway.) My mind's a-whirl with unanswered questions:

What the hell should we do out there? Why did we get involved in the first place? What convinced Tony that he should play monkey to G.W. Organgrinder? When it was obvious that a majority of people in the U.K. were firmly against getting into this mess, what the fuck, not to put too fine a point on it, happened to democracy? Why are we prepared to hold referenda on things that don't matter and not on things that do? In the future, are we going to just kill people we think are threatening us, or do we intend to try to kill all the bad people in the world? And if we are, shouldn't we all have Special Powers, capes and tight boots? (I'm wearing my underpants outside my trousers already. In fact I started doing that in 1988. Different pants, obviously. I'm not altogether brutish.)

The thing is, I don't see how we can pull out of Iraq in the near future, purely on the basis that, as we fucked it up, we have to stay until it's fixed, and that means more money, more lies, more guilt, evasion, bluster and plain old-fashioned politicking, and, more importantly, lots more dead young people. And if, as is beginning to seem likely, the only way to maintain any kind of order in Iraq is to employ Saddam-like tactics and most of the people who worked for him, why don't we just give him his old job back?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Coming to work this morning I ended up behind a car with a sticker in the back window which read "Twins On Board". Now apart from the fact that it was early in the morning, and therefore I was probably a bit grumpy to begin with, why did that drive me into a rage? In fact, it infuriated me far more than twice as much as simple "Baby On Board" stickers.

There's only one point to these bloody stickers, and that's to declare "We've got a baby and we're very proud". I've nothing against that sentiment, but I'd like to point out to these morons that lots of people, many of them extremely stupid and some of them genuinely evil, also have babies. Nobody's impressed. Have a sticker reading "Nobel Prize Winner" in your car and people will be impressed.

And anyway, what about the tragically childless couples who see the sticker? Why not have a sign saying "High Sperm Count" to really piss them off? Or better still, "Sterile? Losers." Or "You Will Die Unloved And Alone And Be Eaten By Your Own Cats."

Maybe it's not malicious but just a lifestyle statement of some kind. I suppose it's no worse than the "funny" stickers, most of which seem to have disappeared, thankfully. Remember rusting Fords with "My Other Car Is A Porsche" in the back window? Hey listen you imbecile, try replacing it with "I'm Ashamed Of My Car And Have No Perceptible Sense Of Humour"; or "I'm The Kind Of Person Who Buys "I Came All The Way To London And All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt" T-shirts" Both of those will improve your credibility.

Feel better now.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

No Cause For Alarm

On Saturday Soo calculates that it's just thirteen weeks until the wedding. For some reason (I think it's suddenly measuring it in weeks instead of months) this fills us with terror and we run squealing round and round the kitchen for a few minutes, until Cassie slaps us and makes us take deep breaths. We sit there rocking and trembling.

In fact, when we calm down enough to think about it properly, it's not that bad. True, the marquee hasn't been hired, the dress is still to be designed and made, the rings have yet to be chosen, the invitations haven't been sent. Oh, and my Decree Absolute hasn't come through yet, which could be a bit of a show-stopper.

However, the invitations are about half done - another week should do it. All the other stuff (apart from the rings, which I keep forgetting about) is "ongoing" and on track, and Raff, who's making the dress, will be here on Sunday.

On Sunday Raff and Peter arrive for lunch, after which Peter and I are sent into the living room to chat while Raff and the girls pore over designs and fabrics. We cover a wide range of subjects from touring in Ireland to opera, with a soundtrack of excited squeaking coming from the kitchen.

Sounds like Raff's done a good job so far.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Remember when...

...Donny loved Saddam? I think it's important to remember these things.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Floating nudists

Sooz put me onto this site, which is quite scary. The other site, which reckons that war in the Middle East is being orchestrated by fundamentalist nuts in the U.S. to hurry Armageddon along a bit, is also interesting.

Have a good weekend - I'll see you at God's right hand.