Posts from December 2003

Dec 03

KYLIE – ‘Slow’ vs. KELIS – ‘Milkshake’

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KYLIE – ‘Slow’ vs. KELIS – ‘Milkshake’

I’ve gotta say I’m pretty disappointed with that new Kylie single ‘Slow’ — it sounds like she’s trying too hard to be sexy. I like her better when more is left to the imagination, when she’s in hot-high-school-English-teacher mode, when you feel strangely attracted to her fembot-ness but you know not exactly why. But this song — it’s like overpoweringly strong perfume. Lipstick all done up in an effort to look ‘pouty’. Hair that’s been ironed and severely sculpted for that tousled, ‘just-got-out-of-bed’ look. I just can’t get into it. Kelis’ creepy-queasy-seasick-loping ‘Milkshake’, on the other hand, is way sexier than ‘Slow’. It also scares the bejesus out of me (reference point: Edvard Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’?!) See, she doesn’t want you. Damn right — it’s better than yours.

‘I could teach you, but I’d have to charge.’

A Japanese study

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A Japanese study published last month in the journal Physiologic Behavior has indicated that kissing might reduce skin allergies in certain patients with rhinitis and dermatitis. It makes you wonder whether labcoat-clad scientists were watching the kissers through an observation window, while writing serious notes in their notebooks critiquing the subjects’ technique. The experimental design sounds bewildering — to quote the abstract: “The subject kissed freely during 30 min with their lover or spouse alone in a room with closed doors while listening to soft music.” Before and after kissing, the subjects underwent various skin tests and had blood drawn so that levels of various neurotrophins could be measured from their plasma. The author also noted this of the subjects in the study: “they do not kiss habitually.” Hmm.

The heroic era of my Pringle consumption

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The heroic era of my Pringle consumption is behind me, of course. Those were the days when it was discovered that Sour Cream and Chive pringles must contain heroin as a secret ingredient, so addictive were they – and also that eating a whole barrel last thing at night was the sleepful equivalent of two strong cups of coffee.

Anyway I still like and also I am I must admit fond of Lord of the Rings, but I have to say that putting scenes from The Return of the King – which is to say of a fantasy war in which thousands will die horribly – on the container kind of totally uglifies the primary colourness of their design sense, plus puts totally the wrong things in your head as regards brainless snacking, plus haha is that spinning I hear down in that grave?

Dec 03

Just in case

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Just in case you’re interested in the result of the hearing I was standing near this morning, the result is a postponement until early in the New Year. First we have to go through the legal case about our being forced to repay ‘football creditors’ in full, then they’ll reconsider the deduction. This seems sensible to me (if a little frustrating).

Apologies for posting this involved stuff but I wouldn’t want to leave you all biting your nails?

I should swiftly make clear…

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I should swiftly make clear though that I am under no circumstances going to start watching Sylvester McCoy stories.

Today I went on a demonstration

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Today I went on a demonstration.

There are many bad things in this world fit to be demonstrated against, so which did I choose this morning? Why, the proposed deduction of 12 points from Exeter City by the Nationwide Conference, of course.

I have to confess that initially I felt a little sheepish standing there because I don’t disagree in principle with the concept of punishing teams for entering debt-cutting arrangements. Still, I wanted to show my support for the folks now running the club and I figured that since I lived in London it was the least I could do to stand in the cold for an hour.

As it turned out, I had a terrific time. I grudgingly spoke to a nice lady from Radio 4 then politely demurred when asked to provide some vox pop soundbites for South West TV. We chatted to members of our Board and to Steve Perryman (Exeter’s Director of Football) who seemed like a tremendous fellow. A fair number of passers-by took a passing interest in what we were up to. Apparently someone reported our little group to the Police, who turned up and agreed with us that we were doing nothing whatsoever wrong.

Most weeks the Non-League Paper prints someone or other saying we should shut up and take our medicine. I have a certain amount of sympathy with that view, but still I feel like Exeter are being harshly treated. We appear to be taking blow after blow and it seems that everyone knows that the 12-point deduction won’t be in place past the end of the season.

If the points-deduction rule is to stop clubs from ‘doing a Leicester’ (i.e. running up huge debts and then using administration to walk away from their creditors while retaining their assets) then it has to be applied with sensitivity to the particulars of each individual case, and our case is certainly very different to Leicester’s. It seems wrongheaded to punish a club like ours when we’re doing everything in our power to set right what has gone wrong under the previous regime(s), and to run ourselves for the benefit of our community.


The Pumpkin Publog Advent Calendar of Alcohol: 15-16% – Creme De Cassis

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When I was a kid ‘ continuing our accidental theme of children and booze ‘ there were certain drinks I thought would be sophisticated and adult. Usually I thought this because my parents drank them. In many ways my parents were sophisticated but I think they were fairly typical 70s social drinkers, and that meant my associating adulthood with things like Dubonnet.

But there was one drink whose sophistication I had worked out for myself, since my first ever holiday in France. That drink was Cassis. I think it was one of my aunts who was drinking it ‘ I asked what it was, and was told it was like Ribena, only it was a liqueur. I decided then and there that just as Ribena was my favourite drink, so Cassis would be my favourite when I grew up.

Even now I have drunk Cassis as an adult something of its allure remains ‘ a rich liqueur with a French name made with blackcurrants; winner, surely! Unfortunately what my aunt did not mention was that Cassis actually tastes like undiluted Ribena with a dash of Tixylix. Even in cocktails it tends to be overpowering ‘ it’s best used in the naff but very tasty Kir Royale. But still I am rarely without a bottle in the home ‘ it’s a magical reminder for me of when the drinks cabinet was a scary, exciting, baffling world which I would one day enter. Sophisticated, though? My arse it is.

Few of my televisual opinions have been as set in stone as this one

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Few of my televisual opinions have been as set in stone as this one: Colin Baker was rubbish on Doctor Who. I remember being horrified by him when I was 13 and have remained so ever since – a supercilious, unpleasant, shock-headed bumbler in laughable clothes prancing through feeble fan-baiting storylines.

I was not exactly surprised, then, to discover that ‘proper’ Dr Who fans on the interweb all seem to love Colin and indeed that Doctor Who Monthly, a mag I had adored as a child, had voted him the best ever Doctor. Mass contrarianism in the face of the ‘sheep-like’ public is hardly a rare phenomenon online, after all.

The only problem is – they might have a point.

Okay, he’s not the best ever Doctor Who. But when Isabel and I watched Vengeance On Varos the other day we had to concede that it – and he – wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was pretty much terrific.

80s Doctor Who is much like 80s superhero comics in that there were obvious attempts made to make things ‘darker’ and ‘more adult’ – “grim’n’gritty” was the comics term for it and like all fads the backlash against it was merciless. With Doctor Who the frontlash was pretty harsh too – viewing figures declined sharply when Colin B took over and never recovered. Varos is by some distance the grimmest and grittiest story of the era – black comedy sci-fi set on a mining planet whose population are kept entertained by live torture and executions beamed from the ‘Punishment Dome’.

Generally it’s effective stuff – the budget for once doesn’t overreach itself, the villain (a sadistic business-slug) is very well realised and pretty much all the performances are good. It’s violent – too violent for the tastes of some fans – but hardly excessive: the bleak tone, clever script and moments of genuine creepiness are what mark it out as ‘adult’, not the gore.

And Colin Baker is recognisably Doctor Who – a little peevish and a little vain, yes, but those are constants of the character. He gets his bearings, gets involved, has moments of heroism, takes charge and sorts things out with a little help from a typical deus ex machina. Watching it now it’s hard to see exactly why he is so hated – hard even to remember why I hated him so much.

The story has aged well, too – in fact it?s improved with age. In 1986 it was a slightly clunky if well-meaning satire on democracy, big business and mob rule. In 2003 it’s a prescient and sharp piece about Reality TV. The show aimed for one target and hit another, and this means it works much better than a more full-on blunderbuss approach would. You can get the video on eBay for a quid or two: underrated and definitely recommended.

Romana says: not liking silly xmas hats

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Romana says: not liking silly xmas hats? I believe that there Tom EwingSpizzaz chap hates fun!

I saw Gurls Aloud sing their songs Live From Wembley the other day. WHY OH WHY, in some misgiven search for “live music appeal” did somebody turn on their microphones?

Cue happy singing along to telly “aaaaaarrrrr-OIII don’t need yoooore good AdVOICE”… WHAT? Hold on a minute? That is not me singing along! That be MONSTERS! Also it appears that all one of them can say is “Undergraaaahnd” (as in “Sound Of the”, pop pickers) but to the power of NINE GAZILLION.

B-b-but Sarah, nine-gazillion is surely a made-up number and does not exist! YES WELL I wouldn’t have thought one person would have the ability to drown out and silence Wembley Stadium in shock horror unless they were that nasty German man from a while back so it is PERFECTLY APPROPRIATE.

In other, more sad pop news, oh no!! Poor DJ Otzi!! Oh NO!! (Honestly they’re all doing it after Ozzy diddit first).

The shame of the (not-so) secret RI:SE fan

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The shame of the (not-so) secret RI:SE fan 3 days left… Kate Lawler
RI:SE spent much of it’s final incarnation absolutely obsessed with reality TV ‘ which is terrifically ‘meta’ of it, because it was a reality TV show in it’s own right: “What Katie did next”.

Kate, you may remember, won Big Brother and then, to her credit, dropped out of sight quite quickly. Presumably, not wanting to go back to her IT job, she took Telly Presenter Lessons. It would however seem that the Telly Presenter Lessons Teacher, finding the phrase “pig’s ear” coming to mind, decided to cut his/her losses. Kate won BB for being herself ‘ not for being a natural performer.

So RI:SE has been effectively paying her (a lot) to learn on the job. And she’s a slow learner ‘ possibly because her co-presenter has the bigger mouth. Despite this, when given the chance, Kate can cram both her feet into her own mouth. Memorable gaffe’s include her impression of an Irishman (it involves miming firing a machine gun) and her claim that “Margaret Thatcher, Adolf Hitler and Napoleon were all middle children and all great leaders of their time”. Hmm, that’s one way of putting it.

She has finally learned how to hide her pants while wearing a short skirt though.