Posts from 6th January 2005

Jan 05


Blog 7Post a comment • 356 views


i am already quite enjoyin the fact that my decision to MAKE resolutions is annoying my officemates, who were all OH NO ONE EVER KEEPS THEM today, like a phalanx of female petes: it’s easier to abide by them, or indeed remember what they actually are, when someone is being (a bit) put out by yr doin so!!

the last serious diet i underwent came just before a (not very major but my first ever) operation (only ever fingers x-ed), when i lost two stone in ten weeks (i think that’s right: it seems a bit fast readin it cold now but it WAS a lot weightwise)… i’m not planning to match that (nor do i need to), but i am quite looking forward to the “experiment w.bodily self” aspect of this, though i’m not sure if doin it “in public” (ie here) will make it harder or easier

a. i am rubbish at weighin myself accurately, so don’t expect that to figure except vaguely (i wz actually weighed at my yearly asthma check-up last week- not only fully clothed but doc marts on: the nurse said “oh i’ll estimate that”)
b. in the interests of science and the humanities, i intend to incorporate part 2 of the publog “fried cheese” project in this, in honour of a =repeated ep of the simpsons i just saw two days ago
c. the diet is the “south beach” diet, which is a less dicey version of atkins (acc.the interweb) (=proven by science as *i* know and use it)
d. the pretext is primarily asthma, btw, and resultant sleeplessness – so this is what i will judge success by, possibly


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 3,967 views


(Click for obscene bigness plus obscene fiddliness).

Crisis On Infinite Earth was the big crossover event. It was the first big companywide one, over at DC-Comics and was in itself relatively nonsensical and remarkably complex. The excuse was a celebration and to try and streamline an apparently contradictory universe where lots of different versions of Superman were running around. It only partially succeeded in what many people think was a rubbish idea in the first place. But it was, as this poster suggests, a pretty novel way of getting absolutely every comic character in one mini-series.

Well, Crisis never dies. And I am not talking about the over hyped and reliably rubbish (in tone and content if not in execution) Identity Crisis. There is talk of Crisis 2 coming in DC comics, but if that is not enough, the original Crisis is coming back. As a novel.

This seems like a stupendously bad idea. Not only was the plot of crisis catastrophically poor, but certainly by the time you got to issue three the only reason you were still reading it was to see George Perez continue with his pointlessly detailed drawings of hundreds of superheroes on (dying) one page. The literary equivalent of this is a really, really long list. And any really, really long list that contains seven different versions of Superman has got to be pretty dull.

What TV show had the highest ever British viewing figures?

Do You See1 comment • 5,217 views

What TV show had the highest ever British viewing figures?

Easy, eh? The Royal Wedding. Or the Morecambe and Wise ’78 Christmas special. Or England-Germany in 1996. Or Den and Angie, Christmas ’86. Or. Or.

It seemed like an obvious pub quiz question. It is an obvious pub quiz question. It’s just we can’t find the answer to it. We can find lists for each year back to 1992. We can find conflicting figures for all of the above. We can find controversy over how the figures are measured and dark mutterings that earlier figures need to be down-weighted. But we can’t find a simple, authoritative top ten listing. The Internet, pfft.

Quiz Appeal

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 611 views

Quiz Appeal

I’m doing two quizzes at work to raise money for the Tsunami appeal. One is a pub quiz, which I’ve got pretty much sorted. The other is a pencil and paper quiz, which I haven’t. I need questions.

If you have any questions or ideas for questions please let me know by clicking the ’email’ link at the end of this post (not the comments box, some people at work read FT!). Questions should be:

– interesting
– tricky but not ridiculously hard
– difficult to google the answer to

QUESTIONS DON’T HAVE TO BE ABOUT POP. I’m only going to use a maximum of 7 or 8 music questions in a 50-long quiz. Any subject you like – I’m only posting this on NYLPM because more people read it.



FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 331 views

I occasionally get press releases from bands and DJ’s offering their services to my University. Here is one I got today. Notice the so called “massive saving”.


Simon from Blue is out doing DJ Sets again except this time the fee is £3000. Massive saving from his previous £5+ price tag. Simon is available in January, February and in March after Blue tour shows. Other dates in March will be considered depending on location.

More news in on downloading music

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 979 views

More news in on downloading music
Compare “Record sales in the US have fallen because of people using the internet to download albums, a study suggests” and contrast “US CD sales rose by 2.3% in 2004”

(BBC news stories 3 days apart)

THE ANIMALS – “House Of The Rising Sun”

Popular24 comments • 4,572 views

#172, 11th July 1964

Nik Cohn’s AwopBopaLooBopaLopBamBoom is the best book on Sixties pop, it makes everything else seem like marginalia. He’s almost always right, so I only ever open it when I’m stumped by a record. And “House Of The Rising Sun” stumped me. What does Nik have to say about it? He nails the British ‘blues boom’ as an Art School fad – seems fair to me. He has a healthy suspicion of suburban boys singing – no, performing – the blues. His take on Eric Burdon makes a lot of sense – “he’s always been trendy and painfully sincere, a tough combination to handle”. He also says that this one is a great record, and I may grudgingly have to concede.

When I used to occasionally bump into “House Of The Rising Sun” on the radio it seemed like a seriously boring track. Even the secret knowledge that it was about a (whisper it) whorehouse couldn’t rescue it. Slow pace, phoney Transatlantic accent, effort as a shorthand for emotion – yes, it checks my bad boxes. But when I pay more attention I can hear what’s special in the record. For one thing Eric Burdon doesn’t really sing the song, he surfs on it. Once you’re past the first verse it’s like he’s not even sure what the words are, he’s just swaying and howling, rising and falling over the roil of the band, letting the music drag and carry him.

And the band have a good day to say the least. As soon as Alan Price comes in on organ the song steps it up and the last couple of minutes are irresistible, total confidence and aggression, with Price dancing and jabbing through any gaps he can find. I can only think I never got to the end before. Close listening can’t make me love the song but I can manage a wary admiration.

Resolutions need resolve.

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Resolutions need resolve.

I am on the whole anti-New Years resolutions. As are most psychologists in the know. Artificial deadlines to start or stop doing something suggest that deep down we do not want to effect this change. And if deep down we do not want to do stuff, then maybe we should examine why we think we on top.

Trinny and Susannah, top comedy fashionistas, entitled their TV Cash-In Book What You Wear Can Change Your Life last year. “Doctor” Gillian McKeith’s You Are What You Eat posits the idea that changing our diet will improve your faeces and therefore your life. And of course even though she is not a real doctor, and Trinny & Susannah are just the noughties version of Morcambe and Wise, they are both right. And if you want to change your life, because you are unhappy, or unhealthy, why wait until New Year? Why wait until it is cold, you have no money and are miserable about going back to work?

The answer? The real reason people make New Years resolutions? So they can break them. I can happily ascribe the slight down feeling I currently have to this resolution. It won’t be being back at work, it won’t be having to write two or three policy documents in two days in a freezing cold office when two days ago I could sleep in until twelve. Merely breaking that resolution will remind me of the happy, farting days before New Year, when I was bold, brave and most probably drunk. Resolutions need resolve, but then sometimes so do hangovers.

(Other proprietary hangover treatments are available).

Why have all the great children’s comics of yesteryear vanished, asks Brandon Robshaw

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 174 views

Why have all the great children’s comics of yesteryear vanished, asks Brandon Robshaw of the Times

Bit of a “Phil Space” article for the Times. Published Jan 1st from “the file” before proper journos came back off holiday to cover the disaster.

I saw a cloud the other day that looked just like Margaret Rutherford in Blithe Spirit.

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 313 views

I saw a cloud the other day that looked just like Margaret Rutherford in Blithe Spirit. Admitttedly if she was in profile, and if her body was significantly truncated and blobby like the Michelin Man. It was a passing fancy at the time, little did I know that said cloud was now owned by a Russian lawyer.


It is good to know that alongside plenty of hukster, shyster, clever lawyers, there are a couple of stupid ones out there too.