Posts from 14th June 2005

Jun 05

They’re – ahem – taking -ahem – the piss…

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 967 views

Wonderful, wonderful Ananova, completely missing the obvious headline here, as a bus company uses sheep urine to cut down on pollution. It may well remove harmful noxious substances from our atmosphere. But has anyone tested how safe it is to spray sheeps piss all over our streets?

Live 8 Post 231546b

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 352 views

Sir Bob goes mental. “Everyone in this country knows why it’s wrong”. OK, fair enough, re-selling charity gig tickets is a bit dodgy. Except this isn’t a charity gig, it’s an awareness raising event. The money being spent on eBay isn’t money that could have been spent on actual tickets, it’s not money that would have gone anywhere. If Geldof had charged £50 a ticket for Live8 he’d have raised £7.5 million in a day, just like that – but he didn’t because the event isn’t about cash. Unless it’s people spending their own cash to go to an event they were unlucky to miss out on – in which case suddenly it’s evil.

I mean, come on, a child could have told him this would happen. You put together a monster line-up, you make tickets available free but via a lottery – this is payday for every would-be tout in the world!

I’m not going to make any more Live8 posts because I’m letting my irritation with Geldof’s public persona override my admiration for his aims and drive, and that’s stupid. But the man’s tactic of putting on his ‘sweary Bob’ hat every time the huge holes in the planning come to light is bloody annoying.

The Most Unpleasant Artwork I’ve Heard Of For Quite A While

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 218 views


(also huge truckloads of unintented(?) symbolism attached to this)

(which makes it more effective as art probably)

(if not as soap)


Blog 7Post a comment • 918 views

I am wary of festivals. It took the overwhelming greatness of Glasto to finally win me over. The reason: the horrors of harvest festival as a child at school. The idea behind harvest festival I assume was to celebrate our bountiful harvest and help out people less fortunate than ourselves. Unfortunately, living in a London suburb meant that there was not all that much in the way of bountiful harvesting going on. The alternative therefore was a cull from Mum’s cupboard of the tins of stuff she did not want. The last time I ever saw a tin of Heinz Kidney Soup it went on the Harvest Festival pile, along with a really manky tin of peas.

You would think that somewhere along the line there might be a real actual celebration. An sing-song, get-together style affair. Or even a pyramid made out of all these unwanted tins that we could worship at (wow, all that Cream Of Celery Soup in ONE PLACE). Perhaps we could mount said pyramid and make a ritual sacrifice of some first former five year old for another bountiful crop of tins of rubbish food for another year. But this “festive” part of the festival was skipped. Instead we went straight on to the redistribution part of the ceremony. Or what we liked to call “ungrateful Granny hell”.

Basically, in an act which would now be banned by the Data Protection Act, our school had a list of all the old folks in the area. We were sent out in pairs, with a number of cans from the booty, to redistribute to the old’uns. This, as you would imagine, is one of the most frightening things a seven year old child can do, as all unknown old people are clearly witches and warlocks. They also had a disdain for Ye Olde Oak Ham hot dog sausages and Creamed Corn which knew no bounds. The average encounter would start with a tentative knock on the door, followed by grumpy gummy granny asking sharply what we wanted. We would wave cans at her, and she would ask if we had anything more palatable that Crosse & Blackwell Tinned Spaghetti (I don’t want that foreign muck). Clearly we did not: not only that but our presence reminded the old lady she was old at which point she was likely to attack us about playing football in her cul de sac. Grateful was never a word I would ascribe to their responses. In many ways Harvest Festival was a kind of anti-trick-or-treating. We went round, giving grannies stuff they did not want. It was hell.

What was worse was when we got back to school they were always disappointed that we had not stuck around for a cup of tea to listen to them talk about the war. Oh, and the grannies would always phone in to complain that we were not courteous. No win situation = rubbish festival. Oh, to live in the countryside and have corn dollies…

Duck About

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 985 views

My work is located on the edge of London’s leafy Belgravia, home (in ‘town’) to nobs, grandees, and Russian oligarchs – now including Roman Abramovich apparently. One happy side-effect of this is that our canteen’s main rival for lunchtime eats is London’s poshest Waitrose. Generally my browsing here is limited to looking at the price labels on gorgeous-looking cheeses and exotic eggs, sighing, and buying a BLT as per. But occasionally you can find a markdown – yesterday I picked up, a snip at ‘2, a packet of ready-to-eat smoked duck “from the Rannoch smokery”.


Actually when I had it this lunchtime it was a bit salty and not enormously duck-ish, but it was still quite tasty. (Being a terrible slob I had most of it in a sandwich.) The anticipation in these cases is half the fun though and I had a marvellous time this morning thinking about my Rannoch smokery lunch. Mmmm.

Hotel Band Success Story

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 454 views

Sick of Top 100 lists that appear on Channel 4, voted for by a public that does not include us? Why not take a different tack to decide the best tracks ever? Perhaps there is a way of telling what songs stand the test of time by the frequency they are performed in karaoke, or played by wedding bands, or dodgy resort hotel bands.

I bring this up because whilst away I saw a Phillipino Band performing for two and a half hours every night for three nights. From their repertoire you see the modern songs which had entered the all-ages canon. So “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” is in, whilst Riobbbie Williams stays out. Admittedly this is a canon which seems to be heavily populated by songs from 1981, tracks which I owned on Raiders Of The Pop Charts (Toto does surprisingly well out of it). And the general response to most of the songs was a polite clapping at the pretty good renditions. For such a band to get any reaction they need to have a trick up their sleeve.

This bands trick was Sweet Child O’ Mine. It won over the crowd partially because it stood out from the Eagles and soft rock staples that preceded it. Also it succeeded with an exuberant sing-a-long style. But success was mainly due to the three long haired female singers having an impressive synchronised hair swinging/head banging act. And you don?t get that on any Jimmy Carr hosted programme.

GUESS MY THEORY (revised version)

Do You SeePost a comment • 570 views

What happened to the other £780,000?

Do You SeePost a comment • 60 views

There isn’t even a million pounds in Millions: another Danny Boyle film happy to have slipshod continuity and a half developed script in favour of whizbang visuals and admittedly impressive control of the screen. But unfortunately all of this is to naught with me in a film set at Christmas where kids play in the fields in mid December in short sleeved shirts and never get muddy. Indeed it is all to naught with the implausible idea that the deadline for handover to the Euro would be Christmas Day. Or indeed that this admittedly great idea for a film (kids find lots of money two weeks before it is worthless) is pretty much flushed down the toilet for a tale about dealing with the death of their mother.

Millions is not a bad film, but it does not seem to understand its audience (who I admittedly am not part of). It almost seems to condescend to them, with its almost disturbing fantasy scenes of visitations by saints and a scary villain who comes from an inept tradition more out of 101 Dalmatians than frightening one Boyle probably wanted to promote. The films morality is shaky, its message about charity is more than confusing and the plot just does not really make much sense. Millions is one of those annoying films which could have been so much better, with just a little bit more work on Frank Cottrell Boyce’s script.

Boyce has also written a book of Millions which has been recently nominated for a prize. Oddly the quirk packed, loose plot would probably work rather well in a kids books where “And then this happened” is more acceptable way of developing plots.

Lit Fiction vs Pulp Film: A trailer

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 391 views

I was going to write and rail a touch against Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, which styles itself as literary science fiction; and all the beginners sci-fi errors it makes. That was until I stumbled across the trailer for the new Michael Bay film The Island starring Ewan MacGreggor and Scarlett Johansson, which appears to have exactly the same premise*. So I will wait to compare and contrast the chamber piece of lit fiction from the master of quiet scenes, compared to its treatment by the man who is not afraid of blowing stuff up. Over and over again.

*Which I will not reveal here but suffice to say that both the trailer and the first page of the book give it away. Albeit Ishiguro thinks he hasn’t for another 170 pages. This being one of the beginners sci-fi errors.

Dave Boyle vs Gurls

TMFDPost a comment • 1,173 views

And there could only be one winner. Gurls. From Staurday’s Guardian, Dave reveals that woman are better at football than him.