Friday, 30 September 2005

We All Scream

When you hear that jingle, you know that an ice-cream van is coming, don't you. From miles away.

And that's because of those chimes. It doesn't matter if the tune is Greensleeves, Oranges and Lemons or Popeye the Sailor Man. You instantly recognise the fact that it's an ice-cream van coming down the street and not the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Girls Aloud or Miles Davis.

But the reason it's so distinctive is that is doesn't sound like any real musical instrument at all. What sort of musical instrument is it supposed to be? I don't think Berlioz ever wrote a concerto for ice-cream chimes, did he?

Why do they sound exactly the same on all ice-cream vans everywhere? Why hasn't some enterprising ice-cream salesman said "sod the chimes - let's try a bassoon"?

And if it's not a real musical instrument, how do they record the chimes? Is there a recording studio, hidden under a South London railway arch? Is this where lives the world's only player of the chimes? And why doesn't he learn some new tunes, the swine?

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

Ken Dodd's Dad's...

I went into the kitchen at work this morning to make my "you've got to face up to it sooner or later" cup of coffee.

Someone had left a copy of The Sun (shudder) open on the work-surface. The story which faced me was headlined something like "Evil Foreigners Use LIVE Dogs As Bait To Catch Sharks".

I may have made up the "evil foreigners" bit. But that's what they meant!

Anyway, hooking an enormous, erm, hook through a dog's jaw so you can use it as bait is a nasty thing to do (says The Sun) so, of course, let's show the public a picture of an impaled dog so they know how bad it is.

Fucking hypocrites. They want to sell newspapers. So they put in lots of pictures which appeal to the baser instincts ("ooh, maimed dogs and tits - I must buy a copy") and then write articles which condemn the very images they are promoting. God, I hate that newspaper.

I couldn't understand (because I didn't read further than the headline) exactly what they are objecting to. Is it that they are using live dogs as bait? Would dead dogs be OK? Well, obviously they wouldn't as sharks are attracted to splashing, so a dead dog wouldn't do at all.

If it's the use of real, living animals being used as bait that raises your average scumbag journalist's ire, then I'm sure we'll be seing a Sun campaign against the use of live worms and maggots by fisherman too.

Tuesday, 27 September 2005


Ho hum.

I was going to have a rant about the hypcrisy of the media, slavering over the fact that a "poor, defenceless old lady" has been sent to prison for not paying her council tax in full - when that same media has whipped up such a "Laura Norder" frenzy that people have been prevented from going out at night just because they're NOT old ladies.

I'm not quite sure who, exactly, the media is blaming for this situation. The government, for not repealing council tax for over-65s/60s/55s/Daily-Mail-Readers? The council in question for daring to ask for their money? The courts, for upholding the law?

However, Bystander has summed up the situation for more eloquently than I ever could.

So, let's talk about IRA weapons decommissioning instead.

First off - don't get me wrong - I'm no fan of the IRA. I lived in London in the 1980s and early 90s. I'm glad I got out before the current loonies started using suicide bombers. Much harder to spot than a discarded satchel or a semtex-laden rucksack in a litter bin.

Anyway, the IRA have announced that they have decommissioned all their weapons. This has been verified by an independent panel: a Canadian general, a catholic priest and a protestant minister. But the Unionists say they want to see "photographic evidence that all arms have been destroyed".

These unionist politicians seem to have no grasp of the illogicality of what they are asking. How would photographs of some destroyed weapons prove that all the weapons were destroyed? Of course, they wouldn't. And I suspect that if there was some "photographic evidence" the unionists still would not be happy.

Unless someone has a record of the IRA's exact weapons inventory (and I very much doubt that even the IRA knew exactly what it 'owned'), then it is logically and physically impossible to prove that all the weapons have been decommissioned.

I think it's sour grapes. The unionists haven't got what they wanted (a separate Northern Ireland, with no catholics) and they are peeved that Sinn Fein and the IRA have brokered a peace deal with the Irish and UK governments more or less on their own.

It smacks of the same mentality that's happened in Iraq and Iran: "Let's send out an independent body to find out if there are weapons of mass destruction in the bogeyman's country. What? They aren't any? Well, I don't believe you. Let's start a fight anyway!"

When I was at school we had bullies who stole our lunch money. Nowadays they've all grown up and they run countries...

Saturday, 24 September 2005

Welcome to the Lazydrome

I've not been blogging for long, and I know I don't have many readers. And I don't think I've yet written anything particularly entertaining.

So, it's astounding to me to think that there are now TWO other blogs out there which were inspired by my own feeble efforts.

Some weeks ago, the dry-as-toast wit of Delmonti appeared in Blogland at this murky address.

And, as of today, my youngest sister has started her own online blog-type-thing with a very appropriate list of 'firsts'. Hoorah!

I can only think that people look at this blog and think, "that's crap. I could do much better". And they're right!

But I can't let this momentous event pass without mentioning some firsts of my own:
  • My first time drunk was on whiskey. Lots of it. In a night-club in Egham. I was sick out of the car window on the way home.
  • The first film I ever saw at the cinema was Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I was five years old. It was at the old Odeon cinema in Esher, I seem to remember.
  • The first time I ate in a Nepalese restaurant will be in about 55 minutes from now. If you ask nicely, I'll tell you what it was like.

Friday, 23 September 2005

A Little Light Music

Once more Delmonti has posed the question that needs answering:

What music will you have at your funeral?

It's a tricky choice. For comedy value, I'd love to have Napoleon XIV's They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-haaa. You get the picture: Just as the coffin's rolling down the ramp into the burny flames...

But, for real, I think I'd like the congregation (if there is one) to hear:
  • No Surprises by Radiohead: A sad, angry, yet still uplifiting record. Marvellous and so simple. And Paranoid Android can be played at the wake.
  • The Bugle Sounds Again by Aztec Camera. I've loved this song since High Land, Hard Rain came out in about 1983. Fabulous lyrics, considering Roddy Frame was about 16 or 17 at the time.
  • Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys. The best single ever recorded. No argument.

Wednesday, 21 September 2005


While watching "Kath & Kim" on LivingTV tonight, I had the misfortune to catch a trailer for a new show. Featuring the 'richest Big Brother contestant', Jade's Salon follows celebrity wasp-chewer, Jade Goody, as she starts up and runs her new business - a beauty parlour.

Does no-one in the TV industry see the immense irony here? Probably not. So look out for these new hit shows, coming soon from a satellite channel near you:

Hitler's Synagogue, Shipman's Hospice, and Supernanny with Fred & Rosemary West.

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Players Cup

Players Cup

Delmonti wanted to see a picture of the Cup that I (and my Mum) won.

So here it is.

Like a lot of things, it's bigger than The Ashes, but smaller than The Stanley Cup.

Friday, 16 September 2005

Someone will have to polish that...

I've won a cup.

I never win cups!

Hell, I never win anything (except for a gross of "Dividend D" tea-bags at a Brownies raffle when I was about 15 - it was my Little Sis who was in the Brownies, not me).

The Ottershaw Players have just had their AGM and I was nominated for The Players Cup. This is awarded each year to the person(s) who, in the opinion of the voting members, has contributed most to the Players over the past year.

Well, OK, this year my Mum won it too. Seems we got the same number of votes. And I'm glad, 'cos I'm not really sure why people voted for me. If they gave a cup for "Biggest Loss-Making Production in the History of the Group" then I would win it, hands-down. But I don't feel I deserve this honour.

Mum definitely works hard for the Players. Harder than me. And she deserves to have won. (Although I didn't vote for her!).

That's not going to stop me getting my name engraved on it though.

All Change!

I've amended the blog's template. I had to get rid of Haloscan comments (sorry if you've got comments for me there, but they're gone now) because you don't get email notification of comments unless you pay for it. And, for some reason, the posts were displaying Blogger comment links on the permalink pages and Haloscan comment links on the 'main' or archive pages.

Anyway, the only way (I could find) to fix it all was to switch to a different template (the lovely "Mr Moto") and fix everything up nice 'n' purdy.

I'm much happier with the new look. The font was always too large before.

Ah! The triumph of style over substance.

Wednesday, 14 September 2005

Up, Up and Away

It's not fair - how come the Malaysians get all the fun?

When it came to choosing Britain's first astronauts, I don't remember that we had a choice. We were given that dull chap (who was half-American anyway) and the girl from Slough who made Mars bars.

Obviously, if the same were to happen today, we would go fully interactive and the race to become the 325th person in space would be followed 24x7 on Channel 4.

Just in case we do get a choice, I'd like to nominate Jade Goody, Pete Doherty and Michael Winner. Perhaps we can ask one of the Malaysian candidates to step down in expectation of getting rid of someone who's not really needed?

Tuesday, 13 September 2005

Silver Surfer?

Recent events have reminded me that I'm not a youngster any more:

An ex-girlfriend's mother recently died. Delmonti needs a hip replacement. [Jesus, Dave - my Nan only had her hips replaced a few years ago and she's about 200.] I went out for a 3 mile ride on my push-bike on Saturday and now my right leg doesn't work...

We've just won the Ashes for the first time since 1987. Commentators keep talking about the number of cricket fans and players who would be unable to remember the last time we won it. Hell, I remember the one we won 24 years ago! Willis and Beefy at Headingly.

A colleague at work has been advised, by his optician, to get bifocals. Bifocals? They're for old professors in a Cambridge tutorial room, dribbling on their slippers, not for young, virile IT professionals. Even if we do work with Oracle databases.

Like everyone over 20, I still feel 20-years old inside. But I can't understand why my 20-year old body is having old-age aches and pains.

The days of partying all night before going to work/college for the day, then drinking in the bar all the next night were surely only a few weeks ago, weren't they? What do you mean it was 20 years ago? How dare you have a child who's starting college next week?

Nowadays I can only drink 3 pints before I'm wrecked. The hangover starts before I even leave the pub. I'd rather be at home watching the telly with my slippers on than out with my mates sometimes.

God. What's it going to be like when I'm forty?

Wednesday, 7 September 2005


After reading Scaryduck's post about heroes, I had to admit that I had no idea who I shared my birthday with. So off to Wikipedia to find out...

Blimey! There's a lot of them. And mostly people I hadn't heard of (Reggie Miller? Tracy Harris?). But amongst the list are a few gems:

1929: Yasser Arafat - first a terrorist, then not a terrorist. Now dead.

1934: Kenny Baker - the man who IS R2-D2. That made him about 70 years old while he was weebling about inside the mini-robot filming Revenge of the Sith. Jeepers! That's heroic if nothing else is.

1948: Jean-Michel Jarre - writer of dull electronic music. His dad was much better.

1957: Stephen Fry - clever-dick (in a nice way), erudite, funny renaissance man. Of all the people on the list, he's the one I'm proud to share my birthday with and wish I could buy him some cake and a pint on our special day.

Saturday, 3 September 2005

Was there any phlegm?

As I was reading in bed last night, I got a sharp pain in my back, between my shoulder blades. I thought nothing of it. I obviously pulled something - or so I thought.

Then, this morning, around 6am, I was woken up by a sharp pain right across my back and a tightness across my chest. I lay there for a while wondering whether, well, you know... But the pain wasn't stabbing and I wasn't short of breath and there was no pain in my neck or my left arm, so I figured I wasn't going to die imminently.

So, to put my mind at rest, I got up and checked out the NHS Direct website. It's pretty good - unless your answers aren't one thing or the other, at which point it advises you to phone up the NHS Direct helpline. Which I did. Just to put my mind at rest.

I spoke to a nice lady who asked me all sorts of questions and then put me though to a nurse, who asked me all the same questions that the website had asked (and I answered them mostly in the negative). The nurse didn't sound too worried by my symptoms, but thought that, as I had a "tight" feeling across my chest, that I should consult my local GP.

Ten minutes later (very efficient) the on-call GP from my local practice rang. I answered all the same questions again. Once more, he didn't sound worried. But he suggested I go to the local A&E department and get checked out "just to be sure".

By this time, the pain in my back was going and the tightness in my chest was on the way out. But I have no idea if that's the calm before the storm, or the eye of the needle, or whatever. So, in the car I get, with The Wife, and we go up to the local casualty ward.

At the hospital, I'm registered immediately, and checked out by a nurse within 15-20 mins: he asks me all the same questions that the GP and NHS Direct asked. After a blood pressure test I'm asked to give a urine sample, then I'm hooked up to an ECG machine. At this point I worry that she'll hook it up backwards and it will shoot electric currents through my body. But she doesn't.

Another 20 minute wait and I'm seen by the casualty doctor (while all the overnight patients are getting their breakfast - lucky sods). By this time, my back pain is completely gone and the chest tightness is just a memory. I feel an utter fraud, but the doctor says I did the right thing in coming in as it's better to be safe than sorry. Hopefully, he's seen my medical records, so he knows I don't make a habit of hanging around hospitals.

The upshot is that it's a muscular problem in my back - I probably twisted it in bed - and the chest pain was related to it. He's a friendly doctor and he wishes me well as I leave the ward. Hey, he's probably happy that, for once, he was seeing a patient who didn't need treatment.

Anyway, here's my point: if you're going to be ill - make it happen at 6 or 7 in the morning. You get seen straight away! Brilliant. And we were in and out in around 80 minutes. None of this "3 days lying on a trolley" that you read in the Daily Mail. Marvellous!

God bless the NHS.

Mind you - next time I'll have to be on fire before I even think about phoning a doctor. How dare they tell me to go to hospital when there was nothing wrong with me. Bloody charlatans! :-)

Secret to blog popularity

My good friend Delmonti said:
Apparently, if you want more visits to your Blog you simply make a few references like the following...
  • generate blog traffic
  • increase blog visits
  • page visit generator
  • secret to blog popularity
Go on, give it a go....

OK - let's see if it works...

Thursday, 1 September 2005

Flickr Katrina Relief Auction

Flickr have created a new group for folks to donate prints of their photos to be auctioned off. Proceeds will be sent to the American Red Cross to aid the rescue effort in the US Gulf States.

The main auction page is here. This is where you'll find the rules; how to donate a print, how to bid, etc.

I'm donating four of my photos - but now the auction has finished, so I've removed the links as they pointed to nowhere! The main-page (see para. above) is still working though, if you want to buy a print from someone.

Hapy Bidding!

Latest Hurricane News

So, George Bush has been hard at work contributing to the hurricane relief effort. Well, OK: flying over New Orleans in his plane, looking out of the window like a rubber-necking tourist.

Apparently the White House has been quick to blame the Iranians for hurricane Katrina. Bush believes that Iran has trained several butterflies to flap their wings in the middle-east, thus casuing hurricanes over the USA. He is therefore warning Iran that their use of Chaos Theory is proof that they have been stockpiling butterflies to use as WMDs.

Meanwhile, in the UK, BBC Radio Two has banned broadcast of the following songs:
Like a Hurricane, by Neil Young
Anything by Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.
Walking on Sunshine, by Katrina and the Waves.