Thursday, January 31, 2008

Patricia Routledge as Kitty


I'm not eating too well these days. In fact, I haven't eaten at home since Friday. I've been out for a delicious Japanese lunch, where my gracious host and I were the only two in the whole restaurant as the chef cooked in front of us. It was the tastiest meal I've eaten for about a year. He made me try and catch an egg in a chef's hat I was wearing. I flicked it with too much gusto and it landed on a hot plate behind me after bouncing and cracking off the ventilation system above. Then two Indian curries for dinner yesterday and lunch today. Then fish & chips for dinner today. I feel pregnant.

Sad to hear news about Jeremy Beadle's passing. He sounded like a really nice guy from all the people talking about him who'd worked with him.

I always wondered about a day when all the presenters and TV talent that I grew up watching wouldn't be there any more.

Ban patio heaters.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Best place for Robbie Williams' album

One of EMI's artists, Robbie Williams, signed a 80m pound deal in 2002, announcing "I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams!".

Sadly things haven't quite gone to plan.

"EMI is understood to have more than a million unsold copies of Robbie Williams' Rudebox album which it will send to China to be crushed up and used in road surfacing and street lighting" (Guardian, 16th Jan)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Is Benny Hill Still Funny?

On 28 December 2006, Channel 4 broadcast the documentary Is Benny Hill Still Funny?. The programme featured an audience that comprised a cross-section of young adults who had little or no knowledge of Hill's comedy style. The aim was to discover whether or not the alternative comedians' criticism of Hill was valid to a generation that enjoyed the likes of Little Britain, The Catherine Tate Show and Borat.

The participants were asked to watch a 30-minute compilation that included examples of Hill's humour from both his early BBC and later Thames shows.

The responses were continuously measured and the results demonstrated that nobody took offense at any of the sketches shown. In addition, the "appreciation" figure was revealed to be very respectable, which would have guaranteed a series commission had it been a modern television pilot programme. Hill's silent "Wishing Well" sketch was discovered to be the most popular.

Disney Channel Forward Planning

Good to see the Disney Channel planning ahead.

Last night I watched a loop promo on all their Sky channels telling me all about the great shows and films that would be on this Christmas.

It was the 10th of January.

I think someone's forgotten it's still playing when everyone's gone home.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lucozade for liquid poo

Lucozade must surely be the only hip energy drink that has such a bold warning on its label:

Lucozade is not appropriate for replacing the fluid lost after diarrhoea.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

LBC's James O'Brien

I'm sick of a trail on LBC for James O'Brien on his high uninformed horse saying how the British Empire raped the countries it conquered. He doesn't mention the investment in infrastructure that their resources paid for that still function today and that the people in the ex-empire countries are very happy to have and think of as a very favourable lasting legacy.

I really dislike James O'Brien quite vehemently. It's an instant switch-off from me whenever I hear his voice. He doesn't open his mouth properly - he mumbles. His phone-ins are usually a 'free for all' (he can't be bothered to set a topic) or stupid pub-chat like 'where's the funniest place you've had a wee' or 'what's the best funeral you've been to'. Moronic radio at its worst. Why he doesn't get the boot instead of a talented broadcaster like Paul Ross is beyond me.

I do like the replacement for Alison Bell. She was awful too. Anna Raeburn's frightened insane hysterical laugh still echo through the afternoons.

Too much choice is bad?

Too much choice! Were things better when we only had a few of everything to choose from? This deluge of choice for everything we buy:
food stuffs, cars, computers, telephones, electricity suppliers, phone suppliers, insurance, etc.

Wasn't it easier when there was one electricity board, British Telecom, etc.

My best friend once told me about Tecaz, a local bathroom and kitchen shop. He thought customers would enter the show room with an idea of what they wanted in their mind, and after seeing the hundreds of different suites be more confused about what they wanted than when they came in. Apparently even the salesman said people spend 2 hours in there and go away unsure about what they want anymore.

Do Marks & Spencer do so well because they don't sell lots of commercial brands that are essentially all the same thing - they only sell their own brand which, naturally, is not duplicated - there is one type of sponge cake, one type of cashew nuts in a bag, etc.
There's a book about Affluenza which I'd recommend. It changed my outlook on life and spending.

Insurance Discriminate?

Car insurance for women drivers. Isn't this sexist? If someone opened a shop that would only serve women and refused to serve men, would it last? Why not have car insurance for young people only? I know there's Saga for people over 50. But I don't understand why there's now employment law that prevents age discrimination, and of course sexual discrimination laws have been around for years, but why are these car insurance issuers exempt from these laws?

Celebrity Big BRother Hijack

The latest series of Celebrity Big Brother is on Channel 4 now for a couple of weeks. Last year there was the whole racism row, with Jade Goody losing any work yet the one who arguably was worse in saying "Why don't you fuck off home" is back on TV!

This year the house isn't full of F-list celebs but instead full of talented young people between 18 and 21 years old. Entreprenuer, racing driver, circus performer, artist, singer, politician, architect - all are getting on well. There was a great image from the 2nd day when 3 boys as a task had to link arms together for several hours to bake a cake. They were white, black and mixed race. And they chose themselves to do the task as they felt they were the 'most bonded'. Well, there's multicultural Britain at its best (although to be fair they were all very westernised and had no accents).

An interesting point is that NONE OF THESE TALENTED PEOPLE SMOKE. The first time in Big Brother history that none of the housemates are smokers.

I'd have liked it if they filled the house with muslim men and women, just to see what a lot of fun they'd all have...and how many people would watch.

DJ Druggie

So ex-Radio 1 and Smooth Radio DJ Kevin Greening didn't 'die peacefully in his sleep' but instead from a heart attack caused by taking huge amounts of cocaine, ecstacy and that date rape drug.

There goes the 'friend on the radio' image!!!
And illegal drugs claim another talent.

Waste IT on us!

I read in the newspaper that 30% of the governments (i.e. OUR) IT projects are successful and since 2000 they have wasted £1.2billion on failed projects. UNBELIEVABLE.

Let's look at that figure:


Sensodyne's Crap TV Adverts

I don't understand why Sensodyne make such shit TV ads. They are very poorly shot on a camcorder and the audio editing to get rid of the natural pauses in the speech are TERRIBLE. I remember an old Sensodyne advert where the boxes of toothpaste were hovering above water. Voice-over by one of the early Channel 4 continuity announcers. Very stylish.

I looked into becoming a continuity announcer for BBC TV about 6 years ago. I already do voiceovers, but to be a continuity announcer however glamorous it may sound sitting watching TV all day and reading a few lines out every 30 minutes (they you've written), but it only paid £21k in central London - which down there is very little.

Iain Lee Moves to Virgin

Iain Lee's first show on Virgin Radio went quite well. Sadly, he was in one of his "It's not going right so I'm going to huff and puff a lot and pretend I'm annoyed that it isn't going the way I want it" which he's clearly putting on and does grate much more than when he's more in the spirit and relishes the wacky callers. The music seemed to interrupt the flow but as an LBC listener it's always going to be like that. Barry from Watford's call was a gem - wanting to swap an unwanted Christmas present of a soap on a rope with a curly black hair on it, stalling the chat with the 'satellite delay' routine which is great, then, just before putting the phone down, we hear "Well, I don't think that went very we.....". Superb. We were laughing our heads off.

VAT's not on!

Someone called up today to ask the price of something. "Does that include VAT?" he asked. "No, it doesn't." I said. Then he proceeded to add the total of the items he wanted, add the VAT then add the postage. "No, you've got to add VAT to the postage". "You're charging me VAT on the postage?!". "Yes - I am legally obliged to charge VAT on everything I sell - whether it's products, services, postage - anything". What an idiot - or just someone totally unfamiliar with the concept of VAT, which is odd because he sounded old and VAT's been around for many decades now.

Sweet Revenge of the Pump

I was lying on my front on the carpet in the lounge and my dog decided to curl up and go to sleep between my legs using my buttocks as a pillow. He's very affectionate. I couldn't quite muster up a fart to gain revenge on all the times he's dropped one while I've been eating.

I know a corridor?

It's getting colder here. My room's pretty cold when I get to bed. Naturally I seem to go to bed after 3am and wake up around mid-day. My weekend work puts a bit of normality back into my body clock.

I've had a bad cold this week, but got over it pretty well.

As a treat, I've burned 4 CDs of very un-trendy music (which I love) and podcasts of LBC to listen to in my car on the way to work. I managed to find an obscure song by Quincy Jones which I've been hunting for for a while. I'd never have guessed its title - it's Spanish or something. I was barking up totally the wrong tree with "I know Candida"!!! Ai No Corrida is its actual title.

Love Thy Neighbour?

A neighbour 2 doors down who is a policeman has bought an old Mercedes. He spent about an hour washing it the other day. Now he keeps coming out to look at it in case there's any bird shit on it. He's a miserable bastard - I've said hello to him a few times and he's blanked me. Love thy neighbour? I've tried, but he's an arse.

Although another neighbour is in his house all day, with his car in the drive, he never seems to answer his door to the many delivery drivers that arrive to deliver stuff he and his daughter order online. So the drivers always ask us to take the parcels in for them. In the last few months, there must have been about 20 parcels we've taken in. I work late most nights and sometimes they wake me up at 7.10am. We don't have a very large hall - in fact, it is the exact width of the front door. Any parcels in the hall are constantly tripped over until removed. So today when the postwoman asked if we could take a parcel in, my mum told her no and that the neighbour was actually at home - his arse-hole BMW car with 10 inch penis-substitute exhaust is in the drive and he never walks anywhere. What the hell he does in that house is a mystery - is he asleep? on the phone? wearing headphones? in the loft? in the bath? doing something naughty by himself? Whatever it is, he seems to do it each and every time a delivery driver is knocking on the door.

When I moved here over a year ago, everyone was nice and it had a real villagey feel. But maybe the longer you live somewhere, the more you feel contempt for your neighbours. I work from home a lot so I am more aware of their habits.

The neighbour to the left's dog attacked mine and then bit my leg. Her apology was brief at the time of the incident and I've never spoken to her again (I've actually actively avoided her). Her neanderthal husband who owns the dog has not apologised at all. The dog is still left in their garden all day to bark at anything and everything that walks anywhere near their house. This includes me walking to my house.

The neighbour to the right is having a mid-life crisis with his mid 90s BMW with thick alloy wheels, very noisy thick exhaust and his inability to answer the door all day while his daughter is out at work all day. His habit of wearing cowboy boots and use of the word 'chuffer' when carrying anything heavy to his garage confirms his MLC status. He also has a pond with loud splashing water feature that is on 247 / 365 and is exceptionally audible whenever I have my office window open. I feel like pissing all day.

There are the neighbours whose garden abutts mine. They are ok - quite good Christian souls. Next to them, a rather snooty family who ironically have the England flag painted on their garage door (sadly a symbol of chav-dom). If their accusations that my garden was ' a bit wild' (not in a nice way) wasn't enough, their purchase of a dog which enjoys barking at my dog through the fence all the time and their total lack of control of it firmly puts them in the 'idiot neighbour' bracket.

Next to them, an Asian family (not sure if they're Indian or Pakistani - how do you tell without asking them!?!?). The smells from their kitchen are devine and the image of the ladies of the house planting shrubs in the borders of their front garden seems to be reminicent of the paddy fields of east asia. I wave at them when I drive past.

Then, finally (you'll be glad to read) there are the neighbours at the bottom of my garden. Their heavily extended house looks great and must be massive inside. I've never met them but 3 things annoy me. The have 2 sets of wind chimes which are positioned high up in a pergola within feet of my fence. I'm sure it's only me who ever hears them in force 9 gales - they are never ever in their garden. I hate wind chimes. They also have a water feature that sounds more like a leaky pipe. However, it pitters away, day and night, again - they are never in the garden. They have two sons. The younger one has a hobby of hitting a football against their garage wall at a very high velocity. It is akin to a gun being fired every few seconds and totally shatters any peace and quiet that I've become accustomed to. It is so annoying - so is anyone who plays basketball - BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG. When you look at satellite views of this area on Google Earth, you see hundreds of trampolines in back gardens. It's like a litmus test as to whether you'll have any peace and quiet in your garden or not. You can't see basketball hoops from space, but you can from the ground and these are another warning sign.

I do like our neighbours across the road. They're a retired couple and very friendly. Just thinking about it, I've only ever actually said hello to the gentleman once! My mum has spoken to them much more and speaks highly of them. I know he has a model train set in the garage and loaned my electrician his ladders once.

There's a young couple a few doors down whose house is for sale - it's the most bought and sold house on the street according to house price websites. I wonder why? I think they are both sales people selling some sort of health food/drinks. They get loads of deliveries, but answer their door! I did complain to one of the companies whose driver always saw it fit to reverse his massive articulated lorry round the corner of our small cul-de-sac to deliver a shoe box size parcel. I called the company because he'd driven over the retired couple's immaculate lawn leaving huge deep tyre marks in it. Why he couldn't leave his lorry at the end of the street - a 10 second walk away - to deliver such a small box is beyond me. I haven't seen him since. The person who answered the phone sounded like he does this sort of moronic thing all the time.

Drink & Drugs

I don't understand the Stella Artois advert. Something to do with passing things on, but it's totally lost on both me and my mum. Too deep for beer! It doesn't want to make me drink beer anyway. I used to drink Stella when I went out. But I decided after the last staff night out that I really don't know my drinking limit any more - I don't remember how the evenings end because I don't go out regularly. So I decided not to drink again. I have champagne at home for celebrations, but that's it. I'm surprised by how many t-total people there are who call up LBC. Anthony Davis, the presenter, is one. I work with a lot of 18 - 20 year olds. They always look so tired and ill because they drink almost every night. They go out to nightclubs and drink all night until they're totally drunk. They come home at 5am - sometimes 9am - then work the next day! And they have no money - because they spend it all on drink. And it's not just drink, might I add. I'm appauled to say that guys I've thought are alright and nice people actually do drugs. Poppers, pills, coke -- I instantly lose all respect for them. They must think they're immortal.

I recently worked out that I really like getting to know new people - but the more I know and learn about them, the more I don't want to know them any more. The less I know about them, the more I like them because I'm not aware of their imperfections. I never realised this until a load of new boys were brought in for the Christmas rush and I realised I liked the new people more than old friends who I'd started with over 2 years ago. It's not that the old friends bore me, although I think that they often do. They don't seem to lead very interesting lives - perhaps a product of our time. They don't have hobbies aside from socialising or buying the latest iPhone. So even if I haven't seen them for a few weeks, there really isn't a lot to catch up with them because nothing's happened - they've nothing to tell me, no events to report. I don't like to go on about what I've been doing because even if this blog doesn't show it, I'm rather modest and don't want to be this ego talking about me me me or boasting or making people jealous or whatever.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mish Mash update

This entry will be another torrent of thought, discharging itself through text!

When you see kids talking on TV news or documentaries, the English ones seem to be rather poor at speaking. American kids seem totally different - very eloquent, well constructed descriptive sentences, putting their feelings into words, long flowing answers. English kids give one word answers in a monosylabic monotone. It makes you feel quite ashamed. A bit like all these moronic football supporters too I suppose.

When I was last in France, I don't think I saw one 4x4. The French all seemed to have smaller cars or estate cars if they had a large family. It only seems to be the arse holes of Britain who feel the need to have these gas guzzlers with bull bars - what they hell are they for in England? Causing more injury to any poor bugger who is actually being considerate and driving a smaller car, that's what. Or heaven forbid any pedestrians who are knocked down by them. They should be banned. It's all about superiority - showing you can afford such an expensive car (even though the majority of them will be bought through loans), higher driving position so they can 'look down' on everyone else on the road. Or maybe it's keeping up with the Joneses, or affluenza, or all 3!

I read about the Air Car yesterday - It runs on AIR. The exhaust is air at minus 15 celcius, so it can be used for the air conditioning! Clever stuff, not in production yet but may be soon.

I tried installing a wired home network on 2 PCs, but it wouldn't let me print or upload to websites at all, so I had to do a system restore point roll-back thingy. It was the first time I'd done it and it worked well. It all works like it used to now, and I wish I hadn't bothered. I think I need a network expert, to read up about it on the web or in a PC mag, or just carry on without it - I've managed without one for 14 years!

I am currently full of a head cold. I am so rarely ill, it really knocks me for six. I can't even remember the last time I was ill - it may have been more than a year ago. I think I might order an Indian takeaway tomorrow evening. I now have streamlined my order so that it is the perfect amount (although I don't have one the day before I have to work or meet people - a bit too much garlic!!). I order a tikka massalla sauce, a bombay alloo (potatoes) and a tub of mint yoghurt. I sometimes get a naan bread too. I usually order two at once, then have the 2nd one the next day. It actually tastes better the next day.

I bought a box that connects to your PC via USB which allows you to plug a normal phone into Skype. I don't know if it works yet - I only have about 8 contacts on Skype, all business people who I don't want to disturb to ask to participate in my test.

The New Year fireworks around the London Eye were spectacular as usual - especially the speedboats loaded with pyro zooming around! Something I don't understand is all the people who hold up either digital cameras or mobile phones with cameras. Whatever happened to enjoying the moment through your own eyes? Living for the moment? Ultimately, the footage will be poor and shakey, and you've missed so much of the moment because you were looking through a 2 inch screen for the whole duration.

I remember when I saw Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds a couple of years ago when the massive fighting machine landed on the stage - about 400 mobile phone screens lit up as people in the audience raised their arm to get a better shot. Almost as odd a sight as the martian on the stage!

I think the key to being able to get on with life after a divorce or losing a loved one is to have independence from the other person. That way, when they're not there, it's not so much of a huge change that makes you have to change many things to carry on.

I use a bar of soap in the shower. I've used shower gel as long as I can remember, but I find a bar of soap leaves the skin feeling much cleaner and less slimy than gel does. My mum is one of these people who hides the complimentary soaps she gets in hotels in her suitcase, so she comes back with a little pile after each week. They only last a few showers, but they're always different! I have a lemony one and an olive one still to use, and I'm currently using an Amber Pepper bar of soap she got me for Christmas from Waitrose.