Posts from 9th December 2004

Dec 04

Alternative Band Aid Lyrics

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 626 views

Alternative Band Aid Lyrics

(as featured in Guardian Society yesterday)

Take your pick from the intentionally funny –

“It’s christmas time and there’s no need to be afraid
It’s christmas time, Bono’s here and he’s got his shades”

“when the world outside your window
is a world of lies and tears
with Girls Aloud and Busted
still ringing in my ears”

– the unintentionally funny –

“Here’s to you) raise a glass for everyone
(Here’s to them) underneath that burning sun,
(Here’s to us) But don’t read Chomsky.”

– the painfully DOYOUSEE –

“We throw our harms around the world at christmas time”

– the scansion-averse –

“And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time
As carbon emissions would’ve speeded-up if there is”

– the joyously right-on –

“Free the world
Stop Dick Cheney’s business/crime”

– and lots of links to further reading if you feel guilty for laughing.

(Update: but none of them quite as bad as this)


Blog 71 comment • 260 views

Christmas 1974

1974 appears to be the dividing line between the recognizable and the void in my life. The earliest memory I can attach a date to is Bobby’s birthday in October, and there are memories which must be earlier, like the tail-end of toilet-training, which, going by the averages, would mean spring or summer of that year. There are even ones which seem to predate my ability to talk because they seem oddly silent and closed-in, devoid of any sense of verbal action or thought, but I just don’t know. This Christmas is the first one I can remember. The photos I’ve posted so far are, at best, a bloom of frayed connections between then and now: they show toys I know I played with but probably played with for years, recognizable traditions that were also undertaken at other Christmases, etc. They offer tantalizing maybes. This one has tantalizing yeses. I’m pleased my dad took this photo, because he just as easily could’ve not captured this event; if you asked him that day what, if anything, I might take from this day thirty years down the line, it’d be the opening of the most expensive toy, or…I dunno. It just wouldn’t be this.’But it is this.

The internet tells me that what I’m holding in my hand is the circa-’74 edition of the Ohio Art “Busy Boy” Tool Box. It may or may not be the first toy I played with that day: here it looks like I’m just about to open the box for the first time while I’ve already taken the train off its track, yet in another photo, the train is neatly on its track and the tools are already all over the ground. (If I had the negative strips for those two it’d settle the matter as to which came first, but I’ve got all the negatives for this year’s Xmas photos except for those.) I could deduce from that I found immense pleasure just emptying and refilling the box again and again. This sounds about right because while I remember almost nothing else from this day, I remember playing with it, fixating on it, getting lost in the vinyl smell, which was like the smell of toys and toy stores; the taste of the tools (of course I was going to put them in my mouth) and their tactile profile on my tongue and lips, the saw and its ridges, and the zizzing sound they made going back and forth on my teeth; the blue exterior and and the lime green interior of the tin, the thin tubular hinges, and the intricate little Ohio Art logo on the back of the lid, which obviously had meaning but I wasn’t sure what…and then…and then…in a push-pull moment of consciousness, as if my mind had just received a gentle reboot, everything shifted from dreamy play to real life, and I became newly aware of what was going on around me.

How much of this memory is actually bullshit? I don’t really know. After I wrote the above, I thought it sounded almost like a purple fabulation based on the suggestions of photos I’d seem of the event years after the fact. I always remembered this memory, but I didn’t think about it much until I was able to connect it to this photograph, back when I first organized the family photo collection in 1995. Before then, for some reason I thought I was doing this everything — the teething, the smelling, the zizzing — behind or even to the right of the blue couch, which by the photos seems to be physically impossible. (Unless I was hiding under the side table…) I remember music was playing, but can’t think specifically what, and anyway I’m wondering if I think that only because my parents always played music on Xmas day, and maybe I only believe I chewed on the tools only because I always did that, too. On the one hand, I clearly remembered I was playing with an Ohio Art toy (maybe it stuck out in my mind thanks to a commercial, or exposure to an Etch-a-Sketch?) without any evidence of this fact being visible in the photos — as I said, there are yeses in the photo, but tantalizing yeses.

Likewise with the coming-down-the-stairs memories I mentioned in the last posts. I have two different memories, from two different times, of coming down the stairs and being shocked into exclaiming that it was Christmas. At two-and-a-half, I was a late talker, so these Christmases would have to be Xmas 1973 at the earliest, and — since Christmas 1976 was largely held in the den rather than the living room — 1975 at the latest, so it’s safe to assume these two instances happen in ’74 and ’75. But any examination of these memories renders them insubstantial. I cannot actually remember the difference I found between what was there the day before and what was there on Christmas; I cannot even remember if I realized it was Christmas by sensing there were differences, I may just be assuming that. Even the picture-image of coming-down-the-stairs has been corrupted, melting into countless other memories of being in that room. I do remember…or rather, I attached to this memory the notion that it was bright, even sunny outside. I don’t even remember that so much so much as the way light from the outside reflected back into the living room. Photos from these Christmases don’t really show a sunny day at all. I sort of see myself in the memory, in pajamas and throwing my hands up but of course I couldn’t see myself. Is that all these memories consist of, a few facts and a cast of supporting suppositions? It’s as if the little QuickTime videos in my head that once constituted The Memory of That Thing dried up, what were left were sentences and a few blocky jpgs. (A LOT LIKE THIS BLOG.) What I remember is a story that I told myself — when I talk about “this memory” certain images and phrases that have attached themselves to it, perhaps meaningfully, perhaps not.

The only other thing I remember is that this may have also been the Christmas Uncle John explained to me what Gouda cheese was.


Blog 7Post a comment • 1,155 views

What? AGANE!!!

Alaistair Sim version this one. Which was actually called Scrooge on release. That is the one which was specified. Which may be harsh on all these other films which would have the jump on it by virtue of being called A Christmas Carol:

A Christmas Carol (2004): Kelsey Grammer = Frasier Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1999):Patrick Stewart = Captain Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1984) : George C.Scott = General Patton Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1938): Reginald Owen = Old Giffer Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1971): Alastair Sim = Animated Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1997): Tim Curry = Badly Animated Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1910): Charles Ogle = Silent Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (2000): Ross Kemp = Hard Man Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1977): Michael Hordern = Paddington Bear Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1982): Richard Hilger = Never Worked Again Scrooge
A Christmas Carol (1947): John Carradine = Kung Fu Scrooge*
A Christmas Carol (1994): Jeremy Kerridge = Ballet Scrooge

And that is just a small selection. So Sim should be happy that in this esteemed company that his is seen as the best. Better even that Ross Kemp in a modern day adaptation as Eddie Scrooge, acting his socks off by mumbling and scowling.

*Alright, that’s David Carradine, but what to say about John whose career has spaned well over a hundred lousy Z-pictures (including Silent Night, Deadly Night).

Bus stop top fun

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 344 views

Bus stop top fun

From Hoxton to Clerkenwell (haven’t checked out the return route yet), on the route of the 55 and 243, next to the Foundry, Old Street station, Turnmills, Yo! Sushi, Clerkenwell Screws and the Yorkshire Grey. Variously, 8 breakfast sets (tray, bowl, spoon, open pint of milk) lined up, a sign I couldn’t read because I was sat on the inside seat on the bus, turf, a small pink cuddly toy on a round black thing*, c. 15 beer cans with whited out labels giving only generic details of contents, and two pictures, one of a doric column, one i couldn’t quite make out, that are slowing disintegrating due to rain. Thank you for brightening up my morning.

*not entirely sure this was part of the project, but that’s part of the fun…

Fantasy Football

TMFDPost a comment • 271 views

Fantasy Football

(For the tiny handful of TMFD readers who don’t know about it…)

The Exeter City fans on TMFD have been rather quiet about it – whether through modesty or shock I’m not sure – but ECFC won their FA Cup 2nd round match on Saturday, against Doncaster Rovers. Their reward? A third round game against Manchester United, at Old Trafford. Several TMFD contributors are planning or hoping to go. Delightful though the possibility of Tim getting to yell at the arch-fannydangler is, in a wider context this tie is a fantastic result for the club, as it should pull in (according to Steve in the pub) half a million pounds, helping enormously with Exeter’s financial crisis.

The Roy of the Rovers aspect to all this is that the winning goal against Doncaster was scored by 18-year-old local lad Dean Moxey, from 45 yards out. “The shot that saved the club” quoth a merry Grecian. Books on the Freaky Trigger Sports Personality of the Year have been closed.

Dimebag Darrell is dead

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 174 views

Dimebag Darrell is dead — I gotta admit, I wasn’t a huge Pantera fan, though I appreciate that for a lot of folks they were in ways the perfect gateway drug to all sorts of things growly and mean and loud. But jeez louise, this isn’t the way to go.